I was a member of the Symposium way back when under Edmond. I enjoyed being part of the process of coming up with ideas and seeing them evolve and go live in the game. Even though my name isn’t attached to the ideas that made it into the game, that’s okay with me because it took a team to shape them and finally someone else’s effort to code them.
When I returned to Realms one of the things I did was approach Romani to become an at-large member of The Symposium. The relationship has been a little rocky between myself and the other members of TS. I have strong opinions and I don’t always convey them well, indeed some weeks I’m just flat out bitchy. Nonetheless the council does get work done, ideas get passed up the ladder and some of them have already found their way into the game.
I have seen this council really work well and at present I don’t think that it does. The primary reason, in my opinion, is that there are too few of us. I think that when you have a very small group of people voicing their opinions there is a true risk of under representing the larger community.
To simply work to produce ideas for the sake of doing it is futile in my view. This is how I’ve felt about new class proposals. When I arrived in TS the Death Knight proposal had already been languishing on the board for at least 5 months. The original idea had been diluted and the people who were invested in the compromise version of the proposal had left. Those of us who were new or who remained could not change things that were already “decided” and yet the hard parts of building an slist and maintaining a theme laid ahead of us.
Yet more people left TS. I nearly left and I certainly became very frustrated and cynical about the ability of TS to actually produce changes in the game. Recently when discussions about how to fix Nephandi came up I reacted very negatively … perhaps even a bit childishly. I do regret that, it’s not my intention to alienate people who are trying to to find a way to make positive changes and I know that I do.
I’ll say that I was short tempered from lots going on in my personal life, mom’s been in and out of the hospital, sleep’s been in short supply with the little one being (normal kid) sick, money’s tight waiting for the first pay cheque from the new job … they are reasons but it’s no excuse. I still need to work on expressing respect for people around me.
All this said, I stand by my assertion that Nephandi might be broken beyond the hope of making them interesting to the general populace. I’ll go a little further here and say that I don’t believe new classes are going to spark sustained interest in the Realms of Despair by either long term players or by the new recruits. Barbarians are neat but I see few people main on them … can’t guild, can’t order, can’t use magic equipment … for that you get some really stunningly good offense. So people pull them out to beat things up and then put them away. Fathomers? Nephandi? Paladins? Augurers? I know some people choose these classes … I’m not saying they’re useless or something’s wrong with them. I’m saying that in general I see people play these classes as something they load up and use then put away.
So when we talk about buffing up one or another, I don’t know if it’s going to do much to help attract and retain players. Right now I’m sort of putting things through that filter, big time. I think there have been great changes … mage paths stand out to me as one of the most interesting things to happen … for the most part they’re useful and interesting. Nonetheless though lots of mages are played as load ’em ups they hold a classic audience who play them as mains. Yet despite this, people aren’t playing or not playing because of what a mage looks like on Realms. The cleric paths may be the most thorough and technically substantially changes to classes ever done on Realms, yet they’re largely ignored. People don’t visit and don’t stay or leave because what deity a cleric follows affects their spells, even though it’s cool as hell.
I also feel that new areas aren’t the answer, though they’re always welcome. We have a plethora of areas to explore. People don’t visit most of them. New areas get farmed for the best piece for a while, the high end stuff often gets bought by people who do “the same old thing” to get gold. Cellador, if you read this, sorry … but your bragging about having 60b to buy whatever you want just from levelling characters defeats the point of adventure to me. I’m impressed that you have gotten levelling down to a fine art and agree that not everyone wants to level, so the service is one that’s desired but yeesh.
Anyone who wants to discuss problems that cause people to leave the game, I am all ears. When I heard that guilds were being merged because 3 strong guilds were better than 11 idle ones I dove into the project with all my enthusiasm and passion for improving things. I put a lot of time into GoS even though I didn’t like the design and had almost no intention of spending much time in the guild.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking with people who HAVE left the game. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people who are new to the game and are THINKING of giving up. I myself have quit and returned. I liked the double experience weekend, it worked, to a degree. I read Vilexur’s blog that talked about MUDs still being relevant, they sure are, I can easily interest people in them but I don’t really promote much anymore because I hate seeing people start and quit.
I intend to discuss some of these things that I think need work in upcoming posts. I have no interest in griping and beefing without some ideas forward, things that we can realistically work on together as a community. If you quit, drop me a line and tell me what bored you, what drove you away, why you stopped playing. These things always help. Sometimes the reason is just “my interests changed and I didn’t have as much time for the game anymore”. I think that’s a normal and healthy reason. I just haven’t heard it much lately.