kgwiking

WWIIOL future

11 posts in this topic

Unfortunately XOOM closed the topic "WWII Online: current state and future" exactly 5 minutes before I could click "Submit topics" of my contribution .

But since I have spent some time to think about the issue and write it, I post what should have been a continuation of the closed thread. If the admin wishes to delete it because it refers to a closed thread, I won't be upset :)

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The essence and the reason of WWIIOL can be easily resumed and seen on the stream below.

 

This stream has been done by the Rats for the WBS initiative during Campaign 100 in 2012.

In those few minutes you see everything WWIIOL was about. A large ( ~200 players), long (~2 hours untill the Allied were attrited to rifles) , combined arms, Squad coordinated battle for a strategical town - here Mouzon. This kind of experience made adrenalin flow and the grey cells work. Clearly addictive - you live one such battle, you'll want more of the same. And be sure that during the Campaign 100 there have been several battles similar to this one going 24/24 (well a bit less for TZ3 which has always been a problem).

So, clearly WWIIOL has only 1 parameter which matters - the number of players.Since 2001 it has been specifically designed for a large number of players (800-1000 OL minimum).  Money matters little even if 2019 is not 2010 and the sub based business model which was the rule 10 years ago became an exception today. Toys don't matter because the game has already enough of such for every new or returning player. Details about CPs, graphics or any fine gameplay points don't matter either because, obviously, the state in which was the game in 2012 was more than sufficient to get hundreds of players OL 24/24.

Unfortunately the WWIIOL problem became an amplified feedback loop. Once the number of players falls too low, it is no more interesting and more people leave what makes it even less interesting. New or returning players also see a low number of players and the retention rate decreases.

What could be done ?

I think that WBS is no more efficient. To simplify, there have been 2 générations of WWIIOL players - those who played 2001-2009 and they were thousands and those who played 2010-2019 and they were hundreds. Obviously WBS is only efficient as long as you tap in the large first generation and it relatively worked in the first years after 2010 - the stream above is an example because most players on that stream were returning players. However today this first generation is dead for the game. They are all 10-20 years older, have changed, many got families, jobs and children and they won't dedicate several hours on a game every day. Personally I am an example of this first generation and won't  return to WWIIOL anymore regardless of what is changed/improved. I have simply moved on. And the second generation is not large enough to make a difference so that WPS works less and less.

So the only possibility to increase the population  is to get new players who have never played WWIIOL. The Steam example shows that it is possible to get a large number of new players to try the game. So the problem becomes now one of the retention rate. Back when I played (2001-2008) the retention rate of my Squad (Kampfgruppe Wiking) was relatively huge - about 2/3 and for every player who left we were recruiting about 2 newbies to the game (members were recruiting friends etc). Compared to the vanishingly small retention rate of the Steam players, there is clearly a problem. I am convinced that the biggest factor of the high retention rate in the beginnings of WWIIOL were large Squads. They provided the training, communication and command infrastructures which in turn generated friendships (even in RL), team spirit and side/Squad loyalties. The high retention rate is then just a consequence. Unfortunately the large Squads have all disappeared by 2008-2009. Officer burn out, moving on, other life priorities and what not. Normal aging process. But they were not replaced.

I hope that CRS monitored the Steam players to understand why they left. This would give a clue about the why of the low retention. I can just guess that it was probably because they didn't find the Squad infrastructure which would allow them to survive the steep learning curve long enough to start enjoying the game and more importantly create links with friends and player environment.

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2 hours ago, kgwiking said:

 

I hope that CRS monitored the Steam players to understand why they left. This would give a clue about the why of the low retention. I can just guess that it was probably because they didn't find the Squad infrastructure which would allow them to survive the steep learning curve long enough to start enjoying the game and more importantly create links with friends and player environment.

+100/ great post and stream. thx.

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I  may add a note so:

 

It appears to me that what hurts us all is to be found in the . reports and chat bars as it illustrates raw feelings and abnormal situation that frustrate the writer.

I for exemple send a lot of . reports and even so I know that likely 10- 20% of my reports are likely due to something I missed in the action and is likely to be invalid ( Even so I think before I write...). It does represent what is not working properly in the game... Something that if repeated again and again might be a problem.

 

I think RATS do a great job with terrain, new buildings and toys on a steady basis and the subs are reasonably priced when you compare to the amount of entertainment we get, I suppose the alternative could be that we could charge by the hour of play... So those who play less don't feel like they pay too much? But I do not think it affects numbers that much. (And SD should be removed then)

 

For what I have seen the last 8 years, upsets players leave because they saw something in game they got frustrated by, piiised of about, and it s mostly about how the action unfolded.... Or weapons got.... " Changed".

So I encourage RATS take some more serious look at  dot reports and their trends, group them up, see what comes on top and start addressing from there... I bet magic will happen once you go after what the problems are, experience now shows that nothing good  happens when you try to tweak the mechanics to influence outcomes. Actually the opposite.

 

 

 

Just a note....

 

S!

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i was the leader in another game, 150 players total... (i still remember most of their tags, and it was as hectic as you'd think)

we were loosing players regularly, after about a year we dropped to 50ish active then decided to join another clan

 

jumped to 75, then after doing it again to 120. we were functionally made up of 30-70 cliques who enjoyed each other's company and banter.

 

through it all we were loosing people but gaining noobs as well, the cliques naturally adopted a noob or 2, and when shrunk too small: hung out with another clique, continuing to regularly adopt noobs (my "noob" handle is a trophy from catching the most noobs)

 

current squads are currently (imo since 2016), exactly like the cliques but without a central banner (single squad). they can't catch noobs cause the cliques are too small to cover one another: ops/raids/dungeons/missions can't be accomplished in a fun and interesting manner regardless of game: if there are only 10ish regulars on. in my experience, the noob would be adopted by 2-3 cliques and never have a question or gameplay-activity unfulfilled. in our 50 player phase, we were unable to cater to noobs.

current squads are in the same situation.

 

 

me and my guys were only able to catch noobs cause there was always a clique doing something attractive to the noobs. the sporadic 5-15 regulars in squads can't do this. 5-15 people don't provide enough activity too hook noobs.

 

squads need to merge. it's a lot more fun than you'd expect. simply saying hi, and getting a wall of welcomes is enough to get anyone pumped and happy.

Edited by major0noob

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1. Lower the sub price for NEW subs and subs that have been inactive for 1-2 years.  All current accounts not subject to the lower sub price.

2. All gear available at the start of the map.

3. Concentrate on getting new subs NOT new toys.

4. Fix any outstanding bugs before concentrating on new toys. 

 

Edited by bmw

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9 minutes ago, bmw said:

1. Lower the sub price for NEW subs and subs that have been inactive for 1-2 years.  All current accounts not subject to the lower sub price.

2. All gear available at the start of the map.

3. Concentrate on getting new subs NOT new toys.

4. Fix any outstanding bugs before concentrating on new toys. 

 

Why do people not get that the new toy people are volunteers and have different skill sets then the sub retention or gameplay people?  I honest to goodness don't understand your point on 'toy resources', it doesn't matter a whit except whatever game management time is involved in getting tiers/spawnlists done.

And new toys can be a powerful pull especially for WBS.  Fix up the other issues, and you want the toys in hand to get the pull done, or lay them out as a precreated string of 'improvements' to cement game value to new players.

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3 hours ago, kgwiking said:

I hope that CRS monitored the Steam players to understand why they left. This would give a clue about the why of the low retention. I can just guess that it was probably because they didn't find the Squad infrastructure which would allow them to survive the steep learning curve long enough to start enjoying the game and more importantly create links with friends and player environment.

Of course.

 

WHICH IS WHY INGAME VOICE COMMS AND GAMEPLAY/ORGANIC ORG TOOLS WERE, ARE AND WILL BE PRIORITY ONE INSTEAD OF ALL THE OTHER STUFF WE BLEW ORG AND PROG MONEY ON.

 

And yes, that is my outdoor shouty voice shouting indoors.

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I asked this question some time ago:
CRS want a game or want a story?
CRS preferred to stay with the story.
Many left because in history there is no balancing.

S!

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Personally I am an example of this first generation and won't  return to WWIIOL anymore regardless of what is changed/improved. I have simply moved on.

Have you ? Truly moved on ? I don't think so , deep down you want to play but something is stopping you . Otherwise why would you post , if I truly would moved on I would not even be here in the forum . You might be different but that's how I look at it.

Sure hope you reconsider and do play again , we need former players to come back , we really do.

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There was another thread that allowed for a period of time of this sort of discussion to take place and was given ample opportunity to implement feedback there. 

I'm going to close this one now, and any other subsequent ones that par-lay that discussion.

If you really want me to read something, my e-mail or forum PM is open for you. Send it there, where it counts.

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4 hours ago, shagher said:

I have seen the last 8 years, upsets players leave because they saw something in game they got frustrated by, piiised of about, and it s mostly about how the action unfolded.... Or weapons got.... " Changed".

So I encourage RATS take some more serious look at  dot reports and their trends, group them up, see what comes on top and start addressing from there... I bet magic will happen once you go after what the problems are, experience now shows that nothing good  happens when you try to tweak the mechanics to influence outcomes. Actually the opposite.

 

You'd actually be surprised by how few reports come in. 

All reports are looked at - the vast majority (like 90%) are generally explainable with a bit of observation (usually involve the reported player being off to a flank of the aggrieved party).  Of the reports that come in, some could use context (simply typing   '.report b2k   without context ties up a bit of GM time to figure out what is alleged to be going on).  Others are of player who haven't been online for a while (my personal favorite is getting a stream of them about a 'hacking player' - who hasn't been online in 24 hours... but 'just killed me and I couldn't see him').   Some do result in immediate bans, a couple are the tipping points for permanent banning.  

Where the reports are detailed enough, and patterns emerge - at times development action is taken to mitigate whatever situation arose.  

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