Saturday, 17 August 2013

So why is Dust struggling to retain those that come and try it?

Well, first of all, it's not because the game itself is too hard. Lets get that out of the way right now. We don't have to teach rocket science in DUST University just a few basics for most and more specialised training for those that want it, like our Squad Leader Certification programme.

And its not because the community is intimidating. There's a few trolls and to be honest a small number of arseholes intent on ruining the fun for others, likely because Daddy wouldn't get them a pony. But these are very much in the minority and rightly derided by the remainder.

The main reason is that it's not FUN!!!

I mean the game itself. I've has some hilarious times playing in the right squad and thats been fun. Fusion Commander, Reevira, TrueXeros, Otera, the sadly missed 3 bird, Naedeus, Phyxitt and dozens of other too numerous to mention both in D-UNI and outside. Playing with these guys and gals is fun.

But the game itself is too much of a grind. It's inconsistent and it's horribly imbalanced in favour of the proto gearheads. 

Not to put too much pressure on one of the community's favourite Dev Team's, True Grit, I'm now firmly of the opinion that a comprehensive matchmaking system is going to be the thing that stems the loss of new players and retain them better. Not new content, though that is nice and always to be welcomed, or eye candy like 'God Rays' and perhaps even more important than the fixing of 'Murder Taxis'. Matchmaking that keeps the newer players separate from the vets and their larger wallets, SP counts and need to to proto stomp newbs in order to make them feel that they're a great player.

I've never been able to understand the need to proto stomp the newbs in pub matches. And those that do it still HAVE to take some responsibility for the low take up of the game once a new player starts. With the now laughable 400 WP needed to leave the 'Academy' matches new players are just getting slaughtered!! And thats not fun!!! Oh I'm sure that the stompers are having fun while they give each other a metaphorical reach around, congratulating themselves about how good they are. But the new player, the people that the game REALLY needs right now are put off the game because of these clowns.

Which is why the matchmaking isn't going to be enough in the long run. What we need is a filter system for newer players to ease themselves at their own pace. We already have such a system in place fortunately. The meta levels of the equipment. Allow players to dictate which matches they can join. A new player can select a Skirmish match and ask the game to place them in one where the only fits allowed are Militia or Standard fits only. The game then places them in a queue while it finds players  wanting the same criteria and are within a million SP of them in total. As they get better and more comfortable they can up the Fit levels till eventually they are in Proto matches should they wish. 

I'd still allow higher SP players to use a Militia fit in a Proto fit filtered match should they choose to do that. One of my great pleasures in the game to to take out multiple Proto using players, who have the gear but no idea with my BPO/advanced combo Dren suit. The majority of Proto fit users STILL don't realise that the game pays you less ISK for killing inferior equipped mercs, And the more of them you kill the less it pays... They must be losing soooo much ISK per match and wondering why they're not rich? I kill loads of these guys. I hardly ever lose more than 6 10K fits a match and depending on how many LAV's and Tanks I take out, I'm making 200-300k a match! And yes, my KDR is still above 1 thank you very much.

This is why I'm personally looking forward to 1.4. Seeing what it can do place the newer players in a fun environment, while making the proto users fight amongst themselves.

Who knows.... they may even discover there that they're not actually as good as they thought. 

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