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Posts Tagged ‘Necromundus’

Farewell, Necromundus

February 10, 2010 8 comments

Today, I regret to announce that we’ll be ending the adventure on Necromundus in the near future.

Effective immediately, the main website at http://www.jointhesaga.com showcases only OtherSpace. The forums have Necromundus boards just for those few staffers still working on the game.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. In fact, it’s a decision that I probably should have made back in 2008 when I was also weighing the closure of OtherSpace: Millennium and Chiaroscuro. In the end, we just don’t have the resources to support more than one game. And it’s enough of a struggle to promote an original theme text-based roleplaying game without adding the quirk of a MUD-style monster combat system. If I had chosen to close both OtherSpace games and Chiaroscuro to focus on Necromundus, I think it would have been okay. However, I chose to save OtherSpace and it appears that the space opera game will always be my favorite. So, rather than continue letting Necromundus go neglected, we’ll just let it go.

A storyline in progress on Necromundus will make it possible for characters there to make the transition to OtherSpace in a new mortal form, if they so choose.

Staffers on Necromundus will be welcome as staffers on OtherSpace – just drop me a line at OS and we’ll get you set up.

Thanks to all the players and staffers who’ve helped on Necromundus since it first came to life in late 2005.

Thinking About: Merging +vote and +rel/rank

February 4, 2010 28 comments

It’s been brought up a few times that +votes don’t yield a satisfying amount of Roleplaying Points and that the RPP Paycheck system, based on the +rel/rank relationship web standings, might give too much for the ease of earning them.

The suggestion was made to reverse this, so that +votes give more while RPP Paychecks gave less.

I think I’ve got a better idea: Eliminate an extra coded system by merging it with another. We could modify the +vote command so that it allowed you to rank a character while commending them for their RP. Each month, the rankings would reset. Yes? No? Crazy talk?

Thinking About: Exclusivity

January 30, 2010 10 comments

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.

Jointhesaga.com: New web stuff

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the Jointhesaga.com website the last few days:

OtherSpace Wiki: http://www.jointhesaga.com/oswiki
Necromundus Wiki: http://www.jointhesaga.com/necrowiki
JTS forums: http://www.jointhesaga.com/ovforums

The Yahoogroup will be deactivated tonight.

JTS Poll: Website Redux?

December 10, 2009 13 comments

One key to player retention has to be the main website for the games. Currently, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that it fails to do the job of hooking new players and providing them with easy-access information. Even my worst-designed sites for JTS at least had promo/newbie material in one place, a distinct and separate forum, and a Wiki for collaborative lore-gathering.

The site as it is now runs on a robust Drupal engine that’s versatile and handy IF you know how to use it and IF you’re willing to create an account to register for it. It’s rather telling, though, that I see more activity from players on my personal blog here in a day – no registration required – than I’ve seen on the main site during the past week.

So, I’m putting up this poll to see what other folks recommend. I vowed not to screw too much with the website again, but if it’s broken, then I need to fix it. Share your thoughts!

Thinking about retention on the MUSH

December 7, 2009 29 comments

Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of new people join OtherSpace. They create characters, move through the application process, get approval for the grid, and some stick around for a very long time.

Most don’t, though. That’s the hard truth.

Here’s a glimpse of our activity on OtherSpace during the past year:

* 289 characters active in the past 365 days.
* 129 characters active in the past 30 days.
* 70 characters active in the past 7 days.
* 41 characters active in the past 24 hours.

Now, that’s not bad for a text-based original-theme space opera MUSH: We’re falling into a niche that’s far more exclusive than most MMORPGs. However, it’s still pretty dismal. Not “lock the doors, turn out the lights, and fasten the shutters” dismal. Just “what aren’t we doing well enough and how can we improve” dismal.

Some retention failure can be explained by the ease of our character creation system. Years back, you couldn’t get on the grid without answering 20 questions and submitting a biography that was no shorter than 500 words. So, people who made a character *committed* to the process, *invested* effort on the front end, and felt more connected to the character. Now, you can walk through a handful of rooms in the chargen area and step onto the grid within just a couple of minutes. Writing a biography gets you the RP Points that you’ll want to spend on your character’s +sheet, and these days we only require 250 words. We made it simpler to make the games more appealing, with a lower barrier of entry. But that lowered barrier comes with a price: If you don’t have to do much to get the character, you’re not terribly motivated to *keep* the character. But at least they gave the game a chance, right?

Where else might we be falling short? How can we do more to connect with players, build their commitment to the game, and foster a sense of belonging that keeps them coming back?

I’m currently pondering the idea of a veteran rewards system, which would have various thresholds. If you’ve been active on OtherSpace for X amount of time, you’re eligible to get Y goodies. We might also do something with specific recruiting rewards. Catering to a player’s love of free stuff, maybe we can win an exchange of dedication and participation.