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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:44 pm 
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I nominate Ashborn. Spam this man with pages!

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:49 pm 
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Dunder Mifflin Inc wrote:
Kaivan wrote:
I don't really think that question has been evaluated on our end yet. That's something we would have to discuss internally.



I don't think you actually need 'counselors'. If they are just answering questions and helping players, as suggested, you could actually just open up the 'Page" system to ALL players and anyone that opens it up can check and answer questions and help players with anything they need, the regular way. This way nobody has 'special' powers, but they can still help anyone that needs it.

Thoughts??


Have you ever seen IRC? Sure, there are a few of us who will help the newer players. But many will simply ignore or troll them. I can't imagine opening up the page system to all players would be any different.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:50 pm 
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Dunder Mifflin Inc wrote:
I don't think you actually need 'counselors'. If they are just answering questions and helping players, as suggested, you could actually just open up the 'Page" system to ALL players and anyone that opens it up can check and answer questions and help players with anything they need, the regular way. This way nobody has 'special' powers, but they can still help anyone that needs it.

Thoughts??



As much as I would love to see the responses to pages escoo/saber/gyro would muster up, I doubt new players would find it as amusing.

lol

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:00 am 
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Rose wrote:
Dunder Mifflin Inc wrote:
I don't think you actually need 'counselors'. If they are just answering questions and helping players, as suggested, you could actually just open up the 'Page" system to ALL players and anyone that opens it up can check and answer questions and help players with anything they need, the regular way. This way nobody has 'special' powers, but they can still help anyone that needs it.

Thoughts??



As much as I would love to see the responses to pages escoo/saber/gyro would muster up, I doubt new players would find it as amusing.

lol


The system could be setup so that only certain guilds/players could answer the pages. No special powers needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:06 am 
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Dunder Mifflin Inc wrote:
Rose wrote:
Dunder Mifflin Inc wrote:
I don't think you actually need 'counselors'. If they are just answering questions and helping players, as suggested, you could actually just open up the 'Page" system to ALL players and anyone that opens it up can check and answer questions and help players with anything they need, the regular way. This way nobody has 'special' powers, but they can still help anyone that needs it.

Thoughts??



As much as I would love to see the responses to pages escoo/saber/gyro would muster up, I doubt new players would find it as amusing.

lol


The system could be setup so that only certain guilds/players could answer the pages. No special powers needed.


I feel like that shows favoritism and presents potential abuse but... It's a possibility.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:08 am 
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Kaivan wrote:
I don't really think that question has been evaluated on our end yet. That's something we would have to discuss internally.

Is it something you will discuss internally? We'd like you to, for what that's worth.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:41 am 
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ashborn,
i think youre an asset to this shard and an overall good person. counselors can be beneficial but there is a slight risk involved with staffing the positions.

i think with the resources we have at our hands today, we can greatly improve the efficiences of getting the right information to the right group of people who need it by utilizing youtube. if we can set videos up on relevant stuff such as how to use razor, how to cycle a halberd (with a video that doesn't have a duration larger than 3 minutes), and other useful information.

i challenge you to reach out to the appropriate staff member and take the lead on creating a UOSA learner's youtube channel and compile videos that are necessary for new people to come in and enjoy the shard at 90% less the hardship

when it comes time to select a new gm of the shard.... you will be the strongest candidate at that point.

edit: additional good things to come out of utilizing resources with out help from gms and stuff is that it strengthens the community of the player base (by x player providing videos in certain areas of the game such as how to GM x skill the fastest)


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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:01 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:59 am 
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Dunder Mifflin Inc wrote:
Kaivan wrote:
I don't really think that question has been evaluated on our end yet. That's something we would have to discuss internally.



I don't think you actually need 'counselors'. If they are just answering questions and helping players, as suggested, you could actually just open up the 'Page" system to ALL players and anyone that opens it up can check and answer questions and help players with anything they need, the regular way. This way nobody has 'special' powers, but they can still help anyone that needs it.

Thoughts??

We would not completely open the paging system for all players to access for several reasons. One extremely good one is that many times players page in with requests for specific things or with information that isn't just a question, and that information is generally expected to be in the confidence of staff. Opening the paging system to all players exposes that information needlessly.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:09 am 
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Treysta wrote:
Kaivan wrote:
I don't really think that question has been evaluated on our end yet. That's something we would have to discuss internally.

Is it something you will discuss internally? We'd like you to, for what that's worth.

This is something that we've briefly discussed in the past, and it is something that we may look into again, given the thread here.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:35 pm 
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As I see it then, based upon this thread, these are the options:

1 - Community Companion System - Been used in the past, may still have some kinks. Unknown amount of time and effort to get it working correctly.

Pros: No trust issues. New players will get the assistance they need and that personal touch from a veteran or staff member.

Cons: Anything beyond helping new players is not benefitted from this program (my understanding anyway). Non-new members will have to rely on the current IRC or the Page system for help. Further, they will not be able to assist player events or GM ran events; leaving the burden squarely on current staff. The last con for this would be the difficulty to get it working, as mentioned by Kaivan. The other options may have this similar con as well but Im only listing it once.

2 - Counselors with very limited powers - Hasn't been used in the past in this way. No idea on implementation requirements.

Pros: New players will get the assistance they need.

Cons: No personal touch added since, under what was discussed, there will be only contact through the page system and the counselor will likely never be seen (frozen in green acres for example - as mentioned by Anarcho). Further, they will not be able to assist player events or GM ran events; leaving the burden squarely on current staff.

3 - Counselors as seen in T2A - This, in my opinion, is the best option. It has been used in the past, to the shard's detriment (aside from the server getting Kaivan the master of era accuracy!)

Pros: Era Accurate (Kaivan would know more about this than myself, but it seems so). New players get the assistance they need. There is also that personal appearance. These counselors can assist with GM and player ran events. Obviously they cannot create or edit items, so their assistance will be limited - as it was in T2A from what I recall.

Cons: Trust. These counselors, if they have player accounts, will have a conflict of interest. They could turn invisible and spy on people. They could open house doors to let people in and loot. They cannot create / edit items, so that is not an issue. These issues are solved by using counselors who do not have player accounts, and/or solved by removing invisibility or just general oversight of other staff members.

4 - Adding more GMs - This is an option as well. The staff here made a decision that server needed two GMs. You guys originally hired (putting Anarcho in a separate category of coder) 2 GMs but one left. His position was not replaced (since Anarcho is more of a coder, and not like Boom for example). My question is, did your original intent to staff 2 more GMs to do as Boom does, change? If not, then as you originally thought, the server is lacking a GM. Perhaps you expect Mammoth to return soon.

Pros: Double Boomland. I doubt there is a soul on this server who dislikes what Boom has done. I applaud all of his efforts. He's worked with me on my events to make them possible while still respecting the server's wishes. Further, he's made such an old game very fun with bagball, potion wars, gargoyle invasions, etc. Mammoth had plans for things along these lines, and having two GMs would see them realized (I spoke with him recently and he seems to be doing well!). Another pro, less work for BLJ! That guy is always on doing awesome stuff. I would hate to see him burnout. He could use a hand. I don't mean to imply the rest of the staff is not helping. They also make very noticeable differences but in a different way than active GMs like Boom do. The staff seems to have roles, and there is only one from what I can tell in the 'active' GM role that Boom currently holds.

Cons: Trust. As the staff did before when they staffed BLJ and Mammoth, they will have to trust a new individual. Obviously, since GMs can create and change, that player would have to give up their accounts. Most people who have acquired the trust necessary for this position have also spent a lot of time on their accounts. They have value. BLJ and Mammoth both gave up their accounts in order to help the shard, and there are others who would do the same.

Edit: I accidentally edited this response for some reason, and the last part of this message was lost.

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Last edited by Kaivan on Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sorry about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:44 pm 
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Some random thoughts at the moment, as I think this is a bit out of proportion currently (both the "issue" and effects of any proposed solutions).

There have been 4 pages in the last 24 hours, at least 1 of which would have had to have been answered by a GM or higher.

What is meant by help with "player events"? We are typically pretty light on any involvement, hence they are player events, but shard broadcasts and Town Crier News postings are generally made on request (for an appropriate event), I doubt that we need any more manpower for these simple tasks which seem to be handled fine at the moment.

I am not knocking any suggestion put forth so far, I am just trying to keep the current assessment realistic, as I've seen some things in IRC last night and some on this forum that I feel have missed the mark a bit.

I am personally interested in furthering the Companion program, I just don't think it will be of that much further use at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:51 pm 
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I think Boom could answer the question of what it means to help on player events.

But from what I've seen, marketing the events for us has been helpful. Plus, setting up gates, town criers and little things (like the bridging problem at my towers). It hasn't been a huge deal, but hopefully with more players comes more events. With further support, a GM can do more GM stuff like creating invasions, quests, and other things they do.

But aside from helping, just making an appearance would be a big deal, imo. You mentioned that you sometimes come to events and stay hidden. Some players may feel that is best but I think its the opposite. Best would be appearing and talking with players. Chewing the fat during the event and showing you are apart of the community. :)

As for the 4 pages in the last 24 hours, is that typical? I only know from my experience of putting in pages and from what I hear from new players about wondering whether there is staff or not. I think the community that has chimed in so far also agrees that paging is a very slow process. Maybe their thinking is outdated? Perhaps it is less of an issue now. But again, as players increase, so will pages ideally.

**Player event assistance may not be a huge amount which is the way you guys like it. However, I think it is still a piece of the puzzle that should be considered.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:20 am 
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AshBorn wrote:
As I see it then, based upon this thread, these are the options:

1 - Community Companion System - Been used in the past, may still have some kinks. Unknown amount of time and effort to get it working correctly.

Pros: No trust issues. New players will get the assistance they need and that personal touch from a veteran or staff member.

Cons: Anything beyond helping new players is not benefitted from this program (my understanding anyway). Non-new members will have to rely on the current IRC or the Page system for help. Further, they will not be able to assist player events or GM ran events; leaving the burden squarely on current staff. The last con for this would be the difficulty to get it working, as mentioned by Kaivan. The other options may have this similar con as well but Im only listing it once.

2 - Counselors with very limited powers - Hasn't been used in the past in this way. No idea on implementation requirements.

Pros: New players will get the assistance they need.

Cons: No personal touch added since, under what was discussed, there will be only contact through the page system and the counselor will likely never be seen (frozen in green acres for example - as mentioned by Anarcho). Further, they will not be able to assist player events or GM ran events; leaving the burden squarely on current staff.

I'll try to mostly clarify exactly how these situations work at the same time.

First, if we were to re-introduce our companion program, the program allowed for more than simply answering basic pages and greeting new players. Companions were generally able to help players who were stuck by presenting them with a stuck menu, and they could assist in answering all general pages that came in to us via a single queue that could be serviced by anyone who saw it. So all players would gain some benefit by having some access to companions. In general, short of some sensitive account information, our companions generally had about as much power as counselors did on OSI servers.

Second, it is true that counselors under these systems will generally not be able to help with player run events, but beyond simply being there, they couldn't do so on OSI either. Ultimately, counselors are there to help with questions and the occasional problem with being stuck in game. They aren't meant to assist in player run events, nor host their own events.

Quote:
3 - Counselors as seen in T2A - This, in my opinion, is the best option. It has been used in the past, to the shard's detriment (aside from the server getting Kaivan the master of era accuracy!)

Pros: Era Accurate (Kaivan would know more about this than myself, but it seems so). New players get the assistance they need. There is also that personal appearance. These counselors can assist with GM and player ran events. Obviously they cannot create or edit items, so their assistance will be limited - as it was in T2A from what I recall.

Cons: Trust. These counselors, if they have player accounts, will have a conflict of interest. They could turn invisible and spy on people. They could open house doors to let people in and loot. They cannot create / edit items, so that is not an issue. These issues are solved by using counselors who do not have player accounts, and/or solved by removing invisibility or just general oversight of other staff members.

Generally speaking, what Counselors could do on OSI servers - at least in the pursuit of their job - is what they can do here on UOSA. As with OSI servers, this did not involve assisting in player run events in any way (one has to ask exactly how they would do so with the general mechanics you outlined in the pros and cons), but merely meant they would be assisting in the regular day to day requests for information and help.

Quote:
4 - Adding more GMs - This is an option as well. The staff here made a decision that server needed two GMs. You guys originally hired (putting Anarcho in a separate category of coder) 2 GMs but one left. His position was not replaced (since Anarcho is more of a coder, and not like Boom for example). My question is, did your original intent to staff 2 more GMs to do as Boom does, change? If not, then as you originally thought, the server is lacking a GM. Perhaps you expect Mammoth to return soon.

Pros: Double Boomland. I doubt there is a soul on this server who dislikes what Boom has done. I applaud all of his efforts. He's worked with me on my events to make them possible while still respecting the server's wishes. Further, he's made such an old game very fun with bagball, potion wars, gargoyle invasions, etc. Mammoth had plans for things along these lines, and having two GMs would see them realized (I spoke with him recently and he seems to be doing well!). Another pro, less work for BLJ! That guy is always on doing awesome stuff. I would hate to see him burnout. He could use a hand. I don't mean to imply the rest of the staff is not helping. They also make very noticeable differences but in a different way than active GMs like Boom do. The staff seems to have roles, and there is only one from what I can tell in the 'active' GM role that Boom currently holds.

Cons: Trust. As the staff did before when they staffed BLJ and Mammoth, they will have to trust a new individual. Obviously, since GMs can create and change, that player would have to give up their accounts. Most people who have acquired the trust necessary for this position have also spent a lot of time on their accounts. They have value. BLJ and Mammoth both gave up their accounts in order to help the shard, and there are others who would do the same.

At this point in time, we're not looking to add in any new GMs at all. We've specifically kept a very limited number of staff members because there is a lot of responsibility in properly administrating a server., and adding anyone new to that particular role is an extremely risky thing to do. However, beyond that, some staff members do tend to specialize in certain things (e.g. Boomland focuses on events), but we all contribute to internal discussions and manage the day to day activities on the server. So while it's true that Anarcho mainly focuses on coding, and I focus on policies & mechanics, that doesn't mean that we don't handle requests for silver rewards, or answer pages about questions in game.

AshBorn wrote:
I think Boom could answer the question of what it means to help on player events.

I don't think that this is something that needs to specifically wait for Boomland to give an answer. Player run events are the sort of thing that do not need regular interference from anyone in a counselor or staff position. At best, the ability to announce the event on a town crier, set up gates to the events (although I don't particularly agree with that one), or broadcasting the events is about as much as we can reasonably do to assist in helping player events.

So, given what I've seen in your last two responses, it seems the focus is aimed at the question of what a person that may be a counselor could do to assist player run events. Well, in short, there isn't much that can be done.

To expand on this idea, let's look at some of the criteria above. First, the idea of broadcasting the event (something actual counselor's couldn't do). This requires giving Counselors access to the broadcasting function, which could lead to abuse of the system (counselors abused far smaller powers somewhat badly under the old system) and the broadcast of some very poor things as a result. Second, setting up moongates to the event itself. This requires granting the ability for a Counselor to edit the properties of an item, which is something that is ripe for abuse elsewhere (and also something they couldn't do on OSI servers). And finally, if we look at things like town criers, many of the same issues appear there as they do with the broadcast function, although it is now continuously spammed. Overall, these examples highlight the general pattern that greater access carries a greater chance of harm, and the idea of giving Counselors these extra powers simply to assist in player run events does not nearly justify that risk. Of course, that's not to say that it wouldn't be interesting if a Counselor could show up to an event, should the request for them to show up be sent in. That is certainly something that Counselors could to.

Quote:
As for the 4 pages in the last 24 hours, is that typical? I only know from my experience of putting in pages and from what I hear from new players about wondering whether there is staff or not. I think the community that has chimed in so far also agrees that paging is a very slow process. Maybe their thinking is outdated? Perhaps it is less of an issue now. But again, as players increase, so will pages ideally.

Generally speaking, we do not actually get that many pages in a day. Accounting for an entire 23.5 hour period, we probably get ~6 pages about different problems. The issue surrounding getting pages answered is that sometimes pages come in at all hours of the night (and yes I am up at 3AM EST, but I'll be asleep within 15 minutes of this post going up), when we aren't available to answer them, and even during the day time, we typically have other things that keep us from focusing on UOSA all the time. So while there aren't that many overall pages, we don't have a stellar answer rate for the pages that come in, and that is where Counselors can have the most meaningful impact: answering pages, acting as the intermediate link between staff and players, and having a bit more of a "face" when they do arrive to handle a problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Add Counselors. Retention is just as crucial as Marketin
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:03 am 
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With all due respect, I think I'm being misunderstood if my posts showed my focus is help with player run events. It's not. My focus is helping new players get accustomed with the server so they don't hang up their newbie dagger and move elsewhere.

When I first started here, after I left being a counselor at IPY, I met Stranger who showed me the ropes. If not for him, I likely would have moved on quickly. The idea of starting all over again and learning a new server was very daunting even for a UO veteran. He turned me into a server vet of three years who helps new players each time I possibly can. He answered my questions and much more. Players do help now, definitely. But I think there is room for some improvement from the staff, and I gather that you agree with that point.

Helping with events is just one aspect. Just showing up at events is worth doing, imo.

I appreciate the long response in addressing everything. It seems to me that whatever happened in the past with counselors has had quite a lasting effect. Ultimately it seems you want to help the paging problem with only giving the bare minimum of trust (the trust required to appropriately answer pages without trolling new players, and whatever else the companions could do - the help stuck thing you mentioned and anything else I don't know about).

As you said, very small powers were abused in the past. Well they may have been but that doesn't mean they will be in the future. I think there are people here who could be trusted with more than just the absolute minimum. You guys are extremely weary of trusting anyone. Im not judging you for this but merely attempting to point out that it could be time to keep moving forward and try again. (As you did with blaze, roadkill, and anarcho. That worked out very well, I'm sure you agree)

To reiterate, my focus is helping new players. Whatever that may entail. From the simplest form, answering pages as a companion or counselor, to a more complicated form - GM who creates an intriguing new player quest line that expands on the current tutorial system or creates other things with the sole focus of new player retention. (I think a lot of good could be done here) gargoyles are great, but they don't exactly help new player retention. They help current player, who already have skilled up quite a bit, retention. Very good thing imo, but not really for fresh recruits; other than giving them something really cool to look forward to.

I was brief on my pros and cons which may have shown more of a focus on player events. That is just a small piece. By definition, they should be mostly player ran.

The things I would like to see, in order of priority:

1) Pages being timely answered (if population increases, this problem will expand)

2) New system for acclimating new players to the shard - storyline, a staff member showing up to greet them, answering questions about why the shard is different, and being on hand as a new player needs assistance (a lot of this is similar to the paging priority).

3) Expanding on what Boomland does. Everything he has done has been a hit with the community. Double down on what works. Gargoyles, bagball, potion wars, monster bash, etc. I don't necessarily mean double the frequency. Doubling the types of things however would be great!

4) Marketing. Boom does do this, but it deserves its own category. Hell, staff a marketing specialist. Someone who's soul job is marketing. Give them a red name on the forums so they feel special and their title is respected. They can take over this part so the rest of you can focus on what you do best. From Facebook, to search engines, to compiling a deserved YouTube channel, this category is infinitely expansive and could use its own specialist. This person could also forum moderate if that is lacking at all. No in game powers are needed.

To reiterate an idea from another member of the community, as marketing goes -

Chicanery wrote:
i think with the resources we have at our hands today, we can greatly improve the efficiencies of getting the right information to the right group of people who need it by utilizing YouTube. if we can set videos up on relevant stuff such as how to use razor, how to cycle a halberd (with a video that doesn't have a duration larger than 3 minutes), and other useful information.

i challenge you to reach out to the appropriate staff member and take the lead on creating a UOSA learner's YouTube channel and compile videos that are necessary for new people to come in and enjoy the shard at 90% less the hardship


5) Updating the website, wiki, etc. I know boom and the rest of you have been working on this but it's still not finished. The wiki is the most crucial. At least change the link on the site to forward to Booms wiki. New players will have no idea Booms wiki exists. Perhaps a client for Macs posted in the download section. Apple is huge now and we are missing that entire base. I tried to get it to run on my Mac and it's basically up to VMware. This would take a lot of effort for sure, so maybe it's something to look into down the road.

6) Assisting players in whatever kinks they need worked out to try new, player ran, event ideas. As for me saying boom could answer what this means, I merely meant to say that he could tell us what he does on this subject so we could be more specific to what is required.

To conclude, the staff does do a tremendous amount for us currently. However, I think there is room for improvement and that gap will only grow as population grows. I hope this post shows where my true focus is. Retention. A lot of what I'm saying is futuristic. May not be a huge thing now, but prepare for more people and perhaps more people will come and stay with us.

** I apologize if some of this is off topic to the OP (such as marketing and website work). But it all seemed to tie together in a general theme.

***This is really the first time I've voiced my opinion to the staff, here on the forums. I've mostly stayed to what I know best, in game matters such as player events and helping new players. I hope my posts are coming off as constructive and responsive, and not argumentative. Given the line of work I'm in, in real life, I can truly appreciate the distinction.

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