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qlauncher

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Letter to OMs / Plan to Promote YPP Popularity Reply to this Post
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Scroll down for the TLDR;

Some time ago, there was a videogame for the PC released. It consists of a pirate theme, a small plethora of things to do, and practically no end game. The only thing the game offers is the experiences that the people playing the game can come together to create. It has mixed reviews, but the people who enjoy the game would defend it to its very end. Can anyone name the game?

It's Sea of Thieves. Did you get it right?

Sea of Thieves has been in development since 2014, and was released through a BETA in November of last year. Due to its marketing strategies and transparency from the developers, the game became the most purchased PC game published by Microsoft ever in its first week of sales. And this happened in 2018. Twenty. Eighteen. The year when the internet is a warzone of marketing and interactive media. The year when the gaming industry is saturated with games of all genres, platforms and budget levels for game companies and gamers alike. The year when, despite all of this, a game that consists of boats, pieces of eight, and working together (or alone) can prosper.

I think it is safe to say that Sea of Thieves is finding its success from these two traits:

1. It benefits from Twitch viewership; the game is fun to watch (you could even argue that it is equally entertaining to watch as it is to play) and videogame streamers will happily show off the best elements of play at no cost to the developers. Because of this, the game enjoyed a kind of ?free marketing? during its BETA.

2. Its development and growth is shared with its community; the developers update the game on a constant basis, and are extremely transparent in their intentions by way of social media interactions, Q & A's and consistent and constant release notes. The player base feel that they have a hand in their game.

Let's evaluate 2 fronts of Puzzle Pirates that I outlined in above for Sea of Thieves.

1. Twitch Viewership
We want our game to return to its previous state of popularity, and now is the time. Our game is in BETA on Steam, the game is free to play, and Twitch may very well be at the height of its popularity: a completely free marketing strategy. Puzzle Pirates does not, however, benefit from accessibility and viewing ease. As someone who has tried desperately (for 239 hours and counting) to create entertaining viewing experiences of the game, I can tell you that the task is difficult on two fronts:

* For Current Players, it is difficult to establish a community of viewers because, well, the game is predictable.
- In pillages and sea monster hunts, we know what is necessary to achieve the win, and there is little to no variance on the difficulty, variety of conflict or payout. If you are not the battle navigator, your screen is fairly redundant anyways.
- In most puzzles, you can either do it well or not so well. People who watch Twitch are very interested in watching whoever plays the game with the most skill, and most pirates have a couple of specialties, and the buck stops there.
- Docktarting/Chatting is all that is left to do, and it takes a special kind of personality to make chatting non-verbally online an interesting experience.

A quick note: Our Current Players do show up when there is a stream concerning something they are interested in learning about, so I've discovered, more on that later.

* For New Players, it is nearly impossible for someone to come into the stream and make sense of what they are seeing.
- Viewers want to know the problem, the solution and the reward, and those things don?t present themselves clearly.
- Watching someone do a puzzle does not explain the Pillage/SMH/Crafting process. This makes parlor games (I wouldn't include drinking) superior as far as accessibility and intrigue. On a ship, battle navigation is equally so, but it is not a constant; there is a lot of waiting in between.
- Interestingly enough, the game suffers from a unique instance where rewards are entirely monetary or cosmetic, with absolutely no chance of obtaining a reward that would make you better at a puzzle, more lucky, etc. As a result, the economy becomes one based on cosmetic preference and sandbox goal-setting, begging the question, "What's the point?" for new players.

* When a new player is interested in the game, they go looking for knowledge on game mechanics and strategies and are met with:
- Official guides teaching you how to move pieces around on the puzzles, giving you hints on how to score moderately, and showing almost nothing about how to truly score well.
- Ocean Masters and Developers refusing to divulge/not actually knowing the breakdowns of scorings in puzzles and game mechanics,
- The discovery that some game mechanics within the puzzles themselves are broken and have been broken for a very long time (i.e., carpentry, foraging, distilling, rating system, etc.)
- An overloaded wiki and a vast string of theories.

2. Developer Transparency

Well, let's not make a list of grievances, shall we?

I speak for the community when I say that we pirates feel as if we are navigating in muddy waters. In the year 2018, where game developers are livestreaming future plans and release notes are miles-long and presented weekly, we feel as if the Ocean Masters / Developers have abandoned us long ago, and (ironically) we can only hypothesize the reason for this, as we have nothing to go by; No statements about how often the Grey Havens staff work, what their daily duties consist of, and what their guidelines for pirate interaction are. They are the gods of our world, and we have no true understanding of their operations, nor do we have a way to complain about their actions. All we have to go by are minimal release notes, a seemingly very dedicated cheating/rule-breaking punitive sector working almost around the clock, the occasional tomfoolery from staff in-game, and pristine marketing and execution of Grey Haven's lucrative work: Boxes.

Now, on with the intent of this post:

We have strides to be made on these 2 fronts previously mentioned: Making the game visible and accessible, and reestablishing/developing our understanding of (and relationship with) Grey Havens. Without both, the game we all love has surely set a course for oblivion.

The first front (making the game visible and accessible) we could:

1. Blame/defer the lack of marketing and publicity to the Ocean Masters and call it a day. (I'd say 75% of pirates do this)
2. Go to the forums and offer up solutions/blame-games to each other/ Ocean Masters, pat ourselves on the back and call it a day. (The last 25% of pirates do this, including me right now)
3. Actually take this matter into our own hands, which is what I would like for us to band together and do right now. [AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST, I HAVE A PLAN TO ACTUALLY DO THIS. SUPPORT THIS POST TO MAKE IT A REALITY.]

The second front, well, you and I really can't do anything about it. (But I'm going to attempt it right here and right now.)

If I had one wish for the GH team, I would ask for a sort of blanket statement that can put some of our minds at ease. Something like, "We are a team of _ people, are working ____-time to manage _____ things. We are unable to be as responsive as you'd like because _____. We do not respond to ideas/solutions on the forums because ______. We think that Puzzle Pirates is currently in _____ condition, and our long-term goals include ________." If the community knew that the Grey Havens staff are spread too thin (or something to that effect) we would as a whole be able to accept disappointment when it comes to our questions/requests/solutions being ignored, and we could point to the quote when people bash our lovely Ocean Masters. PLEASE give us SOMETHING to refer to.

(TDLR; Does Grey Havens look like this , or are you just ignoring us like this ? Please advise, Cronus.)

And here is why giving the community this statement will be beneficial to the Puzzle Pirates staff.

If this forum post receives the response from Cronus that I am looking for, I will proceed with the following plan. I need to know that this game intends to grow, have many more updates and live a long and healthy life before I embark on what will very well be the most difficult planning, organizing and producing project I have ever embarked on in my life. If I cannot receive the statement that the community so desperately needs, I will not be using my time in this manner, for fear that my work will dust like an Epaulet Jacket.

So, on with the plan!


1. We're going to make a series of short videos that encapsulate the great aspects of Puzzle Pirates, as well as clean and professional puzzle guides (featuring a different person for each to show our lovely and diverse population) for each and every puzzle. These will include video and audio capturing, to give it that personal feel.
2. We're going to make an unofficial channel for Puzzle Pirates on Twitch that:
a. Plays these amazing videos on scheduled and automated broadcast, 24/7, and
b. Automatically hosts Puzzle Pirates gameplay when one of our own is live.

Creating Some Uniformity with These Videos:

* The videos will have a similar introduction and resolution.
* All pirates involved in explanations will:
- Have a pre-scripted and approved dialogue (To ensure no random asides, pauses or comments)
- Have a high quality game, audio and video capture quality (All you should need is a half decent computer and a webcam, and I'll help with the rest!
- Enthusiasm - A pirate-y spirit!
* Royalty-free pirate music very low in the background.
* Beautiful visuals and transitions (I'm hoping to make a @Scythera connection here :D)

Example (Typed out extensively):

[EASY] Pillaging: How to Plunder!


The video requires 5 players who can play and explain (with enthusiasm) the duty station that they are placed on, and record themselves playing the game through OBS, capturing a decent quality video of themselves, as well as their game footage. I will assist this group of 5 players in set up.
During the pillage, the 5 pirates will one at a time take a minute or so to explain the basic goals of their puzzle and how it ties into the rest of the ship's duties to ensure a successful pillage (this will be scripted, most likely). The video should be short (~8 minutes) and include leaving an island to start a pillage, engaging in a battle, winning said battle, and porting and dividing the booty. The goal is to condense a pillage into something digestible and show off the teamwork dependency of the experience (as well as the good, clean, G rated fun you can have, maybe with some added pirate-y talk. Arr!)
Once the footage is captured, the video will be edited to show all 5 puzzles being worked simultaneously, with some narrowing in on certain puzzles during the times that the pirates are explaining their puzzle.


Other videos will include:


[ADVANCED] Crafting: From Bid Tickets to Grand Frigates
[ADVANCED] Crafting: From Madder to Mad Hatter
[MODERATE] Greedy Hunting: Lockers filled with Lobsters
[ADVANCED] Citadels (Cit Runs): Fight the Fishy Foes
[MODERATE] Journey to Atlantis
[MODERATE] Haunted Seas
[ADVANCED] Ship Graveyards: A Mirror Match
[MODERATE] Cursed Isles
[ADVANCED] Thralling a CI: Undead Allies
[EASY] Understanding Dubloons and Pieces of Eight
[EASY] Understanding Familiar Prices
[EASY] Taking a Job
[EASY] I Have Pieces of Eight, Now What?
[EASY] List of Forward Slash Commands and their Uses
[ADVANCED] Competing in a Blockade
[EASY] Participating in a Blockade

And many many more!

When and If the Ocean Masters have given a reply, we will effectively begin phase 2, which is putting these video ideas into planning. It will requires many many pirates, so I hope that you will consider assisting us in some way. We will need time, special skills, and great puzzlers who don't mind a little bit of spotlight.

So, that's it. You've read this entire post, and now you can exit and go read some other intent post or you can support this simply by replying to this post saying "I Agree" or something to that effect.

TLDR;
1. Sea of Thieves is a game that has found success via Twitch and transparent developers. We have neither.
2. YPP Needs publicity, and we can accomplish this via making very nice tutorial vids and broadcasting them 24/7 via an unofficial YPP Twitch Stream.
3. That would take a BUNCH of effort, and I won't be starting this project until I receive a statement from Cronus about the state of the game and why Ocean Masters ignore us.
4. Please support this post!


Thanks for Reading!
Jazz
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I'm Jazz, the loud-mouth OM wanna-be Innkeep.

Avatar by the wonderfully gifted Cattrin.
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[Edit 4 times, last edit by qlauncher at Apr 9, 2018 7:20:30 AM]
[Apr 9, 2018 6:20:33 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Pikapyah

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Re: Letter to OMs / Plan to Promote YPP Popularity Reply to this Post
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"We are a team of _ people, are working ____-time to manage _____ things. We are unable to be as responsive as you'd like because _____. We do not respond to ideas/solutions on the forums because ______. We think that Puzzle Pirates is currently in _____ condition, and our long-term goals include ________."


I think we can start by everyone in the game to spam this thread into oblivion with this question. No reason to keep the dream alive if they see this as a milking cow ready to go to the slaughter house.

I like your idea. Making these tutorials verry accesible on twitch/youtube/for the love of god the front page of this damn game, would make it easyer to get new people in.

No need to start an argue how we can take jazz plan and do more, and do this and that and bla bla. The man has a solid plan to start with. And if the developers decide to answer your easy questions i will help you in any way i can.
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"economy killer, destroyer of stalls"
Pika says, "make it war bae"
Catch 'em all declared war on Scuppering Shrews.
Catch 'em all declared war on For Fox Sake.
Catch 'em all declared war on Consider it Sunk.
[Apr 9, 2018 9:38:08 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
infinity42



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Re: Letter to OMs / Plan to Promote YPP Popularity Reply to this Post
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I like your ideas and how they're presented. Thank you for being the reasonable voice to address these issues.

I feel like there's a significant learning curve for the game. A current video series with an educational focus would be helpful.

If you find the support you need, let me know how I can help. I have a theatre degree and mostly work USA school year schedule. I'll Patch on any voyage :)
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Obsidian: Lucy || Emerald: Acidly || Meridian: Acid
[Apr 9, 2018 9:58:28 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
arg60455

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I am completely on board with this. I have been sad looking at the current state of the game I love and a lot of the things that you stated are what I have been feeling.

There are few ideas and suggestions that I can say to improve the game mechanically for new players, but those require a lot of reworking from GH, which I have assumed are understaffed like nothing else. This is why I am trying to think of ways to use the current game as is to improve the experience for those that play it.

As many have said, a large part of making the game great is on the community. In many ways the players are what new players have to rely on to even play the game. Another part is how we choose to play the game.

This is why I am trying to come up with and start running events using the current mechanics in the game to make things more interesting and fun for everyone (hopefully.)


I am on board with supporting your idea with the videos. I'm not anywhere close to being someone to be on camera, but if you need any ideas or background help, I want to do everything I can to breath life into the game I love.

Edit: Side note a few things that could vastly improve the game is changing certain spawn rates. As you said for a pilly, only the bnaver has a changing experience. Making more expo drops more common, or something along those lines, to give people a more interactive experience could improve the experience. I don't know why they aren't more common as they don't have amazing payouts anyways.

My point is, improving the simple pilly could make the game a lot more inviting to new players, (or viewers checking out the game) who aren't hooked enough to wait 1.5 hours to load a SMH and sit on the same puzzles for the next 2-3 hours after that.
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The player's experience should be the primary focus of any type of game development.

- Blondberd on any ocean
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by arg60455 at Apr 9, 2018 10:13:41 AM]
[Apr 9, 2018 10:06:28 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Vfio

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Re: Letter to OMs / Plan to Promote YPP Popularity Reply to this Post
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I agree and although my puzzling skills aren't super, I love helping new pirates and I'd love to help our game however my abilities permit.

-Valentinafio
[Apr 9, 2018 11:39:27 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
M_Cobain

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I'd be interested in helping out with this if the need is there. I might not be the best at any of the puzzles but I might be of use.
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Martobain

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[Apr 9, 2018 11:43:46 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
abcfox



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I agree with this post and would be happy to help you in any way that I am able to.
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Wiggin on the Hunter Ocean
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[Apr 9, 2018 1:48:33 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Kyura94

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I'm keen to help if the situation (hopefully) progresses to that point. Not an omnis holder but I've had my fair share of ults.

Fingers crossed this thread doesn't go ignored by them as well.
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Ryuken on Emerald.
I made a Distilling guide here, and a guns one somewhere.

Offering docktart-citadel front row seats since Aug2020 :D
[Apr 9, 2018 10:36:53 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Tierios



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Completely on board with this plan, the game needs as much positive exposure as it can get to give the player levels a boost! Apart from TH and Bnav I can't puzzle at all, but am more than happy to help with those if I can be of assistance. You know where to find me!
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Scar On Obsidian Ocean
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Pasteyman



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Co-sign thread.
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Dark Knight feeling, die and be a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.

Rest easy Marto
[Apr 10, 2018 8:13:45 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
arg60455

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Looking at the LinkedIn page for Gray Havens, they only have 5 employees. All five of them work on all of Three Rings Old games: PP, Bang Howdy, Whirled, Spiral Knights, and Dr Who something.

So they are obviously understaffed. I believe that this is a call for some sort of change. There are many players who are perfectly kind and know a lot about the game, more importantly they are capable of finding answers on the wiki. GH could maybe introduce a system for players beyond the greeter system where trusted, tested players can maybe help with some of the petitions or something like that in game. Anything that goes beyond a moderate answer could be then sent up to a OM for a more informed answer.

The player base is full on many veteran players who all want to keep playing the game and make it better. I think it would be wise of GH to use them as a resource.
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The player's experience should be the primary focus of any type of game development.

- Blondberd on any ocean
[Apr 10, 2018 9:37:36 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Prosperity

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Thanks, Jazz, for posting this thread. Sign me up to help in whatever way possible! There hasn't been a game that's interested me in the same ways as Puzzle Pirates does, so I'd love to help promote the game I love.

I'm not a master puzzler - shipwrighting is the only puzzle I'd feel comfortable helping with.?

I have been an active merchant for many years of PP though, through several variations of commodity mechanics and such. Figuring out the latest mechanics as they apply to Obsidian has been a small pet project, so I'd love to help on anything merchant related or related to the sneakier mechanics of the economy. In general, I think I'd be able to provide insight or assistance with most non-puzzling topics thanks to playing this game for a very long time - whatever is needed.
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Obsidian: Inglorious Basterds, Guerrilla Warfare
CFO, Nonsensical Nudity Inc.
[Apr 10, 2018 3:54:46 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Prammy16

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I have been an active merchant for many years of PP though, through several variations of commodity mechanics and such.


I can corroborate. From personal experience, Prosperity runs some of the most competitive stalls on the entire ocean, so he DEFINITELY knows his stuff about the economy.
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-Porglit on Emerald
-Shadetemplar on Obsidian
[Apr 10, 2018 7:21:47 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Devonin

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I think we can start by everyone in the game to spam this thread into oblivion with this question. No reason to keep the dream alive if they see this as a milking cow ready to go to the slaughter house.


The official website of Grey Havens doesn't even exist anymore/can't be reached.

IIRC when it -did- exist, it described itself as a holding company for games which were not commercially viable.

The odds that it is even the tiniest bit the intention of GH to continue to actively develop and grow the game are close to nil.

I think the steam release was definintely an attempt to -try- to do so just to see if it would work, but numbers seem to demonstrate that in fact, no it will not.
[Apr 11, 2018 3:27:28 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
arg60455

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I think the steam release was definintely an attempt to -try- to do so just to see if it would work, but numbers seem to demonstrate that in fact, no it will not.


That's because they tried to republish a game without making any changes to what made people leave in the first place. The stellar PVP isn't really what made YPP great, and putting the focus on that wasn't the best idea.

YPP could possibly be viable once again, even while being from a simpler time of gaming. For example look at Old School Runescape, they went back to the exact version of the game from 2007, and with listening to player feed back on what made them leave the game in the first place, and letting the players have a voice in the direction of the game. OSRS is now extremely popular and still growing.

I know of people who have never played Runescape before, and are now getting into OSRS because it have become a better game with a strong community. Again, this is heavily from the connection between the palyerbase and the mods. Jagex members literally browse the 2007scape subreddit and respond to suggestion posts there on why it won't work, or "hey hat's a good idea, we'll take a look at it and maybe put it to a poll."

It's a game where you are just clicking, IMO much more boring than YPP, and yet there are proffesional twitch streamers.

YPP doesn't have to be a dead horse that GH continues to beat with old content and gold/mystery boxes. If they take the right steps, small at first, they can continue to grow it into what it may have once been.
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The player's experience should be the primary focus of any type of game development.

- Blondberd on any ocean
[Apr 12, 2018 8:06:17 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Devonin

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How many players did Runescape have when it decided to make that version? How many did it have at its peak to have people with history who can be pulled back with nostalgia?

This is easily the 10th or 12th very well-thought out and reasoned thread suggesting a totally different approach to trying to recover the game from the other threads. They haven't shown any signs of listening to me, or jdshuffle, or honey, or trippleos etc etc.

We have no reason to assume they'll listen to this one either.

The biggest issue throughout has been the lack of vision statements from GH, the lack of point of contact with the players about these issues. I get it, the company's a skeleton crew on a shoestring budget, and it is basically -always- a better cost/benefit proposition to work on development over talking to us about working on development.

Not that I expect GH to see this, or act on it if they do, but in all seriousness, 100% genuinely and legitimately, I will volunteer my time, free of charge, to act as a point of contact between GH and the playerbase.

I'll compose updates for Steam, liaise with the users through the forums, and whatever other community management/development seems like a worthwhile use of labour hours.

I even have plenty of qualifications!

In addition to having been a Y!PP player going back to early Beta, and a very active member of the community during that time, I've spent nearly as long as a moderator and administrator of another online game with an even larger active playerbase at this point, doing exactly this same role. And longer than either of those communities have existed, I've served in a similar role liaising between the developers and playerbase of a MUD that is now in its 25th year.

As well, I've spent the last 8 years in business management, the first four of which were with a company where I took on creating formal government compliant policy, handled most of the direct communication with clients, and contributed to plans and policies for development with the owner of the company. The latter 4 years have been spent as the owner and operator of a boardgame/card game store, where I've also been solely responsible for all community management, community communication, event planning, and customer service.

So seriously, I volunteer as tribute, free of charge, to work with the GH team to increase transparency, address customer concerns, and help with marketing and updating development progress. Not even remotely a joke. This game has been responsible for some of the highlights of my life on the internet, and as much as I preach doom and gloom lately, I would love to prove myself completely wrong here. I'm just trying to soften the blow from what looks to be the inevitable course of things as they stand now.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Devonin at Apr 12, 2018 10:49:15 AM]
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