Hello, it's Reikkan.
I decided to create this topic to discuss a bit about Royal Quest, gaming in general and some points of view that I grew while away from this game. Note that this is just my personal opinion, but i'll throw in some known facts to base my arguments.
It's well known that Royal Quest population dropped. Most of my guild disbanded. While away from RQ, I had a journey in another MMORPG and went back to playing a famous MOBA to waste a bit of my time. Even so, I was always thinking about gaming in general and the reasons why I left Royal Quest.
I'll be honest here: Royal Quest was my most satisfying PVP experience in all my gaming career, even though I've been playing online games for about 10 years. I am writing this topic to point out stuff I think that helped bringing the population down. Not in order, though. It's hard to make a ranking.
1. Game model / Community
Most of people that like fantasy online games either go for MOBAS (For a dynamic game with almost constant fights) or MMORPGs. I'll stick to the second one in this topic. Every time I talk to people playing MOBAs, I talk about MMORPGs and almost always, one of the reasons why people play MMORPGs is for social interaction. Why did I bring up this fact here?
Royal quest was always lacking when the subject was social interaction. The only reason why you would join a guild was for guild loot and killing bosses for a chance of their cards. Farming in a group was most of the time not worth, and sharing/distributing cards is a recurring problem in our community. It's not the community fault, it's the game model. It got even worse with solo boxes on bosses - You are discouraged to play in a group because of social/guild rules regarding card sharing and other stuff (It's not the community fault if the game lacks content rewarding groups). Siege loot is now limited, forcing the players to stick into small guilds rather than building up structures and perpetuate high-populated PVP activities.
2. Learning curve / RNG / Dopamine management
Not everyone knows, but psychology is directly connected to games. Dopamine is a substance related to pleasure, and as we play games, small doses of dopamine are released as we achieve things, get positive feedback or, in the case of a MMORPG, we find a good person to play with.
Royal Quest is a game easy to learn, but hard to master. I've made an entire guide about Crusader (that still needs updates) because I was tired of people being sitting ducks and waiting for healing cooldowns. It's not entirely the game fault, since we could have more guides or even video content to help newcomers, but in-game guides would heavily easen the burden (things like the glowing icon in the Domination DK skill are small but helps a lot).
Beyond the learning curve, we have the gearing path and the RNG. We have low improvement chances, no way of getting guaranteed improves, and no "easy way" in a very basic and fundamental mechanic in the game. If a person is not lucky, it's not worth playing because they won't ever accomplish what other players did with far less effort. That is negative feedback, lowers the dopamine injection and pushes players away from the game.
3. Balancing / Staff feedback
We had issues with class balancing for quite a long time. We had full DK guilds because of a neverending patch where DKs had tankiness, CC, burst damage and utility. It wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't the fact that the staff took forever to fix it because they were working in a new cap patch (Lv 65). It should be known (based on the history of other gaming companies) that basic game mechanics are mandatory to keep the game health. If the game is unplayable for a group of players because of game mechanics, it should be fixed as soon as possible, otherwise you're losing costumers. Not only that, people were adressing the issue in the forums and the staff never worked to fix it, which further pushed people away with the feeling of not being heard / being abandoned by the staff team.
4. Competitive play
There is no point in farming for gears if you won't use it anywhere other than for gearing more characters or friends. We have offline games to play PVE, and even though there are players that enjoy PVE, the majority of the players do play for PVP. Not only that, Royal Quest PVE is lacking when it comes to mechanics, so it gets boring at some point. Changing PVP structures without paying close attention to the community ativity is suicidal. We have lots of games in the market and the team should be aware of what their costumers want if they care about population. I do know Royal Quest is a Russian game and most of its updates are targeted toward the Russian public, but global/english servers have the most potential of grabbing new players, and it shouldn't be neglected.
5. Marketing model
The game needs money to stay alive, but no one is going to pay for stuff in a dead game. Before looking for money, you need costumers interested in spending, and for that you need marketing and attention to the public. RQ spent too much time figuring out how to milk players for money (Hunter and DK patch anyone?) and forgot that eventually people would get tired of this. Successful companies in other areas often invest in getting new costumers before thinking of the money itself. Take Amazon as an example, they focused in spreading their name in various sectors of the market, and not in a small group of costumers with a single type of service. Fixing the other aspects described in this topic would help bringing some old players back, but most important, it would help keeping the new players inside.
I miss Royal Quest. I want it to be playable and rewarding, specially for organised and structured groups (A.k.a. guilds).
These opinions are mine and i'm not representing any of my old guildmates. Any comment is appreciated, even for criticism, but please don't be rude since I'm not meaning to harm the game itself.
Thanks if you did read everything.