Dead Game
#21
(03-14-2018, 01:49 AM)Silver Wrote: every new version of Haven is less a need of purging player files to embrace new code and more of the staff making an attempt at a new start so that they can artificially stoke excitement, reuse storylines, and nerf down individuals that are in power
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#22
(03-14-2018, 01:49 AM)Silver Wrote: The biggest problem with the playerbase retention here, in my opinion, is Haven's constant wipes and reboots. I'm pretty sure that people understand by this point that every new version of Haven is less a need of purging player files to embrace new code and more of the staff making an attempt at a new start so that they can artificially stoke excitement, reuse storylines, and nerf down individuals that are in power to give a chance for everyone to start on a level playing field again. It's gotten so transparent that some people just don't want to put up with it and less and less people return each wipe. No one likes to lose hard earned work, after all, even if it's for the stoking of the flames to try to breathe life back into the game. Or, the flip side, you have people that can 'feel' the end of the version coming along and they just stop playing, claiming to return in the new version, sometimes months before a pwipe is ever officially announced.

Just wait, you think it's bad now? The moment people get legitimate wind that the next wipe is coming, it'll be a ghost town. People will have even less motive to play because, once again, back to square one.

Couldn't disagree more with this.

My interest in Haven comes and goes. But I'm always eager to return every time there's a new version/pwipe and I anticipate that 5.0, if it comes, will be no different for me in that respect. I usually drag a few new and old players back in with me too, and I'm sure I'm not unique in this regard.

One of the things I admire most about Haven's design is the willingness of staff to adapt, evolve, and admit to having made mistakes.

It's true what Cliffracer says: they're usually very belligerent when put on the spot, if you say something like 'dreamworlds in 4.0 suck' they tend to react with a very crotchety attitude, which I think is quite understandable and human. No one likes it when a bunch of ungrateful sods mosey over to partake of their hard work and then proceed to shit all over it.

But they think things over as time goes by. Approaching the end of the version they often do take a look at things from a birds' eye view and examine what actually worked, what didn't. And then they proceed to knock over the sandcastle and start all over again.

This very gradual purpose might not be perfect but it sure beats other games I've played, led by more fragile egos who refuse to ever admit mistakes or change their understanding, regardless of mounting evidence that they should.

(Just like meat eaters ... AMIRITE?)

Not all versions are better than the previous. 3.0 was the worst version by far, in my humble opinion, and a significant downgrade from 2.5. But I appreciate that they try, and 4.0 is at least better, in most respects, than 3.0. (I dislike secrecy, dreamworlds and the victimise system, but not everything can be perfect.) At the very least I approach something new with the naive air of fresh excitement rather than with the malaise of already knowing everything that's wrong with the system.

But more than that, I very much appreciate the chance to join a level playing field anew. And I am happy to give up my hard work to do it. When I first joined Haven in 2.0, I remember how daunted I felt playing tiny Naomi amid a sea of old Class 3/4 veterans like Nathan and Miranda. By the time 2.5 ended, I had joined the ranks as Linh, a notorious ex-Abomination with Remnant powers. From both ends of the spectrum, I find the stodgy old powerhouses end up too comfortable on their thrones, frequently at the expense of other players. It's good to shake things up a little, and unseat far-removed Tier 5s when they're about ready to go on an unstoppable rape and murder rampage.

Besides, the end of the world storylines tend to be the most fun I have in Haven. Raincoat Games anyone? That was some of Daed's finest work. Clearly I'm a terrible elitist who thinks she's better than everyone or something, but the kinds of people who would run from that, skip town or start complaining amid all the excitement, aren't the kinds of people I'd want to play with anyway.

"Our pain is the mirror in which we can see the reflection of our humanity."
Make a difference.
[OOC] dev: 'when kes says ur goin 2 hard, u know u need 2 rethink ur life choices'
#23
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#24
Silver Wrote:The biggest problem with the playerbase retention here, in my opinion, is Haven's constant wipes and reboots.

I'm pretty sure recurring wipes and reboots are the only thing keeping Haven alive. These wipes and reboots are Haven's defibrillator, since 3.0.

Silver Wrote:I'm pretty sure that people understand by this point that every new version of Haven is less a need of purging player files to embrace new code and more of the staff making an attempt at a new start so that they can artificially stoke excitement, reuse storylines, and nerf down individuals that are in power to give a chance for everyone to start on a level playing field again.

I think this has only ever been the case with 4.0, but if we're being frank, I think that everybody appreciates it when Tyr walks down the line and chops the e-peens off of all of the e-peen bandits that grind out awful to passable stories so that they can be allowed to swing a big ol' e-donger around and forget all about story or creativity again except for their bi-monthly cat-in-a-tree encounter. It doesn't take long at all for a lot of bad players to get higher tiered characters, and once they do, it doesn't take long for them to start making everybody else miserable, if they're active. Historically, at the very least, the awful super-powered characters played by progressionists that are willing to stomach pretending to be a storyteller long enough to run a few plots mostly just didn't do anything unless you banged their SO or something but they're more actively awful these days, I gather.

So like, you're right and you're wrong. Yes, this is definitely, as best as I can tell, the primary intended function of the 4.0 reboot which had a few overhauls and improvements but was otherwise pretty minor. No, it's absolutely not a bad thing. A fresh start can be fantastic for a game, and especially one that grows as stale as Haven tends to without Daed babysitting.

Acheron Wrote:I mean Haven's been 'dying' for at least three years, I'm not sure it's terribly newsworthy. All games hit a peak early on and then slowly lose players, temporarily reversed by new expansion packs or in Haven's case, reboots.

Within that you have peaks and troughs, so recently for instance drama caused a few people to meh out and play less, and a few other people also stopped playing or started playing less for unrelated reasons, which has a knock on effect since if the people you aren't RPing with aren't around, you're less likely to stick around etc, so you get a slump.

It's not really a great mystery, it'll either pick back up or it'll become the new baseline. Fundamentally nothing changes though, you play the game if it's fun, you don't play it if it isn't.

This particular line of bullshit might be more convincing if it weren't for the incredible ease with which one can go out and ask former Haven players why they've stopped playing the game, or why they've moved to whatever game they're playing now, why they aren't trying new reboots, etc.

Hint: It's not just because they got bored and Haven got stale.
"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
#25
The reboots of the game have been, I think, pretty fantastic. As someone that tested the bulk of the reboots (can't remember if I tested the last one as well), I can say that without a doubt, regardless of how the newer systems end up working, they're always intended to generate story. As someone who isn't super mechanics driven anymore, I usually quite enjoy all of the new mechanics that come with a reboot, and it incenses me to play, rather than discourages me.

I don't play anymore because I keep myself pretty busy between work and friends, and I don't have the time to commit to Haven, or the patience anymore for toxic/awful people in my life. I think if the culture were better, or if the game required less of a time commitment to do what I want to do, I might give it a whirl again. And I'd certainly test 5.0 again, if it happens and I were asked. But I'm not sure I'd be willing to actually put effort into a character, given the current culture.

That being said, the code has a lot more to do with the culture than Acheron seems to want to admit. This isn't a cooperative storytelling game, regardless of what anyone says. Or, at least, it's not coded like one. It's coded as a competitive storytelling game. And I get plenty of cool competitive storytelling out of the board games I play IRL, which inevitably require less of a personal commitment, don't have the "I'm gonna ruin someone's OOC day" factor of anonymity, and I can enjoy with people that I enjoy being around.

I think a lot could go into the game to make it more cooperative. I think the setting and the grid could use a HUGE revamp, more than the mechanics themselves. And I think Haven would benefit from a rebranding, away from calling itself "Horror" and more "gritty/grimdark urban fantasy", which is ultimately what it's coded to be. Regardless of how much the staff would probably argue that it's totally coded to be a horror game (if, you know, you find pregnancy and birth control horrific, which, to be fair, both can be I guess).

In any case, the reboots are good. They've been keeping LoTJ alive. I think leveling the playing field and forcing the lazy/awful people that begrudgingly grind out karma to be the best is great for the health of the game. You aren't going to draw in new blood with awful people who are awfully strong doing awful things for awful reasons. That's, ultimately, what probably did BuffyMUD in more than anything else. Hell, I'm personally a fan of forcing timers onto characters, so that people just DON'T hang around for months or years. But I think I'm in a pretty small minority with that.
"You see I believe in freedom. Not many people do, although they will of course protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”
#26
Sanni Wrote:You aren't going to draw in new blood with awful people who are awfully strong doing awful things for awful reasons. That's, ultimately, what probably did BuffyMUD in more than anything else.

Nailed it.

Sanni Wrote:That being said, the code has a lot more to do with the culture than Acheron seems to want to admit. This isn't a cooperative storytelling game, regardless of what anyone says. Or, at least, it's not coded like one. It's coded as a competitive storytelling game. And I get plenty of cool competitive storytelling out of the board games I play IRL, which inevitably require less of a personal commitment, don't have the "I'm gonna ruin someone's OOC day" factor of anonymity, and I can enjoy with people that I enjoy being around.

I think a lot could go into the game to make it more cooperative. I think the setting and the grid could use a HUGE revamp, more than the mechanics themselves. And I think Haven would benefit from a rebranding, away from calling itself "Horror" and more "gritty/grimdark urban fantasy", which is ultimately what it's coded to be.

I agree and am on board with that, too. I'd personally prefer Haven be reworked into an actual horror game over simply embracing the urban fantasy competitive game with storytelling features that it's always been, especially if the cooperative angle was approached by focusing on quasi-consent based victim/monster horror-themed interaction instead of on monsters touching e-peens. That's just me though.

Great post. Eleven eggplants out of ten.
"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
#27
(03-14-2018, 06:46 AM)Sanni Wrote: I think a lot could go into the game to make it more cooperative. I think the setting and the grid could use a HUGE revamp, more than the mechanics themselves. And I think Haven would benefit from a rebranding, away from calling itself "Horror" and more "gritty/grimdark urban fantasy", which is ultimately what it's coded to be. Regardless of how much the staff would probably argue that it's totally coded to be a horror game (if, you know,  you find pregnancy and birth control  horrific, which, to be fair, both can be I guess).

Y'know, I've always thought (and said) that Haven would do a lot better in a more urban, cosmopolitan setting than a small seaside town. Somewhere like downtown Boston, New York City, or (personal, biased favourite) even London.

London is full of weird people. I know, because I live here. Nobody bats an eyelash when they see a faceful of tattoos, or bright purple hair, or weird contact lenses, or someone going crazy and urinating in the middle of the street. That's the beauty of it. London is a city of free expression.

If there's one thing I've learned across every iteration of Haven that I've played, it's that people love to play total weirdos, the kind that you really wouldn't expect to find in large clusters within a small seaside town in New England. And every iteration, we have people griping: 'Stop playing such godawful weirdos! Be more subtle! Haven is a small town, this isn't downtown Boston!'

Actually, though, why isn't it downtown Boston? It would make a lot more sense if it were. If I was a supernatural weirdo, I'd definitely want a big city to better blend in and more easily find targets no one would recognise or miss seeing around.

As a bonus point, were it set in London, maybe people would no longer feel the need to play such godawful British stereotypes since being a 'British gentleman' in London wouldn't actually increase your chances of getting laid. Instead, they could play American expats and have women swoon over their charming ineptitude at basic geography.

What's cooler, guys? Supernatural monsters chillin' like a villain in some beachside bungalow along the coast of bumfuck nowhere? Or supernatural gangs ruling over secret disused stations hidden across the London Underground?

"Our pain is the mirror in which we can see the reflection of our humanity."
Make a difference.
[OOC] dev: 'when kes says ur goin 2 hard, u know u need 2 rethink ur life choices'
#28
I would love to see Haven reworked with a bigger city as the focus. It would make so much more sense with the craziness of the types of characters, grid locations, and activities that go on. Even if it was just one section of a big city, rather than trying to map out all of London, with the rest of it being relegated to 'off grid'. Granted, the forest hunting could be an issue, but people can just as easily travel/path/etc to a forest area to hunt. Gates could be well known and centered in parts of the world, rather than right in that city. Groups could try to control teh areas in which those gates are found, and thus the realms beyond them (just a small branch off of what operations already do in these territories that might make them even more interesting)

My personal feeling about the downsizing of the grid lately is twofold. Yes, there's been a lot of OOC drama. But also, there's a lot of punishing of player behaviors that other games embrace. We have slut-shaming code just to punish them. We call people who want relationship RP 'house players'. Other MUs embrace them. We shame them, diss them, and feed them into oblivion. Playing a natural is punishing. You get victimized regularly and without any real satisfaction unless you suck up to one of those groups and find yourself in the category getting slut-shamed.

Why punish people for playing what they want to play? Especially when a lot of those players are actually GOOD RPers. Who cares if they only want to play naturals? We NEED naturals.
Give back the karma naturals used to earn and maybe we'd see people happier to play victims. We'd at least probably see more of them even if it was mildly begrudging. Make the karma gain based off of being victimized; it's a carrot to play a suffering character and there were certainly a lot more naturals on grid when they got karma for playing.

While I'm on my soapbox, PLEASE get rid of the slut-shaming code. Why is it necessary? Those people add naturals to the game. Even if all they want is sex, they can be victimized, used, incorporated until the character becomes more real. There's a ton of other things like this too in Haven. Socialites, Tavern-sitters. The list goes on. We're forcing people away by saying certain MU-acceptable character types are not cool in Haven. Rather than code-slap them, can't we shape them? Direct them. We need characters, and I'm sure that even some of these less enthusiastic, less internally driven folk would love to get involved in the big stories of the game if they were led into it and given opportunities, rather than shut out and written off as 'house-tavern-sex chars'. Surely there's ways to incorporate non-monsters into the game and into the world of Haven besides ostracizing them and making them run off to other games where happy-go-lucky, free-love, drink-all-day characters are embraced.
#29
Big cities make objectively worse and uninteresting grids. This is one of the big lessons of Inferno, but you can also see it all across media where small towns are chosen because they're more relatable and there's more flexibility for the writing. Shows / books set in big cities tend to have a specific reason they are set in a big city that is central to the plot.

Normalizing weirdo characters / shops does not make them more interesting or fun. They're still the same weirdo character and instead of saying they aren't realistic, you're just left saying they're dumb.

I really dislike the mentality where we increasingly try to normalize things to make them seem less bad without actually making them less bad. It's just this illusion we create and in the meantime, we're usually racing to the bottom as far as standards go.

If we make things as generic as possible and lower the standards as much as we can until no one is expected to be anything but a baddie, will we never be disappointed or will we just be perpetually in a state of disappointment?

For example: Look at the differences between Angel and Buffy, the TV shows. In Sunnydale, they were always doing different types of environments and making up new locations. It always seemed very idyllic and interesting which also was a good contrast for the evil lurking in the shadows. In Angel, despite it having somewhat more adult themes versus coming of age themes, the actual sets weren't as varied. Set 1: an apartment. Set 2: a demon bar. Set 3: A dark alley that could literally be anywhere. Set 4: An alien world because coming up with interesting backdrops in a city is hard work. This is the opposite of what you'd want in a show, but also especially in a roleplaying game where the environments set the mood and determine what you can roleplay. You can put apartments, bars, and dark alleys in a small town. You can even do a busy street with lots of pedestrians scene in a downtown area. Your NPCs on the street just might be more suburbanite.
#30
Tigerlily Wrote:Give back the karma naturals used to earn and maybe we'd see people happier to play victims.

Or we could please not. We'd just wind up with a lot of bad victims followed by an upsurge in bad antagonists when e-peen flexors abandon their efforts at pretending to be a storyteller in favor of playing a natural so they can get their fully eggplant T3s and T4s and T5s faster and with a minimum of actually having to learn how to be a story provider.
"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


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