Dead Game
The fuck happened? I log on and it's like 10 people online total. Is this because I'm logging on during a low population time, or is the game really dead?
I can't speak for anyone else but it felt like my efforts to breathe some life and excitement into the game were unwanted, so I peaced out. Presumably Fidget & Co. are now satisfied with their safe and peaceful tedium.

Speaking for other people, I feel like Haven has a lot of very restrictive mechanics which make playing casually (or really anything less than several hours a day) very difficult and frustrating. This is especially true for when you're trying to make something which others can enjoy, like a society. Secrecy is the worst offender — I don't think anyone likes that one — but society resources and to a much lesser degree, life-force, are among them. I don't actually dislike the life-force mechanic but I know it irritates a lot of people. The birth control mechanic also annoys the crap out of me, I think it adds nothing to the game and just serves to annoy those of us with little interest in baby-drama or turning our characters into birthing machines. In real life a smart and savvy woman can get a copper coil (generally covered in full by health insurance, even Medicaid in the US) and then never have to worry about it again for several years, suffering virtually no side-effects compared to hormone-disrupting alternatives. In Haven this method was removed as an option because it was deemed as making life 'too easy' for players disinterested in pregnancy RP regardless. But just like I don't RP taking a shit, I don't know why the game deems it necessary for me to micromanage my character's menstrual cycle and uterus. I would rather be doing literally anything else.

Haven is a game that requires you to pour in a lot of love, and offers you very little in return. This isn't wholly the fault of code, a lot of it is just shitty, twinky and stupid players who have no concept of horror or storytelling. Which really makes you wonder what they're doing on a horror-driven storytelling game. Maybe some of it is just the overly competitive elements of code which reward screwing people over, but either way — at a certain point you gotta just resign and take your love elsewhere.

I haven't really given up on Haven which is why I still lurk the forums. All else said, it is a game with a lot of love in it, from its overarching design to its minute attention to detail and numerous versions which point to a constantly evolving system. And let's not forget the players who really make it worth it, pouring love into their characters, plots, shops, societies, events and other designs within the framework — especially those who extend that love towards others. There are too many to name but Daed, ThatOneGuy, Olivia (RIP, for she left us) and the player of Kylie/Bijou come to mind as a few of particular note.

Unfortunately love is at constant war with shittiness, as a simple facet of human nature. For now I'm more content working on personal writing projects, where outside voices don't interfere.
What puzzles me the most is that when staff engages in discussions about what could work better for the game, they routinely disagree with anything that isn't "everything's fine as it is, change nothing." Something obviously isn't working, but there's too much protectiveness. Every suggestion gets shot down. That's not very encouraging. If there's a 5.0 this summer, I hope some serious lessons are learned from 4.0.
Ama86 Wrote:If there's a 5.0 this summer, I hope some serious lessons are learned from 4.0.

I don't think staff really tried all that hard with 4.0, to be honest. It was just 3.0 all over again with a few patches and fixes to some of staff's choice problems and some improvements to pet systems like dreams, and the maintenance of other systemic problems like the incentivization systems and competition mechanisms -- it felt more like 3.5 than 4.0, and even 2.5 I think was more different from 2.0 than 4.0 was from 3.0, really. The addition of secrecy definitely brought it over the top and past most peoples' thresholds of tolerance, with the game's unfriendliness to casual players having already been a major turn-off, as did the lack of changes to the victim/antagonist dynamic and, in my opinion, the over emphasis of competition and action. I don't think a 5.0 is all that likely, but I do certainly hope that the staff here continue to work on games and learn from their experiences with their own games, especially if they piece together a more coherent and consistent vision with more thematic gameplay and less broad scope and mass appeal.
"The day our glorious collective decides that being decent is as important as being competent (as they often go hand in hand), I'm sure several people will decide that the forums are suddenly a much more welcoming place to share ideas." - Dev
Let's not forget that everything got fractured down to the point of there being too small of a population in any one area to be able to do anything interesting, and segregated off from each other. That plus the time investment (plus, let's be honest, the toxicity of the playerbase) were all huge reasons for me just stepping away almost entirely from the game.

I honestly think a return to the big three and some condensing of all the various parts would be good. There were some good ideas in 4.0, but you need a critical mass of players together in one spot for things to be interesting enough for them to keep playing.
Its more common for there to be 20-30 people on than 10, but it does drop a bit lower on weekends or off hours.

Scenes require 2 people. I had a lot of fun on Bmud and the population there was never greater than 15 even at the best of times. Societies ("circles" were like three or four people tops.

A few people engaged in some OOC negativity and hurt each others feelings too. If people would just respect their playmates instead of turning it into a competition or feeling like they need to punish other people, it'd be a much more positive experience for everyone involved.

Stop being autists. We're here to play together, not alone.
Why are you using autist like an insult? You know that's weird, right?
Without veering down an SJW rabbithole, it's more like a comparison of behavior than an insult. Labeling it an insult misses atleast 50% of the meaning.

I'm suggesting that the social behaviors exhibited are and ability to recognize the worth of the experiences of other playmates is subpar.

Play nice.
BMud was also how many years ago with how many fewer features? 15-20 would be fine if they all wanted the same thing, but when that's split over three alliances, Blackfield, Dreamworld, and even the unused possibility of off-world, that's pretty painfully low. The culture and players of the game are different than they were back then, and not adapting to that is death.

At least we agree on people being awful to each other, though. I wasn't a perfect player in that regard either, admittedly.

Edit: It's also worth noting the effects of the Paradox of Choice here. By adding so many things to do, Haven accidentally shot itself in the foot. The opportunity cost for choosing one thing meant that people became less and less happy doing it. Condense. Simplify. The game outgrew its playerbase with its ambitions and requires far too much investment for anything but light social characters for anyone who wants to keep up other side interests or, you know, a job.
I don't know that how long ago it was matters.  There were certainly more games back then and more total players mudding across the hobby which seems like it would more likely support my stance.  Though that wasn't a point I'd bring up just because of how relatively weak it is.

Bmud was also fairly feature rich.  The features were just of a different sort.  Haven inherited some of them and others were dropped.

I do think the seperation between spheres is an issue, but its really not the most problematic.  Even with a 100 more players, I don't think the game would be inherently more fun just because the spheres are more populated.

Population really just helps to keep up the illusion that there might be fun to be had somewhere.

PS: People were jerks to each other a lot in Bmud too. Super griefy really. Until they mostly died out and I ushered in an era of peace fueled by 120 levels and the mark of voca.

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