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evildmguy
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Old November 21st, 2014, 04:09 AM
Unfortunately, they were not impressed. Some of that is on me, some of it was what they saw in the program.

Installation: Installation did not start out well. The player downloaded RW just fine and started it but then couldn't tell what he was supposed to do for the Player's Edition. After trying to log in using his Hero lab information, he tried register and that's when we saw the place for the serial number. After that, the rest of the installation went fine.

I had to look up how to do the invitation and I missed a bit from his side. If it came into his message area and all he had to do was click accept, that was great! (If not, he didn't like the time it took for emails to arrive and then moving info over but I thought it was by invitation.)

And then the real trouble started.

I synched the Realm I had shared and he pushed the synch button. It then acted strange. The player told the Realm to synch, it reported successful, but when he went to open it, it said it was unsuccessful and gave four options, including resynching, opening as is, and two others. After attempting to resynch twice and then just open it twice, with nothing working, he finally completely shut it down and started it back up. If he had to do more, I missed it, but then he was able to view it.

I have talked about how slow the program is to run during the game. After reading a response by rob on another thread, it sounds like RW was never intended to be used in real time to enter information but instead to have entered information be revealed during game play. (That's unfortunate for my style of play but RW still helps me prep for the game and track things a lot better than paper and other options I have found.) However, the two players who were watching it at this time really didn't like what they saw.

First, they wanted real time updates. They really didn't like that I had to synch and then that they had to synch, especially with the problems of synching that they had.

Second, if this was going to be the mechanism of choice, they didn't like that they had no way of knowing they had to synch. In other words, they wanted a message or something to pop up to say there was more data out there.

The last thing they didn't like was my own fault in terms of knowing my players and presenting the system. They aren't the best about doing stuff outside of the sessions, no matter how much I ask, beg and bribe them to. Because of that, they weren't sure with what they saw, how much would be useful to them. In part, because they couldn't add notes as well, they really didn't understand what they would use it for. Again, rob's example in another post was good but it's probably more detail than I would do and while I do hope to enter more, I don't see me ever getting to the level he described.

So some of the first impressions are on me but some is on the program. I'm really bummed as I was hoping this would get them excited about doing wiki entries because I once again forgot they aren't great about doing them after the first month of play.

I'm sharing all of this not only for the tech side but so that other DMs remember to know their players in terms of what to present and how!

edg
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rob
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Old November 21st, 2014, 04:43 AM
Thanks for the feedback! Even though it wasn't very positive, we definitely need to know what your experience was.

Here are a few immediate questions and thoughts. Then I need to go get some sleep (it's after 5am here already).

1. Did you give your players the activation code? I'm stunned that they tried to use their Hero Lab information to login to Realm Works, since the two products are wholly independent. And if you gave them an activation code, that seems like it would be a clue to creating a new account. So I'm not sure where we went wrong. How can we make things clearer at startup that a new account needs to be created?

2. Emails for invitations are entirely optional. It was requested by the Beta team as a why to prompt players that they should launch Realm Works to accept an invitation. All the player needs to do is launch Realm Works, log in, and accept the invitation that should be waiting for them. Or, if you're doing it together, they just hit the Refresh button to check for new messages after you send them the invitation. Then they just accept the invitation. What can we do to make this process clearer?

3. Would you be willing to share your realm with a member of our development team? If so, we can try to go through the steps of your player and see if we can reproduce the problem he encountered. If we can, we can hopefully sort out the problem. If not, we need more details about what exactly occurred so that we can piece together what the issue might be.

4. If you are trying to sync and then they are trying to sync during the course of the game, that's going to be very problematic. It's definitely not how Realm Works is intended to be used right now, so the experience is going to be poor. During the game, the primary content delivery vehicle to players should be Player View. That will provide a real-time display to the players. If you want to stop and do a sync for the players at various points during the session, such as between major scenes or when you've revealed a bunch of important information, that should work out fine, but it's just way too clunky a process to attempt "continuous feeds" via Player Edition.

5. Your players can definitely take their own notes within Player Edition. They just need to hit the button at the top in the ribbon bar to view notes and then create whatever notes entries they wish. The notes work similarly to topics, with automatic link detection being performed. So if you have an NPC named Slayer George, a player taking a note and entering the name Slayer George will automatically establish a link to that NPC. The link becomes clickable, plus the transitions pane will show the note when the player views the NPC. Probably the best way of handling this for players is to keep one tab open for note-taking and use other tabs for browsing through the content you've revealed to them.

6. Obviously, we've failed in conveying how best to integrate Player Edition into your game. What can we do to better achieve that objective for others?

Thanks again for the feedback and please let us know what we can do to improve things.
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Exmortis
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Old November 21st, 2014, 06:18 AM
May I add this is very valuable information for us who are now using RW as a GM tool "building" a campaign we are goign to run in the future. So your experiences can really help us prepare for what we need to do better prepare ourselves AND our players for the use of RW in the campaign space.

If you wouldn't mind, I for one would love to have you keep updating this thread for a while givng us the good and bad of the experience. This is invaluable for me, the more I learn to better prepare, The more I can learn to prepare my players, the better the experience will be for my players, and thats the most important aspect for me as a GM.
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Dark Lord Galen
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Old November 22nd, 2014, 01:44 PM
My group's feedback was similar. Although I have not, as of yet, finished compiling feedback from all as I have only issued the activation codes and invites to two players to "beta test" it without my input.
One player (wife with 20yrs of gaming experience) the other my newest player (with 1 year of gaming experience). The intent here is merely a generational and skill set perspective.
I purchased the 5 pack with the intents on probably at least 5 more in the near future. I have had RW since its first day release, and Herolab for many years as well.

So utilizing evildmguy's (nice Screenname BTW) response layout as a template, I offer a similar very preliminary response.
Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
Unfortunately, they were not impressed. Some of that is on me, some of it was what they saw in the program.
My two "guinea pigs" were more disappointed that unimpressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
Installation: Installation did not start out well.
Didn't really have any install issues, other than the influx of "updates" that bombarded the "kickoff" as LWD settled out some wrinkles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
I had to look up how to do the invitation and I missed a bit from his side. If it came into his message area and all he had to do was click accept, that was great! (If not, he didn't like the time it took for emails to arrive and then moving info over but I thought it was by invitation.)
This was a non-issue with my bunch, mainly (I think) is because we were all in the same room where I could walk them through abit. I can certainly see if there was physical separation between the DM and the players (ie different locales) AND the player was unfamiliar with how to set up the program that this may be a bigger challenge for some. Perhaps some ambitious group would make a video to walk thru this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
And then the real trouble started.
I synched the Realm I had shared and he pushed the synch button.
sync was not a problem in itself, but what was synced was.
We all learned... (will address in more detail below)
Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
I have talked about how slow the program is to run during the game. After reading a response by rob on another thread, it sounds like RW was never intended to be used in real time to enter information but instead to have entered information be revealed during game play. (That's unfortunate for my style of play but RW still helps me prep for the game and track things a lot better than paper and other options I have found.) However, the two players who were watching it at this time really didn't like what they saw.
I have pondered this for awhile myself. To clarify, on one hand LWD says use the player's view for "live / instant" reveals of information during gaming sessions. Yet on the other hand, there are statements like this one above. This is why (one among several reasons) I have chosen NOT to use RW for an "IN GAME" tool and more of a DM management tool. With so many missing features from RW to support "an in game mechanic" (printing, calendars, custom reveals, etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
First, they wanted real time updates. They really didn't like that I had to synch and then that they had to synch, especially with the problems of synching that they had.
Agreed, my players were also disappointed that "RE-syncing" was required to get the latest reveal information. They accepted that this was just how the software works, but were equally disappointed that the things revealed were not separated by their characters (most have 2 in differing areas but the same campaign). Nor was it even separated by player, everything that one could see the other could as well whether they (As characters) knew those events or not. This may be a limitation partly on me as the DM as to how I entered the information. But as other threads have pointed out, short of separating "groups" into realms of their own (And thus doubling if not tripling my work load with duplications of places and people) there is no simple way to have multiple groups within one campaign. To further add, no way to reconcile those two (or more) separate "Realms" into the ONE campaign I have. We currently await the ability to merge the sub-realms (if there is such a thing) at some later time. This shortcoming in RW cascades into the information being conveyed to the players in the PE of RW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
Second, if this was going to be the mechanism of choice, they didn't like that they had no way of knowing they had to synch. In other words, they wanted a message or something to pop up to say there was more data out there.
My players really didn't convey this but can certainly see that it would be useful .. even in an e-mail bump to the invitees that new data is available. Perhaps when the DMs Sync the Realm, they have a button that sends an email our (group email?) to all the invites on that realm's list?

Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
The last thing they didn't like was my own fault in terms of knowing my players and presenting the system.
LOL my players vary. Some are better note keepers than I am! Others, as suggested above, shoot more from the hip.

Things I have learned.

I need to be more selective in the smart photos and the simple ones. there were times (mostly since I do not utilize in game so was unaware) that a smart picture was really unneeded when all I was trying to convey was an NPC looks like this, or a harbor view of a new town as the PC arrives, etc. This caused me to have to go back and "remove fog of world" on ALOT of pictures that I could have simply installed differently.

Links to how things are revealed... I had some revealed plot points, but didn't have a primary article they were in revealed. This in turn makes everything down stream NOT revealed. I knew this, but yet there were still some cases. Maybe a means to inform the DM that they have topics revealed in an unrevealed article? Similar to re-indexing maybe? don't know what the good solution here is (other than being smarter on my end) But as all realms progressively get larger, this is unlikely to go away. A report logic tree of what is revealed vs unrevealed might be helpful as well.

Things my players Expected from PERW
They knew that the calendar feature was not currently available. This was still a disappointment for my one character with a "full moon" issue.
They liked that the notes feature auto-linked elements together, but were disappointed that they only seemed to do so based on anything I had revealed. To clarify, if they had notes about "bob" the bartender, yet I treated "bob" as an non-essential NPC and didn't reveal him(not to mention even make a persona for him). He doesn't get linked in their notes, nor (it would seem could they even manually create such a link (ie ctrl-q)).
They were equally disappointed there was no journal feature.
This concerns me as well. It has seemed a trend for awhile that LWD leaves off core things they advertise when there initial release comes out, and then works them in at a later date. This has become a bad practice IMO When you advertise the package contains XYZ, the consumer comes to expect to open the package and see exactly that, not an IOU for later.
IT is a different matter altogether to add things or improve them. This only refines or improves what has been committed to, That approach makes the end product consumer feel like there is long and real support.
The IOU approach leaves those same end users feeling like they got less than what they were promised.
Quote:
Originally Posted by evildmguy View Post
I'm sharing all of this not only for the tech side but so that other DMs remember to know their players in terms of what to present and how!
edg
Ditto to this, I post this with no malice but to provide a perspective for all. LWD players and DMs.
In closing, I give RWPE a C+ because while its future possibilities are promising, one has to grade on what you can do now. For $6 a license, the possibilities are worth it, for $10 each, I'm nor my players see value since RWPE is so dependent on features that have yet to come to bare fruit from its source.... Realm Works..
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evildmguy
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Old November 22nd, 2014, 08:17 PM
Some good responses. Thanks!

I need to give a bit more information. My players are generally technically proficient, with many working or have worked in IT areas. This group has been together for seven years, with a few additions recently. We prefer the story and the drama more so than the mechanics, and so have dabbled in many different systems. We like what each system can do and usually take that information back to other games if we can.

I was in the room with them during the installation on the PCs laptop. However, I hadn't gone through it in a while and the install for the GM version is different from the Player Edition, so I couldn't really help them. That was part of my confusion!

To specific questions.

Installation: Don't get me wrong. I'm feeling stupid that I didn't suggest new right away even when the player tried to login with HL credentials. I already have RW installed, so can't do a player install, but I think the thing that threw us was nothing was explained what to use if installing it as a player edition.

It's the same for invites. It took me a bit to find where to send them. A search function for players might be nice, but that can get tricky with regards to sharing information, I know. Again, I don't think this was too bad overall.

Realm: I have no problem sharing my realm. Let me know where to send it.

I find using RW really valuable to set up a campaign. I did watch several of your Gen Con seminars with it and what *completely* took me off guard was how much data you were entering and how much it was divided. That level of preparation is just not my style. I tend to plan the big things, the overall arc, plan the next level of detail, such as the BBEGs, and then maybe a few captains, but not all the way down the hierarchy. I like to leave room for the players to be creative and come up with their own plans and roll with it. So to see you having walls of text was quite the surprise! Even as I used it to run an AP, I found myself heavily modifying it for my players, and so having text already entered might not have helped as much as I thought it would. Again, this goes back to my style.

(We are currently using the Alternity rule set but running a modern supernatural style campaign, similar to Hunter the Vigil.)

One of the things I'm using is the idea from The Dresden Files RPG which has the players and GM set up the city/world being used. We all created NPCs for the PCs as well as locations. However, these were very limited when first done, to maybe a sentence or two. As the campaign progresses, we add things to it.

For example, I had all of the players give all of the other players an ex of some kind. Most resented it, so weren't kind, but there was an exception. One of the guys has an ex who works at a university and will let him look at artifacts that she suspects are "special." That's all we had. Later, as we played, for dramatic purposes, we added where she was located, a co-worker of hers who also believes, and some specific buildings on campus. Therefore, when I'm running the game, for this one scene, I ended up needing a new NPC, details about said NPC, two new buildings, offices within the buildings, some labs, and descriptions for all of the new things or people added. That's just not easy to do while still running the game. I tend to write down notes and then go back and add them later.

That's the sort of thing that RW doesn't seem to allow at the table. It's just not fast enough to allow me to type these things in, switch from topic to topic, and type in notes as well. It seems as if it's assumed that's all done and all I will be doing is running a Game Session and revealing information.

Overall, the Player View works quite well. We were playing PF and I used it for some maps and that was pretty good. The scaling and zooming of it worked well not to give away where a secret might be or not. In the modern game, I use it more for NPC pictures and a few other pictures and again, it works great. (I do use a second monitor connected to my laptop.)

Notes: What I meant about notes was the ability for them to add notes to specific topics, not a generic note. For example, the ability for them to add more information on their own characters or to add a new NPC that they need as a contact. The ability to update other NPCs as well, again a former contact with new information. Just adding generic notes won't work for us.

Further, they were really disappointed that the reveal mechanism was all or nothing. I can't set it up to reveal certain things to certain people, give access to the player to update his, and only his, PC, or even give them control over things. Again, this is probably our style. I keep trying to do a campaign where they can introduce certain elements, like an NPC or contact, and the ability for them to enter it would be great. However, I'm sure for data synch between an entire group would not be fun.

I have really enjoyed the relationship views. It obviously takes a while to get all of the data entered and looking nice but it is has been a big help.

Given my style, what I would love is pop ups in the story/world almanac view. Obviously, if I could customize it, that would be good but I would be fine if one of the topics is the pop up information. Because RW isn't fast to switch between people, I often find that when I haven't looked at them in a while, a pop up to remind me of who an NPC is, a location, or an item would help. We usually miss several weeks of gaming during the upcoming holidays, so the ability to hover over a name and get some more information about them to jog my memory would be great. (Again, the Overview item as a pop up would be fine.) Right now, it just pops up the name again, which isn't very useful.

I'm hoping this helps. I will try and keep giving feedback after sessions and as I think of it.

Hopefully this made sense. If not, questions are welcome!

edg
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evildmguy
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Old November 22nd, 2014, 08:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Lord Galen View Post
So utilizing evildmguy's (nice Screenname BTW)
Thanks! Came up with it for email way back in '99 and have used it ever since.

edg
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MaxSupernova
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Old November 22nd, 2014, 08:32 PM
Interesting that there seems to be a disconnect in the understanding of the differences between the "Player View" of Realm Works, and the "Player Edition".
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Mystic Lemur
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Old November 23rd, 2014, 08:11 AM
I'm more concerned by the expectations players had for RW. I've been following the development since the Kickstarter, so I know that not all features are implemented yet. I don't see this as a problem, because the features I have now have far simplified my prep and organization at the table.

But from a player/new customer perspective it seems LWD dropped the ball at letting people know just what the current state of the product is. I don't know what they could have done better, because all the information is there. I wish they had put more emphasis on the Content Marketplace and being able to duplicate/share realms before working on Player Edition, but my needs/desires are hardly representative of the whole customer base.
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Pollution
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Old November 24th, 2014, 03:04 AM
Yeah, you all have players that are like, 'oh, I was hoping for more...'

That's great! Your players seem invested.

My players....They all but told me flat out that they'd never use it. Serously had one player say to me, "It looks neat, but I'll never start it up in the first place. I haven't ever opened a book." (I gave him access to my library on Google Drive from all my DriveThruRPG purchases for the game). So he won't ever appreciate any of this.

I have one player who couldn't care less as well. He in fact, may not come back to the table because....bored? Blase? doesn't care? He has a great time when he comes, but he skips more games than he shows. (i.e. goes to a college football game, or to a bar, rather than play). What sucks about him, is that this is my best friend. In asshole mode lately I guess.

Then, there's the other 3. Husband/Wife/Kid combo (17 yr old kid). They're great, really, but I HONESTLY invited them as filler, and they're the only ones who actually always show. To say they're IT illiterate would be an understatement. They own a PC they bought for $30 at GoodWill. It runs Windows XP....barely.... There's just no way they could ever even RUN RW.

So, yeah, my group sucks. The only 2 who would even be able to use the P.E. won't cause they're lame.

Don't get me wrong, the moment I started using RW, they were all like, "WOW! That's cool!" Their expectations of my games have gone up quite a bit (had one guy tell me that he went to a PFS event and left disappointed, "They didn't even use a digital map dude! It was all on paper! He drew out the battlemap man! Never going again!") lol. If I slack off, and don't include pictures for NPCs or Monsters, they get all like, "What's it look like?" I tell them, they say, "Yeah, but where's the picture?" I was sick one week and didn't put in the next dungeon into RW, so I just drew it out for them before hand, and they were all like, "wow, that's pretty low tech of you, Pollution." Serously, If I'm not putting in notes, descriptions, battlemaps, profiles, etc... into the Player View, they now feel cheated. But P.E.? Nope, not for them. Maybe for the 3, but again, Potato PC.

So, cherish your players, mine suck.

Last edited by Pollution; November 24th, 2014 at 03:07 AM.
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Grimmric
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Old November 24th, 2014, 03:58 AM
I am a player and my understanding was that:
1. Player view was "live". It was used during play.
2. Player edition was instead of mailing out plots, notes and treasure found.
Like a spellbook. Good to get home and log on and read about all the evil wizards spells that now is mine.
Or read up on leads we got the week before. Instead of taking that time when we are att the table to play.
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