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Linda

DISCUSS: Goals & Hooks

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As everyone is aware, player retention on the game (as on most MU*s these days, I should think) is an issue.

One thought we're having is to add another (optional, but recommended) attribute to the last part of CG. Or that players can add to later on, if they choose. This would be a Goals attribute, where players can define things they want their character to experience or positions they want to reach. That would help us see what sort of plots people might want to be approached about, and what sort of rewards we might give them ICly if they do something that would get them a promotion or another sort of bonus.

Thoughts on this?

On a related note, we are considering reworking the Plots preference of +prefs (see +help +prefs3). Any suggestions for what it should be like? Should we remove it, and have it so that Admin can always drop plots on players without asking first? Should we make it just a Yes/No option, where its all down to Admin arranging or not arranging plots for you?

We are also considering some way of improving hooks and connections between players. The first bunch of players that went through CG did so at more or less the same time, and they worked out backstory and connections. It didn't always work, but a lot of it seems to have worked well. They also worked in connections to events in the chronicles.

With new players, that just doesn't happen. How can we encourage this without putting more work on the players? Ideally, someone should come out of CG with one or two relations to existing PCs. But we also don't want to place the whole responsibility of roleplaying with a new player on a single character.

Any thoughts on how this could be approached? Should we have a channel people get joined to during their CG process, where they can chat up other players? Should there be a board? Either method would depend on established players encouraging the new players to make connections, I think.

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[quote name='Linda' post='1494820' date='Aug 26 2008, 04.42']As everyone is aware, player retention on the game (as on most MU*s these days, I should think) is an issue.

One thought we're having is to add another (optional, but recommended) attribute to the last part of CG. Or that players can add to later on, if they choose. This would be a Goals attribute, where players can define things they want their character to experience or positions they want to reach. That would help us see what sort of plots people might want to be approached about, and what sort of rewards we might give them ICly if they do something that would get them a promotion or another sort of bonus.

Thoughts on this?[/quote]

I think this is a good idea, but I would suggest that it be hidden from all but Staff and Admin. Or in the alternative, you could have both public and private goals.

[quote]On a related note, we are considering reworking the Plots preference of +prefs (see +help +prefs3). Any suggestions for what it should be like? Should we remove it, and have it so that Admin can always drop plots on players without asking first? Should we make it just a Yes/No option, where its all down to Admin arranging or not arranging plots for you?[/quote]

I Admins should always be able to drop plots on players without asking. Consent rules would ensure your character doesn't die without notice, etc. but it would definitely add an element of realism to things.

[quote]We are also considering some way of improving hooks and connections between players. The first bunch of players that went through CG did so at more or less the same time, and they worked out backstory and connections. It didn't always work, but a lot of it seems to have worked well. They also worked in connections to events in the chronicles.

With new players, that just doesn't happen. How can we encourage this without putting more work on the players? Ideally, someone should come out of CG with one or two relations to existing PCs. But we also don't want to place the whole responsibility of roleplaying with a new player on a single character.[/quote]

Maybe you could suggest (require?) at least two PC relations for every new character. It might stretch realism, but it would ensure that newbies had someone to play with immediately. Or you could require players to add a new PC relation periodically.

[quote]Any thoughts on how this could be approached? Should we have a channel people get joined to during their CG process, where they can chat up other players? Should there be a board? Either method would depend on established players encouraging the new players to make connections, I think.[/quote]

One method might be to assign a mentor to new players. Mentors could come from more experienced players, and their job might be to ensure the newbie is getting RP, setting relations, establishing backstory, etc.

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The biggest obstacle to player retention right now is a lack of RP. There are very few of us actually RPing on anything like a regular basis, and while we try to get everyone included, the same people cannot be expected the carry the entire burden of RP all the time. Any MU is driven by good RP, and if the RP isn't there...

Another way I've landed on as being a possible help is to go out of our way to include new folks in our roleplay posts. Let them know that they've been noticed, and they are already contributing to the game. You can find something post-worthy in almost any scene with just a little effort, and it doesn't really increase the burden on a player. In fact, it's nice to post about someone else for most of us, because we've had some very fine new players come on the game.

Finding connections to existing players is a good idea, but again, the onus is on the existing player to actually RP with the newbie and foster the relationship. It's not a huge commitment, there just has to be follow-through.

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I definitely like the idea of a "goals" attribute. I agree that there should either be a public/private feature or keep it for admins only. It should also be encouraged that PCs leave chargen with some goals in mind for their character. I mean, people come to court for a reason! Naturally, goals can be added to or changed as RP progresses.

For existing characters, I don't think it would be a bad idea for everyone to submit some PC goals, or potiential RP hooks which would have positive and/or negative consequences for the character. I mean, what's the fun of having a Dark Secret if nobody finds out and tries to blackmail you? Players work long and hard on those backgrounds, so let's make use of those.

Concurrently, I also like the idea of establishing some existing PC relations for new characters out of chargen. Family aside, most nobles would be acquainted with a few other nobles from their respective regions. It's also possible to work in relations for fostering, etc. Obviously, PCs within the same House should be know one another well enough for a relations bit. I think that the threads on this board for the "who's who" in the different regions is a good start. It's also a quick reference for new players.

I think that dropping TPs on unsuspecting players should be actively encouraged. If that means modifying the +prefs for it, fine. I don't think you'll find too many players who don't want to be involved. If anything, a quick mail to the player to see if they will be around for the duration of the plot is fine. Using NPCs as plot devices work also.

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I think right now the playerbase is pretty disorganized. Only a handful of players actively collaborate and for the most part those players have known each other for ages elseMU*. I really think there needs to be an IC/OOC coordinator for players connecting characters from different regions: Dorne, the Vale, the North, the Riverlands, the Stormlands, the West, the Iron Islands.

These coordinators would work as both mentors and RP drivers, providing connections and direction to new players to draw them into the IC environment as much as possible. If this concept works, the coordinators role could be expanded to encapsulate plot direction, perhaps.

As far as plots go, I think it is purview of staff to drive plots. From what I see currently, all encompassing plots don't come together, either from a lack of interest, lack of motivation, or fear of IC consequences. Players from what I've seen become obsessed with what is good for their characters (I was forced to drop an IC line of RP because it would've resulted in an unwanted scandal upon the character who initiated it) to the detriment of interesting stories. For this reason, staff really should be more proactive in directing plots.

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After considering this further, we have overhauled the consent policy and +prefs.

[url="http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Helpfiles/Roleplay_Consent/"]http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Helpfiles/Roleplay_Consent/[/url]

Specific area coordinators is something I really want to continue to avoid, just because they risk becoming bottlenecks. Some way of facilitating co-ordinating between players from various regions would be useful, though I am not quite sure what it would be. Channels? Boards?

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Goals attribute: Good idea but it needs to not be a requirement. And players should be able to set it after CG. CG itself intimidates some newbies enough without adding to it.

How to have new players establish IC connections: Do we not already have a newbie com that players in CG can use? If not, we need one. Again, I'm not in favour of having any sort of requirements vis-a-vis minimum PC relations but a note somewhere in CG that it would be a good idea for the player to use this com to establish connections with older players would be good. The older players are always keen to have new IC relations anyway.

Regions: Definitely a BB for each region. We don't really have a large enough playerbase to warrant separate coms and one can always page anyway. Ideally, the boards would be viewable only by players from that region so that they could post about political plots etc but I'm not sure how feasible it is with the rather complicated IC structure here, what with people from one region swearing service to those from other regions.

Random thought: An automated +mail to newly created PCs might be a good idea. It could contain a bulleted list of info that doesn't really fit anywhere in CG such as the bit about using the newbie com to establish relations with older players.

D.

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Goals: Yes, they'd be voluntary but strongly encouraged. Like Persona and History, they'd be settable and modifiable both in and out of CG. And Staff-only visible, like Secrets.

IC Connections: Guests get access to only the Guest channel, New players only to the Newbie channel. Those are not open coms, though, since only Greeters can be on them. New players can join other channels, but I am not sure about auto-joining them to things like Public.

Maybe auto-joining Guests to Recruiting as well, and New players to some channel for establishing connections. But actually alerting them to the fact that they have access to these channels is the problem. They don't read the info that is there anyway. But we can try adding a Connections channel, or something like that.

Regions: I am not sure boards for each region would see much use, to be honest. We could try it, I suppose, though locking to just players from that region would not be doable I think. As you say, the IC structure makes it more complex than what is stored in your region attribute, and technically what matters mostly is your current location and we don't store that. Maybe stickied topics for each region on the forums? Might make a subforum for that.

We do send out an automated +mail when people finish CG. About ... 75% do not read it. I suppose we could try having a +mail sent when they first start, too, though I am not sure how to do that when they're not passing through an exit or anything. Hmm ... maybe when they go through the setup exit. Will look at that.

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You might be right there given that we really don't have too many players per region. A separate BB for RP/TPs, in that case? The current RP board is only for IC posts; one for brainstorming about TPs might be useful. Right now, it's basically small groups of players talking about this stuff amongst themselves. If they had a place to put up their ideas, others might be able to contribute and kickstart things.

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