Salutations Bloodhunt fans and welcome to the first learnings article of 2023! We hope that you had a great holiday experience, and we wish you all a wonderful year!
Bloodhunt ended 2022 with probably our largest update so far in terms of content and features. It came with a jam-packed 100-tier Battle Pass, a new Archetype, a specialized new weapon, and a ton of other things including fixes and improvements for the gamepad.
Judging by the many positive ratings in the survey and by all the metrics from data, such as daily active users, comments across multiple channels, and so forth, the December Update was a solid overall improvement.
Looking at the initial first weeks after the December update launch, we are happy to see that to an extent we have broken the negative trend in how many players are active in the game. Even if it’s not a large increase we are happy to see this as it confirms that we are heading in the right direction.
Meeting the expectations
The spirits in the CVC (Core Vampire Crew) are high, but one of the important considerations we must be clear about is that we will need to prioritize, and answer the question: How can we get the most yield for most of our players with our current capacity?
To answer that question, we turn to what our players want, and in the recent December survey especially, most of you have highlighted that there are not enough players playing the game. Some of you also mentioned that you’re still waiting too long to get into a match.
This of course leads to a list of side-effects, such as a lower number of players versus bots for Solos and Duos as well as TDM (Team Deathmatch) particularly. It would seem obvious that we simply need more players.
What about advertising the game more?
So, it’s not a surprise that some of you in the community have suggested that we should spend more time on getting additional players into the game and promote it heavily again.
While advertising does bring in more new players, we can see that new players usually don’t stay for long due to the difficulty of the matches that they face. Once we added bots, we saw these numbers increase as a new player has a longer chance of survivability, but even with this we need to have more new players staying for longer, which leads us to believe that more work is needed to be done to improve the overall quality of the game.
How can we get players to stay longer?
As we mentioned, introducing bots to the game was one way of mitigating the issue. They helped with improving the fun factor and significantly reduced the waiting times. But because there are more bots than players in most matches, the gameplay experience can become a bit predictable for some. Especially in the long run.
Recently we made changes to our matchmaking settings to alleviate these issues, partially by getting more players into each match and fewer bots. After having spent a week making configuration changes and monitoring feedback, we will evaluate what worked best to, hopefully, keep more players around.
The most common feedback many of you gave us was that there are not enough updates with interesting enough features and content and that you don’t feel rewarded enough to keep playing.
To address this, we did a bunch of UX/UI changes including additions of pop-up messages in-game when you complete daily challenges to display your accomplishments more clearly. In the next update, we are also adding a new feature that rewards your displays of in-game skill by granting you some spiffy-looking medals. This feature comes with the next update that is due to be released soon.
On top of that, we are also adding another weapon to Bloodhunt – this time around it will be a ranged rifle with a new unique mechanic that will be quite useful for hunting Anarchs. More about that in the future and we look forward to hearing what you think about the next update once we share the patch notes. We have great ambitions, and we will continue doing our best to realize them while at the same time, we are being realistic with what we can create and continue to be careful so that we do not overpromise.
Now it is time to introduce 2 members from the CVC!
Introducing additional members of the Core Vampire Crew
This time around we want to introduce you to Mike and Axel, let us see what they have to say.
Hello Mike, please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you joined Sharkmob!
Hello! I'm Mike. I'm the Producer of Bloodhunt. I joined the team a bit over three years ago as a lead in programming. My interest in project management steered me into production. I came to Sharkmob mainly because of Vampire the Masquerade and the fact that I knew Sharkmob's core management from having previously worked with them at a different studio and I wanted to work with them again.
Can you tell our community what your main responsibility in the CVC is?
As a producer, my job is to ensure that the team has everything they need to develop the game. I work a lot with planning and prioritization, and I act as a bit of a problem solver within the team. If the team is happy and confident and we release our updates on time I succeeded in my mission.
What is the most fun, and what is the biggest challenge of that responsibility?
The most fun is having the mandate to enable the rest of the team to do great things. Even though I don't necessarily produce anything myself (ironically, considering the title) there is great satisfaction in being able to help others produce to their full capability.
Tell us about your most treasured item that you own, and why it is so highly treasured!
It's not one item, but I am an old-time Magic the Gathering player. My card collection holds an enormous sentimental value. Having played since 1994 the older cards in the collection also have amassed a high resell value. But I would never sell! How could I!?
OK, before we let you go, give us one more fun fact about you!
A fun fact about me is that I am an old Vampire the Masquerade and World of Darkness fan. I started playing the pen-and-paper roleplaying game when it was released in Sweden in the 90s, and over the years I have also played many of the adjacent games like Werewolf and Mage. I have also done quite a lot of Vampire LARPing, with Toreador being the absolute most frequently played clan.
Thank you, Mike, for your answers. Next up is Axel!
Please introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about who you are, and a little about what it is that you do here at Sharkmob!
I am a Malmö guy with a love for skiing and with the Malmö football club close to my heart. I previously worked as a barman for several years before pursuing an education in game development. I started at Sharkmob in December 2021 and it has been an amazing journey so far. My first job here was in the QA department and my main responsibilities were working closely with the community to track and prioritize community issues in the game. Now I have transitioned to the game design team and my main work is to design and introduce new, and rework old features in the game.
You mentioned that you used to work in QA for Bloodhunt, can you give us an example of how that helps you in your current position?
There is a lot of benefit coming from the QA team, the main one would be that it gave me a very good overview of the game, and working as community QA also gave a great insight into the player's experience in the game. The work as a QA was an amazing starting point to work with all departments in Sharkmob and it also helps our smaller core team to be able to put on the QA hat and test and verify features in my work as a game designer.
Game balance is a part of what a designer works with, can you share your experience in this with our community and perhaps tell them something they might not know?
I believe that game balance is a difficult topic to answer in just a few words since it can vary a lot between different games and the game's audience. The difficulty is to create fairness between players and still keep the game enjoyable for our community as a whole. Therefore, we must look at game balance from many different angles, data and community sentiment being two of the big ones.
Therefore, it is important to monitor the game balance when introducing new features, to make sure the features are working the way we want them to. My goal is to introduce new fun elements to the game to enhance the player experience and at the same time not create unfairness between players and keep the game enjoyable.
Lastly, if you had to eat one dish for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
It would have to be something Italian since it is my favorite food culture. I go with pasta Bolognese an Italian classic cooked for at least six hours.
Alright, thank you, Axel and Mike!
The Core Vampire Crew has been hard at work and spent quite a bit of work already on the next update. In it we are adding a new weapon, in-game medals, fixing more bugs, and some more things that we will reveal in the upcoming patch notes headed your way very soon!
The team morale is high, and we are excited to continue working on Bloodhunt! Naturally, there are shared concerns about the slow growth of the game, but at the same time, everyone appreciates the opportunity to make Bloodhunt more into what we all want it to be. We have more updates planned going forward, and our direction for the next coming months is to improve what we can and keep on adding more cool things into the game that hopefully encourages you to keep playing.
We thank all of you for all your feedback, and we will keep sending out surveys to ensure that we keep making Bloodhunt an even better game! So, stay tuned for more. Until then…
See you at dusk