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Why CTF won't grow but rather slowly die.

Discussion in 'Capture the Flag' started by Prouddyyy, May 25, 2021.

  1. Prouddyyy

    Prouddyyy Coca Cola or Pepsi?

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    I made this little document a while back but never posted it un til now, not really sure why I haven't ever posted this anyways, this is my opinion on why CTF isn't growing and perhaps will even slowly die out.

    I have slightly edited this a bit, there is a bit about WarZ which isn't of course CTF, but can be taking in consideration cause it does apply a bit to the explanation.

    Please read the whole thing before replying to anything as it may come to me having to repeat myself.


    So why are players not staying on the server? To understand that I feel like we should look at other games that generally do well.


    For example, Call of Duty Warzone, (ignoring the broken meta’s and glitches that take quite some time mostly) The game is insanely popular and is able to retain the player count quite well too (been around for over a year and still all over Youtube and Twitch). This goes for the whole COD series. and that’s a very important word, “series” See, these games run well because a whole new game is released every so often. Call of Duty itself is very simple to understand, you get a gun and shoot others to win or by playing the incredibly simple objectives.
    But after a while you get bored right? So what happens, they make a new cod in a different time of war, add small new features that the community requested that also stay simple for those new to the games, A new game mode, the stim shot, or other ideas that are huge but still simple, like the Battle royale idea, etc.

    Getting into cod is incredibly simple as a noob, why? It's easy to understand the controls, and also the huge player count allows you to be put with other noobs to learn the game and get better that way.


    So there are 2 key things that I just mentioned. It's noob friendly because it’s very simple, yet fun. and it has a huge player count. Now compare that to CTF, WarZ, etc. it’s quite simply the polar opposite. Picture this, you’re new to CTF you start up the game and the first thing you see is about 15 different classes. You pick heavy with no abilities (majority don't even pick the class because they just start out), you run around the map and when looking around you see, people climbing walls, people wind boosting around the map, you get one shot by archers, and assassin’s, people (ninja) vanish in front of your eyes, you get destroyed by spells from a mage with firework all around you, you get withered, etc. Just picture you know none of these things. It is incredibly confusing. Ignoring that figuring out how the game works is quite hard, the wiki is the only place that really explains the game so that you could actually somewhat understand. Just looking at the wiki it’s an incredible amount of stuff for a minecraft gamemode to all learn. I’ll get in to why that is a huge problem later on see → *1 at the bottom. Anyways the wiki isn’t exactly the easiest thing to find on the forums, also taking in consideration that probably about 99% of the new players don’t even open the forums let alone find themselves on the wiki page to learn the game mode properly. People will leave in confusion of all the overwhelming features the game has.


    The second point, the huge player count, Brawl doesn’t have the player count to back up games that require a somewhat decent skill level, CTF somewhat requires that but WarZ does so way more. That’s also why WarZ doesn’t work, you take quite some time looting just to get pretty much one tapped by a team of 3 full diamonds, Now imagine how long it would take for a new person to learn to combo and get in a team knowing that. Having to actively get in the community to get in a team and having to practice a ton to know how to combo. Let alone have a pretty good aim and sense of bullet lead.

    *1 Ok so addressing why learning a lot of things on a simple game like Minecraft is a huge problem is probably something everyone can figure out if you think about it. Why do you play a game? You want to have fun, possibly take some stress off after work or school and have fun in your free time. Especially in those cases which probably makes up 90-95% of the people, they want a quick game that’s fun and easy to get into and not something that’s confusing where you constantly get one shotted or killed by things and you don’t even know why, barely anybody will bother to learn the game. Warzone, you start up, join a squad launch in a game and pick up guns and shoot other pretty much, CTF comparing to that is incredibly difficult, barely anyone would feel like learning the whole game like CTF, it's simply not worth the time.


    So, ok great, perhaps you already knew that but you probably wonder well how do we fix that then? So you have to simplify the game which is going to be an incredibly difficult task. So the first step, you think, you would take, is asking the community if they would want to go back to the simple game or want to keep the current game how it is and update on it. Some out there will think it through and vote to go to simple to make new players come in but the majority will most likely vote to keep how it is.

    The reason why it seems like people just want more updates is because the majority of the game is regulars who keep coming back. They know how the whole game works out of their heads and logically get bored of the new changes after a while and want new ones which will only make the game mode more difficult and harder to understand for the new players. Especially one of the last testing updates. The slight changes and little detailed changes are remarkably specific and hard to understand for those that are new.

    Just put yourself in the boots of a new player and read this: https://www.brawl.com/threads/77247/ (No offense to anyone for making or suggesting the updates btw) It makes almost zero sense or it at least is very difficult. Not because it is weirdly and/or poorly described or explained but the game mode has gone through so much updates because the game got boring to the regulars that the game is just extremely difficult to understand.


    Long story short:

    If you want CTF(Brawl) to grow and maintain their player count you will have to go back to a very simple game mode, will this guarantee success? No, it won’t that’s a slight gamble and you will most likely lose some if not quite a lot of regulars but flying elves one shotting archers and assassins, disappearing ninja’s, wall climbing soldiers are never going to be able to maintain at least 5% of the new players that check out the game mode. Which leaves you in this slowly declining situation of regulars wanting new updates → game mode gets harder → new players leave even quicker → slowly regulars lose interest / move on because they get older, etc. and the player count will slowly die.
    Why is it important for CTF to do this? Simple CTF is one of, if not the most played game mode, anyone newly joining the server would go to the most played game mode because that’s what everyone plays so it must be good right? Only to be disappointed by how confusing and difficult the game is. So fixing it will require to simplify the game, but important, when simplifying don't just remove the hard classes, but also change the simple classes a bit with slight things, that way the regulars also get to experience something new.

    One fix I hear often i don't see working is a tutorial system, even with the best tutorial explanation it would take way too much time to get someone to understand the game, ignoring the fact that you won't remember everything in one go, and new players can't be bothered to learn so many new things, Like I said especially with Minecraft's general younger age, people want something easy and fun to get into.

    CTF will most likely be the first impression for about 50-75% of the new players that join daily and leave almost instantly due to the difficult aspects of the game. That's why it's also in Brawl's general interest to improve player retention here.

    The forums is majority just regulars so I'm incredibly curious how they feel about this or whether they have a fix

    Thanks for reading - Prouddyyy :smile:
     
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  2. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I'll just leave these two threads here since they are similar in nature.

    "CTF isn't evolving": https://www.brawl.com/threads/77434/
    "The Survivial of CTF": https://www.brawl.com/threads/77549/


    I have clearly been a proponent of change to "make CTF great again!" (half joking there:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:). Although, Zerna brought up good points of dual CTF game modes and pointed out the fact servers/games similar to CTF are declining as well. I personally believe there is a lack of attention/care for some game modes on Brawl lately. The only concrete responses given were on the first linked thread. Other than that, not much has come of these discussions (or so it seems). That has to change first if we want the server to be better and stay lively.
     
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  3. Joeyythesixth

    Joeyythesixth Well-Known Member

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  4. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    been a while, but i feel like this is worth chiming in on

    the fact that we're down to 7 teams already is a bit of a red flag on its own, but when you consider that this time of the year is also when activity hits it peak, it becomes much more concerning. if this is what the community is able to produce in optimal conditions, then the decline from here is going to be very sharp.

    i tried preaching my heart out on everything i could think of to change things up for CTF, giving feedback on anything i saw potential in, even my meme staff campaign - and far less has improved than i'd hoped. it's not about me being unable to single handedly save the server; it's more that there were very few people that had that kind of determination (or showed it at least) to begin with. i've thought long and hard on this gamemode for two soul crushing years straight, and now there really just doesn't seem to be a final remedy. brawl is in a hole that it can't dig itself out of without several miracles, and the window for said miracles to appear is very narrow.
     
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  5. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I do want to acknowledge today's significant influx in players and what was experienced with that.

    - We had a full server today and around 90 players online at one point. I cannot personally remember that occurring recently.
    - Reason? It seemed many minigame servers (ie Hypixel) experienced a DDoS.
    1. This likely means Brawl/CTF is still on many people's server list
    2. Interest does still exist
    - Aside from an influx of players using Brawl as back-up, more people likely joined due to gameplay with a full server.
    - Some blatant issues were displayed with this increase today:
    1. Notable comments on the removal of previous class features. Players clearly missed what CTF used to be.
    2. Comments on the complete lack of competitiveness in a few games
    3. Noticed some discussion as to the lack of change.
    4. The increased player count was clearly a surprise to many which is unfortunate.
    - Non-regulars became targeted. Noted one instance of a couple players switching teams to focus on killing a few people.

    My view point? Interest in Brawl CTF clearly exists but the complete lack of attention and meaningful changes have killed what CTF once was. Today was proof of this. Players miss the competitive gameplay and some of the "OP" features. To that point, when those two things did exist, having high player counts were regularly apparent as well. Not hard to put two-and-two together here, although it is becoming hard to even expect feedback, let alone meaningful changes/ideas, on these important topics.

    EDIT: With the fact that these related topics are viewed as a joke sometimes, Brawl CTF may be better off left alone. Clearly these discussions aren't getting anywhere which is a sad fact.
     
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    #5 ZBoy3210, Jun 18, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  6. Joeyythesixth

    Joeyythesixth Well-Known Member

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    let it die, let it die, let it shrivel up and die
     
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  7. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    They're viewed as a joke because they are rarely ever focused on. This server functions in part by the chain of connections that nearly every higher-up has with each other; If something isn't significant to one, it will at least not be readily brought up to the others, and will most likely not grab their interest either. The focus is set on advertising, and by god is paper launching one hell of a drug. putty favored the concept of staying corporately neutral regardless of the condition of any of Brawl's assets, and for some reason that hasn't changed despite two new faces replacing him... Some form of breaking away needs to occur for any of this to have the impact it should.

    Regarding the rest of your post:
    There have been countless people before this week that had Brawl on their server list and don't now; The only difference here is the sheer volume, which could potentially act as a reservoir that assists in boosting the player count to a consistently higher number. However, an overwhelming majority of these players have never logged onto Brawl or MCPVP before, and are/will be either instantly confused beyond repair, or unmotivated to return because of the changes. The chain of connections I mentioned above exists (and thrives) directly in response to the fact that competitive CTF has virtually no outlets. Aside from the 5v5 winners in the lobby, your only chance of even knowing there's a different part of the server is if someone invites you directly, or you investigate messages in casual like "sign for PPM". Given enough time, I believe many new players would just use the /discord link and discover everything for themselves, but the environment on casual is literally so crushing and toxic that they log off before they even get the thought.



    The issue at the source of all of this is the stark white line between casual and comp. Becoming invested in one almost guarantees you'll dislike the other, but 99% of players don't even get that option. People think it would be awkward to open up PPMs and such directly to the rest of the server because it "throws things off" when their only reference is having a single random try to fit in with 23 regs - yes, it's going to be very awkward if that's the only change. Making the smallest exception possible will not alter the way people think something should work. If you put a single chocolate chip in your ice cream, that isn't going to get you anywhere; You have to add enough to make it its own variant, and brand it as such. The name Player Pool Match is quite pretentious when approximately 3 randoms play them every month. I still like to use diamondgirl25 as the shining example of what can happen if people actually give a **** about spreading their arms beyond just other teams - It's one of the inspirations that lead to me making Team Fallen, and while I don't doubt that other teams would have picked up a few of the players we have, It's likely that many would have been ignored entirely. This barrier in comp needs to have significantly more openings than it currently does if we want natural growth in the community.
     
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  8. SoCool21

    SoCool21 9 Year McPvPer

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    In short, I agree with this thread. The game isn't intuitive for new players whatsoever, and it's why we get almost no new players staying around despite getting hundreds of new players a week. The recent huge influx of new players really puts the nail in the coffin for the "we need to advertise more" argument - we received almost 10 times more players during this period of time, and it barely made any impact to our playercount now that Hypixel is back up. Our problem is player retention.

    This is something that I've been saying for over 4 years now, but we're finally starting to acknowledge this. Brawl will be releasing Skyblock, a gamemode that most new players will already be familiar with, which should have much better new player retention than our existing gamemodes. We've finally started tracking player retention across all our gamemodes. We've recently created a player retention team in the CTF council, whose job is to focus on making player retention better.

    That being said, I think a lot of players don't look at the bigger picture here. I'm not at all going to suggest that the staff team has been perfect, but the odds are stacked against us. Like every other server, we're competing directly with Hypixel, who has a huge monopoly on Java Minecraft servers. Hypixel has a huge team of paid, full-time, qualified staff members and they are making millions of dollars a month.

    Not to mention, keeping old gamemodes alive is just very difficult to do. Our old gamemodes aren't doing much worse than Hypixel's old gamemodes (the difference is that Hypixel doesn't really care if their old gamemodes die). CTF is over 10 years old - very few games can sustain interest in them for so long, and CTF is no exception.

    So yes, I agree with this thread, we need to improve player retention. But this alone isn't going to solve all our issues. The predominant reason for Brawl's decline is Hypixel's monopoly, and another big reason for CTF's decline is that it's difficult to sustain interest in a 10 year old game.

    As for the solution? Do what any other game developer does when their game starts to decline - release a sequel.
     
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  9. BrendanWilson

    BrendanWilson New Member

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    I have felt over the years CTF has evolved, there is a feel of deathmatch aspect. There are some amazing features to some classes in my opinion, however when does adding more water to a glass that's already full become apparent?

    I do feel the server has lost numbers, but I also think it has increased in a way, hear me out.

    I feel, it's not actually about Capturing the flag and it feels more of a deathmatch. I for one, I barely cap... I go on because I like to improve my accuracy as Archer. Perhaps if the feature of "Pay To Win" so to speak was removed, so you had the basic classes, we'd go back to playing how it was played at MCPVP. That's why it did so well... the headshots were in proportion, but now because the player count as significantly increased in archers, you can't even leave spawn without getting headshot.

    I think it's preposterous players can stand 30 blocks just from spawn and be able to headshot. That shouldn't be happening, it shouldn't be allowed. It goes back to the whole, Engineer class where you could place a turret in-front of the spawn door so no-one can get out.

    I do have beliefs about making games fair, but when players in the game, who contribute to the loss of players, complaining about a class constantly and never talk about anything else, is rather boring. However, I do sometimes understand the point with ninjas/assassins/mages. I feel those classes are not designed for CTF, Ninjas are too quick and being a beginner or a returning player like myself who hasn't picked MC up in about 1 year or so... comes to ninjas with incredible knockback, you can't hit them. This is what I call frustrating. It beats the object of the game... an archer you can approach much easier than a Ninja.

    I would like to partially agree with the above discussed and it feels more of Deathmatch than CTF as it feels when I go on, the only object is to kill the opposing side. There's hints in a way that tell you the objective... but it is more deathmatch than CTF now.

    I don't know whether people will agree that if it was completely set vanilla with the original classes with the original idea... it possibly could work. But then, you all have to factor in, people have spent money on new classes, so you can't expect Admins to click their fingers and change over night. There's always been more to consider than people think.
     
  10. CatTech

    CatTech New Member

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    Here's a crazy idea; bring CTF back home :slight_smile: yeah I said it. Sorry featherpaw, yin, it's time to go back to our roots. Go back to Munchy :slight_smile: no seriously I'm not joking.

    I don't necessarily agree, this CTF is outstanding from any other servers because of its' class-based take. If the problem is that players are so confused when they join for the first time and end up leaving, then we should implement a tutorial of sorts, that allows them to trial each of the kits in a separate area and learn about the mechanics of the game and the aspects of each kit. But I don't think this is the primary reason. There's a learning curve to most games right?

    Don't be so quick to judge your own success based off the success of another's. Look inward, there's still options for CTF. Like moving to Munchy :slight_smile:
     
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  11. featherpaw

    featherpaw Your friendly neighborhood kitten! :3

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    Oh hey Cattech! Long time no see! I started on Brawl, so brawl is kinda my roots, but I see where you're coming from lmao.

    Personally, I never understood why CTF was so much more popular than other servers (party excluding, but player retention on party is non-existent). I believe, now, that it might be held up as a nostalgic gamemode. People come back to CTF because they played it before, or played something like it before. It doesn't offer anything new to new players like parkour, strong pvp roots, or survival, but it offers nostalgia and a sense of community to older players. If we can replicate that for new players we may be able to keep some for longer. However, I have no idea how to go about doing that. xD sorry
     
  12. Prouddyyy

    Prouddyyy Coca Cola or Pepsi?

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    Most certainly there is but you can’t disagree that ctf is a pretty difficult game to learn especially comparing to other games, also considering that minecraft isnt usually a game where people come to learn complicating games.

    due to the difficulty of the game a tutorial will not do all to much I think, there is so much to explain and I think a lot of people will just quit halfway through.
     
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  13. Joeyythesixth

    Joeyythesixth Well-Known Member

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    ngl for ctf staff need to listen alot more to ideas first of all. there are so many players have come up with and almost none of them are ever added. There are alot of ways to make the game more enjoyable and i think the proper steps are being taken.
     
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  14. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    Adding onto what Tom said, one thing that is absolutely overlooked about CTF is the relative scaling between the complexity of the community and the gamemode. Hypixel has several hundred times the population of Brawl, which innately gives them far less freedom to pick and choose what any one person says. CTF has managed to evolve into the state it's in now because this community is so tightly knit that many voices were heard, and many of them have traded positions of power to enact the changes themselves; Hypixel has no such framework. Their gamemodes are only kept as "advanced" as the general public thinks they should be - and if you're overseeing well over a million people each month, you'll want to keep them happy. That means cutting down on your end to make ends meet. Brawl is on the opposite end of the spectrum, where instead the players are forced to sprint towards adapting to CTF. If they can't learn fast enough, they just get left out a quit - just as Hypixel would crash and burn if they tried creating anything remotely as dense as CTF.
     
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  15. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    Partially agree with this. Hypixel is not the reason for Brawl's decline. Look at The Hive for instance (RIP). They were consistently seeing thousands of players online despite Hypixel's existence. Why? Well I really do not know, though I'd guess it is due to differentiation in gameplay. The primary reason servers see significant downfall is generally lack of attention. In my lengthy history on an array of different servers, those that die typically stagnate and fade off. Meaningful changes, engagement, freshness and a focus on keeping interest alive keep servers intact. What Brawl, and CTF particularly, has done is the opposite. Little meaningful changes and attention to player discussion. Rather, we have an older game mode that sees little evolution (aside from "nerfing" classes and rotating maps). Assigning a reason for decline to another server's success is not appropriate when discussing ways to improve retention.



    Getting to the topic of learning curves, yes every game has a learning curve. Though, if someone is interested enough, they will take some time to learn it. Unfortunately, as a new player in Brawl CTF, it is a stressful experience. Handful of different classes, lack of knowledge of competition and often times newbies are targeted by regulars to the point anyone would rage quit. I also noticed issue expressed with headshotting into map spawn areas. To my knowledge deliberate spawn camping, targeting and trucing is not allowed, but largely are treated as acceptable. Unfortunately as a new player, potentially experiencing this in a game mode promoting itself as competitive is another turn off. Again though, seeing comments when Hypixel was down, is is apparent that many players missed old CTF gameplay.

    Quick edit: Seeing 0 players online in the evening (EST) should be of concern. I understand holiday weekends, but clearly the main issue making CTF/Brawl tank is an evident lack of attention/support.
    These posts are doing absolutely nothing to change the trajectory of the server. It is 100% apparent and feels like a complete waste of time making suggestions/comments. I feel like these topics are like screaming at brick walls. If nothing changes soon, CTF will die off eventually.
     
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    #15 ZBoy3210, Jul 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
  16. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    Other servers thrive because they design their games to function well without any upper intervention (aside from cheaters ofc), and currently CTF falls very far out of this category.
    • Bedwars: oh we all have beds. oh we can buy stuff to get to other beds. oh there are upgrades. cool.
    • Duels: oh it's an actual controlled environment. oh the kits are very straightforward. cool.
    • Factions: oh i'm on this big team now. oh we have to make money. oh we need a base to protect our money. cool.
    • Brawl CTF: HEYYYyyyy bud we got 30 maps everybody hates & 15 classes with single line descriptions! wanna 5v1 every 30 seconds while the rest of your team sits and chats? how about some official team invasions?? maybe even CLASS STACKING :weary:

    I'm sure somebody will find a way to debate my exaggeration, but I'm honestly not going far.

    MCPVP made their game in the era where there weren't really any standards for keeping things stable. 10 years later, it seems putty never caught onto what everyone else was doing (for CTF), and Sheep & Ritzy have yet to show deviation from this stagnation. Competitive CTF walks a very thin line of stability, supported by staff members & trusted players that essentially run everything DIY. MCCTF wasn't designed to function properly in 2021, and little has been done to adapt it into an acceptable first pick for players. It's impressive that comp has come as far as it has, but there should be no surprise in realizing that focusing all your manpower on the part of the game that's completely divided from mainstream is going to cause major problems for said mainstream portion.
     
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  17. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    On the subject of dying, it seems every break from CTF I take lower average player counts exist. Seems like sub-20 players is normal now. Nothing appears to be changing. Everything has stagnated to a cliquey community with poor gameplay. It is sad. At this rate, CTF should not be around much longer.
     
  18. SoCool21

    SoCool21 9 Year McPvPer

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    Our playerbase hasn't declined at all really since about 2018, and we still get over 2,000 players per day (total, not concurrently). CTF averages at about 20 players concurrently, which is pretty decent considering peak times usually only last a few hours, and for about 6 hours a day, we get no players at all (due to Americans and Europeans both being busy sleeping or working).

    Brawl and CTF aren't at an imminent risk of shutting down like a lot of people seem to think. We'll be rolling out major updates over the summer that should help modernise the network and encourage players to play more often; we have plans to release Skyblock as soon as we can, with a dedicated developer and staff team working on the gamemode; and there's been a huge shift towards focusing on new player retention among the staff teams of all our gamemodes, which is something that I think should have happened a long time ago.

    There seems to be so much doom and gloom about the future of Brawl, even though the stats don't really show this. It's true that we're not growing, and it's true that we won't last forever - but we've completely ended the decline we were once seeing and have held consistent playercounts for 3 years now, despite Hypixel's continued growth.
     
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  19. revay616

    revay616 Member

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    Creating new modes when others have errors/bugs/glitches is a very bad solution
     
  20. SoCool21

    SoCool21 9 Year McPvPer

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    We still need to work on our existing gamemodes (and we are, each of our gamemodes has a dedicated developer), but we shouldn't rely on them. A lot of our old gamemodes are no longer popular among the general Minecraft community - none of our gamemodes are that popular among the general Minecraft community.

    The developer working on Skyblock was brought in just to work on Skyblock, so that gamemode isn't slowing down development of any other gamemodes.
     
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