New player retention (in General)
CB gets a _lot_ of new player sign ups -- typically from 50 to 100 per day, usually on the higher end of that range. (At least, that seems like a lot to me for a text based game with no advertising budget. But I don't really have any data on other sites for comparison. :)
We even have a lot of new users finish the tutorial -- upwards of 1/3.
When they finish the tutorial, a lot leave as soon as their chat client finishes loading. The rest tend not to come back once they finish out their BA.
Sure, we do get some new players who stick around and become vets, but it seems like we have the raw material necessary to grow the community a lot more than we are.
I'm going to send out a questionaire to some of the players-who-finished-the-tutorial-but-never-came-back and see if that can shed some light on why this is so. In the meantime, any guesses?
BTW, all this has been going on since the days of CB1. So if you're inclined to blame it on any recent change, don't bother. The only change I can definitely point at as having a (small) effect was the introduction of mentoring way back when.
July 1 2006 2:29 PM EDT
Some form of qualification for Mentorship has been mentioned on many occasions. It may or may not improve the quality of mentors, and so may or may not improve retention. Doesn't hurt to try is my opinion.
July 1 2006 2:31 PM EDT
I try to get my friends to play, but they all refuse. They think that a game 'without graphics' is a bad one. I know that CB will always be text-based, and im fine with that. With some of the free online games that are around right now(Anarchy Online, RS[eww]), kids think text-based games are a joke, so I dont see any way of getting more people to stay. Advertising would be effective, but that costs money.. : /
There are certain sites where you can vote for specific games. like on the-lost-realm.com... this is also a text based game and if you vote for it you get a tiny extra amount of fights. This is the only thing i could think of, the more votes the higher the number shows up on the site and the more people see them.
Sure, we don't have to give big returns on voting, just some incentive like an extra BA for free per vote (only one vote allowed per site per day).
BMW: well, we're not really trying to compete with the Anarchy Online crowd. If some people prefer CB anyway, great, but IMO the real opportunity is with people who want something they can play at work or something that they can play for a few minutes at a time.
And like I said, I think we're attracting enough players. We lose a lot with the "oh, it's just a text game" thing, but I think most of those don't bother finishing the tutorial. Which leaves a lot of room for improvement with people who *are* at least a little interested.
EBS: again, I'm not asking "how can we get more people to try CB." That's an interesting topic too, but I think there's a lot more room for improvement in the area I'm talking about.
(For the historically inclined, we actually did have a vote-for-CB campaign for a while. It didn't make a difference in new player signups, so it was removed.)
July 1 2006 2:52 PM EDT
Well, first of all (obviously) some people just don't have a taste for text based games. I recommend many people to this game, and they admire it, they just don't want to play it. So might not be anything anyone could help. Another thing that throws a few players who might have stuck on the game away is getting kicked for breaking a rule. Nothing wrong with kicking them but I think it would help if in the tutorial they were shown the CHAT rules and told this will be enforced. Personally, and rather stupidly, I never read game rule until I start liking the game. So if you reshow the rules before the chat comes up, I think it might help a bit (maybe?). Lastly, just ask everyone to be nicer to the new players, and not to intimidate them by insulting their early scores when they are happy with them. Nothing in particular about anyone, just think that my help. So I out of ideas. Toodles.
July 1 2006 2:54 PM EDT
The problem - imo - is what makes the game good. Unlike some games where once you've learnt the basics you're really up and running, CB has quite a steep learning curve. Although it's quite simple to play it's not immediate; there are a lot of factors to learn. Player satisfaction is spread out over a longer period of time. It's probably the reason a lot of the 'fighting' players stick around for as long as we do.
However, that means that the real enjoyment factor takes a while to kick in. Certainly I didn't really start enjoying it until the 2nd or 3rd week I was here once I started playing tournies.
Solutions? Dunno, that's tricky. Perhaps a 'beginners' CB, a lower level version of the game, with less items/spells so that you can ramp up your knowledge more quickly. Consider it an extended tutorial maybe? One where if you make mistakes it doesn't impact on your extended game.
I've tried other games and left after a short period of time and it was for similar reasons to this. God knows what made me stick with CB lol!
Hope this might be of some help....
July 1 2006 2:55 PM EDT
Oh another thing. It doesn't help when vets insult popular games like RS. People PLAY those and like them. If you insult them, they aren't going to like you. So knock it off. =D
July 1 2006 2:58 PM EDT
I agree with Johnny. Like the kiddie pool when you still learning to swim. No one wants to be thrown into a whirlpool their first time out.
July 1 2006 3:11 PM EDT
What if, to implement Johnny's idea, you actually made the 4 realms completely seperate of the others. Each one (players from other realms can't in any way interact, including trades).
As an added affect would stop high level multi's. Not sure if there are any but this would stop it!
I realize no one believes me, and I am not sure I have a good solution, but here goes:
I still think it is a combination of NW to PR and camping.
So that said, what about this, a more strict rules for deciding who becomes a Mentor and those Mentors get fed what 1 random lesser tattoo a day and 1 random base katana or exec a week. Or they have a unique store they can buy those items from, something like that. Some how they get items that can be given away easily. There is no profit motive if the items are base and they are the minor rares. Maybe the Mentor who does the best at retaining new players get rewarded a non-lesser base tattoo once a week or month. It was those kinds of things that made me enjoy helping new players. Maybe I am the only one, but I honestly think it would help.
July 1 2006 3:28 PM EDT
It's a good idea. Most of the mentees I give free stuff to stay longer, in my opinion. And if I could buy the stuff from the shops on demand, well that would be perfect. I agree with you Sefton, so not everyone thinks you wrong about everything ;)
July 1 2006 3:42 PM EDT
"giving stuff" and mentoring only works for newbies that stay on for a little longer than a micro second, and who actually communicate.
"When they finish the tutorial, a lot leave as soon as their chat client finishes loading" is a large part of the problem...
July 1 2006 3:46 PM EDT
Err... never let the chat client finish loading?
July 1 2006 4:18 PM EDT
I think its a multi part problem.
1) The website layout isn't appealing. It isn't immediately "cool" looking when they get into the game. There's millions of options but nothing jumps out at you. It makes the game seem to lack a theme. Other much junkier basic versions of this arena-type browser game genre get more new player retention (if only initially) because they offer more imagination-hooks and bits of eye candy. IE, being a thug on the streets, a mafia lord, a knight of a mythical realm- even if the game dynamics are pure crud its more initially appealing.
2) The game's depth is very hidden. I don't know that this is a problem with a solution, but its a problem nonetheless. CB immediately comes off as boring/simple/lackingdepth when they play through the tutorial. If you try and offer them a glimpse of more depth though, they could easily get overwhelmed.
3) The tutorial, even as simple and easy to understand as it is, can still be difficult to get through. No solution for this really.. It takes some effort to "follow the arrows" so to speak. Alot of people ("kids") don't have that kind of attention span / nor willing to put forth that initial effort.
4) Their immediate interaction with the game during the tutorial (no eye candy, overwhelming directions/info, no easy access to get help, no one to talk to) is very impersonal. Its going out on a limb, but I'd say offering chat immediately upon account creation would boost player retention quite a bit.
July 1 2006 4:22 PM EDT
Interesting idea, but ( not that I disagree but just to put it out there) this mean people who have no chance of playing, nor intention, can come right out and start having "fun". Not good. The current no chat until tutorial finishes makes them really have to WANT to check the game out. But I get your point saying it might stop the people on the edge from continuing.
July 1 2006 5:59 PM EDT
Ah, Jonathan, now you chatmail response to mine makes sense! (I sent my chatmail without reading this first.)
I agree with having chat loaded during the tutorial. It would give the new player something to do and also to ask questions. It would also keep people in new players who want to help. Sure, it may make chat a little more chaotic but I believe that would be a stringer reason to stay as opposed to the current situation.
GL, none the less.
July 1 2006 6:03 PM EDT
Sefton, how can the lack of camping and the NW/PR linkage end retention _right after the tutorial_... Those new players don't even know about those finer points yet? I am not disagreeing with you, I just am not sure how it answers Jonathan's query.
I have said some things in other threads:
-- I think the chat/fight integration isn't as nifty as it used to be (it's what kept me here), because computers have more bandwidth, more screen real estate (meaning more room for separate chat apps being visible), and more chat apps than ever (some with video). Skype, TeamSpeak, and a slough of IMers (not to mention cell phones) have made that whole communication device less "cool". Some newbies might even see if as downright retro: "Pfft, no video? No ringtones? I'm bored. Where's my Sunny D...?"
-- Going along with the first point, there are a lot more distractions out there, especially in the realm of networked games. All the consoles are networked now, more games have online play, people never get off their cell phones and texters... While it is easier to GET eyeballs, it is much harder to KEEP them (hence lots of changes in online ad models and such).
OK, I guess I only have those two points. Worse, I have no ideas for how to fix either of those (because they aren't really "broken"...) Just my two cents.
make large of our best features, the ability to play off of cell phones (this is for after the new interface that should make that more possible)
July 1 2006 6:24 PM EDT
Nerevas, as usual, brings ups some good points.
I started CB2 two months ago, so my memory of the "n00b mind" is fairly recent. Here's what I think could improve the situation:
There is little explanation on what to do next after the tutorial finishes. Perhaps the last thing at the end of it could be a link to a "guide to your first day in CB2" (some other text-based browser MMOGs have this). It should give suggestions on early things to do (how to build a basic tank and a basic mage, a typical day's activities, 10 good questions to ask in new players chat, etc).
In the stores, perhaps we could mark suggested new player items somehow. For instance, nobody seems to buy slings, though they are arguably the best very early ranged weapon.
Could we offer a reward for completing your first 1000 BA? This implies that people need to stick around a little longer than their initial allocation. Perhaps "your choice" of a decent weapon or a no-penalties piece of armour?
The other thing that would help is a little more "atmosphere". The Tolkien theme is very thin, and often not recognisable unless you have read the Silmarillion. Just a few ideas: orcish weapons, hobbit slings, more references to LOTR/The Hobbit, reword play-by-play to be less "vanilla".
I'll keep thinking about this...
July 1 2006 7:26 PM EDT
Insulting a new player in "new players" should be a kickable offence. Like it or not, some new players will come in thinking they will master this game in 5 minutes, and some others will just not "get" the advice given, maybe for hours. None of this is any excuse for rudeness in a "commnity" game like this.
July 1 2006 7:28 PM EDT
It seems to me that the real problem with new player retention is that they do not fight long enough to become exposed to our community. We all come back to burn BA, but what keeps most of us active in the long run is the community.
What if new players were sent a semi-rare (lesser tats and kats) item after burning 1500 BA. This would keep some coming back to try to get that item (have a countdown to let them know how many BA they need to burn).
If this was advertised when the finished the turorial, they'd be more likely to stay. The items should be lesser tats and kats. Make it known that one in one hundred new players who complete these 1500 BA runs will recieve a RARE item. (You should also list the people who have recently won a rare in this way in the post-tutorial advertisement)
This seems like the most logical way of retaining people after their tutorial. I think that once these people burn 1500 BA they will be hooked by the non-fighting aspects of CB, like our awesome community.
July 1 2006 8:15 PM EDT
Excellent points all around...that's some constructive stuff!
Yes! A guide to simply say, "Yes, this game is about clicking, and then YOU WILL BE ADDICTED!" I love the reward ideas for BA amounts and the better explanation of "what to do now". I never had that, but I can understand someone wanting that (believe it or not, I remember starting CB like it was yesterday). I wasn't sure I was doing _anything_ right. I didn't know what the metrics meant, I didn't know what "good" was. But being the geek I am, I knew increasing numbers = "fun" (for me, at least).
Video games offer support... "Good job! You just won 143 gold!" Maybe just some extra intelligent messages delivered: "You just increased your score over 437 other people! REAL PEOPLE!". You know what I mean? The kids love the instant gratification and the entitlement. People compare rewards in chat from time to time...maybe we need more numbers? I know it sounds like a fool's game, and some of the "numbers" could be expensive for the server... But?
July 1 2006 10:34 PM EDT
sut, negator and nov, have very good ideas i see no reason not to implement them, it will keep the new players here.
maybe another reward after 10 000 BA? just something to keep them going, maybe just some cash or something.
not a good example, but i think we all get it. give them 2 or 3 rewards at certain times in the game.
July 2 2006 1:15 AM EDT
Though some of these ideas don't do much for the people who leave _right_ after the tutorial... Certainly nothing I have said helps there... :\
big flashing "don't quit before you make a few hundred $" sign?
but seriously maybe we need a sandbox for new players to be able to see something
interesting early on. Maybe a section in the tutorial where they get to fight a top char with another top char? The fightlog alone would be eye candy to draw them in.
Hmmm... didn't read through the whole thread, so don't know if someone may have mentioned this earlier on. Maybe someone's using a bot to gain extra money from the signups? Don't know if bot checks occur during the tutorial or not.
Anyways, if that is NOT the case, then 50-100 signups/day surprises me a lot too! I thought we had barely any new users signing up, and nearly went on a campaign to get more players. I guess the real challenge would be an impetus to stay IN the game.
July 2 2006 4:54 AM EDT
- write some kind of fancy story for CB. This could interest people a little longer after the tutorial
- maybe add some kind of beginners quests, like you get additional 10k CB$ as soon as you reach MPR 1000 or beat opponent xy and so on, like 10 or 20 little goals to reach after the tutorial
- give NUBs like 2000 BAs for the first 2 days without 10min waiting steps (and adjust the NUB bonus for that) .. actually i'm not sure if this would be good or worse to keep new players :)
Like others suggested before, I like that idea too:
It may be worth to try that "at x BA you get a reward", but you have to start with it at the tutorial.
Like, some steps before they finish the tutorial they will be rewarded with a base Battle Axe, along with a message that the next reward will wait after 1000 BA, which could be a lesser tat.
There should also a "reward-counter" somewhere on the main page for them to see, and it should appear when the tutorial starts.
That way they have some goals, and they know it _before_ they come out of tutorial, which is the important part to keep them playing.
July 2 2006 7:08 AM EDT
the list of new players in the past 24 hours. You'll notice that many of those are never seen in chat. Either because they don't have access to chat (Java/firewall) or because they quit in tutorial or right after it.
July 2 2006 9:05 AM EDT
There are only actually 12 new players - the rest are multis :)
I play Darkthrone (thousands of players - limited playability, very much alliance driven)
Travian (thousands of players - little more playable - farily alliance driven.
Deadawaken (about the same numbers as CB - maybe a few more - very playable and very alliance driven - via mobs/hordes)
I do think the BA incentive suggestion(s) will help a lot I also like the idea (Sefton?) of a store for New Players only (to qualify have to be in Shire). Base armour/weapons cheaper in there - maybe 'no profit/no loss' sell to store.
How about also making the Shire a mini-league and giving out prizes each month for the top of certain categories.
If the problem is that they either don't stick around when chat loads or leave just before, then I would suggest making that the point of an incentive. For example, after making two meaningful comments in chat to any mentor then the player receives an item or some cash. To facilitate this can a one-way switch be added to the players bio page. It could simply state that this player was welcome to CB by xxx, which would be whomever flipped the switch.
Oh and I remember the first time I ran out of BA it sucked pretty bad. Is there any sort of explanation about how long to wait until you get more or what you can do until then? I think that idea of suggestions of what to do during your first day and first week in CB would be useful.
July 2 2006 9:15 AM EDT
You could have like the first like 3 days of playing CB you get a double cap, and they refresh faster, maybe? I dunno, it sounds like a good idea. Because people saying about how much it sucked to run out of BA the first day, maybe that would solve the problem.
Just a thought.
July 2 2006 9:21 AM EDT
I think updating the tutorial would really help.
I will be finished with internship coming Monday and should be able to finally check out the tutorial again and completely revamp it. :)
July 2 2006 9:34 AM EDT
Senyi makes a good point mentioning the ba cap. I'd forgotten that but on other games I've experienced a lot of different caps, CB's is probably the best balanced I've come across, certainly better than only getting 100 turns initially then them only renewing once every twenty minutes like a couple of other games I've played. Maybe a larger initial allotment of BA so that gameplay need not stop so suddenly?
July 2 2006 9:36 AM EDT
new players should be told in the tutorial about the refresh rate.
July 2 2006 10:17 AM EDT
i think maybe i can shed some light on this since i signed up last month. 1st of all to me the mentor system in the game is absolutely terrible. you realize my mentor has talked to me once in a month? that combined with the fact that anyone can be a mentor makes it not much more than a joke. 2nd thing is the refresh rate. why was this not explained to me at some point? also this games refresh rate makes it hard to get into meaning why can't i use all my BA when i have the time to? if i can't then why is there nothing i can do between BA cycles? it's just bad for a new guy in this game to me. if you are a casual player then you might as well not sign up because you have no shot to do anything. 1 last thing, how the heck does a new player catch up to the top guys in money? this 1 guy has 757 million net worth? it is very depressing to see that and it kind of leads you to just give up. this is just my view on that.
July 2 2006 10:29 AM EDT
1) use paragraphs or something.
2) Mentors are not supposed to tell you what to do, they are there to help, and answer questions which the mentee asks.
3) you make enough money with your NUB, and also they have been playing longer, you cant expect to join a game and become the best in a little while, though this opportunity is given to you with your NUB.
though many people use USD, you do not need USD to become the best in the game, though it helps. you need time dedication thats it.
4) this is first thread i've seen in 8 months talking about new players and their views, even this isn't about that.
the point is, new players aren't telling us the tutorial sucks, or this or that sucks.
you can expect us to fix something when we have no idea what is wrong with it.
5) you can chat between BA cycles play the out-of-ba games, use the forums read the wiki and just look around, or you can come back later, this is just boredom, it is not a problem.
6) you cant use your BA whenever you want to, because this was not how the game was designed.
hopefully this answers many of your questions .
July 2 2006 10:32 AM EDT
no it answers none.
July 2 2006 10:42 AM EDT
well then, its information for you :)
July 2 2006 10:48 AM EDT
now that i have time let me tell you why it answers nothing. Jonathan asked for opinnions as to why new players don't stay around long and i gave him the reasons why I think new players do not stick around long. next thing is don't you think that 757 million is a bit more than a vet advantage? i thought the new player bonus was to let us catch up? well i expressed why i feel it is inadequate. last thing i will address to you Flamey is why i feel the mentor system is horrible. i told you guys i signed up last month right? well i don't know alot about the game yet i can become a mentor i think am i the only 1 here who thinks this is slightly wrong?
July 2 2006 10:51 AM EDT
Jon (and maybe admins) do get rid of mentors not knowing what they're doing. but honestly there are many mentees that don't say a word back.
maybe mentees need to do their job too :)
July 2 2006 1:17 PM EDT
I would take the extra BA idea and resurrect a very old idea: implementing the NUB as an extra amount of BA, not a percentage bonus. They get to fight all they want, and see the same momentous growth as the current NUB offers.
There are issues with it, but IIRC, the last time I brought this up Jonathan was just more of a, "Meh, that could work, but I like the current way better." Now that he is asking for ideas, I figured I would bring it up again.
colonel, doesn't the "out of BA" page explain the refresh rate and accrual cap? What more did you have in mind?
July 2 2006 1:33 PM EDT
Indeed Flamey, and I am one of the admins who checks on incompetent (can i use this word?) and / or inactive mentors and asks a full admin or jon to remove those players.
July 2 2006 2:08 PM EDT
There are a few points I would like to chime in on:
First: The botchecks. They are far too frequent and the script is difficult to read. These botchecks are proven to be immune to bots. So why in hell do I, or a new player have to go through 10 botchecks to blow off 160 BA? New players have complained to me about these botchecks and the penalty they have to pay if they fail them. Rather then pay them or wait an hour, they move on to a new game.
Second: The draconian rules we have. Yes they are the rules. But, I will give an example. A new player wants a loan or to sell his Lesser tattoo. He puts an ad in General forum, not knowing the full rules just starting in the game. As the tutoral has not made it crystal clear about where to post, said new player posts in the wrong forum. BAMM----One of the admins makes a post saying basically "your wrong-25k fine". New player says forgot this and moves on. I know since it has happened a couple times at least.
Third: Draconian rules in chat. Not all chat ops are fair and not all have the same threshold for kicking/killing people. Sometimes a new player may say the wrong thing in chat and gets kicked or even killed. I know if I were a new player, I would have a tough time staying in a community that is this quick to kick someone. But thats just me.
First: I agree. Too frequent, so much that it is unnecessary.
Second: I agree. In fact, Shade fined me 25k once when I posted a thread on "Would people be interested in buying themes?". I wasn't selling any themes, but stated I was wondering if anyone would be interested in actually paying CB for them. Then I think it was moved to FS/WTB, don't remember.
July 2 2006 4:28 PM EDT
Ranger's point about botchecks is good - if the script images are indeed immune to bots, then is there really any point in suspending people after two strikes? Could we just keep botchecking them until they pass one, or at least give them a few more chances?
Of course, this will not help with players leaving during or right after the tutorial, since botchecks starts later. Still, it's a "playability" thing.
July 2 2006 5:42 PM EDT
I think that little quests or jobs are a good thing, such as:
"The forge dwarf has lost his battle axe. If you happen to find one, please send it to X character and you will be rewarded accordingly"
"Person X wishes you to fight and beat the following characters, A, B and C. Once you successfully beat these players, you will be rewarded."
"Once you can beat player X within Y rounds of combat, he will give you a prize for your troubles."
"Player Y has been causing some upset amongst the market place, fight and beat him to win the towns gratitude."
Little quests and tasks like that give new players goals and aims to do. It makes the game so much more interesting. These little goals should help to retain some new players : )
I've got a few ideas:
- Make a character creation "Wizard" or something. Similar to what you experience at the beginning of "Oblivion" or "Morrowind" when you choose not to customize your character.
It would show you some basics, and let you choose some items, but lets the people get into the thick of fighting sooner. And gives them a character that they can actually do something with sooner.
Yes, it means there could essentially be more people that don't know HOW the game works, but it would also mean more people playing. Which I would like, and the mentors could help much more with.
Make this character creation wizard accessible to all users. Let it create a new character with certain traits (tank - mage - wall - enchanter - archer - unarmed combat - etc.) And what the hell, why not even MENTION these naming conventions to the new person.
The new user setup already creates names for your chars, so lets finish the process, let them have characters that they can use sooner. And show them some of the possibilities.
- Cutting out the NW/PR link for new users until they reach a certain PR. That way a mentor can loan them items that will encourage them to play, and win.
- Give new players something exciting to look forward to, some "Hurdle" that they can overcome early in the game (other then moving to a new realm) that gives them a very real reward. As it is currently, new players get a New Player Bonus, but that just isn't as exciting as "reaching" something, if you know what I mean. This "hurdle" needs to have some cool reward, and it would also be nice if this hurdle was somewhat random or different to each user. That alone would make me very interested.
July 2 2006 7:07 PM EDT
Wasp: that would make CB include quests, something that could be considered welcome, but I would rather see tournaments back again, even if it would be in the old admin handled way.
Could we add a botcheck to account creation? That would show us how many new signups are really real.
Maybe we could all be allowed to run through the tutorial again, I can't give any adivce on it as I really don't remember my CB1 tutorial. My CB2 one was rushed through like a mad little lemming just to get into the new game.
I do remember from the end of my CB1 tutorial though I had no idea how to even get to my home page from the end of it. I think I sent a CM to my (very helpful! :P) mentor to ask what to do next!
Instead of having to build your character in a specific way to satisfy the tutorial, maybe (I think as suggested above) the tutorial could revolve around pre created specific teams. Finishing the tutorial and them being able to get in and create/name your own team would be more of a draw. :)
New players don't get bot checks for their first hour or two, so that's a non-factor for the stage I'm talking about, too.
GL: CB doesn't have a problem (yet) with bots creating accounts, so I don't see a point to adding one there.
July 2 2006 8:08 PM EDT
1. Figure out where the ones that are staying are coming from, and try to 'advertise' more in those lines of places.
2. I don't have a personal stake in this battle, as I never personally did it, but bring back camping at some level. New players chat was leaps and bounds better when the campers were sitting in there. Most of them were insanely good strategists always willing to answer a question, as well as philanthropic souls that gave away stuff to new players.
In response to Sutekh's query. The BA allowance exceeded page made little sense to me initially. I think it should at least include a link to the help (or direct definition in the text) of what "BA" stands for and is. The lack of definition on that term is an unfortunate opportunity.
Stated differently, I'd recommend rewriting the opening sentence on the Allocation Exceeded page to use the phrase "Battle Allocation" rather than "BA" and to have the Battle Allocation phrase link to the same spot it does on the fight summary pages. It's handy on fight summary pages, but it is actually more pertinent and important for a new player on the Allocation Exceeded page.
To incorporate the comments from others above the Allocation Exceeded page may also be a good spot to summarize open and completed quests. This may help maintain interest from those who are new to the game.
July 2 2006 8:13 PM EDT
Forgot to add this to my post:
3. Add a keyword search to the Wiki. I am very familiar with CB and the Wiki, and still have a hard time finding information there sometimes.
July 2 2006 8:38 PM EDT
Then I would suspect that people who visit CB have a different idea about the game from when they first visit it.
Initially, my first run through the game (cb1 at the time), during the tutorial, I was expecting a bit more graphics, a bit more showmanship than the simple text game as cb currently is.
Perhaps new players finish the tutorial, and burn their initial allotment of BA, then realize this is the whole game. No graphics, entirely text based. In this day and age, most people I know that play online games, like the graphics and the simple click to play (diablo interface). I may be wrong, but I have told quite a few people about the game, and when I get to the point about it's all text based, they seem to lose interest.
Just my thoughts.
July 2 2006 8:53 PM EDT
I'd agree with Neravas on his view of the website's lack of appeal. But maybe the move to CSS will change that and bring the design up a notch or two. That's the initial hook though, why aren't people staying?
CB is competing with hundreds of similar games/websites, and there is nothing worse than thinking you are the only one playing. It's a bit like being stuck at home on your own on a Friday night.
Show that there is an active community of hundreds. Put the Active Threads right there on the front page, but to comment you need to log in. Do a Java check and put chat on the front page, without the ability to interact. If chat doesn't work then invite people to sign on and get some help.
Put a line on the front that CB isn't just a forum spam game where the only way to grow is to get other to sign up from your referral.
July 2 2006 9:03 PM EDT
As a noob, when i first started out, i finished the tutorial, ran through like 50 BA, and logged off. I thought "Is this the whole game?"
Then a week later, i came back on, and realized the chat interface existed. "Oh, look, ok, this isnt so bad"
So i had a pretty n00bish strat at first.
"Oh, cool fireball! hm... maybe put that on my uber minion with 500 st! Yeah awesome! Nothing can toutch me now!"
And then during chat, i asked a question about BL. Then edyit helped me retool my strat around to something that worked. A.K.A. I didnt have a base FB big st and a morning star, sitting there wondering why i did so little damage.
From then on, i was hooked.
To attract new people, AND get them to stay, i would have a bit more showmanship in the beginning. Give a glimpse of the depth. maybe show a character picture of one of the top 5, just to say: look, you can get this powerful.
-Make it clearer of what a good strat is, or atleast what all the skills, DD spells etc. do.
-Make sure that people see and acknowledge the chat box. Its what really makes me come back and back to this game.
-IN the chat, in new players for example, have a little more leinency on the rules. If someone comes in and gets kicked, kicked, kicked and then killed, they WILL never come back (unless they are really really bored) because of their bad experience. They might thing that we're an uptight community and just say "screw this" and go play "a game with graphics"
-On the graphics thing, it is this game's greatest strength and weakness. I love that this game doesnt have amazing HD graphics. Its cool that this game doesnt need graphics to be the (inventive word, -poetic license) *funnest* game that there is. If that turns people off, then "Run Forrest Run!"
damn, i wrote too much... sorry ;)
July 2 2006 9:33 PM EDT
I'm with you completely Ranger.
I dont' know how many times i have told people about Carnage Blender. They get all excited just because of the name "Carnage Blender." I will tell them about the moves, the awesome community(yes i actually said that) and i explained a couple things. At the time i was talking to about 15 people, i kid you not, and someone asked me the resolution and asked about the graphics. I was silent for a minute, and someone in the back of the room laughed and said "No graphics huh?" I paused and said "Well, it's very minimal". the guy said "Stupid text based games". i told him he had to play it to get hooked on it. I told them i played for two years. They thought i was nuts to play this for two years.
I was snappy and attacked with "I'm suprised you played runescape for the 6 years you did." That shut them up, and they started playing. Never told me their names, but they did play it.
some of them quit because of bad mentors. and yes, i think there should be some kind of test to become a mentor. Most of the vets, i'm sure, would be able to pass this. so if we had better mentors (and there are really great ones already) i think people would stay just for the solid fact that they kind of know what they are doing. I was told they quit for that reason. but those are just a couple things.
I still stand by my little idea of the soldiers on the win lose stalemate pictures. It would at least add a little bit of graphics. :P
I know this might be a bit tuff, but in the stores (weapons and armors) it seems that most new players have no idea what the negatives are of those items that they buy. Maybe we could on the item name have an overview like on the Items Overview page or if they click on it, it'll take them to that page, that way they can possibly figure it out before they buy and waste money upgrading a double-chain mail before realizing how horrible it is on anything other than a wall.
July 2 2006 10:33 PM EDT
...or just get rid of stuff that is very apparently crap. GL has been asking for that for...well...forever, and now with camping gone, no one has come up with a good reason why to keep garbage in the stores.
July 2 2006 11:21 PM EDT
the biggest issue is the tutorial, let some players make it better, also in the store there needs to be a link on the item names(as Mikel suggested), i had no idea some items gave penalties when i first started.
i had no idea what this meant: Fireball 2567/4677
i was trying to figure it out, i had no idea, i made a post and found out items had penalties, i dont think, that was something i was supposed to know, it never got explained.
i am agreeing with the mentor test, because it stops complete noobs who think they know the game to become mentors, when actually they know nothing.
BW: putting graphics there could work, but i have seen it done on some games, and really most of them look pretty dodgy you need the right pictures.
my main point is upgrade the tutorial and make it more in depth, but i know many people who hate to spend more than 5 minutes on a tutorial.
[This response assumes you understand my references. If not, the wikipedia might help for LORD and BBS.]
This game bears intense resemblance to L.O.R.D. with respect to two distinct, disparate areas present in the realm of blending. When Seth created that masterpiece that revolutionized BBS's (and still keeps them alive today), he did it with one purpose in mind: He needed a way to keep people calling his board and posting to what was then quite a dead place. He designed the game to be simple, something people could log in and play every day, yet spend no more than 15 minutes a day playing. Then, he opened up discussion sections for people to talk about the game. Since users had 60 minutes to spend on his board in a day, that left 45 minutes spent posting.
This was a perfect recipe for success. Very quickly, his board tripled in size, and before long, became one of the largest BBS's ever. The posting section grew ENORMOUS, much to the surprise of Seth. He wanted to spice things up a bit, and instead created a community flourished beyond anyone's expectations. Then, of course, the game spread to other boards as a way for SysOps (that better be in the dictionary simply for posterity...) everywhere to bolster their popularity. Eventually, the game came preinstalled on most BBS software packages, and no one could operate a board without it. It sparked discussion and community like nothing else in the BBS world.
So, what can we take away from that nice story? Carnage Blender is similar to LORD in that they both require small amounts of effort per day playing the actual game. CB needs 3 minutes every 3 hours, while LORD needed 15 minutes a day. What do you do with the rest of your time? Aside from indulging in the flash games on the OOBA page (similar to having fun with the expanded areas of LORD with the IGMs -- In Game Modules), you read and post to the forums. You partake in the community that has evolved around such a peculiar thing. This is what happened to Seth's board, and this is what happens in most areas. Even the newage knockoff, Legend of the Green Dragon (lotgd.net, I think), has followed a similar path.
So why lose people? Well, to be frank, the community here is......... odd. It is very unwelcoming as a whole towards new players. Whether in chat or on the forums, I have always felt strongly that this was a place I would never call home. There are a (very) few people that have have had outstretched arms, and one in particular that helped greatly in life outside of CB. But aside from that, the "community" is extremely closed. It's a clique that, for the most part, is not open to new membership.
Why is that? Well, the administration is a great place to start looking. Ranger touched upon this slightly. There are no clear rules, yet a list a mile long of unspoken rules of things that you may or may not be able to do depending on which admin is around. Nothing says "Come on in!" like a 25K ban for making a mistake. This is like a big sign given to all newcomers saying "Go away!" I have always felt that since the beginning, only resorting to posting for the simple fact that this game is not at all intuitive. It *requires* community interaction to be able to survive at all. Granted, the wiki changes a lot of that, but it is still necessary to interact with people to learn the finer points of the game. Otherwise, you'll be wearing a DCM until you finally give up and quit.
Further, the admins are not, as a whole, overly helpful, and are instead somewhat disdainful. As an example, I still have yet to see one single kind word come from mrwuss. The administration, you see, should be held to a higher standard. If a police officer breaks the law, the judge often seeks the highest punishment. He's a cop, afterall. He's held to a higher standard. That, actually, was the basis for the movie Con-Air.
Just the other day, I made a post to a contest thread about a haiku. I posted the decss code written in haiku form, as it holds meaning for me. I didn't realize how long it actually was, and I wound up making a post that was insanely huge. What'd I do? I ran frantically to chat to find any admin who was around who could edit or delete the post quickly. Why? Because I knew full well that had I left it there and instead CM'd a single admin, I'd have hordes of "punishment" brought down on me for posting incorrectly, as the admin to whom I sent the CM would most likely not have signed on before another saw it (given my luck). Now, seeing as how I have a lot invested in this game, both in time and money, I have no desire to have random admins taking cash from my wallet. So.... the lesson learned is....... don't post.
And actually, this lesson has been brought down like a hammer several times. The moral of the story has always been, "You don't like it? It's Jon's game. Move on. Go home. We don't need you." In other words, shut up and accept it. If you want to be safe, don't post and stay out of chat. You'll probably just get banned or fined anyway.
And you're asking why you have low retention of new players?
The key to having a successful community, like most things, is having successful leadership. That leadership must be able to put up with quite a bit. The leadership here has an exceedingly low tolerance for just about anything. That means things like CMing a person explaining what they did wrong instead of just fining them and moving on. That means being nice and kind, instead of doling out holier-than-thou remarks riddled with nonsense.
The key to countering attrition is in the community. The key to the community is in the leadership. It made Seth Robinson a very wealthy man, after all. It might be wise to learn what he did and copy it.
As a followup thought, I recall from when I started out that I found the forum itself very clunky. I was expecting something powered by phpbb, yabbse (now smf), vbb, etc. That could also be a factor.
Thanks Jon! I was just posting that in repsonse to someone else mentioning that a lot of the new sign ups could be botted accounts for referal bonuses.
I don't think more game information should be given away, finding out what xxx/yyy in your spell means or the difference between a dagger and a whip is one of the hooks of the game.
But really, why do we need items like Tulwar s and DCM s? Are they there just to trap new players?
July 3 2006 4:58 AM EDT
I think most people have made some good points - did you know there was so much wrong with the game Jon lol? - but they all seem to be points for why people leave the game after they've been here a little bit more than a short while. On the other hand Verifex echoed my earlier point about a beginner's area but his version with ready built character templates seemed like a much better version of my idea.
With this you could add a few things; if you are running with the mage template when you try to train things a pop-up asks you if you really want to train archery with fireball. Or equip that DCM. Etc etc etc. I'm not sure how easy this would be to implement but it would be a good way to instil the basics into players. It could be an option you could switch off and/or would only be active for a short while.
WIth regard to a flashier look to the site - maybe that turns some people off, but what about those who are playing from work? Not that any of us do that but I originally started_because_there_were_no flashy graphics. If there had been masses of pictures of warriors or wizards I wouldn't have stayed. Because of a problem with IE at my office CB looks like the old wordpad theme. And that suits me just fine!
July 3 2006 6:53 AM EDT
so i guess it's all just a matter of opinoin here. whether you like graphics or not
me, i could care less if there were major graphics or not. it's just about how often i can actually get to play the game. boring or not, i will play it. this one is just one of the more interesting games i've played jusyt because of the sole fact that there are things to do.
but people say they quit after they spend their first round of BA.
I think that's bullcrap. I play a game called Dark Throne, and i would rather play this just because i get more turns here. We get 10 turns every 10 minutes (it varies i know). Darkthrone is such a slow paced game. You get 2 turns every 30 minutes, and that's solid, it never changes. But when you attack and win, you get more money the more turns you get.
Which brings up a small idea. If you attack someone, and they have over a certain amount of money, you should be able to "steal" off the dead minions. stalesmates and draws shouldn't get you anything though. It would certainly put an interesting twist on battles. ;) Bringing back the bank would certainly be worth it if this idea came true.
No stealing. For one, it wold just make everyone create a no minion 'bank' charcater to keep all their cash/items on.
Secondly, if we can steal equipped items, I would spend all my BA fighting down someone with a massive weapon, taking 10 rounds or more to kill them, till I stole thier massive NW weapon.
I'd then stick it on a no minion bank character and sell it for hundreds of USD...
July 3 2006 7:26 AM EDT
sorry , but you added yourself to a list of people who ask of those FORS, maybe you should have a read through.
July 3 2006 10:05 AM EDT
I like the quest idea, and I think it is a good idea for several reasons:
1) People like to have specific goals to accomplish. CB has a "goal" (to be the most powerful character), but it is kind of open-ended and it is impossible for new players to understand what is required to make a good strategy in order to achieve this goal. Small, short-term goals that are (fairly) easy to accomplish will motivate a new player to keep playing.
2) People like getting rewards. Simple as that.
3) By giving short goals, it encourages that players to return to complete them, and it also gives them more of a chance to experience the game and participate in the community aspects of the game.
4) The quests could also potentially be used as an extended, but more in depth tutorial. Giving, for example, a forging quest, where a user would have to forge an item up by +1.
Here's the first quest I think new users should have to complete:
Use 160 BA. I can't remember how many BA a user starts with, but assuming they have 160 BA, let them use it all, and then after they have used 160 BA, have a reward page which will give a reward and then an explanation about being out of BA, and the BA refresh rate. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
Another suggestion, if quests were implemented, would be to have a page where you could view all the quests. Maybe have a list of 10 or 20 quests, and once all of them are complete, the user could pick one item from a list of rares as the ultimate reward. It would help them out now that they have clearly shown an interest in the game and are likely to continue playing.
Well I've babbled long enough. Hopefully my 2 cents has at least some merit. :P
July 3 2006 10:32 AM EDT
you start with 300 BA.
I'm surprised to see Jon hasn't said anything bad about the idea, because its in the FORS.
Q: Why not add computer-controlled opponents, or maybe a 'quest' mode?
A: Computer opponents would add zero gameplay and are fundamentally less interesting than competition with people who are (hopefully) as smart as you are.
If you think for just a few minutes about the kinds of quests traditional or massively multiplayer RPGs have, you will realize that they are either (a) ridiculously ill-suited to the CB environment, or (b) something that a CB player in quest of wealth/power/fame would be doing anyway. Or both.
July 3 2006 10:58 AM EDT
FORS notwithstanding, we are talking about ideas to make the game more appealing at the specific point where we lose a new player, during or at the end of the tutorial. At THAT point, a player is likely not aware yet what it will take to achieve fame or power, so presenting a definite goal or two would provide some focus.
July 3 2006 11:30 AM EDT
The quest idea FORS I think is in respect to the whole game. The current quest mode being suggested would only apply to the new players in order to help introduce and interest them in CB.
Also, as you pointed out Flamey:
"(b) something that a CB player in quest of wealth/power/fame would be doing anyway."
The point of these quests would be to introduce the new players to the elements of the game, and by using a few quests at the beginning they can be introduced to the elements so they can have a better concept of how CB functions. It is more of an extended training period so they can learn a bit more than just the bare essentials that the tutorial provides.
It will also give them more time to interact with the community. The current tutorial lasts all of 10 minutes or so, and a new player has really had no interaction with the community up to that point. A quest mode could allow them to interact more with the community and ask mentors/CB players specific questions (eg: How do I forge? if a player has a forging quest).
The "become all powerful" goal of CB can be daunting for a new player, especially when they really have very little/no idea what is going on. The quests would just be smaller more manageable goals, that new players could easily accomplish at first, but would progressively get more difficult/open-ended (ie: reach 10,000 MPR).
Flamey: You are doing exactly what I mentioned in my long post. Several people have made suggestions to which you've essentially responded, "It's in the FORS, you idiot." That doesn't breed community growth. It stifles it. Heck, most people don't even know what FORS stands for.
Johnnywas: My response DOES apply to the first bout of BA. As I mentioned, after running through that first bout, the new user needs to find a community to draw him in and keep him, hook line and sinker. That doesn't exist.
How is it his fault you haven't read the documentation?
July 3 2006 1:11 PM EDT
Maybe it's my age or something but think community is a two way street. Sitting there and waiting for the community to welcome you in with open arms will get you nowhere. You have to get in there and mix it up a little. There are a lot of good people here, who do a lot for new players. Many people give out advice, items, welcomes without expecting anything back.
My advice to anybody new would be the same I would give to anybody going into any new environment. Don't wait to be spoken to, treat everybody with the same respect you expect them to give you. And if some people are rude or don't want to know you rise above it.
I didn't come into CB expecting flags to be put out and trumpets heralding my arrival. I wouldn't go into a strange pub for instance and expect everyone to come over and talk to me; I'd probably turn around and run thinking they were weird!
July 3 2006 1:21 PM EDT
Hmm, maybe something should be done to show new players they have a chance. Show them Mantra and his character and say how he was dominating the entire game in only 4 months and that any player can do it. Even the most boring things imaginable become interesting when you have a chance at becoming the best at it. Just a thought.
July 3 2006 1:24 PM EDT
that can also show them, they can become the best then make a lot of USD from it.
July 3 2006 1:27 PM EDT
Might not be the best thing in the world, but would entice them to play to show how much money CAN be made. Also they would have to buy supportership to do it. Win-Win situation lol
July 3 2006 4:07 PM EDT
I did not read every post in the thread so this might have been suggested.
At some point of the tutorial, or maybe upon completion, have a bright message/pop-up thingy, indicating the refresh rate and incentive for coming back to fight more.
eg. after 1000 battles a free HLA or Cabasset or such. This might encourage that fence sitting group to stick around just long enough to get hooked while not giving any advantage or disadvantage.
Of course w/ the 1000 battle level there might need to be a reminder or two? Maybe the first 3 logins list how many battles left to the free equipment. I have no idea if this would be coding intensive or not but just the first thing that came to mind.
July 3 2006 4:15 PM EDT
On the idea of free items after a certain point... why not go better then that? Make it lottery style. From a Cab to maybe a high NW lesser tattoo. More incentive instead of a 300 dollar item. Could still be one... but could be a 50k LToA which is just what they needed.
Johnnywas: Last I checked, this thread existed because people were leaving. You're adopting the attitude of, "Well, you don't like it? Fine! No one's holding a gun to your head.. Leave!" -- They are. This is exactly my point. In your example pub, when that pub runs out of business, either things have to change or the pub closes down. And yes, sometimes that means going over and talking to brand new people, welcoming them at the door, and treating them like they've been there for years.
This stuff I'm describing isn't new. I've dealt with marketing teams from large organizations that have used these techniques to turn around companies that were far into the red. There's no denying the fact that having wide open arms and actively making people feel like they are allowed and encouraged to post in a forum (instead of making them feel afraid and on the outside) will address attrition. Face it -- The way you're doing it isn't working. Sure, you'll get the 5-10% of people that fall into the "D" type personality (DISC model), but what about the rest? Johnnywas, a community is about everyone, those that are here and those you want to be here. If you want more people, you can't turn them away. That's not rocket science. Actually, that's sociology.
I recommend reading Personality Plus, as well as How to Win Friends and Influence People. Further, if _you_ aren't willing to change.... well, don't expect anything to change. That includes keeping new people.
July 5 2006 5:22 AM EDT
Well, i remember when i come in CB2 for the first time. Everything looks confusing. When i do my first fights i dot't realise how they happen, i saw only the final results and my reward, i don't even understood clearly when i won and when i lose. Due to firewall/proxy i can't use java chat, and thats confuses me a lot more. I was unable even find where i can buy new weapon/armor. And i quit playing. Yes, now it's all clear, but when i just start playing i can't even look at battle log, which is set to off by default.
Then, when i recieved an e-mail, i continue playing. A lot of numbers was very confusing. What does it mean for new player Score/PR/MPR 1,250/1123/450 ?
July 5 2006 5:30 AM EDT
Nightstrike, what I was saying is there are plenty of people who welcome new players - Bast, Sefton, GL, Barzoo, G Beee, Shade, Maelstrom, Novice, Ranger, Mikel - all big players, all who help new players settle in. And those are just the ones who I know about or can name off the top of my head. Maybe your dealings with people haven't been as positive, I don't know. What I do know is this community is much much better than most I've encountered.
What I will concur with is that the community is not that obvious. I for one don't do chat, mainly because I play a lot at work and my wife would probably divorce me if I did chat at home. So my initial dealings with the community was the forums. In CB1 the latest forum postings were listed on the main page. Which at least gave you a sense that other people were here....
You're probably right about the pub closing down though. Except where I live in Central London, the pubs where nobody knows your name..lol
July 5 2006 7:10 AM EDT
Mmm. Nightstrike's point about our pub not welcoming in new customers has made me think.
If you are not in chat or are not a mentor you do not have any indication of new players. Unless I go looking into community to see who has signed up I do not know who is new or who is not. Unless they make themselves known in the forums.
Perhaps this needs to be addressed. Maybe a separate forum for new arrivals. Perhaps upon completion they chould be invited to post in the New Players forum so we can see who is coming into the world of CB?
Great idea! A 'welcome' forum. Get to know CB and it's players. I tried to use off topic for that a while ago, but an official forum would make it a lot easier!
'New Players' but on the boards! :D
July 5 2006 7:25 AM EDT
The layout might have something to do with it. Perhaps instead of opening up to your character page, the opening page (with an option in settings to change it) could be a 'contents' type of page - with a section for news - ie changelog info - a listing of the forums- and other 'community' type info. Have that as the Home page and a separate page for your character.
At least this way you know there is a community here from the start. I was just dipping into my memories of first signing up and it can at first because of the gameplay style feel as if you are fighting computer created opponents. Perhaps it would be nice to get a feeling that there is a human element here from the start.
July 5 2006 8:24 AM EDT
new players forum would be very nice, i know when i first got here i posted i general about my strat, not many people were being kind, some were.
'General' now is like 'carnage' if your in there you dont have to help out.
we need another forum for new players, so its like the room 'new players'
it would be much more welcoming, and a chatmail after the tutorial, saying "check out the new players forum, if you need help post there"
not everyone has chat to be in New players, and if you have a look in General the posts are detailed and have many abbreviations hard for new players to learn.
that might be a bit off-topic but it would sure help.
Here is a suggestion to your point Jon, though it may not be practical. When I try a new game and kind of like it I may not remember my account on it, or forget I made an account and moved on. When you first create an account on a new game you are vulnerable to the move on syndrom.
My suggestion is to send an email to the user when they are new and their BAs have risen to 360 and provide a link, complete with login information, to reaccess their account.
This service would have kept me in many such games.
I don't think you want to drown them in emails, but one email every time they reached the max BAs would not be offensive.
So there you go. Give it a try.
P.S. Folks, you are using this thread to complain about things totally unrelated to the question Jon asked. Make a new thread if you want to complain about bot checks, admins, or graphics. Jonathan has shown that he reads them all, even if he does not necessarily fix the 'problem'.
July 5 2006 2:06 PM EDT
Disclaimer: Im not going to read all of these replies, but here are my suggestions.
Like in any business, incentives can have a dramatic impact on the decision making skills of any potential client. The intrinsic value of the incentive in question isn't nearly as important as the percieved value.
These traits have already been addressed with the NUB bonus, and the NUC bonus. Brilliant ideas.
As for new players, one of the best things that could be done is to create some sort of registry process. If they confirm their email, reward them with "X" BA and "X" game dollars. Do it again after a number of battles, or a certain score has been reached.
I wouldn't go the course of items, those are too circumstantial. However, a boost to somones BA due to reaching a certain series of points in their gameplay may have an impact on their tenure here.
July 5 2006 2:19 PM EDT
Oh, and one more thing.
As a general rule of thumb, when someone new asks about stuff in chat, there really is no need to be rude, crass, and abrubt with them.
I know it feels good for some people to talk down to people whenever possible, but frankly... it wont keep them coming back.
July 5 2006 2:26 PM EDT
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Words of a very wise, and noble, sage. Thanks Nostrous.
July 7 2006 7:27 AM EDT
Is there any way of having an unlimited BA for the first (say) 24 hours, but not starting NUB until that's over?
1 days clicking and spending XP should get whoever is going to get hooked into it :-)
July 7 2006 7:34 AM EDT
way to much VC somebody can sit there and spend 200k battles, or more depending on their time and connection.
maybe for the BA thing, tell them they get BA tell them they get extra 10 BA per 10 min, meaning 20 BA per 10 min until about 1000 battles.
basically with the message thing, but give them more BA more frequently and tell them about it, it could get them to stick around.
July 7 2006 8:03 AM EDT
I think a higher BA cap/more BA during the first day or so indeed may help retain those who did quit after their first set of BA.
But what I didn't see in this thread is suggestions to keep those that quit within seconds after finishing tutorial. What is it that scares them away from this game?
I tihnk a welcome screen at the end of the tutorial, with links to a new player forum and other stuff mentioned in this thread would help with that.
I also like the idea of having the tutorial based on pre set teams, and when finishing allowing new player to create and name thier own team straight away. It might give a little sense of achievement straight from the tutorial. :)
Then, manacle them to their chairs, have hellraiser hooks on chains shoot from their screens, and keep them literally captivated! >;)
July 7 2006 8:17 AM EDT
Flamey: But they'd have to spend 3 times as much BA to get the same rewards, and everyone's time is surely limited for a new game?
K - give them 500 BA at first or something, with the NUB starting after.
Bart: I would say that a screen after the tutorial (or even during it) explaining the depth of strategy might intrigue some - however bottom line, If a text based fight game isn't your thing, it just isn't.
It might help to know where they heard about the game in the first place, and why they gave it a try - ie what they were expecting.
July 7 2006 9:15 AM EDT
ok, I'm going to agree with the pre-set teams for the tutorial, nobody wants to see themselves do weak damage, give them a 4 minion team with 5 mil untrained xp on each minion or something like that, and a choice of tattoos to pick for the tutorial, make it like a sort of trial, and at the end, you can put a message saying "you can get a character like that with some effort."
also with this you can go through all the different spells and their meanings and anything else like that.
i think this has something to do with before they leave, tell me if i'm getting the wrong idea with this thread.
That's an idea! :D But I wouldn't suggest a pre set team that big. Just something they can get thier teeth into. A Tank with a big wepaon, a nice sized DD and enhantments.
Give new players a taste of what they can get, then take it away and make them earn it! :D
July 7 2006 11:15 AM EDT
Sounds good to me :-)
would that not put them off staying after the tutorial even more or even encourage more multis?
If you give them something like that then take it away at the end I feel even more new players will put the game down straight after the tutorial.
Keeping new players is always the most difficult thing of a game.
It's part what the new players want and what they expect and part what the game has to offer.
New players that like this game will stay (ofcourse). But some that like it but don't know the full extent of what this game has to offer.
I don't know if it is difficult to program in. But is there a way after the tutorials, or any time, for NUB players to get some kind of a sandbox model?
With a sandbox model i mean infinite BA and money (ofcourse not affecting the "real" ranking and standings) during a period of time, say 24 hours or shorter. So they can work out different strats and items. Maybe add to the sandbox model, sandbox shop and auctions? or something.
With the model let them see what this game has to offer.
Any thoughts? Is it to hard to program in? to difficult? Giving NUB players a huge advantage?
Well these are my 2 cents
July 7 2006 2:45 PM EDT
I feel this is one of those games you either love it or you hate it... New users come with different expectations and if there not met (no graphics) then there likely to leave no matter what you do. The 2/3's that leave before the tutorial has finished probably fall in that group, they probably have no interest in games of this style. The 1/3 that do stay to finish this tutorial are most likely intrigued by games of this genre and those are the ones that we need to pay extra attention to. The tutorial needs to have all aspects of the game covered so that this specific group can decide from that point if they want to stick with it or not. I cant remember if the tutorial covered forging in dept but that is a whole other aspect of the game that should be exposed to newcomers I think. I only wish forging your own gear was practical but from what Ive read its not.
Hopefully I'll with the graphics side of that problem ;)
"But what I didn't see in this thread is suggestions to keep those that quit within seconds after finishing tutorial. What is it that scares them away from this game?"
Maybe some people just don't like the game......... (as surprising as that may be to some)
I think the interface is too confusing, because there's simply too much to do. However, I have a start on a solution for this.
New players should learn things step-by-step, instead of having everything available to them from the start. We achieve this by taking the Clans, Transfers, Auctions, Forge, Black Market, and Tattoo Artist off the sidebar for new players. As they get used to the game, we introduce the new parts of the game bit by bit, starting with clans, then auctions, etc.
This may also discourage people from making multis (for new players at least), since they can't transfer items between their new accounts. Also, forging should not be introduced to new players until they hit the 100k MPR rate.
Of course, this is only the start of an idea. It'd need to be expanded more, and would require quite some work to get it done.
I do not think limiting new players' options (besides the very brief limits imposed by the tutorial) is worth pursuing.
Better guidance might well be necessary, but crippling the game is exactly the opposite of the putative goal of demonstrating CB's depth.
I emailed my questionaire to 110 new users who looked like they used their real email address.
Here are the questions I asked:
1. What did you like or dislike about the tutorial?
2. You finished the tutorial and several battles after that. What
did you like about CB that kept you playing this long?
3. After the tutorial, were you able to figure out what to do next?
3a. What was the most help figuring things out?
3b. What was the most confusing part?
4. Did chat work for you?
4a. If chat worked for you, what did you like or dislike about it?
4b. Should chat be enabled or disabled by default?
6. Were you contacted by a Mentor?
6a. Did you ask him or her any questions?
6b. If so, were his or her answers useful?
7. Would you be pleased or annoyed by an optional feature that
emailed you a daily summary of your Character's activities?
7a. What about a text message instead of an email?
8. Are you still interested in Carnage Blender?
8a. If not, what made you lose interest?
9. Any other comments about how I can improve Carnage Blender?
... Looks like I have trouble counting past five. Heh.
July 12 2006 12:35 AM EDT
That made me smile. =^)
July 12 2006 12:48 AM EDT
5. Can you count?
5a. If you can count, what it your favorite part of that? Do you like numbers? Unicorns?
5b. If you can't count, can you help me with my questionairre?
5c. I really like vanilla.
You can count past 5 just fine. You just have trouble counting TO 5 =P
July 12 2006 5:06 PM EDT
Ahh Sutekh, I laughed, I cried.
The addition of 'Unicorns' did me in.
That is classic. Bravo!
July 12 2006 5:21 PM EDT
How did you title it? The email to the players I mean...
Sutekh likes unicorns of purity. :-)
I was not aware of this post when I created "Retiree Truc's IMHO Flame Magnet", but you'll find my 2 cents there.
July 12 2006 9:17 PM EDT
My main gripe is I don't like running out of BA so quickly - I only have a few hours to play each day and so if I can't have a larger number of BA to use it does get frustrating. And my money is always scarce, since I don't know people yet who forge stuff I have to go to the Blacksmith's. I imagine most newbies feel the same - when I introduced someone to the game he said "humph - that is a bummer", when he saw how fast BA is used up.
I also am trying different spells and stuff as I start out (since I really don't know what I am doing yet or how to make myself stronger). (Well I thought I had a plan, but as I got a little better it quit working.) And so when I do change stuff I get what I consider a pretty severe penalty for doing so. I wish the penalty was less for a while and BA could accumulate to about 280 or so. Just a thought, that way you don't have to play all day every day to get better. and you can enjoy playing for while without running out of BA. And newbies can't afford purchasing BA for a while - especially if they want armor. That would allow tank teams to compete at lower levels.
As one guy said, more money to start with would be nice too. (I still can't imagine having a million dollars to buy stuff I need.)
A more thorough tutorial would also be nice too - maybe for the newbies as they advance. It could explain checking your stats, contacting forging clans or forging (maybe forge one item for free), selling stuff,and other stuff like what to do when you run out of BA.
July 12 2006 10:17 PM EDT
Ah, another testimony to the fact that the NUB should be centered around having more BA, not inflated rewards! I love it! It makes me forget about hating clans so much! It even makes me forget about ultra-pure unicorns!
Jonathan, I'm dead serious -- the new players have spoken: they want more BA. Give it to them. Change the NUB. Leave the NCB as is, but change the NUB to be same rewards but an ultra-regeneration rate or just a huge allocation each day, or a huge amount of BA that can be purchased cheaply. The neophytes will be heard! There is no camping to worry about, no tournaments, and a NUB would still be crazy to use their time for forging. Make them put the work in and give them incentive to stay to boot!
July 12 2006 10:42 PM EDT
Actually, that's a good idea Sut. If NUB users got more BA, then they would be rewarded only when they put in the extra time to use it, not just for playing around. It might help to cut down on those who only play to sell cash for USD, though it might increase the server load. I suppose that to let them stay competitive with NCBers, they'd have to have greater than normal rewards, too... that might get complicated...
I think you are reading more into the data than is warranted, Sutekh. :)
July 12 2006 10:54 PM EDT
You know I'm right, Jonathan. *kiss*
I'm just trying to prevent another "Sutekh was right" post. Those do bore me sooo terribly!
Maybe I am reading in a bit... But we;ve had...3 or 4 folks mention the BA issue? Isn't that at least an appreciable fraction of those weighing in?
Other than controlling clan points, what is the downside to converting the NUB into a BA-fest? Just add it to the BA purchase model each day. NUBs would have a secondary cache to buy from for a very cheap, cheap rate. They would control its activation. You could even make the available BA in the secondary cache be based on how much the newbie is fighting over a previous 7-day period (you wouldn't want to inflate the number of battles they would get based on 24-hour clicking...it would have to mirror their fighting). That's the one downside, I guess...it's not the smallest discrete unit since it would be daily instead of battle by battle...
July 12 2006 11:04 PM EDT
By the way, here is my previous thread on this idea:
And here is Jonathan's main, direct response aside from the other things the thread turned into:
This isn't a bad idea, but I prefer the current system for a very specific reason.
First, let me point out that the expected difference in outcome is negligible, as far as the top's concerned. You're not going to get in the top 5 with the current NUB without some serious setting-your-alarm-at-night motivation. Sure, making the new guys click more would make the "I started first so I deserve to never be caught" crowd happier but they should have stayed with CB1.
Where the current system wins is by providing less die-hard players with increased incentive to stick around long enough to see CB's depth. Giving them a "bonus" that isn't intuitive until you're enough of a vet to understand how the BA system works (especially if further complicated by a purchasing system) just doesn't compete as a retention device.
I don't know how much even applies any more with all the game changes that have been made since, but I still think the BA increase is a decent idea. Then again, I think everything I say is gold. I'm arrogant like that.
1) I've got to back Sutekh's idea. It would keep players that just started on the game longer, especially if we had something pointing/directing the player to this section where they can get more BA(see #2). The longer they are playing initially, the more likely they are to think or want to come back. In addition, by playing this extra BA, they will be in chat long enough to actually get a little interaction with the community(see #3).
2) Have the tutorial use all BA the person starts with and/or end with them going to the window where they can buy more BA (especially the BA from Sutekh's idea if implemented).
3) I like the idea of chat being available during the tutorial. This would go along especially well with #2, if it requires full use of BA.
4) You could set up a system for players that don't get into playing immediately to be emailed, say about 2 weeks - 1 month after signing up, where you ask them to try out the game again and grant them with a gift of extra BA (maybe enough to make up for the lost time?).
5) Bring back tournaments. Yeah, so this wouldn't help the situation a ton, but for some players that is what they like. And you did tell us it was going to happen.
6) Quests have been suggested and could be good up to a certain MPR, otherwise its just too much work to make up a ton of quests. Besides you're only trying to get the player hooked. This in a way could end up being an extra tutorial if the quest are made correctly.
7) I miss the vote for BA. I like extra BA that doesn't cost a lot (especially free BA). I bet new players do to. This could also bring more sign-ups.
I think a few of these work together really well so I'll summarize them together.
Allow for chat in the tutorial while making the tutorial a bit longer by requiring full usage of BA. Implement Sutekh's idea of BA > NUB and make the ending of the tutorial be where you buy this extra BA. This purchase of BA could be the users first quest, in a line of quests that work as an additional tutorial but can be done whenever. Allow for these users to get another choice at extra BA by voting for CB, this choice being the cheaper one since it is free. This should also bring more sign ups. A possible quest could have something to do with tournaments. Some people really enjoy tournaments more than anything else. Finally, if none of these additions worked or weren't given a chance to work, you could seek out these players after a few weeks through email and give them BA to make up for lost time and ask them nicely to come back.
"Bring back tournaments. Yeah, so this wouldn't help the situation a ton, but for some players that is what they like. And you did tell us it was going to happen."
All I remember saying is that I would set up a development server for (what turned out to be) a succession of players who wanted to revive them. 3 have tried, all have wimped out. :)
I still might do it myself eventually, but here we are 1.5 years into CB2 and it has yet to be my top priority.
July 13 2006 12:44 AM EDT
Yep, and I am one of the wimps. That's why I didn't bring up tourneys. *wink* I am still looking around the CB code...it's just that th emore I do, the more wimpy I get!
*slinks up to Sute*
Hey mister, word on the street is you've got access to a bit of the mysterious CB code.
How's about you take a little peek into how some things work? Like Endurance, Protection or 'Chance to Hit'?
We could make it very worth your while...
*looks around furtively for the law*
"3 have tried, all have wimped out. :) "
I was one of the first, if not the first, of the people to offer my services to you in creating this system. You gave me a flat-out "No" as a response, telling me that you had enough people already working on the project (though in actuality you had other people start on the project after you told me no).
Point being: you make it seem as if there was little interest from skilled programmers in creating a tournament system when this was clearly not the case.
Jon was willing to accept skilled programmers from a list of those he knew were 100% loyal to the game and trusted enough not to steal any of the code for their own workings.
I'm not trying to insinuate that you would do anything of the sort but we all have our own selection of people we would trust with our prized possessions.
July 13 2006 10:00 AM EDT
GL, if I could figure it out, even by reading the code, I would have had tourneys done by now... *smile*
It would be like asking the inner working of a "no account" petition for Clay County in Missouri in our current system. I could slog through it if there was a bug, but I don't otherwise. Our main project contains nearly half a million lines of code.
A side project I wrote (far more efficiently than its predecessor) contains 15,000 -- still not easy to find stuff.
Anyway, that's just my way of saying that not only am I too lazy, I have no interest in figuring out the inner secrets of CB (at least not in a detailed fashion...) *smile*
What do you think of the BA NUB idea (since I don't want to get lambasted for being off topic again...)
I love the buy more BA option. I've never been a fan of the NUBs increased cash rewards. ;)
No, NightStrike, you weren't even close to the first.
But even if you were the only one, you're not (yet) on my short list of competent people that I trust 100%. No offense.
Re the questionaire, I have just over 20 replies now. I doubt I'll get many more at this point. Most were very short answers that didn't help much. (The most useful were nettleman's, so props to him for that.)
I think the most promising idea is giving new players short goals after the tutorial with a reward attached, like CMing their mentor, training an enchantment, stuff like that. I'll start a separate thread for ideas here.
Turning chat on during the tutorial is worth a try, but I remember why I turned it off in the first place. (Too many newbies who didn't want to figure out what "click Train" meant without having their hand held through it.)
BTW, re the BA thing, I may not have mentioned that most players who quit don't finish out their first BA set. (New players start with increased BA, something like 300.) So I giving them more BA solves a nonexistant problem.
July 13 2006 12:26 PM EDT
PM to Jon....
You ever think of "dangling a carrot" for new players? Not sure how effective it would be, but what if at the end of the tutorial, they received some message (through the tutorial) stating that the end of a week maybe, or after using a certain ammount of BA, their continued growth and training would earn them something....
Make it a relatively low item (2HW, Loch, lesser tattoo of their choice) something a lot of new players buy, but all grow out of. Make the item non transferable (except to other characters on their account) but maybe allow them to sell it back to the store, where it would disappear...
Just a thought. If you can get people logging back in a few times, it seems to me they would be forced to have more involvement with the community, and hopefully more char. development they would not so easily abandon...
"BTW, re the BA thing, I may not have mentioned that most players who quit don't finish out their first BA set. (New players start with increased BA, something like 300.) So I giving them more BA solves a nonexistant problem."
<p>What about having the tutorial in some way use up all of their initial BA while having them in chat. The longer they are on, the better chance of them staying or coming back and seeing the community more. And if they finished their BA, and wanted more, it would be helpful to be able to buy some for near nothing, otherwise they may get annoyed it ended so quickly, and not want to waste their time coming back.
<p>I do think that if anything is done, <b>add beginner quests.</b> But don't make them required.
<p>I'm still curious on your thoughts of the email I suggested and why you don't still do the "vote for BA," unless you lose something by doing the vote?
why not vote for BA? because it was not effective at promoting CB.
but serious, do you have any results yet back from the questionaire?
Can you post the questionaire in the forums Jon? So we can have a look what kind of questions your asking so we know in what direction to aim for.
I can give you dozens of suggestions but those need some coding.
This is one i mentioned earlier. A new realm for new players (not the three we have now) make a short realm (less then a week or so) and give them a sandbox model (infinite BA) after they are out of the Sandbox realm they "graduate" to the normal realms.
Of course there need to a solution for the money and items and character they develop.
I already posted the questions
July 13 2006 3:40 PM EDT
I still have the old tutorial saved as a series of screenshots, I will tomorrow / Saturday / Sunday try to at least bring some basic improvements to information given in it.
Why not try the vote for CB on CB2. CB1 did not have a NUB and there are now more members to vote.
July 13 2006 5:30 PM EDT
Is there any way to access the tutorial other than screenshots? Maybe we could do a wiki-like tutorial that could be (more) closely monitored by tutorial admins. (Dont want to overtax the already busy admins).
"Maybe we could do a wiki-like tutorial "
This is far more work than you think it is.
July 13 2006 5:48 PM EDT
Yeah, I bet it is.
Jon, could you make the tutorial page(s) accessible to view?
no, it doesn't work that way; you'll have to wait for Shade's screenshots
July 13 2006 6:14 PM EDT
I think the real problem is when people see your picture Jon they get scared and leave.
If they would only hang around long enough to know you're not nearly as mean as you look. *sut style smile* :)
"Jon was willing to accept skilled programmers from a list of those he knew were 100% loyal to the game and trusted enough not to steal any of the code for their own workings.
I'm not trying to insinuate that you would do anything of the sort but we all have our own selection of people we would trust with our prized possessions."
"But even if you were the only one, you're not (yet) on my short list of competent people that I trust 100%. No offense. "
Then why post a public thread asking for anyone skilled enough to come and build a tournament system if you already had your own list of who qualified? Seems pretty odd to ask everyone for help even though you have no intentions of accepting it from most of them.
Maybe you can come up with an answer if you think about it instead of trying to find a reason to be offended.
One important aspect left off your questionnaire involves a new player forum that could be highly encouraged via the tutorial. You can't escape the fact that a MMORPG requires a community, and if people don't feel part of the community, they won't feel part of the game. Ask the players if they would like it. Or just try it out and see. I can't think of many communities that don't have some sort of welcoming area for new players to get acquainted with everyone. This goes back to the pub analogy -- if ignoring all new customers is making them leave and go elsewhere, try welcoming them and see what happens. You'd be surprised how effective it is to be kind to people and make them feel welcome.
The better ploy is always to invite people to offer their services rather than approaching them, these things are simple.
If you invite through a thread, the people you want to try are more inclined to want to try it whereas if you approach them directly they will feel more pressured and less enthusiastic.
I hope that made sense.
hahah.. I must have missed that chapter in How to Win Friends and Influence People :).
Interestingly enough, that parallels, in some aspects, the underlying discussion of how to retain a new player along with the pub analogy from earlier in the thread.
Hey guys, what about the fancy ajax stuff? I know that it sounds petty compared to all these real and important points people have brought up, but I know when I visited "Digg.com" and experienced alot of the cool ajax stuff, it made me interested, and when I saw all the user content I was even more interested.. Maybe if that aspect of the game was more evident when you enter the game people would be at least intrigued enough to stay and see what happens with it.
The problem then becomes, what more can we add to the interface to make it fancy and neat without making it stupid and gimmicky? I know there is supposed to be a new interface.. we did have a contest for that.. right? Well I don't know what came of that, but adding dynamic content to the interface (more then we have right now) would really make it stick out in my book.
Can anyone think of any other slick interfaces they have seen that might lend well to CB's own interface? I hope you all realize the Ajax already in CB is rather rudimentary, but it is definitely cutting edge as far as web games go. Most other games out there have barely figured out that making a full-on flash based game is NOT a good idea, and that making a full on HTML/php game is not very scalable. However in it's current form, I think CB is rather scalable. And it can be better. What would make the difference?
This thread is closed to new posts.
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from a new thread; link this with the html
<a href="/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001qJD">New player retention</a>