Author Topic: New Player Experience  (Read 1104 times)

JeVondair

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New Player Experience
« Topic Start: July 24, 2017, 09:39:06 PM »
Anaris has mentioned a number of times that he was interested in getting more data regarding new-player experience so the game could be improved to retain more new players. I wanted to start this topic so that everyone could chime in one place. Please comment about your experience as a new person or working with new players to assimilate them to the game.


In my experience recruiting for this game, I have gotten three big questions:
  • What do I do next/now?
  • How do I do _____?
  • I'm overwhelmed, what's going on?
It's my experience that most people, and virtually all new players, to not utilize the wiki to its capacity, if at all. Even if they are sent links in-game. New players also seem very reluctant to send messages.  New players are always confused by the real-time vs turn-based aspects of the game. I guess the biggest thing is that they want all the information they need to be more convenient to access.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 09:55:51 PM by JeVondair »
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Bronnen

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #1: July 24, 2017, 09:50:08 PM »
My experience with new players is that they seem interested in the game, send a few messages, get discouraged when only 1 or 2 people answer, and leave within a few weeks because 90% of the realm does nothing but collect money and try to "win" an unwinnable game.

This is also my experience with veteran players.

This is my experience. It's frustrating.

Wimpie

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #2: July 25, 2017, 08:26:33 AM »
I've been sending a big OOC introduction message to every new player (in BM) that joins one of the realm I am, for a while now. I must say that not a lot of them actually reply.

I've been getting the feeling that many, as already said, log in a few times to get a feel of the game and then just never return.

A more convenient way to get all relevant data new players need in their first day or week is exactly what we need. And that's exactly what this topic was created for:
https://forum.battlemaster.org/index.php/topic,7627.0.html

We have Tutorials (2 actually), but they are horribly outdated. Gildre did an amazing job in starting with spoken video tutorials, but since he does not have the time for BM right now, that project is stopped. Actually, I've been thinking about what kind of other format we could use to update the tutorials.. Click through? Topic based? ..? Feel free to chime in.

I've also been looking at the wiki (the Manual: http://wiki.battlemaster.org/wiki/Manual ). But it's just one big mess/chaos and I don't know how to start structuring it. It's text based, so always difficult to visualize things. But if you have an idea how to sort these topics better, make it more attractive to people, please let us know (or just do it? Not sure who has access to edit those pages).

It's a great initiative, JeVondair. There's only a handful of new players that actually stayed and now turn out to be loving the game. I understand that it's not for everyone, but we can surely help improve the means to learn the game in a more enjoyable way.

Feel free to discuss, give feedback, whatever. I'm more than willing to invest on this.
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Purrcious

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #3: July 25, 2017, 12:13:03 PM »
As a new player, Purrcious was surprised that the best course of action as a newb was to throw oneself on the frontlines...  ::)
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Nosferatus

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #4: July 25, 2017, 12:59:53 PM »
I also contact new players in game immediately, but perhaps not always ooc.
However in my IC messages I do offer help and explain that the noble life is dificult at first and needs time to get used to, I also often do my best to give them immediate goals and things to look out for.
In Gotland I also started a mentor message group (the Goatling Shed), where new members are added to get special tasks (sort of training missions) and also ask questions about the game or the strange realm of Gotland.
In reality it is mostly ignored by the new players.

I agree that some realms are silent and perhaps a terrible start for new players, however i must agree with Wimpie that most players just don't communicate much.
I didnt see any of the new players leave, but i rarely see them communicate.
However some do become ' real BM' players, and Gotland is a great example of a realm saved by new players, the majority of active players are now all relatively new players (past year).
They arent great roleplayers and their characters quite standard but they do go along with the local theme and appear to be ambitious.
The frustrations they have expressed aren't really mechanics related but more invasion related (I am not sure if they really get the concept of invasions in BT, or if they just don't like the ways its currently going, things are very stagnant because of it and their and Gotlands new efforts all beaten down time after time)

Certain environments might be better for new players, however there is no way to know that for a new player.
Some realm descriptions do state that the realm is a place for young and old or something similair, but thats just written by one person during a certain moment.
It might not be true or no longer be true.

Perhaps we can implement some kind of statistic on amount of new players in a certain realm, if they stay and their chance of getting any positions or wealth soon.
A query for new players after 3 days, a week, a month and or a half year asking if they need help and how well their realm has helped them could gather more statistics and also raise an immediate red flag for other players to help the new player. (ideally their lords should help them)
If the player answers yes i need more help, it could become visible for all.
If the player awnsers yes or no on their current realm beeing helpful, it could show up on the choose your realm page.
These two simple questions are more then enough and won't take much more time then 10 seconds.

Meanwhile I will ask the relatively new players IG to respond to this topic.
Perhaps can do so too.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 01:06:39 PM by Nosferatus »
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Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #5: July 25, 2017, 03:32:12 PM »
I've been sending a big OOC introduction message to every new player (in BM) that joins one of the realm I am, for a while now. I must say that not a lot of them actually reply.

I've been getting the feeling that many, as already said, log in a few times to get a feel of the game and then just never return.

A more convenient way to get all relevant data new players need in their first day or week is exactly what we need. And that's exactly what this topic was created for:
https://forum.battlemaster.org/index.php/topic,7627.0.html

We have Tutorials (2 actually), but they are horribly outdated. Gildre did an amazing job in starting with spoken video tutorials, but since he does not have the time for BM right now, that project is stopped. Actually, I've been thinking about what kind of other format we could use to update the tutorials.. Click through? Topic based? ..? Feel free to chime in.

I've also been looking at the wiki (the Manual: http://wiki.battlemaster.org/wiki/Manual ). But it's just one big mess/chaos and I don't know how to start structuring it. It's text based, so always difficult to visualize things. But if you have an idea how to sort these topics better, make it more attractive to people, please let us know (or just do it? Not sure who has access to edit those pages).

It's a great initiative, JeVondair. There's only a handful of new players that actually stayed and now turn out to be loving the game. I understand that it's not for everyone, but we can surely help improve the means to learn the game in a more enjoyable way.

Feel free to discuss, give feedback, whatever. I'm more than willing to invest on this.

Indeed, many people, myself included, have made it a point to contact every newbie, whether IC or OOC or both, for at least some period of time. It might help, but to me, it didn't really feel like it had much of an effect on retention.

JeVondair

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #6: July 25, 2017, 05:37:42 PM »
Indeed, many people, myself included, have made it a point to contact every newbie, whether IC or OOC or both, for at least some period of time. It might help, but to me, it didn't really feel like it had much of an effect on retention.


I agree. Xavax was a great experiment. Every single new person that arrived was engaged with an IC welcome message. Most of them did not write back. Since that realm started, we gained and lost something like 60 accounts. I wish now that I had been tracking that data. It often felt like there was simply nothing we could do. Bm is simply niche that way.


I've played games that, instead of dragging newbies through tutorials, instead utilizes a simple rewards program to incentivize new players into discovering aspects of the game. Perhaps we could discuss something similar? Like "Congratulations for sending your first RP. Here's 100 gold to your family coffers" or something.
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Nosferatus

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #7: July 25, 2017, 05:53:53 PM »
Quote
Bm is simply niche that way.

This might be more true then we want, meaning we can't do much to avoid people stopping.
Friends of mine who tried BM either loved it(they eventually stopped playing too because they found it to demanding/addictive) or somehow never got it and quit fairly early.
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Anaris

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #8: July 26, 2017, 03:39:44 AM »
My experience with new players is that they seem interested in the game, send a few messages, get discouraged when only 1 or 2 people answer, and leave within a few weeks

Those are the easy ones to snag.

I was talking about the ones who create an account, create a character, play once, send no messages, and never touch it again. There are a depressing number of those.
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Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #9: July 28, 2017, 04:40:29 PM »
BM is increasingly niche. And honestly I think a lot of its appeal is legacy, all that history that was developed over the years that people who've been here for a certain amount of time can appreciate, while others who are just joining now either don't get it or feel it overwhelming. It's like starting to watch a popular series renown for its twists, but only joining in on season 7, it's easy to feel left out all the time.

Plus, BM is increasingly post-colonial. We used to have so many nobles, that realm creations and destructions were fairly common, and more importantly, fairly feasible. Now, most realms are so spread thin that it's unthinkable to split them further to create new entities. I know it was largely appealing, when I joined, that if we worked hard enough, we'd have good chances of changing history, making new and original projects come true. I'm not saying it can't happen at all anymore, but it used to be possible just about anywhere (assuming one could convince the oligarchies of elite player clubs to pitch in, and barring some continents that were peace-locked for some periods of time). Back then? If you had 5 buddies, each with 2 characters, you already had a base of 12 characters to work with, stack on top the total realm count of say 50, you'd probably get a handful of others join you, either because they were de facto part of your duchy or they didn't feel compelled to switch back, so you could end up with a nice core of 20 nobles when seceding (or doing a colony takeover, or whatever), and end up with two viable realms to pursue your projects. Now, it's like the realm has 15 nobles on average, most of your friends left the game so you've got maybe 3 buddies, and each can only contribute one character, so you end up with a 5 noble worthless realm and a 10 noble crippled host realm. When Dwi was colonized, the host realms didn't really suffer at all from all that noble losses. Many colonist groups formed themselves and had their chance at trying things out. And even earlier than that, on BT, geopolitics were shifty enough in between invasions, and invasions helped clear huge swaths of land for new entities all the time. New realms popped up here and there and I don't ever remember people saying "oh no, we won't have enough nobles left if you leave!" until very late (by the time Enweil died it had become an issue though).

Opportunities for newbies to leave their mark, in my opinion, has greatly waned. Had I only discovered BM in 2017, I don't think I would have stayed long. Nostalgia has largely replaced thrill and opportunity. I'm still having fun, but I'm no longer staying up 'till midnight to get live turn change reports and writing 40 IG messages per day to push the agenda of the day. Partly because I don't have that kind of time and energy anymore, but also largely because I don't feel like there's any potential return on investment anymore. I'm proud of what I did on BT and Dwi, but even if I were to become a responsibility-free teenager again, I don't think I could pull much of that off anymore.

Purrcious

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #10: July 28, 2017, 05:36:41 PM »
Chenier have put into words what Purrcious mostly feels. Purrcious went into this game first as part of Vix Tiramora and in that continent Purrcious feels that the decision being made is more about 'Take care not to make more playerbase leave' and 'Let's be careful not to make people bored'

Purrcious not saying it's bad, but it says a lot about the state of the game when you can't destroy realms that did something bad to yours when Medieval times was all about colonization and conquering more lands.

In East Continent, all the realms and regions are locked and with the current stance of the playerbase, there will be no space for new group to jump on in and try to make their own realm. Good thing there's other continents where you can try it.

Purrcious is having fun on what the game offers but Purrcious feels like playing with a crystal ball that's going to break any moment.
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Steele_House

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #11: August 03, 2017, 08:42:43 AM »
so glad I got my forum account working.  Not glad that it was at the time when I should go to bed.

I have tons I want to say on this topic - I started last December and several characters have advanced significantly.  I'll jump on again and say more stuff!

For me the worst part of the new player experience is the byzantine rules or bizarre functions.  I read the hell out of that wiki, but I still didn't understand plenty.  The gameplay is not intuitive and the way the game is designed has burned me many times with some nuance I didn't understand.  For example, why can't I perform civil work or police work twice in the same turn?

One time we had a brand new player join and be captured in the same turn.  Yeah... terrible for recruitment.  Could you make brand new players - not characters - immune to arrest and capture for the first 5 days?

Advise new players to play on the island that has 1 turn a day, so they aren't overwhelmed by the _regular requirement of time_ the game is asking from them.  2 times a day requirement of time is the reason I've nearly stopped playing.

As for the invasion, I read up on it before joining that continent.  Initially after reading about the complaints on it, I was not interested.  I became interested after reading other comments on it.  The invasion is not what I expected and I feel the teleportation and daimon spawning is what ruins it all.  I expected portals that were opened would be where the daimons come out or a crack broke across the continent and they spew out of there.  That allows the Realms to unite armies to attack/guard specific points.  Create missions/goals to accomplish - ie there are daimon militias unleashed on the land, but everyone needs to unite to attack the army with the daimon lord - kill the daimon lord and the militias will turn on each other to determine who will be the next daimon lord.

The best thing for new players I think would be a continent for only new accounts less than 1 year old.  People on that continent can make mistakes because everyone is making them, take positions, try running things, get some honor, prestige and family wealth and then HAVE to move to another island - that way the new player island doesn't become static with all the fat cats on top.

Chenier

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #12: August 03, 2017, 03:08:19 PM »
Yea, the game can totally be byzantine. Some of it is to avoid abuses (doing 8x1 hour so that it rounds up 8 times to give more benefit than 1x8 hour, for example), some of it for less blatant reasons.

It's a game that was developed slowly over a very large time span, by different people at different times. I think Anaris has been on board since pretty early on, maybe the start? But Tom stopped being visible a few years back. And I know some coders from when I started, like  Handkor, are no longer around. I think a game developped in such a way that would not be byzantine would be the exception more than the rule.

I'm not sure for the 1/day suggestion, though. Always felt like there was not enough going on to keep people interested, rather than the opposite. But different players look for different levels of engagement I guess. I can't see anything wrong with telling newbies "there's also a 1 turn per day continent, should the pace of the other continents leave you overwhelmed" though.

My experience with Colonies has been rather underwhelming. Far too little happens. It's not that there's just 1 turn per day, but it's that there's only 8 hours per day, and that the travel times are ridiculous due to the regions being far larger than what is commonly found elsewhere. Feel free to correct me if my memory is off. Colonies would seem far more playable, to me, if it got at least 12 hours per day and more normal travel times (also lots of mountains in the way all the time). Because as it is, it's not just that it lets people log in once per day, but that it takes forever to accomplish anything, and missed turns are even more hurtful for it. Not to mention that units get half as many hours per day and have twice the travel distances to cover per region, while still requiring the exact same pay as elsewhere.

Bronnen

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #13: August 03, 2017, 05:49:25 PM »
I like the idea of a "Noob" Island with an actual coherent storyline.

Make it a PVE island or something, have a storyline, let people get invested in the game, and then make a transition over to a PVP island.

Also, I honestly feel that monsters and demons detract from the game more than they aid.

Sure I understand on Dwilight the player base was too fractured, wanted to push them all together, but at a certain point all you're doing is making it so the realms are too busy fighting monsters than they are interacting with one another.

Make the eastern part of Dwilight just be swamped with them, and let the western part fight each other.

Belu has the same issue as well, right now we're trying to deal with a storyline of demons and rooting out demon worshippers, but most of the realms are too busy defending against 15k CS of undead and monsters to actually be able to leave.

Teleporting also sucks, get rid of that.

Steele_House

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Re: New Player Experience
« Reply #14: August 03, 2017, 06:00:20 PM »
Good points about The Colonies.

I understand how the development path has resulted in the current state.  Instead of adding more content, I would suggest streamlining, simplify and helpful notes (next to the selection).  In another thread someone mentioned that battlemaster is marketed as 5 minutes a day, but isn't really anymore.

When I read discussions about Beluaterra, I see people stating that information isn't shared.  I've run large player games - larps - and that is definitely a problem.  Critical information has to be widely available.  There has to be multiple avenues to get that information.  Secrets can't really be secret.  Otherwise, storylines grind to halt due to inactivity, ignorance and apathy.