Author Topic: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?  (Read 1478 times)

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Offline HESKEYTIME

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+5
new players come and go as soon as they notice how unfair of advantage they are in current crpg build. I check stats pretty often, we get a good amount of new accounts and players but they don't stay long.

This post interests me. Do we really still get a decent number of new accounts and players? If so (and if Dupre or someone with the ability to make changes is happy to put in the time) I dont see any reason why cRPG cant have a renaissance of sorts.

The recent semi-revival of cRPG has been focused nearly-entirely around old players coming back, but that's an area of limited growth and IMO cant sustain itself for all that long. Many of us that played a lot back in the day are in a different place now, cant play every day and get obsessed like before (and wouldnt want to). We all know one of the reasons for cRPG's decline is the increasing difficulty in getting new players to stay, but if we can nail that critical element, then why can't they experience what we did in the early years of this mod and really fill those servers?

To make new players stick around we need to give them a better, fairer and more satisfying introduction to the game in a way that doesnt assume they'll instantly get on this forum and engage with the community.
Here are the challenges we've discussed time and again in dozens of threads:
(click to show/hide)

To me, the only possible solution to all of the above is to create/amend a seperate server for new players to learn the game - a server that any brand new player will instinctively click on but will be seperate from the main server loom, level and skill disadvantage (and percieved toxicity). Based on the many many 2-sided discussions we've had over the years, to retain the things old players love without turning away every new player, there needs to be a division (even if splitting servers even further now seems illogical).

We already have (or had) a low level server. My idea would be to amend and relabel this to be the obvious starting point for all new starters (EU or NA, let's not divide at this point).
Features could be:
- No looms, nip that new player argument in the bud
- Level cap, noone above retirement level can play on this beginner server (but ofc if they retire they can play there again)
- XP gain the same as the main servers - this is not an accelerated leveling server, this is the 'beginner' server and people should have the opportunity to experience what we all did at the start - the addictive grind
- Slower combat speed(?) - *maybe*

*Important* this server would not exist as a quick-leveling kiddie pool to get people ready to get slaughtered on EU1/NA1. I don't think that approach has ever worked, any more than I think loom starter-kits or slightly higher starting level of 25 has really helped new players get into this game (although it was a nice gesture). Having this split would give players a valid choice of whether they want to play the Beginner server, or the Competitive server(s) (our current servers) to try out their hard-earned loom points or experiment with higher levels when they're ready. Or they can just keep retiring and playing on this server forever if they'd like, form their own community of familiar faces. Think of it like the difference between playing 'ranked' and 'unranked' in many online games. Honestly, if we can provide 2 options for new players 'Beginner server' or 'Competitive', then I think we could (and should) get rid of the loom starter kit and the level 25 starting level, let them grind up from level 1 in a nice server with other newbies and really invest in their characters from start to finish. That journey got us all hooked back in the day, let them do the same.



Sorry for the lengthy post, but if we do still get a decent number of new people making accounts I think splitting the game in this way would be fantastic for the community. And really nail down that 'EU1/NA1' arent just the standard servers, these are the competitive servers where the best players go with the best builds and the best gear. Being able to survive or dominate in that server could be something new players aspire to, the equivalent of our competitive scene. I have more thoughts about how to implement this and make sure the newbie server isn't dead the day it launches, but I think this is enough text wall for now.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 01:10:01 PM by HESKEYTIME »
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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 12:41:33 PM »
+1
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« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 12:49:22 PM by njames89 »
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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 02:11:10 PM »
+1
Some actual numbers would be helpful.
If we're looking at 2 new accounts per week, there is no point.
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Offline HESKEYTIME

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 02:21:28 PM »
+1
Some actual numbers would be helpful.
If we're looking at 2 new accounts per week, there is no point.

That's why I'm really fishing for Dupre's input. I posted the bare-bones of this idea last week in response to Dupre's post, but he hasn't been on the forum since then.

Especially since it would likely be him that would have to make this change, so his assessment on whether or not it's worth it is pretty much the only one that matters. I suspect it's a decent number of new accounts, since one of the ideas he wanted feedback on was the idea of improving the new player starter packs - so an improvement for retaining new players is already on his agenda.

But as for the concept I'm interested to hear if there's anything obvious I've missed here. Any clear reason why this might be a terrible idea? The only theoretical issue I can think of is if the current playerbase splits 50/50 between Battle server and this new server then obviously you're splitting the community, but in practice I cant imagine why this would ever happen if the new server has same exp reward, level cap of 'retirement+1' and no looms. The only real downside I can see is the effort to set these settings on a server, and possibly from an event management perspective in organising an event on launch day to make sure the server is populated in the beginning.
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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 02:57:06 PM »
+3
2bh the most important shit is to help new players on servers.  If you see new guys,  team play with them. help them out. talk to them and whatnot. 

its super fun to keep noobs alive,  and its fun for them to have sb teamwork withem.

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 03:12:19 PM »
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2bh the most important shit is to help new players on servers.  If you see new guys,  team play with them. help them out. talk to them and whatnot. 

its super fun to keep noobs alive,  and its fun for them to have sb teamwork withem.

But clearly whatever we're doing now isn't enough, if it was we'd have more new players sticking around (stats plz Dupre). Even if a few good Samaritans can help a few individual players.

The exact conversation Dupre's quote comes from is in a thread started by a newbie that since stopped playing, even though guys helped them out in game and even gave them looms to help.

I'm not saying a noob server would've kept him playing, since even at the best of times this game always had a high attrition rate for new players. But in any game like this for longevity you need a place for new people to start, and a place for veterans to play at their very peak. We never got that balance right, although you could argue in the past that there were enough different populated servers like DTV and Siege that were arguably more noob-friendly to semi-fulfil that function. Now we only have DTV (which is niche and doesn't prepare you for EU1) and the extreme '1 life only' server with the best players in the game.
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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2017, 03:13:30 PM »
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Force noobs to play DTV until they don't suck.

PROBLEM SOLVED
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Offline HESKEYTIME

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 03:16:02 PM »
+3
Force noobs to play DTV until they don't suck.

PROBLEM SOLVED

Back in the day DTV could help you level, Siege could give you experience fighting players, then you could hop to the less forgiving Battle. Or practice in Duel then go Battle. Or if you were a masochist just play Battle and spend 99% of your time spectating in deathcam till you've levelled enough and got enough practice to get kills.

Right now the game only really supports that last category of player, which is a fraction of a fraction of Warband players.
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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 03:17:39 PM »
+1
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Offline Jona

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 04:07:19 PM »
+3
Do we really still get a decent number of new accounts and players?

Just gonna leave this post here in case you missed it:

here is data on new accounts signed up past 2 weeks:
(click to show/hide)

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Offline HESKEYTIME

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2017, 04:19:14 PM »
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Just gonna leave this post here in case you missed it:

Cheers for this, I had missed it.

So averaging 4 or 5 new accounts a day, peaks of 8 and 9 in a single day, dips of zero in a single day?

Worth?

Not worth?
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Offline Jona

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2017, 04:38:55 PM »
+3
Cheers for this, I had missed it.

So averaging 4 or 5 new accounts a day, peaks of 8 and 9 in a single day, dips of zero in a single day?

Worth?

Not worth?

If we could retain even half of those players, and they begin to play regularly maybe averaging just an hour a day, that'd be some slow but steady, and very healthy, growth (any growth would arguably be far healthier than the nonexistent growth that we have now). That said, the real issue is of course how we manage to keep these new players. Imo your proposed noob server is a great idea, but I'm gonna play a pessimistic devil's advocate and just say that it won't work. We had EU5 back in the day that actually gave you bonus xp (and this was back before everyone got insane xp from the double or quadrupled amount we all get nowadays, and back when strat battles were competitive to get into, so if you were a low-skill low-level novice good luck) and that was almost never populated. When I retired my low gen character I always tried to hop on EU5... always empty, even during EU primetime. You could argue it wasn't advertised well enough, and the fact that old players could use it to grind looms could have scared away the new players of that time, but even so, I don't see how we could make a server with the same idea if you don't get any incentive for joining it. It's going to be especially hard for those first few weeks when the 2 new players we get per day join to see no other noobs in the "crpg_new_player_server," and then join the regular NA1/EU1 only to see full agi lance throwers running around delaying and then oneshotting their slow-moving peasant ass.
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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2017, 04:58:18 PM »
+2
Cheers for this, I had missed it.

So averaging 4 or 5 new accounts a day, peaks of 8 and 9 in a single day, dips of zero in a single day?

Worth?

Not worth?

That's ~30 new players a week, defo worth. If we can get even 5 new players a week to stay "forever", it's still very worth it.


A suggestion in addition to OP:

If a player has ever had a character with K/D higher than let's say 1 and with at least let's say 100 kills + deaths in total, permanently mark them as "skilled". Such players can only play on the "Beginner" server with characters that have K/D lower than 1 and at least 100 kills + deaths. Allow admins to manually mark players as "skilled" if they see a particularly good player on the Beginner server. This is to prevent old players from joining and rekking every noob in the Beginner server, just because people are assholes by nature.
Also, "skilled" players should have much more strict rules when on the Beginner server. Delaying or trolling or being toxic in any other way should result in an instant ban (not permanent ofc) from the Beginner server, without any warning.

Old players should see the Beginner server as an oppoutunity to improve the skills they're lacking in. For example a 2h pro can be bad at archery or vice versa.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 05:03:43 PM by Gurgumul »
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Offline Jona

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2017, 05:01:57 PM »
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Old players should see the Beginner server as an oppoutunity to improve the skills they're lacking in. For example a 2h pro can be bad at archery or vice versa.

This sounds so great in theory, but we all know it'll just get abused to help 'skilled' players grind out looms or something.

Leech in battle server -> get kdr of 0:50 -> join noob server at level ~25 -> crush peasants all day errday -> get to level 34/35 by the time your kdr is positive -> rinse/repeat
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Offline HESKEYTIME

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Re: Is it possible to keep new players without pissing off the old ones?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2017, 05:05:29 PM »
+1
If we could retain even half of those players, and they begin to play regularly maybe averaging just an hour a day, that'd be some slow but steady, and very healthy, growth (any growth would arguably be far healthier than the nonexistent growth that we have now). That said, the real issue is of course how we manage to keep these new players. Imo your proposed noob server is a great idea, but I'm gonna play a pessimistic devil's advocate and just say that it won't work. We had EU5 back in the day that actually gave you bonus xp (and this was back before everyone got insane xp from the double or quadrupled amount we all get nowadays, and back when strat battles were competitive to get into, so if you were a low-skill low-level novice good luck) and that was almost never populated. When I retired my low gen character I always tried to hop on EU5... always empty, even during EU primetime. You could argue it wasn't advertised well enough, and the fact that old players could use it to grind looms could have scared away the new players of that time, but even so, I don't see how we could make a server with the same idea if you don't get any incentive for joining it. It's going to be especially hard for those first few weeks when the 2 new players we get per day join to see no other noobs in the "crpg_new_player_server," and then join the regular NA1/EU1 only to see full agi lance throwers running around delaying and then oneshotting their slow-moving peasant ass.

It would require effort at the start for sure, a server needs the population to sustain itself. Timing it during our annual peak (summer I think?) and/or Steam sale for max new players would help.

Forget 50%, if we can retain even 10-20% of the 28 people that create accounts each week for the medium-term then that's growth, factoring into account that the 90% that don't remain for that long are still present in the server for the short-time before dropping it.

I still think that previous attempt at a new player server was a valiant effort that misunderstood the fundamental problem. The fast exp gain, the very low level cap of 23 (ish) before players were booted from the server, and the fact the server name wasn't obviously the 'go-to' place... it was clearly designed with the assumption that all newbies needed was a couple of levels under their belt and then they'd be fine in EU1. That's not the case.

But maybe it is too late with the population as small as it is.

That's ~30 new players a week, defo worth. If we can get even 5 new players a week to stay "forever", it's still very worth it.


A suggestion in addition to OP:

If a player has ever had a character with K/D higher than let's say 1 and with at least let's say 100 kills + deaths in total, permanently mark them as "skilled". Such players can only play on the "Beginner" server with characters that have K/D lower than 1 and at least 100 kills + deaths. This is to prevent old players from joining and rekking every noob in the Beginner server, just because people are assholes by nature.
Also, "skilled" players should have much more strict rules when on the Beginner server. Delaying or trolling or being toxic in any other way should result in an instant ban (not permanent ofc) from the Beginner server, without any warning.

Old players should see the Beginner server as an oppoutunity to improve the skills they're lacking in. For example a 2h pro can be bad at archery or vice versa.

I was wondering as well if we were splitting out a clear 'Beginner' and 'Competitive' server, if we could build on that by giving a more advanced leaderboard/ranking system for people that play 'Competitive'. Maybe going beyond what's possible, but a board showing not only K/D in order, but also win/loss on a server that takes itself far more seriously would be cool and something people on the more relaxed server wouldn't have to worry about.

Also another way absence of looms here would help is that certain classes that can cause frustration to the mad-cos-bad are ranged + cav, and these are far from OP without looms.
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