August 1 2010 4:46 AM EDT
So I tried to introduce my friend's son to CB tonight. I explained the basics of fighting, team building, etc. to him. I tried to build it up, and give him the same sense of excitement about the game that I still feel.
Then I got to the interface.
"What?! There's no graphics? This is dumb."
*he left the room*
I feel so old right now.
August 1 2010 4:55 AM EDT
It's not an easy sell. Now that quality Flash games are everywhere, there's no reason for people to push through the transition -- either they have immediate gratification or they move on.
I gave CB a shot when my graphics card died in '04 -- it was the only thing I could play. A blown graphics card doesn't really matter as much now.
Hmmm here is a random thought I just came up with at 4:30 in the morning xD. Why not have like procedurally generated flash graphics that are created from the items you have equipped and % of exp in skills and such. Dunno if that is even possible but I am sure lots of noobs would like it....I would want it to come with an off button :).
August 1 2010 5:44 AM EDT
it's tough convincing the generation that didn't grow up with:
"open the door"
"go to next room"
---error there is no rat
"hit orange rat"
---error there is no orange rat
"hit the @#$% #$%^ #$%&^&# rat"
---error, monster does not exsist
to play games without graphics.
August 1 2010 12:06 PM EDT
It seems graphics are needed to retain new users. The only reason I ever gave CB a try was because of my dial up. If something was ever implemented it wouldn't definantly need an off button :)
August 1 2010 12:13 PM EDT
rofl Wraith... seriously, coworkers are looking at me now.... hehe
The market for CB isn't the same as the market for Farmville...
The more we try and stretch the fabric of CB to accomodate everyone the more probable not reaching anyone becomes. What I see as the primary issue for us today is getting users over through the tutorial, and over the initial hump of playing regularly. The delay of the NUB would go a long way towards helping with the second part.
The other option is having someone create a separate graphic front end for CB. This would allow us to market to the folks who just can be bothered to read, without slowing the game down for those of us who don't want to a crappy flash based representation of our chars staining the imagination.
Always tell children there are no graphics upfront.
August 1 2010 12:53 PM EDT
I see two things that need to be done to make it more inviting, and neither of them are easy.
First, the whole early game needs to be revamped -- not just the tutorial, but it seems the first month of the N*B is used just to reach the actual game while new players deal with 50/50 wins/losses and trudging through a LOT of information... no clue how to fix that.
Second, you can add graphics without adding fight scenes. The game "MineThings" is a good example of this. All of their items have cute graphics that are player-submitted. They're small but colorful pics that bring a lot to the game. But for CB to pull that off, we would need team images that show the gear we're sporting, and that might require the use of a rent-a-coder. Anyone know how much those cost?
And here's what I'm talking about:
Rent a coders are cheap for sites that are done in more popular/widespread languages.
I had an idea that the CPC was supposed to work on to change all the starting XP values for abilities so that new abilities were introduced slowly to characters (much like VA has a large starting point).
I'll have you a suggested list today.
i will likely get assassinated, but this is worth it in my mind. here is the feedback, sparse and sometimes stupid, that we have gotten so far with our new user feedback program:
it seems that there are many reasons why people do not keep logging in.
the problem with the early game is that there are so many teams with a low score that is not indicative of their high power. how exactly will withholding tools from new users make this any better?
many of us have put up ideas for slowly returning score to pr over time. until that is done we are wasting time and energy. until that is done our retention rate will continue to suck.
since mid april we have had around 1000 new users that have failed to stick. improving our retention rate is the single most important thing we can do for the game. focusing our attention on changes that give us the most bang for our buck is crucial. our community continues to shrink!
August 1 2010 1:41 PM EDT
I too was drawn to the game by lack of graphics, oh and assassination block!
check out our newest clanmates 24 hour battle summary:
due to the fact that the n*b is so high, you really can't focus on any type of fight list. you must move on fairly quickly to new targets yet even at over 80k mpr he is only winning about 60 percent of those battles.
for ncb's this is an annoyance but not as detrimental as it is for new users. many of us vets have the patience and knowledge to find the few targets that we then continue to make matters worse by farming them until they too have a low score to high power ratio that traps later n*b's.
if we continue to expect new users to have that patience and skill and continue to ignore the main problem, we will continue to have a crappy retention rate and dwindling population.
August 1 2010 1:53 PM EDT
Duck down dude.
dude: the removal of an excessive number of attributes in the early game will by itself clean up some of the mess. I think the solution to the second part is largely what you stated. A trend towards PR would be good, but the mechanism is the issue.
1/2 the way from current score to PR per week?
i was thinking half of the difference per cache flush, with the current n*b growth rate if someone were to sit on one target waiting for it to go back, they would likely only be harming themselves...what is the current n*b rate?
the interval could always be tweaked later if we see anyone gaming the system though.
as for removing attributes, are you saying that if this was put into place it would retroactively affect current teams or only new ones??
yeah the retroactive issue is a big one...
i can only see it working if it affects new teams solely. then you have the issue of having less tools to fight those already more powerful teams with. this has been my problem with it all along and why i think it would be a mistake.
if it must be implemented, would it be at all possible to run it as a tournament first and see how well people do before releasing it in the wild?
as for score trending to pr i was thinking it would work like this at cache flush:
if score is less than pr and pr is less than 4,000,000 then new score=1/2*(pr-score)+old score
if the interval needs to be tweaked later, then you could just change the 1/2 to a lower fraction of the difference.
the pr cutoff can also be tweaked as desired.
what i am unsure of is what kind of effect this would have on the server or the cache flush duration.
even a pr cutoff of 1 million and a fraction multiplier of 1/20th would be better than what we have now! ; )
August 1 2010 3:21 PM EDT
We dine in hell?
August 1 2010 3:22 PM EDT
Delaying the NUB is a good idea, or making it optional when to start it. (Must be started within 1 month, or you can activate it earlier or something.)
When I started, there's so much pressure to not mess up your NUB, and never forge, etc, that I was worried of making newbie missteps that would affect my entire CB lifespan.
My suggestion was a more dynamic tutorial that lasts up to 2 weeks. The tutorial character is run in a tournament so the ba use is separate and they can learn the ropes well. At any point they can choose to leave the tutorial and start a new character with clear warning that this will also trigger the start of their nub. They then get the normal 500 ba to start but are already armed with a fair bit of knowledge of how the game works. At the same time this will also not allow a lot of the potential abuses that can be done by delaying the nub.
i like nat's idea tremendously!
i have also been playing with the percentage factors on the score trending formula and at 1/10th or 1/5th it takes a full month for the majority of the score to recover based on a 3m pr and 2m score.
to be clear that would be a month given no other score changes for any other reasons.
at 1/10th this would be the daily changes to score based on a 2m score and 3m pr:
i kinda like this ratio as it isn't a big chunk of score change at any one time and i think that would make it less exploitable as again the n*b growth rate would likely carry them past any target before score could regen enough to matter.
August 1 2010 5:01 PM EDT
I too think Nat's idea is pure awesome.
I've got a lot of time on my hands for the next few weeks- if I can help, just let me know.
August 1 2010 5:35 PM EDT
What about ramping up and down the bonus? Make the first two weeks so that the bonus increases from 100% to it's current insane level, and make the last two weeks so it slopes back down and avoids the feeling of hitting a wall.
August 1 2010 6:41 PM EDT
As far as ramping up and down the bonus goes, and removing a sense of screwing up your once in a lifetime NUB how about turning it into a semi-rolling bonus for the NUB.
Let it start off high, and ramp down as they change BA/regen levels. In this way you can set it at say 500% initial, and then ramp it down until they get to the top BA/regen which will turn off the NUB.
If you never change the percentages this will do a few things:
First, it will not put pressure on the new people to run a perfect NUB, they can mess up and it will still dump them off in the same place at the end of it.
Second, it will not piss off as many of the older players because this bonus is going to take even for the first guy through it, much longer than 6 months.
Finally, everyone that goes through it will take longer than the people before them (assuming same skill level), which is the way these climbs work in other games that have level caps that keep getting raised every few years.
I was bad at explaining it (:P) but a while ago had an idea to allow users to upload thier own graphics to CB. ;)
Like Forum or Character portraits, but attach them to items on places like the Equip page.
All user generated/submitted, so no need to find an artist to create a bunch of stuff.
And add an area to the left side bar to show a teams Character Portrait. Give users a little more graphical feel, if they want it.
Under settings you can choose to display the character portraits in battles.
Yeah. But this was an idea to add your own to your left bar, so no matter where you were in CB (forging or posting in the Forums) you still had a graphical feel of your selected Team looking back at you.
A nod to the era of guys and girls that want avatar showing flash games. :P
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