How to Revive Restaurant Story
Hello everyone, first of all I would like to say that I think we can all agree that bakery and restaurant story have both gone far downhill in the past year. Much of this stems from storm8's lay off of about 130 employees from its social mobile gaming studio back in February of 2017. Ever since then we have seen features slowly disappear and less and less effort put into the game. While this is obviously expected, I believe that there are still many ways that storm8 can bring life back into the sister games without spending too much time, money, or resources, while also generating more money so that more time and effort can be spent on these games. There are so many people leaving and less people spending money because they have become so boring and repetitive and grueling in nature. This post's purpose will be suggesting many ways that storm8 can revive them, as well as gain more money from them so that they can provide a better foundation for the "story" games.
First of all, I would like to start off with something that has been gone for quite some time now.
Weekly Content Updates.
Way back in the day (yes I am being over dramatic) we had new content arrivals weekly. These rotated between Monthly goal updates (eventually replaced by 2 week goal updates), regular content updates, crate updates, and sales. This provided more variety for customers between the weeks, and provided something for the customer to come back to every week! Currently we only have 2 week goals, and 5 day goals, and only 2-3 updates per month, in the same pattern, becoming boring and more of a task than a fun system. The current goals that we have feel impossible at points, especially with the new introduction of 72 (you read that right, 72) part appliances as well as 5 day goals that require hundreds of hours of total cooking if you don't have many coins or parts to spare. We have been on the same pattern with updates for a while now, and they're becoming increasingly hard and increasingly expensive and obnoxious. Redoing the update patterns could provide much more user attention and willingness to spend their hard earned money on new content.
But out of all of the negatives that have come from the new format, there is also a positive. Extensive SIDE GOALS are an amazing addition to the mix-up, and keep you interested while you're waiting for parts for your goal ovens. However, lately the prizes have been lackluster, more on that to come. Now, you may ask, what is a good schedule for new update rollouts? I can give you a few.
First of all, storm 8 could try this:
Week 1: 3 week goal, including side goal.
Week 2: Sale lasting 2-3 weeks // New crate (when there is no good event/holiday for sale)
Week 3: Normal content update (no goals, just new items *including new oven *)
Week 4: 7 day goal (Re-using old oven, multiple decoration prizes)
Releasing the largest of the updates at the beginning of the month and having it last throughout most of it provides users with more to come back to and keeps the game interesting. Most users would finish between weeks 2 and 3, keeping them entertained but also ready to spend money if they aren't able to finish them. Having once every few months for events and holidays keeps even the stingiest ready to drop gems on amazing limited items. Normal content updates provide those with busy schedules an opportunity to buy new content, and the month rounding off with a 7 day goal helps boost momentum into the next month and keep players content and busy.
If that doesn't work, storm8 could alternatively try this:
Week 1: 7 day goall, (Re-using old oven, multiple decoration prizes)
Week 2: 3 week goal, including side goal.
Week 3: Normal content update (no goals, just new items *including new oven *)
Week 4: Sale lasting 2-3 weeks // New crate (when there is no good event/holiday for sale)
This way there will still be user retention throughout the month with the goals, and sales could last throughout all of the next month, normal content proceeding it so users have just spent all of their gems and are ready to spend more.
Now let's go into more depth about how each of the different types of updates could be improved for the best user satisfaction and gem and money spending opportunities (you need a balance of both, leaning too heavily to one side will either cause you customers to be unsatisfied or money opportunities to go to waste)
3 Week goals would be what essentially replaces the current 2 week goals. We would have one every month and they would be themed towards that month when applicable (Spring for April, Halloween for October, Christmas for December, ect.). They would have a set of tables and chairs, counters, wall deco, floor deco, tiles and flooring, and would all be original well thought out and rendered content. They should also be CHEAPER than they currently are. A range of tables being 8-10K, chairs being 6-8K, counters 5-15K, tiles and flooring 4-8K, and floor and wall decorations 10-40K, and ovens 20-30K would be much more reasonable than the prices we are currently getting. There would be 2 ovens, the first with recipes of the 1-5 hour range, and the second being 6-10 hour range. The way things are looking right now, I suggest removing the whole mini-parts system, as when the parts aren't being dropped from side goals, it is impossible to build the ovens. However, you could provide discounts on the gem prices for the parts required to build the ovens during the goals (currently 2 gems per part, could be reduced to 1 or even value packs of, for example, 30 parts for 20 gems). You could also decrease the amount of parts needed for ovens to 15 for the first round and 20 for the second, much more reasonable than 72.
For the side goals that accompany the 3 week main goals, each step should drop a smaller prize and then finally a big 3x3 or 4x4. Currently many are not doing the side goals because they sometimes only drop 1x1 prizes. In addition to only requiring people to cook X amount of food, you could also include visit X neighbors, tip X customers, spend X coins on decorations, etc, to spice them up. To make the side goals even more appealing, you could release exclusive content through them! (who doesn't want a new shiny 4x4).
Sales could be held for holidays and events, some examples being valentines day, st patricks day, independence day, halloween, christmas, spring, summer, fall, winter, and even some smaller random holidays. They should include a mix of gem and coin items and include all categories of items and 12 gem crates (This seems to have made giant profits in the past). Releasing old exclusive limited content is an amazing way to get users to spend gems and money.
The reintroduction of crates, maybe once per few months could be a great way to drive sales. You could increase this further by putting them on sale for 12 gems the first week they're out and increasing the odds to get higher placed prizes (as has been done in the past). I think these should be exclusively floor deco, with large prizes (4x4) being first place, 3x3s and 2x2s being second and third tier, and smaller but still interesting prizes being fourth tier. Remember, the more appealing you make the items, the more people will buy!
Normal Content Updates
I cannot remember the last time we've had a non-goal update. Bringing them back will definitely put smiles on users' faces. They should have items from every category and you could even put all gem items from them on 30-50% sale to increase purchases when they're released. They should all include ovens with 3-6 recipes so people can come back to the game and play while they are waiting for their goal recipes to cook.
7 Day Goals
7 day goals could be the replacement of current 5 day goals. They should be easier and should give more prizes. They don't have to give big 3x3 or 4x4 prizes, but maybe 3 or 4 smaller prizes. Cut the required recipes in half from what they currently are so that they're actually possible, I cannot stress how important this is.
Other Possible Additions
Other possible content additions could be daily login prizes (after a week, lets say, you could earn a new decoration), you could also try community tasks (If all the users cook a combined X waffles during the next X days, you all earn this prize, prizes increase in size and detail as the community cooks more). Both would increase user participation and satisfaction.
More communication is needed between s8 and its player base. Currently there are a few mods on the forums who can help out (shout out to you guys, you are so helpful) but there should also be a staff member to listen to user feedback such as this and to interact with its community. For example, users have been making it clear about their distaste with the new goal system and difficult 5 day goals, but have received no feedback from s8). I would say that one staff member and three moderators who actually listen to our feedback and communicate could help.
Game Cleanup/ Consistency.
The game is currently a mess. So many bugs, glitches, and no help is being received from s8. Another thing is that items are sized wrong. For the last few updates in bakery and restaurant, tables are way too tiny, chairs too large, and there are weird black borders around some wallpapers. These are all things that could be easily be fixed if s8 listened to us and put a little more effort into their games.
Now of course this barely scratches the surface. There are so many ways to revive the "story" games. Storm8, please, if you care about the games and their customers, spend more time and effort into making them better. The more you put in, the more you will receive. Over 80% of my neighbors have left because your games are becoming so boring. I am not writing this to complain, but am writing it because i love these games and want to see the best for them, and am simply trying to guide s8 in the right direction of how to bring them back to life. Fellow neighbors and forum frequenters, please add your opinions and other things you would like to see changed/fixed/added. We need to make our voices heard so that storm8 can realize that there is still hope for this game and we all love it too much to let it die. Thank you everyone if you have read this, and I really hope that something can be done for our beloved games before it is too late.
Good ideas. Hope they will use them
I would add, notifications that food is ready and a tab for non challenge parts to save having to scroll through everything else.