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Roadmap 2021, part 1: Chat, Mobile, Achievements

2021-03-18 10:45:00

With the launch of the new World Cup system behind us, it’s time to talk about what else we are planning for this year. One theme is the in-game economy, but we are saving that discussion for a second editorial, published tomorrow. More immediate projects include a revamp of the Achievements system, a better Chat system for the site and a community-focused update for the mobile app.

In January we launched the new World Cup system, in which we are currently running the first U20 Continental championships. Later this season, they will convert to U21 teams, and kick off their World Cups. Next season, the Senior NTs start their first cycle in the new system. It will be great to have all NTs live in the new format!

While we still have some work to do with the new World Cup system, most of our focus is now on future features. You have already seen the release of the new double elimination mode for tournaments, and two weeks ago the release of the updated Lineup Simulator for Supporters.

There are three projects that we are working on right now, that we aim to release in the next few months. One is a new Chat portal for the site, making it easier to navigate between available chat rooms using a separate window. We are also adding filters to make very active chats, like the ones during Live Draws, less spammy.

Another thing is a new set of location-based features we are planning for the mobile app, which will allow you to connect to local clusters of users to chat or play matches. It should be said that this last feature is being planned with the utmost care to privacy! It will be opt-in only so no app users will be tracked unless explicitly asking to join in. And if you do, we will only use your location to assign you to a home cluster of users that are close to your location, it will have nothing to do with advertising, and we will never reveal your exact location to anyone else. The idea is that we will remember your home cluster but never save your exact location, and the permission for the app to access your location will by default expire after 24 hours.

We see this as a bit of an experiment, but something that can potentially add a really interesting dimension to Hattrick, especially when it comes to discovering and building very local communities in the game.

The main project this season is however a revamp of the Achievements system. We are doing this for several reasons. First of all, it is an existing system in Hattrick that a lot of users enjoy and it is worth bringing up to date just for that reason! We want to improve the interface so it becomes easier to understand, more fun to interact with, and more stable in general. We will of course keep all existing Achievements and points.

However, rebuilding the platform itself will give us more flexibility to add new and more interesting challenges inside this system.

Recently, we have been thinking a lot about a user’s journey in Hattrick, how for some newbies the game can become extremely competitive very early on, whereas other users may find themselves in “limbo” where nothing much happens for seasons at a time. We will use this as a perspective in much that we do from now on, to just try and make sure that beyond the overall manager challenge of promoting to the top division, there are also interesting smaller goals to achieve along the way. And also to keep an eye out for structural problems, where things such as league structure, team mechanics and economy creates unwanted consequences to the user experience.

When it comes to achievements, this means adding new ones at more regular intervals, and also to try and find areas for achievements that haven’t been explored yet, or that are suitable for managers that may not be able to go for any of the existing ones. It’s healthy for the game that as many managers as possible feels that they have something to strive for, even if it may not always be an imminent promotion.

In this area of “user progression” there are however also larger problems that can certainly not be solved with new achievements. The in-game economy is one such issue, and the way that it in some ways obstructs up-and-coming teams while giving a permanent edge to older teams.

We started a broad review of the in-game economy in the autumn. This started after the announced changes to the pricing of “Future Coaches”, which we ended up cancelling in the end. Tomorrow we will go into greater depths about this analysis, and what we plan to do, in another editorial.

Thank you for your time today!

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