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Shards

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Disclaimer

This page has been created in an evening and would benefit from some editing. I have tried to be objective and not put my opinions forward. Please leave YOUR views on the idea of 'shards' in the segment called Players comments. If you feel you can summarise the ideas better than I can, either let me know or change yourself! You can leave a pm for me ingame or through the forum... where I am listed as khaem. Thanks, Khaemwaset


Shards... what are they?

For Shard read server. ATITD is going to potentially start an experiment, whereby Teppy will open a new shard or server every few months.

Here is Teppy's definition on ENN... "Every 3 months, we'd open a new Tale in the Desert 5 (we'd probably do the first of these as a Tale 4 shard, starting in about a month.) Every Test and Tech would be unlockable on Day 1. So, no waiting for Devs to finish coding. Only 3 Tests are uncoded at the moment, so I think it's reasonable to assume that players would not have to wait."


Why?

  • Player driven not Dev driven.
  • May increase the overall ATITD player base. See Teppy's interpretation of Dunbar's Number.

Questions asked on ENN

Okay, so if I join one shard or server can I join another with the same avatar account?

No. If you want to play on another server you need to create and pay for a new account/avatar.

The downsides

1. The stream of new players will all tend to be directed to the newest shard.

2. Players who would otherwise return to this shard might instead restart from scratch on the new one.

3. No solution yet as to how Monument building on other shards will effect the next Tale.


The above are as summarized by Teppy on ENN. If you have your comments please leave them below.

The ENN Log


Teppy New Server Shards Chat


21:07:31 Teppy: --- 

21:07:37 Teppy: Greetings, all... 

21:08:02 Teppy: (One sec, tech problem) 

21:09:21 Teppy: Ok, there we go. 

21:10:36 Teppy: So I followed a bit of the informal discussion in E! yesterday. Lots of initial negative reaction to the idea and then some positive reaction later. 

21:11:07 Teppy: So let me first explain the actual idea and hen talk about which problems I think it may solve, and which i won't. 

21:11:28 Teppy: Rosethorn, feel free to add to this as I talk. 

21:12:12 Teppy: As most veterans know, the feeling at a Tale's start is very different from 1+ year in. 

21:12:18 Teppy: And is different from the endgame. 

21:12:43 Teppy: In fact, I'd go so far as to say that there are 3 pretty distinct phases to a Tale. 

21:13:26 Teppy: And I'll just come right out and say it - I've always enjoyed the first part the best. 

21:14:17 Teppy: Yeah, there's new Tests and tweeks to various techs, but it seems that most of the interesting stuff is not knowing how the different regions will develop,m and who will become powerful... 

21:14:37 Teppy: What sorts of guild relationships and purposes will evolve. 

21:14:56 Teppy: It's been different in each Tale. 

21:15:15 Teppy: And I've always said that shorter Tales are a primary goal. We're actually on track for a shorter Tale this time. 

21:16:02 Teppy: Specifically, if we could shorten that middle phase (and ideally, lengthen the first phase, though I'm not sure how to do that.) 

21:17:30 Teppy: And there's an interesting observation: 

21:18:04 Teppy: Not only are the # of players online way, way higher at a Tale's start... 

21:18:22 Teppy: Those that join early on stay over 2x as long as those that join, say, now. 

21:19:54 Teppy: So Rosethorn suggested something that - in almost 8 years of ATITD - I never thought of... 

21:20:37 Teppy: And the suggestion meshes nicely with some (but not all!) of those properties that are peculiar to ATITD. 

21:21:33 Teppy: And that is, rather than start a Tale and have it run for 18+ months, where maybe 16 of those months are "midgame"/"endgame" 

21:21:50 Teppy: Start a new shard every 3 months or so. 

21:22:00 Teppy: One other observation... 

21:22:32 Teppy: I have a Google Alert set up for ATITD, and I always go and read comments on message boards where we get mentioned... 

21:23:34 Teppy: And many of the people who have been here and left feel frustrated that they were never able to be one of the top players. Not enough time to devote to it, etc. 

21:24:06 Teppy: It's such an appealing game if you're one of the opinion leaders in Egypt... 

21:25:20 Teppy: Also, an observation: At this point in a Tale we tend to cruise along at 1100-1300 players. We're a bit lower than that right now (972 a couple days ago), but same ballpark. 

21:25:44 Nissim: how many players out of the ones active now consider or aspire to be opinion leaders? 21:26:59 Teppy: I don't kow - very hard to quantify. 

21:27:17 Orrin: If I can just make a more 'specific' account on active players, it seems to me that we stand at about 250-300 *active* players. Wahim's wine petition was turned it at just over 110 signatories. The 250-300 figure is based on the census of >init in body, and is a faily good 'leveller' 

21:27:30 Injeru: Not interested in being an opinion leader-- I do, however, enjoy being part of things that feel like they're affecting the world. The old hands seem to have a wrap on a lot of that. For example, was excited by the genetics, but there was no way I could compete with Tedra for resource availability or knowledge as a new player. 

21:27:47 Teppy: See, that's very interesting. 

21:29:22 Teppy: There's this odd result from sociology called "Dunbar's Number" - go ahead and look it up on Wikipedia... 

21:29:52 Teppy: But it (and some related numbers) basically says that the size of groups are "quantized"... 

21:30:40 Teppy: Depending on the type of group, something in human nature causes it to be 12 people, or 50 people, or 250, or 2500. 

21:31:08 Teppy: Most of the real life groups that I've been involved in have been right about 12 people. 

21:31:21 Teppy: And I think the 250 number is the size that tribes tend to be, before they split apart. 

21:32:05 Keko: i think 300 or 400 players active and others mule and inactive paids 

21:32:51 Teppy: It may in fact be 250. Again, hard to measure "real" accounts as opposed to mules, people who log in to socialize but not really "play", etc. 

21:34:34 Teppy: So if you believe in the Dunbar's Number hypothesis - the idea of a new telling of Tale 4, or Tal;e 5, starting every 3 months may be a way to grow the overall size of the ATITD community. 

21:34:43 Nchanter: Well if your goal is to make the game playable in ~250 player groups, you will have to re-scale a lot of things in the game, like research requirments (there are more active peopel at the beggining of the telling) and the way research works region to region. 

21:35:34 Orrin: The problem as I see it is that this game is very much socially orientated. It's rather abstract, but you can compare the game to a self-sustaining reaction. Enough people must be around for the social network to function. If connections fail, the reaction slows down and it self-propogates. 

21:35:44 Teppy: Exactly. 

21:36:28 Lukeera: I think your idea of new shards would broaden the number of people playing...for a short time. Then you would encounter shifts based on "but that shard is better." 

21:36:45 Teppy: NChanter: Agreed. That's not much smaller than we are now. So yeah, we would have to do some tweeking, but nothing dramatic... 

21:37:13 Teppy: Many Tests are extremely hard right now, but most self-balance... 

21:38:08 Piff: You know, it's not about being the "top" player in egypt, it's about what NOT being the top player means. For instance: raeli ovens, rare minerals...those things are not accessible to many small guilds or latecomers 

21:38:22 Teppy: Bingo. 

21:38:58 Nchanter: I do agree with the premis you posted in the calinder description that a player paced telling will retain more people than a developer paced telling -- having everything "unlockable" from the beggining and it gets unlocked when the players research it, not when y'all release it. but fragmenting shards mean that when a new one opens up, you will haev players move to that, and never "finish" any of the tellings. 

21:39:24 Piff: why can't you just make them more accessible instead of starting new shards? 

21:40:53 Teppy: There are probably 1000 "difficulty knobs" (variables) in ATITD: I do try to adjust them. For instance today I fooled with a half dozen or so that control how Beehive and Golden Sun mushrooms propagate. 

21:41:01 Rosethorn: Nchanter, I don't think that's true. I don't think people would be willing to abandon all their hard work (the key players, the active ones in this telling) and not see it through for the chance to start over with the exact same tests. 

21:42:15 Teppy: So the question is - how can we do this in a way where a whole different community forms in the other shard? Dunbar's Number says that there's at least an inclination to this - we're certainly not going *against* human nature. 

21:43:04 Orrin: A big problem I see is that there is *so* much possible in this game, and right now, not much dev-time to spend on it. Take the recent discussion on eco, or even the one regarding 'auto' cc ovens. The community does have *some* good ideas, but often they're impractical. 

21:43:32 hilly: to make a tale work you need all sorts of player then hard core, the workers and the sosail players. if you remove 1 of those groups, the hole things falls apart 

21:44:20 Teppy: Absolutely. And I have no doubt that those roles would be filled on each shard. 

21:44:30 Orrin: The major building of this tale is done Hilly, that and the research. We are really now into the realm of 'do tests, mess around, wait for something to happen' 

21:44:49 Nissim: would the number of shards have an effect on lag? 

21:44:51 Teppy: No 

21:44:56 Chaul: you are talking about creating a whole new world, not just "splitting a tribe".. 

21:45:14 Teppy: Right. *Splitting* the existing playerbase is the last thing we need. 

21:46:11 Teppy: So we need to do everything possible to make the new shards their own communities, not a fragment of this community. I do *not* think that there are only 1000 people on the entire planet that would enjoy ATITD. 

21:46:32 Nchanter: But that is what will happen. New blood will always go to the new server, the old server will continue to dwindle, and you will not have the numbers to complete monuments. 

21:47:00 Teppy: That is one very real downside to this that I've identified. 

21:47:27 Teppy: However, look in the Immigrants channel right now, with /ts on. 

21:48:04 Teppy: 18 new arrivals in 24 hours. 

21:48:44 BlueGrass: yes but not all are making it to Egypt 

21:48:57 Teppy: Or permanently joining us. 

21:49:14 Teppy: So yeah, the net attrition would be higher, but the inflow of new people is not what's going to make or break Monuments. 

21:49:19 Nissim: another way to grow the community is understand why players are leaving.... through a survey 

21:49:57 Teppy: We do that: The exit survey shows this - chat me privately afterwards, but I don't see any great insights from reading that. 

21:50:10 Khaemwaset: Teppy could you pelase succintly describe b ywhat you mean by shards. Some of us are getting confused. 

21:50:14 Teppy: Sure... 

21:50:50 Teppy: (And keep in mind, this isn't fully fleshed out - I'm sure that some of the key things haven't been identified yet, and will come from this, or future chats.) 

21:51:37 Teppy: Every 3 months, we'd open a new Tale in the Desert 5 (we'd probably do the first of these as a Tale 4 shard, starting in about a month.) 

21:52:37 Teppy: Every Test and Tech would be unlockable on Day 1. So, no waiting for Devs to finish coding. 

21:53:06 Teppy: Only 3 Tests are uncoded at the moment, so I think it's reasonable to assume that players would not have to wait. 

21:53:47 Nchanter: Yes, but when you open up something new it's gonna cause more attrition on the existing server. "I didn't get a yellowish oven on serve 3, i'll try now again on server 4..." 

21:54:34 Teppy: Could happen, but I think that particular case is remote. "I didn't play at all in December and January so I'm going to move" is plausible perhaps, but a yellowish oven? 

21:54:47 Taemon: Would we be a new character on each shard? Or can we bring our levels along? 

21:55:22 Teppy: I would set it up in a way to discourage moving among shards. I want the new shard to have a whole different, new community, not a splinter of this one... 

21:55:43 Teppy: So characters would not be transferrable (technically crazy-hard anyway)... 

21:56:15 Teppy: An account would be on one specific server. 

21:56:25 Nchanter: Also, how would having multiple shards affect choosing what the legacy tests are gonna be for future numbered tellings. If you have a T4Arch Monument-A, T4Arch Monument-B, T4Archmonument-C which wone gets picked to be integrated into the various instances of T5? 

21:57:12 Teppy: This is a problem I haven't solved yet. I won't be able to code 42 new Tests per Telling. 

21:57:45 Teppy: Laws are a similar issue, but those are far quicker to code than Tests. 

21:58:47 Teppy: Maybe something where the top monuments across shards become new Tests. I'm open to suggestions there. 

21:59:36 Rosethorn: I believe marking the first shard for each telling (in this case this telling) as the 'primary shard' and only monuments from that shard would count towards the next. 

21:59:57 Teppy: I don't think that would be ideal... 

21:59:58 OZtwo: for many this would just kill the fun of it 

22:00:01 Teppy: Right. 

22:00:16 Teppy: I think it's important that each shard affects the next Tale. 

22:01:01 Teppy: Kemet was a version of Tale 1 run by MDO games. They had a much lower population than Tale 1, but with some modifications to gameplay, they were able to complete 1 monument. 

22:01:22 Nissim: but as I see it T4 shard A will move into T5 shard A, T4 shard B into T5 shard B etc... 

22:01:31 Teppy: Yes, I would expect something like that. 

22:01:43 Beah: Not sure I understand all this, but does it mean we have to start all over every 3 month? 

22:02:23 Teppy: No. A given shard would last about as long as they do now. (I'd like to shorten that in general - I still feel that 12 months is ideal for a Telling.) 

22:02:32 Nchanter: which constitutes "losing" the game, only building 1 monument, instead of all 7. 

22:02:38 Savarin: What about player run institutions like The Goods? If one shard had that and another didn't; I think a lot of players would go for that server instead. 

22:03:19 Teppy: My dream would be for similar but different things to occur in the various communities. 

22:03:23 Orrin: I agree there teppy, 12 months would be good. 

22:03:43 Piff: why don't you consider doing that again? Letting someone like MDO games run a copy of your server? Just curious 

22:04:23 Teppy: If it was a competent company, yes. 

22:04:39 Khaemwaset: so how big would each shard be... I mean in terms of regions and such? 

22:04:53 Panyea: but sir, what about GM's? aren't we down to 3 now? 

22:05:23 Teppy: Probably fewer regions. Or fewer open regions anyway. 

22:05:31 Teppy: (Maybe 7 open regions?) 

22:06:17 Injeru: The other question I've seen come up which I'd like to hear your thoughts on-- how much will be different between different shards running the same telling? Resource locations, etc... will there be some differences in the game world? I can see problems arising if everything's in the same place on a new shard. 

22:06:40 Teppy: In the map itself, no difference. All Tale 5 shards would have the same visible map. 

22:07:11 Teppy: Mineral locations, growing spots, nearly every other aspect of the game would change. 

22:07:50 Teppy: This is possible, because I have a single "magic number" that seeds nearly all content... 

22:08:53 Teppy: Wine regions, herb gathering techniques, mutagens, etc. 

22:09:35 Nissim: I have no objection to sweveral shards if that number does not affect "my" shard... but would e-Genesis staff and investment be able to support the many shards? 

22:10:14 Teppy: We have enough hardware to support an additional shard with some to spare. 

22:10:32 Teppy: If the experiment is at all successful, buying more hardware is pocket change in comparison. 

22:11:04 Orrin: The more shards you have, the thinner you spread your admin/WBs/GMs/Events 

22:11:39 Teppy: We will need GM teams on other shards. 

22:11:43 Lukeera: Staff can be added to handle those issues. 

22:11:52 Rabble: If the experiment is a failure, will there some path for the other shard players to merge into this shard with their test/skills intact. Or do they just wait out T5? 

22:12:13 Teppy: A 1-time merge of characters is technically doable... 

22:12:34 Teppy: Merging Test passes, levels, skills, etc., is not. 

22:13:57 Teppy: Guilds, CPs, Ovens, etc., is all not mergeable. 

22:14:13 Klangdah: I'm getting lost here, the new shard(s) would be on T4 and you plan to have them going for around a year... meaning we are at least one year away from T5 ? 

22:14:26 Teppy: I'm guessing we're 5 months from T5. That's a guess. 

22:15:12 Teppy: 3 Tests to code, so that's 6-8 weeks, then 3 months of end-game. 

22:15:21 OZtwo: just keep T4 goes as it is and don't make a mess of it 

22:16:35 Teppy: That's the thing - except for the tiny trickle of new players coming into T4, this shouldn't have any effect. 

22:16:47 Nissim: I see the number of legacy tests as an issue for you guys... 

22:16:56 Teppy: Definitely an issue. 

22:17:57 Teppy: I'm not saying that this idea is free of downsides - but I think that it's an overall win, and has the potential to be a huge win. 

22:18:09 Savarin: Be honest with us, have you made up your mind on this and you're just looking for suggestions on how to implement it? 

22:18:48 Teppy: I haven't heard anything that made me say "oh yeah, that's a fatal flaw." 

22:19:09 Squiranha: My problem with this idea is that new shards would be lively because they'd be in the first phase of the game, but without content/events/new things, people playing there would be get bored just we do here during middle tale, and with the community split, less would stay until the end and it would be much harder to do endgame in any of the shards 

22:20:55 Teppy: That has entirely to do with the length of a Tale. That's a big problem - the biggest problem even. But it's - as mathematicians say - orthogonal to shards. 

22:20:59 Rosethorn: We'd do events on new shards just like we do here. 

22:21:17 Nchanter: Teppy, that's 'casue you're not listening to people saying "this is a bad idea. you've clearly made up you mind that this is a good idea." 

22:21:46 Teppy: I'm listening to the reasons, not the "I Think This is a Bad Idea" part. 

22:22:20 Teppy: And so far, in my judgement, the reasons against have been less persuasive than the likely advantages. 

22:22:39 Rosethorn: This is an experiment in many ways. If it fails, we know not to do it in telling 5. If it succeeds, it has the potential to increase users in telling 5. Also, I'm sure Teppy agrees here too, we'd love to see how long a telling lasts that is purely player driven. 

22:22:52 Teppy: Oh yes! 

22:23:10 Orrin: I think it's worth a trial at the least, with a contingency to merge the new 'shard' and this 'shard' should the idea fail. 

22:23:13 Lukeera: I don't think this is a bad idea. I think ATitD has a lot more potential than is being realized now. This is an idea session for what in all probability would be an entirely new player base. 

22:23:57 Nchanter: when you ask "what are the flaws" and people point them out to you, some of which you're putting through and some of whic you havent', you've responded a few times "oh, well i haevnt' figured that out yet" and then proceeded to say this will happen in about a month. the message that is getting across is that you're just cchatting us as a courtesy, that you aren't really listening, and that our objections don't matter. 

22:24:35 Teppy: I'm listening to ideas on HOW to best make it work. If there's a fatal flaw, then I'm listening for that too. 

22:24:42 darkfyre: With all tests and techs "ready to be unlocked", I can see power players finishing a shard in months rather than years 

22:24:46 Teppy: Would be pretty cool. 

22:24:51 Injeru: I'm on board-- I think it's well worth trying out. 

22:24:59 Khaemwaset: Rosethorn-- am i ok to set up a wiki page and a discussion thread on the forum. i think we all need to have a look at the issues before we commit our money to the game. i hope that if I do set up wiki/forum pages peeps will respond? And teppy will read??? 

22:25:08 Teppy: Sure. 

22:25:50 Orrin: I'm not too sure on that, there is a substantial *risk* that the playerbase here will fossilise and the tale will die. However, there is also a substantial benefit from a healthier playerbase. There's no massive weight imbalance as I see it. 

22:26:19 Rabble: If this turns out to be a big mistake and causes lower population in T4 and start of T5 but Egenesis has the financial resources to rebound by T6, then I say experiment away 

22:26:20 Lukeera: Remember that he isn't tlaking about removing anything from us but rather adding more ATitD to the world as a whole. 

22:26:41 Seiun: another good way for shard i have thought of is making possible for player to make a shard and then the shard's owner may invite poeple to it 

22:26:49 Beah: Why don´t you send out a poll/questionary to every player and ask them if they say yes or no to this? 

22:27:49 Teppy: Ultimately it's my decision. It's a risk/reward calculation, not a 50% threshold sort of thing. 

22:28:14 Orrin: You cannot deny that a tale start is far more active than the position we're in now 

22:28:24 Seiun: so poeple will raise a shard in community 

22:29:02 Teppy: So to wrap up, here are the downsides identified so far: 

22:30:01 Teppy: 1. The stream of new players will tend to all be directed toward the newest shard. 

22:30:59 Teppy: 2. Players who would otherwise return to this shard might instead restart from scratch on the new one. 

22:31:24 Teppy: 3. No solution yet about how monument building on other shards affects the next Tale. 

22:33:07 Teppy: (#'s 1 and 2 are aspects of fragmenting the community; there are probably other less common ones as well, but I think those two are most of it.) 

22:33:24 Orrin: As far as bug fixes go, will that propogate over servers? 

22:34:03 Teppy: Yeah, in my experience with Kemet, it's not a huge problem - usually just a code recompile which takes a few minutes and no server downtime.) 

22:34:57 OZtwo: but again Teppy if this is such a good idea in your mind, why hasn't WoW done it yet? -- not that I play it..but the idea 

22:35:18 Teppy: Probably because the structure of WoW is fundamentally different from ATITD. 

22:35:39 OZtwo: I joined this game since it was the closest to the old SimCity as I could find..with a little work, you can make this better than SimCity classic 

22:35:46 Nchanter: And what about attntions to things like laws, or triggering new legal ballots, that requrire dev intervention. and running sunday test passes? 

22:36:00 Lukeera: WOW has done it in essence with new servers, closed to xfers for 6 months. 

22:36:01 Moses: are you kiddign WOW has open many servers over the yerars 

22:36:06 Teppy: I stand corrected then. 

22:36:24 Teppy: EVE Online hasn't done it though, and they're very successful. 

22:36:35 Taffer: Will there be a way to choose which shard you want to go too, basics of wanting to join with old friends. Or will new players that are old vets just get swept into the new shard. And will there be server to sever communication, like the old EQ to EQ2 sony talking through servers. 

22:36:56 Teppy: No server-server chats - each would would be self-enclosed. 

22:37:52 Teppy: But you'd be able to connect to (and create an account on, at any time) any server. They would be listed in the launcher. 

22:38:34 Teppy: We'd default the radio button to the newest server, but each would have a name. 

22:38:59 Nchanter: Will you make sure to keep people ont he new server from having the same names as people on the old server in case we decide to create a second account on the new server to check it out? 

22:39:13 Teppy: No. 

22:39:29 Teppy: (Technically very hard to allocate names across all servers at once.) 

22:39:41 Nchanter: Also, to play on both will i have to pay for two subscriptions? 

22:39:56 Teppy: Yes. And I really do hope that such a thing is rare. 

22:40:28 Nchanter: then what happens with t5 when you have to do legacy denotation? 

22:40:57 Teppy: We would roll over T4 server "B" to T5 server "B: by default, just as T4->T5 by default now. 

22:41:18 Teppy: And then we'd manually handle special cases as we do now. 

22:41:25 Taffer: What about the Full paid YR contracts. Reserved name status. Would I be able to have taffer any *any shard, if I start a new account on a different server? or is t just this account, logg in name, password. dont get to choose server. 

22:42:33 Teppy: They'd be on a single shard. I've always gone out of my way to help those that have supported us, and would still do so. 

22:44:21 Teppy: Ok, I'm going to wrap up now. I'll continue to discuss the plans moving forward... 

22:45:29 Teppy: Like I said, I'd like to launch the next T4 server in about a month, though I haven't set an exact date yet. I want to have a better grasp on Monuments and a few other issues first. 

22:47:39 Teppy: Thanks all. The "ratio of thoughts to words" in this chat was particularly high, so I am especially appreciative of that. 

22:48:05 Teppy: Teppy out! 

22:48:06 Teppy: ---



E! Discussions

There's been at least one fairly extensive discussion on E! about this. Could someone grab/embed
those in here as well? --Shebi

There have been multiple chats - scaping them off the log without unintentionally clipping
them would be difficult - A link to the E! is the best we can do and folks will just have to filter 
for the on-going commentary. ShuoftheFieryHeat 10:11, 13 January 2010 (EST)

Click here to look at the ENN Logs . Teppy's chat started @ 01/12/2010 (same as above scroll box)

Click here to look at the E! Logs . Discusions started @ 01/10/2010

List of Players Moving to Bastet Shard

Here is a listing of players who are planning on moving to the new shard. If you want to connect up with others moving to the new server please enter your current game name and your new name on the Bastet server. Note: game names may not be the same on both servers - there is no "reserved name" options.

If you are moving to the Shard:
PLEASE remember to remove your avatar from future DP and Retired Pirates rounds.
Thanks!
Orignal T4 Shard Name Bastet Shard Name Bastet Region
diania diania/di/melleri StillWater
Kahmal Kahmal Stillwater
Vax Vax Khmun
Otox Otox Pyramid Lake
AnokFero (Seba) KiwiBird Stillwater
tehmoosh tehm undecided
PeaceFlowerHappyBunny HiGuys Will be playing on both shards, undecided

List of Guilds On Bastet

  EDIT tehm: I have created a Bastet Guilds Category that will auto-generate a list of known  Bastet Guilds.

To have your guild included on the Guilds/Bastet page, add these two lines to the bottom of your Wiki Guild Page:

[[Category:Guilds/Bastet]]
{{DEFAULTSORT:Guildname}}


Any Guilds, especially those moving from the Main Shard to Bastet, can also update the table below to help individuals find them:

Bastet Shard Name Bastet Region Research Guild (y/n)
Jawa Tavern Stillwater Some research/mentoring

Player comments

ATITD Forum Thread on this Topic

Click here for the ATITD Forum Thread on this Topic

Xangareef

I'm currently playing on Bastet, because I wanted to enjoy the game from the beginning, instead of almost the end. I probably wouldn't have stayed if it wasn't for Bastet. So, this is a specific instance of Teppy's plan working. However, I think the main reason that more people aren't playing this game isn't because of the complicated nature of the tests, or the long grinding, or the fact that it is difficult (or impossible) to compete in an older Tale. I think the biggest problem with this game is the interface. I'm sorry, but the interface is the worst of any MMO that I've ever seen. I know it's different than any other MMO, but does that mean that the interface is NOT supposed to be intuitive and easy to understand? Half the game is fighting with the interface. For instance, why are there like 5 different camera modes? You could roll them all up into one. Mousewheel zooms in and out, middle button+moving the mouse up and down could change the angle.

Anyway, I honestly think that more effort needs to be put in streamlining the interface than working on new shards.

Cory0210 (Male Oprah)

(Please be aware that I am no longer participating in the game itself, but keep up with the wiki.)

Shard, definition - (n) a broken piece of a brittle artifact.

I left the game due to low player base, as well as lack of developer interaction. The idea of a shard, a broken piece of the currently brittle artifact that is A Tale in the Desert, has certain disadvantages and benefits.

Of course, the benefits include lack of a need for developer interaction (I'm sorry teppy, I just couldn't stand the pace.) and therefore a fast pace, as well as an even closer-knit community. It is my opinion, however, that the disadvantages of shards outweigh the benefits. The simple idea of splitting the player base further (and not by language) is simply unacceptable. A server shard will most likely average 50 or so players (leading to a close community, of course) but general "empty" feeling, the same feeling that caused me to leave the game. Along with this idea, the compliment of all tests released at once is nearly ideal, however, it would be a much better platform to release tests over a specified time (to retain interest), but release all technologies for user consumption.

If shards do come to pass, however, may I suggest an events system for players to control (perhaps with developer-approved prizes)? As a PRET member, I attempted to increase interest through the creation of events, such as Male Oprah, but there was simply not enough support from the developers. In fact, shards will require much greater social features, as evident by prior communities prevalent in ATitD continuing communication over Facebook. Even a feature as simple as a default "shard-wide" chat (not a moderated microphone) or "shard-pharaoh" will increase practicality of the shard concept.

As a final note, I would like to inform you all that you may reach me (if I have left you with no means of contacting me) at [email protected] .

Trillian

I am curious to see how the new shard would develop and also think a tale with everything unlockable from the start would be excellent but my fear of how the lack of new players incoming to the current tale will affect it is greater, therefore IF there was a vote ,lol, I'd vote no.
Alternate ideas:

  • I'd prefer to see a Tale4B run at end of T4 with a set end time of 6mths with everything reduces to make this even possible, a speed server in essence- downside would need lots of tweaks to make everything quicker I'd imagine.
  • OR a second server that is a never ending(?)(4yr+) tale perhaps, more of a sandbox type game than tales are currently, giving players time to discover how to make a flower a certain colour and find every flavour of wine in egypt. In current tale lenghts it seems not worth even starting to try to figure these things out as they are difficult things to master or discover, yes we can try again in next tale but that involves getting back to a place where we have the resources to make a billion nut essence or make mutagens by which time we're back in same position of tale ending too quickly. I'd like to be able to try all the different things the game offers in the one game not have to pick one or two thing to concentrate on each tale.

Overall though I believe this is all an attempt at player retention which is good thing to work on but you need to increase player attraction also and to wit ADVERTISING this wonderful game would by far be the best method imho.--Trillian 23:19, 12 January 2010 (EST)

Nissim

(Nissim) I think that the idea of "Player driven" rather than "Dev driven" e.g. having all tests and techs unlockable at the start of a tale is a great concept. If we consider our current shard as being T4 shard A, will all tests (including legacy tests from T4) and techs be unlockable when we move into T5 shard A? If not then we would end with shard A being Dev driven and the other shards being Player driven. Also the number of legacy tests to code has been identified as an issue (I believe this is captured as No. 3 downside above). Therefore e-Genesis has to realize that more programmers (to immediately code the new tests and techs for T5 shard A, and the 7 new legacy tests in the other shards) will need to be operational upfront.... otherwise they will become overwhelmed with the ultimate consequence that no shard will be Player driven and players would quit in all shards

Rabble

Hello. My name is Rabble and I approved this message.

I think 4B will be a disaster. This is my *guess* as to what will happen

I think damage has already been done. We've been told that T5 will end in 5-6 months. Doesn't Teppy always underestimate the remaining length of tales? Aren't we likely to be here much longer? If so, it's really damaging to throw around inaccurate figures like that. Many people are going to look at a possible end in 5 months and start to wonder why they should bother continuing here.

The new players probably see 4B as a chance to start over without all the clutter they see in 4A. The land won't be filled with decaying structures that have been at 0% for 100+ days. The mine veins won't be filled. The test scores won't be high. The new players probably think they won't be playing catch-up on 4B. They couldn't be more wrong.

On day one of 4B there won't be any chariot routes or metal working or tests or cooking or good flax. There won't be any improved brick racks, hackling rakes, public camps, or trading guilds. Just because everything will be 'unlockable' doesn't mean it will be available. Most new players don't understand that someone, presumably them on 4B, will have to manufacture and contribute thousands and thousands and thousands of debens of materials to universities in order to have techs available. And since many techs depend on other techs, it will take considerable time for 4B to mature. The new players who move to 4B will be playing catch-up their entire tale because they will be trying to catch the tech levels of 4A the entire tale. Once the novelty wears off, 4B will burn them out in droves.

Meanwhile, 4A will suffer. With less new people coming in, it will ossify. Tests like mentoring will become all but impossible. Many of our other tests are already very hard due to lack of participation. This will make things worse. The population of old players will continue to slowly dwindle but now there will be few, if any, new players to stem the tide. So our overall population on 4A will drop much faster.

And 4B's population will be .. well who knows. The new players who go there aren't likely to last long since life will be so difficult. Will they return to 4A or give up on the entire ATiTD brand? The old players who return to 4B will find that it's not a new tale with high population and new tests and new techs but a rerun of tale 4 with the same old gameplay they already rejected. Will they miss their friends on 4A and move back to join us? Or will they get annoyed when they discover they need a second subscription to play on 4A and will this cause them to quit 4B? Will some of them feel the whole thing is just a cheap gimick and just give up on ATiTD for good? Maybe some veterans will settle on 4B to see how fast they can develop their camps and regions. But will they stay? With less people, life on 4B might be too quiet even for the hermits. And each vet that leaves 4A for 4B makes our community here one part weaker.

Rosethorn said over and over this won't split the population. She repeats it like a mantra. But there are already people upset they just paid for one year on 4A and wanting to move to 4B. There are already relatively new players who said they plan on going there. The split has *already* begun.

I don't know how the developers and GM's will handle this. Surely, 4B will need a lot of hand-holding at first. They'll need new contests to give away pepper seeds, missing bulbs and other items that we slowly built up on 4A. There will be more coding to enact the two different sets of laws that develop. They will be tests, like acro, that just don't work on 4B and the players there will call out for attention. And there will be unseen bugs and problems that require attention. Plus, of course, Teppy will need to take a good bit of time just to implement this all.

We are already short of dev and GM time. It takes months to get some bugs fixed or gameplay rebalanced. We have few events anymore. Now the devs and GMs will have more work to do and this is supposed to help?

ShuoftheFieryHeat

Unfortunately Teppy has already decided to make this change. He made that very clear in the chat. This project is just "bad timing". Perhaps it would have been a good idea for a T5 roll-out but surely it is not with T4. All the negative comments have been swept under the rug. T4-A is surely done now - only a few things of interest left for Shu and iziz. No airships for us but perhaps the tweak to Beehives will make it possible to do one more walkabout in T4.

Even if new server shards are good for T5 there are still loads of problems. There is no character transfer. So your friends sign in to the wrong server and then you're done for the rest of pre-pay. A player who only wants to hold resources - well those with the money and the mules will just pop over to every server and claim all they can. It gives a whole new meaning to ECA/DPPRA/Scavenging. It does nothing to address the fundamental problems of the game. It does nothing to fix any of the issues that have arisen in T3/T4 (and probably earlier games too). And even if you WANT to play on the new shards - oh surprise! You need to pay a subscription again for every shard you want to try out. This is the best new-revenue stream Teppy's created - I can only surmise that there is not enough mule-revenue in Egypt already. Dunno how deep other's pockebooks are - but Shu doesn't have the fortune or time to play T4-ABCDE + T5-ABCDE so at best Teppy will keep Shu and iziz on ONE server and T5??? that's an unknown.

Teppy likes social experimentation. This is a huge social experiement with the "few" remaining players.

Squiranha

At this point I am very skeptical about this new shard idea. I strongly believe that both Teppy and the new players in T4 don't see all the implications of opening a new T4 world that needs to be built up from scratch. I want to address those two points of view separately.

1- Teppy has said many times that he believes the main problem of the mid-tale boredom (and the mass exodus of players in that period) is the length of the tale. I don't think that is entirely true. The main problem are the long periods with *nothing* happening. The early tale is exciting because there's a lot to do; level up, open the basic techs, work on the basic tests. The end tale usually draws back people because they want to get the monuments up, finish off the tale and move on to the next one, but often there's a sense of "a job that needs to be done" rather than the sense of excitement of the beginning of a new tale. In between we have the usual long stretches where the Story we were supposed to get has become completely irrelevant, a very low rate of new tests/techs release, no events (when was the last conflict tournament?).

Every tale has 49 tests. Several of them are available almost immediately when a tale starts. If the rest of them were to be released with a steady rate of one every two weeks, that would mean a tale could last around 18 months (which to me is pretty much the ideal duration), but every couple of weeks there would be something new to work on. So, once again, 18 months with a constant flow of novelties is *not* too long. 18 months with 8-10 months of the same old stuff while waiting for new tests is what is killing the game and pushing people away.

I would also like to add that the second half of the test have a level requirement that is too high for new players. It's easy to reach level 10-15, it takes longer to rise from that. So, when a new test is released (like Tattoo recently, level 17), it is immediately available to people who have been around for a while, but not to players that have been playing for a month or two, and that adds to their feeling of exclusion (I can't own a raeli oven, I can't compete with big guilds, I'll never catch up with the experienced players, and even this new test is something I can't even do yet).

2- I can relate to the frustration of players who have joined when T4 was well underway, having been in the same situation when I joined back in T2. What I didn't realize at the time are things that Rabble mentioned in his comment above: while I felt I was well behind everyone else, I was still able to take advantage of good flax seeds, automated machinery, advanced techs and all that. Only after playing T3 from the beginning was I fully aware that latecomers have disadvantages but also advantages. While it's true that those who join now will never be able to pass certain tests (like almost all of the Harmony tests), it's also true that they can travel by chariot, they can trade for gems without having to unlock Mining etc first, they can grow flowers without unlocking all the related techs first and so on and so on. If new players were to be thrown in a new empty shard, they would have to spend so much time grinding to unlock all the basic things, that the feeling of excitement would quickly wear off. Besides, I am quite convinced that even the excitement of the beginning of a Tale comes from having experienced the other phases of a Tale. If all one would see is the early Tale, which is heavily grinding oriented, one would get the feeling that in this game there's nothing but grinding, and I don't see how that could help retaining players.

So, to sum things up, new shards would make sense if the main Tale structure was well balanced, but right now it is not. A lot early on, a lot near the end, and close to nothing in between. That is the main problem. Splitting a community that is already dangerously close to the lower sustainable limit is not a viable solution.

Injeru

I'll chime in as a voice in support of the idea. Reading the wikipedia article Teppy referenced (Dunbar's number) gives some indication of his thinking. I can get behind the idea of making an attempt at smaller, more cohesive communities on separate servers, with room for everyone to have their place. I understand the concerns people are expressing, but I don't envision dire consequences even in the event of a failure of the idea. I think the biggest difficulty and expenditure of dev time will come from matters of tuning the game mechanics to present the desired challenge level for smaller groups. I have confidence from Teppy's comments that he's keeping in mind the current staff resources he has access to, and ways to prevent them from being spread too thinly. There's a lot that needs to be worked out still, but I have yet to see anything that has convinced me that our game experience on the primary server will be noticably degraded by having another server running an instance of the world. I'm actually curious and cautiously enthusiastic about the whole experiment.

Yendor

I've posted my ideas on the Forums but in brief I think the idea is very dumb. At least for me personally, it does not address the reasons I decided not to renew for T4. I think it will cause T4A's population to decrease faster than it already is -- and I think in two months at the most, T4B will have even fewer people. I am greatly concerned that the people making the decision seem to be basing it on hopes and ideals rather than empirical evidence (has a game with declining population *ever* grown long-term by adding more of the same?).

I also agree with Squiranha that many of the players feeling overwhelmed on T4A will still feel overwhelmed in T4B. Just for comparison, I spent as many hours of work on an obelisk I built the last month of T2 (with greenhouses, brick machines, TheGoods) as I did for the one I built early in T3 (hand-picked straw, flimsy brick racks, student looms). And those tests with high scores? What makes you think the scores will be any lower in T4B? (But I do agree some tests like Festivals and many harmony ones are impossible unless you start working on them as soon as they are released)

Philly

Here's my two cents. I started in T3 mid-tale and somehow made it through being brand new and having all my neighbors at insanely high levels and techs, having all kinds of toys I could never dream of building by the end of the tale. Somehow I got by. A new server (shard) may draw in new blood and make em happy, but gosh, how was it that you were able to draw me in and keep me hooked in T3? It wasn't a shard. :^(

This tale has been much harder than the previous tale, and I am thinking that was one of the primary reasons why tons of people left, not because they were brand new and could not compete with the hard-core players, but because requirements are WAY too much for the average $15.00/month player who plays this for fun, not as a career.

I am not afraid of change, however I feel that we may lose community by creating shards. And the name 'shard' is ironic, "a piece or fragment of a brittle surface". Hoping these shards will not break the community.

Mayanah

I am concerned that opening new servers doesn't address the problems causing existing players to leave or causing new players not to subscribe. Some tests would have to be changed: Init of Harmony, Init of Worship, Marriage, Prophet, Acrobat and Mentorship with possibly many others.

It seems to me that with the start of a new server, all growth on existing servers would stop. That means once every three months there would be more people leaving existing shards out of disappointment or boredom. Anyone who joins a shard within a few days or even weeks of a new one being opened will be almost guaranteed to have problems completing even some of the initiations let alone some tests. Without legacy players on new shards, how will you complete Init of Harmony? Without new players you can't teach your acro moves to people. Without a new player, who will you complete Init of Worship with? Without new players, who will you prophetize? Who will you mentor? And who will you marry?

If you haven't passed those tests by the time a new shard starts, you may not be able to.

Another thought I have is about the pre-pay packages. I can't imagine people will want to renew for 12 months, or even six months, knowing that their whole experience may change within 3 months.

And in response to what Daniels writes below: I think he's right that the beginnings will draw more people back. But again, it just leads to a big crash for the players who do stay and like the middle and end parts of the games. It does not address why these changes in game play speed occur.

Daniels

There are a lot of unknowns and predictions on both sides of the argument, but we aren't really going to know until it happens. Personally, I like to look at this from a broad perspective. At worst case scenario the game's population will be too fragmented, and Teppy will ditch the idea and have a single shard for T5. T5 will still happen regardless; the game won't just stop. At best case scenario, the game's overall population will increase, and even if that means smaller populations on different shards, increased overall population is a good thing. The risks are low, and the potential positive effects could be good for the game. This is kind of a no brainer when you look at it from this broad perspective, which is the perspective Teppy is looking at it from.

On a more narrow perspective, I'd like to mention a potential positive that I don't think has been brought up. Well, it has been brought up, but as a "downside". A lot of players have quit the game because it has slowed down, and don't have any intention on coming back until T5. These types of players enjoy figuring out new things, discovering new systems and patterns, etc. I know several of these types of people, and they've quit because of the slow pace of the currently "second out of three phases of a tale". Not all of them will come back to the new shard, but I am guessing quite a few will. As Teppy mentioned in his ENN discussion, the beginning of the tale is a completely different experience than the middle and end phases. Players who prefer the beginning phase the most might have a reason to come back now.

Ankhotep

I see three main problems with the idea of opening up new servers - none of which were adequately addressed in ENN chat the other day:

1. The player-base cannot sustain new servers. A comparison was made to WoW opening up new servers, but it's comparing apples and oranges. Teppy is trying to open up new shards to attract more players to the game. WoW (and other MMORPGs) opened up new server because the population on the server was TOO HIGH. That is certainly not the case here. Just as when they opened up new servers the average number of players per server dropped. That will happen in this case, too. Only this game cannot really support that and still function. Much of the game is built around a larger number of people being forced to interact (i.e. some tests, buildings etc. require up to seven people working together). At this point in mid-tale, this is hard enough to do with ONE server. It will be a nightmare trying to do this on more than one server.

2. Opening up a new server ignores or avoids the reason the player-base is so low. As mentioned in the chat, the player base is low 1) because of the mid-tale lull that inevitably occurs dragging the tale out, and 2) people who enter mid-tale are so far behind that they will inevitably quit (I know because this happened to me in T2). To address issue 1, have the whole game coded BEFORE opening up the Tale, thus making it player-driven to begin with and the tale will only last 12-18 months anyway avoiding the lull during which players quit. To address issue 2, make tests and buildings that are not impossible to complete mid-way through the tale. For instance, in the Test of Life, anyone building a tower in the last 3-4 months, myself included, have no chance of actually passing this test. Same goes for the Test of Marriage, the Test of the Prophet, etc. Although I am already level 36, there’s probably no way that I will be able to build an airship or raeli oven, although I’ve been playing for about 3 months now. With the player base shrinking, it will make many of these high mat building be impossible for most guilds, too.

3. Finally, trying to increase the player base by opening another server is (to borrow the phrase from a song) like trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing a piece of bubble-gum. To increase the player-base one needs to get more people to hear about the game; i.e., advertising and marketing. In a chat on E! with Rosethorn, she mentioned that she was going to be advertising the new shard in more non-traditional ways. When pressed on the issue, she was unable to provide ways except some web advertising. Even still, why not, instead, spend advertising money promoting T5 instead of a shard that’s set to release from the almost ending T4? Has any marketing research been done to know the target audience for the game? If not, why not? This is how you find the target audience to maximize your advertising dollars. Teppy said that surveys sent to leaving players weren’t that helpful for him, although he didn’t say why. Perhaps they could be looked at more closely and a large enough size given to provide some good statistical data. Bottom line is that it seems a technological solution is being applied to a economical problem.

I also am a little troubled by something else regarding this whole matter. How long has this new shard been planned? It sounded from the chat like it was proposed a month or two ago and it’s already being implemented. How much thought has actually gone into this? Teppy admitted that there are some concerns, but no “fatal flaws” (whatever that means) but despite these concerns he’s pressing on with the shard. It’s his company, so he can do whatever he wants, but by dismissing players concerns as he has done, it’s seems he’s throwing out the baby with the bath water. He might gain players, but how many is he going to lose by not addressing the issues that concern them?