Suggestion-less January

  • @Seter:

    Seter SAID

    The story must come first and the DMs are the storytellers. I do not believe anyone would react poorly if the team agrees to focus on fixing the bugs they got, telling the story and temporarily shutting down all future production of new features.

    This x100. This idea might seem strange but I don't think the server requires the constant mechanic changes by our most active DM's. If you want to see more plot-focus in the server it requires involvement from both the DM's and players. DM's get burned out because every time they sign onto IRC they get bombarded with suggestions and bugs nonstop (Scrying, shocktroopers and gardening bugs for example). The server doesn't need all of these constant new mechanical changes, it needs new fresh stories and requires attention from both sides of the server. We all appreciate the value of all the mechanical changes made by the DM's but if the time spent by them could be better used by continuing the telling of a story I think it's worth it.

  • What Seter said.

    Also gDarDog.

    I enjoy the custom stuff on the server a whole lot, but I enjoy the storytelling on the server a whole lot more.

  • @JackTheCat:

    What Seter said.

    Also gDarDog.

    I enjoy the custom stuff on the server a whole lot, but I enjoy the storytelling on the server a whole lot more.

    Exactly, the DM team has been churning out this awesome content on a consistent basis but now I think it's a time where we have enough of this and should focus on the storytelling a whole lot more. Hold back on the changes for awhile and get back to the old school story telling and I think you'll see a lot more people engaged in the server compared to what we currently have.

  • Visible DM activity IG is what drives people to play CoA, yes. I'd like to see less pressure on what the next cool feature is going to be, not to take away from all the really awesome stuff the team has produced. There's plenty of cool stuff on the server right now, enough to make anyone happy. People should focus more on what can be accomplished through exposure to plots and roleplay, which is of course, a whole lot. Much of it isn't knowing the plots themselves are there, but knowing that DMs are present. Being exposed to players IG, having them interact, and building a connection IG.

  • I love this idea, lets stop pushing too much for minor bug fixes and new custom content and give the DM's a chance to have fun telling stories instead. Also, around this time last year (I think, might have been two or three) they had an App Free Month. In essence you could explain your story and the DM would write the app for you and the DM's would yes almost any minor app so long as it made sense and contributed to the server. Obviously you weren't going to get a vampire or a half dragon lord or what not from this, but if you've always wanted to play an official clergy, or on of the lower end subraces or something, the DM's made it very easy to get for a little while. Maybe we could plan an Appless month for sometime in the new year to get people back in the game?

  • Storyteller [DM]

    Guys more DM presence would be great, but you need to realize DMs are people too, we can't dictate what DMs spend their time doing. Often times folks who don't have the time to be IG running plots can still be fixing things, or implementing systems in their off time. Some people just like doing that stuff more.

    We don't tell you guys what you have to spend your time doing IG, so please reciprocate!

    A common theme of these threads seems to be "What the DMs need to do." To be frank, we know what we need to improve on. Suggestions are welcome, but turning the DM team into a scapegoat for the state of the server is not going to accomplish anything. These discussions will get further if players focus on what they can do differently.

    The notion that DMs are the soul story tellers on the server is just plain wrong. We are here to facilitate the stories told by players.

  • Admin [DM]

    Consider what you can do as a player, it will not only help yourself but others to have fun. DMs decide what they want to do, everyone got different amount of time, interest and skills. What I would love to see however, is IRC to be more positive! That would make my day and year

  • Honestly, I think the problem with player inclusion partly is the 'secrecy' and 'cliques' ,level split, and pc (can't remember the word, but like in jobs where people are leaving so often and new people coming that noone is around long enough to build up significant experience or connection or to have enough organization intelligence and experience to pass on to the new people). One of the biggest things that kept me coming back 7 years ago when I first came to coa, was how other players would put a lot of effort in to show new people the ropes, include them, etc. Some of this still happens still, but as an example, I can't tell you how many times I've got caught screens behind the party because everyone is gunning along to do the quest.

    Sorry guys, but if you are not standing around for awhile chatting with other pc's during quests, or spiremancing, or getting direct dm interaction, that is where the rp'ing actually happens. You've got to divide your time up a bit this way, to actual rp'ing and storytelling if you want people to get this (and I'm sure this still happens a lot, but not where I happen to be at the moment, ie people are rp'ing with their IG crew at a base or somewhere else, not at the spire. I see people I've been trying to arrange to meet for days/weeks to get involved with because something about their characters is relevant to mine/plots, but if they don't rush off on a quest when the few people on the server are around, they miss the 'quest train' and are stuck sitting around not being able to quest for awhile.)

    The regular players have their crew, so often don't need other players, and are arranging, sometimes in irc, to be on at the same time to support each other. The dm's want people to find out about plots In Game. New people may not have access to other players as much to find other people to play with.
    It seems like you have to get to about 6 level and /or have a bunch of the right gear and potions if you want to solo or explore while you are on the server, without dying stupidly, which also means you have to be questing regularly enough to buy the consumeables that let you do this, or be a spellcaster that can do this themselves.

    It feels like there is a lot of 'blaming the dm's ' for lack of fun, interaction. Where are the pc's who there looking for new people to recruit, and teaching them the ins and outs of the game?
    And remember, this is a -really old- game - anyone who wants to play games, especially of the younger generation, that has awesome consoles and high end computer, can play all sorts of other games instead of this one, including nwn2 and servers connected with this.

    Honestly, I can get my 'gaming fix' elsewhere, I can even do pencil and paper roleplaying with virtual tabletop software if I want to. What kept me here, and will keep me here in the future, is not just 'more interesting plotz and better storytelling by the dm's', it's a CONNECTION TO OTHER PEOPLE where I feel valued, and engaged, where I feel I fit into a niche and get to explore my own gifts and interests, and the other people around me show interest in this.
    The dm's try to do this, of course, but they have to cater to the WHOLE SERVER; expecting them to constantly be there for new players when they are confused or lost or frustrated or bored with the game isn't really reasonable (especially in certain timezones where there are few people on, and few dm's, at the best of times).

    Encouraging new players to bring their own friends to play with on the server might help with this a bit. But if some of them get a bad experience from some of the long term players, or the dm's, you might just lose all of them in a given group, at the same time, as they find somewhere else to have fun and share their time with each other, which is not that hard in this day and age.

    If barely anyone is on, when you are, they are not going to be able to tell you about the quests that might interest your pc, if they even know, etc.

    In summary, and I've said much of this before so forgive me if I don't keep doing so in the future, having things to basically get lots of outlier people on board with what is happening, will work. Something for people who don't spend their days logged into the coa irc channel. Something that let's people know what is happening, how to be included, etc (like little news papers, scrawls in old town, announcements, rumours, bulletin board posts, bounties/business posts hiring support or pc's to do things/help them on quests, etc)

    The other really big thing I see, is not knowing when other players you want to rp with are or will be on. You will only log in and idle doing nothing for a little while, if you are new, before you get bored or frustrated, and find something better to do.

    so once again:
    secrecy - noobs don't know how to get involved, and finding out 'IG' is often not sufficient
    level spits - not everyone can quest together on a lot of quests because their levels do not allow it (I've made low level alts specifically for supporting new/low level characters who maybe are not designed as powerful builds that can solo things, ie if they are more story centric)
    player consistency - pc's having had time to get to know other pc's who can introduce them to factions, plots, etc, and knowing when (and where) people will be online so as to be able to bump into them

    some solutions I mentioned:
    -supporting new characters players more, introducing them to pc's and factions and plots relevant to their characters, and giving them a way to stay connected so they can reconnect when they are on.

    sorry i got real life stuff to do, people are waiting on me.

    if i don't get forum banned maybe I'll come back and edit this. But honestly this posts seems a lot like some players are insinuating my 'suggestions' are what is killing player retention on the server. I will stop posting so many suggestions, and we will see, I guess.

  • tl;dr

    More active DMs is always the answer, but I wouldn't ask builders and scripted to stop what they're doing. That's important too.

  • Let me try a shorter version:


    ! Communication is key for complex systems to work as a harmonious symphony (see Symphony ability described in 'A Whole New Mind').
    This includes a way to have knowledge about the setting.
    The library initiative and bounties seem like one positive move in this direction.
    Perhaps PLAYER bounties for sharing useful information on the server in a good way (I'm thinking of the forums, but that doesn't have to be the only place), perhaps there could be more bounties for such things, such as useful rumours/announcements/ scrawls/ bulletins / etc.
    I would suggest consumeables, like very frequently used and needed ones, of low level power, would make good bounty rewards in general, especially since that is one of the obstacles to be able to keep questing/pvp'ing / doing more difficult things.
    Perhaps another bounty could be getting a dm time for things, ie IG rp, moving plots/plots hooks etc.
    I don't think this should be something the player should be able to request, but perhaps dm's etc could give this option as a bounty a player can receive when they are choosing to reward them (maybe check amongst the dm team first to make sure there is a dm willing/available to support in this way.
    ! (EDIT:) If a system is changing fast than people are gathering /sharing information about the system, than information /knowledge / is being lost, ('uncertainty' about 'the system' is increasing ).
    (You can learn more about this stuff in information theory and thermodynamics, some key words are:
    information; entropy; chaos; order; complexity; homeostasis; equilibrium; 'heat death'.)


    ! With a small player base, the server gets split a lot. Focusing time with main characters (shhh yes i have lots of alts), and making sure most subplots tie into bigger plots somehow may help with this.
    Pc's choosing/ ooc agreeing to support each other in their plots/ supporting people's main pc's might be helpful a bit too: ie find people you can work with, and give back time when people jump on your plot wagon and help it get going. There plot may not be as cool as yours, but if they don't have fun, and don't stay, it will be much harder to get your own plots moving forward.
    (This one is a challenge for me, but that is part of why I also know how important it is, because I've struggled with it so much… It's hard to choose -JUST ONE- cool idea or fun thing.)


    ! (edit: might also include 'habit', 'consistency', 'ritual' in the title, but partly involves individuals and the system on the whole having enough 'organizational knowledge/ self-knowledge' to be able to interact with each other/ itself in a higher level /more synergetic/symbiotic way. ie with a deeper relationship, different elements can meet more of each others needs, ie a rainforest is considered a peak ecosystem, so rather than most of the organisms being in a high level of 'competition', as in 'pioneer' ecosystem, the level of synergy/symbiosis/ mutual support and interrelationship is at a fairly high level; things have co-evolved to help support the 'meta'organism of the biome as a whole)
    ! If your characters explode onto the scene, then explode off again, you may bring some characters along with you for a bit, but it will be harder to bring people into your plots, and you probably won't be supporting other people's plots, or other new players that much.
    Something which might be useful, is thinking in terms of a 'pie', with your coa time, in terms of what is most fun for you, and what supports the server, other players, etc most, and then try to allot a percentage of some of this coa time to some of these different things. This balance will probably shift, depending on how much time you have, so be aware of this, and let people know as your commitments and ability to hold them in the game, in character, on the server shift, so other people can shift priorities/ compensate.


    ! People like story, and loot, and other stuff like this, but really what will keep people coming back, is the relationships their characters have in the game, and the relationships the players have with each other that connects them to this server.
    I'm going to keep this short, but please don't underestimate the importance of this point, next to communication, it is probably the most important one.
    ! (EDIT: BTW, I'm an introvert, and used to spending a lot of time alone. Most people are much more social, and won't spend much time in a place where they are not getting positive social feedback and support (and why should they?))

    and THIS for system hackers:



    More active DMs is always the answer, but I wouldn't ask builders and scripted to stop what they're doing. That's important too.

    Let me regale you with the list of active and bad DMs we've had and the damage they did.

  • @Hominid:

    Guys more DM presence would be great, but you need to realize DMs are people too, we can't dictate what DMs spend their time doing. Often times folks who don't have the time to be IG running plots can still be fixing things, or implementing systems in their off time. Some people just like doing that stuff more.

    I don't think my intended message got across. This is me saying something to the player-base not the DM team. Asking for everyone to just take a step back from a thousand suggestions and constantly demanding minor bugs to be fixed at all times. I remember there is a post on the forum where Moloch said something along the lines of "Every minute we spend reading your post, or fixing your bug… etc is one less minute that we could spend IG".

    Maikeru your post doesn't make sense at all....It has nothing to do with this thread.

  • There are at least three other threads ongoing right now that my post is related to, it just happens I put it in here, because this post seemed to be specifically directed at -me-.

    Simple enough for you?

    The people who are consistently reading all the new posts will probably get what is meant to be conveyed (and perhaps others can continue that discussion in those other threads which are tl;dr for me (since i would read all the posts from the beginning, before i made a response… and honestly, most of those people venting their drama and blaming everyone else for their 'lack of fun' don't even bother to read my posts anyways, so maybe i'll get to it later. if i feel like it.) )

  • I read both of your essays and neither of them have any sort of relevance to this post. My post is directed at everyone.

  • Imo dms should be more rewarding when a lot of players (3+) go out on adventure looking for something (npc, item or area etc.) to further a plot that can further intrigue. A lot of times you end up doing the same thing over and over without any reaction from dms and if you're lucky you'll earn a clue to something/somewhere else that requires a dm the next time you try that out instead of just handing a "twist" of what the pcs are looking for. Obviously dms can't just hand over the eternal orb of super duper awesomeness to save Arabel or awaken the ebol demon-dragon of evil right away but perhaps in minor form/"twist". A shard of the orb or a wyrmling of the big bad dragon that has some cool options like restoring one of the mighty stone guardians of Arabel to prevent an invasion, or with the wyrmling in case to aid in an assasination with its ebol ebol magic.

    A lot of times there's just too much work without any kind of reward except clues. If you rly like clues make them so you won't have to use an npc to interact with the pcs every time but have it as "grafitti" or something else when pcs reach a destination like the stuff in Old Town. Saves time of dms and certainly for players too.

  • Honestly, if you find you're pursuing something often and including others without reward, take a few screenies and send it to a DM. This will help to show the team that even though they weren't available for stuff, you are still drilling away at the plot so that when they are available they can reward you appropriately. Screenies are proof that you have been drilling away and including others and as we all know, DMs can't always be available for OUR schedules. If you're working on a plot AND letting the team know, rewards will be better if they actually have an idea of WHAT you're trying to accomplish/gain and the fact that you are actively pursuing it.

  • I've done that in player plot forum WITH screenies and WITH text.
    In my experience the times you earn most dm-support are when you follow a plot the dms themselves have already tailored strangely enough a lot of these plots are actually more demanding for the dms than the player plots.
    To me I just don't see the efficiency that should be.

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