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What would be the best way to keep players retention?


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I loved City of Heroes back in the day. I have played a decent amount on the Homecoming servers. But I have found myself at a standstill. I have talked to a few of my friends who feel similarly. I appreciate all the work being done to keep the servers up and want to help whatever way I can, however I am just beginning to learn to code. I want to see what other players think about the game and if anyone else feels like they have reached a standstill. I feel the game needs more motivation to play end game content or maybe just more to do. What does everyone else think? Please reply with any ideas to keep this great game running as well as giving it the ability to reach more players while retaining older players. Thanks again to all the developers for all the hard work! 😄

 

P.S. Thank you for all the feedback on this post! 😄 I enjoy reading all the replies whether you agree or not.

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As a person who logged into Paragon Chat from time to time since shutdown I believe stability is all that is needed. This is something the HC team has worked hard to accomplish. Stable backend with modern computing in mind.

 

Go ask Ultima Online what makes good player retention and just do that. (1997 to present)

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10 hours ago, Troo said:

Go ask Ultima Online what makes good player retention and just do that. (1997 to present)


More accurately, go ask Ultima Online and then do the complete opposite.  That is, just because it's been around a long time doesn't mean it's good at retaining players...  I'm not entirely certain how they're keeping the lights on, but the shards are ghost towns and population a bare fraction of what it was at its peak.

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This will probably require several Strike Forces.

 

Destroy Netflix, Hulu, etc.  

 

Wipe out all MMOs currently in development.

 

Facilitate the divorce of all players who do not play with their spouse.  

 

End Aging.  

 

 

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6 hours ago, Doc_Scorpion said:

More accurately, go ask Ultima Online and then do the complete opposite.  That is, just because it's been around a long time doesn't mean it's good at retaining players...  I'm not entirely certain how they're keeping the lights on, but the shards are ghost towns and population a bare fraction of what it was at its peak.

I think that was exactly my point they have been around a long time and kept the lights on. Maybe it would be a good idea to understand how & why rather than being dismissive of it.

CoX currently has zones which "are ghost towns and population a bare fraction of what it was at its peak".

Without pumping millions into the i.p. HC should plan for similar. Cull out multiple accounts players have and the numbers are just what they are.

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Well, I don't know if there is really a retention issue or people just taking a break. This site allows us to see the number of players logged on and it seems to be fairly steady (for the last while). However, I do feel people are coming and going...maybe a bit more on the going. 

 

I really appreciate the Devs here. Big time. I just don't know if adding powers and making changes is the way to go. I think they need to make additions that are fresh and new. Tons of ideas have been suggested so who knows.

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19 hours ago, spartan52 said:

I feel the game needs more motivation to play end game content or maybe just more to do.

DANGER. OPINIONS AHEAD.

 

The game has bucketloads of content, absolute tonnes of it. And the Devs are proving they can add more and add it well. So motivation?  That's not on them, short of them managing to multiply their team tenfold and maintain quality at the same time. So that's in the "more to do" bracket.

 

End game content?  Yes, the game does need more of that, but frankly the Devs are currently smart enough to avoid it because if it isn't backed up with content across the board then it's just another bottleneck and you're in the same spot.  The original devs constantly fell down on this. 

 

I'll give you an example of what I mean, YMMV on whether I'm hitting the mark or swinging wild here though. 

The war with Praetoria.  There's Portal Corp missions and on up to iTrials, but in a war with another dimension where were the missions for everyone?  Where were the level 20 missions (red or blue) where you had to infiltrate a base to do a thing so that the 50s could even DO an iTrial? Too much hand waving and relying on Dream Doctor (please someone remove him from all future content!) and he's a deus ex machina that removes player agency.  Bad choice.

 

So, HC are taking things slow but in the right way (sure, there's things I want them to do that they haven't and might not but you can't have everything).

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2 hours ago, Troo said:

I think that was exactly my point they have been around a long time and kept the lights on. Maybe it would be a good idea to understand how & why rather than being dismissive of it.


I'm not dismissing it, I'm sounding a warning.  I'm pointing out that UO is a corpsicle, living death frozen in time.  And as you point out, HC is already riding dangerously close to that line...

I want HC to be closer to what it was on Live - a living game within a vibrant City.  I don't want HC to evolve further along the same lines UO did - catering to the hardest of the hard core.  Catering to those who "won" the game by rushing to highest levels and now complain of "nothing to do".  That social meta isn't a healthy game, it's a death spiral.

 

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2 hours ago, Darmian said:

...Too much hand waving and relying on Dream Doctor (please someone remove him from all future content!) and he's a deus ex machina that removes player agency.  Bad choice...

I think in one of the loregasms with Positron he said they were planning to have Dream Doctor and Rularuu - or something like that - essentially collapse the Shadow Shard to save the world from Battalion... 😬

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Just now, Safehouse said:

I think in one of the loregasms with Positron he said they were planning to have Dream Doctor and Rularuu - or something like that - essentially collapse the Shadow Shard to save the world from Battalion... 😬

Yeah, And that's complete BOLL**KS.  If the current devs mine some of that then great, but if they decide to to just blindly implement any of it?  Oh nonsense.

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Just now, Bill Z Bubba said:

I can share one opinion that's plaguing my brain... I kinda doubt the massively accelerated power creep is going to help matters in the long run.

Yeah.  But I'd say the majority of players do not even see the problem. 

 

Bet the Dodos never saw it coming either.  

 

  

 

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Just now, Darmian said:

Yeah, And that's complete BOLL**KS.  If the current devs mine some of that then great, but if they decide to to just blindly implement any of it?  Oh nonsense.

I'm inclined to doubt they'll do that. I honestly think they're taking a solid approach to introducing new content. I really enjoy the new story arcs - they feel fresh and original, and I find them very entertaining. I'd love to see them take some of that creativity and build up the endgame a bit more too, but it's nice that the lower levels aren't being totally ignored either - they actually added content that falls in levels where I always find myself struggling.

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2 minutes ago, Safehouse said:

I'm inclined to doubt they'll do that. I honestly think they're taking a solid approach to introducing new content. I really enjoy the new story arcs - they feel fresh and original, and I find them very entertaining. I'd love to see them take some of that creativity and build up the endgame a bit more too, but it's nice that the lower levels aren't being totally ignored either - they actually added content that falls in levels where I always find myself struggling.

If they're doing like I think (and hope!) they are doing then they are approaching the entire thing holistically and seeing the game as a whole thing, rather than some do and assume that only end content is the "real" game.

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2 hours ago, Darmian said:

DANGER. OPINIONS AHEAD.

 

The game has bucketloads of content, absolute tonnes of it. And the Devs are proving they can add more and add it well. So motivation?  That's not on them, short of them managing to multiply their team tenfold and maintain quality at the same time. So that's in the "more to do" bracket.

 

End game content?  Yes, the game does need more of that, but frankly the Devs are currently smart enough to avoid it because if it isn't backed up with content across the board then it's just another bottleneck and you're in the same spot.  The original devs constantly fell down on this. 

 

I'll give you an example of what I mean, YMMV on whether I'm hitting the mark or swinging wild here though. 

The war with Praetoria.  There's Portal Corp missions and on up to iTrials, but in a war with another dimension where were the missions for everyone?  Where were the level 20 missions (red or blue) where you had to infiltrate a base to do a thing so that the 50s could even DO an iTrial? Too much hand waving and relying on Dream Doctor (please someone remove him from all future content!) and he's a deus ex machina that removes player agency.  Bad choice.

 

So, HC are taking things slow but in the right way (sure, there's things I want them to do that they haven't and might not but you can't have everything).

I agree there is a ton of different missions and story archs to do. But why? To me thats the biggest issue. There is no motivation to go do anything other than rush to level 50 and constantly do task forces, etc. to grind for merits. The devs are doing a great job and I am very limited in my knowledge of game development so I am not trying to rush them or tell them how to do their unpaid job lol. I feel the best comparison to this game I can make is to World of Warcraft. WOW although there is plenty of issues within the game, has succeeded not just by coming out with new content every week. But coming out with content that forces the player into trying to reach a goal. In city of heroes at the moment there isnt really a goal other than to reach 50 and then make your character as strong as possible. 

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Excellently put and I completely disagree with you 🙂  Why do the missions? Why not do the missions? Some are great, some are average, some are godawful, que sera sera. My personal motivation is to play through the stories and enjoy that mad world that we have here. I simply don't know why others believe that you have to rush to 50, I don't. I keep getting told by a strident minority that that is what you do but every "reason" offered is only an opinion.  Is it WOW that taught that weird lesson?  I'm not speed reading a book so I can get to the final chapter and then hard core read that, or reading wiki synopses for a TV show and then just watching the final episode. Coming up with content that forces the player into trying to reach a goal?  What goal? All the missions have a goal of some sort.

There are people on here who ONLY MAKE BASES! Most of my toons are middling built and get snapped in two by some mobs, but I enjoy the hell out of them. So you have posited a mode of play as THE mode of play. It isn't. That's no criticism of you by the way! 

 

And these are MY opinions, hence the warning in my original post 🙂

Edited by Darmian
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10 minutes ago, spartan52 said:

 In city of heroes at the moment there isnt really a goal other than to reach 50 and then make your character as strong as possible. 

It's funny, because I'd say exactly the opposite -- CoX has no reason for me to rush to 50 and make my character as strong as possible, because there's still very little in the way of endgame in which I can actually use that uber powerful 50+.  Back on live there was at least a requirement to play the iTrials  and DA if you wanted to access the Incarnate system.  Now I can just play normal content and I'll still get Incarnate XP, and even component drops from vet levels.   I don't even have to interact with the endgame content that does exist to reap its benefits, which seems completely bonkers to me, but well, here we are.

 

So the fun of CoX for me is all in the levelling.

 

ETA: Actually, it's not ALL in the levelling.  There are the characters I enjoy levelling, and then there are a subset of those characters that I just enjoy at any level, and will bring out to play whether it's an iTrial or a Posi 1.

Edited by Grouchybeast
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Many of the MMO concepts before the snap were there specifically to keep subscriptions. For a 100% free to play game with a dev team that, starting with the SuperSecretPrivateServer, have done much to remove many of those concepts, we, too, have to rework our idea of what really brings folks to the game in the first place and work on those.

 

Back to my prior comment, it took me 80 hours, as per some pedestrian with an M name, to get a new tank to level 50, T4ed with the 4 passive accolades and run an ITF with no insps, temps, amplifiers and with enemies buffed and me debuffed.

 

If the game has become THAT easy to "win," why would I keep playing?

 

Well, for one, I honestly love Bill Z Bubba. He's one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. I love playing him as a scrapper, a brute and a tank. I love watching him do his thing. But it's not just him. I now have 70+ characters, many of which get played regularly for no other reason but that they are fun to watch and play.

 

I may be wrong, Satan knows that happens more and more lately, but I suspect I'm not alone in this.

 

Perhaps the focus should be more on making the game LOOK BETTER (and it already still looks great, showing just how awesome the original devs really were,) and FEEL BETTER.

 

Clean up animations. Add more costume options. (Which they've been doing. The asymmetrical options are glorious.) More costumes. More alternate attack animations. More power customization. Focus on anything that allows the player to more fully realize the character they have in their head.

 

Edit: And for the elder gods' sakes.... give us boob physics.

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10 minutes ago, spartan52 said:

There is no motivation to go do anything other than rush to level 50 and constantly do task forces, etc. to grind for merits.


That's not lack of motivation...  That's a personal choice of playstyle.  The game doesn't force a motivation on you, you choose to play a certain way.  It's not the only way to play, but unfortunately it's the social meta on HC and thus the perception has arisen that's practically the only way to play. 

Dang, @Darmian replied while I was typing this up and pretty much said the rest of what I was going to.  Scroll back up and re-read it.

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4 minutes ago, Bill Z Bubba said:

many of which get played regularly for no other reason but that they are fun to watch and play.

This!  So much this for me! 

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The best way to retain players is simple, get them to play the game with other like minded individuals. If you're having fun with friends you're more likely to stay around then leave on the next bus.

 

Play with discord, invite randos to comms, learn more about the player behind the character, and don't be afraid to laugh out your beer while holding agro during a Keyes itrial because someone said something funny. Get weird, have a good time.

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21 minutes ago, Darmian said:

Excellently put and I completely disagree with you 🙂  Why do the missions? Why not do the missions? Some are great, some are average, some are godawful, que sera sera. My personal motivation is to play through the stories and enjoy that mad world that we have here. I simply don't know why others believe that you have to rush to 50, I don't. I keep getting told by a strident minority that that is what you do but every "reason" offered is only an opinion.  Is it WOW that taught that weird lesson?  I'm not speed reading a book so I can get to the final chapter and then hard core read that, or reading wiki synopses for a TV show and then just watching the final episode. Coming up with content that forces the player into trying to reach a goal?  What goal? All the missions have a goal of some sort.

There are people on here who ONLY MAKE BASES! Most of my toons are middling built and get snapped in two by some mobs, but I enjoy the hell out of them. So you have posited a mode of play as THE mode of play. It isn't. That's no criticism of you by the way! 

 

And these are MY opinions, hence the warning in my original post 🙂

Yeah I understand that there are many reasons for playing the game and don't want to take away from anyone elses reason for playing. Honestly the main reason I love COH is the sheer amount of customization of character and abilities. It really is amazing how many options there are. By goals I mean some objectives to work towards. Just my personal opinion but I really enjoyed having to work toward earning things in game. Such as having to run a set of missions at level 20 to earn a cape. Or running a task force to earn certain costume pieces, having to work together with your supergroup to gain money to buy things for your base, things like that. Maybe I am the only one that enjoyed that and can certainly just play that way on my own lol. I just enjoy the grind of having some set goals inside the game and seeing progress towards that goal. Personally I have'nt really done much base building and maybe need to try that out. Thanks for your input :D.

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7 minutes ago, SeraphimKensai said:

The best way to retain players is simple, get them to play the game with other like minded individuals. If you're having fun with friends you're more likely to stay around then leave on the next bus.

 

Play with discord, invite randos to comms, learn more about the player behind the character, and don't be afraid to laugh out your beer while holding agro during a Keyes itrial because someone said something funny. Get weird, have a good time.

Totally agree, some of my favorite parts of this game are the requirements to work as a team for GMs, TFs, or in the ole days working as a SG and turning on SG Mode in order to gain money to build a better base and become a more powerful SG for Raids. 

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3 hours ago, spartan52 said:

I agree there is a ton of different missions and story archs to do. But why? To me thats the biggest issue. There is no motivation to go do anything other than rush to level 50 and constantly do task forces, etc. to grind for merits. The devs are doing a great job and I am very limited in my knowledge of game development so I am not trying to rush them or tell them how to do their unpaid job lol. I feel the best comparison to this game I can make is to World of Warcraft. WOW although there is plenty of issues within the game, has succeeded not just by coming out with new content every week. But coming out with content that forces the player into trying to reach a goal. In city of heroes at the moment there isnt really a goal other than to reach 50 and then make your character as strong as possible. 

I'd say that's 100% up to the player.

 

For instance, my thing is ... mostly RP. I don't feel any need to rush to 50. I'll get there eventually. *I* like seeing how different power combinations on different ATs lead to sometimes vastly different experiences in the content. I like making my characters *characters.* I don't care about making "a build." I want to work my way through various stories. That's "why," as far as I'm concerned.

 

Others have different goals. COH has room for everyone.

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