Friday, October 2, 2015

Immersion vs Information

It is a common discussion. Most of the players know nothing about what is going on in the game. They do not read the development blogs. They do not know that patch notes are listed. Expansions are introduced to them through the log in screen. The forums are populated by a very small percentage of the subscribed users. That includes alt posters.

How do we get information out to people? We do not know if they want the information. We do not know if they would want it if they knew about it. And at the same time, we don't want to ruin their game play by forcing the information on them. What are we going to do?

The launcher was supposed to solve much of this. One day it may do so. The hope was that as a player logs in they will notice some of the information on the launcher screen. It is a hope that works in some way. CCP can look at the page hits and see some rough statistics of information absorbed. But many will never notice.

How do we fix that without huge popup ads? I noticed last week that if you select a character that is not training's skill queue, a notification that you can ignore forever pops up about multi-character training being available. I liked that but I do not wish for ads to be in every moment of my game telling me all of the exciting things that I don't want.

But basic information about the game should be available inside of the game. The question is how do we wrap it into the world in such a way as for it not to be offensive? We don't have the numerous menus in tab and escape that other games have. One idea that I did have was our in game mail.

Many people get angry when CCP sends notifications. When they have done so before it causes much anger. A lot of the players who do not know what is going on don't want to know what is going on. CCP has also kept a very hands off approach to their broader communication so this has become an ingrained reality.

In discussions, a proposal that I have made was to create another mail tab. We have mail and communications. Why not add notifications? It can be disabled easily but development blogs, major announcements, that type of thing could go there. Turn it off you never have to see it. Turn it on and they could put some information in game. It is not the first tab or even the second but it is a third tab that may provide some browsing interest. Toss in a few links and maybe, just maybe a few more people would become informed.

Of course, it has the chance of turning into a, "BUY MORE PLEX NOW" type of situation. I'd hope we could establish better guidelines and not come to that. More so, it is just an idea. One idea where there could be dozens about how CCP could communicate with us better without hat communication being intrusive.  And it may be a bad idea. Perhaps, CCP's place is outside of the client when it comes to their customer relationship.

But, I don't know. I discovered there was something interesting on the account management page. I never visit it. My payments are all automatic. I consider myself well connected to the going ons of the game. That connection could also be a blind spot when I think on a topic like this.

More? Less? Can we have information and immersion in the same breath? With more and faster changes in the game, the importance of communicating those changes seems to increase to me.

13 comments:

  1. I absolutely agree... we need in-game tool-tips that describe things like transversal, "slipping under someone's guns", tracking speed calculations, etc. All of that needs to be inside the game and not dependent on player guides, though player guides are nice.

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    1. This could work well. Maybe have the title of the tool-tip or the different stats be links that opens the in-game browser to the relevant page on the Wiki. Might have to change the wiki a little so that it reads like you're still in the game but it should be helpful.

      -Baljos Arnjak

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  2. I find the EVE Facebook page does a reasonable job of flagging new CCP specific content for us to consume, while also highlighting the occasional non-CCP EVE related site, image, article or blog entry. The frequency of updates seems to be balanced reasonably well. For me personally, that wouldn't be a bad example to look at.

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  3. I have said it before. If CCP was truly interested in the NPE (which I am starting to believe they really don't), they would bite the PR bullet, and name a group (my choice would be Eve UNI) as the starting corp for ALL new players. Not some NPC corp, but a learning corp dedicated to the instruction of new players populated with people with a track record of doing just that.

    Now, god knows how many other corps / alliances would scream blue murder, but the retention rate would go way up.

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    1. Dinsdale Piranha:

      One might want to check in with Eve Uni before saddling them with the responsibility of educating every single new character to enter the game. Eve Uni, being an entirely volunteer organization, might prefer some input about who they’re obligated to accept.

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    2. @Dire Necessity: That is a fair point re: the UNI being stuck with all losers as well. But keep in mind, the UNI has very liberal acceptance standards. Other than no asshattery allowed, the newer the player the better. They can always toss players, and they do that today.

      As to the extra workload, that is more problematic. But I am sure CCP could fire one of the null sec cartel dev's, hire a more balanced individual, and and allocate 40 hours of work time to helping the UNI. Also, I keep hearing lip service from various groups about helping out on the new NPC corp channels. That requirement would disappear, and those people could help out the UNI instead.

      Hell, if CCP actually tapped the UNI as the single entry point into the game, I might even get serious and x up to help the new players. Not sure, but I think my gunnery class is still kicking around in the UNI voice archives.

      And yes, I am Dinsdale. The reason I go by Vince is stupid...I messed up my ID's with Dinsdale.

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    3. To be honest, if I'd been forced into being helped like that, I would have run off immediately. Literally the first skill I'd inject would be the one giving me the ability to make my own corp.

      Or I would have stopped playing, because I consider being forced into an official learning group like this obnoxious and rude.

      I prefer to fail at my own pace.

      Building on that, the system right now works actually quite well, it's just missing some ways to make newbies aware of all the ways entering a player corp (even if it's just a self-made one) is better than hanging around in a NPC-corp forever.

      But starting out in a NPC-corp makes logical sense, since the corp is the capsuleer-school you graduate from and so creates a neat link between a player and the lore. Making that go away would hurt the game badly long-term, I think.

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  4. More information is always good. And as long as I can turn it off when the notifications get too obnoxious, all will be well.

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  5. I think we need a way to post notifications in a way that does not push out to all the members of a grouping. Basically, either add a page to the corporation menu, or add a new sov window. This one can contain all the relevant information coming in from structures. Players can search it directly, and it doesn't populate their personal feeds.

    Look at the calendar. It's not used by all, but it is well implemented as a discrete medium of exchange. Similar things could work as a more elaborate kind of MOTD for information dissemination or discussion center within corps that moves a little slower than corp chat.

    There are probably a lot of API considerations for sov structure notifications. Rather than rewrite everything, aim for a censor function in feeds to allow players to silence redundant information.

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  6. To hell with immersion. There is too much going on with this game that players should know about that using that as the excuse is ridiculous. Send them a mail, put it on the launcher, if it's really important like a major change then let it be a pop-up for all I care. Players should have have the option to opt-out of any and all of these methods. No, not opt-in, because too many wouldn't even know they could do that either. Players shouldn't have to join SlackTweetFleet or reddit or read a blog that they didn't even know existed to get certain pertinent information that could make their experience better. Immersion is an excuse. A mail isn't a heavy burden to try an inform the players, especially those probably most in need of knowing what's going on. And again, give them the freedom to opt out of all of it, but that's their decision.

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    1. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

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  7. How about an in-game news channel? CCP could post things like The Scope news bulletins, but also include things like patches (i.e.: Welcome to Vanguard - here's what you need to know).

    I like the idea of notifications but I think they should have everyone opted in and those who prefer not to receive it opt out. The newer players aren't likely to know that it exists, so it's better to have them in automatically.

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  8. Patch days are already listed in the in game calendar, right? Should be able to click on a patch and get an in-game version of the patch notes page from the website.

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