Since the F2P launch, new players have been coming in every day, but some of them don’t stay. This week, we started working on finding out why that is and what we can do to better help newbies set up their companies and stick around. Plus, the upcoming governor system is slowly taking shape.
New month, new goals. In September I spent quite a bit of time on backend tools that weren’t related to Prosperous Universe all that much. And while the theme of “backend work” continues, this month Prosperous Universe will be front and center.
The free-to-play release has gone great. Everyone playing the game since before the release has noticed the greatly increased number of players, the frequent “user X joined” messages on the in-game chat and the usually around 100 concurrently connected users.
But what we see more in the actual numbers: Sadly, only few of those new arrivals actually stick around. To use a bit of online game marketing lingo: Churn is high, retention and conversion rates leave much to be desired. This isn’t all that surprising. After all, PrUn has an (intentionally?) steep learning curve and in its current alpha state lacks a lot of the things necessary to help new players with their first steps in the game. But while we know that we lose a lot of players to churn, we don’t really know where or when.
And that’s my October goal: Build the necessary instrumentation and tooling so that those insights are available to us (and starting in January to our new game designer) so we can make informed decisions about where in the game we need to take off rough edges, add helpers or streamline features.
I am currently knee deep in the server code for the Administration Centers, so no screenshots from me this week. But I want to take the opportunity to talk about the Administration Center and how it will work.
The ultimate goal of the Administration Center is to install a governor that will have the ability to set certain rules for the governed planet.
In the beginning these rules will only include the amount of the production fees per industry and the local market fees. Later on, as more features are developed, other rules might be added. The rules cannot be changed arbitrarily though: For example in faction space the fees will always use the faction’s currency and on starting worlds we might limit the fees to protect new players.
Every player with a PRO license can run for the office of governor but only for one planet at a time. Therefore a player also can only be governor for one planet at a time. The term will most likely be 14 days long.
There are two main mechanisms how a governor is elected. First, each of the planet’s site owners can cast a vote for one of the candidates during the election phase. Second, the Exodus Council (who has the oversight over all Administration Centers) will create various sized tasks for each Administration Center and the fulfillment of these tasks will grant additional votes for a candidate. The tasks can be fulfilled by anyone, not just the planet’s inhabitants, and thus powerful political alliances can be forged.
After a governor is elected, she must choose which party will receive the fees. The selection is limited to the player’s corporation (not company!) and a faction.