The StartPlaying review system is a helpful tool that lets prospective players know if a Game Master's style is right for them, how well they retain regulars, and what they generally excel at. There is one aspect of review systems, though, that can be worrying. Bad reviews. You never want to see a negative review darken your profile. So what is the top reason GMs get a bad review? And how can you prevent it?
The #1 reason for bad reviews is GMs not listing any or incorrect Prep Materials on their Edit Adventure page.
What are these Prep Materials that impact reviews so much, you might ask? Prep Materials are how you communicate Discord invites, Roll20 links, D&D Beyond campaign signups, and any other relevant information to onboard players. Prep Materials are sent to booked players 24 hours before a session starts. They’re also available in the game’s group message and Adventure Dashboard.
What seems to happen is that GMs miss a new booking or don’t have an onboarding process figured out. With no Prep Materials to cover that, players are left hanging. They can’t build their character or discuss important things like safety tools with the GM ahead of time. They might feel rushed when game day comes, or be forgotten entirely and never get to play. When these players are charged and prompted to leave a review, they have a lot of negative things to say.
Here’s what you need to do: go to your Edit Adventure page and find this box on the bottom.
Type in a quick welcome message and any links to your VTT and chat tools. Make sure these are your current updated links. Include a brief sentence on what players should do to prepare. Or tell them you’ll reach out soon if you prefer to handle onboarding more personally. Either way, they are informed and know that you haven’t forgotten them.
And that’s all you need to do! Fill out your Prep Materials (and hit save!) so your players know what’s up. With even a simple onboarding message, you can avoid the main reason GMs get bad reviews.