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Thread: Low Population

  1. #1

    Default Low Population

    Ok i didn't know if this was the right section for this as its not really a rant but i only been back in Istaria for a couple days and the amount of changes and updates has been quite a lot to take in. I personally think you guys have done a good job with the content changes. But however i always come to the same question: "how come a game like this has so little population?" I mean i love this game even if i go away from time to time ill still be a istarian. Surely it wouldn't hurt to try and re-advertise this game id love to see the population increase again. Maybe this is wishful thinking? I cant say but i sure as hell refuse to give up on the idea of a bigger community. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions or ideas about ways to advertise that's cheap but effective feel free to comment

  2. #2

    Default Re: Low Population

    I have to agree that some better advertising might be in order, though I have found advertising to be very expensive. Might be worth looking in to.
    Blight: Kaylee, Marynah, others
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Low Population

    We definately need to look into that. We need new ideas.

    Maybe a "talk to the team"?
    And we need to do that very well stuctured.
    Different sections for different probs and suggestions.
    A simple "What to do to get more players"? is not enough nowadays.
    YOU told me to play a dragon! [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4

    Default Re: Low Population

    I've thought about this some since I returned last fall (it's still under a year, so I'm still a newbie, right?)...

    There are two challenges that need to be overcome.
    1. How do we get new people to take a look at the game?
    2. How do we keep them from getting frustrated early on so they realize just how wonderful and complex it is?

    My thoughts on both:

    1. The best sales team out there is the existing player base. If you know others that play computer games of any type, encourage them to try it. Stress that you can make a trial account, but if you play a human you can play forever for free (most MMO's only support free play for a week or 10 days or rely on microtransactions for their revenue stream). The reality is that many of them, if they try it and like it, will eventually want a dragon. Or a plot. Or both. And then they'll become paying subs.

    2. My biggest gripe/issue (and also my greatest love) with the game is how big and vague it is. Istaria is unlike other MMORPG's like WoW where you start out with a big yellow ! right in your face and you're basically led from one area to the next with no confusion as to what to do next. Instead, it's really more a big sandbox with a lot of really cool RPG elements built in. IMO. Feel free to disagree What we really need to keep players from giving up and getting frustrated:
    - a better downloaded .pdf manual with a "getting started" section that spells out all of the NT quests for biped and dragon
    - a downloaded .pdf of all beginner formulas and techniques, with those that are sold indicated as such (and by whom)
    - a downloaded summary of all schools, similar to what was in the original hintbook or what is available on Istaria reference.

    Note that I stress downloaded - make these part of the initial download and then have clickies to these on the start up screen. There's plenty of real estate there for a few simple links.

    Once you've made a character and "explored the world," NT is frankly a bit underwhelming. However, when I started again, I felt like NT was HUGE. And I had a heckuva time finding some of the quest/kill mobs. A simple map that shows where the different quests are completed wouldn't be that tough to make, and again if it's downloaded with a "map of New Trismus" link on the startup screen... I can't imagine this taking a ton of dev time.

    ALL of the above is intended for one thing only: Get people to try that first hit, and come back for another taste, and another... and about the time they get to Kion/Parsinia/Sslanis they will realize just how awesome and complex the game and classes/skills/crafting are... and then they'll see that perfect spot for a plot of their own... and we've got another subscriber.

    None of the above would take a ton of time - most of it already exists in one form or another. All I'm really proposing is that we make it easier for true newbies to get a little more help to prevent that initial frustration where they decide that it's not worth investing extra effort just to find out where a quest ends. And then they swap to something like Farmville and never come back.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Low Population

    An enormous amount of work has gone into improving the introduction stages of the game, with huge tutorial overhauls as well as T1/2 massive revamps. The content is there, the directions are there (or helpful players when the directions get misinterpreted), but to be honest, I really think that the pricing is the main drawback. I've never really gone down this line of thinking myself, as I always thought it was appropriately priced for a (computer) MMO, however, other computer MMO's are no longer the only competition for Istaria/Horizons. Here's how and why I've started to think that pricing is an issue:

    If you choose F2P (which is a fantastic option to begin with), you're limited to one human character only, which in itself isn't a huge issue other than the fact that you could play as a standard Human character in just about every other game ever made... so nothing unique to draw you to that subscription method.

    Ok, let's say you're happy with the Human and no plot. Your vault holds 300 items... by the time you've worked your way up to say Lvl 40 in a single craft school and single adventure school you probably have at least one set of armor, one set of cargo armor, 2 sets of jewelry, tools, cargo disk(s), weapons... so there's 40+ items. Now add it quest rewards, quest items (which you have no idea if you need to keep them after the completion of the quest, so you do anyway), unscribed forms, tech comps, trophies... there's another 100 if you're a bit of a hoarder (depending on how many forms you've looted and kept). So Vault space is a serious issue for F2P-ers and I dislike having to spend an entire day every week emptying and sorting through all my loot.

    Ok, so let's say you choose the payment options... $10/month for no plot (why bother? fair enough, you may want to try a dragon for a bit before deciding if you want to pay a bit more for the lair)... so $15/month (~$180/year or ~$155/year for an annual sub). For some people that could be their entire gaming budget. Let's compare that to say the PlaystationNetwork, which is less than half that... ~$70/year for an annual subscription, which gives you heavily discounted games every month and even some free!

    As sad as this is for me to say, when I realised the amount of money I've spent on monthly subs for this game over the last 10 years, I'm no longer getting the return on investment I would like... I've been hunting the same Epic mobs for longer than I wish to admit, and I still don't have a single Reklar item, but that hardly matters since almost all epic gear is pretty sub-standard. It's great the dev's have worked so hard on all aspects of the game, but as a long time player, I have no use of the nice trinkets and quest rewards from anything below 100.

    So what keeps me here? The community of course! I enjoy helping others with hunting, not so much crafting... that I still very much dislike. I have a lair I would love to finish one day but I have all but lost the will to continue with it. Don't despair, I have no intention of cancelling any of my subs (I just started switching to annual subs since I've lost out on more than 100 Loyalty tokens by only having monthly subs... why is my Loyalty somehow less than others when I've been playing and paying for so long?!?)

    Anyway, I'm glad this is in the rant section The main point I think I was trying to make is the price is no longer competitive in the overall gaming market.
    --- iuvenilis --- [Officer of The Alliance]
    Demonslaying since July 2004

  6. #6

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by Marynah View Post
    I have to agree that some better advertising might be in order, though I have found advertising to be very expensive. Might be worth looking in to.
    Advertising is VERY expensive. Those nice banner ads you see on gaming sites like mmorpg.com? They run into the THOUSANDS per month and are charged based upon the number of views.

    The Dev Desks and word of mouth are our affordable forms of advertising. I am unsure why some folks might not get them in their email, perhaps their spam filters caught it?

    Yildar, your #2 point is interesting. Though I'd question how many people truly download and read a game manual or starter guide? I don't think I've read a game manual for a downloaded game ever. For a physical one while I was waiting for it to install, maybe, but for a game I simply downloaded on Steam or direct? Nope, don't think so.

    NT is large and spread out when compared to Spirit Isle or Skalkaar. You said "underwhelming" though. How do you mean?

    Thank you all for your feedback. We appreciate it!
    "Alea iacta est" -- Julius Caesar

    Toot shouted, voice shrill, "In the name of the Pizza Lord! Charge!" (Jim Butcher's Dresden Files)

    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spends it whole life believing that it is stupid." -- Albert Einstein

  7. #7

    Default Re: Low Population

    Maybe I am too old school, I still use paper reference a lot. I have a dozen or so sheets I have created like spell and form checklists, plans for next armor upgrades and techs required, etc. plus the Brady hint book from way back when.

    What I meant by NT was that when you first start it seems huge. Doing the assessor quests I felt I was running miles. But when you go back it feels a lot smaller. Underwhelming is what I called it, and that's how I feel when I visit the village where I grew up IRL - my perspective has changed... The point I was trying to make is that although it's easy to find stuff there now, starting out it was a vast unexplored (and at times bordering on overwhelming) place. My concern is that some people may find that frustrating and without an easy resource to help them they may give up. They may not want to ask in a chat channel, but if it's on their PC they may take a few seconds to look it up. Or I may be totally off base.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Low Population

    Yeah no one is about to look through their games big box for the manual and lore, especially new players.

    It is difficult understandably to get people into games that are not only old, but also difficult. Without assistance from other players, Istaria is brutal, and I doubt anyone would want to deal with the level of frustration. They'll just quit and move on. It's a sad turn for gamers around, especially when games like Candy Crush are raking in the dough for impulse instantaneous gratification. These games are what is now. Money talks.

    Anyone who appreciates older games has already done their homework and are staying.

    Dragons are what set this game apart. Everything else has been done in some form or fashion in other games. Seems to be a lot more dragon players than there are biped players. People who get into the game as a dragon, will probably get sick of it within six months, and never explore the bipeds. If something could be done to make a connection for dragon players (the draw in) to try out bipeds, then perhaps you may see more people overall around.

    As Amon said, the cost of banners alone on high traffic sites is killer. People don't black hat SEO and juice links and domains for nothing. It's all about the traffic and what money they can pull from it.

    One thing I would like to see is some of the older quests brought back. Wishgiver comes to mind, as well as Tazoon. It's awkward when the capital is desolate.
    rip

  9. #9

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by Dracillion View Post
    Dragons are what set this game apart. Everything else has been done in some form or fashion in other games. Seems to be a lot more dragon players than there are biped players. People who get into the game as a dragon, will probably get sick of it within six months, and never explore the bipeds. If something could be done to make a connection for dragon players (the draw in) to try out bipeds, then perhaps you may see more people overall around.
    This is the best argument for dragon prestige/multi classes that I have seen in a long time.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Low Population

    What's kept me going for a couple months was that I was able to get someone to roll in Istaria with me. If I came in just by myself and tried to do a random grouping thing, I doubt I would stick around. It seems too much like "get to 100, then there's groups".

    In the 20s the quest line starting from Broken Cargo Disk that leads into Plundered Tombs actually seems to be some spiffy content but its only any good because of researching some very obscure posts that talked about it. Playing randomly, what would happen is either I would ignore it ("oh, here's two title quests, just do those"), try it and give up because Hunt Master is way too hard to solo after you just got the broken disk, or do some and forget about it completely since part of it drops from your log if you die or log out.

    I'm certain there's a number of people who like the brutality and complexity of it all, but I don't think many want to solo 100 levels in order to join up. So basically the challenging group content in the leveling range needs to be opened up a little. I don't want to group to kill easy trophy mobs or have a level 40 character crush the 20s content, so a few pointers indicating the good stuff would probably work better than letting everyone float around the ionosphere wondering what's up.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by alizarinblaze View Post
    In the 20s the quest line starting from Broken Cargo Disk that leads into Plundered Tombs actually seems to be some spiffy content but its only any good because of researching some very obscure posts that talked about it. Playing randomly, what would happen is either I would ignore it ("oh, here's two title quests, just do those"), try it and give up because Hunt Master is way too hard to solo after you just got the broken disk, or do some and forget about it completely since part of it drops from your log if you die or log out.
    I can tone down the Hunt-Master, though for the record that quest is given out by Sergeant Jonis in Bristugo. I do want to point out that the quests starting with the Lost Cargo Disk at Elissa Malna in Sable Shores are linear. They lead one to another from Sable Shores to Bristugo to Dalimond and are quite clear about who to visit, where to go next, etc.
    Last edited by AmonGwareth; June 17th, 2014 at 11:05 AM.
    "Alea iacta est" -- Julius Caesar

    Toot shouted, voice shrill, "In the name of the Pizza Lord! Charge!" (Jim Butcher's Dresden Files)

    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spends it whole life believing that it is stupid." -- Albert Einstein

  12. #12

    Default Re: Low Population

    Order has a crisis atm.
    which is cautious optimism.

    I watch new/young players try to get a feet on Istarian ground- --and see them fail and leave.
    They ask for help or someone to fight with. Its heartbreaking sometimes.
    So here I say again, what I said before so many times:
    As we do not have enough players with the right level for beginners or low tier chars,
    or not enough players at all
    the game has to support those more than it does before.
    Yes a lot has been done, great work devs. But that is not enough. And its urgend in my eyes.

    so here my suggestion:
    GIVE DOUBLE XP FOR ADV. AND CRAFT UNTIL LEVEL 35.
    RoP can be started with 50/50 and all quests done (craft included)
    and if some vets level schools or new chars easier that way-who cares.

    In my eyes-and my experience: Its NO fun to play this first level in an undiscoverd country (and I know Istaria like my clutch^^)
    without friends or guildies that help (which I always had- hated first level nevertheless).

    More good ideas pls.
    We need something to spread amongst players- or Order will be deserted soon.
    YOU told me to play a dragon! [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Low Population

    I watch new/young players try to get a feet on Istarian ground- --and see them fail and leave.
    They ask for help or someone to fight with.
    Perhaps a link to the forum question/help section could also be added into some part of the tutorial, if it isn't there already (haven't paid attention to the tutorial in a while >.>)

    People posting their questions on the help/question section would, at the very least, create a decent list of things new players could look at if they noticed the search function.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by LOVWYRM View Post
    Order has a crisis atm.
    which is cautious optimism.

    I watch new/young players try to get a feet on Istarian ground- --and see them fail and leave.
    They ask for help or someone to fight with. Its heartbreaking sometimes.
    So here I say again, what I said before so many times:
    As we do not have enough players with the right level for beginners or low tier chars,
    or not enough players at all
    the game has to support those more than it does before.
    Yes a lot has been done, great work devs. But that is not enough. And its urgend in my eyes.

    so here my suggestion:
    GIVE DOUBLE XP FOR ADV. AND CRAFT UNTIL LEVEL 35.
    RoP can be started with 50/50 and all quests done (craft included)
    and if some vets level schools or new chars easier that way-who cares.

    In my eyes-and my experience: Its NO fun to play this first level in an undiscoverd country (and I know Istaria like my clutch^^)
    without friends or guildies that help (which I always had- hated first level nevertheless).

    More good ideas pls.
    We need something to spread amongst players- or Order will be deserted soon.
    The problem with this Lov is we will see what we always do and always have... Particularly with dragons.. they will rocket to adult.. and quit ... by doubling their XP all you are doing is making that gulf which is obvious in the late thirties to early 40's all the more obvious..

    What i would suggest is a minor (ok not so minor) buff of some description that slowly lowers until it eventually disappears altogether... Perhaps one that to start with increases the the effectiveness of all healing cast upon the low level char by 100% until level 20 and then at every level beyond 20 it lowers by say 4% until at level 45 it is normal... for crafting perhaps the same formula might work as an XP boost.
    Last edited by Calyndrell; June 26th, 2014 at 10:47 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Low Population

    I like your idea, Calyndrell.
    Maybe something between your and my idea would be the right thing.

    I was aware of the dragon prob- but maybe I was not clear enough:
    RoP can only be STARTED with 50 adv AND 50 craft AND ALL adv AND craft quests played to level 50. Will keep èm busy for a while
    even with double xp till lvl. 35
    YOU told me to play a dragon! [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  16. #16

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by LOVWYRM View Post
    I like your idea, Calyndrell.
    Maybe something between your and my idea would be the right thing.

    I was aware of the dragon prob- but maybe I was not clear enough:
    RoP can only be STARTED with 50 adv AND 50 craft AND ALL adv AND craft quests played to level 50. Will keep èm busy for a while
    even with double xp till lvl. 35
    lets keep rop stuff out of this pls this is not the answer to population.

    i think for low levels:
    give people abilites earlier/easier than higher teirs. (especially when it comes to dragons. i still remember spring 2012 update because that was the moment when i had to actually find a guild because i couldn't raise new chars past kion alone.)

    > Make dragon t1 ability quests easier again.
    I know some players here who could never get past them alone, and had to wait a while before people noticed it and offered them help because they were too shy. Not that i like it being wholly solo, but at the same time, kion quests for dragons are obscenely hard for low levels. Even i struggle with them with new chars without multilogging in help, and it can be really hard to find help at your level at this time, and harder to stroll into a channel and ask. Please make them completable alone again. (also i've always said since then - t1 quests are proportionally the hardest dragon quests to level that you get for a reason. when i said "obscenely hard for low levels" i really meant it.)

    > Make t1 enemies weaker for their level, even out some quests.
    a. First cleric quest when coming out of NT requires you to kill cedar treants. Please change this is this is actually one of the herdest cleric quests you get on NT - you're likely fighting a lv6 thing, with lots of health, at lv4, with not so much health, very little armour, and more than likley still a refurb weapon.
    b. Make enemies in general easier. There's a lot of places in lesser aradoth where you need a group to fight normal mobs..which is...bad. You either get no xp if a high level helps you, or are left to your own devices because most of the quests are too hard alone and you can't find help your own level.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Low Population

    From my perspective it is mainly not so much a problem of difficult contend, because many things can be done in a 2 man team as long as 1 is a healing class. The main problem is getting in contact with people in this game. In other games there is quite often a public channel where everyone starts in - and yes they are often spammed but its a good way to find people doing the same stuff as u want to do. In Istaria you have to join every channel by urself.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by Lantis View Post
    From my perspective it is mainly not so much a problem of difficult contend, because many things can be done in a 2 man team as long as 1 is a healing class. The main problem is getting in contact with people in this game. In other games there is quite often a public channel where everyone starts in - and yes they are often spammed but its a good way to find people doing the same stuff as u want to do. In Istaria you have to join every channel by urself.
    There already is something similar.
    Unless it's been changed, last time i checked, one of the first few tutorial boxes advises you to join chat channels (i beleive it direclty advises upon entering MP).
    But the problem is...
    > Forcing people into chat channels against their will can be stressful for shy players
    > Very few people read the tutorials (form my experince of new people on order)

  19. #19

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by Azath View Post
    There already is something similar.
    Unless it's been changed, last time i checked, one of the first few tutorial boxes advises you to join chat channels (i beleive it direclty advises upon entering MP).
    But the problem is...
    > Forcing people into chat channels against their will can be stressful for shy players
    > Very few people read the tutorials (form my experince of new people on order)
    The tutorial prompt is woefully inadequate. I said it years ago and I'll repeat it again - the tutorial prompt is no substitute for automatically dumping new players in the new player channel after character creation, and the same can be said for new dragon players.

    Shy players can leave the channels if they create a new character, same for those who are antisocial. Tutorial prompts suck because as we all know, most people don't read them. Automatic assignment of one or two public chat channels would make a big difference to new players. To this day I still encounter guild mates who are completely oblivious to the existence of new player, marketplace, dragon, and other populated chat channels.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Low Population

    Quote Originally Posted by Azath View Post
    > Make dragon t1 ability quests easier again.
    I know some players here who could never get past them alone, and had to wait a while before people noticed it and offered them help because they were too shy. Not that i like it being wholly solo, but at the same time, kion quests for dragons are obscenely hard for low levels. Even i struggle with them with new chars without multilogging in help, and it can be really hard to find help at your level at this time, and harder to stroll into a channel and ask. Please make them completable alone again. (also i've always said since then - t1 quests are proportionally the hardest dragon quests to level that you get for a reason. when i said "obscenely hard for low levels" i really meant it.)
    By Contrast my 11yr old son has managed to get to level 29 (Hatchling including most of the side quests)without any help from either my wife or myself well with the exception of a few simple crafted scales with a few techs on them. So do they need scaling? perhaps only very very slightly. The important thing to note is the ORDER in which you do the quests.. some are just too hard at level 20 so you do the others first and Viola at level 25ish they are much easier.

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