It is no secret that the playerbase peaks whenever there is a new update or event and shrinks down after. Almost every game on steam follows this pattern and TU is no exception. Take a look at the steam charts for players by month for an example of this effect:
See how the peaks correlate to large updates and seasonal events? People join the game during updates to see what is new, play the new maps, unlock the items they want and redecorate their condo with what they unlocked. After that, many people leave because they feel like there is no reason to keep playing. I’m guilty of this too. I have been playing since the lobby 1 days of GMT and I got the units to fully furnish my condo years ago, so I don’t have much reason to grind for new items anymore. And while I like the game, I don’t feel like there is much incentive for me to keep playing.
This scenario also creates a downward spiral. Less people means its harder to find people to play a multiplayer gamemode with, and when there are people cannot find a game to join, they don’t play the game in the future. I know that hundreds of thousands of people own the game (source: steam spy), but this apathy severely restricts return players.
So how do multiplayer games make people come back every day? Many use daily login rewards. Make it so that every consecutive day you play the game, you get a small reward. The first few days would be small stuff, like a few hundred units or a common furniture item. As more consecutive days go by, players unlock rarer and exclusive items. Maybe after fifty consecutive days, players can unlock an item and achievement that cannot be achieved any other way. Or maybe make a monthly reward item that can only be obtained if people play every day in a month. I guarantee many older players would come back just for that, thus boosting the playerbase.
Another idea is daily quests. Every day, people would receive a few random quests to complete for a unit reward. Things like “Complete a game of zombie massacre while only playing as the scientist”, “Get first place in a ball race three times” or “Eat five knights”. These would encourage people to play the multiplayer modes more often and try new things. It should probably require that people play until the end of the match, so people don’t leave or close the server as soon as they complete their quest. This idea would promote players to use the gameworlds more often and play different gamemodes. Maybe their could also be a few acheivements or items that are tied to completing quests as well.
I think these ideas would increase the active userbase and draw in people to play more frequently. Thoughts?