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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:30 am 
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Hmm, interesting posts recently about the role of players in Uru.

I've always been a firm believer in fan participation in Uru, be it their participation in the story, in the experience of others, the creation of the world, the uncovering of history, and in the distribution of knowledge. Each of us are the main characters in our own stories, constantly intertwining, running parallel and frequently weaving through the grand narrative that links us all. Many explorer-driven stories are just as fascinating, if not more fascinating at times, than the main story put out by Cyan. That's a testament to the incredible abilities of the fans.

That said, however... Cyan has made a bad habit of encouraging fan ventures and fan projects and then forgetting about them. I'm friends with many of the former Liaison team, and from my perspective, hearing what they had to say, a lot of their lack of success in staying relevant and even TOGETHER was simply that Cyan didn't have any real use for them. If Cyan wants fans to act as public characters, or wants them to significantly add to game content, or wants to maintain enthusiasm, they HAVE to babysit any project they start and not assume it will be self-sufficient, lest enthusiasm die without due closure.

The Great Tree's formation in Prologue brought with it a lot of energy, and we carried a fair amount of it to Mysterium in 2006, where most of our group met, some for the first time. We wore our "Where is Phil?" buttons to Cyan HQ to show our enthusiasm. However... ever since Live started, whenever we meet in Cavern, we end up talking about how frustrated we are that our energy isn't being maintained. They had roped us in and now the story that Cyan had started with us had been completely abandoned and we'd been left with majestic expectations. We expected Sharper, who had prompted the creation of our group in the first place, to at least remember us enough to talk to us about what had happened and provide some sort of closure to our story so that we could move on. We had great ideas that we would put into practice if we got some sort of sign that the story started in Prologue would continue. And... it didn't. I think that was a rather hurtful mistake, but I'm severely biased here, and probably taking it a bit too personally.

That brings me to this point: if Cyan has a weak point in its storytelling, it's in realizing that when they invest in peoples' individual stories, those people will expect some sort of closure. They have the opportunity to develop an intimacy with their players that has never been seen before. What this means is that Cyan can't expect players to carry ANY weight alone for any length of time. Players aren't here to do frustrating work with no reward, and though I'm sure that's never Cyan's intention, they should still be careful. They've made this mistake in the past; the Liaisons were started by Cyan via the DRC and subsequently left to fester, and to a certain extent lighting the lake is becoming difficult. A good example of a relationship that works: Dr. Watson's involvement in the DLF is a wonderful relationship, as it takes pressure of Cyan for creating content, and yet at the same time it's fun and involving gameplay for the DLF people. This type of symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship between developers/storytellers and fans/audience/players needs to be maintained and heightened going into season 2, and parasitic, lop-sided, one-way or otherwise abusive and hurtful relationships need to be avoided as much as possible.

To sum up, fans do things for Cyan on their own, and Cyan should harness this but not depend on it. Fans ADD content TO the game, they don't MAKE content FOR the game, if that makes any sense.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:10 pm 
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Something to think about...

Understandably quite some explorers have been upset because they missed some important event, while others could be there...
Now think what would happen if everything could be replayed. I'm not saying in this post that I'm against it for for it, I'm just thinking of what could happen. If all conversations can be replayed, I think conversations would loose that magic feeling if you happen to be present for a live event. Conversations would also feel more scripted and less natural. People think chat-logs are dull to read, because it's just text. But I think the same will happen eventually if events can be replayed! I think people will also start to find those boring, because it's just some avatar movement and lines of text...
The live events are so cool because it's so special if you happen to be at the right time for them. You get an unique experience. It's disappointing that some people have never experienced such an event. Therefore there must be more live events, something Ryan says Cyan wants as well. Then everyone can experience such events more frequently.
But if you can replay all live events, then not only those recordings would become dull eventually, but the live events themselves as well because they are essentially the same and no longer have that special feeling!

While this is all just speculation of course, I don't think replaying events is an option. I do think that there should be some sort of information source in the cavern, just not exact replays. If Cyan would give us the tools to create notebooks, then transcripts could be placed in the game for example.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:03 pm 
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There is more discussion about events being replayable in this thread. To prevent redundancy, I will not repeat everything I said about, just a summary:

http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewto ... 2&start=30

I think a replaying feature would only help a little with the symptoms of the problem, but not solve the problem itself. The real issue is that if you rest your story on perishable one-off events, you delight 5% of your players (since those feel really special), but you alienate and frustrate 95% of your players because they miss the story entirely.

I think real-live events could have their place. But they should be rare, and possibly announced in advance so people have a chance to participate.

But for the most part, story needs to be persistent, and needs to be interactive and available to all players at all times. Many others games played around with live events. Most notably Ryzom in the recent past. They even had quite a magic toolbox of in-game mechnisms to stage them. No game, to my knowledge, has ever been successful with live events, because of the reasons above and because they are too time-consuming and costly to perform on a constant basis.

Real-time story events are a dead-end in developing better online story-telling. I don't see how they could ever work without always being a far, far inferior experience for the majority of your audience.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:16 pm 
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I'll add here that I whole-heartedly agree with Cycreim's recent post.

Just one clarification, though. What you and the Great Tree were doing was not 'Role-Playing', but rather IC and simply 'Interacting'. You were working within the storyline (in this case as it progressed), and, especially, were just real, regular people while doing so (your point that you all subsequently met at Mysterium 2006 underlines this) and thus, to me, what you folks did back then with Sharper was quite convincing and engaging.

You bring up a great point about Cyan needing to support and finish the things they start and/or encourage. Consider the current Great Tree with Sharper, the Liaisons, Rils' Expedition with Sharper, Jazz & Co.'s interactions with Nick. In only these few examples, there are seen repeated examples of mixed messages and unclear vision, resulting in bad blood that never needed to be had and confusion overall. Only in Ril's case (and possibly in the Prologue-era Great Tree's) was the storyline carried out fully and deftly.

The reason for this (besides Rils' own part in it) is because the underlying structure was designed as finite. Also, at no point there, from the outside, was Rils seen to be flailing about or left hanging (besides some understandable and realistic communication-tag elements) or for him having to fill in any unreasonably sizable gaps in the narrative or events himself. The whole situation had an acceptable and satisfying beginning, middle, and conclusion - like any good story. The ending can still never be written, as they say, but that doesn't mean that, if done correctly, something cannot be self-contained in itself in order to spark sequels.

I want to add that my own chance experience with Nick handing me the Creation document was also well-executed enough, too, really. As I've said before, I take responsibility for any confusion generated there and the actions I took, even given previous stances by the DRC, etc on secrecy and handling of what I thought were similar matters. In any case, it turned out okay - I learned quickly, made a full disclosure (as I see I should have from the start), and never looked back from this stance. Anyway, back to the point, it was a simply-defined and finite task, with no loose threads (other than the outside issue of the stated possibility of more such documents being passed along to the Community never really materializing afterwards - which, again, can be seen as 'dropping the ball' on what could otherwise have been another a great addition to the game).

On your point about Watson's actions with the DLF, I agree it's a great move in the right direction. It shows commitment to a premise and a healthy relationship, one that's mutual with both parties, the Explorers and Cyan, contributing and benefiting. Same with the Stained Glass Project format, which also bridges the IC and OOC elements in the most creative way possible, considering.

And that's the thing - the Relationship.

It's been brought up here, and was one of the main issues I had addressed myself in a couple of recent emails/Tickets to Blake and Cyan on the issues facing Uru and the drastic actions required. Cyan can't just be doing their own thing and expect Explorers to just endlessly follow suit (or, perhaps more importantly in the larger picture, expect new Explorers to come in and stay, thus providing necessary revenue and growth). The Cavern must do their part as well but, like, in a 'Bucket-Brigade' model, where everyone can participate and feel involved, but in an individually acceptable and doable way without any one person or persons having to break their backs by themselves - unless, of course, you personally enjoy that sort of thing and have the time ;)

Cyan and the Explorers can't do it alone. It has to be a Partnership. The Community is BOTH of us. Otherwise, if the status quo of seperation is simply maintained and carried over once again as it has been, then Cyan will certainly have the 'sides' that their storyline always seems to be promoting - Us versus Them. That would be an unacceptable turn of events, to me.

Cyan, I ask that you look at the Whole and see that Uru is not just 'your' playground, anymore than it is just 'ours'. Your vision remains but the dynamics have changed (or have always been the way they are but simply different than you've perceived them). I believe the Explorers can be up to the task and willing. The question now is - Are you?

Just two more related suggestions and a question...

First, like it's been said, the DRC could and should keep running Journals and allow our access to them. The DRC should be as aware as anyone that maintaining the Explorers' interest-level translates into financial stability and Explorers wanting to be kept abreast of their activities has always been a major issue. So, them keeping public Journals would make everyone happy.

They could contain their progress and reports on Ages, personal thoughts and concerns, and that bit of intrigue where they don't quite say everything but one can read between the lines and see that something is up. With some of the DRC, even maybe a bit of disgruntledness about the decision for them to be required to make their thoughts public in the first place (Personally, I think Kodama's would be especially interesting - lol).

Second suggestion, both for game mechanics and the aforementioned financial awareness of the DRC, events should be chronicled and more accessible (again, as mentioned). One idea could come in the form of a Journal from that guy in the Prima guides - like, a Cyan-run character, who would play a tightly-scripted Explorer who's primary function would be to act as a kind of silent observer and literal recorder of events for those that missed them, with maybe even a series of notebooks on different aspects, including Age run-throughs (or possibly, maybe even better, engage an actual Explorer or Explorers to do this, but with very strict guidelines). Also, the same type of sparsely-interactive Cyan character could record video of crucial Events to be played on the currently unused D'ni pinball machines some Hoods have (or with some audio-only selections, on Kirel's Community Room podium playback machine).

To make Events more accessible in general, the DRC should announce many of their appearances beforehand, so word can spread. If something is important enough (like Yeesha's speech), or even not so important, appearances could be worked into storyline to be repeated, like, 3 times during the day in question. This would accomodate the international time zones and Explorer schedules better, plus lessen the crowd amassed for each occurence. Which brings me to my question...

Even if folks filled the Cavern again, new subscribers were brought in, and everything becomes peachy as the numbers began to reach not just thousands, but tens and hundreds of thousands of people - Where would we put them all?

I mean, really? The City has a relatively small cap, as do the Hoods and Ages, and even then many crash, lag, or have all those related issues that have been notorious and Ticketed to death but still remain all these years. This does not even address the KI, Chat, and Linking functions that impede any attempt at gameplay to an enormous degree. In Ryan Miller's interview, he mentions that Lag is not near the top of their list of things necessary to address. I tend to disagree with that mentality.

I don't mean this as a flamey question or anything. It's just something I've seriously considered many, many times and frankly don't have an answer for. It repeatedly affects everyone who goes down to the Cavern and, like Lord Chaos mentioned, makes it very difficult to assist folks, not to mention the stumbling blocks it creates for the new Explorers themselves right off the bat - and that's just the situation now.

So, I put it out there, all other issues aside - Technically, is real growth for Uru even possible? I'm sincerely interested in the answer.

(Btw, I agree with favoring being in the Cavern over the forums. Atm, however, after great difficulty finding the way to the Hood-Instanced K'veer - which I didn't even know existed and was assisted kindly by DaytonaKit with - then not being able to touch the Nexus or the Books on my Relto bookshelf, I found myself not being able to log back into Uru after a few disappointing attempts, so here I am. And so it goes - lol)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:35 pm 
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WOW,the name of this topic should be changed to "the thread of long posts" :lol: .

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:49 pm 
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The stranger wrote:
WOW,the name of this topic should be changed to "the thread of long posts" :lol: .

ROTFL! :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:30 pm 
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The stranger wrote:
WOW,the name of this topic should be changed to "the thread of long posts" :lol: .

I'm glad you didn't write "The threat of long posts" - lol

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:04 pm 
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Wow, such good posts!

I agree with Axel's latest post, but then I always do :D I am not a fan of live events. Personally, I can't understand why anyone would be satified by reading about what happened, rather than being there. I know some people are OK with that, but I don't know how many.

Cyan seems to be committed to live events, though I am not a fan of them. If that's the case, then I think that Cyan needs to figure out how to make live events something that most players would enjoy. For one thing, character sightings should go on for at least 2 days after an event is announced, and the characters should be around in all time zones, and they should sweep the neighborhoods. During a live event time period, I should stumble onto a character whenever I logon - the character sightings should be that pervasive. A multimedia version of the event should be available to all players who weren't there (and ones who were) and it should be tied into gameplay - solve a puzzle, get an age and video of what went on. As an extra bonus the video should not just be a replay of the live event - selections from the live event and a little something else.

As I said before, it's all about the numbers. If we have lots and lots of new players joining, current players staying, and most of the players like the live events, then the live events should stay. From what I read on the forums, many players seem to have issues with the live events, but I haven't done any sort of formal study, so my observations are anectodal in nature. I also don't know the stats for the game, how many players are logging in, how many new players - don't know any of that!

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Last edited by mszv on Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:01 am 
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Axel wrote:
I think we haven't even seen the surface scratched of what can be done with interactive entertainment either. But I also think that some fundamental things about entertainment will always remain the same. People crave to be told stories. And great stories work best on an emotional level. And that can only be achieved when every player feels like he is experiencing it right there themselves.
.....
This is exactly what should be at the heart of everything. There has got be meaning to every artifact in even an imaginary world. Story is the foundation of culture. The vision of a 'real' city will not emerge by people congregating and playing out their own little tales. There has to be meaning in every stone in that city first. And it needs to be experienced first-hand, seen ... not talked about.


Hear... HEAR. ::mesmerized clapping::

It's something I've reflected on a lot and talked to my friends about recently.. how I miss the feeling of depth that comes with discovering all the little details that make up a new place in Uru. I want my places to have history, my gears to have functions, and my characters to have lives. And! I want to be able to learn more about the histories and functions and lives if I just search a little more and connect the dots. The new areas we got last year had so few of these details to find out that they felt shallow. To be honest, I'd rather get more details about the places we already have access to than to get new areas that are shells of what they could be. I guess that ties into the desire for more story.

Do you think we've been consistent in asking Cyan for these things? Or do we frustrate them by asking one month for more areas and a few months later for more story? Do they try to please us and find they cannot ask us for what we want because we always change what we clamor for? No accusations here, just a curious concern.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:31 pm 
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Quote:
Moiety Jean: "Do you think we've been consistent in asking Cyan for these things? Or do we frustrate them by asking one month for more areas and a few months later for more story? Do they try to please us and find they cannot ask us for what we want because we always change what we clamor for? No accusations here, just a curious concern."


A part of me can't help but fear that you're right, MJ....we do seem to have a habit of pointing out any and all flaws in whatever Cyan gives us, whether those flaws are in terms of graphical content or in terms of story. But on the other hand, I've always had a feeling that Cyan knows how to look ahead to some extent; they know we want it all, and given their circumstances, they're trying to do the best they can to give us what we want. And of course, they have to balance what we avids keep asking for with what they (and possibly GameTap) determine will be appealing to the Uru community as a whole (i.e., beyond just the avids), and thus profitable for them.

It's a tricky business, but I say wait and see :) Once Season 2 kicks off, we'll see how much they've learned from Season 1, and hopefully things will work out.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:18 pm 
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If it was me, I would not worry about "what Cyan thinks". I personally wouldn't worry about that (I'm not that type), but also - we all know that Cyan likes their fans and wants to hear what they want.

Wish I had news to give you, but sadly, I don't. I'm waiting too!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:59 pm 
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Perhaps we could get a few post mortems going now. The more input, the better the chances for the next incarnation (IF there is one) to succeed.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:21 am 
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Not me, I'm not smart enough. :P But success in your endeavor :)


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