The process for game design in Web3 often follows the same blueprint as traditional gaming. The image below shows the game design stage cycle starting from initiation, where the team usually defines the game and how the users will engage until the game launch. There was a time in gaming history when launching the game meant saying goodbye to it and shifting all system and team resources to a new title shortly after its release. However, in today’s market, games are more and more live service operations with ongoing development and updates over time. Anticipating changes and growth of a game after launch is a full process in and of itself. The games remain live while it is updated, altered, and maintained with an update to players. Because of that stage, we built Thunderstruck.
Credit: Rido Ramadan & Yani Widyan
Releasing Content Without Thunderstruck
Updates are generally used to address known bugs, add new content, or optimise the game. Before Thunderstruck, adding new content post-launch did not factor in the player’s behaviour in the game. There was little to learn if your updates affected the players’ behaviour inside the game, and it was often too late.
Releasing Content With Thunderstruck
When Thunderstruck receives the game event life, it classifies each player by examining their behaviour in the game and sends back the percentage of each player type. Then you can use this data to decide what type of game mechanics you need to add or modify to attract a specific player type that you want in your game. Looking at Thunderstruck results in the image below, we can see that this game is missing Socializer (players who experience fun interacting with other players), Scientist (those who prefer to gather resources and craft or improve items), and Speedster (players who race to be among the first to reach the end-game content). However, this game only needs to target socialisers to fulfil the secondary behaviour for which the game was built. Now, game developers can make insightful decisions to add new social mechanics to attract more Socialisers to their game; for example, group content, matchmaking systems, trading, gifting, guild/clan content and friend-ladder. Then after adding the social mechanics, Thunderstruck will keep monitoring the progress of the player types in the game and feed it back to you to reassess.
Learning from Destiny 2’s Biggest Mistake
Credit: Bungie Software
What would have happened if Destiny 2 used Thunderstruck from the beginning? Destiny 2 is a traditional free-to-play online FPS game. It was released originally as pay-to-play in 2017, then switched to a free-to-play model in 2019. Destiny 2 attracted many different types of players due to the variety of game mechanics that motivated those players to continue playing the game. However, as a five-year-old game, some could say eight years old, as it is the sequel to 2014’s Destiny, the game had many expansion packs which added new content and furthered the story to retain as many players as they could. The question here is how much they succeed in retaining their players after each expansion. Does their decision to add new mechanics based only on feedback from their community? How hard was it to take these decisions blindly from the behaviour of their players in the game?
Since 2017, players have been shouting about lacking some social mechanics they need to enjoy the game, like having in-game matchmaking for all activities. The next shortcut is taken from the feedback of a player on Reddit in 2017. In the feedback, the player talked about laking of matchmaking for activities like raids and nightfall. After five years of this feedback, Bungie is adding that mechanics. Destiny 2 developers announced in Destiny 2 showcase 2022 Livestream that they are adding the Looking-For-Group feature as part of many additions to make the game friendly to new players. Assume gamers were searching for a fireteam for non-matchmade activities. Previously, they would have to use the Destiny 2 app’s fireteam locator, but that capability is now being added to the game. Players will be able to team together to undertake dungeons, raids, and nightfalls. Bungie thinks that by making it simpler to locate a group for end-game stuff, it will provide a better new player experience where it is easier to party up.
Credit: Reddit, Inc.
The question here is, why did it talk Bungie five years to take this decision? The answer is that they did not have the tool that could give them insight into the behaviour of their players, saying they are losing socialisers in the game. They could have taken this decision much sooner if they had known that. This is the reason we built Thunderstruck. Now, any traditional game, Web3 game, or GameFi can use Thunderstruck to take such decisions easier and sooner.