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Advertising

I want to talk to you about advertising. If you’ve listened to the podcast for any length of time you’ll know I have very strong views on Funcom’s advertising department. We did a segment once where I got very vocal about them. Very vocal indeed. You can find it here if you’re interested.

Marketing serves two purposes. Firstly to get new and old players into the game and secondly to get us to buy things once we are there. The question is when does advertising become too much?

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In the past I always complained that there wasn’t enough marketing to new players and the marketing decisions that were made to existing players were often so clearly motivated by money that they turned people off them. And I get it, Funcom is a business and one that is in need of money more than most. But what effect does aggressive marketing have on the playerbase? What does it say to new and potential players?

Let me tell you about another game that recently made some changes. Mostly design changes. I hopped in after they kindly gave me a weekends worth of Patrons benefits to see what I was missing. It was fine, as a subscriber you play the game as it was intended with a few perks like additional fast travel and more XP. All fairly standard. However once my free time had ended I noticed a complete change to the the appearance of the game. A large disruptive icon (almost the same size as the mini map) had appeared to tell me how great it was to be a subscriber. Fine, I could ignore that, I thought. How wrong I was. I wandered around killing things and every so often a glint at the top right side of my screen would catch my eye. The subscriber icon was set to flash every few minutes to remind me that it would be really nice if I gave them money.

Why do I tell you about this experience? Because this aggressive marketing served to make me quit the game and ensure that I never gave them a single penny ever again. It put me off the game and the company. It made it seem like they only wanted my money and had little interest in anything else. Quite the opposite to the effect they were going for.

Marketing is not easy, people will always disagree on the best way to advertise. Some people would say that the example I just gave is perfectly fine and I should quit complaining because I am not paying for the game in the first place and that is fine. But personally I found that approach to advertising completely counterproductive to the end goal.

But how about in The Secret World? Well the way the subscription is advertised to non-subs is a bit over the top. Sure the icon on your ToolBar doesn’t flash every few seconds but everywhere you go you are reminded that because you aren’t subscribed you are somehow not as good as everyone else. Hell even as a subscriber you are regularly reminded that you are “better” from the constant prompts that you are getting (30% membership bonus) on XP or (50% membership bonus) on Black Bullion to the regular reminder that you are saving 350 Pax by using the anima leap in Scorched Desert because it’s free (now what shall I spend my whopping 350 pax on?).

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And this is where it get tricky. Finding a balance. Firstly you need to find a way of showing people that they are going to get something for subscribing. How do you do that without being obnoxious? Secondly once players are subscribed you need to remind them why they should stay subscribed. Again without being obnoxious. I’d love to say Funcom has found the right balance with it’s latest changes. Unfortunately I don’t think it has. There are probably a few reasons for that though and for once I don’t think this is all down to marketing (which is a pity because we all know how much I love to blame them).

A lot of the changes display in the game world or chat system in some way. From additional text in the Mission Hand-ins, to a line of text in the chat window telling you about why you’re getting two instead of the one BB you expected from Bullet’s for Andy. The game has to find some way of giving you feedback. And that is where the actual gameplay and mechanics come into play. TSW wasn’t built with this two tiered playerbase in mind (at launch it was always subscriber or nothing). Even the previous Buy to Play model did not really change the core system in terms of mechanics or interface. Now that TSW has a severely limited development team I imagine that it was a case of finding the simplest method that could be implemented with the least amount of recourses. The changes didn’t hit Test Live and the team were working on Shambala simultaneously so it needed to be something that could be internally tested and implemented quickly and without impacting the development schedule of other projects.

Unlike a lot of the larger games that have switched to the Buy to Play (or Free to Play) model this was done with a considerably smaller team who, let’s not forget also work over two other live games. I am guessing that unlike some games the facilities to make sweeping changes to the structure of the game mechanics were just not there.

I know, that sounds like a very convenient excuse. But when you think about it, it does explain some of the more random elements of the recent changes to the subscription model. I’m hoping that over time, we’ll see small tweaks to the designs and implementation so that it is not so in your face. So that newer players don’t feel so overwhelmed and existing players have more control over what they see when they are subscribed.

Over all I feel aggressive marketing is usually counterproductive. That more often than not it has the opposite effect to the one it set out to achieve but in the case of the recent changes to subscriptions in TSW I am hopeful that that things will be tweaked and adjusted based on player feedback.


Kle regularly can be found sighing at Auroris on the Podcast and in-game wearing very little clothing at Psywarrior’s shows. You can follow him on Twitter @klethetemplar or you can get in touch by email kle@thesecretpodcast.co.uk

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Meet the Dragon – The Streaming Ones

Today’s episode of The Streaming Ones was focusing on the Dragon. Tilty’s character today was called TilTease.

The devs today were nowhere near as colour co-ordinated this time around. Odonoptera’s argyle of choice today was pink.

Concept art of the Seoul Fight Club

 

Scrivnomancer provided us with some comments on how the Dragon are not just peculiar, they are Extra Peculiar. The Silent Monks were also reportedly voiced by Scrivnomancer, until Tilty personally went round sewing their mouths shut.

In the spirit of chaos, they left the mic on, and we heard random giggling coming from them. So that happened.

Jin Jae-Hoon was designed as a relatively ‘mundane’ character, to give us a description of the Dragon from a not-completely-weird character.

Another interesting little tidbit we learnt is that the singer in the Kumiho lobby is actually voiced by Audio Director Simon Poole’s wife. Good way to keep it in the family.

Concept art for Hana, the women in the red dress.

 

Of course, given the opening cutscenes, they had to talk about the ‘footrub’. They commented on the uproar it caused, with people complaining that their characters would never have done that. Scrivnomancer told us that the lady in red’s name is actually Hana, and that she is much more than she seems. NEW INFORMATION FTW! It turns out, she has a supernatural ability to draw secrets out of others, even if they don’t know they know the secret.

And of course, chat was asking for the dress to be in game.

Concept art for the half-demon, Akma.

 

Akma, first seen in the pre-release character bios we got all that time ago, was born in the hell realms, we learn. He found his way to Earth accidentally during demon wars, and is half demon, half human. Having reached Earth, he was abused for a time, but has found his way to Hana, who is openly accepting of him for who he is.

Odonoptera was on highly energetic form today, from making strange noises, to squeeing over Pokemon. We now have recorded evidence that Odo is a child.

Cardiac Arrest is a fucking awesome animation now.
– Scrivnomancer

Tilty talked a bit about the ability revamps. Phase one was done some time ago, where they redid a lot of animations and mechanics, especially for Elite abilities. Phase two is apparently in the works.

Several people tracked Tilty down ingame, and started an impromptu party around the large tree in the Dragon Coils. Tilty suggested they stay put for a couple of months and something might happen. Could this be a TilTrees for the anniversary events?

Child Concept Art

Several players in chat noted the Almighty Janitor sweeping the central room. Is he the real leader of the Dragon? Perhaps we will know one day, perhaps never.

Concept art for Bong Cha

 

Scrivnomancer delved back into the depths, and retrieved some information on Bong Cha for us. (Several eldritch horrors were also released. We are assured that containment measures are in hand.)

Bong Cha was originally a model law student at one of Korea’s most prestigious universities. One day, she was sitting in the library working, when she suddenly got up and left to become the Child’s executive assistant. She ensures that all the Child’s wants and needs are taken care of, and that instructions reach the people that need them. Apparently she was only drafted in the last year before the events of the game. Scrivnomancer described the Child as the composer, and Bong Cha as the conductor.

The Child is seen to age significantly between the start and Issue 11.

 

Tilty also described the Dragon as the youngest faction, which set all the lore lovers talking.

Approaching the end of the stream, Tilty talked about the new banking representatives in each HQ. Asked about whether they would ever get an umbrella, he noted that there were lots of players there looking after her, so she wouldn’t need one any time soon. He also queried which banker had it worst.

Mood setting concept art for Seoul

 

Tilty was going to tell us stuff about Issue 14 this time, but it wasn’t ready to show us yet. The next stream will be dedicated to Issue 14, and may even include a release date!

The Templar stream has been postponed indefinitely pending the Templar discovery of fire.

There were some giveaways of points during the stream, and Odonoptera ended up having to say SatanTits live again.

You can find the stream here, to see the whole thing, and anything we may have missed.

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Patching in Leeching

We all love patch notes right? We all spend ages looking over the latest changes and additions to the game that each new patch brings, right? Ok, just me then.

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Well, you might want to take a look at these ones if you haven’t already because the nice people at Funcom have added a few quality of life changes.

Patch 1.13.3 brings a slew of bug fixes. But it also brings tweaks to the mouse targeting system. The Group Finder gets some additions with random dungeons now counting to daily goals and queue times hopefully cut down.

PvP also gets some love with a some changes to the way healing scores are dealt with and the more accurate death counts (because we like to see accurately how many people we have killed or in my case how many times I have died).

But the biggest change that has most people talking is the change to the way leeching works with enemy AEGIS shields. In the past you couldn’t leech in Tokyo (or it was extremely difficult to) because you were only able to leech health from the core health bar after burning away the AEGIS shield. Now as long as you have the matching AEGIS controller it will treat the leech effect the same as it would if you were leeching from the core health bar. Once again Leech builds are viable in Tokyo.

You can read the full notes here (and you really should there’s lots we haven’t covered)

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Episode 45

This week on The Secret Podcast we manage to stay awake long enough to discuss the good and bad sides of the TSW community, Sanctuary’s upcoming event and Exploding Forums.

The audio is a little odd this week as we’re using a back up file instead of our usual audio. Our apologies.

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News

Broken Forums: The Forums and other TSW related sites went down shortly after the restart last week. The issue was quickly resolved and things should be back to normal.

Editor’s Notes: We added a new segment called “Editor’s Notes”. This allows our writers to discuss whatever is on their minds in relation to TSW. We started off with a post about Community. You can find the post here

Harassment: We also discussed some of the less positive aspects of the community including harrasment. If you feel you need support and want to talk then (while none of us are trained) we’re happy to listen. You can get in touch with us on Twitter or by emailing us.

Kle: @klethetemplar or kle@thesecretpodcast.co.uk

Auroris: @Auro_Sanctuary

Djinngi: @Djinngi

Sanctuary Runs Dungeons: Sanctuary is organising some good old fashioned dungeon runs. With an RP twist. The Illuminati are worried that one of the Sanctuary Agents isn’t getting out in the field enough. So they’re killing two birds with one stone. They’ve decided to follow up on the initial reports on the major occult incident on Solomon Island to see if there have been any changes in the situation. They need a team to help the agent get the field experience he needs.
The event takes place on the 5th of March between 8pm-10pm and all elite or normal dungeon runs with a designated Sanctuary member will give players entry into a prize draw for signet reward bags, pets, Gift items and an elusive Sanctuary Tee. The aim of the event is to have a relaxed run through the earlier dungeons to help players get used to the mechanics and to have some fun. For more info go to sanctuary.tswdb.com 

ARG: A quick recap on the Seals that were unveiled by the Buzzing and during the livestream. You can catch up with the latest over at the ARG section of the Forums here

Events

Vicious Valentine’s Contest: You can find out all about the contest and how to enter here

Streamers:

Radio:

As always you can get in touch with us by email info@thesecretpodcast.co.uk, Twitter@TSW_Podcast and on Facebook as well as our contact page. You can get the latest episode of the show from itunes here, Sticher here and directly from the site.

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Jingi’s Sunday TSW Column #4

This is totally Sunday the 21st. This isn’t Monday the 22nd and you can’t prove that!

Okay, it maybe is and I apologize for the lateness. I was deep asleep for some reason for twelve hours after the interview with BtV that it threw me into a wild dream of exploration where a prehistoric otter tried to maul me.

But! It’s alright because I love you guys so much. I’m also being slow on getting out the Vicious Valentine’s Individual post cards because of offline / in real life affairs but I will!

It’s been a busy week but also a content one for in-game in The Secret World. So be on the look out for the Secret Podcast’s newest Episode 45 – to which I was finally able to wake up for!

Other than that, in the column this week I will go over a few things: (a) Beyond the Veil Podcast Episode 175, (b) Interview with Happy Tentacle Radio, (c) Community Highlights: Tipsutin & LordofNothing! and (d) The Secret Buzz Issue #3!


We had a few technical difficulties in the start, but with the lovely Gryph we were able to manage to do the podcast on her stream. A big thanks to Twitch with being able to host different streams, that really saved us!

This week in the Beyond the Veil was a simple lovely recap on how our Valentine’s went as well as an attempted in-depth with Shambala again on techniques.

Due to a nice and slow week in TSW this episode was a relaxed and casual one – but it’s my pleasure to request you guys listen to Episode 176 as it holds the personal interview with Andy Benditt!


Next up! This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the members of the Happy Tentacle Radio! This interview is a part of a series of upcoming interviews from the eventful members of the community!

HTR

As a result, this is an out-of-character interview of DJ Grimstar, Manager Medrina and owner of the HTR, Chemic.

      Welcome back to the world of DJing. When did you guys make a re-appearance and what were the challenges you faced doing so?

On the matter of re-appearances….

“HTR resurfaced in November officially, after DJ Drina & DJ Chemic had a talk about bringing it back.”

On the matter of challenges….

“Scheduling! Not trying to overlap shows, but knowing sometimes it’s inevitable. The public being a little unreceptive to the idea of ANOTHER station when we first came back. Confusion over where to listen to us. (People would occasionally be tuned into the other stations by mistake)

But I think we’ve managed pretty well with all of this. And the community overall has been supportive, as has RFG and GSP. We’re navigating pretty well now I think, but we’re probably always going to be the little guy.

I love the diversity all the stations and DJs bring. We’re all doing things a bit differently. Each dj and each show.” – DJ Drina

And to add from the lovely Chemic!

“HTR radio is all about providing a platform that´s different to what the other stations provide. We’re not saying our station is better, but it’s definitely different – not so many rules. And we believe that variety is a good. I know it rubs some people the wrong way that some of our shows inevitably overlap other shows. We actually try our hardest to avoid that, but the calendar is so booked with shows from other stations, that it’s a matter of whether we are going to broadcast at all. Add to that, shows that are plotted in as a weekly thing, often get cancelled with no notice.” – DJ Chemic

Will you guys be open to new DJs in the future?

“We are definitely open to new DJs and we have a couple potentials in the works now. We will also be doing new episodes of REDACTED! with Darius and Jules again soon.” – DJ Drina

“As for whether we are open to new DJ’s. Yea we are definitely. Anyone who’s got something they are burning to get out there. Passion is what drives us. Some of us DJ professionally, and we do this – obviously – without making any money. So, it’s the opportunity to make some really special and unique shows that drive us. Not, say, having to worry about necessarily keeping a dance floor going (though some of us are quite happy to do that).

So if someone comes to us with a spark inside them and with a good idea, we will be happy to help them broadcast with us. As and aside, we are not interested in DJ’s who has some sort of agenda towards any of the other stations. We don’t see ourselves as competition – we are bridge builders and, frankly, are paying too much attention on how to make our own shows better than what the other stations are doing.” – DJ Chemic

      The Secret Podcast absolutely loves that HTR is hosting events and contests, will there be more in a future?

“There will most definitely be new events and contests and such. We will also be doing some interesting events that won’t involve dance shows, but should be a lot of fun to the community. Still working out the kinks on these.” – DJ Drina

      As a DJ or even managing HTR, how hard is it to host through Mixlr? Is it friendly to work with more than other DJ platforms?

“I know about 100 artists offline on Facebook who I converse with regularly
Those people I play actually appreciate what I do because they are indie, this is how I give back to the scene. My soundcloud is very successful and has been viewed in over 300 cities worldwide, this is good for the station
and the scene. I have no issue pulling peeps in from outside the game and I make Grim just basically me on that respect.” – DJ Grimstar

“For me personally, I’m extremely interactive with my audience. And I know in the past, having a feed delay made it a little harder. I looked at a couple other options and they had the same issue. Mixlr’s delay is less than 5 seconds, which is great for me since I ask the audience questions during talk breaks.

Mixlr is easy to use, although we may eventually upgrade to a bigger service. But yeah, super simple and user friendly. And the listeners like being able to chat with the DJs during the show, too. That way when they aren’t in game they can still talk with us on mixlr chat.

Mixlr also allows us to save and upload our shows so that they can be listened to any time. It’s a nice little feature. And it has a calendar to keep track of shows (which I personally need to get better about using 😉 )” – DJ Drina

      As you viewers can see, this station is back in action and busy to boot! I’ve seen them push out weekly shows and sometime’s bi-weekly shows when it comes to special events! I am happy to see the three stations interacting well as well – it really helps to support our little community when we’re all out here to have fun!

They are using a platform way different from others which can inspire even the most low-tech of our users to even try to take a chance at DJing. So if you have a knack at music and have a love to entertain – why not step up and try your hand at Happy Tentacle Radio?

I thank again, Grimstar, Drina & Chemic for their time of this interview and hope that they enjoyed our time together! If you want more information or would even like to interact – you can find them here: Happy Tentacle Radio Twitter.


Also, I wanted to highlight on two very special people currently in our community: Tipsutin and LordofNothing.

Upcoming in events, our Tipsutin is hosting a twelve hour livestream to focus on supporting endometriosis on March 19th, 2016. It is their hope that they educate our community on why it is such a disastrous illness.

Their goal is to raise $1,000 to raise awareness and give to the Endometriosis Association.

More information can be found here Tipsutin’s Stream Information Thread
As well as their twitter found here – Tipsutin’s Twitch Twitter

On our last note, I would like to highlight our pillar community member LordofNothing – to which we all know and love as Asmod.

He has been here longer than most to which I can remember even being here for a couple years. He also has been running small contests for a long time that may not come to light so much as it should.

It should be recognized that he runs Drink & Song contests weekly to bi-weekly and gives out prizes as a result – to which they’re being oomphed up as of now!

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I love that he does those awesome contests and events – which take only a few minutes to enter and participate – and it’s my hope he’ll keep doing them to stimulate our lovely eventful community.

If interested, you can check out his contests here at the Saints & Sinners Events Information Thread, or at his twitters – Asmod’s Twitter & Saints & Sinner’s Twitter as well as his tumblr that hosts all the previous competitions.


Lastly, a note on The Secret Buzz by our own @TSB_Fred! She released Issue #3 yesterday! To which you can view here: The Secret Buzz #3 to which a lot of my good friends are featured in!

You can purchase your very own copy of Issue #3 by mailing Fred@TheSecret.buzz with the headline of “Print Issue #3”!

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That’s it for now! Stay tuned for Next Sunday’s Column. If you have any updates you would like to give The Secret Podcast or myself, please send me a message at GinSynrio@Gmail.com or over twitter at @Djinngi.

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