Jarodemo
 member, 824 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Wed 20 May 2020
at 12:18
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Something I have seen some GMs to to help new players is to have a separate Journal thread to explain what happened yesterday, and the day before, etc. The reality of PBP is that one day of IC game, or even a 10 minute battle, can take months or even years to complete. Players can forget what happened, and it is even harder for new players to catch up. Having a Captain’s Log allows all parties to quickly understand what is going on.
Yaztromo
 supporter, 359 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:03
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
In reply to Jarodemo (msg # 13):

The Game Wiki can be a good tool / resource as well.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15882 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:10
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Had a couple of games that I started when I first came here (one actually started on another site) that ran for about 14 years each.  Both finished their stories, and both with players who had joined right at the start (one player in particular had grabbed the first IC and OOC posts in that particular game).
donsr
 member, 1937 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:16
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
its nice to hear stories of long  runnign games... I hate when folks join, then Ghost and leave, with out saying? I eman? where are your manners?

 say " i'm sorry this isn't what i thought"..or even" you're game sucks, i'm outta here".. doens't bother me, my games aren't for everyone..but..you should show consideration to other playersm who were RPing   with you, to say 'goodbye"
Yaztromo
 supporter, 360 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:26
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
praguepride:
If there were stats on games I would imagine they would be very front loaded. Something like 75% of games fail within the first month.

Probably you are right, but you are pitching games that last for 100 posts versus games that last for 100,000+ posts... they should have different weights on the scales, I think... ;)
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 256 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:28
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
I like to think that most games have a decent lifespan on here, although in my personal experience the slow-and-steady ones seem to do better than the ones that blow up with a thousand posts overnight, and then flame out. Players tend to be the same, it feels. The guy that comes in brand new, blows up the OOC, posts everywhere, and has his character built in two hours? Seems inevitable that he gets bored and bails when it takes the rest of the party two weeks to complete creation. That's not 100%, obviously, but it does seem to happen a lot.

I wonder how many of our GMs here really just enjoy the world building stage more than the running stage, too. I've been in several games that got off the ground, got rules written, characters made, house rules up, detailed explanation of the world, and then... nothing. Sometimes without a single IC post ever being made. That's disappointing.

Player attrition is very real on RPoL. People get bored, real life interferes, things like that - that's life, it happens - but the only thing I think I've seen that really seems to drive players away (again, just from my experience) is when people get told 'you can't do that' or 'it doesn't work that way'... and 9 times out of 10, they're told that because they didn't bother to read the game information/house rules/whatever in their initial rush to join. (Rarely does it seem to be something that wasn't explained somewhere, people are just lazy and don't seem to want to actually read things that they aren't explicitly TOLD to go read - and sometimes even then.)

...lotta people get their knickers in a twist and take their ball and go home if they can't get their way, it seems.
donsr
 member, 1938 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:46
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Sun....I had  a few players who  left my game  and started new one.. i even was asked to join some?.. As you say, they Flare up..people are excited..then..nothing..?

 Sometimes the GM  sits there , like " now what do i do?"..

 But i have seen through the years, people  like to  create a new character..that is fun for them..play them  a while and  get distracted  and  leave...

 My people have to prove  activity , before they get a second character ( unless one dies!) one person who stayed in the game about  a month had a bit of  an arguement on why he should be allowed to have 4.... I simply said , you don't post enough for the one!...but the bigger reason is, if that person quits, or RL takes them away..you lsoe  4  characters..and its not fair to others who were building the RP..or   counted on that 2nd or 3rd   charcter in battles  and such.

 there has to be some form of  'leadership' from the GM..frame work for the GAme ( mine is semi-freeform, but it has its  rules  and regs),.. to b Fair,, I only have maybe..one player like that a year, and the leave, so the effect on the game  doesn't hut it.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 105 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 13:53
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Something I've seen is that a lot of times, a random group of players don't end up meshing very well.

[Honestly, it's something that could be controlled for by the GM during the recruiting effort.  But the 'I am taking the first six that apply' sort of games suffer from this.]

I've withdrawn from games that were otherwise good because the player-dynamic was off.  None of the players were wrong, necessarily, but there are so many different approaches to roleplaying ... and sometimes we're not all a good fit with one another.

Bleed is a real threat in PbP games as well.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a player become dissatisfied/frustrated/angry in RL because of something that happened to their character in RP.

What could have been a cool, narrative setback then — rather than becoming something to roleplay through and come out ahead — becomes sand in a player's shorts and it veers into personal butthurt territory that spills over into the OOC.  I might be a bit too sensitive to stuff like this though because I've seen it ruin games that I have helmed before.
donsr
 member, 1939 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 14:03
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
 there is a threat to the charcters in my most active game, ebcause it is a sci-fi war game... that keeps most of them focused,  sometimes, they create  a plot  line with out knowing it, and it leabds  to good or bad stuff..BUT.. if the players  are there to RP..any RP is good rp!
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 257 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 14:54
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Ski-Bird:
What could have been a cool, narrative setback then — rather than becoming something to roleplay through and come out ahead — becomes sand in a player's shorts and it veers into personal butthurt territory that spills over into the OOC.

It's not just you that's seen this ruin games, Ski-Bird. Sad, but true.

Sometimes, the dice don't like us very much. Sometimes, other characters don't like our characters very much. I've noticed, though, that a lot of people seem unable to handle either of those things. Fail a few rolls? Complain and whine and cry and have a personal pity-party in the OOC, but rarely does a character buckle down and use failure as a reason to practice/train/study/whatever. Get in a fight ICly with another character? Come into the OOC and complain and start a real fight about how they just interpreted your post wrong - no one ever seems to be able to turn that into character growth.

...and then they leave. Almost without fail.
Jarodemo
 member, 825 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Wed 20 May 2020
at 14:57
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
In reply to SunRuanEr (msg # 22):

Agreed, sometimes people blur the lines between IC and OOC and it becomes unpleasant. As we aren’t face to face it is then easy enough for a player, or GM, to simply disappear.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 107 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 15:18
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Jarodemo:
... easy enough for a player, or GM, to simply disappear.


I'm guilty of this as a player (withdrawing from a tale, I mean, not disappearing).  When red flags have pop up, sometimes I've withdrawn rather than hash things out, justifying it as not worth the heartache.

As a GM, it's a little different of course, since you bear the responsibility of herding all the cats.  When I see things get a little standoffish in the RP, I usually get ahead of it and check in with folks via PM.
Lauriebear
 member, 58 posts
 There is no truth. There
 is only perception
Wed 20 May 2020
at 16:32
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
First let me say that I can understand withdrawing from a game, I've done it myself sadly enough.  And yes it was because of the posting of another player, and it could have been all in my own head but it truly felt like the other player was "attacking" my character.  Not being a total historian they made reference of my characters "speech/post" but of course it was internal that the other player did it with their character, not once but a few times.  It got to a point even checking in was less then pleasing.

The co-gm was sweet, the gm dealing with RL issues...IDK looking back I could have handled it differently as the GM's had no idea how I felt, it isn't like they have crystal balls.

While in another game the GM itself changed and well the new GM made me the player very uncomfortable, if you had a long history with the new GM it appeared your character got special treatment.

Now as a first time GM I had a few players go silent.  So I reached out and found one was struggling so I helped that player and then others just never replied so I kept their character but removed the player.  Some replied but in the end as GM I removed them (still struggle with that one).  Lastly, some replied but had issues, I left them in-game, hey we all have it happen right.

Anyway, the game I run oddly enough was born from a game where the GM just one day left.  It has been active - really active - just under a year now.  IDK if I am handling it all right or not but I am trying to learn from my own mistakes.

Hopefully as a GM I made it so the players will come to me if they fell like I did (another player attacking them IG) and hopefully no one feels I am giving special treatment to others.

I haven't had OOC complaining yet, not sure how I'll handle that or what...time will tell I am sure.
CaptainHellrazor
 member, 12 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 17:12
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
I think player turnover is probably the biggest difference between face to face roleplaying and play by mail/post.  For years I ran  regular Monday night game with a bunch of guys I've known for years and had pretty much the same crew turning up each week.  Whenever we had a blow in we knew they would only be a couple of weeks before they disappeared.

My first PBEM went pretty well for a couple of years but I had a few of my original face to face crew in that game but this time around, playing on this site where I don't know anybody I had guessed attrition would be an issue so I have had 10 players register in the past couple of weeks.  One dropped out soon after character generation but had the decency to let me know, so I have a pre-rolled NPC to kill off early to set an example early on in the game.  I have another player created his character, made a couple of (OOC) posts and has gone MIA, so most likely a 2nd NPC to kill off but most of the others are posting at least every couple of days.

My plan is to basically have two teams for the game, the active players are on patrol and the inactive/less active/don't know what is going players, they go in the other group 'back at the base'.  If they become active again they can rejoin the patrol, if they drift off, well more canon fodder (or should I say, zombie fodder).  This way new players can create characters 'back at base' and join the action as required.  I think the sweet spot is 5-8 active players in the kinds of games I like to run, so starting with a few extras and the facility to add more as the game progresses should keep things ticking along.
donsr
 member, 1940 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 19:09
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Laurie.. we had a player who was in the game for some time..he even  earned an extra charcter.., it always started the same..new person came in, his  charcter greeted them in RP.. they hung out, then he  would be a jerk, off and on , some of the vets would have runins  as well.

 GM  have to be like coaches, you get your players on the same page, or you bench them..or cut them.

  in then end , i was too nice for too long, it cost me a couple decent players..but in the end?..he was done..the   game seems better for it. It uis sad , in a way, ebcause  when he  played the game as he should, his charcters added  somethign to the flow.. I dunno.

 bottom line? Problem player  should be.

1...PMed  about by the player who take offesne.

2...GM should see this  and  send  probvlem player  a 'back off' PM

3... Lose the problem player, so  you don't lose  good ones
Lord Caladin
 member, 398 posts
 It all about the journey
Wed 20 May 2020
at 21:19
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
CaptainHellrazor:
Does anyone have any idea what the average life span of game is?  Or how long the average player stays in any particular game?  I have not been on this site very long but from what I have seen there seems to be a pretty high turn over of players and GMs are always looking for new/replacement players


A games life is based on the players and if you have the right players they last as long as they play. I think the secret is when a game is not focused on a player/character. This allows when a player drops for the GM to just find another player, BUT when a game is focused around one main player/character - then without that player/character the games comes to an end.

Best of luck and good gaming!
Yaztromo
 supporter, 361 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 21:48
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
SunRuanEr:
I wonder how many of our GMs here really just enjoy the world building stage more than the running stage, too. I've been in several games that got off the ground, got rules written, characters made, house rules up, detailed explanation of the world, and then... nothing. Sometimes without a single IC post ever being made. That's disappointing.

This happens also with players that love building "beautiful" characters, sending you 50 PM s in the process, asking you to bend rules here and there to accomodate their beloved character concept, then you get just the first post where they introduce their character to the others, or not even that.... and then nothing. They don't even start the game.
That's life: some people likes this part of the game above the rest... you have to accept it and move on.
donsr
 member, 1941 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 22:03
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
one 'game' i am in, is  stagnate..and that's  when  the GM  gives a  darm to post...most of the posts  are " you can't  do that "... or the NPC comes over  and no one moves until a few one line posts have ben answered over the course of months!... what is even worse, people are introduced, and then held hostage, because the CS   need worked on?

 DON'T... have your player  wait for the CS..get thier concept,  send  them ouyt to play with your other folks!..that's why they are here.

  the GM   complained  about 2 players leaving, through this   2 month process..one was, i understand..less then nice about it...

 I posted in OOC.." let them play!..if a GM/DM can't  work aroubnd an unfisinhed  CS..maybe?  the GM shouldn't be runnign the game?... My post was deleted.

 so?, sicne   , just after Halloween, My charcters and  3 other vets  as well as two hapless newbies  have been sitting in a Inn having a   bar maif say.." yes we have wine"
evileeyore
 member, 326 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 20 May 2020
at 23:20
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
donsr:
My post was deleted.

And with that right there I'd leave, I've done so once already.  I don't put up with a GM censoring my OOC posts when they are perfectly within community guidelines or pre established posting rules simply because they don't like what I have to say in public.
donsr
 member, 1942 posts
Wed 20 May 2020
at 23:49
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
 well Evil?  i would any other game... the GM  was once a very good friend of mine.. we played across the EZ Boards  until hackers took them out.

  we came here.. i didn't  even want to DM , but games kept  dying left  and right, ebfore i decided to start a game with some  othert players  who were left  hanging by a  flighty GM

  I stay in her  came  as  well as the other  2 vets, ebcause  we were there  for a while..but?..it doesn't cost  anything   for me to stay there... , and the other Vets  didn't like the  deletion either...'' the funny part is, that GM getting rid of player because of the CS?...

 heck..My  sheet for my system, is  simple, but allows   for your charcter to grow?... and  as soon as the   Player gets his portait up and  the   stats  part done,  they are drooped into the game.

 Now?..if we were paid  big money to play inthese games?..sure...make sure all the Is  are dotted  and Ts  crossed..but we are here for fun, let the poor folks play!
CaptainHellrazor
 member, 13 posts
Thu 21 May 2020
at 05:02
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
donsr I like my characters to be reasonably well rounded before starting play so that the rest of their team have an idea what to expect from each other.  I use X Points to motivate players to do as much as possible with character creation before starting the storyline.

The current game I give them a bonus skill at the start of the game if they write a short character history/background that explains how they acquired all the skills they are starting out with.  I don't expect a novel but a few paragraphs isn't too much to ask and helps set the bar for what is expected during the game.

I also added a boot camp/training exercise a bit like a flashback, that gave the players a chance to fire at targets and run through the combat system for a few different weapons so that when the combat starts they know how things work.  For completing that I gave them a few extra X Points to start the game so they can pick up another skill relatively quickly.  Seems to work pretty well.
facemaker329
 member, 7204 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 21 May 2020
at 16:39
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
As others have indicated, there's a huge variety of factors that play into game longevity.  I think one of the reasons there aren't any stats on the subject is because, without accounting for the 'why' of a game ending abruptly, the stats would be kinda useless.  I mean, a game shutting down because the GM went in for surgery and ended up in years of intensive rehab therapy should not be considered the same as a GM just deciding they were done with the game and moving on, no more so than it should be considered the same if a player just walked away with no notice versus a player being in a car accident that stuck them in the hospital.

One of the reasons FtF groups last, in my experience, is because they are made up of friends or friends-of-friends, so there's some degree of interaction outside the game and game play can adapt for events in their lives to an extent that just never happens in PbP.  Also, FtF players tend to be more consolidated, geographically, so the odds of some natural disaster disrupting the game with no explanation are generally lower, and if it happens, everyone knows.  I've had players go unexpectedly silent, only to learn, later, that they were in a wildfire that destroyed just about everything they owned.  Others got slammed by winter storms that disrupted internet access for the better part of a week, and they were busy dealing with surviving real life after service was restored, so it was several weeks before they got back.

This is all on top of points made here already...player chemistry, and player/GM chemistry are crucial.  GM activity is a must (I struggle with that, myself).  The GM keeping things focused on the game is huge.

There are no easy answers, and no one-size-fits-all solutions, and what works in one game for you is not guaranteed to work every time.  There's a lot of room for trial and error.
byzantinex
 member, 203 posts
Thu 21 May 2020
at 19:08
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
The turnover for games, GMs and players seems really high here. But I do not think it's higher here than anywhere else.

Personally I've been heavily involved in several games, both as DM and Player. Currently I'm only in 1 game that I both Narrate (I prefer "narrator" to dm/gm) and have a PC in which has been running since April 2017 (3 years last month). It's a Ptolus game (https://ptol.us) with 5 characters all controlled by 1 player. Then I have my DM PC and dozens of NPCs.

We are multiple times per day posters and communicate outside the website almost every day as well. We found each other on the site, so not previously friends.

All the other games died b/c people simply disappeared (stopped posting), or I quit because there was weeks between posts, which simply doesn't work for me.

1) I think the best way to be successful on this site (or in any D&D venture) is just to make sure you manage expectations. If you're the DM and you want daily posters, then make sure you advertise that and setup that condition from the beginning.

2) The other thing you should do is simply prepare for disappointment and attrition. Life happens. People lose jobs, get sick, die, have babies, etc... Players are going to leave your game, just prepare yourself for it. DMs are going to ghost, make sure you or someone else has access to DM the game so you don't lose it.

3) Establish communication outside RPOL. I don't know how big a deal this is to anyone else, but I've done it now with several people from RPOL and it's certainly helped. There are a billion ways to connect with people, so find the one that works best for you. Discord channel. Email. Whatever. This will also allow you to connect if someone ghosts on rpol just to ask, "are you dead" b/c push notifications aren't available on RPOL, yet. :D

Anyway. I hope you find what you want and stick it out. RPOL changed my life and I absolutely love this website and play by posting.
Brianna
 member, 2216 posts
Fri 22 May 2020
at 03:38
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
Any reasonably accurate count of game life would need to find a way to divide games that fail from those that finish.  Some games are never intended to be long term, but just a single short to medium length adventure.
Silverlock
 member, 109 posts
Wed 27 May 2020
at 22:05
Re: Lifespan of Games and Players?
My game is still running.  It began in 1998.  I have an original player come in and post when RL permits.  I post once a week because I still work and that's the time I can give it until I can retire.  I've moved my game onto RPOL because I like the format and the support for games.

I run campaigns that follow a storyline until the conclusion. There are side quests, diversions, and running jokes.  Most of my players have been around for years and it's rather difficult to boggle them now, but I think we're still going along, even in the face of a pandemic (and I know three of them are essential, as am I).  I am a steady, reliable GM who likes to do research, and the system is Call of Cthulhu.  My players all have lives so I cut them some slack when they can't post for a week, even a month.