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War Robots首席设计师谈游戏内活动的利弊

发布时间:2019-11-04 09:04:13 Tags:,

War Robots首席设计师谈游戏内活动的利弊

原作者:GameWorldObserver 译者:Vivian Xue

瓦丁·查鲁金(Vadim Charugin),Pixionic工作室的首席游戏设计师,谈论了游戏内活动的重要性以及Pixionic工作室是如何对待这些活动的。

下面这篇文章根据瓦丁在莫斯科“White Nights”游戏行业大会上的演讲PPT整理而成。

一、关于我们对游戏活动的理解,活动的利与弊

在Pixionic,我们怎么看待游戏内活动?这些限时的游戏内活动为玩家提供了额外的内容,也使玩家获得了其他时间段内不具备的能力。

1. 活动的主要好处有哪些?

(1)扩大玩家基础

在假日期间,玩家们拥有更多时间打卡、玩游戏和参与活动。玩家们会进行更多交流、看更多视频。

例如,在我们的YouTube频道上,所有活动相关视频的播放量比常规视频高得多(有时高出几百万)。

(2)再营销(retargeting)的好机会

活动期间的营销活动用户接受度更高,效果更好。这些活动能够有效通过新内容和奖励吸引老用户回归游戏。

(3)提高用户消费

活动期间,用户消费往往比平时高,因为人们在假日期间很容易感性消费,此外,活动期间往往有许多打折促销活动,促进了人们的消费。

War Robots(from apple.com)

War Robots(from apple.com)

(4)测试优化游戏机制的好机会

通过活动,我们增加了新的内容或功能,追踪用户行为,收集反馈。我们不需要特地告知用户这种改变只是暂时的,用户自然能理解。不过,如果他们很喜欢这些新功能,我们通常会在活动结束后保留它们。

2. 活动也存在弊端

(1)活动结束后,用户消费会暂时下降

活动期间,用户的游戏频率比平时高,这可能导致人们对游戏感到厌倦。这种厌倦感会随着时间消逝,但玩家从疲惫中恢复过来之前,游戏指标可能会暂时低于平均水平。

(2)用户会习惯活动

如果游戏内活动过多,玩家将对它们习以为常。他们认为游戏随时会推出新内容和打折。如此一来,玩家会选择等活动时再消费,这将导致游戏收入下降。

(3)如期发布新内容会造成开发压力

许多活动与特定的节日有关。例如,你不可能在2月发布新年活动。为了如期发布新内容,有时你得提前6个月准备。这会使开发团队一直处于压力之中。由于这些活动的发布日期无法延迟,它们上线时常常有许多bug。

二、我们的首次活动

《战争机器人》(游戏邦注War Robots)2016年才开始推出游戏内活动。我们很清楚活动的利与弊,我们也明白这是游戏行业的趋势,因此我们不得不这么做。

然而,在发布首次活动之前,我们要确保两件事:

-当前的游戏内容能够满足所有类型玩家的需求,且开发团队已做好准备研发更多内容。

-我们希望在游戏中尝试一些新设想。

三、活动的开始日期和持续时间

在发布首次活动前,我们对不同的活动开始日期和持续时间进行了测试。以下是我们的实验总结。

-活动应在所有游戏发行的平台上同步进行。如果某个平台比另一个平台早两天开始,会为玩家造成不便,也可能会使开发者感到迷惑。

-活动的持续时间不宜过长。否则用户会厌倦。

例如,我们曾经推出一场从12月初延续到1月中旬的活动。刚开始的几周内,玩家的反响非常积极。但活动进行到第四周时,玩家开始有些疲乏了。到了1月中旬,我们发现玩家活跃度下降了,直到1月结束后,活跃度才恢复到先前的水平。

活动时间也不宜过短。让尽可能多的用户参与活动很重要。我们得出的结论是,最佳的活动持续时间是17-18天。最好在周四开启活动,此时玩家一周的工作已接近尾声。

四、我们在活动期间都做些什么

自推出活动以来,我们对许多与活动相关的事物做了调整。

1. 商店图标

我们在更新游戏的同时更新了游戏的商店图标。玩家看到图标时自然会意识到游戏发生了一些改变,这将鼓励他们回归游戏。

但不要过于频繁地更换图标,否则玩家可能认不出你的游戏,或者感到迷惑:这是新的图标,还是旧的那个?

2. 在地图上增加新的视觉元素

活动期间,为游戏添加一些能够丰富视觉效果、同时不影响玩法的元素是个好主意。这些元素能够提醒玩家新活动开启了。

新的视觉效果通常能引发玩家的讨论。有些人很喜欢它们,有些人不喜欢,玩家们在论坛上发表各自的看法。这足以提高参与度。

但不要永远保留这些新设计。人们可能会审美疲劳,进而产生负面看法。你总不能到了3月还在游戏里挂圣诞树。

让我来分享我们的第一个万圣节活动。我们想到在地图上安插鬼魂机器人,这很符合万圣节的氛围。我们的鬼魂机器人应该神出鬼没的,惊吓玩家,在战场上制造更多混乱。

活动推出前,我们发布了一个相关的视频,该视频的播放量很高并且受到了人们的欢迎。玩家们纷纷盼望着这次更新。

3. 为游戏主界面和UI增加新的视觉元素

如今每当活动到来时,我们尽可能不对地图做太大的调整,而是专注于设计机库和弹窗。我们这样做的理由很简单:任何进入游戏的玩家首先看到的是机库,接着是弹窗。

活动期间,我们遇到的最大的难题是使游戏保持原本的性能水准。如果玩家进入游戏后出现了延迟,他们会产生负面情绪,则活动本身会造成相反的效果。

4. 额外的任务

如今我们总是在活动期间推出新的挑战,使玩家花更多的时间打游戏。

起初,我们推出了任务链,即玩家完成了第一个任务后才能解锁下一个任务,完成的任务越多,奖励也越丰富。

任务链系统有效提高了用户活跃度,每位玩家的平均战斗场次大大增加了。此外,在活动结束后,玩家活跃度回到了先前的水平,并没有大幅下降。

我们还发现,玩家完成某些挑战的频率更高。这时我们意识到玩家对游戏道具的价值判断与我们是不同的。因此,我们改变了这种情形,我们调整了任务顺序,让玩家首先获得武器奖励,之后才是机器人奖励。

我们还注意到,任务链完成度最高的玩家往往:

-消费频率更高

-消费金额更高

-游戏频率更高

然而,这种任务系统有一个大缺陷。如果你在活动末期才开始做任务,你根本没时间完成所有任务。

因此我们重新设计了这个系统。我们决定放弃任务链,简化任务,限制任务的完成时间,并每天分配任务。

如此一来,玩家何时开始完成任务就不重要了。如果你周二做任务,你将获得周二的奖励,周三做任务,你将获得周三的奖励。

我们还减少了任务奖励的总数。同时,我们提高了至少能获得一份奖励的玩家的百分比。总体来看,获得奖励的玩家数量比原先增加了20倍。

5. 在活动期间做测试

我将向你们介绍我们在活动期间都测试什么,以及我们现在正在进行的测试。

(1)新的机器人涂装系统

涂装系统是我们起初引入游戏中的一个临时功能。玩家们能够通过这个新机制购买涂装,改变机器人的外貌。

我们想看看多少玩家对此感兴趣。

我们对结果并不满意。只有一小部分玩家喜欢该机制。大概因为在游戏过程中,玩家根本没空欣赏队友的皮肤,并且由于这是一个以远距离射击为主的游戏,玩家也看不清敌方机器人的皮肤。

(2)扩大部落规模

我们在活动期间测试的另一个功能是扩大部落规模。

我们的部落系统允许玩家累积活动点数。部落的玩家数量越多,部落的点数越高,排名也越高。

我们想看看多少人感兴趣。最终,我们发现很多玩家对部落系统没兴趣。因此,我们下了很大功夫改进整个部落系统。

(3)游戏模式

我们在活动期间最有意思的测试就是测试新游戏模式。每一种新模式都极大地改变了玩法,为玩家带来了新鲜体验。如果该模式广受欢迎,活动结束后我们会保留它。

其中一个被保留下来的模式是“遭遇战”(skirmish mode)。这是我们推出的第一个无评分模式,玩家们只能使用游戏预设的机器人战斗,预设机器人会定时改变。

该模式有三个目的:

-向高级玩家宣传新内容

-帮助新玩家评估武器的价值

-提升留存率

该模式只略微提高了玩家们的兴趣。然而,我们发现玩家们喜欢它的原因是,该模式下规则不是固定的(例如,某些类型的机器人能装配一般无法装配的武器)。

多亏了这个模式,我们的日活跃用户/周活跃用户增长了5%。

(4)A/B测试

活动还使我们能够定期进行A/B测试。

-弹窗

例如,我们会比较不同的活动通知弹窗的效果。

我们向A组玩家展示了一个纯文本弹窗,上面描述了活动内容,还有一个引导玩家点击前往社交平台查看更多细节的“访问”按钮。

B组看到的是包含风格化图片的弹窗,C组看到的是精致的图片,其中一些甚至是动态的。

我们本以为C组的转化率肯定最高。但事实上,包含风格化图片的弹窗效果最好。A组转化率最低。

(5)推送通知

我们还对推送通知进行了A/B测试。

我们将测试者分成8组。我们向每一组玩家推送活动期间的三种通知:

-活动开启

-活动正在进行中(在第二周内推送该通知)

-活动即将结束(倒数第二周)

推送通知的具体内容有着很大不同。除了主要通知外,还有一些关于领取奖励的通知、关于新任务的通知,或是促销通知。

测试结果显示,转化率最高的小组看到的每一条通知都与上一条有着很大区别(主题、内容和动机不同)。

我们还发现了一个有趣的现象,所有带表情符号的推送通知效果都更好。自那以后,我们总是尽可能在通知中使用表情符号。

6. 我们当前进行的测试

我还想向你们分享我们目前正在开展的测试。

例如,去年秋季我们尝试推出了一个区域性活动,该活动所有玩家都能看到,但主要面向某一国玩家。

去年10月,我们推出的是一个以中国国庆为主题的活动,该节假日始于10月初。通常,中国人民会放假一周。显然,玩家们拥有更多的游戏时间。

我们想要弄清:

-中国玩家对该活动的反应如何?

-周末他们玩游戏的时间会增加吗?

-其他国家的用户对这种活动会感兴趣吗?

以上三个问题的测试结果都是积极的。

《战争机器人》发行第六年了,游戏安装量超过了1200万且没有任何增长趋缓的迹象。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Vadim Charugin, Lead Game Designer at Pixonic, speaks on the importance of in-game events and the studio’s experience with them.

What follows is the edited transcript of the keynote Vadim presented at White Nights Moscow.

Events: how we understand them, what are the pros and cons

What do we at Pixonic mean by events? These are in-game events that last for a limited time. They introduce additional content or abilities unavailable to players at other times.

I. What are the main advantages of events?

-They increase the player base;

During holidays, players have much more time to check out the game, play it, and participate in activities. They communicate more, watch more videos.

For example, on our YouTube channel, all videos related to the events get way more views than the regular ones (sometimes by millions).

-Events are perfect for retargeting;

Users respond best to campaigns related to events. They are especially effective in retargeting former users if you promise to award them with new content if they return to the game.

-Events increase purchase count;

During events, users tend to spend more that they usually do. This is because people make emotional purchases during the holidays. In addition, events typically coincide with sales and offers.

-Events are a great way to test your hypotheses and fine-tune the mechanics.

Through events, we add additional features or content, track players’ reaction, collect feedback. We don’t have to communicate to players that the change is only temporary, it’s assumed. However, if they like it very much, they can ask to keep it for good, which we typically do.

II. There are some disadvantages as well:

-Sales temporarily drop after events;

During the events users play more actively than usual. There is a risk that people get fed up with the game. It passes over time, but within this period of recovery from fatigue, the game metrics may be lower than the average.

-Getting used to the events;

If events take place in the game too often, players can get used to them. They will suspect that an event with special content and temporary sales can begin at any moment. And instead of spending money here and now, they will wait for an event. This will lead to a drop in revenue.

-Strict release schedules for seasonal and holiday events.

Many events are associated with specific dates. For example, you can’t release the New Year’s event in February. This keeps the team under constant pressure. To ship new content on time, sometimes you have to start preparing it six months before the release. Because they are impossible to delay, these events often come out with bugs.

III. Our first event

We only started doing events in War Robots in 2016. By then, we clearly understood their pros and cons. We also knew that they became a standard for the industry, so we absolutely had to have them.

However, there were two things to consider before we launched our first event that autumn.

First of all, by that time the game already had enough content for all types of users. And we were ready to make more.

Secondly, we wanted to try something new with the game.

IV. Start time and duration

Since the launch of the first event, we have experimented a lot with the event start time and duration. Here are the conclusions we came to.

An event should take place simultaneously across all platforms that our game was released on. If it starts one day on one platform, and two days later on the other, it will be very inconvenient for the players and may confuse the developers.

An event shouldn’t be too long. Otherwise, the users will get tired.

For example, we had an event that began in early December and ended in mid-January. In the first weeks, players responded very positively. But when the event went on for the fourth week, the players were tired. As a result, by mid-January we saw player activity drop. It took the game the rest of January to recover to the previous level of player activity.

Events should not be too short either. It is important that as many users as possible take part in the event. We came to the conclusion that the optimal duration for an event is 17-18 days. It is better to start events on a Thursday, when the work week is nearing its end.

V. What do we do during an event

Since we started doing events, we’ve changed a lot of things about them.

i. Store icon

This is the change that any player sees as soon as the game is updated. People understand that the game has somehow changed, and this encourages them to return to it.

But don’t change icons too much or too often. Otherwise, players might even fail to recognize your game or they would be confused: is it a new icon? Or the old one?

ii. New visual elements for maps

During events, it’s a good idea to add new elements that do not affect the gameplay but introduce visual diversity. Things like these show players that an event has begun.

New visuals usually provoke discussion in communities because some people love them, others don’t. Players go to the forums, share their opinions. That alone increases the engagement.

But don’t keep the new designs forever. People can get tired and react negatively. You don’t want to still have Christmas trees in the game in March.

Let me tell you about our first Halloween event. We came up with an idea to add ghost robots to maps. It made sense because Halloween is associated with ghosts. Our ghostly robots were supposed to appear here and there, run around the map, scare the players, wreak some extra havoc on the battlefield.

Before the launch of the event, we released a video about this temporary update. The video got a lot of views and was warmly received. The players were waiting for this feature.

However, when we rolled it out, the game started crashing due to large numbers of players. On that Halloween, not everyone was able to see ghost robots. So this event has become something of a legend that many people are still asking and waiting for.

iii. New visual elements for the main screen and the UI

Today we try not to make major changes on the maps for the events. Instead, we focus primarily on the hangar and pop-up windows. The reason for this is simple: any player that enters our game sees the hangar first and gets a pop-up.

The main difficulty for us is to maintain the game’s performance at the same level. If you start the game and it lags, instead of positive emotions you will get negative ones. And the event will have the opposite effect.

iv. Additional tasks

Now we always add quests as part of the events. It makes users spend more time in the game during the events.

Initially, we had quest chains. They worked as follows: as soon as the player completed the first quest, they could proceed to the next one. At the end of each sequence of these tasks, the player received an award. The more chains completed, the better the reward.

The system had a positive impact on user activity. The average number of fights per day per person during events increased significantly. Moreover, after the end of the event, the activity began to return to the previous level. There were no more declines.

We also found that people completed some quests more often than others. This made us realize that players saw the value of in-game objects differently than us. Subsequently, we improved the situation. To do this, it was enough to redistribute quests in such a way that the players first received weapons and only then robots.

We also noticed that the players that advance farthest into quest chains are also the ones who:

-pay most often;
-pay the most;
-play the most.

However, this system had one big flaw. If you entered the game at the end of the event, you couldn’t complete all the quests in the chain: you simply didn’t have enough time.

So we redesigned the system. We decided to let go of the quest chains, made the quests easier, limited their completion time, and started giving them out every day.

So it doesn’t matter if you’ve completed previous quests or not. If you sign in on a Tuesday, you will receive a Tuesday quest, and on Wednesday you will receive the next one.

We also reduced the total number of awards the players could receive in general. At the same time, we have increased the percentage of people who received at least one. Overall, we were able to increase the number of people who receive awards up to 20 times compared to previous events.

v. Testing during events

I would like to discuss something else now. Let me tell you what we tested and what we’re testing now as part of the events.

-New paint job system for robots

We initially introduced the paint job system as a temporary feature. The new mechanic allowed players to purchase paint jobs and change how the robots looked.

We wanted to see how many players would be interested.

We didn’t like the result very much. Only a small fraction of our audience appreciated the new mechanic. It’s probably because players in War Robots don’t have time to study the skins of the allies, and you can’t really see the paint job on your enemies because of the predominantly long-range gameplay.

-Increasing clan size

Another feature that we tested during the events was the option to increase the maximum size of clans.

Our clan system allowed players to accumulate activity points. The more players there were in a clan, the more activity points they had and the higher their clan ranked.

We wanted to test how many people would be interested. In the end, we saw that our clans did not interest a lot of players. Subsequently, we worked really hard to improve the entire system.

-Game modes

The most interesting thing that we test as part of the events is the new game modes. Each of them significantly changes the gameplay, and offers a new experience to the players. If the mode becomes widely popular, it stays after the end of the event.

One of these was the Skirmish mode. This was our first unrated mode, in which players fought each other not with their robots, but with the pre-installed assemblies from developers. The assemblies themselves changed regularly.

This mode had three tasks:

-advertise our new content among high-level players;
-allow new players to evaluate the entire gaming arsenal;
-increase retention.

The feature only increased players’ interest slightly. However, we discovered that players liked this mode because the rules were constantly changing there (for example, some types of robots came equipped with weapons that normally were not fit on them).

Thanks to the mode, the DAU/ WAU ratio grew by 5%.

-A/B testing during events

Events also allow us to regularly conduct A/B tests.

Pop-ups:

For example, we compared the effectiveness of different pop-up windows that notify about the end of an event.

Group A was shown a pop-up with a plain text describing what awaits players during the event, as well as the “Go to” button that linked to the social network for more the details.

Group B saw a pop-up with stylized pictures, and Group C saw beautiful pictures, some of which were even animated.

We thought that group C would show the highest conversion. However, a picture with stylized pictures turned out to be more productive. The smallest conversion was seen in group A.

Notifications:

We also did A/B testing of push notifications.

We divided all players into eight groups. To each group we sent three push notifications during the event:

-Notification that the event started;
-Notification that the event continued (sent during the second week);
-Notification before the last weekend that the event would end soon.

The push notifications were very different in terms of subject matter. In addition to the main information, some of them informed about gifts, others discussed quests or special offers.

The largest conversion was shown by the group in which every new notification was significantly different from the previous ones (in topic, in content and in proposal).

An interesting fact: all the notifications that used Emoji performed better than the others. Since then, we have been using Emoji in our notifications as often as possible.

Ongoing experiments:

Another thing I would like to share with you is our current experiments.

For example, last fall we tried to add a regional event to the game which would be visible to all players but focused primarily on a specific country.

In October, we had an event dedicated to China National Day. This holiday falls on the beginning of October. Usually, no one works in China for the whole week. Obviously, users have more time to play.

What we wanted to see:

-How will Chinese users respond to the event?
-Will they really play more on the weekends?
-Will an event like this be interesting to users from other countries?
-The answers to all these questions were positive.

In its sixth year, War Robots has crossed 120 million installs and shows no signs of slowing down. (source:gameworldobserver

 

 


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