pikapawz

On the subject of Steam...

8 posts in this topic

So there is another (Now very derailed!) thread where the issue of asymmetric balance came up and how it effects the game, especially in the notorious early tiers where everyone thinks everything the other guy has is OP (Even their bolt actions according to side chat!).

I want to talk about that imbalance, if it's perceived or genuine and how it will effect the future of the game and it's steam release if nothing changes. I want to stress this is not intended as a sky is falling post. I do not want to spread doom and gloom, only start a discussion on what can be done to tie off any _potential_ issues.

In the last thread I suggested totally at random and without though that T0 (And T0 alone) could simply get symmetrical balance (that is Tank X on allied and Tank Y on axis are functionally identical in armour and firepower, the just look different). Of course this wouldn't be popular by a long shot but it WOULD solve the balance issue. It was an idea I just put out there with the intention of generating discussion, honestly. It's not something I personally stand behind with certainty and not something I am against, either. I admit for me, a big draw is the realism too but is that major selling point these days? (A selling point for sure but a big one?)

Look at it from the point of view of a brand new typical steam player from the latest generation of gamers. The people who play H&G, BF1942 and MOBAs. These are about 60% or higher of the active Steam user base (645,263 players on DOTA alone). The rest - others who may be already interested in this -Are here, have probably already been here or they're on Squad, Project Reality or ArmA. How do we pull them back over?

That is what I want to talk about here~

You see we're in an age where people just don't _care_ that much about historical accuracy in games (I'm looking at that steaming pile of waste called Battlefield One) they either want fast game play (Not going to work here!) or solid balance, ideally both... We don't have that. Now of course we don't _want_ that either. The historical accuracy is a decent chunk of the game in all respects but in my opinion it should come secondary to usability and gameplay.

Here is what the vast majority of people will do at the Steam release: A chunk will log in, spawn, see the character models and simply log out, probably after making a few disgustingly bad memes about it and putting on the community page on Steam. We can not win these players over - They had their mind made up before they finished the download. We obviously do not cater to these people untill we somehow can get a wonderful new set of models made super fast. A few will hop in and see the state of the tank commander model or the truck driver and do the same, this one is a wider problem, that model is simply not going to cut it these days. Graphics are not an important part of the game but they are a part of it, and 15 year old blocks of polygons DO attract unwanted and needless criticism. They'll then get confused as to why they can't get out of the truck, out of the tank or off the ATG. It's 2016 and this kind of freedom in gameplay is considered normal now, this will annoy a lot of people. I know something about this is in the works. Locking people into a vehicle seems to be sliding back into being normal, but the idea someone can't get off the ATG or set up pre-positions will really bother some players, especially the ArmA crowd.

A lot more people are simply going to log in to faction X and play until they encounter something overpowered or something they perceive as so. They will hop to the faction that has it while the other half will flock to the Steam forums to complain about the balance. This is the one I am trying to preemptively talk about here. How do we address this? A new tutorial that really really drills home the power vs supply could work? But how many people will play it?

They also won't like spawn camping. A player these days has hundreds of games to pick from, all offering combat quicker and smoother, why would a new player tolerate being spawn camped? You can tell him it's part of the game all day but people these days will not tolerate it - receiving or doing it. It _WILL_ and HAS annoyed people into walking away from the game.

But here is the kicker - A new player on steam is not going to be able to spawn in anything other than a rifleman, unable to post on the forums unless they pay, there will be cries of pay to win. Loud cries that will annoy people way more than me saying "T0 is a bit of a mess, ain't it?"

Basically, we need to look at and address a lot if we hope steam to increase it's lasting appeal. We will see a population spike for a few weeks, sure but the goal here should be to retain them and make sure they're not annoyed. I am also not pulling all of this out of my rear - MWO recently did the same thing with steam, spent 3 patches trying to make the game better for the new steam player but didn't touch any of the core underlying gameplay issues. They saw a population increase for only around a month.

My (Realistic, I think) suggestions in no particular order:

1: Remove the 'Haves' and 'Have nots' air from the community. Why we need to be a paying member to access the community is not something I think I can understand. It segregates your community and creates an atmosphere of entitlement and elitism, you can see it from your vets who simply look at your sign up date and dismiss everything you say. The community should be for the community - free and open discussion. If people can't voice their opinion here and feel like they're effecting change, they will do it via the Steam Reviews.

2: Vehicle character models need SOME adjustment. Have you guys seen the chin on the truck driver? It's majestic.

3: Spawn Camping is such a major issue that during the WBS event my entire friend circle except one put the game down and went back to ArmA. Now yes, it's built into the game, it's a part of the original design but it simply does not fly these days. The moment someone gets camped by a tank 1km out for the 3-4th time is the moment when they log off. I don't know how to address this one - Personal suggestion would be to do away with spawn buildings and instead have forces spawn in an area around the building\in other nearby random buildings or some such. Spawning in that 3 story brown maze like spawn building is just .. ugh.

4: Anti tank. Honestly it's not good enough. ATGs need to pre-set up and then left and crewed later. ATRs need to be in more supply and the locations on where to hit tanks needs to something the game should teach you. AT launchers need to be in MUCH larger supply (Enough to be 2:1 to tanks, since infantry die a lot more) and the restrictions on firing adjusted. Sappers need their rifle back at the very least. Let them protect themselves on the way to their target.

5: The supply system - This point is a little moot as it's all being changed in a few days but it's still something we should look at and talk about. What do we do about powerful tanks vs supply? Do we limit them? Well then how do we decide who uses it? Shall it just be the newbie who's not even bound his controls yet, or do we limit it to specific players? What's the criteria? Is it fair considering we all pay the same?

Speaking off

6: The kicker - Subscription. Now I know this game can't go to the modern idea of F2P. I don't think I'd want it to and the game is just simply not built to handle it, but here is my 2p anyways. Right now the game's sub cost is not too unreasonable - I do think the $15 ain't so bad and in line with a few other MMOs out there however the problem is the 12 month lock-in. I have been in this game for years over multiple accounts and trials (Why does an account not drop back to F2P once you cease paying, btw?) simply because I just refuse to lock myself into a contract for a video game. I suggest we do away with this and turn the base sub into the WBS scheme we have now.

I know it's nice to be guaranteed X income for so long so you can plan the game's future, but I promise you there will be a LOT of people like me who simply won't pay the sub on a contract. Very very few people stick with a game unbroken for a year.

Bonus suggestion - Make the Host Squads none optional? Place the new player into a new squad ran by 'greeters' who run a newbie squad to teach them the game? After an amount of time or when the player feels ready then can leave this 'training corps' and join a squad of their choice.

So that's it! Let's keep it civil and on topic, please. No personal attacks, no going for brownie points and no trying to one-up someone else. These are potentially serious things that need to spoken about as well as many others. What do we do going forward? If anything?

Thanks, and sorry for the long post! :D

Edited by pikapawz

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My (Realistic, I think) suggestions in no particular order:

1: Remove the 'Haves' and 'Have nots' air from the community. Why we need to be a paying member to access the community is not something I think I can understand. It segregates your community and creates an atmosphere of entitlement and elitism, you can see it from your vets who simply look at your sign up date and dismiss everything you say. The community should be for the community - free and open discussion. If people can't voice their opinion here and feel like they're effecting change, they will do it via the Steam Reviews.

Why is this just centric to the "Air" community, is this where you play the most? We'd probably want to factor in all demographics in our community if we were going to go down that route. Recently we have made improvements to the forums and such for gathering feedback in an organized way and also making this General Discussion forum, which didn't exist until this last year.

We have new forums being worked on (still) which will give us a lot more tools to keep people engaged and have great discussions, maybe even personal blogs.

2: Vehicle character models need SOME adjustment. Have you guys seen the chin on the truck driver? It's majestic.

I actually lol'd at the majestic part. Yeah some of these models are super old, but we won't be able to correct it all until after Steam, when we plan to start working on the next version which will primarily deal with a major graphics facelift by switching "Graphics rendering engines." This will be an extensively long process though.

3: Spawn Camping is such a major issue that during the WBS event my entire friend circle except one put the game down and went back to ArmA. Now yes, it's built into the game, it's a part of the original design but it simply does not fly these days. The moment someone gets camped by a tank 1km out for the 3-4th time is the moment when they log off. I don't know how to address this one - Personal suggestion would be to do away with spawn buildings and instead have forces spawn in an area around the building\in other nearby random buildings or some such. Spawning in that 3 story brown maze like spawn building is just .. ugh.

Being camped sucks, it happens, there's not much we can do at this point in time to change it, no solution here sorry, timeline and priority to get onto Steam doesn't permit significant re-writing here.

4: Anti tank. Honestly it's not good enough. ATGs need to pre-set up and then left and crewed later. ATRs need to be in more supply and the locations on where to hit tanks needs to something the game should teach you. AT launchers need to be in MUCH larger supply (Enough to be 2:1 to tanks, since infantry die a lot more) and the restrictions on firing adjusted. Sappers need their rifle back at the very least. Let them protect themselves on the way to their target.

I'd suggest reviewing a manual or working with some veterans to learn how to use ATG's. Some ATG's simply won't penetrate certain armor, and a head on approach with a Pak36 vs a Char / Matilda isn't going to get you far at all. Every weapon has the potential to do serious damage, but you must be in the right position and have the right attack angle / know how when to engage and relocate.

Remember every adjustment we make in terms of firepower does the same for the other guy.

5: The supply system - This point is a little moot as it's all being changed in a few days but it's still something we should look at and talk about. What do we do about powerful tanks vs supply? Do we limit them? Well then how do we decide who uses it? Shall it just be the newbie who's not even bound his controls yet, or do we limit it to specific players? What's the criteria? Is it fair considering we all pay the same?

Supply will be changed at the release of 1.36, scheduled release date is to be determine but we anticipate within the next 3-6 months (6 being really way too long). Of course we will be aiming for faster.

In order to access supply you must have certain rank, and a certain subscription. I think our system works at the moment and offers progression / retention which is key.

6: The kicker - Subscription. Now I know this game can't go to the modern idea of F2P. I don't think I'd want it to and the game is just simply not built to handle it, but here is my 2p anyways. Right now the game's sub cost is not too unreasonable - I do think the $15 ain't so bad and in line with a few other MMOs out there however the problem is the 12 month lock-in. I have been in this game for years over multiple accounts and trials (Why does an account not drop back to F2P once you cease paying, btw?) simply because I just refuse to lock myself into a contract for a video game. I suggest we do away with this and turn the base sub into the WBS scheme we have now.

We'll be reviewing our subscriptions as we prepare to launch on Steam, it is still too early yet to offer definitives and specifics. I can tell you Steam will be taking a cut from Steam sales and we have to factor that in to our operating budget. There is no such thing as a "free user," everyone costs bandwidth and storage space that enters the door. To be continued...

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Why is this just centric to the "Air" community, is this where you play the most? We'd probably want to factor in all demographics in our community if we were going to go down that route. Recently we have made improvements to the forums and such for gathering feedback in an organized way and also making this General Discussion forum, which didn't exist until this last year.

We have new forums being worked on (still) which will give us a lot more tools to keep people engaged and have great discussions, maybe even personal blogs.

My bad, by air I mean "atmosphere" as in the 'free' players are not allowed into certain forums which may make them feel like 'inferior' members of the community, not the air game. Glad to hear something is changing though!

I actually lol'd at the majestic part. Yeah some of these models are super old, but we won't be able to correct it all until after Steam, when we plan to start working on the next version which will primarily deal with a major graphics facelift by switching "Graphics rendering engines." This will be an extensively long process though.

I'm glad it's happening all the same, shame it'll be after Steam but I'm glad to hear there are changes on the table, even if they're years out. My worry is the more shallow players won't take kindly to them.

Being camped sucks, it happens, there's not much we can do at this point in time to change it, no solution here sorry, timeline and priority to get onto Steam doesn't permit significant re-writing here.

It's a an issue that drove off some of my friends during the WBS, but honestly I don't know how to change this due to the way the game works. Personally I would spawn individuals in random buildings around the spawn area but that may not work at every location.

I'd suggest reviewing a manual or working with some veterans to learn how to use ATG's. Some ATG's simply won't penetrate certain armor, and a head on approach with a Pak36 vs a Char / Matilda isn't going to get you far at all. Every weapon has the potential to do serious damage, but you must be in the right position and have the right attack angle / know how when to engage and relocate.

Remember every adjustment we make in terms of firepower does the same for the other guy.

I get that, my worry is a newer player will be frustrated and annoyed when their ATG bounces or seems to do no damage. I don't know how feasible it'd be, but could there be a way to 'see' a bounce off of armour? Something that gives the shooter just a little feedback?

Supply will be changed at the release of 1.36, scheduled release date is to be determine but we anticipate within the next 3-6 months (6 being really way too long). Of course we will be aiming for faster.

In order to access supply you must have certain rank, and a certain subscription. I think our system works at the moment and offers progression / retention which is key. [/Quote]

Yeah I'm kinda waiting to see how this one plays out in the new system. Personally I am really really looking forward to the change!

We'll be reviewing our subscriptions as we prepare to launch on Steam, it is still too early yet to offer definitives and specifics. I can tell you Steam will be taking a cut from Steam sales and we have to factor that in to our operating budget. There is no such thing as a "free user," everyone costs bandwidth and storage space that enters the door. To be continued...

I'm VERY happy to hear that the sub model will be adjusted! My feedback would be to remove the 12 month lock in and the rest is fine. Though there is a way to get around the Steam Cut, and that's simply not sell the sub on Steam, just have players come to your website (I think a LOT of MMOs on Steam do this already?)

Thank you for the response and I'm always glad to hear your plans and where were going :D

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I'm not sure what everyone is expecting but the Steam launch is going to be disappointing if it's just one side camping the other with tanks like the first WBS campaign just was.

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no real comments to add here just wanted to point out something to the OP.

http://www.dailydot.com/esports/overwatch-league-of-legends-korean-pc-bang/

we might be nearing a point of exhaustion as it pertains to the whole DOTA/MOBA thing. not unlike the exhaustion with the WW2 shooter that we saw over the last decade.

overwatch unseating league of legends within a month of release is pretty big news and shows at least one market is more than willing to switch to a different gametype.

now, grain of salt here, korea loves almost anything blizzard does. overwatch is very similar to TF2 - yet TF2 couldn't unseat league of legends despite being a very similar game. just pointing out all those MOBA/DOTA players on steam - IMO - should be considered as potential customers simply because they may be getting real bored of the gametype.

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The thoughts you have put forward ignores the massive market that steam is. Steam has 100+ million unique users and growing. In terms of active users lets sat it is 50million.

If just 0.005% of that number (1 in 50,000 users) became a subscriber to WW2online then based on the 50million figure above that would bring in 2500 new subscribers which would be a very noticeable boost in numbers and revenue.

2500 x $15 x 12 = $450,000 per annum

Try counting from 1 to 50,000. It's a minute fraction of people but it has massive impact. Even if you halved it to 0.0025% (1 in 100,000 users) it is still a noticeable increase for the better.

Considering 10's of millions play Minecraft which has graphics far far more dated than WW2online then many people are prepared to look beyond that.

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no real comments to add here just wanted to point out something to the OP.

http://www.dailydot.com/esports/overwatch-league-of-legends-korean-pc-bang/

we might be nearing a point of exhaustion as it pertains to the whole DOTA/MOBA thing. not unlike the exhaustion with the WW2 shooter that we saw over the last decade.

overwatch unseating league of legends within a month of release is pretty big news and shows at least one market is more than willing to switch to a different gametype.

now, grain of salt here, korea loves almost anything blizzard does. overwatch is very similar to TF2 - yet TF2 couldn't unseat league of legends despite being a very similar game. just pointing out all those MOBA/DOTA players on steam - IMO - should be considered as potential customers simply because they may be getting real bored of the gametype.

Honestly I certainly hope the MOBA genre is losing some of it's steam. I personally don't know what people fine so addictive about it, even all the games in the genre seem exactly the same to me XD

Would be good if we can pull a few over, that's for sure. Though to be fair Overwatch is basically a first person MOBA in my experience. Nice read, too!

The thoughts you have put forward ignores the massive market that steam is. Steam has 100+ million unique users and growing. In terms of active users lets sat it is 50million.

If just 0.005% of that number (1 in 50,000 users) became a subscriber to WW2online then based on the 50million figure above that would bring in 2500 new subscribers which would be a very noticeable boost in numbers and revenue.

2500 x $15 x 12 = $450,000 per annum

Try counting from 1 to 50,000. It's a minute fraction of people but it has massive impact. Even if you halved it to 0.0025% (1 in 100,000 users) it is still a noticeable increase for the better.

Considering 10's of millions play Minecraft which has graphics far far more dated than WW2online then many people are prepared to look beyond that.

Thanks for running the numbers, man. Interesting to see how few we'd need to be a success there that's for sure.

I only raise my concerns due to experience. Mech Warrior Online recently made the hop to steam and saw a great increase in user numbers initially, but after a few months everything seemed to go back to normal population wise. In the end it seemed like it didn't make a big difference, but then PGI play their cards close to their chest and don't disclose their numbers.

Nice to know that even a small increase in players will have such positive effects on our game though.

Edited by pikapawz

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Honestly I certainly hope the MOBA genre is losing some of it's steam. I personally don't know what people fine so addictive about it, even all the games in the genre seem exactly the same to me XD

right? never understood it either. its RTS without any of the S - but i never liked RTS game either lol.

Would be good if we can pull a few over, that's for sure. Though to be fair Overwatch is basically a first person MOBA in my experience. Nice read, too!

eh - kind of what with the promoting role switching frequently. IMO it has what i deem to be more skill where skill = hand/eye coordination and spatial awareness/control within 3 dimensional space and not executing/managing a build order while microing your troops. again preference and i accept that top level MOBA and RTS guys are skilled - i just hmm its like skateboarding to me. if you want to beat up your shins over and over to learn that cool trick - good onya. i think you're dumb though lol.

no offense to any skaters. some offense to rts nerds! ;-P

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