Author Topic: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?  (Read 1066 times)

Offline The Sky Wolf

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Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« on: May 31, 2017, 12:26:13 am »
Is Bartle's Taxonomy being ignored?

Today this thread will be directed towards discussing Guns of Icarus Online's consistently dwindling player base and how to fix it. If you have ever dabbled in, or researched video game development, then you are probably well aware of Bartle's Taxonomy and how each gamer can 'generally' be boiled down into one of, or a mix of the 4 basic player types: The Achiever, The Explorer, The Socializer, and The Killer. For more detailed information on these player types and to give insight into which one you are, please click on the video link below. (PLEASE WATCH VIDEO TO UNDERSTAND THIS THREAD)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1drDuaQXm_U


According to the video above, Guns of Icarus Online is suffering from an unbalanced overpopulation of The Killer player types (Which is what about half of the veteran players are) and hence is the reason for the game's inability to retain the vast majority of new players after a week or so. Muse Games is constantly re-promoting the game via sponsoring famous YouTubers to make fun game-play videos, as well as promoting the game in various Gamer Conventions to inspire masses of people to go ahead and try the game.


Your Thoughts: But doesn't promoting the game successfully cause healthy player surges?


Yes it does, but it is only temporary. These Muse Games promotions would be better seen as military propaganda posters during WWII... Which did a good job of inspiring thousands of young men to be highly motivated to join the Army before being deployed during the D-Day Invasion to be mowed down by the thousands on the beaches by a better prepared force. (Click the following link to be reminded of what it is like for a lot of new players) [WARNING - GRAPHIC VIOLENCE DEPICTED] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1drDuaQXm_U


Your Thoughts: But what can we do about this?


Well first off let's see how each player type is accommodated in this game, and then we'll go from there.


1. The Socializer: How can Socializers do what they do best here and have fun? Can Socializers effectively socialize in Guns of Icarus Online...? Do they have what they need?

They can chat in Global, Faction, Clan, Party, Match and Crew chats. They can potentially have fun little conversations with a whole lobby for about 5 minutes at a time before they're sent off into a match; where they hopefully spend most of their time concentrating on the battle instead of chatting incessantly to their 3 other crew members, texting in the team chat, or match chat. They can also come to the GoI forums.. where it is generally very, very quiet. Is this enough for the average Socializer?

No.. Socializers need constant engagement with other players to have fun. Talkativeness and fun interaction is not a guaranteed staple in the GoI lobbies, or aboard ships.


Your Thoughts: What else do they need then? Isn't it a good thing that their distracted yapping makes them easier prey for The Killers?


It is a good thing, but it's only a short amount of time before they get tired of dying and desire to go somewhere else just to casually talk and relax. They need a Hub.. a Pub.. a "real" 3D rendered chat room of sorts. Preferably an actual open world to see their own character stand around with other characters while conversing. (This is commonly suggested for a reason)

These people would happily stand around talking and joking while aboard a ship indefinitely if they didn't have to be forced into battle. This type of thing can come with Adventure Mode - if that is ever released, but it would be best to see it as it's own little simple feature to make due for the Socializer crowd sooner rather than later for player retention's sake. Just imagine a tiny Co-op Mode where nothing attacks you and you could walk around frivolously interacting with scores of other players.

 That is honestly just about all that type of player would ever need to keep them playing since it is friendship bonds and creative conversation that keeps them going... Otherwise they go back to SecondLife, or RuneScape, or Guild Wars 2, or some other garbage like that.


2. The Explorer: How can Explorers do what they do best here and have fun? Can Explorers effectively explore in Guns of Icarus Online...? Do they have what they need?

Currently the closest thing Explorers get to a genuine and engaging exploring experience is to sight-see with their Spyglass while floating through the limited number of maps available in both Skirmish and Alliance Mode from aboard an airship. Though they must admire the glimpses of beautiful landscape with haste before they abruptly get engaged in battle - lest they get scorned by their captain for not doing their job.


Your Thoughts: Isn't that enough, though? Many of the maps are vast and beautiful.. and isn't it their casual attitude towards the game that The Killers also love to prey upon anyway?


Yes, and no.. The Explorers constantly need new places to explore or else they get bored after a week and leave. Not to mention just floating passed beautiful scenery soon becomes dull once you've seen it all over and over.. They also desire to interact with the world, not just stare at it, and constantly getting killed isn't a big help in retaining them when you combine it with so few places to explore.

 The best remedy for this would once again be the open-world Adventure Mode - if that is still planned. Another way to help this would be to allow airships to land their ship (just in Alliance Mode for now) so they can traverse through the buildings and terrain on foot.. They would love to just jump off their ship and storm into an oil rig armed with pistols and sword, and fly to the moon on a gigantic bottle rocket. Until there are more ways to explore and more things to learn, our Explorers will just be casually coming and going. They don't want to die in the same boring place over and over again.. They need to be dying in new places to stay happy.


3. The Achiever: How can Achievers do what they do best here and have fun? Can Achievers effectively get rewarding achievements in Guns of Icarus Online...? Do they have what they need?

Achievers appear to be reasonably happy in Guns of Icarus Online. They have a whole range of medals, titles, outfits, and skill levels to earn from both PvP and PvE. They are the people most willing to play with the noobier players, and the most willing to bring obviously terrible ship loadouts into a match and even die a hundred deaths just to earn a badge or two. These are the people who take skill levels the most seriously. These are the people that The Killers truly love and adore, and without them many of The Killers would probably just leave.


4. The Killer: How can Killers do what they do best here and have fun? Can Killers effectively get kills in Guns of Icarus Online...? Do they have what they need?

This is probably the happiest group in the game. This game is and always will be a PvP game. Skirmish Mode rules and Guns of Icarus Online is undoubtedly the best steampunk airship combat game out there.

 For this group there's always that new surge of noobs to look forward to stomping. There's always the level 45 in 3 skills veteran Achiever with every badge in the game who has convinced himself he's better than he actually is because he looks like 'a real captain' in his new coat while smoking a pipe. These people are only unhappy when their crew mates and teammates are totally incompetent or trolling, and when there aren't enough lobbies going to get some kills in for the night due to low population.

 If this game totally fails to retain its Socializers, Explorers, and Achievers, then even the Killers will leave and that's when the game will finally die. Just think on it.





tl;dr - Too bad, you have to read.

Offline HamsterIV

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 04:51:36 pm »
I made reference to this in a prior post:
https://gunsoficarus.com/community/forum/index.php/topic,4367.msg73532.html#msg73532

Extra Credits does point out that not all games can be all things to all players and that the really good ones focus on one or two.

Guns of Icarus in my eyes supports both the Social and Killer paradigm. The game dynamics require the players to rely on their crew/captain thus encouraging communication. Beyond that the voice chat, friends list, and occasional heavy handed moderation keeps the community a decent place to hang out in. Given the long lobby times of the past, it was a nice place to socialize.

Sky Wolf already covered the Killers so I won't go more into that.

When I am in the mood to be social and/or grind my fellow man into the dirt and drink deep of his tears I play Guns of Icarus. When I am in the mood to explore or relax with some mindless grinding I play different games.

Offline The Sky Wolf

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 05:33:47 pm »
This game's high requirement for teamwork and communication in order to have any success makes this game very niche. While I personally think the game is perfect as is, the player base still dwindles and still Muse suffers. I suggest they add more accomodations for the different player types so people won't have to go anywhere else to get what they're looking for in a game. I believe they could accomplish this and still definitely hold true to their own unique Muse dieslpunk style in all aspects and have the game be more successful without sacrificing their originality.

Offline The Sky Wolf

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 05:39:52 pm »
The 2nd video link in the original post is supposed to be this Saving Private Ryan scene, but the links got mixed up. Here it is, Viewer discretion is advised. https://youtu.be/mT3q8tba_lw

Offline HamsterIV

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 06:56:56 pm »
For me the core of Guns of Icarus is being part of an effective crew. It is seeing my efforts combine with the efforts of others to do accomplish something that I alone could not accomplish. The dieslpunk aesthetic is just window dressing that gives us the vocabulary to better communicate between strangers. Muse could release an update that would change the setting to space, a demonic hellscape, or neon cyber realm (ala Tron) and I would still enjoy the game just as much.

Muse has a limited amount of man power and I think it would be poorly spent on adding features to the game to attract people who do not appreciate the core game play.

I totally understand the desire to get more people into this game. In an ideal world Guns of Icarus would have the player base of late 2000's WoW (World or Warcraft), and Muse could drop content updates with equal frequency. However if Muse were to make their game more WoW like they would be competing in an over saturated market place and loose a good deal of the uniqueness that keeps the large chunks of the community here.

Offline The Sky Wolf

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2017, 08:06:24 pm »
Do you have any of your own suggestions that might help the low pop problems we deal with? Do you believe that simply a finished and polished Alliance Mode will be the most positive next step for Muse and that they have it all under control?

Offline HamsterIV

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2017, 08:16:43 pm »
My own view is that Muse needs to advertise in places that have a higher density of people that would enjoy the type of experience that Guns of Icarus provides. Having random youtubers scream at pretty scenery will not attract long term players. Like wise the advertisements should show the game at its best. A high functioning crew doing their job and using the mic to pass useful information around.

As for development a polished alliance mode would be great as would more content and balance fixes for PvP. I would also like to have capable AI pilots for people who want to engie or Gun and can't attract a decent human pilot, but that is more a personal preference.

On a whole the game is great as is for a small section of the population that appreciate it for what it is. There are plenty of other games for the rest of the population and I do not begrudge those other game's success or their player base's happiness. While the scatter shot approach of big sales and flashy youtuber promotions is doing a good job of keeping Muse afloat financially, I think a more focused recruitment drive would do a better job of growing the community.

Offline HamsterIV

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2017, 08:20:12 pm »
An example of the kind of advertizing Muse needs to do is Eve's "I was There" video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSxSyv4LC1c

Offline The Sky Wolf

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2017, 08:51:05 pm »
I totally agree, especially regarding the YouTubers. Muse paid them all that money and they didn't even take the time to learn the game and nothing was coordinated or anything... It was all just incoherent screaming to appease their own audience. All of the recent sponsored videos were very poor examples of showcasing. I wasn't too happy when I saw them.

Offline Richard LeMoon

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 10:09:37 pm »
GOI actually has higher support for 'Explorers' than you imply. Exploring is not always about actual 'exploring' the game looking for visuals and what not. 'Exploring' is also about finding possibilities, and not taking the well trodden path. I don't think you are an Explorer, based on your view of what that aspect is all about.

I rank about 80% Explorer on some tests. I filled this gaming need in GOI by never taking meta, and constantly trying new techniques. That being said, the exploring possibilities are limited, and quickly run out. This is where another test comes in, and what kept me around the game so long.

In that test, I am a Tactician. A rather aggressive one at that. This is a combination of Explorer and the other archetypes, bringing killer under its umbrella.

In the end, you are right. 'Killer' is the most dominant player type supported in the game, and often forms a wall. You have to be at least part killer to stay long in Guns.

You could make modes that cut killer out completely, but how much would they be played? I don't know. Races, treasure hunts (like a randomized Resource Race), 'sky pub', etc. But those are silly side modes. GOI is a rich world waiting to be uncovered. The current game just scratches the surface of what could be. And I don't mean an MMO or open world game. Those... well, generally turn out to be junk and I am glad Muse did not try to go full 'Adventure mode'.


Offline Dementio

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2017, 11:50:05 pm »
I rank about 80% Explorer on some tests. I filled this gaming need in GOI by never taking meta, and constantly trying new techniques. That being said, the exploring possibilities are limited, and quickly run out.

Quickly run out? It took me two years before I thought to myself that I am running out of ideas. Then Squids showed up everywhere opening a new meta and then there were Junkers with mines. And somewhere in-between Alliance betas were happening, opening up even more possibilities.

Maybe we just see the result of trying to make a game for explorers that really have to be socializing killers/achievers to like the game mechanics.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 11:51:40 pm by Dementio »

Offline HamsterIV

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 12:43:30 am »
That kind of exploration only happens at the captain level. Unless people fly with mostly AI crew (which has been the bulk of my adventure mode experience) less than 1/4 of the players will experience that sort of exploration. Every one else had better be satisfied with being social killers.

Offline Schwalbe

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 07:33:13 am »
I would even go as far as to say that this kind of exploration is heavily discouraged for engineers and gunners, because the class loadout metas, so to call them, are very strict and any mistake done with those can prove lethal, especially if you fucking suck, like me.*

I'm saying that as a mix of socializer (vide making friends in game and having normal conversations during match - which is possible unless you have a really serious match), explorer (ever played old school RPGs? I love discovering different outcomes, experimenting with different play styles, branching paths etc.), and regular team-focused killer that enjoys well coordinated slaughter as well as fighting worthy opponent (if I feel well, not tired shitless etc.).


* - for example, I suck at being an engineer, because if I accept recommended loadout that has spanner and mallet in wrong order and I don't correct it, it fucks up my pyra main engie spanner cycles, and provides VERY troublesome during intense firefights
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 08:07:50 am by Schwalbe »

Offline Thalassa

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2017, 03:24:40 am »
The peak game population is lately down to ~20 players. Its becomming unplayable.
Just a few months back I remember that there were 100 players minimum at all times, and that finding a lobby of friendly players whas relatively easy for either PVP or Coop.

I hope there is something that can be done to bring new players into the game, and most importantly, retain them.

Offline MightyKeb

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Re: Bartle's Taxonomy Ignored?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2017, 08:31:42 am »
The peak game population is lately down to ~20 players. Its becomming unplayable.


This is simply untrue. The game regularly passes 20 players between afternoon to night EU Time. I think you're referring to the minimum population.