When it comes to planning an rp site, I have a philosophy that either you should come up with new and interesting lore or break down the reasons that prevent people from joining.
Ideally you should do both, but having unusual lore can often mean having more to read, which creates a barrier. I’m a strong believer when creating a site; you should have goals in mind beyond “I have some characters I want to play and a couple of ideas for a setting.” That’s a starting point, but not the end point. Going back to the definition of Shandification, you need a setting that is realized enough to drive many scenarios.
To get a bit more into specifics, Waking World is a retooling of Yume, a site I created back in 2016. I found with Yume, I ran into two problems. The first was that as much as people say they want sites that take place outside of the US/Canada/Australia/UK, they very rarely join them. Yume took place in Japan and was more real life based than anime. The other problem I had was that while I had very little lore, it wasn’t explained as well as it could be.
My main goal with Waking World is to breakdown those barriers that cause people to not join. Since the mid 2000s I’ve been interested in the business books The Blue Ocean Strategy and The Innovator’s Dilemma. The best way I can describe The Blue Ocean Strategy is Nintendo’s Wii and Switch. You’re actively competing by not directly comparing yourself with your competition (Microsoft, Sony, computers). Now creating such a Blue Ocean Strategy is largely impossible since any sort of innovation will be easily reproduced, but there are often other ways to compete. What I like about those books is that it’s not about competing with the latest trends or some fancy new code. In fact, those strategies are often about using out of date technology in new ways.
I looked for a long time at rules and structure of sites in the genre Waking World will be in and found I could do things others aren't open to doing. One carry over from Yume is that you’re allowed to create your own organization. I just want three members (that will include the creator) and four characters. One of the problems I had with Yume, was that I didn’t have any organizations or factions I created. This can cause choice overload, so I created three starter organizations. I also have a couple of different work places that can tie into the organizations.
For another site that has been put on hold, planning was/is worldbuilding. That was creating nations and cultures, a rough idea of the geography of the world, a premise for the characters, and rough concepts for characters. I can go into how this process worked for me if people are curious. My big advice to people coming up with a high fantasy, cyberpunk, or any concept with a lot of lore is to buy a binder and/or notebook and divide things up. Just start writing and keep it all in one place. This is also my advice for those writing fantasy books. Also, some of those notes are going to just be for you and not show up on the site or book.
This one has been a bit more of a ramble and took a long time because of migraines that lasted a good week and half. When that happens I need to heavily prioritize what’s the most important. I hope to get these out more frequently.