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Old 10-08-2006, 11:11 PM
Tyhm Tyhm is offline
Psionic Youth
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Babord, West Graal Deaths:1009 Kills:1
Posts: 5,635
Tyhm will become famous soon enough
The problem, as I see it, is that we're trying to draw business to a storefront that's been "Open During Construction!" for years now. When people walk into our metaphorical storefront, they see a faded sign on a whiteboard welcoming them to the fast-paced world of the 90s (website problem). The escalator's broken so they have to climb a ladder to get to the second floor (newbie learning curve). Once there they find the greeter's been on break, but yeah, there's a one-time membership fee to shop here. A great deal, our shopper thinks - Costco charges annually - I can deal with a little dust for a while...but soon he realizes the construction's never going to be done, and scalps the membership card to the next poor sap to walk in (needs to be email xfer fees).

Thus suggest I:
Priority 1 needs to be our website. For the love of Bruges, not another complete overhaul - graphically it's fine - but we need new content. New times and dates on the news. Preferably, deputize the various Game/Event Coordinators to post directly, fire whoever abuses their privelege.
Subpriority 1: For that matter: Distribute the website. It's still based on Graal having a finite number of official worlds. It needs to be Classic Worlds, Gold Worlds, VIP Features, and each category links you to the official list of "external" links. Click Classic Worlds, Delteria, and you find yourself on Delteria.Graal.Com/ - a simple template website, no fancy flash or anything, just their nav panel on one side, an Upgrade link (that routes back to https graalonline so they can upgrade FROM the PW site but ON the official site). That way Delteria can scrape together $80 to advertise their own "game" on, instead of hoping to get a slice of the new customers Unixmad's bringing in.
Priority 2, but damn near Priority 1 (maybe co-priority 1) - we need an official tutorial, a world that all newbies will be intrinsically drawn to where they can learn their skills in relative safety, a hook, a place to get them addicted to the possibilities of Graal. I say we patch up Classic, but I'm nostalgic that way. (Incidentally, thanks Sam, glad you liked the Classic Questline.) Kingdoms, unless things ever got fixed, is entirely too brutal to a Level 1 - You can only make money by fighting, which you shouldn't do/can't safely do until level 10...everything is/was based on diamonds...I'll pass. You can't even farm without money, or mining at least...I digress. THE POINT IS, newbies need to play a game where someone's always telling them where they SHOULD go (not necessarily where they need to, I'll grant), and where they don't get frustrated until they're well past the point of no return. No sense getting newbies if we're just gonna have bunnies bite their heads off.
Priority 3 - One last bit of polish, we need to button our collars and slick out hair when it comes to administration. No more fighting in public, no more encouraging riots. If we need another GM, I can come back for a few hours every day; if I can get a secretary to organize the issues before I pop on, I can tear through the debates of which global's corrupt and stay on top of things. If the globals are safe, they can keep an eye on the local Owners, who can keep an eye on the division chiefs, who can keep an eye on their minions. We used to have a tree structure: Unixmad and Stefan only have to deal with corrupt GMs, etc....let's bring that back, let people know who to appeal their jailing on Maloria to. (incidentally, you appeal to the jailing officer; if he's corrupt, you appeal to the police chief; if HE's corrupt, you appeal to a PWA; if HE's corrupt, GM; only if the GM is corrupt do you bug Stefan, and that should never happen.)
Priority 4 - Advertising. Advertising is important, but it's also the last thing to worry about.'s got a real nice banner ad, and they're a fairly popular sprite-comic; maybe the most, I dunno. Point is, people are reading about customized Mega Man characters eating ice-cream - you tell 'em they can play this free game and customize a Zelda character, it's tempting. Don't even hit 'em up with the flat-price upgrade for a while. For that matter - this is gonna be unpopular with Unixmad, but I still think it's a good idea - on the Newbie Server Only, allow free accounts. There, I said it. Free Classic. We're trying to addict players to the game, THEN get them to give us money. Free Classic would naturally be a low-overhead world...and ideally, as soon as the newbies have finished upgrading they want to go to other worlds, and get away from all these freaking newbies and their stupid halos.

Under No Circumstances Revoke Our Guarantee Toward Lifetime Classic. I can't stress enough how dangerous that'd be, it'll destroy the players' remaining trust towards the administration. Instead, a few ideas on things that are worth paying for:
1) A few dollars for an Expansion. How many expansion packs are there for Neverwinter? And the PW owners have already signed on for adding premium content; if instead of paying for a few months of VIP where something may-or-may-not be released, you pay for something which definitely exists and you definitely get to keep. The only trick is making it premium content on every world, huh? Every world gets Bomies at the same time? Every world gets new classes? A study would have to be comissioned on what would define a global Expansion Set. Unless you just wanted to make little cheap expansions for every world, but I wouldn't recommend that's one thing to buy a Graal Expansion and get Bomies on most worlds, new Classes opened on others, new races available on some (Blood Elves anyone?), and of course you get to predownload all the graphics for this Expansion Pack...
And in the Very Unlikely Event some PWs decide to hold out and not participate in an expansion pack, they don't get to use the upgraded server software that is installed at the same time as said expansion.
2) The Global Quest - an easy retrofit. All you'd need is global strings. Global.(playerworldname).(index#)="String". I've said it at least a dozen times by now, but if Delteria can set "Global.Delteria.0=MainQuestDone; Global.Delteria.1=[your appearance here]", then you can start a new player on Maloria and, since in this example they're such good friends, in Maloria you "inherit" a free pair of DelteriaMaster Boots and you look a lot like your Delteria ancestor. Hey, if I have to be Gold to tie all my favorite worlds together in a global quest to chase a villain through each of them and save the universe, I'm game.
3) Email transfers need to cost like $10. If people are illegally transferring lifetime accounts, they need to stop. For security, both ours and theirs, their password should change at least once a year, and be emailed to the original accountholder. Give people a grace period at the start, a month where our active players can change over their email one last time for free, and after that it's $10. If they give/sell their account, they either have to pay Graal $10 or send the new owner their new password every so often...a dangerous inconvenience.
4) A lot of talk about a new Gold Server. I imagine everyone who suggests it has a particular world in mind. If it comes to it, I'll make one...I got the notes to make it, I'd just need a team and an unfortunately huge ammount of support from Stefan...naturally, it's all stuff that hasn't been done before, so it won't be easy to pull off.

Sorry, had to move this one PAST the bickering in the hopes someone would see it. Can we return to the discussion?
"Whatever," said Bean, "I was just glad to get out of the toilet."

"Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of a loss of power."- John Steinbeck
"I'm only acting retarded, what's your excuse?" queried the Gord.
- My pet, the Levelup Gnome