Design Notes

LIFE'S BLOOD

Posted by on 118 comments

 HS

Let's say that you have a boat. The boat has a hole. If the boat takes on water faster than you can bail it out... you have to swim away or drown. A game gets the attention that it can afford. The more popular the game, the more development it gets. If a game gets no support from the players... the game bleeds out and development stops. 

Artix Entertainment has been around since the launch of AdventureQuest in 2002. In that time we have produced a LOT of new games, mobile games and minigames, but they have not all been the mega-hits that AQ Classic and AQW are. 

HeroSmash is a prime example of a game which started strongly but lost its life's blood. Let me explain what happened. 

As I mentioned in this post, games need traffic to provide income and income to stay alive. I even explained how expensive it is and what a delicate balancing act it can be to get that traffic.

HeroSmash started out very strong. We built up a lot of hype behind our new superhero based MMO and we took a new direction with a style that we all liked. The team (at the time there were about 15 talented team members on the project) built the game on the AQW engine but changed everything that we felt was wrong with it and cleaned it up, reducing its size to something more manageable (a difficult, expensive and time consuming task). For months the team kept throwing A+ content into the game every week with new powers and new adventures and new NPCs but fewer and fewer people started showing up. 

The raging torrent of players that we started with became a river, then a stream, then a creek, then a trickle. The game was in freefall and no matter what we did, the game couldn't make enough to support the team. We can't keep a team of 15 working on a game that isn't bringing in any money to support the company so slowly the size of the team was reduced, smaller and smaller until now only Randor and a few volunteers are there to keep the lights on for the VERY small number of players who play HeroSmash (and even smaller number who pay to support it). There are days when the game makes nothing at all. Even a roadside tomato stall makes more than that.

People accuse AE of giving up on HeroSmash (and a few games in similar situations), but the truth of the matter is that the players left us no choice. We stuck around and tried to keep people interested in HeroSmash LONG after we reasonably should have but you can't keep that up forever. 

All that said, the older and less popular games AREN'T GOING ANYWHERE (including, but not limited to, HeroSMash)! Artix has promised that the games would stay open for as long as possible and he means to keep that promise. Even if development has stopped on a game it will remain open until we can literally no longer afford to run the servers, even if it means keeping them going at a slight loss. 

I'm going to say this again. I'm GLAD that all of our games have a free option so that people can have fun in them when they can't afford to support it. BUT, if you like one of our games and you want to see it prosper and grow then get your friends to play. If the game's continuation is a priority for you then support it if you can. Don't just complain that the updates have stopped when it is within YOUR power to change that. 

I hope that the passionate and loyal players of our less popular games take this post to heart. With their help, people might come back and play one day. The game might start turning a profit and we might be able to re-start development on them. How cool would that be?

It's really up to you. 

Sorry Comments are now closed for this post.
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Taybuscus
Taybuscus: Well, Cy, I think it wouldn't kill the community to make ONE pay to play game.
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Cysero
Cysero: That would have us competing with games like WoW. How well do you think we'd fare in that arena?
BinhMinh
BinhMinh: so plz help herosmash get back on it feets .__.
Gjappy
Gjappy: I think Pay to Play is not a good option for AE. Since they have always claimed to be a Free Browser Game. And besides that most pay to play games require a cliënt, which would also ruin the idea of playing in-browser.
Gandalf1197
Gandalf1197: Yeah, I'm kinda with Cysero on this one. The complete lack of pay to play games with AE is what sets them apart from the others. The system itself is as workable as it can be. Games like AQWorlds and AQ can continue because of their strong following. I like how we, as the gamers, have the power to do more about the gaming experience. Gaming companies that run games like WoW and LOTRO don't take your suggestion with as much sincerity as Artix Entertainments.
Kylestien
Kylestien: Cysero, if you read this, the best suggestion i can give on what to is make a thread in the AEGD forums asking for ideas on what both staff and devs can do to make the games get better. I want to help OS for example, and a few of us have came up with some ideas. I know most of them would probably be shot own for various reasons, but we might think of one that would save them.
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Cysero
Cysero: (already mentioned this over Twitter but I'll put it here for everyone else to read) It's part of our job to make these things work and we've tried a lot of things and come up with thousands of ideas to try to do just that. People are suggesting Kickstarter but that doesn't make any sense since you can ALREADY donate to the games by buying memberships or currency in them. Also Kickstarter is for getting funding to develop projects, not support things that have already been made and just get no traffic. People would have a lot of ideas like this in your proposed thread and I'd essentially have to go through and explain why each idea has (probably) already been considered and discarded or why it didn't work when we tried it (much the same way that I'm explaining how this idea probably wouldn't work). No, the best way to help have already been mentioned. Play, get others to play and support what you can if you care about it. Thanks for trying though. I love that you are trying to think outside the box to help!
Taybuscus
Taybuscus: I think you'd be fine in that area, you wouldn't quite go as far as they do, though.
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Cysero
Cysero: We'd get crushed.
iampancake
iampancake: That's like saying Quick Trip can gain more money than Tony Stark.
Spitlicker
Spitlicker: I believe it is more like saying that Circuit City will gain more money than Walmart or Target.
Kylestien
Kylestien: Hrrrrm... Gorllio suggested putting some of the games up on sites that would work for you like Kongregate to get traffic in. Would that be possible? If not, then would it possible to do some advertising for the other games a bit? Not like money advertisng, but just make a DN in AQW saying "Go buy stuff in HS OS and the like?"
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Cysero
Cysero: Kong and all the other popular game portal sites usually demand revenue shares with games as large as ours, meaning that any income we would get from it would, we would immediately offset with that expense. The less popular game portal sites would not get us much or any traffic, but if you look around you will see that we are on several. Advertising on the DNs is what usually happens on the DNs. We tell people whats new and usually now even give them a list of what items they can acquire for ACs or Memberships. That Already happens. And here I am explaining again why the ideas can't work or that we've already tried them.
Karidn
Karidn: I'd say to get a whole team of volunteers, and with time, start to pay them, but it is obviously harder than it sounds like.
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Cysero
Cysero: We already have a large team of volunteers working on AQW, everything from artists to moderators. The reason that we don't pay all of them is that we can't. We don't make enough. See my post about Money.
Kylestien
Kylestien: Well, would this be possible - I seem to recall being mentioned that the games have a offline version that is used for testing and the like. make one of those avalible for each game and allow forum minded coders to mess with it, add major features/Art/ETC that do not require a form of payment to avoid legal issues, then send it to you guys, test it, make sure there's no malicious code, and then put it online and advertise the updates via DN? This would ten draw people in to play which allows you to make PAID content and get money from it?
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Cysero
Cysero: That would not be possible for a lot of reasons. The most that would come of that is people ripping our code off directly to make their own games and try and make money off of our IP (which already happens is the case of private servers, it would just make that much more common).
Cysero
Cysero: I really do love that you're trying to help but I can't stay on here all day explaining why each of these ideas was considered and rejected or already tried. Thanks a lot, though. It really means a lot that you care enough to pour that kind of brain power into trying.
paser3333
paser3333: Cysero, I have made an account and played since the beginning of herosmash, but got bored of it after a month or two and still come on once in awhile to see how its been. I would for this game to go down and stop seeing its further development. I have showed this to all my friends and they do not like it. But I still do, I really hope you see a change of traffic in the future. :)
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Gjappy
Gjappy: What would improve HeroSmash you think?
havoc
havoc: Cysero ,i believe that the problem harosmash thatbis faceing is because it doesnt have an interesting or a long term story like for example aqw( 12 lords of chaos ) its art quality isnfine , the features too just the story line isnjust lame ... same goes to oversoul which ik doesnt grab muh traffic , and updates just slowed down , u can rebuild that u dont need a hge tesm of desiners and coders u just need tallented story line creators , idk if untried thatbsolution but I wanted to say what I think is thebproblem , Good
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havoc
havoc: Good storyline = traffic.. try to make itna players magnet like aqw ;) best wishes ,
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Cysero
Cysero: A good story certainly helps but if it were really that simple, getting traffic would be a simple thing and no decently written game would die or get overlooked.
Gjappy
Gjappy: I think it is a point though, even I missed the storyline in these two named games.
Kylestien
Kylestien: All I know is I refuse to give up on games like OS and will suggest anything I can think of to give them more life. Though I'm not good at this. Already I'm having trouble thinking of ideas.
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The Jop
The Jop: I agree that the best thing for AE's dying games would be storyline. It would be best for them to take as long as they need to in order to make an intro/tutorial and some starting quests, and then their stories can be advertised on the more popular games' websites. The problem with Herosmash and Oversoul is that it isn't clear what to do when you enter the games, so people tend not to explore and they don't return to the games.
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The Jop
The Jop: A break between the sparse item/character releases would also not really hurt the small communities. They already have to wait long periods for updates, so they would most likely be okay with waiting even longer for the chance to make the games thrive again.
Cysero
Cysero: As explained, that is entirely a matter of traffic. If nobody plays, nobody pays. If nobody pays, we can't develop it further. I agree with you that we need a clear new user experience. It's something all of our games have always lacked. Artix would disagree. He really just wants to get right into the action. It's a matter of perspective.
draconiceclipser
draconiceclipser: Would it be possible to "borrow" staff from other games to do a single full release for a low-earning game in order to reignite interest?
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Cysero
Cysero: Most of the staff already works on more than just their primary game. We're already spread pretty thin. But again you have it backwards... people left initially while we were still in full weekly release. We don't need releases to get traffic, we need traffic to justify releases.
iampancake
iampancake: If I buy something off of Heromart, will it still support you guys...? Because I like Heromart items more than membership sometimes, but if it helps more to get memberships then I'll try and do that more!
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Cysero
Cysero: Everything goes back into the same pool eventually but it takes a while. Generally HeroMart is kept separate since it's a very different entity selling real physical products. First, the money from your purchase would to go HeroMart to help them produce new stuff.
iampancake
iampancake: Thanks. And I know I seem to be asking and telling more than helping, but maybe the offer you gave in the beginning AQW membership goes to Herosmash kind of messed it up a little bit. I know I took advantage of that with my 1 year membership I ALREADY had... To help however... sometimes you have to be a bit more... upgradable. Dragonfable was a great game. AQ was more famous. The upgrade you brought from DragonFable to AQW wasn't from Dragonfable to AQW. You went from AQ, then you made Dragonfable which had better ideas but wasn't as famous, then you TOOK Dragonfable, and tried to make it go down the line; but it's only possible if Dragon Fable and AQW help eachother. What does this mean??? Take what people loved, take what people wanted, and help their bounded tie between the two letters A and E let a new video game flow together. Herosmash might need a remake or just a redo, I'd go for a remake. Whatever you do, you have to take the old and new and make them evolve into one. So evolve AQW with Herosmash, maybe even some battle gems in there that's fun,(INCLUDING EPIC DUEL THAT IS A VERY POPULAR GAME)... that's how you make a game. Atleast, i think. I'm really just guessing.
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iampancake
iampancake: I know the issue is usually traffic... but taking what people used to love and what people recently loved and what people want now draws in many different groups. And the more types of people who can enjoy it the more groups there are drawn in; thus the more trafic.
iampancake
iampancake: If any of what I'm saying makes sense, I could easily help you guys out with any idea's you may stumble into. I'm not sure where to go to get my suggestions for your games heard... everytime I go the forums it seems a bit complicated, plus my ideas will be drowned with hundreds of other players thinking other things making what I say a bit hard to be seen. I'm not asking to be a mod... just wandering if maybe there's a better place or a place you could create to get our voices heard in AQW easier other than contests (which I suck at drawing.)
Cysero
Cysero: I'm afraid it's not that simple. The issue is tied to traffic. We can't risk spending valuable time, developer resources and (of course) money on a game that is a proven failure. It would just be an amazingly poor decision on our part. We made the game and we were doing weekly updates WHEN everyone left. The players left first, which CAUSED us to leave. Coming back to something you guys already abandoned would just be foolish without a clear demonstration in actual numbers that people were willing to return to the game and support it.
iampancake
iampancake: Alright Cysero. I guess it was worth a try. I'll stop posting and let you get back to your job ._.
Cysero
Cysero: I really do appreciate the ideas you guys are tossing at us. I mean, the whole idea of these posts is for those of you who read them to understand more about what it's like behind the curtain so I'm happy to entertain this kind of serious discussion about the games. I just wish we hadn't already considered it from every angle so I could say "Hey! Great idea! We'll try it!".
kargouel
kargouel: I'm sorry if this sounds a bit harsh but this is my opinion on the main problems of herosmash. I think as mentioned before by other people there are three main problems with Herosmash. First is the storyline. There really is no storyline in the game. In AQW for example theres the 13 lords of chaos and the weekly releases are related to beating these lords to save the world. I think that is an important part of the game that is missing and it makes people leave the game. I think I remember a storyline that was introduced in the mall area with the slimes (I might be wrong about this), but it never got more developed. I understand that this game is mostly pvp related which brings the second problem of the game, pvp. This game is pvp related but the pvp does not work. The leaderboard is broken so there is no real incentive for people to pvp. Yes, there are items that people should fight for but they have not been updated in a long time. Pvp was popular in the beginning because of all the new powers that were added in the game and the players tried to gain more of these powers to become better and be able to beat the other players in pvp. Finally, the third problem which might be expanded to the other games is not exactly my opinion, but I've heard many players say that membership really is not worth it as it doesn't offer that much more advantages and that they would rather buy smash coins to buy items that they can use when their membership expires. So, I think that hero smash doesn't need major changes as a game. Maybe the storyline and pvp problem can be solved together. For example, two characters can be introduced (hero vs villain), in a similar fashion as Miltonius and Dage in aqw, who can offer quests and items that require players to pvp in order to buy them. That would certainly make people pvp more and would also give them an incentive to improve. Also if this means that the game would become a complete pvp game, that would mean that perhaps the fame system is not required, or perhaps the players can spend a certain amount of fame to buy a certain amount of pvp orbs/tokens (quest items). Finally, the shops don't necessarily have to be updated every week or two weeks. I remember in aqw there used to be random wars in some events that would determine a certain part of the storyline. Perhaps the same can be used in hero smash. I know maybe these suggestions are impossible to implement or maybe as cysero said earlier the staff cannot do them because they don't have the numbers to do so but i think I should say them anyway for you guys to consider. Thanks for reading the post. :) And sorry for any mistakes, english isn't my native language. :))
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havoc
havoc: i didnt mention to make it simple . cysero , make it epic ... something that grabs people attentions... like a good storyline.. accompanied to something like dages skills.. that is something u can carry on , or for example make it something like the avengers stories
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havoc
havoc: (since its a super hero game ) ,, but , u know i personally played it for awhile in my other account but got bored so quick !>... , trust me makeing a fantastic , storyline that players will wait alot to know the end like the 13th lord of chaos (aqw) will rescue it , same goes to oversoul , for oversoul u can make a storyline that dage,, has entered , Nulgath world and is threatenening him with an army and with 11 bosses ;) over 11 months with awesome maps and beasts and wars ;) ;) , :D
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Cysero
Cysero: You don't understand. There is no rescuing it unless it gets more people playing it. We cannot justify spending time further developing a failed game when the HS team already gave it the best that they had. We cannot justify the cost, time or resources on a game that only has 100 people playing it. It might get a re-write or whatever else might help it if people care enough to start playing it again to justify the cost of development. This is not a spend money to make money situation. This isn't a gamble because the players have already abandoned it. The ONLY way to help the game is for people to return to it.
Tray
Tray: Wow that sucks a lot, personally I havent played any AE games in a while since I got more into league of legends and school but every now and then I go and check AQ and AQW. I hope your biggest games are still financially strong. I remember a long time ago you guys said you had ad offers that would pay 15k a day would you still use those if needed?
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HawkSlayer
HawkSlayer: I remember when the super death saga was put into play on herosmash during that time there were also many events put into play aswell i remmber when all that was happening there was a high traffic of people so good storyline random events im pretty sure that will get people to join :D
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Shikamaru
Shikamaru: Yes exactly.. we need more updates like super death trials.. in the super death trial event hero smash had probably 1k-2k players playing in the even
amyrlin
amyrlin: does that mean that nulgath will be coming back to aqw anytime soon-with new storylines??
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TheOriginalFive
TheOriginalFive: Oh, wait, I have another idea: Why not use characters from your "failed" games in one of your mobile projects? Like a HS-themed puzzle/runner game?
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AgentAAA
AgentAAA: The game just wasn't that interesting to me for a few reasons: mainly, it was too much like AQworlds already was, and the story was sort of interesting but a bit disconnected to me. The voice acting was really good, but the plot felt more like every other superhero plot I'd seen. Combine that with the fact the gameplay felt very similar, and the main thing that kept me playing for so long at all was honestly the super-power system, which was a nice way to customize your character and their moves a bit. That combined with the fact it felt meant for a younger age group than I'm a part of at this time, 20 and just about 21 now... I feel like the people it was marketed to already got what they wanted out of AQworlds, more or less, and that it just needed to feel a bit more distinguished. AQ, DF, MQ, and AQW all felt very different and distinct from one another, but with Herosmash I'll admit it felt a lot like AQworlds, and given AQworlds already has what I felt Herosmash could offer, and because I liked AQworlds plot better, I'd say the problem was that it didn't fit into it's own unique niche as much as other artix games did.
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AgentAAA
AgentAAA: frankly, I was never a supporter of Herosmash, though I do hate if it's lost you money... But as far as games go, I'll admit I can see some of the reasons it didn't get a lot of traffic from my own perspective, since I played it from the start. To give feedback:
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Sea.Creature
Sea.Creature: One shall be 'Jamie' in 'The Rise of Guardians' as the last light. But will it possible to even run the servers?
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Masterandrew
Masterandrew: With the near-ending of AQW's storyline. It's bound to get people attracted to those "dying" games if there is a storyline going on over there. Not only does having a good story help, but having a good story where there is a lack of alternatives helps even more. Keep that in mind.
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Kylestien
Kylestien: You see, the PROBLEM here is that it's a cycle. If noone pays, you don't update. If you don't update, then noone pays because there's no REASON to pay. If AE wants to revive these games you need to give a reason for us to pay for Soul Gems in OS or Coins in HS. The problem is if there is no REASOn for us to play and pay for SG, then we won't and we will spend it on other stuff. What you guys need to do is give us a REASOn to throw some money at OS and the others. Now what that reason,
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Cysero
Cysero: It is a cycle now, kind of, but not exactly. It started with the HS team throwing the best stuff they could. People left for their own reasons. Now there is no AE to return to a game that is a PROVEN failure. We've already written it off as a game that nobody wants to play because everyone stopped playing it WHILE we were still updating it. The fans DO have a reason to return which would demonstrate that it does have a viable fan base which would show AE that it still has potential which could be used as an argument to reignite development.
Lightsilocon
Lightsilocon : Cysero, I have a different view upon why Herosmash "flopped". When Herosmash was originally launched players expected a unique MMO but instead they were introduced to an evolved version of AQW and sadly that isnt exactly what a lot of us expected. Herosmash is to similar to AQW. It's safe to be considered AQW 2.0 Being powered from the same engine but with somewhat updated features, and a cartoony interface most likely appealing to a much younger audience than that of AQW. But the AQW community were the ones the game directly gave the "Come play me" to making several appearances on the AQW design notes, but who wants to play (nearly) the same MMO, with just a few different perks? Then later on Herosmash attempted to become bias on PvP ignoring its previous concepts resulting in an ever more lost of its community. I think the biggest mistake with Herosmash was having it powered from AQW's Engine. Just because Herosmash is denied the possibility of being its OWN game, whenever I log into the game myself its just much to similar to AQW a different approach to this game would have ended with much better results.
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Alzerkos
Alzerkos: I appreciate this post, especially as a recent forum discussion that piqued my interest led me to it. Not sure if I'll get a reply, but I was wondering what AE's stance on releasing more complete smaller titles like BattleGems is rather than more games that are intended to be continually updated. Maybe I've just become more cynical as I've gotten older, but I'm starting to feel more and more burnt out at the years it takes for some of AE's games to get content that was mentioned. While I do get the gist of this post, it leaves me with a bit of a bitter aftertaste since large game projects are hyped up with having various features and then never delivered on, or it seems like it'll take a very long time to see those features. When someone tells me they're going to do something, I feel like they should do it, but I don't know if I want to keep waiting years to see something someone said they would do. I'm just interested to know what the feasibility of releasing a complete title, monetized like BattleGems (or maybe even being a full digital purchase), is; something wholly self-contained that would only be expanded on if it were financially feasible rather than titles intended to be updated weekly.
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Cysero
Cysero: The issue with that is the increase in net speeds and other issues like high speed cellular essentially mean that a lot of games have become episodic with frequent updates. We were once the only company that did that but it seems like the whole industry got wise to that once it became possible for them. Frequent updates = more frequent return users. We'd have to build a game with te depth of Skyrim to get any kind of return out of a one-off game with less frequent or no updates. Essentially AE feels (and I think correctly) that if you don't have frequent updates, you lose return users. Which, of course, leads to a drop off in traffic and thus income.
Alzerkos
Alzerkos: Thanks for the reply, Cysero, and also thanks to yourself and all the staff and the many hours you've put into making games. At times, I wish I could say that with far more than mere words. Though, from your reply, I feel it is safe to presume that AE will stick to the free-to-play model, so I don't really see how I can provide any sort of counter to your message as it's the way to provide the greatest return for AE. Fans of AE's "forgotten" titles seem to have only one option left to see the titles receive updates as you've indicated. Now, assuming fans would attempt to come together in a coherent fashion and organize a grassroots effort to revitalize the older games, how supportive would AE be of the effort? In my mind, I'm thinking of an organized effort to go game-by-game. To ask the previous question far less broadly, would AE actively aid the effort by doing things such as using the other more popular titles' Design Notes and social media to help bolster the effort and indicating to the fans if the effort is successful? Also, if such an effort were to be successful, would it prioritize the games being ported to other devices to help them spread?
Cysero
Cysero: That depends entirely on how much time it would take out of whomever's day. Assume that the full work day (usually a 10-12 hours day for most of us) is a full 100 points. We eat lunch at our desks so that doesn't reduce any points. bathroom breaks are accounted for. Meetings and design conversations are likewise accounted for. The full day equals 100 points, and each of those points are used. If supporting the movement took no points (like a tweet) or very few points (like directing people to a specific Facebook Post based on your rallying effort) then it could probably be done. But something like writing a full Design Notes post takes a while... those points would have to come from somewhere else. It's always a cost/benefits analysis. Is what we are doing definitely going to help the games more than what we are sacrificing to do it? I can say that the more steam a grassroots rallying campaign has behind it, the more likely it would be to get then Dev's attention and the better it would do in that cost/benefits analysis.
Kylestien
Kylestien: The probelm with that though Cysero is this: Why would people spend money on/effort getting people into a game that's not being updated? You say AE cannot update a failed game, and you are right. But at the same the players can't and won't support a game that has no reason for them to pay in the first place other then a vague promise of revival. Something needs to be done on BOTH sides to revive the games, not just players. We can only do so much, because how the heck can we convince people to spend money on a game with no updates? Either way, can i ask one question: You said AE thought out various plans to support the games. Can i ask that you guys KEEP working on that? I know it's hard to think of a solution but there's only so much that the few of us players can do without some help in SOME form from AE. However, i agree that the players have a responsability too, but we have lives that we need to give money to, and when we DO have a bit to spare, which would YOU put it to if you had $60: The high budget games with cool features and stuff that gets updated monthly or weekly, or the game that has not had a major update in over a year?
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Cysero
Cysero: The reason that I made this post in the first place was to let the hardcore fans of HS and the other less popular games know exactly WHY AE is absolutely unable (not unwilling... it's no longer out choice) to update these flagging games without increased traffic and funding from you guys AND to give those of you who really care the chance to do the only thing that might change the situation: a grassroots revival campaign. If you guys care enough to spread the word and get people to come to the game (because it's 100% new to anyone who has never played it, which is most people) then that is the SINGLE THING that might alter the situation. That is all that I was trying to do. Explain and suggest the ONLY thing that would help. As to working on other ideas, after spending months banging our heads against the walls coming up with every possible idea that might help the game when it began failing to no avail... at this point, not only are there no avenues left to pursue, but (again, at this point in time) even spending the time on trying to come up with more ideas would be a criminal waste of developer time and brainpower that could be spent on helping the games that people are actually plying and keeping AE afloat. You need to remember that at a smaller indie studio like AE, MUST be spent in the most efficient way possible. Every resource, be it time, money, people or anything else... is limited. We must decide the best way to spend those resources that would give us the best chance of turning a profit while also giving you guys the best experience.
i-love-ae-<3!
i-love-ae-<3!: hey cysero i know this is not going to help a lot but every little bit counts i really enjoy all of your games i have one acc on every single one of your games that you made and often when i have the time go on and play them for a few hours so what im going to do is i am gonna use my HS acc and try to get my friends involved with it more because i love you guys and your games and it would tear my heart out to see them go especially HS so while i go do this could you do me a small favour? please from me give a highfive and a good job to each of you guys (artix dage beleen etc.) if you can do this it would be awesome like i said i love you guys and your games im josh im from nanaimo B.C and im 15 i have bought a lot of stuff from you guys and will continue to do so ill start on the small games and move onto the big ones thx for reading!
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Cysero
Cysero: High five's have been delivered. Having players like you is really the heart of what keeps us excited to do what we do.
Rui.
Rui.: Cysero, lets get down to whythis game sucks.. 1. No clue why this game is called hero smash there is no hero mode in here. 2. Whats the incentive to play ? Pvp pve char development ? No clue... 3. What does real live cash get you... Nil or no real benifit.. 4. Where is a game tutorial.. If i start this game for the forst time i am lost.. No where to go.. No clue what to do.. 5. Char creation.. No clue what items do totally blizzare novice coding. 6. Fun while playing... Can you play for 39 minutes and tell me if ur havin fun dyin over and over... Ok now what can be done tp save this pathetic game. 1. Simpler char creation screen. 2. Novice tutorial 3. Tons of cash for new players $ gets you exclusive skills. 4. Pvp tourna,ents with exclusive rewards. Pve tournaments.. How far can you go before you get pwned... Are you th e hero ??? Team pvp mode .. 5. Cave instances.. Team mode fights to kill monsters.. exclusive dungeon gear 6. Level based gear.. Exclusive $ gear... Make us pay you .. Make us powerful for our money make us legendary heros ... This game is like for ages 5 to 10 you aint gonna get sponsors of you make a kiddish game.. Keep this free to play to lure kids for other artix games.. Lol good luck
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Shikamaru
Shikamaru: Cy, there are about at least 1k players who play hero smash.. and here is what they say every day "hero smash is dead" There meaning is you guys abandoned it.. *sigh* there is only updates like friday the 13 pumpcon.. ect.. and i have upgraded about 4-6 times to support ae.. and a lot of players are waiting for a hero smash update..the reasons.. why ae doesn't have many hs players is because.. 1.No advertisement, 2.weekly update.. ( i understand there can't be a weekly update but at least monthly) well thats all reply back if you can.
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Cysero
Cysero: Please read the post above regarding why the updates stopped and why people think we "abandoned" it. In general, read the post on which you're commenting is a good practice to adopt. There are far less than 1000 regular players and I actually have numbers to look at so please don't argue with me on this one, it would be silly.
Cysero
Cysero: Additional, even of there were 1000 regular players and 10% of them converted to paying users (which is far below ANY of our game's conversion rates, especially HS) it would still be far less than what would be needed to support a full time staff to provide the game the updates that it would need to satisfy most of what the people are saying in this thread. Also, The above appeared snarky but wasn't meant to be, I was seriously offering good advice. Reading the whole post before commenting on it is the only way to effectively debate the points made within.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: cysero.. just if there is anything i can do to help our us.. please tell us.. i really want the game back up and running ;D
jacquesrune
jacquesrune: my budget sadly doesn't allow me to support you but if i could i would pay for membership sorry :(.
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Battlemaster39
Battlemaster39: This explains the rapid decent in quality that I have seen in Oversoul. One suggestion that I can voice to help the situation is to make more of the game available to free players. I've noticed in Oversoul that any of the characters worth possessing are ridiculously hard to find or possess or cost Soul Gems.
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Shikamaru
Shikamaru: Cysero, can you guys do a even on aqw to get more players on hero smash? a trailer.. or even a shop to suggest them to play the game please? i really want the game back up and running
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Cysero
Cysero: It's called cannibalizing traffic and doesn't really help as it doesn't get any NEW players. It would help show interest in the game but we had crossovers, for a while we even had a deal where you got a free HeroSmash membership with your AQW membership and a trailer for the STILL exists in AQW. None of that worked.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: i know you guys did but.. lets not give up now?
Cysero
Cysero: We're already way beyond that, if you haven't noticed the last year or so in HeroSmash. We were left no choice and I explained why in the post. There's a saying that goes "It's no use beating a dead horse". Continuing to develop HS after you guys stopped playing it would be pointless and a dangerous waste of resources. Its up to YOU, not us, to try and bring the horse back from the dead.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: cysero.. lets not give up now.. maybe the events didn't work.. but if we add new levels… to the game more ppl would join and I'm already telling people.. on facbeook,twitter,instagram, to play hero smash I'm doing the best i can so can you please just put 1 shop.. on aqw that has hero smash items, thank you for your time and please approve this :D
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Cysero
Cysero: See above.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: ik cysero.. if we can't do that is there any way i can help?
Cysero
Cysero: You already are but trying to get more players into the game. If we see a spike in players, (even better if they support the game financially) it might be enough to reignite some small development.
Cysero
Cysero: By* not but.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: Ok cysero.. .. i understand.. me and my friends.. are already bringing more players.. but there has got to be a story line at least?
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: what if i make accounts and keep on upgrading them? will that help?
Cysero
Cysero: No, we can tell when a single person creates spam accounts and that actually hurts the games. You'd get the same effect from upgrading your own account over and over and while every bit helps, it would take much more than one person to keep the game afoat.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: ok i won't do that but do u see a number of players increased?
Cysero
Cysero: Practically speaking, yes. In reality all we really need is the income to support development. If Bill Gates decided he loved the game and paid as much as a reasonable player base then we could still restart development but that's not going to happen. So, yes. Substantially more players.
Battlemaster39
Battlemaster39: The best suggestion that I can think of to get people to play the games is to make more things available to free players such as I have noticed in every AE game that most of the best gear requires currency that can only be bought with real money. So please, make more of the best gear available to free players.
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Cysero
Cysero: So (just checking here) you think that the BEST way to get more INCOME to keep the games running is by making MORE of the game FREE?
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: dude.. that is the most stupid.. idea.. no offence.. how will they make money and keep there games running.. think again...
Battlemaster39
Battlemaster39: Sorry, a lot of times my thinking is far from practical and look great in my head but in reality, it doesn't work at all.
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: Looool that Bill Gates part was funny but ok i understand so thanks i will help and i will help in anyway possible and i will keep getting players to join but can you make 1 more server its getting laggy because of the new players
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Shikamaru
Shikamaru: cysero btw ur awesome
Bentleynew
Bentleynew: So much for being founder.
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Kylestien
Kylestien: Right, if the only way to make this work is to get more traffic on the game, then focus on ways of getting more traffic to the games. Maybe offer a promotional deal you need to pay for in OS to get something in AQW or something.
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Cysero
Cysero: That is what the advertising branch of AE does. It's their whole job. But as I mentioned, traffic is not free and advertising costs $$$$. Out funds are limited so they will obviously not spend money advertising a game that stopped pulling in income while we were developing it at full speed. The more money a game generates, the bigger part of the advertising budget it gets. As HS makes negative income, no money can be spent on advertising it.
Cysero
Cysero: The problem with a crossover promotion is that only works with a game that isn't dead (See Battle Gems Founder package). I would say MOST people who bought Founder did so to get the AQW tie ins but it got people plying the game and helped it spread as it was a new game and we were drawing attention to it. HS already had attention drawn to it and nobody stayed, adding new promotional material might help HS make a few quick bucks but would almost certainly not result in any new players, since people would only be buying it for the AQW tie in and once they had it leave HS like the did before. A few quick bucks it a spike but not sustainable growth. Also, it would be limited to people who had their Master Account tied to their AQW account which is a very limited number already whereas Battle Gems was built with a direct AQW connect specifically for the promotion.
TheAleks
TheAleks: I think that there is a great potential in crossover promotion. Especially when using AQW as a jumping board. Cysero you pointed out the difficulties with this kind of promotion. And I am really surprised that a very limited number of players have their AQW account linked to a Master Account. The problem is that people are unaware or uninformed of the perks they get by doing so. What is the number of AQW players that do AExtras? Do they know that they can do the same offers from the Master Account and get more Artix Points than ACs, and then use those points not just to buy ACs but also to get upgrades to any of your games? How many players know that they can buy points using their cell phone or home phone? Not every one owns a credit card (including my self). I as an AQW player started supporting you after I found out I can get points by SMS. And also how many AQW players know about the other games you guys develop. Many players just read the Design Notes (some even don't) and have no idea what other games they could play. So I think you should motivate AQW players in-game first of all to make a Master Account and to start playing the other games. Yes in the beginning players will come to these games for the AQW tie ins. But in a while some players could stay for good. And don't limit your promotion just for the players that spend money. Give a reason for free players as well to come and visit your other games. You can never know when a free player will become a supporter. Make players to play through a quest chain in the new game to unlock some perk so they can get the feel of the game. Not just to buy some package and never login in the game. That's about everything I wanted to say. I hope something of this makes sense and it's possible to implement with a low cost.
boshfighter
boshfighter: The problem with hero smash is most of its updates is focused on customized gear and not really other things,but that's not all.The game is also lacking good storylines.It seriously needs to keep updating more storylines.
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Cysero
Cysero: Thank you for your feedback everyone but you seem to be missing the point. That and all the other critiques would have been useful when the game was flagging, but not really now after its long dead. We know many of the reasons why it failed and we've learned from them but that is beyond the scope of this conversation. This is about why development stopped as a result of people leaving (for whatever reasons they had) and now that this has happened the only hope to maybe get development started again.
NerdieZombie
NerdieZombie: Okay, I don't know the first thing about computer game development, so this may sound dumb. It has been continuously mentioned that the "players just left during updates," did you ever stop to think that, a. the game just sucked (not to be harsh, just reality) or, b. that it isn't as good as your other games? As previously mentioned, people came to the game for something new, and when they realized that it was similar to AQW, they left because they preferred AQW. I did enjoy HS, BUT I enjoyed AQW a lot better. I, like many people who play the games, don't have the time of day to play BOTH HS and AQW, so I chose AQW. "But hey, can't you play one game one day and the other the next?" No, I'm not going to waste my time on a game that I don't enjoy as much when I can be completing quests on AQW. I understand that you need "traffic", but the fact is that there are only so many people that play your games, and they just don't have the time to play all of them. They are going to play their favorites. I don't know if it is an option, but maybe stop creating new games. You have mentioned MULTIPLE times that you don't have the money, so don't spend that limited money on games that won't ever make it. I don't know how long you guys work on developing a game, but maybe it's rushed. Save that money for the currently prospering games. Use it to benefit those games and build up your number of users and supporters. Maybe then, you can begin to develop a game that everyone will love. Take bits and pieces of other games that people love and use it to create a new game. Another suggestion: I don't know how possible this idea is but many you could try creating a game with another company. For example, Call of Duty. They have Treyarch, Activision, and Infinity Ward. Or Halo, with Bungie and Microsoft. It could help benefit both companies. Again, I don't know ANYTHING about game development, but maybe/hopefully this help a little bit.
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jeffchoszen
jeffchoszen: If your thinking of shutting down HS, Then Im totally against it.I have lost my AQW account,and Im not gonna lost my HS account.I have played it for 3 years, My accpunt in AQW got hacked with the email changed I ven beg the AEs.I wont agree getting HS shut down Ive been playing it and I didnt mind about how many players in it as long as we enjoy it some.It will be kinda sad to have some few people who like the game to see the game shutting down.
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Cysero
Cysero: As you read in the post in the bolded section, we have no plans to shut down the HS servers.
Jet
Jet: I know what killed HeroSmash. It was a good game with a lot of potential, but I think the Death Trials started too early. It forced many players to grind and fight too many way too early in the game. This is at least when I stopped. Another thing is turning it into a PvP game didn't seem to be the best choice. Many players had already tried investing in the storyline and quests, which led to the Death's Trials conundrum. I'm not sure how correct I am, but I can at least pinpoint when I noticed the river turning into a trickle.
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Jet
Jet: *I think I know.* Ultimately I'm just guessing.
DerpSonic
DerpSonic: WOW. THANK YOU very much for that. As a hard-core Star Captain of Mechquest, I really do want to see the game regenerate, and even GROW. I won't be forgetting about this post any time soon. Thanks again.
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CammanderCrash
CammanderCrash: This might not work, but why dont we post herosmash all over the DN's of all the successful AE games, so that if players read it, they might be influenced and may play it, but like I said, it might not work, but there is a slight hope that people will play the game and pay for membership, SC, etc. But this is just a theory.
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Velmur
Velmur: What made people leave Herosmash was the lack of a real story and the lack of features presented on the site that were supposed to come. People really wanted a story, and, heck, the players were creating their own interesting stories. Some of the features of the site (Secret identities, lairs) were creative and unusual and made me keep playing in the hopes that we'd eventually get those. However, after several months to a year of not getting those or any news of when those features would come, I just gave up and left.
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Velmur
Velmur: However, I do realize it's too late to change these.
AErules
AErules: well cysero this is kind of a usless comment sorry I couldnt think of anything that might help
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AErules
AErules: but I just want to say you and every1 else at ae are the reason I play
AErules
AErules: for varius reasons I try to SPEND SO MUCH MONEY ONE AE mainly cuz I love the perks but the fact that it helps u is even better
Shikamaru
Shikamaru: Cysero.. this might be a very silly silly question but if your looking for a dev spot in hero smash that can do coding or fix the pvp board.. or stuff like that you can hire me please.. i know a lot about these.. stuff and i can help so please reply back :D #Herosmash
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Dage 666
Dage 666: Well when Oversoul is done and over with (in the development section), while sad as I personally believed in it when I purchased founder I think you guys should put Milton back into his game Adventure Quest Worlds. Dage is good but he has been shifting towards a different style bringing Milton back would bring a resurgence of players and therefore cash flow. I have friends who would personally come back and most likely purchase Acs for his various items.
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MKDarkDraidey
MKDarkDraidey: I hope you read this. The thing is (don't get me wrong or anything I do really appreciate the work you guys are doing, but)From my experience, games don't always turn out how you expected, even if you liked the game you made. What you like doesn't have to be what others like. Players want one thing from companies which is simply "What we deserve, and THAT is a big task for a company to do. First of all, you need to know what the gamers want/like. the problem is, not everyone likes the same thing, so you have to bring some of this and some of that to make a game playable and fun but can be never perfect. Also a big big BIG (that is a big big) way for comapnies to make money/customers is ti listen to what they want and their suggestion, this is VERY important. I know you guys do this BUT you need to work on it, I realized that you aren't doing this or maybe you're doing it but not effective, I mean we are always plan C to /goto. So I suggest you guys should focus more on suggestions. (*I know most of them are spammers/bad or not working ideas) but not all of the ideas are based on mechanics. It could be armor suggestion,events,shops,sagas, NPCS, AI and even games ex,(shooting game in dragonfable format, would be awesome!) Sorry for writing this whole essay, for anyone who is reading this i do appreciate the time you're taking to read this hope this mean something to you.
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Arcane
Arcane : Cysero, I noticed that there isn't an intro to herosmash. I was able to play it(on another computer, because for whatever reason i couldn't log in with my own computer.) I think that if you are introduced to the game mechanic's like walking and getting to choose between Hero and Villian can spark interest in the game, guiding your introduction to the game rather than being thrown into the fire. An intro might first spark interest in the game and keep that interest going, ultimately drawing people in.
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Skrunch
Skrunch : I find it rather sad that Oversoul rapidly went so dead. I remember playing the Alpha, it was so fun and something rather unique in comparrison to the other games you produced, the community (as with all your games) was really friendly and a pleasure for me to interact with. I myself invested alot of money into Oversoul (Around $200). When the update approached, man, heart throbbing moments, trying to locate the characters before any other person and then I would make YouTube videos on the update and characters released. I managed to get a total of 1,100 YouTube subscribers from Oversoul content only. And at the time had around 700 twitter followers. The community in which I and a friend established was so great! We came together and shared information in reguards to oversoul, it was almost family.
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Skrunch
Skrunch : I find it rather sad that Oversoul rapidly went so dead. I remember playing the Alpha, it was so fun and something rather unique in comparrison to the other games you produced, the community (as with all your games) was really friendly and a pleasure for me to interact with. I myself invested alot of money into Oversoul (Around $200). The artists did an amazing job! The background, character art and spfx where eye melting and jaw dropping, and hats off to Milton for the fantastic animations. When the update approached, man, heart throbbing moments, trying to locate the characters before any other person and then I would make YouTube videos on the update and characters released. I managed to get a total of 1,100 YouTube subscribers from Oversoul content only. And at the time had around 700 twitter followers. The community in which I and a friend established was so great! We came together and shared information in reguards to oversoul, they were almost like family. I even started to make a name for my self within Oversoul and people recognized me from my videos, which made me want Oversoul to grow and expand even further, thus my videos could too. But that wasn't the case. Oversoul kept on churning out characters, with nothing else to really do. They were no string of quests, no lore, the farming involved to get characters was extremely tedious. As the gold could only be obtained from killing monsters as there is no other way to obtain it. Which led to people to buying Soul Gems, in which people would call it a "money whoring game". Which it wasnt, but to be fair the prices were a little too high both gold and gem wise. And I that issue coupled with the fact Oversoul wasnt releasing game changing content lead to its death, which sadly I too had to quit. It was too costly and stale. I really wish that Oversoul will flourish, but I feel its too late. I dont know, keep hoping, right?
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EonLight
EonLight: Some suggestions for the AE business model: 1) connect all the games even more than they are now, make all games accessible via mobile, standalone browser, facebook, and or some website like Congregate, or even playable directly through the AE portal. 2) Have more long term encouragements for spending (AQW already did this with the whole new slew of loyalty rewards in the Book of Lore) 2A) Make all premium gear free to storage (similar to AQW, but free to storage in active bag too) 2B) Add a hoarder system that encourages collection of premium gear in some way (maybe through an achievement system that awards in-game currency or other desirable stuff for each tier of achievement) 3)Encourage prolonged activity in each game and all games (AQW again did some stuff on this already) 3A) AE Portal experience bar for all game characters across all games, with new level awarding you a small amount of in-game currency to the game of your choice 3B)Update the centralized achievement system already in AE portal to reflect all achievements across all games and have them unlock simple things like gear, or even simpler, small amounts of in-game premium currency 4) Add more rewards to achievements (can be simple stuff like in-game currency, in-game premium currency, shop, customization function, or luxury item like house)
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