While it might sound good from brand point of view (brand loyality and all of that), stagnant population in game isn't anything good.
Most of mechanics in APB are based on promise that there will be always new players filling up void of constantly increasing more experinced playerbase to create "skill tiers".
With APB it don't work - bah... it's outright abused by experinced playerbase - and in some twisted way playerbase balance itself out by this... as long as we getting fresh blood that is.
We talk about dethreating of course. Dethreating is effectively vampirism. Each time new player joins the game during his first 5 matches is pretty guaranteed to land match against several year veterans playing this game. Veterans prey on unexperinced fresh players and you don't have to look much around - it's commonplace situation even now on all bronze districts in both Jericho and Citadel.
Ever tried some unknown MMORPG from depth of internet? Never could get into it and all content locked behind PvP is impossible to reach because of entrenched veterans in PvP? That's how newbie in APB feels.
In APB it's 10 times worse though as APB is 100% PvP game. So new player after several matches most likely having negative opinion being litteraly steamrolled at first matches by top tiers, give up and never comes back.
And funny thing is... there is karma in APB with stagnant population.
Ever felt like there is shitton of cheaters around? Well... that's disease of low populated games in stagnancy.
In normal working games with dynamic populations - meeting cheater is rarity, mainly due high population of overall players, to that there is big rotation of them causing cheaters to be mostly flushed out by sheer numbers of all other players.
Anyone wondering how this is correlated should ask themselves this basic question: Where 1 cheater makes big difference? In population of 700 players or in population of 70000 players?
So wanna fix problem of cheaters and dethreaters?
Well there are several ways for that - and to understand problems we need to know about two things - skill curve and learning curve.
Here's how they represent themselves right now in my personal opinion:
This images were required for me to represent solutions, which are:
1. Flatten skill curve - which is impossible as each player is unique on it's own and skilled less or more.
2. Lock people in corresponding sections of knowledge and skill curves - newbie for greens, basic for bronze, seasoned for silver, veteran for gold - quick solution which might create problem of creating new characters just to dethreat and kill off veteran population (due to insanely high skill in group which some might not meet). In positive (but unlikely case) it can create it's own curves within each population (newbies, basic, seasoned, veterans) and prevent intermixing in battles newbies and veterans so the first group can really learn and have fun and other have proper challenge matching their knowledge.
3. Flatten knowledge curve - while you can't make newbie posses veteran knowledge, you can make them posses at least basic one. Proper and interactive tutorial (not current wall of text) - something like we had in past during first years of G1 reign - just learning you to do everything you need to know about APB. That way we at least lift up newbies to basic status - which would help them already a lot. PVE interactivity can also help less skilled players (or this who look for other activities than constant PvP) to enjoy themselves despite PvP competiveness and toxicity - although I imagine brining such action to reality would need total redesign of game.
4. Open discussion? - Democracy is not bad but we as community really need to think of action, not just leave it as it is and say "it's alright" - it ain't.
I see LO doing something in regard to players being pushed away by veterans (actions like bringing ARMAs to Joker Distribution are great) but it seems that this actions are not enough.
What do you guys think?