When to launch?

Development for CoPaP
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World Leader: Stormsea Rising
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When to launch?

Post by Rathaen » Fri Jun 25, 2004 10:26 pm

I beg a moment of the more experienced people here.....

I ran an independent PW a while back, but we always ran into not having enough content. Obviously, you can't wait for EVERYTHING to be done, because you'd never get the PW out the door, but you can't launch with one city and a fields area outside of it.

Right now, our module includes about 40 areas, 15 of which are "worldmap" areas. There are about ten "building interior" areas (5 in the main city, and 5 in little outlying buildings spread about the fifteen worldmap areas). The rest are caves and ruins and other places for adventurers to explore.

That 40 doesn't include our death system; right now, we have a simple penalty-respawn system, but I'm looking at either integrating or modifying the Avlis death system.

In the way of special features, we have persistence for location and health, a bleeding system, we are about to integrate the Avlis crafting system, and we're working on a homebrew logging system using the Avlis SQL routines.

We also have a travel ring system, where special "boss" monsters hidden away in ruins and caverns and the like drop unbound travel rings which the PCs may irrevocably bind to several travel points spread rather thinly across the worldmap (in those 40 areas, there are only 3 portals). Using a ring (once/daily) returns the user to the travel point the ring is bound to.

We have enough content to keep users heavily occupied in their first three levels or so, and one or two sets of areas for PCs in the four, five, and (if solo) six-seven range.

So... anyway, my question is this: I'd like to flesh out our world a tad more, but when do we have enough content, in terms of areas and features, to make it worth our time to launch?
"Rathaen ni-Tethrain" and/or "Eilysian ab-Pharaki"
from "Stormsea Rising"

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Post by Orleron » Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:05 pm

That's really up to you. Let me explain.

Avlis launched with three areas. I don't mean one city with a bunch of areas and two full dungeons. I mean three *areas*, as opposed to your 40 areas.

Of course then times were different. NWN just went gold and there was a rush to see who could build the best PW the fastest. So we really pushed it.

But you know, people still played. The three areas soon doubled within a day or two, and those doubled a few days later. People had new places to explore, and there werent' really even quests yet.

Again though, times are different now. People see worlds out there that have been around for a while and they expect the newer worlds to live up to them right away, and that's just impossible, especially if you EVER want to launch your world.

Also, I gotta mention, people who played Avlis in the very early days constantly bitched about not having enough to do at times. It took us until very recently to have enough for everyone to do no matter what. Giving people something to do in terms of quests and areas is not the easiest thing in the world, but you also should not worry about it so much, as long as you are growing at some pace.

My take on it is that you should go live whenever you feel like it. Only have 40 well-fleshed areas? Go for it. If you hire a DM or two, you should be able to give people things to do. If you make it so the players have a strong world history and political landscape to interact with, they will stay long enough for you to add the areas and quests. BUT, you also gotta advertise your world like a frigg'n fiend of a PR whore, or you will not get enough players at all. That is something I wish more CoPaP leaders would understand, and some do, but it is the main reason why you see the most players on Avlis and not on the other worlds at this point. Because we advertise way way more. It's NOT because these other worlds have less stuff than us. Each of the worlds connected to CoPaP has enough culture and history in its own right to keep players. They just need to make the effort.

I hope that helps answer your question.
Avlis: http://www.avlis.org

"My name is Orleron...a dungeonmaster...two years ago I got shot through a game client...I'm in a distant part of the internet aboard these servers of escaped mental patients...my players. I've made enemies, stupid, and annoying...now all I want to do is make CoPaP a reality, to warn Earth...Look inward(to your monitor) and share the newbies I've seen..."

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Post by Triwise » Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:46 pm

Then there is my world World of Prydain That is over 450 Areas and doesn't even scratch the surface as to being ready to play. Reason being bad scripting and over Zelous of the world Building not enough Npc's or adventures to make it fun. O the world map itself is only 40 areas. My thought is to start small and not get over overly ambitus

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Post by mariadoc » Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:36 pm

Thanks for the comment, Orleron, because We can use it here at Zorlan, if we link fast to other CoPaP worlds, We don´t have to have much developers. That´s because we really don´t build much areas at a time. The start with 3 areas is already a progress, Isn´t it? So if We link as fast as we can, we can base the rest on what happens in that 3 areas (A really big city, The lands trough which "Father the River" flows, and a forest with an underground hideout for bandits and monsters). Such a small world, and it will grow when the players solve plots. But there is one problem: "How do we get players to play on such a small world?". Maybe we just must get linked as soon as possible, so players from other worlds can explore Zorlan. We don´t have to build a big playerbase of our own.
Mariadoc, Zorlan´s World Leader.
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Post by Orleron » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:26 pm

If you link up, players from other CoPaP worlds will visit your world, definitely. I don't think that will be enough to keep your world populated though. However, it will get used.

If you have DM's that are online a lot, then it will increase your player usage by a lot. CoPaP players are starving for DM attention most of the time and usually if they hear someone is giving it, they go there. The trouble starts when that attention includes giving out uber items before it's been long enough and against the Articles. But if you simply give them XP cookies and a nice adventure, it should be fine.

The NWN community is a bit different right now than it was when I wrote that post. For one thing, I think it's on the decline. There are other good games out there to play, plus NWN2 is on the horizon. That means that fewer people are playing, smaller worlds are dying, and the larger worlds are gobbling up the players. Or they will be.

If you are a new NWN player today, you look up the list of PW's and see that some are huge and some are tiny. Regardless of how good they actually are, you will probably play on the big ones. That's why CoPaP is an advantage for new PW's to join, because it automatically puts them in the "big" category without having to actually be big by themselves. We have a name and a reputation, generally, and by joining us you inherit that immediately.

So even though the reasons are different, I would *still* say that worlds should link as fast as they can, without worrying about how many areas they have. So long as their scripts work for the most part, and their major CoPaP systems are working, then why not?

Recently, I saw a world that said it is finally going live after 19 months of building. Wtf? Can someone tell me the point of that? They spent nearly the entire active lifetime of NWN building and not having players, only to go online after *19 months* in a scene that is full of big worlds like us. I wish them luck, but I think there was a miscalculation there. Because nowadays, it's about the kind of following that you've built, and who knows about you, and what kind of world you are. The days of recruiting stragglers who have never played NWN are pretty much over.
Avlis: http://www.avlis.org

"My name is Orleron...a dungeonmaster...two years ago I got shot through a game client...I'm in a distant part of the internet aboard these servers of escaped mental patients...my players. I've made enemies, stupid, and annoying...now all I want to do is make CoPaP a reality, to warn Earth...Look inward(to your monitor) and share the newbies I've seen..."

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Post by dougnoel » Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:40 am

In online games, more is not better. In fact, it has been proven over and over again that putting quantity over quality will cause you to lose potential players.

Think about it: If you were to try a new world and there were only 10 areas, but they were well fleshed out and interesting, you would be much more interested in the server than if you had to wander through 10 areas just to find something interesting. In both cases you are going to have players who decide to leave because there "isn't enough", but in the first case, players will go away having had an experience with content. Those players are more likely to come back as you add new areas. On the flip side, players who saw no content are not likely to come back when you flesh them out because their experience with your content was that it was sparse "filler" content and not worth a second shot.

It doesn't matter if your custom races aren't ready. If you've got some models ready, make some NPCs that the players can interact with, so that when you do have Autobic working, the players are excited about being able to create a PC from this cool race. The same goes for custom PrCs or any other custom content. Even if you have no content ready for the game, you can still have NPCs mention new races, classes, creatures and areas to get the players interested in them.

As far as systems like crafting and death go, the Avlis Team is making an effort to compartmentalize and document the work we have done. It's going to take a while, but we're getting there. For example, the spellhooking, UMD and custom magic scripts are contained in an erf with directions on how to implement. When we finish with the new implementation of the crafting system, we will be documenting it as well. Since we have completely redone the way the system works (underneath, it just looks the same but better to the players) we have decided not to fully document it.

New worlds get much more bang for the buck fleshing out areas they have as opposed to creating as many areas as possible. One upside to smaller worlds is that PCs have an easier time finding one another. And remember, no matter how many areas you make, at some point you will have to limit where players can go on your world. You might as well make the areas they can go as interesting as possible.

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