This is just a thought following a discussion in the pub about the fact that in the last decade or so fewer young players have continued playing into adulthood. It has been mentioned that online gaming is largely the culprit and no doubt this is a big part of it, but after coming down a couple of times over the summer I got to thinking about my experience of Labyrinthe in the 90's.
One of the main reasons I and many of my contemporaries continued to be heavily involved in the game from young players through our teenage years and into our twenties, when other things like computer games and all night raves threatened to take us away from LRP was that we could easily make our hobby pay for itself. This was a time in our lives when we were time rich but cash poor and had no problem with putting time into monstering and later A-reffing and reffing (and in my case taverning, armouring and gophering (remember that!). Many of us didn't have other jobs because we were at school/uni and had very little cash to spare. Because of this a minimum charge to play of £10 would have probably made playing (and hence participating in the hobby) much more difficult. I believe that a £10 minimum charge to play would have led to much less of us continuing to come regularly to the caves and would have led to a greater drift away from the hobby. This is also important because the 15-21 age group is a prime group for monstering.
It seems to me that one of the key reasons that less people are staying with the hobby through this period is to do with the pricing structure. As an experiment I wonder if it would be worth considering revising the minimum payment of £10 for people who are full time students or under 18 (and can prove it), maybe allowing them to pay with 100% credits or making a minimum cash payment of £5 if that was too difficult. I strongly suspect that after 2-3 years you would notice a considerable upturn in participation from the younger age group, as well as more available younger reffs and monsters.
I am pleased to hear that there has been some upturn in game participation under the current management, no doubt as a result of a great deal of hard work. My understanding is that much of this is older players (who are working and earning) coming back to the caves. As I mentioned earlier I have no doubt there are other factors at play for drop off over the years of younger players, but I do think the pricing structure could be a part of it.
I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of management on this... I think it's worth considering, bering in mind that if you keep people into labby through the more frugal years, you're likely to reap the cash rewards later when they start earning and paying cash and are still into the game.
Just my thoughts. I sometimes think a slightly 'outsiders' perspective can shed a different light.
If there is an issue with YP:Adult conversion, could it also be to do with that very change?
You have 15 year olds, used to be being the Big Boys (or girls) of young players, suddenly progressing to Adults, where they are, for the most part these days, 15-<coughcough> years the junior. Suddenly they ain't Billy Big Nuts no more. Such a perceived loss of social standing is quite a big thing at that age.
Would there, therefore, be any mileage is some kind of cross-over adventure, where the older YPs can have a go with just a couple of the old farts. The kinder, friendlier (but not too friendly, if you know what I mean...) Adult players. Maybe suggest they monster a couple of adult adventures before they have to leave YPs forever. With a little bit of organisation, some of the younger adults and some prep with the party ("We've got a couple of YP crew, go easy on the blows!") we could make the whole transition from YP to adults a bit easier for them.
It sounds like there were very sound business reasons for bringing in these rules and I think they are a good business model on the whole. I do however think my point about converting someone from 15 to their twenties as a cavie still stands... I have never had access to the books but I still wonder if more could be done ... even if it were only 2 slots per adventure with a £5 minimum cash payment, and only once 6 other players each paying minimum £10 were on the event or something. Or if it mean't that those of us not in the 15-18/student catergory had to fork out a minimum £15 for an adventure. I am not advocating reducing cash taken overall, only that at the end of the day, for this particular group, I suspect it is cash that is pushing them out. I can absolutely see how cash is the lifeblood of any business, but so, long term, is a customer base. What I am talking about is working on building a customer base. I really think long term it would reap rewards.
Just read the important bit. Ignore me.
Fair enough, just my tuppence. (or possibly my £10)
Given that we're talking about 15-year olds, I think school may be a factor in their dropping out. Even when I was that age, back in the 90s, we got lectured on 'frivolous' uses of our time (girls being one of them) which might distract us from our GCSE studies. These days, it's apparently even worse.
Maybe a post-exam YP themeday to help remind them we exist after the exams?
There's usually a bit of a drop off at around age 15-16, but a bigger drop at 18 when people disappear to university in far flung places and then never reappear. I'm not convinced either has anything to do with cash minimums.
You could have 1 slot per dungeon with no cash minimum, first come first served, bookable only by those in full-time education as a concession.
However it would presumably have to be booked manually by e-mail as coding a change to the front end of the website would be expensive.
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