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The Future of Pen & Paper Games
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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: The Future of Pen & Paper Games

  1. #1
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    The Future of Pen & Paper Games

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    Hi everyone,

    I've been a member of this site for years and I've watched over time as the discussions have waxed and waned, chat rooms swelled and contracted and now I've come to the point where the forums and the chat rooms are all but abandoned. Many, many people were recruited from this site to others due to the drop-off in activity and now it appears that there is (sadly) almost an abandonment of this occurring and I felt obligated to write something in the way of asking the community, or what's left of it, where does this site go from here?

    When I first joined this site D&D 3rd edition was the "latest and greatest" in the fantasy roleplaying game genre, and since we've watched 4th edition, Pathfinder, and now 5th edition released and actively played. It's been a long time, all the way around and I'd hate to see this place go down as I've seen so many other websites over the years.

    So here it is - What do you as the P&PG leadership see for the future of this site? Should we all begin moving to other sites? Is there any intention of keeping this site active and updated? What help would you need if you were to attempt to breathe new life into this site?
    "All you need is ignorance and confidence, then success is assured." -Mark Twain

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    Unfortunately it seems that folks wonder off to other sites to be in games or take part in new discussions at them. Have heard in the past that other sites seem to have the same problem with slow times. We may just be at one of those times when folks are busy doing things on other sites, but have seen times before when folks that had been away from P&PG for a while, end up coming back because a game had finished up or the other site started to get slow like this. As we can not force folks to be here all the time, we just have to wait and see if the wander back eventually.
    "You go 50 feet and come to a Y."

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    Well the chat has been down/crashed for several days or weeks. So that's one major reason there is no one in chat.
    If you've had a bit of a tumble:
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    A site is only as alive as it's membership.

    membership only sticks around when there is community, or compelling and useful features.

    i believe that our community has caused this site to last much longer than it otherwise would have.

    and we can keep it going still longer, so long as the hosting continues.

    however, no new features, no active (i.e.: visible to members AND ESPECIALLY non-members) participation from leadership along with active events by members, no new partnerships, no unique support for p&p games in a virtual environment built into the site - or at least provided by the site.... degradation is inevitable.

    i see us as having become like the old MU sites, say animemuck or newmoon. they still exist, and people still log in from time to time, but they are no longer the mainstream - and seem fine with that.

    do we want to become a backwater where a few friends and friendly enemies hang out? if so, then do nothing.

    if not, then we need to put our time and money where our mouths and desires are. we will need to become competitive with other sites such as enworld or rpgnet, and with other products such as roll20 and pcgen, not to mention other shared whiteboard platform. our matchup with obsidian portal was great, but unless we continue to expand (and in what direction, exactly) and grow we will not regain namespace online.

    in my view - what we are supposed to be is an online platform for p&p gaming. are we there - we were, but we aren't anymore. gaming continues to change, but we haven't. chat and forums alone isn't enough to make an online pen and paper experience worth sticking around for, even if the community is great. (while some are happy with community, that is not enough for most.)



    so, do we want to try? if so, what exactly do we do? what do we want to become? what will make us unique, different, better; worth time and attention from nonmembers?judging from the number of guests i typically see online, there is potential.
    Last edited by nijineko; 05-26-2015 at 04:14 PM.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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    Hope the Chat comes back soon. I miss chatting with my buds; it's usually the most I have time for.
    I'm wise enough to know that I don't know half as much as I think I know. Y'know?

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    Chat was an awesome part of the site, and personally it was one of the best inspirational tools I had as a GM. I absolutely miss the folks that used to haunt that room. Further, I believe that it is only the folks that have remained behind here at P&PG instead of moving on to other sites that are keeping this site from becoming a web-cemetery so Nijineko nailed it - loyalty to the site is what has kept it going.

    I can tell you that when you type in "Roleplaying Game Forums" in Google you get nothing about P&PG (the website). I cannot recall how I stumbled upon this site back in 2007-2008 but I remember that I discovered it on a search engine.

    Some would argue that forums are dated and no longer utilized in favor for Roll20 or some other application; you need only visit a few of the sites that do pop up on a web search to see that's not valid. The internet forum is still heavily utilized by people who want to discuss and play TTRPGs. Additionally, and just as a demonstration of our site's unfortunate fall behind the times - D&D 5th edition has been out (officially) for almost a year, yet no dedicated forum was ever created to stir up conversation about it! From a visitor's perspective it would appear that this site doesn't have any desire to discuss 5th edition (and that may be the case - I don't know that to be true) and since D&D and Pathfinder are your two most popular TTRPGs on the market currently we may be sending a message that we don't want to talk about it.

    I'm perfectly willing to act as a mod if needed, distribute flyers at my FLGS advertising the site, and I am absolutely willing to bring my gaming community over to this site from EnWorld (this is actually in progress - I just don't want to lose all my information in the event that this site were to disappear).

    What other ideas does the community at large see that this place needs? Am I all alone in my thinking that we have lost our way?
    "All you need is ignorance and confidence, then success is assured." -Mark Twain

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    Well, I was a paying supporter of the site, at least until that option was removed....
    I don't know why they would remove the subscription option if money is needed.

    I'm also willing to advertise the site on some social media formats, etc...

    I do know that the appearance of the site could be updated to look more attractive to potential players/GMs. I have some ideas in the graphic design department for that if any of the higher ups care to listen to a noob like me haha.

    I know we have people using skype during their games sometimes, but implementing a voice chat server such as mumble or teamspeak for example could be more useful, since skype can be a pain at times, and harder to work with, it's also more personal, so people can sometimes be less inclined to use it. With a voice chat server there could be separate rooms for different games going on, and rooms for hanging out or specific discussions too. They don't cost very much to keep either.

    Maybe updating the chat system to something more friendly for p&p could be beneficial as well?

    Also, possibly adding character page options that link to the players profile, and giving sub options to post as that character in a way where the characters name or picture can be clicked on, and the user is sent to their character page.

    More people are drawn to visuals these days unfortunately, so even though they're more of a written game sort of thing, they need something visual to stimulate them, or being able to chat on voice with others too. I just know from my own experience when trying to introduce p&p gaming to others, they always complain that there isn't anything to look at really.

    My favorite GM, Narayan on here, he does a great job. He utilizes maps he's made himself, he draws up simple layouts of battle scenes so we can get a better idea of what's going on, and even creates a wiki page for a lot of things through obsidian portal. Things like that help a lot and keep people interested.

    Another idea is a basic paper doll character avatar sort of thing, where there is a base for many different racial types/appearances, and then simple clothing, hair, colors, eyes, etc options to customize them, so that way people could create a simple representation of the character they're playing. A lot of people love to have their character come to life in imagery. I've had numerous people over the years ask me to draw their characters for them, or I've heard them complain about not having pictures made of their characters. It could be a system very similar to the south park character creator, something simple, not in the south park style of course haha.

    Anyways it's 2:37am, and I am ranting, and having random ideas and thoughts about how to help the site haha, so if these things have been tried, I apologize. I just want the site to keep going, I really enjoy being able to play on here since it's so hard for me to find groups to play with offline, not to mention transportation and health issues haha.

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    I'm not sure what keeps kicking chat offline. I'll see if I can't get Farcaster to chime in. Life's been extra busy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talmek View Post
    I've been a member of this site for years and I've watched over time as the discussions have waxed and waned, chat rooms swelled and contracted and now I've come to the point where the forums and the chat rooms are all but abandoned. Many, many people were recruited from this site to others due to the drop-off in activity and now it appears that there is (sadly) almost an abandonment of this occurring and I felt obligated to write something in the way of asking the community, or what's left of it, where does this site go from here?
    I use to use this site for recruiting.

    Then I started having problems. One problem, which was fixed, was that I couldn't post any games that were at a live address, only online games. Apparently something in the coding didn't recognize my address.

    The second problem, occurring now, is that I don't get notifications of new games. I had an old player email me wanting me to join his campaign. I looked on the site, and there it was (7 miles from me). No notification.

    Maybe other people are or were having similar problems and moved on. Not sure, but I don't see a whole lot of games posted in my area anymore. I tend to check regularly due to the above mentioned issue.

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    Hi Guys,
    As a new member here I want to say that I love the place!
    Over the last week though the site has been very very slow to load, and what was usually only a couple of guests online at a time, is now something closer to 90. Just wanted to check that your service isn't under attack from goblins or anything :-)
    Chat would be great! Let me know when its working

    Cheers,
    Ivan
    Last edited by Ivan; 06-03-2015 at 03:29 AM.

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    PS: I've just tried on two different computers, both different ISP's, Chrome, Firefox and IE. Very slow load times... approx 3 minutes a page.... help!

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    You're right. Just now it took me over a minute to load just to read your comment(s). Something seems to be wrong with the server.
    Abstruse Decapod

    "Why aren't i just be able to write adventures that don't require crap like an Amish rpg?" -myself

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    So glad it wasn't all in my head hehe. Performance is much better today, pages popping open super-quick.
    Thanks heaps guys, my sanity can be restored

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    I'll let you know if I hear from Farcaster.
    Matt James
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  15. #15
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    No such progress in chat apparently?

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