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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Better Advertising Reply with quote

Note I wrote this on my phone so it may have punctuation errors.

This is not a post about the need for advertisement. This post is me saying that I believe the quality of the advertising there currently is, is poor.

Saide is right that Shadowgate doesnt just have one or two things to offer. It has a lot to offer. Though I think it should be taken as a blend not a menu. But thats where we disagree.

My problem with the way most of the advertisements read (not naming names) Is they completely fail to address the likely experience of a new player. Which means shadowgate will generally fail to meet the expectations of new players.

Worse than that it ignores Shadowgate's strengths. Which, is not the RP. Thats an essential component to the game but its not a strength. Lets face it, a roleplaying chat room probably has more RP and usually better RP then Shadowgate.

This is not to dismiss RP. Its essential, without it Shadowgate is pretty much just a mess of mixed quality dungeon environments, mostly buggy, pooly balanced ones, a burdensome spammy and rather simplistic combat system and tempered by a solid character creation system.

Shadowgate's strength is in the overall experience, all of which can be improved on. But the most common compliment a new player will give the game is 'It feels authentically D&D'.

And in my opinion that experience comes from the blend of everything. I will try to explain this best by using an example of a new player's potential experience.

The character creation system feels a lot like building a D&D. The player picks his race, his class, feats and... it all just feels right. But this is just the beginning. The new player moves on out to see what the main game is like and he has low hopes. He expects a grind of rats or something. Instead he returns a 'hello' to some NPC and gets a quest for a ring. He heads into the graveyard and oh yep rats. But he enters the tomb and there is lore, character and hey! A fancy shield on the wall I can take. Boom quest complete and even found some what feels like real loot. Sweet thats how a D&D game should be. Get a quest, dive into a dungeon, get loot and leave. Though not much of a dungeon. But the player is hopeful.

Next he encounters another new player, a goblin. He shakily practices some RP, learns a bit of goblin and travels with him a bit. Nothing amazing here but the RP felt organic. Next he finds a tower and a quest to get a rod. Now here... is a bona fide dungeons, with traps a maze like room and even a minor object puzzle Awesome! At this point the player is hooked enough to continue playing even outside Offestry. He heads to the goblin fortress and enjoys it. The enemies are kind of random and he finds a cool sword. He stays there a while until he is sure he has wrangled all its secrets. And he explores other areas, dies,a lot but no problem. Not hard to replace equipment and there is just so much to explore. So much potentually rare magic items to find and get and its fun to read the lore because at this time he feels like it is reaching him about this world. It feels like Dungeon Delving in D&D.

Eventually after a long while he has some RP, but its not all that great. He stands around unsure of what to say or do while people talk about other people he knows nothing about, and the only people who actually approach him, just want someone weak to hurt and get their evil on. Because the good guys see him as too low level to bother with beyond a few platitudes. So he stops seeking RP. Eventually an Avatar takes notice of him and arranges to have a little RP event happen to the new player. Now to the Avatar this is just throwing the newbie a bone. But to the Newbie this is huge! So he rushes around thinking its big and tells others about it and is pretty much ignored. He tries to contact the avatar to persue it and is ignored. Eventually it turns out his jumping onto this event so seriously has made an IC fool out of his character. So he stops playing the game for over half a year.

Not playing again until his D&D campaign end. Then feeling some D&D withdrawal tries out Shadowgate again. This time RP happens almost right away. And again in a way that makes him a fool as his ignorance of some of the game's religious politics gets him in with the wrong crowd. But he weathers it, gets pked, and decides to try to focus on the RP portion of the game. Now he has no idea how to really do this. He tries posting on the boards, sitting in pose in random areas for days on end and butting into every gathering he can scry. None of it actually accomplishes things.

Avatar events never seem to go anywhere and the imms themselves give contradictory advice, half say just follow and help someone else's plot, which would be great but he cant find anyone else's plot he can juml in on. One character he thought he did have a rapport with and was involved with, turned out was doing most of his plot without this new player and never told him about. Eventually this character finished his plot, got HM and the new player was completely blindsided and had no idea what had happened.

The other half of imms suggested he go out and be proactive. But in a,way that didnt require avatar assists. The player thought thats what he was doing with the board posts and standing around posing. Eventually the imms specified they meant go PK someone. And they said any justification would do no matter how thin. Even if its not how you picture your character. So at this point the player decided the imms were terrible RPers and the game was run by Powergamers. So he decided he would quit once he extradited himself from some current minor obligations.

But as luck would have it before he did he mey an old major player of the game who became a major obligation and by time that relationship ended the player was stuck in Shadowgate by force of inertia if nothing else.


From this example you should see that the game's hook is its dungeons. The exloration and D&Desque looting of treasure and lore of them. And most importantly the sheer number of dungeons. Everything else is essential to rounding out the experience and keeping for long term. But in the short term what best hooks the players and imo should be emphasized in the advertisements are the dungeons and scope of exploration. With the RP mentioned substantially but not centerpieced. I think this would result in more effective adverrtisements and less player turnover.
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ViolaRose



Joined: 20 Apr 2015
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you've adequately described the experience of some players, but certainly not all of them. Definitely not me, for example.

The problem, I think, is that if you advertise saying WE HAVE GREAT DUNGEONS, then you're pitting yourself against every other mud ever. They all have great dungeons, great quests, great areas to discover a cool sword. Certainly the DnD hook can be a strong one, but then you're appealing to an already rather small pool of people looking to MuD in a world of a thousand other choices and ..graphics.

To me, the one thing that ShadowGate does really well that every other mud I've visited lacks is it's sheer level of customization. A lot of muds don't even allow players to set their own descriptions, and certainly they don't permit their players to make new equipment, etc. A game built around crafting is something a lot of people seem to look for (where it's actually a viable "role" and way to advance in the game)

That said, I think the best way to advertise would be in numbers. For example, one person makes a post somewhere about ShadowGate. Then every other player there and says, oh yeah.. great game. Played it for ages! Etc. Also, the constant "bumping" of said post when an IG event or update happens that can be advertised, allowing the world to look alive and vibrant.

Although now that I think about it, your post seems more about how to retain players once they've found SG, not really how to get them in the door. For that, I got nothing. Unfortunately, ShadowGate and MUDs in general are not easy on beginners, especially when knowing the history and lore is so essential.

Some handy quick guides for that kind of information might be helpful. Perhaps a searchable web-based database. I imagine, though, that nobody has time to undertake a project to that magnitude. Also, I support the implementation of mentors, where a newbie could have a direct line to an experienced player in order to ask questions they might not be comfortable asking over lines.
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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plenty of muds allow for a lot of customization. More even. I think the dungeons, not the quality, but the experience, The hook isnt that its D&D but that is pulls off feeling like a D&D dungeon crawl. Thats what sets it apart. Lots of muds out there with dungeons true but none manage to pull off the experience, not even other D&D muds. And Shadowgates other unique feature in regards to the experience is the sheer size. Irs a huge mud but not a repetitice hugeness like other muds are wbere they add rooms like frat boys add rolled up socks to their underwear. Just a way to look bigger. But Shadowgate actually is big.

I played a mud where players can craft all day to level. Pretty boring mud as most of the players just wore each other's clothes.
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Ares
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 960

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:10 pm    Post subject: Newbie Day Reply with quote

We've got a few ideas to draw more players, at this point we are waiting for some of our newer additions to get implemented and some more bugs ironed out before we do a major recruiting push.

One of the ideas we have in the works is a Shadowgate mailing list, to update players on some of our larger changes, and to remind them that the mud exists even if they haven't played in a while.

Nienne has also been working on our web presence to try to get things there more up to date.

I also like the idea of newbie days, try to put an add on the mud connector in advance, with a date where we encourage some of our veteran players to lower their levels via the flag command, down to a point where they can group with the newbies in Offestry. We could have a whole slew of low levels there in Offestry when we get some true newbies online, and hopefully get them addicted enough to stick around.

We also had an idea for a spotlight series, highlighting some of the commands and/or tactics that a player might use. We could mix up things that might be useful for newer players and things that would be useful for more experienced players. This would be done through web presence, hopefully to draw some attention to the game that way.

We do have some ideas in the works, just trying to make sure we've got all the issues with the server move ironed out and a few other things resolved before we start trying to implement them.
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ViolaRose



Joined: 20 Apr 2015
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Verbannon wrote:
Pretty boring mud as most of the players just wore each other's clothes.


Where do I sign up for this??! Smile

Perhaps an advertising campaign that showcases some of these quests and areas, rather than just saying we got 'em.

And, just saying, I don't think the imms should be above bribing us with exp or whatever (obvs nothing big) to write up aforementioned showcasing. Sad that it would be necessary, but nobody ever seems very motivated to help out with outreach, and it's an important part of the game.
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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Newbie Day Reply with quote

Ares wrote:
We've got a few ideas to draw more players, at this point we are waiting for some of our newer additions to get implemented and some more bugs ironed out before we do a major recruiting push.

One of the ideas we have in the works is a Shadowgate mailing list, to update players on some of our larger changes, and to remind them that the mud exists even if they haven't played in a while.

Nienne has also been working on our web presence to try to get things there more up to date.

I also like the idea of newbie days, try to put an add on the mud connector in advance, with a date where we encourage some of our veteran players to lower their levels via the flag command, down to a point where they can group with the newbies in Offestry. We could have a whole slew of low levels there in Offestry when we get some true newbies online, and hopefully get them addicted enough to stick around.

We also had an idea for a spotlight series, highlighting some of the commands and/or tactics that a player might use. We could mix up things that might be useful for newer players and things that would be useful for more experienced players. This would be done through web presence, hopefully to draw some attention to the game that way.

We do have some ideas in the works, just trying to make sure we've got all the issues with the server move ironed out and a few other things resolved before we start trying to implement them.


The mailing list thing seems good. Im kind of doubting the effectiveness of the rest as I cant think of any commands or tactics to spotlight. 'Spotlight Fighter strategy: Use all your attack powers like rush and impale, then wait for them to recharge and use them again. Be sure to watch your hp!' And I suspect most new players join on impulse when looking for a new mud. So wont wait for Newbie day.

@Violarose

Examples are always good. My main point is that when advertising saying just 'Great RP, look new classes! ' (To super abbrreviate) doesnt set the right stage. New players need to know exactly what experience to expect, so they arent turned off when they experience it and jump to the wrong conclusion.

"Some RP game, Ive been playing for three days and the only RP I've had is some hellos, LAAAAME! Peace out."'
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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh this just gave me the idea for a newbie tracker so experienced players can track, find and greet and RP with new players easier.
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Ares
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 960

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:30 pm    Post subject: Spotlight Reply with quote

Well, for spotlight, we might include things like review, and message, or explain how to use the prepare lists or buff lists in more detail. Or we might explain things like setting up aliases to get scrolls out of containers by the name of the spell on the scroll, etc. Or for newer players, even something as simple as explaining peer and how to set up prompt effectively so they don't have to pay attention to the combat spam to know what's going on. Spotlights could also hint at some of the lore of in game areas, like a brief story about what people will find on Attaya, etc.

And while most players won't wait for newbie day, it would give us an excuse to post on the mud connector and have a slightly better chance that the newbies will have a good experience. I know my first time playing the game, within 3 hours of character creation someone had pkilled me and I didn't play again for a few months.
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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I suppose that isnt a bad idea. I had to go through the help system one file at a time to finally learn everything. And that was,a truly onerous task.
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beshaba



Joined: 02 Aug 2011
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, as a fighter it's important to have several combat trees, so that you can switch weapons and rotate through rush, impale, whirl, etc so that each round has an action taking place.

For other melee classes, you can talk about whether to build towards strength or dexterity (especially since lethal strikes and weapon finesse do give both some serious pros and cons).

Anyhow, to respond to your original post, that's very much just one experience. I've had several completely different viewpoints, from when I first started, to coming back after a lengthy hiatus, to the present.
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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then they all need to be covered. At least the major ones.
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ViolaRose



Joined: 20 Apr 2015
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Verbannon wrote:
Oh this just gave me the idea for a newbie tracker so experienced players can track, find and greet and RP with new players easier.


I know this is veering off topic a bit now, but I just wanted to second this. Most newbies aren't really newbies, and to be frank I don't want to go out of my way treating every newbie as if they were learning the ropes. Also, most non-newbie newbies don't want to be bothered as they're rushing their way up and out of Offestry and beyond (in my experience). So, in the least, it would be nice to have the newbies (and beyond) who DO want some special attention and assistance to stand out.

Also.. I mentioned earlier assigning a mentor to newbs, and just to expand on that a little. It could be a prompt in CC that allows players to say YES, they'd like a mentor. And then henceforth they would have someone to answer questions like.. "As someone who (technically) is familiar with the area, how are race relations? (which would send me on an hour-long rant about how everything is terrible, but I digress)" "Can you tell me about Tabor and if there are any affiliated religions.." etc.. (i.e. There are certain fundamental laws of the land that experienced players know about, and someone "living" in the world would probably know, but a newbie might not know. Mentors could help answer that sort of question, esp. if such things would require discretion)
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cyric
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006
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Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ViolaRose wrote:
Verbannon wrote:
Oh this just gave me the idea for a newbie tracker so experienced players can track, find and greet and RP with new players easier.


I know this is veering off topic a bit now, but I just wanted to second this. Most newbies aren't really newbies, and to be frank I don't want to go out of my way treating every newbie as if they were learning the ropes. Also, most non-newbie newbies don't want to be bothered as they're rushing their way up and out of Offestry and beyond (in my experience). So, in the least, it would be nice to have the newbies (and beyond) who DO want some special attention and assistance to stand out.

Also.. I mentioned earlier assigning a mentor to newbs, and just to expand on that a little. It could be a prompt in CC that allows players to say YES, they'd like a mentor. And then henceforth they would have someone to answer questions like.. "As someone who (technically) is familiar with the area, how are race relations? (which would send me on an hour-long rant about how everything is terrible, but I digress)" "Can you tell me about Tabor and if there are any affiliated religions.." etc.. (i.e. There are certain fundamental laws of the land that experienced players know about, and someone "living" in the world would probably know, but a newbie might not know. Mentors could help answer that sort of question, esp. if such things would require discretion)


Make it a flag that by default considers a new character a true newbie. If the flag is on, you get a slight (like 1-2%) Xp penalty. Experienced players will turn it off.
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Verbannon



Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or maybe just a flag that is only there if a newbie has no alts in their account.
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cyric
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006
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Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also we should advertise on two things, rp (including npc/plot interaction) and active developers. Anything else will lose out to the multitude of options in mainstream gaming.

Regarding newbies, I maintain my approach is the best: step by step guides to survivability. Let them figure out the rest. Mentors (which is I believe the way all of us learned) won't work in large scales today, as both mentor and mentee need to be around at the same time, and how many of us experienced players actually play hours per day every day anymore?
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