So lets talk about player retention in this mod...

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I just took this screenshot after launching MB2 about 5 mins ago, after that I closed the game.

Just a month ago, I could get on at any given time, on any day and there would be AT LEAST 2 full NA servers. Yes, even at 4AM in the morning on a Sunday there would be 2 populated NA servers. At peak times, there would be anywhere between 3-6 populated NA servers. I've noticed in the last few weeks that player activity has plummeted significantly.

My question is what are devs doing to retain players? Because these numbers are NOT good. I don't care if you think this game is niche and it takes a certain person to like it or if you think it's old and that's the way it goes, because there has to be an explanation as to why this game has like a 10% player retention rate.

Perhaps it is the big learning curve, maybe it's the Jedi/skill stack that plagues every server, or maybe it's the fact that the most populated NA server is a haven for Alt-Right trolls? I honestly don't know. There was a huge spike in popularity, especially after that video that dude made, and now it's a ghost town. I think devs made the wrong moves with these patch rollouts they did in the last few months (have they even had any new patches?). They missed their window of opportunity to hook players by revamping the gameplay to be more straightforward/balanced and drove away veteran players by replacing the most popular map the mod has ever seen.

I know it's *your* game and you have a certain vision for it that you want to bring to fruition, but damn, I'm starting to be convinced that you guys are making a collective effort to kill the game so you can just be done with it and move on with your lives. I don't remember the exact details as to why you guys didn't want to go open sourced, even after the guy that designed the fucking base game came on here and called you guys fools for not wanting to go open source, and multiple people (including him) listed nothing but good things that can come out of it, but you guys adamantly refused. After that point, I pretty much believe that you guys are going down a path that you can't turn back from. A dark path filled with anger and pure evil.
 

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I just took this screenshot after launching MB2 about 5 mins ago, after that I closed the game.

Just a month ago, I could get on at any given time, on any day and there would be AT LEAST 2 full NA servers. Yes, even at 4AM in the morning on a Sunday there would be 2 populated NA servers. At peak times, there would be anywhere between 3-6 populated NA servers. I've noticed in the last few weeks that player activity has plummeted significantly.

My question is what are devs doing to retain players? Because these numbers are NOT good. I don't care if you think this game is niche and it takes a certain person to like it or if you think it's old and that's the way it goes, because there has to be an explanation as to why this game has like a 10% player retention rate.

Perhaps it is the big learning curve, maybe it's the Jedi/skill stack that plagues every server, or maybe it's the fact that the most populated NA server is a haven for Alt-Right trolls? I honestly don't know. There was a huge spike in popularity, especially after that video that dude made, and now it's a ghost town. I think devs made the wrong moves with these patch rollouts they did in the last few months (have they even had any new patches?). They missed their window of opportunity to hook players by revamping the gameplay to be more straightforward/balanced and drove away veteran players by replacing the most popular map the mod has ever seen.

I know it's *your* game and you have a certain vision for it that you want to bring to fruition, but damn, I'm starting to be convinced that you guys are making a collective effort to kill the game so you can just be done with it and move on with your lives. I don't remember the exact details as to why you guys didn't want to go open sourced, even after the guy that designed the fucking base game came on here and called you guys fools for not wanting to go open source, and multiple people (including him) listed nothing but good things that can come out of it, but you guys adamantly refused. After that point, I pretty much believe that you guys are going down a path that you can't turn back from. A dark path filled with anger and pure evil.
R U Unamused?
 
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The numbers were bigger due to Christmas season - people had more time, there was new movie, maybe some ppl came here disappointed by Battlefront2.

But player retention and player numbers are a problem. When I play, I constantly encounter new players, who "play for the first time" or "downloaded the game this week". I'd guess almost all of them give up on the game, either because they don't understand the mechanics or because they are driven away by community.

This could be fixed by 2 things, but they are big tasks:
1. The game needs great youtube guide series. One that starts with some attractive, realistic & lengthy gameplay presentation with narration explaining why the game is great and worth trying. Then detailed setup. Then videos dedicated to explaining general mechanics, classes, basic and advanced tactics, dueling, most common map layouts and objectives.
It requires metric-fuckton of footage, a lot of thought going into it and plenty of work with editing.
2. Centralized reputation system that bans excessive trolling, harassment, teamkilling and so on across all servers. This won't happen although it should, because many people value server independence and self-governance. And because sizeable part of playerbase are trolls and such.
The problems is, when new player faces repeated teamkilling and harassment straight from worst corners of 4chan for not playing on MLG level - he won't come back. Even single person like that can turn away dozens upon dozens of players - and there are many. Additionally, stuff like cheats, chat-spamming covering the whole screen, uninhibited laming on dueling servers although less frequent - can ruin the session for 20+ players present on the server.
Why solving this issue wasn't made all-hands-on-deck top priority in 15 years of development is beyond me.

One way or the other - these require a lot of volunteered time and work to get done so don't expect them quickly (especially since no one is working on those to me knowledge).
 
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MaceMadunusus

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While retention and stuff is hard to gauge because we don't have actual metrics, I think this is a little disingenuous. As Anomer mentions there are plenty of reasons that are outside of MB2 that relate to the decline in players and barely any game has >50% retention. Even though you see games with even millions of players, more people have bought those games and left than actually play. That isn't to say we shouldn't work on making things better, it is just to raise the point that simply people don't constantly play the same game for months on end. Most people, including myself, swap games to play every few weeks. It is very much possible a good chunk of them enjoyed the game, got their star wars fix, and went on their way. At the same time it is possible people thought MB2 wasn't for them and left. There are a number of reasons that this can happen and it is really hard for both the community and developers to really say what a lot of these reasons are simply because we don't have the information required.

Patches wise, I'm not sure what you want us to do without paying us to develop the game. We released basically everything that was ready with the patches heading up to the movie and I worked god knows how many hours, staying up till 6am and not getting much sleep to get as much out as possible to you guys. It has taken us about 2.5 months to build up enough content ready to release again. This isn't a simple or easy as a process where we have 300 developers to be able to release every 3 or so weeks like Warframe can. We don't even have 10 extremely active developers and some people expect the world out of less than 10 developers working in their free time for no money. It is not possible to revamp or rework gameplay that fast. we do not have the time to do that even if we wanted to.

Now I am disappointed as hell seeing someone think we are trying to destroy the game. I would never ever spend months or years on something to kill it. The amount of time I spent on Movie Battles I could have spent making literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two weeks of my time alone is worth >$10k to me. But instead of doing that all the time, I choose to work on MB2 or other projects that make me no money. I want it to succeed and I want it to be fun.

As anomer also stated, that a good chunk of people leaving could be because mechanics arent shown well, and we are always working on that but it takes time. I've personally stated that I am willing to make the tutorial level if I can get the code support I need to do it.

However, as he also stated, a good chunk of people are leaving due to the community. The amount of complaints I received, saw on youtube, moddb, etc. in relation to toxicity in the community skyrocketed this holiday season. And I feel like it is the most complaints I have received since I have been on the team to the point where I am pretty sure I received more complaints about the community than the actual game itself. You guys need to start taking some responsibility for your own actions, how you act, how you run servers, because the community is one of the largest forces driving players away from the game. I am not ignorant enough to say it is the only one but it seems to be the only one where no one is interested in making progress towards bettering and I have felt like it has gotten worse in recent years. You guys need to treat others and new players better. Even when I've seen new players ask questions in a server I saw 5 troll responses and the only actual useful response that helped the person came from me the developer, rather than the 5 community members that decided it was more worth their time to be sarcastic.

1. The game needs great youtube guide series.
I would much rather do an in-game tutorial here with full voice acting, interactviity, etc. Requires quite a bit of work though.

2. Centralized reputation system that bans excessive trolling, harassment, teamkilling and so on across all servers. This won't happen although it should, because many people value server independence and self-governance. And because sizeable part of playerbase are trolls and such.
You are exactly right on this. A good chunk of us would like to see this system and may still implement it anyway but requires a crap ton of work. But a good chunk of the community is entirely against it, even ones that aren't trolls.

The problems is, when new player faces repeated teamkilling and harassment straight from worst corners of 4chan for not playing on MLG level - he won't come back. Even single person like that can turn away dozens upon dozens of players - and there are many.
Exactly, as I said earlier I have gotten more complaints in the past few months than I did for years when I was a more active developer say 6 years ago. Community needs to own up to their own problems.

Additionally, stuff like cheats, chat-spamming covering the whole screen, uninhibited laming on dueling servers although less frequent - can ruin the session for 20+ players present on the server.
1) Only so much we can do with cheats. Resource issue, and that there isn't really that many cheaters in JKA.
2) Chat spam is something we already protect against. Its a server setting. See g_chatProtectTime in the server config. Its the amount of time in milliseconds allowed between player chat messages. Servers can set this value higher to prevent spam. Can also be set in-game by admins (doesn't require config access to change).
3) Laming will be less of a problem in the future with private duels feature Tempest has implemented.
 
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Please elaborate
Last instance I remember was guy constantly glitching into the wall or under the floor on Cloud City, killing people from there while being untouchable.

Then he went on above the ground doing something that made his model move and rotate quickly and erratically.

Then he went on to cover whole screen with spam. The issue here was length, color and special messages he used in the spam - which covered the whole screen. Sure some people temporarily turned off chat, but majority didn't know how or didn't want to and left the server, which went from 30 to 6 people in matter of minutes. Frequency was not a problem here. And limiting time between player messages by server hurts legitimate quick communication within team.
 

MaceMadunusus

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Last instance I remember was guy constantly glitching into the wall or under the floor on Cloud City, killing people from there while being untouchable.
This isn't something an anti-cheat would fix. Its a bug with the engine with how patch meshes are handled and katas are coded/work specifically. However it is fixed for the next release.

And limiting time between player messages by server hurts legitimate quick communication within team.
Server admins also have mute functions as well where they can mute specific players for spam.
 

Defiant

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We will do what we can. I am aware our OOBE isn't great, and we're working on it piece by piece. The first thing in this pipeline is the launcher upgrades, and some long standing bug fixes which appear right when you join a server. I want the library to be updated, and I want that to be part of our release process. I want to rewrite the hints during loading screens too as many of them are clearly written by someone who doesn't speak English as a first language and some might not be accurate.

Other things like you tube videos and interactive tutorials are a little bit more long term and would need to be kept up to date. But this is something I want to focus on and have in place before the Han Solo movie, the next time theres a bump I want the mod to be ready for it to hopefully keep new faces around longer.
 
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Last instance I remember was guy constantly glitching into the wall or under the floor on Cloud City, killing people from there while being untouchable.

Then he went on above the ground doing something that made his model move and rotate quickly and erratically.

Then he went on to cover whole screen with spam. The issue here was length, color and special messages he used in the spam - which covered the whole screen. Sure some people temporarily turned off chat, but majority didn't know how or didn't want to and left the server, which went from 30 to 6 people in matter of minutes. Frequency was not a problem here. And limiting time between player messages by server hurts legitimate quick communication within team.
This is not cheating. This is glitching and being obnoxious. Usually people avoid voting for cloudcity.

Kamino <3
 
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I try to take new players aside and teach them the basics. Done this with 3 or 4 new players and I think I helped them, but once, a new player asked something, and I gave him the answer, but 3 or 4 other people just started yelling at him some troll answer and he assumed it must be right. This community is EXTREMELY toxic. I don't think anything can really be done about this though, it's just the way it is.
 
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I'm trying to help and provide them with answers whenever I can as well.

I thought about doing the guide myself, but it's big undertaking and I don't have time for that right now... and frankly I don't know enough about more obscure game systems and pro tactics. But maybe in the future we could compose a group of experienced players, devs and such to collaborate on writing scripts for the guide, then gathering footage - again by multiple people... what is too big for one person, might be possible as a team effort with good organisation.

When it comes to toxic people, Lukewarm is working on some pretty cool stuff with remote moderation. If it made way to main game along with centralized reputation system, it could resolve those issues (granted we would lose few trolls, but in the long run playerbase would grow).

Of course penalty should be appropriate to infraction. Shittalking within reason = nothing. Extreme verbal abuse = mute. Sabotaging team, teamkilling, timewasting on purpose = warnings, kicks, temp bans. Repeated gameplay offences = timed ban. No sign of improvement after that = permaban with possibility of revoking in future.
 

StarWarsGeek

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MB2 is no more dead than it's been in the past. Players come back during weekends, holidays, summer, whenever new SW movies come out, and whenever a major new patch is released. Not many players are going to play every single day on a mod for a game that's over a decade old. MB2's population is still doing very well for a mod for a really old game.

I would much rather do an in-game tutorial here with full voice acting
Hell yeah, I want Mcbober to teach me how to play MB2!

I want the library to be updated
If possible, I think that the library should pull numerical values straight from the code from players to see. Weapon damages, fire rates, shot velocity, class run speeds, locational hit modifiers, saber style HP/BP damages, etc. should be pulled straight from the code. A lot of these values aren't even in the current library, players have to ask about raw numbers on the forums/discord or scour through old changelogs.

Ideally, much of this info should be present somewhere in the class config screen when hovering over an ability/weapon. At the very least, there should be a way to bring up the relevant library pages directly from the class config menu.

This way, the only things that need updating in the library are explanations of mechanics. Small numerical value nerfs/buffs will no longer leave parts of the library out of date. The library has huge potential, but it's left unused because it's rather out of the way in the UI and usually has outdated info.

Will this help most casual new players? Probably not (although links directly to the library from class config might), but it will certainly help any who do decide to stick around and try to get better at the game.
 
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Other things like you tube videos and interactive tutorials are a little bit more long term and would need to be kept up to date. But this is something I want to focus on and have in place before the Han Solo movie, the next time theres a bump I want the mod to be ready for it to hopefully keep new faces around longer.
I'd gladly donate the time to make some intro/tutorial videos for you guys if/when you want to head that direction. For me starting out I would have loved a video on general installation (especially installing the launcher) and a "Welcome to your first match" style video. Once they're made keeping them up to date wouldn't be too much work. It's just holding on to the project files and doing a quick re-edit whenever something changes.
 

GoodOl'Ben

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My question is what are devs doing to retain players? Because these numbers are NOT good.
The work we have done on that end since 2016 has clearly been in the right direction. The numbers are not good, but they are better. Our retention has improved: STAR WARS™ Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy™ - Steam Charts
Note the rapid drop in 2016 and the far slower drop in 2018.

Obviously we can't refer to JKA's entire population as our playerbase, but we can consider the possibility that at least a part of it has overlap. Without better metrics, this is our only good frame of reference. It is also worth noting that we nearly reached our 2016 concurrent users peak this December while the player influx was clearly bigger in 2016. The game has developed great strides since then and overall we've always been doing features that help with every day life.

Examples of improvements in terms of game readability and accessibility throughout the years:
  • Bodyhit/Perfectblock indicators in crosshair
  • IDR indicated with saber deflection effects turning white
  • Possibility to save/load class config presets
  • Default builds for new players
  • In-game library
  • Default binds for all MB2 specific abilities
  • Gameplay tips in loading screens
  • Minimaps (the amount of effort this took by itself when it was introduced was immense)
  • Teamkilling punishment system
  • The first round of a map loading will have a 20s timer as opposed to a 5s timer to allow players with slower computers a chance to make it to the first round
Examples of ways to keep the game fresh:
  • New maps
  • Map updates
  • New models
  • New skins
  • New features
  • Balance updates
Obviously we're not stopping here. Two new maps are being finished up and a classic is receiving significant visual improvements while also fixing many of its long-standing gameplay issues.

When you pause and look back at how much has happened since now and early 2017, it's tremendous to think what the team has managed to do.

the most populated NA server is a haven for Alt-Right trolls
Seems like that is the NA community's silent consensus on what is an enjoyable server to play in. Any action done by the developers to try and sort this out would be an act of gross abuse. Players can run their servers how they like as long as they are not using them to harm people. One of my favorite parts about the MB2 experience is that it's not homogenous. I get exposed to different kinds of people and am not being safeguarded by overzealous features like global muting or bans. I think it's up to the community to decide where they want to play. If you don't like playing on server X, play elsewhere. This is what I did for the longest time when EU had only 1 populated server and it was DOTF24/7. I'd hop on the server and say "I wanna play other maps, so let's go to server Y." On most days it worked. I believe many others wanted/did the same as now we hardly have 1-Map 24/7 servers on the EU side.

To me dedgaem is pretty much a meme that's been circulating for over a decade. I'll believe it when I'm the last guy playing. Whenever I log in, I always see several friends who I have been playing this game with ever since I was 14 way back in 2005. When I was a snotty-nosed teen, I had to wait in line to play on the only populated server that had 20 slots. On your list alone I see 8 servers with players on them.

To me it feels like the type of retention we manage to garner from those who don't fall off instantly is not Day 1, Day 7 or Day 30 retention. It's Day 3000. I'm personally at around Day 4700.


_______________

@Hands if you're up for making videos, please do! Feel free to PM me if you need any help! If they're great, we'll definitely feature them on the launcher and on the site.
 
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Balanace updates woudl be key when you attempt new experimental features. What we saw was flinch just being thrown into the game and never experimented around with at all. Theres so many ways to put it into the game and so many factors to consider. That just killed my desire to play open mode at all. No updates or experimentation on the divine version of the flinch™ for more than a year. Not sure why that woudl be the case, maybe somebody died to a saberist too hard and made it personal too keep it in as long as possible. Reminds me of how japanese were not allowed to change the original design of katana because it was divine, even if it coudl be a lot better.

Basicly. If you put in risky changes, experiment. If the project does not have enough contribution, its understandable that you cant make changes often. But then putting in risky, unpopular features without a plan is maybe not the way to go.

 
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Balanace updates woudl be key when you attempt new experimental features. What we saw was flinch just being thrown into the game and never experimented around with at all. Theres so many ways to put it into the game and so many factors to consider. That just killed my desire to play open mode at all. No updates or experimentation on the divine version of the flinch™ for more than a year. Not sure why that woudl be the case, maybe somebody died to a saberist too hard and made it personal too keep it in as long as possible. Reminds me of how japanese were not allowed to change the original design of katana because it was divine, even if it coudl be a lot better.

Basicly. If you put in risky changes, experiment. If the project does not have enough contribution, its understandable that you cant make changes often. But then putting in risky, unpopular features without a plan is maybe not the way to go.

You're still alive?
 

noel

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havent read much of this thread but i just want to say that I think there are two main improvements that could be done to keep players:

1) Guides, information about the mod etc: Make it really obvious on the launcher with clickbait links like 'LEARN TO DUEL HERE!!' and 'LEARN TO PLAY OPEN HERE!!!!'
2) Ease of access: Make the default .cfg include /rate 25000, cl_maxpackets 100, snaps 40, binds for class special 1 & 2. Maybe one of those images like this

for loading screens.

oh also make sabering a bit simpler (no acm etc) but thats a whole different thread
 

MaceMadunusus

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2) Ease of access: Make the default .cfg include /rate 25000, cl_maxpackets 100, snaps 40, binds for class special 1 & 2.
We do have a modified base config with a lot of changes. Problem is the game decides to not use our default config a lot. For example if you already have a config from launching basejka MP, it will use that one instead of resetting with our default config when launching our mod for the first time. But I think Defiant wants to modify the launcher to manually force that config if one isn't present.
 
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We will do what we can. I am aware our OOBE isn't great, and we're working on it piece by piece. The first thing in this pipeline is the launcher upgrades, and some long standing bug fixes which appear right when you join a server. I want the library to be updated, and I want that to be part of our release process. I want to rewrite the hints during loading screens too as many of them are clearly written by someone who doesn't speak English as a first language and some might not be accurate.

Other things like you tube videos and interactive tutorials are a little bit more long term and would need to be kept up to date. But this is something I want to focus on and have in place before the Han Solo movie, the next time theres a bump I want the mod to be ready for it to hopefully keep new faces around longer.
That's good to hear. One of my biggest gripes with this game is that there's always some kind of join bug that happens at the beginning of new maps or when switching classes and the round ends or something. I'm sure stuff like this had people uninstalling before they even got to play. Not to mention class config and class binds having to be manually bound. There should be a way to automatically change key binds depending on the class you're playing. Obviously, you won't need Q, E & F as a gunner because they don't use force powers, and there's only so many intuitive keybind combinations, so controls can get clunky when you're trying to do Sudoku with your keyboard buttons.

I don't mean to knock the devs at all. I love Mace's positive attitude and he makes maps that would've probably had Ravensoft circa '02 be like 'Get the fuck on our development team'. I'm just sad that the game had all this momentum and sort of failed to capitalize. Many of the people that left probably won't come back. A 15 year-old Star Wars mod for a forgotten Star Wars game franchise is only going to attract a finite amount of people, so when a huge chunk of that potential market already gives up, that leaves even less potential new players. Hopefully the new Solo movie will bring back some people and then some, but something tells me there won't ever be a bigger influx of players than Christmas 2017.

And I know I'm nobody and my opinion probably means -9001, but I hope the mod's at least somewhat noob friendly by that time. Not just as far as OOBE, but also as far as gameplay and balance. Anyone ever notice how the beta testers always know exactly what gimmick to abuse because they literally study the game? That shouldn't be happening. They know, deep down, what is and isn't balanced.
 
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