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How to Truly Keep Novices

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  • JovoloJovolo EnglandMember Posts: 3,154 @@ - Legendary Achaean
  • ShadracShadrac Denton, TXMember Posts: 141 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Jovolo said:
    @Jovolo ;

    Aye?  Happy to respond but not sure to what exactly - quote it though and I will.
  • JovoloJovolo EnglandMember Posts: 3,154 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    You wtf'd my post, I'm just curious why.
    Shirszae
  • ShadracShadrac Denton, TXMember Posts: 141 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Jovolo said:
    People should really stop with the bullshit excuse of "Well you don't need your class skills to enjoy Achaea!" Well - you. Yes I do, and so do many others. If I wanted to just login and do nothing but roleplay, there are many, many other games on the internet that I can achieve that on. Take your holier-than-thou opinion and apply it only to your holier-than-thou self. I'm sure I'm not the only one that doesn't want it.
    Ahh..

    It was specifically for this last part I quoted.  Seemed a bit over the top with the holier-than-thou opinion part.  I get the frustration though man.  If you don't have the funds or aren't the type of person to spend that much on a game it can probably be disheartening.
    SylvanceSabah
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,891 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The thing is most people aren't 'the type of person to spend that much on a game', especially a text-based game.
    I'm a postgraduate machine learning/cognitive psychology nerd now and am open to neato Achaea-based statistics/programming projects. PM me if you have any ideas.

    I'm currently working on an implementation of a pathfinding algorithm for blind sailors trying to navigate chops and dock at ports.
    JovoloShadracNakari
  • SylvanceSylvance Member Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Tvistor said:
    especially a text-based game.
    Can somebody please explain this part to me? Because I don't get it.
    Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
    I take my hat off to you.
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,891 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Yeah. As silly as it is to say 'I spent $50 on a weapon in a game', people will find it weirder when you say 'I spent $50 on a text-weapon in a text-based game.'
    I'm a postgraduate machine learning/cognitive psychology nerd now and am open to neato Achaea-based statistics/programming projects. PM me if you have any ideas.

    I'm currently working on an implementation of a pathfinding algorithm for blind sailors trying to navigate chops and dock at ports.
    Sabah
  • TarkanianTarkanian Member Posts: 254 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Sarapis said:
    Carmell said:
    I have a protege that is building a system for priest totally with the HTML5 client.  I've been able to point him in the directions of the forums to get started and he got into contact with someone who was able to help him start scripting in it.  He comes to me every few days to let me know how he is doing on such and such and to find out what my recommendations are for things he should be building into his system for offense.  We need to make sure that the documentation is there for building the client correctly.  I know that my protege has gotten in touch with Tecton a couple of times when he wasn't sure how to set something up for it.  If we have more young ones that are able to use the client well it would be great.  But that only works for people that have a good idea about how to script.  I still struggle to make sure anything I do up works when I finish it and sometimes it can take me multiple tries to get it to work.  So making sure that there are very simple minded instructions I guess you could say would help.
    I'm thinking that the best way to get this done may be to pay someone to develop a system, with full admin support. It's something that's very doable without needing access to our code, so paying an experienced player-scripter just may be the way to go.
    Vadi wins, once more.
    Sylvance
  • KorbenKorben Member Posts: 345 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I'm no expert, but here's what I've observed as a player of text and graphical games:

    Graphical games are less bandwidth-intensive than text games, because they have a client to process the transmitted data. They can send a stream of compact instructions, which the client decodes and translates to the actions you see on the screen. MUDs, on the other hand, send you all of the text that you see on your screen.

    This is important, because it means player crowding slows a text game down at a much faster rate. Graphical games can pack a larger number of people into the same server (without degrading players' connections too much) than MUDs. So the average income per player needs to be higher for MUDs. This is why Achaea feels more expensive than other games. It -is- more expensive, for reasons innate to the game, and this isn't going to change any time soon.

    Now about the 'I hunted 10000 rats and liked it' argument: back then, this was the only free online game. I could hunt 10000 rats, or I could play Minesweeper. That made the rats look like a pretty good option. Nowadays there are thousands of other free online games to choose from, so the rats don't look that good any more. Don't expect the newbies of 2014 to act like the newbies of 2004.
    NimShadracSylvanceSabah
  • ShadracShadrac Denton, TXMember Posts: 141 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    @Korben‌

    This wasn't even close to the first free online game. MUDs have been around for well before Achaea started and the vast majority of them have had no pay system.
    SylvanceSabah
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Korben: Text can be compressed too, by the way, and I believe Achaea supports such an encryption method, though their support for it has a pretty major error with how it incorporates GMCP, so some people (myself included, though I don't know how many others) avoid using it for reasons along those lines. Text compression is, also, actually absurdly good as far as things you could compress go.
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,397 Achaean staff
    edited April 2014
    Korben said:
    I'm no expert, but here's what I've observed as a player of text and graphical games:

    Graphical games are less bandwidth-intensive than text games, because they have a client to process the transmitted data. They can send a stream of compact instructions, which the client decodes and translates to the actions you see on the screen. MUDs, on the other hand, send you all of the text that you see on your screen.

    Sometimes true, sometimes untrue. Usually untrue actually, particularly with text compression. Depends on things like how much of the graphical game's content streams vs. is preloaded. Positional updates in an area heavy with players and NPCs can be 'heavy' by online game standards too. If you want to read a semi-technical discussion on bandwidth use for 3d multiplayer games (not counting streaming content), see here.

    In any case, any differences there really do not make up a big enough difference to matter. They're big enough to ensure that a game with any amount of players needs some source of revenue (even just ads or donations) to pay for bandwidth. 

    This is important, because it means player crowding slows a text game down at a much faster rate. Graphical games can pack a larger number of people into the same server (without degrading players' connections too much) than MUDs.
    Well, not really, no. You can typically put far more people into a small area in a MUD than in a 3D MMO because the bottleneck for 3d games tends to be the client-side rendering. In both cases (text and 3d....2d is a bit different than both but also has related issues). Bandwidth has never been a problem for us. It's having tons of bytes flowing into/out of our colocation space that slowed Achaea down during the finale of the Bal'met event, for instance, and similarly, it's not what would cause an issue with almost all (maybe all) MMOs either - you'd hit other problems first.

    For instance, in the Bal'met finale, the problem was that we had about 400 people in a single room, all trying to do things. Think about what that means: Every time you issue a command, the game has to cycle through every player in that room to show them any third-person output from that command. Movement is far worse - moving into a room of 400 people means that there are all sorts of things (many many many) that are checked, and that checking takes longer the more people and things there are in that room. And then of course, with 400 people in a room, you have that many more people trying to do things....all of which might affect far more people. That is a -lot- of stuff going on on the backend.

    In a 3d MMO the bottleneck is usually graphical: Very few 3d MMOs (maybe none?) could put 400 people in a town square, for instance, without a) peoples' clients grinding to a halt. The server can probably scale to that by just reducing the updates sent to the client around the 3-coordinate position of a character and its rotation, but that'll lead to jerky movement and characters appearing to teleport around. Whether the server would have issues on a computational level would depend on how complicated the game is. Achaea is, despite being text, very complex compared to most MMOs. The number of potential 'states' your character can be in, the number of potential types of things you can have with you (items, NPCs) that have unique functionality (vs increasing the change to do something only on an attack, for instance), the number of types of things that have to be checked for on move, etc. An MMO that did a similar range of things would have similar issues, though again, it's likely it wouldn't get that far due to the rendering typically being the bottleneck (especially where you have customizable characters).

    (this has been long, so will do another post explaining following up).


    Post edited by Sarapis on
    Feral
  • VansittartVansittart Member Posts: 232 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent

    This is a hugely important topic, and kudos to @Sarapis and the team for taking it so seriously.

    My two cents is that a lot of the discussion upthread is misguided.  It isn't a credits issue or an alts issue or anything like that.  I think @Carmell asked the right question: Why are people not doing now what they used to do?  (i.e. train novices as much or as well).  I think a lot of it comes back to the issue with Houses, and what I posted a long screed about earlier.  Novice training was always a guild/House issue, and it paid dividends to put the effort in because novices would stick around and often become your next kickass House secretary or GM or whatever. 

    I think the move to city novice training is interesting but runs into a problem.  People don't (with the possible exception of Targossas/Mhaldor) have the same investment in their city that they did in their guild (and novices aren't as sticky to their city/House because they don't *need* it).  A fair chunk of Houses don't even *like* the city they're in a lot of the time and so without some kind of way to force people to consider their city as their prime org, and not the House I think city novicehood will suffer from a lot of the same problems.  Increased automation through tasks and stuff is also a bandaid on the problem - what really works to keep people sticking around (what worked on me when I started) is to have an older, established player take the time.  And they're only going to take the time if it's *worth* it to them (and their org).

    Even improving the credit bonus system (which I do think would help) doesn't fix a long term problem.  Because people will do the minimum they need to in order to get their credits because that's what people do.  That's how incentives work.  The best incentive, cheesily, is love and need.  And the only way to recreate those is to "fix" Houses (for which, again, see the link).

    I'd be super interested in the stats for % newbie retention in the year before autoclass and since (genuine newbie, not alt).  If it's higher now, then obviously I'm just wrong.  Are those stats available?

  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,397 Achaean staff
    No, we didn't track most things very well back then. Revenue shot up dramatically post-autoclass though. Selling credits, the credit market, and autoclass are probably the three most important contributing factors to Achaea still being here as a going commercial concern today. 
  • VansittartVansittart Member Posts: 232 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited April 2014
    Oh I know, I'm not relitigating autoclass, I still just about think it was right.  I'm fairly sure though that that revenue increase was from already retained players (the freedom to class-hop etc), rather than an increase in newbie retention.  I'm just wondering if there's a way to retain the newbie-retention of the guild era, with the freedom of autoclass so that you can retain that revenue increase, and build on it.
  • AnedhelAnedhel Member Posts: 2,367 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    It might be a good idea to have a 'newbies welcome' month or week, or something, where Iron Elite is offered to them for a little bit, if they do certain things (join a House/City, spend certain amounts of time in, etc.). That way, you have people joining who have an incentive to continue spending money on a steady income stream for Achaea, and are also (hypothetically) entrenched in the game's more appealing RP elements. Perfect clients, in short. Limit it to one an email account, or something. Some people will be stupid and make an alt to get the benefits for a while (and you'll weed them out quick enough, the promotion should be fixed-time), but there's just no helping some people. Perhaps pair it with the refer-a-friend thing? What you want are people who have a reason (habit or enthusiasm, preferably both) to stick with the game. 25 bucks isn't bad for a month's entertainment, so you might end up keeping more people than you think, if their experience is pleasant. Incentivising players to bring in new players is probably the cheapest, safest way to go, too, for getting newcomers.
    Sabah
  • KorbenKorben Member Posts: 345 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Shadrac said:
    MUDs have been around for well before Achaea started and the vast majority of them have had no pay system.
    Yes, and the vast majority of them had the low production values you'd expect from a no-pay effort, and/or had few other people online. When I said 'this was the only online free game', I meant it was the only online free game that was worthwhile to play, according to my admittedly subjective evaluation (reasonable online population, good production values). I've been making the point that Achaea had little or no competition back then (and now it does) for so long that I've started summarizing.

    To @Sarapis, thanks for the explanation. I still believe that people stuck around back in the day because they had limited options.

    Another point is that it's likely that a larger fraction of the new players were already MUDders back then. Now, for better or for worse (as someone posted in another thread long ago), the part of the MUD community that was going to move to IRE MUDs has already done so. Any 'true' newbies are going to be non-MUDders from here on out, and that's going to impact player retention as well.
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