We need to think outside the box to address low retention and frequent ghost joins in maps

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    • We need to think outside the box to address low retention and frequent ghost joins in maps

      Big read, so I expect the Devs and those interested in the future of the game only to read. This game has innovated some very cool stuff and I have made some of the best online friends i could have ever imagined, but I am worried about the dwindling user base and poor new player retention. If some of my suggestions cant be used, perhaps they can go into a future Bytro game.

      After frustration that hardly any team event teammates are actually playing and over half didn't even build anything or train a single unit, I went to the forum to see what kind of activity there was. Seeing I was the only member logged in and the record for users was set in Dec 2015, I went to check the member list for new members. Much to my dismay, half of the new members from August 17, 2019, which isn't a lot, appeared to be Indonesian/Jakarta advertising accounts with websites linked. These are not real players, to be sure.

      Do we need to think outside the box to allow this game to fit more peoples lifestyles? Is there some page out of the fortnite book we can take? There seems to be no real reason for people to play fortnite as I got bored with it in weeks (because I sucked, probably), but many are addicted to playing with friends and completing tasks for the only apparent benefit of collecting "skins", which don't even help you in the game. Perhaps swapping out the gold pay for advantage features for collecting skins and adding daily assignments will get more people coming back?

      To address individual game player retention, what are some other ideas? Put in a real ranking system that penalizes going inactive at the earliest few days possible. If you cant at least put 15 mins a day in for the foreseeable length of the game, don't start it. A comprehensive new ranking system would be awesome. I have seen many players with much high rank than I, yet have a much poorer PVP kill ratio and fewer victories. They don't deserve that rank. Divide these new ranks into groups for a weekly challenge to get PVP unit kills, and they get minus 1 kill when they loose a unit. They wont join a million games and let their units die anymore. At the end of the week, award gold, but don't be stingy. Winning even 1800 gold like I did in Rush for Europe event is pretty meaningless. Also let me use that gold to speed or repair an alys airbase, but no it wont work because its not "paid goldmarks".

      We want more and reliable players and you want have an economically viable business. You cant operate a game based on few cash cow (see what I did there) players because even the small cash players will leave. You need to widen the base of gold users. Make gold use ubiquitous and part of the game. To do that, you cant let gold use determine winners outright, you need to make it so even the non-purchasers are seen using gold and they have to do it on occasion to save them time and hassle, or even swing the battle in their favor.

      Have the cost for gold speed go way down when its less than a half hour and make it free if its less than 5 minutes. No one wants to stay up an extra half hour just to get their build started so lets make it easy for players to love this game. Certainly, if you want to speed the whole damn building from start, you are going to pay an arm and a leg for that.

      Make gold payouts meaningful. This can either be by increasing the gold paid out, or by reducing the costs of certain nearly finished ques. Give 100 gold every day someone logs in. Make it every 12 hours even.

      Just an idea- have some free or prize gold only valid during you next game or current game. This will give people the cover to use gold so there is no stigma about it. This just came to me, disregard if its a terrible idea.

      To retain competition to the end, consider having a portion of the gold used during the match returned to all players who last a certain amount of time. It could be until the end, but even players that fight hard get wiped out and figure its time to quit. This bonus amount could have a running tally posted in the news. If you are one spending gold or not, you may want to put the time in to finish the map or hold on as long as possible so you can get a share of the proceeds. Players may be energized by high amounts of gold spend during a match instead of dismayed.

      To reduce ghost joins, have some events have requirements where you either pay gold to join (paid or won gold) or use an admission ticket that you get when you win a prior round. People wont want to join only to go inactive right away if they used gold to join or a ticket that they spent time winning. There could even be multiple tiers, with each costing higher gold to join or a ticket earned from a higher tiered high place finish. Having to be Level 11 to join this latest team event is not much of a barrier. I attained that level and higher on my first non-tutorial map. Plus the rank level say nothing as to your skill or likelihood to actually try to play the match.

      Consider adding other game modes such as night freeze, i.e. at the game freezes between 11 pm and 7 am. You can give orders during that time, but nothing moves or builds. While this may make matches that are played with more timezone lumped players, it would stop me from setting alarms at all hours to keep builds going and conduct sneak attacks. Trust me, my enemies would love to stop me. Plus my wife wont let me play anymore ( I am playing while out of town on a work assignment now), but she may if it was more casual.

      Another game mode to retain casual players would be one that makes it so you can only give any particular unit group 1 order every 6, 12 or 24 hours, depending on the setting. You give your orders, and hope for the best. You can retain some units as defense that have not spent their orders if you are the type of player that still wants to monitor things. This would shift the game even more towards a strategy game and away from micro play tactics. It would also make intel, recon and spying more important. Lots of people play this way already, and I crush them with micro play tactics. I bet they wish there was a mode that matched the way they like to play.

      Do not think of this a being a downer on gold use, but you don't want it to be used in ways that negatively effect the amount of future revenue this game can produce. Revenues can only be a function of the utility or enjoyment of your user base. A couple of the problem gold areas that made me want to quit before: Building sabotage and Morale repair. Lets make it so you can only crush a building half way with sabotage. I.e. if I have a Lev 3 Industrial Center, you can only crush it down to 2.5 and never crush it down below level 1. It is too debilitation. Other building could be crushed down to half hit points. I played against someone that told me as I was about to break through into his core that I may as well archive the match because he had unlimited gold. By the time I did archive it, an ally and my's core cities were leveled flat from fully developed lev 5 ICs via gold sabotage. All connecting airports were flattened as well. For morale repair, why not make only possible while stationary in your own city (above 30% morale) as kind of a speed up on the repair collected by all units at day change. Don't allow it when your units are patrolling or getting patrolled, getting hit by artillery within the last hour, or if you are marching or stopped away from your city. Gold should do units no good while in enemy territory but to weight them down, but in their own city, its PARTY TIME!. I played on the side of a fellow that basically Won the game with 5 TBs and a LT. They were invincible on patrol. He also disabled enemy airbases while their aircraft were launching attacks, so that hit two of my pet peeves.

      This is just just some ideas going around in my head, so I understand if they are not workable or worth it. Most game designers move on to the next best thing and ignore their current projects, so thanks for continuing to innovate! :thumbsup:
    • FinnDaddy wrote:



      Do not think of this a being a downer on gold use, but you don't want it to be used in ways that negatively effect the amount of future revenue this game can produce. Revenues can only be a function of the utility or enjoyment of your user base. A couple of the problem gold areas that made me want to quit before: Building sabotage and Morale repair. Lets make it so you can only crush a building half way with sabotage. I.e. if I have a Lev 3 Industrial Center, you can only crush it down to 2.5 and never crush it down below level 1. It is too debilitation.
      This phrase really says it all. I wish it is read and understood by those that matter.
    • I think there should be a system that groups people into playing times, depending on how many hours they are online in said game modes. That way, people who spend hours on gameplay and stay up all night to play would get grouped with people who do the same. If you only spend and hour or two a day on the game, but are consistent, they would be grouped with people who spend the same amount of time on it. This would average out, so you can't spend several hours on one game and leave five others unattended to. Also, the gold cost to enter a game sounds good, but probably only for special events, so players can get the most out of limited time games. A ticket, earned by winning a match, required to play doesn't seem fair because as you said,

      FinnDaddy wrote:

      It could be until the end, but even players that fight hard get wiped out and figure its time to quit.
      So it doesn't seem fair for those who might put in decent time and hard work into the game, but got overwhelmed or steamrolled by Gold users to be excluded from said games. That being said, I love your idea, and am happy to see people like this game enough to keep posting suggestions.
    • In my humble opinion player retention is not the really issue its just a symptom of the real issue just like maps half empty, people abandoning mid game, etc...

      I believe CoW is having an identity crisis. It needs to decide what kind of audience it wants to cater to. Originally CoW catered to a small audience of strategy war gamers with a very niche product that lets face it is not appealing, interesting, or easy to learn and master for your average Joe.

      Recent changes lead me to believe that the devs want to speed the game up and oversimplify it, to be more appealing to a larger crowd in attempt to raise profit margins. Classic mistake alot of gaming companies have made over the years thinking that a niche product cannot be made profitable ending up killing the golden goose trying to please everyone...


      Just because you have a niche product doesn't mean it will not be profitable you just need to find the right way to market it. Best example I can give is EVE online which has been around for over a decade and it is a very lucrative product despite being very niche and has a very small following when compared to WoW for instance.

      Now CoW finds itself in a no man's land having marginalized its original followers in the pursuit of a larger audience which it has not managed to reach despite having watered down the original product. Only two ways forward really, either backtrack embracing its niche origins fully and making a product worthy of hardcore strategy gamers such as EVE online

      Or continue in this watering down process which I believe is what the devs are leaning towards. Truly hope I have misread the situation and I am very wrong about this because I would hate to lose such a unique game as CoW and see it lost in the clutter amongst so many other wargaming clickers. I guess only time will tell.
    • Very good post overall, nicely summed up. All of those are useful suggestions.

      That being said, I think the reason why a majority of new players don't stick around is that because they overestimate the game's pace and are disappointed when they see that the gameplay takes hours/days to play out. For proof of that see all the correponding complaints in forum and (especially) chat.

      This however is an inherent characteristic of CoW and is the main reason why players don't stay. To change that would mean to change a fundamental aspect of the game. As such, I'm not sure if implementing a more casual, faster type of gameplay would be worth it and stay true to the game's spirit.
      If anything, I feel like there should be a bigger emphasis on the fast game events, that already exist but are rarely put forward.

      So unless this game becomes fast paced à la Steel Division or Total War, which would not only be very difficult to implement correctly given the game's characteristics but would also change the very nature of the game (which is by far more large-scale-strategical as opposed to tactical), I don't see the trend of new players leaving getting better unless heavy emphasis is put on other incentives such as Gold, skins, etc. At the end of the day, I think it's the very concept of the game that drives unaccustomed noobies aways.