The approach to MP has failed, and what could be done to revive it

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Brandis.

Subforum Moderator
The current approach has not lived up to what many of us believe MP could be, and due to the extent of its failure, proportional changes are required.

I realize this concept is a dead horse, but I hopefully I make some new points.


PROBLEMS

Bannerlord is too expensive


Why buy a very niche game for $50? A $50 game has almost no mainstream appeal, when current multiplayer games are usually cheap or free.

Ignoring the mainstream, if someone's interested in medieval combat, Mordhau is $30, For Honor is $15, Conqueror's Blade is F2P, and Chivalry 2 is $40.

I don't think these games are better than BL, and I consider CB outright bad, but if you're looking for a new game to play, what are you more likely to test out? A $50 game or a game you can download and play for free?


Bannerlord is rarely updated

Current online games constantly have new content and updates. It's a requirement to stay competitive in the market. I don't know how often Mordhau, For Honor, CB, or Chiv2 are updated, but I'd wager it's more frequently than Bannerlord, even when it's in EA and probably receiving the most updates it ever will.

When TWs ships BL, most of the devs are going to want to switch to new projects. Being a developer for a starved, angry, userbase isn't appealing (all the respect to badbuckle for taking the position) when you could work on something new and fun.

As I've said before, what motivation would TW have to update and improve MP after launch? They've already sold the game and have zero to extremely limited advertisement campaigns remaining. The best argument to continue is a flimsy moral obligation to make a good game based on their one sentence Steam description that essentially just states that the game will have multiplayer. After launch, they will have sold almost all of the copies that they ever will, improving MP would result in negligible profit.

How are we (as the mp scene) supposed to convince people to buy a niche $50 game they probably won't like, is rarely updated, and they need to spend 100s of hours to start to be decent at?


Mods and custom servers won't save the scene

They will improve it, but growth is limited.

Expecting modders to create, publish, advertise, and grow the multiplayer scene on par with full time studios is a next to impossible -- and inherently selfish -- request. Unless a number of talented devs quit their actual jobs to work full time on MP for free, I don't see mods being competitive with other games, or maybe even TW's lackluster support for the existing MP.

The best mods at a respectable level of polish are still years out, 2024 by estimate, which is a painfully long wait and could easily be longer.

Additionally, mods and custom servers will fracture the already tiny competitive scene as people chase what they consider the right way to play. Even if some servers/mods are considered having "saved the game," can it really be considered "saved" if 0.01% of the people who bought BL play it and it has no external appeal?


PROBLEMS LIST
  1. The game is too expensive.
  2. No new content and lack of updates.
  3. Devs personally won't want to work on MP.
  4. TW as a company has no incentive to continue development on MP.
  5. Lack of players.
  6. The game requires 100s of hours to not be rolled by veteran players.
I'm leaving off mods and custom servers because those are outside the dev's purview.

Addressing the problems

I'm sure the odds of TW considering these options has to be around zero.


Sell MP for $0 to $10.

MP and SP have separate launchers, so this may have been considered at one point. This would draw in more players and may even help SP sales.

If you're worried about lost income... what lost income? Who in their right mind would buy $5 worth of MP for $50, that doesn't already own the game?


Generate Revenue off New Content

Players like new content. Companies like money. How about a system where if TW doesn't make new content, they won't make money? So yes, I'm proposing a battle pass.

Here's some ideas of how to do this with the loot system:
  • New Classes
    • SP troop trees are far more expansive than MP classes. There is room for many more classes even without new assets.
    • Yes, this would change game balance, but that's the point of new content.
    • Minor factions have no troops in MP and could also help this.
    • Unlockable with loot.
  • New Factions
    • If TW is making constant revenue off MP, they'll be incentivized to release major content updates such as this.
  • Player Banners (ex: APEX BANNERS)
    • Before a Skirmish/Captain match starts, show 6v6 player banners as a splash/loading screen.
    • At the end of all modes, including tdm/siege/battle, show the highest 3 scorers banners so people can flex their performance and their drip.
    • There could be individual banners per faction, or just one overall.
    • Players can buy borders/icons with loot.
    • Have some special elements only available in a battle pass.
  • Player Pictures
    • NSFW steam icons can be a problem.
    • Add in a bunch of pictures that are unlockable with loot.
    • Add in some special ones that are only obtainable through a battle pass.
  • New Skins
    • Already in the game so not much to say here.
This is based around a pass that would increase your loot gain and give you some unique unlockables along the way.

Again, this helps keep TW accountable. If they do nothing, and there's no new content, then there's no reason for players to buy a pass. And for the players who would never buy a pass, they could just ignore it and play normally to gain loot and unlock content.

This should go without saying, but the current loot gain would need to be increased with more things requiring loot to obtain.


Taking a look back at the problems
  1. The game is too expensive. -- now its cheaper
  2. No new content and lack of updates. -- now there is new content and updates
  3. Devs personally won't want to work on MP. -- with a non-starved community its less painful to be an MP dev
  4. TW as a company has no incentive to continue development on MP. -- TW has an incentive to develop MP
  5. Lack of players. -- more players
  6. The game requires 100s of hours to not be rolled by veteran players. -- more players means more new and intermediate players instead of just a small base of veterans. For the comp scene, more new and intermediate players means that lower ranks are much healthier

Summary

The oldschool approach of "high-cost limited-updates" for online games is antiquated and less beneficial for players and game companies, compared to the newschool approach of "low-cost frequent-updates."
 
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Krisee

Sergeant
Good post.
Nobody/barely anyone is buying Bannerlord for multiplayer anymore. If multiplayer is free it can easily be a gateway for them to play (buy) the single player version. Making it free is the best way for multiplayer to become more alive, and it can even boost your single player sales.

If they're confident in the base mechanics of BL, which despite all the criticism aren't actually that bad, then it is an easy gateway to purchasing singleplayer.
 

Younes

Grandmaster Knight
WBWF&SNWVC
You somehow want taleworlds to be kept hostage by introducing a free to play model with a battle pass and expect their work ethnic to suddenly change and for them to roll out regular updates?

Making a game free to play isn't going to suddenly have a million people start playing it when the game is inherently still bad. As you said before, there are MANY free MP games in the market. You'd first have to make bannerlord MP good enough to compete with other F2P's, and let's not kid ourselves, this is not happening.

Overall, your assumption is that TW will change for the better, which is not happening and thus pointless. The game wouldn't have to be F2P if TW actually got competent at developing the MP, they would be able to deliver a product worth the money regardless of F2P.

Also, you're being very baseless about how mods won't save the MP side, it surely did ensure a 10-year MP lifespan for warband despite those last years going down slowly.
 

Turnaround

Veteran
WBNWVC
I like the idea of a separate, cheaper version with just multiplayer.

Adding a paid element to multiplayer kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth but I'd rather that than a super niche MP. This is pretty much the only game I play so I'd like to see it reach its full potential. I would be worried that a freemium model would stifle what's possible with mods.
 

ParzivaI

Sergeant
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I agree with the Bannerlord is rarely updated part, we should be getting way more updates , more maps, private servers, modding tools etc.
It baffles me how the game has been out for 2 years and we still have games crashing mid round

But what baffles me the most is that we're 2022 and we still have people asking for season pass, live services, effortless generic fortnite skins, backflip emotes , backgroud images and unlockable content purchases and other BS to be introduced into their game just to show off.
And actually thinking it's a great idea! And it would 1000% improve your game experience and the overall enjoyment of the game.

Add in a bunch of pictures that are unlockable with loot.
  • Add in some special ones that are only obtainable through a battle pass.
This is based around a pass that would increase your loot gain and give you some unique unlockables along the way.

Again, this helps keep TW accountable. If they do nothing, and there's no new content, then there's no reason for players to buy a pass. And for the players who would never buy a pass, they could just ignore it and play normally to gain loot and unlock content.
We have more than enough evidance this past few years from the game industry on how this season pass/ life service model only hurt the game developing in the long term.
Making it f2p will not improve anything since you lack content and other important features.

Player Banners (ex: APEX BANNERS)
  • Before a Skirmish/Captain match starts, show 6v6 player banners as a splash/loading screen.
  • At the end of all modes, including tdm/siege/battle, show the highest 3 scorers banners so people can flex their performance and their drip.
  • There could be individual banners per faction, or just one overall.
  • Players can buy borders/icons with loot.
  • Have some special elements only available in a battle pass.
Really? Is this what people care this days? Show their colorful fortnite skins and show off? Copy pasting Fortnite / COD /APEX /PUBG and other generic esport life services, season pass crap models will no improve your game, and if you want evidence of this , you don't have to search far for examples, just look up Battlefield 2042.
 
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Brandis.

Subforum Moderator
You somehow want taleworlds to be kept hostage by introducing a free to play model with a battle pass and expect their work ethnic to suddenly change and for them to roll out regular updates?

Making a game free to play isn't going to suddenly have a million people start playing it when the game is inherently still bad. As you said before, there are MANY free MP games in the market. You'd first have to make bannerlord MP good enough to compete with other F2P's, and let's not kid ourselves, this is not happening.

Overall, your assumption is that TW will change for the better, which is not happening and thus pointless. The game wouldn't have to be F2P if TW actually got competent at developing the MP, they would be able to deliver a product worth the money regardless of F2P.

Also, you're being very baseless about how mods won't save the MP side, it surely did ensure a 10-year MP lifespan for warband despite those last years going down slowly.
From my understanding, the problem with MP development is primarily a lack of MP devs. Nin3 seemed quite reasonable and moved the game in the right direction, even if there was quite some time between patches. There's no reason to believe that badbuckle won't be the same way. But there's only one main dev, and probably some others that also do a lot of SP stuff as well.

I'm not sure about your argument for F2P competition. More people would play F2P than if the game was $50. After EA launch and full launch, nearly everyone interested in MP who would purchase the game for $50 will have already done so.

If TW is incompetent and would only hire/assign incompetent people to MP, then yes, obviously F2P would fail in the same way the original approach has. But from our perspective, what do we have to lose if TW tries to overhaul their approach to MP and gives it more resources?

I would be worried that a freemium model would stifle what's possible with mods.
How would a pass for native intrude on mods? BLO is already profiting off MP, and is a P2W (most BIS is premium only) grindfest. Presumably, because it's okay for them, other mods will become P2W as well. At least a native pass wouldn't be P2W.

I agree with the Bannerlord is rarely updated part, we should be getting way more updates , more maps, private servers, modding tools etc.
It baffles me how the game has been out for 2 years and we still have games crashing mid round

But what baffles me the most is that we're 2022 and we still have people asking for season pass, live services, effortless generic fortnite skins, backflip emotes , backgroud images and unlockable content purchases and other BS to be introduced into their game just to show off.
And actually thinking it's a great idea! And it would 1000% improve your game experience and the overall enjoyment of the game.



We have more than enough evidance this past few years from the game industry on how this season pass/ life service model only hurt the game developing in the long term.
Making it f2p will not improve anything since you lack content and other important features.


Really? Is this what people care this days? Show their colorful fortnite skins and show off? Copy pasting Fortnite / COD /APEX /PUBG and other generic esport life services, season pass crap models will no improve your game, and if you want evidence of this , you don't have to search far for examples, just look up Battlefield 2042.
I don't care about skins. I don't have half of mine enabled because I forget. And you're right that these things won't make the game good.

What they do is create incentive for devs to keep developing and releasing new content. It's clear that TW won't put focus into MP with their current approach. This significantly changes their approach and solves a number of issues along the way.
 

_COS_

Recruit
Lol. No one plays multiplayer because it's simply garbage and TW doesn't care about it. Adding skins or battle pass won't make the game any better. I'm sure many people would play multiplayer if they removed class system, fix server crashes, release private servers, add more content, and improve the combat. You don't need much more than that. Thousands of people were playing multiplayer when the game first came out. TW already has an audience.
I do agree that $50 is too expensive for MP though. But they're never going to make it fore free. They should at least make a free to play weekend for people to get a chance to play the game. What makes you think TW will change for better if they release skins or battle pass? They literally made hundreds of million dollars from the game. Do you think they care about releasing a battle pass for 200 people that still play multiplayer? They just need to improve the game based on many feedbacks, that's all they need to do for people to play the game again.
 

Roy1012

Archduke
I'm sure many people would play multiplayer if they removed class system, fix server crashes, release private servers, add more content, and improve the combat. You don't need much more than that.
These are the only things that matter. Everything else is superficial. Nobody cares about anything other than these.
 

Winnie

Sergeant at Arms
WB
Sell MP for $0 to $10.

MP and SP have separate launchers, so this may have been considered at one point. This would draw in more players and may even help SP sales.

If you're worried about lost income... what lost income? Who in their right mind would buy $5 worth of MP for $50, that doesn't already own the game?
MP and SP are now two different games, I agreed to separate MP and sell it at a low price, but it's not free. Free games will make the whole MP unmanageable, an online game should have at least one entry barrier to filter players, look at PUBG as an example :meh:.

Generate Revenue off New Content

Players like new content. Companies like money. How about a system where if TW doesn't make new content, they won't make money? So yes, I'm proposing a battle pass.
I don't like these esports flavored systems, even the existing loot-skin system. During the development of MP at AVRC, it seemed to me that the whole MP was going in the wrong direction, they spent half a year working on loot- Skin and forgot about the custom server, observer mode, battlefield mode, ranking system that we desperately needed. You understand the development efficiency of TW, and developing these new systems means that really meaningful models are being shelved. That's why I love NIN3. The MP team under his leadership knows exactly what MP players need.

Lack of players.
As far as I know, there are not a few players who play every day(20000 players), but only 1% of players play MP(200).

As a CN player, I would like to talk a little bit more about the current lack of vitality on EA server.

1."Smart" server location. https://www.taleworlds.com/en/News/302 In 2019, TW announced a patnership with NetEase, at that time I thought TW would choose to lease servers from NetEase to serve CN players. But almost 3 years have passed, NetEase has no presence in this game. On the contrary, the original CN server became EA server (moved from HongKong to Singapore).
TW seems to have a misunderstanding about which groups they should serve online. Nor does the geographical concept of East Asia seem to include Singapore. If the server name is EA, please locate the server in China, Japan and South Korea. CN players are a large enough group for Taleworlds, but TW doesn't listen to the community CN players, nor does it accept requests from mount&bladecn Forums, and we have absolutely no way to talk to developers.

2.****ty server quality. Can you accept a 90% chance of a server crashing, sometimes a server is inaccessible to all players, and this quality of server is the biggest cause of active players disappearing from EA.

3.Improper mode setting. There are currently five playable modes: Team deathmatch, Duel, Siege, Skirmish, and Captain. For SP players, team deathmatch is the entry mode and the main mode to retain SP players, but who can live with the idea of enemies coming back to life behind you at any moment, or among them. This mode is a mess and makes the player lose the sense of friend or foe. After the battlefield mode comes out, this kind of brain damage mode will be discarded by players.
 

five bucks

Knight
Fantastic summary. Taleworlds needs to see this.
  • Player Pictures
    • NSFW steam icons can be a problem
I agree with all of your post except, funnily enough, this little bit. I don't think NSFW steam icons have been an issue in the majority of multiplayer games that have used them to date, and especially not in a violent, non-family-friendly game like Bannerlord.

Otherwise, agree with everything, and the way your post also looked at it from the perspective of TW is what isn't done often enough as well.
 

Turnaround

Veteran
WBNWVC
How would a pass for native intrude on mods? BLO is already profiting off MP, and is a P2W (most BIS is premium only) grindfest. Presumably, because it's okay for them, other mods will become P2W as well. At least a native pass wouldn't be P2W.

I mean that a move to a freemium model might make them lock down what is and isn’t moddable. Could be wrong though. I definitely don’t like the idea of any kinda of pass or subscription, as I intend to play the game for a long-ass time.
 

VicbossOG

Regular
How is Brandis a forum moderator when he says things like this, "If TW is incompetent and would only hire/assign incompetent people to MP, then yes, obviously F2P would fail in the same way the original approach has. "

Your level of tact is as incompetent as you believe their game design to be.
 

five bucks

Knight
How is Brandis a forum moderator when he says things like this, "If TW is incompetent and would only hire/assign incompetent people to MP, then yes, obviously F2P would fail in the same way the original approach has. "

Your level of tact is as incompetent as you believe their game design to be.
Reading comprehension 101. He said "if", he didn't actually call them incompetent. Also, there is nothing wrong with a forum moderator criticizing TW, in fact it's a very healthy thing.
 

VicbossOG

Regular
Reading comprehension 101. He said "if", he didn't actually call them incompetent. Also, there is nothing wrong with a forum moderator criticizing TW, in fact it's a very healthy thing.
Reading comprehension 202 since you missed that class. " obviously F2P would fail in the same way **the original approach has.** "

Try harder to make yourself look stupider. That was a great laugh.
 

five bucks

Knight
Reading comprehension 202 since you missed that class. " obviously F2P would fail in the same way **the original approach has.** "

Try harder to make yourself look stupider. That was a great laugh.
I didn't miss anything. There is literally nothing wrong with that statement - how else are you supposed to say the original approach has failed? In what pretty, flowery words would you word it, to avoid looking not tactful? There's no different way of saying it - the current playerbase of MP makes it clear to everyone involved that it has failed.

My only mistake was to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you had poor command of English, rather than what you now appear to be doing, criticizing OP for something which is perfectly true and correct.
 

VicbossOG

Regular
I didn't miss anything. There is literally nothing wrong with that statement - how else are you supposed to say the original approach has failed? In what pretty, flowery words would you word it, to avoid looking not tactful? There's no different way of saying it - the current playerbase of MP makes it clear to everyone involved that it has failed.

My only mistake was to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you had poor command of English, rather than what you now appear to be doing, criticizing OP for something which is perfectly true and correct.
Instead of just saying, "oh you were right, my mistake, he did call them incompetent" this is what we got. Seeing as you now are saying he did insult them, that means your earlier statement of 'hurr durr reading 101' is clearly something you've given up on, yet somehow I still have this, 'poor command' of English =). I can only hope that you take reading 202, and transcend to the level of being able to infer from text instead of just take meaning from it verbatim.
 

five bucks

Knight
Instead of just saying, "oh you were right, my mistake, he did call them incompetent" this is what we got
Because he didn't. This is why I pointed out the "if", lmao! Like I said: "He said "if", he didn't actually call them incompetent." Not only do you have flawed reading comprehension but you don't even read my post before replying to it!
 

VicbossOG

Regular
Because he didn't. This is why I pointed out the "if", lmao! Like I said: "He said "if", he didn't actually call them incompetent." Not only do you have flawed reading comprehension but you don't even read my post before replying to it!
'Five bucks, that guy has failed so many times in his life, we wonder if he will be incompetent in the future and fail again.' See how I didn't actually call you incompetent in that sentence? See how it is inferred? There is no point continuing this conversation with monkes who like to whine about how the MP of an unfinished early access game has failed somehow.
 

five bucks

Knight
'Five bucks, that guy has failed so many times in his life, we wonder if he will be incompetent in the future and fail again.' See how I didn't actually call you incompetent in that sentence?
Brandis' post hinges on the "If", which yours doesn't have.

The quote is: "If TW is incompetent and would only hire/assign incompetent people to MP, then yes, obviously F2P would fail in the same way the original approach has."

The use of "if" makes his sentence a hypothetical. In Reading Comprehension 303, they'll teach you about this - it is a hypothetical concept because Brandis is saying if TW hired only incompetent people to MP, they would be incompetent.

But in fact, he is actually arguing against that hypothetical outcome. His use of "if" means that TW has not done this thing. Therefore, he isn't calling them incompetent. Once you finish Reading Comprehension 3.14, perhaps you can begin to grasp the fundamentals of the basics of the underlying components of this concept, friend. :iamamoron:
There is no point continuing this conversation with monkes who like to whine about how the MP of an unfinished early access game has failed somehow.
It has indeed failed. Whether you think it will recover in the future is a separate question, nobody can deny the current state of the game is a failure and will continue to be a failure unless something changes.
 
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