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  • What happened?

    What happened to make everyone leave? What can be changed to make you come back if you have left? Who is still an active player? I really really miss how many players we used to have. What can we do to change this? Any ideas guys and girls?
    Madalina Blue and Saruno

  • #2
    I'm still around with Trev, though most of my alts are on the shelf at the present. I can't speak as to why everyone left the game, but life has a way of drawing people away. I noticed a while back that quite a few of the older players just stopped logging in or they outright quit the game. It is not only on ICO but on CM as well. There is a definitive shortage of players. It could be a lack of advertising, or the general nature of the game itself that just doesn't draw people in. Most have moved on to graphic rich games such as WOW, SWTOR, and now Elder Scrolls Online coming is going to draw a huge crowd.
    I think it might be that people just want the excitement rich landscape of being able to engage in combative/problem solving/open world maps. RP is only as good as the players available and the interesting issues/interactions that can be generated on a day to day basis. When there are only a couple of people, finding gainful rp is very difficult.
    Another issue is the sheer number of mush/mud games out there. Many of which boast hundreds of players on at a time. In the scope of things, we have a more unique and different sort of society structure on Skotos than in many of the other games out there. I've tried a few and found them lacking. The big maps and randomized combat structure tends to draw people in though.
    We have a very closed city in which we are essentially completely trapped without being able to pass through gates and visit other cities or travel the wilderness. The Swamps used to garner alot of attention because it was fun to try to get something out there. It would be interesting to be able to visit other places and it not cost fortunes in tokens. It would allow for people to throw player plots out there without needing staff to be overly active in the involvement. Perhaps have sea travel that would actually take time to cross map section. A section of ocean map, once entered would give emotes at random intervals and even have potential encounters with other players on ships in the same section of map. Naval combat could be a thing.
    I digress though, because the sheer amount of coding and building would a nightmare. Just some ideas though.
    Sir Trevyn Adalhard
    Knight of the Doloreaux
    Ambassador of the Doloreaux Embassy


    • #3
      What made me leave and what I feel is problematic in the game:

      I found roleplay to be very "negative" in the sense that very few people actually want you to build and create. If your character does X, which will generate roleplay if done, people are liable to oppose it. Or at least not react to it. This extends all the way down to "harmless" stuff. You do not want to know how much bother Serafina got from trying to reform the guild council, for example. Organizing a tournament with prizes paid out of her own pocket lost her favour.

      I would summarize this as people being more against something done in a way that they don't like, than nothing being done at all. They do not WANT nothing done, of course, but they do not OPPOSE it. However, the end result is inactivity.

      I have often felt that my characters had NO reason to do anything, because whatever she did, it would harm her. Her own self-interest demanded inactivity. There was absolutely no encouragement whatsoever for doing anything proactive. Not from staff and not from players.

      This happened to other characters as well. I experienced the same with my character Katrina when I played her originally. (Not her more recent time around, which was short anyway).

      Hopefully, it is something I have screwed up with, and it is not a general experience. Also note that this is a limited perspective. Others may have felt my characters as those putting the brakes on activity. I say this, because there is a chance that it may help the game, not to whine.


      • #4
        Really good responses. I can actually say I know exactly how both of you feel. And I feel like everyone has been quiet for too long. I've tried for YEARS to get Maddy's character back into a favorable reputation, and I'm trying my hardest to fix up the Sailor's Guild again, get a used to be great , important part of the city back together. Had I been around at the time she was working on gettting the guild council back up and running I would definitely helped you
        Madalina Blue and Saruno


        • #5
          On the other hand, it is easy to assume that one would not make these mistakes (if indeed my analysis is correct) oneself. We should remember that we all have a tendency to view our own objectives sympathetically. Even if you are aware that your character is hardly morally perfect, you still have the sympathetic perspective coming from actually playing the creepy little furry bastards.

          So what to Alice is a perfectly reasonable reaction is destructiveness to Bob. Because Bob knows why HE did X, but not why Alice stopped it.

          That said, it remains my impression that building anything is very difficult because people will result you, but not build themselves. It's basic Machiavelli: If you change something, you gain lukewarm support from those who stand to gain and outright hostility from those who stand to lose. Or think they do.

          The net result is inactivity. Because the self-interest of characters is actually not to do anything, except possibly take care of shop in a basic way. I don't really know how it can change. I don't have the energy to really contribute there.


          • #6
            in my case I'm sad to report that I managed to alienate the playerbase itself thorugh a combination of bad RP, ooc conflicts with players and staff alike, and all the trouble I caused before (which I can't talk about due to my nda).

            Though I can say that my RP has otherwise been enjoyable. I'd say that a lack of dedication causes me to cheat myself out of continuing a plotline because things go so sour I can't bear to continue. Like with Muriku for example. Muriku stumbled across a VERY huge bombshell (but I plead the 5th because IC knowledge) that could have disrupted the balance of power between the rinaldi and docktown. Unfortunately, I OOCly posted tha the was dead and staff forced me to uphold my word. As a result, the bombshell died with Muriku and a golden opportunity to inject a plot twist was lost forever. I regret that to this day, and worst of all is I can't even tell anyone outside of staff about what I was going to do, and it's long since too late to go bakc to it. Same with Ferion, and my other characters.

            My time as Klathok was ruined because I managed to alienate the players of key PCs to the point where they outright refused to RP with me.

            If I could change things, I'd stick through the story instead of taking my ball and going home when things get really sour.

            That said, my own time IRL has been very limited and I haven't even had the desire, let alone opportunity to dedicate myself, and to be quite honest I feel like I burned so many bridges I no longer feel welcome.

            I will say that staff support for the monthly plots has been VERY positive in terms of my experience. I loved them especially hovering in the background and it led to some very tense IC conflict between characters.

            For the most part I've given up and moved on to greener pastures. I still care about this place. it was pretty much my first experience with a skotos game, and the RP I had combined with what I already knew of the underlying codebase made my moments here some of the most precious I've ever had, and even though I poisoned my own well I can't say I completely regret *everthing* that happened, and thanks to ICO I was made aware of the existence of Sanguine Games, and their publication of the hard copy tabletop version, with which i've had much greater success IRL.

            Speaking of which, the following characters gave me a VERY nice adrenaline rush:

            Madalina, Serafina, Seara, Durk

            I will not say anything more than that.


            • #7
              Also, I will say that the game suffers from a lack of a shared understanding of its ethos. There is simply no shared understanding of what it means to act in-era.

              This is not a question of anyone roleplaying "poorly." Ok, this exists, of course, but it is not that it is about. If I have my character do X, because this is what is required of a person in their position, it is tedious when you get someone else to complain, because they find it utterly immoral AND expect this to be a mainstream opinion.

              Example: Lord Bob starts a war after an insult. This would historically be completely in-era. However, if people other nobles act like it is utterly horrific AND act like their opinions are perfectly natural, they they are, in effect, denying that Lord Bob's actions are natural. And Lord Bob's player is annoyed, because he is doing something that he feels he SHOULD do.

              Please note that this is NOT because players are poor role-players who can't play in-era. NONE of the characters are in-era. For example, the ideals of "proper" behaviour are far more Victorian than renaissance - historically, the high nobility had manners that would shock a modern redneck. And that's not a joke. Try reading 'The Education of a Christian Prince' by Erasmus of Rotterdam.

              But in the example with Bob, one player starts a war, because he thinks that what a feudal lord should do in such a situation. Then people act like he's a monster. That's not an interesting role-playing situation with different opinions in a feudal context. It is actually a disagreement over what the feudal context in game world IS. An OOC disagreement about what is sort of "the rules of the game world", mistaken for an IC disagreement.


              • #8
                Madalina, Serafina, Seara, Durk

                I will not say anything more than that.[/QUOTE]

                We played together?
                Madalina Blue and Saruno


                • #9
                  Hi All,

                  While I don't actively play anymore, I do still ghost the forums from time to time. I thought as someone whom came and went and came back and went again, etc, several times, taking breaks here and there until a while ago when I left for good, I'd weigh in on my many and varied opinions, several of which echo the thoughts of Trev and Fina and others already listed.

                  I agree with Fina specifically on the lack of shared understanding of the ethos, which can lead to issues of interaction both IG and OOG. Some people came in with an understanding of the book RPG this game is based on (although the game itself can be quite different). Some came in thinking of specific time periods in history (not always the same, as the game world has conflicting points that could point to different time periods). All of these things being quite different, and the players tried to merge everything together, sometimes conflicts on 'how something should be' became an issue of its own. It's not that one person was doing something right and another doing something wrong, it's just different visions of what should be the 'standard', but it can cause some issues.

                  I also agree that sometimes people get into a rut of they will talk about how boring things are, but then when something comes along to do, instead of joining in, they have a negative reaction to it and it almost seems as if they'd rather sit around complaining that there is nothing to do instead of either trying to get something going themselves, or to join into something already going to push the story forward, or at least try to do that. Yes, I know that for some of the jaded players who have been around they've been in situations where things go wrong, or they try to get something going and nothing (or nothing good) ends up happening. I know from first hand experience that it's easy to just give up and say 'well, it didn't work this time or that time, so obviously no point in trying again'. I'm as guilty or guiltier of that than many I'm sure, but it becomes a self-fulfilling problem that not only are we not willing to try to get things going, we potentially put the breaks on someone else's ideas, so the reason nothing is going on is... well, we just have to look in the mirror sometimes.

                  The problem I personally encountered was a problem of conflict and the resolution of it. I will state from the beginning I am just as guilty of not handling things well as the other side in this. We all have our faults, I admit to mine, so please don't think I'm trying to point out and say "it's all somebody else's fault". It is, in my opinion collectively, OUR fault (our not meaning everyone of course, but meaning myself and those I had the conflict with). It was a mix of IG and OOG things hitting all at once that I took as a personal decision against myself/my character and what I (with some help) was attempting to do.

                  As many of you whom might have been around for a while know, my likely most well known character was Antos of the church. I had started trying to get the church more into view and more active. In doing so I tried to get everyone I could to make church characters, move existing characters into the church if they weren't 'evil' and had no place else to really be, and those with church characters to have them try to bring them out, encouraging them to be on as often as possible, holding church hours, interacting with people, making us all more visible. So the first hammer dropped was that (again, as some of you older players might recall) I played the game with my roommates. Staff made the decision that since we all logged in from the same IP address/location, we weren't allowed to favor each other anymore.

                  Now, from Staff's side, I can understand that you don't want someone having multiple accounts and favoring their own characters, etc. If I had reacted rationally, I would have suggested something rational, like 'instead of just dropping this ruling, can we do something to prove we're different, like a skype call or something?'. But as I already admitted, I handled things badly on my side. And what I saw was Staff didn't like either me or what I was doing for some reason. So from my view at the time, this was their way to start curbing my ability to promote my character, since myself and my friends played almost all of the only characters in the church (there were a couple of others who joined, but not many). Along with this, they said we could not patron each other, and since I was the only high ranking member of the church who was on regularly, and patroned many people, this again made things more difficult for the others I had recruited into the church. I was honestly waiting for the other shoe to fall and them to say that we couldn't RP/interact with each other.

                  Instead the next hammer (at least in my mind) dropped. A couple of staff character rinaldi nobles came into town. They had a meeting with Antos, implied they weren't happy with the way he viewed things and stated the way they wanted the church to be run to Antos and even made veiled threats about being related to the higher ups in the church so people in the church wouldn't be a problem, the implication to me of course was either I play ball or they just have a staff npc pop in and Antos is either demoted or booted from the church completely.

                  Again, I could have handled things better and been rational, but honestly I'd been playing Antos off and on for years and was really trying to get the church going like it was back when I first started playing the game (long before I created Antos) so it really came across to me as just a personal attack from staff on an IG and OOG level. So instead of being rational, I quit and deleted all my characters.

                  Long rant over to come to the point that I think that a mix of the staff telling people when asked OOC that a lot of things are 'up to the players' which for years when I asked about church stuff with Antos that's the answer I was given, puts a further problem on the shared ethos issue, as it allows any player to make up whatever they want and poof, their idea is no more or less valid than any other (sometimes you really do need to have a setting that is the 'this is the way it is'). It's really hard to get the church up and running in any respect (as I'm sure many can attest to), and when there is no guidance from staff, but when someone does start trying they have Staff Characters come in to smack that person down, it just doesn't really promote the feeling of wanting to put in effort. It's hard to get things going in the game (especially trying to get the big guilds going), and if you get the feeling staff is against you, it very quickly feels like it's pointless and not worth the effort.

                  Then coming down with OOG arbitrary rulings that just come across as personal issues because there are ways to handle the situations that could be better handled.

                  Hopefully this thread, and my experiences, might help others to react better than I did, and keep some of the people to keep playing and work with staff if possible instead of rage quitting like I did. I also hope maybe staff will take note of the perceptions of the person on the player side, and maybe in the future will handle things on their end differently, seeing how their actions (or lack of actions) can be viewed from the player side and make things more difficult.

                  Love to all,


                  • #10
                    Thank you Nikki for your testimony. It is in my hopes that maybe some, if not all, of our points will be read and reviewed by staff. I want them to see where we are going wrong, from the player perspective. We have lost too many, and it seems it mostly staff-related, if not RL related.
                    Madalina Blue and Saruno


                    • #11
                      Hey guys,

                      I'm reading over this thread and hope others will chime in. This is definitely a question that gets asked frequently especially as activity starts to dwindle. I can address this question from a staff standpoint but I'd first like to address some concerns listed above, starting with Nikki's.

                      I know some of the decisions made by staff regarding the favoring/patroning was a blow and I'm sorry that it felt like a personal blow. Any time we release a new system, we have to allow some time to observe and make changes in order to balance the system out, and to make it more fair for everyone. The big issue we were seeing with the favor system was that people were gaining promotions and favor without having to login--without having to roleplay even. This goes against what be believe a social game should be. A good amount of people were not getting promoted for their roleplay efforts but rather for having friends who would login and @favor them. There was little to no interaction between patrons/@favor buddies! Even characters who were misbehaving and, in my mind, should be receiving disfavor, were getting promoted. Alas, we are not able to police roleplay... all we can do is eliminate sources of potential abuse.

                      I am not accusing you or your friends of anything, but we felt the move was necessary to balance out the playing field. We want to encourage everyone to roleplay together--to step outside of their circle of ooc friends and make new connections. That's the roleplay we want to reward. We also don't want people to get so fixated on the promotion system that they lose sight of telling stories. The opportunity to tell stories is there and will always be there with or without a promotion system.

                      Regarding the VPs that came to town, I want to quote Fina:

                      Also, I will say that the game suffers from a lack of a shared understanding of its ethos. There is simply no shared understanding of what it means to act in-era.

                      This is not a question of anyone roleplaying "poorly." Ok, this exists, of course, but it is not that it is about. If I have my character do X, because this is what is required of a person in their position, it is tedious when you get someone else to complain, because they find it utterly immoral AND expect this to be a mainstream opinion.
                      This has been an issue we've been fighting since the beginning of time and the uphill battle we face now is how do we instill themes and era-appropriate behavior without making players feel sh*tty and like we are trying to sabotage their roleplay? It's tough. We had the idea that VPs from each VP guild would roll into the town and help establish expectations based on the source material. Some took it well, some hated it. I don't recall threats ever being issued but I suppose that's a matter of interpretation and I'm sorry our attempt to stir up roleplay felt like an attack against you I promise from the bottom of my heart that it wasn't the intention and I wish we would have been given the opportunity to talk about it more.

                      I understand your difficulties and agree that there is a disconnect from source material/era-appropriateness. We have VPs who pop in from time to time to enforce source material but they haven't been super well received. If someone has ideas on what STAFF can do to better enforce source material, I'm all ears!

                      We would love those things too and yes, lack of coding help has hindered progress in many areas. I think we have mostly worked out issues with fightable npcs, they just need some polishing. I can open swamps in the meantime though

                      Now, from a staff point of view, the problems we are facing:
                      1. Lack of active staff members. Due to RL, most of our staff are on a hiatus and I'm the most active (even then I'm only able to commit a few hours per week to the game). So I'm trying to recruit new staff members and people interested in playing VP characters. If staffing or VPing appeals to anyone, let me know.
                      2. General negative feelings from players regarding the direction we want to go. I suspect we've done a poor job communicating this direction and that's something I'd like to change by holding some community meetings in the near future. Yes, I know combat is unfinished and yes, I know there is little to do system-wise. But what I want to talk about is what you guys can do to enforce theme and create stories without needing staff to be involved. It's totally okay to have enemies and plot against someone for being a horse or a noble. This is the conflict that makes the game go round. We can bring our VPs in to try to make this happen but from my experience, that turns into either "these VPs are evil and should be destroyed" or "staff doesn't like me." So I'm going to pose the question to you guys: what do you need from staff to enable you to tell your stories of day to day life in Triskellian? Investing all our time and energy in loot-based plots is not working. We need to look at long-term and self-sufficiency.

                      How many people would be available for a community meeting on Wednesday October 18th to talk about game direction? Is there a general time that works best?


                      • #12
                        Just one more thing to add, and this is more of a personal note.

                        Staff have feelings too. We know when players complain because it usually gets back around to us "through the grapevine" and that sucks. We take time away from our families and personal lives to create content and (hopefully) entertainment for others. We get paid in storypoints that we usually don't get to use because our time is spent on the game. So the only real reward is the sense that our work is appreciated. When we hear complaints second-hand, it's hard to feel that appreciation and it's very very hard to feel motivated. In fact, it hurts to know a group of people have negative thoughts and feelings about you and there is nothing you can do to fix it or defend yourself because the problems are not being addressed directly.

                        That being said, if there are issues with staff members or decisions or game direction, please let us know. Constructive criticism is always welcome. I believe at the end of the day, all we want is for our game to thrive.


                        • #13
                          (PREFACE; The below written statements and opinions are the sole expressions of Jen, player of Topsy and are in no way affiliated with the staff of ICO as a whole or Skotos Tech Inc.)

                          In the last 18 months, we (myself and SH Roo) have spent a combined $500, countless hours of countless days and innumerable droplets of sweat and tears to bring the following to the game;

                          * A staff run plot for the Sailors Guild to the Corsair Islands (including a new setting, new props including flash bombs, coded systems for cooking and harvesting food, new VPs and a complex story with built in options to continue the story beyond the scope of the plot)

                          * An open invite plot to Three Corners (including new and old VPs, newly coded games and martial exercises, hunting expeditions and shopping opportunities)

                          * A Doloreaux plot to a mining location (including a brand new setting, VPs, individually customized BB plot lines and prop rewards for every single player involved, new loot, a complex story with the option to continue the story beyond the scope of the plot complete with baby prop to inspire the storyline and the actual physical alteration of the current game world based on the responses and actions of the players involved)

                          * A plot for the Vicious Koi to Akoma (including a brand new setting, VPs, coded props for purchase including pet parrots and caged birds, loot and veteran player roles open to characters in game to continue the story beyond the scope of the plot and a baby prop to further augment the storyline)

                          * House specific VPs for the Rinaldi (including one-on-one RP, feedback and collaboration with many of the Rinaldi characters and cameo appearances, individual meetings and regular engagement with the player base at large)

                          * House specific VPs for the Avoirdupois (see above)

                          * A pair of Guild Council VPs (including a new location for the Council to operate, a coded system to handle Council matters with a user friendly interface, one on one coaching, explanations, collaboration and inspiration as well as regular appearances and engagement with the player base at large)

                          * A coded system equipped to handle completely renovating player customized locations for crafters in Newtown

                          * Mugger VPs to help explain and support the existence of the muggers in-game with the option for players to engage one on one with said muggers

                          * A complete overhaul of Market Circle, including new trading tables, rentable trading tables, a place to hold auctions and numerous new merchants selling numerous NEW materials for crafters

                          * An automated trading system so Houses could import hundreds of new raw materials with the click of a button in real time

                          * A number of issues of a newspaper filled entirely with player-created content regarding promotions, demotions, events, stories and potential plot hooks

                          * A brand new hospital in Newtown

                          * Thousands of emits to reflect a new weather system that changes dynamically with the time of day and season

                          * Hundreds of emits to reflect the location and flavor of the city

                          * A complex coded system of dreams for Halloween last year, including props, storylines and hooks located in the libraries and various locations in the game world

                          * Christmas props and decorations

                          * Countless customized items and props, including hundreds of engravings, carvings and embroideries as well as tons of STP purchases

                          * In addition to these things, we have arbitrated innumerable player conflicts, offered plot ideas, fielded requests for help, handled requests for ideas,implemented new pattern requests, held STP sales, orchestrated a tattoo skill lottery, created two dozen new patterns for seamstresses and tailors, created over a dozen new carpentry items that can be upholstered, handled hundreds of token requests, generated NPC testimony for dozens of crimes, fixed hundreds of bugs, fixed tons of typos, updated a number of rooms in the game to have better descriptions, hosted half a dozen events with our PCs and sometimes we even got to RP.

                          And there were tons of people around for all of these things. Tons. There were people online every day all day, multiple hotspots, lots of conflict and roleplay and engagement.

                          And there was also a metric fuck-ton of complaints, negativity, accusations, back talk, drama and dissent.

                          Do you know how many times I heard the phrase 'thank you'? It was approximately five times.

                          So I got tired. I got frustrated. I got annoyed. I lost my motivation. I cried more times than I'd like to count. And I took a break. It started a few months ago. And without active staff adding all the above things to the game, the player base began to dwindle, slowly but surely, until it reached it's current level.

                          And when you ask what happened, the only thing you all can come up with is that STAFF are to blame for the lack of players. And maybe you are right...maybe it is staff fault because we aren't online pouring every ounce of effort we can muster into making sure players have something to do.

                          Perspectives are different from every point of view, but from mine, I can say that I grew exhausted trying to set the stage for everyone only to be met with nothing other than constant criticism and negativity.


                          • #14
                            I don't think anyone is to blame, and I don't think its particularly helpful to try and point the finger. We should be working out how to draw people back and keep this thread positive.

                            What I think would help, is people not logging off immediately if there are only a few people around. The number of times I've seen upward of 10 players all log in, then immediately log off within an hour is scary. If all of those stuck around for a little while longer, there would be plenty of players around.

                            With the swamps re-opened, and a few plots coming up, there is plenty of things going on


                            • #15
                              Hey guys! Just read these responses!

                              Let's see. I know in the past I've been one of those log on/off people. I've quit for IG and IRL reasons, and always came back. I've left for a year or more at a time (and apparently missed alot of amazing things by staff) In regards to my "staff-related" comment, I couldn't say it had anything to do with the current staff we have, but a staff member who is thankfully no longer available to the skotos realm, so please understand it was never directed at you and I'm sorry if it came out that way. I am trying my best to relearn everything I've ever known about this game, between being gone for a long time and some brain-related damage, I feel new to it, which has led to my excitement of the game all over again, and also my sadness that we've lost so many along the way, which is why I posted this. I wanted to brain-storm ways that we can get a bigger player base, new players if you will, not "hey what did staff do wrong" , So I am VERY sorry if that is how I came off. I can honestly say recently staff have been extremely understanding and helpful.

                              Now, with that said, we need to make sure that if we are trying to get new players here, we read all of these responses and keep in mind that we don't cycle back to what has been an issue in the past and we won't lose our playerbase again.
                              I know maddy isn't available for long when she is around, but I'm usually logging in at work and trying to multitask ( which I suck at ). I am going to try to run a player 'plot' this Sunday/Monday around 5-til central time if anyone wants to be around to play, it's Sailor related, but ALL are welcome.

                              A final note, if you have facebook, maybe look into posting on the Text/mud group pages about our game. I've posted in about a handful and got several responses ( yet to see anyone actually visit) but I am very hopeful! My hopes are that with how hard our present staff are working, and if we can stick it out , we can make this game great again!
                              Madalina Blue and Saruno