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Helping Achaea grow

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  • AntidasAntidas Member Posts: 1,497 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Ognog said:
    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.
    That kind of seems like cheating lol. Basically, you have to vote if you want to play the game? Sure, it doesn't break the rule of not offering any motivation, but it doesn't seem like its really in the interest of fairness either.

  • KezKez Member Posts: 646 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Playing the game isn't motivation?
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Antidas said:
    Ognog said:
    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.
    That kind of seems like cheating lol. Basically, you have to vote if you want to play the game? Sure, it doesn't break the rule of not offering any motivation, but it doesn't seem like its really in the interest of fairness either.

    I think what he's saying is that you can just hit 'return' and proceed. You don't have to vote. 
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Member Posts: 389 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Sarapis said:
    There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean.

    So... what-all did you try?

    Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-i bukwayszhiigan = blueberry π
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Boosteya said:
    Sarapis said:
    There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean.

    So... what-all did you try?

    Literally hundreds of changes have been and are driven by the desire to make the game better for newbies. Most of them are small things. Some are large. Nexus, for instance, which was done entirely to help onboard newbies. New newbie intros on all of the games. The no-brainer packages. The entire tasks system. The huge quest system reworks. Etc etc etc.
    OgnogDochitha
  • MalforinMalforin Member Posts: 9
    edited November 2015
    Sarapis said:
    Boosteya said:
    Sarapis said:
    There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean.

    So... what-all did you try?

    Literally hundreds of changes have been and are driven by the desire to make the game better for newbies. Most of them are small things. Some are large. Nexus, for instance, which was done entirely to help onboard newbies. New newbie intros on all of the games. The no-brainer packages. The entire tasks system. The huge quest system reworks. Etc etc etc.
    Out of curiosity, what has the success of the new client been since the change? Do you have any statistics to indicate its helping over the more traditional and less visually appealing clients such as Zmud, Mush, Mudlet, Telnet etc?
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Member Posts: 389 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Sarapis said:
    Boosteya said:
    Sarapis said:
    There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean.

    So... what-all did you try?

    Literally hundreds of changes have been and are driven by the desire to make the game better for newbies. Most of them are small things. Some are large. Nexus, for instance, which was done entirely to help onboard newbies. New newbie intros on all of the games. The no-brainer packages. The entire tasks system. The huge quest system reworks. Etc etc etc.
    So... the ones you list here seem to be entirely in-game and/or on-site.

    I was thinking of... more aggressive stuff. For starters, you don't want to make a 'new' topmudsites; you've said that wouldn't be cost-effective. I was wondering if IRE has bid on the existing site.

    Another thing is, what happens if you market Achaea differently? For example, what if teachers find Achaea when they're looking for resources that might help their students learn English (and possibly other subjects, most of which get lumped together as 'social studies' in American public schools)?

    I'm sure you thought of those two, but... they're not on your list, nor are things like them; you only named in-game, on-site, 'in-the-box' stuff.
    Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-i bukwayszhiigan = blueberry π
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Member Posts: 389 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Medi said:
    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.
    I do not currently have a working printer, therefore can't make flyers. Otherwise, I've a very good friend who knows when all the local anime cons are (even had me working alongside her at one for a few years, despite that I don't swerve for anime (nor away from it, obviously). I could at least help do the rest of this!

    Twin Cities* area conventions quite often bring in people from not just Minnesota, but Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan**, Canada, and the occasional guy or three from North or South Dakota. With that new fiberoptic company broadcasting to the world that parts of Minneapolis have 1GB/bps bandwidth available (and more cable is being laid!), plus all of that going on, I'm pretty sure the Achaean demographic is literally in my neighborhood. (As for figuratively? Leave my figure alone!)

    *This refers to Minneapolis and St. Paul. They are decidedly not identical twins.

    **The upper peninsula of Michigan is home to crazy people who call themselves Yoopers. These are the ones more likely to show up in Minneapolis for events. Should you ever find yourself in their area, ask about the local wildlife. Listen to them about how they deal with said wildlife; it might potentially prevent confusion later in your visit, should you encounter any. As this includes critters such as deer and bears, this could actually be important.
    Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-i bukwayszhiigan = blueberry π
  • AntidasAntidas Member Posts: 1,497 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Sarapis said:
    Antidas said:
    Ognog said:
    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.
    That kind of seems like cheating lol. Basically, you have to vote if you want to play the game? Sure, it doesn't break the rule of not offering any motivation, but it doesn't seem like its really in the interest of fairness either.

    I think what he's saying is that you can just hit 'return' and proceed. You don't have to vote. 
    Ohh. That...would make more sense. Heh.

  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Malforin said:
    Sarapis said:
    Boosteya said:
    Sarapis said:
    There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean.

    So... what-all did you try?

    Literally hundreds of changes have been and are driven by the desire to make the game better for newbies. Most of them are small things. Some are large. Nexus, for instance, which was done entirely to help onboard newbies. New newbie intros on all of the games. The no-brainer packages. The entire tasks system. The huge quest system reworks. Etc etc etc.
    Out of curiosity, what has the success of the new client been since the change? Do you have any statistics to indicate its helping over the more traditional and less visually appealing clients such as Zmud, Mush, Mudlet, Telnet etc?
    Virtually everybody uses Nexus (most true newbies), Mudlet, and then for the visually-impaired players VIPMUD client seems to be popular. For experienced players, no question Mudlet is the most popular.


    Jonathin
  • AlaskarAlaskar Member Posts: 393 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited November 2015
    I really appreciate your willingness to share this information with us. I've been meaning to ask, is reminding people to vote, or "do their achaea duty" acceptable in game? As in over CT and such?

    Sarapis
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Sure, totally fine with us Alaskar. 
  • KezKez Member Posts: 646 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    I know you can give people incentive to vote, but can players?
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    You guys can do whatever you want there. Just not something we can participate in.
  • KezKez Member Posts: 646 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Crafting guild's going to hate me... um.. more.
    Also I meant "can't" not can up there. Oops.
  • OgnogOgnog Member Posts: 284 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I think any Achaea flyer should include the image of @Lorielan draped across Her emerald throne. Because ... wow.

  • AepasAepas Member Posts: 1,619 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I actually started playing achaea from hearing about it on VGcats back in the day. There used to be an ad with the 8 bit theater on it I think. Does IRE still do any adverts like that? Maybe it cost too much or something, but I also like to think that I've honestly paid in credits what it cost to keep those adverts active. Sounds like a win to me.
    Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Aepas said:
    I actually started playing achaea from hearing about it on VGcats back in the day. There used to be an ad with the 8 bit theater on it I think. Does IRE still do any adverts like that? Maybe it cost too much or something, but I also like to think that I've honestly paid in credits what it cost to keep those adverts active. Sounds like a win to me.
    The online ad market today and the online ad market back then are totally different. It is like 10x more competitive today and costs went way up as a result. Those ads were very successful for us back then. Last time we tried 8-bit theater (a few years ago), it was just pouring money down a hole. 
  • SkyeSkye The Duchess BellatereMember, Seafaring Liason Posts: 3,054 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Weren't you on Kongregate for a while when you switched to the flash client? How did that work out? 

    What about gaming blogs and stuff? Admittedly those are more for graphical games, but I discovered Achaea through a livejournal acquaintence's blog. Blogs tend to get more attention than just ads. 


  • DaironDairon Member Posts: 330 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Sarapis said:

    Boosteya said:
    Sarapis said:
    Boosteya said:
    Sarapis said:
    There's no feasible way to "solve" it, whatever that would mean.

    So... what-all did you try?

    Literally hundreds of changes have been and are driven by the desire to make the game better for newbies. Most of them are small things. Some are large. Nexus, for instance, which was done entirely to help onboard newbies. New newbie intros on all of the games. The no-brainer packages. The entire tasks system. The huge quest system reworks. Etc etc etc.
    So... the ones you list here seem to be entirely in-game and/or on-site.

    I was thinking of... more aggressive stuff. For starters, you don't want to make a 'new' topmudsites; you've said that wouldn't be cost-effective. I was wondering if IRE has bid on the existing site.

    Another thing is, what happens if you market Achaea differently? For example, what if teachers find Achaea when they're looking for resources that might help their students learn English (and possibly other subjects, most of which get lumped together as 'social studies' in American public schools)?

    I'm sure you thought of those two, but... they're not on your list, nor are things like them; you only named in-game, on-site, 'in-the-box' stuff.

    Well, when I said there's no feasible way to 'solve' it what I was talking about was the fundamentally difficult things about Achaea for newbies vs. bringing in new players. 

    I almost did buy Topmudsites many years ago but backed out. The current owner (who owns Aardwolf) isn't selling. 

    There are many, many things we've done to promote Achaea, but getting people generally to the site isn't really the issue. Getting highly targeted players is. That's why Topmudsites is valuable - it's one of the only collection of MUDers out there. 

    The one idea I've heard in here that is probably worth giving a try to is papering Cons with flyers. 

    We did actually do something like that before, a decade ago, with some people plastering this poster in colleges, but it didn't do anything. I can't remember how widespread the effort really was either. Probably not that widespread.  Cons might be a better target though.



    I still remember this poster from back when I was 14ish. I had it blown up to a huge banner and put it on one of the historical palaces of Korea. I got ib trouble and ended up being unable to enter the contest though. Unfortunately, I might be one of maybe 10 MUDers in this country due to the huge number of graphics games that we manage to produce :(

    Also, what about allowing it so that house leaders (or HoN) can see if a newbie is 'true' or 'alt'. Knowing this information may help the aides really target the newbies that really need the help and attention. 
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    Dairon said:
    I still remember this poster from back when I was 14ish. I had it blown up to a huge banner and put it on one of the historical palaces of Korea. I got ib trouble and ended up being unable to enter the contest though. Unfortunately, I might be one of maybe 10 MUDers in this country due to the huge number of graphics games that we manage to produce :(

    Also, what about allowing it so that house leaders (or HoN) can see if a newbie is 'true' or 'alt'. Knowing this information may help the aides really target the newbies that really need the help and attention. 
    I'm going to assume South rather than North Korea, as there are zero MUDers in North Korea, and, like you say, at least 10, maybe even 11 in South Korea.

    We couldn't/wouldn't let players see who is an alt I'm afraid. I agree it'd be helpful, but it would simply lead to anyone who is a detectable alt to be demonized unfairly.
  • AktillumAktillum PhilippinesMember Posts: 1,368 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2015
    Skye said:
    Weren't you on Kongregate for a while when you switched to the flash client? How did that work out? 

    What about gaming blogs and stuff? Admittedly those are more for graphical games, but I discovered Achaea through a livejournal acquaintence's blog. Blogs tend to get more attention than just ads. 
    I dunno how @Sarapis will feel about me posting this (he can delete it, but I don't think its anything sensitive).

    I did marketing for IRE/Achaea for over 4 years (between 2011 - 2015, as an independent contractor). Things we/they tried during that time, with little success:

    • 1: Regularly posting SEO/keyword articles to IronRealms.com (some of you will remember earning 1cr per day for commenting on them)
    • 2: SEO'ing all the IRE game websites (things like "free to play", "browser based MMO", etc, peppered throughout the websites)
    • 2: Giving up to 10cr per day (1cr per "invite") for inviting people to try the Achaea app on Facebook
    • 3: Regularly posting blog articles on game websites, including MMORPG.com (which earned 400-800 website visits to Achaea.com per month alone)
    • 4: Daily posting on game forums (MMORPG.com, OnRPG.com, and others) under multiple accounts that either A: Point-blank adverted Achaea, or B: Joined community discussions while using a clickable Achaea banner in the signature (another 100 - 300 visits per month alone)
    • 5: Adding and promoting Achaea on the various TopMUDSite competitors (MudConnect, MudVerse, MudPortal)
    • 5: A Reddit advertisement that gained over a thousand unique website visits, with practically 0 retention

    Like Matt said, getting website visits isn't the problem. Getting highly-targeted (people who actually want to play MUDs) traffic is. 

    As someone who doesn't just care about a paycheck, but also cares about adding value to my clients and doing a successful job (especially for Achaea, because I too am a player), it was so f***ing disheartening month after month to see how many visits I brought to Achaea, versus how many of those visits dropped out within a minute or so of gameplay.

    The only un-tested idea I still have at this point would be for Achaea to try and market to fandoms of popular "nerd" culture. There are dozens of website dedicated to things like LoTR, Game of Thrones, etc. Entire forums/communities for fantasy novel enthusiasts. Many of those communities, however, have strict "no advertising" policies, which makes "guerrilla style" forum marketing damn near impossible, and plunking down cash on graphical advertisements, even at like a penny-per-click, would just be gambling.

    Jeslyn
  • DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,288 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    It performs better because it is mechanically superior, as I said. It's definitely better in that regard, nobody is going to dispute that. You just made the very strange decision to shirk all of the unique IP that is quintessentially Achaean in favor of.. pygmies. I still think that you could hound one of your amazing writers into reskinning the introduction and you'd probably notice a statistically significant increase in retention, at least throughout the duration of the introduction itself.

    The paradigm of "skills over gear" that Achaea uses is certainly a pretty big departure from most MUDs and RPGs in general. Gear is nice in the sense that you can create milestone goals for it that don't really readily work for skills without hamstringing a class - the Blademaster class has this sort of in it already with named blades and the quest associated with them. It gives newbies a tangible point after they've finished their tasks largely alone to go hey, I want to get this piece of sick, class-defining gear and I need some help to do it. I know, I'll ask the people in my city/House for help. You could probably do some variation on this for most classes - Druids and Sylvans for their quarterstaves, Apostates for their daegger, so on, so forth.

    Post Seafaring rework, you should maybe think about giving the post-introduction newbie players a chance to dip their toes into that system. It is a pretty attractive mechanic and system in general, yet is largely hidden behind the investment wall required to reach it. 

    I think generally speaking, a lot of Achaea's "open" game is pretty mechanically sparse. There's a lot of opportunity for you to pad it with content and mechanical direction a la the new introduction. Stuff like the bladename quest, or other "milestone" type achievements that are class/skill/faction defining that are hinted to at the end of the introduction and give players a tangible goal to work towards as they orient themselves in Achaea properly, instead of just "here you go, be cool". There's absolutely nothing wrong with that mind you, but most players will tend to thrive under structure in their early days in the experience. At least, that's my experience with developing another MMO in the past.
    NakariJhaeli
  • SobriquetSobriquet Member Posts: 2,426 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2015
    A like isn't really appropriate for the above post but glad you stayed around and enjoyed playing. People being arseholes is what brought Autoclass in. Achaea prides itself in having a dynamic political system which is great but also means you get the power hungry cocks (RP'd or otherwise) which can be a massive turn off to new players. Edit maybe power mad rather than power hungry fits better?
    image
    SilvarienJhaeliMorlew
  • KlendathuKlendathu Eye of the StormMember Posts: 3,178 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    As an older player (both IG and, sadly, outside), I try to help younger players. There are some you can just tell are true newbies, they ask questions which an alting player (even one from another MUD) would ask, or at least wouldn't ask in that kind of way. I believe it's incumbent on all characters in a position of authority to look after the new characters. Silvarien's story saddens me, if you don't want to interact with new characters, then don't, over and above pointing them at someone who is willing to help them.

    Tharos, the Announcer of Delos shouts, "It's near the end of the egghunt and I still haven't figured out how to pronounce Clean-dat-hoo."
    SarapisSobriquetSilvarien
  • TreyTrey Member Posts: 4,797 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Most of the time I try to play two avenues with novices myself. Often in-character I'll answer their question briefly with some aloofness and an air of 'this is unbearably tedious', but then I'll either message or OOC tell to explain it in better detail.

    TvistorShirszaeSilvarienJhaeli
  • JonathinJonathin Grand Rapids, MIMember Posts: 3,323 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2015
    Half the problem is that most people are out of touch with what it's like to be a novice. They already know and understand at least basic game mechanics and it becomes so ingrained that without thinking, they forget that newbies don't have this innate understanding to help them along. They don't remember not knowing certain commands for certain actions and they don't remember not having a grasp of the lore.

    They might come, like @Silvarien's example above, from Maple Story, where RP and language rules don't really apply and automatically scowl and look down on people that don't understand how things work here because they forget that popular games like WoW do not have regulations regarding communication, maybe aside from language filters.

    My site will remain up, but will not be maintained. The repository will continue to have scripts added to it if I decide to play another game. Maybe I'll see you around in Starmourn!
    Tutorials and scripts  The Repository

    ShirszaeSarapisSilvarienAinly
  • VansittartVansittart Member Posts: 232 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Tecton said:
    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.

    This is a really interesting discussion.  For what it's worth, I don't think that the formal mentoring thing is, actually, that worthwhile - although I completely understand why you would think of it first, because it's something you can actually affect whereas the social/old players helping new players aspect of things is not really an admin issue as such.  Even back in, what I think of as the golden age of newbie training, the formal mentoring was usually just a way of people hoovering up free credits.  Often, when I tried an alt, I'd get "mentored" pretty quick, but my "mentor" would then do nothing, and other people would actually do the work of mentoring.

    Without getting into the old guilds/houses/autoclass/player power abuse vs reward debate (which is fascinating, but tends to derail things pretty quick), one thing that I think is seriously worth considering is a system that rewards the work of mentoring rather than the title.  Every house has a secretary in charge of training with aides - and those people are absolutely key to newbie retention.  Way back in the mists of time, when I first started that was, far and away above everything else, what made me stay.  The fact that a stranger, not knowing me, was willing to spend an hour with me and introduce me to the game, my guild, my city, my class and show me some gentle roleplay which also introduced me to the wider political/theological parts of Achaea blew my mind.  I thought that if people were willing to put this kind of care and attention into a game which was obviously fairly free-form, and player-driven then parts of it, at least, would be completely amazing.  Which they were.

    My experience is that that doesn't really happen any more.  Or, at least, happens much much less than it used to.  I think it would pay huge dividends to try and set up a system that gave rewards for that kind of behavior.  Maybe it's the Novice Secretary's job to log (based on reports from their aides) the quantity of hours spent formally newbie training.  The admin have access to that log, and rewards trigger off it (a small credit reward maybe, or something else groovy - you guys have plenty of things in your toolbox to incentivize experienced players).  Yes, the system is open to abuse (as all systems are), but I'd imagine the threat of shrubbing for false reporting would act as a substantial deterrent.  (Especially if it's made clear that only one-on-one training of actual newbies counts - no group hunting, no hanging around with an experienced character who is new to the House etc).

    The rewards could be small but meaningful so it wouldn't massively skew things, but I think that kind of thing could make a massive difference.  It's a bit more paperwork for one of the House secretaries (though, to be honest, not much - and the secretaries themselves could get a small periodic reward for doing the job).

    KyrraJhaeli
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