Ahenobarbus

Ad Campaign W/ Frontier Release

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So,

This game has a population problem. A serious population problem. Lets clear this right now, I do not think it's a mechanical deficit. I think, as it stands, wurm is a perfectly acceptable game that tens of thousands can and would enjoy. The devs are trying very hard to tidy up everything they think is keeping players away, but not addressing a very serious root issue: population flow.

 

If the game had thousands and thousands of unique logins on Golden Valley and there was little change in people playing, I'd recommend a dramatic overhaul posthaste to new player experience. But, as it is, I really do not believe that is the case. I think many of us older players can remember a day when golden valley was a unique land of easy opportunity for a new player to strike out, face some very easy threats, travel a bit, get familiar with the game and experience its community before moving into the bigger the wider world of either freedom or wild. There was hundreds of people playing at any time, even on GV! When Epic was released there was a blast of information trying to drag players back to the game and clearly it brought in a ton of players. As it is the game has been on a steady decline for years and is dangerously close to a point where new players might not be interested in playing because the world theyre stepping in to is so dead.

 

The recent Elevation map reset and item ban, I think, is emblematic of this issue. I am not seeing anyone new from the people who were here 5 or 6 years ago, except more have fallen off due to attrition. 

 

My solution is this:

Massive advertisement campaign

 

I struggle to see any real engagement on the WO twitter page and I can't really blame anyone as theres not a whole lot to work with. No ad campaigns are being pushed as far as I can tell, no marketing companies are contracted, SEO is very poor! Look at the following:

https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/wurmonline.com

This tells you a fair bit about the site, and it's not very pretty. The primary driver to wurm online is a google search for wurm online, or wurm forums... I know having someone do SEO is costly, but it could be a huge investment. I believe us the players on both freedom and epic would be more than happy to work with developers in creating marketable content with a third party agency to advertise the game. I think we'd all be incredibly happy to see ads for this game in youtube videos, on facebook, in our feeds, we'd like to see sandbox focused youtubers and mmo focused youtubers be given trial accounts with boosted stats just to drive people to the game. I know a guy like bashur was a dark stain on the games history, but a part of me was genuinely excited to know a small sized youtuber had chosen to give this game a shakedown because it would mean more people!

 

More people means:

More pvp

More trade

More experiences

More adventures

More community

And most importantly, more money to fund further development.

 

The game looks great already, certainly enough that anyone interested in what this game offers won't pass because of it! The mechanics are actually over all pretty good, theres a reason I play this game still after... [02:35:43] You entered through the portal to Wurm on day of the Ant, week 4 of the starfall of Silence, 1028. That's 3492 days, 8 hours and 19 minutes ago. The game is fundamentally good, it just needs more eyeballs by all means necessary! I've even seen players offer to run a kickstarter so we can have an ad campaign. All I ask if you take any of this advice, devs, is to please either consider bringing back golden valley, or turning down aggro mobs massively and make monsters regional spawns again so players arent getting dumpstered 10ft outside the starter deeds. We just want to see the game reach previously unforeseen heights and I believe whatever these big changes and releases for all versions of the game coming around the time of frontier releasing are a great time to capitalize on a big movement in development with big movements in advertisement!!

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I totally agree with something like this. I am fairly new to this game, and have no Idea how much money(or time) Code Club have to work with, but I think everyone can agree that at least some form of advertising campaign would be hugely beneficial to this game and it's community. Sure, It could attract some people not fitting with the kind and helpful attitude of the current Wurm community, But like some say, Usually only about 1% of the players stay, but that 1% are usually great people. So if we get more people interested and aware of the game, of course it will be a great thing.

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Yes it's planned, I'm not going to go into huge detail as I've said it time and time again however.  

I just cant help myself can I. 

 

A big part of all of this is the retention more than reach. We have run several Facebook ad campaigns with a decent click through but almost nil retention. Thus we decided to spend our efforts on improving the new player experience. 

 

Being an actual sandbox game means there's little beginning direction, which to the right people is AMAZING, and everything they wanted in the game, but to many it's just too much and not what they want.

Others hit a wall of "what now?" They deed their village, build a nice town, and then wonder what to do next. Some begin grinding on skills or working on entering the market, others wander or start again, but a good many do wind up leaving because in the end, they've achieved what they wanted to.

 

As such working on retention is the driving force behind the journal, tutorial, and most updates in the past 8 months or so, as well as a core part of the Frontier update.

 

I've also been working on organic reach, and am in the process of arranging for updated reviews and coverage, not boosted accounts as that gives a disingenuous view of the game, and also doesn't allow for the opportunity starting off. Many mid to large streamers actually request monetary payment in order to stream your game (unless it's one they actually enjoy playing and gets good viewership counts) so we work with our VEN team and do our own streams, and we're working with VEN on getting some small trailers done for possible advertising later. With the frontier update we will be doing some small scale advertising within our budget, but our focus is on retention. 

 

Also almost absolutely every site will rank top for direct searches, that site doesn't show much actual information compared to analytics. 

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52 minutes ago, Retrograde said:

As such working on retention is the driving force ...

 

I totally agree with this. Wurm does get a steady influx of new people trying the game, to keep them is where the main challenge lies.

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Well hopefully the work towards retention is progressing well! There has been a lot of talking on working on the retention strategy for many years now, ever since Golden Valley was all but shuttered. I genuinely hope that retention is the secret sauce needed and that itll be cracked before population itself prevents retention!

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Posted (edited)

One large issue this game will have even with new players is they'll eventually give up because the gate is so dated in other areas such as skilling, imping, interface, how to interact with the environment logic (mousewheel scroll wheel tool and mouse button 1 to interact.) This is a very common thing in other sandbox games so a lot of people expect to be able to do that right out of Haven, when they see how weird the UI and game logic is they log out likely to never return. Personally this is something I hear a lot from my friends who I try to get to play often.

 

What I think needs to happen is them to introduce several QoL's to skilling and completely redesign the interface, however that doesn't mean they can't start an ad campaign. I've said it plenty that if you do a promotional incentive you'll have people come back in droves, it's already happening with the elevation reset and that didn't even offer one. Xanadu did one back in the day, those tents were pretty huge for new players.

 

I also think because of epic's popularity they should consider doing cross skilling between the two clusters. This would keep people playing and feel like their not wasting time on epic.

 

This is stuff I'd like to see but i've pretty much given up on it, cause it's like beating a dead horse around here. 

 

 

Also you should probably consider offering safe areas (no red animals) around haven and other starter towns and increasing the noob buffs to a week.

Edited by Niki

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5 hours ago, Niki said:

it's already happening with the elevation reset

It might seem that way, but you have to look longer term.

 

To use Hafen as a model (and it's a good enough one for wurm PvP), you have a huge population spike early on; then a combination of drama and general attrition usually results in the population being 1/10th in a few months.

 

5 hours ago, Niki said:

Also you should probably consider offering safe areas (no red animals) around haven and other starter towns and increasing the noob buffs to a week.

 

A decent combat tutorial might also be a really good idea.  Give new players a full idea on how combat on wurm works, as well as adding in more VISUAL feedback (screen effects for strikes etc).

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Yeah the ui is a massive ongoing work, I'm hoping to have some things to share with it but the new clients and other projects have kept it slowly bubbling away. 

 

Cross skilling for epic won't happen in this iteration, but it is on the list of things that will be looked at. 

 

We did look at a heatmap style spawn, where things closest to the starter town were simple, but I don't necessarily think dying to a tough mob as a new player is the worst, after all, we've all done it

 

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At issues for new players at haven is the lack of low lvl mobs .

You will see them ask in chat were they can find something low enough that is not half across the map .

And a reply of .. go look in the steppes is kind of not helping .

If they are new I don't think they know were the steppes are .

As for now steppes are full of blasted sheep , hell horse and unicorns and the odd wild cat .

 

Waiting to see what frontier is about , just hope its not some stupid Battle Royal setup ... I am so sick of games adding this thinking its all new and cool ..

I still think T-Maps is the way to add more players ..... A La UO style ....   ?

 

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I'm really curious... Why was Golden Valley shut down? It seems like it was the perfect place to get started on the game, and certainly would have helped me out when I was beginning.
Also, what is this frontier update that keeps getting talked about. I think I missed the initial conversation on that one.

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59 minutes ago, MinorArchitect said:

Also, what is this frontier update that keeps getting talked about. I think I missed the initial conversation on that one.

 

It's a codename for a yet rather blurry concept. It emerged in this devblog.

The cliffnotes:

On 5/25/2019 at 9:12 PM, Budda said:

The first planned large update in this new cycle will be a large expansion to an existing set of content in Wurm Online which will see players exploring new lands and working together against a common enemy - hereafter codenamed Frontier. It will combine a lot of existing features and recent changes in Wurm into a big chunk of new content available to all players - old and new.

 

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10 hours ago, Flubb said:

It's a codename for a yet rather blurry concept. It emerged in this devblog.

 

What you quoted has a significant amount of information packed into very few sentences there. From the outset, I'll state that I do not have any privileged information regarding what this update is and nobody has filled me in. I'm just connecting the pieces. However, I can probably help guide you towards an answer of what to expect:

 

Quote

The first planned large update in this new cycle will be a large expansion to an existing set of content in Wurm Online

 

From this, we know that this expansion builds on some system that already exists. This could be a skill, system, or perhaps a theme. For example, it could be an expansion to cooking, channeling, or fishing. It could also be an expansion of existing mechanics, such as runes or building. Finally, it could expand on lore such as valrei or rifts.

 

Quote

which will see players exploring new lands and working together against a common enemy

 

Exploring new lands implies a new server, or at least some version of such. If the technology was developed to allow instancing players that would be a pretty big deal, and I'm doubtful it would be achieved in the short timeframe currently set. I'm going to go with a new server on that one.

Working together implies that there will be content that is geared towards groups. This could imply the addition of new combat challenges with creatures stronger than the run-of-the mill troll. New uniques are on the table. With recent discussions, I wouldn't be surprised to see a unique rework come alongside an addition of some new uniques that exist in a new land. Avatars of deities might also come into play.

Common enemy confirms that it will have a combat component. I don't think the word "enemy" would be used here if there was not combat involved. While this tends to skew the direction more towards a combat-oriented update, it doesn't throw non-combat expansions out the window.

 

Combining the above three points, we can assume that there will be combat against new enemies.

 

Quote

It will combine a lot of existing features and recent changes in Wurm into a big chunk of new content available to all players - old and new.

 

Huge hint there. Recent changes and the looking through recent change notes gives a very good idea of what's coming next. When it was posted, the recent changes would've been ones listed in these patch notes. Changes to spells and how they work on uniques reinforces the theory that new uniques or major creatures will come with the update. Changes to AI for epic creatures reinforces that these creatures may be available in the "new lands" (which will obviously be available to freedom).

 

Finally, one of the big hints is the name. Frontier. The word is a codename, of course, but it will generally steer in the direction you're looking for. Frontier implies that you'll be on the front lines of something. Combined with the "common enemy" you can make an assumption that there is some form of invasion or battleground that will take place on these "new lands."

 

Now, with all that spelled out, it doesn't take a huge leap to figure out the rest. There's actually a few popular suggestion threads that check most of the boxes. One was even written by a developer. Best guesses are it will be something along the lines of that thread, or some middle ground server between epic and freedom where the epic creatures are trying to break through and enter the freedom isles.

 

With that rant aside and back on topic - advertisement doesn't just need to be the standard "click me and play" advertisement you see on sites. There's alternate ways to advertise a game which are likely more effective. A trailer video that comes alongside the update would be a huge boost, as trailers get shared on social media sites very easily. Keep it short (~2-4 minutes) and informative, then share it on social media platforms and see how far it spreads.

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