Edit: This whole Topic only aims at ways of getting more people interested in Shootmania and getting new players to stay. I don't have any problem with the way Shootmania is right now and I just want to come up with ideas to revive it, like the title says.
Dear Maniaplanet community,
I stopped playing Shootmania around 2-3 years ago due to lack of time and a lot of personal travelling.
When after this long period of time I finally started Shootmania again you probably can imagine I was quite sad to see that my favorite game of all time basically is dead.
As a result to that discovery I searched around the Forum, the Web, Steam, etc. and tried to find out what exactly happened to the game and why there is almost no one playing it. This whole thing started to make me realize that with a couple of fundamental changes in the game it could become quite famous and big again
My idea of this Topic is to analyze and evalute Shootmania as it is now Step-by-Step and to offer possible improvements, including the reasoning behind each change, which could possibly make this game big.
Before I am starting with my Ideas and Suggestions I would like to encourage you to participate in this thread. Post your Ideas underneath in the comment section, Like/Vote for this Topic so it gets seen by more people, comment if you like/dislike it, share it with your friends and social media, post it to other forums which could bring potential new players.
I am going to talk about following topics:
1. Marketing and Potential
2. Difficulty for Beginners
2.1. Frustration through Gameplay
2.2. Frustration through lack of rewards
3. Reward system and Elo system
4. Participation of Players
4.4. Guides and Tutorials
5.3. Winner/Looser poses
6. Ingame currency (Maniaplanets)
6.1. Achievable in game
1. Marketing and Potential
As far as I know Shootmania got advertised quite a lot in France and Germany which makes sense since it's a french company who's developing Maniaplanet and the calculations to begin with were probably not that big for the potential active player numbers which I totally understand if that's the case. Shootmania is no Call of Duty or any other high-end Game where tons of resources are available for the production and advertising of the game.
BUTin my oppinion Nadeo forgot one important thing which is called the United States of America.
No, the USA are not the only important place in the world to get your game going but they are the biggest source for advertising a game can get.
Here is what I exactly mean with that:
At least 90% of the most famous streamers are located in the US.
All the biggest E-sports Tournaments are hold, advertised and funded by companies in the US.
There is a huge amount of active players in the United States.
All the biggest social media platforms are located in the US.
As you probably can read out of this the United States of America are a huge potential fame boost for a game like Shootmania, advertise it there, get it growing, get streamers to start playing it and the community will increase in no time.
But Monkey, Shootmania will just get buried by games like CoD or Fortnite and all the money spent on advertisement will be lost.
Yes and No! Of course there is no guarantee for the success of Shootmania but in my opinion with some changes to the game Shootmania has a huge potential especially in the World of Esports which we will discuss in the following section.
What are Esport Tournaments about?
Esport Tournaments are about showing people which Player/Teams are the best of the World. No matter what game you take as an example, Esport Tournaments are purely skill based events between truly skillfull players.
Yes, if you look at CoD, there are factors which make the game not totally skill based since there are so many different weapons, armors, skills and gadgets you can choose from and all of them have different stats and make it easier for you to be better in the game. This is totally true and not neglect able at all but if you take a look at the Pro player games you can see that all those gadgets don't really matter anymore since all of these Pro Players mastered the game and now it's just a fight between the top tier of the world totally depending on each players skill.
I used CoD for an example because it shows that if a game like CoD, which is usually not only skill based, can get such a huge game in the Esports industry then so can Shootmania and furthermore the entry into Esports should be much easier for Shootmania since it is a only skill based game from the beginning so the people don't have to master tons of different things before they can actual focus on being good at the game without any help of ingame advantages.
Shootmania is one of the only totally skill based fast paced first person competitive shooters available. The closest modern games get to Shootmania is Quake but even Quake has different Weapons and Gadgets which reduce the actual skill needed.
Manage to make Shootmania a thing in the Esports World and it's popularity will increase on it's own. People are going to want to increase their skill levels if they have role models/ pro players they can look up to and learn from. Seeing people do impressive things will make other people want to be able to do these things to, that's just basic psychology.
2. Difficulty for Beginners
Since most of the people reading this probably gonna be those who played and loved SM since the beginning I don't really have to tell you that the Start in SM can be quite frustrating from times to times. SM has no mercy on those who haven't mastered the movement and aiming techniques in the beginning.
2.1. Frustration through Gameplay
Starters get almost constantly killed in the beginning of the round and have to sit there and watch the remaining players having fun actually playing the game. They are lacking experience which results in spraying their bullets random around and using all of their stamina at once, they don't know how everything works yet and they don't have any source which will show them what to do and what not to do except of spectating better and more advanced players then themselves which can get quite boring and frustrating since even though you see someone do it doesn't mean that you can do it yourself the next time you try to copy it.
Nadeo used to have beginner servers were only players could join with a rank/skill cap which was set so low, that only beginners were playing against each other till they learned the basic mechanics and after discovering and training in those servers for a bit players could start joining to actual servers with a mix of players in it.
My Idea would be to bring back those beginner servers and construct them after a own elo system were the top players are allowed to proceed into the next step which would be playing on actual servers. In the picture below I tried to visualize how such a server/system could look like.
Since I can't upload any pictures I will just rely on basic typing..Maniaplanet doesn't let me upload any pictures. If anyone knows how to do it please let me know!
The Beginner servers should be they only servers new players can join into as a player. On the beginner server all the newbies play against each other till they achieve a certain Elo score, lets say 1000 Points for example.
The players have a couple of tasks they have to do which is supposed to teach them all the things they can do.
- Capture a pole 0/1
- Kill 10 players 0/10
- Gain a score of +50 0/1
- Win a game by killing the last person alive 0/1
The players gain/lose Elo points for every hit, kill, minute survived, pole captured and game won after each round.
Those who manage to achieve the 1000 Elo Points will recieve a massage that they are now ready and able to play on the actual server from this moment on they wont be able to join the beginner servers anymore.
2.2. Frustration through lack of Rewards
If Starters actually manage to survive and get a couple of points in a round that is all they get. They don't get a high increase in elo points, they don't get any fancy skins or titles to their name. They just get the satisfaction of managing to survive, land a couple of hits or even win the game (which is awesome since it's not that easy to achieve) but all those good things only hold for a matter of minutes, maybe even seconds and get shattered by the next round of dying after being 10 seconds into the game.
And don't get me wrong. I personally love this about Shootmania since I don't need any fancy cosmetics to feel good and valuated by the game, for me the fun factor about a game is to become better every round and to improve myself.
But I also understand that for many players achievements and collectibles are an important part of the game since they give you at least a bit of satisfaction in the progress of getting better and Shootmania is totally behind in that field. I will come back to Cosmetics later in my thread since it is a huge deal for both sides. Players are more satisfied and have something to play for and developers can make it a source of income or just use it as a form of reward.
3. Reward system and Elo system
At the moment the reward system is basically non existent and the reward and elo system is melted together since the only reward you get is in form of elo points.
3.1. Reward System
To gain a lot of elo points after an awesome round is good but to also achieve certain skins, horns, poses, maniaplanets, titles, colors or whatever it might be is better. I will come back to possible cosmetics later in this thread but I just want to show up that a little achievement or a cosmetic item can make a big impact on people in ways of motivation. Add some achievements which will show up on the screen as soon as you completed them. Yeey, your 1000 kill. Keep it up! Collect 500 maniaplanets as a reward.
Things that make the achiever proud and motivated to gain the next possible achievement.
Also it would be nice to get rewarded upon a rank up since that's a pretty big deal to alot of the players.
3.2. Elo system
In the beginning there were 9 possible ranks divided in 3 categories.I am not completely sure if I am still up to date about this topic but I will just use the information I have, please correct me if I am wrong.
We had Bronce which was 1 to 3
We had Silver which was 4-6
And we had Gold which was 7-9
Every step to the next rank was 10000 LP which basically where points you got from doing good in each round.
You could gain LP and you could loose LP always depending on your individual game result. You couldn't loose a rank though, as soon as you managed to rank up the rank was yours forever (not 100% sure if that's true).
Your LP also got influenced by the people you were playing against or you were teaming up with meaning the higher the enemy ranks have been the more LP you could get and same way around, the higher your teammates were ranked, the lower was your potential LP outcome even if you did really well.
Then they added a rank 10 but I am not sure if anyone ever achieved it since the servers were 90k which means after 90k you couldn't gain anymore LP.
In generell the Elo system worked pretty well in my opinion but I would recommend or suggest to add more ranks in total. In the end of my Shootmania gaming days everyone I played with (including myself) was rank 9 but that didn't mean at all that we all were on the same skill level.
So many friends of mine were so much better then me and I myself was better then so many other people I knew who've been also rank 9. I would suggest to add a couple of more ranks after rank 9 and start to let people loose their ranks from rank 9 on if they don't play good.
This would result into a more clear view of the best players which also is a motivational factor since people are gonna try to achieve these rare high ranks which seem more appealing then just beeing one of many rank 9ers
4. Participation of Players
Now we reached the hardest topic of them all (at least for me) since the Participation is what makes Maniaplanet what it is. The participation of the community is awesome on the one hand since it resulted in community cups, new player models, custom horns and avatars, tons of new game modes etc. but on the other hand it probably was one of the main reason for Shootmanias death.
Yes I know that sounds harsh but let me explain. There were 3 groups of creations which resulted in diversity but also in decrease of players.
We had the servers (the smallest problem)
We had new maps
And we had new gamemodes (the biggest problem)
All those things sound kinda good if you look at them in a developing kind of view but they were also pretty bad for the active player numbers. Through all of those different servers and game modes to choose from the community split in small groups who each choose their favorite mode to play. You have to imagine an already not that big community to split from lets say 2-3 possible servers and modes to 10 servers in 20 different modes.
If you look at that with a number it's really sad. Let's visualize it for just a second.
Let's say we have 3 Modes: Royal, Elite, Siege. Each of these modes have 3 main active servers on them people can choose from to play on.
Let's say we have a active community of 1000 people. That would mean we have 1000 people split through 3 modes on 3 servers each.
1000 : 3 = 333
333: 3 = 100
As you can see in this scenario we had around 100 people on every server in every mode.
Now lets see how it looks like after all those community gamemodes and servers were added into the game.
Lets say we have 10 modes now with also 3 servers each.
1000 : 10 = 100
100 : 3 = 33
I won't keep going (even though there were much more servers and gamemodes to choose from) but you can hopefully see me point now.
Not even games like CoD can bring up so many people to fill up all their modes, If you take a look at the newest CoD you will see that all the players play in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Free-for-All and that's basically it. Eventhough with their massive community they can't bring that many players into their game to fill them all, if CoD would split their active players between all their available modes you would have to wait a couple minutes everytime you want to find a new match.
Yes, the community did an awesome job on some of these game modes and I had tons of fun playing them but it would be better if Nadeo controlls the publishing of the gamemodes. Instead of people beeing able to create game modes and putting them up why don't leave it to the developers to decide which mode should become a part of Shootmania.
Make creator contests. People can send in their ideas and Nadeo tests them and in the end of each month one Mode wins and replaces the mode of last months winner. Yes, some people will be sad about loosing their favorite mod, but if a lot of people are missing it you can bring it back as an special event like URF in LoL or maybe even put it into the game forever if there is a huge amount of people requesting it.
Back in the days there were two major servers which were Smurfen and Paragon.
Choose from all the servers and only use the ones who really put a lot of work in their servers like those two mentioned before. Or even create some more Nadeo owned servers again, like the beginner server. Make enough servers for everyone to choose from but keep it at a number that every server has enough players, we don't need 20 servers with 17 of them beeing empty all day.
The only servers apart from what I mentioned above which should be Clan owned are the Elite practice servers where the Clan can put all their members in with a protected password so they have time and peace to train together and invite other clans for a scrimmage.
The map creator is a cool tool but also kinda annoying.
I remember tons of players complaining about maps because of their structure which really wasn't optimal for the game mode they were used for.
Map creation is fun but to create an actual decent and balanced map is really hard and not everyone who creates a map is able to do so.
Same as with the gamemodes it would be good if Nadeo starts controlling the custom maps. Make an event every day for 1 or 2 hours where all the new maps get tested and people can vote for the maps, if a map gets highly liked by the majority of the players put it in the game. That way you will prevent people from quitting the game because of anger about unbalanced custom maps.
4.4. Guides and Tutorials
As we can see from all the custom modes and maps Shootmanias community likes to participate in creating content. Why don't redirect this awesome ability/personality of this community to something where they actually can help their fellow players?
Create Youtube videos on how to get better, explain how the Elosystem works, give advice for certain Obstacle levels/parts.
Teach new players how to microjump, how to control your stamina, how to wall jump efficient, how to shoot properly, how to do rocketjumps and show them the "perfect settings for a smoother game". Give the community a way to participate and while doing that to help each other sharing knowledge and showing them how certain things are done in form of a video tutorial. This will also make the beginning of Shootmania easier for the newbies.
Have one Nadeo controlled server where every new mode and every new map created by the community gets put in. People can join and play on this server and every round the mode and the maps fitting for this mode change. People playing on this server can then vote for their most favorite mode/map and Nadeo can make a monthly count of these votes and decide wehter or not to put the mode/map in the game. If the mode gets in the game the creator gets rewarded.
That way people can still create maps and modes and people can still test those but you make it more compact and prevent the players from splitting into tons of different modes.
Shootmania has a lot of customization possibility for their players. You can choose from custom made skins, horns, and avatars. You can create your own winner/looser poses which will be shown in the end of the game. That's all really nice but also brings a couple of problems which I will list in the following sections.
In generall Nadeo should also take more action in this section of the game. Give people the opportunity to create those things on their own but also offer them a possibility to buy those things. Not everyone wants to spend tons of hours creating their own player model. Give them an Item shop were they can spend in game earned Maniaplanets or actual money to buy cosmetics but make sure that it stays at 100% only visual cosmetics, no stats changing advantages giving items should be added to the game.
Skins are a nice part of the game. Nothing is cooler then running around as Son Goku or Bart Simpson but there is one huge problem about skins and that is that they are also created by the community. Nadeo should only allow Skins which have the exact same values like their Default skin. Nothing is more annoying then a smaller player model you can't see at certain points in a map or a to fat player model which hitbox is the same as the default one since it leads to shots going through parts of the model which aren't covered by the standard hitbox.
It is cool that everyone can choose their custom color but why don't turn those customization ability's into achievements and rewards. Instead of being able to change everything you want before even playing is unnecessary, put unlocking certain colors or effects into the reward system so it's a more rare feeling to finally have the favorite color unlocked etc.
5.3. Winner/Looser poses
Same goes for the poses. It's awesome that everyone can create their own pose and this feature should certainly stay exactly as it is right now.
But not everyone who want's to have a pose is keen on making it on their own. Create some default poses and put them into the reward system. Make some more advanced poses and put them up for a certain money/maniaplanets price. Heck, you can even made rare animated poses or emotes like a little dance or a gesture and put them as a special reward and or into the item shop.
Exactly the same counts for the topic horns. Let people be able to upload their own, but also give them the option to buy or unlock them through playing the game.
Shootmania already has so many possible customization's and so many ways of creating your own personal character so why don't you use it to make playing more attractive to those who want to achieve those customization's by playing instead of actually creating them on their own. Make people want to play for more reasons then just for the fun of playing, give them ways to progress more and to achieve little things like those cosmetics listed above and try to avoid allowing unfair player models and modifications.
6. Ingame curreny
Yes, Maniaplanet already has ingame currency called the Maniaplanets.
And Maniaplanet also has a little Item shop with custom skins, horns and avatars where you can spend Maniaplanets on those cosmetics. But why don't make this whole concept bigger. Nadeo should participate in the Item shop. They should create rare Skins and Poses or Animations. Let people create their content and upload it but control the content which is uploaded and offer additions to the fan based content.
6.1. Achievable in game
Put Maniaplanets in the reward system. Give the players a consecutive login reward system. Put certain colors and skins as rewards for in game progress. The generell idea is to keep the players motivated to come back and play more to achieve more.
As we learned from games like Fortnite and LoL there are tons of people out there who like to spent their money on cosmetics even though the only thing the cosmetics changes are the visual part of the game. Give them a opportunity to spend money on the game so you can use the money for developing and advertising the game. People won't spend much money on basic community skins etc. but they will on nicely done items by Nadeo themselves especially if the only way to get certain items is to pay for them in the Itemshop.
You did it. You reached the end of this post.
When you are reading this it probably means that you've been reading everything from above so I want to say thank you for that.
Secondly I want to say that I know that the chance of reviving the game especially with just a forum post is not high at all but since I really love this game and see true potential in it I just wanted to give it a try.
Please leave me a comment, a like or whatever you can do to help me with this journey if you feel the same way like I do about Shootmania. I would really appreciate it. Make sure to participate in the attached poll!
Have a nice day and I hope to see more of you guys in game (oh and if you do see me in game don't be shy to say hi)