Killing time softly
Iím sorry, this is going to be a bit of an essay. But hopefully there are some useful points in there.
I want to add to this discussion with some points that I think could be considered lessons from the Friday 13th war that just ended. For future reference: This war only had one million waves, but we still lost it.
First of all, I want to say that Iím not trying to put the blame on anyone. The staff picked a reasonable size for the war and gave us a reasonable amount of time. The players tried their best to win. But it still ended badly, and I would like a discussion about the reasons, and how we can avoid this in the future. Obviously, Iím speculating about the reasons. I can only know for sure why I personally didnít participate in this war as much as usual, and Iím not speaking for all players Ė but I hope this is helpful to get the discussion going.
So, letís look at the possible reasons:
1 The war was not the only thing going on
It is not ideal if two rare events happen at the same time. Heroís Heart Day started at the same time as the war, and it had some really nice rewards, that you could earn by doing the Snugglegram delivery quest. The very tedious Snugglegram delivery quest that only works when you are wearing the Snugglebear suit which is not exactly the most efficient class in DF. :)
I wanted those rewards, so I did a lot of Snugglegrams in between fighting war waves Ė and I was probably not the only one who got distracted.
2 Initially it was not clear that the war had a deadline
The DNs at the start of the war did not mention that this war was losable, and did not set a deadline. So I did not feel much pressure. I was certain that the war couldnít last much longer than a week because it was only one million waves, and it did not seem like the staff cared when exactly it would be over. We got information about the deadline on Thursday, and thatís when I got more serious about it. If I had known from the start when the war was supposed to end, I would have fought harder from the beginning. I imagine this was the case for others too.
3 The deadline was set at an unfavourable time
I understand why this was done Ė the cutscene for the losing ending had to be prepared on top of the normal release. But thereís no way around it Ė server time at noon on a weekday is not a good time for a final push, as most players will be at work or school.
I am six hours ahead of server time so I had the opportunity to help a little bit in the morning, but most American players most likely were still asleep at that time.
4 The war did not inspire enough motivation
It was a very simple war - undead with F13 masks (not that thatís a bad thing or anything). It wasnít tied to any major storyline, and the stakes did not seem high. The people who take pride in fighting in every war went to the battle as always Ė but many casual players probably did not participate, or just fought a very small number of waves. And we simply do not have the numbers anymore to make up for low motivation. To win a war, even a small one, we basically need everyoneís help, not just the hardcore warmongers.
So, in conclusion, what could be done to prevent this outcome in future wars?
Avoid concurrence with other rare events: I think this issue has a low priority, because it is not very common and it is probably not possible to avoid it altogether Ė if a Friday the 13th happens immediately before Valentineís Day because thatís how calendars work, there is nothing the staff could do about it. But maybe if something like this happens again, we could get an announcement with information about how long the rare event will stay in game. For example, if I had known that the war was supposed to end Friday morning and the HHD event will stay around for a few days after it, I would most likely have put off the HHD farming and focused on the war.
Announce war deadlines early: This would give us a better sense of how much time we have left and how well or how badly we are doing at any given point in the war. Sure, the HWC tells us if we are fast or slow, but that in itself doesnít tell us how likely we are to win. Information on how much time is left before the war ends adds a lot more pressure/motivation in my opinion.
Set deadlines in the evening if possible: This would give more players the chance to help in the final hours.
Make changes to wars that reflect how the community has changed
Honestly, this is a point I do not like to discuss much. I do not like to think that a game that I think is now at its absolute peak of quality in terms of storytelling and artwork is long past its peak of popularity. But thatís how it is. We are a much smaller community, and the structure of the community has changed. When DF started, I think most of us were school or university students. Now many of us have jobs, and maybe even families to look after. So not only are we fewer people, we are fewer people who have less time on their hands and different priorities.
So, here are some thoughts what could be done to reflect this change:
Have fewer wars. Personally, I would not like this solution at all, because I love wars and I think they are a very important way to connect the community. But if wars were rarer, and only happened in connection with major plot points, the motivation would probably increase, because there would be fewer opportunities to earn DMs and the consequences for the storyline would keep players interested.
Have smaller wars. Again, I would not like this personally. One million waves should be the minimum for a war in my opinion. But if it comes to the choice of: Have wars with a couple hundred thousand waves or lose every single war because there are not enough players, I would rather choose this option.
Accept that wars might last longer than a week, forego deadlines. This could be an alternative: Keep wars at the same frequency and the same size as they are now, but give us more time Ė just have the boss fight happen whenever the war is over Ė basically, take the ďloseĒ option away (of course that wouldnít work if a war has storyline implications, Iím talking F13 wars and things like that). Iím not sure how this would affect motivation, but again I would prefer it to losing frequently.
Try to increase the size of the community. This would be the solution I would like the most, but it is also the hardest to achieve. I just realised a while ago that I havenít seen any online adds for DF in ages. So the only new players joining us are most likely coming from other AE games or they are returning players. Now, adds cost money, and new players arenít necessarily going to pay for the game, and I guess if the staff thought this was a viable option theyíd be doing it already. I just thought Iíd bring it up, because maybe the players themselves can do something to promote the game a little bit (Iím talking about you kids with your social media thingies that I donít use myself :D).
Feel free to criticize these points and to add more ideas!
< Message edited by Myra -- 2/20/2015 16:11:34 >