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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

General discussion about Avlis

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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Gorgon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:21 am

Subject: Player's idea box

Aramithran wrote:
Isadora wrote:
Aramithran wrote:
Design a quick cheat-sheet or infographic with the top reasons about why Avlis is awesome and post them on various sites (with the appropriate target-market of course).


I did this with reddit.. about two subreddits actually.. no luck :( but I'll try again. I'm not sure where else to go? It's a bit difficult to tell people about an awesome RP experience and then go "So... all you have to do is buy this 10 year old game!" unless we're recruiting older people most young people are turned off majorly by old graphics.


Would you mind sending me the material and the links to your posts? I'd like to take a look at them if that's alright.

Since the Player's idea box is part of Ask The Team (meaning not a place to discuss or reply to stuff without a team sticker under your name), new GD topic time.

I really do think there are still people out there who would come join Avlis, even though it is an 11+? year old game with dated graphics. When I joined here 10 years ago (almost to the day now), I was looking for one thing. A way to play D&D online, with all the role playing and everything else that comes with it.

This is a serious question, but how many other games are around now that allow people to do that? I mean using close to the proper D&D rules (older ones, but newer isn't always better), DM's running events and the whole enchilada, plus the ever important persistence thing (stuff is remembered after you do it)? I haven't played DDO, but does it have the kind of persistence we do in Avlis?

I'll take older graphics any day (and they aren't ~that bad~), if I can get my PnP without the PnP, and I'd use that as one of the big selling points for advertising here. I guess the question is where else can we look to advertise, and how can we bump the ones out there already? I have some ideas there, but would also like to hear from others for input (and what Aramithran is up to :P ).

*edits* Just some facts, but we don't have any real competition for persistent NWN1 RP worlds according to the Neverwinter Vault: Game World Listings. Avlis is #2 in that list for all worlds. The well known one above us claims "light RP", and the one below seems to be gone (and didn't have DM's?).

Besides DDO (and any I don't know from my question above), NWN2 and the new Neverinter MMO game are more competition for us, and players with the same "play D&D online" mentality. Good target audiences IMO.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Elradra » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:28 am

I've seen NWN threads in the traditional games (/tg/) and video game boards on 4chan.org The retro games board might hold people who don't mind the graphics as well, but /tg/ has the more imaginative audience. Whenever someone asks if anyone still plays the game I drop a tiny Avlis note, but haven't had anyone reply and don't dare do actual advertisement lest I misrepresent or something.

A monthly NWN/ Avlis thread would certainly break up the monotony of the constant MtG, Warhammer, and model painting threads if we're interested in this area though. I remember reading some people still playing the OC and expansion packs even.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Galleaf » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:04 am

Gorgon wrote: I was looking for one thing. A way to play D&D online, with all the role playing and everything else that comes with it.



I have 5 IRL friends who play d&d. My age. I tried to convinced every one of them individually to join, like, it's so much easier to play online! And ALL of them thought it was weird as fuck to roleplay online. Are you serious guys? I don't understand them. -_-

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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Gumble Tinkertumble » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:29 am

I set up a Google+ community ages ago for Avlis, with publicity in mind. Still only 13 members though and I am always open to suggestions.

Firstly, my own suggestion with regards to Google+.

Avlis, COPAP and the other worlds (Hala, Tairis, Arkaz) should all get Google+ pages and post weekly/monthly newsletters to the world at large. Any or all of the pages could create their own communities, although with the forums that is largely irrelevant. If they did create communities, I would suggest making them private rather than public, so in effect they would be invite only.

Once the worlds have a brand page each, they would need to seek out other pages and communities related to gaming and take part in the conversation! It has worked for me in general on G+ and it can work for pages too.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Gorgon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:50 am

One good place to try advertising again IMO would be a podcast at Neverwinter Nights Podcast. Avlis has had 2 previous ones there [1, 2] about our world (and CoPaP), a very interesting 2 part roundtable discussion of pw stuff (more toolset-geek speakish) [3, 4], and a few other snippets in other things.

The linked ones there were all by our own spool32 as the voice of Avlis back then, but I've been gently prodding people in IRC here (staff, players and old farts, with a spiked Nerf bat :barb: ) to continue the podcasts. I even suggested the idea to Orleron, about doing some sort of nostalgia podcast, since... well, it's Orl. Interviewing him is like being able to Q&A the start of NWN PW history online, with the bonus of his new idea for the retro MUD thing that links up with us. I can't see the podcast folks saying no, even if they only like NNW2 and NWO these days. NWO is one huge target audience we can steal borrow quite a few new players from, that want more of a PnP kind of experience.

Don't forget the cheap price to buy it on GoG these days too, while advertising.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:08 pm

When I first left, the Master Server was up. Now it's gone. I tried, just for giggles, to see what it takes to log into this game one night and let me tell you, it's hard. Maybe hard is not the right word. It's not that you need a degree in CS to log in. By following step by step instructions, most intelligent people will be able to do it. The problem is that there are step by step instructions, and that there are a lot of steps in them. Logging in is inconvenient. That's a better word.

Any new player is going to have to get over that wall, and it's a big wall. I've seen products in the real world die simply because they had one extra step over the competitor. It didn't matter that the products with the extra step were in fact way better.

This is just my impression, folks, after being away for a few years and coming back with fresh eyes. I can definitely see now why we don't have many new players. Advertising is great, and all of the ideas above are great if they are executed, but you can spend millions on a TV commercial for Avlis and it would be wasted if people don't want to go through the trouble of logging in.

I don't think the outdated graphics are as big a problem as above.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:16 pm

In that last post, I was bitching, so now let me try to contribute some possible solutions.

I have played a lot of DDO over the past couple of years. There are other threads on that. I think it's a great game. DDO is no Avlis, however. Noting like it at all. So I would forget about that.

The problem is we have a great game that is really tough to load up and log onto. (I'm defining the problem this way.)

This makes advertising mostly ineffective, but I will say that advertising the game NEVER hurts, so if you want to make efforts toward that, more power to you. I think it should be done.

What if we had a way to lure people into our game from something else that was easier to log onto and do? Let them get hooked on our lure and then we real them in. Suddenly, the rigamarole of setting up NWN isn't so bad because they want to get more Avlis, and we can give that to them.

Let me throw this out there.... I know nothing about NWNOnline, but I hear that it supports "portals" to other places off the main server, and these mods can be made by players. Is there any feasibility for setting up a small Avlis module for NWNOnline? Would that be something that people would see and want to play here?

Heck, even if the people who played that mod never logged onto the NWN PW, we could at least direct them to these forums for fresh community members. That would be just as good.

See where I am going with this?
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:54 pm

Orleron wrote:I tried, just for giggles, to see what it takes to log into this game one night and let me tell you, it's hard. Maybe hard is not the right word. ... Logging in is inconvenient. That's a better word.
Yep. Setting up a new player account is probably harder than it needs to be. Unfortunately for existing vaults we really do need to deal with a certain level of pain to make sure you are who you say you are.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Gumble Tinkertumble » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:38 pm

PlasmaJohn wrote:
Orleron wrote:I tried, just for giggles, to see what it takes to log into this game one night and let me tell you, it's hard. Maybe hard is not the right word. ... Logging in is inconvenient. That's a better word.
Yep. Setting up a new player account is probably harder than it needs to be. Unfortunately for existing vaults we really do need to deal with a certain level of pain to make sure you are who you say you are.


Is there really no way of simplifying it? You say for existing vaults it is a pain, what do you mean exactly?
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Isadora » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:59 pm

PlasmaJohn wrote:
Orleron wrote:I tried, just for giggles, to see what it takes to log into this game one night and let me tell you, it's hard. Maybe hard is not the right word. ... Logging in is inconvenient. That's a better word.
Yep. Setting up a new player account is probably harder than it needs to be. Unfortunately for existing vaults we really do need to deal with a certain level of pain to make sure you are who you say you are.


Not to be that person that talks about other servers but Hala and Arkaz both have systems for account security that don't involve PMing someone on the forums. You type in a password in-game.

There's also a Hak/override somewhere that bypasses the whole dance of waiting for the ms recognition every time you try to load multiplayer. It's an extra 10 seconds wasted for me. drives me nuts. Maybe we can make that download mandatory or very visible on the needed files page.

There's another problem too. When I tried to get my fiend to join avlis there were 2 major hurdles: his nwn diamond came with a generic cd key. ( the one online that's the easiest to DL). We had to wait 3 days for biowre to email him a new one. Second, I told him he had to PM someone to register with avlis' MS before he could play and that might take a day or two too. He didn't even finish that step :/

And even then just to find the servers he would have to plug in direct connect info for each one
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Sarmanos » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:10 pm

Don't forget old players. There must be a way to reach out to them somehow. Maybe an admin email from the boards?
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Aramithran » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:17 pm

I've always thought that Avlis would greatly benefit from the "turn key" approach by making the non-engine-related features easier and more appealing to outsiders. Non-engine Avlis should be subject to gameficaction in both "look and feel" and functionality.

As general objective, non-engine Avlis should make information distribution/acquisition and learning curves more efficient with a pinch of social media.

I recall brainstorming stuff like:
- Auction house app (a la WoW app, let's buy and trade stuff)
- File repositories (one place to have everything you need)
- Taxonomy systems for classifying everything more efficiently (more tech or IA stuff)
- Voting system (not only for RP but other stuff can be voted too, and with an easy click)
- "karma" system (reward contributions immediately and impartially)
- Achievements system with custom icons (vanity and bragging virtual badges or items)
- In-site "like" or similar
- Tutorials (the first tutorial would be how to make a tutorial)
- Calendar/subscription/reminders (this was done by Gorgon and Co. mega-kudos)
- Gamefied player profiles (with their journalls, achievements, quotes and whatever we can think of)
- House build app (submit something that won't cause headaches to the staff)
- Bug tracking bounties. (stimulate bug tracking/stomping)
- Art bounties. (you can pay in XP, "karma" or whatever)
- Coding and feature bounties.
- Infographics. (let everyone know how easy and cool it things are)
- Analytic metrics (to have more intel for future decisions)
- Well placed sharing and social buttons at key landing pages (like a "like" at the home, a "share" at an awesome fan fiction or a "pinterest" button at nice art)
- Newsletter (takes you like 10 minutes to write with the right tools and everyone gets to read jokes, epic stuff or especial alerts).
- ETC.

Just hazy ideas.

I was kind of thinking that non-engine Avlis should be something like a weird mix between Blizzard's Armory, League of Legends lobby, Steam's client and a virtual writer's workshop. Avlis already behaves like this, you have a "client" (Engine) experience and a "non-client" (forums/wiki) experience; the client has been tinkered with a lot, why not tinker as much with the web experience? Such changes can be slow, hard and require know-how, but the same applied to engine tinkering and it's a damn fine product if you ask me.

I don't know how big, but there's a market for all of this, my guess is that a lot of people want to experience on-line DnD as closely as they can to the PnP experience (due to a lot of reasons); and not many have the time to learn/setup/teach MapTools or pay the leech subscriptions of other services.
The closest thing that could scratch the good ol RP itch (and I've looked) is Avlis. PnP experience is not even required, some people just want to play pretend and create text and art around it, Avlis is really good at fueling that too.

Making the non-engine Avlis experience better can attract/retain more players. If it worries you that you'll get undesired users then add filters like automated forms and virtual tribunals.

I can always be wrong though.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:36 pm

Isadora wrote:[Other servers] have systems for account security that don't involve PMing someone on the forums. You type in a password in-game.
The "in-game" part of that is what makes it a non-starter. There is so much damage somebody can do once they're connected and there are no stupid script tricks that will save you.

Coding for the sake of coding got old for me about 20 years ago. Please believe me, if I thought any sort of "in-game" authentication was even remotely safe then I would not have gone through the effort of writing Alpha.

There's another problem too. When I tried to get my fiend to join avlis there were 2 major hurdles: his nwn diamond came with a generic cd key. ( the one online that's the easiest to DL). We had to wait 3 days for biowre to email him a new one.
I really wish GOG would have sucked it up and issued unique cdkeys, but this is what new peeps have to deal with. The only thing I can suggest is to pre-order several copies and then request a block of keys for them. That will at least cut down one part of the process. And like I mentioned upthread, the Alpha registration for brand new players is overly complicated.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Aramithran » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:41 pm

If you send a newsletter and say "this number of your beloved newsletter was sponsored by GoG.com" along with a healthy traffic report from google maybe you'd get some pre-ordered keys for free from them. Maybe.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:54 pm

Gumble Tinkertumble wrote:Is there really no way of simplifying it?
For new accounts? Sure.

You say for existing vaults it is a pain, what do you mean exactly?
There's no simple programmatic way of verifying that Joe Random Stranger is DarkRanger33 especially if they're using a new set of keys. All user authentication was handled by the Master Server, so game operators had no way of locally authenticating users. This is why whenever the MS went down, so did most servers.

There are a set of criteria that Alpha Admins are supposed to look for. The easiest way is that the board account used to request access to a specific vault has been used to make an IC post for one of the characters in that vault prior to the loss of the Master Server. There are a few other things they'll accept, but that covers 95% of all cases. Unfortunately there's no easy way to automate that, so it has to be handled by a live human.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Aramithran » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:03 pm

Unfortunately there's no easy way to automate that, so it has to be handled by a live human.


What steps would the hard way have?
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Brayon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:11 pm

Arkaz and Hala do not use the In Game Password Authentication anymore. Both Servers are on Alpha. Also, the IG Password system had a bit of the Honor System attached to it. As a DM for one of those servers, I, by far, prefer the Alpha Server over the IG password system.

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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:46 pm

Aramithran wrote:
Unfortunately there's no easy way to automate that, so it has to be handled by a live human.


What steps would the hard way have?
Step 1. Acquire one or more doctorates in advanced AI
Step 2. Replace human Alpha Admins with our new robotic overlords
Step 3. Profit!!!101011!!!

or....

Step 1. Acquire one or more doctorates in advanced phsyics
Step 2. Invent time machine
Step 3. Go back in time and beat Bioware silly w.r.t. the Master Server
Step 4. On the sly, let us know exactly when the MS will go down
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Katroine » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:00 pm

It would be nice to have a faster way to get playing but seriously, waiting a day or three is not the end of the world.

Maybe an email/PM with "we are taking care of your request and you should be ready to play in *insert expected time* so please take this time to familiarize yourself with the world of Avlis.

A canned response with links to rules, needed files, wiki, fun awesome stuff would give someone something to do. Maybe even a link to a pre-made "ask some n00b questions" type thread.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Gumble Tinkertumble » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:46 am

Anyway, to reiterate something I mentioned earlier...

I think we should be thinking about the whole of the COPAP servers, rather than Avlis on its own with respect to advertising.

Run some cross server plots and emphasize how massive and diverse the worlds are... publicly. That means brand pages on social media and the reason I mentioned G+, is because it has more capacity for growing a following than Facebook. Additionally, every time you post something on G+ you are basically creating a web page that appears in search results, which in itself will help things.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Ninjar » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:42 am

To be fair, we had a similar process in the past that required people to apply for copap passwords so that they could play on the servers.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Isadora » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:18 pm

Gumble Tinkertumble wrote: I mentioned G+, is because it has more capacity for growing a following than Facebook. Additionally, every time you post something on G+ you are basically creating a web page that appears in search results, which in itself will help things.


When you first mentioned google+, I'm sorry but I laughed. It's kind of the joke of social media sites. At least for my generation. But the web search results sounds pretty invaluable. I'll see about making an account


To be fair, we had a similar process in the past that required people to apply for copap passwords so that they could play on the servers.


That was back when NwN as a whole had way more players moving about servers all the time :(

I think who we -should- target with advertising, like you said which is very good,

-Old players
-D&D players (young/old)
-Roleplayers- Because not all D&D players are playing fantasy campaigns or even want to roleplay, as I evidenced with my fucking huge group of nerdy friends. There are however communities of roleplayers and I think those are the patient, non-graphics caring types that we could attract.

I really wish GOG would have sucked it up and issued unique cdkeys, but this is what new peeps have to deal with. The only thing I can suggest is to pre-order several copies and then request a block of keys for them.


I'd highly consider donating money to this- making a CDkey donation pool. Hell I might even just do it myself. The game is $8 right? Avlis team could keep a stock of like maybe 5 CDkeys to give to new players that way they don't have to wait. Only downside is, if they still don't like it and stop playing, that key is used, and that's money gone for us.

Edit: Oh, also, images. It'd help to have a set of about 3 or 5 images we can use to advertise the game atmosphere as a whole, and Avlis. Emphasizing combat, roleplay and what little graphics we do have.
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: bidocks » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:48 pm

Hey guys, my 2 cents here....

As many of you know, Derica and I have been away for... a while. We've been playing, just on other servers. We recently came back a little, and tried to bring two friends.

Here's their experiences:

One of them is still waiting to get a forum response to simply join the forums. Nevermind Alpha.... she can't even get on the forums. It's been.... 3 weeks?

The other, after about 2 1/2 weeks of waiting, got her Alpha all set up and logged in yesterday. Her reaction? SHE LOVES IT.

Here's the problem folks: We all have real lives and everything takes time. I get that. Making someone wait weeks to play is a real detriment. Another server we play on regularly gains NEW players, as in one to two EVERY week. Sure, some leave, but, they generally have 30-60 players on at any given time. Of course... right now, it's down, and we don't know why... hosting issues was what we heard last, but....

Anyway. Avlis/Hala/Arkaz are amazing places to bring a persona into. The problem is, it's just too hard. Maybe if the PM's for the forums were automated? Maybe if there were several people who could do the Alpha thing so it can get sorted quick? People don't mind waiting hours, but weeks? They will simply move on.

Now... the positive. You guys are still the best RP servers around. I'm going to try to be around more often, but... I'd love to see more of you actually in the game? :cooler:

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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Katroine » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:05 pm

The forum email is usually within a few minutes, any chance it wound up in a spam folder?
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Re: ATT and more ways to advertise Avlis

PostAuthor: Psye Shaar » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:13 pm

bidocks wrote:....

One of them is still waiting to get a forum response to simply join the forums. Nevermind Alpha.... she can't even get on the forums. It's been.... 3 weeks?

The other, after about 2 1/2 weeks of waiting, got her Alpha all set up and logged in yesterday. Her reaction? SHE LOVES IT.

....


This one was unfortunate because it caught a time that on Hala we were at a point of shifting responsibilities around and on Arkaz I'm not 100% sure, but may have been similar.

We're sorted again now, so hopefully this kind of thing won't occur again.

Also, pointing people straight to IRC is always good for getting our attention :)
<Pleth> is that aris elf??
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Psye Shaar
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