TacTracer #14 – My Interview With The Community Manager of Minion Masters
Hi all, you must be wondering why I haven’t had an article in a few months. I had been in contact recently with the community manager from Betadwarf which the company created Minion Masters. Minion Masters is a card game like MOBA where you place cards to battle other players online. Yesterday, I finally had the chance to interview the community manager of the company. I had to contain my excitement about the interview because this is my second interview that I have ever done. Let’s just say I had a great time interviewing him and asking about the game.
TacticalTracer: What is Minion Masters and what was the inspiration behind it?
Erythais: Minion Masters is a fast-paced online minion battle game and the first free-to-play tug-of-war game for both PC and Xbox. Players choose a Master and build decks from hundreds of cards to challenge friends and rivals online in real-time. The inspiration basically came from our two former games FORCED and FORCED Showdown. That’s why you can find many creatures and Masters from these games in Minion Masters again. Another inspiration were similar games like Clash Royale, for instance.
TacticalTracer: How did you feel about the game when it was announced and how much hype was there?
Erthyais: I will not lie here: I was a big fan of other TCGs and CCGs, like Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, and Clash Royale before. The announcement of Minion Masters was somewhat special, because Minion Masters is fairly different compared to said titles. It combines deckbuilding with real time battles and therefore gives kind of an RTS feeling. The hype was big, although our former games had not as big of a community. On the other hand, players around the world pay far more attention to Early Access titles, nowadays. So, the hype was real and met our expectations for releasing an Early Access title which is going to be free-to-play in the future.
TacticalTracer: How far has the playerbase come since the beginning?
Erthyais: According to Steam, we started with 4,667 players in no time. Since then, we had many, many updates and try to constantly improve the experience while playing Minion Masters. We had several events and in October, we finally an event that contained a big name in the streamer scene: Kripparrian. Our monthly peak of players fell until then, which was expected. But we managed to get the numbers up again by almost 100% and our highest peak ranged around 10,000 players since December 2016. Last month, we had another rise of +35.26%.
TacticalTracer: Do you have a favorite game outside of the ones you worked on?
Erythais: My alltime favorite is probably Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft, even if I don’t play these titles anymore. Currently, I play Kerbal Space Program when not being busy working, with my family, or playing Minion Masters. Physically, I play Magic: The Gathering every now and then.
TacticalTracer: How do you detect cheating players and how do you deal with it?
Erythais: We have our own system checking for activity such as cheating or hacking. It works quite good and reliable. Further, our community is dedicated and knows the game. Our built-in replay feature gives everyone the opportunity to watch games again and detect plays. If someone thinks there might be a cheat involved or a hack, they can report the replay to us via Steam, Reddit, Discord, Social Media or email. Cheaters and hackers are a pain for any game out there and we ban them as soon as we find out about their activity.
TacticalTracer: How do you feel about the playerbase as in the numbers?
Erythais: As I mentioned before, numbers are somewhat expected. Minion Masters still has a little entry-fee, so to speak. That might hold some players back. Luckily, we have some events going on, where everyone is able to participate and get the game for free anyway. We’re happy about the current numbers, but I will not lie here: more is always appreciated. We’re confident that the playerbase will see another rise in the near future, due to some new features and overhauls.
TacticalTracer: How do you think the playerbase will change as the game evolves?
Erythais: With the introduction of Expeditions, we implemented a new way for new players to progress somewhat safer. Expeditions are maps where players are able to explore and fight PvE, as well as PvP fights, to gather Gold and Cards. That way, new players do not feel as frustrated as before when not doing good on the ranked modes. They feel progress now, instead of deranking due to a lack of experience against other players, who might have played for a longer time. In September, we also announced the aim to become an eSports title. Therefore, we’re working on new features such as Spectator mode and are trying to scale upon the competitive scene around Minion Masters. That being said, we have cool stuff planned until the release and expect a significant rise in player numbers until then. Once we’ve officially launched the game out of Early Access and are free-to-play, we expect high player numbers in the 5-digits area. To add to Expeditions: new players are more likely to come back, due to the feature.
TacticalTracer: How well has the game done financially?
Erythais: Once again, it met our expectations. We’re a small team, but still independent. That fact alone shows the situations quite accurate. We reached the majority of our retention goals and the metrics are looking good for the future.
TacticalTracer: When will the game leave early access?
Erythais: I cannot give an exact date yet, because delayed release dates are hard to explain. But we aim to release Minion Masters in early 2018 and are confident that we can add all the planned features until then and have the most polished version of the game coming release.
TacticalTracer: Outside of the gaming community, who supports your development/efforts?
Erythais: We’re working together with some freelancers, former internships. Like I said, we’re a small team and still independent. Our biggest support comes from our amazing community, which is active, dedicated and engaged. They do not hesitate to give us feedback, valuable insights, and suggestions to further improve the game.
TacticalTracer: What are you doing to make the game a serious eSport?
Erythais: First, we support already existing community tournaments like the King Puff Cup Series, with prizes. Last month, we ran our first own tournament in cooperation with the King Puff Cup staff: The Master’s Challenge. This tournament was only for Grandmaster and came with a prize pool of $1000. We also have the green light from the ESL (Electronic Sports League) to get Minion Masters on a highly professional and well known platform for eSports. Furthermore, we’re currently working on a bigger event cycle (Championship) to scale the scene up even more. Did I mention, that a professional eSports manager from a Norwegian eSports organization is addicted to Minion Masters and a professional Hearthstone player from France streams the game?
TacticalTracer: Can you hint any future plans about the game?
Erythais: Well, we’re working on a Spectator mode, the third Expedition, a new UI, new cards, and Masters, as well as other improvements. The biggest future plan is to get the game ready for the release and for eSports. We also plan to work even closer with our community to improve balance and quality of life adjustments. If you ask me, Minion Masters will become a well known eSports title and a successful game besides big titles like Hearthstone and Clash Royale within the next two years.
Well, you might want to try out this game if you are into CCGs such as Hearthstone. I am an avid Minion Masters player and enjoy the game quite a bit. I hope that this game can become a popular eSport and hope that the playerbase increases over time. I hope you enjoy the article and here in a couple weeks I will have a milestone article as we reach article number fifteen.