I think the game is definitely sustainable long term.
My thoughts on the new player experience is mixed. I know they made some changes to make it easier for new players, but I can 100% say I would not have stayed around if I hadn’t had friends that I played with who helped me understand what I was doing. I found the tutorial kind of vague. I am not sure how it really is now for a new player because there is a lot more experience in the population and a lot of the community is willing to help.
As for the game play itself… I think the game has a lot to offer both the casual and hard core players. It is what you make of it and you can specialize in so many different things I think it gives a ton of diversity where the game play is concerned.
As for the numbers of players out there… there is no real way of tracking how many PS4 players are playing and in my opinion there are more PS4 players than PC players. Although, even if you double the PC count, the game doesn’t have near the amount of players as other games, but I have confidence in the devs that they know what they are doing because they, themselves have said the game is a slow burn… I feel in time when all the ducks are in a row, they’ll have a bigger marketing campaign.
As for a free weekend… I am personally “meh” on the idea. While I would love the community to grow, I also don’t want a bunch of beacons and noobie first builds scattered around and left to rot like we had last time. If we did have another free weekend, I think there should be some beacon changes that will cause those beacons places by new players who do not continue or purchase the game to expire at the end of the weekend, perhaps with a few day grace period.
Also, the community itself needs to hold themselves accountable for the population as well… trolling puts off players and causes people to not enjoy the game and quit. All of us should keep that in mind… kind of hard to complain or question the lack of player retention or the game’s overall sustainability without keeping that factor in mind.