I noticed that I never archived the results of the survey here which seems to me the ideal place for that. The survey is quite old but it remains a picture of the cavern at a certain period in time.
The 340 voices of URU
This post has been edited by Andros: Feb 20 2010, 12:19 PM
This article is the result of a survey I did in the cavern regarding what kind of explorers are in the cavern, how much time they spend there and where they are getting their MOUL information.
Between August 2nd and August 15th, I surveyed 251 explorers in Ae'Gura, The Watcher's Sanctuary, Kirel and several Bevins. In the following months I added the answers of 89 additional explorers. I randomly talked to explorers and those who replied to me were asked if they wanted to answer the survey. No one was forced to answer it. Players who had played Uru for less than a week could not answer the survey. The answers from each person are in a short chatlog of our conversation.
#1 Did you first played Uru through Gametap or before that?
#2 How often do you play Uru? [3 choices] Every week; Every month (mostly during the episode); less than once a month.
#3 How do you know when new things are appearing/happening in Uru? [3 choices] On the Internet (UruObsession, Myst Online official forums); In the cavern (Buddies, relayers); I don't know where to get the information.
Total: 340 explorers
New explorers mean who first played Uru through Gametap while Experienced explorers played Ages Beyond Myst or Prologue or Until Uru.
New explorers: 101 = 29.7%
Experienced explorers: 239 = 70.3%
"A few days per month" also means mostly during episode week.
In the cavern every week: 322 = 94.7%
In the cavern a few days per month: 15 = 4.4%
In the cavern less than once a month: 3 = 0.9%
Information about what happens or appears in Uru. Internet includes websites and forums. Cavern includes buddies, relayers.
Information on the Internet AND in the cavern: 259 = 76.2%
Information ONLY in the cavern: 70 = 20.6%
Don't know how or where to get information: 11 = 3.2%
New explorers: 101 explorers
In the cavern every week: 94 = 93.1%
In the cavern a few days per month: 6 = 5.9%
In the cavern less than once every month: 1 = 1%
Information on the Internet AND in the cavern: 64 = 63.3%
Information ONLY in the cavern: 32 = 31.7%
Don't know how or where to get information: 5 = 5.0%
Experienced explorers: 239 explorers
In the cavern every week: 228 = 95.4%
In the cavern a few days per month: 9 = 3.8%
In the cavern less than once every month: 2 = 0.8%
Information on the Internet AND in the cavern: 195 = 81.6%
Information ONLY in the cavern: 38 = 15.9%
Don't know how or where to get information: 6 = 2.5%
This simple yet extensive survey gives us a very good look at who the average explorer is between episodes. Because the survey wasn't done during an episode, the proportion of explorers playing every week is overrated (95%). I was less likely to survey those who only play during episodes. However, a lot of valuable information can be extracted from this survey.
I am pleasantly surprised that 30% of the people who play Uru are new fans who came through Gametap. In my opinion, the flow of new players from Gametap is what is going to save Myst Online from being cancelled again. The core fan base is solid but not big enough for Uru to survive, even if "old" fans are still pouring in each month. Another good thing is that new players are becoming "addicted" to Uru: 93% of new explorers met between episodes were playing each week. This is a fantastic information because MOUL follows the Myst tradition of creating passionate fans. The gorgeous ages from Cyan, the history of the D'ni and the welcoming community keep them in the game week after week. The MOUL community is also heavily involved in the way explorers are keeping up to date with what is new in the cavern, both in the game and on the various forums. One on the problems of MOUL is that information in the cavern is almost exclusively shared through word of mouth which makes it difficult for explorers to fully know what is going on in the cavern. For complete news coverage they must leave the game and find information on the forums...if they are aware of them. Certain explorers even say that the story and action are happening mostly on the forums so they are less inclined to log into the game. But the new explorers are not all aware that they have to obtain their information outside of the game. 82% of old players use both the forums and the game to be informed but this percentage falls to 63% when we are talking about new players. Those who only rely on word of mouth in the cavern (32% of the new players) are missing out on valuable information that could improve their MOUL experience in a way that they'll become permanent explorers in the cavern. Even 18% of "old" fans do not visit websites or forums for several reasons.