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 Character Chat Requires Level 5?
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Zoinks
 Monday, June 27 2016 @ 02:12 PM UTC (Read 5712 times)  
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I just learned that, recently, a feature was fixed to require accounts to reach level 5 before letting them enter Character Chat.

I... I don't know.
A while back I made a post about the experience rookies get.
I still remember mine.
My first monster was the Malfunctioning Camera.
I remember the horrifying feeling I felt when I "helped" someone with Stox.
Banter always looked so fast with such wonderful people. I lurked for such a long time. My first message was a timid "hi" and then immediately hiding in the Jungle.
My first Story was with Rucin and Lyssa. It was so much fun.

Now a player comes in, gets a mostly dead chat channel, can't even access the majority of the Island's community, is hit with all these... confusing things and, just...
Look, first impressions are important.
I love seeing new faces around here.

This change feels wrong to me. That's really all I wanted to say.


 
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quinn
 Monday, June 27 2016 @ 05:02 PM UTC  
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The change was actually meant to go into effect a while back, if I remember correctly, and I've made a habit of starting out in Player Chat and popping back into Global on occasion since then.

It's a great way to introduce players at a slightly slower speed, honestly. Character Chat is just clogged with crazy and nonsense that confuses me, a long time player, most of the time. (I remember when you didn't have Global Banter to start with, only the people who stayed in NewHome would greet new players. That was even more dead half the time than Player Chat can sometimes seem.) The experience of the Island community that they are "missing out on"? It's just a single click away for you. Player chat can easily be a wonderful and vibrant place!

My personal opinion? Sure, both Global Chats are a great place to talk and to arrange for story and have off the wall conversations about who knows what...
But no one in Player Chat is alone. There are rookies and veterans alike there. We've got several who are almost exclusively there, in fact!
I have no issue clicking back and forth (I even prefer Player Chat because it's calmer. No crazy emotes going on.)
New players can meet each other easily and not get lost in a sea of colors because of their new names.

It's not hard to get to level 5, either. You can get there in a day if you want!


I've got a lot I can say about it and this is badly typed out as it is, but honestly... I've liked the idea since CMJ first came up with it. I was bummed when it wasn't working right and glad when it got fixed.


 
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Iriana
 Tuesday, June 28 2016 @ 05:21 AM UTC  
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I think this update brings utility back to Player Chat while preserving what's good about Character Chat.

When Character Chat was first introduced, I expected it to become pretty much what it's become: a bustling and often hectic channel full of people who know each other already and hang out together all the time, if not daily. It's a lot like what Kittania Banter was like before Banter went global and then split into two. It's a great channel for players who have been around for longer. But I expected Player Chat to become pretty much what it's become, too: a very quiet channel compared to Character Chat. Those longer-time players love emoting and they're comfortable with the faster-paced chat because they know people there. As a result, I've always found Player Chat to be relatively low-traffic.

This update creates motivation for older players to use Player Chat and keep conversation moving there as well as in Character Chat. It gives brand-new players a slower-paced, less intimidating entry point into the chat. This seems like a healthy and friendly way of not forcing people to jump right into the Character Chat if they have a question or want to get to know people, as well as not forcing Character Chat's rhythm to slow down or doing anything to affect the way people enjoy it currently.

Also, this isn't a big deal, but it stops people creating one-off alt characters just for a joke in the Character Chat. There's nothing especially wrong with this, of course--and I've definitely done it before in the past--but it also doesn't especially add much to the game/community either and there's no harm in reducing the amount of accounts that get created and then sit around unused forever.


 
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Matthew
 Tuesday, June 28 2016 @ 08:59 AM UTC  
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Thing is, there's plenty of evidence in just how useful Player Chat is by the sheer virtue that nobody uses player chat. I can go in right now, and the last timestamp was from four hours ago. In Character Chat, 20 seconds. It's a failed experiment.

I'm sure, then, that the response is "well you guys we should just use player chat more!" Well, yeah, except we don't, and I just don't see that changing.


 
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ShadowGhost
 Tuesday, June 28 2016 @ 09:24 AM UTC  
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I just found out about this as well and well..
This is a bad idea. A really bad one. I invite a lot of people to join the island because I love it, so I've watched and listened to plenty of new player experiences, and they've run the gambit from people who only tried once to still active players. One of the first things I tell them, and one of the most important things I learned when I was new was how useful asking the community is about things. I have a long distraction I send to every new player I see and one of the things I highlight is that if something is confusing all that needs to be done is ask. And regardless of opinions, it's just a fact that character chat holds the overwhelming majority of players at any given time. There is a small proponent of people that use player chat, but there are often numerous hours of the day where it has no one in it actively or watching it. While yes, it could possibly be solved by Character chat players watch for new players in the other chat, there's a few issues with that. I know I wouldn't post in a chat where it looks like no one is. To a new player, it looks like our community is dead by glancing in that channel. More than likely, a new player is more likely to post in NewHome story because there's actually messages being sent there, and that's the purpose of banter, to avoid that. As well, (sorry, I don't really use the forums so I don't know how to quote properly), "This update creates motivation for older players to use Player Chat" is not only a bad reasoning it's bad game design. If people don't like using a chat (as a great deal of people feel about Player chat) or feature in a game, they should not be made to feel bad, coaxed, or coerced into using it. People are most likely not going to start populating Player chat, rookies are just going to only be able to get answers during the hours those that use the chat are on. The island's community is great, but we're small and if the amount of times I see the donate need bar appear is indicative of anything, we need to be attractive to new players. A dead chat is not attractive.

Frankly, a player in player chat at many times during the day is alone. It is a small proportion of an already small community who uses the channel, and there are many instances (especially when it is late night for Americans) that there has been no one in the chat channel for hours. A new player may be willing to try their luck in the channel, and they may or may not get a response. Please, if we're going to limit new players, though personally I think that is a bad idea as well, don't limit them to a place where their interaction with a large proportion of the community is stunted. Yes, it is "a single click away" but many people don't like it and they shouldn't feel they're hurting rookies by not wanting to use it. That's not fair to put that burden on players.

As a clear concession, Character chat is often quite fast and difficult to follow, that is certain. New players need and deserve the right to have access to both of them. If they like fast paced and chaotic, then they should have access to it. If they want quiet and without emotes, they should have access to it. There doesn't seem to be a clear advantage to limiting new players like this. It seems to stunt their growth of understanding of how the island operates, and stunt their access to easily accessed information.

As a hopefully final point, it is a bit difficult to get to level 5 your first time. I remember it taking me a few weeks in fact, as I bumbled through the jungle foolishly. It's easy for the players making alts to get their characters there, but it's presumptuous to say it's easy for someone who's never played the game before to do it.

As a conclusion, please, please reconsider this choice. I fear it could have major consequences on rookie retention and views of the island. Even if you think highly or lowly of one chat, there are evident drawbacks to locking new players into one or the other, especially one that could possibly (and has) gone numerous hours without being watched.
Have a lovely night!


 
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Zoinks
 Tuesday, June 28 2016 @ 10:31 AM UTC  
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Firstly, in response to ShadowGhost; you can quote others by clicking this button here at the bottom right of every message:


That will format the message for you.
Another way is to click this button in the editor:



Now, back on subject.
Thank you all for responding. I'm glad we got such diverse responses. I wanted this to be a discussion with both sides, and I'm glad that's what we got.

ShadowGhost said the majority of my concerns very well.
The biggest being new players retention.
Mostly to throw money at that often low Kitty.

When I first joined, it was more common for the Kitty to be white than anything else.
Seriously.
I haven't seen it white in quite a while.
And, yeah, I throw $10 in a month. Maybe more if I've been giving a little bit extra out. I'm sure others do, too. But for that to even bring us to zero on that Funding Status bar we have to have at least 200 players do that.

I know new players are more than that, and focusing on money sucks, but...
Yeah.


Anyways. I'm likely going to check Player Chat a bit more often, now. But... Still. I think this matter should really be reconsidered.

Or, at least take what we said here into consideration.


 
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Lyssa
 Tuesday, June 28 2016 @ 01:30 PM UTC  
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I also dislike this stipulation.

This is probably not obvious to the Americans among us, but outside "peak hours", Player Chat is dead. I don't mean Character Chat levels of dead, where the oldest post I have ever seen on the front page was about three hours old. I mean died-of-the-black-plague-and-had-their-corpse-launched-into-space dead. I routinely see six-or-seven hour old posts being the most recent thing on there.
This is not what we want new players walking into.
Sure, Character Chat is often very confusing, even to veteran players, but it at least gives the impression that we have an active, vibrant community. Player Chat does not give that impression. I once saw a rookie post in Player Chat that they were disappointed that they didn't find II earlier, because they would've liked to be a part the game when it was active! What's more, I couldn't do anything about it, because it was six hours old! Character Chat may be slightly intimidating, but it is interesting, which Player Chat isn't.

Blocking rookies off from the larger communities has other unfortunate side-affects too; it contributes to the clique problem that we already have (rookies form bonds solely with other rookies rather than integrating into the community at large) and leaves newcomers without models for acceptable behaviour, leading to groups of people who don't know the "unwritten rules" (such as, for instance, Nothing Too Awful in Outposts, and Especially Nothing Too Awful in NewHome) or have different standards of conduct, which leads to friction.

As for putting the onus on veterans to solve this problem, aside from being a bit of a dick move, it's also not a plan that would work. In order for it to function as intended, veterans would need to voluntarily cut themselves off from the main social hub of the Island, which (especially given that a significant chunk of people log on specifically to socialise) is just not going to happen. I could sit on Player Chat for hours waiting on rookies to chat with, and it would be pointless, because there would be nobody else to talk to, and the chat would still look dead. On top of that, I would miss out on talking to my friends, and possibly Story opportunities. You can expect veterans to look after new players up to a point, but when you're expecting them to sacrifice their own enjoyment of the game, you're doing something wrong.


In Summary:
Pros: slower, less overwhelming chat for new players.
Cons: splits the community between old and new, makes the game look dead, promotes different standards of behaviour, puts the onus on veterans to look after new players at the expense of their own game experience.

I see a hell of a lot more in the cons column there.

(Edit: realised I forgot to address the "PC can be vibrant too!" argument.
Sure, that might be true to a small extent during the peak hours where all the Americans and a significant chunk of the British are online, but right now (9:24AM server time) over a quarter of the posts in Player Chat are more than 10 hours old. That's not what vibrant looks like.
Proof: http://puu.sh/pIZPD/1ce5fb29e4.jpg)


 
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Iriana
 Wednesday, June 29 2016 @ 06:11 AM UTC  
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Okay, I hear what other people in this thread are saying, and they're mostly valid points, but then the conclusion I'm getting is that Player Chat is utterly pointless and we should just kill it dead because no one will ever be persuaded to use it. It's clear that the community likes to ": cuddles everyone in chat!" and ": glomps [other player]" (do people still say glomp now?) and send a chat message every 0.5 seconds far more than they like using boring old slow-moving Player Chat, where you can't emote or see character rollovers.

The vibrancy of Character Chat is a wonderful thing, and it's true that only being able to access a channel in which no one has said anything for the last fifteen hours is not wonderful. When I made my comment, I wasn't under the illusion that Player Chat is a very live channel; I was just hoping that the update would bring some usefulness and therefore some life back to it. Maybe the other posters in this thread are correct, and requiring new players to use only a dead Player Chat at first will drive them away. But then it seems to me that what needs doing is not simply "reverse the update", but "nix Player Chat because it is serving no purpose".

Veterans would need to cut themselves off from the main social hub of the Island... I could sit on Player Chat for hours waiting on rookies to chat with [but] I would miss out on talking to my friends, and possibly Story opportunities... when you're expecting [veteran players] to sacrifice their own enjoyment of the game, you're doing something wrong.
I recognize the rest of your points, but I feel this is being overdramatic, because it literally takes ONE click to move between the chats. Checking Player Chat a few times an hour will neither kill any of us nor destroy our enjoyment of the game. It doesn't require "sitting" anywhere for "hours".

(If we're gonna talk about rookie retention, which I agree is top priority, what would go a long way is a better wiki/knowledgebase/helpdoc and forum. The current wiki/forum software is from the Stone Age. Rookies have a severely limited ability to help themselves because the search feature just plain doesn't work.)


 
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Zoinks
 Wednesday, June 29 2016 @ 09:09 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Iriana

Okay, I hear what other people in this thread are saying, and they're mostly valid points, but then the conclusion I'm getting is that Player Chat is utterly pointless and we should just kill it dead because no one will ever be persuaded to use it. It's clear that the community likes to ": cuddles everyone in chat!" and ": glomps [other player]" (do people still say glomp now?) and send a chat message every 0.5 seconds far more than they like using boring old slow-moving Player Chat, where you can't emote or see character rollovers.


Firstly, yes we still say glomp.
Secondly... I, personally, don't really think Player Chat needs to be removed. As that wasn't the point of making this thread at all. It has its uses, and can be very enjoyable at times.

Quote by: Iriana

(If we're gonna talk about rookie retention, which I agree is top priority, what would go a long way is a better wiki/knowledgebase/helpdoc and forum. The current wiki/forum software is from the Stone Age. Rookies have a severely limited ability to help themselves because the search feature just plain doesn't work.)



As much as I LOVE the idea of an update to the wiki... I feel like this one is fine. Yeah, it can be a bit odd, but working with it for a while is really all you need to figure it out.

The search system worked great with removing all references to the term "Midget," (For those who don't know, that was the name previously given to Squats.) and, often times, I can find what I want pretty easily.

However... I do understand how it works already. I can see coming in with fresh eyes and totally just saying... WHAT?

But... that's kinda how most of the Island is. Easy to use once you know how, extremely overwhelming to tackle at the start.
In any aspect, really. The Game. Storying. The wiki or Enquirer. Places. Mementos. The community. All of it. That's just how it is.

This change to global chat... just doesn't feel that way. It feels, like... just out of place.


(PS... There are quite a few help documents out there. Just need to get them in the hands of the rookies, that's all. Which... this whole change... possibly could inhibit.)


 
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ShadowGhost
 Wednesday, June 29 2016 @ 10:46 AM UTC  
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I recognize the rest of your points, but I feel this is being overdramatic, because it literally takes ONE click to move between the chats.

Despite the quote, I'd like to start off with saying that I'm not advocating for the removal of either chat, I think if they both serve a function to members of the community that's fantastic and as long as it's not some drain by having both, I think it's great to have both. That is said in the mind of an opinion of encouraging choice, which I think is at the core of any kind of RPG, text-based or multi-million dollar game. I think the draw is that you're given a lot of options and allowed to play how you want, or play the story that you want. Player choice is great and vitally important, and that should extend to the chat channels. New players should get the option to be in whichever chat they want, period. I don't think that should even be a debate. We're adults and I think it's ridiculous to assume the new players are not quick or smart enough to figure out Character Chat, or to assume that they'd prefer one or the other. I think the only appropriate limit is no limit, personally. That said, though, if there is going to be a limit why force the bulk of people to check a chat they may really not want to use. Full disclosure, I personally strongly dislike being in Player chat. I want to see rollovers and want people to be able to emote. A lot of the way I write on the island is determinant on weaving in and out of emoting. I can't say if this is a consensus but I can say that the community overwhelmingly opts to use community chat. It is far more logical to direct the stream of new players to the group than try to strong-arm the flood of veterans into a chat they don't wish to use. Yes, it is one click away, but I also particularly dislike using it, and I shouldn't have to feel I'm not sharing the information I have with rookies over something like that. It's not fair to me, or other players who may feel the same way. Going about it this way is like moving the entire pond to your horse instead of moving the horse to the pond every time the horse gets thirsty. It's simply the less efficient method.

I don't think there's fair reason that isn't at least a touch condescending to cut off rookies from the rest of the community or making the veterans go somewhere they may really not want to. Sure, it's easy, but just because it's simple doesn't mean we should be forced to do it.


 
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Lyssa
 Wednesday, June 29 2016 @ 12:23 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Iriana

Okay, I hear what other people in this thread are saying, and they're mostly valid points, but then the conclusion I'm getting is that Player Chat is utterly pointless and we should just kill it dead because no one will ever be persuaded to use it. It's clear that the community likes to ": cuddles everyone in chat!" and ": glomps [other player]" (do people still say glomp now?) and send a chat message every 0.5 seconds far more than they like using boring old slow-moving Player Chat, where you can't emote or see character rollovers.


Okay, the hostile tone here is unnecessary. Casting aspersions on how people use chat and emoting is unkind and irrelevant to the topic at hand. Go pick up one of the many other threads on the topic if you want to talk about it, but unless you can link it to this conversation, I see no reason for it to be in this thread.

Quote by: Iriana


The vibrancy of Character Chat is a wonderful thing, and it's true that only being able to access a channel in which no one has said anything for the last fifteen hours is not wonderful. When I made my comment, I wasn't under the illusion that Player Chat is a very live channel; I was just hoping that the update would bring some usefulness and therefore some life back to it. Maybe the other posters in this thread are correct, and requiring new players to use only a dead Player Chat at first will drive them away. But then it seems to me that what needs doing is not simply "reverse the update", but "nix Player Chat because it is serving no purpose".


While I can see where you're coming from, if we're going to try and breathe life into Player Chat I don't think the way to do it is via a userbase that would doubtless be disproportionately made up of shy and inexperienced new players. I can't say I have a better solution right at this moment, but I defintiely think that the downsides outweigh the benefit of any potential upswing in traffic in PC.
I do, however, think that removing Player Chat entirely would be a premature move at this point. Lots of people like Player Chat. It doesn't hurt anyone to keep it around. The problem I have is with limiting rookies to only PC. (I also have a bit of a problem with it being the default but I recognise this is not the issue at hand and of lesser importance.)

Quote by: Iriana


Veterans would need to cut themselves off from the main social hub of the Island... I could sit on Player Chat for hours waiting on rookies to chat with [but] I would miss out on talking to my friends, and possibly Story opportunities... when you're expecting [veteran players] to sacrifice their own enjoyment of the game, you're doing something wrong.
I recognize the rest of your points, but I feel this is being overdramatic, because it literally takes ONE click to move between the chats. Checking Player Chat a few times an hour will neither kill any of us nor destroy our enjoyment of the game. It doesn't require "sitting" anywhere for "hours".

(If we're gonna talk about rookie retention, which I agree is top priority, what would go a long way is a better wiki/knowledgebase/helpdoc and forum. The current wiki/forum software is from the Stone Age. Rookies have a severely limited ability to help themselves because the search feature just plain doesn't work.)


I'm not being overdramatic, I'm being hyperbolic. You did the same thing at the top of this post ("Player Chat is utterly pointless and we should just kill it dead because no one will ever be persuaded to use it"). Despite that, I don't think mine is that inaccurate a statement. Sure, you could flick over every now and then, but that still wouldn't actually solve the problem, because it doesn't accurately reflect how people use chatrooms. Unless the post was within, say, five minutes of you flipping over to check, that person is probably gone. Nobody sits and waits for an answer on a clearly dead chat - they go and find better stuff to do. This counts especially if they are a new player, because they're probably still exploring and wandering in and out of places with global banter. The only way this would work is if people spent a significant amount of time sitting on Player Chat, and we've already established that most people don't want to do that.
Thus, I feel my statement was accurate.

Concerning the wiki, I love it to pieces but it is a bit of a mess. I don't feel like I'm in a place to judge how vital it is to player retention, however, as I never used it - I just asked players. In the active chat. That I had access to.
(See what I mean?)


 
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Genevieve
 Wednesday, June 29 2016 @ 04:59 PM UTC  
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I am going to address this to the best of my ability based on my own experience and experiences I've had as a moderator, a player, and a casual observer.

This is going to be really long, fair warning.

I will start by saying that Banter in general didn't always exist. Lots of you probably know that, some of you probably don't. Once upon a time there was only the Story channel and Distractions. That was it. Why am I bringing this up? Because we still had new players back then, and they figured out the game just fine. I was one of those new players.

Before banter new players had to join story to learn how to RP with the community. Subsequently NewHome was always bustling with new players. Veterans would meander around there and do little things to draw in new players. Back then I remember Ebenezer and a tray of tea the most vividly. Open-ended stories that imply that anyone can join in. Before banter people were relying heavily on improvisation and were using basic social understandings in joining and directing scenes. Would you walk up to a pair of strangers talking? Probably not. Would you walk up to someone offering free tea? Yes, you probably would. That's how new players ended up staying, in the beginning. People would create inviting situations to include everyone. If you wanted to write, before Banter, you just did. Maybe you looked at the contestants list to find yourself in the same spot as a friend, or maybe you used Distractions to find a buddy. But most of the time if you wanted to write you would just start writing and hope someone would write with you.

Why am I mentioning all of this? Because the entire culture of the island has changed very completely. Not in a a good or a bad way, really, but it has changed.

The addition of Banter meant that people could plan better, could talk more OOC, could do silly stuff that their characters wouldn't do in Story. People could ask questions. It also fostered a relationship between people who mostly RPed and those who mostly Jungled, as those people so previously had nowhere to speak. These are all good things.

But it also created some changes that were not as good. People became generally less inclined to write without invitation, for example, preferring to wait until they saw their friends so that they could write with them. That isn't inherently bad, but it meant that general number of people proactively creating scenes for new people to join in reduced overall. It meant fewer people used locations that don't have banter, such as the Common Grounds, Veterans Club, and PSK. Preferring to write in spaces where they could enjoy the chatroom aspect of Banter while storying.

The Common Grounds used to be the single most populated Story space on the entire island. Now it is barely used.

The RP culture of the island is different, and the chat culture is the one that is more vibrant and enticing. More people join and end up chatting than getting too into RP, I've found. In many ways, the Island has turned into a bit of a chatroom with a game attached, as opposed to a game with a chatroom attached.

If we want to retain players, we want to make the game look active, and the chat look helpful but not essential.

I notice so many of these arguments against the Character Chat delay are saying it isn't fair to new players because they're cut off from the community. They aren't though, they're cut off from the chat community, which is not the whole island community, and certainly not the reason people should sign up to play Improbable Island.

Improbable Island is a rich and hilarious RPG and not a single one of these arguments seems to point out the fact that the game itself is the most important element of player retention, because anyone can find a chatroom with fun people anywhere on the internet. What makes us unique is the context of the game.

If we actually care about fostering new player retention then banter shouldn't be half as relevant as these arguments are making it out to be. If you want people to enjoy II, you have to make an actual concentrated effort to do so. If that effort means using Player Chat, then use player chat. If that effort means actually RPing with new people, or people you've never met before, then write with new people! If you need to start writing things that allow anyone to join, then do so. I'm not saying anyone has to do these things, by the way, I am saying that these are the things that need to change if you actually want to actively help retain new players.

Chatting with friends is a great luxury but there are so many ways to chat with friends on the Island, and so few ways to introduce new players to the game.

So now to the meat of this specific issue, the part where all these points come together.

People just don't freaking notice rookies in Character Chat. I am not saying "all rookies" and I am not saying "all people" but the truth of the matter is that a greyname default text color rookie will frequently go ignored in Character Chat, and that can often be a lot more damaging than having a long delay in a chat reply in Player Chat.

I know it is damaging because I had a player ask me for help about it once. Really sweet dude. In fact, I was really sincerely upset that I couldn't help him! His issue was that he had no friends, but he couldn't make any friends because nobody spoke to him, and nobody spoke to him because nobody noticed him. I am not just conveniently making up this story for the sake of this argument, I have all our conversations still in case anyone wishes to see them (with names removed of course.)

The reason this upset me so much is because this guy loved the game! He even was writing fan fiction about canon characters! He loved Island canon, he loved the monsters, he loved the outposts and the stories and all the little features this game has to offer, but the community shunned him and he ended up leaving, dejected.

This is a god damn problem.

So the question is, what is going to change. Because a change needs to happen to accommodate new players. The current system is completely broken, and if something doesn't change then nothing will improve.

So what will it be? Are those players who truly care about retention going to put out the effort to be available? Are they going to write stories to invite in new players? Are they going to populate Player Chat? Or is Character Chat going to take the time to notice every single person who posts? Would people stop midway through a conversation with their friends to acknowledge every person present? Would people take the time to realize that their conversations are not inclusive or inviting? Would the community at large willingly start treating Character Chat like NewHome?

That's really what it would come down to. The banters were split because Banter was negatively affecting player retention. This delay was created because Character Chat was negatively affecting player retention. How can I claim to know that? Because if CMJ made this change to his game, he did it for a reason. He would know far better than any of us what the consequences of our actions toward new players are.

I am by no means offering an ultimatum here, I am merely stating my observations. But if I were to phrase it as succinctly as possible:

If we want to help new players, something has to change, and that's either the players who want to help newbies and care about retention step up to the plate and do it, or the whole chat community rallies together to self-police character chat and keep it NewHome levels of friendly, so that new players don't have to get inducted into the full volume bizarre nature of our chat-culture that is, frankly, really distressing at times.

This level five delay isn't an insult to newbies, it isn't unfair to rookies, it is a last ditch effort to hope that some people will stick around before being either literally scared away, or forced out by being ignored.

So if you want positive change for new players, create positive change for new players.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Thursday, June 30 2016 @ 04:53 AM UTC  
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Up to my eyeballs in baby-preparation stuff right now 'cause we've got LESS THAN TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE DUE DATE OMFG, but just wanted to chuck this in there:

Guys, re: player retention; you can make arguments either way, we can hash it out as much as we like, we can go back and forth on whether it'll affect retention and if so in what direction... or we can gather data for a couple weeks and then just look at the numbers. We're not banging rocks together here, we know how to track new player retention.

(why yes, I did replay Portal 2 recently, why do you ask)


 
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RP Whistle
 Thursday, June 30 2016 @ 08:07 AM UTC  
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When Banter was split between Character and Player Chat, I was initially skeptical. As a solution to problems posed via Banter, at the time I felt like the Banter split was like throwing a "canary blanket" over the problem. Player Chat is Nerfed Banter and Character Chat is where everyone else talks. My first impression was a segregated chat is going to disastrous and honk everyone off. It didn't, of course. But the point of Player Chat, at heart, is to create a Banter for people who wanted to talk in Banter but didn't like going into Banter. Lots of players, old and new, did not like the frenetic atmosphere of old Banter. So why didn't Player Chat take off? Simple: it's easy to start a conversation in Character Chat because everyone is there doing it. In Player Chat, no one talked because no one was talking apart from answering the random question.

I'll be frank: I was always a sporadic Banter participant. I had some good conversations, but when you get busy with other stuff it slips away from you. And its worst...well. A while back I complained about a person's behavior and was more or less told "this is how people want it so if you don't like it, there's always Player Chat." Player Chat, where no one posted. At first, I honestly thought it was a shitty response to a legitimate complaint. But it was actually great advice. Here's the thing about Player Chat: if you start talking, people are going to respond to you. Every so often when I'm just idling on II and nothing is going on in Player Chat, I just tell a story. Some of you have heard the time my Grandpa brought home a baby (not his baby, mind you). Others have heard the time I got propane poisoning (which I need to re-tell some time because the after hours fatigue set in and I don't feel the finisher was as strong). Mind you, none of that has a dramatic effect on Player Chat. But I'm not the only one with that idea. If Csodas is on, expect to see more than you can unsee about the Eurovision Song Competition. Just a little while ago while talking about getting motivated about little things and shoeshining, someone asked me a question I'll post elsewhere because they were worried about the reaction. Player Chat's slower pace can be an asset, because less activity can be less intimidating. But even a less active chat doesn't mean it's less enriching.

I believe in Player Chat. I don't think it's in any way superior to Character Chat, but it serves an important purpose. It allows people to change pace in how they interact with others as opposed to a "take it or leave it" situation. Do I think players should get to level 5 before accessing Character Chat? Yes and no. I often see people responding to new players in Player Chat if only to say "Come over to Character Chat, there's more people here!" Which again, draws back to the problem of how someone can ask basic questions and getting acclimated to the game without getting drowned out by all the personal conversations and emoting that can be a barrier to that. While well meaning, the level 5 barrier can serve as a check against telling new players "here's the chat that no one talks in, so come to the chat where all your questions have a good chance of getting buried within minutes". Let's face it: if there's a fast paced conversation going on with several people in Character chat, your single commonly asked question is likely to be gone unanswered in a flash.

To me, the 5 and up rule for Character Chat shouldn't be necessary. Rather than invite new players into Character Chat the second they pipe up, why not take some time out of your current chat to talk to them one on one? The problem with Player Chat isn't that it's inactive, it's that it's not active enough. You have the power to change that. You don't have to exclusively dedicate your time to one chat or another. But if you want to get serious about new player retention, take some time to talk to new players one on one. Player Chat is a good place to do so. So is Distraction. It only works if you put in the effort.


 
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Iriana
 Thursday, June 30 2016 @ 09:58 AM UTC  
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Sorry about my tone, but my remark about cuddling and glomping and the breakneck speed of Character Chat when it gets busy--which is almost always--is relevant because these are things that are fun for us but not always fun for rookies. It's not meant to be "casting aspersions".

None of those things are bad, but I think the net effect is a little like being at a party where you don't know anyone. Parties are good. No one's saying they're not. They're fun, especially if you know a few people there. And it's not too hard to talk to a stranger if you have a question: "Where's the bathroom?" or "Which way's the bar?" But if you see that everyone at the party is clustered off into groups, laughing and hugging each other and standing close together and talking very fast about something they all seem very familiar with, are you the kind of person who's eager and able to jump in and introduce yourself?

I was not, when I first joined the Island. Many of us aren't. Those of us who wound up staying on the Island either got up the courage to say something, lurked for ages until we did, or were pulled into story by generous vets who made a point of writing stories that left big, obvious, tempting, awesome openings that called out to passing rookies, "Reply to us, join in, have fun!"

Restricting chat channels might sound cold, but maybe what it can do is promote certain behavior: encouraging newcomers to look at Story or gameplay first instead of just jumping straight into Character Chat. Maybe it's like all the text on the front page (which is meant to gently nudge away people who are put off by lots of text and nudge in people who enjoy it), serving to nudge people towards the jungle or writing a scene. Who knows? I look forward to hearing what the numbers tell in a few weeks or months.

@Lyssa: You're right and I agree that "check in now and then" was not the best idea. I have a better one: actually just have conversations in Player Chat. Last night I went in at midnight PST and got to chat with two cool people I'd never met and run into two old friends of mine. Today I've logged in at several different times and seen it moving at a good but manageable clip. Actively participating in or inviting people to Player Chat makes it so I don't feel like I'm just "sitting" there doing nothing.

I know there are many who, putting aside the inequal activity, just plain think Character Chat is more enjoyable to them because of the features (emotes, rollovers). This is fine, but there's also people who don't mind that Player Chat doesn't have those features and feel that they're able to enjoy both channels equally. So it's not like Player Chat is inherently less attractive and is doomed to be quieter than Character. It's simply that activity currently happens in Character Chat, so people flock there or are told to go there, which creates a cycle, which reinforces an imbalance in activity.

@Zoinks: "[The Island is] extremely overwhelming to tackle at the start... Just need to get [the help documents] in the hands of the rookies. Which this whole change possibly could inhibit." Overwhelming generally isn't good. I love the rush of text and the huge amounts of info and flavor on II and don't want it to go away, but letting the knowledge system stay overwhelming because the rest of the Island is currently kind of like that (pending S3 updates?) is not ideal. And relying primarily on existing players to dispense crucial information and help docs isn't ideal because it burdens users with a responsibility that can mostly be handled by the game.

I believe it's more user-friendly and efficient to have clean, concise documentation linked at the top for every rookie to find and navigate easily, along with providing help in chat, and upgrading to more modern wiki and forum software would only help this. However, I know mods have mentioned in the past that it's not feasible to switch, so this is probably a topic for a separate thread.

Finally, I appreciated Genevieve's comments about it being easy for rookies to slip through the cracks in Character Chat and RP Whistle's about the positives of Player Chat.

P.S. bolding and underlining everyone's names resulted in


 
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Lyssa
 Thursday, June 30 2016 @ 01:03 PM UTC  
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Alright, I've reread all of these, and I'm beginning to think a lot of the source of this disagreement is a timezone thing.

I live in Eastern Australia, so I am very displaced from a lot of the rest of the English-speaking world. I typically get on about 8PM AEST, which is about 3AM PST (bad) and 10AM GMT (not so bad, but still not great given the typical work hours). At these times, I just do not see a lot of the problems you talk about being native to Character Chat. Newbs don't get ignored because people are too busy talking to their friends, there's always about fifteen minutes on the page, I haven't seen it get any weirder than politics, rookies are usually enthusiastically welcomed because wow maybe we'll get another late-night regular!

On the other hand, when I'm online, there really is no activity in Player Chat. That's not hyperbole, that's just how it is. On some days there might be something, but most of the time there just isn't. I'll post and I'd be lucky to get a reply within forty-five minutes. You're all saying that if I actually make the effort I'll have a great time in Player Chat, but there just aren't enough people online when I'm around for that to be feasible. You're saying rookies get lost in Character Chat, where I'm seeing them get lost in Player Chat, just via time rather than being pushed off the page. I've only encountered one guy on at our time of night who talked about having a problem with being ignored (he was a lot like Gen's guy - really enthusiastic about the Island, writing fanfic about Jill, writing monster descriptions) and it turned out to be way more complicated than just people ignoring the rookie.

This is why I am in favour of both chats being available to rookies. If they want to avail themselves of the benefits of Player Chat? Fine! Cool! They can do that! If they want to hang out in Character Chat, they can do that too! I am seeing tons of arguments here in favour of Player Chat, but that's not what this is about - it's about the level requirement. I really haven't seen anything that sells limiting people solely to Player Chat.

I mean, c'mon, guys, we're all adults. The cardinal rule of the Island is just don't be a dick. I think new players can handle being able to choose which chat space to hang out in.


 
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Zoinks
 Thursday, June 30 2016 @ 04:08 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Iriana



P.S. bolding and underlining everyone's names resulted in



This made me giggle.

Quote by: CavemanJoe



Up to my eyeballs in baby-preparation stuff right now 'cause we've got LESS THAN TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE DUE DATE OMFG, but just wanted to chuck this in there:

Guys, re: player retention; you can make arguments either way, we can hash it out as much as we like, we can go back and forth on whether it'll affect retention and if so in what direction... or we can gather data for a couple weeks and then just look at the numbers. We're not banging rocks together here, we know how to track new player retention.

(why yes, I did replay Portal 2 recently, why do you ask)



Okay so like dude you should totally focus on that baby more than us for a while. I mean, come in and hang out with us if you feel you can, I love it, but BABY OMG

Alright and for an actual response... None of us are capable for getting actual statistical data like that besides you (Except maybe Sessine?), and that's the reason I feel no one mentioned that.
I, personally, would LOVE to be able to see the statistical data of player retention before and after this change.
...
Are you actually gonna do that? Please do.
*Grabby hands.*



This also makes me think of a lot of "concerns" I've had for the Island, things I've felt have been lacking or some such. It might because I don't have all the information. Sometimes I need to remember I'm just a player.


 
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ShadowGhost
 Thursday, June 30 2016 @ 05:01 PM UTC  
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There have been a lot of mentions of how things were before and after banter and all about new player experience. Dropping away all other elements of my earlier arguments for what I feel is the most important, my position is simply: Why are we limiting players from experiencing every part of the game? This has nothing to do with progression systems like Drive Killing or anything else, why are we limiting new players ability to make their own choice as to whether they want to be in Player or Character chat? This is a game meant for adults, which means we should treat all of our players like fully realized adults, capable of learning, understanding, and choosing. Regardless of opinions of either chat, they are currently both a part of the game. Why should new players not be allowed to decide whether or not they want to use Character or Player chat, just like they can choose whether they story in any particular outpost or how they go about jungling or even if they choose to go into the Jungle at all. Why should they be limited as to what chat they are allowed to use rather than assuming that they're smart enough to decide what they prefer? There has not been an argument so far that has convinced me that there's any reason for there to be a distinction at all.

Genevieve, I think that there should be a change. It would be fantastic for both banters to have bright and vibrant communities, and I wholeheartedly support a change towards focusing on rookies. I try and talk to any grey named character I see pop into banter, as soon as I can. However, I disagree on one point. With all do love and respect to CMJ, he- and any other creator- is not flawless simply by merit of being the one who runs anything. They're as capable of making mistakes as anyone else. That is, of course, not a statement directed at you CMJ, I still love you and think you've made something I love to death and back and do a I good job. It's more of a blanket statement of philosophy, but I believe it's relevant. I believe he did make the change for a reason, but I think it's a bad idea and we want to have our voices heard because we're concerned it could have negative outcomes. The hard, but better solution, is working to make both banters a more welcoming place. Character chat in watching for the grey names and Player chat in getting life even during the off-hours. That's something that has to start with every person who's passionate about the Island trying to be as welcoming and loving as they've always been.


 
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quinn
 Friday, July 01 2016 @ 09:40 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Lyssa

Alright, I've reread all of these, and I'm beginning to think a lot of the source of this disagreement is a timezone thing.



I honestly feel like this should make things better instead of worse. Having people around at all hours of the day means it's less likely for a person to be lost. I know that I personally tend to be around until about 1/2 AM PST on most days, so that one hour gap where no one isn't actively there isn't all that huge of a deal. I know this is ignoring a lot of what was said, but this was the only point I wanted to comment on. Responding during work isn't my best idea, as usual...

Even if it's slow there's no reason that, in between Character Chat talking and Jungling that someone can't drop a "Hello" into Player Chat as well. And look back every 10-15 minutes, see if there is a response. You don't have to dedicate a ton of time to it, but I've had a lot of conversations start that way. Someone has to get the ball rolling!


Quote by: ShadowGhost

Why are we limiting players from experiencing every part of the game? This has nothing to do with progression systems like Drive Killing or anything else, why are we limiting new players ability to make their own choice as to whether they want to be in Player or Character chat? This is a game meant for adults, which means we should treat all of our players like fully realized adults, capable of learning, understanding, and choosing. Regardless of opinions of either chat, they are currently both a part of the game. Why should new players not be allowed to decide whether or not they want to use Character or Player chat, just like they can choose whether they story in any particular outpost or how they go about jungling or even if they choose to go into the Jungle at all. Why should they be limited as to what chat they are allowed to use rather than assuming that they're smart enough to decide what they prefer? There has not been an argument so far that has convinced me that there's any reason for there to be a distinction at all.



To be blunt? I'd say because very few players give Player Chat a chance. Here's an RP styled example, the average player looking to RP takes a look at the Comms Tent. They see no one storying in Central and two people storying in NewHome. Nine times out of ten, they join NewHome because it's easier to get involved where conversations already are happening rather than start a scene and hope that someone shows up. (This isn't 100%, of course. Plenty of people start in empty Outposts just like there are a good number of people that reside mostly in Player Chat! But you get the picture right?)

Now, I get the argument that no one should have to lurk in a dead area to wait on new people, but no one is asking anyone to do that. We might be suggesting to pop in there now and then, but no one has to. You're free to stay and play the game exactly as you have in the past. Gen put it perfectly in my opinion, addressing both the delay before Character Chat shows up and the community as a whole. This is no longer the same game she joined. It's not the game I joined. This isn't a bad thing, overall, but the way rookies are handled has needed an overhaul for a while, I think.

Quote by: Genevieve

So what will it be? Are those players who truly care about retention going to put out the effort to be available? Are they going to write stories to invite in new players? Are they going to populate Player Chat? Or is Character Chat going to take the time to notice every single person who posts? Would people stop midway through a conversation with their friends to acknowledge every person present? Would people take the time to realize that their conversations are not inclusive or inviting? Would the community at large willingly start treating Character Chat like NewHome?

That's really what it would come down to. The banters were split because Banter was negatively affecting player retention. This delay was created because Character Chat was negatively affecting player retention. How can I claim to know that? Because if CMJ made this change to his game, he did it for a reason. He would know far better than any of us what the consequences of our actions toward new players are.



If CMJ finds proof that this ends up negatively affecting his game, you can be damned sure he'll fix it. Just like with everything else that does so.
Until that's decided, I'm going to man up and make it work.


 
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Matthew
 Saturday, July 02 2016 @ 10:41 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Genevieve

People just don't freaking notice rookies in Character Chat. I am not saying "all rookies" and I am not saying "all people" but the truth of the matter is that a greyname default text color rookie will frequently go ignored in Character Chat, and that can often be a lot more damaging than having a long delay in a chat reply in Player Chat.



I'm a pretty well established player and even I have this problem. I use `& for my text, because I'm an insufferable hipster, and on many occasions people have told me that they can't see my text and so they don't respond to me.

I guess I could change it, but see hipster comment above.

Maybe assign rookie players that one blue color that has been reserved for help text?


 
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