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Author Topic: Community Building  (Read 9391 times)

Guardian 452

Re: Community Building
« Reply #80 on: August 09, 2012, 02:16:53 pm »
It will be read as a threat but it certainly is not, its just how it is. If the server changes to a weekly questing server. You will loose me, I havnt been on a quest in ages... honestly I LOATHE quests involving more than 5 or 6 people because it is all noise.... all voices clamoring for attention and people most certainly not playing their role. Im glad that the "big quests" right now fall into times that I cant attend. I bet there are other people here who are not questers or weekly DnD session people as well... will they convert into one? or further deplete the server population when you take this new path? Sounds like its time for a poll. y'all may be in the right track and the majority is wanting this... so best find out. So the minority can also know what to do for their future.

.
 

miltonyorkcastle

Re: Community Building
« Reply #81 on: August 09, 2012, 02:45:15 pm »
Quote
honestly I LOATHE quests involving more than 5 or 6 people because it is all noise.... all voices clamoring for attention and people most certainly not playing their role. Im glad that the "big quests" right now fall into times that I cant attend.


You know what? I don't like quests to have more than five people per GM myself, both as a player and a GM. However, given the low number of GMs we have that can run quests on a given week, if we limited the quests to only five people per GM, dozens of folks would never get to play in a quest. So for the weekly series I run, I chose to not close off the numbers, and just deal with the huge amount of people that sometimes show up. And let me tell you, it's as rough (or rougher) on the GMs as it is on the players. Thankfully the players are patient, and the GMs are determined.

Until we actually aim for building those core "weekly gaming groups" and recruit enough GMs to keep it at five people per GM, we have to keep quests open so everyone that wants to can quest.

That means if we had a community of a hundred, we'd have twenty active GMs, and more like thirty GMs total. "That's a lot of GMs! We've never had that many GMs!" Yes, and yes. But I think that's the appropriate number of GMs. One per five players. At the very least, one per eight.

I also would dare to say, G, that if you got to be in a weekly quest series with a five man group, and that series was on par with the epic, world-altering series some of us are currently running, you'd be itching to play every week. I say that because you'd get the attention to character, the camaraderie, and feelings of accomplishment that can so often be missed on over-populated quests.

Quote
If the server changes to a weekly questing server.


Honestly, I kind of think that's what it's been since I started playing here. It's just that the population was big enough back in the day that you didn't have to quest. But this place has always had weekly quests. All I'm suggesting is to buy into it more deeply. And hey, if we did, and we recruited from that base, and the server population jumped by a hundred, then you'd have a lot more people to play with G, even without questing.
 

Rowana

Re: Community Building
« Reply #82 on: August 09, 2012, 03:50:24 pm »
*raises hand* Points of clarity.

Quote from: Guardian 452
It will be read as a threat but it certainly is not, its just how it is. If the server changes to a weekly questing server. You will loose me,

Is this really a shift in how things are done on this server since almost forever? I mean scheduling them more regularly and such yes, we go in and out of doing that. But the overall focus of the server has always been quest and development, hasn't it?


Quote from: Guardian 452
I havnt been on a quest in ages... honestly I LOATHE quests involving more than 5 or 6 people because it is all noise.... all voices clamoring for attention and people most certainly not playing their role.

So, would you quest more if the quest caps were limited to 5-6 players tops? Not all, but some certain quests?

Quote from: Guardian 452
Im glad that the "big quests" right now fall into times that I cant attend. I bet there are other people here who are not questers or weekly DnD session people as well... will they convert into one?
Clearly we're not expecting you (or anyone) to desire to attend 'big quests' but I have to wonder how you got Enzo so far in the world if you feel this way? Did you hate every moment of it in the past? Is this a more recent shift? If you didn't hate it, what would it take for you to like it at some level again? Just smaller number of people? A more regular group of people? A certain level of development? A certain time limit?

Quote from: Guardian 452
or further deplete the server population when you take this new path?

Two things. Further depletion is a given. It is an eventuality that won't change, short of some world wide catastrophe. That's why the focus on development to the MMO is so intensive. Depletion is happening, has been happening and its not going to stop no matter how hard we try. The lead staff don't even consider an alternative to be possible. (Is that a blind spot on our part? If so, fill us in on the missing perspective)

Second, I go back to the original. How is this exactly a new path? Layo is still the same, development focused, low magic, volunteer fueled, permadeath active world it's always been. Just with more development and richer layers over the years.

Quote from: Guardian 452
Sounds like its time for a poll. y'all may be in the right track and the majority is wanting this... so best find out. So the minority can also know what to do for their future.

.

I don't think we're quite ready for a poll yet, but a little further down the line that may be a good idea. But what then G? What if we are on the path (which is to say, staying the course we've been on) favored by most of the people here (that is to say 50.1% of respondents)? Does that really mean you'll walk away again, this time with the intent to never return? Why would you do that exactly? What is it that has drawn you back in the past if not for layers and development?

I ask because I pick up a few things that may be nothing but leaves me to wonder. Based on just this post alone, it sounds like you're interested in questing with a small group of people, maybe only semi regularly, development optional, but high on the exploration factor. Is that remotely right? Is that a kind of questing you could get behind? Or is questing completely dead to you and you could give two shakes forever. You just want some cool places to grind through with your buds when you feel like it and to be left alone unless you need some help with something? The tenor of your, "If you do this I will really have no interest," suggests that sort of sharp divide even though your elaboration doesn't.

Again, I'm just trying to understand and I am looking for candid response. Don't sugar coat it. If they answer is yes you don't want any part of that questing and development stuff anymore, I'm not going to judge. I would hope no one else does either.

~row
 

Dremora

Re: Community Building
« Reply #83 on: August 09, 2012, 04:18:37 pm »
Just a thought and no I've not read around to see if its already been suggested (and not trying to side track anyone from G's concerns). But for me personally, quests are what makes Layo interesting.

Ultimately, the way Layonara plays and has been described; as a world steeped in Lore which has developed over years to what it is now, are different. Atleast.. when not on quests or exploring a new area. The attraction to new areas, new monsters is that its a change from the same old enemies, the same old tactics and the same old scenery. Some maps may be cooly designed, challenging and have nifty unique scripting in it to spice it up. But in my opinion, Layonara's best point is the emphasis on quests, from small to large scale. Now those quests number at the moment solidly twice a week minus the large number of cancellations recently due to RL issues.
If you take that away, the time you spend in between (from my opinion alone) is a grind or RP about either upcoming quests or whatever it is your characters might think to say to another. I call it random/casual rp, that is conditionally satisfying depending on what your in the mood for and who/what you have to RP with/about.

The point im getting at which is a suggestion is.. however you choose to market this and attract new players.. the history of the world will make RPers get interested to create a char.. but once in game that can become underwhelming without quests and activity. For impatient people, that happens fast.
Grinding xp to get a character up to level 40 using layo's xp system takes a while. Now people have said that the xp increase means that people level the same as servers using the same level-up range as seen in the OC. I've now played five said servers... um.. no. Not true. Atleast not up to the level I've gotten Nym which is 22, even if I ignore the 20-21 gap.
even the crafting system is just (for me) an appalling, boring and unrewarding grind that gives you more or less boring/useless items that aren't worth much during the early stages which tend to be what either keeps someone interested or not. Any attempts made to off-set this haven't sparked any enthusiasm for me but some craft guilds exist so to each their own.

So we are left with quests. These enrich the gaming experiance because as roleplayers .. we are here for story. I own other games for action and stuff like that and while I enjoy a grind now and then, its nothing but a chore to get the next (occasionally worthless level).
Now I am not sure how long its been since Alatriel came up with, I think Ravemore; but perhaps taking one ro two more players on as GMs whom have a strong interest in running quests might help boost activity. At the very least scheduled quests can remain as is and said new guys can write up impromptus and run them when 3-4+ people are on and look like they would be suitable candidates. Those numbers MIGHT then cause players who might be losing interest in being online casually (i see tons more online during quests than any other time). I unashamedly admit I would be one of that said number putting aside one or two OOC problems that add to why im no longer on except for quests.

Now I have been told by a GM that I've spoken too, I think possibly two but lets stick to one.. that impromptus were around more often before I came here but sometimes said GM would get flak about 'interfering' with people's RP. Now I don't know the circumstances surrounding those events and frankly.. I don't believe there wasn't or isn't a workaround for problems like that since we seem to be able to work around other things GMs do that we may or may not dislike (usually involving acting like an adult and explaining your feelings politely). I personally feel that despite whatever flak may've been recieved in the past for whatever reason, it can't hurt to have one or two more players who may want to GM (provided the team deems them suitable) around to help full those many moments of dull (for me) repetition.
 

Guardian 452

Re: Community Building
« Reply #84 on: August 09, 2012, 04:53:37 pm »
Is this really a shift in how things are done on this server since almost forever? I mean scheduling them more regularly and such yes, we go in and out of doing that. But the overall focus of the server has always been quest and development, hasn't it?
Overall, perhaps so. But I've not been on a quest in a long time they fall outside my sporatic play windows or fall into the catagory of attention fests. I guess I read this becoming the "focus" of the world to mean that then content for people outside these weekly session are S.O.L. for things to do, new items, new areas, new crafting, etc. If I am reading this wrong then ok.



So, would you quest more if the quest caps were limited to 5-6 players tops? Not all, but some certain quests?
If the fit in my time windows absolutely. But I am just one person, I would never expect things to be done to cater to such a minority.



 Clearly we're not expecting you (or anyone) to desire to attend 'big quests' but I have to wonder how you got Enzo so far in the world if you feel this way? Did you hate every moment of it in the past? Is this a more recent shift? If you didn't hate it, what would it take for you to like it at some level again? Just smaller number of people? A more regular group of people? A certain level of development? A certain time limit?

I did hate the old plot quests, I did not go on many of them even the ones Leanthar ran. I got to where I was because of smaller quest and being in a tightly knit group of players whose playtime, play-style, and expectations out of the game at that time meshed well. Very little of what Enzo gained was done alone.. as any ranger here can vouch that isn't much of an option nor has it been in Layo past.



Two things. Further depletion is a given. It is an eventuality that won't change, short of some world wide catastrophe. That's why the focus on development to the MMO is so intensive. Depletion is happening, has been happening and its not going to stop no matter how hard we try. The lead staff don't even consider an alternative to be possible. (Is that a blind spot on our part? If so, fill us in on the missing perspective)
I and I think a few others would like to be a bit more informed on the MMO.. when its been a year almost since we have had info... and several years since anything like a screenshot people tend to loose faith (well at least I have). Thus my focus has been on the game I can play now.



Second, I go back to the original. How is this exactly a new path? Layo is still the same, development focused, low magic, volunteer fueled, permadeath active world it's always been. Just with more development and richer layers over the years.

I can't answer that just yet. It was just a gut reaction to what I was reading



I don't think we're quite ready for a poll yet, but a little further down the line that may be a good idea. But what then G? What if we are on the path (which is to say, staying the course we've been on) favored by most of the people here (that is to say 50.1% of respondents)? Does that really mean you'll walk away again, this time with the intent to never return? Why would you do that exactly? What is it that has drawn you back in the past if not for layers and development?
I dont know what then... I cant answer that until I know what path the places takes and really is or isnt different than today. If it means getting on and playing in off hours from "the weekly quests" will be a lone adventure, yes I will walk away. I want more out of this world than questing. So if I have to go to another game to find what I seek so be it... I wont sit here and cry to get a place changes for one person.



I ask because I pick up a few things that may be nothing but leaves me to wonder. Based on just this post alone, it sounds like you're interested in questing with a small group of people, maybe only semi regularly, development optional, but high on the exploration factor. Is that remotely right? Is that a kind of questing you could get behind? Or is questing completely dead to you and you could give two shakes forever. You just want some cool places to grind through with your buds when you feel like it and to be left alone unless you need some help with something? The tenor of your, "If you do this I will really have no interest," suggests that sort of sharp divide even though your elaboration doesn't.
I am interested in small groups, be it questing, adventuring to new areas, trips into the deep for rare CNR, and yes even "the gring" so long as its with others people and we get to RP our characters as I have done in all these mentioned areas. I am also not opposed to a certain level of solo-play. With the dwindling amount of players in my given play-times my characters have been made to accommodate this as well. I would be playing here every night (or darn near every night) if such a group existed when I was able to play. Id call that regularly, not semi regularly or occasionally. That sharp divide is most likely frustration with a rainbow of things involving Layonara and its present state. It finally came out after seeing someone post saying do this do that who hasn't posted in nearly a year. Sorry Chongo... I call em like I see em.



Again, I'm just trying to understand and I am looking for candid response. Don't sugar coat it. If they answer is yes you don't want any part of that questing and development stuff anymore, I'm not going to judge. I would hope no one else does either.

After 9 years here (off and on) ive seen several... SEVERAL rant posts about why people dont play etc. My statement has always been if it isnt fun anymore dont play. This is my current dilema which only time will answer. If things are no longer "fun" for me, I wont play... if I am not playing I honestly don't see myself continuing to make content for a world that is not "fun" to me.

.
 

Rowana

Re: Community Building
« Reply #85 on: August 09, 2012, 06:25:57 pm »
Thanks for the feed back and it makes a lot better sense than the post that elicited it.

Firstly, I don't think there's any plans to disassemble the project team regardless of the outcome of various thoughtful threads going on right now. We know that most of you guys get out and around way more than the majority of the GM team. Keeping it fresh as much as we can will probably always remain on our radar. Plus there's plenty of reasons IG to create new content from time to time, so yeah... that's not really even on the radar. I think this might have been a case of misunderstanding intent.

Regarding the PnP style play that's being talked about, I think that's more a social structure to continue and create more of what most people want: quests. The goal is to produce some game play that a fair number of people are desiring. Filling a hole as it were.

Now as to catering to you. Based on the responses on the various thoughtful threads going on around here, I would say that you're not the only player with these concerns/desires. I'd like to cater to at least some of your ideas.

I won't lie, I don't feel like more bigger items is going to do much except for cause some balancing issues over the server. Different items I can get behind but not more powerful ones.

New areas are always nice but the toolset makes me cry. It's one of the few things I won't do for Layonara. I'm happy to work with anyone to develop new areas though. In fact, I've done so in the past. I'm thinking this is one of those things that needs more volunteers to make happen. I'm not sure the number of people we have on the Project Team but it hasn't been very active for a long while.  I'm not faulting people. We all have lives and it seems as time goes on it gets harder to squeeze more time for production into the day. It's still something we could look into.

There's other stuff that's been suggested too but I think I'd like to narrow in on the smaller group play, the sporadic hours and the content that'd be available in something like that. What if we kicked around some thoughts behind some small player initiated impromptu quests? These'd be something that would require some understanding on both sides and some patience as well. But what about a if a couple of folks (or say 4 or 5 chumlies) are online and they don't really feel like bench sitting but they feel like RPing? Perhaps a post on the forums to let GMs know there's a spontaneous quest group available?  I haven't kicked this around at all, this is a rare first look at row's wild ideas but what do you think? I mean, we'd need GMs that check the forums semi regularly (which we do), GMs who can ad lib pretty well or have a stock of unused ideas (which we typically do), some players who don't mind waiting around a while for a GM to notice the post and get some minor set up done (which we typically do, right?)... stuff like that.

It would be something that we'd have to be careful not to abuse and we'd have to have some understanding about what this would mean. This can't really be an unscheduled CDQ, so what the quest would be about would have to be up to the GM. It might be a good idea to include in the post how much time you have though and the relative location you're in. We might have to have some kinda way for GMs to flag the post to let people know it's been read because we'd hate for you guys to sit there for three hours doing nothing but waiting too. We'd really need to flesh out the system to provide for some good communication while not destroying the inherent surprise of an impromptu, right?

I know plenty of people have complained about the lack of ability to attend quests due to their own personal schedules. There's various factors there but people still get on line in clusters and that should be something we could work with. I think sometimes GMs, myself included, log in to try for some fun impromptu stuff and there's just... no one on. Kind of a similar issue on the flipside. There's got to be a way to line us all up for a couple of hours of fun. And you never know what the content might work out to be in the long run.

I dunno. Is that something even remotely interesting?

~row
 

Dorganath

Re: Community Building
« Reply #86 on: August 09, 2012, 06:38:45 pm »
I'm going to address one single issue just to keep the "what if" and speculation on it to a minimum.

There's presently no intention (or desire) to turn this server into only  a weekly quest group sort of environment.  I think if a cross-section  of our players like that sort of thing, I see no reason why we cannot  try to facilitate that for those players. That doesn't mean we will  marginalized those who prefer a more active and/or casual play style. By  "casual" I do of course mean people who do not necessarily log on  frequently, regularly or for large swaths of time but rather who play  when they can, have some fun and log out.

In truth, we do wish to support multiple styles of play, from the hardcore RPer all the way through the cruncy, grindy hack-and-slasher...and everything in between. Obviously, a world that is ideal for one end looks nothing like the world that is ideal for the other, so we seek to strike a balance between them, because most people exist somewhere in the middle.

I know some people here want a more "active" experience, while others like something more story- or development-driven.  Really, there's nothing wrong with either of these, and there's room for everyone.

So again, there's no intention of going to a "weekly questing server" model, though of course if some GMs want to offer a regular weekly session, there's no problem in doing so.  Neither do we have any intention of skewing to a combat-heavy, high-magic, loot-rich sort of experience at the expense of RP. The point is, you get to choose.
 

Gunther

Re: Community Building
« Reply #87 on: August 09, 2012, 08:47:29 pm »
Just as an idea, before looking into the concept of posting on the forums that there is a group available for an impromptu, perhaps a poll to see if anyone even objects to having their current activity interrupted for an impromptu.  I'll be the first to admit, I'm more of a hack and slash player, I enjoy the RP also, but I'd happily drop whatever I'm doing to participate in an impromptu.  Even if it isnt hack and slash.

Otherwise, and I dont intend this to be snarky, but the way things are going, it looks a bit like the quests will eventually be five or six member outings.  Compared to the first few years I was here, its pretty sparse.  I'm sure the long time players can recall twenty or more people showing up for a quest, rolling for party spots, level caps being raised to winnow out the numbers that did show up, etc.
 

Rowana

Re: Community Building
« Reply #88 on: August 09, 2012, 08:58:36 pm »
This impromptu list was started a while back. Some of do check it before we run something. Some of us don't. Can't hurt to publicly acknowledge that you are or aren't game for an impromptu though.

~row
 

Link092

Re: Community Building
« Reply #89 on: August 09, 2012, 09:35:12 pm »
Sent PM to dorg, forwarding to Row. :U
 

davidhoff

Re: Community Building
« Reply #90 on: August 10, 2012, 01:10:36 am »
Layonara, to me, is a lot like fishing.  When I first really started fishing I couldn't sleep the night before and stayed up cleaning all the slots in my tackle box with WD40 and polishing and sharpening all my lures.  I'd stay out all day and was thrilled and exhilarated during the whole trip.  I loved adventuring to new bays and flats, trying out my new rod/reel and different fishing techniques and baits.  I could go on and on, but you get my point.

Now I'm older and I've been to most of the areas I still fish.  I don't get up at the break of dawn and usually sleep in.  A lot of the "new kid" excitement is gone.  I've tried most of the fishing techniques and lures and caught most of the types of fish.

However, I still love to fish!  It's a different kind of love, but still there.  I don't mind going to the old spots but I enjoy the company and conversation on the boat now more...and the beer.  I still get a kick out of trying new gear (rods, reels, line, lures etc).  I'm constantly trying to tweak and refine my skills.  Did I mention I like the beer?  Oh and my boat is nicer now.  I still get a smile when I set the hook and a friend yells "nice fish".  I don't mind fishing old stomping grounds if I'm with someone who's never been there and I like to teach others what I know.

Anyway...I think that's enough of that and I'm not really sure where it takes me in this thread.  Much of the early on "new kid" excitement for me in Layo has gone.  I've seen almost all the areas and rarely do I see a piece of equipment that is new to me.  I know most of the monsters and how to fight them.  But Layo is still fun for me.  I like challenging my characters.  I have a blast travelling and fighting with other characters.  I like to show off my character's talents and also learn tricks and tactics from others.  I LOVE to find new areas!  (just happened recently...shhhhh).

To the Brass Tax.  Many of the players have made wonderful points already and I'd like to give a big shout out to all the ideas and its inspiring to see so many who care so much about the state of Layo.  If you posted here...you care.  (apologies if I am repeating ideas already given)

1.  Monsters - I'm getting tired of the same creatures.  I know I'm one of the few that have seen most of Layo and have too much time to play, but I don't think I'm alone on this.  We have many world and lore specific events going on.  Change the monster to accommodate this.  Put shadows and ghouls and mist creatures in the roughlands to show the Deepening Dark is in town.  Place some really tough Orcs and Goblins near the same area to show the Goblinoid presence in the roughland that side with the Deepening Dark.  Throw some Drachs and Mydrachs in the Great Forest to show they are encroaching in those boundaries.  Put some dire wolf packs around Hempstead to indicate the famine.  Throw some fire creatures around Point Dart to show the Pyrtechon's hordes making a move for the amulet thing.  Etc, Etc, Etc.  Now this doesn't all have to be done at once if you don't have time, but do what you can and pace yourself.  You could even change the lighting or tileset around a bit if that was easy enough.  Give us some NEWness!

2.  Quests - I like the long running quests, but I equally enjoy a quick to run save the girl or take out the orcs that have been raiding.  One of my more memorable once was a Gnoll or Bugbear quest run by Dezza where they were up in some castle and throwing insults and jibes back at us...really fun and good stuff.

3.  Player Quests - These can be really fun too.  I want you to envision this.  Imagine if we each calendared one quest per month!  We'd have 20-40 player quests per month.  The GM could pop in too if they wanted to spice it up.  With our schedules now being tight, folks want to be able to know for certain when to show up.  I've tried this a few times and had great success and lots of fun.  Put it on the calendar and make it happen.

4.  New Players/Old Players - I think you're wasting you're money with any kind of advertising.  This needs to be word of mouth.  If you make if fun for those already here, then we will recruit for you.  I have two nephews that I've considered asking, but I don't know how Layo can stand up to Battlefront.  If Layo made some changes and more folks were on, I might consider pushing them a bit (although I'm still a bit embarrassed for them to see how much I'm logged in here).  Also if Layo was doing things to make if more exciting for the existing players, then some of us would feel better about reaching out to the old players to drag them back in.  I'd love to see some of the old characters back in the game (Fenrir, Kobal, Abjorn, Abigail, Galathea (saw her the other day..yayyy), Dan Hardhammer, Rhizome, Plenarius, etc. etc...MISS these characters and they really excite the player base when they come on.

5.  Word of caution about "Bashers" - Be careful not to offend this group.  I know we say this is a RP server, but without the bashers there is no role play.  We all have a little "basher" in us, and most of have much more than we are willing to admit.  Do not alienate the Bashers or make them ashamed to just want "run around and kill things with guys".  This is FUN, and it's a very big part of why lots of us like Layo.  We like the gear, we like challenging our characters in battle, we like the camaraderie of battling with friends and seeing new and difficult to getto places.  I never knew what RP was when I first got here, but I learned as I played.  Now Bashing and RP is like beer and pizza to me...they go so well together.

6.  Items - yes I'd like to see some new items and this would truly make it fun to explore and gather new goodies.  They are like lures to a fisherman.  They bring newness and make the game more fun...FUN is important right?  They don't have to be ubberjubber items, but they need to be useful.  Be creative, but if I look at the item and say that's cute, but it's not better than my mithril battle axe, then they don't really add that much.  Give the items an onhit stun property, or some armor that when you get hit does 1d2 acid damage, etc.

7.  Areas - I'd love to see new areas but I realize this is tough with the work involved and pallet space.  I don't follow any other MMO's really at all, but I did notice a while back that WoW even was adding new areas to their game.  I bet lots of others do it to.  We want to have new areas to explore.  It gets boring sometimes going to the old places over and over.  Just pick a small area for starters and redo it a bit.  Pick a cave or a castle and change up the monsters, lighting, tiles, bosses, etc.  Give a reason for why you did it based on Lore or just do it because you felt like it.  If you're worried about making changes and people dying/losing SS's, then start a thread warning about the changes.  Make a statement that you won't be reimbursing for the new areas...make us sign a thread saying we won't complain...something like that.

I think that's it for now...if I think of more I'll let you know...thanks
 

Drosk

Re: Community Building
« Reply #91 on: August 10, 2012, 08:56:04 pm »
Being a new player reading this thread, I see lots of great feedback.

However, the below quote from the very start of the thread tells me that this is all moot because the lead staff is not considering any work here a priority.

Quote from: Rowana


2) Anything that requires an intensive amount of work for the lead staff will be considered but won't be attempted in the near future. If a window of opportunity presents itself we'll see what we can do.

~row


If the lead staff isn't going to make improving the existing game world a priority, then asking the community for advise on how to increase player numbers is pointless. Stagnant games don't retain players.

And as much as I have read about the MMO, you have two problems. First, it doesn't exist. It has been 4 years since you have posted a screenshot. So saying to people "Real soon now..." just makes you the next Duke Nukem Forever, and we all know how that turned out. Second, you are building the MMO as profit-making private venture. Layo was built by the community and volunteers. That imparts a certain sense of ownership to the community. If think this community is demanding and it hard to keep players, just wait until you have paying customers to answer to or lose.

I think it is clear the lead staff has made their decision to put their efforts into the MMO, and so the best the players can hope for here is for the game not to die. Anything more than that is clearly off the table from the attitude and comments of the lead staff.

And with that said, I recommend the rest you do what I am planning to do. Play the game as it exists, hang out with the people I like, and enjoy it while I can.
 

Pibemanden

Re: Community Building
« Reply #92 on: August 10, 2012, 10:30:40 pm »
Alright so now I have a bit of time to write something (hopefully) constructive. I think that many people in this thread has touched on important things my main contributions are:

1) The stories we tell, I still can't help but feel either a) a little out of the loop or b) that the stories have changed dramatically since I started. I know I have said this before elsewhere in a longer post, but really something has changed, either it is me or the world but I can't really put my finger on what. It just doesn't feel so engaging and fun anymore.

2) Finishing things... Here I don't want to harass people with busy RL's or anything but please please please stop starting things you know you are not going to finish in a timely manner.
I mean really, I am probably the person who is just as guilty of this as anyone having several 2000+ point Warhammer and WH 40k armies which I never got around to panting but I still start that one new project because I know it will be awesome if I just paint it.
My problem is probably much different and easier to solve that the teams current RL commitments, but I am just trying to say that we all make these kinds of mistakes, however we should just try to avoid them.
The problem is, you announce a big quest series or start a big quest series, there might be a couple of sessions and then BOOM! nothing. I am perfectly sure that your change of priorities are perfectly well reasoned, but it becomes sad when I can predict that this is going to drag out for years if there will even ever be a conclusion to it. And I don't even know how your current situation or your future situation, I just know that you wont be able to get this done.
That really kills a lot of excitement for me, of course it would be great to be proven wrong, but I would much rather that people set realistic goals for themselves. Rather than promising the greatest story there has ever been on the server, do a few short quests, you are all good DM's and you tell good stories, just try to make them manageable for yourself. Both for your own sake and for the communities sake.
Especially because you cannot expect the community to have the same priorities for years or even months at a time, so your quest might suffer from being reliant on PCs who are not around anymore for one reason or another.
I hope that is not stepping on anyones toes, and I don't mean to criticize the DM's who are not guilty of this, just keep something like this in mind before you start fleshing out your new great idea... If you can't get it done though, maybe another DM can?

3) On the MMO and stuff... I really wish you the best of luck with that, but I will also warn you like others have. In particular about the going to cons and stuff... Unless you -know- it will launch as either finished or at least open beta within 1-1½ years, don't wave your flag around like that. It is fine to keep the devlog and such updated and add new features, but you should be careful about spending too much time about spreading the word of something that is years away, people want to be excited for something which they know will happen within some time frame, not something which might happen in the future at some point where they might not even be interested anymore.
 

Dorganath

Re: Community Building
« Reply #93 on: August 10, 2012, 10:44:56 pm »
To clarify the position of the lead staff...

Several years ago, we released v3, which introduced new tilesets, revised some areas, added some areas and removed some areas.  The core of Layonara stayed the same, but there was newness and improvements.  At that time, we had a community, and consequently a project team, that was easily 3-4 times larger than it is now at least. That project took an intensive effort by about a dozen people, give or take, over the course of about 9 months, and it was spear-headed by a person who could devote a near full-time effort to the process.

This is the kind of thing Rowana was talking about in that snip of a quote.  Now, it's arguable (and likely correct) that we don't really need that sort of an overhaul. Even seemingly simple changes sometimes take a significant investment in time because they can touch many things and have unexpected impacts on game balance. My personal focus lately has been on smaller, incremental changes as needed or appropriate, because it's what I can support and what the project team can support.  This said, in the last few updates, I've introduced new systems, revamped our chat command system to be faster and more reliable all across the board, added or updated areas to reflect plot quest outcomes and various other things.  To call NWN Layonara stagnant on the development end is an in accurate assessment.

Is it changing as much as I might like, given an excess of available time? Probably not, but we are trying to make the best of what we can with limited resources.  Layonara, even the MMO project, is still the product of its community and its volunteers. The pool we have to work with is smaller, so the scope of what we can reasonably do is smaller too.

So to assume that improvement is not a priority is not accurate. For reasons already stated, if Layonara is going to have any future in its online form, it will be in the MMO, but I also know that NWN is Layonara's present, and as such I do feel an obligation for us to continue to support this community while it lasts.

It's also worth stating that if the lead staff didn't continue to feel some value and responsibility to this community and NWN, the servers would be closed down, as it would make no sense at all to continue to pay hosting fees out of our own pockets to make up the difference in the donations we get. In my mind, the only reasons to close down NWN Layonara would either be financial or if it became too much trouble to manage for whatever reasons.  Thus far, neither condition is true.

I realize this is not a complete response.  I do, in fact, have more to say about some of the points raised, but I am not yet prepared to do so.  When I do, I hope everyone will then better understand a few things and we can move forward.

In the meantime, yes, enjoy the game. We'll do what we can to keep it interesting.
 

lonnarin

Re: Community Building
« Reply #94 on: August 10, 2012, 11:40:19 pm »
Some thoughts.


-When you see a new player, log in an impromptu!  Introduce the players to the world.  Any time you recognize a new login that you don't remember, make the effort to make people feel welcome.  Explain the toolsets, show the areas, expand the horizons.  It's up to every GM or player that wants more players to step up as a welcoming comittee.

-Don't be afraid to mass-tell-spam heads ups for trips and boredom.  If you don't know somebody, don't be shy, say hello!  Even if that character you see isn't your level range, doesn't mean they don't have things you can do together or even have other characters within your level range.  You'll never know unless you ask!  Don't just stare at eachother on the player list log in and log out, hoping that they'll send a tell to you, ask EVERYBODY!  (people often wonder how I make massive parties on the drop of a dime, this is how)

-Dont be afraid to cross enemy faiths/alignments.  Just roleplay the animosity as you hunt.  Some of the best RP comes from the dissonance between good and evil, lawful and chaotic... Ilsarian and Vorax!

-See that "useless" gear you've been stockpiling?  That's gold to lower level characters.  Set them on crazy menial tasks for resources you need or CNR training tutorials.  Offer that dwarf a seemingly useless bronze axe to mine 10 copper, make him smelt it, and prize him the axe.  Engage in drinking contests for minor items or gold.  Take them to the creature cards with a starter deck.  Feel free to set your own interpersonal "quests" so to speak.

-Find RPers in real life and drag them in here!  Bring your siblings, your kids, your cousins, your coworkers and your fellow tabletop gamers.

-Don't underestimate small party combos. Even just two players make a balance party in most areas.  You just have to ask around and scout them.  You get that brother, sister, son, best friend or coworker online with say a mage and a fighter, a cleric and a cleric, a ranger and a druid, two frontliners of any type, and you have a party.  Think of the supreme duos we've had.  Czukay and Skabot, Barion and Rain, Gorm and Fehriel, Vrebel and Tralek,  The Berylite Sisters, the BloominLoom brothers!  All of those awesome two-party legacies that did incredible things were just two dedicated players who met up and formed a system of survival and tactics.

-Even the little spells help.  If you're an 18th lvl fighter, that 8th level mage still hase stoneskin or mage armor.  Bring em along as little buff-up batteries!

-Send tells often and chat it up!  Even if you just use Layo as a social network and chat with people, things pop up to do all the time.  Ping back and forth with eachother and see what's up!

-Come on my quests!  For they are awesome.

Anyhow folks, GAME ON!
 

Drosk

Re: Community Building
« Reply #95 on: August 10, 2012, 11:45:04 pm »
Well Dorg, let me clarify a few things.

I have been building software and games for over 30 years. I have been building online communities around games and other subjects for just as long.

Building software is not easy and not everyone can do it.

Building communities is not easy and not everyone can do it.

Both of the which take intensive effort.

I can promise you that every time the lead staff makes a post with "MMO" in it, the community just cringes. As Pibemanden said, until you have something real to demonstrate to the community, just stop talking about it.

Incremental improvement is great and certainly the way to go. I think the lead staff under estimates the value of frequent releases.

v3 was 4 years ago. v3r14 was 3.5 months ago. v3r13 was 13 months ago.

Your release cycle for minor fixes and improvements is simply too long. It may be a function of the tool set, the difficulty of pulling the release together, not enough people on the dev team, or a combination.

Finding a fix for that and making sure you have a team supporting the existing community that is separate from the team working on the MMO is probably the best move you can make.

I have to split my resources all the time in real life. I have to put teams on maintenance of current software while new software that is going to replace it is being developed by another team. It is difficult and decisions have to be made. Major improvements rarely come to projects that are in the maintenance phase, but small fixes and improvements come very frequently.

Maybe the solution is getting a team together that wants to maintain and improve the current version of Layonara and spend their time only on that.

I don't know if that is a feasible solution, but it may be what is needed to help keep the community involved and alive while the lead staff focuses on the future.
 

Dorganath

Re: Community Building
« Reply #96 on: August 11, 2012, 12:30:56 am »
Naturally. These concepts are not lost on us collectively or me in particular.

I know the letters "MMO" make a community cringe. It made me cringe when Leanthar first told me about it.

I know how long ago v3 was. I worked on it.

I know my release cycles are presently longer than I'd like them to be, though there have been several unannounced releases to address a quick-fix or to sneak something in. The difficulty is not in the toolset or effort of building the modules for release.

I know to keep an active development cycle, I need a dedicated and capable team with the required skill set. We draw the project team from the community, and as has been observed many times so far, the community is smaller than it was. The pool of capable, willing and reliable people to contribute to this is likewise smaller than it was.

We have, multiple times, tried to find and cultivate the right sort of talent for the NWN side so that I would not have to personally split my time and attention between two major projects. Several times we have recruited from within with this very purpose in mind, only to have the person vanish without a word, or be part of the team in label only but with little to nothing in terms of finished contributions.  In an increasingly smaller community, it is increasingly difficult to find and cultivate the necessary talent, trust and time to really hit frequent release cycles like we'd like to have.

It is also very difficult to recruit from without with nothing but the promise of rigorous release cycle, a sometimes demanding clientele and absolutely no compensation beyond the occasional accolades.  People don't work here for any reason other than the fact that they care about the place and want to do something more. It's a completely intangible sort of reward, and someone who'd never heard of Layonara isn't likely to take on the task.

I also know perfectly well what I'd do if this were a professional, full-time endeavor. Everything you suggested would be right on, and if this was a professional, full-time endeavor, my current release cycle would be wholly unacceptable. As it is, it is not.  Whether we're talking about NWN or the MMO, we are a fully volunteer effort.  

None of us are being compensated for our efforts, none of us has made a dime off this, and in fact we've collectively spent thousands of dollars out of pocket over the years. We have no budget, no funding, no source of revenue. As such, we do what we can with what we have and we continue to work around the obstacles and challenges that life continues to throw our way and try to eek in some time to take care of these projects during the few free hours a night that we have after family and other obligations take their share.

So to close, your observations are valid and correct in terms of what is and what was. You do not have the whole story, however, and so it would be best to not make many further assumptions as to the "why" of all this.

Matters specifically pertaining to the MMO will be addressed soon, as I have said before; I am simply waiting on one particular thing to be ready before doing so. This has been planned well before this thread was started.
 

Rowana

Re: Community Building
« Reply #97 on: August 11, 2012, 12:35:12 am »
Drosk,

Thanks for your opinion. Thanks for your effort of trying to get involved in the community right away. However, I think you're being a little presumptuous about, well pretty much everything.

The folks on these teams have lives that sound a little like yours. They've been working for this server, in some cases, for years, for free or rather, at a deficit. Some of them donate a portion of their hard earned wages every month so that folks can come here and play for free and have been doing so, for years. They allow people to use their work to build something of their own, they donate countless hours to develop story arcs to give people something exciting to do with those characters that they've built here. I could go on for oh, ever probably, on the ways people donate their time here. That's not even to mention the players that donate their time and effort here to keep things lively and fun for their fellows. That's a pretty big deal. I don't know if you've noticed but in this economy, it's actually pretty amazing.

During the course of your wisdom imparting you're coming of pretty condescending, like you know everything better than everyone despite the fact that you've only been here for a few days. I don't appreciate how you're treating the folks while sitting in our living room, particularly in a thread that's for people to suggest ways of making our community stronger and better. I see few helpful suggestions and a good number of critical judgements based on not knowing pretty much anything about the people who work here. For someone who claims to have been working at building online communities for 30 years, you don't act with a whole lot of tact or consideration. That kind of refutes your supposed experience, I might add.

Now, we're all interested in coordinating with new and old members a like. We're well aware that we're entirely too short handed around here. That's actually kind of the POINT of this thread. If you've got a lot of experience you might be willing to share, we're certainly open to the option. Like we've said and you've restated, this whole place runs on volunteer juice and it's supposed to be for fun (not for money, just to reinforce that one more time). However, if you're interested, the first thing that has to go is telling people that those of us who've volunteered to donate our time are lying about our intentions and efforts. The second thing that has to go is telling us what kind of timeline we need to run this place on. Stuff like that kind of sucks the enjoyment out of everything and really makes us wonder why we bother with all that time and financial support. See the earlier post about how long this place will keep going when we stop feeling like everyone's getting something worthwhile out of our efforts.

If I'm not mistaken you're familiar with Guardian, and he's actually been on the inside off and on for years as one of our volunteer work horses. Project team member and GM and possibly a few other things I'm not recalling off the top of my head. Maybe you could talk to him about the hours he's dumped into this place before you go knocking the collaborative effort he's taking part in.

Thanks again for your interest. Hopefully we can move forward from this on better footing.

~row
 

Guardian 452

Re: Community Building
« Reply #98 on: August 11, 2012, 01:13:14 am »
He does talk to me Row as of a week or so ago we live in apartments above each other. Up untill the past couple days he's only gotten my side of any story on things....
Aww nevermind Drosk speaks for himself... I certainly dont need to defend him accept to say he may have played the game for a few days now but ive talked his ears off many nights about Layo over the past several years. And he certainly has not been the only one in this thread with a "do this, do that" structure... yet he's the one getting fired back at.
 

Dorganath

Re: Community Building
« Reply #99 on: August 11, 2012, 01:34:09 am »
Speaking for myself alone, it's not the "do this, do that" structure that brings me to respond. I've, in fact, refrained from commenting on most that people have said to that end in this thread just to let the discussion grow on its own.

I do not, however, appreciate being told what my mindset is, why I think that way and what I need to do to "fix" it.  The assumptions of my attitudes and those of the other lead staff are underinformed at best.

I respect and welcome each and every positive suggestion on ways to improve the experience here, but I draw the line when it gets personal and someone who doesn't know me starts to tell me what I am thinking.

If that's "firing back" then so be it.

Attack the product all you want. It's fair game.  Do not attack me or anyone here really.  That's not what this thread is about.