Hello Bloodhunt Community!
It has been a little while, but we wanted to take some time to properly write up our thoughts on Bloodhunt and deep dive into the various obstacles that we have been facing during our journey since we launched the game.
To summarize, our focus has been to try to adapt to a faster cadence when it comes to content. However, we have been facing further challenges in reaching the quality level that we think is needed to expand the game further.
This, combined with strong competition, has naturally led to a smaller (but very active) player base. Once this hits a critically low concurrent number of players, it creates difficulties for our matchmaker to operate optimally. Additionally, the game mostly consists of the most dedicated and experienced players, making it quite difficult to get into Bloodhunt as a new player. We believe that this is a serious problem that we must prioritize.
So, going forward, we will focus on improving the quality of life of the game further. Amongst other things, this entails to make changes to enable the game to function with less players and improve the experience for new players.
We will share more about this in the future but now it is time to look at the learnings from our August Community Survey!
We have gone through the survey data you kindly provided us with and can now present a summary of your opinions about the state of the game with the August Update. But more importantly, we want to show how we plan to address a lot of the feedback. Our deepest appreciation to every one of you who completed our survey. Thank you!
The August Update focused primarily on polish of the game, resolving lingering bugs and further improving the balance in Bloodhunt. We felt we needed to do this, as you told us that these topics were a big concern for you.
Your feedback has an impact, and your most highlighted issues influence what we work on for future updates, so please keep filling in our surveys.
The summer in hindsight
It is no secret that neither your nor our expectations were met, neither in the Summer Update nor the August Update. We did not manage to deliver enough content fast enough. We still also had matchmaking issues related to waiting times as well as issues with new players getting to play with skilled players too quickly.
Our hope was that there would be a big influx of new (and returning) players through the new TDM mode, which was an incredibly popular request, and that these new players would mostly be facing each other. This would mean that our matchmaking system would then let the veterans face each other and the newer players would get a soft onboarding into the game. Our hope was that this would lead to a higher player retention and a more fun experience for all players.
Instead, our new players would most often face veteran players, which meant their initial impression was that the game is much too difficult to get into. This caused the number of active players to never spike enough due to a combination of factors, including the previously mentioned ones.
Let us dig into your general opinion of the game and address your most common feedback from the latest survey results first. Then, we will reveal what is coming up in the next updates, starting with the September Update. Let’s go!
What do you think about Bloodhunt?
We still get a lot of praise for our unique take on the BR genre, with many positive appreciations for the gameplay and the style. Most of you think that Bloodhunt still provides a fresh perspective and that the game has reached its best state yet with the many improvements and fixes. You also showed appreciation for the balance changes, save for one. You felt that the the Burst Rifle rebalance pass made the gun much too strong compared to the others. Based on your immediate feedback on this, we are now reverting the changes of that weapon, as it has become much too dominant.
Unfortunately, however, your overall opinion of the game has decreased slightly since we released the Summer Update. Some of the recurring written opinions on why your rating has dropped are concerns about the lack of significant content in our updates, the number of cheaters, and the changes to our game modes. Furthermore, you told us that you spend too much time in matchmaking, and that the matches versus other players are uneven in terms of player skills. In fact, most of you list both as reasons as issues that might prevent you and your friends from playing more Bloodhunt right now.
The reality is that that there simply are not enough players to sustain the game 24/7, not even in our most active regions. Instead, unless you are playing at prime time, you will be waiting for several minutes to then be put on a high ping server which will deteriorate your game experience. This is the first impression for many of our new players.
In the survey, several of you are asking for bigger and more significant content and features for the game.
Without going too deep into the details, the common thread in your requests is for us to add both more visual content (e.g., cosmetics and vanity content) and additional locations, as well as the option to team up with other players across platforms. All of these are big feature and content requests.
So let us address the reasons for the lack of bigger content pieces in our updates.
The development dilemma
The big question on most of your lips is: “why aren’t you releasing more content and features more often?” This is a question we cannot answer without owning the reality. That is, we underestimated the amount of time it takes to implement and expand upon the game.
We have plenty of things in our backlog, all of which have taken longer to develop than we expected. Especially considering how we moved from larger seasonal updates, which we received feedback from you was (and still is) much too slow.
One of the goals of moving away from seasons was to be able to respond quicker to the needs of our community. That way, the development of Bloodhunt could be better adapted to your feedback in short enough time. However, making such a change also meant that we had to change our processes to push our updates out faster.
For these processes to be effective, everyone on the team needed to adapt to this new way of making Bloodhunt. This change has affected the initial deliveries. While we indeed now can push out updates more quickly in terms of cosmetics, we also need to spend more time on releasing updates and getting patches up to quality as we have less time to spend on larger pieces of content.
What are we doing to sort this out?
The September Update, to be released next week, mixes the previously planned items with new fixes and changes that we have prioritized based on hundreds of requests from the community.
These include a first iteration of changes to our matchmaking rating system and practically puts players on a similar skill level. This presents a challenge more appropriate to each player’s ability.
For the long term, we will further solve matchmaking issues related to lack of players by using NPCs to make up for the missing players. Such a feature will take a little longer to polish and will not be making it into this month’s update. More details on this feature will come as soon as it is available.
We have also spent time on addressing the issue with cheaters, based on your reports and complaints. With our new methods, we can ban a larger number of them more often and more easily. If you missed our article on this initiative, check out the link here.
Moreover, we are adding a new, shorter but sweeter, Noir Pass with some visually appealing outfits and cosmetics in the next update. Also, understood that some of you did not have enough time to complete all the tiers of the previous Summer Pass in time, so aside from the double XP event (which is now active), we are also with the new Noir Pass reintroducing the option to skip tiers with tokens.
With all these actions taken, we are still acutely aware of your expectations. You want more major content updates, so let us address these expectations.
Big feature and content requests
Some of the more common requests you have sent us are for impactful things like additional maps, clans, factions, and archetypes. All of these require a significant amount of dedicated developer time and testing.
As mentioned, we have done work on content like this. However, with finite resources and the demand for live services to adapt to changing circumstances, we have had to move developers from one thing to another at short notice (fixing REALLY annoying bugs for example). This meant that the development on big features was pushed, and things like, for example, a new Ventrue Archetype could not be tested and completed in time and had to be postponed further.
Contrary to what some of you might think, there has also been several requests for more game modes. This is something we added in the past, which means that we now have more experience with and data to analyze.
The tough lesson since launch is that we were adding modes too quickly. At one time, we had a significant player base spread between them. However, as the player base shrunk, we had spread our players much too thin, which was why we had to take some drastic measures and try to rotate game modes. Therefore, we cannot consider more game modes or bring back trios at this point in time.
What about ranked mode?
Some of you are asking us to re-add ranked mode. In comparison to all the other game modes, it was by far the least popular one. Under present circumstances and with the current size of our active player base, it simply is not a feasible option. Instead, we are considering finding another way of earning the dedicated rewards created for the ranked mode, further down the road.
The expectations are and have always been high for Bloodhunt, and we must be clear about what is possible under the current circumstances. We must be realistic and not overpromise.
We do, of course, understand that this is a letdown, that we are not delivering more cool things faster. Once the coming updates are released, we will again evaluate the status of the game.
We are truly grateful for all the players that have been supporting Bloodhunt and those of you who are still helping us to improve the game. We look forward to continuing seeing all of you in Prague.
As is our custom, the day after the release of the September Update, we will send out another survey on social media. Your input is vital for us to determine whether we are heading in the right direction or not. We kindly ask you to fill it out when it comes! Patch notes for the September Update will be released on September 12th.
Until then, see you at dusk!