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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:13 pm 
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It also helps to write a letter and let GameTap know how you PERSONALLY feel!

Numbers are just that - numbers. A letter indicates that a real live human being took time out of their busy day to compose, write, sign, stamp, & mail their thoughts.

Keep writing those letters folks! It lets them know we care!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:32 pm 
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Ces is absolutely right.

There's an old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Yet people do every day. It's countered by advice such as "put your best foot forward" and "dress to impress."

Like wearing a suit instead of rags to an interview, a letter shows commitment. It shows that you really do care, because you took the time and personal attention, and you spent a little money too. A physical letter boldly proclaims, "These words have value." A fax, or an e-mail, or a forum post doesn't really mean you're any less committed, but these types of communication just don't command the same sort of attention.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:43 pm 
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My letter:

Quote:
December 31, 2007

GameTap
Attn: Trent Hershenson
384 Northyards Blvd.
Bldg 500 Room NYDS 506F
Atlanta, GA 30313

Dear Mr. Hershenson:

A remarkable fact emerged recently in a user-created poll on the Myst Online: Uru Live forum sponsored by GameTap. The poll asked players to identify their age group. We were all surprised to discover that the largest age group of those responding is people in their 50s (25%). This is my age group; I am nearly 60. Over half (51%) of the respondents said they were over 40. Individual comments were posted by players in their 70s and older. One is a veteran of World War II.

I do not know how representative this poll, or even forum readership, is of Uru players, but this indicates to me that Uru Live is something rare, if not unique, in online multiplayer gaming. Of course, I knew that already, having joined this remarkable community a year ago. I wanted to take a few moments to tell you how enchanted I am by this other “reality,” by the mysteries, puzzles and discoveries, by the beauty of the design, and especially by the good people I have met of all ages, from all over the world.

I love Uru not just because it is beautiful, mysterious and friendly but because it is non-violent. The society that has emerged in the Cavern is truly different and endlessly fascinating to me. Because I have not participated in much “adventure” or “fantasy” computer gaming and have no interest in violence as recreation (which seems to be the raison d’être of most online games), I would never have found out about Uru Live or GameTap if I had not been a fan of the Myst series of games for years and followed some of the forums that have grown up around Myst and Uru. But over the past year I have become an avid player in Uru Live and I have enjoyed sampling other GameTap games.

Therefore I would like to respectfully recommend that GameTap consider finding more ways to market Myst Online: Uru Live to people like me, mature people who want to find the perfect getaway to a beautiful environment, intelligent company and puzzles to solve – and no fighting, no killing and minimal acquisition of simulated wealth. Have you thought of placing ads on channels devoted to science, history, cooking, home decorating? Placing ads in magazines aimed at women? My personal observation is that roughly half of Uru players are women. Women over 50 constitute a large market with plenty of disposable income!

Especially I want to express to you my hope that Myst Online: Uru Live will be given a chance to succeed, that you will give it the opportunity to grow and improve, because Uru Live is truly something special! Thank you for giving so many of us a way to be there.

Sincerely yours,
[my name and address]


I didn't get it mailed until this morning because I had to go buy stamps :lol: They still sell stamps!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:20 pm 
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Wonderful letter, Kerryth! Absolutely brilliant! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:02 pm 
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January 4, 2008

GameTap
Attn: Trent Hershenson
384 Northyards Blvd.
Bldg 500 Room NYDS 506F
Atlanta, GA 30313

Dear Mr Hershenson,
I am writing to you to urge and encourage and suggest with all respect that GameTap support MOUL the online GameTap and Cyan game with all the resources you can devote to it. The game itself is a wonder, in this age of overly hyperactive and overly kinetic shooters and exploit dominated games that teach aggression, violence and greed, MOUL stands out like a shinning beacon of sanity, decency and fair play, as well as a being a wonderful and intriguing story for players of ALL ages, backgrounds, young and old, women as well as men, and for anyone who enjoys mystery, fun and sharing.

I have been researching and playing games of all genres for the past five years and more, as I am in real life, a professional artist of some 37 years. I have become very interested and intrigued by this remarkable revolution in story telling and entertainment that is the game world of today. It is filled with talent people on the design and development side, and the entire population of all ages and backgrounds on the player side.

My main concern over the past several years has been the trend of the companies we all know making more and more shallow and violence dominated games that do nothing positive for the player and much that is harmful. Yes a computer CGI games will not by itself make someone turn to the Dark Side and act out, that is a human realm thing that is each person’s and family’s result and action. But and this is a big BUT, we are all affected by what we are offered and what is available. Each age, and each society has its recreations and it’s pleasures and I am hopeful that the wonderful tradition of truly great children’s stories that have blossomed over the past 70 years can continue to grow into the CGI world, as it began to with some of the wonderful earlier titles by companies like Westwood, Sierra and Lucas Arts and above all Cyan.

Cyan as I am sure you are aware is a remarkable company filled with good and imaginative people of great integrity and unique verve and delight in the whimsical and the mysterious. The Myst series is a work of genius and MOUL and the online world of URU is its culmination, its ultimate achievement and the partnering with you there at GameTap is one of the bright lights in the gaming world.

As you know the bottom line has grown over the past years in publishing and marketing of all kinds of entertainment, and the gaming industry is no stranger to these pressures.
But a pioneer and trend setting unique game like MOUL needs time to grow and mature. The community of players and the determination and dedication of Cyan is not enough to ensure the success of MOUL, it will take commitment on the part of GameTap over several years to reach fruition. I want to urge you to continue and expand your support in all ways of MOUL, reach out to new markets, advertise, promote support, and give them the resources to create beyond the merely possible. I know they can do it, for they have in the past, and almost alone in game production they have carried the light of creative


and innovative story based games in this time of violence dominated games of all genres.

It is an act of Faith I am asking you for, and I have a feeling many of you on the GameTap staff already sense some of what makes MOUL special, but I want you to consider how many thousands of games have been published over the past 25 years, and how many of them have drawn to them the thousands of players of all backgrounds, ages, economic levels, and character ranges that MOUL has. I have played over 700 games in the course of my research (http://chris-today.blogspot.com/) and never before I began playing the Myst series or since, have I found the combination of imagination, artistry and subtlety that lives in all the Myst series and especially in MOUL. I have urged other companies in the game world during my research, and I urge you to realize that along with the rewards of being part of the production and publication and sharing of computer games and new and excellent titles there is a responsibility and a role of honor in helping support the finest among the titles new and old. Unique as the GameTap venture is, I believe you will succeed beyond anyone’s dreams and I am glad for that. For you have supported truly important ventures like the publishing and sharing of MOUL and of Sam and Max that LucasArts began with similar faith, and you continue to be a unique resource for us all.

And one final thing I would like to emphasize, one of the most remarkable aspects of MOUL is the community and social aspect. It has been from the start and continues to be a game that has a incredible virtual community of players and of support and the nature of the game itself invites and invokes a community interaction that is of the highest nature I have found in any gaming community. This may be one of the most important aspects of MOUL that I can encourage GameTap appreciate, for the sharing of people online, young, old, of all natures, and characters, has been just astounding to be a part of and to witness. The intensity, and sincerity and warmth and health of this sharing in many different aspects has been a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of. We are faced with a true revolution in social interaction with the growth of the internet and of virtual interaction. MOUL offers a safe and health environment for learning in this new world, and for that as well for all the other qualities mentioned here and on the forums for MOUL every day I urge you and GameTap to continue and grow all you can do for MOUL.

I hope my letter may help you and GameTap help all of us keep gaming the finest that it can be. And I want to thank you for what you have done already and wish you and all there at GameTap all the best for this new year of 2008.

You have my permission to use this letter in any and all efforts to help support and expand the support of MOUL.

Sincerely Yours,

(my name and address)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:10 am 
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I wrote a letter to GameTap, and received a reply back saying "Thanks for the most gracious praise" and "If you have any suggestions for new games or features you'd like to see then let us know! We're always happy to hear suggestions on how we could improve our product and bring you more games you'd love to play.", which, given that I'd just detailed why UL was unique to me, in terms of the kind of game it is, plus the fact that I played it as a standalone, was highly unlikely.

Did they even read it? Or was it just a proforma response?

It can't hurt to write, but the bottom line is whether something pays, not the amount of sentiment it generates. We should vote with our mice and get into the cavern and drop pellets. JWPlatt's interview with Dr. Kodama was remarkable to me for the fact that Kodama reiterated the fact that it was not number of pellets dropped which was important, but the constancy of the act. We are playing the game in the forum once again not where it counts.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:33 pm 
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Did you write a letter, or did you write an e-mail? There is a difference.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:20 pm 
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An old family friend used to own a broadcasting company and media conglomorate and she said that they used to consider one real letter represented 90 actual people out there who thougtht the same thing, in terms of statistics. So this is a worth effort indeed, not because we want to just stack the deck, but because I sincerely believe there are literally thousands of people who do feel strongly but who dont post on forums...so it is good we do this.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:17 pm 
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Thanks for the inspiration, Kerryth and CrisGer! Letter is done, in the envelope and going to the post office first thing in the morning...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:01 am 
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I sent an email, Marten, which was answered by someone putatively called "Benjamin". Do we call computers "Benjamin"? I don't think it matters at all, which medium we use. In an office, it is practice to put begging letters in the "circular file", ie: garbage bin, if you are aware your boss isn't interested, so either medium is a valid expression of an issue.

Why do we not use both means and a two-pronged attack? Listening to Podcast 32 (dispassionately), amongst other things, reveals that Cyan check the forums as well. This is, it appears, a GT forum (note header and footer).

I am sure ChrisGer is quite right, there are thousands of interested users, who would care if UL went. The issue is not how to get thousands to write emails or letters, though this can't hurt, but how to get the thousands to use the service. I may live at the tushie end of the world, but there still used to be plenty of people in UL even at my hours. Now there are not. They may be in ages, but there was a representative sample which rotated through the city and GoG...now there is hardly ever anyone in the city and 6 in the GoG is a busy day. GT will not be interested in people being in GoG or the city on New Year's Eve, but the rest of the year. That is, regular users.

The question, ChrisGer, is how do you get the thousands to vote with their mouse/WSAD pad? Because there is a well known saying "If you don't use it, you lose it."


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:28 am 
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Julia Sinclair wrote:
I sent an email, Marten, which was answered by someone putatively called "Benjamin". Do we call computers "Benjamin"? I don't think it matters at all, which medium we use. In an office, it is practice to put begging letters in the "circular file", ie: garbage bin, if you are aware your boss isn't interested, so either medium is a valid expression of an issue.

There are a few reasons the medium matters.

First, e-mails, unless directed to Trent, aren't as likely to be received by Trent. I don't know who Benjamin is. Is he a support jockey? Does he work for Cyan, or for GameTap (who hold the $$$)? Will your words personally reach the eyes of Trent H? You don't know. You can't be certain.

Second, as I've explained previously, and CrisGer has detailed, physical letters hold more weight, just as real signatures have more power than an online petition. I never said anything about e-mails being read by a computer... that's a straw man argument. But if anything, computer processing of e-mail would be better than a live person, because computers are impartial and wouldn't treat e-mails as less important than letters (unless programmed to care).

To obtain the GameTap address listed for this small campaign, I spoke directly with Trent (the person to whom letters to GameTap should be addressed and directed); this is the same Trent representing GameTap whom I got got meet in person at Mysterium in July 2006. Trent's specific response to my inquiry was this:
Trent Hershenson wrote:
In terms of your request regarding an address to send Myst Online letters, please feel free to send them to me and if I’m not the appropriate contact (depending on the subject matter discussed in the letter), I can certainly forward them to the appropriate person.

This hardly seems like the "boss who isn't interested" in your example. If Trent had seemed even the slightest bit unreceptive to my idea, I wouldn't have proceeded with this project, or I would have directed all letters only to Cyan.

I like the idea of a two-pronged attack (or even more). I think that's an excellent strategy; but you've only told me that you've applied one prong. Why not follow your own advice and send a physical letter as well?

One last comment - I do agree that ultimately what matters is the number of people logging in. I want to see that number grow... really, I'd like to see a lot more advertisement for Myst Online. Some of the letters people have posted above encourage GameTap to reach out to a larger audience, to bring in those people. And you should know, as far as we've been informed by reliable sources, GameTap only cares how many individual players log into Myst Online once a month. Any other statistics... such as whether the cavern is empty or full on New Year's Eve as you said... are indeed not relevant. What matters is the total unique # of visitors in January, then February, then March... and onward.

To all those who have added letters since my last plea: A heartfelt Thank You. And Julia is right too... overall, numbers in the cavern are what matter most. Through this break between episodes, log in at least once a month, more if you can (an empty cavern doesn't encourage new players).... encourage your "neighbors" to continue to visit the game, and keep on (without being pushy) bringing new players in if you can.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:37 am 
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I go to the cavern, most days. I vote with my feet. My mouse doesn't go in someone's garbage, either solid or electrical.

Marten is right, an empty cavern does not encourage new people, especially ones who may be foreign to the idea of a game which doesn't level up on the basis of piles of little furry bodies or big ones. It doesn't encourage long time players,either.

Write, email, but go, please.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:57 pm 
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Hear, hear. Log in and find a buddy or find new buddies and fulfill the title you take on for yourself, "explorer"!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:01 pm 
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Just came back in from mailing my letter. It's a good feeling to know it is finally on it's way.

I did make mention of the overseas folk who are asking to get in, though I realize this devolves down to the legal issues GameTap has to resolve and that often takes time.

I emailed Blake and also wrote this letter and I go into the Cavern as often as I can. We are all doing our bits to help keep this going, I think and it says a lot for this community and the wonderful, diverse folk who inhabit it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:01 pm 
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Marten wrote:
I like the idea of a two-pronged attack (or even more).

The Multi-pronged attack:

Letter to GameTap
Trent Hershenson
GameTap
384 Northyards Blvd.
Bldg 500 Room NYDS 506F
Atlanta, GA 30313

(copy to Cyan)
Ryan Warzecha
Cyan Worlds, Inc.
14617 Newport Highway
Mead, Washington 99021-9378

E-mail to Blake Lewin - VP, Product Development and Innovation, Turner New Products Group
[email protected]

Post to this forum; heek, talk about it on other forums, too - like maybe GameTap :D
(Especially to the thread MustardJeep suggests here.)

Log into the game

Invite your friends
Send a link to this Article by Nateo which aptly describes MOUL.
Send this link: Free Myst Online Trial and consider arranging for them to automatically join your neighborhood:
greydragon wrote:
/sendinvite <email address> <recipient's name (optional)> sends an email to the email address specified containing an invitation message with an invite code. The code can be entered at the time a new avatar is created, which automatically assigns that avatar to the same neighborhood as the person sending the invite.


And share all this information with friends in the cavern by telling them to simply type rel.to/letter in their internet browser and it will bring them right to this thread. :D


EDIT: added MustardJeep's link to GameTap forum thread, link to Nateo's article, and rel.to/letter info.


Last edited by Tai'lahr on Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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