Fixing Retention - Battlescape's last chance

#21

oh, you where talking about the reprioritisation of tutorials, etc. for new players before going for the playerretention mechanics.
well i couldnt say which is more important tbh. i personaly had no trouble getting into the game even though the first version was pretty clunky. so for me personaly getting the good stuff like progression and customisation would be the priority too.
but on the other hand, there is not much point in implementing player retention mechanics when most people just struggle with controls, objectives and UI for an hour and then refund the game before even getting to the retention mechanics.

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#22

This. Unfortunately, as much as we wanted to add more content, ship upgrades and persistent progression, once we sat down and looked at the numbers, what people were saying, the feedback we got on Steam and from the refund data, the conclusion was that we were loosing / scaring too many new players and that it had to be addressed sooner than later.

I mean, just watch this video from WorthABuy, which I think is a good summary of the problem:

However this is only a shift in priorities. There’s no doubt that retention is a major issue and that we have to address it too, before we can do a proper release.

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#23

Also, please note that it’s important to address retention within the current scope of the game. For sure adding trading, mining or a full galaxy to explore would fix retention, but that’s not within our budget / scope. We basically don’t want to turn this project into something which it isn’t; the game is and should stay focused on seamless, massive space battles.

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#24

Retention is such a hard thing to pin down. Given the hugely unfinished state of the game, we still can’t really tell how it will sell on release, or how long people will stay.

It’s certainly true that retention is rock bottom right now, but it would be unfair to judge the final product on that. The good news is that feedback is largely positive on the core concepts of the game and I-Novae are prioritising sensibly.

No single thing will solve this. It’s going to be a long, evolving process with many factors.

In short, don’t scare the new players and keep the old ones happy! Not easy…

#25

You do not want to enter a variety of content, fearing that the game will be similar to others. Well then, you need to develop as soon as possible the content that seems right to you. But what can you come up with new? All that you already wanted to eat. Come into the Game and fly to the Battle. As you can see, few people want to spend time participating only in the battles. It is boring and monotonous. Need Conflict, Development, Economics, Trade. Extensive Fleet, many missions and the ultimate Goal for the Player. Regarding the player’s training, I think you have very simple mechanics that do not require in-depth study. It may in the future when the Game is enriched with content.

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#26

Nice post @crayfish. Looking forward to your second part. :slight_smile:

While chatting on Discord it made me think of a way to make people more motivated to join servers and the experience of that a bit more encouraging to come back. I really don’t know how much of an effect that has but it is one of the first impressions a returning player has.
The main menu screen already is nice with the amazing view.

But in the Server Screen I have following Suggestions:

  • Less amount of servers to make them stand out more.
  • The game runs great at high ping. Obfuscate the high ping as many players seem to be scared by it. A bar graph could be done Green: 0-200, Yellow 200-400, Red >400. People who really care will find out anyway and it’s just another nail in the coffin for them, people to play with and fluid play experience is more important than some number.
  • Name the Server uniquely like Planetside and Eve does it. No region Naming. Makes people think more about other reasons to join a server and not just think about optimizing their ping.
  • Make each entry (much) bigger, take up more space and maybe add some more stats in non numeric form like amount of active total ships (3 ship icons) or number of remaining stations (3 station icons). The number of colored ones indicating the amount.
  • If an artist has an hour, create a few icons for each server with distinctive style or reuse some rejected ones from earlier as they are probably good enough to stand for unique identifier beside name.

This would make the less that there is seem like much more and give a server the chance to feel more like home as everything else inside of the server is seemingly the same between other servers.

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#27

Nice insight into player retention Cray, puts us into a ballpark.

I just want to address a more pressing issue that’s been on my mind for some time.

That is the current IBS Steam page and pitch, if you just scan over it you will see multiple references to high player numbers.

  • Massive space battles
  • Redefining massive action space battles
  • Hundreds of players
  • Potentially more than a thousand players
  • Battles of massive proportions

Now we know that the players are not there and that the servers are empty 99% of the time, that might not even be an issue if the whole sales pitch was not based on there being a large number of players playing.

I really think you should pivot away from this chicken and egg situation, you need the players to be able to claim what you are claiming and you are trying to get players to buy the game on a premise that is just not true at the moment.

You can always come back to the path you are taking now once the players are there to support your claim.

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#28

Good point critic.

I’ve now added my thoughts on improving retention in the second follow-up post.

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#29

on the clear objective, rather than going for a system that only supports a line of stations, try more of a lattice implementation (like what planetside 2 has). Just keep it as a linear lattice (so equivilent to a single line) until population improves, when the lattice can become more complex.

rather than capture points, we have station destruction so the lattice can probably just be a “defensive” lattice where you need to destroy enemy stations in order to bring the shields down or something, idk.

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#30

Good OP and feedback on this.

My personal rentention situation is if I can’t get a space flight game to use my HOTAS inputs they way I would like then I’m not interested in playing. So I’m waiting for later iterations of the input mapping flexibility particularly around mapping my Warthog throttle to engines. I admit I haven’t retried in a couple of months so things may have improved. I understand that most don’t use HOTAS and agree that the primary concern should be the lack of a tutorial around controls for M/KB.

That said, I think having an instance or server clearly dedicated to training/tutorials/testing would be helpful. Part of my issue is not wanting to fiddle around with input controls in a competitive instance.

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#31

You should really hop in then, the input mapping menu now let’s you map anything you could ever want. The input events have clearer names and each input event also has a tooltip. You can also pre define which control scheme is to be used for each ship.

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split this topic #32

6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Best Game ever made IF you add these things

split this topic #38

25 posts were merged into an existing topic: Best Game ever made IF you add these things

#59

In my personal experience, visuals are the first thing to catch my eye, but gameplay is what holds my attention.

I like the core combat systems of I:B that are in place, but there is currently nothing beyond that, which is why I have put my playing on hold.

I agree that the game does now look a bit intimidating and unintuitive for newcomers (I have been here for years so I am used to the systems). However, my opinion is this could easily be solved with simple key prompts and popup tutorial hints. Even context sensitive stuff, similar to X4’s “tutorials”.

I still think we mostly need a proper mission system, rewards for those missions and things to earn over time, in order to increase longevity of play.

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split this topic #60

25 posts were merged into an existing topic: Best Game ever made IF you add these things

#61

Allright, I have done some cleanup and moved the posts about planetary details to SentinelGundam’s thread. If you have anything else you want to say about planetary details ( and whether they’d help with retention or not ) please do it in the other thread, thank you.

Side note: Discourse unfortunely only moved half of the posts the first time around so I had to move the posts around a couple times. I think the order was preserved but it might be a bit messy, see the other topic.

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Best Game ever made IF you add these things
#62

I think this thread has gotten way off track with some poorly reasoned ideas of what makes a good game. None of the ideas present are new, but they keep cropping up.

IMO the engine/graphics/etc look just fine as is. Aesthetics > graphics every time anyways, and I think the entire package goes very well together. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. I would love actual volumetric clouds and oceans but the reality is that once people (myself included) have seen it once odds are they’ll rarely, if ever, stop and smell the roses, as this is a combat focused game. If this game were more an exploratory type game then yes this will take more priority.

As much as I would like the building blocks to an Infinity MMO, I think that getting this game in it’s extremely limited scope is the best way forward.

Looking at the discussion so far, I think there’s a general misconception that content = retention. This is not strictly true, in fact the opposite is often times the case. It may be true in some cases, but that’s besides the point. I will briefly summarize my thoughts on the matter.

Most games don’t rely on large amount of content to be maintain a player base. Case in point, CS:GO. That game has been around for years and it’s a running joke of how a re-skin of a gun is considered ‘content’, however the game is more or less the same content wise, and still maintains a large player base. Same with PS2, CoD, and other similar titles. Dota 2 or LoL are other prime examples. They release one or two new heroes a year, but it’s the same map, same objective. Content wise these games are severely lacking.

Now look at games such as E:D or Warframe, both of which I’ve played. I’m sure there are many others in the same boat. Warframe lives in more recent memory, so I’ll use this example first. In terms of content = retention, Warframe is caught in a vicious cycle, and has been for years, of players jumping on after a massive ‘content’ update, completing months/years worth of work in a handful of days or even hours at the most, then they all falloff, lurking until the next content update. The actual breadth of content is quite large (if a bit shallow) as the game has been out for 7 or 8 years now. E:D is in a similar boat, except they haven’t had a single meaningful content update for seemingly years now.

Now, E:D and Warframe and similar games such as SC all have decent player retention. But it’s not really due to the varied amount of content within them. For veteran players, esp. in Warframe’s case, it’s more of either a social experience or simply a way to wind down by doing the same mission loops over and over again.

This topic is very broad and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of it, but I’m going to move on to my next point. I’m not claiming to be an expert in this area anyways, this has just been my experience and observations.

If the devs start tacking on features in order to improve player retention, they will very quickly get into the same boat that E:D, Warframe, SC, and many other games are finding themselves in. Players will get used to the loop, and fall off when they’ve finished the latest patch. Furthermore, this game will inevitably be compared to much larger games that have already been well established in this genre.

Assuming that all your content ideas are added, what is this game compared to E:D/SC/NMS?

Especially considering the small dev team (literally only one full time person atm), this game will always be a far cry from even a 3 star game with a modest dev team will accomplish. You complain about lack of development, how much slower would it be if suddenly Flav had to make mining/exploring/clouds/oceans/trade/whathaveyou? It will always be behind larger companies and their games. Other games have much greater head-start ‘content’ wise, why would a new player spend his time in a feature lacking game when there’s another game in the same genre that’s been out for years and has way more stuff to do in it?

All things reasonably considered, the only way this particular game is to survive is to do one thing, and one thing well. That puts it in CS:GO realm, which compared to E:D, is much easier to do. Making this game a focused experience is the only hope this game actually has, and, all things considered, fantasies that say otherwise are extremely short sighted, no matter how well meaning.


Getting back on topic, which is fixing retention in for this game, instead of complaining about what this game doesn’t have content wise that will never happen and will ultimately spell doom for the project, let’s think of some mechanics that can keep players in.

IMO, retention is synonymous with progression. The reason, as I have argued earlier, is that if your idea of retention is content, most players will blow through it very quickly, and immediately fall off waiting for the next patch, if it even gets that far.

So I don’t want to harp on that old thread again, and instead explain my idea for some easily obtainable means to implement player progression. Players love the new and shiny, the problem is with making the new and shiny easily reproducible.

Of course, all of the following is built upon a reasonably polished game loop and experience. Also this idea relies on most weapons being roughly equal in power, more of side grades than strict upgrades, a la PS2, which does a decent enough job of this. At least when it is in regard to the game just starting. I believe this is the plan, but I want to make it clear.


My idea focuses on a progression system that’s similar to PS2’s in some ways. And I hope to stone two birds at once.

This idea isn’t earth-shatteringly unique or anything, but I hope to spur the discussion in the right direction.

Players earn “Tickets”, which are granted after earning a certain number of XP performing certain activities playing the game. Think of tickets as an alternative resource alongside credits. These tickets can be exchanged for weapons and ships.

Ships?

Yes.

See, there’s this ongoing discussion on what to do about players that aren’t into the fighter combat, but like playing with capital ships.

With the ticket system, players can pre-configure any ship of their choosing and be able to spawn it at the beginning of a match for free. The more tickets they have, the wider variety of weapons and more ships that they can unlock and equip. An entire economy can be built on pre-configuring ships. Add in skins and other goodies, and you have a decent incentive to keep players playing.

Arbitrary number time:

For example, let’s say that a new player starts with say 600 tickets. Any ship that you want to select for first spawn costs 500 tickets, so the player spends the 500 on unlocking the cruiser. 100 tickets left can go for some upgrades to systems or weapons. As the player gets more xp, and thus more tickets, more weapons and upgrades are added. Another 500 can be spent for a different ship, maybe 10,000 for the ability to spawn an additional ship, for a maximum of X number, within a certain time frame, maybe a higher amount of tickets to spawn the same type of ship.

There will be maintenance and balance issues, but honestly it shouldn’t be that hard.

Uber veteran players can have additional AI fleets thrown at their tricked out cruiser, requiring more team coordination to protect early assets. Weapons that are upgrades to starter weapons are credit-earned only, along with station nuking and orbital bombardment. Simple is good, and often times the best.

I can wax on about this idea, but I think the idea is fairly well presented. I’ll end this post for now, but I look forward to some more positive thinking and idea generation. There’s been enough negativity on this topic, and it’s not getting anybody anywhere.

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General Suggestion Mega Thread LOOK HERE FIRST
#63

infinity battlescape retention measurements.
https://steamcharts.com/app/1079620

Month Avg. Players Gain % Gain Peak Players
Last 30 Days 1.5 +0.1 +9.33% 13

Retention measurements that can be used to fix retention, on topic. censored or not it applies to retention and all future gamers should see the truth before they decide to risk 35 dollars on a game with no player base.

#64

Hi, At This Stage the Game is Boring. The developers have already achieved what they wanted. Massive battles. But, as it turned out, no one needs them! Neither old Players nor new ones. Missing Goal and Development. Endless skirmishes are boring. And in the end, the players buying the game and advertising show that the game is really huge World and large-scale battles, but come to disappointment after 2 hours of the game session. Many new Players returned the Game back. I would have returned the game, but alas, I was late. And have to sit in the boat with the hope of improvement. But as I understand it, it’s not worth waiting for something. Many Game Designers, having watched this Game, predicted the fall of this project, as the developers are moving in the wrong direction. The developers will not be able to keep the Players, because they will not be able to enrich the Game with content (they HUD painted half a year), let’s conduct an experiment? Who wants to return their investments in this project from old and new Players? I am sure that 90% will agree to withdraw their funds. So, as many already understand that the Game will not achieve its Goal.

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#65

And let’s be honest with the new Players, write the truth on the Steam site that the Game is empty, without Gameplay and content, instead of Big Words and Loud Advertising? And then it looks like Cheating.

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