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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:05 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:45 pm 
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I have no objections to microtransactions, not in the slightest. However, I agree, Uru was not designed around it. It seems to me that it could be made to work. Sometimes cash shops are outside of a game, not in the game. Still I think the toughest thing about the cash shop thing is that it wasn't part of Uru's design.

We did pay for Uru originally, a monthly fee, the gametap era. When Ubisoft published Uru, the plan was to move to a subscription -- just never got that far. I can't see Uru being subscription based again -- we aren't getting enough stuff, in my opinion. But if we had to pay for new ages -- it seems to me that could work.

What am I not seeing here? The plan was always that we pay for stuff in Uru, except it was "all the stuff at once" -- a monthly game subscription. Now, there is a thought that we could pay for pieces of Uru. I don't think that's a bad thing.

People are always unequal in a game -- some have more time, some have more money -- for some it fluctuates. The thing to do is figure out what works for your game, your set of communities.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:14 pm 
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Ok well what about my idea, without the second money based part. If you were still doing a job in Cavern. How does that make you feel good, bad, or indifferent?

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:41 pm 
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Let's separate the technical aspects of introducing currency from the gameplay and interaction aspects. No use getting all amped up about something that's not feasible on the back end.

One way to add a currency (or experience, or reward) system to Uru may be to do something like the vampires do in SL. (No, not the blood-sucking thing!) They run a game-within-a-game, keeping their membership and points data in an external database, unaffiliated with SL, but updated in real time thru an interface provided by SL (via http, iirc.) This has the added benefit that players that don't care for the filthy lucre never see it IC. Member rankings, points, available products etc. are viewable on their website and possibly in SL, but I've not seen it there.

On another front, here's a fascinating article by Ryan Seabury, formerly the head of the development studio that produced the LEGO Universe MMO. Lots of insight about MMOs today, and why he's not making them anymore. It's a fast, easy read, too, btw :)



It started me thinking about what will get players to log in every day? A couple of things came to mind.

Stand alone puzzles and minigames, associated with an Uru Age, but playable on an iPhone or other smartphone. Making pellets, for instance. Rather than sitting down at your pc, you fire up an app anywhere, whenever you have free time, and cook up a batch. From ingredients you harvest and mill yourself. Grown on your farm, near the farms of your hoodies. That you can drop next time you're in the "big" cavern. And tweet your points to your friends, and your competitors :)

And no, I'm not saying port the existing Er'cana to iPhone. Yucch. Make a smaller, light-weight app that captures the (fun) essence of the age.

Also puzzles found IC could be adapted the same way. The Kadish vault, for instance, or the keyboard puzzle from Myst could be "puzzled out" while your laundry is in the dryer. Puzzles in fan ages could be built with this in mind.

What I'm saying is that people could be kept in the game but not necessarily kept in the Cavern.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:59 pm 
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@ nonlinear, the LEGO story is interesting. I disagree with the idea that players do not care about whether a game is single, multi, or massive player. It isn’t true for me and I suspect it isn’t for most others, but that may be my bias.

The idea that the term MMOG is becoming outdated is probably helpful. That a social layer is practically a mandatory requirement for any new game is enlightening and supports studies and experience from other sources. He sees the need for the social layer regardless of the intended size of the in-game population. I continue to think the social layer is probably the most significant change we can make in Uru to increase player retention.

One of the other points he makes highlights an idea I’ve seen as a problem for some time, creative burn out. Imagine. He was in charge of a project and in many ways could tailor the game to his preferences. Yet, he found that in 5 years he was pretty well burned out and looking for other creative outlets. I continue to believe that our age builders will run into this wall. There are exceptions, but for most this appears to be a high probably. For that reason I think attracting new players and good player retention is extremely important for Uru’s survival.

I think his account of how he decides what to watch on TV, games to try, movies to see, etc. shows how social information is changing how we get and use information. It is so basic to our way of life that any game that doesn’t support a social layer is like trying to replace your cell phones with the old on-the-corner pay phone.

He is also making a choice that is probably important to Uru development. He would like to try lots of ideas even if 60% immediately fail in alpha testing. His idea is to be testing in the real market place. In his case it is a matter of being able to eat while developing. Whether people will pay for a game is far different than no-cost alpha testing.

The key in what he is doing is holding it to a level of what gives enough value that it can separate people from their money. I really have to see some value before I’m willing to pay RL dollars… heck, I’m stingy with my Linden dollars. I passed on a way cute dress because it was L$400 (US$1.50+/-) ...and it was a perfect fit.

In OpenSim we develop cheap easy builds and often a month later we are changing things to a newer better idea. Paisley and Shenn build and change so fast their pace is like a tornado when compared to my glacial progress.

We continue to debate in-game currency, which is probably never going to happen in this decade. But, we ignore that we have no real way to determine what does and does not work for existing and potential Uru players. Instead we base much of our debate on personal preference. Not so smart…

iPhone app for baking pellets… now there is an idea. But, we have to extend the social interface of Uru to do that.

Keeping people in Cavern is probably what most of us think of when player retention is mentioned. Your post reminds us the concept is broader. Player retention is about keeping people interested in a game as well as keeping them in the Cavern. Interfacing iPhone apps to the game could help. After all, I am more connected to Uru by social channels than the actual MOUL un-moderated game. SL has apps to allow one to chat with in-world friends. We could do that too.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:27 am 
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 4:08 am 
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 6:28 am 
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:18 am 
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But how would making puzzles accessible without using MOULa get people to play puzzles in MOULa? Its a catch 22, you want to increase players ability to interact with the world, but your taking away the need to interact with the world.

I understand that people like mini-games on phones and that they can be a nice form of advertisement. But i don't see how porting contents onto an iPhone will help with the goal of increasing cavern activity.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:39 am 
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 3:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 4:31 pm 
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New to this discussion.

IMHO, the things the game needs to deal with are player retention related. Why do new players leave, and older players distance themselves from the help they might want to provide, but have decided is to time consuming?

And therein lies the answer. Time consumption. Every time any player, and especially experienced players (again IMHO) come to the cavern, they are seeking some new experience (usually). Experienced players may seek community, or may seek some new glitch (the stage I am in). New players need a little faster action. Yes URU, MOUL(a), and all the MYST games are unique in that they require tranquil states of mind (a slowdown of the mental state of anxiety), you don't particularly want to encourage putting them to sleep. So a little bit quicker can be good.

In game hints would help a ton. Old players prefer to maintain the mystery, and for the most part try really hard to not spoil the new player experience, with varying degrees of success.

A new KI will help both. For new players a KI with direct linking capabilities, meaning no need to go to the nexus, will speed up their experience. The will not get bored to distraction. Instead they may actually find some action. For experienced players seeking that new route, or glitch, fiery abyss, we earned an advancement in the speed.

I have, with learning multi-jumps, come to realize that the glitch jumping in the game is as important as any age and its puzzles. I have worked harder solving all the jumping issues, which was a puzzle to me, than I did doing CC. So I sort of consider jumping and off ground routes to be the 5th age of URU, ok maybe the 7th age or 9th, but more important to the long term viability, and desire of constantly returning to the cavern, than the PODS for example.

I understand that there is available (never seen it myself) an offline KI with many off the capabilities we want. Used in shards I believe. If you could incorporate that KI, with new built-in nexus capabilities, you could solve that frustrating 'KI is Full' issue, speed up the game, and probably reduce stress on the existing servers. +++ move IMHO.

I don't like that in order to collect marker games, I have to create new explorers just to store those games in.

I don't like that when in my main avvie, I can not lay a marker down because my KI is full. I really don't like that nowhere (yet) have I found any good explanation about why my KI is full.


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