Dev Diary: Surveys, Scoring, and Seasons
Product Manager Adriaan Noordzij talks player feedback
Have you ever wondered what a Product Manager does? Here at Daybreak, they’re responsible for analyzing data in order to help guide the team’s decisions about features, updates, and more. We sat down with Sr. Product Manager Adriaan Noordzij (KenAdamsNSA on Twitter and Reddit) to discuss our methodology behind collecting player feedback and how it shapes H1Z1: King of the Kill.
Q: Players gave us a lot of great feedback in our initial gameplay survey. Can you share some of those findings with us?
Of course! First and foremost, a huge shoutout to everyone who participated in our last survey. The response was overwhelming, and we learned a ton about our players and how they interface with the game. One of the biggest takeaways we got from our last survey was that players felt kills weren’t a large enough factor in the overall match score. With Pre-Season 3, we aimed to fix that with a stab at finding a middle ground between placement score and kill score.
We also learned a lot about The Arena. We were pleased to see that most players were happy with The Arena’s overall layout and size, but there were enough people looking for improvements that we’ve dedicated an internal group of developers to address those concerns (things like gas ring size, speed, etc.).
We also got better insight about the overall gameplay experience, and we are taking this feedback extremely seriously. We have an entire team dedicated to optimizing performance, improving hit registration, and reducing the number of desync instances as much as possible. Weapon balance and performance are also top of mind for us, thanks to some really fantastic feedback on how our weapons handle and play off each other.
Q: What can players expect based on those survey results?
First and foremost, we're heavily invested in improving our server performance and predictability of gameplay. We're constantly working on fixes to queue times, netcode, and general game performance to ensure players have the best possible experience every time they load up the game. Expect lots of tuning and tweaking in the future. Gas mechanics, weapon balance, loot distribution, crafting adjustments, and more! We’re building out frameworks that should allow us to tune these mechanics easily and consistently so that we can continue to improve the overall play experience for all players. Our players’ feedback has been instrumental in the prioritization of that work, as well as the types of things we’re going to be experimenting with in the future!
Q: What shaped the decision to change scoring in Pre-Season 3?
We got an overwhelming amount of feedback in Pre-Seasons 1 and 2 that kills were not worth enough of your score. We initially designed the system so that kills would be purely supplemental to placement, as we wanted to emphasize the “last man standing” component of the game. Our players highlighted the fact that the way scoring worked in previous Pre-Seasons was demotivating and failed to incentivize fights, which are some of the most thrilling parts of each match. In response to this feedback, we set out to improve the scoring experience with a few core goals in mind:
- Preserve the value of being “King of the Kill”
- Ensure that there were as few ties as possible in score
- Compress the value of kills from match start to match end so that kills were always valuable, regardless of when you got one
- Make kills worth a larger overall percentage of your score
- Allow players to “leapfrog” higher placements with high kill scores (was not possible in previous Pre-Seasons), EXCEPT for 1st Place
We’re very curious to hear how this change played out. If we did (or didn’t) hit the mark, we’d love to know! In addition, I promised that we would share the raw data for scoring, so here it is.
Q: Where do you look most often for player feedback?
I spend a lot of time on the official subreddit and reading direct feedback I get on Twitter, but I also watch Twitch streams and play the game almost every single day. The team is constantly reading your feedback, and although we might not always respond, we are certainly always listening. Our official Discord is another great way to get in touch with the team and ask questions.
Q: What’s coming down the line in future Seasons?
We’re going to continue to tweak scoring, and are also evaluating what kinds of rewards we can dole out for Seasons. Team scoring is also a big priority for us, and with some of the aforementioned gameplay work we’re doing, we’re excited about the prospect of tweaking various systems each Season to keep the experience fresh and exciting for players. We’ll have more to share on this front as we get closer to finalizing the specifics, but we’re very excited about the future of Season play!
Want to share your feedback with our team? Check out our latest survey, where you can give us your thoughts on Pre-Season 3, rewards, and more!