Player retention and the future of NS2

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  • VlaadVlaad Join Date: 2012-10-03 Member: 161403Members Posts: 46 Advanced user
    More or less all posts here hold some honesty.

    I will shield myself first: I still play, I still love the game. But many people don't and to try to elaborate reasons I'll add a few reason why my buddies, old NS players/fans left.

    1.Skill difference and time needed to invest to be able to enjoy the game at all.
    2.Unneeded change on alien vision was the last drop for some.

    Most issues come from things that can/could be fixed easily. Let me elaborate on a few from side that creates most frustrations initially: aliens.

    -Ability to obliterate new players witch by itself is inheretly worse for aliens. For example, base lifeform in the fame has "you are meat you will die futile death 70% of the time".

    -Even when managing to close the distance, marine is again advantaged: no spread for holding the trigger, no spread when "skilfully" jumping on rails meaning skulk to be competetive has to be more than 70% precise most of the time. That's: 200-400 hours of mechanics, map, lifeform, positioning familiarization to be able to enjoy the game. During that time one will be stomped to the ground and have hours and hours of not so fun learning especially with global skill that community holds.

    -Game is hull of "unfair" deaths ("I know he should have died.") like NO friendly fire by default so it actually encourages you to lob high explosive weapons on your teammates or shoot the kneecaps with shotty. My personal ire is most directed towards this.

    -Game allows you to basically become godlike (skill celling) so players with even 800+ hours meet the player who they cant absolutely touch unless (especially if they wanna have few relaxing games - pubbers) who will severely limit amount of fun you can have.
    To explain: I know when I smacked a fade with shotty and then got killed my shot meant something. It brings "I HAVE TO GET BETTER" type of motivation witch, naturally wants to keep me playing and learning. On the other hand, one guy comes and kills 2-3 skulks with LMG then pulls out a pistol and proceeds to rape with impunity 2 more all while putting circus acrobats to shame in medpack shower. Regardless WHAT one does game mechanics has said that guy will kill you 20 out of 22 times. Not because just because hes good but because mechanics (no ff no spread in melee while juking around, he has a good comm and the fact that "yer a meat skulk") has deprived you of some chances to win. There is little return to effort put in to be a good skulk to the point that it becomes frustrating to new people.
    Side effect when running away from those players is that we (pubbers) to to large servers where individual skill is much less of an issue and then encountering technical and engine difficulties (much easier to deal with than elitists).

    -Game is very hardware dependent. Pro gaming mouse, 120hz monitor, brutal gpu can flat out double ones skill, much more than any other game.

    So question is what could/should be done?
    Imho:
    - Good and helpful community. There is a lot of people who do. There is a lot more elitists.
    - Random spread when jumping. (good players will be good still but less godlike)
    - Obligatory Friendly Fire for aliens and marines (50% at least)
    - Accept the fact that small servers is not where majority of prime audience lives. Correct the balance around the fact.

    Again, I will say that I enjoy the game most of the time and previous is mostly written from this games fallouts. This game is not BAD but difficult and above all struggles with retaining players, not getting them.

    I apologize for the wall and hope it has some constructive info.
    RapGod
  • 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
    edited January 2014
    RapGod wrote: »
    but from the 2100+ hrs I've put in, this game has been, only worth, those steam sale prices.
    That sentence is the best example of an oxymoron i could hope to find.
    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:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect
    http://www.eldergame.com/2008/06/taming-the-forum-tiger/
    coolitic
  • 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
    Aioros wrote: »
    So overall the aliens running arround without knowing what to do and the aliens slowly taking over the entire map ...
    Don't forget the prevalent and inevitable multiple Gorge tunnels within the first minute of the game while marines are still capping their natural RTs..
    Reaallllyy shouldn't underestimate their impact in pub games..
    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:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect
    http://www.eldergame.com/2008/06/taming-the-forum-tiger/
    LocklearSoul_Rider
  • Ghosthree3Ghosthree3 Join Date: 2010-02-13 Member: 70557Members, Reinforced - Supporter Posts: 3,432 Advanced user
    That's pretty much why I stopped playing pub all together a while back tbh. All those free tunnels at round start are a huge chore on a team of clueless people.
    76561197996992409.png
  • cooliticcoolitic Right behind you Join Date: 2013-04-02 Member: 184609Members Posts: 1,684 Advanced user
    The average 'decent' NS2 player is a prick and often quite elitist. They treat new players really badly. They like being the 'top' of a very small community. They remind me of old school churchmen.

    Also, look at how many of you talk about UWE. Look at the lack of support they received in their reinforcement campaign. http://www.naturalselection2.com/reinforced/

    I'm sorry but many of you don't deserve this game.

    The average player is probably new players/medium experienced players. There aren't that many "elitists" in this game and just because they have experience doesn't mean they treat people badly. However, there are quite a few people who treat others badly. (then again, so do many other games)
    When life gives you lemons, throw it back and demand chocolate.


  • cooliticcoolitic Right behind you Join Date: 2013-04-02 Member: 184609Members Posts: 1,684 Advanced user
    Talesin wrote: »
    Which is why you need to define a point arbitrarily...

    Just stop questioning the admin and accept defeat. Lowering the skill ceiling would lower player retention even further, because people would get bored of it faster and it would be even more unchallenging to vets than it already is.

    My good suggestion still applies here. Have certain servers have a gameplay mode focused on giving a low skill floor and a low-medium skill ceiling. Low or medium skill ceiling would depend on whether UWE would want it to be mostly for new players or if it would include other kinds of players. Have another gameplay balance mode that has a medium skill floor and a high skill ceiling. That would make game more fun for experienced players and veterans.

    This would allow for the player to be challenged when they are noobs, experienced players, and veterans. The advantage is that this greatly would increase player retention.

    The disadvantage would be extra development time due to having 2 balance modes.
    When life gives you lemons, throw it back and demand chocolate.


  • current1ycurrent1y Join Date: 2003-12-08 Member: 24150Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 677 Advanced user
    edited January 2014
    IronHorse wrote: »
    Aioros wrote: »
    So overall the aliens running arround without knowing what to do and the aliens slowly taking over the entire map ...
    Don't forget the prevalent and inevitable multiple Gorge tunnels within the first minute of the game while marines are still capping their natural RTs..
    Reaallllyy shouldn't underestimate their impact in pub games..

    Anyone who underestimates what gorges can do in a pub does so at their own peril.
    Post edited by current1y on
    Locklear
  • LocklearLocklear [nexzil]kerrigan Join Date: 2012-05-01 Member: 151403Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 1,337 Advanced user
    Pub gorges are stronk :>
    "If great visuals brings players in, great gameplay gets them to stay." - Valve
    Soul_Rider
  • Soul_RiderSoul_Rider Mod Bean Join Date: 2004-06-19 Member: 29388Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue Posts: 4,269 Advanced user
    If half the team goes gorge in a 12v12 server, it's game over, especially if Kham rushes BileBomb..
    Games:Subnautica Fan Game Mods: GorgeCraft & CTF & Proving Grounds Website: andysoulrider.uk
    Twitter: @AndySoulRider Twitch: Twitch.tv/SoulRider YouTube: Youtube.com/user/IamSoulRider/videos

    Capitalisation is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
    Knowledge is gained through listening, Understanding is gained through discussion.
  • HivelordHivelord Join Date: 2003-06-21 Member: 17567Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 140 Fully active user
    Example scenario: 24 player ns2_biome. By the time marines make it into falls there is usually 3 gorges setting with clogs, hydras, tunnels etc. No amont of aim can save you from a few gorges working together.
    E t e r n o . n z
  • Android88Android88 Join Date: 2007-01-04 Member: 59434Members Posts: 10 Fully active user
    I know this probably been suggested before, but what about if some crazy modder could fix some of the 20+ server balance issues..? =)
    Simply if people dont enjoy a public game, they will never get to expirience a good balanced 6v6 .... And our community size will only decrease....

    e.g:
    Something simple as a gorge tunnel timer, so that gorges on a 20+ server cant MASS spam gorge tunnels within the first min. or something similar...
    tallhotblonde
  • ScatterScatter Join Date: 2012-09-02 Member: 157341Members, Squad Five Blue Posts: 635 Advanced user

    Android88 wrote: »
    I know this probably been suggested before, but what about if some crazy modder could fix some of the 20+ server balance issues..? =)
    Simply if people dont enjoy a public game, they will never get to expirience a good balanced 6v6 .... And our community size will only decrease....

    e.g:
    Something simple as a gorge tunnel timer, so that gorges on a 20+ server cant MASS spam gorge tunnels within the first min. or something similar...

    Something that has always amused me was how it's still possible to get close spawns on 24 player summit.
  • Ghosthree3Ghosthree3 Join Date: 2010-02-13 Member: 70557Members, Reinforced - Supporter Posts: 3,432 Advanced user
    Summit has actually become my least favourite pub map due to the 2/3 chance of it being close spawns.
    76561197996992409.png
  • TalesinTalesin Our own little well of hate Join Date: 2002-11-08 Member: 7710NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators Posts: 6,952 mod
    coolitic wrote: »
    Just stop questioning the admin and accept defeat. Lowering the skill ceiling would lower player retention even further, because people would get bored of it faster and it would be even more unchallenging to vets than it already is.
    Er, this would be the point of a 'debate'. We pick up a point, argue and examine it back and forth. You've posited that lowering the skill ceiling would lose players; this is true. We'd have fewer vets pub-stomping quite as hard, and I'm sure that at least some of them would decide to leave when the newbies started smacking back. But the added viability as a newbie would MORE than outbalance the minor loss, and make the game more accessible and inviting than it is in its current state.

    Also, Iron isn't the only admin here. You must be new. :)
    IPB Image
    NS -=- ROOTS
    Soul_Rider
  • UncleCrunchUncleCrunch Mayonnaise land Join Date: 2005-02-16 Member: 41365Members, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 1,542 Advanced user
    edited January 2014
    Just no. It won't.

    When you master something the interest decrease accordingly. Make it more easy pretending it will be more accessible is trade interest for a quick sell. Ultimately selling nothing because of a lack of overall interest in the game. Quick join, quick... quit. The word between players will be something like: i bought the game and now i find it to easy. Don't bother buying it.

    Same goes for vets competitive player who just find silly to be able to beacon Exos... So they left.

    This game needs proper training facilities. It needs to be introduced properly to players before they can play on-line. Rookies are rookies, vets are vets. You cannot mix them up on a server and get anything else than stomping.

    This game has a learning curve. Make player learn it is a critical step that was forgotten.


    EDIT: Mobile Spelling sux
    Post edited by UncleCrunch on
    ChubbChubbs ???

    Reach me on NS2 forums in :
    Map: Outer Rim Ark and Outer Rim Ark Edge
    Jones108
  • Jones108Jones108 Join Date: 2012-12-10 Member: 174670Members Posts: 95 Advanced user
    edited January 2014
    I feel NS2 has huge potential. Proper tutorials would help ease the curve and make it more fun for new players and veterans alike.
    For example you need so much hours/skill to play on this server and optional server mods that allow to make better teams.
  • will_kwill_k San Francisco Join Date: 2014-01-19 Member: 193280Members Posts: 1
    This has been an interesting an informative post to read. Do the Devs read the forums?

    I'm a little sad to come to some new understandings of the likely future of NS2. It has been one of my favorite games (I was not fortunate enough to have played NS1).
    The game engine I think is very pretty, sometimes during a match I will sit and stare out of the windows onto the topography of these unknown worlds we battle on. I long to climb over those rocks and stroll through the canyons. Maybe I'm just claustrophobic and tired of being locked inside the bio-domes.

    But it is a shame. Does the game have a future? Will we ever get to jump on an actual tram, or take a transport from docking to some other destination and stroll along the alien shores of whatever the hell planets we are struggling to rip from the grip of the Kharaa? I think not.

    Before the game dies what seems to be its inevitable slow death, can we add a bit more fun to it?

    Can you devs release some more maps with fun layouts? A few more weapons? How about a low grav map? The play gets stale, repetitive, and too serious sometimes. Combat is a fun break, but its even more repetitive.

    Ideas to inject fun:

    More crazy maps!
    Including a low grav feature.

    Weapons:
    Add a nub cannon for the nubs. (portable minigun with a backpack of ammo that makes you move slower) How bout a portable rail gun?
    How about adding a feature that allows marines to buy their own types of armor upgrade? (light medium heav)

    Give marines a cloaking armor!

    Aliens:
    Add a unit for the nubs! How about a slithering slug like creature that attaches to the back of a marine and you can control his movement for a short time? Think about it, suicide a marine into a lava pit or make him dance!

    Or you can posess dead marines with it, walk past turrets and actually use the phase gates. You will look like a marine but be kharaa, and be able to use marine structures and damage them!

    Maybe give an alien units the ability to "infect" like the lerk bite, but it is contagious to other marines.

    Just give us more S*** to play with, and give the nubs something to have fun with while they are being slaughtered.

  • kk20kk20 Join Date: 2012-10-30 Member: 164592Members Posts: 263
    Well I was a reasonable player. Usually either at the top or at least top few on a pub server. I could comm but not khamm. Im an old NS1 vet who took the time to master fading even buying multi button mice (at the time they were rare) to help with my blink/meta/swipe. Anyway, NS2 lost its "fun" for me; too many changes in too short a time. Performance got much worse as time went on for me (i5, 6850, SSD). So ive gone on to play other games. Not been back onto NS2 for about 2 months and I don't intend coming back. Not a single one of my dozen friends who tried NS2 on either free weekends or humble bundle have stuck past a few days, the reason? Lack of tutorials and low performance on their "mid range" systems. My friends are not typical COD players (they play games such as world of tanks so they do understand tactical games)

    Due to the need to invest a lot of time to learn NS2 both in terms of lifeforms or foibles, newbies don't stand a chance these days unless they are exceptionally talented.

    RapGod
  • Soylent_greenSoylent_green Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11220Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,875 Advanced user
    edited January 2014
    NS2 has improved hugely from the terrible lows of the Gorgeus patch, but is still nowhere near NS.

    NS was a quite simple game with a lot of depth; if you removed almost anything from NS, it would have suffered (except greanades, maybe). It had a simple and very effective aesthetic and easily the best movement system of any game I have ever played; adding ontop of the excellent Quake/HL herritage of good movement code. The movement was buttery smooth and very responsive; easy to learn to a reasonable level of competency, yet allowing very complex and satisfying interaction with the layout of the map.

    The lack of tutorials in NS2 would not be so bad for new players if NS2 didn't have so many unnescary features (yet still feeling quite shallow compared to NS) with monthly, sometimes weekly, permutations of those features and their costs and placement in the tech tree and so on.

    NS2 has erroded the asymmetry that was such a key part of the aesthetic of NS. Gorge and kham still feel like tacked on features, without either having a clear reason to exist. The powernode and infestation mechanics just makes everything feel more static and stilted. Adding T res and P res for both teams was a sacrifice to balance the game across a larger range of team sizes; it didn't help much. The maps are all cluttered messes ranging in appearance from metallic beige to metallic blue, with metallic gray being the apparent favourite. Nearly all colour is added ontop of these textures with coloured lighting. All the lifeforms and structures (both teams) look bloated and clunky. Gone are the sleek and menacing aliens; say hello to chibi aliens. Gone are the sleek and effective-looking marine structures; say hello to phone-booth sized armories and walk-in-closet sized command stations. Movement is reasonably fast, but still feels sluggish (acceleration!) and imprecise. The very mature and precise hit registration and net code of HL is difficult to match in a roll-your-own engine, and predictably, NS2 doesn't.

    In retrospect, the fact that NS turned out as one of the best games ever made seems more like a happy accident than anything which could have been planned; with so many things which could have gone hideously wrong to make it not that. The right engine, the right developers, the right playtesters, the right amount of resources (more money would probably have made NS a worse game and led to a more homogenized mass-market product) and the right ideas just happened to come toghether and lead to what NS became after patch 2.0.

    NS2 is still a decent game, and it's not near the end of its life yet. It's fairly unique in what it does and shouldn't die too easily. Performance problems will still hobble the game; with a > 3 GHz i5 and an SSD being almost minimum requirements to be able to enjoy the game. This likely will never get fixed with most of the team moving on to subnautica, but may be eased somewhat by your average player getting a better CPU and an SSD over time. New players will pour in every few months as the game goes on sale, and it will struggle on like this for likely a couple of years before finding a game becomes difficult due to lack of active players. Balance wise there will be some minor fixes, probably nothing too exciting.

    Now that mod-breaking patches can be expected to be far fewer, we might see more interesting mods, but NS2 never had the player base that made the moding scene for HL so vibrant.
    zenefRapGodbERt0r
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