How Might We Better Expose Player Created Content to New Players?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Black Tortoise, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Black Tortoise

    Black Tortoise Avatar

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    So, I customized a handful of lots in Storm's Reach to be places for new players to waltz around and explore. It sits there as beautiful art that pretty much only I enjoy. I dont think anyone has any incentive to explore stores, structures, or scenery in towns. I think the game would be richer and more immersive if there was an incentive to explore houses and such at random.

    What I think is lame is that we have this world where vendors all stand outside (and look the same, etc). Its all made and set up for experienced players to zip through in a hurry. Town centers dont feel like town centers, as there is no reason to go inside any (player) store - its always just the same default vendor standing outside. We could have the feeling of bustling citites filled with satisfying and substantial nooks and crannies, but instead we have the most stoical merchants of all time, tirelessly bearing their wares to the rawness of nature, not a shelter or meal to be had!

    I want the feeling of going into stores, browsing wares on the walls, looking around, experiencing new designs and setups, basically, immersive feelings of being in town stores. I decided to do that to some stores in Storm's Reach. I have an alchemist shop and a adventurer gear shop, aimed for new players, inside customized stores (with inviting storefronts!). However, they get no traffic, as one must open a door and walk inside. In SOtA, aint nobody got time for that!

    I do have a vendor that sells misc gear that stands outside of one store. That vendor gets tons of traffic. Inside the same store is another vendor that gets zero traffic, despite my note to head inside for more wares. All of my stores are in convenient locations in the town center, with obvious signage and cool deco to attract the curious.

    I wasnt expecting much - I actually assumed this would be the result. Besides, I love my deco, and if no one else will make the player-stores feel like stores, at least I will! They exist for pure art, and thats fine. But I want them to exist as stores to serve new players! I want new players to have access to fine crafted weapons, appropriate for their level, that they can afford! I want them to have an opportunity to see what kind of weapons they can upgrade to later on, and what sort of rare drops to expect in the world. I want them to see cool deco items you can craft or find in the game world, and also feel like theyre a character in a game world shopping in a store.

    By the time a player has figured out how to get to the Understorm Gold Mine quests in Storms Reach, theyve also figured out that its feels pointless to try and explore player owned storefronts. Theyre overexposed to vendors just standing outside all day, with no food or drink, and no lively environment to describe their wares. Theyre used to vendors not even having cool names, just "COTOS SCROLLS ESSENSE CHEAP" etc. We must break this pattern, and "Get like Garriot," and create player content that causes new players to never stop exploring!

    As an aside, I am also developing a public garden to rest and relax in Storms Reach as you browse the great shops! I love making public places for players to hang out and freely explore.

    So - how can we change Novia such that players are more inclined to explore player created scenery? Can we make vending more immersive, without making it less accessible? Can we add bonuses to being inside buildings, taking rests, being near plants / gardens / cute NPCs? Can we integrate the exploration of player created scenes - not just dungeons, but any building anywhere - into the general experience of Novia? I want players to have a reason to enter any town with a player - controlled structure, and feel at least *some* incentive to think, "oh, I wonder whats behind this door?" and feel inclined to take a peek!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  2. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    well, it won't help most of that, but being able to set the store door to permanently open will hopefully get some of the people who rush through to poke their head inside (and then rush on...)
     
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  3. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    Yea, I've been wanting to do a post on this, with some ideas but I keep getting sidetracked.

    Basically, I think the market would function much better if vendor specialization were encouraged. For instance if just the shop sign type you used on your home automatically was identified on the map, and on the Town Crier along with the shop name you put on the sign's tooltip. Vendors could also be given guild permissions and POT permissions so people can share vendors, and put their swords on a blacksmith vendor, etc. I think its important because I want to be able to ask a blacksmith to make me a sword or a shield that I want, or a bowyer to make me a bow that I want.

    Then we would need a real, functioning bulletin board system. The current setup for flyers is pretty clunky (though can be improved), buyers ignore them as if they were deco, and sellers still put their ads on vendors. A good bulletin board system would work similar to a forum, and would host things like job requests, guild and POT events, recruiting, ads for shops.

    I'll try to get around to my own thread on this, because I have a lot of things to add. But basically I disagree even with the way you framed this question "Can we make vending more immersive, without making it less accessible?" I think people often have this backwards -- immersive mechanics are generally the more accessible mechanics. New players like immersion because its easy to understand and fun to engage with and explore; its old players that ask things to be quicker and more convenient because they've done everything already and want to cut to the chase. (Who asks for fast travel? Old players) Still, I think you can design game systems that are fun for everyone, new and old.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  4. macnlos

    macnlos Avatar

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    All this stuff that they made... All this promise of cool things, rare things, player crafted awesomeness... And you can’t get anyone to explore/shop. Why? Because it is dull and it is inconvenient. Navigating through instances is dreadful. SotA has a lot of pieces but collectively it just doesn’t flow or connect. It is poorly designed and the only thing being done is adding more eye candy.

    Remember, I once had the goal to be a pure maker and seller of bows... The game and its disconnected mechanics made that impossible.
     
  5. devilcult

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    im old player and hate fast travel just like i hate runebooks ;p walking is the best way to see other people around. overworld would maybe be a bit crowded tought....
     
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  6. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    Yea, I prefer games that avoid it, since I've discovered over time that once you get fast travel in a game things get boring very fast. But older players are definitely more likely to request it than new players, and that was my point. And honestly, some games make players unnecessarily travel back and forth long distances and at the same time provide little rewards to traveling, so I don't blame them. SotA is like that quite a bit and can be improved on that front.
     
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  7. Lars vonDrachental

    Lars vonDrachental Avatar

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    Using the inside of a house for a vendors has to offer advantages and not just disadvantages and I guess one solution would be if we could allocate rooms to our NPCs and they would use these rooms depending on the usage we have chosen for them.
    E.g. You have a vendor that should sell some armor. You prepare a room with tables and stuff, allocate the room to your NPC and the NPC is automatically using the tables to display and sell his wares and if one item is sold the visible item on the table is removed. Next to each item could be a shopmark displaying the price for the item. Moving your mouse at one item and you can see its stats. Clicking at an item and a sales confirmation opens if you really want to buy the item for the price of X gold.

    You would have the choice to either place your vendor as close as possible to a road hoping avatars will take a look at the shopping list or you combine the vendor with a room/house to let the vendor visibly display your offers.

    In a later step you might be able allocate NPC rooms for different usages like e.g. resting rooms, bathrooms,...
    Making the usage of rooms for NPCs reasonable would be e.g. a mechanic of NPC satisfaction. For example a vendors can basically offer 100 items and promote them for 7 days until he will start to sit down while a daily sleeping Vendor might be able to offer 150 items and is promoting the items for 14 days.
    It would be even thinkable that the quality of furniture would play into these bonuses like a simple bedroll just gives +15 items while using a bed fit for a king might grant +75 items.
     
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  8. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    The ability to permanently open doors will be one step, which is coming. However, for this to actually change, there would have to be two additional modifications made.

    One, make standard shopkeeper NPCs available to players to add to their homes; if you want to run an adventurer's shop, not having the ability to sell common stuff that blacksmiths do is a huge turnoff. I'd love to have a bookseller to place in my library, so I can sell both standard and player-created books in one location. Along with this, we need to double the number of NPCs available for each lot, so you can place at least two.

    Second, you can't place a vendor outside (with a home). Yes, this will make people angry. Sorry, but this defeats the purpose of shops. Get the ugly, nameless vendors off your front lawn and behind a counter where they should be. Without this, nothing will change.

    Bonus if vendors will actually do things other than stand idly or sit idly. Path around within 20m or so, clean the counter, bark about the weather and their newest stock. Don't overdo it, but every 10 minutes or so.
     
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  9. Adam Crow

    Adam Crow Avatar

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    I would love to see incentives for placing a vendor inside. Maybe a vendor indoors could be able to list more items, like 250-300. And if indoors you could link them to certain deco items so they would perform actions/emotes like someone mentioned above.

    I set up 2 vendors on my soltown lot, one outside under a tent and one inside behind a counter in a store front house. I expected the indoor one to be ignored, but it has actually done well. Almost every time I visit the lot to restock, the front door to the house is open. So new players are definitely going inside to check it constantly.

    Of course that inside vendor is geared specifically for new players, it has all the drop-able potion recipes, repair kits, scrolls and a few other items. But I was definitely surprised to see people going inside to use it.

    Hopefully with some improvements we will see more areas set up like this. I look forward to checking out your vendors in Storm's Reach next time I'm on.
     
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  10. Vladamir Begemot

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    That and since almost everyone is standing outside, no one knows they are all inside unless the whole town is doing it.

    I wish we had signs that people didn't have to mouse over, then you could put up one that said "Come Inside!" and they would see it no matter what.

    And TTP isn't going to be any higher with a sign you can see than with one you have to mouse over, but reporting them would happen a lot faster. So it's a win in my book.

    No, runic letters don't count.

    ----

    However, mannequins are going to spice things up. The problem is you can't sell the gear that's being displayed!

    So here's the prediction. When you can sell the gear off the mannequin, expect people to start going into stores. Same for "sell the furniture" from the display area.
     
  11. Mugly Wumple

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    I would love to be able to sell items off the floor. We need to display that single, rare item and still be able to sell it.
     
  12. Mugly Wumple

    Mugly Wumple Avatar

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    When they do be sure to visit Biggie's Scratch n Dent!
     
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  13. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    And I know I'm a broken record but still we need to be able to sell bags of goods that we can name. We also need to be able to trade bags of goods with each other. I do mean ability to sell things like song sets.

    For example selling: Somebody to love songset 6 parts, all blue female formal wear 5 pcs, complete living room set (purple) 5 pcs, etc.

    Let's bring down the barriers on this too please, please, please. Allow us to point at the bags on the vendors with the control key to see what is in them and we could even have a grab bag version for fun but buy these at your own risk ;)

    edited

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
  14. dorkish

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    best way for them to enjoy player made content is to wall them up in a player made dungeon with a bottle of wine and one edger poes books :)
     
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  15. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Personally, as a new player I don't want to see player-created content any time soon. I want to leisurely make my way through the official content, and then when I've finished all that, only then move onto player-created content. I definitely don't want player vendors spoiling me for the content in the world I haven't yet found, thereby ruining the mystery and excitement of discovering it for myself.

    Of course, avoiding player content isn't remotely possible the way SotA is currently set up.

    I am all for changing the way vendors are handled, though. If I had my druthers, lots would be zoned as commercial or residential, and vendors would only be allowed on commercial lots. And it should be much easier to buy/rent lots that are smaller than row lots, where you could put just a shop or booth in an area that looked and worked like a real market district. Ardoris... when I was playing offline, that city was beautiful. I look at the online version, and it's lost all of its charm, because it's basically been turned into one big mall. But if most of the city was no-vendors allowed, but people could rent small vendor booths on the bridge or near the docks or in a few other places I've scoped out, you could have the beauty of a city that looks like a real home for real citizens, where players could actually live happily, and still have room for all the vendors.

    But even more than that, though, I'd rather see NPCs re-sell (relevant-only) items that they buy from players at a decent price, so people don't need a vendor at all unless they actually want to be a merchant. Let all the adventurers who just need to get some value from their loot without removing it from the world sell it to NPCs who will resell it. Fewer vendors needed, fewer vendors in the world overall (especially standing around outside), and the player vendors that do still exist will get more attention, both because they're rarer and because potential customers will expect them to be run by real merchants who care about providing a good shopping experience, not just a pile of whatever they're trying to get rid of.

    As for exploring... the biggest hurdles I've found to exploring player lots is never knowing for sure whether someone wants their lot to be explored, or if it's meant as private space AND not being able to explore in private, since player-space can only be in towns that are forced multiplayer. If someone has a beautiful garden or an outdoor basement/dungeon entrance... I'm not going to go in UNLESS I see a sign that says "Welcome, this is a public space" or somesuch. Maybe a wishlist campaign for some nice, appealing signs with their own distinctive "public space" symbol? Not the mouse-over-to-read type, but something like the blacksmith, pub, or carpenter signs with a clearly identifiable symbol?

    Even then, though, if I think I might run into other people, I'm not going to be comfortable leisurely exploring, because I come to virtual worlds to get away from live humans. As long as towns are forced multiplayer, it doesn't matter how wonderful your content is, I'm probably not going to stick around long enough to explore it, because I'll never be able to relax and enjoy a setting where I'm liable to be accosted by someone at any moment.
     
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  16. Vladamir Begemot

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    Don't worry, if they don't want you to come in all they have to do is lock up the place and no one without permissions is entering.
     
  17. majoria70

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    @Bedawyn Come and visit school of rock in Wizards Rest behind Owlshead. No one lives there. I made it for the public to enjoy. There are signs and notes all over town. We don't ATM have a welcome sign with a symbol on it but you do have to point at signs to read them. There are walls of Rock trivia but of as mentioned you do have to point at them to read them. I never accost anyone but I may say hello. The Town is usually empty to explore although I or another resident may be puttering around sometimes.

    Feel free to explore the buildings. We have a no lock policy although one person did lock his doors whom I have never spoken to. Why decorate if you don't want it viewed?

    I do agree player housing should not have been placed in NPC towns. I hope episode 2 won't do that. Player owned lots could be on the outskirts and not mixed in to the town which can be confusing to players doing quests. We do need to consider solo players too.

    We do have some wonderful things to consider though. One is our music system. You can sync songs. I have songs that have parts for up to 8 parts. Many even have the drum part. We have a variety of instruments. Some of us have a huge amount of ABC files
    saved to to the games' sheet music folder. So even solo players might come out to occasionally play some songs. I do know a few of those players.
     
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  18. Geaux

    Geaux Avatar

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    Sheer genius...as simple as it sounds, as common sense aligned as it is, it's spot on...everything on the property should be salable... WYSIWYG...
     
  19. Magnus Zarwaddim

    Magnus Zarwaddim Avatar

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    I know it was postponed, but I think the custom NPC dialogue that we are supposed to get might help with this. But only if there were no limits to the amount of NPC's we could have.

    For example, I'd be cool with POT owners being able to, if they choose, create custom dialogue for all the NPC's you get as a POT owner (all the merchants, etc.). This would add flair. Of course, it's not mandatory, a POT owner can choose to just let the NPC's behave as they do now (default).

    The real boon would be to sell (I am talking CASH SHOP here for more money into the Developer's coffers) NPC's to players, allowing them to customize dialogue. People will do all sorts of creative stuff - guides for lots (such as the OP's lots), guides for player-made dungeons. Random NPC's that just add flavor to the world (and which player's themselves created).

    Yes, there will be those that choose to do inappropriate things with this. But there could be a "Report" option if you right-click the NPC. I know we as a community can tamp down on that type of behavior. :)
     
  20. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Absolutely. Most of the crown shop stuff (and almost all of the "reward" stuff) are things I'd never pay for, many are things I wouldn't use even if they were free. But customizable NPCs? Those I'd save up for. And I'd save up for more land to put them on, and more houses and decorations to use as props and backdrops for them. If they want my money, that's the best possible way to get it.
     
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