Player Retention Feedback - Important Short Term Changes

Joined
Nov 1, 2021
Messages
16
#1
Last night, 20 active community members of all sorts (from big and small companies, PvP'er, miners, ship designers, and more) got together on discord and had a civil discussion about what was needed to keep players engaged in Starbase. Our focus was on items that were as easy to implement as possible and not dependent upon other major features coming in the future.
  1. Hosting problems:
    1.1 Ship to ship hosting bugs causing logistical issues (e.g., propellant disappearing).
    1.2 Asteroid hosting and host transfer bugs for mining and hauling.
    1.3 Factory Hall Reliability (Ships and items disappearing).

  2. Company/Group Storage:
    2.1 Rank-based & player-based access control over storage to allow players different storage permissions. (Same as bank)
    2.2 Allow buying ships from the factory hall SSC using materials and parts in station company storage.

  3. Company/Group Gameplay:
    3.1 Short range line-of-sight player identification.
    3.2 Company-Rank based permissions. Bank, storage, ships, stations, etc.
    3.3 Allow direct creation of Company stations.
    3.4 Company and Job based station permissions. Allow assigning an entire company's permission at once, and allow setting permission by job.

  4. More player feedback from ingame errors.
 

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Joined
Nov 1, 2021
Messages
16
#3
Personally, my company has over 50 members who are currently inactive, waiting for the game to come to a playable state. The issues that drove my company to leave the game and the features that will bring them back are 1.3, 2, 3.2, and 3.4.

1.3 Factory Hall Reliability (Ships and items disappearing) caused my company a lot of pain. We lost multiple ships, likely hundreds of stacks of ore, and expensive items due to inconsistent station zones and factory halls. It was safer to park our ships outside of the safezone rather than inside it.

2 Company/Group Storage is a significant part of multi-player gameplay. Letting players combine storage and then use that storage to create ships from a factory hall SSC is a key factor in coordination between players. Not having the ability to easily share inventory made working together almost not worth the effort. And most of our players played almost entirely by themselves because of this.

3.2 Company-Rank based permissions. Bank, storage, ships, stations, etc. The ability to manage the permissions of stations and company storage (Like banks and, recently, ships) is almost as critical as company storage itself. This helps ensure that company storage is as useful as possible and not easily abused by new company members or members with insufficient permissions.

3.4 Company and Job-based station permissions. The ability to change permissions based on job would be incredibly useful. Assigning specific ships to specific jobs or station access based on which job a player is currently on. The ability to change permissions based on job would be incredibly useful.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
4
#4
Things are looking up for retaining a good core playerbase and I think this post sums up what's needed pretty well.

What we needed with my friends was a solid gameplay loop centered around building our own Starbase.
This is what we are craving for a game to do properly:
  • Fly out and mine resources
  • Build up our station from these resources
  • Make ships within the station together (thanks so much for player station SSC!)
    • We really need shared cargo, as point 2 suggests! Gathering minerals and throwing them on a pile where everybody contributes and can see what they contribute (both in the pile and station growth) is what makes multiplayer building games so much fun in their core
Game has a solid foundation for this with what's on PTU, but this post is what's needed for that 1 solid step towards retaining players like us, who have been playing space games for a long time and are anticipating the next good title that will catch us for many, many hours. Let's start retaining players now, rather than later. Releasing patches and fixes related to this station gameplay to Live more often is another thing which would greatly increase confidence and dampen the long-term feelings of frustration and hopelessness for many players who do not look that far on what's going on behind the scene.

I'm already looking forward to making ships for gathering the rare minerals for capital ships and then actually building and maintaining them.

About point 4
We've been very frustrated about the difficulty of getting information about how different features work for the game. I think a good update that kickstarts player retention should have more error messages that explain why something doesn't work, why something can't be placed, linked etc. Also, wiki needs to be updated and have proper and thorough explanations, which is something that we, the players, have to contribute.

About point 3
Proper permission system for resources will be crucial for a good multiplayer experience, so that large number of players can be recruited and given things to play with instantly, instead of this being done through external means where friction builds up.

All in all, I'm pretty optimistic about this patch and I would like the devs to consider things on this post, in order to start slowly but surely building up and mainly retaining a core of a playerbase, from which the community will grow.

It was great when 15 of us strangers talked for hours in a civil manner about a common topic on the discord and I'm happy something constructive came out of it. This game really attracts a special kind of players.

Good luck FB and thank you for the technological marvel that you've built for us so far!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 20, 2022
Messages
3
#5
I regularly attempt to onboard players by assisting them with issues and generally being around as a social element to draw experience from. A large portion of issues I have seen affecting new players have been attributed to 1 and 4.

I have had 4 new players log out after failing to place objects on their laborers in the easybuild hall and getting no feedback as to why it wasn't working (me being no help because I cannot see the placement and them unable/unwilling to stream it).

I have also lost a player to not being able to lock an asteroid in a hauler due to hosting issues.

I am definitely in agreement that a lot of these issues would help longer term player rentention as well. I have personally been plagued by number one endlessly during my multicrew asteroid hauling adventures. This issue is actually a large portion of why I stopped streaming the game. It hurt to show the game in a bad light AND I still wanted to play it.

Networking is definitely one of the hardest parts of this game and I get that. Many new players don't and/or don't care. When things dont work without feedback(network or otherwise) its an easy "F**k it" point for new players and we can't have that in their initial experience and expect them to stay. I will continue to try and alleviate issues for them, but as it stands I tend to now offer rides in my asteroid hauler/miner over taking them out as a ship group. I also I tend to revert to teaching them building outside of the Easybuild Hall due to my lack of ability to help them troubleshoot or even understand problems within that system.
 

Kmank

Well-known endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
80
#6
I really enjoyed the discussion we had, extremely well thoughtout ideas and a lot of things were cut that we didn't think were immediately important. As for my feedback on the above points I would like to add:

1.1 Ship to ship hosting bugs causing logistical issues (e.g., propellant disappearing).
I haven't seen this be as much of an issue lately but I still have the occasional fuel rod losing all power for no reason. This can be a fatal issue for new players as they will likely not have a replacement.

2.1 Rank-based & player-based access control over storage to allow players different storage permissions. (Same as bank) & 2.2 Allow buying ships from the factory hall SSC using materials and parts in station company storage.
I feel like this is one of the core reasons my old faction (Republic, 100+ members) was having difficulty retaining players in game. It was hard for individuals to feel like they were contributing to the whole and thus lost interest. Also it was extremely difficult to allocate resources to projects as they were locked behind someones account storage.

3.1 Short range line-of-sight player identification.
Having played in both sieges so far, having a system of LOS player identification (very close and perhaps linked to their hitbox) would have been amazing. The most interesting part of the whole siege was when I was on foot and I saw somone on the enemy team talk to their teammate in local chat. Being able to hunt them down and kill them was the highlight of the siege as I personally knew who I took down. If I am close enough to see an endo's face in a hand-to-hand combat, I should be able to recognise who it is.

3.2 Company-Rank based permissions. Bank, storage, ships, stations, etc.
See my comments on 2.1 same applies here.

3.3 Allow direct creation of Company stations.
This is important for a company with almost any size. Having the ability to allocate a station as a company station not only give the company member's a sense of ownership but helps to create an active community around that station.

3.4 Company and Job based station permissions. Allow assigning an entire company's permission at once, and allow setting permission by job.
This would have personally saved me literral hours. 3 stations, 100+ members, adding each by hand, not fun.

4. More player feedback from ingame errors.
Probably one of the more frustrating things in the game is the lack of feedback that is recieved when you do something wrong. Such as snapping something in the wrong place, I still find myself asking "why didn't that work?" when it clearly worked before. Even more so is this frustrating to new players and is one of the main things we have to talk them through.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
4
#7
I would like to also mention a great point that was brought up:
  • Easy way to transfer a station and a capital ship between companies

When companies dissassemble or merge, there should be a good way to transfer their assets between each other. Also, when a group of friends decide they want to join a larger company, it would be great if there was a system that would allow them to merge the assets with the rest of the company more easily. This will make players less likely to linger in derelict companies in order to keep their assets intact.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2021
Messages
32
#8
I wasn't part of this Discord discussion, but the "ship upgrade" section of the tutorial remains a major problem also.

I still see new players posting their frustration at the length of time to find and gather the materials for it. Then they are prompted to make a crates upgrade that makes their ship even slower. For every player that pleads for help there are certainly many more who just quit.
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
213
#9
Corp stuff is great and all, but honestly, everything (ignoring combat) is more efficient solo in starbase except ship design. group designer bricks at 20000 total items (bolts/ducts/objects).. so the one thing co-op is worth doing co-op doesn't work. Need more reasons to squad up in the first place, its such an anti-social game by its very mechanics right now. (again, ignoring combat)
 

Kenetor

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
326
#10
Last night, 20 active community members of all sorts (from big and small companies, PvP'er, miners, ship designers, and more) got together on discord and had a civil discussion about what was needed to keep players engaged in Starbase. Our focus was on items that were as easy to implement as possible and not dependent upon other major features coming in the future.
  1. Hosting problems:
    1.1 Ship to ship hosting bugs causing logistical issues (e.g., propellant disappearing).
    1.2 Asteroid hosting and host transfer bugs for mining and hauling.
    1.3 Factory Hall Reliability (Ships and items disappearing).

  2. Company/Group Storage:
    2.1 Rank-based & player-based access control over storage to allow players different storage permissions. (Same as bank)
    2.2 Allow buying ships from the factory hall SSC using materials and parts in station company storage.

  3. Company/Group Gameplay:
    3.1 Short range line-of-sight player identification.
    3.2 Company-Rank based permissions. Bank, storage, ships, stations, etc.
    3.3 Allow direct creation of Company stations.
    3.4 Company and Job based station permissions. Allow assigning an entire company's permission at once, and allow setting permission by job.

  4. More player feedback from ingame errors.
since I was pushing everyone to make and comment on these posts in the chat, I did promise I would reply also so here I am!
First up a big thanks to everyone that jumped on and got involved in the chat, and also remained civil, respectful of other viewpoints and generally made it a really nice productive chat to be a part of.

1. hosting problems have affected my company's attempts at playing together, in the lag either causing accidents and a lot of issues in hauling asteroids at the start since some people were helping others as a spotter and guide to get the asteroid in place, if the wrong person was hosting the asteroid this caused numerous issues for us and some demotivation.
and even yesterday we STILL have stuff disappearing from factory halls, after putting in significant effort to build up areas like factory halls and losing this progress, objects and materials, we often ask why do we bother. this has caused people to quit, some not knowing if they will even come back in the future. others get annoyed enough to take long breaks, leaving the rest of us with reduced manpower.

2/3. With so many people coming to this game to specifically play with others, this can be easily seen in the numbers of companies that sprung up even before closed alpha, its mind boggling that nearly a year after early access has launched we still do not have sufficient tools to play together. Credit to Frozenyte for at least starting work on this via company ships and enhanced permissions, BUT this still needs much more work if the game is to keep people around more long term, and easy and efficient and granularly control permission group or company storage is very much needed.
Having this easily based on company ranks would be preferable but even just being able to add permissions toa company outright would be a great start.
Also once any company storage is configured the next obvious step that came up was to be able to have specific members use said company storage for ship and part manufacture.
Groups generally have people that prefer some tasks over others, the game could seriously help these people by letting them do just that, salvagers get parts, miners get ore, all this goes into company storage for ship designers and makers to produce ships from for the company.
This could free up a lot of time organising and swapping resources which is kinda clunky to do right now and completely dependent on the time people are online, and where they are in the universe.

4. there are plenty of cases where thing do not snap, bolts wont go in etc. but the game just generally makes a noise or flashes red as feedback to the player that its not possible, but it never tells you WHY or WHAT the problem is, is there overlapping parts, is there too much space between something to bolt. this sort of short meaningful feedback would reduce a lot of frustration and inform the player as to the specifics so they can action a solution.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
4
#12
4. there are plenty of cases where thing do not snap, bolts wont go in etc. but the game just generally makes a noise or flashes red as feedback to the player that its not possible, but it never tells you WHY or WHAT the problem is, is there overlapping parts, is there too much space between something to bolt. this sort of short meaningful feedback would reduce a lot of frustration and inform the player as to the specifics so they can action a solution.
Good point. Same for easy build module snapping - it needs to inform player properly why something does not snap.
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
1
#13
To add an additional point that was brought up but hasn't been mentioned - just in case some of you need the mental jarring and reminder of it:

Point 4: Thrusters need a better way to diagnose if they're go/no go. Indicate what's making them not work, lack of propellant, proper bolting, parts not aligned, hardpoint connection to structure faulty? We do not know. This has been one of the most common problems plaguing newer players who are trying to get into ship building that I find myself having to help diagnose. Heck, even some of the more experienced builders have to sit down and diagnose ships they've been building because one thruster decided to misbehave and throw off all the others' controls.
 

Oobfiche

Well-known endo
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
61
#14
I honestly dont have anything to say, as im only wired for station building and industry. so i have no general experience of anything here besides the factory hall's headless client going on the fritz and LOD rendering Config's also going on the fritz. for whatever problems and reasons related to the network infrastructure and netcode. P.S. Goodu, you ment hangar halls not factory halls for the SSC terminal.
 
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
3
#15
I would just like to add my experience to the discussion. I am happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of this discussion and would like to repeat this in the future.

1.1 My corp put in all the work to get a station right in the middle of the asteroid belt. We had Haulers, Miners, Tanker etc. It took HOURS to go there and was a HUGE commitment of playtime. We had player who dedicated their limited playtime to do a 4 hour flight. As soon as the first Miners needed a fuel refill, the problems started.

We had the problem that fuel was disappearing into thin air and resource bridges didn't work no matter what we tried. The only way we were able to refill ship was by detaching a tank and putting it on the tanker with bolts (so the game recognized the tank as part of the tanker, then put it back into the hauler or miner.) We had 8 mining ships and it took roughly 2.5 hours to refill each.

The consequence at the start was that I had to assign tasks to player that weren't fun at all. A lot of work towards a goal ended up in more and frustrating work. People lost more and more interest in the game because our gameplay loop was absolutely destroyed.

The situation right now is that I have 11 Ships in the PvP zone that are all almost empty and I cant get them back. These problems were extremely frustrating to my company and really made me struggle to keep it alive.


2.1 Rank-based & player-based access control over storage to allow players different storage permissions. (Same as bank)

Not much to say here. It just makes it EXTREMLY hard to manage a company and there were times that a project couldn't take a step forward due to me being offline. Very frustrating.

3.3 Allow direct creation of Company stations.

I had to assign each player in a company with 75 members and 3 stations, while players were coming and going. It was a HUGE pain in the ass.
We got unlucky and a player who got kicked but did not get his rights revoked to the stations used their access to damage the company.


3.4 Company and Job based station permissions. Allow assigning an entire company's permission at once, and allow setting permission by job.

For an example: If someone is mining and tells me: "hey the freighter is almost filled, tomorrow someone will have to fly it back."

In case this happens it's not possible to tell your company that someone has to empty the freighter. it holds up the whole company due to the fact that it is not possible to manage upcoming work/tasks on a day to day basis. And again: Corp lead offline...nothing goes forward.

A more personal point I would like to make is that it would also help with corp to corp interactions and would be great if players that join a company could decide if they want to give their station or ships to the company. we had this offer a lot actually. but right now those players cant help out.

On this same point. It would also give us the possibility of company mergers.

For the future please give us all these possibilities for factions too. So Player to Player, Player to Corp, Corp to Corp and Corp to Alliance. In all those situations it should be possible to manage ship, station and inventory access rights.

Summary:

Overall my concern as a corp leader was time wasting. I don't mean time wasting to due to inefficiency only, I also mean wasting free time on something that is not actually fun. Most of the time I was a service provider more then a player. This is ok for some parts of my playtime but I had days were I played 12 hours and I ONLY solved problems that were 90% of the time related to what I stated above.

Thank you for reading

Looking forward to other opinions

#revivestarbase
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
1
#16
It was a very good discussion. There was nice representation from all styles of gameplay.

Going with the theme of "short term execution with maximum impact to player retention."

If I were to choose the single most important item missing from the Live Server today that would help significantly with current and future player retention, it would be.....du du DUUUUUUH

2 Company/Group Storage (not ore crates)
* This would provide an environment for all the players to play in the same sandbox so to speak...
* I think many players, possibly all, kind of just assumed we would have shareable storage and it's always a gasp when they find out it isn't in the game(demotivating).
* Crucial to team goalsetting and accomplishing said goals.
* Would provide a lot of depth to group activities in general.

My main reason for choosing this above all the other needed additions is that (from outside looking in) it seems this would be the easiest and quickest addition from a development perspective and proportionately have the largest impact on population and retention.
 

Pink

Endokid
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
2
#17
Company stations, company storage, and automatic permission depending on their company roles to company stations and storage would be a great feature, I don’t know how many times people in my company have asked for things like company stations and storage, but it is more than I can count.
This would also make group gameplay easier and more worth while.
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
213
#18
1.2 - Group Asteroid Mining needs a lot of help, it has a lot of potential and is usually the first thing players strive to do as a group, but the bugs dissuade them quickly after trying
Not even bugs, the game mechanics make it objectively worse to do than mining solo, because the ore is split between two people for the same ship doing the same work. They are objectively better off playing solo, near eachother, than they are on the same ship. That needs to change.
 
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