Author Topic: The organic progression of new player attrition  (Read 1044 times)

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
The organic progression of new player attrition
« on: June 05, 2018, 10:31:46 AM »
There is a natural organic progression that a new player goes through that leads them down a path where they FEEL discriminated against, and ultimately quit. Many of the folks who messaged me recently told me they almost quit also.

How many actually just quit?

"Get to the back of the bus, newbie." is the general feeling, and it doesn't have to be this way.

I was ready to quit, and the stars aligned when I logged in one last time to say "goodbye". Thankfully with me, the players reached out, emailed me, messaged me, and ultimately prevented me from quitting. Not everyone will  be so lucky.

Step 1: Be introduced to the game. You go to the intro page to make a PC and follow the recommendation and make a ranger, warrior, or merchant: http://armageddon.org/intro/chargen.php

Step 2: Make a character. This requires logging on. You log on, make your first character and then log off and wait.
Problems with this:
1 - you don't know syntax still.
2 - you don't know what to read next. What should happen is a newbie area is generated to practice and learn syntax while you wait for character approval.

Step 3: While you wait for approval you read the docs. As a newbie you read guild docs, to learn more about the guilds. http://armageddon.org/help/view/Guilds In that link you'll see Nilazi,  Templar, Drovian, Elkrosian. You think "oooo" that's interesting!

So before you can form an impression of the mud you start thinking of concepts with guilds that no longer exist.

Step 4: You learn about Karma from the help docs, because of certain guild restrictions. http://armageddon.org/help/view/Karma The first option under "See Also:" is "CGP" which doesn't work either... then you go to the next link after the next and wonder, "Is this game even working? My character approval FEELS like it's taking forever."

Think about it: You created a character... you're waiting, and every page you go to learn about the game is all funky and out-dated. You can't help but wonder... "is this game dead like the THOUSANDS of other MUDs across the web."

Suggestion: Either clean up the help files, or create a newbie area while you wait for character approval, or invite the player to chat with helpers. That's what I did next, thankfully someone was on and I did not quit before my first character was approved, which was fast if I remember.

Step 5: Because of the organic progression of looking at the helpfiles, guild options, race options: The new player naturally gets lead to Karma, and the importance of having it. "Demonstrates staff trust of players" etc... From the MOMENT they first log-on KARMA is part of the RP equation.

Step 6: They learn the syntax, "get the culture" of the game, and then Logon the GDB and suddenly realize the reality of Karma. Their expectations are Dashed.

This organic progression from outsider to newbie to player creates the expectation for Karma.

Suggestion: Eliminate Karma from the helpfiles, eliminate karma specific races and guilds from the help files. Eliminate extended subguilds from the helpfiles. This way new players have ZERO EXPECTATION of karma. I would have appreciated being spared from writing exciting concepts of krathi wielding Muls and D-elfs with slipknife and getting lustful for these roles.

After some time of playing well they get an email saying, "You earned staff trust, we'd like to give you the privilege of playing special roles". At this point their GDB handle get's access to a special page for Karma holding people and they learn about their options.

Step 7: Most people, I'm told, don't have my big mouth, and they just quit.
Meh

MeTekillot

  • Posts: 9565
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 11:53:14 AM »
I'ts just a game, man.

Riev

  • Posts: 5158
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 12:09:49 PM »
I'ts just a game, man.

Not only unhelpful, but incredibly dismissive of a player who seems to, in earnest, want to improve the game and help bring more people in for you to play with in this game.

Did you, by any chance, have something to add to the conversation?
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

chrisdcoulombe

  • Posts: 1222
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2018, 12:32:19 PM »
Karma can come across as a blockade, but I don't think its intended to be.  I know the feeling though.  When I fist started playing I wanted to play all these classes just to see what they are like, as I have played for longer I came to realize, most of the Karma restricted stuff is more work than its worth and in time you will get the opportunity to experience it anyway.
Quote from MeTekillot
Samos the salter never goes to jail! Hahaha!

Riev

  • Posts: 5158
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 01:33:55 PM »
Unfortunately, that's like telling a Teenager "its not worth smoking and drinking and ruining your body because when you are older you will regret it".

Stop telling people they "don't get it" and that is why they're not allowed to ask for karma. They aren't asking to borrow the Benz, guys. They're asking to take Driver's Ed.
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2018, 02:01:19 PM »
I like you suddenly Riev.
Meh

deskoft

  • Posts: 333
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2018, 03:00:15 PM »
Well, I'm a noob (sort of?). I have 2 karma points but I've had at most four characters (including the present one) that I've actually taken any seriously, and they were lengthy enough and I devoted enough energy that I think the amount of karma I have is deserving. So I've been at the bottom of the equation and, in theory, I still am. I haven't played these roles yet. I've also staffed in other games where high-risk roles are unrestricted by nothing more than 'apply and you will definitely get it soon' (by high risk I mean that they bid an extreme thematic grasp for someone to pull off properly).

I think that the progression between karma one, not knowing anything about the concepts you are playing, and working your way up (even if it is a grind of properly played characters) is absolutely exciting! I'm not saying that I am a generalization of how a normal player works. I think that the excitement behind having to wait to play a high-risk role, learning the secrets of the game, and knowing that by playing properly you will achieve said roles, is very positive. However, I do think that we can perhaps open more conversations such as this one to study the decision making of new players and decide how we can perhaps alter helpfiles as you say to make sure that new players don't quit.

So I would ask:

Why are new players quitting?

Were these new players part of our oriented audience?

What experienced did these new players have?

And, I think, the most important one, is what expectations did new players have of our game that they didn't fulfill?

I think this kind of info could help staffers make some changes to how information is presented so that expectations and reality align properly. We've been around for many years, but to think that we do not have to change our format to the new players we might be having, or with what expectations they might be coming, is entirely delusional!

Personally, I think nowing /what/ I can play without knowing the exact details of how they work, is fantastic and exciting. This is my own personal experience. I had the luck of stumbling upon guiding PCs that made my newbie experience, even if from a mundane role, amazing.

EDIT: And staffers. The staffers when I played Flaire were amazing. Off the top of my mind, Xalle was great. When I returned from a hiatus, I think it was, she animated a Konviwedu bard NPC and it was one of the best RPs I've had in arm! Totes made me stay and get really excited about the possibilities of this game.

EDIT2: As you say, people managed to reach out to you and they managed to convince you. New players willing to help the game like you are amazing and, if people managed to convince you mouth-to-mouth (mail-to-mail?), it means that information can be presented in a way that we can avoid the convincing process.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 03:03:47 PM by deskoft »

Armaddict

  • Posts: 6065
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 04:48:54 PM »
Quote
There is a natural organic progression that a new player goes through that leads them down a path where they FEEL discriminated against, and ultimately quit. Many of the folks who messaged me recently told me they almost quit also.

How many actually just quit?

"Get to the back of the bus, newbie." is the general feeling, and it doesn't have to be this way.

I'm...hesitant to reply, because I'm pretty wary of how it's going to get twisted in order to support your own claim.

But let me kinda flip it around from the veteran's side.  I like new players.  I really do.  I want more of them.  I really do.

However, I want new players to also mesh with the game, and the people already in the game, as much as possible.  I'm a 'veteran' of Arm for a looong time.  I've seen hundreds of new players.  Some came and went, some got banned during an era of over-banning (which I'm still pretty burned about) and never returned, and some stuck around.  But almost without fail, newer players gain a -perception- of what you've described above.

"F U, Noob, you don't know what's going on."

But it's kind of hard to get around.  If I try to be helpful and guide newer players around problems they're having, it often gets interpreted as condescending.  If I say I don't want to share a piece of information because it's either against the rules or I think it's fun to figure out, I'm cliquish or anti-noob or trying to withhold information so that you're easy prey.  If I disagree on something, I'm jaded.  If I point out that an idea has been discussed before (often over and over), or I don't find the idea particularly conducive to moving the game along, I'm a stubborn old fart who is killing the game.  If I try to point out ways to get around a frustration, as a player, and assure you that it levels out, ends up okay, or is conducive to some other part of the game, I'm avoiding the issue, being mean, or stagnating the game because -clearly- this change -needs- to happen because some people want it.

And the thing is, this isn't all of the above for every new player who comes.  It's this one seeing things this way.  It's this other one seeing things that way.  And it turns into a minefield, where if I just speak frankly and directly like I try to with everyone (the most effective way to trade ideas, in my opinion, insofar as it occurs without malice), one of the above or other perceptions gets thrown up as an anti-newbie culture.  But the fact is, you're often just treated the same way as any other veteran would be, with directness and disagreement where disagreement is had.  And I've resigned to that being taken the wrong way at times.  It is what it is, but I would not call it indicative of a dying game when you can put up posts for ideas and have a multitude of agreement or disagreement posts in response.  I think the difference between the new player who leaves and the one who stays is less often 'They were bad anyway', and more this problem of perception, leading to one group that throws the baby out with the bath water, and the other who does not.

--That said, in regards to the actual attrition of new players through the steps you've gone through, I am firmly, deeply, almost -entirely- rooted in the problem being content.  I've been talking about this for some time.  Things to do.  Events that are not planned, but consistent, either code-generated or not.  Things that sweep you up into them so that your head is spinning and even with a firm grasp on the game, you -don't- know what to do.  We don't need features (but they're not bad).  We don't need revamps (but they're not bad).  We just need that sweeping turn of events that is spontaneous, and largely comes from an engaged, carefree playerbase that is actively stirring up the pot in the name of their own goals instead of some benevolent need to provide things to do to others (It isn't that the latter is bad, but it does lead to burnout, repetition, and a feel-bad when things go poorly instead of a laughing facepalm of 'Oh what the fuck.')

This is, in my opinion, the baby.  The thing that the game has to offer when we are inclusive of players and inclusive of playing styles, player types, player goals, and player interpretations.  Sure, it leads to some wrinkled noses sometimes...but the healthy mix of players leads to unpredictability and different sorts of player-oriented trends and events and plots.  Don't get too upset about the wrinkled noses, just keep on generating content with others who will engage in it, and get swept away as often as possible, even unto character-death.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 04:50:45 PM by Armaddict »
She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. --J.D. Salinger

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 06:30:09 PM »
Armaddict, sounds like you have girl problems, not newb problems. ;)
Meh

Armaddict

  • Posts: 6065
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 06:32:50 PM »
Totally do.

The moment you get one, your life-theme becomes 'You can be right, or you can be happy, never both.'
She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. --J.D. Salinger

Krath

  • Posts: 2391
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2018, 04:41:21 AM »
Totally do.

The moment you get one, your life-theme becomes 'You can be right, or you can be happy, never both.'

Not to Derail, but the fucking truth.
But it's cool, I can rap my skills, too
Cuz I rise above the rest like
'mon un whira [IC info removed]'

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2018, 01:43:32 PM »
My spouse is never right.
Meh

number13

  • Posts: 964
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2018, 10:14:00 PM »
Invite people to Discord, on the homepage, in big flashing, blinking letters, so that they can ask questions about the game.  When a character approved, have a link to Discord in the approval message. Invite people to ask questions in #help, and ensure that #help is friendly.

Invent a practice server on a different port of armageddon.org, with no login required. Rooms in the practice server could help with syntax. Some might have equipment on the group to pick up, equip, and assess. One might have a practice dummy. One might have an uncommonly large rat that hits back.

Like:

"Welcome to Armageddon! You can use this space to practice and learn about the syntax. Tutorial rooms can be found by typing point [topic]. For example, to learn how to use emotes, type 'point emotes'. For a list of topics, type 'list'."

650Booger

  • Posts: 521
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2018, 10:25:21 PM »
yeah some sorta on-rails tutorial might be good, as long as it is kept seperate from the rest of the game world.  It might require significant man-hours to create, though. as for discord... meh. I'm not a talker.
"Historical analogy is the last refuge of people who can't grasp the current situation."
-Kim Stanley Robinson

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2018, 10:41:00 PM »
Invite people to Discord, on the homepage, in big flashing, blinking letters, so that they can ask questions about the game.  When a character approved, have a link to Discord in the approval message. Invite people to ask questions in #help, and ensure that #help is friendly.

Invent a practice server on a different port of armageddon.org, with no login required. Rooms in the practice server could help with syntax. Some might have equipment on the group to pick up, equip, and assess. One might have a practice dummy. One might have an uncommonly large rat that hits back.

Like:

"Welcome to Armageddon! You can use this space to practice and learn about the syntax. Tutorial rooms can be found by typing point [topic]. For example, to learn how to use emotes, type 'point emotes'. For a list of topics, type 'list'."

+1
Meh

CodeMaster

  • Posts: 1100
The neat, clean-shaven man sends you a telepathic message:
     "I tried hairy...Im sorry"

number13

  • Posts: 964
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2018, 11:27:29 PM »
Topic list:

Basics -- Learn how to move and look at stuff
rooms: movement / movement points / looking / looking into other rooms / watching other rooms / hit points and stun / resting

Emotes -- Learn how make your character do stuff
rooms: emote basics / don't power emote / referencing items and characters with your emotes / pronouns with emotes / possessive emotes / hidden emotes / awesome emoting

Communication -- Learn how to talk to other characters in the game
rooms: say / tell / whisper / shout / tables, talk

The Way -- Learn how to telepathically talk with someone
rooms: contact, psi / barrier, expel

You -- Learn how to examine yourself and see what skills you have
rooms: stat, score / skills 

Equipment -- Learn how to pick stuff up, assess it, put it on, stuff it into bags and other containers, and arrange stuff in a room
rooms: get / equip / drop, put / arrange / assess

Merchants -- Learn how to buy, sell, and barter
rooms: list, buy / sell / barter / water-sellers

The Law -- Learn how to avoid pissing off the local authorities, and what happens when they get pissed anyway
rooms: wanted flag / templars / prison

Boards -- Learn how to read and write to in-game message boards
rooms: read / write

Combat -- Learn how to chop someone up with your bone sword
rooms: attack / mercy, sparring / assist / flee

Warriors -- Learn how to be really good at chopping someone up your bone sword
rooms: disarm, bash, kick, hack / guard

Rangers -- Learn how to live in the wasteland
rooms: skinning / tracking / archery / ranger quit / direction sense

Rogues -- Learn how to sneak around and steal things
rooms: sneak, hide / sleight of hand / steal / pick

Crafters -- Learn how to make stuff
rooms: foraging / crafting

Elementalists --
rooms: magick is scary / black gems / Karma

Lore --
rooms: Allanak / Rinth / Red Storm / Luirs / Tuluk / Tablelands
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 11:33:27 PM by number13 »

number13

  • Posts: 964

Cind

  • Posts: 1503
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2018, 01:53:26 AM »
If I could, I would write at the bottom of each witch/nonmundane/the mul page that 'While these roles are still interesting enough to play and have a great deal to bring to the table, you're generally going to be more satisfied with what you can play at 0 karma, and maybe those 1 karma crafting subguilds.' Because, after the initial excitement of my first and second witches under the old system, that's kind of been the feeling I've had for years. I was far more excited about nonmundanes when I was new.
Look, a petting tregil.  So silky...Feel him.

Cind

  • Posts: 1503
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2018, 01:56:14 AM »
What I'm trying to say is you've got everything you want to play already, and I'm not very good at making people feel better.
Look, a petting tregil.  So silky...Feel him.

Karieith

  • Posts: 816
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2018, 02:10:38 AM »
When I first started out a lot of people interacted with my character and really made me feel welcome to the game. I had a few good players show me the ropes. I'm still rusty coming back after all this time and I still get a lot of folks calmly explaining things to me and helping me out. My experience has been a game that wants players. (Even crazy ones like me ;)) But maybe I've been lucky.

If you're running into players/characters that are losing patience with you, they're being jerks. You're wanted here, you just have to do a bit of reaching out and hope you get some reaching in.

Keep at it! This game is worth it.

lostinspace

  • Posts: 585
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2018, 02:27:38 AM »
If I could, I would write at the bottom of each witch/nonmundane/the mul page that 'While these roles are still interesting enough to play and have a great deal to bring to the table, you're generally going to be more satisfied with what you can play at 0 karma, and maybe those 1 karma crafting subguilds.' Because, after the initial excitement of my first and second witches under the old system, that's kind of been the feeling I've had for years. I was far more excited about nonmundanes when I was new.

This is pretty heavily based on player preference though. I'd be ecstatic to play full-guild Rukkian again.
But I guess generally you're probably right.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 02:31:35 AM by lostinspace »
3/21/16 Never Forget

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1614
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2018, 02:59:29 AM »
Playing a Byn-mul is on my to do list. I love the Byn vibe and I hope to some day play a mul without having to worry about being killed every few seconds. That being said, its rather low on my to do list because of how restrictive the role is. In my view, the higher karma the role requires, the more restrictive it gets. Be a witch? Cant fraternize with just anybody. Play a HG? Dumb as a rock with a learning delay. Play a sorcerer? Good luck managing to stay alive you horrible bastard. Play a mul? Cant go to one of the major centers of play, and if you can you are a slave and cant do what you want anyway.

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2018, 08:33:40 AM »
Playing a Byn-mul is on my to do list. I love the Byn vibe and I hope to some day play a mul without having to worry about being killed every few seconds. That being said, its rather low on my to do list because of how restrictive the role is. In my view, the higher karma the role requires, the more restrictive it gets. Be a witch? Cant fraternize with just anybody. Play a HG? Dumb as a rock with a learning delay. Play a sorcerer? Good luck managing to stay alive you horrible bastard. Play a mul? Cant go to one of the major centers of play, and if you can you are a slave and cant do what you want anyway.

Play a master clay worker? Why can't a newbie be a master clay worker? That's shit.
Meh

Delirium

  • Helper
  • Posts: 11798
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2018, 09:00:04 AM »
You can! Merchants get clay working to master.
Will they tell your story in the end?
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

stoicreader

  • Posts: 135
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2018, 09:52:46 AM »
You can! Merchants get clay working to master.

You know my rebuttal. Its not just about magicks non mundanes. Master clay worker is mundane, not a special class.
Meh

Hauwke

  • Posts: 1614
Re: The organic progression of new player attrition
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2018, 05:14:30 PM »
If you want to be good at something, you have to give something else up. Want to be a combat god? Say goodbye to most crafting skills if you want even the remotest chance at being able to guide yourself anywhere. Want to be able to craft all the things? Say goodbye to being able to defend yourself.

See thats why I am looking forward to the guild changes, because hopefully it fixes that issue.