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Author Topic: How do you get an initial population anyway?  (Read 22921 times)

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Offline Transcend

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #15 on: Jul 01, 2007, 02:15 PM »
you could always advertise on newgrounds.com for 650USD a day.
.........
650? not 65 ? not 6? not 0.6cent a day?

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Offline Skotlex

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #16 on: Jul 03, 2007, 12:37 AM »
Man.. I've been busy :o I almost forgot about this thread. It has certainly gotten a bit of attention. Let's see...

@Transcend: It'd be nice if you could help with a quick banner so I can use something until the day comes when I (or some one else) has more time to complete a full banner :o Hmm, it shouldn't have a lot of info. Maybe just the mission statement of the server? Well, in short form. It should focus in these few points:
- It is party oriented.
- It is meant for casual players.
- It is highly customized, a battle experience very different from your usual RO.

One of the best appraisals I got from a new player was "yeah after a few days here I don't think I can ever play another RO server again XD", well, that's what I call a possitive reaction. :B MouRO is different enough from most servers that you should give it a try if you want to experience something different. That's more or less the gist of the message.

Now... enough with the propaganda, let's see what else did I miss in the replies.

@Pow: The eathena boards abolished the advertising sections some months ago. You can buy ad space up there to support the hosting, but that's it. I don't really feel like spending money on advertising...

@yC: Yeah I get ya. Many truths in there. One of my friends was trying the "advertise it on a server that is dying!" concept. I don't think it went too well :B but it's not a bad idea, since players will be looking where to go next. As long as it doesn't comes out as a vulture's plan... and yeah, I agree there's too many servers. So hard for players to actually find something suitable for them :x

@Transcend (again? :B) What's eAO? To me RO's decline began with the introduction of Advanced classes. That was.. a new focus.. away from balance... and into grind and power-play (making you level twice all the way to the max level, to get skills which are just too powerful to pass up on? This reeks of grinding and appealing to the hardcore player :< )

@Akira: I miss being able to go incognito. I do have 17 characters in MouRO, and a lot of people don't know one third of them,but since the population is so low, it doesn't take long before they find out :B I miss the days when I could wander in a server with complete anonymity and being just "another player" and people not having a clue who I was :B

@Pow: I've never had a problem handling "eA kiddies". My sig in the eA boards says I have no time to do support, and I honor that. So if people don't come to talk to me about something important, I usually have to shrug them off. XP If I didn't want people to figure out who I was I would use a different name in here... I use different identities online to split up roles, who does not? Plus Akira joined my server some time ago to pass some time. We had a blast leveling.

@the later posts: There will always be new people to play RO. It is not like the gaming population never changes. The problem is getting people interested in RO instead of another mmorpg out there (there's so many of those). I like RO because it has 2D sprites for main character graphics, that gives it a different appeal from all other 3D MMORPGs out there, and I think that will help it in the long run as new MMORPGs come out. But if they ever make a good 3D MMORPG with good cell-shading graphics (ala Dark Chronicle), well, I would then say RO has been beated out of it's own niche :B But until then, I can see RO servers having a nice, if maybe niche, future. But there are still TOO MANY servers for what should be a niche market :<


(RMS reviews)

Offline Transcend

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #17 on: Jul 03, 2007, 11:06 AM »
eAOS eathena official RO D:

Offline Skotlex

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #18 on: Jul 03, 2007, 12:39 PM »
Since eAOS came to existance, or since it shut down? O_O I remember the eAOS "official eA" server and the bad critique it received, but I never linked that to "RO stopped being fun after that". Could be because I never played there; but if we are going to use "RO stopped being fun after X server" I am sure we all have our fond memories of which was the server at which we had the best time... before things got so.. stale with so many servers going up and down the whole time :<

(RMS reviews)

Offline bulbasteve

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #19 on: Jul 04, 2007, 12:10 AM »
@Pow: The eathena boards abolished the advertising sections some months ago. You can buy ad space up there to support the hosting, but that's it. I don't really feel like spending money on advertising...

All your work for...NOTHING! Those BASTARDS!  ;)

Offline Garlyle

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #20 on: Jul 08, 2007, 01:49 PM »
Admittedly, you making this topic managed to at least catch someone's eye.

I'm... well, I'm not entirely sure how I stand on it.  But I think I'll stop by and give it a try and see how it goes.  The only problem...
"designed to make partying extremely desirable." as you put it on the site... is... well... not good on a server that "rarely has more than 10 people" like I think you said earlier o-o; especially since I'm the kind of person who prefers to play alone on an MMORPG [Isn't that a contradiction in terms?].  Still though... I think I'll give it a try.  I've been recently looking for a server with about x10 rates and nice and high item drop rates (No more getting punked for being a Gunslinger - hopefully).

EDIT: Or so I thought I'd try.  The truth is that, like you sort of know, a lot of your changes are ones that make people kind of iffy - and as a general rule, if it's something that you're really "iffy" about, you're going to not want to have to go through a whole lot of hassle to get it going (This is basic psychology, and hell, common sense).  I don't terribly want to spend forever grabbing and getting more files than I need, especially if most of them are going to be unimportant in the long run...

It sounds sort of stupid and a bit like "Oh comeon you wimp," but let's face it.  If the instructions are as simple as
1. Download Client
2. Play
it's gonna scare less people away o-o
« Last Edit: Jul 08, 2007, 02:01 PM by Garlyle »
Dood.

Offline bulbasteve

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #21 on: Jul 08, 2007, 09:28 PM »
EDIT: Or so I thought I'd try.  The truth is that, like you sort of know, a lot of your changes are ones that make people kind of iffy - and as a general rule, if it's something that you're really "iffy" about, you're going to not want to have to go through a whole lot of hassle to get it going (This is basic psychology, and hell, common sense).  I don't terribly want to spend forever grabbing and getting more files than I need, especially if most of them are going to be unimportant in the long run...

It sounds sort of stupid and a bit like "Oh comeon you wimp," but let's face it.  If the instructions are as simple as
1. Download Client
2. Play
it's gonna scare less people away o-o

Setting up MouRo has 3 steps.

1. Download Client
2. Download Two .grf files
3. Play

Though dyes are TERRIFYING :D

Offline Skotlex

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #22 on: Jul 08, 2007, 11:29 PM »
/hmm, something interesting to reply to!

Admittedly, you making this topic managed to at least catch someone's eye.
Well I did not really expect to get people from here, since most of the people who visit the RMS forums are already server owner themselves who don't really need to find another server to try. Even though this has been a rather interesting topic so far.

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I'm... well, I'm not entirely sure how I stand on it.  But I think I'll stop by and give it a try and see how it goes.  The only problem...
"designed to make partying extremely desirable." as you put it on the site... is... well... not good on a server that "rarely has more than 10 people" like I think you said earlier o-o;
Actually I have fun even in parties of 3 or 2. It doesn't mean the party has to be 10+ in size to be fun (even though I was in such a party some days ago and that was pure awesomeness). I just know that an MMORPG should encourage player interaction, and that should not be limited to asking "where can I go solo up my levels?", in my past servers experience, people solo way too much and no one wants to party, so I tried to make partying very gratifying.

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especially since I'm the kind of person who prefers to play alone on an MMORPG [Isn't that a contradiction in terms?].  Still though... I think I'll give it a try.  I've been recently looking for a server with about x10 rates and nice and high item drop rates (No more getting punked for being a Gunslinger - hopefully).
Hah, each one to his own. If you don't care about partying, you just won't care much for the list of changes dealing with that specifically.

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EDIT: Or so I thought I'd try.  The truth is that, like you sort of know, a lot of your changes are ones that make people kind of iffy - and as a general rule, if it's something that you're really "iffy" about, you're going to not want to have to go through a whole lot of hassle to get it going (This is basic psychology, and hell, common sense). I don't terribly want to spend forever grabbing and getting more files than I need, especially if most of them are going to be unimportant in the long run...
I don't know what you are talking about with "Iffy". In the installation 'guide' it goes very clearly to explain what each file to download is and what it is for. You can try the server without downloading anything and just adding the sclientinfo entry if you know enough about RO (and the guide doesn't make any attempt at dumbing things down, it has a link to a sclientinfo file with only the server data if you wish), but it does warns you that it is encouraged to use the adata.grf at least to see the dyes of other people.

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It sounds sort of stupid and a bit like "Oh comeon you wimp," but let's face it.  If the instructions are as simple as
1. Download Client
2. Play
it's gonna scare less people away o-o
I do have a tendency of being a bit more verbose than needed. But if people are too afraid to read some simple instructions to try and play, I don't know if they would like the server anyway (there are a bunch of in-game mechanic changes, so you have to be open to having the mechanics you've always known been a bit tweaked around, you have to open to change and to try it out). Plus, your 2 step list  won't work if you don't have RO installed already. I guess the guide is a lot more verbose than people want, but it is so so that there are no doubts! I've helped people install RO before many times, and so many times had they just copied the hexed in the desktop instead of making a link to it, that's why step 4 says:
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4. Make a link to the newly extracted file to your desktop, and use this file to play. If you get an error like "binkw32.dll not found", then you didn't make a link, but copied the actual file to your desktop!

A short guide would read something like this:
1. Get adata.grf/bdata.grf (they are links to the files)
2. Get a client (client is link to the generic client in Arial font)
3. Play (register using _m/_f)

But this is okay only for veteran, knowledgeable RO players, instead the guide reads more or less like this:
1. Get adata.grf (provides link, explains what this file has and why you need it, explains where to place this file)
2. Same as #1, but for bdata.grf (also explains why there are not just 1 grf instead of two)
3. Get a client (provides link, gives a quick summary on how to correctly unrar and place the file)
4. Make a link to your desktop for the client (since I explained before, many people in my experience did this wrong when I was explaining them)
5. Explains _M/_F registration and setting up your first char.

If you read all that, you'd see the guide is basicly the same. It is "long" because it explains things so you are not just in the dark. Perhaps your complain is about "why there isn't just an installer that does everything for you?" Well that's me being lazy, since the client and bdata are updated frequently, I'd have to update the installer frequently too. And you can mess up an installer too by making it point to the wrong directory (or God forbid, if you made it replace some of your files from other servers). I chose a manual path because I am a bit lazy, and because this way I am not asking people to trust and run an executable that could do anything to their machines (you can use any hexed client you wish), as well as letting players know what they are doing to install.

Now that I think about it, you are right that if the installer were a simple exe with the usual "NEXT NEXT NEXT DONE" windows, it would be a lot easier to install and get going (only if it properly detects the RO directory). Even though it is the first time someone has brough that topic up... I had yet to see anyone complain about it :o

I should take note to make a installer later with everything in it. Even though I don't see why the installer stopped you, you don't strike me like the kind of RO player that would not have a clue on what that guide is saying.

(RMS reviews)

Offline Garlyle

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #23 on: Jul 09, 2007, 01:25 AM »
Oh no, I understand what it's saying, trust me.

But the RO server I've been playing on for the past couple month literally was two steps.
1. Download Client and install it
2. Play
There was no need to download kRO, no need for custom files, no "now replace the kRO executable file with this file", just download and install one single thing and go.  To be honest, I'm actually quite surprised as I look around to find out that this -isn't- the norm... o-o

Like I said, basically, if people are only "iffy" about your client because it doesn't have any flashy features or anything eye-catchingly amazing or intriguing, they're gonna look for whatever excuse they can not to go after it.  And if you're going to have to download several different files (Especially since most servers require about 2 gigs of installer files between kRO and SAK), it ends up with "Am I really gonna spend that much time downloading all this for something I don't even think I'll be into?"

I suppose what you really have is a server for vets, for people who already know the game mechanics in and out, sideways and back, and who are willing to, just for a change, play on a complete overhaul of the system.  But... I don't think a lot of RO players out there really are like this, who have been playing so long they've already been through all the "Custom Content" people can come up with.  If you could find the right crowd to advertise to you could probably get a significant population boost, but let's face it - if you're still relatively new to RO you're going to be looking for a server that's something "unique" - as in, special quests, or with lots of events, or one with super-high rates, and so forth.  One that's just basically "Oh hi we totally overhauled the system mechanics which will provide a new experience to vets but outside of that isn't a large or eventful server" isn't gonna appeal to that demographic.

Sorry to simplify MouRO like that... do you think I've got a point though?  I think in a year or so, a server like MouRO would be more interesting to me, once I've gotten sick of standard difficulty and flashy but ultimately pointless "custom hat quests" - but that's assuming I still play RO in a year and there isn't some other server that really grabs my attention...

Regardless, best of luck with it o-o
Dood.

Offline Flip

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #24 on: Jul 09, 2007, 02:59 AM »
I may be completely off topic with how the discussion has been going, but I'll do my best in answering the first question.

When you think of starting a server, naturally you need a starting set of people. Meaning, you need to know people and can count on them to play/GM your server. This could be a set of friends, etc.

Of course, each of your friends would have other friends as well that they could potentially invite. However, to draw them in, you'd need more than friends, and here is where the unique-ness of a server comes in.

Possibly the two extremes of gauging a server is between Original and Custom, for the lack of a better term. By balance, you are as close to the official server experience as you can be and by Custom, you are quite far from it. This doesn't mean that low rates are automatically original, nor high rates automatically custom. Far from it. High rates can STILL be close to the official server experience, meaning its damn hard to get levels, be strong, but ultimately rewarding. Same goes for custom.

Original already has a set standard to adhere to, being the official servers, but custom is where most private servers roam. They offer something different, something not seen in RO servers. It can range from simple custom items and their availability, to totally customized RO experiences, such as for example, an RP server. However, the more custom you are, chances are the farther you are from the original RO experience.

SO, determining your place in this from the start, on what would you offer your players between original and custom, is key to getting an initial working population. Once you convince players to stay, they'd naturally invite more of their friends to join and thus, start a chain reaction. ALSO, good reviews/advertising would help tremendously in this regard.

My two cents.

Offline bulbasteve

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #25 on: Jul 09, 2007, 03:19 AM »
There was no need to download kRO, no need for custom files, no "now replace the kRO executable file with this file", just download and install one single thing and go.  To be honest, I'm actually quite surprised as I look around to find out that this -isn't- the norm... o-o

Like I said, basically, if people are only "iffy" about your client because it doesn't have any flashy features or anything eye-catchingly amazing or intriguing, they're gonna look for whatever excuse they can not to go after it.  And if you're going to have to download several different files (Especially since most servers require about 2 gigs of installer files between kRO and SAK), it ends up with "Am I really gonna spend that much time downloading all this for something I don't even think I'll be into?"

Well there is a good reason that isn't the norm, when before you said you don't like servers which give you unimportant files is exactly what your server probably did. Heck the main problem most people have when they join a new server is that their previous one pissed in the proverbial pool and added a bunch of silly custom things which are incompatable with other servers. If you are downloading their own custom kroclient then you are getting filled with junk but you just don't see it becaue it is all installed in one executable. On most servers (MouRO included) you hardly have to download anything extra on top of kro. Heck the biggest file here and on most is something like your dye pack at 10 megs.

Which does take us back on topic in terms of casual servers and people playing multiple ones. Since a lot of servers don't "place nice" with others and because of that you do need to uninstall your custom installation and reinstall kro. Instead of everyone just using kro as their base and only needing to change a couple of megs worth of things to get on a new server. Which I guess leads to a stagnation in server populations without a lot of cross pollination and people trying other less popular servers out for something. (and who knows if the people running these servers actually thought of that when they made those big exe files :-[)

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I suppose what you really have is a server for vets, for people who already know the game mechanics in and out, sideways and back, and who are willing to, just for a change, play on a complete overhaul of the system.  But... I don't think a lot of RO players out there really are like this, who have been playing so long they've already been through all the "Custom Content" people can come up with.  If you could find the right crowd to advertise to you could probably get a significant population boost, but let's face it - if you're still relatively new to RO you're going to be looking for a server that's something "unique" - as in, special quests, or with lots of events, or one with super-high rates, and so forth.  One that's just basically "Oh hi we totally overhauled the system mechanics which will provide a new experience to vets but outside of that isn't a large or eventful server" isn't gonna appeal to that demographic.

Sorry to simplify MouRO like that... do you think I've got a point though?  I think in a year or so, a server like MouRO would be more interesting to me, once I've gotten sick of standard difficulty and flashy but ultimately pointless "custom hat quests" - but that's assuming I still play RO in a year and there isn't some other server that really grabs my attention...

Well I hate to turn this into the MouRo topic anymore than it is but since you asked us I may as well through in my two cents. You are right it can appeal to hardcore players but oddly enough it equally does for new/casual players. As you said the "overhaul" of stats and stuff certainly caters to vet types who want some changed gameplay mechanics, but then I think it is somewhat debatable, I don't think trying to balance the game should be considered particularly a hardcore or vet type thing. Anyway to a certain extent that is a double edged sword for people who have played already, cause you do have to relearn what build is good for your favorite class.

But I would say that most things about the server do go towards the casual or new player since it takes away the grind, the item hunting, worrying about your skill build, the armor breaking and all the annoying yet "hardcore" things about RO that make you want to tear your hair out.

But in general I do think that people do play an MMO cause they want to actually play an MMO not so they can get a new hat by donating 20 bucks. And to me I think that is those servers where you get to level 99 by killing one poring and the server is more about pvp, woe and whatever random stuff the gms throw at you is much more of the vet type of thing instead of partying up and doing pvm, which is the core of all MMOs including RO. Though really I can't think of a feature much more flashy than a poring dragging along a cart and owning your butt with cart revolution because of random skills and then fighting the level 200 version when you set the diff real high.  ;)
« Last Edit: Jul 09, 2007, 03:23 AM by bulbasteve »

Offline Skotlex

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #26 on: Jul 09, 2007, 02:47 PM »
Haha... Bulbasteve pretty much handled most of the issues. But I guess I'll add a few details:

- The way I designed the required files was done so that you could install MouRO along other servers.
- The adata contains static stuff that every server should have (interface translation, dyes), it does not include item/skill translations because those change often, so I stuffed them in the bdata, which is the smaller file that also contains the custom updates.
- I know this is a bit flawed, ideally I would use a patcher to update a single grf, but at least this way the adata very rarely changes, making it easy to keep updated, and the bdata, the server-specific file is very small in size and easy to update. This method also keeps your kRO installation clean, you just need to remove 2 files (or one? I wish the commonplace adata concept would take off) if you want to get rid of the server.

And your two step guide seems fine if the player will only ever play RO in that server (and has never played RO before), but I bet you can imagine the pain a potential player will go through if he learns each server he wants to join asks him to install their 1-click installer that weights over 1GB in size.

Like I said, basically, if people are only "iffy" about your client because it doesn't have any flashy features or anything eye-catchingly amazing or intriguing, they're gonna look for whatever excuse they can not to go after it.
Well the client is very vanilla, exactly because I want players to have the freedom to use the client of their choice. And nowadays thanks to the tools available, hexing a client yourself is not hard either.


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And if you're going to have to download several different files (Especially since most servers require about 2 gigs of installer files between kRO and SAK), it ends up with "Am I really gonna spend that much time downloading all this for something I don't even think I'll be into?"
This is what should NOT be the norm. I'd never try a server that asks me to download 2GIGS!  This is also the reason why I don't even ask players to get Sakray, you can do just fine with kRO alone (to reduce the download size to 1GB, kRO is no more than one month behind Sakray anyway, and eA is much much more behind the updates than 'one month').

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Sorry to simplify MouRO like that... do you think I've got a point though?
Well no and yes. I did not modify many of the game-play mechanics because I was "bored" of them as much as because I had a better idea on how I would have liked them to be. Is like, I took RO and started modifying things based on personal taste of what "I'd like in an MMORPG". So as time progresses MouRO just became a manifestation of my concept of how RO should had been for me to enjoy it the most. Now, that does sound a little selfish, but that's how these things begin (it keeps one motivated). I had friends play here as their FIRST RO server, and they did not have problems learning the game. It was actually rather 'easy' since they didn't have to unlearn anything. But Bulbasteve already touched on that point.

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Regardless, best of luck with it o-o
Thanks for thoughts and info. I had no idea the "norm" you expected was for each server to require you to do a massive GB download O_O;

@Flip:
No, you are ontopic. That is what the topic was about anyway! I did have my friends at first. The four of us played RO at the beginning (hopping from server to server as they died until I got fed of that and started my own), they did invite friends along, and some of my family joined and so on. But there was a problem here... most of these people are well beyond their 20's, and as such they are adults with lives waiting to be lived, and they all had to depart at one point or another due to life complexities. >: This is where it would help if I had younger friends, perhaps. Nothing like being a teenager and having THREE MONTHS a year of free time. Man.. as an adult even ONE month seems like such an awesomely long time...

(RMS reviews)

Offline Flip

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #27 on: Jul 09, 2007, 03:31 PM »
Skotlex: They would just have to stay long enough to get a draw from players reading about the server in RMS and seeing a potential population.

Though, you'd have to work harder to fast forward things though o.o

Offline bulbasteve

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #28 on: Jul 10, 2007, 03:16 PM »
Talking about these nasty installs has me thinking, why not kill two birds with one stone here? Maybe one of you entrepreneurial folks could start a website or web ring or whatever to list "clean" RO servers. Which would be a nice way to encourage people to not fear being casual and switching and trying out new servers without having to worry about a giant reinstall of the whole game, and gets some eyes on some lesser known servers.

Offline sineas

Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
« Reply #29 on: Jul 10, 2007, 07:30 PM »
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Re: How do you get an initial population anyway?
1. The easy part is when you were a former GM of a loyal guild... those loyals would certainly be your initial population.
2. Campaign. Treat your players like equals. Let them feel that they are part of the server. They'll back you up and find new players for you.
3. You have to have the right server. It doesn't mater if your a homebrew, shared host or purely dedicated... you hve to know you're server's limits. If you're in a decently connected homebrew server, then you'll be happy to have 20-30 regular player. You can't be asking for more players only to choke your server and then choke your players. If you're a shared hosting server, just keep in mind that differnet servers are all sharing resources (cpu/memory/harddisk/bandwidth) of one server box . So depending on the load of the server box, it's no guarantee that your server will perform like it performed yesterday or the other day and before that.
If your on a dedicated host, then your in luck, you would have the advantage of the two mentioned above. But then again not all dedicated host are created equal. You should know which host to go to, what server configuration you need, what type of networks are they on (tip SAVVIS network is the bomb), where are their networks located etc etc. Knowing the location of the host's server critical. As an example, my server is based in the US but it has 2 networks in Asia and 5 networks in Europe. The effects should be self explainable  :D
4. You have dealt with number 3, manage the server and your players well. Give them a good reason to keep coming back to your server.
« Last Edit: Jul 10, 2007, 09:10 PM by sineas »
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