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> The Elephant In The Room
Myer
post Feb 12 2011, 08:15 PM
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So there was a thread locked in the Mystonline Forums, about the role of the Guild of Greeters and addressing people's belief that the Guild of Greeter's Hiatus has been a detriment to the retention of new accounts and players. Here is a copy of the message and I would love to hear the thoughts of the Greeter's themselves on the topic.

QUOTE
I haven't weighed in here for ages and ages, preferring a below-the-line profile where cyclones, hurricanes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters don't register, but as this has come up over at the Guild I happen to know and love and which has been much bashed here on mystonline, I think it might be time to speak up.

This is the question: WHERE ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE???

Ambient blame keeps trying to find the Greeters, as if this group were somehow singly responsible for the fact that these 400 a week don't seem to stick around, Please. Try to find them. I have. I can't. Can you?

So... I love that we have hit 50,000 as some sort of symbolic victory, but at the same time I think we need to stay realistic about these players. Is it really the fault of the Greeters that these 400 fabulous newcomers don't stick around for very long? Is it? Really? Would a Greeter a day keep the meter in play?

I think the Greeter argument is the ultimate Strawman. My opinon is this: instancing and the peculiar start of the journey in the current incarnation of Uru actually directs new players AWAY from the common areas, so that a natural, organic journey will be mainly performed alone. I have played URU for so long and in so many ways that I am no longer the person to prove that, but my instinct tells me this is so. Myst players, the largest demographic that might be drawn to Uru, are zenlike loners who want the solo experience and likely fear social encounters rather than seek them out. Marry that to a game design that gives the option of lone instances and you have a game made for the solo player, albeit online.

There are never thousands of players clogging up the common areas. Never. And there should be, if there are 1200 newbies, on average, a month.

Now, tell me that Greeters, who by rights would hang out in their pubic hood, or helpfully go proactively to newly created public DRC bevins, or maybe in a pinch see if someone needs help in the public city areas are really the key issue here as to why these players are not being retained.

There is a Greeter hiatus. That is true. We can all agree that isn't helping but I don't think ANYONE can really say with any certainty that it is hurting. So, can we stop saying that? The Greeters are chillin' because it takes a lot of time, energy and organisation to put forth a full roster, and the current level of INTERACTIVE newcomers simply doesn't warrant that. Moreover, the newcomers who do make it into the communal areas are really well taken care of by non Greeters who also happen to love the game and want to help, a position the Greeters has always been in support of, by the way.

It would be a really nice start if we were to stop bashing the Greeters on these forums, as far as interguild communications are concerned. And also that might help us all see where the real problem of player retention might be coming from.

All the best
nerfy



I agree with this post most definitely. It is the responsibility of ALL players, not just the Greeter's to be helpful and put themselves out there in order to aid newcomers to the cavern. Sure it could help that the Greeter's had a more dominating presence, but it isn't a prime and core reason for the lack of retention for new players. I think a lot of players and organizations have fallen prey to a common occurrence in an environment like this and that is, stagnation. A lot of times, players tend to stick to their small cliques and close friends that they have met over time in the cavern and begin socializing in only those circles. We need to find more ways to bring those groups out of those particular circles and integrate them more into the community as a whole, but how can this be done?

Also, a major pitfall that can not be avoided and, I feel, is the number one reason for lack of player retention is how the game is set up. With the majority of experiences being single player and with little guidance at the start of play can be both frustrating for players and also an excuse to stay away from the social environment. How can we get players who have little to no activity in the Myst Community Forums or one of the other Cavern sub-forums to become more active in them and the community as a whole to retain their activity?

These are the sorts of things we need to look at. How many people are signed up for the Myst Online Forums that are currently active and how many do you feel look at the Cavern Events? Not a large percentage I can assure you. so what can be done? Like I stated earlier, I would love to hear what the Greeters have to think and can not wait for some great discussion.
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veralun
post Feb 12 2011, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE (Myer @ Feb 13 2011, 02:15 AM) *
How many people are signed up for the Myst Online Forums that are currently active and how many do you feel look at the Cavern Events? Not a large percentage I can assure you. so what can be done?

This is an interesting question.
You can see that the MOUL forum does have 22550 "members".
But we all know that this number does not say how many people are currently active.
One of the side effects from the new setup membership for "Explorers" is that Cyan does get a nice impression from the active members. And you are right this is a small percentage (About 2% at this moment)


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Myer
post Feb 12 2011, 09:24 PM
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Thank you Veralun for the answer, I really appreciate it. Do we feel that the community should be promoting these other outside sources for help in getting information, cavern events and activities and all around community interaction? If so which forums would be good recommendations?

I think it would be great as it would lower the amount of in-cavern work for players, especially folks like the Guild of Messengers.

Also, after thinking about this for some time, a lot of people tend to stray away from the cavern because they have simply, "Done everything there is to do." I find that statement a cop-out, especially when it comes into reference of the community as a whole. There are new players that are exploring in the cavern every day and a portion of them are looking for other players to engage. This activity, no matter how many times we have completed it could never really get dull. For example, we can help and give hints to people on how to use the KI and, to us, it is monotonous, but for those who we are telling, they are hearing it for the first time.
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OHB
post Feb 14 2011, 08:04 PM
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If you want to get an idea how many people are active in the cavern (not the forums), check out this site:

http://rel.to/stats


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Hopeless Myster
post Feb 15 2011, 04:25 PM
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Really? You can't find *enough* new players so you privately decided that there would be no Greeters without asking the community? All I'll say is that the people who made that decision need to think more about the community they claim to serve. I don't think the Greeters should be limiting their membership beyond making sure the Greeters aren't griefers. Furthermore, if this roster is as time-consuming as is claimed, it hurts more than it helps. You might find Greeters go in more often if they don't feel like they're "on the clock".

People are looking for the Greeters and are never finding them. They tell me this every time I go to a hood or to the city. "There are no Greeters."

Now, there are a few potential explanations. 1. You have too few Greeters. 2. The people are not in the same area as the Greeter.

You have too few Greeters. #2 could explain *isolated* incidents, but not the widespread effect I see in-game.

Of course then there's the retention issue. The Greeters can help with ANY other scenario. In other words: The Greeters cannot and should not use the game's weakness as a crutch to cover up their failings.

Let's look at the potential causes for retention issues and how the Greeters impact them:

1. The game itself. Agreed. A lot of retention issues come from that. However, intervention by a helper (Greeter or otherwise) will keep the player a part of the community regardless of the game issue they face. The game issues affect retention purely because of the frustration it causes.
2. "I've done everything." Nonsense. The game has more than enough things to do both from the game itself (Er'cana, Jalak, etc.) and from the community (dances, etc.) The real issue is...
2a. "I've done everything I *want* to do." This is another major draw on players. At first this seems like something the Greeters can't affect. The truth is that coming into contact with a Greeter will often be one of the first social experiences a new player has (or should have) and, because of that, a Greeter has an opportunity to introduce new players to activities they are not aware of. I would also argue that new players may not even know where most of the Ages are (besides those in Relto) because the books are hard to find (note 1). A Greeter in this case could direct them to other journeys.
3. Everyone's in a private instance. Until there's data to prove one way or another, this is not an acceptable cause since you cannot prove something is one way by claiming there is no evidence that it is not that way. I don't agree that people are all sitting in their private ages, but it's useless to argue for either side until there is actual data to support it.

So no, the Greeters are not the sole reason for retention issues, but that's hyperbole and a strawman. The Greeters play a strong role, however, in keeping people in the game. Obviously people WILL leave the game, but the Greeters are the "first line of defense" so to speak and therefore it is not smart to prevent new people from becoming Greeters. Please either do the extra work to maintain the roster, find someone who will, or scrap it. You need Greeters (the tiny response in this thread should be enough to tell you that). If you don't feel the game is worth your time, then please let someone in who will expend the effort to help grow both your Guild and the game. A Greeter hiatus keeps us in the downward spiral of "there's no one on, so I won't come in."

Note 1: As proof, see the "Avatars by Wedge Count" in OHB's data. Most people have 4, 0, and 13 wedges. Those with 0 wedges are likely too high as the number includes most deleted avatars. So the most people have 4 wedges, which can be assumed with some certainty that they are the original ages since the "All Wedges" data shows the original ages as those with the highest wedge acquisition, or 13 (all) wedges.


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Myer
post Feb 15 2011, 06:35 PM
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There are a lot of points here that I agree with, while others I disagree.

The most important thing that I agree with is that there needs to be a more apparent and aggressive presence by the Greeters in the cavern. Was the move to not take in new initiates into the Guild a bad move? I feel so yes. Is it irreparable? Absolutely not and, from what I have noticed, the Greeters are creating more of a presence in response to the latest outcry. This is not to say that there aren't Greeters who have been doing this continuously since URU's reopening. There are some Greeters who have stood strong in trying to create some kind of presence, but it needs to be backed up with a stronger Greeter community. One or two players can not strengthen the community as a whole.

What I do not agree with in your response is this.

QUOTE
2. "I've done everything." Nonsense. The game has more than enough things to do both from the game itself (Er'cana, Jalak, etc.) and from the community (dances, etc.) The real issue is...

2a. "I've done everything I *want* to do." This is another major draw on players. At first this seems like something the Greeters can't affect. The truth is that coming into contact with a Greeter will often be one of the first social experiences a new player has (or should have) and, because of that, a Greeter has an opportunity to introduce new players to activities they are not aware of. I would also argue that new players may not even know where most of the Ages are (besides those in Relto) because the books are hard to find (note 1). A Greeter in this case could direct them to other journeys.


This is more in direct relationship to the "things to do." A lot of the long-term activities in URU are passive activities. This means that the things players can do, like Er'cana require, time and effort with little visual effect. With games like Jalak, there is little player response to this age. I have tried to, in my life in the cavern, get people involved in that age and I can not seem to find a single soul interested.


I still hold true to the stance that it is not the sole responsibility of the Greeters to be friendly and helpful in the Cavern. When you say that people come to you and say, "There are no Greeters," know that I also hear people share their frustration when they go to Ae'gura, an Age with 22 players in it at the time and say, "No one is talking," after numerous attempts at trying to bring up a conversation. That is one instance, but there have been numerous others where players are simply in cavern, but AFK or simply engrossed in private conversations with other people. I feel that players in general should be contributing to the community as well. I know that there are people who are, and that there are events, but it is an uphill battle at all times to retain players with no new content. Sure you can attend dances, but what about D'ni language classes? There are none in the cavern.

I applaud the explorer Tanshin, because he has finally risen up and started doing age runs with people just so that people can get together and explore. I don't know why people don't do that.

Can the Greeters contribute to the community by organizing events to bring in and retain new players? Yes of course they can. There can always be room for improvement and mistakes have been made. Do I feel that the Greeters are trying to address this now? I do. I see more Greeters in Cavern and I see more Greeters talking in cavern.

We can not get a full retention and the gameplay of URU is different than what many traditional multiplayer games are, so it is only natural that this is not a cornucopia of players. It doesn't have enough active gameplay that can continue to entertain players. This is why I would love to see an Age like Kahlo emerge during open source. The racing aspect of it would be an activity that, if done right, could bring a lot of people in and be something that could entertain endlessly.

Thank you Hopeless for the contribution. I do greatly appreciate it.


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OHB
post Feb 15 2011, 07:02 PM
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Part of being a Greeter is being easily accessible. That means Greeters go where the people are. We try to anticipate where we will be needed...and go there. That means the hood, the city, the fun house, impromptu events, the all guilds meeting, etc.


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MystyRiver
post Feb 26 2011, 01:26 PM
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What I find sad is that the GoG used to be the place where people came to get answers. It was always full. With greeters spread all over the place it may be more efficient in some ways, but it does give a false impression about the availablity of greeters if some people look at the GoG and no one is in there. JMHO
Mysty
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