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xitvono
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icon Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+2)  
Sean Plott "Day[9]," with over 400,000 subscribers, mentioned about a week ago that he was probably going to play the new DROD game, and now he is doing a play through on his channel. I'm going to watch it now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VEN0xXS-jQ&list=UUaxar6TBM-94_ezoS00fLkA
08-02-2014 at 06:41 AM
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silver
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+1)  
So I watched the first hour of this in his youtube archive (apparently he only did 1.5 hours of it, and I'll get to see the last part tomorrow). I'm usually in his chat on Fridays but had work to do, so I missed this, the one time he played something I knew about - I might have been able to improve the image of the game had I been there, but blah.

Anyway, I gotta say, his stream makes the game look terrible.

The problem is that TSS is soooo much a 'a sequel for fans of the game' and not a 'good way to be introduced to the game' that it

(a) started out on so much story he was confused about and uninterested in

(b) immediately started confusing him with decoration, like that whole area you'll never access north of the roach/platform maze in the first level

(c) introduced concepts in a weirdly paced way - roaches to guards, to everything about snakes all introduced in one room so he had no idea what he was learning there

There's no way anyone watching that stream thought the game was a good experience to go out and try. If only he had streamed GatEB or JtRH instead, sigh.

But there's no way blame Day[9] for this. I think it's really our fault for being so stuck in our DROD bubble for so many years that we couldn't envision the optics of this game to a new player. TSS was awesome for fans, but in many ways actually repellent to people who have no idea what the what is what.

Though it's hard to blame "us," too. We were stuck in our bubble and made/got the sequel we really wanted. In order for us to have done "better" we would've had to have seen streams like this a year ago.

Anyway, blame sucks. What can be done to make the experience of "buying TSS because friends are reviewers rave about it" not turn into "what is all this? who are all these people I don't care about, saying more made-up words in the first few minutes than I should have to learn? how do I get up to that area up there? is it part of the puzzle? help!"

My suggestions can't really be implemented:

* make sure decorative unreachable bits only happen (at least initially) in rooms that are so easy you can't mistake them for part of the solution. or at least SAY (the first few times) that it's a decorative unreachable bit. Or maybe just remove the orbs from up in there so newbies don't spend 10 minutes clicking on them and being confused about how to get there when it's just a decorative unreachable area

* try not to use elements just once or twice - if there's only one rattler puzzle, maybe we just leave it out. or make it a secret room with a note about rattlers. but don't introduce snakes, rattlers, and adders all in one room, with unforced documentation and no mention of them again for levels and levels.

* bundle it with JtRH and TCB and strongly suggest playing those two holds first unless you're a Big Fan. Or pare down JtRH and TCB into smaller versions of themselves and literally stick them in front of the older holding vats?

or maybe

* since TSS was clearly made for fans and not new players, try to sell it was such. it's actively worse for business to try to make money by giving people an experience only fans will appreciate as the their first experience - instead of hooking people and creating positive word of mouth, you'll create experience like Day[9]'s where the game positively screams "don't buy me" when you watch his videos. so maybe don't promote the game or try to sell it to new players at all. promote earlier games and then try to sell this one to fans only.

I don't know. It's hard. Day[9]'s self-torture has given me a lot to think about (even though my thoughts are pretty much just for my own fantasy world)

...
and, of course, my thoughts are mooted if I read threads about press clippings I normally don't care about, like reviews on sites I've never heard of, where a bunch of this is already discussed :)

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[Last edited by silver at 08-02-2014 09:42 AM]
08-02-2014 at 08:59 AM
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Red-XIII
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (0)  
I also just watched this and I can't add much to what silver just said since it summarized well the only flaw of TSS, there is no good tutorial in it. But shouldn't be easy to fix this? I remember that TCB had tons of tutorial areas when you met a new element, so why not put all those rooms (which are pretty good for tutorial) into the "play tutorial" of TSS?
With this a newtime player like Day[9] could know the main rules of the main monsters faster rather than learning by himself ( he said that he didn't understand at all some rooms of "Training Hall").

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08-02-2014 at 09:40 AM
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Jacob
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (0)  
I was planning to work on the tutorial, but haven't had any time.

However, the theme here seems to be "TSS is too non-accessable and off-putting". This makes me very sad.

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08-02-2014 at 12:40 PM
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bomber50
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (0)  
08-05-2014 at 03:37 PM
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+1)  
Wow, is the concept of a difficulty curve so alien to people that they think that the first 3% or so of a game reflects its overall difficulty? I know, they're Youtube comments, but still.

On a side note, if you wonder why 1st Archivist is a sympathetic villain, replace "abovegrounders" with "the majority of people on the Internet" and suddenly his motives make perfect sense.

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[Last edited by Pinnacle at 08-05-2014 05:38 PM]
08-05-2014 at 04:20 PM
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da rogu3
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+1)  
quote:
Pinnacle wrote:
Wow, is the concept of a difficulty curve so alien to people that they think that the first 3% or so of a game reflects its overall difficulty? I know, they're Youtube comments, but still.
I wouldn't let it bother you. Ridiculous stuff is said about literally everything, most people know not to take Youtube comments seriously.
08-05-2014 at 08:54 PM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+4)  
quote:
Jacob wrote:
the theme here seems to be "TSS is too non-accessable and off-putting". This makes me very sad.
I'm sorry you're feeling sad about this, Jacob. I'd like to suggest a different point of view, in the hopes I can cheer you up. We didn't design TSS as an entry point to DROD. We built it as the grand finale for people that have already been playing DROD and wanted the consummate DROD experience. I think players agree it works great in that respect and I don't think we need to apologize for that direction.

For someone who hasn't seen DROD before? I'd say having TSS as their first experience with DROD is spiritually akin to the experience we had playing Webfoot DROD before AE was released. In other words, it was arguably great for people that love that kind of thing, but if you didn't, it was a grueling experience and most people quit by Level 2.

For all our fans who have stuck with us through the years, from the "What I like/don't like" topics, I perceive the fans are saying they're glad that we put TSS together, for them, in the way we did, and that watering it down would have cheapened the experience for them. Of course, I'm interested to hear other opinions on what "a DROD fan's ultimate DROD experience should have been."

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[Last edited by mrimer at 08-06-2014 05:59 AM]
08-06-2014 at 05:58 AM
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silver
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+2)  
I don't disagree - this game should have been made, essentially as it is, because the fans deserved a great hold for fans, etc.

My only point is that marketing it as "the great new DROD game" to anyone who ISN'T a fan, is effectively telling them "sure, you can pick it up from here."

and then their first experience will be: 5 minutes of backstory involving people they don't know saying things they don't understand (admittedly skipable by pressing N at the prompt - but if you learned from the tutorial to press 'Space' when you get bored with a cutscene, and press it early like Day[9] did, you accidentally selected Y at the prompt)

followed immediately by 5 MORE minutes of new story, still involving a bunch of indecipherable things, and if you skip that with space, you miss out on knowing what your mission is for the level, so you get to the end and get to be confused about why you can't proceed (fortunately, someone in Day[9]'s chat told him to go back to the beginning and then go on to the stairs to the 'Training Hall' - he had initially skipped the Training Hall because he thought that was a way back to the Tutorial he had just done!)

all of which was awesome to me, as a fan, playing the 5th game and N+1th hold. all of which said "I wish this game hadn't been marketed to people as the Game They Should Play if they haven't played DROD before, because not only was it clear Day[9] was initially frustrated and confused, it appears his audience took it even worse."

---

My belief is that this could not really have been mitigated easily - except by not trying to sell TSS *except* to fans. which is a terrible business plan. So my secondary idea would be to make an awesome fun hold of puzzles that introduces the elements in a more newb friendly pacing, and *also* recaps the story so far a little at a time - bundle that with TSS and insist that if you haven't played the other 4 games, this hold is the place to start. The problem with that is that it would have taken nearly twice as much work to get TSS out.

So I don't have a solution.

I'm really happy with TSS. I think it's awesomesauce. I *actively want more people to love DROD as much as I do*, and I want a good way to encourage that. I wouldn't be writing any of this if I didn't love the game or didn't want to share that love with new people.


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08-06-2014 at 09:11 AM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (0)  
quote:
silver wrote:
My only point is that marketing it as "the great new DROD game" to anyone who ISN'T a fan, is effectively telling them "sure, you can pick it up from here."
Ah...I mostly agree. Hmm...but I'm not quite clear. When you say "pick it up from here", I would take this as meaning the player is playing TSS after leaving off after an earlier game (e.g., after playing through JtRH or TCB). In this case, I would say that's exactly who we're marketing to.

However, if by "pick it up from here", you mean we're saying TSS is appropriate for newbies, I agree this isn't the message we want to be sending. In which case, can you relate back to me (verbatim, with source, hopefully), where we've seemed to communicate this?

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Gandalf? Yes... That's what they
used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the
turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 08-06-2014 05:32 PM]
08-06-2014 at 05:27 PM
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silver
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+1)  
well, of course http://www.caravelgames.com/Articles/Games_2/TSS.html says "maybe you should try GatEB instead" which is good...
I could just be way off here. I am just giving my overall impression based on how bad I feel about how much Day[9]'s audience was turned off (at least the parts of chat he relayed to us in the video) - I wanted them turned on, and there's not much I can do about that.

Perhaps http://www.caravelgames.com/Articles/Games.html could mention "new to DROD? start here => GatEB" and "fan of drod looking for the epic conclusion and ultimate puzzle experience? Go here => TSS"

but that wouldn't help with say, Steam or GOG listing TSS as the "latest DROD game" and I don't think there is a way to get those pages to recommend a better starting point into a series, so I dunno.

as I said, just speaking from the gut, and just sad that I saw maybe 20-30 people totally disenchanted with this wonderous world before they even tried it. I want everyone to love the game :(

----

my gut also tells me that if we can make this Entry Point project they're working on Really Good and *also* incorporate into it a recap of the story leading up to TSS - but paced out slowly so it doesn't overwhelm - then it might be a good idea to bundle it with TSS once it's done, and make it an explicit option when you hit "new game"... though that sounds like a lot of changes, so I'm not sure.


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[Last edited by silver at 08-06-2014 06:14 PM]
08-06-2014 at 06:10 PM
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Jacob
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icon Re: Day[9] plays DROD: TSS (+2)  
Funnily enough:

On the Steam Greenlight site: "greg.barnett.89 -
saw day9 play it on hs day off, looked super fun, really keen to play it"

Slightly off-topic:

I just raved about DROD to my new brother-in-law (who is in software development and has even developed some games) and complained that it wasn't getting enough recognition. He immediately googled it on his phone while we were talking and got the drod.net fansite (which is just text) and went "meh".

I told him to click "Games". He saw the number of releases on the one page, thought it was too confusing and looked underwhelming. He didn't even bother to click on TSS, watch the trailer or anything else.

He said he would (1) overhaul the websites to make them more eye-catching, simplistic and appealing and (2) just have one release, from which you could download the previous ones, to make things less confusing.


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08-07-2014 at 08:34 PM
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