Hi, with CC numbers in steady decline I have seen some excellent suggestions re how to reach more net users. I would like to add my ideas as to why a lot of new recruits may not be staying around and or converting to premium memberships. It should firstly be note that when searching google under the suggestions of "play online games" the variations that people are mostly searching include the following search factors "play games online for free" "play games online without having to download" "play games online with family & friends" "play boardgames online" .. under none of these does CC ever appear anywhere on the first page. although CC fits the requirements that ppl are searching for in each. This the adminsitrators are aware of as far as I know, I just thought I'd begin with this being the most important factor in helping people to find the site. My suggestions from here on deal with a myriad of ideas as to how to best keep new recruits and to increase the chances that they purchase a premium membership. New recruits & their first experience of CC.
I would like to hypothesize that a lot of new recruits are lost to CC on the basis that they find the site, join up a few games expecting to play them immediately and not getting any real orientation to the way the site works leave having had little to no action or gratification within that moment & leave having played no game (and therefore failing to get 'hooked'), and hence the number of new recruits who have a very low rating next to their name and tags such as "quitter" "deadbeat" "clueless" (terms themselves that are not helpful in encouraging a new person to feel welcome & stick around if they do actually turn up a 2nd or third time to CC). I think that if new recruits were given the ability to play some speed games, then you are guaranteeing that the first encounter they have on CC includes some actual games, they get what they expected when they came in & they get a taste of the fun & excitement of playing in the moment, the gratification of participating when they expected to, and more than likely they develop an interest in the site over those people who come here & get no further than just adding their names to a list of games waiting to fill. I also suggest that "speed games" would be better named as "Real time" games, as most new recruits would already be expecting to play games on CC at the same time as they first show up .. the concept of "speed" will be lost on people not understanding how CC operates, it also sounds threatening, it is not relaxing & welcoming & to me indicates that someone must play in a hurried & rushed way (not appealing to older generations of new recruits) where as "real time" is self explanatory & neutral in tone. It may be helpful to even limit new recruits to "real time" games for a short period of time, so that they are not missing turns & becoming disheartened. I would also suggest that "real time" games have the option of 10minute turn rounds. Those who enjoy super short games can choose their 1min or 2min options, but imagine being a new recruit having never laid eyes on any of CCs often very complex map choices.. these people will want to have time to think and study their new map, learn how to deploy & bombard and to feel unrushed when planning their move, they may not need a full 10mins each round, but it is also nice to have it as even I personally avoid speed games as I play at a leisurely pace, this is my relaxation & I feel pressured even in a 4-5min turn round, I expect a new recruit would feel completely lost on most of the maps given such a short time frame to complete their turn. Rating of New Recruits.
I also suggest that it would be beneficial to exempt very new recruits from being able to be rated. These are people learning a whole new world of games, they are likely going to make a lot of errors in that learning phase that will see them receive highly unwelcoming tags such as "deadbeat" "clueless" "poor strategy" etc .. all of which diminish the likelihood of these people wanting to stick around when they feel so unwelcome. When someone is new and only has a few ratings anyway the ratings have so much more of a negative impact. I have noticed that most new recruits have a terrible rating of 3 or less.. those who turn up to find negative comments and ratings attached to their account are not exactly likely to want to keep playing and upgrade. I have several suggestions to make the games more friendly for new recruits. These include:
* A tutorial for all new recruits, that walks them through CC and explains the various concepts of the site, its settings, maps & lay out. A walk through so to speak, rather than leaving them to try and navigate alone on their first visit. A welcome PM to the site that launches a step by step that they can either use or close if they would rather not. An initiation of sorts, so they understand all of the great benefits of playing here.
* A medal that new recruits can earn by playing in a certain number of 'SoC' training games.
* A 'buddy system' that experienced players can volunteer for & earn a medal via if they agree to act as a buddy to a new recruit. New recruits can be given this option upon joining, (eg "would you like to be put in touch with one of our CC players who can introduce you to some of the games & answer any of your questions until you grow more accustomed to the site?"), this gives a new recruit a real personal link to CC, and atleast one person they will then know & feel welcomed by personally. People who volunteer for this program can achieve a medal for their contribution perhaps.How to avoid farming and targeting of New Recruits. Again I have several suggestions to abolish this.
* I suggest that for a certain amount of games that New Recruits are either completely exempt from point losses entirely (making them useless to farmers whilst they learn the game) or that the points they would normally lose are halved for a certain amount of games/ or time frame.. this would ensure that people playing amongst new recruits are not predatory on them, it would also encourage New Recruits to play amongst one another as they can experiment without damaging their points. There must be a learning curb that allows these people a damage free way to play until their skill level grows. No point losses = no farming of newbs.
* Creation of a "safe area" of games for New Recruits, an area that only people who have joined recently may play, so that new players are playing amongst other new players only. This could be an area they have access to only, that cuts off after a certain amount of games played or time spent on CC. It would be a safe 'wading pool' area that may or may not only include a limited number of comprehensible CC maps & settings.
* An option for all CC players to choose a game setting of "points off" mode. Where people joining that game do so all agreeing & knowing that the game does not have a points exchange system. This is helpful to any CCer wanting to learn a new map in a safe mode, or families & friends who want to play together for fun and cannot because say for example dad is a high ranker & young daughter is a cook - it enables consensual play amongst more people. Most people will always play for points, but I cannot see the harm in having the option not to when all parties agree. This makes CC more family friendly for those who come here to socialize in a relaxed setting amongst loved ones.
Lastly, I would suggest an optional survey that people are pm'ed with asking them to rate their initial reaction to CC .. did they find the site easy to maneuver around? Are they likely to want to return and if not why? Questions as such, they should be short & succinct but gauge the reaction that New Recruits have to CC when they first arrive.
Thanks and good luck