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  1. #1

    Default DDO University : What is is, etc.

    I am posting this to the DDO forums to apprise people of an idea I've been working on called DDO University. I may later try to get permission to cross post it to the server specific sections in case that has a chance of getting more people to read it and understand that it is a cross-server project. In short, I have made a blog post about it on the University website describing the current state of the project and am appealing to the DDO community at large to help with it. As the About page of the website states, the University is meant to be "a player run organization with the goal of trying to enrich the playing experience and community of those who play Dungeons and Dragons Online through education and research." Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in this project as much or as little as they desire and have time for. Thank you for reading this and I hope you will visit the following link to read about the state of the University at this time.

    http://ddouniversity.wordpress.com/2...he-university/

  2. #2
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    I think this is a really nice idea. I wonder if I have the correct image of this though...

    I see it as a come-all, take-all guild on each server which will serve players by answering any question they have (no matter how silly they think it is), with the assumption that the players will/might move to more levelling/TRing guilds in the future after they "graduate".

    Would that be correct?

    If so, I seriously wish that something like this had been around when I started to play heh.

    Aes.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Istaria1 View Post
    I think this is a really nice idea. I wonder if I have the correct image of this though...

    I see it as a come-all, take-all guild on each server which will serve players by answering any question they have (no matter how silly they think it is), with the assumption that the players will/might move to more levelling/TRing guilds in the future after they "graduate".

    Would that be correct?

    If so, I seriously wish that something like this had been around when I started to play heh.

    Aes.
    As for the guilds of the University, that is correct. It is also my hope that some players will have a toon or two in the guilds to help new players run quests. Sometimes running with TRs can be a very positive learning experience for new players. Sometimes the TRs are on a time table and a new player who runs a quest later without a TR is left dumbfounded on how the quests suddenly got so hard all of a sudden.

    The guilds are only part of the University concept though. I am hoping other people will contribute to the website, especially suggestions of helpful URLs that refer to forum posts and other places. There is also the research concept and helping update DDO wiki. The scope of what the University does and does not do will be up to the players who join it.

  4. #4

    Default Addendum

    I just wanted to add an addendum to this post and ask anyone who has read the blog post about the current state of DDO University (linked to in the original post) what they think the next step should be. I've had a thought that maybe it would be easiest to try and recruit officers for a guild on just one server and build from that experience before tackling anything else. If so the question is which server and what other avenues of communication should be used besides the guild recruiting forum for that server. If not, what should the next step be in developing the University? Any advice or idea is welcome.

    If you know of a forum user who you feel writes very helpful guides, please feel free to mention their posts here, PM me with their names, or if you know them personally, introduce them to this post. There are already people who help, teach and research things on their own. But I would like to be able to find and ask them if they want to be part of the University. Or perhaps just ask them for permission to have the University use their material as a reference for its members, and possibly for University staff to call upon them with questions if they are the defacto authority on some aspect of the game. Also, if you know of a player on a particular server who is very helpful, I would appreciate an introduction. Ideas and names of people that would help build and enhance the University in ways I have not thought of are also welcome.

    The University guilds are about having a guild chat channel and roster of people who are online and participating, or wanting to participate, in a University activity. Being on a non-University toon would not mean that you could not participate, just that it would potentially be more burdensome to do so. Also staff would have the choice of not making their other toons known to students. Thus giving them a break to enjoy running quests and raids without worrying about University duties interrupting them. And if you are reluctant to become a staff member in a University guild, please bear in mind that the University metaphor is intentional. The University isn't about "hand holding", but teaching and learning. Pointing a student to a wiki page to read could be the answer to a question, although it would be preferable to explain something in detail if you have the time to do so. And writing a guide or introduction to a game concept on the University website is a staff position that does not require you be part of a University guild. Again, being a staff member only means that you are willing to help run some aspect of the University, not necessarily teach new players in game.

    While my personal focus of effort is currently on teaching new players about the game, it is not meant to exclude other things from developing in parallel. I think teaching new players about the game is a much needed service, especially with Shadowfell due out soon. It is also something I think isn't very coordinated right now, and would be of high benefit to the DDO community. Nothing says other aspects of the University have to be developed later. Its just that my main effort will be towards teaching right now. Anyone wishing to step forward to head up some other aspect of the University is welcome to do so.

    The University is about making the game fun and accessible for everyone. If you have an idea that fits into the University metaphor, I would like to hear it. There is no reason that the University couldn't have clubs that introduce players to the ideas of Role Playing or Permadeath. There could also be guest lecturers and raid workshops. Although I would encourage people running such to join the local University guild with at least one toon, there is no reason they could not be a one time volunteer. If they did chose to have a toon in the local University guild, they wouldn't have to be staff. They could be considered a PhD or graduate student or perhaps visiting professor. Also recruiters for other guilds could show up from time to time to talk to those players who feel they are ready to graduate and move on to another guild.
    Last edited by DDO_University; 08-17-2013 at 11:42 AM.

  5. #5
    Community Member FlaviusMaximus's Avatar
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    Great idea. I would probably pull a character out of my guild to help.

    As a side note, repeatedly saying the university is not about you (in the link) starts to make the statement look suspicious.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DDO_University View Post
    The University isn't about "hand holding", but teaching and learning. Pointing a student to a wiki page to read is a perfectly legitimate answer to a question. And writing a guide or introduction to a game concept on the University website is a staff position that does not require you be part of a University guild. Again, being a staff member only means that you are willing to help run some aspect of the University, not necessarily teach new players in game.
    In all honesty, I feel that this should be the focus of any such organization. New player retention is the single, most important aspect of growing this game and Lord knows Turbine isn't toting the load. Anyone who starts the game, from an MMO vet to a complete newb, is going to feel befuddled by the plethora of options available. New players familiar with D&D 3.x rules are going to have a bad time without an expert tutor. Hand holding is exactly what these types of folks need. Pointing new players to wiki sites and writing guides is all well and good, but unless those players stay interested in the game all the web guides and site recommendations in the world aren't going to make any difference. Without a major focus on new player retention through direct tutelage, DDO University is just another good idea with misguided implementation.
    The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it. - Edward R. Murrow (1964)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlaviusMaximus View Post
    Great idea. I would probably pull a character out of my guild to help.

    As a side note, repeatedly saying the university is not about you (in the link) starts to make the statement look suspicious.
    Thanks for the feedback. I guess at this point since it is just me, I feel a little self conscious about the fact and probably over emphasize that. And if you feel that pulling an existing toon out of a guild is the way to go, I am all for it. For those who don't, there is of course the option of creating another free to play account to run the low level content if you don't have a spare toon slot. I guess ideally there would be help at all levels of quests. I learned bit by bit as I was able to play and progress. But there are gamers who play a lot and although new, might level very quickly.

  8. #8
    Community Member FlaviusMaximus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianosmith View Post
    In all honesty, I feel that this (hand holding) should be the focus of any such organization.
    I agree. "Hand holding" in these forums and in LFMs is just gamer slang used by people who have no desire to help others and are therefore belittling the idea that anyone should require assistance in the first place. There is no reason to give assurances that the purpose isn't "hand holding" because the people whose concerns would be alleviated by these assurances aren't the sort that should participate in the program.

    The more help that can be given, the better, as long as a new player's intelligence isn't insulted. If someone is willing to explain things more fully along with links to useful material, that is a plus in my book.
    Last edited by FlaviusMaximus; 08-09-2013 at 04:37 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianosmith View Post
    In all honesty, I feel that this should be the focus of any such organization. New player retention is the single, most important aspect of growing this game and Lord knows Turbine isn't toting the load. Anyone who starts the game, from an MMO vet to a complete newb, is going to feel befuddled by the plethora of options available. New players familiar with D&D 3.x rules are going to have a bad time without an expert tutor. Hand holding is exactly what these types of folks need. Pointing new players to wiki sites and writing guides is all well and good, but unless those players stay interested in the game all the web guides and site recommendations in the world aren't going to make any difference. Without a major focus on new player retention through direct tutelage, DDO University is just another good idea with misguided implementation.
    Those are good points. I do not exclude this from the University model, but have not mentioned it directly. Any quest run by an officer could be considered a class. If they have a microphone I would imagine they could talk about any and all aspects of the game while kobolds are dying around the party. And any member could help out any other member by running quests, answering questions, etc. I just wanted to point out that to be an officer was not to feel obligated to guide every decision made in leveling up or selecting each piece of equipment. If any member wants to mentor someone one on one in every detail, I agree that it would probably help new player retention immensely. But again, those who join the University will decide what it is and what it is not.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlaviusMaximus View Post
    I agree. "Hand holding" in these forums and in LFMs is just gamer slang used by people who have no desire to help others and are therefore belittling the idea that anyone should require assistance in the first place. There is no reason to give assurances that the purpose isn't "hand holding" because the people whose concerns would be alleviated by these assurances aren't the sort that should participate in the program.

    The more help that can be given, the better, as long as a new player's intelligence isn't insulted. If someone is willing to explain things more fully along with links to useful material, that is a plus in my book.
    Just to play devil's advocate, I would like to point out that your opinion may not hold for all or even the majority of people who use the term. It might be true for the majority, and I imagine that your personal experience has taught you that there is a lot of truth in your statement. But I would also like to point out that there are perhaps some people who would be willing to help, but are reluctant because they know there will be some gamers who will start playing DDO without the knowledge that it has a lot of depth and higher learning curve than other MMOs, especially as you approach end game and the possibility that your character is "gimped" and may need to be re-rolled through deletion or Lesser Reincarnation. For some of these new players, DDO may not be the game for them if they don't like these facts and can't adapt. Of course having a personal mentor would probably go a long way towards convincing some that it is worth the effort. Perhaps there could be a mentoring program where non-guild members could volunteer to take on tutoring a new player.

    There are of course what I call snarky players both in game and in the forums. I just don't feel that it is productive to pay much attention to them, except to note that it is something that needs a positive counter example if there is to be good player retention. The impression that any MMO community has a lot of snarky players is bound to affect its player retention and the overall enjoyment of all players both old and new. I know the argument could be made that "no hand holding" in an LFM is just a snarky way of saying zerging, TR train, etc. But there are plenty of threads that discuss what the brief notes in an LFM mean including BYOH. I truly don't see a solution to it and think that it belongs in another thread. But I did want to acknowledge the possibility so I did not seem dismissive of your commenting on it.
    Last edited by DDO_University; 08-17-2013 at 11:45 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianosmith View Post
    Pointing new players to wiki sites and writing guides is all well and good, but unless those players stay interested in the game all the web guides and site recommendations in the world aren't going to make any difference. Without a major focus on new player retention through direct tutelage, DDO University is just another good idea with misguided implementation.
    Absolutely right.

    I'm afraid that replying to a question with a link to wiki site instead of a "real" reply in chat, may alienate new players. It does seem a bit like when someone asks a question in a tech forum and gets "RTFM" as reply. I think few players in game would want to switch screen/window to a wiki site. A link is better suited for more in-depth reading AFTER the question was answered.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DunkleNymphe View Post
    Absolutely right.

    I'm afraid that replying to a question with a link to wiki site instead of a "real" reply in chat, may alienate new players. It does seem a bit like when someone asks a question in a tech forum and gets "RTFM" as reply. I think few players in game would want to switch screen/window to a wiki site. A link is better suited for more in-depth reading AFTER the question was answered.
    I think I see the point being made here. And it does pose a question. Is it better to have someone in a University guild and online that takes at least a little time to direct someone to at least a minimal resource that might answer the question, or does having such people affect the culture of the University enough it is preferable not to have a terse answer from them at all, even if its the only one available. I agree that a more complete answer in guild chat would be preferable and probably informative to those who have yet to even think of posing the same question. But again, would it be more negative than positive that it should be avoided. Perhaps I should start such a discussion on culture, officer attitudes and responsibilities on the University web site.

  13. #13
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    Default Great idea. I am willing to donate gear and plat when you open a guild/ campus

    When you open on khyber and I see.an officer I would be glad to donate plat and gear from my storage toons. Finally found a use for all that gear too good to toss but eclipsed by named like smiters banishers dusrupters. In any case good luck and great idea.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by forumnation View Post
    When you open on khyber and I see.an officer I would be glad to donate plat and gear from my storage toons. Finally found a use for all that gear too good to toss but eclipsed by named like smiters banishers dusrupters. In any case good luck and great idea.
    Thanks for your offer of donations. The guild does exist, DDO University Khyber. But I guess the campus isn't really open since there aren't any officers except for the Dean and my Pickpocket Priest. Right now the pressing need is for warm bodies to help run it and getting the word out to existing players in the hopes that some might be willing to join and help inside and/or outside the game with running the University. If anyone does have ideas on asset management for a University guild, I'd like to hear them.

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    Since this us going to be a new player guild you should consider giving out your toon name and the guild nane.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by forumnation View Post
    Since this us going to be a new player guild you should consider giving out your toon name and the guild nane.
    Actually the name of the Dean toons and the guilds are listed on the Guilds page on the University website. The URL to that page is :

    http://ddouniversity.wordpress.com/guilds/

    That link is also embedded in the blog post about the state of the University.

  17. #17

    Default PR vs Spam

    The DDO forums are not the only way to get the word out about DDO U. And in fact I didn't even look at the forums until I had been playing for several months. But it takes time to sift through all the postings on the forums, and I am uncertain how much of the DDO game playing population even takes a little time to browse new postings on the forums. So obviously in order to get going and growing, DDO U will need other avenues of PR. Which brings me to chat channels in game.

    First off, if you belong to a guild and think some of your fellow guildies might be the helpful type that would like to join or help out the University from time to time, I'd appreciate a mention in your guild chat channel every now and then if you are comfortable doing so. Just a little about DDO U trying to bring people together to help each other learn about the game and its initial focus on new player retention. If you have a guild website, a mention there would also be welcome along with the URL to the University website.

    I think in the future (hopefully the near future), there will be University guild officers online trying to recruit in Korthos, the Harbor and the Marketplace. This is done in the general channel all the time and such messages could mention a little about help being available to anyone via the website even if they don't join the local guild. But in the meantime, the question is about how to raise awareness of the players through in game channels without just spamming general with explanations and the website URL. The initial focus of course being trying to staff the University.

    If you have experience in PR or advertising, that's great. I could definitely use expert advice. But I think everyone has an opinion on what they consider spam to be ignored versus statements that attract their attention and make them want to ask for more information. So I'll pose these questions. If it was you trying to put a message in the general channel to raise awareness of DDO U, what would you type to get people to ask more either in general or via tells? And if you were reading general, how frequent would the posting of such a message have to be for you to consider it an annoyance of someone doing repetitive spamming in the channel?

    I will probably try some things within the next week or so on various servers and try to get feedback from players. But I thought I'd use this thread to solicit some ideas. Please feel free to make your own efforts in game on the general channel if you feel so inclined. I would only ask that you be courteous and take some time to let me know what did and did not work.
    Last edited by DDO_University; 08-10-2013 at 11:10 AM.

  18. #18
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    Smile

    It seems interesting! However I got a few questions for this:
    What is the difference between this and DDOWiki and DDOWiki/Talk?
    And why not use user-chat channels instead of guilds?
    Well, that's pretty much it

  19. #19

    Default RE: Why not just the Wiki and User chat channels

    Quote Originally Posted by n1x0r- View Post
    It seems interesting! However I got a few questions for this:
    What is the difference between this and DDOWiki and DDOWiki/Talk?
    And why not use user-chat channels instead of guilds?
    Well, that's pretty much it
    As for the Wiki, it seems mainly focused on documenting the game, not teaching it from the ground up. It does have some nice detail pages on all the basics, but I'm not sure exactly how new player friendly it is, or that it should be focused on that. One possibility is that one University activity might be research runs of quests and raids where the goal isn't necessarily completion, but testing and documenting things for the Wiki. But that would only be if someone wanted to start it up. For right now I think the main focus should be getting ready for and handling the influx of new players that's bound to happen with the release of Shadowfell. There are some newbie guides, etc. on the Wiki, but I think DDO would have higher retention of the new players if an effort was made to run with them and mentor them.

    As for guilds versus user chat channels, I am thinking of establishing one. But it might be a bit more friendly for new players in a guild setting where they are all in the same boat, helping each other out and with more experience guildies, both officers and non-officers, running with them and expecting very basic questions, as well as taking time to explain things they haven't even thought of yet. A chat channel is fine. But if you are in a challenging raid or quest, you might not have time to give a detailed answer in a chat channel. I think elsewhere in this thread and on the University website I have at least hinted at some of the other advantages of having a cross-server, player run organization, versus updating the Wiki and making yet another user chat channel.

    EDIT : Perhaps a discussion of how much belongs on the Wiki instead of on the University website would be beneficial. Thinking about it a bit more, I am starting to see some advantages to the idea, but also coming up with a few things that make me hesitate. I or someone probably needs to have a conversation with the main contributors and administrators of the Wiki about such things, in addition to review what's there and maybe conversing with new players as they try to utilize the Wiki to learn the game from scratch.

    ADDITIONAL EDIT : Took a little better look at the Newbie guide on the Wiki. Some of it seems a bit dated (broken links, old pictures, etc.), but it could very well be something that if reviewed and updated would be a key piece of reference literature for new DDO players/University students. Again, Wiki versus University as host of what content is probably a worthwhile discussion.
    Last edited by DDO_University; 08-10-2013 at 08:10 PM.

  20. #20
    Community Member Ungood's Avatar
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    The idea is great.

    But I think you would be better off going with a Chat Channel then a guild.

    Most mentors, vets, long time players or those that would be willing to mentor are in guilds, some of them guild leaders and officers, so splitting their time between guilds or even leaving their current guild is simply not an option, but a chat channel is.

    Also, new players tend to get sucked into guilds rather quick and are then hesitant to leave, even if the guild they got recruited to is not all that good.

    But by making a Chat Channel and working from there, players do not need to join or leave any guilds, taking renown, or anything with them, and do not need to worry about buffs or air ships, or stealing the chest, etc, etc.

    Also, a Channel does not need an officer to invite people into it, and people can come or go as they please. It makes for an easy setting.

    I would join a Mentoring Chat channel, but I would never leave my guild and I don't really have the time or inclination to split between guilds.
    Last edited by Ungood; 08-11-2013 at 12:27 AM.

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