Player numbers

SphynxSphynx Senior
edited July 2015 in PVKII Discussion
There are some topics that have been coming up over and over again. I assume that some of them, e.g. the 'class x is overpowered' ones, are causing regulars to sigh at most. I think the size of our playing community is not one of those topics. Although most of us shouldn't have problems to find a full server during peak times, we are still grinding on the hardest core of PVKII players and new long-time players are scarce. It seems that some parts of the community still believe in one or more of the following 'solutions' to increase the number of players:

1. More updates
Releasing more updates just for the sake of it caters to the 'moar! moar!'-people that seem to swarm for example almost every 'Early Access'-title. They do not even seem to care about the exact content being added. It is a mystery to me what those people want to achieve by what they do. Updates also do not necessarily increase the player numbers.

http://steamcharts.com/app/17570
  • PVKII 2.6 -> Oct 31, 2013 -> no significant increase
  • PVKII 3.0 -> Oct 31, 2014 -> no significant increase

2. Famous Youtuber
This option is really able to cause a player boost and there is proof of that:

http://steamcharts.com/app/17570
-> significant increase (together)

Great! We should just ask a few famous Youtubers to play PVKII and the problem is gone, right? No.

Have a look a the part I cut out from steamcharts.com:

eXmdgdN.png

During September and October 2012 the average player numbers increased by 100.6, but in the following two months they decreased by 93.9 again and by January 2013 the numbers were lower than during 'before Youtuber' times (e.g. August 2012).

Why did the community not grow and even shrink?
PVKII hasn't been able to maintain any player number gains during the last years – not even parts of those gains. At the same time the player numbers have been slowly decreasing down to what we could call the 'hard core' of regulars ever since.
mEtxJiK.png

Comments

  • SphynxSphynx Senior
    edited March 2015
    [Reserved]
    mEtxJiK.png
  • ColonelColonel Finger Lickin' Good PVKII Team
    edited March 2015
    What do you feel is the best solution? Do you feel there is more than one?

    We're not going to engine hop in the near future as my understanding, so we're taking advantage of more updates using SteamPipe. We have some exciting surprises on the way that I feel will give our community a great jolt.

    I think another solution to add that myself and some members of the dev and tester teams, as well as the community, has helped out with, is recruitment. I feel that one reason why a lack of updates were sent out was because of a need for more Developers, Authorized Creators, and Contributors. We went through a period awhile back with only one go to guy who could help us fill maps with models, and pre/ post 3.0 we have plenty. Bringing on the right people has helped erase bottlenecks that mods run into. We're very fortunate to have amazing people on our dev and tester team that work hard to make something very special. People like Akz who pulls through everytime for us, people like Felis who codes for pvkii like its his ball of yarn, or jimonions/james davis/lhorkan/gaz who turned te_cara from an average map to a brilliant one. These guys have really come through for us. They've excited us again. It's our challenge to keep doing that.

    You're right about famous Youtubers. You really have to be out there doing a strong press push, and sometimes you get lucky. Take for example, pewds played Double Action, and that pretty much broke everything there were so many players. Talk about free press. But it really isn't a durable solution, as you're saying.

    Here's what I think is key to our future. I think really, we need a combination/holistic plan that does all of what people think should be done.
    - More updates (moving towards a more polished, and complete game)
    - More community engagement/ news/ media/events
    - Stay relevant. Is converting to Source 2 possible and worthwhile?
    - Consistent recruitment/ contributions
    - Press push/ p.r.

    Ultimately, we'll try to do what we do a little bit better when we schedule time to focus on pvkii. We're all ears for constructive criticism from the community.

    Co-Lead | Level Designer

  • edited 7:07AM
    I have gotten over 20 real life friends and Blizzard friends to try this game. Only one liked it, and he only plays every now and then. All the people that hated the game had the same complaints. They couldn't understand the parry and full charge system quickly, and they hated the community. There are very few players playing that haven't been playing for years. Anytime there is flesh blood, they get targeted. I won't even waste time on complaints of trolls they gave. If you actually see somebody new, them getting a lot of achieves including death achieves, don't go pound them into the dirt or dinah skirm style them. Give them a chance to learn.
  • NiveNive PVKII Team
    edited 7:07AM
    I'm with Mango, the problem with PVKII is its ease of use. It isn't very intuitive, I remember playing the game a lot without ever using the parry system simply because I didn't understand it. It was an extra layer of complexity on an already unfamiliar game. A simple tutorial of some kind won't hurt. A collection of set up scenes with rudimentary AI just to highlight certain mechanics.

    And Mango is right again, the player base isn't entirely welcoming. Even after all the time I've put in the game, I still don't really like the people I play with. And I'm forced to play with them, since they're the only ones ever playing. Quite a few of them disregard the objectives and are only out to deathmatch and troll, targeting certain teams or even certain people. Teams are stacked more often than not. Any veteran using any class can easily 1v1 a dinah using any class. It just isn't easy to get into.
  • Black BellamyBlack Bellamy Senior
    edited March 2015
    i only recently noticed that you can tell how much they are damaged by looking at their title and it took me a really long time to know that you can counter a parry with a fully charged attack. its not like cod where you have a million different vids explaining everything. you have to learn everything by yourself in pvkii...i think making a really good wiki will fix this. (explaining the basics how much dmg everything does / the range / the health of each class / the speed / what the classes are good at / weapons strengths ect)
    "Everything with a beginning has an end"
  • FinlordFinlord Senior
    edited 7:07AM

    i only recently noticed that you can tell how much they are damaged by looking at their title and it took me a really long time to know that you can counter a parry with a fully charged attack. its not like cod where you have a million different vids explaining everything. you have to learn everything by yourself in pvkii...i think making a really good wiki will fix this. (explaining the basics how much dmg everything does / the range / the health of each class / the speed / what the classes are good at / weapons strengths ect)


    Or one simple tutorial that you must complete before playing online.
  • SphynxSphynx Senior
    edited March 2015
    Colonel wrote:

    What do you feel is the best solution? Do you feel there is more than one?


    1. Interaction with the fanbase
    The communication channels include a Facebook site with 710 likes, a Twitter with 297 followers, a Steam gameshub, a Steam group with 14,816 members, a Youtube channel with 379 subscribers, a moddb.com page as well as the main website PVKII.com and probably even a few more that I haven't seen yet.
    I can't see how this could be improved. The number of communication channels is vast and the communication seems to have improved lately. Minor complaint: the release of information could be a little bit more consistent throughout all the channels.

    2. Game content
    I really don't think we have to talk about this topic. The animations, maps and models are of a much higher quality than the average Source engine modification. The game was able to make people play for hundreds of hours and more and I don't see how the current amount of content alone could reason that people don't play PVKII. This especially applies to new players who have not even seen a lot of the game.

    3. Increase the player numbers
    I do agree with the points mentioned by Colonel in his post. I would still count them to a set of actions which mainly increase the player numbers, but do not maintain them or atleast have not been able to do so in the past.

    4 Maintain player numbers

    4.1 Progress indicators
    A lack of experience can cause a new player to make false assumptions. Perceptions of one's own skill or an enemy's skill often lead to a lot of frustation – especially for new players. Mechanism that show which progress has been made or simply indicate that a player has progressed at all help players to pin down their current position in the game.
    There are different indicators of progress and not all indicators appeal to everybody.

    4.1.1 Achievements
    Achievements are already in the game.

    4.1.2 Experience points
    Experience points could be linked to unlockables, item drops or simply exist as a really basic but probably quite inaccurate indicator of progress – if it would be one at all.

    4.1.3 Global Rankings
    Opinions heavily differ on this topic. Some servers already run internal ranking systems via server plugins. Some players like the challenge to get to the first ranks while others don't see any challenge at all and even question the meaning of rankings in PVKII.

    4.1.4 Global Ratings
    I gave this idea a different name, because it would not work like the traditional ranking systems. The first step would be to find values to collect that would – in combination – closely resemble what is generally perceived to be the 'overall skill' of a player. These could for example be values that are linked to the actual combat details rather than the outcome (kill/death) and could also include objective-based values. They would be in constant motion and change based on the current form of the player, thus avoiding some behaviors that have been occuring on servers with a ranking system in order to manipulate said system and that generally have a negative impact on the gameplay.

    4.1.5 Unlockables and item drops
    Unlockable items and item drops could indicate that some progress has been made or simply function as a reward for general time spent in the game. They have been subject to heated discussions and I feel there is some confusion in regards to their implementation or what they actually could be.
    The following is the implementation process that most people would think of when discussions about them start:

    lkaXWrl.png
    This could probably be somewhat more accurate:

    3aEUVH0.png

    4.1.5.1 Categories of items
    Based on the explanation above, we now know that items don't have to be brightly colored hats, but how could items be categorized? Here is an example categorization that might differ from the general picture that games like 'Team Fortress 2' produce:
    1. Items that only exist to be collected in a player's Steam inventory and have no effect in-game

    2. Items that have in-game effects but do not really affect the actual looks of the game (e.g. scoreboard icons/titles, etc.)

    3. Items that do affect how the whole game looks and are either
      1. consistent with the game design (e.g. shield decorations, sword engravings, different helmets and others that are somewhat historically accurate)

      2. inconsistent with the game design (e.g. brightly colored hats, pink swords, magic aura, etc.)
    4. Items that change the gameplay (e.g. different weapons and armor)

    Which categories people accept probably differs quite a bit inside the community. Also check out this news: Steam Inventory Service Now Available to Steamworks Developers

    4.2 dinah-friendly areas
    Progress indicators are one part of the suggestions and most of them do not directly affect the game, which is why I have thought about this point. A 'dinah-friendly area' could be a server with a special set of rules that helps new players to get into the game or simply creates more interesting and balanced matches. With a more detailed and global statistics system it would be possible to – for example – calculate the 'total strength' of a team and per-round-shuffle players to create the best balance possible.
    A somewhat harsher approach are servers that would only allow players with a certain rating to join them, so new players wouldn't get slaughtered so easily.

    4.3 Collect detailed user feedback on a regular basis
    In addition to simply watching player numbers and movements, community feedback could help to explain them. Instead of a passive behavior where one waits for complaints or any other incoming feedback, there could be active questioning. Google Forms is a good tool to create surveys. They could also happen directly in-game – in the main menu for example.
    mEtxJiK.png
  • ColonelColonel Finger Lickin' Good PVKII Team
    edited March 2015
    I like you. Excellent posts. :icon_pirate2:

    You've hit the nail on the head with pretty much all of your points. We'd love to include all of this as we have planned most of what you have listed. In the past we've hit bottlenecks like need of developers etc that are needed to develop and implement such things. Our team is growing faster with more programmers, character modellers, env artists, and even animators.

    I really really like this survey idea. I've seen other games/mods do it too, and I think it would be a great way to ask the community and get the cold hard stats about what they want, and then we'll do our best to include it.

    I feel PVK2 is something that will never die until there is an official PVK3 released. I see PVK2 future being very bright. So as long as there are fans, specifically passionate people with free time and dedication, the dream will be realized in one form or another.

    You're a cool lad Sphynx. Add me on Steam. http://steamcommunit...m/id/kernontop/

    Co-Lead | Level Designer

  • KOKORONOKAWARIKOKORONOKAWARI Funny Little Japanese Drawing Person Senior
    edited 7:07AM
    I will mention though that ratings/rankings just creates a greater toxic environment that would bother not only new players but regulars as well. In the days of those that remember of ranking being more common, the amount of force switching, disconnect/reconnect to avoid death (even jump off edges as at the time it didn't count toward dying), purposeful stacking, etc was very rampant.

    I have never been against the idea of cosmetics to unlock (though probably not through achievements as those are easily exploitable), just the resources needed for them may not always be available. As the team improves in size there is greater opportunity for speed and changes as Felis has demonstrated with being an additional coder.

    Nichi2EditCROP_zpscolnflbv.gifKarenPirate1Crop_zps5ccbfa57.gifNichi1CROP_zpspr3i3epd.gif
    http://steamcommunit...m/groups/aclans Join and be pro today!


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    "I like axes"
    --kokoronokawari
    loli loli loli loli loli loli loli loli

  • AGSMAAGSMA The Antichrist has Resurrected PVKII Team, Beta Tester
    edited March 2015
    I could see pistol skins, shield decoration and other stuff working out to give a bigger replay value to the mod, as long it doesn't clash with the art style à là Team Fortress 2. Despite the low number of players I'm still surprised how the fanbase persists, since it's one of the oldest multiplayer Source mods that is still active, both in development and in the playerbase. Workshop support is also being considered, and it would gather more people of the modding community than the mod's deserted GameBanana page.

    76561198031989549.png

  • ColonelColonel Finger Lickin' Good PVKII Team
    edited 7:07AM
    AGSMA wrote:

    ... the mod's deserted GameBanana page.


    There is an oasis on the horizon :icon_pirate2:

    Co-Lead | Level Designer

  • schatzmeisterschatzmeister PVKII Team, Beta Tester
    edited 7:07AM
    A purely cosmetic variety of items (weapons etc...) to choose from would be a really nice addition to the game, but regarding player numbers, I doubt if it would change much.

    Will Turner: You didn't beat me. You ignored the rules of engagement. In a fair fight, I'd kill you.
    Jack Sparrow: That's not much incentive for me to fight fair, then, is it?

  • AstragorAstragor Senior
    edited 7:07AM
    Releasing more updates doesn't really help, does it? I mean, since 3.0 came out, I was expecting a lot of new players to try out the game, and the old ones to return as well, but that did not happen.
  • ColonelColonel Finger Lickin' Good PVKII Team
    edited March 2015
    We didn't do a significant press push for 3.0 as it was really a pre-release to give everyone what we had at that time.

    Co-Lead | Level Designer

  • Black BellamyBlack Bellamy Senior
    edited March 2015
    i would like weapons with different stats to be added at some point...maybe once all the classes are released? not sure about cosmetics tho...just as long as they dont start bloating the game with garbage like tf2 does every update
    "Everything with a beginning has an end"
  • SphynxSphynx Senior
    edited 7:07AM

    I will mention though that ratings/rankings just creates a greater toxic environment that would bother not only new players but regulars as well. In the days of those that remember of ranking being more common, the amount of force switching, disconnect/reconnect to avoid death (even jump off edges as at the time it didn't count toward dying), purposeful stacking, etc was very rampant.


    I mentioned the classic ranking systems for the sake of completeness. I'm not really a fan of them either for the exact reasons that you list in your post. I think the problem is that some of my thoughts became too specific when I wrote them down. Generally speaking, I'd say that the use of certain statistical data could be beneficial. There are three points that I'd consider important:
    1. Data collection and processing: What data is being collected? Is it meaningful? What conclusions can we draw from it?
    2. Data visualization: How do we present the information we gathered?
    3. Actions: Do we take further actions based on the information?

    The possible outcome changes with the answers that we choose for certain questions like the ones above. Based on the points we see as imporant, we could create different templates like following:

    Collected data:
    Results in:
    Tells us:
    Displayed to:
    Actions taken:

    Actions could be automatically triggered or not be triggered at all, they could be manually taken or not at all; the information could be shown to the PVKII team, to everyone, a group, a single player, etc.

    The possibilities are endless. One could end up with a whole 'framework' or just a mere guideline or direction and then work with that.
    mEtxJiK.png
  • saalkinsaalkin Senior
    edited 7:07AM
    Me and my buddies used to play the hell out of this game. It's a great game, we really enjoy it.

    The major problem we have is the lack of servers. After the update with the man of arms, we went to try and play and there where two servers. One had a very small player count and was only last stand (or whatever the gamemode is called, I forget now.) and the other was a 24/7 island server, filled with a ton of annoying server side shirley. Sure island is a good map, but it's boring as hell to play the same damn thing over and over again. We'd launch the game every so often to see if there was anyone else playing on different maps, but it'd always be the same and we've just stopped checking.
  • ColonelColonel Finger Lickin' Good PVKII Team
    edited 7:07AM
    It really depends the day and what time of day you play. There were a significant amount of players who jumped into the game once 3.0 was released, considering we didn't do a press push. There are either 2-10 servers with players usually nowadays.

    Our goal is to polish the game up, declare it out of beta with 3 teams 9 classes, and do a stupidly huge and awesome press push with sfm videos and trailers. Cross your fingers Valve gives us a plug on the steam store too. A direct result will be a lengthy boost in player numbers.

    Co-Lead | Level Designer

  • Black BellamyBlack Bellamy Senior
    edited March 2015
    just get pewdiepie to scream at the game and make dumb faces for a few min. +30000 players easy. lol
    "Everything with a beginning has an end"
  • SphynxSphynx Senior
    edited March 2015
    Colonel wrote:
    A direct result will be a lengthy boost in player numbers.


    Sphynx wrote:
    PVKII hasn't been able to maintain any player number gains during the last years – not even parts of those gains.


    Let me just sit down and fade away,
    I feel old, so old, today.
    mEtxJiK.png
  • ColonelColonel Finger Lickin' Good PVKII Team
    edited 7:07AM
    I meant the valve plug would result in a big boost especially if it's on the front store page for a week or two. Obviously maintaining is going to be an ongoing challenge that, as you said, will take multiple plans for attack.

    With 3.0 we're moving into a new era and attitude, so we'll look back at how things changed for the better after 2014. I'm not a pessimist, I'm an optometrist :P

    Co-Lead | Level Designer

  • SphynxSphynx Senior
    edited 7:07AM
    I don't have any background information on this topic, but I'd assume that a boost like that wouldn't happen too often. In this case, it would be important to have something in place that could help to maintain player numbers before it happens.
    mEtxJiK.png
  • jRocketjRocket Pixel Punisher PVKII Team
    edited 7:07AM
    I just wanted to add, I don't think the complexity or unintuitiveness of the game is a barrier to gain a solid player base. Just look at any MOBA style game or MMO. Very complex yet lots of people play them. To an extent, the higher the learning curve, the longer people will play your game.
    PVK is 10 years old now. If we really want to maintain a solid player base, what we need is more content. So, yes, things like unlockable weapons that are more than just reskins, the "rune" system, global rankings, ect.
  • CrazytalkCrazytalk Terminator PVKII Team
    edited 7:07AM
    jRocket wrote:

    I just wanted to add, I don't think the complexity or unintuitiveness of the game is a barrier to gain a solid player base. Just look at any MOBA style game or MMO. Very complex yet lots of people play them. To an extent, the higher the learning curve, the longer people will play your game.
    PVK is 10 years old now. If we really want to maintain a solid player base, what we need is more content. So, yes, things like unlockable weapons that are more than just reskins, the "rune" system, global rankings, ect.


    Plus a decent tutorial system / training videos to help push players over the learning curve who struggle to work it out on their own.

    badass.jpg

  • Krizzy MothKrizzy Moth Senior
    edited 7:07AM
    Ok guys, did anyone of you sold your soul to Satan or something, cause that's kinda unexpected to see so many people online :)
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