what is the main issue cb faces at this time (in General)

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 10:24 AM EST

i envisioned a more democratic process for the carnage player council. with that in mind, i have no power other than the power to create a thread but would like to use that power to make cb better.

i believe that before our valuable dev time is used for any task (clan rituals were great but took up much dev time and really hasn't changed the landscape much) we should focus on getting more players who will donate more money and thus maybe we can get more dev time!

let's first define the main problem and then come up with solutions for that problem. what do you see as the main problem facing cb at this time?

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 10:27 AM EST

in my opinion, new player retention is the main issue now. we seem to have reached our "rock bottom" population of around 140 to 150. we may still be losing vets, but they are pretty much being replaced by new players that actually do stick.

we could try to bring vets back, but it is very likely that they all left for different reasons and it would take multiple changes to get them back. many of them would also be weary of putting money into the game once again and they would likely already have supporter status.

it is for these reasons that i think new players should be our focus.

AdminTal Destra [C and S Forgery Lmtd.] November 14 2010 10:28 AM EST

can i pound the glitchy tutorial into the ground again?

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] November 14 2010 10:35 AM EST

Most recent major issue we dealt with was returning folks with no active chars are prevented from creating a new char...

I think the biggest problem that remains is dealing with the plethora of pitfalls in the early game, both item and xp based.

Limiting what early folks can train, and preventing them from equipping crippling items are the number one items on my to fix list.

I also believe getting more folks here is as simple as regearing our marketing towards the mobile phone app stores.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 10:43 AM EST

we are getting folks here though, we just aren't keeping them! fixing pitfalls would possibly help that, it does depend though on why they aren't staying. for this reason i believe our first goal is to find out more of why people do not stick.

when shade and i were doing the feedack mailings, there was at least one remark regarding a lack of a mobile app.

i still think the first thing that should be done is to automate an in-game feedback mailing. send it out within 24 hours of a new player making their account. ask them if they would mind answering some questions and then have about ten questions designed to get first impressions on the game and its accessibility..straight from the horse's mouth so to speak.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 10:51 AM EST

from march through july of this year, when shade and i were doing the mailings, we had almost 900 new users try the game and leave almost immediately.

the clan rituals took around 6 to 8 months to implement if i recall correctly. if any other changes are made before we address new player retention, we will miss a thousand or so more opportunities to get some supporter funds!

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 10:53 AM EST

i would also highly recommend turning the tutorial off as an experiment to see if it has any affect on retention.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 10:54 AM EST

i still think the first thing that should be done is to automate an in-game feedback mailing.

Limiting what early folks can train, and preventing them from equipping crippling items are the number one items on my to fix list.

an i pound the glitchy tutorial into the ground again?

I would like to add to this list that I want to see the interface re-done. As one of our new players once mentioned, the interface is horribly outdated and looks like it was designed by a five year old. If this game is a pain to navigate (initially: those of us who have been here for any length of time adapt and find it easy to navigate) and doesn't look good then they aren't going to want to stay.

I'm also behind making CB more mobile-app-friendly. I believe this game is the PERFECT phone game, and I think an option in settings to change the interface to a more phone friendly one would be awesome.

sebidach [The Forgehood] November 14 2010 11:13 AM EST

I'm also backing the phone point and I could help with Android support.

But what I would like even more are the daily tournaments that Novice regularly mentions. No. I'd really LOVE that. And something like that would (in my opinion) help with retention, as it'd "fixes" the "6 months of commitment" problem and still has a nice (in terms of achievements) competition that you can follow over a long period.

Zenai [Ministry of Pain] November 14 2010 11:15 AM EST

I'm also behind making CB more mobile-app-friendly. I believe this game is the PERFECT phone game, and I think an option in settings to change the interface to a more phone friendly one would be awes

80% of my CB Playing time is on the phone. Luckily I have a top of the line smartphone not everyone has this option. Making CB more Mobile App Friendly only makes sense to me as more people would play.

Catdog November 14 2010 11:15 AM EST

I am a newbie but maybe i can help here. I see this game needing more excitement. Right now this game other than the neat little drop system has no "that was so cool" things about it.

Supporrtership is the only way to really play so that needs tweaking very badly. you need a reason to get hooked before you buy it. the fightlist needs to be standard game feature. there are more flaws that need work like how the nub is integrated, the tutorial is horrid the best thing the game has the wiki isn't even mentioned in it...

Also feel like the challenge bonus is incredibly stupid. i see why it is there but from a nub's perspective it limits strategy creativity. i would be so much better had i just gotten a single minion and gotten the endurance tattoo with a DD spell. that's the best way to go early on by far it seems because it requires very little networth thus higher bonus. basically the game punishes you for putting money into your team at this stage and it's frustrating.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 11:17 AM EST

i feel it would be very useful if we knew some statistics on new players. i am not sure how much of this is available but if it isn't it likely should be changed to where we can track it!

how many new players per day, week, month & year?
how many battles did they fight?
did they make a character?
did they hire a minion?
did they complete the tutorial?

another question, do we verify email addresses or can they use fake ones?

winner winner November 14 2010 11:20 AM EST

People can use fake email addresses but they need to verify it before they can go onto forums.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 11:20 AM EST

thank you so much sienna! the new player perspective is just what we need!

i would even recommend putting together a focus type group of new players like sienna that are willing & even eager to give input.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 11:34 AM EST

i am wondering if it would add more excitement down low to have some kind of mpr ranking number that updates regularly to show that you are actually making progress?

score is the main number shown but really means little and i can see where it would be discouraging just starting out to watch your score and compare it to the top ones in the game.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 11:36 AM EST

basically the game punishes you for putting money into your team at this stage and it's frustrating.

Oh, so many players will agree with you. XD That is indeed frustrating.

Catdog November 14 2010 12:02 PM EST

i'm willing to help out any possible way i can

Minnakht November 14 2010 12:45 PM EST

One of the problems is that CB is unlike any other game out there. Instead of CB's uniqueness being a positive factor, it just confused the hell out of me. There's too many unexplained, unfamiliar, and unintuitive mechanics here.

1) Weapon upgrades: In WoW and just about every other game, every Elven Long sword is the same. You can tweak each item slightly with enchantments and gems, but the base damage and effects stay the same.

In CB, You stick with the same weapon for the life of your team. To upgrade, you pump money into either PTH, or Damage. But wait, if you upgrade your weapon, your PR will rise, so you'll get crappy rewards. So don't upgrade your weapon!

..Yea. This part of the game perplexes me. Not only do you NOT want to upgrade your sword, but you have to stick with your sword for the 6 month bonus. There's no feeling of progression to a better sword, no feeling that your fighting is actually going somewhere. All you see is those numbers behind the X and the + increase. (Only IF you decide to trash your rewards by upgrading your weapon. AWESOME, RIGHT?)

2) Spells/Skills:

Same problem as Weapon upgrades. Coming from games where you go start from Fireball Rank I and progress to Inferno Rank VII, I was saving my exp for the next "rank" of fireball, only to find that you're supposed to continuously dump levels into fireball.

That's really boring and stuff. At least Runescape comes out with better spells. Yes, I know that upgrading better spells is equivalent damage-wise to upgrading a basic spell to infinity. But it gives flavor and excitement of finally unlocking that new "spell". That excitement is not seen anywhere in CB.

3) Training

Alright, It took me MUCH longer than it should have to figure how to train my team. 1/2 max, 1/2 max, 1/2 max means that I have 1/8 exp left? What's going on here? Seriously, implement something that doesn't involve me doing unnecessary math. I don't do math to have fun.

4) Ranged/Melee/Weapons/Magic/EO/ED

I don't have words to explain how confusing the battle system is.

You know what fixes all of this?

A GOOD TUTORIAL. The tutorial is just a complete piece of crap right now. There's no explanation on how battles work, how weapons work, spells work, EO's work, ED's work, training works, or any of that. It just tells you to DO stuff.

I have no idea why people thinking that rolling bonuses and the exbow and all these fine points would have ANY effect on player retention. I didn't consciously register that I had such a large advantage over other players until a week into playing this game.

Admiralkiller [Cult of the Valaraukar] November 14 2010 2:05 PM EST

I will have to agree that new player retention as a major issue.

I am not sure how many times it has been said with multiple views and reasons but plain and simple the tutorial sucks and needs to be fixed.

Catchy things do need to be implemented and achievements would be a great way to grab those new players attention even just long enough to give this game a chance. Some players could care less, but honestly how could it hurt? This is just one idea but we do need more players even if it involves silly people in chat asking silly questions that are silly.

Silly. :-)

hzarb November 14 2010 2:10 PM EST

Arfbargle & Sienna have raised some good points which are especially valid given they are from a relatively newbie perspective.

In any case, there seems to be general agreement that the tutorial is not only unhelpful but actually putting new players off. So, how do we get to change it and do so quickly? It also seems like a relatively "inexpensive" modification, as opposed to some of the game dynamics changes that are being mentioned.

Whilst reviewing the tutorial, maybe it is worth re-thinking as to why the mentoring concept had been abandoned and whether it is worth reviving as well.

BadFish November 14 2010 2:26 PM EST

I think mentoring would be preferable to the tutorial in its current state. At the very least, remove the tutorial entirely. It doesn't even need a replacement immediately, just get rid of it.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 2:32 PM EST

i think the best first step is as i stated above, turn the damn thing off and see what happens. ; )

QBOddBird November 14 2010 2:36 PM EST

I think mentoring would be preferable to the tutorial in its current state.

Agreed, I think we should place decent qualifications on the mentoring system - we don't want people who do not know the game teaching people who do not know the game - and then give new players a mentor and a link to the wiki. With those two resources, any question can be answered and the most help could be given, IMO.

Lord Bob November 14 2010 4:31 PM EST

I compare CB today with CB back when I started. I was initially drawn to the slow progression from newbie to well-armed vet that Arfbunkle alludes to. Back then there was no bonus, no mentor, no anything. I worked like heck with no bonus, moving up the equipment ranks, trying new spells and failing hard, only to tweak and experiment and find a formula that worked. I started with a Rapier, upgraded it, then moved up to a Scythe, upgraded it, then a Katana and finally to the best weapon I thought I'd ever get: and Executioner's Sword! Right before CB ended, I was barely - BARELY - able to get my hands on an incredibly rare Lochaber Axe (best weapon at the time), and it felt like an amazing accomplishment. Oh, and despite no bonus at all, I was almost at 7/20 BA regen at the time it was shut down. Every little step felt like I'd achieved something.

Now we have a quick rush to 6/20, where you stick with one set of top-level items throughout the game (though others exist for reasons I can't wrap my head around), no sense of exploration and experimentation is even possible without setting yourself back, and once you "max out" at the end of your crappy newbie bonus that leaves out the loyal vets who have supported this game the longest, you scrap your disposable team and start over!

In my opinion CB was utterly ruined with the introduction of these two features:
1.) The N*B. It's most responsible for destroying everything that drew me to this game from the beginning. If I was a new player who joined into this mess, I would have left in six months tops, and probably way before that.

2.) The notion that the best equipment should be readily available to the newest players, coupled with the linear weapon upgrade system. The former makes more than half the items in this game obsolete from day one. Had I been handed a Morgul Hammer (or a Lochaber Axe in CB1) on my first day and been told "here's the top weapon in the game. No need to work for it. Enjoy!" I would have been done with this game instantly. The latter compounds this. Before you could add a few cheap points to say, your early Rapier, and once that got expensive you could use it until you work your way up to a mid-level weapon. Now there is no reason to upgrade a low to mid level weapon, since you're better off just saving for that incredibly cheap Blacksword on auction for $50,000! There is absolutely no sense of item progression anymore, and I'd hate to be a new player in this environment.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 4:45 PM EST

This is the best thread ever. Also, we were discussing PR in Chat just now, and Sienna expressed some thoughts about PR. A few points we hit upon...

<Pheasant_Plucker> Mages get all their damage from a trained skill. Tanks get roughly half their damage from a weapon, and it is unfair to charge them PR just to be a tank.

<Sienna> my power as a mage well geared is nothing compared to a tank with not finished gear and the mage which requires less NW can make more cash? what?

[15:30] <Sienna> i just dont see the point of both encumberance and challenge bonus being tied to power
[15:31] <Sienna> the power start should be eleminated
[15:31] <Entrance> It's done to make it so that USD players don't absolutely dominate without power.
[15:31] <Sienna> but thats encumberances job


Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 5:02 PM EST

it looks like we are discussing a couple of different aspects of player retention here, which is fine. i just like to define things:

immediate player retention ideas

player growth issues

this is where i would love to have some stats! how many new players are lost before they get to the growth issues? from watching the stats this year, i think many more are lost immediately, as in before the first full set of ba can be spent or as soon as it is spent.

again i go back to encouraging a focus, development-wise not necessarily discussion wise though, on what will have the biggest impact on the bottom line fastest. if we can turn around the supporter donations and item namings then i would imagine the rest would be easier.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 5:06 PM EST

i think many more are lost immediately, as in before the first full set of ba can be spent or as soon as it is spent.

Agreed, and I personally think it's got to do with

1) Tutorial
2) Interface

The tutorial is crap, and the interface is unappealing and gives a poor first impression.

Admiralkiller [Cult of the Valaraukar] November 14 2010 5:10 PM EST

^ 100% agreed OB and these issues need to be fixed in order to keep some player retention.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 5:13 PM EST

can someone close to ns perhaps ask if the tutorial can just be turned off as a test? much like jon did with the mentor program before he axed it, try without and see if there is any difference.

horseguy001 November 14 2010 5:19 PM EST

From a brand new players point of view they have to decide:

- How many minions they want (Exp dilution, equip sets favouring multi minion teams, less exp for ENC)
- What their main attack is going to be (Weapon for a tank, DD, Familiar. Pros and cons of each. Weapon having to be under ENC levels plus equips)
- What kind of tattoo they want (Pros and cons of each. Lessers are useless)
- What kind of equips they need (Many equips are useless and traps. Some choices are better then others. All have to be under ENC levels. Junctioning if they want a familiar. Light vs. heavy tank, BTH + CTH + PTH - a bunch of other stuff that cancels that out but not BTH but some times you will still miss anyways if they have an AoI)
- What EO/ED they are training, if any (Equips help and hurt them, some favour multi minion teams, some can cancel out others that you cast)
- The benefits of joining a clan
- Forging

After sorting this out, and I am for sure leaving stuff out, they finally get to the strategy part of making all of this fun stuff work together.

Its a lot of information.

AdminTal Destra [C and S Forgery Lmtd.] November 14 2010 5:21 PM EST

CB is a pain to learn... just ask Meso or my wife

Minnakht November 14 2010 6:42 PM EST

I wholeheartedly agree with information overload. There's just too much to learn, with no incentive to continue.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] November 14 2010 7:23 PM EST

we should focus on getting more players who will donate more money and thus maybe we can get more dev time!

New Supporter item...

Or two. Or three...

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] November 14 2010 7:26 PM EST

basically the game punishes you for putting money into your team at this stage and it's frustrating.

It doesn't really.

You increase your items, which gives you more power. Your rewards for exisitng targets lower, becuase you've 'levelled up'.

Your higher items should now allow you to hit higher targers, for largers rewards.

Or you could just abuse the system, and stick all your NW into a weapons X (preferably a ranged weapon) which doesn't increase your PR at all, while massively increasing your killing power nd your ability to fight up...

QBOddBird November 14 2010 7:26 PM EST

For real. We haven't had a supporter item since January 2009, and it is almost 2011.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 7:28 PM EST

Your higher items should now allow you to hit higher targers, for largers rewards.

Unless you are hitting a whole lot higher, this generally isn't the case. It's more like...your slightly higher items will now allow you to hit slightly higher targets, which almost makes up the difference in rewards.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] November 14 2010 7:28 PM EST

The main problem for totally new players (not the new, old players who want a restart...) is that every single starting BA is so critical nd worth so much more.

You can't take tme to learn, or experiment, or make any mistakes.

Becuase you've just sabotged your entire 6 month run as that lost BA was actually worth 7 or 8 normal BA's reward.

And we all know the answer to this...

BadFish November 14 2010 7:53 PM EST

You can't take tme to learn, or experiment, or make any mistakes.

I'd like to hear the pros and the cons of delaying the NUB for 2 weeks, or a month, or some period of time before it starts. It solves this problem, as well as giving new players another reason to stay for a while, knowing that soon they will be receiving a huge bonus to rewards, but have been given some time to learn the mechanics of the game first.

Minnakht November 14 2010 8:22 PM EST

Before we try delaying the NUB 2 weeks, we need to fix the tutorial and weapon progressions so that people will actually stay 2 weeks.

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] November 14 2010 8:32 PM EST

I agree with giving a facelift to the interface, but I think dev time would be better spent on making it more easily modified by the playerbase. We have lots of creative folks around and making players a part of the game development process is a great way to build a feeling of belonging.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 9:13 PM EST

idk about everyone else, but for me, being able to change the colors is all the customization I need. Just as long as I can find some good color scheme instead of stupid red and gray, I'm happy. ;D

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 14 2010 10:10 PM EST

colors would go a long way!

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] November 14 2010 11:01 PM EST

I would be satisfied with color.

Demigod November 14 2010 11:06 PM EST

Delaying the NUB 2 weeks makes sense from the view of dedicated players, but not for a new player. We need to focus more on hooking them to stay more than a day, which means we need to heavily streamline this red and gray spreadsheet into something aesthetically pleasing.
Furthermore -- and here's the part that goes against the grain of current CB -- some form of non-animated graphic. But that would require money for a rent-a-coder.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 11:07 PM EST

Delaying the NUB 2 weeks makes sense from the view of dedicated players, but not for a new player.


Demigod November 14 2010 11:26 PM EST

It's fine on its own, but it doesn't affect the key issue of retention. But even if we were to use a delay mechanism, I'd push for an elective system where new players can start it at any time -- telling them they have to wait two weeks might come across as "thanks for trying to play the game, but you're not allowed to really play it for a long time." I'm willing to bet that most walk-ins are just searching for something similar to what's found on Kongregate. We need to make it as inviting as possible to hook them.

QBOddBird November 14 2010 11:28 PM EST

It's fine on its own, but it doesn't affect the key issue of retention. But even if we were to use a delay mechanism, I'd push for an elective system where new players can start it at any time

I disagree with your first sentence, but I think your second one is a quite fine idea.

Keep in mind that new player retention means new players in general, and not just the ones that fight 2 fights and leave. I agree that the quick leavers are the majority, but it would be silly to say that the NUB doesn't affect the key issue of retention. :P

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] November 14 2010 11:30 PM EST

fixing the tutorial and delay into 1. A tutorial perma tourney. When a new player first starts they get a tutorial character. You can set any bonus you want for this and allow them to play around in the tutorial for up to 2 weeks. At any point they can start a new character that has the nub bonus with fair warning about what the nub bonus is and does for them.

Demigod November 14 2010 11:32 PM EST

Probably 99% of quitters are those who come in, see a spreadsheet, and close the browser. That overshadows the retention problem of the NUB (though there certainly is a problem there). And just to clarify, we shouldn't say NUBs, we should say ruined NUBs. Delaying the start doesn't cure the problems of a failed first run, it only mitigates it slightly. With NS seemingly listening to the argument of a RB (please oh please!), it might nullify the entire delayed-start argument.

Demigod November 14 2010 11:34 PM EST

Yes to Natasha's idea, but we have to make sure that the "playground" area is the ideal fighting/growth area... pretty much tons of cherry picked NPCs...

horseguy001 November 14 2010 11:35 PM EST


While we are on the subject of a redo on the tutorial.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 15 2010 9:04 AM EST

nat, do you know if the tutorial can just be turned off?

Catdog November 15 2010 11:12 AM EST

i think the biggest thing we are missing here is the thing people play games for. excitement is important and maybe we need to first get people etertained without looking to the NUB as a way to draw players because if thats all we got we are in trouble

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 15 2010 12:48 PM EST

i still think it might add some excitement to have a ranking type of system that shows just how fast new users are actually progressing with each battle. i suggested above using mpr as that is already in place.

i wonder how much of an extra load figuring this out with each battle would place, maybe it would be more efficiently done with each training?

if i was just starting and saw that i was ranked at 11850 and i fought a few times and jumped up to rank 9,432 i think that might be exciting. it would also be much more representative of the nub growth than using score.

QBOddBird November 15 2010 2:05 PM EST

dudemus - not a bad idea. We have MPR/PR/Score rankings per realm already on the stats page, so all you'd need to do is have it check what position you're in (when you trained/cache flush/whatever timeframe)...all that is is counting down from the top.

It would be cool to have at the top of your Equip page (since home page sucks now) something like "Ranked 23rd in the Shire!" that updated somewhat frequently.

Kingkiller November 15 2010 2:15 PM EST

I have to agree Dudemus, I often wonder how I'm progressing compared to others. Since this game has no graphics, numbers, percentages and of course gear are all we have to work with and not to say more means better, but ones that simplify things such as individual current progression would be highly encouraged in my opinion. Just my 2 cents.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 15 2010 2:21 PM EST

i think it would work best on the home page actually. if we want to use it to entice new players and show them their progression, it has to be visible. i would suggest in the "active character" box to the right of the drop down. just display it as:

Rank: 11,111th

Kingkiller November 15 2010 2:28 PM EST

I like Pluckers way better "Ranked 23rd in the Shire!"

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 15 2010 2:33 PM EST

both ways could be done fairly easily i would guess. home page for overall rank and equip page for realm rank. the more the merrier! ; )

QBRanger November 15 2010 2:58 PM EST

what do you see as the main problem facing cb at this time?

The obvious/easy answer is the small player base.

From there the questions become far more complicated:

Why do we lose players we already have?

Why do most new players not stay longer than a day or even that long?

Why do we only have less than 10 new people even find this site a day? (6 new users in the past 24 hours)

From there a whole bunch of new questions come:

Why do we punish people who leave CB for various reason with a too expensive NCB if they try to come back and compete for a top spot?

Why do we reward new players with a NUB that is grossly unfair to those who have been playing the game for years?

Why is the tutorial stuck in the 20th century when this game is in the 21st?

Why do we still have obviously unbalanced items/classes of play after 5 years of CB?

Why is the game stagnant without change months for almost 2 years?

What is so wrong with a rolling bonus type system that almost everyone in CB seems to agree will help the future of the game?

and so on.

IE, for me to come back and try to play, I would need tons of USD to buy CB to even attempt to make a top run. And even then it would be almost impossible due to the top characters already in the system that were made due to abuses and overreaches in the system at those times. Things that are not allowed now, but still occurred.

The OP question is far too general to solve. Picking it apart and trying to solve the individual problems would likely be a better approach.

Catdog November 15 2010 3:00 PM EST

well this has me thinking.... i like this idea but let us make it more than a cool stat.... how about we drop PR all together and make the challenge bonus represent rank instead? tweak encumberance a bit as needed of course. aside from my twist on the idea i like it. also make the NUB die once you reach a certain rank in the last realm or obviously the stated time?

Vaynard [Fees Dirt Cheap] November 15 2010 7:12 PM EST

The main issue CB faces? Right now, I'd say it's stagnation. People naturally play games for a while and move on. CB used to keep its appeal by having regular change months with rebalancing, new items, etc. However, these days all we have is the same old monotony. People will go a ways, have some fun, and decide they've had enough. Yes, clan rituals were added, and they are very nice, but as a regular player (that doesn't own a clan) these only mean I get a CM every day or two saying I gained some random ability.

I believe CB needs more random changes. Yes, the tutorial needs totally reworked too. But we also need items rebalanced (for better or even worse), spells to be nerfed/buffed, and new random things to play with. People used to really look forward to change month- let's add that back to the game. Just mess with things and make people adapt!
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