What's scaring away new players?

General chat and banter about Pleasantville by Night

What's scaring away new players?

Postby Taylor » Tue May 08, 2012 5:14 am

Kind of a long post, but I feel it's important.
This round has actually seen quite a few new players sign up, but unfortunately it seems as though they haven't really stuck around. Now, some people don't make it past the first battle, and that probably just means that they don't really like the feel and there's not much I can do about that (though maybe even that battle is too hard?). But there are a few people who have played for a day or two and then seem to have stopped.

Now, obviously if you're responding to this it probably means you're one of the ones who hasn't stopped, but you might have a better idea of what the problems are from a players-eye view. A big part of the changes I made this round were trying to make the game a bit easier, has that succeeded? Is it still too hard to start out? Or is it not the difficulty that's the problem?

One thing that I've noticed is that pretty much everyone (if not everyone) who actively or semi-actively plays is a former SSW-er and so people coming in from that community know that there are other people out there playing whereas someone who follows it from an ad or something might not. Aside from the userbox in the corner and the society lists in your society's HQ there's not really much notification that other people are around if you don't go on the forums or happen to run into someone. Is that a problem that y'all feel needs to be addressed? Should make getting a chat implemented a higher priority?
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Salen » Tue May 08, 2012 8:22 pm

i still hear that everyone is getting their butts handed to them right off, and from two i heard that losing the first fight is kind of a let down (i realize that you actually win, but well you know some people wouldn't see it that way i guess) i think the main thing is that they don't know that they have to stick with just nerds for a long time before they try something else. this round i couldn't find alot of nerds but did alright once i got a good weapon (hammer) maybe if they tutorial brought them to the stores or told them where to find better weapons? you could always have them kill 10 nerds for the first "mission" in each society maybe? of course then we would need a lot more nerds and i don't know if they could be increased that way or not. i can always message some of the ssw'ers that stopped and ask their opinion as well, i know of like three so far i think.:)
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Salen » Tue May 08, 2012 9:01 pm

Well it's WAY to difficult to kill the enemies early on. I am constantly having it lag out and time out. and it doesn't allow for autosaved password. so I can't just jump in like nothing happened between stuff at work for example I'd probably keep trying a bit if I could just jump right in with saved password on a single click when sitting at work stealing 3 seconds here and 5 seconds there.


ok that's one persons input, i've got four more messages out there waiting and will let you know when i get them. and the password autosave thing would rock by the way
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Salen » Wed May 09, 2012 12:34 am

The last time around, I leveled for quite a while and I still wasnt able to beat my first mission. I also had to ask for help on how to do it, I couldnt figure it out on my own. That part is on me tho, not a fault in the game. Because so few people play, it didnt seem like there was much of a market for diamond types like myself. And it's definitely not that I dont like the game, it has a great basis. But all I did was fight monsters that were either underpowered for me or far too strong for me, and I never beat my first mission. I think I really needed more direction.


i've since told this person some names of players that can help if she wants and even a society she could join that usually has only one player (julionics needs peeps in the young ones i hear LOL)
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby julionics » Wed May 09, 2012 2:08 am

I can say it might be the fact that you do "die" a whole lot till you get rolling. Some that I have spoken to said that new missions would be a great improvement. All in all there was enjoyment in playing the game.
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Taylor » Wed May 09, 2012 3:48 am

Salen wrote:
Well it's WAY to difficult to kill the enemies early on. I am constantly having it lag out and time out. and it doesn't allow for autosaved password. so I can't just jump in like nothing happened between stuff at work for example I'd probably keep trying a bit if I could just jump right in with saved password on a single click when sitting at work stealing 3 seconds here and 5 seconds there.


ok that's one persons input, i've got four more messages out there waiting and will let you know when i get them. and the password autosave thing would rock by the way

Oh dang. I don't use autosaved passwords so I didn't even know it wasn't working. Fixed now.


Thanks for the input. I'm considering giving each society a new (nerd-centric) first mission in addition to the others. Probably going to default people's stats to be a bit higher to start out with as well, and maybe "flatten" the difficulty of the creatures in an area so all of the creatures in a given area are close to the same power level.

I've also kind of been thinking about completely changing the way stats are done. Maybe I ought to go ahead and do that with an eye towards making it easier rather than trying to fix the system we have now. But that's a different topic.

Let me know if you hear anything else from anyone (or if anyone has anything to chime in themselves please feel free!)
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Salen » Wed May 09, 2012 8:40 pm

thanks for listening:) this is great and i'm having fun actually being a useful voice in all this, just smack me when i get too annoying LOL! (not you julionics, i get to annoy you for free)
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Salen » Thu May 10, 2012 8:07 pm

oh and the saved password thing didn't work today, did yesterday but now it's off:)
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Spang11 » Tue May 15, 2012 11:23 pm

hi, a bit of newbie perspective for you straight from the horse's mouth!

-There's not much of a front page (understatement!), although I guess that's more of a deterrent to would-be players than new players. Not sure what'd be suitable, I doubt some big full-page splash graphic would be necessary but ISTR it was a bit empty and short on info.
-Game is quite interesting from a sort of wander-about-and-explore sort of perspective, although I get the impression I've found 90% of the locations by now? Maybe I haven't, but if so then that factor's gonna run out of steam for me pretty soon I expect.
-UI isn't so great- not that I want more graphics or anything (I don't), but some of the controls are kinda meh, eg many clickable bits of v.small text (fiddly and awkward) instead of larger areas (eg small icons perhaps 16-24px across or something like that for the sewer controls- ok strictly that'd be "graphics" but not in the way many peope would mean), or the behaviour of boxes of NPC dialogue at the start which seems kinda awkward somehow (hard to describe)
-Another annoyance with the controls is the lagginess and lack of feedback for them: eg "loading" type feedback graphic appears way off in the top-right corner of the screen when you try to move, when it might be better showing it on the actual map, say in the square you're moving to, or else at least near the map. A much worse case IMO is how when you're fighting, the character display generally doesn't seem to update for some time after the round is described; I've learnt to sit and wait for about 10 seconds or so after either side does any damage, to see what the actual results are. As another example of limited feedback, it's also sometimes hard to tell whether you've made a new attack if the text is identical to last turn (eg if nobody hit) except by checking the stats to see if those changed- but I dunno what could actually be done about that. Yet another example of bad feedback and lagginess is when you BUY stuff. Seriously, this one sucks, please sort it out if nothing else! You fill in how many items you want, click "purchase", sit about a few moments, and a subliminal white "buying success" message suddenly flashes past. What was that? Was it the "LAG 1500 MS" message? I didn't notice. I must not have clicked it properly, I'll do it again. So I now have TWO butterknives, well at least they're not expensive. But surely the feedback should stick around on the dialogue where you can see it.
-Lack of info. For instance, if I click the "examine" button, for MOST items it just says exactly the same thing as on the pop-up for the item, which I already had to click in the first place. Yes it shows more for equipment at least, but for instance many items I have no idea what they'd do (Angel tears?) and don't want to waste them, and many foods it'd be nice to have a clue how much nutrition I'd get without trial and error. Lack of info on monsters is somewhat more frustrating, yes ok it may be realistic to not have stats viewable for your enemies but the same would go for the equipment IRL.Seeing as we have the weird trading cards (which don't appear to have ANY other purpose??) showing descriptions of the monsters, that might seem to be a good place to list some of the stats? Hell, even if there ARE otherr purposes for them it sounds good, if you don't want to show them on the monsters themselves. Perhaps each card might only show one or two stats, until you've collected several of them, or something, to make it a bit more challenging, and give more for players to do.
-Other things without quite enough info include the STATS. I can see that my Stamina increases my HP as the stat level goes up. I presume the Strength level increases the damage I can do with close combat. Intelligence I presume has something to do wth spells, which I haven't got any of yet. Willpower? Perception? Dunno! Do any of these things protect from EG cherub faces or evangelist rants? Agility? For that matter I don't actually know if half of these even have any effects.
-It's also in some cases a bit hard to tell which monsters class as what; I really wouldn't want it to be spelt out eg "Killing this monster will upset the Inquisitors but please the Followers!", but having seen the text for all the societies I still find myself wondering "Does that monster count as being from *this* plane or not?" and "Does that guy count as mentally ill?" and "Where do these animals fit in?" and "Would the Beezlebros like these people or not?". Again, don't go spelling it out or anything boring but I still think some of it could be a little clearer somehow, whether in the monster descriptions or the cards or the society HQ blurbs. Even if you do decide to do that, there's probably still nothing wrong with leaving us to a certain amount of guesswork and trial and error on this though.
-On the question of whether it's too hard, it doesn't feel like there's very many low-to-medium power enemies around, or where there are, they're all in a group with 50 others in the same room so I decide not to attack them in case I have to fight too many things at once- because there's no point wasting my vitality and HP and money fighting more than I can deal with and getting killed or having to run away, which results in me getting no loot and IIRC no favour either (OTOH at least it gets me XP so that's something). Not sure what the answer to the lots-of-monsters-together problem is, maybe it'd be less of an issue if we could find out the stats of some of them, as mentioned above. Or a limit to how many monsters can stay in a room, or how many you have to fight at once (if there is one already, info on this would be very handy). But limiting the number of monsters in a room/fight might make it a bit boring, especially for higher-level players. An alternative might be to ensure that there's always somewhere (not the same place all the time!) at any moment where there's smaller numbers of monsters, but this seems to be the case anyway- it's just that tiny groups also usually seem to feature a powerful enemy.

PHEW! Ok sorry I went on so much, but you DID ask, and maybe some of my views reflect the experience of some of the players who give up quickly. I at least intend to keep playing for a few days longer currently. Good luck! :)
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Re: What's scaring away new players?

Postby Taylor » Wed May 16, 2012 4:41 am

Awesome, thanks. A lot of good stuff in there, including some things it'll be pretty easy for me to do in the next few days.

FWIW, there actually is a limit on the number of creatures who normally show up in a battle, either 3 or 4, I don't remember off the top of my head (and it also doesn't let too many join if it their combined power is too much, but it's probably not very smart at figuring that out). I'll figure that out and add it to the stuff the Weirdfellows guy tells you at the beginning.
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