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Helping Achaea grow

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  • KayeilKayeil Washington StateMember Posts: 2,824 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    What brought me here was someone asking me to play. What kept me here is them continually walking me through things, introducing me to people who knew their stuff and didn't mind hanging out with me and teaching me things as well. Having people to interact with and teach you, and someone who can help you figure out how to start making your own system to handle things helps a LOT. I know some people just invite friends or whatever and just leave them on their own, and that isn't going to help. You also have to be pretty encouraging and patient, too. At first I was turned off by how quickly things moved in this game and how many different commands and other things I had to memorize, but was asked to stick with it. Now I'm used to the speed, and have used these commands plenty of times to where I don't have to keep looking up help files or ask somebody what the command is again. Teaching people how to emote, hunt, and be independent where they can learn to take care of themselves is also super important.
    What doesn't kill you gives you exp.

    Sarapis
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Kayeil said:
    What brought me here was someone asking me to play. What kept me here is them continually walking me through things, introducing me to people who knew their stuff and didn't mind hanging out with me and teaching me things as well. Having people to interact with and teach you, and someone who can help you figure out how to start making your own system to handle things helps a LOT. I know some people just invite friends or whatever and just leave them on their own, and that isn't going to help. You also have to be pretty encouraging and patient, too. At first I was turned off by how quickly things moved in this game and how many different commands and other things I had to memorize, but was asked to stick with it. Now I'm used to the speed, and have used these commands plenty of times to where I don't have to keep looking up help files or ask somebody what the command is again. Teaching people how to emote, hunt, and be independent where they can learn to take care of themselves is also super important.
    I'd agree with that, yeah. There's no question that having someone personally handhold you and personally kind of bring you into the game community is huge when players start. That's the idea behind the mentor system, but obviously it's hard for a totally new player to just ask someone to be a mentor.

    Having friends in the game is the most powerful factor in players sticking with the game they're in.
    Kayeil
  • SkyeSkye The Duchess BellatereMember, Seafaring Liason Posts: 2,810 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Speaking from my own experiences as someone who had never played a MUD before Achaea, I still like the Loom Island newbie intro best of all. Even though I make jokes about it all the time. Sure it was flawed in some ways, but I found it memorable.

    My beef with the current tour is as you said, it's so structured, so buffered from the actual goingson in the game that when you're done, you've already spent so much time alone that you feel like a stranger in your own city.

    Older players generally have instruction to leave these task/tour-doing newbies alone. I get the feeling that a good portion of this was also meant to accomodate players from offpeak timezones by removing a dependency on players for learning and progress, but it's also separated the new player from (one of) the biggest selling points of the game: the community.

    An experience would largely be like this:

    (city): denizen, "Please congratulate newbie on solving the murders!"
    (city): older players, "YAY CONGRATS GOOD JOB!"

    **And now your next step is to do this new list of hardcoded tasks and choose a House**

    //newbie potentially gets inducted into a 'city newbie clan here'

    The newbie tour and the city tours don't mesh well at all, causing a player's 'introduction' time to be a protracted period of relative isolation. I would have rathered that the majority of the newbie tour take place in the city proper and have a chance to interact with other players rather than the pygmy kidnapping syndicate thing.

    Compare this to when older players like myself finished the tour and ambassador and guild aides were swarming over us to give us gear, talk shop, give us the tour and take the time to ask us if we have any concerns. If I'd popped out of Loom and I got was yet another bunch of tasks before anyone would really speak to me, I don't know if I'd have stayed at all.






    BoosteyaAegoth
  • NakariNakari Member Posts: 596 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    What I personally dislike about the current intro is that, unlike previous ones, it doesn't put people in contact with other players for significantly longer. While I think that it does better at putting people into the action and the like, novices are spat out into cities with no real contact network in place, and while some cities (Targossas, Mhaldor) get people into novice clans that may provide some support, I know that other cities (Cyrene, for instance), don't seem to have any organized way of doing so.

    My concern is that this puts a lot of barriers in the way of players meeting other players and getting involved in social interactions/rp (particularly given the long list of very impersonal tasks before one is even able to join a house), and that this is maybe overall not conductive to engaging people into the game outside the intro itself.

    I know what got me hooked was when someone took some time to take me hunting and show me around, as well as making a good friend in my house. At the moment, I feel like this would be much harder, as I'd have to get through the trial, regular tasks, and city tasks before getting placed into a group where I might be able to meet people/gain more context for what the game's about. Anyone who pays even cursory attention to the newbie channels knows that often times these tasks can be their own challenge when it comes to finding certain items/people/running into some bug or another, and I think that putting all of these as walls to engaging with the social aspects of the game that people often seem to site as their reason for sticking around can't be productive.

  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    I have no idea where instructions to leave newbies alone would come from, but it's certainly not us! By all means, make friends with them, help them out, etc.

    We created a more structured intro (and I want to emphasize that it does actually convert better than the previous intros) mainly because people weren't really going out of their way to help newbies enough. We'd see way too many newbies just struggling without any help from older players, and not just in off-peak hours either, or just get pointed at help files, which is a good way to get people to quit as few people like reading lots of help files when they're getting started.

    So sure, I agree that it's better if older players go out of their way to help newbies, but it's much rarer than you might think. You experienced what you did and stuck around. Lots of other players didn't get that warm welcome, and didn't stick around.

    Another factor that I think comes into play: older players have been playing a lot longer now on average than they were when you started, and have seen many more newbies start and leave. People just get jaded after awhile due to the newbie turnover and lose interest in new players until said new player proves he/she is going to stick around and so be worth helping. Of course, the sad flipside to that is that just guarantees less newbies will stick around. 

    I've seen (and experienced it myself, from both sides) that same phenomenon in other games and in other sorts of organizations/groups besides just games. It's a shame, but motivating people to help truly new newbies consistently over a long period of time is just really hard if the flow of newbies is anything but a tiny proportion of the membership of the game/org. For instance, onboarding people when you hire them in a company is a lot easier because a company of, say, 1000 people that's not growing quickly is still probably only hiring 200-300 people a year. Or a fraternity, where they onboard, say, 1/4 of their population every year.

    By comparison, in a year, Achaea, which isn't much bigger than 1000 people (and considerably less than that if you're counting the people here a lot who are the likely to have the time/inclination to help a newbie) has somewhere around 6-10,000 newbies (new newbies, not alt creations) a year. Let's say around 50% of them completed the trial.  So if we have, say, a population of a 500 older players really capable of helping newbies, and 3-5000 newbies a year, that means that instead of four people to one newbie during the year like in the above example, it's one person to 6-10 newbies. So 24-40x as many newbies per member of the group as compared to the above. And unlike in a company or a fraternity, you guys are customers, and have no obligation to do anything.

    It's not hard to see how there's no way to depend on older players to take care of most newbies until they get past a certain point. 
  • KietKiet Member Posts: 3,103 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    6-10k? Wow, you weren't kidding when you said retention was the issue over everything else.
  • KezKez Member Posts: 646 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    People may be less inclined to help newbies now that mentors don't really get any motivation outside of it being something they want to do. Mentors used to get 15% of their protege's first few purchases. Now they get 5% in theory, which is actually nothing because promotions and packages (like buying lessons or globes) count as purchases in that total but give the mentor nothing, and are most likely to be the first several purchases (I think).

    I've had lots of proteges because I like helping newbies, but have very rarely received any mentor credits even with proteges buying left and right. I had one protege who bought some promotion and asked me if I got anything when he did. When I said no, he got upset and issued himself to find out it wasn't a bug.

    There are so many safeguards in place to prevent abuse of the mentor system that it leaves little to no incentive for people to help newbies if they wouldn't already.

    When I've made new characters, I've found that sometimes people are not just uninterested in newbies, but are actually mean to them. As a regular player, more than half of my character attempts have logged off permanently because of the way they were treated by older characters. One was given a filthy nickname by one of their house secretaries, and no, I hadn't done anything to earn it. I would like to see people be more welcoming of newbies, but I think they like their world and don't want anyone to come in and possibly influence it.
    Jeslyn
  • TectonTecton The Garden of the GodsAdministrator Posts: 2,507 Admin
    Kez said:
    People may be less inclined to help newbies now that mentors don't really get any motivation outside of it being something they want to do. Mentors used to get 15% of their protege's first few purchases. Now they get 5% in theory, which is actually nothing because promotions and packages (like buying lessons or globes) count as purchases in that total but give the mentor nothing, and are most likely to be the first several purchases (I think).

    I've had lots of proteges because I like helping newbies, but have very rarely received any mentor credits even with proteges buying left and right. I had one protege who bought some promotion and asked me if I got anything when he did. When I said no, he got upset and issued himself to find out it wasn't a bug.

    There are so many safeguards in place to prevent abuse of the mentor system that it leaves little to no incentive for people to help newbies if they wouldn't already.

    When I've made new characters, I've found that sometimes people are not just uninterested in newbies, but are actually mean to them. As a regular player, more than half of my character attempts have logged off permanently because of the way they were treated by older characters. One was given a filthy nickname by one of their house secretaries, and no, I hadn't done anything to earn it. I would like to see people be more welcoming of newbies, but I think they like their world and don't want anyone to come in and possibly influence it.
    That's definitely something that I've been pondering recently, and I think we're going to tweak mentor bonuses so you will get 5% on no-brainer packages (both lessons and credits) from your proteges.
    ValkynRipBoosteyaQuisse
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Kez said:


    When I've made new characters, I've found that sometimes people are not just uninterested in newbies, but are actually mean to them. As a regular player, more than half of my character attempts have logged off permanently because of the way they were treated by older characters. One was given a filthy nickname by one of their house secretaries, and no, I hadn't done anything to earn it. I would like to see people be more welcoming of newbies, but I think they like their world and don't want anyone to come in and possibly influence it.
    Yeah, that kind of thing really bugs me, and has proven to be a real problem with Achaea's organizations. Been a problem for a long time too. It's basically why autoclass went in, for instance.
  • NakariNakari Member Posts: 596 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Sarapis said:
    -good stuff-
    To be clear, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I think the new tutorial is definitely better then the old, that it provides newbies with better early assistance then they could be assured of under the old system, and that people stepping in to help new players is never a guarantee.

    My issue, and I think I explained it poorly up above, is that newbies are currently prevented from joining a house until they've finished quite a few tasks. I think this serves as a barrier both between newbies connecting with a more focussed group of players, as well as for players who want to help newbies to find the ones who really need help (this is particularly true in both cases with a large city like Cyrene, where it's much harder to find and check in with players who need help then it was when they were in your smaller org.

    Under the old system, players would often be put into houses immediately, where, under the more organized houses, they'd generally undergo an orientation of sorts. This of course has the potential to be a problem if there's no one around to give it, but in good cases it could put players in touch with someone to ask questions to, give them an early introduction to the broader game, and often provide them with early equipment and the like.

    The new system does quite a lot of this very well, and without the need for players to be around/able/excited to help. But it's now pretty easy to get through the first several hours of playtime without ever interacting with another player. If a newbie isn't vocal over CT, it's fairly likely that this could be the case, it seems to me (or at least, the last few times I've gotten people to try it this has been the case).

    Currently one has to grind to level 10, finish a handful of small quests, follow the intro story through a number of steps, THEN do a series of city tasks before they're even able to enter into a house. While I think these tasks are very useful, they're also quite impersonal, and setting them up as a series of chores/hurdles before one is able to engage in smaller, more focused groups and meet players that they can rely on after the tutorial.

    Basically, I just don't understand why it's set up this way. I can understand wanting to shift the burden of novice introductions so that it's not complicated by a lack of available/interested players, but why prevent newbies from entering a house while they're still getting through the intro. A house is going to be the best source of a mentor that falls within that player's interests and who can provide interactions/resources for a while into that character's career (ideally), but mentors are useful far sooner then when players are allowed to join houses. Perhaps there's a really good way for the system to be exactly how it is now, but I don't understand it, if it's there.

    TL;DR: Why are newbies prohibited from joining houses for the first several solid hours of their Achaea experience, and only able to join them when they've already had to work quite a bit of the game out?

    ShirszaeSkyeSarapisBoosteya
  • ShirszaeShirszae Santo DomingoMember Posts: 3,092 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    That'd be the coolest thing ever.

    And you won't understand the cause of your grief...


    ...But you'll always follow the voices beneath.

  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    That would also see law enforcement contacting us I'm afraid!

    Would be pretty damn cool though.
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Nakari said:
    Sarapis said:
    -good stuff-


    TL;DR: Why are newbies prohibited from joining houses for the first several solid hours of their Achaea experience, and only able to join them when they've already had to work quite a bit of the game out?
    Definitely something that bears looking into, I agree. 
    ShirszaeNakari
  • TahquilTahquil Member Posts: 4,152 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2015
    Sarapis said:
    That would also see law enforcement contacting us I'm afraid!

    Would be pretty damn cool though.
    I know nothing! NOTHING!!
    Think they would contact you about sticker tagging as well?
    Boosteya
  • KyrraKyrra Sanctum of the SkyMember Posts: 4,806 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Tahquil said:
    Sarapis said:
    That would also see law enforcement contacting us I'm afraid!

    Would be pretty damn cool though.
    I know nothing! NOTHING!!
    Think they would contact you about sticker tagging as well?
    Reminds me a bit about what Thinkgeek does with people sending in pictures of Timmy in all sorts of places.
    (D.M.A.): Cooper says, "Kyrra is either the most innocent person in the world, or the girl who uses the most innuendo seemingly unintentionally but really on purpose."

  • AerekAerek East Tennessee, USAMember Posts: 1,818 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Tahquil said:
    Sarapis said:
    That would also see law enforcement contacting us I'm afraid!

    Would be pretty damn cool though.
    I know nothing! NOTHING!!
    Think they would contact you about sticker tagging as well?
    She's already done it. Interpol call in T-10 hours.
    -- Grounded in but one perspective, what we perceive is an exaggeration of the truth.
  • TahquilTahquil Member Posts: 4,152 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2015
    Could do, instead of graffiti, just desc printed out on pieces of paper and hang them up on notice boards/walls/floors.

    There was once the 'take pictures of place that could be in Achaea and we'll give out prizes' thread. You could do something similiar to that again. Get people to chose a real world location, write a desc about it. Post a picture of the location and the desc hanging up in the location.

    Think of all the cafes, bars, uni lounges you could hit.
    SkyeDairon
  • BlujixapugBlujixapug Member Posts: 1,833 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Sarapis said:
    I wouldn't publicly discuss its details of course, but the last bit was pretty catchy as an idea. How are you with spray paint, and how do you feel about scaling large structures?

    image
    OgnogSarapisBoosteya
  • JarrodJarrod Member, Seafaring Liason Posts: 3,060 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    See now I'm thinking of the 'make room desc signs' and hang them places like the teachers who do things like this:


    image
    Cascades of quicksilver light streak across the firmament as the celestial voice of Ourania intones, "Oh Jarrod..."

    RohaiEldJhaeliAinly
  • OgnogOgnog Member Posts: 284 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I just had another look at Aardwolf. The thing that it does differently is that it advocates voting and provides the link when you login (yes, Achaea does this much also), but Aardwolf pauses further text output at that point, with PLEASE VOTE prominently displayed. You then have to hit enter to proceed. This strategy probably increases the vote rate as it makes the voting more difficult to forget or disregard.

    Sarapis
  • KryptonKrypton shi-KhurenaMember Posts: 2,377 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I will happily tag my vehicle with "ACHAEA.COM", underneath an image of Vastar's abs.
    (Mhaldor): Herenicus says, "Apologies, I am in-and-out of hold with Verizon wireless customer service."
    GreysSkye
  • DochithaDochitha Member Posts: 1,391 @ - Epic Achaean
    Now they have better structured introductions, got server side curing, got nexus client, got free walk to city or people and what not.  

    Back then we don't have any if these. We downloaded out own client. Made our own curing, remembered the huge map. 

    Newbies nowadays are pampered. I wonder how we oldies got so far. 
    Boosteya
  • JukilianJukilian Member Posts: 1,579 @ - Epic Achaean
    Now that I think about it, I spend most of my time forumsing from my phone.

    I don't think the phone has an easy go-to "Vote for Achaea" button in it.
  • SarathaiSarathai Member Posts: 2,139 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Jukilian said:
    Now that I think about it, I spend most of my time forumsing from my phone.

    I don't think the phone has an easy go-to "Vote for Achaea" button in it.
    So do I, and I don't think it does. You have to switch over to the full site to see the vote button.
    - (Eleusis): Ellodin says, "The Fissure of Echoes is Sarathai's happy place."
    - With sharp, crackling tones, Kyrra tells you, "The ladies must love you immensely."
    - (Eleusian Ranger Techs): Savira says, "Most of the hard stuff seem to have this built in code like: If adventurer_hitting_me = "Sarathai" then send("terminate and selfdestruct")."
    - Makarios says, "Serve well and perish."
    - Xaden says, "Xaden confirmed scrub 2017."



  • MediMedi Member Posts: 94
    Up to 10,000 true nubs a year? Wow, that is a lot!

    I'm guessing that a lot of people will drop out on the basic premise that it is a text game.

    After that, there is a lot of tediousness to the game. At least now there is serverside curing so you don't need to find people who enjoy reading AND coding (as much). But you still have things like outrifting inks for tattoos, small but annoying. Also decays =( I've walked away from some characters for months at a time and just the sheer expense of "starting over" is off putting. Redoing vials alone would help 1000000%. Get rid of them/make nondecay vials easier to obtain (and fun to collect). I understand one issue there is having billions of vials taking up space, but I also know that when I see a vial has >10 days left I just put it in a pack (screw Rufio's 12 gold) and buy new ones. (I should humgii them. I'm horrible, I'm sorry).

    I am one of those people who is a jerk to newbs. Not a complete jerk, but I'm really hesitant to get involved with them. I usually assume they're just trolling me. I answer whatever questions they have and try to point them into the right places (Yeah, read HELP WHATEVER because that's going to give you more complete info than I could, and all I would be doing is summarising that anyway. And if you can't read through a help file, you're going to have a rough time overall.)

    If you'd rather focus on marketing and bringing in more new people than retaining them: Stick flyers on windshields at the nerdiest places possible (libraries, anime conventions, game stores). - People will wonder what is so great that someone has actually stepped outdoors to try and tell others about it.
  • MalforinMalforin Member Posts: 9
    edited November 2015
    Sarapis said:


    It's just a very tough and not particularly tractable problem. Achaea was designed for people who already played MUDs, and it does a poor job generally of onboarding new players across many, many axes. It's everything from the fact that the equipment collection mechanic that drives the core of many RPGs at the low-medium levels is essentially absent from Achaea to the fact that most of our skills were explicitly designed for PvP only (which isn't accessible for a lowbie). It's a problem that we can only chip away at. There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean. 







    Sarapis said:
    Nakari said:
    Sarapis said:
    -good stuff-


    TL;DR: Why are newbies prohibited from joining houses for the first several solid hours of their Achaea experience, and only able to join them when they've already had to work quite a bit of the game out?
    Definitely something that bears looking into, I agree. 
    (Not sure how to stop the quotes linking up)

    QUOTE 1:  Bro, I incinerated the Tyrannus man! The key is to ignore people who say you'll die, and inform them "I am coming if you like it or not!" and if you die, then you die haha. Its all good fun.

    QUOTE 2: In the MUD I recently left to go look for a new home (Which I think I have found.) One thing they did with regards to new players and guilds, was set up a guild specifically for new players. Older players with a genuine interest in interacting with the "wNewbros would essentially be able to join as a "Guide" and they were given basic commands not given to other players specifically aimed at dealing with the confusion and chaos MUDS can cause. The newbro would then have the ability to interact with people. They gave them tours and tips and stuff, introduced them to roleplay etc. This went on for a series of levels before the newbro is asked to consider a guild. To get into the guild he chooses he then is given a list of names and places and with the aide of the guides contacts them to begin a really short but story driven process to join the guild. One guild modelled after the Roman Legion would essentially require them to go through a 1 hour "Basic Training" with a member of their recruitment team. Patrolling and finally he had to basically gather as much stuff to help him kick the experienced soldiers behind in a bout to the death. (The experienced soldier was generally seriously handicapped so the newbro stood a chance of winning. He could not heal for example.)

    Not saying this is how it should be, but just chucking in my badly worded and written comments!


    ExelethrilAnatralJhaeli
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