Communication in the Kotei Season

Welcome back,

Before I get into the bulk of today’s article I’d like to remind you I’m still looking for your opinions about Twenty Festivals draft before it goes on sale at Stronghold stores. If you have anything you’d like to share please email me at sukuneATgmailDOTcom. Thank you.

Today’s article is not about draft but it’s about making communication better in the Kotei season and how information can be utilised better.

I have a massive problem with the Kotei season: Namely that information is far too slow to disseminate and when it does come through it’s in a sub-forum on the AEG website so unless you go there or get the information passed on you’re in the dark.

Tournaments serve an important role for AEG in that they promote emotional investment in the game. Seeing friends and making new ones is a big part of the tournament experience as is player’s interest in characters and the story and getting the chance to influence them. Tournaments are an important piece of marketing to players and the communication of what’s happening in these worldwide interlocking events is paramount.

Koteis are the marquee tournaments open to all players and warrants good promotion as events are going on.

I think there can be serious improvement in this area within the limits of not being any more time or resource consuming than what is currently in place.

The L5R Website

First of all the link to the spring Kotei season is on the right hand side of the page and near to the top. Good start. Click through the link. There’s some blurb:

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan!

Every year, around the world, players of the Legend of the Five Rings CCG attend a series of tournaments known as Kotei. The Kotei are held on five continents worldwide. The Kotei events are the major tournament season for the card game, and have important storyline implications

That’s great. An elegant and informative description is exactly what’s needed. The following table of dates, locations, formats and contact details isn’t the best but it’s functional. What follows really gets my goat:

Inaugural Proclamation of the Emperor Vote List:

1. Amnesty for all those who supported the Emperor’s Brother

2. Removal of Otomo Suikihime as Imperial Governor of the Colonies

3. First state of the dismantling of the Imperial Bureaucracy

4. Declaration of a new Fortune to commemorate the Emperor’s upbringing among the Great Clans

What does this mean to newer players? What does it mean to people who don’t follow the story? There’s absolutely no context given to this information. All it really needs is a simple piece of blurb and it carries a lot more importance. As is, it means something to enfranchised players but nobody else.

There is also no mention as to what the prize for Kotei winners is on this page nor is there a link to the announcement. A big part of selling Koteis is the aspirational part of winning and it follows that you should make a big deal of what it means to win.

Next follows the list of the festivals which also don’t have any context provided as to the flavour of them but that’s a very minor quibble compared to the others.

Tournament Information

The biggest problem in this area is that stuff tends to come through the forums and usually at a snail’s pace at that. I think that is partly because the onus is on T.O’s to provide updates and they already have a bunch to do to run a successful tournament. I also don’t think the forums provide enough visibility for it either.

I believe the answer lies in players and social media, Twitter in particular. Encouraging players to use a hashtag and tweeting about what’s going on is a much faster and more accessible form of communication and relieves a little pressure on T.Os.

To post on the forums on your phone you have to open your browser, go to the website, find the right sub-forum, go into another sub-forum, find the event’s thread, click post reply and type. That’s absolutely irritating and slow and discourages updates. Twitter merely requires you to open the app, click to make a post and away you go. It’s easier to check what’s going on as well as you just hit search and enter the hashtag.

This is clearly a far better method even without taking into account the increase in volume of information coming out that would occur because of the ease of use. You probably don’t need a hashtag for every tournament but something like #l5rkotei would be enough for people to keep up with what’s going on.

Posting pictures of pairings, standings and their ilk on Twitter is generally easily done from a smartphone than posting information on the forum on a computer too.

You could even have a very minor story prize attached to it to further encourage it. It would also enable the @l5r account to retweet particularly interesting or informative tweets to increase the reach of the information.

The reason I suggest Twitter instead of Facebook is that it’s more open. You don’t have to be friends, in the same group or anything like that. Hell, you don’t even need a Twitter account. Just searching for the hashtag would be enough to keep abreast of things and people check their social media more frequently than they will visit websites.

Decklists

In my opinion the publishing of decklists has been a great change. It’s certainly good for AEG as it can encourage people to buy packs, traders for those looking to pick up singles, players who aren’t the strongest deckbuilders or enjoy netdecking and players looking to capitalise on people picking up these decks by metagaming. I understand some people don’t want the lists they’ve worked on to become public knowledge but the value it has to other stakeholders far outweighs this.

The only change I would make here is to put links to the decklists or the decklist forum on the Kotei page so it’s a little easier to see. I would like to see the publishing of them increased to top 4 or 8 but it may prove to be too much effort for T.Os. Alternatively you could incentivise players to share top 8 lists by picking a winner at random from amongst those posted and giving them a small story pick.

That’s quite enough criticism for me. The update regarding the release of Twenty Festivals is excellent and AEG’s handling of the shipping problem has been admirable. I’m looking forward to getting my greasy mitts on the set, I hope you are too.

Take care.

@simonodocopp on Twitter

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