Obsidian Portal Launch Feedback

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Comments

  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    My experience of the reforge has not been too bad... yes I have had to completely re-write several dozen pages etc, but to be honest my campaign was still a work in progress; and I fully expected that to be case after the reforge anyway (I know the words 'Seamless transition' exist in the English language, but I dont think I have ever encountered the real thing!). Lets be honest here - this is a very high calibre fan based web site, that raised money through kickstarter... not exactly a bastion of professional web/game design.

    As for the players, Im not sure they noticed a huge difference to the site. The most used pages were the ones I fixed first (obviously) and as such only one or two players with a keen interest noticed any other problem pages. I cant recall who posted it, but someone posted a google analytic of their page traffic one time, and really is a case of the average visitor spends about 'Front Page (20 seconds)+an other wiki page (20 seconds)'. if that person is player or fan, you can then add 'latest adventure log or character journal (x minutes)' to that traffic.

    Im still working on it, esepdcialy the (N)PC pages, but my campaign site is starting to get where I want it to be now ( https://the-great-pendragon.obsidianportal.com/ )

    Having said all that, as a person who has done more than their fair share of Technical Project Management; yes i can see the obvious mistakes that were made, and agree that a revised plan is needed (one that includes improved communication, and a publishing of accounts which at the very least to be individually mailed to those who contributed, and ideally should be fully public). I hope the OP team can recognize that as well. I understand there were offers from a professional Project Manager to help out; I advise them to get back in touch with that individual and ask for his help! :)

    I think the portal is as good as it ever was, and arguably better. It should be well placed to grow back to what it was, in terms of user activity, and hopefully go well beyond that as they start implementing the additional changes.
  • schiann
    schiann
    Posts: 19
    I've looked at other options, and my group has tried one of them. Honestly, they don't match the game-agnostic, OS-agnostic simplicity of OP, both pre-and post-Reforge. I have the technical know-how and hosting space to set up a website for my campaign, but why bother when OP is available? Plus my groups take turns running, and not everyone has the skills to do that. My Ascendant membership just auto-renewed for the year, and at this point I'm OK with that. Just OK.

    I find the Reforged OP very usable at this point. Now, I play in in-person RPG groups, not play-by-post, so we're not dependent on OP long-term. That said, it was a gigantic PITA when the previously boringly stable OP lost all our Traveller characters' base stats the first week of the Reforge rollout. Now we know not to rely on OP. We're doing more frequent backups, ignoring the dynamic character sheets, and storing characters in more trustworthy character gen programs and pasting images of the sheets into OP.

    There are also old features that, to my knowledge, have not and are not returning. The two most important to me and my group were the ability to type in dates and support for Items. If a competitor were to come out with a system that did everything OP does plus those two things, I would switch in a heartbeat.

    Ultimately, my group will keep using OP as a place to organize text and images for our campaigns. But I don't foresee people putting the great effort into customizing their CSS and building hundreds of pages that was being done before, because the platform is untrustworthy.

    P.S. I have to give a shout-out to Travis for his commendable efforts in both customer service and passing along status information from the mysterious dev team.
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 2,014
    Yo!

    "P.S. I have to give a shout-out to Travis for his commendable efforts in both customer service and passing along status information from the mysterious dev team."

    I'll second that.

    twiggyleaf
    CURRENT CAMPAIGN: "Mysteria":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/mysteria - set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.
    Previous CotM Aug 2012: "Shimring":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shimring

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • BrianAdamantite
    BrianAdamantite
    Posts: 43 edited September 2014
    I know I don't post much here but have never shied away from asking and giving help to those I sought out or came to me.

    That being said OP is either scared, poorly equipped for social skills, or a mix of both.

    I can imagine they convince/hire a person to respond and that person likely gets "currently" far more angry messages than good. It is not necessarily "their" fault but they are the ones tasked with reading about it. Eventually they would have to keep hiring only to have that person leave because the work involved was more than what "they" thought they were signing up for. None of this excuses them for not responding or having a bad public image. I have gotten the feeling that the Dev team just doesn't care anymore and has moved on to better paying gigs for "AisleTen":http://www.aisleten.com/about.html since they have disabled their own blog and contact page. That is other than a mention of an email on the About Us tab. Use the site or don't but I have not emailed them further because I am far more likely to get a response from God before I hear "ANYTHING" positive or negative from AisleTen, LLC.

    Now I intend to use the site because it is less work than maintaining my own.

    I have talked to Realmworks and for Linux and Mac Users the product is not far enough along that emulators or ports work well - if at all. It is a Windows only environment, that being said it is quite stellar with what it can do. It will only get better.

    YMMV

    AZ_RUNE
    February CotM 2014: "Regnum":https://regnum.obsidianportal.com
    Post edited by BrianAdamantite on
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 2,014 edited September 2014
    KLF once had a "tongue-in-cheek" song called "It's Grim Up North" in which the only lyrics were the names of Towns in Northern England.
    I now realise that they were future satirists and that the song was actually depicting the state of communication between OP Devs and its users.

    Strange, isn't it?

    twigs

    (Warning: This post is oblique. It has nothing to do with my two recently ignored URGENT requests about payment and membership extension)
    Post edited by twiggyleaf on

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • Dungeon_Master_Loki
    Dungeon_Master_Loki
    Posts: 358
    Whatever the situation might be OP has lost most of it's use for me. No one down here in New Orleans wants anything to do with it, including my own gamers. This means it really is just an oversized wiki for me at the moment. Add in the fact that the people behind the project have disappeared (but are still quite active on twitter and with other kickstarters) I really don't know that I feel safe leaving my data here.

    I do not feel secure that things won't just vanish in a puff of pixels. This is what happens when the people in charge retreat from communication.

    It saddens me, as I had a lot invested in things and was patient with the reforge for quite some time. As a professional I know exactly what sort of things are involved on the back and was willing to cut them slack. It also did not really break my campaigns much because I was using very simple layouts and focusing on content.

    The vanishing act and "talk to the hand" sort of stance is what is driving me away, not the failure to come through on 2/3 of the reforge. It is also why the platform seems to have developed a really bad name within out local gaming community down here.

    When my ascendent runs out in about six months I will re-evaluate, but if my players refuse to use it OP is of little use to me. I'll just build a wiki into my main website if that is all I need.

    Game Designer, Pro GM, multiple ENnie Award winner

    GM of Planejammer: The Spelljoined (Pathfinder 1e) Campaign of the Year 2011 and still going strong!

    GM of The Planewalker's Guild (Pathfinder 1e) 

    Need a GM? Book me today!

  • Bondoid
    Bondoid
    Posts: 35 edited September 2014
    Wow,
    I didn't realize things had gotten so bad. I did not back the reforge. I honestly felt most of the changes they sought were more trouble than they would be worth, and was quite happy with how things were pre-reforge.

    That said, when the reforge happened, I buckled in, spent a marathon weekend, and got my campaign in better shape than ever.

    Shortly after that, due to my players schedules we had to take the winter off. We just started playing again a few months ago. I was kind of surprised that no work had seemingly been done on the reforge promises. But as I was rather worried over such things as Natural Editing, I didn't bother looking into it.

    With the community downsizing as much as it has, I understand that they probably had to move on to other projects, other jobs. In the grand scheme of things 85K or whatever they got for the reforge isn't a whole lot of money. And if they lost 3/4 of their subscription base or more as has been suggested then this project really can't sustain itself. Especially if they discovered they were in over their head on the technical side of things and would have had to bring in consultants or outsource projects.

    I am pretty worried over my campaign. While we haven't been playing nearly as long as some of you guys, I have put a lot of work into my campaign. The thought that I could look tomorrow and discover Obsidian Portal has turned completely into Vaporware is distressing.

    I am still an ascended member, and don't plan on cancelling any time soon. Their websites layout is so horrible without hacking it with a stylesheet, I don't think I could use OP and not be ascended. That said if other alternatives appear, I will definitely be looking into them with interest.

    Bondoid
    "Legacy of Fire":https://our-legacy-of-fire.obsidianportal.com/
    Post edited by Bondoid on
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    so how many people still use the site? and what were the numbers just before the re-forge?
  • Thorvaldr
    Thorvaldr
    Posts: 141
    Killervp - That is a _very_ useful status update! I have been absent recently simply because the current campaign has been on hiatus (players being too geographically removed to do much easily, although we will possibly start a sister campaign soon.)

    But I will admit, I was hoping that after being absent for nearly half a year... things would be a bit further along. On the occasion when I update Plot Club members I see that those threads are still weirdly ordered, I still have no way to sticky threads, which was a great feature we used to have... how are emailed notifications doing these days? Are they still somewhat haphazard?

    Like Killervp, I have been a fairly strong supporter in general, and as an engineer, I know coding is a _huge_ pain. And I understand that implementing, especially of new features can take a while. But I do miss a lot of the old things we were able to do before, like sticky threads and have email notifications work correctly. My fora not working smoothly has been one of the reasons I haven't been as active in my campaigns recently as I had been in the past.

    And the community does seem quieter than it has been, I remember my email inbox being much more full of communications. And all in all, this does seem like a supportive community, and I like to believe we're usually somewhat graceful when we're communicated with... but if I've been more active recently than the Obsidian Portal staff recently, and I haven't really been active since April...

    This site is great, it meets many needs I have for gaming. I don't have my pitchforks and torches out looking to burn the staff by any means! But... you know... how are things? You guys never call, you never write... I enjoyed our interview together! I'd like a second date where we further our relationship and discuss natural editing...

    So NikMak, to answer you question, I will be using this site to start up my next campaign as well, and when we can manage it to continue the current campaign... but I would like to see a bit more life here.

    And Basileus, in regards to your third point... we all know that this community is _extremely_ ready to help newcomers. Even if they just gave a Vanguard some access to a main page to post tutorials and whatnot, the rest of us would be very willing to step up and help out there! If we pool all of our knowledge/tutorials together, everything is probably almost already written, we'd just need some consistent formatting. Which many of us are willing to do. So... yeah! I completely agree with your roadmap, and at least one of your roadmap points could be taken over by the community if we were given the resources to do so.

    -Thorvaldr
    DM of "Tyellador:":https://tyellador.obsidianportal.com/ "CotM April '14":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/tyellador-april-cotm-14/
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited September 2014
    just spotted kilverps 15 August update on usage (dont know how i missed that post earlier) - thanks for answering my question before i asked it!

    so we are down to ~50 or so active users at the moment by the sounds of things, I assume they represent 10% of the community overall (Lurkers, Player not GMs, Multiple GMs sharing accounts, Campaigns that dont update every month etc.)?
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • Thorvaldr
    Thorvaldr
    Posts: 141
    Some, grantedly iffy information we can look at: "Google Trends":https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=obsidian%20portal, which tells us how many people are searching for "Obsidian Portal" is a bit down since pre-reforge (which happened October of 2013), but mostly the graph looks stagnant to me. But, a sad thing I've just noticed is there seems to be a general "decline in gaming":https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=obsidian%20portal%2C%20roleplaying%2C%20D%26D&cmpt=q! Damn kids these days and their youtubes and playboxes!

    The other thing I know of is "Alexa information":http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/obsidianportal.com. Those little red rectangles show a comparison vs 3 months ago... And OP has dropped in the rankings a bit, there are fewer average page views and less average time on site.

    Granted, I am not a statistician by any means.

    -Thorvaldr
    DM of "Tyellador:":https://tyellador.obsidianportal.com/ "CotM April '14":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/tyellador-april-cotm-14/
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    I do worry about them shutting the place down.
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    Wish I had all of you folks emails (not feasible, I know) so we wouldn't all be scattered.
  • Bondoid
    Bondoid
    Posts: 35 edited September 2014
    Hey Thorvaldr, if you add pathfinder to your google trends query, it seems that interest might just be shifting, not necessarily shrinking.

    "Decline in Gaming?":https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=obsidian%20portal%2C%20roleplaying%2C%20D%26D%2C%20pathfinder&cmpt=q

    Bondoid
    "Legacy of Fire":https://our-legacy-of-fire.obsidianportal.com/
    Post edited by Bondoid on
  • Thorvaldr
    Thorvaldr
    Posts: 141
    Oooh, _there_ we go! I would have expected D&D to have some more hits from 4 and 5/Next/whatever... but on further considertion, I would also _not_ expect that. :P

    And SkidAce, I'm banking on the assumption that if something _does_ happen to OP, Basileus will magically fix it and make it better. :D

    -Thorvaldr
    DM of "Tyellador:":https://tyellador.obsidianportal.com/ "CotM April '14":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/tyellador-april-cotm-14/
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    You know Thorvaldr, you are correct.../cheer Basileus!

    ...at last I can rest easy at night...(jk)
  • Praesi
    Praesi
    Posts: 31
    Hehe, if you Vanguard coding cracks and community helpsters launched a kickstarter to buy out OP I'm definitely in! I don't need no rewards, no stretch goals - I'd be in!
    The work is already on you.

    Occupy OP! :-)
  • Adoraith
    Adoraith
    Posts: 62
    My group still actively uses the website but there is certainly a bell curve to the use. I have 2 players who are on nearly daily, 3 or 4 who are on weekly, and another 2 who rarely log in. Honestly, if none of them used it I would still use the page. For me, its a great place to collect my thoughts as well as advertise for new players.

    In terms of attracting users to the site I think it would make a difference if we posted more game related information to the forums. Many users just don't care how pretty their website looks but would be interested in a community that discusses the RPGs they love. Right now if you look at the forums there are basically two different types of posts: 1) looking for games or 2) looking for formatting help. When I began a thread discussing game play I was asked to join a GM page where we can bounce ideas off one another. I think this is a good idea but it I think it my help to bring some of these discussions to the forums.

    just my two cents...

    "Adoraith":https://adoraith-echoes-of-epirus.obsidianportal.com/dashboard
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 2,014 edited October 2014
    Adoraith

    I think I may have been one of the people that recommended you get involved in "that other GM page that we don't talk about" but that was because of the detail in which you seemed to want to discuss your plots, etc. I agree with your overall assessment of most of the entries in the Forums being of your stated categories 1) and 2) and it is very important that those continue. However, that does not mean to say that I feel that all other activity should be excluded. I am a strong advocate of bringing up various topics on this site and have often done so, so I agree with your assessment that many people would rather discuss game play than website aesthetics and it is up to us that wish to promote such other subjects to do so, as you have indeed done.

    All in all, I believe I am agreeing with you here in bringing depth and variety to the forums, however, where deeper, more in depth discussions regarding plots are concerned, it seems silly to discount threads already set up for that very purpose. Nonetheless, I do welcome subjects other than "help with code" on these forums, though, being a bit of a "TECHNOPHOBE" myself, I must say I am also very grateful for those who have given their time freely to help me when I have requested such assistance.

    twiggyleaf
    CURRENT CAMPAIGN: "Mysteria":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/mysteria - set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.
    Previous CotM Aug 2012: "Shimring":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shimring
    Post edited by twiggyleaf on

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • Adoraith
    Adoraith
    Posts: 62
    Twig,

    I think we agree with one another. I want you to know that I don't think the Plot Club is a bad thing at all! I just think that a more robust forum would help bring players to the site. If I were a player looking for website options and I came to the forums I would definitely be interested in the "looking for a game threads" but be totally confused by the more tech heavy threads that seem to be the most common types of posts. I plan to post a new thread here and there in the hopes of sparking a fun and hopefully interesting discussion about my game of choice (D&D). As you stated, the more plot heavy topics that I dont want my players to see will be reserved for the Plot Club but I enjoy just talking about the game in general. I think those conversations could help increase activity in the forums.

    Certainly cant hurt...

    "Adoraith":https://adoraith-echoes-of-epirus.obsidianportal.com/
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited October 2014
    @ Adoraith & Twigs,

    I think your onto something folks - so who creates 'sticky' forums? maybe we can create few gaming genre specific topics and see how much traffic they get... what would you want? And would you need sub categories in each heading (e.g. character creation, my game, my PC, fan fiction, filk music etc etc)

    Pathfinder
    D&D pre 5th ed
    D&D 5th ed
    Horror gaming
    Supers gaming
    Sci-Fi
    Indi (I know, I know; a can of worms but feel free to change the titles!)

    ------

    Edit -

    I see Adoraith has started the ball rolling, and created the 'Hook-shop' thread - and its given me an idea to expand on it - what about a shared world thread?

    something like the short story anthologies like 'Thieves world' or 'Wild-Cards', where we set up some rules for a given gaming space, then people can add information to it - Im not sure if this is good idea, or completely dumb!
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 2,014
    Hey NikMak

    Don't be too surprised if it doesn't take off. It seems to have become increasingly difficult to get people to add to threads that are not part of Adoraith's (1) and (2) subjects. There used to be a lot more of "OTHER STUFF" in the "OLD DAYS" but these days, I find, those sort of threads just do not tend to engage enough people or sustain enough interest for them to continue more than a few posts.

    But there's no harm trying I suppose......

    twiggyleaf
    CURRENT CAMPAIGN: "Mysteria":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/mysteria - set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.
    Previous CotM Aug 2012: "Shimring":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shimring

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    fair enough, ill have a think about it for a few days, and if the mood takes me I may create a shared world thread of some sort (a police station themed one appeals at the moment - but Im fickle so that may change!)
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    Some of the reason that there are less threads discussing game theory here, is likely because we all use so many different systems to play.

    So naturally, the coding (something we all share in common) shows up as a topic more often.

    Not a hard and fast rule obviously, but a trend.
  • Adoraith
    Adoraith
    Posts: 62
    I have found that participation is often contagious. If those who are active in the forums make it a point to participate then others will be more likely find something interesting to comment on. We can also make it a point to discuss topics that can easily cross game genres. For example, most of the adventure hooks we are discuss could easily be adapted to any game system or genre.

    I would like to start a D&D 5E review thread as well. While not all of us currently play D&D or plan to use the 5E most of us have played the grandpa of RPGs at some point or another and may be interested in the new direction.
  • bluesguy
    bluesguy
    Posts: 127
    Hi,

    I have not posted in a while because I have been busy with my new campaign, software projects, and life.

    I am very worried about losing all my data. Like I said I have been looking at alternatives but so far I haven't found one I like as much.
  • Dethstryke
    Dethstryke
    Posts: 50 edited October 2014
    As an aside, AisleTen was apparently the combination of Micah and Ryan (they created the site). Ryan then moved to California and slipped off the dev for OP years ago.

    There's a new(ish) company called the Agile League, which Micah is a founding partner of, that claims responsibility for the reforge. (http://agileleague.com/)

    The part of me that works in this industry thinks this will limp along until the memberships can't pay for the server space and the account gets deleted. The reforge obviously didn't happen as they hoped/planned, and getting the ship righted is probably at the point in the conversation that starts with "A total re-write is needed". At which point, sad or no, you have to make a business decision. At this point, I believe the peak has been reached. Dev(s?) personally has better things to do than cycle time into this website for minimal, if any at this point, personal gains. Sure you do it for the love, but you have to pay the bills as well. Their resume can boast a multiple-award winning design; the most valuable result from this enterprise has been achieved.

    That part of me is cynical. :(

    What I hope is the case is that no one is seriously ill or facing some major personal crisis and lines of communication / support open up between development (Micah and whoever else). Barring that, development get passed onto another. I find that unlikely, to be honest, but it is what it is. I won't be renewing my membership if nothing changes in the next month, fwiw.
    Post edited by Dethstryke on
  • Praesi
    Praesi
    Posts: 31
    Deth, your info perfectly matches my (short) websearch and my assessment of the situation.
    On the dev's side OP is dead.
    I'd love to be surprised, but in my view that's not a good bet.

    And I'm not angry about someone making a hard decision on OP's future - I'm kinda pissed about not communicating that.
    'Bout not communicating at all and playing like business as usual!

    :-P
  • cgregory
    cgregory
    Posts: 780
    Bluesguy,

    I wouldn't be too worried about losing your all your data. I've played around with the site backup provided under Settings -> Advanced and most of the data can be downloaded and backed up quickly using that. Characters built using templates don't seem to get backed up and neither do player secrets or images, but the majority of content seems to come across nicely. The xml file displays nicely when viewed locally with a browser. I've even used the backup as a campaign source once when we played in a location without internet access and it worked quite well.

    As long as you backup your data from your campaign site regularly the worst case is you will need to open the xml file with your browser and page by page copy and paste your campaign site into whatever your new alternative you choose. As long as you don't use character templates characters will come across too.

    Carl
    "Devils and Dilettantes":https://devils-and-dilettantes.obsidianportal.com/

    They are among us!

    image

                       XCom: Defiance - Campaign of the Month November 2016

     

     

  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001
    @cgregory-
    That works great in theory- but I have over 1000 pages, so the tedium of copy and pasting is enormous.....
    BTW, sad that Throne of Thorns is done- one of the prettiest sites post-reforge on OP..... and you did not get the recognition for it you deserved....
    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":https://a-god-rebuilt.obsidianportal.com
    "OP's COTM April 2012":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/a-god-rebuilt-aprils-cotm/
    Over 300 Fans, and Looking for More!

    Just trying to help out.

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