Investment

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Harroghty
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Investment

Post by Harroghty » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:39 pm

I've seen a lot of PCs come and go over the course of my time playing here. There are certainly people who have been here longer than I have, and I realize that I am an outlier in the sense that I have played primarily one PC during my tenure, but I want to toss out an observation and see what people think. The most fun I've had with people during that time was when there was a strong community to interact with day to day. Torm's church around 2008 had two paladins (Aran and Kallias) and a priest (Florian) with whom Harroghty could regularly interact and that was really fun for me. Ardeep used to be bursting with elves and rangers around whom the whole game world's fate sometimes revolved. All of those times made fun for people in their community and the rest of the game.

I believe that the strength of the game is its component communities (races, guilds, faiths, towns, etc.) I believe that the two behaviors required of a PC and a player to sustain a community are investment in the PC and investment in the setting. I mean that the player must play the PC consistently and the PC must devote time and effort to their community in an IC way.

While I get that we're all here to have fun in our own ways, what do you think about my idea and what do you think would make investing in a community more attractive for you personally?
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons

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Re: Investment

Post by Elisabeth » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:45 pm

Apologies for wall of text; this is something I've actually been thinking quite a lot about in recent weeks.

This is a question of which I feel I have become much more cognizant over the last year/year and a half or so. Since early October of last year when Elisabeth was made a PC, for instance, I can readily point to at least three distinct generations (using that term super loosely) of PCs who have come and gone, with the occasional PC being sometimes slightly quicker or slower to disappear. As I have, over this last year or so, made effort to be more consistent myself, I think I can appreciate more keenly the difficulties that sort of playing presents: Namely, it becomes difficult for a long-played PC to build meaningful relationships with almost anyone, which can in turn lead to a sense of loneliness and, eventually, a decline in the number of events that PC will host, in their online time in general, etc. Just as unfortunate, a lessening of time played by the more established PCs will dampen the creation of new PCs who might otherwise be active, because they, too, have few to whom to look for help and guidance.

Though I have sheered off a huge number of PCs from my account and have, I think, managed to settle down with one or two PCs with whom I am content and who I plan to play almost exclusively from now on, I started and have spent most of my time on FK as a roller of many, many characters. I think initially this was due to having never played anything like FK before. It was (still is, to be clear) exciting and enjoyable, and in the moment, I felt eager to experience as much of the game as I possibly could, not knowing that one can actually manage to do so to a more than sufficient degree with just one or two PCs. This is likely not the case for all or maybe even most new players, but I think I have observed similar from a fair number, folks who are just new to games like FK and who, like I was, are too used to the fast pace and frequent new character generation of mainstream MMOs. Solutions to this particular motivation, if it applies to others at all, largely escape me at the moment. I think the best one can do is to strive to be consistent and involved with one's own PC, and that will hopefully encourage others to do likewise as IC relationships are built, memories are made, and so forth.

Another reason for my rolling of new PCs has been to take a break from the PC I'd been playing mainly (this is especially true with my more dark-natured PCs who, while immensely enjoyable, are not always the easiest to roleplay). Emotions will run high, things will happen IC that maybe are perfectly reasonable for the PC but difficult for the player, etc., and after the resolution, one simply needs to step back from it to take a few days' or weeks' breather before diving back in. I personally understand this one and fully encourage taking these short breaks when the need arises, otherwise you end up feeling miserable. The problem I have observed, though, is that many players will never return to that character at all. Maybe they think it too difficult to get back into the character's mindset, maybe they think no one will want to RP with them after their character accused one of her best friends of being secret spy demon-spawn (ahem. XD), or whatever. I've struggled with solving this one when I see it happen to others: One does not want to simply go on pretending like nothing ever happened IC (unless that is your PC's nature of course), but neither does one want to be too harsh IC and risk alienating the player for having taken that more difficult IC route. The best I have found for these sorts of situations is to try to reach out to the player OOC, let them know that IC our characters might not be on the best of terms, but OOC they are missed and it is hoped that they get back into it. Maybe even offer to work out beforehand how things will be IC initially so that no one is taken off guard; if you are an FM who has needed to discipline a subordinate IC, maybe let them know OOC that your intensions are not to destroy their character and that they can fix things IC with IC effort; but whatever the situation, I think OOC communication after difficult RP is always a good thing.

Lastly, to touch upon a point I mentioned above in passing, I think pace is a contributing factor for some players. I mean, some players will roll a new PC and have that PC to level 50 with all their quests done in a matter of weeks. Often I find this style of gaming will leave the player very bored very quickly and so they move on to another PC, only to repeat the process. There is plenty of so-called end-game content coded in FK, never mind the RP which is constantly changing, enough to keep a PC busy potentially for months. If it is all rushed through, though, not only will the PC be left with little coded content to do, but it will also likely be left with few roleplay options since the majority of its lifetime has been spent grinding, solo questing, etc., and not at getting to know and RP with other PCs. Having spent 1300+ hours as a squire at level 30, and only rarely not having something to do during all those hours, I can honestly say from experience that slowing down, taking things easy, and spending more time at genuine roleplay are infinitely more enjoyable in the long run than is the gratification of coded advancement and gaining all your best gear ever can be.

Regarding this latter point, I almost would suggest that a couple new potential rewards be added for those who have, say, spent so many hours playing their character, in the manner of the new player dwellings system, or who have been nominated by so many players for good roleplay. I say almost because, using the dwellings as an example, I don't believe such things might actually encourage long-time play in practice as one might think. A PC now needs to have logged one thousand hours and have one recommendation from another player to earn a dwelling, and at first I did see a slight increase in PC activity, only to see at present that almost none (maybe even none?) of the PCs who earned a dwelling through that system are around anymore, and certainly most started fading off again only shortly after gaining their new abode. Mind, I do not mean to offend or seem as though I'm calling anyone out here; I just use this as an example because it came to mind after I started thinking about time- and RP-based sorts of encouragements. The paladin squire process could be taken as another example: Becoming a paladin requires a lot of dedication, consistency, and regularity, and it is not something that seems to hold people's interest for long after the adoubement (if it holds their interest for that long at all), despite that paladin roleplay can be unbelievably gratifying and holds potential goals and achievements above and beyond the adoubement itself. I would very much like to see other folks' observations on this idea and on how others think it works.
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Re: Investment

Post by Aysa » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:15 am

Here are my thoughts... and forgive me, I could be rambling with all of this. Things could bounce from one thought to another. It's your own fault for asking my thoughts on things. (hee hee).

First, I want to describe me as a player. I /hate/ playing multiple characters. I typically play just one character because I know day after day, I'm going to behave and think and act like this character. It's routine for me. Plus, I don't have to sit there and think "Does Talaedra know that?" "Did Nixa experience this? Or was it Galeena?" No, I know that if something happened, more than likely it's the character that I'm currently playing so I don't have to worry about OOC knowledge interfering with IC knowledge.

When I do play characters, I try to give them little quirks here or there. Nixa and all of her clothes shopping. Talaedra and her elven disposition to prefer all things elves over humans. Galeena and well, her issues that she's dealing with. Trying to bounce from one to the other and maintain a sense of continuity and integrity would be very difficult for me, so I just don't try. Unfortunately, there will come a time when "something" happens that makes playing the character difficult to do. No one is to blame. But there's something. For example, I loved playing Talaedra. The elven archer / ranger was awesome to play --- until I ran into a quest where I needed a magic weapon to defeat my foe. At the time, there was nothing available. So I invested all this time into an elven ranger doing what an elf would do (using a composite bow as her main choice of weapon), and suddenly... my investment is a waste because all she could do was normal damage. Kinda irked me.

It's funny. I was talking to someone and they said they deleted over 30 characters from their account or something crazy like that. I couldn't believe it. 30?! I have 9 and I think I have too many. Still, despite the frustrations of Talaedra, or any of the other reasons that I've stopped playing those characters; I still like to think I'll bounce back with a new character. New inspiration. Taking what I've learned from the previous characters and building so that this next character is one that I can play to "fruition" (whatever that might mean).

Before, I was worried about my own character and what I needed to do to get better. However, with my latest creation, I'm now starting to contemplate and experimenting with that PC being a mentor to another PC. Plus, there's starting to be a core nucleus forming. I'm hoping we can keep things together because I see a lot of potential for something to come from it. ***Side bar rant: I do wish we had an active FM as that does dampen progress, but I will digress and take to another venue *** But while I don't want to stray too far off topic, the FMs should be encouraging that community. While playing Galeena, that band of brotherhood of squires was a blast to play. Obviously, she experienced her own issues -- ones that I just do not wish to deal with, even despite having other PCs offer words of encouragement both OOC and IC. Personally, I hope those PCs can find the "fun" in RPing with my latest creation, even if it's a bit more adversarial now. (After all, a good foil helps tell a better story).

I guess what I'm trying to get at... I would like to see some devoted people to certain communities that help foster RP (and more than just square chit chat and people getting pregnant). Whether that's someone helping the "younger" or "newer" folk get acclimated to playing, or driving events that are more than just masquerade balls. And yes, it's great rushing to go save the city from an invading army... if you're a fighter, or a heroic sort. But there are other events that could be done as well. Let's tell a story! I think you can get people to invest in their characters and their community if they felt like they have an influence in its outcome.

I hope I made sense and didn't ramble. And I hope I addressed the topic at hand.

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Re: Investment

Post by Mele » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:24 am

I'm very busy this week so my input is short here.

As a player who likes more "short" term characters who have "closure" to their existence and practicing out many ideas I'm feeling a touch weird about this thread. It's probably just that the people speaking their feelings on it all share the same one.

If I have 4 ideas at once I am no less invested than one-lifetime-alters. If I play an alt for 2 years then move on to a new idea, no less invested. If I make an idea and it doesn't 'click', my intentions were no less. Etcetc.

Like I said, I'm short right now because I'm busy so take my text tone less dramatic here!
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Re: Investment

Post by Harroghty » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:43 pm

I don't think anyone could call you not invested, Mele, with all you've done here over the last 10+ years. In this case I am curious to see what things make people want to invest themselves in a character or a community. I'm grateful for the answers so far.

I believe that those devoted people that Aysa mentioned (not trying to speak for you, but as I read what you wrote) are sometimes staffers like Mele, but all of those, like her, began as PCs who threw themselves into supporting communities of players and were empowered to expand their contributions.
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons

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Re: Investment

Post by Skylar » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:49 pm

Simply put, we all play the game in different ways. Even throughout our own times at FK, the way we play is likely to change. I would be loathe to try to imply that anyone plays the game 'wrong'.
If you're interested in growing investment into things from the players, reward the investment players put in. Squires have recently begun to be rewarded with something special and thoughtful upon making Paladinhood (at their adoubement) and that has been hugely successful. Expand on that a little. Nothing huge, or gamebreaking, but maybe when someone makes prelate or inner circle in their faith, give them some RP item? Even just a bag that matches their things. Sometimes the game feels like a lot of stick and little carrot to people and invested interest and effort in things sometimes feel unnoticed or unwanted. Show that's not the case? We as a community could do more in this regard too I think. Going out of our way to attend more events etc just to show people who host them that what they do is appreciated. Going out of our way to, among players, provide opportunities to grow and prove ourselves within the selected faiths or organisations of our characters. Any healthy workplace offers staff a chance for growth, a good faith manager should consider doing the same.
Just a bit of rambling I suppose. Hopefully it's insightful?
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Re: Investment

Post by Elisabeth » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:58 pm

My aim is also not to try to tell anyone that they should play this or that way. But I do also think investment and consistency can help support especially some of the more long-term roleplay plots and the like, the sorts of things Aysa touched on, that might happen. Take for instance the issue of Thalthentoth and the Kelemvorite church. That subplot went on for quite a long time, and I think it was only so successful and so hugely enjoyable because we had those few Kelemvorites and a few of their allies active throughout that whole long time, actively working to try to solve the problem. If the Kelemvorites had gone dormant, who knows, we still might not have the Abbey, or at the least it might not have been such a memorable moment when it found its way back. Pcs having an IC stake in how things unfold, as Aysa mentioned, is what best rewards most roleplayers, and it can be hard for a player to feel like their PC has any concern for the same unless the player has invested in the PC in more than what is minimally necessary to play the game.
Skylar wrote: Squires have recently begun to be rewarded with something special and thoughtful upon making Paladinhood (at their adoubement) and that has been hugely successful.
Has it, though? I ask genuinely. As I mentioned above, I had a similar thought to reward active PCs with these sorts of things also, but upon thinking about it more, well, not to make this a discussion about paladins but to continue along this same example: How many paladins so rewarded since it started remain active today, and how many started growing less common a sight only a short time after their adoubement? To the first, my own observations tell me almost none, and to the second, almost all. It is a relatively small sample, granted, but if our answers to those questions turn out to agree, then it might not be so successful a strategy after all. As another example, I have seen the same sort of thing with FMing: Though an FM will offer real, meaningful advancement through the faith ranks, almost every PC will rather simply work toward initiatehood, gain all their coded goodies through that first rank, and then soon enough fade off. In short, I almost feel like rewarding these milestones does maybe help in the short term, but not so much in the long. What do you think?

(As a general caveat, I am referring here to the player population at large and do recognize that there are exceptions, like yourself, Skylar, and a fair number of others whom I could name, who have that natural inclination toward enjoying rewards of a more roleplay-based nature as opposed to coded combat-based advantages. I do not mean to seem as though I forget or do not appreciate them.)
Aysa wrote: I think you can get people to invest in their characters and their community if they felt like they have an influence in its outcome.
That is a very interesting point. Interesting to me because I have almost always, even when I was new, felt as though I had this power at least to some degree. I could offer more example, but I do not believe it so helpful in this case. Instead, I would ask, do you, or to broaden the question further, do any others feel as though that power to influence the world is not quite there? If so, what sorts of things do you (as in general, non-personal anyone you) feel might help to deepen your immersion? This sense of being able to influence outcomes has always been a large attraction for me also, and so I can see how a lack of it for some might be discouraging. I have often toyed with the idea of joining up with Story Council (if that is even still a thing) to give people more opportunities to shape the universe, if in small ways. How do you think that might serve the general community, and are there other, similar sorts of things that vet players can do to bring newer or less active players into the world in earnest?

Edit: Heh, just looked into the SC helpfile for the first time in a while, and it turns out it is indeed inactive. There goes that idea.
...But if thou hast done evil, fear her. For she beareth not her sword in vain. For she is the Lord's instrument: a wrathful avenger unto the wicked.

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Re: Investment

Post by Aysa » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:51 pm

Investing, Influencing the Outcome, Community Awareness.

I don't want to single out events that have taken place on the MUD because I don't want to single out people. Plus, the make-up of PCs involved were about as compatible as oil and water - so it wouldn't be fair for me to provide that as an example.

But "back in the day", when I participated in a weekly D&D club group on college campus (even well after I graduated) - we had enough players where every week, we'd have plot hooks to notify the players showing up that Saturday that these are the "campaigns" going on. (I use that term in quotes because sometimes, the DM would be a 'one off' while others provided a real 'weekly' campaign). This is where the FMs could maybe step up. They could be advised that 'such and such' event took place, and now our church is going to take an active stance and we're going to lend aid. Or the particular church might disagree with the current course of action and put together a plan to counter the course of action.

Yes, I think right now, we have a small group of those who have no lives (*waves her hand wildly*) and is always online, and invest whatever time we have. But if our PC is in the minority of the mindset, and not as established as others... we feel like we're talking to brick walls. And I'll be honest, the outcome of an incident that happened... I don't care what happened after the original event because my voice was ignored. (This brings me back to the point I was making about a particular church disagreeing with the current course of action, but being unable to do anything about it).

As some people will tell you, I have a million ideas that would/could involve more than just my close knit folk. I just don't know how to share these ideas. Story Council was brought up during one of our brainstorming ideas, and then just like Elisabeth stated - it's inactive now. But in the end, I think people could invest more if they see some kind of 'reward' for doing this. "Wow, because I did <action A> ... I earned a faith based promotion" "Wow, because I participated in <event B> ... I've noticed that there are more positive things coming my way"


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Re: Investment

Post by Larethiel » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:40 pm

Investment seems to be a personal interest in a community, race or faith and an interest to spread and further roleplay by being an example and by providing people with the opportunity to get attracted and maybe lured into a particular community by whatever means. But I really think that a player can be as passionate and willing to uphold the flag for a particular community as they want, if there's no audience, there is no audience, you can only provide the water hole, it's up to everyone else to drink from it. Player investment only goes so far and I feel that often incentives offered by players aren't too attractive to other players. From my own viewpoint based on my experiences, investing time and effort into a chosen community has often been kind of sobering, but I suppose that's what's in there if someone chooses to immerse themselves in a niche product, it's mostly something you do for your own entertainment.
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Re: Investment

Post by Hrosskell » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:50 pm

My longest investment in a character is now Cahir, surpassing even this forum handle's namesake. The bulk of his time (probably 1500+ hours of his 2500) was spent during two years, a few years back now. During that time, Cahir progressed mechanically at a pretty average pace with a regular companion. As a neutral character, his options for RP were pretty diverse, and I think the stories that could be told of him are the same--he ran with Beshabans for a time, attended adoubements, held small gatherings for new adventurers, kitted out about 15 newbies (some of who still play today) through meet'n'greets, and largely went on whatever adventure he could go on. The character has a rich, world-based explanation for his strengths and weaknesses, a list of friends and foes and loved ones. He has tested many members of his faith and been tested himself, and remains a standing triumph of individualistic will and self-determination. He rose to the top of the list of fighters, and managed to stay relevant for a good, long time.

I recently considered deleting him.

I do not believe that Cahir's opportunities are at an end; I simply do not believe that the game can support his arc in its current form. I do not think that he is necessarily unique; any character who has reached level 50, trained for hours and hours, and obtained their minor RMIs and enchanted weapons/armor languishes in some similar way as Cahir does.

Telling people that they should play outside of wanting more challenging content and better rewards is fruitless; we'll go to other games, and we have. Implying we didn't RP when we were done is silly; we did, and we loved it, because we earned our respite. Sitting in the square was literally a moment's rest. A large part of why the game works as it does now is those players' flight, and they left because risk and effort no longer matched reward. RMIs can (and do) grant better armor and weapons and trinkets than anything that requires more than a fighter to solo. OSOW, UM, Alaron, Feebovs, the heavy hitters? +1 deflection rings.

These players aren't gone forever, and the avenue they want isn't unattainable for this game. We come back some times to check on the game we love--despite its faults and shortcomings--and then we go kill dragons elsewhere and wish that afterwards there was a dope tavern to drink in and people to boast to and newbros to encourage down the path of dare-all adventure, because WoW doesn't have that aspect of gaming. Shooters and MOBAs and Battle Royales don't have that. That's what keeps us coming back, but it's not what keeps us here. Constant development of the game in a mechanical sense, I believe, would. Rich, repeatable, rewarding end-game content with in-universe logic. Throw in high-end crafting, and you've got a winning ticket for the upcoming mid-terms.

The adventuring community is this game's bread and butter. Invest in it, and it'll invest back.


TL;DR (or, Summary):
Question as I interpreted it: "What's going to make you play more (and with more people)?"
Answer: "Stronger emphasis on end-game PvE content that requires collaboration/cooperation which results in appropriate rewards."
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Re: Investment

Post by Gwain » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:07 am

In truth, I have little invested in the mud currently but that could change in the future as it has in the past. For me the things that keep me returning are the fact that the game can be run anywhere and is free to play. But I don’t have a strategy for attracting or keeping players interested. Frankly, I’m an opponent of change and a proponent of consistency. Keep up what you’re doing and eventually the players come back to the world. Let everyone who is capable have tastes of every venue and see if they can handle the flavour of it, stuff like that. At the end of the day you can just chalk it up to experience and continue on.
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Re: Investment

Post by Hadwyn » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:42 pm

I have read all the previous posts through Gwain's and have a few comments/suggestions as we run toward seeking suggestions in how we might improve as a game.

I am sure the namesake character of this profile is known to be mostly my own character. I have two alts that I have started, but have yet to get either past level 15 due to a lack of time or running into my own issues with the character's RP opportunities. Thus, I return to my original character and build out his own story against the backdrop of the game.

For those that are quick to level and complete quests, this character has never come close to completing all quests and is just barely becoming a functional coded creature. Some of this is due to the character being my first and making a lot of mistakes early with quests and now being stuck being unable to complete or failing due to not fulling understanding the game years ago. It is just a part of the character, one of his many flaws. If I wanted to be a bit more complete, I am sure I could roll out a more coded-ly functional character, but I do not personally take much enjoyment from the mechanics of the game's quest-based system and grinding out skills/spells/etc.

My activity is derived from enjoying the interaction with everyone's characters (good and evil) and working in creating richer relationships. It can be a bit frustrating at times when characters disappear, but it is a matter of playing any MU*. At least here I can find people that have a desire to roleplay, which I had been unable to find for a long time as I bounced from Mu* to Mu* after the original MUD I had played closed.

From past experience, for players like myself the larger roleplay plots are the most important for keeping me interested. As a staffer on previous Mu*'s, this was also the same that drove my staff activity there. I want to work on creating a story that is fun, intriguing, and, hopefully, worthwhile for those involved. They are the plots that create tension and, should, have the greater rewards for participation.

As far as rewarding people for playing characters more consistently, I do not think rewards for completion will really drive anyone not already pre-interested in continuing to put time into their character. It may even be disadvantageous as it may mean a player may become bored with that character and merely try to grind out the hours to get a 'reward' before moving to the next concept. I would prefer these players seek out the next idea that may hold them to contributing more broadly to the roleplay of the game by discovering the 'right' concept for them. If they never find that concept, that does not mean the diversity of characters contributed to the fabric of the game were any less valuable.

I also saw mention of whether players (since I have never been a staffer here) feel as if they can contribute to the metaplots. In my experience, my character has simply been along for the ride, assisting those handful of characters driving that particular plot in their various tasks. Admittedly, Hadwyn has been at best more Sam-wise than Frodo as a character, so it may simply be a function of the character's/player's personality than a direct fault of plot runners.

I have sent in side-elements of a meta-plot that were more specific to Hadwyn in the past to run as a sub-plot, but were never accepted by staff at the time for various reasonable reasons. A few of those concepts were still incorporated into the character to explain the player's absence for a stretch of time with(out) any real approval from the storyboard staff.

I think the game would benefit from more plots that may be less complicated and more mundane at times. Immortal Necromancers, Grand Dragons, Mighty Deities are an important part of storytelling, but getting your butt handed to you over and over gets a little tedious for the support character. It would be better to have a larger plot that runs slowly over time driven by smaller plots that are more character focused and/or driven. To borrow from Tolkien, Frodo's journey to destroy the ring was the metaplot, but that series is far more diverse in its plots than the drive of a single (or set) of hobbits. That way more characters/players have the benefit of contributing to the story in a tactile sense and create more elements of their character to have those grand stories to tell younger character and/or newer players about when around a tavern or resting in the Market Square. It may also give players an opportunity to 'retire' a character in a dramatic sense to allow them to bring their next concept into focus/play.

These are merely my two cents and apologies for the length and lack of coherence as I took elements of previous posts as they struck my focus.

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Re: Investment

Post by Zethanon » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:39 pm

I've been thinking on this quite a bit lately. Ultimately all I can think of is people will get what they want out of the game and either stay or go. The game isn't in a huge position to make vast adjustments, realistically speaking, beyond inserting new areas and various other work arounds. But what we have currently is well enough, I feel.

What I have gotten out of this game is the people who play it. My most enjoyable experiences were the random encounters from players and immortals alike, and the planning of Saevitia was easily one of the more enjoyable experiences. Helping to build that story and play it out.

I've had a total of three long term main characters in a span of six years, with over 30 in my account for other ideas I've had or taken up as "sure, I'll do!" and fail to do with any real reliability because I tend to be stuck on one character at any given time. But a break in the 'monotony' of what we create at times is welcome.

Essentially, the game will be what we make of it in the end either way. We have a world to "make our own" in a way with some reasonable rules.
You'll shed your blood, your bodies fall. That is the price you'll pay to cleanse you of your sins. Vicious and cruel, let's kill them all.
Let's kill them all.

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Re: Investment

Post by Levine » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:52 am

Perhaps pinning the problem on investment, and having the solution be "more investment" may not be the most efficient answer. As everyone has covered here, we play the way we play. People come and go as they like.

I strongly believe that investment is only one facet of how to create a bustling community. A solution that can kill many birds with one stone would be ideal. (Work smart, not hard.) We want to create a self-sustaining community so the imms don't have to babysit everyone if they need to go.

In this situation, I think there may be several related problems to consider:
- Low investment
- Low traffic
- RPs (imm or player) have few real consequences (take an eye out, get an arm off, sell someone's heart to a demon, something that will increase the longevity of a 1-hour RP) or challenges to morals

I think one potentially effective solution to this would be to simply increase traffic. If Story Council is out (bring it back), and imms cannot always be there (understandably), then let the community's sheer traffic drive all these. We always wanted quality, but it has come at a price, and the only way to know if our method was worth the price, is a little social experimentation and market testing. We don't have a professional marketing team here, so why not just test things out?

Open up alignments (common complaint) for races would be a mild start. Don't like it? Cease it. Run pilots. Get experimental. Let a newbie win FM via an IC competition (or just give it to a controversial character). Hear me out! If they're bad? Take it away. The last time this happened, there were the most compelling RP lines that I'd seen in the last few years - it pissed people off, but there was a new fanbase growing, and that's perfectly fine - that's conflict. People talk about it for literal years.

I think we can try to loosen up screenings a bit, cast the net wide and see what sticks. It's not going to kill FK. We have tons of players that ragequit, but they 98% always come back because they love the game, but what I think we love more is what it can be.
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Re: Investment

Post by Aysa » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:20 pm

Levine wrote:I think one potentially effective solution to this would be to simply increase traffic. If Story Council is out (bring it back), and imms cannot always be there (understandably), then let the community's sheer traffic drive all these. We always wanted quality, but it has come at a price, and the only way to know if our method was worth the price, is a little social experimentation and market testing. We don't have a professional marketing team here, so why not just test things out?

Open up alignments (common complaint) for races would be a mild start. Don't like it? Cease it. Run pilots. Get experimental. Let a newbie win FM via an IC competition (or just give it to a controversial character). Hear me out! If they're bad? Take it away. The last time this happened, there were the most compelling RP lines that I'd seen in the last few years - it pissed people off, but there was a new fanbase growing, and that's perfectly fine - that's conflict. People talk about it for literal years.
I kinda like the adversarial / conflict RP building a good story and getting people invested via compelling story lines. But that's me, and I thrive off that. However, I know some people don't want conflict -- though I suppose we could direct them to certain archetypes?

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Re: Investment

Post by Mele » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:17 am

I've been debating on whether or not to reply to this thread because it seems inappropriate or defensive to counter the things being said here. I wrote something a week ago, at first, and decided not to.

Here's what I'd written:
I'm going to go on and be incredibly candid here re: roleplays being run.

Every roleplay I run comes with a reward. Every single one. You invest time in me, and I reward you. I don't care what alignment, what faith, what whatever. I give each of you glory, usually lots of coin to split, and a physical reward. I appreciate all of you.

Every roleplay I run comes with no specific ending in sight. Ex: Eat that baby. Sacrifice that baby. Keep that baby. It was all an option. You don't like what Character A chooses? Team up and stun him out and take it and choose your option. Do it in emotes, do it in combat. You can't sit on your hands and say "My character doesn't fit in so I won't try" and expect outcomes to follow your role. I'm not going to force a roleplay to go any which way. I'm setting the path up and following you, the pc's, direction.

Every roleplay I have run in 2018 has had a complaint. IC, OOC, game terminal, discord terminal. Genuinely, every single one.

Almost every roleplay I have made a post about to run in 2018 has had no interest. A posted roleplay gives you the opportunity to plan how to insert yourself as a lesser known/fitting character. [ETA: Because it's giving you time to think and plot]

My AG posts are often small fetch quests or large go on an adventure quest. The most popular ones are the ones that do not require grouping up. I never see people grouped up doing adventure type things on their own. I only see it when I echo. Even when the AG gives the opportunity, I do not see people forming their own groups for their own PC run adventure.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what I'm getting at directly here. This thread has had two feelings for me. A: Multi-alters are being less invested in an IC community by having many interests and B: Roleplay hosts are to blame for the IC outcomes making people feel not included or unwanted etc.

I don't know. I just wanted to be real and not the chick behind the curtain for a second here.
I'll brush on the faith manager thing, also. This thread did exactly that. As mentioned, it didn't go well. People were not happy. 95% of the faith managers were removed. I didn't mind that. I, personally, have shown that I'd add and remove casually as to present opportunity to others. Faith managing is a job, and not everyone wants it. I am no longer the single faiths admin as I was during the times that thread was posted and brought to light, but I do not see an issue with this happening again, only a lack of availability/interest. Most of the current generation play characters that belong to faiths that are managed, honestly. Others have IC reasons for waiting.

I feel like the response to my actions are the opposite of what the general consensus of this thread says they want : Roleplays with rewards. I'm not sure what to take of that. (There's literally a complaint about my last roleplay in this thread.)

Regarding Story Council, it's not a necessary thing for mortals to run roleplays. Were a mortal to be actively running roleplays themselves, that would be a reason worthy of revisiting the concept. But that's not really happening, beyond meet 'n greets. The opportunity is forever there to drop a message in saying "I want to run this, can I get some stuff." Nearly always results in some stuff, or constructive criticism of how to make a concept work, then stuff.

Take this as the candid input of a person, not the absolute bigbig word of a staff member.
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Re: Investment

Post by Aysa » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:02 am

Mele wrote:Every roleplay I run comes with no specific ending in sight. Ex: Eat that baby. Sacrifice that baby. Keep that baby. It was all an option. You don't like what Character A chooses? Team up and stun him out and take it and choose your option. Do it in emotes, do it in combat. You can't sit on your hands and say "My character doesn't fit in so I won't try" and expect outcomes to follow your role. I'm not going to force a roleplay to go any which way. I'm setting the path up and following you, the pc's, direction.
I wanted a moment to respond to this. When I said earlier that at some point during the scene, my character felt like she was talking to a brick wall, so she opted out of being involved -- that's not a reflection on the story teller. At least, I don't think it is. As you said, you allowed the story to flow in whatever direction the roleplay took it. I thought you did great. No, it was the interaction between the existing characters that caused my response.

And believe me, that interaction has not been forgotten. At the time, my character had little influence (not well established, no one in her corner being vocal / willing to stand up or against the current course of action) in the outcome. And just because she gave up on the outcome of that particular scene, does NOT mean she's given up on what she experienced. I have already reacted ICly to that scene. There is a storyline that a group of us mortals have been concocting based solely on that scene (Yes, I recently submitted an app request to further that storyline). So Mele, you've done your job as a story teller. And it's greatly appreciated. Because of that baby thing, it's generating more RP.

As for getting complaints, I don't think you can please everyone. You just can't. The best you can do is throw as much wet noodles on the wall and hope to see what sticks. Again, I think you've done a fabulous job. (And no, I'm not saying that to brown nose the big wizzie. It floored me to think that is what the Storyteller thought. Totally caught me off guard.)

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Re: Investment

Post by Yemin » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:18 pm

I'm more of a numbers guy than I am one for the social dynamic of the game and running events So as to this Topic Haroghty, I'll focus mostly on my lone experience.

I've not had more than 4 characters on the go at a time before. But I can easily say that Mers is my main most long lived character. I can say that for me, the reason I've played him for as long as I have is that I genuinely enjoy the character and his development more than perhaps even the environment itself. There were many periods where I played during low or no traffic because of how my free time coincides. As a result I've gotten used to enjoying the emersion side of things. Solo play has its own charms. When I sit down to play instead of log in for 5 or 10 mins, I really do start thinking like Mers does to perhaps a deeper degree than is probably recommended, given who the man is but eh. This is why it bothers me, perhaps more than most when i'm in that mind set and OOC factors give me a sharp interrupt.

For those like myself, finding the right balance of mechanical vs roleplay, the right class and the right personality that you can really sink your teeth into will see you invest in a single character. Mers is by far not my strongest mechanical character, but he's certainly my most robust RP wise.

On the flip side, I can tell you that the reason I'm not playing as much as I used to is almost entirely due to OOC factors. I've hit a period where games in general not just FK are a little too much energy for me so I'm not investing anywhere too heavily really.

Hopefully this'll change and it might have started to shift back but simply "not feeling like it" is rarely under anyone's control.

As I mentioned, I am better with the mechanical side so saying what will attract people or what people seem to enjoy is difficult for me to weigh on. I can tell you that when I used to run events, there was a lack of participation enough to demotivate me from running more in a similar theme or topic.

I don't know if i'm the minority or majority in terms of players that hold this view but hopefully this helped.
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Re: Investment

Post by Althasizor » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:21 pm

I haven't read most of the replies to this thread, but just throwing my 2 cents in to the OP.

As far as PC investment goes, I'm not sure where I stand on that. I'm definitely not a single-alter. I'll take intense interest in a character for several months/years, then just as suddenly find them boring and seek another character.

I think a lot of that "brick wall" moment comes from a lack of meaningful end game content to be involved in, which is a problem that's actually gotten a lot better as time's gone on with some really fantastic high-level areas being added. Still, there's very little in the way of reward for participating in areas like that. A lot of that comes down to the RMI system. If fetching some flour can pop the same rewards as raiding the ancient titan lich god king's lair, why wouldn't you just do the former? Especially when you're likely no longer wanting for new equipment by the time you reach the latter. "My PC would do it!" is the obvious answer, but eventually it isn't enough to just do things for the sake of doing them without growing as a result.

Another huge part of character fatigue for me is a lack of conflict. I know it's something that the community is split on, but for me personally, the game wears out fast when everything always works out for everyone. My primary concern in this way is conflict with other players, which usually tends to spark the most interesting RP opportunities in my opinion, but long-lasting NPC villains would also go a great way toward kindling interest. The issue with these is that, as they've historically been run, there's a sense of "intangibility" to the danger they represent - usually never manifesting as a real threat(Interest in an arc wanes when it's dragged out too long, and just leaves you feeling disappointed after investing so much in it).

Again though, ideally I would prefer conflict to be driven by players. The problem with that is the rules surrounding PVP are poorly worded enough to leave neither pacifists nor hardcore PVPers satisfied. They're restrictive in ways that muck up the whole experience 80% of the time, and usually results in one side feeling cheated no matter how it goes down. The defeated often are left searching through helpfiles looking for what they misread, or some "gotcha" line they can point to, and the victorious don't feel any better about it knowing the other player's got hurt feelings about it. That's not something that can be changed over night exactly, but a change to the rules we have to be less restrictive would go a long way toward guiding people to take it simultaneously less, and more, seriously. If PVP were treated less as an "infraction" than as something that can just happen people aren't likely to feel as cheated when it "happens to them", but it would also influence the way they behave ICly(How likely are you to sit on the fountain insulting that guy in the +5 black dread armour if you don't know he can't touch you?)

I'd sure play in the forest more if there were other people interested in it, or take greater interest in my faith if other people were too, but that's not something that a thread could fix. There's an idea that if you want to see investment in something, or you want a community to grow, you have to show an active interest in it and people will flock to it - "You get what you put into it". But in my experience, that isn't always the case. As someone who spent several years actively investing in two different faiths that saw zero increase in activity to either during my time FMing them, I feel confident saying that. Playerbase and staff responses just aren't always what we want of them when it comes to the amount of effort we put into the game, and that can be a very disheartening thing for the person who's actively putting in that effort. Increasing the "reward:effort" ratio would go a long way to making it more enjoyable, and that doesn't always have to mean items so much as it might mean a storyline tailored around that faith, school, etc.

I almost didn't say this, but just to put it out there. There's also in the past been a distinct sense of favouritism that's wore down my, and I know several other players', interest in the game. Story-driving RPs and such tend to revolve around groups of players at a time which, is fine, except when the next one revolves around their alt characters with very little care seemingly given to the players around them who are also trying to become invested in the story. I've tried to invest myself in these things in the past but repeatedly being left out of significant RP events in favour of targeted echoes, and a real sense that nothing I did made any difference whatsoever has left (not just!)me very frustrated to the point of bowing out entirely. Broadening the scope a bit to include a wider selection of players when building these stories would definitely be a step in the right direction. It becomes increasingly difficult to see a character as more than "a level 50 fighter/cleric/scientologist/rogue" when there's been very little opportunity for them to do anything significant or impressive as they've aged besides raiding the same dragon lair everyone else has.

There's a ton of other reasons that I wax and wane on FK, but those are the most prominent ones that could actually be fixed. More recently my absence hasn't necessarily been because of disinterest in FK, but with some great games having dropped in the past few months combined with the fact I'm usually more busy around this time of year, I've failed to find much room for meaningful RPs. I'm attempting to get back in the swing of things, and I'm glad staff are reaching out like this to the community.

P.S. Nothing I've written here is meant as an attack on any person, especially staff members. These are my honest views and I hope they're only taken as that.
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Re: Investment

Post by Fenith » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:08 am

As a relatively recent player, I want to throw in my two cents... please forgive me if I ramble a bit.

I've only been playing on this server since May, but I've been playing MUDs for 22 years, and tabletop for 32.

So far, in my time at FK, I've created seven or eight characters. Some of them have been deleted. Some are 'test' characters for me to help me learn the ropes a bit... but I have four 'core' characters. A Ranger, a Squire, a Thief, and a Fighter.

I built these four characters over the past three months for a few different reasons: the ranger was my first character and was built because I've always loved rangers. The thief was built because sometimes I like to play that sort of 'what's in it for me' mindset; the Squire was built entirely for the RP of going through being a page and a squire and so forth; the fighter is my 'I am just in the mood to kill things' character, and as such tends to avoid others and has no plans as of now to join a religion, etc.

Some of these characters see more time than others. In part, this is because of how my experiences with them have developed. For example... my ranger, Fenith, was my first character here. All of the mistakes I made figuring out pretty much everything that I know about the game to date have been made with him. He has made a variety of friends and acquaintances across the social spectrum (most of whom have saved his life at one time or another), but ultimately, he doesn't see as much playtime anymore because I feel like there's nothing for him to do except train skills. Not to say there isn't content for him, because there is. But he doesn't seem to have a plotline, or a hook. Many are the times when I will log him in and over the course of a few hours, he won't hear from anyone at all unless he reaches out first. He doesn't really have a path, short of 'become a better ranger'. He has a mentor, but doesn't see him often, and he has not yet been accepted by his chosen faith. Yes, I could try to change those things, but it feels like it would take effort that might not bear fruit. It feels like work.

Contrast that with my squire... he seems to keep meeting people, and picking up friends, and finding troub... er, adventure, without even meaning to. He gives me an easy way to RP with paladins/squires, and those who are not because you can always talk religion, or honor, or duty, or what it's like to walk that path... it seems as if I don't even have to try to make things happen with him. His path and arc are much more clearly defined, with almost no effort on my part. He has a mentor who keeps him on task, friends, and never lacks for things he should be actively doing.

My thief has fallen prey to what ails many thieves, I think. His (awesome) mentor did a great job guiding him through his initial learning up until he *REDACTED* and *CENSORED* with the halfling choir and *EXPURGATED*. But now, it feels like all he has by way of goals is to keep working on his skills. Despite his backstory, and the effort I've tried to put into making him his own person, I feel like there's just nothing pulling him in. By the nature of who and what he is, when I log him in, he keeps to himself, stays hidden and low-key. And he's on hold in joining his chosen faith because he is waiting for the FM (not a dig, at all, just pointing out that it's not something he can do anything about right now). For some, it might be enough to simply work skills and set those kinds of goals, but for me, that only takes me so far, and so I feel bored most of the time.

My fighter... I play a bit more, because he's mindless fun. Oh, sure, if you ever meet him in there, he'll interact, and has a story and a personality... but he's mostly just there for me to whack things when the mood is upon me to do so, and I don't feel like using any of my others to do it. So I don't really think of him in terms of a story arc or having big goals, though that could change over time.

Anyway, I know I was long winded (sorry!) but I guess what I am trying to say is that with four different characters, in the same game, I've felt different levels of pull and immersion and and varying levels of inclusion... if that makes sense? Perhaps I am just rambling. But I am inclined to play more when I feel like there is more to do, storywise. Like things are 'alive' and organic. And if I can help, in any way, with making that happen... I am happy to do so.

Anyway, glad to be here, and to play with all of you.

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