Why blockmania is losing players. [Gone Wrong?]



  • Disclaimer: What is written here is just a opinion and may not reflect on how things are behind the scene. This is just how I’ve seen the evolution of the server during my 8 months of being an administrator for Blockmania.com. I respect the decisions that Choons makes, however i do disagree with some of his ideology. I am not writing this because i hate him or anything like that, I do it since I see so much potential in this server.


    Who am I to makes these claims?

    My name is Tobias, I’ve been an administrator for Blockmania for 8 months. I am a system administrator for a governmental school in Norway where I do system maintaining, evaluation of the system that are in place and how we can improve it. While doing all of this, I help our students, teachers and administration to with random computer problems. All of that are taken into consideration with the whole system evaluation.
    In addition to that, I’m a cyber security student where I am learning about how to secure the systems that are in place, develop work methods that helps a company to have better control and be more efficient.
    In other words, I have experience with the enterprise and its demands.


    What are the claims?

    First claim is that Blockmania.com is losing around ~3% of its player base every 2 week or so. Even more drastic after raid was launched. My speculation for this are that ezpvp is a hard game to learn and get into. There is close to no documentation on how you’re supposed to play it and what it is, therefore it does not meet the target audience that we have.

    The target audience and the demography is completely wrong. I do not know the numbers exact but the target audience should be anywhere from 8 – 17 years old people. That means that their attention spand is really small. Giving them a lot of books and sites to read are just going to make them lose interest quite fast. I did a small test with 10 different people (friends of mine) to join the server. The test was to see what their reaction and what they think of the server, sort of like an evaluation to say. They all said: "it’s unclear what you’re supposed to do and that it feels a little outdated".

    The focus on what should be developed are wrong. For the past few months the focus has been ezpvp. I think that it’s a bad desition due to its complexity and learning curve. Don’t misunderstand me, I do like ezpvp but having it as the major game of the server was the wrong move.
    I strongly believe that there should not be a “main game” for a server. When you join one of the bigger server such as hypixel and mineplex you will see that they do not have one major game that they support. Rather having a wide arrange of games that players can pick from. When a new player joins the server, they will have the impression that Blockmania is a raid only server. Since they have no idea what raid is, they will join and see this and have an impression that it’s a smp server. http://i.imgur.com/n1dvUm6.png

    The goal of the server is unclear. When I first join, I had an impression that people that the server was just a verification server for your namemc account. While this is still true, ive never quite understood where choons wanted to take the server. After months of chatting I’m still left confused over what Blockmania is going to be. Is it just a verification server or is a minigame server? Is it going to be a community? Is it going blah blah blah. The idea is unclear and hard to work with when the idea is only in choons head.

    Communication with the community is hard. While I understand, this can be a challenge for any server or community, I do think the focus of a server to make sure that there is a platform where things will be announced. Most servers do this by either posting it on their website, forum or even in game. Communication with what the players want is a key element on having a successful server. This can also be achieved by having votes on what the people want. Take runescape as an example here, they have a pool on their front page that people can just vote from. http://i.imgur.com/68fCa6x.png

    What would you do to fix this?
    First thing I would do is create a goal on what the server is all about. Having a goal improves the productivity for the people that are working for you. If the goal is something like “be the biggest server out there” then the goal should be spilted into subgoals. This include knowing who your players are, finding out what they want, making it, give it some time then improve it based on the feedback from the players.

    Another thing which is more accurate is to bring back the soup pvp. While I understand that raid is the focus, having other games that other people can join is not a negative thing. It requires little no maintains and drags more players to the server.

    Use namemc, You have the control over it. So why not use it to bring more attention to the server. More attention = more players which in return gives you more cash.


    TLDR:

    • Losing players due to complex games.

    • Lack of communication with the community.

    • Unclear goals from the staff.

    • The focus is not where it should be.

    I am open for feedback and if I am wrong, gladly correct me.


  • Owner

    My answer to the community:

    Our development has been slow because we have a single part-time developer (Dprox) and we (Tim and I) have been spending our own money to run the server and pay the server costs since it doesn't make nearly enough from donations to break even.

    If I had the money/resources to hire a full-time developer I would have done it years ago.

    When the server is ready to handle large amounts of players and make enough money off them to pay off the server costs, we'll advertise it on our website (namemc.com), which has been growing exponentially for the last two years.

    We're currently averaging over 1 million page views per day.


    My answer to Tobu: (and a more detailed explanation of above ^)

    Just because you didn't listen to absolutely anything we've been talking about in the staff chats for the last 6 months doesn't mean we're lacking direction.

    We haven't advertised the server or tried getting more players on at all in the entire time blockmania.com has been live - and I've explained why several times.

    Use namemc, You have the control over it. So why not use it to bring more attention to the server. More attention = more players which in return gives you more cash.

    If we make a push to advertise the server, we may or may not get a big surge in players that will die down and then we'll have to wait and work on a new push to hype it up again. I don't want to spend my time on that advertising push yet because there's nothing on the server to make our money back on server expenses yet. Having more players for the next 2 weeks would do nothing for us except make more work for the mods. We've been losing money on server expenses since ezpvp/blockmania has existed.
    When our monetization system (which we've been working on this whole time) is finished we'll make an attempt to get players on.

    The focus on what should be developed are wrong. For the past few months the focus has been ezpvp. I think that it’s a bad desition due to its complexity and learning curve. Don’t misunderstand me, I do like ezpvp but having it as the major game of the server was the wrong move.

    It's not the "main server" - it's the one that has the most players. There's three servers up and they're choosing to play Raid more than the other two. And that's with half the features disabled, several bugs, no custom map, and no ranks yet. What part of that makes you think people don't want to play on Raid?
    Additionally, we made it before we made Blockmania - I've told you several times that the whole point of the network was to bring back to EZPvP and expand with the other game-modes we have in progress.

    As for a lack of documentation; type /help and /info in-game.
    I haven't bothered with the little trivial details because we're still working on the core stuff that actually takes work to fix. It would take me 5 minutes to upload the list of features and how to use them but they aren't all functional yet and the ranks are not quite finished.

    As for lack of direction: there isn't much that the staff can do to help with the main things we need unless they can code plugins, we have a single part-time developer working on them right now so it takes time and only the most necessary things are being made first.
    (another big reason we pushed Raid out early is because it's far more developed than any of the other game-modes and has been since before we even owned the blockmania.com domain)

    One of the main things we need is nice, polished maps for our game-modes and it's one of the few things that the non-developer staff can actually help with but nobody has stepped up to help with that so I'm waiting until after the core stuff is finished to do it myself.

    As for a lack of staff (a common complaint):
    The reason we don't have more staff (other than the prime example you're seeing here as I spend time to reply to this) is because people are more likely to cheat/hack on the server when it's incomplete and they don't think it really matters. I'm not trying to build the perfect mod team to ban 95% of our players before it's even released. I have encouraged the staff to hang out on the server and ban players when it's an issue, not to dig in and investigate people and ban as many people as they possibly can.

    And, not to piss on your shoes but... you were here for ~8 months, if you had said ANY of this in the staff chats in that time then I would have known earlier that you didn't understand what we've been trying to do and could have responded to it personally. I don't think there's any other admins that couldn't answer the question "Why don't you advertise the server on NameMC right now?" other than you.


    TL;DR:

    • We haven't been expending our resources on advertising because there's nothing to retain players yet.
    • Most of the staff have been incredibly helpful but they're mainly just here to prepare for when the server is actually released. Right now it's just a hangout server with no real content.
    • EZPvP (Raid) is the first actual server we're putting out because it was already 95% done over two and a half years ago, long before we even started BlockMania.

  • Owner

    Also..

    First claim is that Blockmania.com is losing around ~3% of its player base every 2 week or so.

    That's awfully specific... where are you getting those stats? lol.

    We just passed 100,000 unique logins to the server and last week had more average players than we've ever had.



  • Tobu you have way to much time..



  • @Choons said in Why blockmania is losing players. [Gone Wrong?]:

    While you do make a few good points, there are a few things that I do feel is a little un justified.

    “Just because you didn't listen”

    While a lot of things in the staff chat are indeed relevant towards the server. I personaly find it hard to read 450+ messages everyday where you either chat with another staff member or give out information. I’ve lacking on that side due to the amount of information is either buried away or not relevant. The key information is more often “hidden” and makes it hard to located. Which may make an impression that I am not listing or not paying attention while in fact it just gets filtered in my mentally spam filter.

    In addition to that, you’ve mentioned the goals several times in the chat, I am aware of most of them. Most of the goals that are brought up conflict with other goals that have been brought up in the past, which is why I feel it is unclear.

    “It's not the "main server" - it's the one that has the most players. There's three servers up and they're choosing to play Raid more than the other two. And that's with half the features disabled, several bugs, no custom map, and no ranks yet. What part of that makes you think people don't want to play on Raid?”

    My concern regarding raid is that I don’t see that there are a lot of players that want to play it. The major target audience for Minecraft are kids, creating a hardcore faction server where the goal is to raid other bases seems like a game for people that want to play more than 2 hours a day. As you’re mentioning, Blockmania has 100 000 unique logins. Wants the average playtime for those? What I am trying to say is that you’re creating a game for that 0.1% players that might want to play a game like raid.

    Reasoning why other servers have bigger audience is because they have simpler game that does not last for days or even weeks. The games are in addition simple and understandable so basically anyone can play it. I am not saying that raid will fail, it’s a great game and a lot of fun when you play with your friends. But I do not think it’s a game for the average player.

    “As for a lack of documentation; type /help and /info in-game.
    I haven't bothered with the little trivial details because we're still working on the core stuff that actually takes work to fix. It would take me 5 minutes to upload the list of features and how to use them but they aren't all functional yet and the ranks are not quite finished.”

    That’s nice and all, but there is no introduction to the server. The first instinct of a player is not to type /help or /info. They will simply look around for a few minutes and try to figure it out. Visual text that just floats around are more effective than having books. The books are good, don’t take me wrong. However, there are nothing that stands out that will tell them to use the commands (I know there is something that pops in your chat every now and then, but this only takes up less than 5% of their screen. This makes it a not ideal way to inform new players.).
    To maintain the integrity for the server I will not go into details regarding the core stuff. However, I cannot recall that there has been any mentioning about a monetization system or other core elements.

    “One of the main things we need is nice, polished maps for our game-modes and it's one of the few things that the non-developer staff can actually help with but nobody has stepped up to help with that so I'm waiting until after the core stuff is finished to do it myself.”

    Alright, I knew this and that’s why I took the initiative to get a build-team up and running. It was going well and we created maps that are nice and polished. I understand that there might be a few details that where left out here and there that had to be corrected by you. However, saying that nobody stepped up is completely false.

    “there isn't much that the staff can do to help with the main things we need unless they can code plugins”

    I have on multiple occasions asked what do we need without any responds. While I do not know java in and out, I am quite familiar with programming. It would take me longer than a normal dev, but it would be fully doable.

    “if you had said ANY of this in the staff chats in that time then I would have known earlier that you didn't understand what we've been trying to do and could have responded to it personally.”

    I have on multiple occasions addressed it and we have talked about it even. But I never got some responds from it. When I start doing z thing and show you it, I’ve always gotten a respond that our devs will do it. And or that we don’t need it.

    “That's awfully specific... where are you getting those stats? lol.”

    While a 100k is a lot of unique logins, how many returns? And what is the average play time for them. The stats are nowhere 100% correct, but I have noticed that there has been a drop of players over the duration of 8 months.



  • @Tobu I'd say more the past 2/3 months.


  • BlockMania Administrator

    I have on multiple occasions asked what do we need without any responds. While I do not know java in and out, I am quite familiar with programming. It would take me longer than a normal dev, but it would be fully doable.

    If you don't know Java it would not be "fully doable". You said a lot of ignorant things like that when you were an admin too.



  • @Dprox I fail to see how this adds to the main subject of this post. If me being ignorant was an issue during the time while I was admin, why was this never brought up with me.


  • BlockMania Administrator

    @Tobu I'm not trying to add to the main content of this post, I'm just a dev. What I do know however is that you being generally ignorant during your time as an admin was brought up with you multiple times, by multiple people (myself included), for multiple reasons.



  • There's no way you could obtain this data, your results are very inaccurate, more and more players are joining blockmania everyday, the addition of raid has multiplied that figure, too.


  • Owner

    I was going to reply to your post but I pretty much answered every single question you brought up already, if you read my first one...

    While a 100k is a lot of unique logins, how many returns? And what is the average play time for them. The stats are nowhere 100% correct, but I have noticed that there has been a drop of players over the duration of 8 months.

    But there hasn't.

    I have on multiple occasions addressed it and we have talked about it even. But I never got some responds from it. When I start doing z thing and show you it, I’ve always gotten a respond that our devs will do it. And or that we don’t need it.

    Name one thing you offered to do that I declined.

    I have on multiple occasions asked what do we need without any responds. While I do not know java in and out, I am quite familiar with programming. It would take me longer than a normal dev, but it would be fully doable.

    You never once said anything about making plugins or showed me an example of something you could do and it's very easy for any staff member to see my lists of what we needed done.

    Alright, I knew this and that’s why I took the initiative to get a build-team up and running. It was going well and we created maps that are nice and polished. I understand that there might be a few details that where left out here and there that had to be corrected by you. However, saying that nobody stepped up is completely false.

    You know that's just completely wrong. You had people join your own chat and your own Trello after I already made them and after like 6 months I got maybe 3 usable maps that actually followed my instructions with no config files which I have to make.

    We had a long conversation before you made the build team (which I didn't ask anyone to do) about how I didn't have time to do much more than uploading the maps, and you insisted I wouldn't have to. After the very first map was done I was already in the chats telling people how maps had to be designed, giving out the instructions I gave to you to give to people, fixing issues, looking at maps, getting rid of people you added to the build team that were supposed to be banned from the network (including someone you yourself banned for death threats and forgot to check) and responding to people asking for recognition for their work that wasn't even being used on the server.

    While a lot of things in the staff chat are indeed relevant towards the server. I personaly find it hard to read 450+ messages everyday where you either chat with another staff member or give out information.

    lol... That's the point of a staff chat... What would be the alternative? PM'ing you with a weekly update of everything I've talked about?

    If you can't read my chat full of information related to the server then why did you want to be an admin? (Which you asked me for, by the way.)

    Additionally, your build chat that you just mentioned was 99% stuff that wasn't even related to Minecraft. I separated them into an off-topic chat and a build chat 2 months ago, the build chat has had 9 messages since then.

    Reasoning why other servers have bigger audience is because they have simpler game that does not last for days or even weeks. The games are in addition simple and understandable so basically anyone can play it.

    Do you mean games like... the first two servers we've had for the last 8 months?

    That’s nice and all, but there is no introduction to the server. The first instinct of a player is not to type /help or /info. They will simply look around for a few minutes and try to figure it out. Visual text that just floats around are more effective than having books.>

    I was responding to you saying there was literally 'no' documentation about how the server works. Not wanting to read it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I already explained in my first post why I haven't added other ways to alert people about it.


  • Owner

    The only thing I remember you ever mentioning about helping with code was about some kind of neural network for AI that played Minigames which you admitted you wouldn't know how to code in Java or Bukkit.

    And then I said this:

    http://i.imgur.com/Fg9HgcL.png

    That was on the 8th.

    Did you ever make anything? Because that's like 1,000 times easier than your original suggestion and falls under all the criteria you just mentioned about simpler, shorter games to attract people rather than something you have to take time to learn and requires none of our coder's time.



  • grabs popcorn



  • @RemixHeart Mature.



  • Grabs doritos and mountain dew



  • grabs the whole entire refrigerator and 10 bags of candy


  • Owner

    grabs two hotdogs in the same bun



  • @Choons said in Why blockmania is losing players. [Gone Wrong?]:

    grabs two hotdogs in the same bun

    Am I jumping in on this?



  • grabs headphones nd a snack nd the whole grocery store bc i run outta food too easily oop s



  • Apperently, this thread just turned into why I was demoted thread. While this is way offtopic of the main subject, you’re leaving me in a corner where i’d have to reply towards your comments.

    “But there hasn't.”

    I dont have the data to backup my claim, The claim was what ive noticed. Not a high technical review the player base.

    “Name one thing you offered to do that I declined.”

    The parkour skript I created to you while I was a moderator and unaware of the event plug in ( The script was fully operateble that didt need any configuring at all.).

    “You never once said anything about making plugins or showed me an example of something you could do and it's very easy for any staff member to see my lists of what we needed done.”

    We’ve talked multible times about this, Never showing you a actual plugin. Ive created multible PoC plugins that you’ve declined. The frustrating part about that is we talked about it z code a few days earlier and when I present you the proof of concept, You’ve always said that our devs will get around to do it and there ist a need for me doing it.

    “You know that's just completely wrong. You had people join your own chat and your own Trello after I already made them and after like 6 months I got maybe 3 usable maps that actually followed my instructions with no config files which I have to make.”

    I dont understand how that can be wrong. You said :“staff can actually help with but nobody has stepped up to help with that so I'm waiting until after the core stuff is finished to do it myself.” and I said that you where wrong on that part. I explained that I took initiative to create the build-team then you tried correct me regarding it. You mentioned that you only got ~3 maps of that time, which means that someone did something. Unless I am nobody in your eyes (sniff).

    Yes, while this is true I did create a new telegram chat and a trello. I do not understand why that has been a issue for you. I asked you multible times to add me where you only added me to a dead skype chat after 2 weeks of asking you. Until this day, I was never added or invited to the other trello.

    I did that because I was sick and tired of not seeing progress on the server. I understand that its only you, Tim and Dprox and have limited time everyday to do stuff. I figured that I figured that i’ve had to do my part and push on this one area that I could help.

    If you actually added those 3 maps maybe people would stick around and build more. Instead of blaming the entire team to not do anything. There have been multiple, super amazing builders that you’ve either yelled at for having a opinion (like you’re doing now) or said that everything that they has done is for nothing. The amount of negativity towards the build-team is insane which is also why a lot of people do not want to build for you.

    All the information that you gave me was directly copy pasted towards each builder that joined the team. Blaming me for not giving them your info is once more a false accusation.
    (In addition to that, the build document was on the trello aswell for people to read.)

    “getting rid of people you added to the build team that were supposed to be banned from the network ”

    This is where one of your great plans conflicts with itself. You’ve said to me that we can easily milk people for maps and when we don't need them anymore we just toss them off.

    “including someone you yourself banned for death threats and forgot to check”

    I did not forget to check that person. If you would actually listen to the case with x person you would completely understand why I did what I did. But no, you said: “You know what, fuck this”. Giving me no time or reason to explain the situation to you.

    “If you can't read my chat full of information related to the server then why did you want to be an admin? (Which you asked me for, by the way.)”

    I did not ask you to be a Admin, I asked if you could extend my permissions so I could be more efficient with dealing with hackers and people in general. Back then, moderators could not teleport and [Blurred out to maintain integrity] stuff.

    “We had a long conversation before you made the build team (which I didn't ask anyone to do)”

    This is also where you conflicts with yourself. You said earlier in this thread : “actually help with but nobody has stepped up”, which is why I said that the goals are unclear in the first place.

    “The only thing I remember you ever mentioning about helping with code was about some kind of neural network for AI that played Minigames which you admitted you wouldn't know how to code in Java or Bukkit.”

    I dont understand why you’re bringing that up once more. I have multiple times in this thread explained that I do not know java. I program in python and are currently learning c++.

    “That was on the 8th.
    Did you ever make anything?”

    Yes, I was creating a “murderer” mini-game thing that me and mike used to do with a few people, the issue we had was it took 1-2 hours to set up. So I started creating but I was demoted, I cleared my computer with all blockmania related things.

    The idea about the AI was to create a client side mod that would learn how to play games, while I took your minigame server as a example. Yes, there are 100’s of bots out there that would potenialy do the same thing. It would be easier to set up and demand less resources. I started to talk about it due to the fact that machine learning is a cool technology and I wanted to test it out myself.


    Choons, I respect you. I disagree with you on certain aspects but there is one major thing you have to learn. You’d have to learn to know that you are not always 100% correct. Your word is not law.

    For instance, When I first meet you. We had a small argument on how the passwords should be stored in the database. You said one thing and I said something else. But it turned out that I was correct on that subject of matter.

    Another instance was when @oaf was demoted. He said that skype resolvers do not work anymore but you stood there arguing that it still does. Once more, you were proven wrong. What did you do? You demoted the guy.
    You’re being blinded by yourself and letting your feelings get in the way to make rightful decitions.

    Did anyone read my disclaimer or what?


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