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The Patcher's Perspective: 2.02 Victorious?

By Forlong - 3rd January 2011 - 22:42 PM

As I write this, 16 RotWK games are being hosted on GameRanger. That's down from 30, which has been the norm at peak game times during the past few days. Right now, it's 2:22 UTC, so not yet peak game time. Of course, it's also Monday, so lower activity on the weekend is not unexpected.

I look at the names of the hosted rooms. 9 rooms are being hosted on 2.02, 6 on 2.01, and one is a room with a title that is just asking for help with a tech problem. I direct the guy to a relevant post in our Tech Support FAQ, deciding to abandon my usual 2.02 advertisements and just help the dude. At the end of our conversation, he mentions how awesome 2.02 is.

This is pretty cool.

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GameRanger lobby, off-peak hours. Unrelated conversation. Click to expand.

Bad Conversations

For the past two days, I've been trying to PM a fair amount of people who have been hosting games on 2.01 to ask them to switch. Here is how the least successful conversations turn out:

Forlong: Hey Richard! Why not update to 2.02?
Richard: I like 2.01)
Forlong: =( OK have fun!
Richard: I'll update it later!
Richard: and will play
Forlong: =D

These are the bad conversations. The bad conversations end in people promising to download 2.02? Yup. These people delay us reaching our critical mass of players, the elusive goal that we've been seeking for nearly three years without any hope of actually reaching. When we reach the critical mass, 2.02 will have so many players that the rest will soon switch to the patch naturally in order to gravitate towards the more active community, and it will become self-perpetuating; that is, it will no longer require support from dedicated 2.02 players to maintain its hold in the community.

We might have reached the critical mass already. I'm not so sure; if dedicated 2.02 players quit now, I think that there's still a fair chance that the community will slip back towards 2.01. I think the true critical mass will be achieved within the next two days. But we are so very, very close, that there's basically no way we could screw up this one. 2.02 is ready to declare victory in the battle that we never thought we'd win.

There are very few worse conversations, so few that they don't matter.

Less Good Conversations

It's incredible how many people have tried the patch, but given up because they couldn't get it to work. It seems like 1/3 of the people currently playing 2.01 have downloaded 2.02, but had trouble installing it properly. This is extremely curious, since the installation consists of three easy steps: download installer, run installer, Recycle installer. It's kind of hard to screw up, yet tons of people are doing so.

My theory is that people are downloading Updaters rather than full Installers. This is my theory because installing 2.02 is so darn simple, the only thing that could possibly go wrong is that you download a file that you are specifically instructed not to download. The download page pretty clear that you should only download an Updater if you're currently on v3.0.1.2 or later, yet people are doing this anyway. There's not much that we can do about that, beyond not offering Updaters altogether. I suppose we'll just have to let people screw up and ask for help when they do: we're not taking away Updaters from those capable of using them properly in order to satisfy a minority that is not.