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Roadmap: Autumn 2019

2019-11-14 15:38:00

The new season has gotten off to a good start with our new two leagues, Ethiopia and DR Congo, having joined Hattrick, and the new Division Battles competition mode receiving very good feedback from the community. We are very happy to have more than 75,000 teams signed up for this free contest, which for the first time lets you play on the same side as the other managers in your series. Later this season, Hattrick will get a face-lift, as we welcome new designs for our player avatars. Finally, the best news of all: Hattrick is growing again.

Division Battles was one of the things we decided to work on at our last Developer meeting in September. We've long wanted to try something that can bring the managers in a series together around a common goal, so they have an excuse to discuss and plan things together in their chats and forums. We hope the Battles will be a great addition to the community, and have already received many ideas for how to improve the format in future seasons. Let’s see what happens when the Battles kick off on Friday!

During our Dev meet we also reviewed our year's work so far. This spring we devoted a lot of work to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which improves our visibility on Google. This involves a lot of things, from improving the speed of the site, to adding new content to the site or making existing pages public or easier to find for Google. While we realize much of this doesn’t make Hattrick more fun for you, it was good to finally be able to tackle this head on and spend some serious time on it.

We didn’t see much in the way of immediate results, but as the summer went on, things started to change. Together with some other changes, such as releasing new app versions and asking managers to rate us again in the app stores, we started to see signup numbers that we hadn't seen in many years. This trend has been consistent for several months now, and we can actually say that Hattrick is again a game that is growing organically - meaning growing without marketing, such as banners or reinvitation campaigns to old managers. We're not talking huge numbers, but it is a clear reversal of the negative trend we have seen the last few years, and we are really happy and motivated by it! Thank you for sticking with us, and thanks to all of you that have helped make this uptick in growth happen by talking about Hattrick and inviting your friends.

As for the coming plan, the increasing number of new managers has led to a new “background project," which is all about improving the game experience for new managers. We are working on that now, and hope this will improve the number of new managers that stay in the game.

This autumn, we will also launch the second set of new features for our National Teams. This time around, it will be the official scout roles, and the ability for NT coaches to create large shortlists of players. The shortlists will make it easier for the NT coaching staffs to monitor the progress of players, and to communicate with managers who own NT prospects, while making the NT player-selection process more transparent, as any player heading to the main NT squad will first have to be shortlisted. We also think that the shortlists will bring more regular managers in touch with the NTs, making it easier for them to engage in the NTs and in training the right players for the squad.

What more can you expect from us in coming months?

As we have already teased on Facebook and the Hattrick Developer blog, we are working on a big project to add new player avatars to the game. The new faces will be more realistic, and be a complement to the current more comic style. You will be able to choose which style you prefer. We are adding the new faces for various reasons. It was clear when we changed to the current faces in 2009 that the community was divided on them. For some, they didn’t fit the feeling some users had of their teams, and for whom Hattrick as a "serious" game. In the last 2 years we have worked through the site and the design to make everything fit together better, which caused similar feelings among some managers who preferred to stick with certain styles for the match order form, skill bars, and so on. Since manager numbers are growing again, we are curious to see what brand-new users prefer. If it is the new faces, bringing in this option could end up being quite an important decision in the long run.

You can also expect to see the ranking system we've worked on for the past year introduced in Hattrick. We'll start by adding ranking information to some existing pages before we build new features that takes this data into account.

Beyond this, our aim is to maintain a healthy development pace with some nice surprises along the way up until the New Year.

Happy Hattricking!

The HT-team

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