Novice Recruitment/Retention - Ideas?

MoireanMoirean Chairmander Portland
So! I have noticed that the general amount of novice players seems to be lower than I remember - however, I could be/probably am off-base on this (memory does warp perceptions!).

What I'd like are some suggestions for ways for players to make the game more engaging for novices. I remember I, personally, was thinking Aetolia wasn't for me at around a month or two in (I felt pretty solitary), but then I managed to snag Anfini's web boots and some other credits from the first treasure hunt and thought I'd give it a second try. Ensoi started stalking me, and I realized how fun and engaging the game can be when you have pals and hijinks to participate in.

I'd love to hear some ideas for ways to help get newbies excited and enthralled in Aetolia. Maybe events/contests you've held which have had success, maybe tips for teaching them, tasks you've set them on - in short, ideas, please! I would appreciate suggestions to help make my guild/city/the game! more fun and engaging for new players.


  • SerriceSerrice the Black Fox
    I don't know how valid this is, but from my experience, if you have a group of people who you become OOC friends with, it helps a ridiculous amount. Maybe I'm just starved for social interaction, but begin in a close knit OOC clan full of bubbly, cheery people makes me want to login. Not sure if that's the proper direction we want to take things in though.
  • EmelleEmelle Dreamshaper Tecpatl's Cradle
    Yeah...I'm sure it's different for everyone. While I like making friends with (some) people OOCly, I find that being too involved in OOC clans and stuff takes away from my immersion. I think it's good for newbies that we encourage them to seek out those channels for help, but if we start relying too heavily on them then we become Achaea.
  • A lot of the time, it's involvement that most draws in novii. If a guild interacts with, takes care of its novii, gets them involved, treats them with respect, it'll grow and flourish as those members (and players) begin to find a community in that guild. Patience and encouragement will go a long way to increase your novice attrition rates, just like just about anything. If you can do that all within the confines of RP and make it genuinely fun, you're likely to be golden.
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in Attica
    The problem with novice retention is that there's no simple answer or easy solution. Most novices don't stick around simply because that's just how it is. You could be super-friendly, help them out and provide them with equipment, take them bashing or whatever, but none of that is any guarantee that the novices will stick around.

    Sure, you can try holding events, but what can you do when there's only ever three or four people at most around at any given time? That sort of thing only ever seems to work if you have the numbers (and enthusiasm) to support it.

    For smaller orgs, I've found that taking a very personal approach can be pretty effective. Taking the time to talk to members individually, RPing with them, etc. It gives them something to latch onto. Make them feel important, make it feel like they're being paid attention to, reward them whenever you can find an excuse for it. It gives them the feeling that there's something worth coming back to.
  • EleanorEleanor FOR SCIENCE
    I struggled with novice rates for pretty much the entire time I was in the driver's seat for the Cabal- and while it sounds fatalistic and jaded of me to say, I think a large part of the problem isn't actually what people in charge are or aren't doing- Aetolia is on a decline in general, and there's a bunch of reasons for that (Advertising and the rise of casual gaming and things like LoL in my opinion, but that is definitely a topic for another thread) which can't really be fixed from a player perspective.

    In terms of what we can do, really all there is is hunting people down and roleplaying at them, even if you feel like you really can't be arsed- the biggest problem with Aet for aspiring roleplayers right now is how long you can go without seeing or hearing from a solitary soul thanks to AFKing and dropping player rates in general. If they're actually interested in combat, buddying them up with someone who will teach and mentor them there will probably keep them fairly hooked.

    Honestly, buddying people up seems to be the most useful thing- but the downside is, they won't do it themselves, so you kind of have to push them together and hope that it catches. I wanted to trial giving newbies SUPER-IMPORTANT-MISSIONS etc to make them feel special and useful, but there weren't really enough kids that were interested and in the Cabal you can't thematically hand out much more than 'here write a paper'.

    There's actually a trick that teachers use which could be handy with novice retention. Sometimes, if there's a kid who's got way too much energy, you set up a buddy system with another teacher where you send the kid to them with "an important note"- it's really nothing- and the buddy teacher, who knew they'd probably be coming, either finds something simple to keep them moving outside the classroom for a little, or sends them back (so they've had a walk and feel like they've done something and might settle back down). It could actually work quite well for GMs and HoNs to set up similar buddy systems between guilds. Getting Carnie or Cabbie novices to help with syssin dead-drops, or passing a covert message through another novice or something are intriguing little bits and pieces which could lead into the kind of RP that has people staying. I'd be glad to do that sort've thing heading up the SRS, if you- or any spineys orgs- want to engage on that level.

    When I was starting out, I found the challenge of the essays I had to write and the slog of reading through HELP SECONDWAR and all pretty engaging, but I don't think people approach games quite the same in the current climate- I feel like a cane-waving fogie saying this, but in the old days if a game flogged you, that was normal and you just had to try harder. These days, games come with a 'casual' setting and if it flogs you too hard then it's just stupid and you go and play something different. Which makes it hard for us to keep players in Aetolia, because when it comes down to it this game is not pick-up-and-play. My instinct is that more bitesize things are the key to hooking people, though.

  • MoireanMoirean Chairmander Portland
    Awesome ideas so far. I really like the idea of inter-guild interactions between novices. I do agree that games expect different things from games than we used to - it's hard to think about how to balance that, for the new players, with the type of things you want more experienced players doing in order to progress, something I've been considering lately when it comes to new recruits. Like, I don't want getting to Knighthood to be facile, but I also don't like how newbies are bombarded with READ THIS READ THAT when they join, so I need to sit down and tackle that at some point. I'm just not sure HOW, aside from micro-managing every single new member we get...and we can't all be online 24/7.
  • MoireanMoirean Chairmander Portland
    edited April 2013
    Oh, regarding @Serrice's point - I think the OOC community definitely does play a part.  For example, I notice that newbies get more comfortable joining in combat when they are part of a chatty web of PKers. I think the forums are a useful tool as well for this. There's a great OOC community here, and people can stay in touch (and get amped up for their play session later on in the day!) even if they can't login. I'm not sure how easy it is to introduce people to using them, though, without it being awkward.
  • EleanorEleanor FOR SCIENCE
    edited April 2013
    I think people should also be really, really careful about encouraging the ooc stuff- it's innocent enough in intent, but it can have some pretty bad effects on people's ic/ooc integrity- especially new players who might be unfamiliar with the standards of RP that Aet ideally expects.

  • ZunZun
    edited April 2013

    I agree with the sentiment above in that it's near downright impossible to know the right mix that a novice needs that'll keep them invested in their character and the Guild by association. Everybody has a blend of needs, and the unfortunate truth is that a lot of new players expect you to meet those needs with little effort on their own part.

    That being said, it's my impression that a strong, pervasive theme is undeniably helpful for creating bonds between new characters and their Guild. Zun is my only character on Aetolia, but he didn't exist before joining the Syssin. He was a faceless 'me' struggling to learn the syntax and history of an alien game. And then his faceless face was struck by the stench of cigars wafting from a pinstriped troll, sitting behind a mahogany desk.

    Now I don't mean to blame the Syssin for creating such a truculent, obnoxious street thug...but they were certainly doing everything right to create an atmosphere in which characters could be made. Their GHELP scrolls read like secretive dossiers. Their secretaries were not only shepherds but rolemodels. The GR2 requirements (and GR2, not GR1, is important) were devilishly clever in encouraging players to flesh out their character's history, their mannerisms, their description--to investigate the very nature of roleplay from within the ruse of roleplay itself.

    And that's my idea of doing it right. Give new characters a place to belong. Give them a Guild that's confident in its own identity and voice, that's fertile ground for exciting characters to grow. Have Guild lingo, mentalities, history, outfits, etc etc all lined up and ready to go. In my opinion, being a member of that Guild should mean something more than the class it belongs to.

  • I've been playing for a long time, and I've tried each of the IRE games. I've made many alts and characters and I can tell you exactly what made me want to play a specific character and be part of a specific guild.

    They made me feel like an awesome badass.

    A novice doesn't have to be able to murder the faces off an entire army or clean out a whole city .They don't have to be smart and they don't have to be unique. But they do need to be appreciated.

    Reinforce them with positive things at every chance you get. Roleplay with them a little. I've lost count of how many Novice Aides and Secretaries and even the occasional Guildmaster who has treated one of my lowbie characters like just another interview to get out of the way so they can get back to bashing or designing their next line of lacy undergarments.

    People make the mistake of relying on the Novice's desire to play to keep them around. Often, it's not enough. Here's an example of what I consider something that should be done. (This is entirely example and not directed at you Moi, I'm just going to use the word Carnifex.)

    You're a Novice Aide in the Carnifex and you have a new recruit. It's a real newbie and so you spend time time teaching them the basics. Once they've got that down you move onto teaching their first lessons. Say they get up to Adept and you equip them with their first Halberd. Demonstrate, THROUGH EMOTES, how to use the weapon. Have them strike you a few times and roleplay that it's knocking you around. There is nothing more satisfying than being told that you're now a trained death dealer and your enemies should quake and shiver in their beds at the thought of you through the long dark.

    This is just one example, and a pretty basic one. But regularly interracting with them, helping them advance through the ranks and whatever Guild sect they're part of can mean entire worlds of difference between them being your next Archknight of the Carnifex or running off to join House Bahir'an and hang out with that awesome guy Fenrir.
  • TzaTza
    edited April 2013
    When I started Tza I found the silence and disengagement of the other people in my city and guild frustrating. If I asked a question on GNT, several, several, several minutes later one person would answer - if I was lucky (<3 @Periluna for that). There were several people around however and I'm not sure if they were afk or not, but still.. it gave me the impression no one gave two cents about a newb.

    Same with the city. If I ask whether anyone could ink a tattoo I usually get crickets as an answer - aka absolutely nothing. Not even a 'no' or 'I don't have the skill'. It's not like people weren't online though. I don't know if everyone is just AFK but it always gives me the feeling that everyone is just cooking their own little soup and giving unicorns about anyone else.

    If I was a true-IRE-newb that right there would have totally turned me off. And as a true newb you can't expect them to know about the AFK policy either. So if you want retain newbies, I'd say engaging them more would really, really help. (And even as a not-true-newb, engaging people more and interacting with them would help to keep them around imo).
  • Reading this thread, it sounds like forwarding new players to an #Aetolia or #YourGuildHere IRC channel might be the best thing for retention.

    I think a huge issue with text games as it is, is the sheer disorientation people experience when starting out.

  • Also, those that are scared to code or get systems. I know KLL is an ooc clan but is highly recommended by me when I get asked any kind of coding questions from a novice.  Perhaps there can be a slight ooc/ic advert for novices that need to get some ooc information in the intro. Forums, certain ooc clans that are "safe" stuff like that.

  • Moirean said:
    Oh, regarding @Serrice's point - I think the OOC community definitely does play a part.  For example, I notice that newbies get more comfortable joining in combat when they are part of a chatty web of PKers. I think the forums are a useful tool as well for this.
    Just a note on this.  And this will address other issues other than novices so bear with me.

    The tone of the ring makes a big difference in player retention as well.  If it is overwhelmingly negative with lots of ragey yelling and talking shit, it makes  me not want to stay on and participate.  I play the game to have fun, not get yelled at by some manchild pile of artifacts who can't stand losing between bouts of mudsex.

    1. Be positive, offer tips and encouragement not blame.  Its easy to assume people are alts nowadays (because they normally are).  But it doesn't mean they're used to combat.

    2.  Do not demonize  your opponents. Its easy to get caught up in the mentality.  But it just looks petty and drives people off.

    3. Avoid slurs in general.  Don't call people Xwhores, bitches, Xsluts, stuff against the language rules, or use rape to describe victory.  Its great if its just you and your friend if you want to call each other names.  You may get it, but someone else might.   If someone tells you something offends them and maybe asks you not to do it, try and oblige it.

    Basically, the community is small enough that our interactions have a real strong effect on player retention. As a counterpoint, if we  shun the people who participate in behaviors counter to the list above, you start a culture that shows clearly what it wants, not "oooh, its X..its just how he is."

    If we act like adults and actively try and encourage people to get involved without the pressure of being perfect every time and pushing a good environmentthat is encouraging people   both IC and OOC, you'll see it start to pay dividends soon.
  • ArekaAreka Drifting in a sea of wenches' bosoms
    edited April 2013
    Some house cleaning that is also useful, that in my latest turn of alt creation has highlighted:

    - It is disheartening when HELPs haven't been updated in RL years (those dates are visible! It makes things seem neglected, not stable).
    - It stops being fun when the requirements don't make much sense and aren't well explained (WHY do I need to know about all of these gods when they aren't even our patron?, or requiring combat tactics to progress when there's no real resources available, and people are unreliable) - integrate things into the RP of the community.
    - It makes progress and integration unfun when the writing is just bad (Update that stuff - I personally remember at least, that it was such a refreshing change when the Syvelium and Seluno brothers were actually engaging to read, at least in comparison to other guild reqs).

    These things are especially important when the org is otherwise small or not always responsive.

    Otherwise: Really look into your Org. If your org is advertised to be X, but doesn't live up to that (they aren't pure, they aren't' corrupt enough, they aren't fierce enough, etc), there's a larger disharmony that can and does discourage participation. Orgs are judged by their members, good and bad. Sometimes you also need to sacrifice or compromise personal RP for the betterment of the org - it stops being about you and yours, but everyone else.
  • Just for me, personally.

    In whatever game I am playing, city, guild, etc...

    Interaction. I mean, when I made Mesk, I could not find my way into the guildhall. I said something about it on GNT, and like 5 people showed up within a minute to help me out.  And then, after being taught how to get into the GH - was followed and then told what I did wrong. It was the interaction. So, I try to interact with novices when they ask questions - sounds like I failed when you were around as a novice Tza :/.

    I get brushed off a lot and ignored, but I offer it. 
  • Having recently joined the Scios I realized I was pretty spoiled for interaction in the Cabalists prior. The Sciomancers just can't retain novices to save their life and I couldn't figure out why.

    I began thinking about it and then I considered why the most popular Guilds are popular (like the Syssin). It's easy to say that the Syssin are popular because of Phase, but the truth is they're popular because they have a macrocosmic purpose; they're the Defenders. They have an investment in something larger than themselves.

    I think if you want a newcomer to engage themselves in your Guild, we need to offer them that. Something that's bigger than them that they can work for and invest in.
  • edited June 2013
    Absolutely second/third/fourth the comments about updated help files and guild structures that set the theme for the guild (The Syssin is probably one of the best examples I've seen of this).

    OOC clans are not a great way to introduce someone to the -game-. They'll make OOC connections if they get invested. 

    Prolonged RP right after creation is not a great idea. Interweave your RP in the progress of getting them the information they need to get out and get started right away. The first few days in a MUD can be overwhelming. There is a TON of things to learn. It's best to break it down to the absolute basics and let them get out and start using their skills, get a feel for the mechanics and theme, and when they are done running around, go harass them in person.

    Harass them in person. Seriously. Tells are nice but they are no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Since you are a city-leader, I'd suggest considering some form of mentorship program. Get folks willing to invest their time in one newb. Have them make a point to go find and talk to the newb in question. Interact with them. Introduce them to others. Take them to events. Help them if they get stuck. Events are often hit or miss, because you generally need a decent number of alert newbies to make the typical events work.

    Edit: Bah, wasn't done yet!

    I have always been very fond of incentive programs that offer something for all different styles of players. You could create a sort of new citizen's engagement program that rewards newbs who complete tasks that are helpful for the city and advance them as players. Gold can be a very valuable commodity when you are trying to buy equipment, weapons, healing supplies and the like. 

    I used to do sort of exit interviews for novices as a part of their advancement into the guild proper. Really simple, but basically got them to let me know if stuff was broken, confusing, or could have provided more detail. What really excited them. What they hated. I didn't always change things based on the feedback I got, but it did help me refine it to improve retention and worked pretty well in my guild. 
  • in my experience, and as crude as this list may seem, these are things that retain novices:

    - Handing out free things. You wont believe how being given lovely free items made me consider sticking around as a novice. I was given a caged pet, gold, clothing, vials etc. It really does take alot off a novice's shoulders and makes them think how awesome the community here is.Taygeta really was helpful in that department.

    - Interactions. I know alot of the players are already busy with their own game times and schedules but interacting -really- does help. I recall early on when I had a novice in Enorian and though I stood/walked around Enorian for 2-3 days, I got no interactions. I then visited another city and was swooped up in interacting with their community almost immediately. This helps alot.

    - Dont be mean to novices. Yes I know many of our players might have it as part of their RP to thwap down a disrespecting youngster or showoff their superior standards to perhaps gain some form of idolization, but really it does nothing but effect the game badly. Be nice to novices, even novices from enemy orgs. If you have to enemy a novice for being Undead for example, first send them a friendly tell explaining why you are enemying them and apologizing if they take this the wrong way. It will definitely breed a more mature idea of the playerbase rather than thinking "Well that was pretty childish of them..".

    - Hunting. Yes take them with you hunting, god knows many (but not all I admit) people abhor the idea of starting a new character somewhere but having to level them up. I remember when I first started and groaned at the idea of hunting, but @Alexina appeared and took me above and beyond to hunting areas that helped me shoot up. @Ezalor too was a big help with his handing out of chalices, chocolates and even appearing whenever I died to Mobs, just to ressurect. This really takes a load off of a novice thinking he has people helping him through the tough situations.

    - Finally, claiming PK on a newcomer. Newcomers already are generally unfamiliar with how things are generally run, so if they happen to have somehow crossed a line, then explain to them first what they have done and the repercussions that could follow. Give warnings before clobberings.
  • edited June 2013
    City leaders etc should leave their havens/groups sometimes to interact with newbies/novices sometimes. If it weren't for @Moirean and @Trask (and the later appearance of @Yusri) I wouldn't have kept playing.

    Final edit: Two more things, and this will sound a little bitter, and possibly offensive, but I notice I've never interacted with a majority of you here, but I have seen you about more. I understand you have your groups or what not, but this is not just an MMO game, or a text game. This is an RPG - and basically why people play. Interactions create character development. (Sorry for how ours ended up @Ezrax <3 x.x)

    However a lot of novices (myself included) are a bit terrified to just suddenly leap into a group of people speaking tons of languages unintelligible and all I can think is 'emote ignores the rest of you because she has no idea wtf you're saying or referencing to.' so try to mind your language and how you interact with your cliques around others, if they don't feel like they can't edge their way in, a lot of them will just dismiss the interaction and look for something else.

    We're not all alts. We cannot just simply feel comfortable interacting just because you're 'there' doing your thing with whoever. Leave openings, we're here for RP and the other things (hunting/pvp interests) come from learning from you, but you can't learn what we're interested in if YOU are not interested in US.

  • I remember being lost and blindsided by massive walls of text as an achaean newbie, back when I first came to IRE.

    I spent six or more hours sending ooc tells to one of the novice aides in the guild I joined, and she handled my barrage like a champ.

    My first IC interaction was a random druid coming up to me and discussing cookies, and at that point, I hadn't even written a description. It's one of my fondest memories.

    So, my two 'tips' for novice retention? First, if you're a novice aide/sec/gm, or someone who is around a lot and tends to answer questions, make time for that when you sense it's needed. Sure, it might cut your rp down for a number of hours, but don't just give them clipped answers, and while pointing them towards help files is  very useful, it should be -part- of your answer, not the whole thing.

    Question: 'What's a statpack?'

    Answer: 'A statpack - which I like to call 'bodily refinement' or 'training oneself for <statpack type>' when discussing them entirely in character - is what helps to set your statistics in the game. In short, it helps you specialize in the profession you've chosen - an intellectually strong training regimen is great for those who're centered on spells and other less physical abilities, where focus on musculature would be ideal for a profession that goes for the brute approach. You'll want to check HELP STATPACKS and STATPACKS for more detailed information, or just use GHELP STATPACKS to see which ones we recommend for our use.'

    I've also found that it's really, really important to find a balance between IC responses and OOC explanations. Some things, like the above statpack question, aren't really easy to get at from an 100% IC angle, if the person you're talking to doesn't already know how muds of this type work. I always try and point out how something can still be discussed ICly, though. I focus on RP in a lighter sense when they're GR1 - says, channels, basic emotes, but I'm never above straight out answering a question in tells or on a web.

    The second tip is really simple: Try and give them a memory. Something that makes them come back from that massive information overload that can be the tour / first help files of a guild.

    For me, I usually just take them somewhere, and explain something that matters to the guild I'm in, but isn't really part of the help files. Maybe I'll show them the guild shop and give them gold to buy the guild uniform, or at least a new set of clothes. Maybe I take them to one of the player food shops and we have a snack. It's just something that they can look at and know that there's someone there who wants to take time to socialize with them, and be more than a voice in their head or on their channel. Something short and sweet, but still memorable.

    I remember very intensely being lost in muds - and as a result, almost all of my characters, from guild masters to house rank one vampires take that time to interact with newbies, even if I'm otherwise busy. That lifeline, that one person who was more than a reminder of the help system? It can make all the difference.

    Or it might not, but if they don't hang around, it's not going to be something you didn't do.
  • ArekaAreka Drifting in a sea of wenches' bosoms
    Be responsive - it's easy to take your knowledge of the game for granted, and even for alts, guild scrolls and skill ABs aren't always helpful. In addition, be clear with requirements. It's extremely frustrating to be given vague instructions, be it in directions or in what's required. 

    Be careful with guild ranks and novice aides. It really sucks when you enter some place new, and novice aides or guild 'elders' immediately try to woo/tap/sexually pester you. If this is the priority shown by guild-endorsed people, it can be extremely frustrating to partake in the org or want to deal with anyone. In return, encourage newcomers to focus and engage in the guild and the world of Aetolia, rather than just using it as a chatroom. There's a lot of neat things to explore, and not everyone has the same innate skills of exploration or know-how to find these things, or even find out they exist. 
  • SessizlikSessizlik Muffin Mage
    I have been blessed with having met som really great people in the Ascendril, but it is always difficult finding people to rp with. I admit Sessi being a alt and it's not something I'm trying to hide. I've been part of this game for quite some time, but that doesn't mean it's ever easy to get into the well-established cliques. Sometimes it just feels like people are afraid of letting new people in. I can understand that it actually is like that at times, but I just wish people would be a bit more open. Random rp with someone new can give even an established rp-er a good enough time to come back for more, if only a chance is given.
  • EleanorEleanor FOR SCIENCE
    edited June 2013
    Areka said:
    Be careful with guild ranks and novice aides. It really sucks when you enter some place new, and novice aides or guild 'elders' immediately try to woo/tap/sexually pester you.
    This this this THIS.
    It's my belief that- even if most of the knowledge exists OOCly- an org leader has a responsibility to stop this kind of harrassment in their guild. I'm not saying that the perp should be gotten rid of in an ooc manner- everything has to be handled in-character with in-character facts, but it is completely not a good thing for people to feel uncomfortable or pressured in their pretendy funtime game. It's really not something that org leaders can be lax about. There's minors playing Aetolia, and besides that, getting creeped when you're starting out a new game is a horrible incentive to stick around.

    Inactive novice aides are pretty bad too. Idling forever does put a name on 'gwho' but it sure doesn't help people think that there's a welcoming community for them if the person they're trying to ask for help is earthmelded for eternity.

  • HavenHaven World Burner Flight School
    Corlin said:
    ...while pointing [novices] towards help files is very useful, it should be -part- of your answer, not the whole thing.
    This needs repeated. Throughout my experience in Aetolia, it's always made me frown when the full extent of a response to a novice or anyone really was go: Take a look at GHELP/CHELP/CLHELP WHATEVER.

    Especially when the question has a short easy answer. Even worse when the novice aide or whatever is just chatting happily on an OOC clan about being bored.
    ¤ Si vis pacem, para bellum. ¤
    Someone powerful says, "We're going to have to delete you."
  • Something that's always been important to me is for the novice helper/secretary/whatever to act as though they really enjoy their job.

    I realise not everyone is upbeat/bouncy/happy to be alive, but if I'm asking you questions about your guild, at least act as though you're overjoyed to be in your guild. Be able to explain what keeps you in the guild, and why it's obviously better than all the others. Be able to explain why I should stick around. Give me a reason to want to care, really. I'm not saying you have to hold my hand and make me want to stick around, but show me why I should.

  • Going off the above post, I suppose it's the aide's duty (aide being 'person helping', not necessarily the formal role) to not just show the ropes, but to seem passionate about the Guild's role in the world. What we do, what side we stand for, why we exist and what we as an organization want to achieve. Bring that to the table right away - it's more compelling than teaching them how to kill wildcats in Lodi (unless they just seem really really itching to get out there and murder some cats, use your discretion I guess).
  • Ever since multiclass came out, Guilds lost their skill-based theme. Now we're purpose-based. We need to, as an organization, show what we are, not just be what we are like times past.
  • edited June 2013
    As a novice, what keeps me coming again to this world I don't really understand yet is:

    - the interactions (be it IC or OOC)
    - the immersion (learning slowly about a very interesting world I can be a part of)
    - the feeling of importance (and be somebody, do big things, affect others)

    Basically all of the good aspects that aren't just bashing mindlessly away to level up, but all the things that make a MUD different and interesting compared to other role playing games. Interactions are more deep, immersion is more deep, the role of the character is meaningful.

    That said. How about a Forum section just for novices?
    So we can ask questions, connect with other members, and learn about the world and it's possibilites.
  • As a Novice Aide myself in Aetolia and having nigh on 5+ years of experience with Imperian, I have found that the best ways to keep novices is to be friendly with them, answer their questions they have (regardless of how odd they might be, so long as its not entirely personal) and just keep them involved entirely. Personally, I have helped countless people figure out what they wanted their character to do, how they wanted them to react, etc etc. Not by telling them what to do, but by asking them questions either IC or OOC about what they want as a player/character. Giving novices a sense of purpose, a road to improve and stay active is what seems to attract more novices 1) to your guild and 2) to stay in the game. By using the above stated ideas, I have not had many novices quit on me unless RL just got in the way or they just didn't like the style of a MUD. All in all though, you can't really determine 100% what will get a novice to become a constant base player as each person wants different things from a game.
    (Oasis): Benedicto says, "There was like 0.5 seconds between "Oh hey, they're in area. That was quick." and "OMFG THEY'RE IN THE AREA STAHP STAHP!""

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