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bomborii

Why high server pop is critical

14 posts in this topic

I first joined this game in 2005 (bombor), played for a few years, had a few years off and then had another stint in 2009 (alfaracer) for a few years. I have recently come back into the game and I'm worried about the lack of players.

I still remember my first experience of the game. I spawned into an AB in a town that was under attack (no AOs back then :)) Like most new players I had no idea what was going on at all. What I saw though was an all out combined arms battle. Infantry running around, smoke rising into the skies, anti aircraft fire being sent into the sky and tanks rolling. I ran around amongst this chaos firing wildly hoping to hit something and at other times just looking out of a window taking it all in. At one stage a large group of paras dropped and nearly swung the battle but were pushed back. Then a large group of stukas came screaming in and rocked the ground I stood on. Next the panzers came flooding in but one by one they had their turrets blown off.

The battle lasted probably an hour and I think I got 1 kill and was killed 10+ times. My heart was racing and although I realised the learning curve would be steep, it would be well worth it.

Having played the last few days though there has been at most 2 AOs and even then there is only 1 real battle going on. Even that is on a massively smaller scale than previously. If new players are unable to experience what truly makes this game great, hundreds of players going at it with combined arms, player retention will be very poor indeed. A player spawning into a town with about 10 guys and no sign of the enemy will not inspire them to play much further than their first 2 deaths from sources unknown.

I really am hoping that the steam release will attract enough players to bring that sense of a grand battle, even if its a bunch of green tags running around. People talk a lot about player retention and doing "this and that" but what you really need to do is show them how great this game can be. If you can't do it on the ground due to low server pop then maybe some sort of introduction video before new players do the tutorial which shows how great the game can be may inspire more players to see out those first few difficult hours?

Just my 2 cents anyway.

  

 

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8 hours ago, bomborii said:

II really am hoping that the steam release will attract enough players to bring that sense of a grand battle,

I think we all do.

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Balance has always taken priority over maintaining a high server population or level of activity in this game, it's not an accident that the game stagnates for many hours of the day. I don't think that there is even one instance where the developers have said "yeah the map might be affected, but players are having fun and logging in so it's a good thing". The big prime time squad, the close-knit off hours squad, the guys that like flooding the enemy, the guys that like small mole operations, even the guys that don't want to fight and just like to play Euro Truck Simulator: WW2 Edition and resupply towns have all been viewed as problems to solve over the years.

 

Unfortunately there is nothing to suggest that Steam players will stay past a few hours. If the players from the "welcome back soldier" campaign didn't stick around when they had full access then there is no way that a completely new user from Steam will be enticed, especially if they are given the F2P option which just seems to have been slapped on with no real consideration or purpose.

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24 minutes ago, Pittpete said:

Need to start with building up squads again. Unfortunately nothing has been done for squad play.

players themselves carry some of the responsibility for this

 

there's too many 2 man squads attached to the squad name that's long dead

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Maybe we should just make like four really large squads and force all players to play on one of those four (two per side). That would make it so that players are exposed to more tactical cooperation. Maybe?

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3 hours ago, tr909 said:

players themselves carry some of the responsibility for this

 

there's too many 2 man squads attached to the squad name that's long dead

Also in-game behavior towards other players does just as much to drive people away as anything the code does.   When a player on his or her  1st sortie is spammed by multiple others about being a spy and to stop cheating that player tends to not stay around. 

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I actually never saw a green tag get abused or accused during my short time here.  I remember once, on my 2nd day in-game asking if such and such was a spy because I was just killed by them earlier and viola!, here he was on my side now.  But then I was told that people could switch sides and it was during intermission anyway, so no, dude wasn't a spy.

All the comments here about squads are dead on though.  Believe it or not, the key to this game's success will have very little to do with Steam and almost everything to do with the existing player base coming out of their foxholes and looking around at their current in-game reality.  Shut yourself off from your fellow man and continue thinking that this game was built just for you or your small group of friends and one day the Rats will have no choice but to pull the plug on all of it.

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4 hours ago, selvendar said:

I actually never saw a green tag get abused or accused during my short time here.  I remember once, on my 2nd day in-game asking if such and such was a spy because I was just killed by them earlier and viola!, here he was on my side now.  But then I was told that people could switch sides and it was during intermission anyway, so no, dude wasn't a spy.

All the comments here about squads are dead on though.  Believe it or not, the key to this game's success will have very little to do with Steam and almost everything to do with the existing player base coming out of their foxholes and looking around at their current in-game reality.  Shut yourself off from your fellow man and continue thinking that this game was built just for you or your small group of friends and one day the Rats will have no choice but to pull the plug on all of it.

Of course not, abuse of new players is pretty rare here (and not that different from what you see in other online games), it's just that the playerbase has always been the scapegoat for all of the game's problems. Poor new player retention is being blamed on them is nothing new.

 

Many squads stopped training new players because they don't have the resources anymore. It was taxing to train newbs years ago with 25-ish veterans online and 3-4 fresh players (with a soft capture or spare AO to play with), the fragmented skeletons that pass for squads now couldn't handle training even if they wanted to. Squads signed up for the "host squad" program and they got deluged with players that they had trouble communicating with and training and many of whom never subscribed.

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As a greentag in the game I have had no communication at all from other players. There have only been about 10 on each target when I've been in game so no surprise really. I do agree that some more incentives and personalisation for squads may help squads really want to grow and take pride in their squads, rather than be happy running with 1 or 2 people.

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Well it's Saturday afternoon, there are around 46 players online axis and it's the overpop team with spawn delay maxed out at 30 seconds. There's only one mission with a FRU in the active battles tab.

ZHiMDs.png

Under these conditions there really isn't any place for new players to spawn and fight and learn. There's no one available to serve as a trainer. Arranging any sort of easier training mission is impossible. And a small training mission of ten guys will be over 20% of the faction pop not being used to push objectives, but still being counted for spawn delay and enhancing the underpop's capture times.

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^ Waaaaaaay too many defense missions for being overpop with max SD.  That comes down to no one herding the cats (and I see a few GHC on D missions in that list...)

But your point of not having a conducive environment for new players remains.

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There were only two times that I was accused of cheating when still fairly new, and it wasn't expressed very well.  I understand the problem, but it must be dealt with properly...it kinda ticked me off...

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Although I think AO's saved the game at one point in its history(and we still need them).  We still have too many AO's at any given time even relative to the underpopulated side.

Not sure why CRS is still trying to put up 4 AO's( 2 each )most of the time when you have maybe one battle and 3 towns with maybe a couple players in them or none at all.

It hurts the game for new guys looking for action and makes it impossible to do so many things at once for the vets without a player base imo.

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