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Building the Next 2old2play

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 15:59 — Doodi

2old2play is going through some massive changes in the coming months and we really want the communities help. In due time we're going to share all these changes with the community, but before that I would love to get some feed back from people who still visit 2o2p on a regular basis.

Our goal remains in being a central place for older gamers to meet, chat about games, and find others to play those games online with. With that in mind, we know we have had many missteps since V2 and that our overall design is not nearly inclusive enough for new people.

So, if you have ideas of your own or just want to voice an opinion, please do so here. If you want to be involved at a much higher level, then I encourage you send me an email at admin@2old2play.com and list your site username and any more info there.

Thanks again for supporting 2o2p and sticking with our community for so long. Game on!

Comments
brntguy's picture

Will be here regardless because of the community members here already. Ready for anything.

pyro13g's picture

Move it all to Facebook.  Not much traffic at 2old2play and the site is super slow to respond.

Doodi's picture

Well the idea would be to change all that.  Plus not everyone uses facebook and it limits our reach considerably.  Great for clans, not so much for communities.  

TANK's picture

Would NOT use facebook.

SoulTerror's picture

I agree, don't move it to Facebook.

Doodi's picture

There is absolutely a 0% change we would ever move to facebook.  

DEEP_NNN's picture

I miss a lot of stuff on the front page because I go straight to the forums. Seems a shame because I miss good articles made by the community. Can anything be done about that?

Remove all support for closed Clans. I despise the 'Us versus Them' mindset that can result from it.

Unify games of the same genre into one forum. I.E. Halo, COD, Battlefield. The proximity could very well get more people playing across a variety of games.

I like Blog entries where I can notice them similar to now. Some pretty interesting things get posted.

Doodi's picture

Totally agree. We've talked a lot about it internally and a big issue is really the huge wall between outward facing content and inward.  The homepage in particular is a huge piece that we're discussing now and figuring out what to put on their that encompasses everything about 2o2p and not just news.  

The biggest issue is that we're not a "news" site anyway, we're an opinion site.  So we need a way to show all of those items (wether its  based on news, blogs, or forum posts) on the homepage.  We also don't mind completely starting over with 2o2p.  I think we did fairly well in the past when only one game was hot, but we're well beyond that model now.  Good feedback. 

Parcells2's picture

Yes, stop going straight to the forums.

Dont take away Parcells Racing forums Doodi, problem solved!

Doodi's picture

not a chance!

Blue_Stiehl's picture

I beleive putting games of the same genre into one forum will have the opposite effect.

For example: In the fall, there will be a lot of new releases. If I have to scroll through a bunch of threads for games other than the one I am intrested in, I will be less likely to come back to the site. I would be inclined to look somewhere else. For me, sites that make it easier for me to find what I want keep getting used.

Doodi's picture

I dont totally disagree.  However I will say some forums have success with Tagging their posts instead of dedicating entire forums to a topic that wont have a lot of posts.  For instance, what if you went into the FPS forum and Halo threads were all tagged in the title.  Then you could sort all the threads in FPS by Halo.  

Also just so we're clear, I'm not saying that is how we will do it.  In fact that is the point of this post entirely.  I want to get feed back on how you guys would want things to operate.  Anyone, good thoughts as navigation is a huge part of our problem here at 2o2p and in need of some desperate revamp.

Blue_Stiehl's picture

Being old, I like hierarchical organization.

Having a FPS forum branch to Cod, BF, Halo, General, etc... sub-forums where the actual threads reside is easy to follow. The way you show the number of Topics, posts and new posts currently helps people see how active the forums are.

When I get Halo 5, seeing an active Halo forum will draw me in.

Just my .02 and what makes me comfortable.

Autarch's picture

Additionally, while Halo, CoD etc make for great subforums under FPS, a smaller title with a niche following could do without a subforum under FPS but just be in the general FPS section in a thread or two.

 

Support your call on hierarchical orginazation.  Also, a general FPS forum can be a great place for cross game posts in the FPS genre, such as if the Konami LaserScope made a triumphant return for the holiday season's FPS games.

Shadow's picture

Agreed.  Similar to Offtopic.com or XERQ

SoulTerror's picture

Change your bookmark to not have /forum at the end. So then when you pull up the site you get the main page.

Minotaur's picture

I second what DEEP said... wink

Just make it easy for new people and old timers to get in and navigate. Sidebars are an easy way to push site news and information out to anyone interested in any game.  MIN

GUL74's picture

Bring back the meet & greets . think it was a great way to interact with people that just joined the site and they were held every 2 or 3 months 

Doodi's picture

Absolutely.  One of the main goals with the revamp is to find other community leaders willing to put in that time.  The end result would be a monthly meet and greet with a parallel newsletter going out to remind others about the events.

Oldschool 2o4f's picture

I think the sheer number of comments in Knights thread shows there is a need for some common area everyone can dip their toes in the water and simply schmooze.

 

In general, people if giventhe chance, will get to know others beyond the game they happen to prefer. Trick is how to encourage mingling without a cattle prod.

Oh, and I have to agree with parcells, but I hesitate to do so publicly.

KnightofRedemption's picture

Heh, yes I never expected that thread to develop the way it did and it does show that just chewing the fat is as vital to to site as gaming. It brings people from different genres and areas of the site together. Not so easy to plan for, that thread was not planned it just worked out that way.

I think the way it works, with me kinda playing the role of host, the thread title changing to reflect what is being talked about suggests a way forward for a communial area, hosted and reflecting changes in content and the usual suspects will as with the "Good Night" thread keep it moving.

One thing I would like to see, and I am sure is part of the plan, is navigation to places of interest made simpler. A past member came looking for 2O4F, one of the most active and populous groups on the site and could not find it...I had to tell him to look under divisions. Now if someone who has been to 2O2P before cannot even find the group he used to belong to, what chance new people? Like I say I'm sure that is on the cards, but it's worth saying.
 

Doodi's picture

Threads like those have lived on 2o2p since there were only 30 of us and will remain that way as the core of who we are.  In fact before all the closed clans, most threads came in the form of off topic and I like to see it return to that style of discussion.  

KnightofRedemption's picture

Indeed they exist on all forums, though I do claim the idea of renaming the thread as my original touch, not seen that before (someone will of course say different) :)

FadeIntoBlack's picture

Make our old GG/OG crew start playing games again.  :)

Doodi's picture

If only.  I fear those days are long since past.  You can always play Wildstart with me....

Sherb's picture

Wait, Doodi is in Wildstar!?  surprise

All this time I thought I was the only one here playing that game.  laugh

Doodi's picture

We have a full 2o2p guild in Wildstar Sherb!  Stormtalon on Dominion side.

Sherb's picture

Hmm, guess I'll have to start up another toon over there now too.  Haha.

Doodi's picture

Do it!

Rau's picture

I still play.  The closest I'll get to Wildtard is Destiny.

Doodi's picture

I thought you bailed.

Rau's picture

I thought the same about you.  cheeky

zerocd's picture

This is exciting!  Can T0E be re-instated with the new site/forum?

Doodi's picture

Maybe....

General E Dead 2's picture

A mobile app version would be very handy for quick access out and about...Aside from this site forgetting my login details every time im away for more than 2 days I am interested in what new direction the site goes. I agree with the general opinion that many go straight to the forum of their choice and therefore miss out on other content. Certainly I do and therefore miss out on other genres/games I do play such as cod/battlefield etc
Doodi's picture

We actually have a mobile app version on Andriod and iOS already 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/2old2play/id777243926?mt=8

We also plan on having a logged in version of the app at launch that will run on any mobile device.  We're currently testing that app now.  

Lou_Keymia's picture

Even Windows Phone?

Allow us to financially support 2o2p.

Doodi's picture

Yep.  The mobile application will work simply by going to 2o2p.com and will work on all mobile platforms.  There will not be a standalone Windows Phone app created however.  This is really do to the fact that Im just one guy and there are only so many hours in a day. 

FreynApThyr's picture

Every time you two boy wonders meet face-to-face you fuck up the site.

Quit it.
 

Doodi's picture

Its what we do based.  Take something good and then ruin it as fast as possible.

FadeIntoBlack's picture

I suspect they come up with ideas while laying in bed together after an intense lovemaking session...

Doodi's picture

You've seen the footage?

GUL74's picture

I think there should be more live gaming pod cast on twich put it on the page somewhere (Clan vs Clan, Thusday Night Halo or someone just gaming live playing whatever )  it be a promote within the site as well outside 

Doodi's picture

This is where the community comes in I think.  A lot of the clans promo their own type of gameplay on other channels.  There will be a huge initiative to fill out community roles around the site for this type of stuff though.

FreynApThyr's picture

I'm prefacing this comment because I've written for the site and I know what a thankless, shitty, labor of love it is and I don't want to take the age-old tack of blaming volunteers for doing what they like to do. 

I get it. 

It is all DSmooth's fault.

With that being said, front page content needs a shot in the arm.  When we had many active community managers and people from within those communities were represented on the writing staff then what was highlighted was what was happening on the site.

Deep has been meticulous in holding weekly and monthly community building events for those of us who still like Halo for years now. Write him up!

Those Forza dumbasses still seem to be growing their ridiculous crew beyond all comprehension. Write them up.

For a brief period, multiple groups were trying to figure out how to get their mics to work on Titanfall.  Write them up.

Some insanely great gamer from the site just unlocked the LSPD tint for their carbine in GTAV.  He must be awesome at that game. Write him up.

We are not news.  E3 coverage aside, which btw- thanks, we don't break much too often and having a crew of people trying to hone their  sounding-like-very-other-game-website-review-style on the shitty cast offs doesn't reveal much about the character of the people playing here.  Tiffany adding exclamation points every third sentence won't make me interested in Star Avenger XIV: The Return of Climaxos for the PS Vita.  Even more importantly, it won't tell me anything about why I should be an active and committed member here.

If every front page article required a link that led you deeper into the site to connect with people playing the game as part of its narrative, we'd have less writing for writng's sake and more writing by people knowledgeable and committed to the cool things that do actually happen here.

SarcasmoJones's picture

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, the clan leaders were given the keys to the front page...and never used them. The clan leaders, or at least a representative from the clan with some writing skills,  should be responsible for generating their own news. I can almost understand your desire for the front page to become some sort of local bulletin board (Jones just nailed Jessie's Girl on Rock Band, everybody congratulate him!) but I will have to disagree with your characterization of the writing staff. We are very much our own personality and the fact that we live and play here should give our opinions (because it's certainly not news) some credibility, at least on the site. Other folks may not give a shit, but that's okay....we're writing for 2old2play and that's the only community we really care about and if I have saved a single member from pissing away their cash on a shitty game, then it's well worth my time. You're welcome.

FreynApThyr's picture

It's not my desire for the front page to become a bulletein board.

I don't care how many people are on the site or what their level of involvement is.  I have zero skin in the game and I gave up a long time ago the idea that my input would be lent any weight for that reason.

My personal concept for the front page has always been that it be a completely open forum for any and all adult gaming topics and that the barrier to entry for content creation be as low as is huimanly possible.

However, if you ask me what I think is the main difference between writing for the site now and writing during what I view as a time of peak involvement between the forums and the front page it was when it was when the witers on the front page participated in the forum.

Now based on the previous posts and conversation I thought I was being asked.  Of course you are welcome to dismiss my opinion.  I won't even be hurt by it Because I Used to Write For the Site.  I'm used to being dismissed.

Everything is fine.  You guys are doing a great job. Keep it up.

SarcasmoJones's picture

Your input is valid, I was only disagreeing with your characterization of the current writing staff.
 

DEEP_NNN's picture

Do you know of an example I could look at? My imagination is not helping me much.

pyro13g's picture

How does Facebook and social media limit reach?  Not using it is a limiting factor.  The Co-op Syndicate uses Facebook and it works out great.  The rebuild should keep social media in mind.

YEM's picture

Pretty sure they are keeping social media in mind. Using social media in conjunction with the site is one thing. "Move it all to facebook" is a bit different 

Doodi's picture

Now you're talking about two different things.  The first suggestion was to move the entire site to facebook.  This will never happen as Facebook within this context is absolutely a limiting factor.  Not everyone has facebook, nor should that be forced to join a site that they don't want to join.  

Just off the top of my head I can think of long time and valuble members like DEEP_NNN who have decided they don't need of care about FB.  Even further, some use twitter and some use nothing at all.  

Now if you're talking about using "social media" in a more generalized form then 2o2p has already massively embraced it.  We have our fairly large 2o2p private group https://www.facebook.com/groups/6517581250/ and the 2old2play Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/2old2play.  Derek himself has 11k followers and regularly tweets out to the community.  

We fully embrace social media as a "tool" but see no reason in put all our discussion on a platform we can't control.  Its great for simple clans who are already all friends with one another, but how does it all work when people disagree?  How do new people find us on the web outside of facebook?  What do we do for all the people that dont want to join facebook?   

So yeah, I think facebook is a great tool and I use it everyday.  It works great for opening a social channel between clans and friends for sure.  I'd even say its a nice tool for promotion, but at the end of the day, we're a gaming site first and foremost.  

TDrag27's picture

Thinking about the technology that runs 2o2p has utility, sure. But people routinely put up with shitty technology if at the end of the day it solves their problem. I came to 2o2p years ago to find people my age to play games with, and to talk about games. Not to experience the best-designed user interface optimized for..whatever. (And the site, while not perfect, is good enough if the forum topics were simply restructured a bit). 

My suggestion would be to stop thinking about what new whiz-bang features you want to build that will "fix 2o2p". Instead focus on getting people to show up here and participate with the code you have. Lead by example - start some threads, start blogging about what you're playing, organize play dates. Ask the community a "question of the day" about whatever is going on in gaming news. Start by being the user you want to attract...Personally speaking, I hit the site a couple times a week, see no new or relevant content, and I move onto the next. I don't know anyone here anymore and threads don't move the couple times I have posted in the last year so there's so little incentive to participate. 

If you want a pet website project, that's totally cool, keep cranking out versions and spending your own money doing it. But if you want a "community", you'll have to start as citizen #1.

Doodi's picture

Really great points here Tara and I totally agree.  In fact the goal with this next version is equal parts community as it is webproject.  I'm hoping to do that by simply starting with this post.  In general there hasnt' been a lot of back and forth with the community for some time.  

Most of the feed back for the site has been around more events, more meet ups and less of everything else.  In terms of the web project side, I think a lot of that will come down to killing off almost every feature of the site outside of the forums.  While I know that people will put up with bad tech just for content, I do think it also can cause a negative effect on people when we're at the state that we are now with speed, useless features, and frankly a community that is way to hard to get into. 

Having said that, I never did much interaction with the site as a whole even back when we first started.   The platform really didnt all the talking.  Naturally I just like to talk about games, so I think the majority of those discussion come from off topic, comments, or arguments over gaming.  It also becomes a bit more diluted now that I can talk in depth about a game each week on the Live Stream.  

In a lot of ways I think the leadership here is fairly flawed and I take full responsibly for it.  After all, 2old2play is a hobbie of mine and not a full time job (even though it feels like that sometimes).  When it comes to my time after work I have basically the choice of, pay attention to my lady, actually play games, work on the sites backend, work on side project, learn and reseach,  or post directly on the site.  9 times out of 10 I choose working on the site or research, but that leaves nothing for the community.  

I suppose I could just close up shop at some point, but I love 2o2p because of the friendships it's built and memories it can create.  Id really love for it to create more leaders in the future as well.  In any case I love your feed back and ability to keep things on point and relevant.  Also nice to hear your perspective.  

TDrag27's picture

I think a "back to basics" approach in terms of the website is a good one. And I understand priority juggling more than I'd like. Just don't get caught up in black/white thinking and dismissing the fact that spending 5 minutes a day posting might be all that's needed to nudge others to join in on the conversation. 

And then always choose your lady friend! 

Bluestar's picture

It's not just the leadership, it's a basic flaw in having an adult membership.  You described most of the members daily lives. By the time we get home from work, spend time with a significant other, get stuff done around the house, and get any other work we need done, there's little time left for either gaming or posting on the site.  Add in kids and that time gets cut down even further.  If you are unlucky enough to have the site blocked at work, it's even impossible to do it then.  I beleive a  more basic site would be better suited to the membership, allowing them to do the simple things like set-up gaming and discuss new games.

I for one do like the site news and rely on it for information but it can be a little cluttered.  It could be more streamlined, cut out the game reviews.  Those we could get from other sources if we wanted.  Focus more on just providing a brief summary of what's new and coming out each week or month.  Occasional editorials related to membership interests are welcome features.

Shadow's picture

Agree with Tara.  Honestly the only thing I use 2o2p for is to coordinate with people to play games.  Posting gaming news too, in conjunction with that.  But mainly it was/is to set up clan nights and talk people with similar gaming interests.  It could be super simple and just a BBS and I'd still come here if the people were here.

Doodi's picture

Id say that is what is more then likely going to happen.  The only exception when it comes to "features" is how new people to the site can discover and play with others.  On top of more events and LANs I just want it to be dead simple to sign up and find others to play games with.

FadeIntoBlack's picture

"On top of more events and LANs..."

 

Let's kick it off by scheduling the 2014 LAN.  Kickstarter the event again, add a special site logo for those who contribute 100 or more, and keep extra proceeds to fund site improvements. You're welcome. 

velvet396's picture

What Tara is saying couldn't be more true.

What sets the site apart?  The "mature" gaming approach.  
"I came to 2o2p years ago to find people my age to play games with..."

Focus on enabling that to shine through.  Simplify.  Remove barriers, both visually and technologically.

Get back to basics, and the richness of content and community will occur naturally as interest and participation pick up.  Build on it later, return to the core appeal ASAP.

Minotaur's picture

I initially found it somewhat difficult to find 2O2P. Suggestion: make the site easy to find. Optimize the front page (www.2old2play.com) for the search engines... I can help if you need it. MIN

Doodi's picture

We've never been to concerned with the SEO value of 2o2p only because 99% of users come into the site via referral from friends or other sites.  However our goal with the home page is to be way more focused on the community then the news (more on that later).  This should help a bit more with our SEO, even if we're not to focused on it.

Blimey's picture

 I have been a member here for several years. I believe I have been through two version changes. My habits include at least two daily check ins. I enjoy the clan and specific game sections. I check each that is of interest to me as I cruise through the site. I do this because I find I don't need to bother digging around through the subjects that have no meaning in my world.

 I only hope that the site remains easy to navigate for an old guy like me. Although I do belong to a another site(primarly battlefield on PS only) This is my primary source for industry news and general gaming discussions. I have counted on this site for years,I would hate to lose it.

 Let me know what I need to do as a member to move things forward. Thanks

Doodi's picture

Very good post.  I will say that the goals should aline with exactly the experience you're after.  If anything I think the site is way to hard to navigate as is.  I hope the new version only makes it easier.

niteowl's picture

I don't know why but with the layout of the old version (V2), I read the blogs almost every day. Checked the articles often. Became familiar with the writers of those blogs & articles,  ( and recognized their logos), and looked forward to seeing new posts by them. I even became a semi-regular commenter on some of them. I can't put my finger on it but something about the layout drew me in better. Since V3 I pretty much stay in my clan forum. I know this vagueness doesn't help you out much but am I wrong? Wasn't there more back & forth and participation in V2?

ChunkySoup's picture

As a disclaimer I recognize both the positive and negative in my idea below but there may still be value in it.

What about a somewhat user customizable home page? It could still have the main banner as well as the news but instead of 15+ articles limit it to one or two and a drop down of more or reduce the footprint of each to get a couple more in there. Horizontally from there you could have to Twitter and Facebook "ticker"

Underneath that area the user could pin links to their favorite forums and you could even have a button that when clicked dumps them to a random forum to check out.

If people are creating favorites or shortcuts directly to the forums they participate in they miss the home page. This way those links are all on one page and being the homepage they might dive into some of the articles. The flipside is it makes it even easier for them to bypass the work of the writing team.

An even more ridiculous idea would be a calendar at the very bottom that would highlight community play dates and times. You could click one you may be interested in and have it import into your personal calendar. Clan leaders could use it as a tool and others could use it not only as a gauge of community involvement but also as a means to find others to join in a session. I think this would be really useful for new members or members like myself without a crap ton of time to play and visit but would still like to play with some of our awesome members when we can.

Doodi's picture

This is exactly the direction Im going for and pretty much nails it.  I would hope this would actually mix really well with the writing on 2o2p as both elements of opinion should combined nicely. Great feed back and fantastic post.

Vix_Sundown's picture

Hi Doodi - Here are some things I would be interested in:

1. Blogs - I'd like to see the posting notification up top changed so that when you post something, it won't show your icon again until other posters have cycled yours off the board. In other words, if you post 2 blog items (or more) in a short time frame, it still only shows your icon and name once at the top of the site.

  The reason for this is that I once did some multiple blog posts, and got a lot of negative, rude comments from people I don't even know, just because I apparently offended them by taking up room on the board. So I'd like to see multiple posts limited from showing up on the board, or else get rid of the board altogether.

 

2. Groups / Clans - I'd like to be able to see more info on a group than just the number of members and a short one-sentence blurb. It seems you can't get more info without clicking "join". Info I would like to see is:

   A. Active Game List

   B. Member Roster

   C. Info on that group's forum activity. Do they post often? When was the last post? This gives some idea of if the group is still alive, or has died.

   D. Group / Clan Rules (if available).

 

3. Searchable Index of 2o2p Members by Console, by Game - This is the thing I would like to see most. I would like to go to 2old2play and type in "Xbox One" and "Titanfall" (for example) and get a list of every player on this site who plays it. And then I would add them to my XBL Friends List. 

   That's the most important thing about this site to me - finding like-minded individuals. Especially now that Xbox One can have 1,000 friends, why not make more friends? I don't want to limit my friends to those in any one clan. 2old2play is a great place to meet others. Something like #3, people could opt in or out of.

Thanks! Good luck :)

Vix_Sundown's picture

4. Also, why Age 25? I know the idea is to weed out immature idiots, but there are plenty of those of any age. Age 20 or 21 is just as good a cut off to me - better even, because it would be more inclusive of new members. I figure if you're old enough to vote, enlist in the military, and drink, then you're probably old enough not to act like a jackass at 2old2play. Just my two cents :)

velvet396's picture

I understand your angle, but I say the 25 y/o rule sticks.  Unfortunately, most people are still quite immature prior to 25.  (Not that there is something magical that happens at that age).

One of the other parts of the 25 range is it tends to align people in a certain life segment, more likely to have kids, full time work, other responsibilities that come into focus a few years after college age...

 

I won't leave if the age is changed, but I feel it has been the current age since inception (I think?) and worked well.  Too big of a shift IMHO.

DEEP_NNN's picture

I was an asshole at 25. Few at that age aren't, in my opinion. With today's generation staying at their parents home longer, the age of assholiness has probably increased too.

I've gamed with lots of people younger than 25 and many are great people. That being said, I agree with doodirock setting an age barrier in an attempt to attract people with less disparity in life experiences.

If the age limit were reduced or increased, I'm not going to take a shit dump. I'll let it play out.

GUL74's picture

I know we can always email or pm you with suggestions but what about a suggestion box or even area so the ideas just keep rolling in 

 

I think all Lans should be pod casted (if possible)  it would be a great way for those that are just discovering 2O2P to see the fun make new friends, and for the rest of us that can't be there for whatever reasons we can still be involved 

 

 

velvet396's picture

I bet a Twitch channel could be cool, too, especially from a LAN.

GUL74's picture

That's exactly what I'm thinking my friend 

DEEP_NNN's picture

Convenience and speed. Both need improvement.

Loading speed of this site was a huge issue after V3. It's still a bit slow.

Are the size of some topics the problem? I know Neogaf limits topics to X replies for this reason. Perhaps the posts per page could be decreased if loading speed improved.

Some topics, filled with Youtube videos, are way to slow to load, especially in tablets. The issue is, you don't know your underpowered device is about to be killed until it's too late.

Blackblade's picture

I like the blogroll at the top of the screen like it is now, hope you keep doing that in any future changes.

Vix_Sundown's picture

I think there should be at least one forum entirely devoted to female breasts.

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