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Can we change/remove the Alpha Server?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:29 pm
Author: Isadora
Hey. I know it's been some time and I may not have any business saying so. But I really think Avlis should get rid of or change the Alpha Server authentication process.

Why?

Right now, in the recent past, and in the future, among the other NwN1 roleplaying servers, there are massive jumps of players between servers- waves of 10 or so players will leave one PW they are estranged or bored of, and look up all of the currently active RP worlds and choose a new one. That means they want to download haks fast and be able to log in that day to try it out. I have literally seen these waves move, several times, and entire discussions between players picking a new PW. When I try to recommend Avlis to the fleeing players, they almost never choose it. I imagine they compared it to another server they were able to log into and try out without registering for anything.

I know the alpha took hard work and was created to protect us from vault hijacks, but no other server uses an auth system that requires a process of registration and PMs sent. There has to be a better way that doesn't make potential new players wait or have to figure it all out.

This frustrates me too because Avlis far outshines those servers in so many areas. We have better systems, better crafting, better classes, better areas. I don't like anything to get in the way of others seeing that, so I don't think we should let it.

Please feel free to discuss. I have no authority to implement this, only suggest it.
Miss you guys. Happy Avlising.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:47 pm
Author: Gorgon
I'm fine with waiting a few hours or a day before playing the first time, to keep my account safe here. People should be spending time reading the rules, and getting acquainted with the ins and outs of Avlis before playing anyway. I kinda wish something had happened with the work on the instructions page for the Alpha stuff, but I'm not privy to what happened there.

If it can be redone without any need for the single PM, while maintaining the same level of security, great. That takes someone to code it, who knows what they are doing, and has the time. Then it needs testing, and to be implemented everywhere in CoPaP, so no small challenge. There are all sorts of things I'd love to see done here with the same kind of issues (my own idea/to-do lists could fill books), and the greatest ideas don't go anywhere without the people, skills and time to make them happen.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:50 pm
Author: nihprodne
if it gets more people playing I'm all for it

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:15 am
Author: Isadora
Gorgon wrote:I'm fine with waiting a few hours or a day before playing the first time, to keep my account safe here. People should be spending time reading the rules, and getting acquainted with the ins and outs of Avlis before playing anyway.


It's easy for those of us who have had accounts for years to say that. And in a perfect world, yes they'd "do homework" before they play, but it's not perfect. We all want our RP fixes fast. It's just hurting us more than helping us, at this point, I feel. No other server has any similar security process, or if they do it's well hidden, and they don't have the supposed security issue.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:45 am
Author: Sathsarrion
I think it's good that the alpha server is there, but I also think that it both under-used, and over complicated.

Unless I'm missing something important, there doesn't seem to be any pressing reason why it should be hidden away where people need to ask for permission to access it. It may need some modification to make sure it can't alter the character vault without a password check, but with that in place it could be opened up as a hub for whatever account management tools the team cares to add.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:05 am
Author: Gorgon
Repeatedly saying no one else is doing it (you've obviously played everywhere outside of CoPaP - all worlds use it here), is not discussing the matter. It is stirring up public sentiment to put pressure on the team to do it.

If you once again want to know why things are done the way they are done here, I'd suggest the Ask The Team forum, or a Team PM. You've already tried the Player's idea box, and earlier discussions like Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis, and your topic Avlis Improvement Initiative. It's getting a bit like a broken record every time you come back, but I'll say it again. Even if everyone thinks it would be an improvement to streamline things for new players, someone has to code, test and implement it.

When I look at a bug tracker full of bugs (being fixed constantly), and an amazing server of 3,000+ areas that also needs continual updates, tweaks and new content, I think of where our limited resources can be used best. I'd much rather see days, or weeks (or months) of time put into some other upgrades, rather than the team be pressured into changing the signup process.

I had to wait a few days when I first joined, and there was no Alpha then. The application time was always good to get new players to read the rules (full forum, back then not the condensed version on the wiki), and learn about the lore and RP style here. I do not want to grab any player that wants to log in on a whim, and hope they will figure out how things are done later. I know the player totals are dwindling again, but I also think we'll lose even more of our older regular ones if the trend of OOC chat and other things continues. Sure, we may keep people playing here, but it'll degrade into a WoW-ish raid kinda thing for those that remain. I fear that more than having no players at all. So if they can't be bothered to even read a bit of the rules, lore and other information they should know here, I won't lose any sleep over them not having the patience to wait through the application time.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:26 am
Author: Sathsarrion
Gorgon wrote:Even if everyone thinks it would be an improvement to streamline things for new players, someone has to code, test and implement it.

And naturally that means that nobody should ever talk about it. :roll:

Of course it won't be as simple as flipping a switch. We know that. Of course there are other projects occupying peoples time. We know that too. But talking about it means that maybe, just maybe, someone might hit on an idea that is simple enough to implement, and effective enough to be worth the effort.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:56 am
Author: Elradra
Having been here since about May of 2012 I'm pretty sure I'm still one of the newer players here. Anyone who knows me knows me for my patience, so I might be an outlier of sorts here. But I remember the alpha stuff not being too bothersome for me. I made a forum account here, sent some PMs to the listed people, and browsed the public sections of the forums while I waited for replies. There was a lot to sift through between the forums and wiki, so in my free time I was finding where my recurring character Elradra would fit in with the lore of the world while I waited about four days for a reply.

When the staff in charge of alpha registration get right on applications it's not that long of a process, and anyone who takes their roleplaying seriously will have plenty of material to sift through as it's a custom game world and not some little island off the coast of Faerun. They will also have the motivation to do that because they want to be part of a rich roleplaying environment. I think the wait also lets new applicants build hype for themselves. They'll end up killing an hour or so just downloading and installing all the haks anyway.

If another game world catches their eye while they wait, they'll no doubt find similar enough reasons to leave that one as they did their last one. We'll always be here behind the wall that protects the time everyone's invested in their characters. We have a fairly open forum for people to talk over the wall and explore too. I want to have more people to play pretend with too but in the long term I think Alpha can be an attractive feature. Eventually people will no doubt get tired of their vaults getting hijacked on other servers. Eventually our huge, rich game world (and the three others seamlessly connected to it,) will be like heaven to the roleplayers left in the NWN community and the Alpha Server the pearly gates.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:21 am
Author: Plethora
*chimes in*

Hey there! Basically what Gorgon said, well, exactly what Gorgon said <[8) And Elradra! peeps keep posting while i have been writing this behemoth
This take work, code, clever people and all sorts of resources that we either do not have, OR could be doing much more important things like fixing building coding ect.

And yeah Sath, but...

And I will add a few things as an Avlis admin, a few things that might not be considered.

One of the main reason that we, Avlis (and all of CoPap) use the alpha server.. is basically quality control.
When you register with Alpha, we have a record of IP, a contactable forum account, willingness and an agreement to bind by Avlis rules, setting RP quality, a senior staff contact you can go to if your stuck or need anything and general community acceptance.
We check copap history, ensure no ex griefers, or non-fitting types return to grief or mess thing up for others. And a record of who plays here, in case of accident, help, customer service and advice.

Avlis far outshines those servers in so many areas. We have better systems, better crafting, better classes, better areas.
Agreed

Yet most of all, a better class of roleplayers and community. And see, the Avlis community is what what Avlis mostly amazing. Pulling people of the street, does not necessarily improve Avlis.

Everyday, without fail, i check my PMs, at least twice, thats when i get up, and when i get home from work. When im at work, or asleep, avliswebadmin is about checking for alpha registrations.

I dont think anyone in the last few years has had to wait more then 12 hours for alpha registration.

And if your friends, or whoever thinks this is too long to wait, to feed the instant gratuity of "i want it now" is hardly going to have the patience to start at level one and rp there way through friendships, meaningful RP, levels and experience to get to a point where they will truly understand and appreciate what Avlis really means.

There are also legalities, people that register properly to the forums and the game, agree they are are a certain age.. ect ect...
The last thing i want.. is for some 12 year old to be hit on/murdered/slash.. wtf adult stuff.. and there parents come for us.. i know you could just tick a box, but again its about communication. Its a duty of care to keep Avlis safe. Not just a tick in the box on a form.. lawyer business.. but to actually ~keep~ it safe. For like reals...

There are massive jumps of players between servers- waves of 10 or so players will leave one PW they are estranged or bored of, and look up all of the currently active RP worlds and choose a new one


Tell them how cool Avlis is, and get them all to register now.. so next time you are bored... you are ready :)

Anyways.... , we get to rewrite a system that serves us well as a community, (and even more so, on the back end, where people look after this place, quality and people alike)
so a wave of 10 people show up at lvl 1 and make a difference till they get bored? :D j/k but you know what I mean right? 12.. even 24 hours at worst case (apparently avliswebadmin has a life)
is no time at all compared to how long you will spend under lvl 10.

And if thats too long, jump on IRC, tell Ronan or Kanos, or any of the DMs .. you need logins NOW and if im awake they can find me. And i am never without my super tablet that i can boot off my phone, that i can not only administrate but log in toolset or AVlis proper if needed.

We are doing fine with our finance, our people.. sure, it looks empty at times, (its a really big world, at the disadvantage of having 9 servers, but HEY /who /lfg we are working it out) but we have a strong playerbase, that will come if you book them. QA and CCC are the strongest they have ever been.. and yeah.. we basically are awesome. Worth the wait to me, and the time, to register properly, read the rules.. agree.. and have personal contact with a senior staff member, and forum account, and all the things I have already said. Worth it for them, and MORE then worth it for us.

The newsletter has been taken up again and we will have a regular one soon. If people want more players here.. then invite them. Serious rpers will but in the 15 mins worth of effort.

And just on a personal note, as a DM here....

i love the playerbase numbers we have right, I know nearly everyone, i can tailor plots, world plot, mini plots, events, or even that very special piece or loot or storyline.
I love having a massive event.. with 30-40 people, rather than 100 headbutting the server untill they get in. (pretty sure the limit is 60) Constant lag and crashing
I love the fact, i can devote time, to one or two or 6 players.. and add all the little things that make a login.. an event. Surely you remember Isadora?
I love the fact i can answer nearly all my PMs...
I cant do that with 40 players scattered all the time between servers.. well i could.. but need to sleep and work and stuff too ;)

Anyways, been a long time since the last Pleth ramble, so yeah.. *blames Gorgon*

I very much doubt we will be removing the Alpha server anytime soon. The amount of difference it makes on our end, truly negates not more than a days wait, and 15 minutes, to register your MSID.

Whoa! way to long.. need to set up Pubcrawl. Just under two hours from this post!

Hang Brain.. Mikona.. lets get dirty...

<[8)

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:34 am
Author: Sathsarrion
And this is why explaining the problems with an idea is way better than berating someone for voicing the idea to begin with. Turns out there actually WERE good reasons I missed for not opening up free access to the Alpha server, tel alone pulling it down altogether.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:35 am
Author: Plethora
I kinda wish something had happened with the work on the instructions page for the Alpha stuff, but I'm not privy to what happened there.


We are working on simplifying the page to be easier understood, and will change the "Alpha Server" title to "Player Registration" as a start <[8)

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:20 pm
Author: Isadora
Plethora wrote:We are working on simplifying the page to be easier understood, and will change the "Alpha Server" title to "Player Registration" as a start <[8)


THAT would help a LOT. I didn't even think of that.

Maybe I should've made the title, "Change the registration process," I really just want it to be easier overall. I just want one less step between them logging in, seeing our areas and going 'holy crap!'

There are also legalities, people that register properly to the forums and the game, agree they are are a certain age.. ect ect...
The last thing i want.. is for some 12 year old to be hit on/murdered/slash.. wtf adult stuff.. and there parents come for us..


well, they could lie about this regardless.

You've already tried the Player's idea box, and earlier discussions like Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis, and your topic Avlis Improvement Initiative. It's getting a bit like a broken record every time you come back, but I'll say it again.


Yeah, I know my reputation here now, I'm fully aware. It's "annoying" and pot stirring. But sometimes it helps. A big discussion that makes people itch and angry and really think about things, and say what's on their mind. Plethora just gave a long public post in which she explained a LOT. And you got to finally call me a broken record! :D If there's a 10% chance that me being annoying creates a new positive change, I'll take it- oh, didn't that AII thread help push the Avlis Calendar, which is probably the most amazing things added to the website in recent years? Looking at the last page of that thread, even Orleron chimed in. C'mon guys.. you love to hate me. It's exciting to have something on the forums besides RP posts. Just seeing arguments like this get created tells me the passion is not dead!

i love the playerbase numbers we have right, I know nearly everyone, i can tailor plots, world plot, mini plots, events, or even that very special piece or loot or storyline.
I love having a massive event.. with 30-40 people, rather than 100 headbutting the server untill they get in. (pretty sure the limit is 60) Constant lag and crashing


This is nice too, I agree. I just don't think it would hurt to have 10 or so new players, some fresh blood, it won't get CRAZY. I guess I'm a terrible person for wanting us to get more players and thinking of ways we can be competitive. I could be satisfied, sure, but to keep Avlis truly alive, and honor it, means sharing with others and recruiting new people, that's how every other organization stays alive.

Everyone's points are valid, but I can't help but keep looking at them through the context of a dying server, and thinking "that's probably a place to change or compromise"

If you once again want to know why things are done the way they are done here, I'd suggest the Ask The Team forum, or a Team PM.


No way I would've gotten the same thoroughly detailed responses! What do they say on the internet now? "If you want to find out something, don't ask. Make a statement, and others will jump to correct you." I thought about where I'd want to put this post, and decided I wanted to make it a discussion instead, that anyone can add to.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:27 pm
Author: Darkfire
My only gripe atm is you quoted Pleth and Gorgon throughout your reply and it confused me because I couldn't tell who said what. haha

I for one don't want to see registration go but would definitely support it being made easier/faster for both sides.

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:37 pm
Author: Isadora
Darkfire wrote:My only gripe atm is you quoted Pleth and Gorgon throughout your reply and it confused me because I couldn't tell who said what. haha


Lol sorry, chaos thoughts, didn't want to type out all the html! Maybe I'll fix it later

Re: Get Rid of the Alpha Server

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:37 pm
Author: Gorgon
Isadora wrote:
Plethora wrote:We are working on simplifying the page to be easier understood, and will change the "Alpha Server" title to "Player Registration" as a start <[8)


THAT would help a LOT. I didn't even think of that.


Those instructions were identified as the biggest problem for new (and returning) players a while ago, and during the reunion a few people worked on revamping it. Looks like they are ready to put it all into action now too, since the wiki has been updated with a Player Registration page.

Once the team finishes setting that up (and officially says use it), and the Why can't I log in? / Alpha Server FAQ on the forum, pointed to by the "How To Log In" sidebar, gets its own TLC, we/they can update the information on the other pages to use it. Updating the Getting Started guide, and other pages that point to instructions (Needed files etc.), is just one quick search and replace on the wiki.

I'm all for productive and useful discussion about how to improve things here. Player Ideas is one of my most watched topics (along with Dev Updates) , and I started one of those other topics as well. I don't agree that trying to pressure or annoy people into changing things work very well, and often has the reverse effect.
Trust me, I know from personal mistakes like that... boy do I know. :datz:

I also think about what it would take to implement suggestions and changes that would be a lot of work and effort, and weigh that in with my opinions. If something can be done easily, great, but if it it being done for only some minor gains, and takes major time and work away from other things that really do need it, I can't agree that they are worth doing.

Pleth has bumped the Avlis Needs You! topic, which has all sorts of ways to get involved when people want to help. It gets said often around here, but sometimes if you want to see something done, you need to do it yourself. Try applying for something there if you really want to see changes made, and I'm sure we will all thank you for the results!
:good:

Re: Can we change/remove the Alpha Server?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:31 am
Author: avliswebadmin
Just to follow up on this topic.. as comments and thoughts do not go unheard. In an effort to help simplify the process more a number of changes have happened so far in no order..

Alpha Registration has been changed to something more friendly now called Player Registration
The Player Registration Page has been simplified completely with a new player in mind
The Getting Started page has been overhauled and simplified as well
The pm group for registration has been renamed to Player Registration and the relevant posts on the forum have been edited and changed
The forum posts previously for registration now point to the Wiki as the single source (just in case any other places linked to the forum post)
The forum left portal block section has had a few of the helpful links updated and the section renamed to simply "How to Play"

There's start of a Player Registration FAQ to answer registration specific questions and to include a few questions for returning players (ie.. players that played a long time ago and return but have not registered)

I'm sure there are other things but its a start! Thanks to the numerous people that helped pull this together with ideas and suggestions and update the wiki. Constructive ideas are always welcome whether or not they can really be implemented, you never know.