Fixing Retention - Battlescape's last chance

#66

Progression is simply rewarding the players for playing the game, either by giving something cosmetic or gameplay related, so what are some small, easily attainable things that will reward players?

How about a skin of the month? XP/Tickets can be cashed in every month to get a free skin.

Early access on new weapons and upgrades. As new weapons/features are added to the game, you can easily have a testing environment on the live servers by gating the new things behind a large ticket cost. Nothing too huge, but enough to prevent everybody instantly getting it (if everybody has enough tickets you can always limit the number of those upgrades/weapons available). That way you have the weapon/upgrade in a large scale testing experiment without the need for a test server. After testing you can refund the cost plus maybe some more tickets or a skin or something.

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#67

Good points, I said exactly what you did about retention (the truth) and got censored by flavien, watch out if you tell the truth too much you will get censored.

#68

I’m sure there’s plenty of concept art or other similar material, those can be used as a reward items.

#69

With the game seeming to have a pretty sizable amount of major content still on the roadmap, I’m not entirely sure if there’s much to add to the list that would aid it more than what’s eventually planned. Adding a progression system for ship up/sidegrades for the equipment and other unlockables would definitely help matters in the long run though. I’ll admit that I’m surprised to see capital-focused players like myself actually getting attention according to the post by Arkenbrien earlier though. I like this ticket idea, it lets me get to the part I enjoy most without grinding for an hour.

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#70

I don’t think giving people a sense of progression is going to help much until the core game loop is addictive enough to keep people playing. At the moment there are matches happening and 90% of players appear to have no investment at all in the outcome.

When I play I have no interest in the outcome of the battle or any sense that I would enjoy trying to change that outcome. I’ll mostly go sight seeing with the occasional skirmish with another interceptor.

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#71

One possibility would be to have, for each team, at any moment in time, exactly one attack battle and one defense battle. Attack battles can only progress to the next one after they’ve been won. Otherwise if your team loses the attack battle, the next battle will be on the same objective again ( or possibly, on another objective of the small class ? aka small station -> next small station ? ).

This means that both teams are somehow “racing” towards completing all their objectives as quickly as possible.

This approach raises a couple of questions:

  • players can no longer participate to the large battles until the end of the match
  • matches would potentially go much faster, as we’d get ride of the “non-critical” battles. I think that might be fair. One issue with the current system is that some battles are non-critical ( just get team credits if you win ) while others are critical ( objective gets destroyed ) which stretches the matches and reduces their stakes
  • the real issue: how does that tie in with the resources / factories / haulers system ? If a team does not have enough resources, does that mean the next attack or defense fleet gets postponed / reduced ?
  • can players still attack other objectives or factories on their own ? if not, the whole “strategy” part of the game is lessened. If they can… things can potentially be chaotic.
  • even if this system gets implemented, are we sure it’s not delaying the problem ? So there might be stakes in winning battles now, but once you have won a full match, do you still have motivation / interest in playing more matches ( especially if there is no persistent progression ? ). Is that new match system fun on its own ?
#72

This idea has merit, or perhaps a variation of it.
A slightly more linear structure to matches would certainly make each battle mean more. However, as you mention, can players still go after other objectives?

I would argue, players should definitely have other objectives to go after beyond the main attack/defence battle. These should be minor, and influence the progress of the main battle, or the strength of one of the fleets.

For example:
A space battle for Glimmerfall. Teams are matched pretty evenly at this point, so their fleets are roughly equal. The battle commences.
On the ground of the nearby Sarake, there is a facility providing power to the station. An attacking bomber team assault this, causing Glimmerfall’s turrets to switch off/misbehave… or shields to drop… or something.
In the meantime, a defending team successfully escort a hauler to a location within a short warp to Glimmerfall. This hauler then provides some sort of reinforcements to the defending team, such as improved missiles, or extra ships.
A small team of attackers, if they can discover the hauler, can disable it, robbing the defenders of their advantage.

All of this would revolve around the central battle, giving players a choice. They can participate in the main event (which is needed, otherwise what’s the point). But for those that like smaller strike missions, there would be opportunities that effectively provide team buffs/debuffs upon completion.

#73

It’s a pretty cool idea in theory… but the central battle typically only lasts 10-15 minutes. By the time the battle starts, side missions / objectives get generated, the player(s) get notified / notice them, fly there and accomplish them, the battle is now probably over. However if the side missions would somehow affect the main battles, but not necessarily the current one, but maybe the next / future ones, then maybe it could work.

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#74

Any set of original gameplay mechanics are an experiment with a high likelihood of failure. If that is the path you take then the best you can really hope for is to keep iterating and hope you hit upon something that works before your funds run out.

In the shoes of I-Novae I would transplant an existing and proven game mode directly and unashamedly from another game that’s proven to be enjoyable. I don’t have much experience of arena based space or plane combat games but I expect there’s something that works well already out there.

The multiplayer arena game that I play the most is Arma 3 King of the Hill because the core game loop is very solid. It allows you to be in a team of tens of other players and still feel as though you’re making a significant contribution to the overall effort. There are a lot of things I like about it:
Transporting players to the battle site as quickly as possible is important.
Winning or losing is based on the number of people “in the zone” so even bad players can feel useful if they are good at not dying.
Because being in the zone scores points, the battles are all kept compact.

That’s what I would steal, but as I said, there’s probably even better options already out there.

“Not invented here” syndrome can kill companies.

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#75

There are indeed many games out there that work and most of the ideas have been inspired by them. Extrapolating the outcome of some combination is possible but not guaranteed to be accurate.

Many options have already been brought up in other threads as well as this one. If the original Game Designed failed, which seems to be the case at the moment, it’s a big hole in the whole design … trying to pave it over iteratively won’t be efficient.
I:B is a bunch of different stones, dices, and cardboard sheets at the moment. Which game should be played with these peaces? Do we have all peaces for that game? What pieces are missing and should we come up with a game rather then use one that is already in the manual … ok enough metaphors.

Go back and spend a few hours redesigning the Game Design.

The choatic sandbox freedom that seems to have been planed all along doesn’t seem to work and probably still wouldn’t work (as in be more fun than some other option) even if all the missions, player feedback and rewards would be in. We have seen how players acted in the Steam Release and all these missing features would inhibit or incentives players, but they are always secondary and have more chance of not having an effect compared to a players drive to just go to the first thing that he can shoot at.

I:B has a very nice thing in it … bots, a lot of them. Most of the past space arena games either were single player or multiplayer without bots.
There were a few MOBA like games but all of them lacked mobs and were lacking in content as well. MOBA games have quite a bit of content if you look past the accessibility. There are many options to take, yet, it’s not just a flat playing field. Not only are there options in heroes, in the path of each hero, but also the map and events happening on the map.
Even though it is a very nice thought to imagining I:B be a content rich MOBA in Space, how will it fair differently then Fractured Space, Dreadnought or others … especially lacking all the resources needed to add the missing content?

Honestly, what I-Novae planed to add might even be enough to create a MOBA with a minimum in content. Different load-outs, upgrade paths, different missions. What would then be additionally needed is to restrict and tune rewards into a MOBA shape and it’s almost there. Hell, the mobs are already there! Unending fleets of ships attacking installations (towers).
(See the restricting paths idea from Planetside 2 (can’t find where that was suggested) and the missions having influence to the game world idea from just before)


Problem is that not only is content needed but also all the adjacent systems … the feedback. Without the feedback for the player, the player doesn’t get wind of being rewarded. Or get wind of actually doing good. It’s not just that the gameplay experience is lacking honing, the second big hole is the lack of feedback that players look for. The constant “hold tab to see how I am doing” thing so normal in many other games.

What’s the state of feedback to the player currently anyway? We at least had a scoreboard at some point but that regressed. A “battle won/lost” screen with feedback was mentioned many times but there was no details on it ever shown.


What I mean is … can I-Novae even push out a fully functioning game at the standard that is currently wished for by most everyone reading or should they redesign the game to something much smaller in (planed) gameplay complexity and content richness.

I think the plans posed in the roadmap made me dream to much. If anything, cuts should be made instead of factoring in what isn’t there yet to appear magically in the future and be part of a future game vision.
The game really is most closely compared to simulation games that invested most of their resources into technical development and accuracy. Second comparison could be low content, tight, arena games that do not employ or use any complex technology but compare closer to what already is fun inside I:B.

I think it would be best to really rethink the whole game design.

Personally a full fledged and polished MOBA in space with Bots as Mobs would work well but I don’t see I-Novae having enough resources to pull that off.
Another option is to constrict the sandbox and add a proper polished gamemode to it, what ARMA modders do. The content already there would most line up with what players would expect. Amount of options and weapons and “classes” and such all compare best to military simulation or arena games.
Making installations (more) attackable by prerequiring a “connected” installation to be taken out/over and giving sufficient feedback and rewards for participating.
Then more nice stuff can be added ontop of that to spice it up.

Still, none of us here is a game designer …

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#76

Maybe just a button “join Attack battle” and “join Defense battle” would be the easiest thing. Players would then spawn at carriers that are stationed a few dozen kilometres away or at the attacked station.
It would also prevent confused players playing somewhere in the middle of nowhere wondering where they are or what to do.

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#77

I like this idea. Running with it, make one of the abilities for the carrier to be able to rapidly ‘shoot’ players into a high speed warp for a max distance of say 1 Mm, and upon reaching that point the player leaves warp and enters the battles. Players can then enter a queue for this “quick deploy”, and after a short delay, during which more players/bots can enter this queue, and then after the time runs out, all of them shoot out at once, delivering instant reinforcements, and short down times for players.

You can expand this quick deploy concepts to capital ships, by having large structures/stations that hurl cap ships to the carrier’s position. These structures can be the ‘final defense battle’ for a planet, as it will enable the attacker to shoot their capitals at another planet, once a carrier reaches there.

Oh man, I feel like making a wall of text about this. This is a really cool idea imo.

This lends itself to a lattice-type system, as you can introduce a cool-down to the re-orientation of the capital ship shooter station.

You have double-float precision, let’s use it. :wink:

Okay I’ll stop.

2 Likes
#78

A more clearly defined sequence of battle events looks like a good idea to me as well.
I think thats just required in a combat game.

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#79

Adeptus Astartes 9 hours ago

"I work in IT so it’s easier for me to equate the game to my work.

Any change manager could tell you that if a project is in Dev for this long, and still cannot achieve some of the primary planned outputs of the overall process, it is doomed.

The gameplay features required to retain players with engaging, long term gameplay need supportive systems to make them work. You need A to build B, B to build C etc. etc.

This means the amount of work is so monumental, especially considering the length of Dev, that it very sadly brings little hope.

I hope I am wrong."

Sean Ingram 14 hours ago

“the seamless space to surface flight”

“It’s already in the game. Just fly into a planet(not the gas giant). Looks incredible. Not much to do there, though…

Last edited by Sean Ingram; 14 hours ago

Hey look at that other people are saying your planets and moons are boring with nothing to do on them imagine that…

#80
Month Avg. Players Gain % Gain Peak Players
Last 30 Days 1.4 -0.1 -6.52% 7
March 2020 1.5 +0.1 +8.80% 15
February 2020 1.4 -0.7 -31.62% 13
January 2020 2.1 -1.4 -39.85% 19
December 2019 3.4 -0.9 -21.37% 12
November 2019 4.4 -25.9 -85.57% 26
October 2019 30.3 - - 142

Oh no you lost half your player base retention. Did the new roadmap patch work? atleast the hud looks good right keith? lol.

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#81

You’ll get banned bud, @inovaekeith is off limits.

3 Likes
#82

Ribbon 5 hours ago

" plus ocean, weather and flora i have no doubt it would be among bestsellers on VR platforms and store apps!
Ppl there spend 20-60€ on various short, few mission games that could be also classified as tech demos so IB could male more succes there than it does here on Steam as flat screen space sim/game."

#16

INovaeFlavien [developer] 33 minutes ago

“It’s not in our plans to add space legs, that’s totally out of our scope/budget. However, planetary details ( including oceans, vegetation/trees, rocks ) are do-able. We had them in pre-alpha but they got disabled because of performance + lack of density. We have to revisit them once we’re in a polish phase.”

You snooze you lose.

#83

It’s probably time to talk briefly about retention over different time periods and why they are different problems that need fixing. The three most often analysed time periods are 1 day, 7 days and 30 days, referred to respectively as day 1, day 7 and day 30 retention rates.

Day 1 retention (target 30%+)
A low level of day one retention means problems that when the user experiences them they feel disinclined to play your game again. Possible problems in this category are fatal crashes, a poor user interface and weak core gameplay.

Day 7 retention (target 15%+)
This is where we start looking at problems of longevity of player experience. The problems in this category are adding features to allow a feeling of progression, making a competitive experience where the player wants to begin testing their skills and other features that allow a player to make their own longer term goals.

Day 30 retention (target 10%+)
These are your players that adopt the game as a favourite and keep coming back over months. This category of players want to be able to develop mastery of the game, so anything that needs a high level of skill is good. They are also very interested in community so that’s important at this stage. Finally the feeling of progression that was added for day 7 retention should be extended to allow for extremely long term goals.

A healthy retention curve will look something like this:
retention

These categories of problems should be worked through in order. There’s no point in adding extra game progression features (a day 7 problem) if most of your players are still leaving on day one. If your game is crash free, looks great, has an intuitive user interface and players are still leaving on day one, then you need to understand what the problems are with your core gameplay loop before doing anything else.

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#84

I think the HUD makes a huge difference in the first few hours of gameplay, have a look at BF-V HUD.

  • All objectives on the screen all the time
  • Biggest UI icon on the world screen is the capture zone (objective)
  • Squad mates are always shown (it’s a co-op pvp MP game)
  • Map shows all objectives all the time
  • Victory condition is visible all the time
  • Weapons are well represented, it’s core gameplay
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