In regards to retention problems with DB these are my top 5 for what I think will have the biggest impact on reversing the decline. Albeit these aren’t necessarily what I personally want, but what I think will be most significant to the masses- and the hope being that more players/activity means more funding for the kinds of patches/content a hardcore DB player wants.
Without question becoming one of the leading issues regarding retention/growth on all levels. Some hackers have made it as far as the higher 20s without bans and simply create new accounts once they do get banned.
This should have never been an issue for an u3 game, but when people with top tier PCs are still having issues (and on an escalating incline since alpha), this should be a much bigger concern. At this point I am more motivated to play a game I don’t enjoy as much simply because it runs smoothly.
3) Steam Market
DB needs a steam economy simply because of how attractive it is to the general population. The loadout card system would need to accommodate this better, which I think would require breaking things into smaller marketable pieces (as has been discussed before). Either way it is a highly effective ‘distraction’ when it comes to retention/growth and a source of income that should be utilized.
I’d never play it, you’d never play it, but I think it is necessary. TDM has always been the most popular mode in games, but I think it is a necessary stepping stone for a new player just to master the most basic mechanics. I imagine the natural transition being TDM>OBJ>SW>MM, which you would motivate by progressively better rewards for each game mode. Ideally MM would grant the highest credit earn rate and perhaps even better drop chances. And of course fully functional party systems and more customizable servers will help, though I know it’s already in the pipeline.
5) Bug Fixes/Quality Control/Community Tools
Less new content, more polishing of current content. Releasing new mercs will only do so much, but I’d rather see more done with the current pool of mercs and taking advantage of ways of customizing current content to make money (ie more in depth loadout cards/market/etc). At the moment I think a lot of people could care less about when the next merc is coming, especially when there are so many more prevalent issues that need to be solved first. A lot of shooting in the foot has been happening as well, ie the premature phantom release and melee changes as well as the guaranteed bugged merc abilities that never get caught. Hopefully the alpha testing portal comes through soon because even though the community isn’t large, there’s a lot of highly motivated/talented people willing to work for free given the proper tools. The more you take advantage of that, the more things can be prototyped/tested and perhaps even prove worthy of integration into the actual game.