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Is there a magic ratio of Player Loss to New Players (or Active Players) that I should be looking for in a MMO Browser Game?

How else could I gauge the effectiveness of Moderation Principles, Disciplinary Actions and Rules in a Browser Game and whether they add to player retention or cause it to decline.

  • May I ask what to you want to measure? Basicly I would assume if you look over the community and people didn't violate the rules, everything is fine. Maybe it would also help to look at the reported users/accounts and accusations of cheating – jwacalex Jul 31 '14 at 15:41
  • I should have explained that a little better, I will make an edit @jwacalex – Malachi Jul 31 '14 at 15:43
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    I feel like this borders on off-topic/Game Design more than community building. – user98085 Jul 31 '14 at 15:45
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Ask the users! Specifically in the following categories:

  1. Ask the people who are leaving / have left
  2. Ask users for feedback with their moderation experience

Both these ideas come from World of Warcraft, who have the most well regarded moderation team I've ever heard of.

Leaving users

If your game has a "Close account" feature, or you don't but you have a way to monitor which users disappear for long periods at a time, ask them why. Give them a simple form to let them explain why. For example:

We're sorry to see you go, to help us improve the experience of our future users, please tell us why you are leaving:

  • No longer enjoying the game
  • Issues with another user
  • Issues with a moderator
  • Financial concerns (if your MMO isn't free)
  • Other, please specify (Text area below)

If they have a problem with a user or moderator, ask them who and review their interactions. If they give a specific reason you can also search the field for other usernames mentioned and do the same thing.

Just asking them what the problem is tells the user that you care about their experience and that you may be able to do something about it.

Feedback

Whenever you interact with a Game Master (moderator) or customer support agent, you are afterwards asked to give confidential feedback about the experience, such as asking if you think the problem is resolved, how you'd rate their professionalism and knowledge and any other comments.

This information is then used to determine how to carry on. If you gave the moderator a low rating and said the problem isn't solved, you will then be contacted by a different moderator who can follow up on the issue as well as ensure the previous moderator handled the situation appropriately.


This whole system lets the user know their feedback is important, that all moderator actions have oversight and removes a lot of guess work from your user action analysis.

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There is no magic ratio to tell you if it is going right. The rate and consistency of issues being reported by the community is the primary indicator, followed by long term community member retention and new member acquisition, particularly if you can associate some kind of quality metric with it in terms of how they contribute to the community.

If you have a lot of similar types of issues being reported and complained about, then chances are good that it is a barrier to new users and possibly a source of attrition. You can use your current growth and retention rates versus your peak rates to try to approximate the impact it is having on your community growth.

If you can get an approximation of the lost growth potential, this will help make decisions as to whether removing people from the community, that are the source of a problem, is likely to improve your overall numbers. If it is, crack down on the behavior and remove those who are disrupting the community more quickly.

If problems get severe enough, it may also be necessary to overcompensate dramatically to disrupt the problem enough that people consider coming back and perceive the issue as being seriously addressed, but that kind of a decision comes more from feeling out the community and the opinions of those who have left than any direct metric.

I guess I would also say, don't get too stuck on metrics, they can possibly be helpful, but at the end of the day, it is largely guess work and estimations anyway. Go with the feeling that you are getting from the community about what the main issues are and what would be the most beneficial. Metrics can help to confirm it, but aren't the end all be all.

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