"New Player Experience" changes on full release?

SacchoSaccho Posts: 1,577Player
edited May 2015 in General Discussion
This is something I haven't really seen addressed in the opt-in builds. The basic training looked the same to me, but Giunta had changes, so I'm hoping there may be more in the works. There is the unlock system, which would hopefully increase engagement, but beyond that I can't think of any changes specifically aimed at improving the early experience.

The first hour or so of play seems to be critical for grabbing player attention in F2P games. (With non-F2P, there's more incentive to "earn back" your money, so I see distributions shifted away from 0 playtime on paid titles.)

Comparison titles chosen based on genre similarity and F2P status.

NB: axis scales change, x-axis is log scale, careful on interpretation

America's Army: Proving Grounds

Planetside 2

Ghost Recon: Phantoms

Team Fortress 2

60% of AAPG players aren't making it past an hour of playtime. Many F2P titles have issues with player retention past an hour, but I think an appropriate target there would be more like 30%. Successful F2Ps like Warframe or PS2 lose ~25% in the first hour.

Past suggestions have included enhanced training, servers intended exclusively for new players, a new "mentor" program, addition of in-game prompts for low-honor accounts (rank < 4 and bleeding out? Show an on-screen prompt "Press G to stop bleeding!"), ....

This topic has been visited in the past, but there are a few reasons it's worth bringing up again now:
  • Opt-in is a time for making concerns known
  • Launch is going to be a new first impression and a chance to hopefully capture more than 40% of players for an hour+
  • The stats on playtime distributions are available now for comparison
  • This ties in with TheTots' goal on increasing participation from "the 99%" -- new users REALLY should chime in here, PLEASE! The 1% have been playing so long that it's easy to forget that the gameplay quirks we're used to are quirks.


  • Keebler750Keebler750 Posts: 3,621Beta Tester
    Awesome post BC!!!

    This has been a test of the emergency flame-fest system. Please do not adjust your set.
  • .shhfiftyfive-.shhfiftyfive- Posts: 495Player
    edited May 2015
    i'd say if you want new players to play for more than 1 hour, then don't let nonsensical features plague your game on release. don't release til you at least remove the "quirks"... see my previous posts in the thread "save smoke grenades or there it goes" as i don't see the need for double posting my thoughts...

  • Keebler750Keebler750 Posts: 3,621Beta Tester
    I'd also like to hear the opinions of the usually silent forum readers, without them getting shot down....

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  • Bam4DBam4D Posts: 976Player
    Keebler750 wrote: »
    I'd also like to hear the opinions of the usually silent forum readers, without them getting shot down....

    I get so many messages thanking me for saying what they were thinking... on certain subjects. Keebler is right the silent majority could sway design of the game if they too spoke up.

    FYI after OPT IN beta.. i'm loving the direction the game is heading. Also agree with BCPULL. One thing about having the army training levels is you were vested once you got training, and what a great experience earning the SF or Sniper roles, heck even the medic was fun and informative.

    AA2 miles servers were amazing as well.... great tool for awareness training. BEEEPPPP BUZZZZZ

    But AA3 all those training's that never happened? wish you would release open source, would have loved a truly fleshed out AA3 experience, so much potential in that game and the MATH could go on forever about the real world DATA collection the DEV team brought to the AA3 game.

    But i digress.......




    ________Army 1980_________

  • Hey.I.Have.A.GunHey.I.Have.A.Gun Posts: 645Player
    Keebler750 wrote: »
    I'd also like to hear the opinions of the usually silent forum readers, without them getting shot down....

    A forum is for discussion. If someone makes a post and someone responds disagreeing with it, they shouldn't take it personally. It's the whole point of a forum.
  • SacchoSaccho Posts: 1,577Player
    Not that forum representation issues aren't worth discussing or anything, but my goal in this particular topic is to discuss the first 10 minutes experience where AA is losing as many players as other F2Ps lose in the first hour.

    Some of this could be installation or PB issues, some of this could be expectations of an AA2 reskin not being met, some could be gameplay-related. Others?
  • Hey.I.Have.A.GunHey.I.Have.A.Gun Posts: 645Player
    I wonder how many people installing this game are opening an FPS for the first time. Would some level of "training" to familiarize them somewhat with the movement, shooting, ADS, etc be of benefit?
    Ultimately this game has a fairly low skill ceiling and isn't hard for someone who's played an FPS before to pick up on, but what could be done to give a first time FPS player some sort of introduction?
  • SacchoSaccho Posts: 1,577Player
    The current training (Launcher -> Play -> Training -> Combat Essentials) covers the following over about... 5 minutes for an experienced player, I'd guess up to 10 for somebody new. There's also the issue of it being something a player really has to search out on their own.

    What's covered:
    • Basic movement with a small "maze" at the start, but keys aren't listed on screen
    • Basic interaction with a prompt for picking up a gun
    • Crouch & prone movement with key prompts, but the corresponding action wasn't also listed
    • Suppression happens to the player, but isn't directly addressed
    • Basic shooting, but much is left out
    • Supported fire
    • Penetration mechanic is hinted at with two targets partially obscured by wooden boards
    • Hold breath
    • Grenades and cooking them, but only the "fast throw" mechanic (4) is shown instead of the "normal" method (2)
    • Fogs as cover, but again shown with the "fast throw" key
    • Switching to secondary, but key isn't actually shown
    • Bandaging a wound
    • Interacting with T&H objectives
    • Spotting enemies... in the opt-in, the spotted target is shot by an ally. This should be discussed as clearing an area ahead of a revive. In the training, the player can't make the mistake of reviving first before spotting the enemy, so the lesson is kind of lost by avoiding having a failure condition
    • Secure action
    • Revive action

    Some of the problems with the current training were fixed in the opt-in's version, but there are more improvements to be made. Topics not currently addressed:
    • Appropriate use of tactical movement mode
    • Leaning
    • Sliding
    • Reloading
    • ADS
    • Picking up & dropping weapons
    • Flashbangs
    • CEM / Stamina systems, effects on weapon handling
    • High-caliber penetration of metals, penetrable vs impenetrable walls
  • Gronfather@TwitchGronfather@Twitch Posts: 466Player
    Two great posts, excellent ideas BCPull.

    Devs please try and implement some of these features. IMO unlocks would be fantastic

  • TheTotsTheTots Posts: 2,279Player
    Also do all the loading videos have to be about the army? Could some be about in game tips like reviving, securing and weapon information.

    That's actually something I've been working on for launch. I've been calling them "12 second tutorials" and they cover all the base mechanics and a few 'pro tips'.
  • omerta`easyomerta`easy Posts: 46Player
    edited May 2015
    The sub 20 minute numbers are shockingly high. To me that indicates people not even playing the game. Even if I get in a game and hate it I will play more than 20 minutes before uninstalling. Is the miserable PB experience from earlier in the game's life responsible for the majority of these people quitting?

    Does this include people who install the game from steam but never create/login to an AAPG account? I have several friends who downloaded AAPG from steam and never bothered to create an AAPG account. Its a pointless extra inconvenience.

    Both TF2 and PS2 are easier to run than AA. Maybe there are people installing the game and finding out their hardware won't run it well?
  • SacchoSaccho Posts: 1,577Player
    The numbers are gathered from Steam's info, so, yes, it would probably count it if a player opened the launcher without creating an account / logging in. This is also not "only since latest patch" or anything like that, so playtime stats could have improved since e.g. the fix to the PunkBuster install issue that rolled out a while back.
  • =R*C=-snom-=R*C=-snom- Posts: 88Player
    One of the biggest floors I hear from new players is the browser. Many have issues with navigation such as finding particular servers, friends, etc. Also, they often think it's not working and click several times, ending up crashing. I know this puts quite a few new comers off from the get go.
  • IO_i_OIIO_i_OI Posts: 1,107Player
    Notice the 'bell curve" on the charts. That's where AA should be.
  • SithHunterSithHunter Posts: 109Player
    edited May 2015
    Well, very good stuff posted here but let's also remember that it's FPS game, so after all if guns aren't fun to shoot, nobody will be playing the game.
    So, the most important thing is to get new player to install the game without unnecessary drama and get him to shoot them guns right away. We have to show him 'Hey, look weapon mechanics we have here are so cool and rewarding! Look- try to control recoil while bursting on those tragets! Fun, isn't it? I bet you wanna shoot the bad guys with this stuff now' etc.
    Imho we need shooting range, that shows the good side of weapon mechanics we have, as initial training level for new players. Weapons familiarization on Giunta Range isn't best for that imho because pointing on semi-auto at stationary targets in all the time you have isn't that fun. To add fun to it, we need a challenge- so something more like shoothouses we have here, with some score you need to beat to finish the training.


    Also, I should not forget about the feeling of achieving something in game as a factor of keeping player playing. Honor system is a good little thing to keep players in that are already familiar with the game, a little thing that they can be proud of etc. A training that only teaches some mechanics doesn't create any bond between player and the game. Adding this challenge and sort of unlock system 'Score X points to qualify for Sniper training', etc. will engage reward system very early and may create a chain like "Ok, I did well in here, let's try again to unlock the sniper training -> I did it, let's see how I do against other players that I scored enough points for something".
  • Keebler750Keebler750 Posts: 3,621Beta Tester
    I had a friend that was new to Steam and AAPG and it was REALLY tough to remotely talk him through getting stuff to work while on BBM. Everything from friending on Steam (without points) to game setup to key binds to the browser and UMMs and shaders....it's ALL clunky and full of potholes for anyone but crazed and dedicated hacker dudes. THEN.....how do you move and where is everything in the map? Luckily he was an airsoft guy and into vid games for a long time, so it worked out even though it was excruciatingly patience-testing.

    And I'd like to think I should be able to help someone get into the game by now! :(

    He played ONE WHOLE SATURDAY and he was pretty good for a raw newb. We don't talk about it anymore....


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  • 1. Make mandatory training for the newcomers ... When I started to play like a year or 2 ago I had no clue how to play the game and bled out multiple times or didn't know about the extra features the game has. Then think about today with many extra features such as lean and tactical walking. I can guarantee that most new players don't even know that there is a lean feature or how to use it... or how to cook a grenade.
    2. Make players unlock the roles as they play so that we wouldn't have a level 2 having a sniper without a clue on how to use it or in what positions to be... It doesn't have to be many levels but a few so that a player can get familiar with the basic weapons. Lets say you can unlock a support role when you are level 5 then designated marksmen when you are 10 and the sniper role when you are 15... (I'm not saying they should be like that but something like that)
    3. Make the recoil smaller... Even though most long time players including me can handle the recoil really well but for a new player the recoil is extremely high. I went onto BTF 4 and got a SAW with a high rate of fire and kicks a lot and it was really easy for me to control the recoil even though most players wouldn't be able to do it unless they are really good at BTF 4
  • =IK=.Scooby=IK=.Scooby Posts: 119Player
    I'd like to hear the opinions of new players not quiet ex AA2/AA3 players that will only go on about previous versions and base every decision off how it was then compared to now.

    The in game noob tips was one of my suggestions on the old forums that fell generally on deaf ears. A separate training system would not be needed as this would answer all the little questions a new player would have like what keys to press and how to revive them. You could also throw in some little tips like make sure it's clear to revive.

    Also do all the loading videos have to be about the army? Could some be about in game tips like reviving, securing and weapon information.

    The issue with wanting more input from players that didn't play 2 and 3 is the fact that 90+%(I'd say is a fair margin, if not higher) that are playing this game played 2 or 3 or both, and the reason for that is because this game has done no advertising of it's own(because it's still in beta). So the majority of the people only know about this game because they knew about the Americas Army franchise. I've been playing this beta for a good while, and know the majority of the frequent players(well, the American ones anyway given the timezones), and I can count on one hand those that never played an AA game before this one.
    So if the Devs want input from players who didn't play 2 or 3, they'll need to release the game and advertise it. They're not going to get it while it's in beta.
  • Hey.I.Have.A.GunHey.I.Have.A.Gun Posts: 645Player
    You should have to reach a certain level before you can take the sniper at least.
    I wouldn't make recoil smaller, but I'd like to see the randomness to it toned down.
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