Some more impressions

Posts: 1,720
Now that the dust is settling from the 1.5 release and with HotS coming up soon I think its a good time for a discussion about the following topic:

What can be done to revive the custom map community and bring both players and modders back before the HotS release.

This, I would think, would be near and dear to all of us including Blizzard. A lot of these people who left can probably be considered totally lost sales at this point. I run into them on other games and they still think StarCraft 2 is broken and should be avoided. Most of them have stopped checking to see if its been fixed as well.

Now please guys if you choose to post in here don't go into how Blizzard should have done this or that in the past. Nothing can be done about that right now. Lets focus on what they can do in the next few months with the lowest effort.

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The biggest thing I can think of is a nice email to all SC2 holders with links to the main page that has a general walk through and feature list about the new arcade. Emphasising, of course, the open lobbies list.

Blizzard has the big contact list and they might not even have to put out any apology. The biggest and easiest thing they could do is let people know that they fixed the system.

Did they completely fix it? I'd say not but it doesn't matter. What matters, for now. is that people can now play the games they want to.

But since I play multiple games when I go onto teamspeak or in-game chats most of the people, if they show any interested in SC2 at all, still think the system (and therefore game) is completely broken.

Bottom line: Blizzard has the most power to let people know about the arcade. I cannot see a single email to all B.net account holders about the arcade going any harm and could possibly bring some players back.

Thats about it for now.

Discuss/Troll if you wish.
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Posts: 928
10/03/2012 12:15 PMPosted by FockeWulf
What can be done to revive the custom map community and bring both players and modders back before the HotS release.


The Arcade was a step in the right direction, but there are a few more steps to take.

1) Players should be able to create at-will lobbies for a game and to assign a name to the lobby. This will make it much easier to advertise a new map and draw more attention to it.

2) Some network latency issues should be looked at and worked out. I imagine there are many of us with many brilliant ideas for maps driven by keyboard and mouse events, but which are very difficult to implement in a fun and user-friendly manner due to the unnaturally high latencies associated with these events (as opposed to other kinds of trigger events). If this is addressed successfully, you can count on there being more interesting maps getting released.

3) Permitting mapmakers to specify a chat channel to act as the default chat channel for a map. It's one thing to default it to match the map's title, but sometimes, we want something a little different.

As for drawing players back to SC2, I'm actually worried that this might never happen (at least, on the scale we're all hoping for). The trouble is that the damage has already been done, trust (in Blizzard's legendary reputation as a mod-friendly company) has been betrayed, and people are just not happy with how they've been pushing a complete transformation on what had worked so well for over a decade.

But that's all in the past, so all we can really hope to do is rebuild. Things are simply not going to be the same as they were before "in the good old days." It's different now, and it's up to Blizzard to figure out how they can not only compete with the success of the old system, but also with the nostalgia people have attached to the old system and the sense of community that fostered.
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Posts: 535
My opinions :

For the single low-cost/cost-efficient PR move : Similar to what Focke said, mass send an e-mail about the concrete changes of Starcraft II for the everyday player. Even nowadays, I only get 4 players out of 10-12 per game event.

For the single low-cost/cost-efficient Arcade fix : Randomizing the Hosted List to ensure no unpopular map hit the bottom of the list after 3-5 minutes and never get played.

While I would favor a reserve order of the Hosted List, there has side issues to fix as well to make it fully work. Meanwhile, randomizing give less benefits but is probably the most safe to get any benefit.
Edited by Honejasi on 10/3/2012 3:31 PM PDT
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Posts: 464
10/03/2012 02:05 PMPosted by Soga
3) Permitting mapmakers to specify a chat channel to act as the default chat channel for a map. It's one thing to default it to match the map's title, but sometimes, we want something a little different.


^ this please.

Also featuring maps more often? like having a map of the week system. You could have that maps channel listed in the default channel list with a MotW tag. I don't know how maps could be nominated or chosen though. Once they have a list of previous MotW maps they could add a new one every 2 or 3 weeks and just select a previous MotW other times if finding and quickly playtesting candidates was too much of a drain on resources.
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Posts: 1,720
A few notes I would like to make here.

1. I think Blizzard is pretty much done patching the arcade system. I mean we can talk about it all we want but they did their patch. We made the same feedback in Beta and they didn't really act upon it. By the time something goes into Beta with Blizzard its mostly just bug fixing and polishing. No major coding changes. This is why I wish that they would talk major changes in modding over with the modding community before they change something.

We might see something for LotV but I kind of doubt it.

2. Given how we've seen their management work lately it is very unlikely any further large expenditure of resources is going to be put into SC2 modding from now on. As far as they are concerned they did their patch. If the community doesn't revive on its own then they will probably just drop modding.

My chats with the developers, although certainly not definite, leave me with the distinct impression that any concept of a map market is rather far in the future, if that. Right now, as far as they can see SC2 modding isn't making them any money. If HotS sales take a serious drop that might change. Its completely up in the air now if there will be a noticeable sales hit. 3 things are going to sell the expansion to the modding player base: the campaign, the maps, and the arcade.

1. At this rate the Campaign had better be pretty epic because there is much else to go on at the moment. If it proves to be a disappointment then LotV might be hit a little bit.

2. The arcade is doing great for those that are left. Those that who left the game for good don't seem to know about the arcade.

3. As for the maps this doesn't look so good. The maps people want to play are just not available. Of the people who can make them the general attitude is "if they pay me". Blizzard needs to provide some incentive. Mapping contests with prizes might be a good way to go. Another would be the donation/item shop, another is active featuring (sorry but the current rate is still not enough. The list of maps and mappers you need to feature is longer than what I am seeing for featuring) Blizzard should, I imagine, want to get as many of them back as possible before HotS is released. Having more mappers means having more maps which then means having more maps that customers would want to play and they need to buy the game to play on the maps.

I think I can drag the small Diplomacy community into HotS at this point as long as I can tell them that I've gotten some official notice and support (everything to this date is unofficial). Channel "Diplomacy" if you want to talk to them yourselves. Right now they seem to be split roughly 50/50 on whether they will buy HotS or not. And thats just of those that are left.

Of my Teamspeak right now: 2/7 will be buying HotS (actually only 1 the other guy gets it for free and that one guy is me) and a further one bought the collectors edition (and has stated many times he won't be doing that again with Blizzard). And we are a pretty active custom game group.

That is just what I can see and hear with my own eyes and ears. Its too small to be a sample but I think its a strong indication.

Either way I think what support we've had for the community is beginning to wind down or is tied up in HotS. We will have to see after HotS is released.
Edited by FockeWulf on 10/4/2012 12:09 AM PDT
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Posts: 427
3) Permitting mapmakers to specify a chat channel to act as the default chat channel for a map. It's one thing to default it to match the map's title, but sometimes, we want something a little different.


There's a problem with this idea. What if u choose a channel title that conflicts with someone elses? Especially if it conflicts with another's map ACTUAL title(assuming all new maps have a chat channel that uses the map's title by default)? Things could get messy.
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10/03/2012 03:29 PMPosted by Honejasi
For the single low-cost/cost-efficient PR move : Similar to what Focke said, mass send an e-mail about the concrete changes of Starcraft II for the everyday player. Even nowadays, I only get 4 players out of 10-12 per game event.


Unless someone states otherwise I think its fair to say this is the easiest, cheapest and quickest way for Blizzard to get some players back. It shouldn't take more than a day or two to put out the email.

However it needs to be done as soon as possible. The effect of such an email will be severely diminished the closer it comes to HotS release. If they take their time and do is after it could actually have a negative effect: "Oh look they finally fixed the system... Wait I need HotS to play this map... f*ck that." I.e. Get them hoodwinked into it before HotS comes out.
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Posts: 535
In addition, they can send more than just one e-mail over time.

For example :

The first one would obviously be some sort of "We fixed the main issues recently, you can actually play the map you want!"

A second one (and some extra ones) could a sort of "Come to SC2 and try out XYZ new maps!". Obviously, they should point to the decent new maps. Possibly even with Blizzard links or Youtube videos about them.

A third one, closer to HotS would be a gentle remainder of their Arcade fix while pushing HotS.

In this example, the e-mails can honestly help to give the impression that it honestly got fixed (especially the one with the mention of XYZ maps) until they want to send their HotS e-mail.

Obviously, if they skip directly to the 3rd one, players would get the reaction described by Focke and the e-mail might get a negative effect.
Edited by Honejasi on 10/4/2012 10:17 AM PDT
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Posts: 483
I am putting feelers out in my brokenalliances.com community to see if there is any interest in actively recruiting and promoting the custom map scene. If one of my mappers or Focke wants to lead it, we'll be a supporter of sc2 modding again. I'm offering it as a leadership position with full authority and entitlements.

My hope is that someone is interested, but we'll see.
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Posts: 1,720
Well since it looks like the developers disappeared on us (again) I will just have to wait and see if I get an email or not.
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