Author Topic: Making new players stay  (Read 2169 times)

Offline BinaryDragon

  • Member
  • Salutes: 3
    • [CURE]
    • 30 
    • 36
    • 45 
    • View Profile
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2018, 08:50:59 am »
In the current state of "match making". Sooner or later the novices are going to face stacked ships. They are gonna figure out that their flame thrower Pyramidion-build might not be such a hot idea after all. And that's usually when they lose interest in the game and quit.

It makes me sad, every time during a sale, to observe a population that is at least 10x of what is normally is. Just to have the sale end, and slowly but surely almost all of the new players introduced to the game leave.

To combat this, you could implement a match making system that puts players directly into the game, as (one of) their selected class(es). The load outs should be selected by the captain of the ship. So in this type of game, no lobby at all.  It would also have the benefit of players not being able to see what they are going up against before the match. Meaning that "let's try to counter whatever ship/tools our opponents are bringing" will not be an option.  When the match starts the only information you have about your opponents would be : who they are and what ships they have. You would not know what weapons they have until you fight them

I do understand that this system will suck for some people. Vet's who sit and stack with their friends and stomp anyone "dumb" enough to stay in their lobby will probably have a long wait in such a match making system.  So they would have to go into a custom game, and hope someone will venture into their lobby and play with them. The novices however will not venture into this area and for those players and the player base : that is a good thing !


Offline Kestril

  • Community Ambassador
  • Salutes: 24
    • [Sass]
    • 33 
    • 36
    • 45 
    • View Profile
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2018, 02:49:19 am »
Just got done with teaching some newbies today. I come to check the forums after the update and am baffled by the suggestion that "CA's are the problem." After a few matches the enemy team managed to best a newbie captain and I after putting a plan together. Moreover, I've seen more clans stomp the newbies than anything else. At best, I think it is a misunderstanding of what the role of a CA is, and at worst, I think it's a poor and unwelcome attempt at scapegoating.

Anyway, As far as lobbies go:
Sure, we've all been there. It's late, and the comp crew just joined as a full stack. Then the first ship their captain chose hard-counters yours. I log-out when that happens some days, and I'm sure others do too. At that point, we're playing two different games. I'm there to maybe try a new build, experiment, or run a munker on crazy king, and they are there to win and stomp face with that zero-ed in lumberjack or cookie-cutter goldfish. While I don't  begrudge them for that, I think GOI could be made more clear as to which matches are more like serious skirmishes or tests of skill and coordination, and which matches are for a more casual environment. While we have the tool to differentiate the two (vet game vs non vet game), I think there could be both better general implementations and implementations specific to help vet lobbies.

In order to facilitate a more balanced environment in general, I think some tools could help, like hiding the opponent's ship and crew loadout to reduce counterpicking, or disabling the lobby swap after every match if it would make previously balanced teams unbalanced. Those two changes seem like a start. It doesn't address vet-stacking, but it does remove the tools experienced pilots can abuse for when they really want to throw the newbies to the dunes dust.

As far as specific things to facilitate creating vet lobbies:  I think vet lobbies should be encouraged in the form of unlockable cosmetics, decals, and ship themes that you get for *exclusively* playing in vet games. Heck, it could even generate store credit to get that new decal or paint you want. Not only would it encourage vets to do vet games, but also newbies to stick around until they reach veteran level. That may be enough to overcome that initial hurtle. After all,  playing at that higher-level may be intimidating *but* may be worth it if you only need 10 more matches to get that new ship theme. Perhaps at the end of 10 matches, the vet lobby won't seem that bad! The real new theme were the engineer routes and gunner skills you learned along the way.

--------
As far as positive things to say go when getting stomped, I usually take it as an opportunity to explain the game:

"Yeah, they got us in a 2v1. Can't outrepair two ships unless everyone dives onto the hull."
or
"That was a well timed flak shot. They waited for the armor to drop."
or
"See how that fish alternates to the side carros while the hwacha's on reload? That's why we are always repairing.  They got a good fish pilot."
or
"Their gunner was just a quicker draw on the hwacha, that's all. Always important to shoot those first."
or
"Yeah, *that's* what the lumberjack does. Hard to aim at first, but really scary now. Just got to shut it down with our artimis next time."

Once newbies recognize the good play they are more likely to try and grow to counter it rather than give up in frustration. Sometimes it takes about three matches, but once they get it, the newbies get it and can hold their own with a bit of management.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 03:04:11 am by Kestril »

Offline HamsterIV

  • Member
  • Salutes: 328
    • 10 
    • 45
    • 45 
    • View Profile
    • Monkey Dev
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2018, 02:26:38 pm »
I have always attributed low retention rates to GOI being a niche product. I have inflicted this game on all my IRL friends and none of them caught the GOI bug in the same way I did. If this sort of game had universal appeal, Ubisoft or EA would have made a clone of it by now and probably even a multi sequel franchise.

Some of my IRL friends who don't play the game anymore got to play on very high functioning (multiple 45+ crew) ships in very tight games and probably experienced some of the best GOI has to offer. Yet they didn't stick around. Even if every new player got to play perfectly balanced matches and never met a "stacked crew," most of the influx from the sale would get tired and move on in a few weeks anyway.

Offline Richard LeMoon

  • Member
  • Salutes: 284
    • [SȦLT]
    • 29 
    • 45
    • 45 
    • View Profile
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2018, 06:47:08 pm »
HamsterIV hits the nail on the head. There is no one to blame for driving people away from the game. People drift away naturally due to the way the game itself plays. The core mechanics are vastly different than what people are used to, and only hook a small number of total new players.

The only way to stop this is to change the core game in a very significant way. Then it would be a different game.

Offline BinaryDragon

  • Member
  • Salutes: 3
    • [CURE]
    • 30 
    • 36
    • 45 
    • View Profile
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2018, 07:54:22 am »
About the phrases "It's a niche game" and/or "It's an Indie Game"

To me, these phrases just seem like ways to excuse the low player base. It implies that the game have a very limited appeal to the general public. I don't think this is true, at all. And using excuses like this to try and stop improving the game is a really bad idea.

Hamster made his own suggestion on how to improve the match making system. I assume he did so because he thinks there is room for improvement and that his suggested improvement would combat the  "low retention rates" ?

Take any kind of business. If you get 10.000 customers in the door and out of those, 1 come back. Maybe there is some room for improvement somewhere ? Of course you could start making up excuses and say "most people have bad taste" or be more diplomatic and say "only a very selected group of people are able to enjoy the product I provide them with"

When you get a lot of people in the door of your business. It's because people assume that they want what you have to offer. Goio sold a lot of copies because people liked what they saw in the promotional videos and perhaps on youtube also.

This brings us to a paradox. If only 1 in 10.000 people can enjoy Guns of Icarus. Then why does it have such good ratings ? 91% out of 13.398 reviews are positive on steam ?!
(btw around 1/3 negative reviews revolve around the low playerbase)

Do you think it could be because people pick up the game, experience how awesome it is during the sale. Write a good review, while they have fun and good matches. And then once the population, surely but safely gets decimated by a broken match making system. They lose interest ?

« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 07:56:58 am by BinaryDragon »

Offline Corporal Ravioli

  • Member
  • Salutes: 8
    • 38 
    • 45
    • 45 
    • View Profile
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2018, 12:46:40 am »
I can attest to having a good dozen-plus friends who have joined and left this game because they grew tired of the social bullshit inherent to dealing with experienced players "literally not wanting us here." They were unlucky and rolled the temperamental pilots and opponents that opted to scream and insult instead of support and educate new players, and because of that initial experience, opted out forever.

I can't imagine how many new kids have left this way.

Yes, this game favors the persistent - trick is you have to be /literally lucky/ to even maintain the energy to be such. It's such a social gamble and it's one of the reasons that I, even five years later, still log right the hell out once my emotional stamina wears thin.

Offline HamsterIV

  • Member
  • Salutes: 328
    • 10 
    • 45
    • 45 
    • View Profile
    • Monkey Dev
Re: Making new players stay
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2018, 03:17:05 pm »
This game does have limited appeal to the general public. Our core mechanic is having 4 stranger share the same health bar. Given the state of trolling in online games, this is a terrible idea. Even Left 4 Dead, IMO the best team based game prior to GOIO didn't have the guts to implement a mechanic like this. How GOIO has managed to keep a viable community for 6 years I attribute to it being able to scratch an itch in some players that no other game can reach.

Main stream gaming has been pushing an empowerment fantasy for some time now. Be the hero, get the highest kill/death ratio on the server, order thousands of soldiers to their doom on a whim. Yet GOIO is essentially a dis-empowerment game. To be a good gunner or engineer you have to stick to a roll assigned to you by another player. Even as the captain you have to accept that winning or loosing will depend as much on your crews ability as it will on your knowledge of the meta and ship handling skill. It is a tough pill for some players to swallow and once the novelty of 3d gas bag pew pew runs out, it is understandable they will leave GOIO for the next novel experience in their steam library.

As for my own rambling post, I wanted to show an alternate lobby/match making system that would benefit my style of play while possibly hindering other people's style of play. I would love if muse implemented it, but I acknowledge I am not the "average player." So catering to my own likes and dislikes will probably not do much to help the game towards universal appeal.