Players unsubscription system feels broken

At the moment its very easy to get new subscribers, however maintaining a subscriber to last till 20 while trying to keep any sort of balance in the game is proving to be a hassle.

So the core of the issue I seem to be facing is that players always have a probability P of unsubbing at any given moments for various reasons (I’ll comment on the reasons afterwards). So everyday the players are rolling a dice and deciding whether or not they stay subbed. The probability of them lasting N days is (1-P) ^N. Because the Number of days needs to get pretty high for players to reach 20, having any probability of leaving is bad.

Lets see just how avoidable are these probabilities.

“The subscription fee is too high.”: Sure you could have you game free to decrease the odds of a a unsub but what is the point of having a sub fee if it prevents players from reaching 20. If a player payed for 10 months already, he probably knows the pricing by now. Fortunately most of these incidents are from low level zones. But if the subscription fee affects the other reasons they unsub as well then it could be a problem.

“<> is too expensive”: This could range from any shop, flight path, portals and inns. Basically money is completely broken atm and players will easily get 5k-10k gold without quest rewards. So what should you charge for your stuff?? Apparently even if the avg pop is filthy rich, they start unsubbing when you charge stuff over 500g. There is no way to get a gold sink in the server with anything without losing subs. They also unsub if a two way portal has 1 side free and 1 side expensive to make it a 1 way portal. I guess just keep everything free since gold is uncontrollable atm.

“I keep dying”: Well players are fcking idiots. They also can’t judge difficulty right. Or at all. Most causes of death seems to be players getting overwhelmed because they kite the mob and agrooed more. Didn’t fight back when it was attacked. Charged in head first into the elite boss alone without pots… for the 5th time… without gear, without latest skills( I literally placed trainers in front of the portal everyone had to go through and they still refused to get training) . No real solution to this problem because of the next issue.

“The Monsters are too easy”: Wanna make hordes of monsters with low health that overwhelm the players? Nope, too easy. Even if the heroes get brutally murdered by them, as long as he killed 5 before dying they are just too easy for them apparently. They also complain about dying from the same zone. They also think that the literal first enemy you encounter in the game should be big and bad.
Also players that have over 600 hours into the game, come across a chicken pen somewhere ( I mean, not every creature is big and mighty right?) and unsubs because the chickens were too easy for him.
This also affected by any rock paper scissors balance that might exist. If your scissors players find their paper, they think they should quit the game for it.

“There are too many bugs”: So even with 50 devs which is max. I get about 200 people leaving per day due to bugs, mainly in inns and Graveyards but happens in any building. I’ve no idea how to diminish or deal with this one.

“I can’t find a inn with a free space to set as my home”: You’re level 10, you’ve been to half the world, you payed over 1000 cash in subs fees by now, you know where the capital city with over 50k resident capacity is. And its just around the god damn corner but thats in the other zone!! and its too far away for these whiny babies.

I would honestly think that if a player has over 800 hours of game time, sold his house for the game. He shouldn’t even have a percentage to leave, he would need to suffer alot with game, before his percentage even went above 0%.

You can solve alot of these issues by just getting more subs, you could easily aim for 200k-300k subs but that comes with its own problem. Mainly lag. So basically if you want players to reach 20, you need either a very very low player count or set your XP rates to retail WoW levels.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if players subbed again after unsubbing. It doesn’t look like thats the case.

I’m not totally sure about that but I read somewhere that the probability of being unsub is partially related to player’s level “Addictivity”. Maybe you should check this on your players. Basically, the more addicted they are, the less unsubbing probability, even if your game has some “balance” issues.

My classes range from -3 to -1 avg addiction and all 4 happiness. Im guessing thats bad? Its not really that clear how to improve it or worsen it

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You should try to check the addictivity of each player, not the overall class, its a better indication imo. The stat “addictivity” is a balance between good and bad things that happens to players. Bad things will decrease and good ones will increase. But if only good things happen to players, the addictivity will decrease. So it’s a game of balancing good and bad évents.

For exemple and it’s from my observation, when a monster kill a player, the player addictivity and happiness will decrease by 1. Then if he succeed to kill a monster the 2 stats will increase by 1. But if the player manage to chain kill Monsters, his addictivity will decrease more and more (because it’s to easy ??) Same happens with exploration quests if they manage to do it without any problems.

(Btw i hope it is understable if not i Can try to explain again, english is not my native language :face_with_hand_over_mouth:)


Just for some insight into the underlying systems…

There is never any percentage that a player will unsubscribe. There are no random numbers involved in the process at all (apart from their random income level determined when the subscriber was first generated and some random factors involved in how the player chooses to spend their time).

There actually are only a few reasons why subscribers will unsubscribe.

The first one is the easiest one; if the subscription fee is high enough that the subscriber literally does not have enough money available to pay it, they will unsubscribe with the “subscription fee is too high” reason. This will only happen at the exact moment when they would have to pay their subscription fee (at midnight on the monthly anniversary of when they first joined the game). There’s a whole bunch of information about this in the player information window that appears when you select a player; it shows you their daily entertainment budget, how much cash they have in their wallet right now, and for folks with a very small income, it shows their current progress at saving up to pay for the next month’s subscription fee. There’s no real AI involved in this unsubscription reason; it’s only “do they have the money at the moment when they have to pay the subscription fee”.

For all the others, subscription or unsubscription isn’t about any single factor. Instead, it works like this:

Each time subscribers log out, they check their ‘happiness’ level (which you can see on their “Stats” tab if you select them while they’re logged in). If their happiness level is 0 or higher, they will remain subscribed.

If the player’s ‘happiness’ level is below 0 (it can go down to -5), then look at their ‘addiction’ level. If their ‘happiness’ plus their ‘addiction’ value is 0 or higher, then they will remain subscribed.

But if their happiness is below 0 and their addiction isn’t high enough to bring the total up to 0, then they will unsubscribe immediately as they log out. The reason they give for unsubscribing is the most recent annoyance they had while playing the game. But that complaint isn’t the reason they unsubscribed; a whole bunch of other stuff needs to have gone badly for them before people decide to unsubscribe, and the reason they report is just which thing happened to be the final straw. My hope was that by reporting the “final straw” for a whole bunch of unsubscribing people, it’d sort of monte carlo a list of approximately what set of complaints were commonly being reported.

That’s really all there is to the unsubscribe calculation; apart from the subscription fee, it’s all about those ‘happiness’ and ‘addiction’ stats.

Right now, the check for unsubscription happens every time a player logs out. It might make more sense for me to instead do it at the moment where players would have to pay their subscription fees? But I felt like having it happen at the point of logout would let me make it more visible than if people unsubscribed when they’d already been logged out for maybe a couple of days. (I’m very open to having a conversation about that, incidentally!)


I want to add a note on this one, too. This is a super badly-written complaint in the game, sorry!

This complaint has nothing to do with how a monster is designed, or whether it has strong attacks or weak ones.

Instead, this complaint is generated whenever a player kills a monster and is awarded zero XP for killing it. This normally happens when the player is heaps higher level than the monster (which is why I originally wrote it as “these monsters are too easy”, but I totally see why that is confusing! I need to rewrite it to better state what the complaint actually is; it’s intended to be only about monster level vs. player level.)

With that said though, there’s currently a bug which causes it also to be generated if you’ve gone into the Design interface and just made it so that killing monsters is always worth 0xp. (This basically breaks the whole XP customisation system though and we should really make it so the UI just full stop won’t let you do it, but right now you can and it generates silly numbers of this complaint and generally makes players unhappy)

Normally, when this complaint is generated it’s because a high-level player is passing through a much lower-level region to reach a more appropriately-levelled region for themselves, and finds they have to fight through groups of low level monsters to get there. If this is the case, you can improve things by laying out your regions so that players don’t need to backtrack through lower-level regions, or if they do, that they have clear paths which will get them through the region without requiring them to fight those low-level monsters. (For example, if you have a level 1 region in the middle, which acts as a ‘hub’ between level 2, 3, 4, and 5 regions, players will have to walk back through the level 1 region to travel from the level 4 to the level 5 region when they reach level 5 themselves, and they’ll probably get annoyed if they have to fight hordes of level 1 monsters on the way! Better to connect your level 5 region directly to the level 4 region, or provide a flight path, or at least have a safe road that crosses the level 1 region which lets players making that journey avoid the monster zones)

Finally, it can also happen in multi-level regions with a level range greater than 3 levels, where high level players might be doing a really low-level quest in order to unlock a higher-level quest later in the quest chain. You can avoid this sort of problem by having separate quest givers for different levels, rather than having a single quest-giver give some low-level quests and then some high-level ones; that way, the players will ignore the low-level quest givers and instead only pick up quests from the higher-level ones. (and also the same logic as above also applies here; if those high level players have to wade through low-level monster areas to reach their higher-level questing zones, they’re going to be annoyed about having to fight those low-level monsters; place roads or flight paths or something to encourage them to stay outside the low-level areas!)

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Thanks for that information Trevor but if the subscriber has paid for another month of subscription wouldn’t they want to stay subscribed until they have to pay again and at that point they will either decide they are happy enough to stay or cut not happy enough to pay for another month… I know if I had another 20 days worth of play time left I wouldn’t just cancel and remove the game!

When I mean random chance of unsubbing, not necessarily its tied a dice roll. The randomness could come from the chaotic nature of the MMO world. It feels like the happiness and addiction values go up and down too quickly. So even if someone played for like 3 years, it can leave the game forever just because it had a terrible day. The player can go over a zone they are not suppose to and maybe respawned in the wrong graveyard and get stuck there for a while. Or they are “training monsters” aka suiciding, and leave the game for that.

I think humans feelings have a inertia to them, like if you having a good day you will just gloss over some bad stuff. Where as if you had a bad day, that bad stuff will be extra bad. It should take alot of effort for you to let go forever of a game that you spent so much time, money and blood.

Lower level players I feel like its ok for them to leave easily, but the Top level players should be your most dedicated and loyal player base. But they feel the most brittle atm.

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I think this is a great point, I just can’t think of a good suggestion for changing it except for maybe increasing max happiness/addiction for higher level players

This is really good to know, it helps a lot! I wouldn’t want to get rid of them complaining about the monsters being too easy, but maybe if they instead disregarded monsters several levels lower than them or disregarded xp gains when in a zone with a max level X levels lower than the players? If a level 15 goes through a level 10 zone, of course the monsters are going to be weak, it shouldn’t be a reason to unsubscribe. Thanks for the info by the way : D

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