Shattered Kingdoms

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Which options are best for retaining and exciting EXISTING players?
Poll ended at Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:54 am
Quest upgrades (More, easier, better transparency, etc) 9%  9%  [ 40 ]
Ways to communicate RP (Journals, Think Channel, etc) 5%  5%  [ 23 ]
Tradeskills (forging, dyeing, mining, etc) 10%  10%  [ 43 ]
Reduce effectiveness of spell items (wands, staves, potions, etc) 4%  4%  [ 17 ]
Heroes (not necessarily heroes of old) 8%  8%  [ 35 ]
Official info sharing (Wiki and/or Guide Forums) 8%  8%  [ 36 ]
Out of game communication (Ex: CB/TB Channels on FB messenger, note boards via forums, email notifications for game events) 4%  4%  [ 16 ]
Make the game more interesting before Master (methods to be discussed) 5%  5%  [ 23 ]
Make the game less difficult/more casual (methods to be discussed) 6%  6%  [ 28 ]
Balance melee and spell damage better 5%  5%  [ 23 ]
Change CRS (Ex: No ability removal, "enforce" losing, to be discussed) 9%  9%  [ 37 ]
"End Game" content (methods to be discussed) 7%  7%  [ 30 ]
More regulation: Hoarding (other types? to be discussed) 9%  9%  [ 39 ]
More use for loyalty tokens (Ex: improve skills, to be discussed) 10%  10%  [ 44 ]
Total votes : 434
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 Post subject: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:54 am 
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Implementor

Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2002 4:00 pm
Posts: 8206
Location: Redwood City, California
There will be multiple polls to help prioritize ideas. In this batch, there will be two polls: one about acquiring/exciting new players and another about retaining/exciting existing players.

This poll is the second: Please vote for any/all ideas from this list that will help to retain and excite EXISTING players.

Feel free to discuss / ask questions about items on this list or add your write-in candidate.

EDIT:
Final results by popularity:

Which options are best for retaining and exciting EXISTING players?
Poll ended at 22 Dec 2013 10:54

  1. More use for loyalty tokens (Ex: improve skills, to be discussed) 10% [ 44 ] (DONE)
  2. Tradeskills (forging, dyeing, mining, etc) 10% [ 43 ]
  3. Quest upgrades (More, easier, better transparency, etc) 9% [ 40 ]
  4. More regulation: Hoarding (other types? to be discussed) 9% [ 39 ] (DONE)
  5. Change CRS (Ex: No ability removal, "enforce" losing, to be discussed) 9% [ 37 ]
  6. Official info sharing (Wiki and/or Guide Forums) 8% [ 36 ] (DONE)
  7. Heroes (not necessarily heroes of old) 8% [ 35 ] (DONE)
  8. "End Game" content (methods to be discussed) 7% [ 30 ]
  9. Make the game less difficult/more casual (methods to be discussed) 6% [ 28 ]
  10. Ways to communicate RP (Journals, Think Channel, etc) 5% [ 23 ]
  11. Make the game more interesting before Master (methods to be discussed) 5% [ 23 ]
  12. Balance melee and spell damage better 5% [ 23 ]
  13. Reduce effectiveness of spell items (wands, staves, potions, etc) 4% [ 17 ]
  14. Out of game communication (Ex: CB/TB Channels on FB messenger, note boards via forums, email notifications for game events) 4% [ 16 ]

Total votes : 434


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:50 pm
Posts: 5522
This is a delicate point to make and a delicate topic to broach. Please forgive me in advance if you should take offense. No flames intended.

I did not vote for many of the options which would involve more immortal actions in this poll because of a curious pattern with existing veterans who could be drawn back to play if they were more excited.

I mean no offense, but it seems to me that since immortals are in fact often times veterans themselves, a lot of drama can and does exist between the pantheon and the veteran player base. This is unavoidable and why, I think, some immortals try to remain completely anonymous. Many of today's disenfranchised veterans and immortals, some years ago, bickered and disagreed together as fellow newbies.

Therefore, again without trying to cast judgment, I don't think the level of satisfaction of disenfranchised players with immortals is particularly high at any time to no fault of any particular immortal. More immortal actions in and of themselves may not be something a jaded veteran is interested in dealing with, from the perspective of navigating complex fields of drama, politics, and unpleasant allegations of nepotism and opportunism.

I would argue that the better approach might be to make the existing actions and personalities of the pantheon more visible rather than more frequent. For example, if I'm a disenfranchised veteran thinking about making a priest, I look at the immortal contacts sticky and think about who I would be playing under before I make a faith choice. If it were easier to know which immortals would enjoy interacting with my playstyle in-game, rather than more likely I would hear about immortals punishing players, it would be a healthier, more community-based spirit with which I would frolic through the halls of creation.

I would feel much better about the game if there were a simple php-based log of all immortal activity using non-building commands above level so-and-so, a ticketing system with reports for complaints, and accessible summaries from immortals of what they found rewardable, when they rewarded it, and who they rewarded. Many unexcited veterans I speak with bemoan the fact that oversight is severely lacking with the pantheon; having them be more active would only make the worries of being squashed or swatted aside by some occult hand all the more unappealing. Immortals do not feel accountable to players, and that isn't very encouraging unless you happen to be friends with one; changing that impression would create excitement, and the options in the poll do not appear to be capable of accomplishing that in and of themselves.

I am not voicing disapproval of the staff members, past or present. I am observing that the way they are brought in leads to a scenario that does not create excitement for many veterans and an environment which puts staff members themselves in a position to fight an uphill battle and, in the experience of the dominant narrative, burn out.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:35 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:50 pm
Posts: 3502
Location: Canada
SK Character: Karsh
I voted for quest upgrades, tradeskills, heroes, info sharing, casual gaming, change crs, and more uses for LTs.

Quest upgrades just needs to happen and has been needed for a long, long time but it also dovetails into the casual gaming side of things as well.

Tradeskills has been argued for to death for a long time as well. I don't really think I need to explain my reason for voting for it, but will elaborate if it's needed.

Heroes were always such an awesome and exciting aspect to the game, in whatever incarnation they've taken. Whether it was the old lvl 51 heroes, or the buff amulet heroes, or the food/drink/restore amulet heroes, the tournaments were fun and exciting and so was preparing for them. Regular tournaments means regularly exciting events.

Info sharing as a retention tool should be relatively self-evident. Some players will enjoy crafting guides and info to pass around. It's something that should be happening officially, but the benefits will extend beyond new players.

More casual gaming means more people willing to take risks in-game, which means less people who spend all their time hiding in keeps, random ocean rooms, and wilderness nowheres. When it doesn't cost you a week of your gaming time to recover from a thirty second fight (or a random BS/Petrification/Charm death that takes far less time to accomplish), it's more attractive to engage in situations where that's possible more frequently. Even people who can die and get full jlooted and recover in a day or two will be less inclined to cut and run if it doesn't hurt quite so much to lose.

I voted to change CRS not because I want to see abilities kept after relics disappear, but instead because I want to see an enforced lose/win status to prevent conflicts from going stale due to player egos instead of even IC playing fields. I think abilities should still be lost with the relic, but that loss should have a time limit attached to it with penalties for not manning up and recovering your team's flag before that time limit expires (and bonuses for the team that is capable of maintaining a successful defensive record as well).

More uses for LTs is a given. I argued for a few different kinds of those in the initial thread, and I'm open to others (though I think spending them to master skills and spells is a terrible and unnecessary use of LTs). I also think these things should absolutely provide an end-game benefit that extends beyond the maximum potential of those who do not or cannot spend LTs. The kinds of players that earn LTs regularly enough to spend them on bonuses are those you want to encourage. They're the ones who regularly deal with the headaches of leadership roles, whose play is solid enough to earn regular enlights, and who take risks in CRS instead of the ninja gank/logout style of others. More players like that are a good thing, and creating an incentive to BE that kind of player is a good thing too.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:59 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:43 am
Posts: 2303
Location: Rochester, NY
SK Character: Borren, Jerel
LT quest to heal spirit disorientation.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:05 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:47 pm
Posts: 103
I would definitely like to see a more casual atmosphere. As it is it's such a time sink in order to get anywhere near competitive, then if you aren't on the top of your game, you lose all your equipment. Said equipment usually involves a huge amount of time invested by a player. While the game has been one of preparation for a long time, if you don't have that time you can't compete.

I would like to see some better protection of gear, yet an inability to hoard the most valued of items. Equipment is definitely the only way a person feels the pinch in this game.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:10 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 5:06 am
Posts: 1447
Location: Seattle
SK Character: Theodoric
I voted for "ways to communicate RP", "Heroes", and "out of game communication."

Heroes is just neat to me, it's always fun to have a shot at the title belt.

The other two are more minority candidates, it appears, so I'll briefly explain my thinking... it's about maximizing ability to communicate a character's RP without failing to meet RL demands on time.

Someone mentioned on the other thread that it is for many of us just getting harder to put in the time we used to. That's certainly true for me as well and it resonated. When I started playing in 2008 I was still in school, didn't have very many responsibilities, and was really invested in SK and other games I played. Now I have significantly more demands on my time - I still find days every now and then where I tunnel into SK all day and that's fun, too. But in a typical day, my SK time is purely after 6pm to 1am, and it's maybe 10 hours a week total. I'm fortunate to live on the US West Coast where that coincides with 20+ person player lists, and get to sneak on in the morning every now and then or on weekends to catch up with the rest of the playerbase.

Time is clearly a constraint on existing players though. One of the hardest things for me is effectively communicating a character's intent when I don't have 40+ hours to interact with every single other character I meet in depth. "Think" would provide a useful way to document character depth and to provide immortals with logs to support a character's internal consistency. Anything that allows for me to flesh out a character in more detail in the limited time I have would be really helpful.

Out-of-game access to TB/CB/tells/noteboards through a "website log-in" would be an incredible organizational tool. I would trust the staff to watch for actual in game activity too, rewarding in-game activity with leadership/etc. I just really think this would be fantastic for keeping players engaged. I happen to work in an office and can toggle back and forth between websites regularly, but can't commit enough concentration to justify actually logging in. I think most of us have smartphones and the ability to participate in in-character discussions thru a facebook client would be genius.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:50 pm
Posts: 5522
I do not see how offline coordination, whether in-character or not, would be anything less than letting people login without being susceptible to PVP. If you can login via facebook, why can't you login via fmud?

If this is about wanting to have the cake of IC, legal planning without the risk of in-game PVP, maybe that's something to look at instead of the supposition that we just don't have enough time to open one window instead of another.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 11:19 pm
Posts: 425
Apps that make their money using in-app purchases know that to keep people playing they need to keep sending them reminders to play. Ideally, everyone would log into the game every day, but I would bet that a lot more people would be able to respond to a message on facebook than can log into the game at work or while out at a bar or something, but at least this way they are still thinking of SK.


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:37 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:50 pm
Posts: 5522
So SK is a MUSH on facebook and a MUD in fmud, or what?


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 Post subject: Re: Vote: Best changes to retain/excite existing players
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:13 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 5:06 am
Posts: 1447
Location: Seattle
SK Character: Theodoric
grep wrote:
I do not see how offline coordination, whether in-character or not, would be anything less than letting people login without being susceptible to PVP. If you can login via facebook, why can't you login via fmud?

If this is about wanting to have the cake of IC, legal planning without the risk of in-game PVP, maybe that's something to look at instead of the supposition that we just don't have enough time to open one window instead of another.


Frankly I'm not sure I understand what, if any, point you are trying to convey in the second paragraph.

There are several ways to log into the game and not be "susceptible to PVP". So I do not consider that an issue. However, it is discourteous to log into the game and then be constantly afk/unavailable. Therefore on a bus ride or at work, a facebook login that somehow indicated a "presence" rather than an "appearance" in the realms (someone smarter than me would figure out the wording there) could be a great tool to allow people to talk IC while clearly showing that they are not available to physically contribute to plans.

A character who only logged in to chat/send tells would suffer many disadvantages, including being unable to adventure and being obviously less "present" than characters able to login. I do not consider an opportunity to communicate In-character to be a "cake" situation. It is a trade-off in recognition that it is often difficult to get online. There are potential issues with anything; in this case, perhaps some folk would check in via facebook to dodge enemies. However this would quickly sort itself in game because if Joe was enemies with John and John was so scared that he never logged in fully with Joe around, Joe would have a strong case for winning whatever their fight was over.

Ultimately, while in game presence is required to get things done, this game is more engaging and addictive when people are involved in IC plots, goals, and plans that themselves involve multiple players. Giving us more ways to communicate, so that in-game time can be focused on doing the fun things we dream up, seems crucial to retaining players in a community that is quickly aging and moving beyond being able to stare at ZMUD all day.


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