Brainstorm Session New Player retention (in Debates)


AdminShade January 31 2010 8:29 AM EST

Considering this is probably the biggest problem for Carnage Blender I'd like this thread to just contain any and all ideas on how to improve player retention.

AdminShade January 31 2010 8:30 AM EST

My idea would be to change the Tutorial in a way that you can step out of it.
Also I think the tutorial should already include the chat.
I also think we need more / better goals for the new players to be set. Perhaps have them beat a 1 mil+ MPR character and get 1 mil CB for it.

QBJohnnywas January 31 2010 8:58 AM EST

I'd like to see our char on the front page - like it used to be, with forum threads in the side - perhaps instead of the fight feed.

I personally preferred seeing the game rather than the gamers when I first started.

Sickone January 31 2010 9:24 AM EST


1. Opt-out tutorial (skip button - goes to wiki instead, to a page specifically designed to explain everything written below and warning them that they can't go back to the tutorial if they quit it now, and that there's a small reward for actually completing the tutorial even if not absolutely necessary)

2. Sanbox mode tutorial (made clear it's only a simulation from the start)
* all enemies are "fake" pre-set enemies (exactly the same targets for all players that start at roughly the same time, a copy of low-score/low-pr enemies around)
* the (get more) BA link does not show up, and BA are reset at the end, alongside the character you used in the tutorial

3. Start people off after the tutorial on their first "real" team with some symbolic XP (about 6k XP should do just fine) on the first, pre-hired minion and also some spare cash (10k should be more than enough - enough to convert instantly to a 4-minion team if they so desire) ; the very low levels of fighting are a complete pain to get through no matter what strategy you have or the magnitude of your bonus.

4. DO NOT START THE NUB PERIOD INSTANTLY !!!
Make it _their_ choice if to activate it early on, within reason.
Warn them that, say, if their character passes 50k MPR at one cache flush and stays above 50k MPR for the next cache flush, or if their NW+cash goes over 500k (exception for loaned items), then the NUB period will be automatically activated from that moment on.
They could activate it instantly, or play around and keep retraining at the lower levels and trying out weapons as much as they want before activating the NUB.

5. Make the NUB period 210 days long (instead of 180) - with a ramp-up and a ramp-down phase of 33 days each.
Every day at cache flush during the first 30 days, the NUBonus will ramp up from 1% of full bonus when activated by 3% of max bonus value.
In day 180, the NUBonus shold ramp down from full bonus by 3% of max bonus each cache flush.
Oveerall, roughly the same bonus should have been granted on average, and the extra month of "free BA" should make up for the extra month the "top guys" had to grow more.


6. USEFUL MILESTONE REWARDS !
Reward them for actually completing the tutorial with 1200 extra XP (+20%) and 2k extra CB$ (again, +20%).
Reward them for fighting 100 battles with a random lesser tattoo.
Reward them for fighting 300 battles with a temporary supportership (1 week).
Reward them for WINNING 1000 battles with a free reinking of a lesser tattoo to any other lesser tattoo of their choosing.
Reward them for going over 15k MPR with a bonus of 25k CB$.
Reward them for activating the NUB in the first 2 weeks and before it gets activated automatically with another temporary supportership (1 month).
Reward them for joining or creating a combat clan for the first time with 50 extra BA.
Reward them for earning a total of 6000 clan points in a single clan by granting them 160 extra BA.

You know, stuff like that.
:)

Sickone January 31 2010 9:30 AM EST

7. Combined reward + fight list availability
Introduce a few targets that only people with a non-expired NUB can fight, targets that never change score/PR.
Each of those targets (preferably spread more on the low-end of the score/PR area) when first beaten will offer some specific reward, preferably in form of XP and CB$, but some non-rare items could be added too.

Demigod January 31 2010 2:55 PM EST

I mentioned this earlier, but I'll regurgitate it here just to help this thread along.

1. Reevaluate Shire. Without the constant flow of new players, it's empty and gives the impression that the game only has three people playing.

2. As mentioned above, achievements/milestones are an excellent way to keep new players focused on playing just a little bit longer and longer until they finally get used to the lack of graphics. Kongregate.com and Xbox 360 both have this down to a science. While we're not the same game model as them, it is a solid proof of concept.

3. Create a basic, mobile-friendly version of the page and market it as a free iPhone game. I don't know if it's feasible to have two versions of the same site linked together, but it would certainly give a marketing angle.

Wraithlin January 31 2010 3:05 PM EST

How hard would it be to code a sandbox set of teams. Add a button on team creation that says sandbox.

You could have about 50 set sandbox teams of all different strategies ranging from 1 MPR to 100k, with different tatoos and gear levels and spells etc.

Of course all sandbox characters also can fight each other, all sandbox characters can only fight each other and these preset teams and are capped at 100k MPR.

All items are available for free to add to the team and upgrade for free. No sandbox items can be sold, you can only have the choice to destroy them.

All battles have no challenge rating and no money gained. There is no use for money as all items are free and upgrade for free.

Teams heal for free.

There is no BA, you can fight as much as you want.

So that's alot of stuff, but basically the goal is to create something that not alot of vets will use and waste time with, due to the 100k MPR cap, but it will allow newer people to experiment with different ideas and figure out how exactly everything works together. You can only learn so much from the wiki, alot of stuff I had to learn on my own, or at least it wasn't obvious until I figured it out for myself.

The biggest problem that new players face is that this game is challenging, and it's even challenging for people who have been here for years and have those years of experience. It is rough to expect a new player to survive very well if they have no way to try to catch up on some of those years of knowledge and experience without some way to experiment and practice.

To go along with some of Sickone's ideas, a new player starts in a tutorial mode, with a sandbox character. Early in the tutorial it explains the difference between real characters and sandbox characters. When they make thier first real character, thier NUB starts. So the NUB bonus will start at 1 MPR, but won't get activated until they hopefully know a few things about the game first.

Creating a real character exits out of the tutorial if it's not already complete. However I like the idea of having a few milestone rewards like sickone suggested, none of his suggestions are overpowered, but they will provide some goals for newer guys. Of course only playing with a real character will add anything towards the milestone goals, sandbox characters do not.

Sickone February 1 2010 2:22 AM EST

The "sandbox" could simply be an extension to the current tournament code - just have a tournament called "sandbox" that never finishes :)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 1 2010 3:59 AM EST

1) Improve Fightlists.

You have to change them far too much with Bonuses (and they don't really matter when you don't have a bonus, as you're them supposed to be up in the top 10/20/50 and only have a fightlist of a handful anyway), it's not an easy, or fun thing to organise.

How to make them better, Honestly, I'm not sure. Maybe include more information in the 'list, rather than just name/score.

Make moving around it a lot easier, and quicker (Your Score jumps a bunch and you've now got to click on 'higher' multiple times just to get up into the new range you're supposed to be fighting at.

Maybe add an option to type in the score range you want to refresh the 'list at.

2) Add some non tutorial, low level 'goals'. New players might intially be captivated by the open-ness of character growth, but once you've learned your skills, EO's and ED's, there's nothing new, but a long grind to try to get tot he top.

Add some incentives for folks (the leveling up Ding - GZ bug) to keep improving.

The lack of 'levels', while being on of CBs greatest assests, is also I feel, one of it's greatest weaknesses for retention. As there's no "just around the courner" new goal to reach and stive for.

Maybe link this in to some new items. Give every a new Amulet for reaching something, like 100K MPR. An new Chest for 1M MPR. Something like that. Like a supporter item, but not so 'powerful'.

Or take the starting XP costs a little further. I don't want to encourage limiting what we already have, but maybe add in slightly different versions, that you can unlock. Like a Fireball that doesn't inflict Freindly Fire, if you get your existing FB to a certain size. Or new things altogether.

More as my muse comes to me. ;)

AdminTitan February 1 2010 9:28 AM EST

Eliminate new_player chat room, have them put directly put into carnage instead. None of us think they are clogging up chat. Put them into chat immediately. Make the tutorial, or new tutorial, decision tree like, instead of ordering them what to do.

Admiralkiller February 1 2010 9:35 AM EST

Achievements can be addicting, I say we have a similar format like XBOX 360 does.

Have simple ones like.
Hire 1 minion, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Achieve a MPR of 500k,1 Million etc.

Then tougher ones like achieve 5 million MPR or run a complete NCB run.

This could be easily filled with various Ideas from various players.

Also some good ideas so far guys.
:-) keep em coming.

I will add more as I think/remember them.

Joel February 1 2010 10:01 AM EST

Here's one that every new player and old player, that has quit, will love: Start out the BA regeneration at 6/10 so that EVERYONE can play competitively. As your MPR increases, reduce it to 5/10 and then, eventually, 4/10 so that people who work 12 hour shifts, like me, can still play! I know for a FACT that if we changed the BA regen rate like this, then, if we sent E-mails to every player that quit, they would come flocking back!
I'm glad Shade posted those rules about no arguing the validity of our ideas, but I feel that I should still make a point to those that oppose this.
I know that some of you like that you can get ahead of others because you can play more than them, but does your ability to play more gain us new, permanent, players? no, it does not. It is just your personal preference and should not factor into a decision that would help us keep new players.
By the way... PLEASE SAVE ME FROM MY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR!! I fear that I am just as devoted to this game as any veteran here, but I am not fortunate enough to be able to play as much as they do! I've been doing some very irresponsible things so that I can continue to play! Please help, before I lose my freaking job!!

Wraithlin February 1 2010 12:23 PM EST

I think having different BA rates is fine, and I understand the cap is there to encourage dedication, which is also fine.

But the current system encourages fanatical dedication, which is bad.

I think a better system would be:

If you spend at least half of your BA gained per day, you have no BA cap.

I'll use the 6/20 bracket for the example of how this would work: At 6/20 you get 432 BA per day, which means as soon as you spend 216 BA after the nightly cache flush, CB turns your BA cap off for the rest of that day, and the entire next day.

So if you take a few days off, or the first day this is implemented, you'll have to still worry about the 160 cap until you spend the 216, but then after that, you can have a little more normal of a life as long as you still spend 216 BA a day minimum, you won't lose BA anymore. Also, I think if this system gets implemented that missing a day will actually remove any BA you had built up past the cap, people might not like this part of the plan, but it's necessary to try to balance #3 of the cons below.

Pros:

1. Rewards people even more for logging on everyday.
2. Allows people with jobs to still compete.
3. Gives a more tactical game of balancing daily clan points vs saving BA for bonus times.

Cons:

1. All the addicts won't like the competition they will now recieve.
2. If you don't actually want people spending that much BA during bonus times, then this could be problematic.
3. Someone could theoretically log on everyday for like a year and spend the minimum BA to keep the cap off, then run a NCB with 80k starting BA. (although one missed day will lose them thousands of BA)


sebidach [The Forgehood] February 1 2010 3:27 PM EST

Wraithlin: The problem with building BA (#3) could be solved by still having a cap at 4 weeks of BA. That would still leave room for a long vacation. :)

Wraithlin February 1 2010 3:35 PM EST

Shade, he was coming up with a solution to one of my problems I thought of.

4 week hard cap would be a good implementation, I agree.

AdminShade February 1 2010 3:41 PM EST

Reread his post and corrected my mistake. Either way, he could have been more clear as to what he meant without addressing to your flaw directly.
use of this feature would have been better imho

sebidach [The Forgehood] February 1 2010 3:52 PM EST

Well at least it reminded me of why I needed some weeks to get familiar with CB: The community is rather closed. Most forum posts regarding CB are filled with abbreviations I had to look up. Highlighting of them would be nice and maybe a "new user" forum where vets could get CB$ for answering newbie questions.

Joel February 1 2010 11:11 PM EST

Something needs to be done related to BA and how often one has to log in - Bump

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 1 2010 11:40 PM EST

A dedication bonus. You have 2 parts in determining this. Your ba accrual amount and cap. maxes out at 17% (can put in whatever number you want.) To prevent excessive growth you can reduce base rewards by 17% as well.

First part is ba accrual which determines the first 8% of the bonus. At 6 ba regen you get 0% bonus and at 10 BA regen you get 8%.

Second part is the BA cap. At 160 you get 0% bonus and at 250 you get 9% bonus. Each 10 added to the cap gives you 1% bonus.

Changes to the BA rates and cap can be adjusted on the settings page (could have part or all be a supporter option.) The changes would occur at the following cach flush.

Joel February 2 2010 7:04 AM EST

All of these BA related Ideas would help us keep the players whose lives are more busy than many of the stronger players here. I hope some of these ideas are used! Nem's idea would be awesome, and is something I would really love! It would help keep this game addictive for me, but it would also be balanceable with my life's responsibilities.

Wraithlin February 2 2010 11:29 AM EST

Now alot of these changes would also be detremental to the people who can log on more often. It wouldn't directly hurt them because they will still be able to make all thier BA, but other people who couldn't before, now will be able to compete with them.

If we take some of these changes for the average person with a 9-5 job to still play dedicated CB without risking thier career, I think we should also add something for the CBaholics.

Frequent Visitor Bonus (FVB): Gives the player a 24 hour 5% bonus to fight rewards for being active 10 times or more in a 24 hour period. 30 minutes is the minimum time without actions to be considered a different session.

Marathon Visitor Bonus (MVB): Gives the player a 24 hour 5% bonus to fight rewards for being active for 5 or more consecutive hours during a 24 hour period. Must click at least every 29 minutes to be considered for the same sesson.

If you really wanted to micromanage your time and sessions, you could probably maintain both, and for the CB diehards this might be something to strive for. But the less dedicated addicts should be able to grab one or the other depending on thier usual habits.

Underage Drinking [Battle Royale] February 2 2010 6:00 PM EST

i notice alot of ideas are geared towards the nub part of a new players life. well the nub should be the reward, then after we should have milestones and achievements.

with BA i find you have to be dedicated in a way like nothing else, at some point some people revolve their sleeping patterns to maximize BA. to most new players that see this think its silly and will never make it to the top unless they lose sleep for a game.

and on the note about the NUB, why would we spoil them from the get go? now they expect their ncb to be as great but in reality it takes longer to achieve the same results. so i see that being a solid reason as to why they sell out. they dont know the true value of the nub.

can we find a way to keep our high mpr characters and start a ncb and still get the ncb regen rate. i mean i love my characters because i nursed them from day one and dont always want to retire them.

we always talk about the wiki, but you tell me that if you told a new player to go see the wiki, well where the hell is it on the home page....the help button should be changed to wiki. imo

help sounds like a panic button not a resource button.

and the sandbox idea was put out there..not bad. but can the pools start small like 10k to 25k 50k 100k then its free range and the challenge bonus then applies.

AdminTitan February 4 2010 11:07 AM EST

From Dudemus:
i would still like to see a tat voucher given upon completion of the new & improved tutorial that could be traded for a tat of choice at the tat artist. make it so that the voucher and the resultant tat is non-transferable to keep exploits down.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 6 2010 2:18 PM EST

Make all new characters start with 1600 BA. It's been great fun clicking through them. ;)

I don't think it would be a problem if people *really* wanted to chain create new characters back to back to abuse this, as you do't realy get a lot of rewards down low.

If it is a concern, adjust Cash rewards down for the starting 1600 BA.

But what better way to entice new players, than let them click to thir hearts ocntent the first time they play.

Or to stop 'vets' having to wait 6 days doing nothing, while they build up 1600 stored BA...

Vaynard [Fees Dirt Cheap] February 6 2010 8:11 PM EST

I guess I posted this in the wrong thread lol. Here's my ideas for new player retention:

I believe part of it is the complete lack of graphics that does turn some away. Plus, no offense, but our newest/only theme isn't the most appealing in the world. Even the name we know and love, carnage blender, turns some off because it sounds violent and others off because it's nothing like what they expect/think they're getting.

We do dump a lot of information onto new players all at once, and I'm not sure what can be done about that other than the sandbox idea some people mention. Have only a few trainable spells, no forging, only a few of the 'good' armors in the store (like the leathers). It might not be so bad... as long as they get some sort of reward out of it like a quasi-worthless rare lol. Give them large amounts of ba until they reach a set MPR then dump them into the regular game. After this start their NUB too so they don't feel like they've squandered time while they were learning.

And I'm sure this will get shot down... but how about a few basic images? I'm not sure if cb could handle it, but here's my idea. Each spell? Put a tiny square with a picture of a cartoon fireball, or a picture to represent each spell/skill. Each weapon would have one as well (or just each rare would work as well). Named weapons/armors could have a glowing version, or let the pic be user uploadable like our user pics. Not sure if cb could handle the extra data, but that's my idea. A little like that would go a long ways.

Asgarginia February 8 2010 12:03 PM EST

I haven't read any of the ideas already posted above, nor have I experienced any of the current features in place for new players. Therefore I'm just going to throw out some ideas.

- Provide lots of rewards for completing tasks in the tutorial.
- Accumulate 50k EXP = XXk
- Win 100 fights = xxk
- Obtain a 20% challenge bonus - An item
- Try out different spells/skills - Free XP (also covers retrain cost
- Challenge 50/100/500 fights - Free BA

- Provide a good, solid starting strategy that can be added to (a 1 and 2 minion strat that will let players copy completely. THis stops new players stagnating after 2-3 days then giving up

- Provide 5 names of players to CM for advice - like the mentoring system but less formal.

- Throrogh explanation of how non-rare armour has penatlies to stats that specialised rare armour doesn't.

- New player specific tournaments - Let them feel they are achieving something rather than competing with the big boys, losing and feeling disheartened

- Make it very clear that they can compete at the higher levels and that they won't forever be chasing the top players

- Strategy simulator - Allows you to 'train' in strategies and play them again some predefined bots - supporter only?

- Potential to win real money rewards

- More social aspects - will have players staying online to chat/participate while waiting for BA - Mini-games to win BA?

- Storyline? A sort of campaign mode, a bit more like an MMO. You have a seperate character and the rewards from it can be used on your main character

That's all I have for now

QBOddBird February 9 2010 2:33 PM EST

I think drikx had a fantastic idea. Putting all of the fighting in the sidebar and leaving the main window open for browsing would be a FANTASTIC idea. People could play CB while they browse the internet! Does anyone here grasp just *HOW* groundbreakingly awesome that would be?

Anyway, adding in an idea of my own, rather than working separately we should work with other text-based gaming communities, IMO. There's a crowd of people who like text-based gaming, but most do not; instead of trying to pick those people out of the masses, I think we should cooperate with other text-based gaming communities, linking to them from our site in exchange for the same from theirs. We can all make ourselves accessible to the text-based gaming community if we are actually trying to do that, instead of advertising solo.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 20 2010 1:22 PM EST

i thought i had put my idea here but it must have been in an earlier retention thread.

i think it is critical to start finding out why all the people who try the game fail to stick. send out an email once a certain time period has passed with new users. i know some will be annoyed but if we can get feedback from a few that would be great.

i believe they are our biggest growth opportunity and they are coming to us, especially at certain times. we may think we know why they aren't sticking around but we do need to find it out from them as we might be surprised.

if we do not have a grasp on what is broken, then it will be hard to fix it.
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