There are many true words in this thread. It is good to hear that Illarion is considered to be a more mature game than in its past. That it has lost some of its former spirit is also confirmed, not because of technical aspects but because of the changed player base. A change in player base might have its origin in technical details, but as the decrease in player numbers took place before the VBU, I seriously doubt the VBU can be blamed
. The player numbers did not skyrocket after VBU, though.
Our first development milestone is called "Stable state for reviewers and promotion
". So promotion is a top priority. The main reason why no significant promotion takes place these days is that those who did promotion in the past are those who are also the driving force behind technical improvements. See Nitram's post on actual blocking points. These days, I personally aim more for finishing the work on the 150 new armour items and weapons we'll add to the game. I am aware that in future, we should focus more on promotion than we did in the past. Besides the core developers, we had many promising to do promotion, to create videos and what else not. But either, nothing really happened or completely inefficient approaches were chosen without any outcome. We even had voices against promotion, fearing that we might attract the "wrong" players or even "too many"...
For steering a proper promotion campaign, we should first fix what unique selling points there are. I can imagine the following top 3:
- Dynamic world with GM run factions and quests
- Enforced roleplaying
- Profound crafting system - You can craft almost every item in the game
One needs to take into account that many other games also offer enforced roleplaying (no unique selling point!) as well as crafting. Our game world is not as dynamic as we'd like it to be. This ties up directly with the limited player number and a certain lack of tools, to be addressed in development milestone V. But even without technical gadgets, our players and GMs have almost unlimited freedom to shape the world. Sadly, this freedom is not used and there are some boundary conditions necessary. Obviously, most world changing ideas are of destructive nature (kill the Don, destroy a temple) or of excluding/separating content (found a new city for German players only, build a house in the middle of nowhere). When we drafted the VBU world, we had the idea that the three factions shall form a triangle of everychanging storylines with diplomacy, trade, embargos, negotiations, blockades, skirmishes and even war if necessary. Escaping from this setup might be "easy", but if you kill the Don and build your hut in the forest, do you really improve the game for future plots and new players?
So, in conclusion, it is completely confirmed that more promotion should be done in future. We have dedicated promotion board with some good starting points. Everyone is free to contribute to promotion! Just don't assume the New York Times would be interested in Illarion and that handing out fliers in Hintertupfingen is the right way to promote an online game. Do it... online
! Rock, Paper, Shotgun, IndieDB, Gamejolt, anyone?