Theory: MYM's dev strategy is the tortoise, not the hare

Hodderfodder Member Posts: 161
edited August 3 in General Discussion

For a while now people have been looking at the Steam numbers and the number of raids you get per day and worry the game is dead and BHVR is going to abandon it. A few weeks ago Deadhatzdos asked "Is MYM a dead game?" and the guy's points jive with mine: No, the game ins't dead or dying. Some more data points have come out since then that have further helped this. I'm going to give my theory here at the top, then show the evidence.

BHVR's Strategy

After Deathgarden blows up in their face, they lost all the money and time invested. BHVR says, "We have another idea for a game but it's super niche. How do we avoid repeating the mistakes of Deathgarden?" They decide to go cautious and slow. BHVR puts 3 years of development to build the game, then they release it with a small dev team. As long as MYM has a dedicated playerbase that sticks around, the game can limp along while the devs improve what's there and add content/features over time. Eventually the game will hit a tipping point where there's enough content/features to bring back and retain players while attracting new players.

Some Background

When DBD first came out, it was a $20 hide and seek game. It sold MASSIVELY. It had HUGE player numbers. What BHVR didn't do was hire a bunch of new devs to fix the massive issues with the game or create a lot of new content. Because the game had seriously unhealthy aspects that took a long time to fix, and they had no content scehdule, it was "Whenever we did it". All the game had going for it was the number of players; tangled spaghetti code of a game, small dev team, no discipline.

The lesson I think they learned here is that DBD would have improved a lot sooner had the game not been so janky from the get-go, and the devs had a solid strategy and communicated roadmap to the community.

Deathgarden failed for one simple reason: it was incredibly imbalanced. One side, the hunter, could remove a scavenger from the game in 30 seconds if they had good aim. Meanwhile the scavenger had to sweat their balls off to succeed. It completely alienated the casuals, and the competitive players felt the effort wasn't worth it. Within a week no one was playing the game.

The lesson here is that the game has to be balanced, it has to also be both friendly and worth it to casuals and skilled players.

What does this have to do with MYM?

The alpha and beta were to make sure the game wasn't broken, but also to see if people liked playing the game. They wanted to make sure one side didn't alienate the other, that the gameplay of both sides was enjoyable, and the gameplay loop of raid build raid was acceptable. There weren't big improvements because the nature of live service games is "evolve over time"; the game worked, it wasn't dogshit, so they put it out there with intent to improve as they go. Then they spend April and May making sure the game doesn't fall apart; this period is to focus on stability and fix issues like the 2nd wave traps triggering through corrosive cubes. But the small size of the Dreadshore update, and now with the roadmap situation, we see the evidence of a small team.

Why do I think the staff is small? Here's a really simple piece of evidence: There's no credits page of who's worked on MYM. In the May AMA they were asked how many people were on the team and the dev answer was incredibly squirrely. You also see how long it takes them to do anything, how little content Dreadshore had, etc, it comes off as a dedicated team that simply doesn't have a lot of manpower. If the strategy is slow and steady, a small dev team means BHVR is spending less money per month on MYM, so the investment doesn't get larger as they wait for a profit.

All of this is fascinating but there's NOT ENOUGH PLAYERS. STEAM, STEAM NUMBERS

Yes, 1,208 steam players in April. However, this might shock you to hear in April there were 2.9 Million Playstation players. Two months later there were only 5% of them stayed. Granted, a lot of those players likely left because the game stopped being free. But I think the rest left because of the #1 complaint about MYM: There's not enough content. The PS players dove into the game, played around, didn't find enough stuff, got bored and left.

If the biggest problem your game has is that players want more of your game to play, you're doing okay. It means your game isn't broke, it's not unplayable. It also means people are genuinely interested in your game. Solving the issue of no content means adding more content. More content will be added over time.

When Dreadshore dropped we saw a resurgence of players. That was players coming back to the game to check out the new toys. If you look, the MYM Discord has 2262 members, and this Reddit community has 6,939 members. THat's a lot more than the 1,208 Steam members at peak. And there's likely more players out there than those who are on this subreddit. And while we see Steamcharts saying only 162 players played in the last month, we don't have PS numbers (Where all those players existed) nor Xbox. But even if it is just us, the game can get by on this many players for now.

There was also an increase in marketing at the release of Dreadshore. They had a lot more press. And with Dreadshore they had another free week on Playstation. As pointed out above, we saw a massive flood of players from Playstation, so that free month was battleship-sized marketing, and they went back to the well with Dreadshore. I expect to see increased marketing as time goes on, rather than draw attention to the game right now. Furthermore, in an interview MYM's creative director, they are going to do collabs with other licensed franchises, like how DBD has done. That is big marketing right there.

But Content

We don't have the roadmap yet, but there are some things we do have. From the June AMA they answered question about what they're prioritizing. All that stuff relates to improving what's there and adding new features. That's not even touching Sector content (New trap/guard/suit/weapon). I expect we'll see a Sector every 3 months, and between that will be improvements to existing things and new features. A mirror of DBD's schedule.

Bottom line, I think things are being worked on, they have a plan, the game will improve and have new stuff. It's just not going to come as fast as playerswant. My prediction is that the game will be much better a year from now, and be pretty sweet 2 years from now. And I expect that players who played the game and left will come back, see all the new stuff, and play. And as time goes on we'll get new exposure, new players.

I think BHVR went into this knowing it was going to be small at the start, so they're not at risk of giving up. My guess is that eventually the game will snowball, but right now the ball is very small. So either be patient, or take a break and when you come back, there will be something new.