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A discussion of current IC activity and OOC plans, with an extended conversation about how to get new players more engaged from the outset.
Balerion says, “All right, first up, the status of current IC and OOC things of note.”
Balerion says, “ICly speaking, major things in King’s Landing include the on-going murder plot (more on that a bit later), Baelor’s return and various things related to it (the Great Sept, the kingsguard, peace with Dorne). The murder plot is going to be advancing soon, as we’re working on extending it to fit into some other things—thanks for all your patience on that one. Baelor’s return is the major thing at court right now, and we’ll be seeing more things changing and happening by degrees, leading to some fairly significant developments (those who know the books can guess as to what that may be). We’d like to be able to use Baelor and Viserys more to help flesh things out, but I’m not sure we’ll be able to do too much of that before the New Year. But the murder plot’s there, and there may be some new rumors floating around that may or may not be hints regarding what Baelor is up to.”
Balerion says, “In Dorne, it has been a bit tougher for us to get things going, but the next step in the Boneway matter should be announced soon as Marence (finally) makes some decisions. We want to ramp up tension there… with the ultimate aim of some sort of plot leading to many players being able to head out to that region for a month or two. But that’s again for after New Year, since the game will be very quiet during the holidays, from past experience.”
Reyna says, “I think I just heard Caitrin sharpening her dagger.”
Damphair says, “God, that psycho’s going to be looking for people to kill again, isn’t she.”
Balerion says, “Before I go on to OOC topics, anyone have any questions about the above? :)”
Alek says, “Will people involved more directly with the murder plot be briefed a bit more with what’s going on before it happens?”
Urston says, “I am just curious, to make sure everyone is on the same page here. I got into a ooc discussion the other day about it. How pious do we all believe Baelor? Do we all know he is obsessed, or do we think that’s just his public face and he is as scheming as everyone else?”
Janden would think what you believe is up to you, but yeah - the general mood of the people and all.
Balerion says, “I think we’d certainly want to work with players on the murder plot, and I think we’d certainly want to give a better sense of what developments there have (or haven’t been), what efforts have been made, and s oon.”
Balerion says, “so on, rather.”
Janden yeahs. “I’d like to help somehow but there’s not too much to go on to pursue anything.”
Alek says, “‘cause there’s Alek, who I’d say is executive investigator at this time, or the equivalent of, With Ser Richard as the head. I’d just like to know a bit with what’s going on, get more involved and try to help out a bit more. I’m fully willing to help out whenever I can.”
Balerion says, “As to the general perception of Baelor, I’d say the smallfolk certainly believe he is very pious, and think very well of him for it. The nobility may be somewhat more varied, but I think anyone who has met or seen Baelor will generally believe he’s the genuine article.”
Reyna says, “Is it appropriate for anyone who sees him regularly to be a little worried that he might be a zealot or is that premature?”
Damphair says, “As far as the murder plot goes, we’re currently figuring out how to seed clues in a way that players will be able to find them, act on them etc. If any players have any ideas, they’re more than welcome to send them in.”
Janden says, “That will probably depend on how bold/careless/lazy the killer gets, to an extent.”
Balerion says, “I think right now it’d be a little premature. However, I think it’s fair to say that anyone who knew him prior to his journey to Dorne may recognize that the trip seems to have made him more outspoken and intense in his faith.”
Alek says, “Alek already has theories to intent and pattern, thanks to some tip-offs from players. As well as a potential suspect that makes sense.”
Damphair says, “I’ll be handling the authority NPCs for this TP as and when needed—Conrad Arryn, Richard Harte, any others—so any player has IC reason to speak with any of them, +mail me.”
Balerion says, “All right, on the OOC side of things, as you can tell, we’re getting busier than we expected, so we’ve had to try and focus a bit on which jobs to tackle. As we said, unless there’s something urgent or something you think can just be answered one-off, try and hold off on adding more +jobs to the load we have at present. :) Various projects for after the New Year will include attempting to get Renown working properly at last, expansion and updating of family trees (including new trees, thanks to the many new names we’ve gotten to make it easier), improvements of theme files and such to try and be a bit easier for new players, and hopefully a combat system that is more complex than what we have presently.”
You say, “The key issue we found during the show this year was the stream of newbies which meant we had little time for anything but approvals and the fact that, ultimately, retention was very poor. So we’re trying to think of what can be done to improve retention, though its hard to tackle when you don’t get much feedback on why people leave at various stages.”
You say, “Some issues, obviously, can’t be fixed. If someone comes here looking to play on the Wall because it was cool on the show, that’s one we can’t do much about.”
Lilah knows one person left because they didn’t think there was a lot of “plot”; thinks they were expecting more blatant TPs to interact with.
Alek says, “I think the main problem is that people come here, expecting it to be all action and WoW-like, and it isn’t.”
Nymeria nods. “You’ve got raw newbies who have one set of expectations and then gamers from other games or other gaming backgrounds. We’re not really from a GM-heavy background at all.”
You say, “Well, we did have one guests a few days ago who logged on, was greeted and said: “wtf where are the graphics?” And then disconnected.”
Reyna did see that when we did the Highgarden Tourney. A lot of players expect someone else to think up the fun stuff for them. The really new folks don’t want to have to do that themselves.
You say, “I am starting to imagine that a lot of the connect followed by instant disconnect expect graphics to magically pop up.”
Urston says, “to be fair, I don’t think ‘wtf where are the graphics’ is really someone we want to retain, is it?”
Janden says, “Text-based places are dinosaurs these days, that’s a fact.”
Lilah says, “Or they want coloured code… I’ve been trying to think up some more TPs that are really newbie-friendly and could just be repeated for folks - “Hey, you get your purse snatched by a thief in town” kind of things.”
You say, “Absolutely true, Urston. It just makes it hard to hone in on the players who leave for factors that we can and are interested in working on.”
Janden says, “Some do better than others, but most new people are going to expect something like SL, WoW, etc.”
Jarianne thinks when the show starts back up and the influx is great that maybe we can do a weekly “newb scene”. A lot of them complain that they have yet to RP and it is a week or two in… they get frustrated and drop… Or don’t know what they are doing… That might help.. a “meaningless scene” meaning “If you mess up we wont hold it against you ICly” kind of deal might help things? Thoughts.
Farin says, “Isn’t the “Hey, you get your purse snatched by a thief in town” type TP precisely thing kind of thing that’s more GM oriented?”
Alek says, “If it’s something like that, I’d be willing to run it.”
Janden thinks, as a relative noob here, the hardest things for me have been getting used to finding stuff in the cdb.
You say, “One thing that we’ve struggled with from the start is what players need after they walk out of the CG, whether or not they CGed their own character or not. A lot of people CG and then quit, never even going onto the grid.”
Reyna says, “Well, what if we had a small pool of people dedicated to running that sort of thing? If an experienced player has some leeway to influence events without the need for explicit case-by-case approval, it could help. I remember doing that in Gondor as a retention tool, because we determined that getting a first scene in ASAP was as important—if not more so—than anything else after approval.”
Lilah says, “Farin, it might be - but it might also make people feel more involved. I come from a LARP & TT background, and providing set things for people to interact with, then have cause to go hunt out certain PCs, can help make the networking and bring them into ‘our’ style of RP. Once you meet people, it’s easier - but there are only so many times you can do a ‘Hi, I’m new here’ scene without it feeling really repetive.”
Lilah would be willing to put her money where her mouth is for anything she suggests… Bal & Nym have suffered through me sending them TP ideas already. ;)
Janden says, “Maybe pointing people to some good, basic logs that aren’t too long would be a benefit.”
Farin says, “I’m not saying it doesn’t have merits, but that would require a boost in the number of folks who are allowed to do that sort of thing. I come froma GM heavy background, it can work, but I’m not sure it’s right for this game.”
Balerion says, “It’s a good suggestion. Trying to set a regular time—a standing “RP date”—may be useful. That’s not to say roleplay won’t happen at other times, but it may be a way to give people the certainty that they’ll definitely find RP at that time. I’ve seen it done on other games, I don’t know if it really works well for retention, but at least it helps people find RP.”
Jarianne I am usually around, and more than willing to take on the newbies… but I couldn’t be the only one. Well because I don’t know everything… I would need a more experienced ( or who ever is and willing at the time) to come in… Alek did that with me once… It worked out alright… -Jann
Alek says, “Well, I’m definately up for that idea.”
Janden says, “Obviously things depend on availability, sure.”
Balerion says, “Hrm… well, besides getting people into offices so that they can feel like they can assign people tasks and so on, maybe we should work out some mid-level court NPCs that we could allow some players to use.”
Reyna says, “It takes a little commitment from whomever agrees to be a designated RPer like that, but it -can- help, especially if the newbie scenes happen in low-stakes areas.”
Lilah says, “From my point of view, if we have *anything* that newbies can immediately feel involved and IMPORTANT! in, it helps retain people. Even if it turns out to not be hugely important in the “long run”... Getting people sucked in and having attachments to things helps retain folks, from my experience.—Agreed, Reyna.”
Janden says, “Essentially noobs need some ego-stroking ;)”
Reyna says, “Minor positions that we’re empowered to appoint them to. Like some sub-set of ladies-in-waiting, rank-and-file goldcloaks, something to get them affiliated with a “faction” right away so they have those other go-to people all the time.”
Nymeria nods. “Maybe we should revive our “Extras”. They’re basically communal cameos to be used for such scenes.”
Elmer says, “I think the Cameo idea’s one of the best ones..gives players a chance to experience the game without necessarily working too much first…maybe more of those..yeah, what Nym said”
Alek says, “We need more goldcloaks. Just sayin’.”
Jarianne says, “Especially the male PC’s… the yard is usually the best place to start… they get to learn the melee and joust codes then… It doesn’t have to be a long huge scene… but I would be willing to do that… I am usually about… and if it is a set day and time, even more so.. -Jann”
You say, “I don’t think we can handle having more positions to deal with.”
Lilah says, “Even if it’s an exception to our normal practices, it hooks people in, and gives them a good solid reason to go hunt out people for various topics, rather than just twiddling thumbs and waiting for something. If we focus them on the sorts of themes and aspects we want to reinforce - like, say, a newbie runs into a begging brother that’s maybe saying some heretical things… they get pointed to some of our more religious PCs to interact with, to figure out how this should be addressed. Etc.”
You say, “We’ll need to get a few more of these Extras CGed. I think we got to a seamstress and that was it. A maester, a septon… some ladies at court, etc.”
Reyna says, “No, but we need to do something so people aren’t just making kissy-faces at each other. :/ Even if it’s just “Goldcloak,” or “Lady of the Court” or something. Titles are easy to set and they’re so important to new players who don’t know who to talk to or what to talk about.”
Janden says, “So not so much who they are, but what they are?”
Farin says, “Those are good ideas, Lilah, but how can we control who runs them? Even if we had communal characters, we don’t want just anyone who can pick up a temporary cameo to be able to write a scene and have it stand as IC. That’s how theme gets broken.”
Reyna says, “And we have PCs who are capable. Luthor’s good about getting folks into the Kingswood group, I know. We have Alek who could create Goldcloaks, and Dagur with his Crackclaw stuff, and a handful of ladies already serving at court.”
Luthor has arrived.
Janden says, “Admittedly there’s a lot of patience required for people even when they’re playing cameos. But we were all new to MU*ing once.”
Reyna says, “Speak the devil’s name and in he comes. :)”
Lilah says, “Farin - that would be up to the admins to figure out. You might be given something within your scope, with a bullet-point list. And that’s your thing… you run That One. Reyna might have something else, and so on.”
Farin says, “Your scope - as a player, or as a character?”
Balerion says, “I think a scene about someone wanting to become a goldcloak could be dealt with by basically starting the process ICly, I suppose, and needing it signed off by a superior… and then a +job is in and we can deal with that. Personally, I generally think that unless a person is dead set on having their character in an office, that they should wait a bit to feel out the court and decide what they want to do before they get into something they will dislike.”
Kendros arrives from: Nexus.
Kendros has arrived.
You say, “I think we definitely want to avoid anyone feeling as if an Extra is “theirs” to run, so they need to stay communal. But maybe we could make it Greeter only?”
Melene arrives from: Nexus.
Melene has arrived.
Reyna is trying to think of ways to cut out all the +jobs. Even if all we players can do is add them to a generic roster object without accessing the CDB, that’s immediate.
You say, “Or create a separate group.”
Jarianne says, “Hmmm well I suppose that would work Nym… -Jannia”
Balerion says, “That’d be something we’d have to deal with with +jobs, though, eventually—even if it’s a queue of them. CDB updates, and so on. I think it’d be more, not less work.”
Reyna nods at Nym. Maybe with a bb so we can keep each Extra’s actions updated?
Urston says, “Well I think an title for newbies would help, gives them a group to work with. I know being an officer of the kingswood and then my Farin allegiance pretty much created every dynamic I have, so I can definitely see the appeal of setting that up for newbies, though we would need to really vary the titles so that not every other new noble is an officer of something. Factors of coin, etc. As for a cameo septon, I am not sure as we have like no clue of anything that is actually in the seven pointed star even though most of our chars should know it all off by heart, so scening with a septon about anything other than a hello might be a bit awkward”
You say, “That’s a good idea.”
Reyna says, “Waiting on +jobs is part of the problem, though. We’re sort of back at square 1 with you guys being overloaded with hundreds of little things to do. :/”
You say, “Should probably keep it separate from Greeters then and call it something else, so people can decide which they want to be in.”
Balerion says, “It’s under a hundred again!”
Lilah says, “I don’t want to derail onto this particular thing. Whether it’s your character’s field, or something you have personal OOC experience with. If someone likes running plots (I used to storytell and miss it dearly), and the admins give them one to run, and they know what the plot is, they can run it. They have one set thing that’s common enough its easily repeatable, and that hooks people in.”
Balerion says, “Hrm… a lot of think about it.”
Reyna pats. You’re doing great, Bal. I don’t mean it to be a criticism. But we know it’s a problem and I’m trying to think of ways we older players could take some of the load off you and Nym without undercutting you at all.
Janden says, “One of the problems I’ve had with a couple people lately who played cameos is you’d like to include them more somehow but on the other hand as a player you know it’s just a temporary thing and you might not interact with that person again. It almost has to be kept to something minor.”
Balerion says, “Instead of aiming towards immediately tossing people into positions, it might make more sense to give them a purpose for that week or two when they’re new and still feeling things out.”
Jarianne says, “Yeah you do want to separate them Nym… One helps with the CG and what not right… well ‘Greeters’...”
Reyna says, “We could use the Extras pool for that, then. Assigning some little task—welcome to court, now earn your keep by running this errand to this or that PC for me?”
Balerion says, “An illness among the gold cloaks leads to an office being tasked with hiring a knight or two to help, a shortfall in ladies needs a keeper of the keys to go and recruit a young lady temporarily, and s on.”
Alek says, “I’d be up for that. :)”
Balerion says, “Basically temporary positions, rather than full-on, “This is your job now”, and so not necessitating CDB changes immediately.”
Janden says, “Hmmm, like an ongoing cycle of temp positions.”
Reyna says, “Yeah, exactly.”
You say, “And I think that if we do get some Extras setup, they also need to be slated for being added to the wiki. I think that may be another area we need to focus on, so many players these days say they check out people’s profiles online first.”
Janden says, “Kelly Services of King’s Landing!”
Reyna likes that very much.
Janden says, “Who’s Kelly servicing today, rowr!”
Lilah has to do one for Katla… sigh.
Reyna has a month off coming up, Nym. I’d be very happy to create some Extras.
Alek says, “Ugh. I work for Kelly Services. I’d hope that we’d be ebtter than them!”
Janden worked for them once, and Officeteam.
Janden got three or four full-time jobs through ‘em, at least.
You say, “Alright, will just need to name the team something. Not sure “Handlers” sends the right signal. ;)”
Janden says, “Escorts! No..”
Reyna can even start by fixing a page for Septon Bronner, since D and I made him up and use him alot already.
Alek says, “I think RP Mentors or something like that.”
Reyna says, “TEMs: Team Extra Members. ;)”
You say, “Great, that’d be a good start.”
Janden says, “Add a P to that. Hmmm. :)”
Lilah will volunteer for that, especially for folks who are on at odd hours, like her.
Melene is always up for volunteering.
Luthor will also volunteer for that.
Jarianne says, “Im in”
Reyna will as well. I already do it anyway, and no w that I am very nearly a Master of Arts, I will have time again.
Farin says, “On the subject of that group, Nym..will there be oversight to it at all? Will they be given a bulletpoint list of scenes they can use the extras to run, or given free reign, or need to seek permission in how to use an extra for a given scene, or…?”
Balerion says, “So, a temp “agency” for new players, using extras to faciliate? And I’d focus on not giving players a specific task they need to RP out. More of a general sense of purpose. So when they’re asked what they’re doing, they can say, “I’m helping Lady so and so arrange a feast because her assistant Lady such and such is pregnant and feeling ill after all the rhubarb she’s been eating,’ or, ‘Helping the gold cloaks train some of their recruits because a few of the officers came down with the runs.’ Ad then people can say, “Ah, my cousin is in the gold cloaks,” or “I’ve a cousin married to Lady such-and-such’s second cousin.’”
Reyna says, “That’s where the BB would come in, F. Anyone approved for the team or whatever would have to keep everyone apprised of any and all interactions.”
Janden says, “Yeah, they might still need some hand-holding to get through it.”
You say, “We’ll need some basic guidelines, I think, but I am not sure we need specific rules for each extra.”
Balerion says, “Yeah. I think general guidelines. Don’t get the newbies killed, for example.”
Jarianne says, “or type of extra”
Farin says, “Reporting on the actions would work, R.”
Alek says, “If we have NPCs of our own, can we volunteer them for the extras?”
Lilah says, “A handful of notable traits - virtues, vices, maybe a concept line, and some general guidelines.”
Reyna says, “Man, you spoil all our fun!”
You say, “No, I don’t think so, Alek. Then we’d be back to someone have too close a connection.”
Balerion says, “‘Here’s a spoon. Go and attack that army of Dornishmen!’”
Reyna grumbles and scratches that idea off the list.
Janden says, “What about a spork? Can we invent those first?”
Jarianne says, “Ha! well I suppose they could be pages or a steward, servant… yadda yadda yadda?”
You say, “And that, actually, leads me onto another subject I’d hoped to cover, namely NPCs.”
Farin says, “Now, what do we do if eventually, we get a whole slew of new folks that we can keep entertained, but they never want to create their own rp, because they’re so used to others giving it to them?”
Reyna says, “Well, for example, Septon Bronner is one, Jann. He’s stern and the sort of guy who’d give a creative penance that would be designed to get the player involved. Anyone coming on the grid with something he/she feels guilty about could use that Extra to help them get started.”
Janden says, “Then there’s not much that can be done for those people.”
Janden says, “At some point they have to take the reins in some ways.”
Balerion says, “That’s a good question. We’ve seen that on other games. But basically, we can’t do anything more. We can devote only so much time to players who don’t want to contribute directly. They swim or they sink.”
Jarianne says, “Inform them in the initial “Newb RP” of the way things work… It is like “Newbie boot camp” heheh”
Reyna says, “We’d have to cut them off eventually, unless it was a specific TP they needed.”
Alek says, “Hah. Wean them off RP.”
Balerion says, “I guess we need to encourage all players to think about their character goals and tell them that achieving them tends to involve being pro-active.”
Farin nods. “Good. I’m glad to see that that’s the stand that’ll be taken. I’ve seen games plummet before because of demanding players who ask and give nothing back, over and over.”
Reyna says, “Yeah, exactly. We’re a startup service, not an eternal crutch.”
Janden says, “Bal’s got it. Like, ‘We’ll help to a point, but you have to understand at some point you’ll be expected to carry your own story by initiating things yourself.’”
You say, “I think we’ve got a sense of where to go with this, and hopefully we can lay the groundwork for this setup soon. So perhaps we can finish up by looking at NPCs in general. As I am sure everyone is aware, we’ve had various issues with NPCs. We’ve had misunderstandings about what the NPCs are, given that in contrast to other games, we use the term for a lot of different classes of characters. We’ve had misunderstandings about what can be done with them and, I think, a lot of misunderstandings about why the rules are as they are.”
Melene says, “That would be good to know.”
You say, “I figured we might start by a quick look at the why. Why can’t we let people run their family members or squires or what have you as NPCs? One big part of the problem is new players. Its hard enough for them to understand the difference between CCged and unCGed characters. If you start having to explain that well, this character is not CGed, but someone may have played him as an NPC and decided a few things, it gets very difficult to point people to what they want. Often they want either fully setup or a clean slate, not somewhere in-between.”
You say, “Or at least, not so many relations and events that they feel as if the character is already defined, they just have to do the work of CGing.”
You say, “Once a character has been CGed, that is less of an issue. That’s why we often pull in CGed but unplayed characters to fill out tourneys, battles, etc. But two other issues remain that makes it impossible for us to give out a carte blanche for NPCing them. They have to be updated and we don’t want it becoming a situation where players basically have an extra alt in their pocket.”
Reyna says, “What about small children? I’m guilty of using Reyna’s youngest in scenes. :/”
You say, “Its one were we tend to make an exception because its not like they can become PCs anytime soon.”
Alek says, “Yeah, I’m afraid that Alek may show off his new baby a bit too much when the time comes. ;)”
Janden says, “It’d also be hard to say you can’t have your children around in anything.”
Urston says, “What if we just add the squires/whatever to the cdb ourselves? Not to rp with, and not as part of existing family trees? That way they are usable fairly freely, but can’t be used as a full alt and don’t get in anyone’s way”
Reyna says, “Oh, good. Just wanted to be sure. And I pack them off to fostering before they get old enough to form hard and fast personalities.”
Jarianne says, “would it not be an issue for people like R, who have children if they just kept track of the more significant things and add it to the NCP child?”
You say, “It doesn’t really work, Urston, because they have to come from somewhere. You don’t have non-noble squires.”
Farin says, “Children can’t really be accounted for too heavily in terms of a Cg anyway. Are you the same person at 15 as you were at 2 or 3? Regardless of how your mom or dad showed you off around the keep when you were wee, by the time you’re ready to be a PC, you’re still pretty much a clean slate.”
Janden yeahs, I was working with Bal recently to find a suitable char to be a squire for me.
You say, “Yeah. Unless you’re roleplaying dunking your daughter’s head in cold water whenever she is disobedient and causing other traumas, I think we’re good. ;)”
Damphair says, “One important factor to remember is the political aspect of it. Family/house connections are very important in this theme. So we don’t want players using NPCs—even if that NPC is their own squire—in a way that gives them a leg-up due to house connections to that NPC’s kin through a sort of backdoor without actually putting in the IC work for it.”
Urston says, “well in regards to not being nobility, can’t they just be nobility from a non-playable house? Like the Tarbecks?”
You say, “We never know when we will use a house for an expansion.”
You say, “We have been revisiting this issue many times over the years, because ideally we’d want to allow more access. But doing it in a way that doesn’t create more work for us or more problems for new players when selecting a character has proven very difficult.”
Jarianne says, “That is what I meant Nym, sometimes NCP’s like that are used in plots (Murder, scandal, ect.) That is what I mean by ‘keeping track and adding.’”
Urston says, “Maybe we just need to add inconsequential third cousins of lordly houses and such, so people can have squires without being able to say ‘look how much pull I have!’”
Damphair says, “Bal and Nym are working on expanding some of the houses, but that’ll take a little while.”
You say, “We’ve basically tried to make the main exceptions for young children and also, to some degree, spouses. If your background states that your spouse is in King’s Landing, you need to be able to occasionally have your spouse be present.”
Reyna says, “It’s really just about keeping all the extras in check. If I go into a scene with Urston, Jannia and Farin, I want to play with Urston, Jannia, and Farin, not their squires or maids or underlings.”
Janden says, “Some people are expected to have their usual followers, of course.”
Lilah has a +note on Katla about her vague NPC minions, like her maids, so people know they exist… and that’s about it.
You say, “That’s a good, idea, Lilah.”
You say, “We’re going to be adding some form of private and public staff notes as well.”
Reyna says, “Of course. But they shouldn’t be front and center. Reyna has a couple of maids and hangers-on, too, most of whom are in the cdb.”
You say, “As in, private notes that the player would see, not hidden. But for some characters we need to have some OOC pointers added because of complications that have cropped up in roleplay.”
You say, “Case in point being Burton, for example.”
Lilah would like to encourage people to go create a wiki - even if it’s a really simple one - for their characters… is doing one for Katla now, and using what she did for Lilah, which was grabbed off someone-or-another’s page.
You say, “Yes, I think that that is definitely an area where players can really help get some valuable content onto the website.”
Josmyn ooohs, a wiki
You say, “Experienced MUSHers often look at profiles and logs, so its something to focus on while we try to tidy up the helpfiles and add more articles.”
Melene says, “Melene drags around people, but I don’t mention their names or the like to try to avoid +cdb issues.”
Janden would like to do a wiki page of some kind for Janden, at the least.
Jarianne says, “Yes here is an example… ICly, Jannia was angry with Luthor…. Jannia had already sent her Uncle about aid to Kingswood, she had a reply but she did not want to talk to him… she sent her maid to deliver the message instead…. Luthor was aware ahead of time, and the scene was pretty great… not significant to where it would need to be added but it had a reason and purpose… But it wasn’t a scene in a solar with a bunch of nobles either it was one on one, but I assume I have to retcond that, or ask for permission…. yes?”
Janden did look for some wiki entries online early on, too
Reyna goes to the player wiki and realizes she has forgotten her login info. Again.
Jarianne says, “Yeah I need to set one up for Jannia… I would need to ask for a login right?”
Balerion says, “Don’t need to retcon it, but generally don’t use them as alts who are independent of your actual character, basically.”
You say, “I can set people up right now and fix you, Reyna. Anyone who needs it, page me a name and a password”
Jarianne says, “Yeah it was before I knew about NCP’s Bal, but sometimes it seems necessary, in retrospect I can see how players could abuse that, or use it incorrectly…”
Reyna says, “In a case like that, Jannia, a +mail explaining that the maid has brought a message (with the text of the message, of course) works as well as a scene, and avoids that problem.”
Balerion says, “Right. :) Okay, anything else that people feel is unclear about NPC usage? Here’s a link to our current file on the subject: http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Helpfiles/Roleplay_NPCs/”
Lilah says, “Is there anything else we can do, as far as grunt work stuff, to help prep for the likely-onslaught of newbies in less than 6 months, or to make the current workload easier?”
Reyna says, “Lilah and I have already tossed around some pretty good ideas about the temp pool concept. Would it be appropriate to propose anything there? We’re both very keen on this, but we don’t want to step on your toes.”
You say, “Go ahead :)”
Lilah lets Reyna talk.
Reyna says, “Oh, I didn’t mean right this second!”
Jarianne says, “add a “newb bootcamp”, should get them involved and understanding of the rules… Though I might add a list of helpful links for the TEMPS to have on hand (if they don’t already) is a good idea… :)”
You say, “Maybe something to post on the board?”
Urston says, “I still think we should encourage the people in the newb camp area to work with and build dynamics with eachother instead of relying on the mentor-peoples help/ideas the entire time. Don’t want to spoonfeed them”
Jarianne says, “that would be great actually… a list of helpful links and what for… forms of address is a big one.. :)”
Reyna says, “There IS a forms of address article and it’s pretty prominent.”
You say, “Anyone else want a wikilogin while I am at it?”
Jarianne says, “Not what I said :) I said that it would be in the list of links…”
Jarianne says, “I give out that link and the one to the maps the most”
Janden says, “Which article is that?”
Reyna says, “Well, back to the notion of spoonfeeding… newbies do get the links to the Articles page on the website.”
Alek says, “Might be a good idea to collect all those articles into one area on the site and include it with the acceptance mail? Either the +mail or the e-mail.”
Reyna says, “No one reads that +mail thoroughly as it is. We spend a lot of time restating info that is already there, so adding more links to it won’t fix the problem.”
Urston says, “I realize this might be a little odd, but can we not just add the links to this general info to the desc of the last room in the CG process before they can use the char?”
You say, “The desc is already the max length it can be before scrolling off on telnet.”
Jarianne says, “even better Alek… Yes but even I have issues navigating the site R… I took a month off right in the beginning to get it all straight, but I am afraid most will not do that. There is a lot of information there, and it can be confusing and frustrating, quick links that are the most used or most important is a good idea.. Though on the boards might be better… Then we can add them…”
You say, “Its a big problem, overall. Compared to a lot of games, we have a huge amount of information that newbies need to take in, and its a constant struggle. How do we present the most important information?”
Lilah says, “A common marketing theme is that you should have no more than 3 clicks to get to any one thing. Most of the BoD site can do that—the problem is just getting people to be willing to look for it. Attention spans have dramatically decreased over the years, too. ;)”
Urston says, “add an extra room to the cg process with the info in, then”
Damphair says, “We have a newbie page with the most important helpfiles/articles collected there, yeah?”
You say, “No, we don’t, because some is a wiki and some is a separate system. We could collect links, but it would just be one more page among tons.”
Lilah says, “Nym, I think there are some pages that are incomplete on the website, so completing those might be good. As an example: http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Helpfiles/Category:Info::Character/ “”
Farin says, “So you could get a big coloful link that people can’t miss when they’re skimming the site that’s titled the Newbie Help Package or something.”
Jarianne says, “Make a Board for it… when a player finds a particularly helpful link they put a quick title .. say “Forms of Adress” and in the description, a short desc of what is on the link and then of course the link… lessens confusion…”
Lilah says, “It says Forthcoming. Well… maybe throw a blurb in there, since all it has is the links at the bottom. Including in that page ‘Before coming into game, you should read the following list of links:’ would be helpful.”
Janden says, “Still, anything that is geared toward helping newbies get everything they need should probably be a focus.”
Balerion says, “Oh, wait, wrong text.”
You say, “Yeah, I don’t quite know what to put there, Lilah. Since its just a holding category for Char articles.”
Lilah can toss some ideas around.
Luthor says, “I think a broad approach would work. Have the greeters recomend the newbie page early on, send the link again in the acceptance email, make sure it has a prominant place on the site etc.”
Janden says, “That’s true too, if greeters sort of have a script.”
You say, “The way the site is designed, I can’t fit in a big newbie page on the front. It just wasn’t made for individual pages like that.”
Reyna nods at L. But there has to be a point where a player MUST take the initiative him/herself and find the information they need. We can only do so much.
You say, “It all needs to fit under the categories we have and then it ends up linked off those category pages.”
Lilah says, “We can’t hand-hold forever, and the process is already very intensive. I’m not sure how to come up with a really good balance.”
Reyna says, “I spend a lot of time navigating the Concordance and BoD website for information for someone unwilling to do it for themselves, and it’s frustrating to have to do it over and over when the player could do it just as easily.”
Janden suggests not doing all the work for them ;)
You say, “The FAQ points to the most important pages to read, but it doesn’t drill down to specific articles, because ... well, how do you pick? They need to look at the whole Articles page to see what’s available.”
Jarianne says, “OR we could have a link to the forum where we can do the same thing… It gets the player signed up through the forum and it is easier to add links that way… no?”
Farin says, “For veteran players, R, that’s obviously a problem. But the new folks likely don’t even know much about the concordance and /how/ to find the information that they want. Given time they could figure it out, but if someone doesn’t point them in the right direction, they could just end up frustrated and leave - and there goes the retention that is the whole purpose.”
You say, “We may be able to get a sitemap once we upgrade the system, but I am not sure most people have the patience even for that. They jusy want to be pointed right to the relevant article.”
Janden says, “Yeah, for me, I came here about the time I started reading the first book and I waited until that was done before picking a char. But in some cases, I didn’t even really know where to begin without some help.”
Janden says, “As it was, I sort of lucked into getting a fairly interesting char after I looked at about a dozen.”
Reyna says, “Point, sure. The trouble is as Nym says. They want us to feed them the info without any effort on their part, and that’s hard to stay patient with.”
Lilah says, “Also, our http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Articles/Entry/5695/ - “Can I Play A…” could use some love… I’m thinking back to some of the Greeter-Bingo-worthy characters.”
Melene says, “I personally think that the issue resolves itself. New players either find out what they need to know one way or another and stick around or they don’t bother to and they leave. Where it becomes a problem is in that they bother the staffers and greeters, who are all too busy as it is.”
Lilah tends to give people links, and let them trawl for themselves—but will give the link, and say “bookmark it!”.
Janden says, “At some point they have to be told to do some digging of their own after you’ve helped, and if they can’t be bothered I wouldn’t worry much about that loss.”
You say, “Yeah. I started that and then promptly realized its a massive task that ties into some other newbie guides needing finishing first.”
Farin says, “Well, teach them how to fish. If they don’t learn, then chances are they weren’t going to be a big boon to the game. If they do, then you won’t need to be looking anything up for them anymore.”
Janden will still have questions time to time, but I’m getting better at finding what I need.
Luthor nods. “True, I just figure putting where to find the info out there again and again is a good way to make sure at least some of the new folks find and use it early on.”
You say, “We’ve got some unique issues in that I’d say easily 30% of players we talk to ask for a minor character who is new to King’s Landing so they can play ICly and OOCly ignorant. But in this theme, with this setup, it just isn’t doable.”
Reyna says, “Easy, Farin. It’s just a general complaint. I’m not going to give it up any time soon. I have stopped doing it for players who’ve been here long enough to know how themselves, though.”
Melene says, “Th eonly other way I can think of is to segregate new characters for a bit and give them a limited playspace until someone feels that they are ready to go… but that doesn’t solve the staffers’ time constraints unless the TEMPs or greeters are helping them with some basic themed RP.”
Jarianne says, “Yeah the Forums might be easier… Like I said, it would be player ran to a point with the most important ones out front put on by the moderator. For example, requirements for when you are in the CG… forms of address, maps of KL/Red Keep and Dorne… Then let the players add from there… But it also gets them paying attention to the Forums for updates and information on BOD… Discussions whatnot”
Janden wouldn’t recommend the segregation route, to be honest. I don’t think I’d like it much as a noob.
Janden says, “Especially if I have to wait on someone else to say ‘Yes, you can do this now.’”
Lilah says, “I think a lot of it comes down to also needing to make sure we can make new members feel involved or those who are - legitimately or feel like it! - on the peripheries of things.”
Reyna says, “Yeah, we don’t want to corral them off in the playpen or anything. We just want to try to make things more efficient.”
Urston says, “In regards to what Melene said about limited playsspaces, is it possible we have a few running problems we send newbies at? “Grr, there are bandits on the edge of the kingswood. If any knight could help kill these fould beings it would be much appreciated” and we just let them do that, and it stays a problem any newbie can attend to, rather than being a one-off?”
Farin says, “I’m easy, R. Just making a counterpoint to the general complaint. Veteran folks should know better, of course. But L’s got a point about it, too. Wouldn’t it be easier, in the future, to just have one place to tell them to go that we can repeat whenever a question is asked?”
Janden says, “(Mainly because some people are just noobs to GoT and will be fine once they get their footing, while others are completely new to MU*ing)”
Reyna says, “Yeah, Urston. We talked about that earlier. ;)”
Jarianne says, “agreed Jand… maybe just a requirement that they attend one of the weekly “newb RP” just to get a feel, and be able to ask questions… a lot of OOC chatter… once they do that they are free to go….”
You say, “I think we’ll be wrapping here unless we have some specific questions remaining?But we’ve got some good suggestions, not the least about the Extras, so we will pursue that first. But trying to improve the website is another big one.”
Janden says, “Well, Urs, for /that/ example, being out on the edge of the Kingswood isn’t conducive to a bunch of RP ;D”
Reyna says, “How do I see my own events?” she asked shamefacedly.”
Lilah says, “My only complaint with requiring things like that, Jannia, would be… what about people who aren’t in the appropriate time zone? ;) There are a dearth of bodies on during “my” daytime, and to be told I have to stay up til 3am for a scene before I can play with others would make me flee.”
You say, “+cdb/elist reyna”
Urston says, “well you all discussed running things for them, I am suggesting have permanent problems all the newbies charge at :P”
Reyna hugs Nym from sheer gratitude.
Janden says, “Lilah makes a good point. There are more people here in different parts of the world than I think I’ve ever seen on one game - and that’s cool.”
Jarianne says, “That is the thing… I am usually kicking around that late.. well as you know I am an insomniac… but that wont last forever.. there would need to be 2 one in the evenings 11(ish) PM and 11(ish) Am.. or noon and midnight… But good question Li”
Janden says, “That stuff could be worked out, though.”
Lilah says, “Mandating anything that’s time or location centric can be a retention and recruitment issue. We’ve lost people as well, I think, due to the time zone challenges. Keeping stuff somewhat balanced (as much as it can be) and not requiring (or penalizing) attendance at things gives players a more even footing.”
Urston says, “in regards to making it easier for newbies to scene, could we add more things for them to work with? The ‘shoot at target’ thing generates a /lot/ of RP, more in different areas may make exploring the game more fun for newbies, finding more things they can do, etc.”
You say, “I don’t think we want to give the sense of a mud in any way :)”
Jarianne says, “the problem is most newbs don’t have any feel of reliability… if it is a set day say Sat…. and time noon/midnight… It would work at helping to sate that feeling.. but it would depend on anyone wanting to do that… or maybe every other weekend… Meh lots of work on that I suppose… anyway… Yeah Urs… the yard for sure.. just to help with code…”
You say, “Automated tasks are too close to that, though I know it works very well for Firan. But its not right for us.”
Urston says, “It wouldn’t really be a mud, I am just saying that the target and quintain are in the same place, spread it out etc.”
You say, “Alright, we’re heading out with the dog, so we’ll need to wrap here. Thank you everyone for showing up. :)”
The Westeros network consists of several different sites, including a forum and a wiki, for all your A Song of Ice and Fire needs.