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.