Player retention and the future of NS2

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  • HobocopHobocop Join Date: 2010-11-23 Member: 75226Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 130
    edited January 2014
    Yeah, transitioning into the 'real' game never happened when Combat was an officially supported game mode back in NS1. Combat servers were more numerous and more populated, and servers that ran map rotations alternating between combat and standard maps instantly became wastelands 9/10 times when a standard NS map came up.
    DC_DarklingPolini
  • hakenspithakenspit Join Date: 2010-11-26 Member: 75300Members Posts: 944
    The games designs not been targeted at new players skill levels, instead it pretty much always been balanced at the vet level of skill.
    Sure UWE want to attract new players, but as a small studio they face.
    The problem of finding a good play test group to test their game...but at the same time this group can never develop beyond new player skill level.
    You see you need to keep the core group of testers with minimal skill from a balance perspective in pub games.
    Unfortunately with a small dev team you end up having long time NS players as the testers who lived and breathed the game.
    This sadly means that they dont understand the level most players are coming in at and as such allowing too great a gap between the top and bottom.

    I dont care how you wrap it up and sell it, having such large gaps does nothing for game play experience.
    This issue does mostly sit on the alien side as almost every alien has to be mastered in both movement and then strategies to be useful.
    Marines on the other hand are just point and shoot...with aside from JP's very little (if any) variance in player movement mechanics. Exo's can jump and walk...sure they are slower but an exo does not get faster in a good players hands.

    Sure retaining the top players is needed...but you have to attract many more new players, heck its worth losing 10 top players if you attract 100 or 1000 new players to stick around and play for 6 or so months.
    Failing to do so with simply result in an inbred group that stagnates and then slowly dies out.



  • _Necro__Necro_ Join Date: 2011-02-15 Member: 81895Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,904 Fully active user
    Mhhh... maybe a simple linear increase of res earned the further the round has gone?

    It would be easier and more fun to new players, when they don't need to wait that long to get a new shotty / fade / etc. Having more sgs / jps / exos could balance out having more lerks / fades / onos.

    It wouldn't influence the early skulk - marine gameplay. But the res income increase would get stronger the longer the game goes. Not only giving you more chances on trying higher lifeforms / weapons more often, but also reducing the snowballing and early crippling effect.

    It would be very simple to implement in a mod too.
  • aeroneticaeronetic Austria Join Date: 2013-11-13 Member: 189345Members Posts: 5 Fully active user
    edited January 2014
    Hobocop wrote: »
    Yeah, transitioning into the 'real' game never happened when Combat was an officially supported game mode back in NS1. Combat servers were more numerous and more populated, and servers that ran map rotations alternating between combat and standard maps instantly became wastelands 9/10 times when a standard NS map came up.

    I for one played the first 2-3 years of ns1 only combat mode. I think it is one of the best ways to learn handle all the alien classes.
    Also i didn't undestand classic ns first so I never played it ( I dont know if the current tutorials for ns2 are that helpful. )

    So in my opinion there should be more combat servers for new players for learning reasons.

    The second thing I am concerned is, that for me ns2 classic maps are getting somewhat boring with time.. I havent even played the last couple of weeks. I know a lot of people are probably not agreeing with me on this point, but I think that introducing the Alien Commander was not a good idea.
    I really miss droping the hive as gorge like in ns1 and then spitting it so the rest of the team could follow. It was a risky move - an intense feeling with adrenaline rush and the alien team always had to work together, who drops the hive who drops resource towers and so on. It was a complete other thing than playing marines.
    Now expanding as aliens or dropping a hive is (for me) nothing special anymore and the game begins to bore me.
  • d0ped0gd0ped0g Join Date: 2003-05-25 Member: 16679Members Posts: 782 Advanced user
    edited January 2014
    Tbh, I don't think the game is balanced specifically for top level play. It is merely balanced appropriately (relatively - not saying I don't have my gripes) for the type of game it is. Newbies have a harder time because there's more to learn, not because balance is against them. Usually changes that are good for the competitive scene improve the depth and balance of the game for most areas of pub play too. But comp isn't getting preferential treatment or anything. It's just that it wouldn't make sense to do it the other way round - which would be to balance for people who don't even know how to play yet. How on earth does that solve anything?

    I think having a few pub nubs on the PT group is good, but I think there may be a few in there already. I don't think the majority consist of hardcore vets although I could be wrong. Obviously if you're gonna invest the time into becoming a PT it's not like you're gonna have 40 hours play or something but this isn't exactly UWE's fault. Any unpaid tester will come with a sizable minimum level of skill in whatever game it is because why else would you want to test a game if you don't play it.

    I think UWE already does what it can for new players. It's unfortunate that the game isn't attractive to most rookies at first but the flaw is inherent in the game design itself, not in any pro-pro balance agenda.
    BicsummeatmachineIronHorse
  • AiorosAioros Join Date: 2003-03-24 Member: 14850Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 256
    No matter which game you play, the focus is always to have a balanced game.
    You can only balance a game with players who understand and play the games at its limits.

    Dota 2; Starcraft 2; League of Legends; even Heathstone

    There is not a single Multiplayer game which balance for casuals so that the few good players can outskill them even more.
    JektBicsumblind
  • xDragonxDragon Join Date: 2012-04-04 Member: 149948Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Gold, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,954 Fully active user
    edited January 2014
    You can keep a game simple and intuitive without having it be an exact copy... My points are more towards the many nuances that are required to be reasonably competent with many of the classes, and the impacts they and other abilities can have on each engagement... Realizing exactly what is going on in chaotic public game engagements can be troublesome on its own, then add it being able to react quickly enough and counter/escape or even just responding in time and I can see how your average public game can quickly become frustrating..

    People can go 100-1 in CS also, and that never single handily killed the game, its more a matter of perspective. CS had a more active playerbase (and ns1 at the time possibly), so servers self-regulated themselves a bit better. Matchmaking will help ease some of the stomping that can happen, but wont ease the entry curve much. People may be less frustrated by the occasional horribe skill mismatch, but will still feel like a peon in the overall aspect of the game. As an example, just being able to clearly understand what led to your death is something that games like Dota2 manage to convey much clearer, and teaches players much more about the game than is instantly apparent.
    Post edited by xDragon on
    BicsummeatmachineAiorosblind
  • AiorosAioros Join Date: 2003-03-24 Member: 14850Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 256
    a mod which adds which players did what dmg to you the last 10 seconds before you died would rly improve the game.
  • IronHorseIronHorse Developer, QA Manager, Technical Support & contributor Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Pistachionauts Posts: 8,191 admin
    Talesin wrote: »
    Which is why you need to define a point arbitrarily. You define certain skill levels theoretically and use them to extrapolate downward. Or define a starting point for a given skillset (basic FPS player, able to move awkwardly and fire, hitting 10-20% of shots spray-and-pray?) and work from there. How many units should equate to an un-winnable engagement, regardless of skill?
    That determines a unit or mechanics' effectiveness, but does not assist at all in determining accessibility or any method to fill the skill gap. It doesn't teach the player how to progress and infers no intuitive interaction with how to play the game.

    Like i said, even a "high skill floor" (which supposedly doesn't exist in that definition) is just a handicap to make up for a lack of proper skill barrier and skill curve.
    Its a "foo strategy" at best and means you have failed at an effective player retaining game design and are now just appealing to a psychologically rewarding mechanic that is essentially a noob trap, a crutch for them in place of an actual skill curve, and annoyance for everyone else to deal with.
    Talesin wrote: »
    CS had its growth periods (primarily pre-1.4) where it DID have a fairly low skill cap, which popularized it and allowed it to reach a critical nucleation point, at which time the growth toward a high skill cap game was sustainable simply due to the large and ongoing interest and player pool. Thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions of players concurrent, along with a no-respawn, quickfire round setup meant that you never were STUCK on a team watching yourself be slaughtered helplessly. Over. And over. And over. And over.
    Ehhh.. i disagree here.
    Beta days of CS (4-6.6) were way more hardcore and geared toward such an audience. I clearly remember bunny hopping to insane speeds with my MP5 without loss of accuracy when jumping in those days. If anything, the skill ceiling was largely lowered to accommodate the huge influx of players downloading a free mod and getting stomped by the skilled.
    But i get your point non the less. And yes there were many who protested such changes, myself included.

    Also, vanilla CS does not have a "no-respawn, quickfire round setup meant that you were never stuck on a team watching" ? i wouldn't call minutes of time waiting, not being able to play at all, possibly watching your team losing without being able to help as being something that is casual friendly? In fact this very mechanic is what made Valve so hesitant to actually purchase and adopt CS.. they believed that said time spent waiting and not playing was going to be a deal breaker for the casual or pub gamer. They ended up being wrong, and surprised about it, iirc.


    Lastly, you can have a high skill ceiling if you properly implement a low skill barrier and a proper skill curve. You don't need annoying handicaps or foo strategies if this is done, and you definitely don't need to cap the skill ceiling either.. that also can kill a game faster than stomping or stacking. (Hello Hawken)
    QUOTE (Techercizer @ Feb 3 2012, 10:47 AM) »
    Every time you ask for troubleshooting without providing system info, ATI adds a rendering bug for an upcoming game.

    When you feel you need to be rude or angry about a game, just read these links and remember what role you are playing:
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  • BicsumBicsum Join Date: 2012-02-27 Member: 147596Members, Reinforced - Gold Posts: 1,014 Advanced user
    edited January 2014
    Aioros wrote: »
    a mod which adds which players did what dmg to you the last 10 seconds before you died would rly improve the game.

    Not sure if sarcasm.

    I agree that teaching players what led to their death is important, but how are damage numbers going to tell them anything about it?

    I mean, it should be pretty clear that they died because they received too much damage, but not so much how it could come to that.

    The points being tought should be:
    1) not to over commit in engagements
    2) watch the map
    3) don't enter fights that you can not win in the first place

    How do you convey these points to new players?
    I don't think you can. At least not via ingame tips / tutorials. And even if someone explains all these little nuances to a new player, he will still make these mistakes and die. It's just learning by doing.

    Other than that, I absolutely agree with you about the better learning in a matchmaking system. Theoretically the players should get better and better with every match, since most of them should be around equal in skill and knowledge.

    Something I found worth mentioning is that Respawn Entertainment announced that Titanfall will support a maximum of 12 players, because everything above turned out to be an absolute mess, that hurt the game play experience.

    THIS is something that should have been enforced in ns2 (vanilla) by UWE, because the usual high slot count unarguably has hurt the game play experience for many reasons. I remember that it was one of Charlie's design goals to make ns2 scale with higher players counts (unlike ns1), but they failed to make that happen, and In my opinion, they should have dropped that design goal at some point in the beta.

    IronHorseNeoken
  • shriikeshriike Join Date: 2013-03-27 Member: 184461Members Posts: 191 Fully active user
    edited January 2014
    Reposting a comment in a different thread that pertains to this topic I wrote a while ago.

    IronHorse wrote: »
    "Funny to me that in the end.. it was the skill ceiling that kept the game from being widely played. (its popular, just not masses popular)
    I suppose no matter how low the skill floor is, if you are still playing against gods, your enjoyment may suffer.
    Yet it was that high skill ceiling which kept the hardcore/vet crowd around and invested (me included) and contributed to making a better game...

    Sometimes i wonder how much skill ceiling i'd be willing to give up for what number of player population.. as it drifts more and more to COD levels the more i feel i would just walk away from the game. But would you have to go that far? I'm not sure you would..
    Does this mean skillful games are dead? :(("

    There is not a shortage of competitive players out there, and as long as this game will be actively worked on, it will not die. The only time it will come close to dying, is in like 10 years when we all have oculous rifts glued in our heads and the government puts us in the matrix. Now onto my point on how to attract players.

    While a high skill ceiling certainly turns away the mass of casuals, like you said, it does keep players that are more competitive playing the game. I have also seen this game turn casuals into competitive players. This may sound unorthadox, but I think it possible to literally make players more competitive by giving them the desire to improve and invest in that direction.

    Some other games with high skillcaps that have been moderately to highly popular:
    -Starcraft 1 + 2
    -Counterstrike
    -Super Smash Bros
    -Streetfighter/Mortalkombat
    -I also feel I should mention some number of MMOs such as WOW or Guild Wars.
    -Some sports games such as FIFA.
    -Probably more but I can't think of any.

    While it is arguable that some of these games are strictly easier to learn, and you can't quite get stomped as opposed to ns2, we must learn what makes these games popular in order to make ns2 popular, and head casuals in the right direction.

    First off, you must implement an elo based ranking system with matchmaking, which is already being done. This gives players a reason to keep playing. Look at League of Legends for example. Its skill cap is arguably very high, but has a huge playerbase. Without ranked queues that game would be very dead.

    Secondly, you must ease in the player more. Guns of Icarus has a nice system of this. Even though the game works very differently from ns2, it still uses servers which can work for ns2. Guns of Icarus has servers made for players that are levels 1-3 only. Anyone above that level cannot join. Guns of Icarus does not have a matchmaking system however, and if ns2 gets a matchmaking system, this can be applied to it as well. Simply, if your rank is above a certain point you may not queue/join with these people. This system prevents stomping of any kind, unless someone decides to smurf I suppose. My only concern is that there won't be enough new people. I recommend implementing this near a sale.

    Thirdly, better access to tutorials on how to learn the game and improve. We currently have ways to learn, and a lot of tutorials, but most of the tutorials we have are either outdated, or extremely long videos. Don't get me wrong, I like how UWE actually made a tutorial, but in my opinion, unstressed, unobjective, uncordination interaction is the best way to learn. By this I mean, in a closed setting, with no time limit, with no stress and how to learn quickly and on the fly. I propose a closed tutorial on a map by yourself with bots and a certain Australian voice actor that commands you where to go. "Oi lad, so you decided to enlist? How about you go up to that armory and grab yourself a welder, eh?" (I think that's Canadian but it works). Also a commanding tutorial would be nice, but that would probably be harder. Perhaps you could model it after Chivalry: Medieval War? It's a singleplayer tutorial that explains all the classes well, took about 10 minutes, and i felt very confident going into online matches afterwards.

    Just remember not to balance towards pubs and only toward competitive. I believe over time, and with the elo system, pub games will look like comp games, even with new players. Balancing towards comp will be a step in the right direction, simply because it encourages improvement towards competitive. This, or you can make 2 game modes, which I strongly disagree with. I also disagree with trying to find a balance between pub and comp, but it suffices both sides, I'll agree to it. I probably am only saying this because i'm a comp player. I would definitely like other's ideas about this. I just want to clarify i'm not saying it isn't balanced, it's actually more balanced currently than it has in a long time imo, I just want to clarify what should be done in the future.

    That's all I have to say. I think this is the most i've written on these forums before.
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    _Necro_
  • DC_DarklingDC_Darkling Join Date: 2003-07-10 Member: 18068Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 4,381 Advanced user
    While its never bad to get new players and keep them, it is wishful thinking that most will stick around.

    Yes, let us look back at ns1.. People are correct, most servers with both ns_ and co_ became wastelands when combat swapped to vanilla. It was hard to get any vanilla match outside peakhours eventually.
    Most people do not want to put in time to learn, they do not want to read guides, watch vids or view tutorials. They want something like combat to hop in the frenzy and go nuts with half a brain.

    Many dont expect the vast skill difference in this game. I can run circles around the standard pub player, but folk like Bitey are still so far ahead of me its hard to even grasp mentally. The skill difference is enormous.
    The times ive seen rookies go nuts at simply good players for cheats is also quite massive. They complain, in good english, that someone aimbots, when we told them 30 times to not walk on the bloody floor as skulks.
    At times a few rookies are awake and you get rookies correcting rookies like 'then do what the experienced players say and get of the floor' and it helps.

    I am for implementing ways to make it easier for rookies, while not taking away top skill. GL is a nice (although late) example. I dont mind the GL spam in pubs lately as experienced players can work around it easy and newbs get kills.
    (minus the problem that newb aliens die more)

    Newbies stacking one team does not help either. 'because its easier & they know it'.


    tutorials I doubt will help, to few will use them.


    Also we have so much more pub players then comp players so far I know, they are bound to meet each other.
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  • _INTER__INTER_ Join Date: 2009-08-08 Member: 68392Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 822 Advanced user
    Balancing towards comp can be done in more than one way. Focus on the comp player and you get the way its going now: A selected few players stomp everyone else down with super twitchy movements. Storming into hiverooms killing an upgrade and flies away, Fades that decimate one after another. As if on speed... In the end it comes down to who had more of the "stompers" in his team
    Or you could go the NS1 path as @Talesin mentioned and focus on / analyse the comp team: Where strategies and teamwork is the essential key to victory and not so much the individual, tech trees would open room for different routes, comebacks possible at anytime rather than gg f4.

    What of those two you think would retain more players?
    Warforce17 wrote: »
    RapGod wrote: »
    matso wrote: »
    --> pistol time axe time welder time riflebutt time
  • HobocopHobocop Join Date: 2010-11-23 Member: 75226Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 130
    Yeah, I used to be an admin in a pub NS1 server. There were many games that were essentially one extremely skilled marine running around by himself and crushing the entire alien team with his pinky finger. Nevermind what happened should that player go aliens and have access to focus or a fade, which were even more ridiculous than virtually any NS2 incarnation of the lifeform.
  • _INTER__INTER_ Join Date: 2009-08-08 Member: 68392Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 822 Advanced user
    Still it felt that occured fairly seldom (or people just complained less). Even if NS2 is more teamcentered than NS1 was, for me its not enough still.
    Warforce17 wrote: »
    RapGod wrote: »
    matso wrote: »
    --> pistol time axe time welder time riflebutt time
  • UncleCrunchUncleCrunch Mayonnaise land Join Date: 2005-02-16 Member: 41365Members, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 1,542 Advanced user
    This thread will end up like the others.

    @OP
    It's just a matter of learning curve.

    -No you can't play NS1/2 without knowing a little about classes and maps.
    -Yup we all started rookies
    -Every sales WE sees the same bunch of people that play the game as soon as it is downloaded.
    -Yes you can test it with the training map but people don't use it as it's not a requisite for playing on-line.

    There should be some kind of achievement badge that ensure a player can play on-line (yeah i know it's a license to NS2). Let's go directly to the Godwin point then breath and think of it this way:

    Everybody is interested in a good game. Especially if it's a fun game.
    Everybody like to be better and progress at something. That is to say getting better and better because game get better and better because opponent get better and better in a somehow same pace.
    So This need some fundation
    -Everybody should know his (her) way around with map and classes for starters. Not the NS encyclopedia, just a basic set will suffice. Just to avoid the "OMG the welder isn't shooting!!!".
    -Everybody should play NS and not another solo shooter (meaning teamwork). One of the biggest problem in public servers.



    Once you have those 2 things (basic knowledge and teamwork), any skill level becomes fun.

    ChubbChubbs ???

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  • BensonBenson Join Date: 2012-03-07 Member: 148303Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 1,296 Advanced user
    On Combat mode being official:

    So what everyone is saying is that a game mode that increases retention should not be included because it may draw players away from the harder to learn game mode.....

    I fail to see how more people becomming familiar with NS2 lifeforms and weapons in a casual, less punishing environment, could ever be a bad thing for Classic NS2 games.

    Even though it does draw players away from Vanilla NS2, the people left over will create better Vanilla NS2 rounds overall due to the increased skill and familiarity with the basic functions of the game, and their desire to play Vanilla NS2.


    Personal Experience:

    When I first started playing NS1, I understood the basics of the game being "like Starcraft meets Counter Strike", but I could never live long enough to get good with any of the equipment. When I discovered Combat mode, I played it pretty exclusively for a few months and got decent at the combat in the game. Using what I learned from Combat, I began to play Classic more, and was able to hold my own. When I got bored of the fragfest of Combat, I now had the option to play Classic NS and fully enjoy it.



    Basically, if Combat were official, it would increase player retention in two ways:

    1. Its a more casual and stress free play style that most people enjoy, and has an easier learning curve

    2. Combat Mode would function as "Training Mode", meaning that if they chose to go into Vanilla NS2, they would already be familiar with %80 of the game, and thus would not be hit by Vanilla NS2's higher learning curve.
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  • TalesinTalesin Our own little well of hate Join Date: 2002-11-08 Member: 7710NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators Posts: 6,952 mod
    _INTER_ wrote: »
    Still it felt that occured fairly seldom (or people just complained less). Even if NS2 is more teamcentered than NS1 was, for me its not enough still.
    I would still disagree that NS1 was more solo-friendly, aside from post public-2.0; that point did mark a FAST slide toward the 'competitive' side of things, and in my opinion the degradation of the game to its current shrinking state.

    Again, in my opinion, the pinnacle of NS gameplay was v1.03. Slower gameplay, less of a brainless twitch-fest, won more on teamwork and multitasking effectively and less on 'that one guy'.
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  • BacillusBacillus Join Date: 2006-11-02 Member: 58241Members Posts: 2,774 Advanced user
    Bicsum wrote: »
    Aioros wrote: »
    a mod which adds which players did what dmg to you the last 10 seconds before you died would rly improve the game.

    Not sure if sarcasm.

    I agree that teaching players what led to their death is important, but how are damage numbers going to tell them anything about it?

    I mean, it should be pretty clear that they died because they received too much damage, but not so much how it could come to that.

    The points being tought should be:
    1) not to over commit in engagements
    2) watch the map
    3) don't enter fights that you can not win in the first place

    How do you convey these points to new players?
    I don't think you can. At least not via ingame tips / tutorials. And even if someone explains all these little nuances to a new player, he will still make these mistakes and die. It's just learning by doing.

    Other than that, I absolutely agree with you about the better learning in a matchmaking system. Theoretically the players should get better and better with every match, since most of them should be around equal in skill and knowledge.

    Something I found worth mentioning is that Respawn Entertainment announced that Titanfall will support a maximum of 12 players, because everything above turned out to be an absolute mess, that hurt the game play experience.

    THIS is something that should have been enforced in ns2 (vanilla) by UWE, because the usual high slot count unarguably has hurt the game play experience for many reasons. I remember that it was one of Charlie's design goals to make ns2 scale with higher players counts (unlike ns1), but they failed to make that happen, and In my opinion, they should have dropped that design goal at some point in the beta.

    There's lots of subtle stuff you can do to help players avoid overcommitment, watch the map and consider fights in general. I recently got some pretty beefy hardware and decided to give NS2 a try again. I know NS1 inside out, feel totally comfortable in it and know most of the NS2 design relatively well even if I haven't played the latest stuff much. Compared to a newbie I have way easier time picking up stuff and I still found NS2 to be a tricky one to get back to.

    One of the big things is cutting away the less important information. Do we need to have the score numbers flashing on the screen all the time? Do we need to have the drawdamage as the only way to confirm hits? Do we need an icon to tell you're sneaking as a skulk? The flashiest HUD components should be the ones that are actually critical in understanding the game. NS1 had pretty much your HP information, the waypoint and your commander/resoucres on marines. There was no need for big score numbers, drawdamage or anything else like that.

    In addition to HUD, you make the sound feedback tell you important information. When I last played NS2, I was amazed how my fade died so quietly. In NS1 it growls the very moment you take a big SG hit to the face. I can manage my HP quite alright because I've learned in NS1 through hundreds and hundreds of hours of lifeform play, but a newbie damn sure can't view the HP meter often enough while trying to get comfortable with blink and all that.

    The map is bound to 'm' by default. That's far, far away from where you naturally rest your hand while using WASD. I went to change it in options and had to dig through a seemingly unorganized list of all the keybinds in the game. I knew I wanted my map on 'c', but it still took me a while to change it. Also the map itself could use some work. The player's location doesn't stand out very well on the map and the DI, powergrid and random spawn positions make it hard to recognize places for a newbie. It was taxing even for me, I can't even imagine how a newbie copes with that.

    Also things like wallhop were really obscure even though I knew they were there. I had to ask my friend for the server commands to get the speedmeter on my own LAN server before I really got the hang of things.

    The story goes on, but I think the point is pretty clear. If a NS1 veteran and hardcore player who knows quite a lot about NS2 has hard time finding the key ideas of the game and changing options he knows he needs to change, an average casual newbie is going to be totally clueless for a long while.

    I think part of the reason why the whole thing is confusing is because the game has gone through so much redesign. Now that the game seems more stabilized, a lot of the things could be adjusted to suit the present gameplay. I don't know how much time, money and effort UWE is still able to put into NS2, but if they still for example considers F2P as a long term option for NS2, it might be worthwile to sit down a bit with some insightful players and rethink and refine the HUD, UI and default settings a bit. It might pay off nicely in case of a bigger new player surge.
    Bicsum
  • KamamuraKamamura Join Date: 2013-03-06 Member: 183736Members, Reinforced - Gold Posts: 669 Advanced user
    The future of NS2 is obviously bleak. We have been left with a semi-finished product with incomplete features:

    - Alien vision is atrocious in its current form, but nobody will obviously do frop about it.
    - Weapons were supposed to have secondary attack modes, but we are left with useless rifle bash
    - Babblers, grenades, webs are basically redundant baggage
    - Commander interface is really poor by any standard, especially the marine side. Attacked important points like power nodes are not properly communicated, there is no visual indication of player health and ammo which even the simplest RTS games feature, the enemies and friendlies should have overlay with important info ala Homeworld.
    - There are still numerous technical problems with various microlags, stutters, etc. I guess it's the problem of the used engine and it's probably a good thing UWE licensed a reliable 3rd party engine, but it still spoils the experience.
    - The meta-features for organizing a meaningful match are missing. Even counter-strike which I tried recently has a system that motivates the players to stay till the end and to put some effort in the game. As a result, most pub games are total chaos that often lacks appeal for newcomers and veterans alike.

    That all said, the conclusion of the NS2 development left a somewhat bitter aftertaste. I expected more finished product, more careful troubleshooting and polishing instead of adding largely meaningless features like babblers. I am not very interested in what the next game has to offer, because - fool me once...
    Each day, hundreds of enthusiastic new players rush to join the ranks of the TSF to protect the universe, our beloved and the values of our society from the alien menace.

    Glory to the TSF! Glory to Arstotzka ! Glory to the mods!
  • joshhhjoshhh Milwaukee, WI Join Date: 2011-06-21 Member: 105717Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 1,437 Advanced user
    Kamamura wrote: »
    I guess it's the problem of the used engine and it's probably a good thing UWE licensed a reliable 3rd party engine, but it still spoils the experience.

    wat
  • ResRes Join Date: 2003-08-27 Member: 20245Members Posts: 626
    Is it even possible for a MP community to grow after initial release anymore?

    Yes. TF2 grew quite a bit when it went free2play and has sustained a high player base since. In fact, a number of games that later went free 2 play grew their player base quite a bit.

    Next i'll get some argument about how free2play ruins games..... If done right, it only has a positive affect.

  • rmbrown09rmbrown09 Join Date: 2012-10-17 Member: 162592Members Posts: 169
    How cute, everyone is making massive posts on player retention. Heads up guys, no matter what you post or agree upon, nothing will change at this point. The game is what it is...

    Is it even possible for a MP community to grow after initial release anymore? It's not the same market it was 10 years ago, the market is saturated with millions of games, 3 different consoles (PC, XBOX, PS3/4). Unless developers/publishers throw insane amounts of money at the game in the form of tournaments / advertising / whatever, every MP game has shrunk and dwindled since release. Back then you had 7 main competitive FPS games that players could swap between giving communities a chance to grow/shrink based on the quality of the game; CS, NS1, DoD, CoD1, TFC, Quake and WolfET.

    Valve has demonstrated with CSGO how to effectively grow and retain a player base. CSGO was averaging around 50k players a day for most parts of 2012, 2013. That is until they introduced cases. Skins and cases grew player base of the casual gamer quite tremendously. CSGO trended upwards to now averaging over 80k players online today at midday... on a Tuesday. It reached an all time high recently of 120k and has been setting new player highs nearly every week or so. A year after its release CSGO not only grew, but doubled its player base. To be honest I think it's too late for NS2 to ever grow. Maybe they can rethink some of their development ideologies for the next go around.
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  • male_fatalitiesmale_fatalities ausns2.org Join Date: 2004-03-06 Member: 27185Members, Constellation Posts: 673 Fully active user
    Good examples, but F2P has alot of down sides and require significant development time (ie: creating f2p system) that UWE cannot afford to invest into NS2.
    NS1: Boost|. mf
    NS2: asc . mf-
  • TalesinTalesin Our own little well of hate Join Date: 2002-11-08 Member: 7710NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators Posts: 6,952 mod
    edited January 2014
    Sigh, for someone with such an old account your views blow my mind...
    *snip*
    1.03 was absolutely terrible, the game was borderline broken and NS1 didn't enter its true potential till 2.1
    Thank you, contingent from the 'twitchfests are good, thought is bad' camp.
    As noted, the public release of 2.0 in my mind was the start of the downhill slide of NS. It catered to your tastes, and so you are arguing in its favor. Understandable. It was the reduction of the RTS side in favor of the mindless FPS skillset which currently dominates NS play, under the guise of 'skill'. It was shifting from a fairly cerebral game to a significantly more CS-like experience, in the hopes of bringing in CS-like player counts, at the sacrifice of the game it had been up to that point.

    Short version, NS 2.0 was when Natural Selection sold its soul in an attempt at a popularity-grab.

    And yes... having 'such an old account' means that I might actually know what I'm talking about as far as the state of the game all the way back, having been here since day one (but hadn't bothered creating an account on the forum Halloween night, as I was too busy playing for the first week).
    IPB Image
    NS -=- ROOTS
    hakenspit
  • TurbineTurbine Join Date: 2012-09-13 Member: 159160Members Posts: 172 Fully active user
    edited January 2014
    The fact of the matter is, NS2 failed. It's not what I nor anybody was expecting when we pre-ordered the game. Early in the development I remember a post something like "We're using ATI 2600xt video cards. This will ensure we save money by using mediocre hardware and enable it to run well."

    NS2 feels sloppy, poorly conceived ideas, lack of direction, lack of continuous updates, and so on. I had an opportunity to play NS1 mode in a lowly populated NS2 server, despite being unfinished in a few areas, it was a hell of a lot more fun to play.

    Nearly every damn round is one sided, what happened to the constant power battles. Getting this kind of game is only viably possible when the servers are flooded with noobs and you're fighting an up hill battle. With a team of people who have no clue on how to win a game. 10 min games stretch out over an hour.
  • male_fatalitiesmale_fatalities ausns2.org Join Date: 2004-03-06 Member: 27185Members, Constellation Posts: 673 Fully active user
    edited January 2014
    Talesin wrote: »
    Understandable. It was the reduction of the RTS side in favor of the mindless FPS skillset which currently dominates NS play, under the guise of 'skill'.

    What exactly was the reduction of the RTS side uh?

    Marines went JP+HMG every round, Aliens went DC every round.

    NS 2.0 introduced MC & SC being viable first hive, fade became useful before acid rocket (due to blink rework) and HMG dmg was nerfed against buildings. Resulting in GL + Shotgun having a role instead of the all powerful HMG dominating all.

    The RTS element of the game is only ever applied when teams are evenly balanced, which applies from 1.0 - 3.2. Throw in a skill imbalance, and it will always overpower the strategical element of a game.
    NS1: Boost|. mf
    NS2: asc . mf-
    Hobocop
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