I'm one of those drifters. But let me share a wee bit of my thoughts on why I think newbies don't last in the game.
These are thoughts of a busy guy who managed to play tRO during his shift for three (3) years.
What you are trying to ask from people is their time. Time that is so precious that once it is spent, can never be earned back.
Back in 2013, things were simpler and nobler. People would try something new when they get bored and find fun in it: either exploring new class/job, new farming zones, events, mini games, and what not. Back then you didn't have to stress yourself out with regards to earning zennies. Back then you can feel any town 'liveable' because there are players who autotraded their characters in the town.
It was a season of homunculus and guilds. I remember Nazu and his silly social guild. I remember joining his guild and how he made this pixelated world of fun wonderful to me. We were poor but we didn't mind. I remember Colly's sniper and MakeMeSleep's assassin and Art's HP and whoever we had on that day when we raided Orc Lord. We failed miserably but we had fun and laughed out our mistakes powerlessness.
I remember breaking his guild and as a way of redemption, I helped him build it up again. I remember how it was easy to look out for newbies and how it was fun to help them all out, accommodate them, and accompany them in their mini adventures. We didn't have Eden Quest back then because the Community was the Eden for all. The community itself was helpful whether you have your own guild or not.
But by and by, things got complicated. Nerfs were introduced in hope to 'balance' things out. It discouraged some but the loyals defended the GMs' decision. I was one of them. I remember having the Immortal Hearts taken out of the Alchemist Shop but I respected the admins' prerogative. They told us it would benefit the new players even though it would mean another difficulty for us creators. Time and time, the nerfs got into other farming zones and ideas you can think of to earn zenny. This discouraged a lot of people but the community was there to encourage them and advised them to try something new. And then came some class nerfs.
The Bragi nerf is the most painful of them all. The class that would allow me to tag along with my friends on my busiest hours (because I just autofollow and bragi and turn it off then follow again) has become a nuisance to all. The class you can bring on GMCs with minimal gears is now a stigma to all. We tried to understand. We tried to see the benefits. But it still doesn't make any sense. Even if you do the calculations, there is still no benefit with that nerf. It has only become a dead class on the character selection screen. You don't see them much in parties nor in end game parties. And when we bring this up again, the most heart breaking thing they can tell us is to try other class.
There are many things I'd still like to bring up but because there's a storm headed our way so I will just conclude things.
All of us have our individuality. We all have our precious time. We all want to invest on things that would make us happy. Every one in the game wants to be strong, to have fun, to make and have friends, to chill and relax. But if you make things harder and make us grind our time just to accomplish things in the game, I don't think everyone is up for it. You have students. You have people who work. You have people who are stressed in life. And they come here to unwind and have fun. Just like Raze said, you have an hour or two to convince people to stay. You can't be stout about it and just tell them to go play another server when they complain. There are thousands of pservers out there and games of all sorts.
This is why it is not enough to help newbies for them stay. The strongest anchor point to make them stay should be the game itself. Why do you think we had lively communities back then? Is it because of new costumes every month? Is it because of new instances? No. It is because of the game. Talon RO. We had something to show the newbies about the game that excites us individually. We let them ride on our shoulders to see the fun without having them to discourage themselves in farming stuffs. I remember people quitting but they bounce back and return. But now, you rarely see them bounce back and return.
When people are stressed out with farming and stuff, they grew weary and don't last. They will go and quit -- some with broken hearts, some with disappointed spirits. And what you will get in return? A very stale and lazy community. And if this goes on, soon, you'll have a dead community. Then later, a dead game/server.
Try to go back to the years 2013 and 2014 and remember the glorious days of tRO. A time when things were simpler and nobler. A time when people would try something new and have fun doing so without having to stress themselves out with zennies and such. A time when social guilds were rampant. A time when majority of the newbies would be encouraged to stay. I was one of those newbies.