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Estaban De la Vega

How to avoid cyclic player participation

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RvR MMO's are often plagued with cyclic participation problems. Meaning that when an RvR team becomes to dominant or wins a large scale war the player base suddenly drifts off to other games. The losers do it generally because the now dominated game has no place for them to rebuild and come back. After they leave the winners get bored and also leave. The population drops and stays that way until the power balances shift, players rebuild or new power groups emerge. This often leads to a return of aforementioned player base. The cycle then repeats.

Some games have managed to avoid this. The key is in providing space for the defeated players to rebuild. When these players can move away from the dominated area and rebuild they tend to stay in the game vs. moving to others. The dominant team is going to get bored. There isn't much you can do about that. Once they have proven dominance the games best hope is that they decide to break up the band on their own. This does happen sometimes. But not that often.  The only way you can keep them interested is game mechanics that limit the size a dominant group can grow to. This then promotes breaking up the dominant groups and/or let's them have more competition of their caliber. 

I would recommend the following:

NA play area is to small to allow for rebuilding. It should consider opening up the Mediterranean and North/Baltic sea zones.  I know I know "but the sailing is far enough already". That us true for daily RvR and PvP. But it's still to small to allow for rebuilding without the close and constant presence of the dominant team, that has nothing else to do,  constantly raiding the rebuilding team. This constant reminder keeps their morale and attitude down. That isn't good.

It would be good if you could limit the size of nations to help prevent dominance boredom but that may be to drastic.  I would suggest limiting the size of the clans and then further limiting the number of friendly clans allowed. This will make the player base act and react more like squadrons than fleets. Combined with the new forged papers it promote easier power block reshuffling while maintaining close friendship play. A good example of this is the Sea Rovers clan.  Big enough to be effective no matter which nation the move to and small enough to move without creating drastic power shifts. Perhaps clan limit of 12-25 players and a friendly clan limit of three?

Edited by Estaban De la Vega
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How to create a dangerous fleet and challenge even the best dominant Nations:

1. Leadership

     Requires someone with pvp and leadership knowledge. That person must create a trusted circle of active players who are willing to play as a team under any circumstances. Test each person in combat conditions. Learn about their mistakes and weaknesses. Place them on the scale 1-10 and train them accordingly. Shape them with training. 

2. Planning

     Plan how your fleet foundation is going to grow. This includes strong economy and spy network in every Nation. Knowing enemy movements gives you an advantage. Ammunition, ships, mods, guns, repairs... all this has to be placed and moved around the world in a timely manner and undetected.  

3. Tactical and strategical calculations

     Come up with a tactical scenario for each situation that might arise. Solve all the problems ahead of time. Produce hits on unexpected areas in unexpected time. Train all these scenarios until they are perfected. This includes fighting outnumbered force and ambush and deadly boarding tactics. 

4. Discipline  

     Fleet members will know their place and duty even under most dangerous events. Fleet members know how to sail and operate without a leader and could easily take fleet command in case fleet commander is sunk. Fleet members listen and open fire only when order is given. They maneuver as one and cover each other. 

5. Repetitive training 

     Training makes perfect. Train each member until you know they are pros. There is no point to sail with a 50/50. Untrained members will simply drag you down to the bottom with them. Fleet must work as one, train more until you achieve such result. Game mechanics knowledge is a must for every member. Ship outfitting is done based on a strategy used. Every fleet member must report their ship characteristics and mods before set sail. 

6. Execution 

     It's time to apply all that training, discipline and leadership in real pvp world. 

It's not a rocket science. Good luck.  

 

Edited by Wind
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I can see what you are trying to propose but I know that for me personally the game would get to sparsely populated. So your specific suggestion would probably lead to players like me leaving, but I am not against the principle itself.

Unfortunately(for you) and fortunately for me, the developers are struggling with time and resources, and I think items in the backlog like a port UI would provide more players in the long run.

There are always safezones and the PVE server, not only that there are many regions around the map which is practically uninhabited, I would recommend you to move to one of those if you are looking for a retreat to fall back to which in principle have everything you ask for apart from a PVE only flag.

It would be good if you could limit the size of nations to help prevent dominance boredom but that may be to drastic.
I say make RVR clanbased only(EVE style), but as the mechanics are now it is impossible to limit size of nations as this would lead to more issues then it would solve.

Also remember, players come and goes from game to game and even there might be triggers to why they are leaving those players are likley to leave sooner or laters anyway.

Edited by TrashTerror
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1 hour ago, Estaban De la Vega said:

NA play area is to small to allow for rebuilding. It should consider opening up the Mediterranean and North/Baltic sea zones.  I know I know "but the sailing is far enough already". That us true for daily RvR and PvP. But it's still to small to allow for rebuilding without the close and constant presence of the dominant team, that has nothing else to do,  constantly raiding the rebuilding team. This constant reminder keeps their morale and attitude down. That isn't good.

It would not matter how big the map was, the action would still always move to where the majority of the players were. The green Zones were originally brought in so that a nation could not be one ported and the zones included enough resources so a nation could rebuild with materials obtained in safety within the zone. Since then this idea has been watered down due to the constant moans from players who want easy targets, so now most of the action happens in these areas and other areas of the map remain deserted. 

I do not think it is just that one side has become dominant that drives people from the game, NA follows the cycles of most online games with a surge in player numbers when there is a patch and these slowly die away as people complete experiencing the new patch and get bored. NA is always going to be a low numbers game because it is a niche genre and the action in it is not fast paced. The only way you can keep the numbers up is to stop people getting bored and this means having a lot of content and keep a constant stream of new content arriving, but this is almost impossible to achieve especially in a game where majority of the content is also the end game.

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1 hour ago, Wind said:

5. Repetitive training 

     Training makes perfect. Train each member until you know they are pros. There is no point to sail with a 50/50. Untrained members will simply drag you down to the bottom with them. Fleet must work as one, train more until you achieve such result. Game mechanics knowledge is a must for every member. Ship outfitting is done based on a strategy used. Every fleet member must report their ship characteristics and mods before set sail. 

The game provides no real means of carrying out training effectively without actually doing it in real battles. So what ends up happening in games is groups of already experienced players end up grouping together and becoming the dominant force and then complain that they cannot find decent opposition. There have been calls for proper training rooms that can be set up as you want to suit training needs, but so far there has been no take up on these suggestions.

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All the safe zones are more than enough for rebuilding. In fact id love to remove some like Nouvelle Orleans, Belize and Veracruz.

 

RvR players dont leave because a nation lose some ports.

RvR is dead because despite all the hard work, you get nothing: not enough money to pay for your expensive ships, no ressources free, no upgrades, no skilbooks... You get more at PVE than in RVR.

Hostility missions, which it is a risky pve mission, have the lowest rewards of all the pve you can do in the game. Absurd.

 

Since the taxes patch, the number of port battles have decreased dramatically and, the worst thing, most of them were empty conquests. Also many ports becoming neutral because the owners cant afford the taxes. Small clans leaving tired of grinding 600k every day to pay for a defense timer.

Its the bad changes on mechanics which destroys many times our fun.

Edited by Intrepido

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2 hours ago, Wind said:

How to create a dangerous fleet and challenge even the best dominant Nations:

1. Leadership

     Requires someone with pvp and leadership knowledge. That person must create a trusted circle of active players who are willing to play as a team under any circumstances. Test each person in combat conditions. Learn about their mistakes and weaknesses. Place them on the scale 1-10 and train them accordingly. Shape them with training. 

2. Planning

     Plan how your fleet foundation is going to grow. This includes strong economy and spy network in every Nation. Knowing enemy movements gives you an advantage. Ammunition, ships, mods, guns, repairs... all this has to be placed and moved around the world in a timely manner and undetected.  

3. Tactical and strategical calculations

     Come up with a tactical scenario for each situation that might arise. Solve all the problems ahead of time. Produce hits on unexpected areas in unexpected time. Train all these scenarios until they are perfected. This includes fighting outnumbered force and ambush and deadly boarding tactics. 

4. Discipline  

     Fleet members will know their place and duty even under most dangerous events. Fleet members know how to sail and operate without a leader and could easily take fleet command in case fleet commander is sunk. Fleet members listen and open fire only when order is given. They maneuver as one and cover each other. 

5. Repetitive training 

     Training makes perfect. Train each member until you know they are pros. There is no point to sail with a 50/50. Untrained members will simply drag you down to the bottom with them. Fleet must work as one, train more until you achieve such result. Game mechanics knowledge is a must for every member. Ship outfitting is done based on a strategy used. Every fleet member must report their ship characteristics and mods before set sail. 

6. Execution 

     It's time to apply all that training, discipline and leadership in real pvp world. 

It's not a rocket science. Good luck.  

 

Your plan has no recourse for once this team of well trained robotic marathon gamers gets their asses kicked.  Hence it will only work if you are winning. Further, after all that heavy game play, once you take a loss those guys may never play the game again after all that preparation doesn't guarantee a win.  We will get a lot further teaching players to rebuild from a loss than trying to train them to be perfect.

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2 hours ago, TrashTerror said:

I can see what you are trying to propose but I know that for me personally the game would get to sparsely populated. So your specific suggestion would probably lead to players like me leaving, but I am not against the principle itself.

Unfortunately(for you) and fortunately for me, the developers are struggling with time and resources, and I think items in the backlog like a port UI would provide more players in the long run.

There are always safezones and the PVE server, not only that there are many regions around the map which is practically uninhabited, I would recommend you to move to one of those if you are looking for a retreat to fall back to which in principle have everything you ask for apart from a PVE only flag.

It would be good if you could limit the size of nations to help prevent dominance boredom but that may be to drastic.
I say make RVR clanbased only(EVE style), but as the mechanics are now it is impossible to limit size of nations as this would lead to more issues then it would solve.

Also remember, players come and goes from game to game and even there might be triggers to why they are leaving those players are likley to leave sooner or laters anyway.

A bit of a negative way to look at things. I'm not a new player. I'm a very old player and I don't need the PVE server. No one does. If I wanted your stuff I would take it. But then you would most likely quit the game rather than rebuild it with me hunting your ports constantly. That is the problem we're working on. 

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1 hour ago, Archaos said:

It would not matter how big the map was, the action would still always move to where the majority of the players were. The green Zones were originally brought in so that a nation could not be one ported and the zones included enough resources so a nation could rebuild with materials obtained in safety within the zone. Since then this idea has been watered down due to the constant moans from players who want easy targets, so now most of the action happens in these areas and other areas of the map remain deserted. 

I do not think it is just that one side has become dominant that drives people from the game, NA follows the cycles of most online games with a surge in player numbers when there is a patch and these slowly die away as people complete experiencing the new patch and get bored. NA is always going to be a low numbers game because it is a niche genre and the action in it is not fast paced. The only way you can keep the numbers up is to stop people getting bored and this means having a lot of content and keep a constant stream of new content arriving, but this is almost impossible to achieve especially in a game where majority of the content is also the end game.

Kudos to your for actualy dealing with the concept of the OP rather than just trying to side step it as if it wasn't real.

The green zones don't work because we are still able to hunt and harass the defeated team inside them. Often to a greater degree than outside if they have many new or inexperienced players.

That easy target moaning is a great point that I don't have a solution to either.

Players create the content in a sandbox game. You can't have it both ways. Either the devs keep pumping out new level content and gear like world of Warcraft or you need a way players can continue to create their own content after a big loss.

Edited by Estaban De la Vega
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3 hours ago, Estaban De la Vega said:

The green zones don't work because we are still able to hunt and harass the defeated team inside them. Often to a greater degree than outside if they have many new or inexperienced players.

This is the point I am making. The green zones when they were first introduced were very effective and the gankers stayed outside the zones picking off any hapless person who happened to stray outside. But they got bored of this and complained that everything could be done in the safe zone and too many players were remaining in the zones doing missions and fighting AI instead of coming out and getting slaughtered. In the end the Devs gave in and changed the RoE and reinforcement strength in the zone to what we have now. So no matter how big the map is, as long as there is an area where people gather to rebuild or practice or just mess around killing AI, that is where the hunters will gather leaving the rest of the map empty.    

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12 hours ago, Estaban De la Vega said:

Its a fair call but what else would you make it?

Main goal - PvP ranks with special small boost rewards and unique ship paints etc ( could be different ranks for every nation making it a good source of money for further game developement via forged papers)

Admiralty deeds - Various activities being rewarded with special paints, mods, ships ( different for every nation, county, PvP, PvE, Trading, Conquest, Exploring)

Carrer focus - Different perks and deeds for admiralty captain, trader, crafter, explorer.

PvE - More PvE content increasing OW traffic thus making PvP more common and on smaller scale

RvR - Raids as main activity taking place of PB's - PB's triggered and hostility lowered only by PvP with no hostility decay ( slow conquest with chance of nation to rebuild ). PB being server event with rewards given to captain of every nation for activities around said city.

Notice RvR is still there because it just has to be but taking towns from other nation doesnt happen too often. Main goal of playing the game is player character advancement and rewards attached to that. This would not only decrease the number of only big group battles but also create more small scale fights across whole map as there would be plenty of solo achievements and deeds ( less ganks - still there but some people will just never learn ). Carrer focus gives you the chance to enjoy game content the way you like it and adequately to the time you can spend in game while also making your path important for the whole nation (no more carebear traders and crafter comments ).

Making opposition conquering as a main game goal will always lead to game faster demise ( unless you develop seasons which basicaly are wipes every few months and wouldnt work in NA - its terrible content anyway).

Wake up Game Labs.

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Or just ruin the game by piling constraint after constraint onto the leading nation till the game is abandoned by 90% of the community.

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I'm still waiting to see those 10k individual logins admin mentioned awhile ( month ago iirc) back.

Which means there is still intrest, but not having more than a few hundred on at one time shows it's not keeping intrest.

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