Slickshot

New Player Research: Sunny Skies or Gloomy Overcast

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To make the point of this thread simple and sweet, here is the goal: collecting data and compiling research as to why new players often quit playing Wurm early into their Wurm life, or what inspires them to continue playing Wurm and developing friendships within the community.

Whether you're a veteran or a new player, please chime in as to why you believe new players leave Wurm so suddenly, or why they find good reasons to stick around. I would especially appreciate the opinions of new players on this matter, as these testimonies will come from first hand experience. Be sure to list several reasons, in detail, that you feel qualify, such as:

  • Population density - too many people on a server, not enough people, or just the right amount?
  • Game mechanics - maybe it's difficult to understand some features, or perhaps you enjoy the challenge?
  • Friends - hard time making friends, or were you welcomed readily with open arms?
  • Early Stages - is it hard to get past the early stages of leveling up skills, or do you find it relatively easy? How do you feel about the ratio of successes to fails when crafting at low levels?  Is getting started on your first projects (such as a house) a good or bad experience?
  • Premium - is it hard to make the leap to buy premium, or did you go all-in and subscribe as soon as you could?
  • Goals - not sure what to focus your efforts on, or do you already have dreams of castles and kingdoms just waiting for you to build them?

These are just some ideas to provoke thought and encourage new players to share their experiences.

If you're a new player reading this, please share your frustrations and your joys of Wurm Online.  If you'd rather keep your feelings and ideas private, you can pm me instead of commenting here.


Special Request: Keep it civil in here amongst yourselves. Bashing other players directly or by name isn't what this thread is about.

Edited by Slickshot

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Before you begin on research, you have to show the high turnover rate of newbie players.

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It's kinda ridiculous and pointless as you're heavily suggesting your own frustrations. People are easily influenced and this biases the out of the whole thing.


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It's kinda ridiculous and pointless as you're heavily suggesting your own frustrations. People are easily influenced and this biases the ###### out of the whole thing.

These aren't my frustrations.  I've been playing for years with no sign of stopping.  These "questions" are here to provoke and encourage thought to help commenters formulate their own frustrations and arguments.  Please don't derail the thread from that purpose.

 

Before you begin on research, you have to show the high turnover rate of newbie players.

That's part of the point.  I'm not Code Club, I'm just an individual player, so I don't have access to the live statistics like the staff may have, so this is the best I can do at the moment.  Hopefully more information will trickle through that will help determine a baseline and where to start.

 

Thanks for your comments thus far.  Just remember to keep it on track.  Keep in mind everyone, this thread is intended to gather research based on frustrations within the game/community for new players, but not frustrations about this thread in particular or against anyone who comments in it.

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wouldnt it be easier for "CodeClub" analyse how many unique IPs join and how many of them are retained to see if there is a high turnover ? Then a discussion to see how to fix it? Rather than opinions ?

It's probably already been done by Rolf and he hasn't acted on it because he sees the data and sees no reason too?

Just my 2 cents, I take my leave!

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Before you begin on research, you have to show the high turnover rate of newbie players.

Did you forget the huge landing of xanadu, how so many people initally came to play the game through advertisings on the mmo websites, but quit after the first few days and the online player count dropped from ~1600+ to where it is now? Edited by Elktazahjr

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That's part of the point.  I'm not Code Club, I'm just an individual player, so I don't have access to the live statistics like the staff may have, so this is the best I can do at the moment.  Hopefully more information will trickle through that will help determine a baseline and where to start.

 

A good start would be to look at the total player count graphs to try to get an approximation of what percentage of players register forum accounts. If I had to guess I'd say a lot of players don't, and that could significantly bias your results. I would also guess that most players quit far before they ever register a forum account or reach a stage where they'll give feedback.

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Before you begin on research, you have to show the high turnover rate of newbie players.

 

On more than 1 occasion Wurm staff has posted acknowledging that Wurm's retention rate of new players is bad - or to say it more politely: needs improvement. Thus it's useful to think about how to improve on that retention rate.

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What got me when I first started a couple years ago, was the lack of direction when you start. Most MMO's hold your hand basically until you quit, so you always "have something to do".

Dropping in Wurm is, "here ya go, have at it". A lot of people like a full blown, no hand-holding sandbox, but most people coming from other MMOs won't be use to it.

Finding the right group of people to play with is what kept me in the second time around.

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  • Population density - too many people on certain servers in certain areas?  Perhaps you're a loner and you can't find your own place, or perhaps you're a team player but can't find a worthwhile village?

If anything, the population isn't dense enough. The game world didn't feel that alive to start with. Finding empty land was easy.

  • Complicated game mechanics - maybe it's difficult to understand how simple things in the game work, such as creation or combat.

Cannot speak for this, as I am a returning player, however the new crafting interface made things much more intuitive.

  • Unfriendly players/staff - are veteran players giving you a hard time?  Do you feel like some staff members are difficult to work with?  Is the server you're on extremely dramatic in server chat?  Do you have neighbors who don't like you or want to grief you?

I PM'd someone from the recruitment thread to join a village. No questions asked, I get invited in and given a home and some tools. Couldn't ask for more than that.

Then selling my referral, someone else trusted me, an unknown name with 6s through the mail before I sent them their referral.

  • Slow beginnings - is it hard to get past the early stages of leveling up skills?  Do you feel your gear is too weak to do the things you'd like to do?  Are there certain experiences you'd like to try, but aren't sure where to start?

Slow beginning, that is probably my biggest concern. It isn't so much how slow the skillgain or actions are, but more the number of failures. If I was getting somewhere slowly, that would be fine. Failures just feel like you're not getting anywhere. (Took maybe 1/2 - 3/4 of an hour to build a FSB, not including getting the planks etc) I feel like reducing failure rate, but increasing skill timers, to keep the overall time the same but without so many failures would be a fair balance. (I would like to see overall shorter timers to create such a basic item though)

  • Premium woes - is the free-player cap too low for you to really get a good sample of the game to decide if you want to buy premium?  Does it feel like most of the Wurm economy revolves around being premium to grind skills to actually make any money?

I bought premium right away, however I think the current cap gives players a good insight into the game. Enough to see if they will enjoy it after buying premium anyway.

Edited by Tinderlog

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Ok maybe they are not your frustrations, but it's insanely leading and manipulative.


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A good start would be to look at the total player count graphs to try to get an approximation of what percentage of players register forum accounts. If I had to guess I'd say a lot of players don't, and that could significantly bias your results. I would also guess that most players quit far before they ever register a forum account or reach a stage where they'll give feedback.

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This game is very hard to get into because you need to spend a lot of money to do anything. People say, you don't have to spend any money; true but then you have to grind to get those high QL tools, enough money for premium and a deed and most people get burned out trying.


 


How do you fix this, something the devs can think about possibly.


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ive quit cause of my mrs. After divorce i am my own boss. and to be honest would disagree with most of your stuff


 


Premium woes game premium cost 8 eur a month - just dont smoke for a day and here we go. and even if you are f2p you can still ride a cow and sail the seas. 


Slow beginnings you dont go for leveling skills up in the beginning. Wurm has so much to offer that you dont even notice how you reach that 20 cap in most if the useful skills.


 Unfriendly players/staff i thought there was a reason why GMs are GMs... My first ever corb was build with a help of Pagani and Bloodscyhe, who made items otherwise uncraftable for ftp players (didnt even charge for a posting expenses!). Thus, i doubt something changed since.


Complicated game mechanics i thought that is one of the things that makes games interesting. 


Population density I am sorry i dont see any problems here.


 


I believe different games are for different people. Some like racing, some like football, others prefer Wurm. And if someone gives it a try and doesnt like that type of game doesnt mean there is a problem.

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This game is very hard to get into because you need to spend a lot of money to do anything. People say, you don't have to spend any money; true but then you have to grind to get those high QL tools, enough money for premium and a deed and most people get burned out trying.

 

How do you fix this, something the devs can think about possibly.

Edited by Tinderlog

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To make the point of this thread simple and sweet, here is the goal:  collecting data and compiling research as to why new players often quit playing Wurm early into their Wurm life.

 

Whether you're a veteran or a new player, please chime in on your reasons for why you believe Wurm has such a high turnover rate when it comes to the newbie players.  I would especially appreciate the opinions of new players on this matter, as these testimonies will come from first hand experience.  Be sure to list several criteria, in detail, that you feel hold you back in your Wurm experience, such as:

  • 1.)  Population density - too many people on certain servers in certain areas?  Perhaps you're a loner and you can't find your own place, or perhaps you're a team player but can't find a worthwhile village?

2.)  Complicated game mechanics - maybe it's difficult to understand how simple things in the game work, such as creation or combat?

3.)  Unfriendly players/staff - are veteran players giving you a hard time?  Do you feel like some staff members are difficult to work with?  Is the server you're on extremely dramatic in server chat?  Do you have neighbors who don't like you or want to grief you?

4.)  Slow beginnings - is it hard to get past the early stages of leveling up skills?  Do you feel your gear is too weak to do the things you'd like to do?  Are there certain experiences you'd like to try, but aren't sure where to start?

5.)  Premium woes - is the free-player cap too low for you to really get a good sample of the game to decide if you want to buy premium?  Does it feel like most of the Wurm economy revolves around being premium to grind skills to actually make any money?

These are just some of the major reasons why new players may be leaving the game before they really get a good look at how marvelous and fun it can be.

 

If you're a new player reading this, please share your frustrations.  If you'd rather keep your feelings and ideas private, you can pm me instead of commenting here.

 

If, or when I receive enough data to show a large enough sample of the new player community, it is my hope as a player to use the information to change what little things I can to increase the overall experience for newbie players.  I'm only one person, so I don't expect to make a big difference, but I do hope to achieve at least some small goals based off of this study.  If you'd be interested in helping out, please comment or send me a message.  Thanks.

 

Special Request:  Keep it civil in here amongst yourselves.  Bashing other players directly or by name isn't what this thread is about.

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As someone personally guiding newbies for 2 years now, part of the new player academy on epic, I find most people quit after having built a house. I think the sandbox nature is both wurms uniqueness as its curse for new player retention. After building a house, many people want to have a goal. A goal set by the game. They find it difficult to make their own story and follow their own path. They simply are lost on what to do next. 


 


Often they will build a bigger house. Then an even bigger place. Maybe a stables, then move out of the newbie academy to build their own deed, built it etc. But once inspiration for building runs out, they will stop logging in, often taking their entire village members with them, cause they see all their hard work abandoned and since they are not mayor, have no real control over it anymore. Such things are often big morale breakers.


 


We give our newbies gear, to some level (It is important not to do everything for someone, but just be support). leveling on epic is a bit faster to get to decent levels, so the slow beginnings part does not really count, yet still 9/10 new people leave after a few weeks. It does not cost much on epic either, since you can buy the high QL tools for a fraction of freedoms prices and often can be made on request for free by alliance or village members.


 


I think the players leaving so soon is not so much wurm related as it is sandbox related. Either you love it and the freedom it gives, or you are bored and dont know what to do next.


 


That does not mean wurm cannot be made better, but I do not think any wurm-gameplay mechanic is as heavy-weighing as the simple fact that it is not their type of game to begin with.


 


I found the best player retention happens when they stay in our very active, social village, rather than decide to move out. Having constant chatter and people to talk to seems to work well. Many who move out often come back, or they build without deed to stay in village. Recently we had quite some newbie-retaining success by using a little workaround: You deed a place with your alt, make a role for the main village and use it like that. That way you can stay in the village and be unrestricted while still having your own deed (and keep the money costing / deed altering options restricted to your alt) Therefore I think it will help player retention if wurm adds the ability to "join" villages together without needing to go the alliance route (we all know alliance chatter is always different than village chat, and having village permissions beats having alliance permissions)


 


Some simple things that hinder new people a lot in my experience too: The 64 bit java issue (so many use 32 bit and keep crashing, doesnt help that java installs 32 bit by default) and the glsl setting for intel cards and/or the settings for dual-card laptops. Also the dreaded "memory leak / travel lag / whatevernameyoucomeupwithforit" works really negative too. It might be a good first step to actually making the game RUNNING for the first time easier :)


Edited by Viti

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Very good responses thus far. Keep it coming guys. As mentioned before, this isn't anything that's going to be revolutionary or some such delusion of grandeur, but it will help me and possibly others get an idea of how to actively improve newbie experience in Wurm. Of course the retention rate isn't going to soar or any such thing, but it will certainly help keep a few more players around than previously.

As some others said, this game isn't for everyone. However, there are those who really do enjoy this game or could enjoy it, that just didn't quite catch on. Hoping this kind of research will help change some of that pattern, even if it's only small scale results. :)

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ive quit cause of my mrs. After divorce i am my own boss. and to be honest would disagree with most of your stuff

Premium woes game premium cost 8 eur a month - just dont smoke for a day and here we go. and even if you are f2p you can still ride a cow and sail the seas.

Slow beginnings you dont go for leveling skills up in the beginning. Wurm has so much to offer that you dont even notice how you reach that 20 cap in most if the useful skills.

Unfriendly players/staff

i thought there was a reason why GMs are GMs... My first ever corb was build with a help of Pagani and Bloodscyhe, who made items otherwise uncraftable for ftp players (didnt even charge for a posting expenses!). Thus, i doubt something changed since.

Complicated game mechanics

i thought that is one of the things that makes games interesting. 

Population density I am sorry i dont see any problems here.

I believe different games are for different people. Some like racing, some like football, others prefer Wurm. And if someone gives it a try and doesnt like that type of game doesnt mean there is a problem.

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To make the point of this thread simple and sweet, here is the goal:  collecting data and compiling research as to why new players often quit playing Wurm early into their Wurm life.

...

Special Request:  Keep it civil in here amongst yourselves.  Bashing other players directly or by name isn't what this thread is about.

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8 euros for a full month of unlimited entertainment is extremely cheap.

As someone else pointed out, it's less than a packet of smokes. Or in entertainment terms, a blu-ray DVD that gives 1-3 hours of entertainment costs 20e here. That's 2.5 months worth of premium.

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  I never said 8 euros was a lot, I just said that that's the price I pay for a triple A MMO.

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When I first started, it was with a friend I'd already known for years, and he picked me up at Green Dog and brought me to his deed, gave me the necessities and explained everything. If he hadn't, I would not have lasted. What would have made me quit was the constant fails in everything I tried to do, and the tedium - for example one time it took me a full day to push bins around the house.


 


When Xanadu opened, he wanted us to try it as newbies, not allowed to buy any items or send stuff to ourselves from our established alts on Deli. The plan was to find a nice spot to settle. We ran around mostly starving, taking half an hour to build a 1x2 fence enclosure to keep our food pets while we tried to kill spiders so we could cross a field, and other such time-intensive activities with no gain. The biggest problem I think was being unable to carry our stuff - we'd finally find enough ore to make a large anvil, but then couldn't carry it around because it was so heavy - so we'd have to abandon it and make another on a different day. What made us finally quit this experiment was losing all our food pets while running away from a hell hound - they scraped off on a building as we were turning, despite the fact that we both knew to turn wide from having lost countless animals already in our Wurm lifetimes. Losing all our best-laid plans to a glitch ended our newbie experiment.


 


This friend no longer plays Wurm due to condoned griefing. Our newbie experiment would have ended immediately if we'd been griefed during it.


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Thus Wurm IMO needs to improve the game experience for the builders and the people enjoying the survival aspects. Sadly that are conflicting targets, the more stuff the builders build the less wild land is there for the survival players.

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