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Thread: Commentary on State of BP from Game Industry Professional

  1. #11
    Great post spot on analysis of the game ... I feel as if you hit the nail on the head ... I'm currently level 80 with a lot of coining in aeound 18 months but am afraid that in the current situation bp isn't going to last.. Whilst I still enjoy the game a lot should be don't to help

  2. #12
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    Excellent post. Really, very good indeed.

    Unfortunately as long as Will Harbin is the head of the company things like this will likely never be taken into consideration, the players last best hope now is for him to be sacked and for a new, intelleigent, responsive and above all free-mium experienced CEO to take his place. Maybe then things will slowly start to change for the better but until that happens though Kixeye will continue falling further and further into the abyss until Harbins general attitude sees Kixeye going under completely (I think they're pretty much already at that stage though to be honest)

    Either way, this is an excellent commentary on where Kixeye as a company is going wrong, as for game specific issues.... well, between us all here we could probably produce a post 3 times as long I expect.
    Drakonez said:

    Laredo said:

    Dreaded retired because he was burned out, it happens to every mod.
    Can you be burned out yet?
    Best. Response. Ever!

  3. #13
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    Kixeye, ak Harbin will totally ignore this. I suggest/ recommend we all start using PayPall to coin, then, when they fold, or we feel like it, we can demand refund. I have read where this has already been done, and it worked.

  4. #14
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    Thank you for saying what most of us are thinking..

    The only other item I would like to see brought in by Kix is having reduced ship construction times for Hulls/Specials/Weapons as the technology gets older - this allows someone to put a modest fleet together and give them a fighting chance. This might help get away from some of the power creep as well.. wont be perfect but it'll be better for those starting out and some of the mid-level players..

  5. #15
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    I agree with most of what is been said Kulle. Every game I see online makes the same mistake....the step to a paying player is huge.So are the costs......Mostly due to a lack of imagination on the creators & Dev's part. No insult to yourself intended.

    Though BP fell off the rails a lot longer than a year ago. They have made so many mistakes and done so much harm to the state of health of the game & the loyalty of the players, that I think it is beyond recovery. Player trust is gone, hacks run rampant, things are nerfed, jacked up on the fly, and don't even get me started on Q&A and bugs......

    I can vividly remember starting to play this awesome game, where entire sectors swarmed the enemy in the adjacent sector, often hundreds of fleets streaming down to attack the enemy. There was a wait of course, as there were no towers, and the long sail back home to repair. Then again it was 5 mouse clicks or at best 1-4 coins to get right back out there & join the fray. To this day I remember my wife and I jumping to 119 and picking a fight with 120. The battle lasted well over 6 hrs. To the point where I had my specs autoing salves just so we could repair fleets. With the resultant battles as I had to try & collect res, hit another salve without getting tagged with 2-3 fleets trying to nab me, and others trying to engage them so I could get repair res.
    Quite a bit of Wine & Cider was consumed. And we both spent 30-40 bucks that night. Both sides had so much fun when we picked a fight with 118 the next night, 120 came up to help us out & get in on the action.

    Any time I meet any of the players who were involved with that fracass we still talk about it, whether they were foe or friend. And most importantly neither of us felt at any time we were taken advantage of...we were having a blast, we were fully "engaged" in the game, and felt we had value for what we spent. The days are gone where 10-15 players swarm a target and battle untill you finally give up or succeed. The crybabies have seen to that & swayed Kix into the base guard policy they have now. Then again who wants to spend a week or mores repairs doing so nowadays? Not me, not at the current valuation of coin, and costs to repair said fleets. Definitely not knowing just how bad the hacking situation is. You can't even out-wallet your way in if you want to. And this used to be the way, and was actually helpful in generating income in the old days. Now it may just drain your wallet against a player who is paying $25.00 for the all you can eat buffet somewhere else.

    Make me want to pay I do and feel happy about it....force me to pay, and you might as well piss in my cornflakes...it has the same effect. The result is clearly seen with the hate & rants that fill the forums. You won't keep everybody happy no matter what. But when skill and strategy are a big part of the equation, at least it is your fault and no-one elses.

    Communication and forewarning are another joke. I realize build times are supposed to slow down the game to promote longevity. But there is no reason other than greed you cannot build a fleet you won, before the next set of toys are available the following Month. The whales will still build it now, still spend coin, and refit as needed. But not letting us know what is coming to prepare is just plain thoughtless. And counterproductive to the needed monetization of the game as well. How many players would actually spend 20-40 bucks to refit or finish the best fleet you can build for what is coming raid time? It saves repair costs and play time, and even if it is an OP raid target you actually feel you accomplished something, made progress, and maybe even succeeded at whatever goal you had set for yourself. Leaving you happy with spending said money to boot! The specialty hulls would end up being coined anyways as we are offered far more than we can build as is, and revenue flows more freely in willing small packages!

    What I don't understand is they could have taken this game to a 3 tier level.....stratified it somewhat. Substituted power creep for diversity....

    Initially Battle pirates had the sea level combat, ships on the open water, then came preds & stalkers and we went under the seas.

    they could also have gone into the air.

    Before everyone starts issuing yes & no replies to this hear me out.

    Remember we were at one point going to get our own "drac bases" for alliances to build? I'll get to this be patient for a bit.....

    One big mistake I see is Kixeye should have implemented parallel powers not OP ones in the first place. We have subs, now we have deep water foes. The game could have been stratified this way a long time ago, giving you ships that can fight on 3 levels.

    A strength in one strata is a weakness in another, meaning subs and surface ships can interact, surface ships and sky ships the same way. But Subs and sky ships cannot or on a very limited scope such as spotting & tracking.

    Giving an alliance a 3 tiered home base that the entire alliance is responsible for developing and maintaining & defending...as a team. Hell once the coding was done you could have a home base that required 3 tier defense as well. Making it so you had to peek and see if the base was oriented a certain way, more air defense, or a sub mariners lair, and plan your fleet and attack accordingly. Or having players in an alliance combine their bases into a floating alliance fortress much as Vega has their bases set up. And having an entire alliance attack another's home base.The potential is endless.

    It would at least make strategy a bigger part of the game, and reduce power creep by adding diversity and planning. Something we do not see, nor have seen for quite some time. And give purpose to joining an alliance and if medals actually gave some bonuses, make them worth having & Keeping. I find it interesting that Eve was mentioned in the one video. It has it's own issues and costs but thrives through diversity.BP does not.

    I just find it sad that no-one at Kix understands that $10.00 from 2.5 million players is far easier to obtain than $2500.00 from 10,000. Even a drastic revaluation of the coin, or reduction of repair time/costs would have breathed new life into the game 6 months ago. Now I'm not so sure.

    Also as I've said before, Kix should offer their own $25.00 all you can eat buffet. They could likely value it at $50.00. Limit build times by the bare hull requirements, make specials & weapons an hour each max, and the same for refits. A lot would do so to avoid bans and free up resources from checking, & banning players. And lets face it I'd estimate a larger proportion of the big active players are doing so to one extent or another. And this is valid as anyone who knows me understands. I check this often and determine my play vs a group based on certain things I can see in game. As a matter of fact I get great entertainment from doing so and have cleared large groups out of a sector with just a few comments on comms in the past. It's quite funny actually lol. Getting called a hacker by hackers .

    Anyways my fingers are going numb from typing ( both of them).

    I honestly wish there would be a huge change in management, but I cannot see that happening. On an interesting side note I noticed that coin payments are being processed directly by Facebook again. I wonder if this is an indicator of Kixeye's financial state, or an indicator of how many players are doing chargebacks, and a massive surge of complaints to Facebook about Kixeye due to the jack & nerf last raid, the Borbas, and this raid. Combined with buyers remorse.

    You have to give Will Harbin credit for one thing, he really does know how to push the margins both legally & monetarily. Not necessarily a good thing to be known for, but then again BP was financed by several capitol investment groups. They may just be taking what they can get, and waiting untill there is no profit to be sucked out of it's players before shutting down.

    Then again look what this policy did for Zynga

    Rant over

  6. #16
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    See here is the bigger problem and I do give Doom credit as he finally gave us information that was dead on the money correct.

    He said first and foremost that with the new team power creep will be huge....


    You can see that coming true as we speak and lets touch on a few points that have the most WoW Factor

    Turrets going up 43K in base armor
    Lets take a second to think about this for the level 50s who were already cannon fodder. Most of them have at least 100 days before they even get all turrets to level 5 and then 250 more days to get the turrets to level 6. This is not putting on new weapons. Yes thats right the new level 40s-60s are @ least a year behind.

    What makes it worse is that you can be level 50 in 3 to 6 months if you are a moderate player. The new players are basically given the shaft and without a total rework to @ least let them quickly get all turrets bases to level 5. They will never compete once they hit the shark tanks. This should of been addressed with the release of OP7 to make sure all things flowed smoothly.


    We also have the problem that with the information Doom was dead on about aka the power creep and why base armor has risen. The FAT Banshee just 1 with the new torps = more damage than my whole B torps NH fleet. It is not a typo yes 1 sub has more fire power than my 5 subs.

    The second thing is that he said ships released will have 5 specials and 5 armor....This means raids are going to be designed around those ships. What happens to the "low coiner level" who is can't quite make it to the elite tier in the FM or grab one of the new hulls. If we just look @ the rhino as it can now hold 8 blade missiles. Yes thats right it is easy to have 24 blade missiles on a fleet. Thats 24K per shot on turrets (I already halfed the damage for accurate stats).

    You can see even with the new turrets @ 47K base, it means nothing because those missile will just go nom nom nom. It seems like the new design team wanted to "entice" us with "big damage" but failed to take into consideration that unless we all can win this ship. We can never compete and it closes the door to us as players.

    The failure is "the team" needed to go old school and bring back "research ship(s) that help ppl with stepping stones. The removal of Co-OP will kill the raid, no grinding will kill the raid, and lastly personally I think sub raids are going to kill the game. Kixeye is Kixeye and has failed to see the common problem once Paul Preece left his baby to do another game. Paul may have been arrogant to the extreme, but he did have balance in the game.

    for the OP seems you came to zynga as I left and gave the subscription to mafia wars. You have some good suggestions, but all we do is vent here because on a deeper level most of us have accepted that BP is a sinking ship that has little to no hope now.
    Last edited by Michigan Marauder; 09-20-2015 at 05:18 PM.

  7. #17
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    just to point something out ..this thread is now in 4 places in the BP forums as links..Favian has closed 2 of them down as they lead to "datamining sites"

    This makes me laugh as they are all a bunch of ostriches in their behavior...which further exacerbates the problems & ill will on the player base.

    There is no reason on gods green earth that they cannot program a balance of loadout on the targets to coincide with the build & tech a player has to utilize.

    Oh yes, there is. I forgot it's Kixeye's programmers, most of which have now either been outsourced and or hired as just graduated entry level experience.

    The 27K coins and 3 runs at strike 1 were just pathetic & truly show what mentality is behind the current trends in the game. Given the retros used and the fact it shows an R level even elite players cannot obtain.

    They are insensitive, thoughtless & sometimes just plain stupid in my eyes. Display error has become a new politico term for our CM as well.

    The next greatest explanation for failure..it ranks right up there with "working as intended" ...untill it works too well, costs them income & they have to apply a nerf.

    All because they cannot even fathom the game they are supposed to love & nurture.

    Ok I read through a few more posts and want to add a few things. Thanks given to all the players who care about the game more than the guys who get paid for it.

    MM and all above you are 10000% correct they need to make cheap fast buffs in stats to even research tech, and address the XP not the times involved with lower level development.

    The ride to 50 is too fast and just to disparate for the entry level players to compete. Why they don't relegate a safe zone for 50-60's that they can spend 1 month out of 2 or 3 to build & grow is beyond me. It's not like there is a lack of map space nowadays. Hell they could even charge 50 gold for a "hall pass" letting you jump to a safe zone just to catch up for a bit.

    I know it is a bit farmvillish but it would address the lack of FM targets by clustering a lot of the smaller bases in one set of sectors, let them catch up & breathe a bit and generally give the few new players we get a fighting chance to set themselves on a good path.
    Last edited by CJS; 09-20-2015 at 06:22 PM.

  8. #18
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    I understand not wanting to give us any attention, but this post has nothing to do with datamining.. it's unfortunate that we are shamed because we hold them accountable

  9. #19
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    ive seen mods point to 'other sites' when questions were asked about unreactive stats, what they hate i think is truth telling about the state of the game
    All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.

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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulle Ayed View Post
    I too feel compelled to offer some observations and possibly even useful advice regarding the general downturn – not just with the most recent experience in the Ascension raid, but in what I have observed in Battle Pirates over the last year or so.

    First, a little background as to who I am. I have over 28 years of professional experience in software and tech, and I have been in the games industry for the last 16 years. I’ve been an Executive Producer for one of Zynga’s premier games and I am currently the head of operations for an East-Coast independent game developer. I’ve been playing Battle Pirates for the last three years. I’ve always enjoyed the game and I have probably spent several hundred dollars over those three years. I do not have an issue in paying reasonably for a game where I continue to get enjoyment.
    What I have observed over the last year is cause for concern. I have observed similar trends firsthand having worked for Zynga, where I was responsible for maintaining a game that was more than four years old when joined, and was already experiencing a declining revenue curve and player interest similar to what I am sure Battle Pirates is expiring now.

    First of all, we must understand as players that such trends are typical. Every game has their lifecycle. Sooner or later games tend to become less interesting to us for a variety of reasons. I think such things as a game coming to the end of its life would be more acceptable if the game just didn’t generate the same level of excitement as it once did. But when it becomes clear that the propeller has come off and the boat has no direction, frustration mounts. You can see the backlash build in the forums with each new “what were they thinking” release.

    As someone who has been responsible for such games, I understand fully what the Kixeye team is going through. Inflammatory commentary from the community only serves to exacerbate the situation, and makes it more difficult for Kixeye to fully understand the ramifications of what they are doing as the constructive comments are buried in the chaff of whining and vitriol. But this is where my empathy for the BP development team ends.

    As an example of the prop coming off the shaft, I found it both humorous and depressing that the Battle Pirates team had to create a video that offered tips and tricks for the most recent Ascension raid, but they used as their example a retro’ed R10 V2H hull. The latest retro pack for the V2 was just recently released, and it would take about a month to retro from R5 to R10 (assuming you didn’t have any other retros in the queue, and your V2s were at R5 to start with). So in this one example we can see how out of touch the design team is with the typical player and how to set proper difficulty in the game. There are plenty of other examples such as the Kixeye designers introducing a new damage type (corrosive) while at the same time not offering a countermeasure, or even giving the players a heads up as to the nature of the new enemy so we can build/refit our fleets before the raid started.

    To give you guys the players a sense of what is going on behind the scenes, we must also understand that games of this age and revenue potential are most likely not maintained by the more experienced teams at Kixeye. No doubt the original designers, product managers, and producers have moved on to other products or have even left the company entirely. This leaves the more junior team to move the product forward. This is a difficult proposition for them as they may not have the experience, clout, or understanding of the game’s design considerations to come up with the necessary changes. Add to the fact that I am fairly certain that the executives at Kixeye are not in support of such changes anyway – they would rather just see the game milk what is left and then sunset so they can on to other things. From the buzz I am getting in the industry, the recent announcement from Kixeye do not bode well, and CEO Will Harbin has probably outlived his usefulness. (As an aside it’s generally regarded that Harbin is an empty vessel and has not made many friends with his style of management, lack of understanding with player engagement, or how to pivot the company to new games, technology, and platforms, so Kixeye would be well served to seek new, energized leadership).

    I do not subscribe to whining or empty commentary. I would not have taken the time to write this unless I had some suggestions to move the game forward. But I will not offer up specific features or minutia as this will just serve to confuse the issue. The bigger issue with any game like this at this point in its lifecycle is understand where it needs to go strategically – what are the major areas of concentration so all resulting design choices can be matched to the strategic imperative. Without setting the overall strategic design goals, the game will continue to spin its wheels and die an untimely death.

    First, I think it important to gain a little context on exactly what are the tenets of good freemium design. Aspiring game designers should take note of the dos and don’ts of good game design principles. The guys at Extra Credits can explain the situation far better than I could ever do:

    Microtransactions
    Doing Free to Play Wrong
    Free to Play is Currently Broken
    Power Creep
    • and for a good laugh

    "Freemium - the root of the word is Latin for 'not really'"

    So what are these strategic imperatives for Battle Pirates?

    • It’s All About Player Engagement - everyone in the decision making process needs to give more weight to player engagement (keeping the game fun) vs. what will make the most money. Time and time again it’s been shown that when the game is fun to play, the player will not only spend more money in the long run, but will do so without complaint. But when you create pay walls or the general feeling that the only way to get ahead is to coin, this will create ill will and drive away players. In an operational sense, this means that decision makers need to allow designers to create features that give greater balance to increasing player enjoyment rather than those that focus on squeezing revenues.

    • Understand Why We Play - most of us continue to play for two main reasons: 1) we have an investment of “stuff” we like to build on and show off, and 2) we have an investment in friends we don’t wish to lose. Design choices should be weighted to improving factors that improve on both these areas without attempting to overly monetize them. Higher level players should be allowed to assist lower level players in all facets of non PvP combat. More ship skin customization (without charging), and anything that facilitates alliance or sector comradery should be introduced. Alliance points and buffs need to be increased to show visible impact on gameplay. Create ways of promoting goodwill in the alliance or in the sector. And introduce the Money Bomb! (See Doing Free to Play Wrong video above).

    • Subscriptions – when I was at Zynga we created a program called Subscriptions. Prior to Subscriptions, all purchases were done on a singular microtransaction level. With subscriptions, we offered a voluntary monthly plan (say for $9.95) we would offer the player a regular set of monthly benefits that could include crews, skins, VXP, blueprints, or a number of other items). We even created different subscription levels (Bronze, Silver, or Gold) for players that wanted more items dropped to their account). The not only created a regular payment stream, but in the mind of the player it was a big benefit to get a collection of loot each month, especially if that loot contained rare or unique items.

    • Create Reasons to Return to the Game Each Day: Gacha! In Japan (and now in the West too) a Gacha is toy machine into which a customer puts money into. They then twist a crank and out pops a plastic egg, inside of which appears a prize, usually a collectable toy figure, which is part of a complete set. When applied to games it’s a free gift, usually offered daily, possibly when a manual spin like in a slot machine, and gives the player the reason to log on and play. This has partially been implemented recently with the introduction of reward crews, but it has not been fully realized (and recently has seemed to stop?!?). The free crews are of poor quality, and in many instances I get crews I will never be able to use (I’ve found all the blueprints, so why do I still get awarded the Lucky Bastards crew?) Throw in some other items as daily rewards (skins, VXP, Uranium, Res) and make some of these gachas rare and useful. Award percentages need to be high enough to give the player a sense that they could actually win a rare item eventually.

    • Emphasize Player Progression - players need to be made to feel they have positive momentum in the game. If they ever feel stuck or that they are constantly being hit by higher level players, it will drive them away. New players need time to build their bases and fleets, and they need to be located in areas where they have mentors or alliance members who can look out for them. This not only allows the newer players to gain friends (and one of the main reasons why we play), but also allows the newer players to learn the ins-and-out of the game. And while I understand the issues surrounding the gifting of items, I believe such a feature would greatly enhance the feeling of accomplishment and comradery and should be explored further.

    • Emphasize Skill - As it stands now, there is little skill used in driving fleets. It usually just comes down to the hull/weapons combination with the winner being determined by who has the most powerful combo. If the game allowed for more tactics (formations, setting of combat maneuvers prior to the start of combat, or the reduction in firing capacity based on damage, hull position affects firing direction, etc.), we could give the players the tools to compete against higher ranked fleets.

    • Demonstrate Accomplishment - One of the biggest beefs I have with the game is that I do not feel I am being successful when I run a mission. I am not talking about the general slow progression (which is typical and needed for a long running persistent game), but rather the feeling I get in a raid when my best fleet gets its ass kicked. The design of the missions is such that I must run many cycles against a particular mission to kill all the enemies and declare “Victory!” That is just frustrating. I am not talking about the typical “grind” that you see in games of this type. I am willing to accept a certain level of grind to achieve my goals in a game of this type. But when my fleets are sent to the bottom after 30 seconds of combat then I feel nothing but contempt and disgust. Mission design, point values, and difficulty can all be better balanced to allow the player to feel a sense of accomplishment, while at the same time awarding the right number of points and setting prize point levels in a fashion that better supports the player’s feeling of achievement.

    • Improve Community Outreach - I think everyone will agree that Kixeye has done a generally poor job of keeping the community informed about what is happening with the game, responding to concerns, and generally finding positive ways to promote the success of the game. Establishing a solid community program is not easy, and required a deft hand at messaging the players. It’s too easy for game companies to forego the conversation process because of the trolls and whiners that tend to muck up the communication channel. 90% of the criticisms by players are not constructive, and it’s just easier for the companies to “let it ride”. But avoiding the question is never the solution. Kixeye must find a way to improve its outreach to players, and see ways of pulling new players into the fold. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and their own forums are ways they can get the message out. I know they some messages from moderators do make it out, but the stream is limited in depth, timeliness, and frequency.

    • Address Power Creep (see above video) – Power Creep is a real issue with persistent games. The higher the capacity becomes, the harder it will be fore lower levels to ever catch up or complete. The forthcoming OP7 and the underlying upgrades will only serve the higher levels, while being a hindrance to the lower levels. In other words, it’s taken me three years to achieve Level 69 with modest coining. How long will it take new players to reach a level that is commensurate with my level in the future? When adjusted for the current power trends, I fear it will be much longer. Ways of addressing Power Creep included giving old stuff value by creating “incomparables” (see Power Creep video above), offer separate servers for players of a particular rank, or introduction of “heroes” for players; the concept already exists in BP through the various personalities (Harlock, Greta, Borbas, etc.) – just expand this to the players; hero cards can be earn and used on fleets of differing levels to balance combat.

    • Better Balance New Weapons and Tactics – don’t release a new weapon without a countermeasure. This is just a rookie mistake and allows one weapon type to overpower creating an imbalance in the game.

    I know there are lot more things worth mentioning - most would fall under the feature commentary area which I have tried to avoid (difficulty in obtaining Uranium/high cost associated with its use, ridiculous build/refit times, obvious pay walls constructed to funnel payers, etc – I could go on and on). I believe if the game is to survive that the decision makers for the game need to get back basics, take a longer term view of the continued potential of the game, and start to be more open about what’s going on and how to have more fun! Having been a part of such game releases I have every sympathy for what the Kixeye team is going through, but I have little tolerance for a resignation of efforts due to where they are in the game’s lifecycle. Throwing up one’s hands and not addressing the core issues directly is just lazy game development, and frankly – bad business.
    so which companies have you worked for?
    what are your qualifications?
    why don't you use spell-check if you're in the business?

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