Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

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Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Kiyaani » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:48 pm

Hey guys,

Sorry in advance for the long post.

These are some things I think both players and GMs could work on to really make Clok shine. This used to be a very active, very feedback-driven, change-implementing game full of mini-events, minor interactions, and major months to year-long story arcs. Lately, it's been extremely quiet. I know some of the GMs and players are still around doing things and I want to say thanks for that, but there's more both players and GMs could do to make Clok the game it deserves to be.

PS - Some of you may already be doing this stuff and to those I again say thank you! But there's still a lot more that we as a community can do.

1) Be present

This doesn't mean you have to be logged in 24/7. But it does mean both players and GMs should put in the effort to login at least once a week. There may be something going on, there may not, but so long as you have interest in the game you should be participating. An empty WHO list discourages players both new and old.

If you check WHO and it's empty, make an effort to hang out for a bit and see if others login. Sometimes people are doing the same thing you are - waiting for people to be on. But no one ever will be if everyone's playing the WHO list game.

2) Vote

Active, inactive, casual, GM, or player. If you appreciate the work that went into making Clok and want it to continue, please vote. Voting gives Clok a presence in the wider gaming community. It introduces it to new players, and reminds old players that it's still around.

3) Weekly Changelog

This is for the GMs, yes, but it's also for the players. The changelog used to be updated every week or so. It was regular and expected. It was something players looked forward to as bugs were fixed and new content rolled out. The log doesn't have to have fifty items on it. It doesn't even have to have ten items. It just needs to be present and consistent. Players submit bugs, suggestions, feedback all the time and it goes unanswered. This is a great way for the GMs to let players know that the game is still being worked on and that their voices matter. It's also great incentive for the GMs to actually get at least one thing done every week so there's something to add.

Maintenance mode is fine when the game is bug-free and fully implemented, but there are plenty of features that have always been talked about and never put out. There are things in our TMC description and wiki that still don't exist. There are hamlets, zones, and plot lines that are being under-utilized. In other words, there is plenty to do. Find something you're passionate to work towards and do it - then add it to the changelog (if appropriate).

4) Use the Forums

Players: Post ideas. Post stories. Post bugs. Reply to other people's posts. Invest. Show interest.

GMs: Do the same.

It's that simple. Some people don't login to the game, they just check the forums. Having an active board draws interest and gets people excited about the game which then translates into more ideas and development overall. It may even get them to login.

5) Fix, implement, run.

GMs: This is fairly simple. Some of you may have the capability, some may not. Set aside some time every week to come up with at least one thing you want to do the following week. Then do it. This can be as simple as dedicating one hour to bugfixing (the results of which can then go on the weekly changelog), coming up with a new vendor/alter NPC, or running an event (doesn't have to be huge, just something).

6) Weekly GM Voice Meeting

Mandatory or not, hold meetings every week at a pre-determined time agreeable to everyone. Every GM should submit one thing they want to accomplish the following week. It should be discussed and approved or altered in the meeting. If there's a big idea - split up the tasks to everyone knows what they're doing and what's expected of them. Keep it on track and keep it in voice - that way there are fewer distractions.

7) Bi-weekly Player/GM Voice Town Hall

Have an agenda or topic prepared and post it to the boards so people know what they want to talk about. Have a note-taker who can post the main points to the board afterwards for reference. Keep it concise and on-point. Make it 1-2 hours tops. This meeting is to share ideas, ask questions, discuss lore, and ask for suggestions from players. Yes, the boards could accomplish the same thing on their own, but it's also a way to develop community within the players and staff. Hold the meeting even if no one shows up. Just have it open and people can drop by as they're able or stay for the whole thing. Discord is a great way to do this without worrying about setting up and inviting to Skype since you can just post a link and sit in the voice channel.

8) No secret changes/transparency

GMs: If a new major feature or update is being made to a profession, guild, or ability then please post about it in advance if possible. Just like having the changelog is important to showing players how active the game is, posting ahead of time is a great way to get feedback and prepare players for upcoming changes. No one likes to be blindsided by a new major implementation (good or bad). Just a little forewarning and explanation/reasoning goes a long way.

*****

These are some of the ideas I came up with. I'm sure there are others people have. I sincerely hope no one takes this as criticism of the current state of things. It's meant to be constructive. We all want this game to succeed and be great.

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby jilliana » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:04 pm

I think Kiyaani pretty much covered the biggies. I can't think of anything else to add. All I've got are reasons for why we do or don't do things.

The who list game is definitely a big one for me. I certainly play it. I like to know who I'm playing with even if I'm not feeling entirely social. Changing my nick has become an afterthought at this point. Yet another command I have to remember to do after logging in right after checking status, riln and rations. Work.
I also think that the current Chat system is a bit off-putting to newbies. Some people have wondered why they are still in guest mode after having been on a while. If ther eisn't anyone around to explain...then they log out.

Changelogs are great. It doesn't matter to me if it's just one once a week or a handful every few weeks. It lets me know that the GMs still care. For a little while changelogs got revived, but they fizzled out again. They don't have to be big changes at all. I submit typos and other assorted bugs somewhat regularly and sometimes I do wonder if they are being read and considered. I also find myself hesitating to even submit a bug.

There have been a few times, especially in the last year and a half or so when a player would submit an idea and such and a GM would end the conversation by stating it's too difficult, or it's too time-consuming. I know what it's like to be in those shoes, but as a player I can't help but think that a project takes too long it's better to start now and get done with it sooner.
There have also been ideas suggested by players and are very well-liked, but completely shut down with no real reason that we know of aside from the fact that the GM doesn't like it. If an idea is so popular and well-liked, why not take it under serious consideration? Maybe it's not what one would want for CLOK, but it keeps players around and happy.

I do miss the voice conferences. They were definitely a nice way to get to know my fellow players and learn what the GMs have been up to. If not the GMs hosting it, maybe a player or two can host a discussion and the GMs are invited. I know it wouldn't be quite the same, but at least there'll be that OOC community aspect that a lot of us like about CLOK.

I agree about keeping things transparent. I know it's pressure on a GM to get things done if they are transparent, but that's what keeps things going for us players on the participation front. It's a way to include us in decisions, particularly the biggies. It'd also help us understand why things are being done a certain way.

I think there could be a bit more flexibility as far as events go time-wise. The average CLOK player is an adult with OOC responsibilities. I also noticed that CLOK's demographic also includes people with interests aside from gaming.
I completely understand that GMs like storylines, especially continuous storylines that last a long time. However, this results in a lack of interest and burnout that could be avoided if a time frame is developed with some reasonable flexibility for player influences, and then stuck to. We want to feel like the world we are spending our leisure time on is impacted by something we do. That doesn't mean that GMs have to respond to every piece of mail or IC statement and action, but we like progression of some kind. I would like to know if GMs lose interest in a storyline. That way I don't have to invest my own time and emotion trying to think of ways for things to continue and nothing will happen as a result. I know for sure some other players feel the same as well.

I think the main thing that needs to get back on track is communication from everyone. Gm to GM, player to player, GM to player. Honest, constructive communication. Maybe a GM would realize that things may have to revert to an old way of things. Maybe players would sympathize with a GM and their struggles to improve the game. It doesn't mean that someone is making a mistake or has made one. It simply means that we are all learning as we go and I find that CLOK players are among some of the more forgiving I've seen in my time as a gamer.
CHAT - Sir Alexander Candelori: Truly a man is an abomination that does not dip his french fries into his chocolate frosty.
Bryce flatly says, "Just fair warning: If one of those things webs me, I'm going to scream like a girl."
You overhear the following rumor:
"There's an old man that can sometimes be seen walking around with a trunk, rumor has it he takes it to the stables and gets naked in front of the horses before changing clothes from the trunk."
You think to yourself, "Who could that old man be?"

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Dorn » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:04 am

Honestly, I think the biggest thing about it all is us the players. If we're around, it not only shows to the GMs there is interest but also gives the GMs people to work with beyond just whatever they do in the background.

Of course, if the game seems dead though we're reluctant to log on. If we're not around, any new players who do pop on feel the game is RIP and don't stick around. It is really sucky, because it is a just a circle really.

Course, I know we can't just all be around playing all the time or even every night, or so on. As Jill pointed out, a lot of us are very busy people with a lot of other stuff going on so at the end of the day we just have to do what little we can to remind people what an awesome game Clok can be.
~Dorn
Uyoku takes a bite of her smelly skunk poop.

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Acarin » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:20 pm

I came back on after about a year the other day and seriously thought the game was dead... nice to visit but since there doesn't seem to be much activity, GM or player, I'm not very motivated to keep logging back in. Just my take here...

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Vestyn » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:48 pm

I can’t and won’t speak for other GMs, but I do agree there is deffinetly a lot more that I could do to make playing and GMing fun for all involved. I could, instead of running a great story changing event, just do *something*, and the winter solstis was a fantastic reminder of that. I think that just having someone show up every now and again for half hour or so would go a long way in at least saying “we’re doing things,” even if it’s not the most elaboret plot inducing story changing thing. I will put more of an effort into at least doing smaller things to get people excited. Who knows. That smaller thing, thanks to all involved, may become much larger.


On the other side of that, though, when I log in and see two people on it’s kind of like, “oh. Uh,” and that’s partially my fault, too. I should spend more time and give those people that are there some sort of thing, even if it’s talking to a fat guard about the weather or pissing off an assassin with a throw away NPC to have them killed.

As to the getting on discord thing, I personally can’t. I use a screen reader, and discord being what it is, isn’t the most accessible thing. I’d be on discord more than I am on the game if I was able to use it, because I’m on the computer and it’s easier to at least be around and chat with people. I feel I’m missing out there, too, because an off-handed comment could strike something in someone’s brain and it could get the next big fad started.

I do remember when Clok had 20 players on and, while things were happening and I didn’t agree with all of them, stuff was happening and we were doing things, both as gm and player. I feel, too, that there is a sense of loss there. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has extremely fond memories of seeing what <insert thing Here did, and I want to do my part in making sure that happens, and I appologise that I haven’t been doing more of that.

Having said that, I've seen a few more players over the past few days, and that enspires me to get on and be around more, too. So the numbers really do make a difference. Thank you, all of you, for at least logging in and being around.

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Kiyaani » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:08 pm

Thanks so much for the feedback everyone. We had eight people on at once at one point today and it was really encouraging. I saw a GM or two pop by and that was as well. Vestyn - I would love to talk to some fat guard about the weather ;)

Remember, changes don't have to be big at all. Any little thing helps! :)

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Liani » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:16 pm

One thing that sort of bothers me is sometimes things will happen with no follow through. I think from a player's perspective, it's nice to know that either something will happen or it won't rather than waiting for, literally a year.

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Re: Open Discussion - Improving the Clok Experience

Postby Dorn » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:54 pm

It is evenings like these (my evening anyway) that always give me hope for Clok. We've a lot of people who enjoy the game and the community, maybe we hit it off badly with timezones or available time with everything else in our lives, but we are still kicking.
~Dorn
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