I can go with that...so just something to think about (I know we are way of topic now )
I do not know your release cycle (build the jar, the assents, take it together, upload it, etc.) and how much time it take, but maybe you should think about feature driven release.
That means as soon as a feature is fully implemented you release it. I know this sounds very tough for you. But think about it...
(1) you still have the automatic update for the player (so they have no problem with many releases)
(2) new feature are much faster available
(3) fast feedback of single features
(4) player will play more often to see the new features
Maybe you can also think about a public feature list (to do list) and each player (just people who own the game) can vote in some way for features. You don't have to do this with each one but maybe in this way:
"Do you want feature A more oder feature B"
This could even work on your facebook page...