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Early game player retention

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Ideas' started by EhRa, May 4, 2016.

Mods: 101i, Mazey
  1. EhRa

    EhRa Ooooooof Staff Alumni Donator
    1. KRPG

    Let's face it, the game is practically dead. Half my friends barely play it and the max I've seen at a time is 6 players. (In referring to AUS).
    I accept that this is still early days for the game, but it will never pick up if something isn't done about it.

    There are two ways this could be fixed, involvement more of the community and of the devs.

    Community involvement: Some day a week set as "Tuesday Night Trench Run", where players battle out against each other for a place on a leaderboard. If no players are available, the player could go up against bots, (with the highest possible hacks on).

    More leaderboards and competitions (link in with the above idea).

    Quests or daily challenges, could help keep player retention.

    Play with the dev day, where players can meet, greet, grab a drink and chat with the devs. This could allow more communication with the devs and normal steam players without the use of a 3rd party program. Older players or more prominent could also come in and socialise and welcome new players.

    Let's face it, something has to be done, and we, the community, should do it!

    PUNK123 and Teodor1 like this.
  2. Bint

    Bint Haxor

    I like the idea of a mini tourney, would be cool if we could have the brackets displayed on the billboard and they could update after each match but that's more of a mod suggestion.
    Magmus and EhRa like this.
  3. bunnie

    bunnie Haxor Tester

    a lot depends on MM and the THD team too. MM doesn't know how to even use forums i think and isn't very good at advertising. i just hope that if some popular youtuber makes a video about trechn run MM will not say that "he played like an idiot"
    the only time i've talked to MM was in trench run on free weekend iirc. i'm not sure if it was even MM playing his own account, though...
  4. PUNK123

    PUNK123 Hella wRangler Staff Alumni Tester

    It is more the developers' issue with retention. I understand the whole "if we give 50% sale we lose a ton of money" but if you dont do something to actually get steam players to buy it then your game will be as dead as it was before the actual release. Even the people who bought it on the small sale wont really help the playerbase because they would either refund it once they found out the game didnt have an active playerbase or just stop trying to find an online game with real people. The last 7-8 times ive tried to play(including 5 minutes ago) there were zero players online(the specific last time i tried to join us and it said there wasnt a server in that region). Threads like this only really work if there is a community to turn to who have fond memories of the game and i either bought it too late to have those moments or they just havent happened yet.
  5. Geti

    Geti Please avoid PMing me (poke a mod instead) THD Team Administrator Global Moderator

    ...I appreciate your vision, but I currently can't see most of it happening.

    I'd like some sort of weekly leaderboard reset and reward (top 5 get 10,20,30,40,50 coins or similar, top 1 gets name added to a list of weekly champions). It's the only thing on the list that isn't massively time-intensive or irrelevant. Could apply to all leaderboards, so top pro b-ballers and never-sober booze-hounds get recognition as well.

    That and getting the community hosting stuff out there is probably about as much as I can see happening.

    Quests/Daily challenges would only be possible if it was from a preconfigured list, there's no way someone's making new content every single day for the game.

    Meet the devs day is something we could do short term but is more labour and not something that results easily in more sales - buy the game to talk to the devs about the game on this one day at a specific time isn't much of a selling point, just increases engagement post-sales.

    At the moment our position is hard; the game simply isn't paying for itself and looks like it never will. 2 years 2 dev wages + contractors + servers isn't trivial money.
    • If we discount it heavily, existing players feel they got ripped off. We are looking at a few bundles though.
    • If we go free, same happens and we never recoup the costs, though probably get more players (-> servers cost more).
    • If we got F2P like KAG classic we need to figure out what free players "dont get" and how to make that not-slimy. This is in general quite a bit of work but might be the best long-term option for the game at least getting some play-time.
    • Generally, If we sink more time into it, it's more time we probably never make the money back on. We're spending most of our time on other projects at the moment (MM on Transmigration, myself on non-THD work, see twitter). It's pretty clear that we need to address some serious sustainability issues.

    As I see it, the issues with the game are pretty hard to surmount:
    • Few players -> not enough people to play with -> less engagement -> fewer players -> loop
    • Split regions -> helps with ping but splits the community even more
    • Generally crappy promotion/no press interest. Pretty hard to turn around at this point, especially as noone wants to write about it, except the one RPS article before launch.
    • The big one: More suitable to local play -> on the wrong platform for local multi. totally non-portable code in terms of getting it on ps4/xbone -> no chance of it being on the right platform for local multi.

    I'm not sure how to proceed at the moment. I'm not sure there's much we really can do, realistically. I'll be listening for your thoughts, of course.

    @PUNK123 - http://i.imgur.com/r8Z7G7J.png now I know how @Leo felt :)
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
    Vamist and PUNK123 like this.
  6. daskew87

    daskew87 Legendary corpse humper Donator

    Guys I feel this might be a 2D game example worth talking about:

    Shell Shock Live
    (I am not advertising the game, I am using it as an example for a point I'm making)

    This game in my opinion is pretty average.



    Look at what they have done to promote the game - All fricking sorts, they seem to be geniuses at it. The game inself is kind of lame and boring but you go online and it is jam packed full of players, way more than kag currently has.

    They way they have done the graphics. The introduction cinematic. The shop they have. The stats they give after a game. The Leveling component. SO MANY SLICK FEATURES.

    :down:About KAG (amazing game)
    I think KAG is one of the best online competitive 2D games ever made. The KAG devs must be brilliant people! But I believe KAG could go huge.

    I know shell shock live is a very different style of game. But when I go online in that game I am SHOCKED (shell shocked maybe lol) as to how many people are actually playing it, considering it really isnt anything special. I think the guys behind this game have shown a streak of excellence when it comes to polishing the game up for users.

    :down:About Trenchrun (haven't really played yet)
    Same deal right? I'm sure this game is brilliant, but I believe that you can even make average 2D games get great numbers if the advertising and all the fine trimmings and functionality is done right.

    By the way I want to stress I am not saying THD games are average, I am actually saying they are great. Imagine what could be achieved if a lame artillery game like Shell Shock Live has become popoular.


    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  7. Geti

    Geti Please avoid PMing me (poke a mod instead) THD Team Administrator Global Moderator

    It's a very fair point daskew.
    From a cursory look, in general it looks like they've:
    • Done press better. This might be their #1 "win", and it's a big one. It's something that indies in general neglect - and is something THD in general is very bad at. We have a PR guy and he's good at what he does when he's able to - but with TR in particular the schedule kept changing, heck even the game direction kept changing, the art style changed part-way through, and I think it still has serious identity issues (like KAG). It's hard to get people to talk about something when it doesn't even seem to "know what it is".
    • Got Polished menus/Interface. This is something I really believe makes a huge difference, and MM and I don't see eye to eye on. It's the first thing in-game and makes the first impression good or bad.
      His counterpoint is that games like DayZ did well even when the experience of getting in-game was so terrible early on (annoying install, need separate game as well, waiting hours for a server, complicated and ugly GUI, and then once you're in-game confusing as fuck). I think that speaks more to how well-timed DayZ was in the zombie survival space, and a pile of luck, than that menus don't matter, but hey.
    • Ensure Constant Progression. We've done this in TR actually but it's probably not in the way people really care about. People seem to want to unlock weapons and vehicles and slowly become "better" even if this puts new players at a disadvantage. You can do it in ways that don't (ensure everything is balanced, etc) but that gives the progression aspect less "oomph". There's no progression in KAG.
    All in all this is quite a tricky thing to surmount. It's something I'm very very conscious that we need to do better, because my ability to keep doing this in the future depends on it. I'm not sure if MM sees things the same.

    ...I'll stop expounding why the game is in trouble :) The progression thing in general is definitely something that keeps people coming back, but it's actually more present there in TR than KAG, and KAG is doing much better than TR is at the moment (in sales and playerbase)
    blackjoker77777, daskew87 and PUNK123 like this.
  8. PUNK123

    PUNK123 Hella wRangler Staff Alumni Tester

    Still remember the unlockable thread that everyone was spamming for and begging for. TBH i would love bronze, silver, and golden weapons that are just aesthetics. Based off of kills ofc.
    EhRa likes this.
  9. Geti

    Geti Please avoid PMing me (poke a mod instead) THD Team Administrator Global Moderator

    I'm looking into if there's a "simple" way to do permanent unlock stuff at the moment; particularly with costumes so people can aim for a "full wardrobe" (which would be like 500 coins even with the 50% off)
    Fate and EhRa like this.
  10. daskew87

    daskew87 Legendary corpse humper Donator

    This is all good stuff geti, thanks man ::):

    I'm so pleased you liked my comment earlier. I'm not sure I know what things to add to make KAG/trenchrun more popular. But something tells me they really could be :flex:

    These games are clever, highly skill-based. Just over two years ago when I first started playing KAG I wanted to throw my laptop out the window for about a week cos of extreme anger over dying all the time. But I stuck at it and now I'm pretty good and I play the game probably over 10 hours a week! Best game investment I've ever bought, even more than Diablo 2 12 years ago ::D:
    epsilon likes this.
  11. Fate

    Fate Studying seashells

    Different skins for weapon projectiles for each class maybe?
    Variable grenade/rocket/mine sprites and explosion animations (gas blast, balloon bomb, confetti, fireworks, TNT, propane tanks) come to mind.
    Variable movement/crouching/idle frames/animations (skipping/hopping, moonwalking, handstand, meditation).
    Adding a bit of more goofyness might go a long way.

    Every game that follows the "class-based combat formula with only skill dividing players" has had a lot of options for making your character have different looks/weapons/animations (Team Fortress 2, Overwatch, Battlefield Heroes, Loadout)
    EhRa likes this.
  12. daskew87

    daskew87 Legendary corpse humper Donator

    I'm gonna suggest some ideas for this for the first time:

    This is for KAG (please don't move or delete from here)

    Just some general ideas
    • Customisable heads - like in terraria, but it doesnt need to be as diverse as that. Just more than it is now maybe.
    • Cool KAG intro graphics.
    • Maybe more soundtracks?
    • A big change and expansion of levels on the Challenge server. I noticed people really like this stuff when I hosted my custom one - it brought in many customers.
    • 10 times more offcial CTF and TDM maps. I think Geti and MM want to keep this small and concise, but imo people want more maps to play with.
    • After a match - briefly show stats like: Serial Killer of the match (most kills), "living" legend (best kill to death ratio), Best Mason (person who placed the most blocks), Blood Thirsty One (person will best kill streak in match), Eagle of the match (person with most stomping kills)
    • When you win a match in official servers you get a game-coin. Game coins can purchase more content in the game shop. Like a slightly different looking sword when you're knight.
    • Another official competetive game-mode - One that is very easy to access because it starts in less than 30 seconds (people gravitate towards that more).

    I'm sure all these ideas have been suggested before. And also I'm sure that the developing team for KAG has better things to do than to add lots of extra content. But in my dreams this game gets deeper content and goes up in popularity!

    I love this game.

    (other ideas)

    • Ability to add a "friend" and find the game he is in easily.
    • More animals. Maybe a dangerous octopus
    • Another tileset

    Yeh I think in my view the game could go up another gear with basically just a whopping load of content. Price the game 50% higher afterwards and see the money roll in, lol.

    I think though that it's maybe about just what THD want to do with their time. I think Geti you like to invent new cool games and not go over old material - which is a pretty decent sensibility in fairness to THD. I'm not a mind-reader though lol.
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
    epsilon likes this.
  13. EhRa

    EhRa Ooooooof Staff Alumni Donator
    1. KRPG

    You realise this is for player retention for TR, but I guess it could be used in KAG too.
  14. daskew87

    daskew87 Legendary corpse humper Donator

    Yes I appologise I was talking about KAG.

    I really screwed this up, I forgot this thread was about TR.

    epsilon likes this.
  15. Monsteri

    Monsteri Slower Than Light Tester

    The game doesn't retain players because it's not that complex mechanically, and there's no market interest. Sad to say but you can find a similar experience on Miniclip for free. People also see the art style and are likely put off by it because it's not really distinctive enough, just the #999 pixel platformer in their minds. The devs did know this early on, and why they continued is likely because it was a fun project to work on, not because they wanted success.
  16. Chrispin

    Chrispin KAG Guard Tester

    This video may be applicable

    Reasons why many multiplayer-only games fail:
    1.) Pay walls which restrict the size of the playerbase, thus reducing incentive for others to buy the game
    2.) Gameplay not unique

    Reasons why many multiplayer-only games stay successful:
    1.) Free/very cheap
    2.) Good replayability (modded game servers or sandboxy gameplay)

    Blizzard might be breaking even thanks to the company reputation and hype surrounding the game, but I really do think Overwatch on PC will be dead within a month post-launch

    I think the only option you have (IF you want to revive TR at all) is some kind of F2P model, giving those who already bought the game freemium benefits of some kind
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    blackjoker77777 likes this.
  17. darDar

    darDar KAG Guard Forum Moderator Tester

    As I posted alredy in that thread and @Geti said this would be the better place, I'll reply some more in here..

    Geti: There are so many obvious PR related issues and I'm wondering why no one notices that..
    The official game website at: https://trenchrun.thd.vg/en/ still leads to the STEAM group instead of the STEAM market when clicking the steam button.
    The official YT channel still has the TR Teaser2 as a default video for channel visitors instead of the official trailer..
    These are just two, and that's a cruel job on the PR part.

    I can understand that you don't want to lower the price or even make it free due to get rewarded for the work you put in it, but right now TR is at a stage where you won't get any buyers anyway and the few you might have, will be pretty pissed for buying a game for 8$ which has zero players.
    If you however make it available for free, you have at least the chance to build a playerbase and make money with that. That's the only chance I can see here for both; you being rewarded + the game get players.
  18. Geti

    Geti Please avoid PMing me (poke a mod instead) THD Team Administrator Global Moderator

    Definitely agree about the site screw-ups. I dont run either of those things but I've passed them on to those who do.

    It's less that we're looking for a reward and more that there's explicit instructions from valve not to massively drop or make free the price shortly after release. We'd love people to play the game, and I agree that long-term some sort of f2p is probably "the solution".

    As it is it's very hard to justify the work though, because it hasn't paid for itself so far, and it's no longer much fun to work on. We do "sort of" have the infrastructure set up for at least doing the same thing as with KAG classic though, having free accounts and paid ones. Simplest I can see is not giving any coins to free players, so they cant drink or get costumes or basketballs, and excluding them from the leaderboards, but they can play the game and be "content" for the people who have paid. That's a way I can see it going in a while, but we can't do that at least for some months.

    Also, @Monsteri in his usual "no bullshit" way is on the money. The game is on the wrong platform, and honestly not that distinctive in terms of gameplay. It's fun and "works" but it's not unique outside of the lobby, the graphics say "another indie game" to people, and the case where it's most enjoyable (local multi) hardly exists at all on PC.

    @Chrispin - I'd say we have equal contributions from both sides, sadly.
    SirDangalang likes this.
  19. Vermilicious

    Vermilicious Ballista Bolt Thrower

    To be honest, I'm not very surprised Trench Run has failed thus far. I'm not exactly sure what the big issues are, but I think some relevant things have already been pointed out here. Personally, I didn't like it so much because of the following reasons (that I can think of now):
    • The game is too casual. Matches are incredibly short and there's little depth.
    • No building or other creative aspects.
    • The game is hard. I never managed to earn a single coin (I think).
    • The control scheme is awkward, unlike what was done with KAG.
    • The graphic style is just weird and the visual elements of the game hard to interpret. Too noisy.
    • Not very memorable. No special gimmicks. (If you added the crazy screaming from Butcher for example, maybe it would've been funny enough)
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
    EhRa likes this.
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