Hello Bloodhunt fans, it is time to present our learnings from your feedback in the community survey. Let us start with a summary of what the Hunting Rifle Update contained.
The Hunting Rifle Update was the first update from the CVC team. It added a new long-range weapon with a bleeding mechanic, in-game medals, bot adjustments, changes to TDM (Team Deathmatch), bug fixes, and more.
Your ratings of the update were very nearly as high as the previous update in December. Most of you were pleased about the addition of the new weapon and that the game feels more rewarding with the addition of the medals, and that the bot adjustments made them smarter. Many of you were also happy about the recent changes to the servers and matchmaking.
We are glad to see that Bloodhunt has become more popular since December, not only do we see more players every day, but we also see a positive trend in how long players stick around playing the game.
We will continue making Bloodhunt a better game
In spite of the improvements some issues linger that we need to resolve, and work has already begun.
In your survey feedback, many of you told us that there are issues with our matchmaker. For example, you reported that some matches were uneven and that you would find yourself fighting opponents with vastly different skill levels to your own.
We have already implemented multiple changes that will help solve this and other issues. Our goal with these changes is to ensure good matches for all. This has been a necessary process and we are starting to see satisfactory results as we see that the recent changes to the matchmaker have mitigated most of the issues. We will continue to monitor the situation and make necessary adjustments to the matchmaker as needed.
While we are thrilled to see that we have gained more players since the December Update, we are of course also aware that some of you are still concerned about the future of the game, the weapon balancing, the need for more significant content, features, and so on. Let us talk a little bit about this and what we will do soon.
Reshaping the combat and vampire powers
Based on what you have said in the survey, we are putting the focus on the aforementioned core mechanics of the game, the weapons, the Archetype powers, and the blood resonance progression.
For the next update, we are making several adjustments to the balance of these, and it will be a major part of the next patch that is scheduled for next week. This is an additional effort from us to keep players playing by making the core mechanics in the game more interesting and emphasizing the different strengths of the different Archetypes.
We are also clarifying the weapon arsenal in their respective roles. This in practice means that we want each weapon, and its color variants to be effective at the same distance. Before, you could see a green AK and a purple variant be unequally effective at different ranges, making the purple version suddenly fill multiple roles. Not only could you use it at a long range, but it would also be quite effective at both low and mid ranges as well.
Practically, the change to our weapons will make them more useful in their specific role which will encourage players to think more about which two weapons they will choose.
Boosting Archetype powers
We are boosting the Archetype powers to enhance their impact on the game. In practice, this will mean that you will see the damage and area of effect of Earth Shock increasing, the Shockwave Punch knockback and damage increasing, the Subjugating Charge damage increasing, Shackles casting speed increasing, Scouting Famulus making enemies taking more damage, and so on.
There are many goals of this, but the one that stands out is to make the Archetype powers feel more powerful in combat.
We have decided to remove the limitation in the progression of blood resonances. You now can continue gaining resonance by feeding on civilians up to the maximum of 12. Additionally, you will gain a random resonance through Diablerie or feeding on Entity.
We think that on average more players will get more resonance, and together with the stronger Archetype powers will also be able to use those more often. Providing you the opportunity to showcase more of what makes your Archetype unique versus the others.
What else are we adding in the next update?
We have some more things coming up that we think you will appreciate but we want to wait to reveal them with the patch notes. The next update to Bloodhunt is coming soon!
You want us to do more
We are happy to see that some of the feedback and wishes you sent to us about the game were quite extensive! Some of the responses go into quite a lot of detail with both praise and interesting ideas. Some of these survey responses cover many pages, which is great to see and a real showcase of how passionate our community is about Bloodhunt.
We are grateful to see such passion and we appreciate the warm well-wishes toward us and the game. It encourages us and helps keep us motivated in making additional improvements to the game.
While the core gameplay loop is fun to keep playing for some time, we still see a big desire for more significant content, and for us to make improvements to the core game loop. The demands are high, and by no means unexpected nor unreasonable.
However, we must be realistic and prioritize what is feasible and what we can deliver while maintaining a healthy schedule of game updates.
We also need to continue to manage our and your expectations. We are a capable team that can make Bloodhunt better but need to be mindful of how to prioritize our time and efforts to achieve our goals.
We must focus on the right things that have the most impact and that we feasibly can do within a relatively short amount of time to meet your expectations of frequent game updates. The overall strategy and reasoning is to continue working on making players stay for longer and to ensure that all of our efforts are put into adding features and content that meet those goals.
For example, because we see plenty of new players install and play the game every day, we need to make sure that it’s rewarding for them to keep playing the game, and that their matches are neither too difficult, nor too easy. This is an important aspect for the long run, as keeping them around for longer will also help retain our active player base. At the same time, we also need to provide our veteran players with something interesting to feel motivated to stay around, and so on.
No more quest updates
Quests have been a part of the Bloodhunt experience, and the quests that are present will remain. We do however see that there is a limited number of players that make progress on these quests, so we have paused all the production of any new ones.
The quest system also requires a significant amount of time to develop and test new quests versus what they offer to the majority of our players.
On top of this, there also are lingering bugs in the quest system that have taken time away from other important bug fixing and optimization in the game. By not iterating on this, we can spend more time on other game areas that help us build toward better player retention.
Of course, we understand that this isn’t good news if you love the lore of Bloodhunt. We are investigating other potential means of continuing the story of Bloodhunt (perhaps outside of the game). But at least in the short term, it won’t be through additional quests.
What are we prioritizing exactly (and why)?
It's clear from reading many of your responses in the survey that you want us to spend more time making improvements to the path of progression in the game. When we look at the data the resonance system is under-utilized, and the Archetype powers aren’t used as often as we might want to see, which means that many players never truly experience the power of a fully boosted vampire. Basically, most of the new players who play Bloodhunt will not fully experience what is possible with our unique and versatile combat system.
This makes us shift some of our priorities to enhancing the combat and power experience in the game, also since weapon balancing continues to be a debate, we see a clear indication that we need to put some effort into these areas as well, and we have something planned for it already for our next update!
This includes improving the core game loop, making the resonance progression quicker, and the Archetype powers more powerful.
Whenever we receive feedback about balancing the game, we must always consider the what, the who, the how many, and the why. For example, if ten fresh players say that they believe melee to be overpowered because they are having bad experiences in close combat that feedback must be put up versus all the other players, not from that group of players that are having an issue with it.
Any changes we make to balance the game are based on survey feedback, the overall statistics we see from matches, and of course the design of the game created by our experienced game designers.
Your feedback is important to us, and we take it to heart, it’s however important to make it clear that we must pay attention to the scale of that feedback, and check if it matches what others are saying. What might be an issue to some, might be one of the main reasons that many others enjoy the game, and want to stick around playing it.
With all of this said, we have found some things that you brought up to us and that we want to change in the next update of Bloodhunt.
We have heard criticism from a portion of you about aim assist, dual crossbows, and performance issues. These are some of the topics that have recently had an influence on some choices in the development and will make it into the next patch, whereas some of the solutions will take a little more time.
Additionally, we have looked at the state of the dual crossbows. A weapon designed to require less aiming effort with its area of damage effect, and relatively high fire damage output. While this weapon has been a good way for fresher players to have a chance versus the veterans in fights, we have already mitigated this when separating these skill ratings, which now enables us to lower their AOE falloff damage output and rate of fire.
The aim assist available on gamepad has been a hot topic in our community and we have been deep diving into your feedback and the data that we have collected on this topic.
We have since concluded that the balance between the input methods is in a good place overall.
Playing Bloodhunt with a mouse and keyboard enables more pinpoint precision and incredibly fast movement correction while the gamepad offers slightly better tracking in close-range scenarios.
Overall, we still see that mouse and keyboard players are overall getting more kills and wins, but the experience on gamepad has improved significantly compared to how it was previously.
We will continue to keep a close eye on the telemetry data around this and the feedback from our players, but as of right now, we are quite satisfied with where the balance is.
We have heard that some of you have expressed concern about Bloodhunt’s networking performance. We have made some progress in our investigations into this and already made some initial improvements. We encourage you to visit Sharkmob Support when you experience issues with network-related performance so that our team can get more data on the issues you are facing. The more information we have on this, the easier it will be for us to track it down and find additional solutions.
We will continue monitoring the feedback on this and put in efforts to make your experience even better (some tweaks are coming already in the next game update).
What can you do to help Bloodhunt?
Recently we have seen some great initiatives by the community, including tournaments, educational videos for new players, great highlight reels, valentine’s day Elysium speed-dating, and more. We love to see initiatives like these and will support you in additional community activities. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have some ideas for activities that you want us to support. We are here and will gladly help our community.
The community continues to be our lifeblood. We are incredibly grateful for all your support and feedback. While we cannot meet everyone’s individual expectations, we will continue to listen and make necessary tweaks to Bloodhunt based on your feedback.
We have high expectations for the next update and hope we can meet yours as well. It certainly addresses some of the concerns that have been lingering. Until then:
Thank you for your support and as always, see you at dusk!