Here are the facts:
OtherSpace gets maybe 20-30 new visitors logging on to check out the game during an average month. Of those, maybe five stick around to give it a chance. Of those, we’re lucky if one really commits long-term to the character they’ve created.
From a promotional standpoint, this can be fairly demoralizing, especially when we have gone to great lengths to make the game so damned easy to join.
So, it occurred to me, maybe I’ve been thinking about it all wrong. Maybe ease of entry is the problem. People run through the simplified character creation in-game, usually without reading the material, just to make it onto the grid and disconnect before anyone can interact with them. Maybe the simplicity of the process puts forward a message like “Hey, you can join. Or not. It’s no big deal. Whatever.” And that sounds like the wrong message to me.
Maybe the message needs to be: “We’re concerned about quality. We’re looking for commitment. We don’t want just anybody running around the place. We’re exclusive. But we want to make sure you feel at home too.”
If we turn things to a new perspective, then those five people who give OtherSpace a real chance each month are the basis for us to say, for purposes of discussion, that we’ve got five open new player slots each month. We could set up a web-based character tutorial, have newbies read through it, and then submit an application via email at its conclusion. If a player’s application is approved, we set them up for entry into the game and close one of the available slots for that month. If we’re lucky enough to get six people interested during a month, then we start a waiting list. With that, perhaps we manage to turn a perceived weakness into an actual strength.
It’s not just a matter of being exclusive, though. I also want more of a hand in the character creation and player introduction process. I don’t want to miss a chance to communicate with potential new players – and an email application allows fairly rapid response.
Linda: When you do care, you care one hundred and crazy percent.
Jan. 18, 1873: One dark and stormy night, the grave proved mightier than the pen for Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
Jan. 19, 1920: U.S. Senate votes against forming League of Nations, because Justice League of America sounds cooler and involves wearing capes.
Jan. 20, 1920: A sad clown with one red balloon rode a unicorn-unicycle around a melting maternity ward as Federico Fellini came into the world.
Jan. 21, 1884: Roger Baldwin, social activist and oldest Baldwin brother on record, is born. Credited with Alec’s comedic timing and Stephen’s heavy drinking.
Jan. 22, 1906: Hither came Robert E. Howard, the Texan, black-haired, sullen-eyed, pen in hand…
Jan. 23, 971: War elephants of the Southern Han are defeated by Song Dynasty “Mouse Brigade” trained rodents.
Jan. 24, 1947: Warren Zevon is born to a werewolf drinking pina coladas at Trader Vic’s. His hair? Perfect.
Good speech overall, but: I wish the president hadn’t saved his best moments for the end. I’m also a little disappointed he went down the path of using that occasional “peeved” tone. Granted, it’s no secret that I have an affinity for snarkiness, but I think speeches before joint sessions of Congress and the entire free world are probably best kept at a level that can’t be easily construed as sarcastic or condescending.
Eh. I don’t regret my 2008 vote for Barack Obama, but I expect to see better from him and Congress. I’m particularly interested to see how far the spending freeze will go.
I’m cautiously optimistic. Maybe not so “Yes We Can” as 2008, perhaps more along the lines of “Yes, Maybe We Can, If We Can Get Out Of Our Own Damned Way.”