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What would you like to see more of or change on SP/BoM?

Discussion in 'Sorcerous Sundries' started by Taluntain, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Well, yes, pretty much anyone still playing these games. Which makes me wonder, what do you download for the games that you play? And which games are that?

    The news never has been of much interest to our visitors, so the engagement there has always been low.

    Well, still better than just lying down and dying a slow death I suppose. :shake:

    No, I've seen it. The idea itself is quite interesting, but not very realistic in our community I'm afraid. We've only got a handful of artists of any kind here and I doubt any of them would be spending the required time and effort on something like this - provided that they even knew how. If anyone's reading this and could help out here though - please let me know!

    Video is a whole different type of medium and content that quite honestly I have very little experience with as far as production goes. There's also so much saturation in the gaming video sector already that it's very questionable if we could produce anything that'd be more engaging than the established gaming video channels... so it'd be a relatively high-risk venture.

    How about you read our rules (rule #12 deals with swearing) and comply with them if you intend to stick around here? Swearing has nothing whatsoever to do with maturity - more often than not, it's a sign of immaturity, especially when used in excess. It's something that we're quite happy to do without. If you've arbitrarily decided that censoring swearing, which is the norm on the majority of message boards, constitutes a "PG rating", well, that's your problem, not mine. We're not censoring swearing to be more family friendly but because we like to keep the discussion levels a bit higher than most.

    Obviously that's something that doesn't align with your life philosophy of perpetual anger and one string of expletives after another, but hey, there's plenty of virtual dungheaps on the Internet that'll welcome your attitude with open arms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  2. L Gems: 6/31
    Latest gem: Jasper


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    As a very irregular poster these days I find the vast majority of the answers to questions I may have are found with the search function these days. Very little room to ask anything new at the moment when I pick up an IE game these days.
     
  3. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This may be a bit hypocritical - considering the asterisks in my sig, my profile and an occasional post from me - but I think the profanity standards here are a good thing. Not too puritanical, as it is obviously tolerated in a limited extent, but not the free-for-all, YouTube commenter level of juvenile verbal diarrhea. It keeps the intellectual bar up nice and high. This is one area that I don't believe needs fixing.
     
  4. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Yea, we don't really care about occasional swearing, as long as it's not directed at anyone in particular. It's only when it's done in excess and repeatedly that it's a problem.
     
  5. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Sorcerer's Place is my favourite place on the Internet, but I have to admit I am somewhat at a loss to think of genuine ways to make it more relevant and interesting in 2011. I just want everyone else to keep playing the games here so that a community continues so that I can keep popping in and joining in on the other conversations that come up. That works for me, but is not really a logical way for a site to work.
     
  6. Mesmero

    Mesmero How'd an old elf get the blues?

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    I played a bit of World of Warcraft until recently. I mostly visited sites with boss tactics, sites with quest and item info, sites with class information, and my guild website for some out of game banter.

    My old love for Alpha Centauri was also recently re-ignited and I looked up a tactics guide (I'm guessing most of SP's newcomers are like this, but then for BG, BG II, etc). I actually found it on a fansite, but I didn't linger; I just downloaded the guide and I was gone.

    Absolutely true, but I don't think any recent changes (and I'm including the blogs in this, photo albums are a nice touch though) will affect the behaviour of the permanent residents.

    Just checking, since I thought it was a good idea ;)

    Ok, I'll take your word for it, since I'm pretty much oblivious to what's going on in regards to gaming videos. However, searching for old games on YouTube (BG, BGII, PS:T), I found relatively little videos. Some videos of ingame movies and speedruns, but nothing really informative or with voice overs. But you'll be again catering to a pretty small niche, and if newer games do get more attention, any potential SP films might get lost between them unless they're really good.
     
  7. Voy Gems: 5/31
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    don't know I made really not that entertaining video of an old game; Jedi Knight Academy and got 25k views and like 80comments, in next few months I might have more time so I could maybe do start sorcerers channel under supervision of some admin if you are interested. Not sure yet but maybe we can work something out.
     
  8. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Ah, yes... WOW. MMORPGs are a bit out of our primary scope. There are so many good established sites covering WOW specifically already that I don't think that we could really compete with them. The traffic there is so large that their websites are professional, full-time commercial enterprises. SP is still more on the enthusiast level. While a few years back it'd have still made sense to try going fully commercial with the coverage of our games, today that just wouldn't be sensible - it's just not feasible to compete with BioWare's community for example. We'd really have to completely shift the site's focus to say MMORPGs but at this point, I feel that it's too late for the existing MMOs. Their communities have been established a long time ago and have large followings as well as considerable financial backing. To be able to compete on the same level, we'd need to go fully professional as well... and say goodbye to more or less everything that this site currently is. Only MMOs are the real cash cows for the developers and more than a few unofficial sites, because their audience doesn't mostly play them once and put them on the shelf but keeps playing on and on, very actively and for a very long time and in very large numbers. So that's definitely the market to tap into today if you want to make good money. The catch is, you have to be there when new MMOs are born because getting into this game late isn't very likely.

    Yea, that's the crux with most non-MMOs. You get the info you need, play through the game and put it on the shelf. If you don't play multiplayer (or if the game doesn't support it), you maybe play it again a few times over the next few years, but that's it. Only a small percentage of people keep replaying these games over and over.

    Quite possible, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    So did I, it's more the implementation that's the problem.

    Yea, I think that doing anything much for 10+ year old games is catering to a very, very small niche of players at this point. Most of whom still playing today know the games by heart already. As for there being few videos of these games on YouTube - you need to keep in mind that all of these games are much older than YouTube, which only popped up in 2005. It's ubiquitous today, but when these games were popular, it didn't exist. A constant stream of videos and trailers for new games being launched on YouTube only started happening a few years ago.

    That sounds great, if you do decide to do it, I'd definitely be interested.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  9. Decados

    Decados The Chosen One

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    I'm not sure that I can offer much additional insight into this, as most of my thoughts have already been noted. I will definitely be repeating some other people's points and, as it is getting late, will probably forget something that I meant to say. Ah well.

    Firstly, I think Barmy hit the nail on the head when he said that the place needs new life. I don't spend much time on the game forums because I either know what I need to, or there isn't much activity in that forum. I don't even turn up in the Alleys very often, as I find arguments on the internet to be rather unsatisfying. When compared to discussions I get related to my course of study, I find the Alleys to be frustratingly unrigorous. This is no surprise as the BoM isn't a philosophy forum, but it does leave few sections of the site to really grab my attention.

    While the accumulated knowledge about some of the older games is very high, so few people actually need that knowledge now. There's very few people picking up Baldur's Gate for the first time these days, and the veterans already know pretty much all they need to about the game. I would hazard a guess that at this point, there's only a few hardcore fans still playing them and all of them keep an eye on the modding community. Unfortunately, BoM is a bit limited to even these people: while there are quite a few mods hosted here, there is very little development compared to, just for example, Spellhold Studios. To be honest, if I were to reinstall BG tomorrow and mod it up for another play-through, I would be reading the forums of modding sites for more details on which mods I want. I can't see this situation really changing.

    SP, therefore, must expand somewhere. Moving into other categories of games (eg RTS) doesn't seem likely to work, as we'd be competing with much better established communities. Plus it is hard to say how much of the current membership would even be interested in such a switch. MMOs would be an obvious transition, due to the smaller differences between them and the current games (and the more stable player base). The problem is, as you've noted, other sites are already there doing coverage more prominently. If SP were to focus on an MMO, it would have to pick one quite early on and already be somewhat known when the game is still young.

    So if SP were not to change genres, it would have to have increased coverage of RPGs. The challenge then is to get people interested when the official forums get pushed so hard. Adding more forums to the BoM is obvious, but actually attracting people is more difficult. Being one of the top results when someone googles a game would help, though it would require effort from the community members to produce enough useful content in these forums to get people to stay around. My initial thought is that we need to have more places linked to or promoting this site. How else are people going to realise the BoM exists?

    The other option is video. If a series of videos on youtube became popular enough and was clearly supporting SP, then perhaps more people would click on a link to see what the place is like. Again, this would require somewhat large effort from the community. Especially in the case of newer games, this plan would be reliant on having members who are good at said game, have sufficient free time to play it a lot and are willing to create videos of themselves playing. I'm unconvinced that a video series about older games would have the same impact. It would be better than not doing anything, but would reach out to a much smaller audience. I definitely don't mean to put Voy's offer down, but if videos become the focus, it would have to be much more than just that. Are there any other popular sites, like Facebook, that SP could become more integrated with?

    The basic idea behind my thoughts is that is you want SP to increase in activity again, small changes won't be enough. Additions like featured photo albums and such are nice, but are geared towards existing members. They won't help new people find the site or convince them to sign up on their own. Hence the change must be more dramatic (at small risk of alienating current members). None of the options I've thought about this night seem to be particularly attractive. Of course, the alternative is to do very little; the community will probably stay much like it has been for a while now, slowly decreasing in number of active posters. Fine for those that are happy right now, but a bit of a death-sentence for the place.
     
    Death Rabbit likes this.
  10. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    There are a few others that offer something similar to Facebook Connect, but honestly - none of this really goes beyond saving people maybe 30 seconds of sign-up time. Useful if you've got dozens or hundreds of people signing up daily, of course, but with small numbers, unlikely to make much of a difference.
     
  11. Voy Gems: 5/31
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    the main page is a mess btw, the one that you get directed from facebook,
    anyway first time I encountred sp/bom i didn't have an idea it's a forum;
    on the left toolbar right above or right below the news/main should be "Forums"
    and whole front page needs a re-vamp imo
     
  12. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Can you elaborate on what you mean by "it's a mess"? There's much more to SP than just forums... "Message Boards" is the first link in the Features table on the right side of the front page...

    The whole site definitely could do with a redesign though, no argument there. It's actually been planned 5 years ago already but it fell through at the time and hasn't come back into focus since.
     
  13. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I'm going to come right out and admit that I almost never look at the front page. I am bookmarked straight into the forum page. I wish I could bookmark the New Posts link but I don't seem to be able to.
     
  14. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] Right click on the New Posts link and select 'Bookmark this link'

    You're probably trying to bookmark a specific search which only remains valid for a specific amount of time.

    If you want to add the bookmark manually then type in/copy: "http://www.sorcerers.net/forums/search.php?do=getnew"

    I have the SP front page as my homepage, I usually end up reading what's on it then reading it again when I come onto the forum :lol: but I am a strange creature of habit ;)
     
  15. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Woah! That's awesome, 8people. I learn something here every day! That will save me one or two mouseclicks per day.
     
  16. Erod Gems: 14/31
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    About the recent forum changes. I would have kept the less discussed game series as a single forum for each series (or a single forum for the series developer) and only branch out dedicated forums for a specific game if they get enough discussion. Several empty forums do not accomplish anything and only creating them will not generate more visitors. Also sub-forums are generally a bad idea if they are going to be used for active discussion as they are "hidden" and therefore not used as much. The new Mass Effect forums would be a good example for all of the above.

    As for the front page. The layout is quite outdated and it can be very confusing to navigate around. It really needs a redesign. There are too many links and linked items so you are not really sure what is what or where you should look. Like it is too fragmented. Also the news coverage has been quite bad for a long time now. The RPGWatch news have somewhat changed the situation but even they are updated irregularly. A proper news coverage for the featured games would be ideal but I suspect this would require a lot of work and voulunteers so it probably is not an easy task to accomplish. But I think a good front page is essential as this is what any newcomer will see first.
     
  17. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    That's how it's been thus far. But no forum for a specific game often gave people the idea that the BoM isn't the place to discuss it either, which is the downside of the whole "only open a new forum if there's lots of interest" notion. Since moving the threads back into The Playground if the forums don't take off is very easy, it's not like we've got anything to lose. As for Mass Effect, if that's going to be discussed much at all here, being a BioWare game, it's going to be the third part, not the old 1 & 2.

    We got very few complaints over the layout not being clear over the years, so I think that for the majority it's not confusing, but if we were to do it anew, certainly it'd be be better.

    I'm not sure what you think is missing from the news coverage though - the RPGWatch crew really miss very little as far as the relevant news goes?
     
  18. DarthMuffin Gems: 4/31
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    As you can see from my profile, I've been around for a while but haven't posted a lot. In that regard, I think I represent the "NWN generation" pretty well.

    During the heyday of the Infinity Engine games, I wasn't really big on the whole Internet thing (being quite young back then and all). As I recall, I originally registered here following NWN's release because, as a Baldur's Gate fan, I was disappointed by NWN. Icewind Dale 2 was about to launch and there was still a decent amount of activity around IE games.

    But as NWN matured, it became much better. Mostly because of community-made modules and multiplayer persistant worlds. In retrospective, I think I can say that in the end I enjoyed NWN as much as Baldur's Gate. I'm deviating a bit here, but some of those player-made modules put many retail games to shame. Case in point, the community grew elsewhere. BioWare herded the community on their own forums, and there's also the fact that the focus on modding meant that module-hosting websites like the Vault got a big slice of the cake.

    As for post-NWN RPGs... well there isn't a true community anymore. Dragon Age and Mass Effect are the sort of games you play a few times then move on to the mandatory sequel the next year. Elder Scrolls seem to have a longer lifespan, but once again mod sites and official forums are where it's at.

    But I digress...

    I think a fansite needs a niche today to really thrive. And as much as I like SP, I don't think it has one. Despite Beren's excellent walkthroughs, SP isn't a guide powerhouse like Gamebanshee. And despite hosting a few mods, the offering is extremely modest compared to the likes of the Vault and Nexus. I'm not sure there's really a "market" left purely for forums and I don't see how covering more games/genres at this point would really improve things.

    I think there's potential behind the blogs, but I don't think they were given enough coverage. As it is, they're really buried deep into the website; the front page only has a little link to them. Perhaps giving them more space would make things better. For example, have two columns on the main page: one for news, one for latest blog posts. Or at the very least add a "latest active blogs" box below the forum one.

    Finally, I noticed on the RPG Codex's main page that there's a little banner saying "hosted by Sorcerer's Place" which redirects here. I can't help but notice that the Codex's forums seem to be more active than SP's. I don't know what sort of arrangement is behind this, but... dare I suggest a merge? Perhaps I sound totally mad (in which case I apologise), I'm just throwing some ideas around. I'm not a regular over there myself, but it seems like the subjects they cover overlap quite a bit with those of SP. Of course they seem to have a lot of "modern RPGs hating crazies", but that's another story.
     
  19. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Yea, much of the modding of the NWN and later 3D games involves large downloads and there's just no way to make that feasible for us to host - the advertising available to us simply doesn't pay anywhere near well enough to cover the costs of the server and bandwidth resources that terabytes of data would require. And on top of that, modding really requires a site with the primary focus on that and the facilities to manage and allow for direct modder uploads. Oh, and there's the fact that there really should only be one central website for ALL the modders - with the TES and NWN games for instance, that is the case.

    Codex's forums were always more active than ours, but you have to keep in mind that SP started as a rather elitist club, where the stricter rules turned most gamers off. Over the years we've toned things down a bit, but we're still not your typical gaming community as the higher standards are still in effect.

    A merge with the Codex just wouldn't be possible though - their philosophy of lax moderation and tolerance of most things on our no-no list just wouldn't mix. Codex's coverage is wider because they cover the entire RPG genre, whereas we still pick and choose titles. But the content is different as well; Codex is primarily a news/editorial/review website, whereas SP's main focus are downloads and guides. Of course, this area has been far from attended to well lately, for which I have to take full blame.
     
  20. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    I don't come around much any more - the BoM has been stagnant for years. There's not much point in coming here for me when only the Alleys are active and I can guess what everyone's position is going to be before they post.

    I'm not sure that anything can be done about it - I think at this point it's such a tight community that newcomers would feel weird trying to break in.

    I think throwing more game-related forums at the problem is a wrong step. The current community doesn't seem to care much, and anyone coming here is going to see fairly dead forums and so not have much to say on the matter. As said, there are already lots of active places where these things can be better discussed.

    Does the current community even care about games? I know we all care about the IE games, but this doesn't feel like a community of hardcore gamers any more except when it comes to that extremely narrow band of games. Games have felt like the least important part of this place for a long time - it was only when the other forums started drying up that there was a major problem though.

    Sooooo - if I were you, I'd probably be looking to trim down rather than expand. Consolidate the stuff that's active and merge the inactive stuff into general forums. I'd probably throw out the non-D&D games section and merge it all back to the Playground. Prune off the BG3 and KotOR forums, and merge the NWN mods forum somewhere.

    I realise that this is pretty much the opposite of your current strategy, but ... yeah. I don't think this is going anywhere. The community is too introverted. Expansion was great when it happened because there were so many threads bubbling up about the topic in Whatnots or the like, but now expansion just dilutes.

    As I see it, the only unifying thing of this site is that we all have interest in IE-style CRPGs, and there's nothing left to be said on the topic.

    If The Broken Hourglass had been released and successful, I think there might have been a boost in activity. I think the core members of the community could have gotten excited by it ... but there isn't much else. I don't think you can get new people coming in without having the core community excited.

    In general I'm pessimistic about this place. I think it can survive a long time because the community that's here is fairly strongly attached, but I just can't see it ever being vibrant again. There's not even enough dissatisfaction with the current state of RPGs to get any discussion going or to inspire the community to build one - feels like everyone has moved on. Compare and contrast to the Codex where everyone still has strong feelings about the old games and there are several development projects and such born out of dissatisfaction...

    So, yeah - I'm probably not being much help - but unless a game comes along that the people who came here to talk about Baldur's Gate are passionate about, I don't think you can expect a revitalisation of the gaming side of the forum. I don't think we're going to see one any time soon. You'd probably have more luck reinventing the place as a social/political debate site but, y'know - **** that.

    Anyway, I'll stop rambling. I'd like this place to stop its slow slide into decay, but I think it's too late and a pretty tough call anyway given how things have changed since its heyday.


    Smaller in scope: I think you should remove the word filter, because it's pointless, silly, and annoying. But I probably posted this same thing five years ago to no avail so I'm not expecting much. :heh:


    (Merging RPG Codex and the BoM is a hilarious idea, but something you really wouldn't want to have happen. That said, if I want to talk about any RPG or get any RPG news that isn't related to the IE games, I'd go there instead of here)
     
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