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Player Retention Report


Treshure
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15 minutes ago, Burnsider said:

 

Truer words never before spoken.

 

Hitting us with data that shows a problem and then saying "but it's no one's fault" is just really defeatist talk that shows this is not something that will be changed.


Every action made by any player, staff or otherwise, was done with the intent that it would truly benefit the server. It wouldn’t have been done otherwise. I’m gaining some very useful information from the feedback on this post. I think it’s more prudent to learn from you guys and problem solve this rather than jump into pointing fingers.

 

This will not be the only post or action to address retention.

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18 minutes ago, Treshure said:

Every action made by any player, staff or otherwise, was done with the intent that it would truly benefit the server.

 

Look, I won't beleaguer the point, but you do know this is LOTC, right?

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Most pointed out some obvious issues within roleplay itself.

 

I personally only hear about "Tavern Roleplay" and that's totally correct, even if it's not a tavern, players just sit around in a spot and talk with each other doing "slice of life roleplay". As a new player, I sure would expect some magical things to happen on something, that should actually be focused on the fantasy element. Some players might like that kind of roleplay and it can be relaxing to just be casual for a while. It's completely amazing to have multiple options of roleplay, be it combat or cooking etc.

 

But as a new player, I expect fantastic and magical things to happen, instead of talking about my new haircolor. We all were new and remember the first time playing, I did and it was interesting, even if I got murdered by bandits who tricked me. But that little event was already enough for me to continue onward. If I logged in and just moved into a tavern, talking about haircolor, it would be fine the first time but if it continues on and nothing happens outside of the shelter, I get bored and return back to playing something much better, ultimately quitting the server after if it gets repeated over and over again. I flopped onto the server because I liked the fantasy aspect and wanted to try roleplay out with it's element.

 

In short:  it might feel like a game with lot of expectations (Fantasy, Dragons! I can be a Elf and blame Gandalf for my feet! etc.), but at release and playing for some hours, it turned out to be boring.

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A decent number of players have low quality RP when they start, so people tend to just avoid them instead of helping them, which is a shame. Also, there are some groups on LoTC that are very clique-y, so it's hard to break through. Thirdly, a person wants to contribute and make their mark on a community, and a lot of nations/group block out new blood in exchange for older players.

My 2 cents

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15 hours ago, Treshure said:

Only 4 players are still active from January’s accepted pool which consisted of 148 players. While the “Inactive” group last logged in (on average) 2-3 weeks ago, 94% of these players have not logged in for the entire month of January 2021. This is really, really bad.

 

If we extrapolate this data across the entire year of 2020, ... rough ballpark of 48 permanent, active players.

 

Here are the figures for Axios btw, which was another awful restrictive map with a tedious professions plugin:

Quote

Total amount of newly incoming players on Axios: 1427

...

Newbies who are still logging into the server in November 2017: 389

https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/168183-denizens-of-axios-average-players-and-newbie-retention/?

 

We're talking about roughly 389 remaining out of 1,427 vs 48 remaining out of 1,776. Very rough estimates, but you don't need to be precise to see the gargantuan difference there. 

 

The fact that even Axios, which shares many of this map's flaws(although not to nearly the same extent, as the rule restrictions have gotten far worse and the region/profession systems were somehow still less tedious than what we have now), obliterates this map on player retention says quite a lot about how bad things have gotten. 

 

Now, tell me honestly, do you REALLY believe the difference there is that "oh the CT and NLs aren't giving them enough hugs and kisses anymore"? Or do you think it's a fundamental problem with how boring, restrictive and user-unfriendly this server is now? 

 

EDIT: Meant "you" in general there. I quoted Treshure just to compare the figures, not to personally direct this at him.

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8 hours ago, Basil Moroul said:

There's no ruins anymore, there's no exploration, event sites as most event sites are jumped on by a nation or restricted to certain groups. Its literally warp to hub, go to city then tavern rp for the rest of your days, nothing really happens. There are no quests or something that would get people having fun as you seem to need constant staff approval to do even the littlest of things. Though I doubt this thread will do much but have them offer promises of change which ultimately will never be delivered upon.

 

Also to add into the ct warps to hubs, it is confusing for new players to decide where they want to go. They don't know what each name or flag means, what they really want to know is what place is the human place, where do the dwarves live and stuff like that.

We have the Tomblands, the Elven City, the Desert Ruin, Lost Balian and a small ruined keep. Doubt thats it.

 

What I believe is the following:

Nothing is going on. Let's face it: Conflict is essential but it's not happening.

If I wouldn't have gotten to fight bandits an Orenian Legionary, if there wouldn't have been wars and all this feeling of an extremely dynamic history I can be part of, I certainly wouldn't have stayed. There anything dynamic. The war rules are made to make the server stagnant.

We don't see silly bandit PvPers. But actual conflicts. 

I think a huge part are the conflict rules that try to prevent conflict. There is no fun in conflict.

The other part might be that vortex is a little complicated. Or there is no explaining to it. Still. 

 

My solutions:

a) Make conflict happen

b) Make Vortex explain videos and link them to new players, it's really not that hard and I'm considering doing it even though it's not my job.

 

The more I think about it, the more I see it. In Atlas I was ******* scared of bandits, enemies and whatever.

I don't even see bandits anymore. It Arcas we had big battles. Oren itself fought among each other and for a still fairly new player this was exciting... But whats exciting today? There is no more RP Drama... only OOC BS :')

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I think I have been on both sides of this issue pretty recently and it is extremely difficult to legislate for. Player's and staff both want defined rules that they can use to make situations go away that are a problem. More charters/settlements does not equal more integration into the server for new players. The activity data from that last year would show that is inverse, more people log in when the roleplay hubs are more active. If people really wanted, World Team could publish a report of what the data shows. We have detailed data at least ranging back to February which would be  before Corona went global.

 

However, I am reading this thread and there is something to the suggestions of chaos and dynamism being important. That is not necessarily something the staff can fix all on its own. Charters are not dynamic though, they are linear. You make a city - you recruit people - you burn out - there is an empty city staff has to deal with and make rules around. It is a viscous cycle that only the most capable are able to upend. Maybe this has caused an over reaction on the part of World Team, including policy I helped push through. Dynamism server wide, however, must rely on player actions and decisions. From perspective of being an Admin and from being one of the almost decade long players, the desire to prevent one's loss is high these days. No one wants to lose now with so much invested, which touches on Urara's point of investment. That is a double edged sword with players being so invested in a nation they will sacrifice greater server health to protect the existence of their nation. I am sure there are moments I could have been accused of the same thing during my play time. Though I think I might have had the most cities burnt down in LotC's history.

 

I wish we could go back and see data from two maps ago and the freebuild era. I would guess it would not look as good as rose colored glasses see. Most of the best parts of the map where occupied by inactive free builds that had one person breaking activity check signs to keep their chests there. The server was much more racist, homophobic, transphobic, and full of sexual predators during that map as well. Of course those are not things that are completely fixed and never will be, but it is obvious meaningful improvements have been made on some of those fronts. 

 

I think most of the nations are controlled by a stagnant veteran player leadership that does not dream big or think creatively. People are set in their aesthetics and friend groups and would rather ride out slice of life roleplay. That is not something Admin's or Moderation or World can fix. I do think allowing Nation's to completely control their roads and way larger amounts of land across the board will bear fruit later into the map as Nations expand into each other. I am sure we will get our fill of war. I predict a summer war... there normally always is one.

 

I will be doing some more self reflection on how to help solve some of the 'boring' problem but my own ability to fix that has slightly been exhausted on the organization of the creation of this map. Sometimes you are going to have to look at yourself and see if you are contributing to the boring or doing something interesting. I remember a lot of epic or fantastical things that happened just because someone with an iron will refused to be denied IRP or OOCly. Maybe we are lacking those new personalities or they are prevented by waiting on the Admin team to approve anything. 

 

It both starts at the top and the bottom. It is unreasonable to expect 6 volunteers with no real power over the future of the server to fix our problems. However I could not see a solution to that problem besides change in ownership and a complete changing of what LotC is. Are we ready for what LotC would look like on the other side of an ownership change? I think a lot of people would rather hold onto their character/magical/national investments.

 

I appreciate people's comments on this thread, it has engaged my idle brain on this snowy day. 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Laeonathan said:

We have the Tomblands, the Elven City, the Desert Ruin, Lost Balian and a small ruined keep. Doubt thats it.

 

What I believe is the following:

Nothing is going on. Let's face it: Conflict is essential but it's not happening.

If I wouldn't have gotten to fight bandits an Orenian Legionary, if there wouldn't have been wars and all this feeling of an extremely dynamic history I can be part of, I certainly wouldn't have stayed. There anything dynamic. The war rules are made to make the server stagnant.

We don't see silly bandit PvPers. But actual conflicts. 

I think a huge part are the conflict rules that try to prevent conflict. There is no fun in conflict.

The other part might be that vortex is a little complicated. Or there is no explaining to it. Still. 

 

My solutions:

a) Make conflict happen

b) Make Vortex explain videos and link them to new players, it's really not that hard and I'm considering doing it even though it's not my job.

 

The more I think about it, the more I see it. In Atlas I was ******* scared of bandits, enemies and whatever.

I don't even see bandits anymore. It Arcas we had big battles. Oren itself fought among each other and for a still fairly new player this was exciting... But whats exciting today? There is no more RP Drama... only OOC BS :')

Ah, see, but we can't have wars with actual stakes anymore because that'd make the losers sad and quit the server. And then the server would die.

 

Nevermind the fact that we have 10 years of precedent to tell us that even entire nations being obliterated does not do that. We still have to accept that real conflict with real stakes is anathema.

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10 minutes ago, argonian said:

 

 

Reading the posts on this thread have definitely opened my eyes to a much larger problem looming behind retention. The issue now is crunching down a seemingly impossible problem ("completely revamp LotC!") into actionable goals that can actually happen. I don't have the hubris to come out with an immediate action plan. But the cogs have started turning -- as a collective player base even, from the looks of this thread.

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7 minutes ago, Treshure said:

 

Reading the posts on this thread have definitely opened my eyes to a much larger problem looming behind retention. The issue now is crunching down a seemingly impossible problem ("completely revamp LotC!") into actionable goals that can actually happen. I don't have the hubris to come out with an immediate action plan. But the cogs have started turning -- as a collective player base even, from the looks of this thread.

One of us has a virus because that happen turned into the weirdest link. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, frill said:

Just what is there to actually do?

 

Loads. First of all, we have no storyline; the story of the Descendants and Iblees has been on hold and hasn't meaningfully progressed since Athera. Story Team members keep coming up with these Mathic Age-type plotlines, but then don't do anything with them. Outside of a few isolated eventlines, there's nothing for characters to fight, nothing to work towards, and this makes the server painfully boring and tough to get into. But even outside of a server eventline, there is a paucity of minor staff-sanctioned events that keep players entertained and RP fresh. The only way to do anything remotely interesting on this server is to join a discord and listen to pings. We can look to our direct competition to see how they handle player events like tournaments and festivals.

 

We can un-merge the Story and Event teams or just create a separate Event team to cater towards less lore-heavy encounters. A Community-Event and World-Event team could cover things like festivals and dungeons/monster encounters, respectively. But really we just need anything to happen on a regular basis, if I join a server and the only thing I can do is idly chat in a tavern for hours on end I lose interest. The Story Team can't handle this, and it really isn't their fault when the barrier to becoming an ET involves reading through a 1000-word team manifesto and going through an interview and trials.

 

If LoTC wants to appeal to new players with limited exposure to the server, it needs to get rid of a lot of its gatekeeping. Our rules are a nightmare to follow for recurring players. Our answer to "can I do this thing in roleplay" is no 50% of the time. Players join this server with all sorts of half-baked ideas for characters and lore, and they are flatly denied by veteran Story Writers who specialize on lore that like 5 players use. 

 

This is starting to sound like a rag on the Story Team specifically so I'll also point out that most of the community, including moderators, is either indifferent or hostile to noobs. People get in the habit of logging on to this server just to sprint hop around while talking to people on Discord or doing something else in the background. We tell people who literally can't find anyone to role-play with to "ask in RP" when they try to find out where the capitals are. A lot of our player retention problem comes down to player behavior, and while we can't ban the practice of headlessly running around out of character, we can certainly discourage it. 

 

You can do other things to make this server less repetitive and boring. Opening up the map to let players build (in Minecraft? I never) or at least interact with game mechanics in a fun way would be way better than clicking the same Vortex nodes every restart. 

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11 minutes ago, argonian said:

Ah, see, but we can't have wars with actual stakes anymore because that'd make the losers sad and quit the server. And then the server would die.

 

Nevermind the fact that we have 10 years of precedent to tell us that even entire nations being obliterated does not do that. We still have to accept that real conflict with real stakes is anathema.

100%

If my Nations gets killed I

a) try to revive under another one

b) join a different one

 

War rules should change to more dynamic possibilites. But hey we want no one to lose stuff. 

Another issue I see: Staff and Nation leadership.

People who are in Nation leadership shouldn't be management... how could that ever go well?

Also what Grool said, old cliques controlling **** - but that all plays together, I suppose.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, monkeypoacher said:

 

Loads. First of all, we have no storyline; the story of the Descendants and Iblees has been on hold and hasn't meaningfully progressed since Athera. Story Team members keep coming up with these Mathic Age-type plotlines, but then don't do anything with them. Outside of a few isolated eventlines, there's nothing for characters to fight, nothing to work towards, and this makes the server painfully boring and tough to get into. But even outside of a server eventline, there isn't much for players to do on this server, either. 

 

We can un-merge the Story and Event teams or just create a separate Event team to cater towards less lore-heavy encounters. A Community-Event and World-Event team could cover things like festivals and dungeons/monster encounters, respectively. But really we just need anything to happen on a regular basis, if I join a server and the only thing I can do is idly chat in a tavern for hours on end I lose interest. The Story Team can't handle this, and it really isn't their fault when the barrier to becoming an ET involves reading through a 1000-word team manifesto and going through interviews.

 

If LoTC wants to appeal to new players with limited exposure to the server, it needs to get rid of gatekeeping. Our rules are a nightmare to follow for recurring players. Our answer to "can I do this thing in roleplay" is no 50% of the time. Players join this server with all sorts of half-baked ideas for characters and lore, and they are flatly denied by veteran Story Writers who specialize on lore that like 5 players use. 

 

This is starting to sound like a rag on the Story Team specifically so I'll also point out that most of the community, including moderators, is either indifferent or hostile to noobs. People get in the habit of logging on to this server just to sprint hop around while talking to people on Discord or doing something else in the background. We tell people who literally can't find anyone to role-play with to "ask in RP" when they try to find out where the capitals are. A lot of our player retention problem comes down to player behavior, and while we can't ban the practice of headlessly running around out of character, we can certainly discourage it. 

 

You can do other things to make this server less repetitive and boring. Opening up the map to let players build (in Minecraft? I never) or at least interact with game mechanics in a fun way would be way better than clicking the same Vortex nodes every restart. 

I think an over-reliance on staff teams is part of the problem. We shouldn't need the CT to personally integrate new players, and we shouldn't need the ST to work round the clock to entertain us. The server should just be entertaining by itself, with small enough barriers and enough fun to keep players new and old alike around. 

 

The amount of rules and regulations regarding regions, nations, war, etc. now mean that the world is incredibly static and very few interesting things happen on a large scale. There's no sense that history is being made and that you're part of that history. The ST can try emulating this, as they did with the Inferi, but it always feels fake when it's a top-down initiative. Even in Aegis when the Undead as the antagonist were a huge focus of RP and conflict, the Undead were mostly player-run, and the few times the staff took charge to script things were the few least enjoyable moments. 

 

We need to cut back the red tape so that players can create their own conflict and drama again without relying on the ST. We need to turn integrating new players into something that happens more naturally and less as part of someone's job--an example of this would be reviving the Wilven Monks who, while they had their issues, were an actual IC group who enjoyed RP'ing around the CT and didn't just log solely to hand-hold new players. Noobs should feel like they're joining in on stuff already happening, not that their only RP is someone deliberately trying to entertain them with stilted and fake introduction RP which neither side really enjoys.

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44 minutes ago, VonAulus said:

I will be doing some more self reflection on how to help solve some of the 'boring' problem but my own ability to fix that has slightly been exhausted on the organization of the creation of this map. Sometimes you are going to have to look at yourself and see if you are contributing to the boring or doing something interesting. I remember a lot of epic or fantastical things that happened just because someone with an iron will refused to be denied IRP or OOCly. Maybe we are lacking those new personalities or they are prevented by waiting on the Admin team to approve anything. 

 

It comes down to procedure. The process of getting lore approved or making an event happen involves going through layers of staff

authority -- like calling customer service. If I want to fight a dragon or build a town or write a piece of lore I have to find the right person to talk to, hope I have the time to talk to them over several days on Discord, and hope that our schedules align across timezones. On top of that, sometime in that process someone will squirm out of the woodwork just to say "dragons aren't allowed," flippantly shutting down my attempt at roleplay. This is daunting to do for new players and just generally frustrating and time-consuming. I'd rather just get a D&D group together.

 

I oppose staff regime change. Telanir isn't terribly active or driven, but he's also not an idiot; there's no guarantee whoever gets on the other end of a hypothetical ownership transfer wouldn't be. We've had absolutely horrific admins in the past who have ran with what little authority they've had; getting away with anything from spawning in sharpness swords to grooming children. I think the problem doesn't lie with the admins themselves but their policies: Admin approval should be stripped out from most minor, non-world-altering decisions. Red tags and managers should be comfortable giving up some of their authority to low-level staff and players with ambition.

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+1 Because I've collected this data once years ago and it was extremely tedious. Nice work

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