Returning player with some suggestions

User suggestions to improve the game

Returning player with some suggestions

Postby Scientiafide » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:47 pm

Well it's certainly been a while: Last I played was around 2010 or so. Since then, I've played a lot of online games and online CCGs here and there, and when thinking of all the games I've played, alteil in particular stuck in mind. This game is really, really good; in fact, If I recall correctly, one of the frustrating aspects of the game was it's incredibly small community and overall lack of a player base (I think it's one of the reasons why I left). For a game this good, it was mind-boggling how poorly it was doing. When I last played, there were never more than 100 players online at any given time.

Upon my return, I figured after a year or so the player base would grow. When I logged on today there were only 70 players online.

I'd like to contrast this game with another game I've recently played that's almost the exact opposite of this game in content and quality. In that game, you build a deck of only 10 cards, and every turn a player plays one card from a hand of 3. After playing one's card, every card that was played either 1) ticks down until it activates) or 2) if it has already activated, it attacks the card opposite it while potentially using a random ability. Furthermore, the card art mostly consists of photoshopped images. It's also a game that doesn't even attempt to be balanced, as it uses power creep as a main profit tool. At any given time, there are only a few cards that are worth using that dominate the meta, and a few cards that can counter them. All the other cards are pretty much trash.

Alteil is a game that's just oozing with strategy in both deck construction and gameplay, while having kick-ass card art to boot. There are two key differences in both these games that I forgot to mention:

1) the first game (which is actually called Tyrant if you want to check it out) is very beginner friendly. But then again the mechanics are really easy to learn anyway. Alteil was a pain for a lot of beginners to learn about last I played. This is a whole other issue though that I'm sure has been written about extensively.

2) At any given moment, Tyrant has over 2k players logged on chat while playing it (Meaning there are even more who are playing that decide not to log onto the chat). It easily gets over 50k players a day to play it (on kongregate alone, I don't know about facebook). At this moment, alteil has a little over 70 logged in, and I doubt it reaches 2k players on a given day.

Why does a really boring, grindy game do better than a game that is better and a lot more fun to play? It's quite simple: More people know about it and have access to it. I'm not even referring to advertising ( I've never once seen an ad for tyrant), It's more of a matter of accessibility. Tyrant is on two very popular portals (facebook and kongregate) that have millions of people log on to them every day. Alteil, on the other hand, only operates on it's main site.

So this is a roundabout way of asking: Why the hell doesn't Alteil do this? Most portals allow for games to have their own site anyway. It's a free way to get out there to millions of prospective players. I know Kongregate in particular would be a good place as a lot of gamers play games on that site (around 50k+ at any given time).

Anyway, I'd like to see this game do well. It's a great game with some very interesting and unique mechanics. It's no fun if there's no one to play with though.
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby wakka9ca » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:06 pm

Retention rate is apparently really bad. Mainly because Alteil is not really "free". You have to wait months and years if you want to play it for free to be able to build a decent file.
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby sunbunman » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:09 pm

*Applauds this suggestion*

This would hopefully be considered IF our gms read this part of the forums...
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby Scientiafide » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:37 pm

wakka9ca wrote:Retention rate is apparently really bad. Mainly because Alteil is not really "free". You have to wait months and years if you want to play it for free to be able to build a decent file.


You'd be surprised, there are games that are much, much worse than Alteil in comparison that do much better. Tyrant, for example (tyrant just sticks out on my mind as it's the most recent example) will charge around $5 for a booster that would include 1 rare, 2 uncommons, and 3 commons. Nearly all commons and uncommons are trash in the meta, and only a few rares are good in the meta as well. So oftentimes, even if you just started out and weren't chasing a particular card, you could buy a booster and will most likely get garbage that you didn't want. Occasionally they'd also release legendary $20 cards for a limited time (yes, $20 for a single digital card). The alternative is to wait around until the rare you want shows up in the "elite vault" and buy it for around $5.

In alteil, I've been able to be competitive with 1-3 star cards while having a good time. While I wasn't able to dominate like the top players, I retired with a respectable 51% win rate over 150 battles or so (And I managed to occasionally beat top-ranked players). A booster pack in alteil, in comparison, will cost you about $1.50 for 5 cards. And if you're a player starting out, chances are quite good the cards you receive can be useful if you manage to grab a playset (which was the main problem last I played, if you can't get a playset usually the card's not useable). That's actually fairly reasonable considering a lot of CCGs will charge about $4 for a booster ranging from 9-15 cards or so (and a lot of the cards you get in those packs tend to be junk).

To make the things a bit more accessible to new players, they should add the option to buy specific cards at a low gran cost. Around 10 gran for individual 1 stars and 25 gran for 2 stars. Perhaps the same could be done for FM cards.
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby wakka9ca » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:40 pm

Yeah well currently they have the weekly Logress lotto thingy that kept getting delayed every week, where you can buy 3 copies of a randomly selected card that is fixed every week. The prebuilt are a step in the right direction since they are all pretty decent files.
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby fargone » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:38 pm

I suggested this years ago.

It would mean work on behalf of the gm's, as well as some negotiation...
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby Scientiafide » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:17 pm

fargone wrote:I suggested this years ago.

It would mean work on behalf of the gm's, as well as some negotiation...


Wow they said that? According to their site, they have a team of 7 people. I know of individuals and teams of 3 people or less who have absolutely no problem doing what I described. I mean, they already did the hard part in developing the game; learning a couple APIs to implement a game into a site pales in comparison. If a single Hobbyist can do it, then a 7-person team has no excuse.

Considering they have had no growth in their player population, their top priority should be similar to that of every new game that's finished development: Increasing their player base. It's obvious that their current strategies aren't working, but to boot they don't seem to have money to shell out for advertising. Given the situation, they should take a page out of the playbooks of a lot of new games and use different portals to raise awareness. There are countless games that have become successful on these platforms. Mob Wars, for example, was developed by only ONE person on facebook, and that game has earned him millions. Dofus started out as an mmo project developed by only 3 people at around 2005. They started off releasing demos of their flash game on game sites like miniclip. Nowadays, their game has over 500,000 monthly subscribers. What these individuals realized was that you can't just develop a site and expect people to randomly bump into it. Implementing your game into a site that has millions of daily visitors is a really strong (and often free) strategy for raising awareness. Countless of upstarts have met success doing so.

In fact, this should really be a top priority. Taking relatively easy steps that could increase your player population x 10 or even more than x100 would seem like a no-brainer. Everything else should be put on the back burner until then (considering the game is already finished). The only secondary things I would work on in the meantime would be making the game more welcoming for newcomers and improving on the interface. Personally, I'd work on the following:

1) Improve the card search function on both the main site and the deck building interface. It's really a pain to have to look through several cards to find the one you're looking for. The filtering system is already pretty good, it's more of a matter of searching for a specific individual card. For example, being able to type under a search bar "Verlaat" to locate all cards with that name is infinitely easier than searching for all character cards or even all refess characters. This is really important for new players, as new players wont have any knowledge of these cards; so when a player mentions a specific card, it's often a nightmare for a player to find information about that card (which is important for the learning process). It's also important for veteran players as the card list is an important reference tool, and veteran players will appreciate the pinpoint accuracy of a search bar to look for specific cards amongst their huge collections when deck building. This will only become more and more important as the game's card pool increases.

2) Implement a Mentor system in the game for new players. Reward mentors with a small gran reward every time one of their pupils passes a certain benchmark (like reaching lvl 15 or something). This will help retain new players while fostering a positive in-game community.

3) I've seen a lot of players complain about recycling. I personally can't recall what the issue was since I haven't had to recycle anything for a while, but it's something to look into as it's an important feature in the game.

4) Most importantly, have improved dialogue with your customers. A lot of good ideas can come from the player base. It's understandably hard to find the gems amongst the large, usually unhelpful vastness of a forum (especially when you already have your hands full developing the game). Many games tackle this in different ways. Some hire a community manager, but one method that I've recently found to be particularly good (and free) is to allow the player base to elect a monthly "cooperative" of sorts of players to represent them. This cooperative will then relay the top requests of the community to the devs. Whatever method is chosen, it's important to establish a solid form of communication with the player base to improve upon the product (since they are the primary users they have a unique perspective) and ultimately satisfy the customers. It's never positive to have a a player community repeatedly suggest ideas only to feel thoroughly ignored.
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby fargone » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:39 pm

You missed my point entirely.

The issue with this game is not the game itself - as you pointed out earlier, alteil is a great card game with a lot to offer.

The GMs ARE the problem and have been since day 1. The same person has been running it all this time, and very early on he admitted in forums that he prefers a small player base as he felt closer to the players that way. He then spent money going to anime conventions instead of advertising. He then spent many days sitting on his hands (I guess it was winter?). The site has barely been maintained, the introductions and efforts put into teaching players the game have been almost non-existent, and he just sits there reading their data and doing nothing with it. Many times he has mentioned player retention is not high, and not once has he addressed the issue in 3 years. He even attempted to make it player responsibility to teach new players the nuances of the game because he was too lazy to do something about it himself.

Ultimately, this game is more productive now with only 2 gms (not 7) than it was when it actually HAD 7 gms. Satonoko is a productive staff member and part of the JP team, if my understanding is correct, and probably doesn't even take direction from logress. I believe logress thinks CEO means early retirement. Facebook and Kongregate are both excellent means of getting a game into the public eye. Even if alteil were to give them 50% of all of their income, they would still make more money than they do now. I am absolutely confident Logress is not paid by commission, he has no commitment to improvement or even maintenance.. or if he does, its simply not enough.

I have played tyrant, which is like an improved version of warstorm. Both games are terribad and have very little to offer the player aside from something to spend money on - there isn't even any interactive gameplay. This game has so much to offer, yet is failing by comaprison with these absolutely crap games. Its not because the game is too hard, its because the GM's are, and have been too lazy or too incompetent to get off their **** and actually make it work. It truly is sad.
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby angelspawns » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:45 pm

Scientiafide wrote:1) Improve the card search function on both the main site and the deck building interface.

Asked repeatedly.

2) Implement a Mentor system in the game for new players. Reward mentors with a small gran reward every time one of their pupils passes a certain benchmark (like reaching lvl 15 or something). This will help retain new players while fostering a positive in-game community.

Done: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=11566

3) I've seen a lot of players complain about recycling. I personally can't recall what the issue was since I haven't had to recycle anything for a while, but it's something to look into as it's an important feature in the game.

Asked repeatedly.

4) Most importantly, have improved dialogue with your customers.

Asked repeatedly. Only looking at the first page of this Suggestion Forum you'll find 3 threads about it.


It's ok, you been gone for a while. First there's hope, then denial, then anger... and then acceptance. I know it's hard because there's so much potential around you, but you'll learn. You'll learn to accept the incompetence of our GameMasters. ;)
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Re: Returning player with some suggestions

Postby gadu » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:00 pm

angelspawns wrote:It's ok, you been gone for a while. First there's hope, then denial, then anger... and then acceptance. I know it's hard because there's so much potential around you, but you'll learn. You'll learn to accept the incompetence of our GameMasters. ;)


I'm in the acceptance phase while getting angry at the same time, all the time. :lol: This thread is hilarious.
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