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      Cyber Nations Forum Rules   07/03/2016

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On resources and trade sets

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Syzygy

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Hello again,

against my promises, today a slightly different topic, I am just in the mood to go away a bit from basic mechanics and want to write a few sentences about Resources, Bonusgoods and balance. Why? Because I still see people in countless posts and topics aim for horrible trade-circles or complain about how bad their resources are. This article shall help them and offer a simple solution for the admin to make the game a bit more interesting.

Resources

The current Resource system in CN is not that bad. Its easy and even totally newbies can manage to understand how Resources and Bonus Resources work relatively quickly.

Now the bad part. The resources are not unique. That means, except for Uranium, you can simply exchange each resource for each other and you will still be able to do everything, just maybe a bit slower because you either earn less cash or things are more expensive. Where does that lead to? Simple: Some clever guys sit back, do some math and quickly find out what the *BEST* combination is. Put that into a guide, spread it and soon you have the situation we have in CN right now: Everyone is aiming for the SAME stuff, making some resources highly valuable and others nearly ruin a players day (not because he earns a few dollars less, you can live with that, but because you have to CONSTANTLY be afraid for your trades - just no one wants to trade with you for a long time...) - and thats annoying. Good games should have nearly no annoying parts.

Now what is the solution? DEMAND. Create a demand for ALL resources.

The best solutions currently:

To help some of the rather unexperienced readers, a quick overview. There are lots of different Trade Circle offer around, but there are only a handfull really benefitial setups.

Lets begin with the 3BG. 3BG means "3 BonusGoods" and is with "Construction+Beer+FastFood" a quasi-standard of CN. The resources you need for that are:

Alu+Marble+Iron+Lumber (=Construction)

+Wheat+Water (Beer)

+Cattle+Pigs+Sugar+Spices (FastFood)

+Fish+Gems/Uran/Silver/Wine (basically just make sure to fill the set with a good income booster or Uran if you want to go nuclear)

That 3BG setup is considered the *BEST* if you have two of the resources needed for it. And since there are 15 of 21 resources available for it (except for nuclear nations, in that case its only 12 of 21 because Gems/Silver/Wine are not as good as Uran), a lot of people can go for it. If you can, do it and don't bother wiht *anything else*. You won't find a better setup for long term use, only with trade-swaps you can outperform it, but more to that later.

Now, some people have Resources like Coal, Oil, Rubber... These are obviously not able to go for such a 3BG setup, because their resources don't fit in well. But, they have an alternative: the 5BG setup. They simply replace Pigs+Sugar+Spices with Coal+Oil+Rubber. You get with that:

Steel+Automobiles+Construction+Asphalt+Beer. The other resources are the same. The 5BG setup is another quasi-standard for CN and provides a higher reducting in purchase and upkeep costs, but lesser tax income. On the lower levels (below 5,000 infra) it is still noticably weaker than the 3BG setup, because you have less citizens and with that less improvements. The higher you gow the lesser is the difference and above 10,000 infra both setups enable you to grow equally fast when just purchasing infrastructure. However, the 3BG still has an advantage when massing cash for a wonder or filling your warchest, the 5BG has an advantage during war because your bills are lower (less risk to be bill-locked) and your military replacement costs + soldier efficiency are better.

So, if you have 2 of the resources needed for that setup, but cannot go the 3BG because one or both are Coal/Oil/Rubber - go for 5BG and stick with that. It won't get better without trade swapping.

With these both setups we have already 18 of the 21 resources covered. What is left?

Furs, Gold, Lead.

These 3 resources are considered to be CNs "weakest" resources, but you can still put at least Furs and Gold to good use when going for an AP/FJ/Steel setup. With Lead you are basically screwed. Lead just sucks, it does have some minor advantages, but it is not usefuly for *any* long-term setup. But back to Gold and Furs. If you have Gold, do NOT make the mistake to go for an 8BG setup (5BG+Scholars+Microchips+RadiationCleanup). That setup is CRAP. Avoid it, at all costs. It looks good on paper but it is in most cases even worse than having 12 total random resources. Trust me, with that few population modifiers, you never have an income that enables you to compete with most other setups. Last warning: AVOID 7&8 Bonusgoods! [only exception would be a time where GRL is maximized at 5, then it is equal to the 5BG in growth].

If you have Gold and/or Furs + one of the other needed resources, you aim for FineJewelry and AffluentPopulation (FJ/AP/Steel). As addition Iron and Pop Boosters. You need for that:

Coal+Gold+Silver+Gems (=FineJewelry)

+Furs+Fish+Wine (AffluentPopulation)

+Iron (Steel)

+Cattle+Wheat+Uran+Water (but you can replace Uran and Water also with: Lumber, Spices, Pigs, Sugar if you want, doesn't change much, these setups are all almost equally strong).

If you have that, you make even MORE cash than with the 3BG - but infra is more expensive also. That makes the 3BG still better, but you can definitely rival the 5BG setup. And you are BY FAR better off with it than the 7/8BG solution.

Now, we have reduced the only REAL BAD scenarios down to:

- You have Lead + something else

- You have 2 Resources from complete different setups (Like Rubber+Spices or Furs+Marble)

For both I offer a solution to fix that.

-----

Solution for Nations with Lead:

Strengthen the Bonusgoods which require Lead, which automatically creates a demand for Lead on the market.

The first Bonusgood that requires Lead is Microchips. Currently a completely worthless Bonusgood because the +2 Happiness are nothing special (go for other stuff and you get that as well, together with a lot better value of the base resources) and the Tech Cost Reduction is useless because almost no nation purchases own tech any more, it all is imported via the TechDeal Market.

Make the TechModifiers useful.

  • - increase the effect of Gold from -5% to -10%
    - also increase the effect of Universities from -10% to -15%
    - also increase the effect of a Great University from -10% to -20%
    - also increase the effect of a National Research Lab from -3% to -10%
    - also increase the effect of the Space Program Wonder from -5% to -10%
    - increase the Tech Cost Reduction Effect of Microchips from -8% to -20% + double the reduction for all WONDERS if the nation has Microchips.

It creates a motivation to buy more own tech, because with Microchips that is actually cheaper than on the market (100 for 3M) up to 400 or 500tech. Nations specializing for that route can stay techsellers longer AND the later benefits would come stepwise, since a nation builds wonders only slowly.

The current max-modification for technology is a price of 57%. Since costs for tech are insanely high, buying own tech is only lucrative up to ~200, after that buying it from the techmarket simply is way better.

The new max-modification for technology would be 41% without Microchips and 19% if you have ALL wonders with techboost. That means, nations could over time buy their own tech, the more of these wonders they have, the higher up it will stay lucrative. With a full wonder-setup + Microchips, buying own tech would be lucrative (=same price as the market) up to ~750tech and affordable (higher price but saves aidslots up to ~2,000 tech).

Why is that better than now:

  • - nations can stay techsellers longer if they focus on a tech-reduction route
    - beaten down nations can regrow faster instead of waiting months just for redoing all the techimports
    - crazy people can even buy own tech in the areas of some thousand tech
    - peacemode nations who can't participate in the techbusiness can grow slowly with buying own tech

-----

The second Bonusgood that requires Lead is Scholars. Simply change its effect from increasing income by +$3 to +1$ per Bonusgood the nation produces (simulates higher efficiency ratings when producing things). That way, adding Lead as completion for an 5BG circle would make that a 6BG combo and offers +$6 income which is better than 3 happiness. If used in a 8BG combo, it even offers +$8, which is better than 4 happiness.

Why is that better than now:

  • - adds a unique & flexible effect
    - strengthens the right now really crappy setups (7/8BG, FJ/AP/MC setups and such stuff).

-----

Solution for Nations with incompatible combos:

Step1: Split the Resurces of CN in two tiers - Geological and Agricultural

Geological Resources are all those which can be digged out of the earth:

Alu, Coal, Oil, Uran, Lead, Gold, Silver, Gems, Marble, Iron + Water (can be below and on the surface)

Agricultural Resources are all those which can be cultivated on the surface:

Wheat, Spices, Wine, Cattle, Pigs, Fish, Furs, Rubber, Sugar, Lumber + Water (can be below and on the surface)

Step2: Assign ONE Geological resource to every nation on creation - randomly.

Since no nation can chose what the most common resource in iths earth is, they are stuck with it.

Step3: Let the user chose ONE agricultural resource by own free will on creation.

Every Ruler or Government is of course perfectly capable to decide on which production his nation shall focus.

Step4: Let the user switch the agricultural resource once a month, but at a high cost - depending on the nations land+infra amount.

Step5: Add 1 Env bonus to AP to make the FJ/AP combos more challenging.

Why is that better than now:

  • - every Ruler is self responsible for the COMBO his nation produces (if his geological resource is Silver/Gold/Gems -> Furs would be obviously a good choice because you fit into an AP circle perfectly, Spices would be a bad choice)
    - no more eternal disadvantages
    - options for the Ruler and ways to make mistakes / gain advantages
    - creation of a FLUID MARKET*

I will elaborate this last point a bit more:

Now you will say: Hah, Everyone will just chose Wheat or Fish as second resource! And I say: Shall they! It will lead to a situation where there will be not enough Cattle/Sugar/Spices combos to complete the setups, which automatically makes such a combo extremely valuable on the market - because everyone needs it and only few people have it.

The same goes for Furs and Wine, which are currently rather 'undesired' - If there are only a few nations around which would perfectly fill AP/FJ setups - these will have their inbox spammed for trade offers. And since users can change the agricultural resource once per month (although for a high fee), the market will adapt to its needs. If everyone has Wheat, people with Wheat will notice that nobody wants Wheat any more, but everyone searches Pigs. It might be benefital to switch, but the decision is up to the owner.

Short notice on Temptrades:

Temp-trading means:

  • - You import a resource-setup that reduces bills - and ONLY pay bills for around 15-19days.
    - After that you drop these resources and import other ones, those who boost population count and income.
    - Then you collect Tax for all days together with that higher income. After that you switch back to the bill-reducing costs.

The same can be done when purchasing large parts of infra. Especially if you have a 3BG or FJ/AP setup. Just cancel some trades with Income/Pop-Boosters and import Infra-Reducers for a day. Then buy all your infra with that and go back to your old setup afterwards.

Summary:

[to the users]

  • - 3BG is best, if you can go for it - DO IT
    - 5BG is almost equal if you have lots of infra. If you have Coal/Oil/Rubber - DO IT
    - 7/8BG is CRAP - never do that except GRL is at 5, and you are in the midst of a long war.
    - AP/FJ/Steel rivals the 5BG for sure, if you temptrade even the 3BG.

[to the admin]

  • - Make the TechMarket more challenging by making the reduction costs USEFUL. Bind that to Microchips & Wonders and especially a combination of those to give this Bonusgood a special purpose and strengthen the last really *bad* resource: Lead.
    - Change the "total random" system to 1 random + 1 chosen resource, which would enable the market to regulate itself and offer Users more options and ways to benefit from watching the market and making clever decisions.

Good day!

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Well written, very informative, and provides some good ideas.

I'm particularly agreeable concerning the tech modifiers. Not quite so sure about the resource proposal though - how would you apply that to nations already created?

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Well written, very informative, and provides some good ideas.

I'm particularly agreeable concerning the tech modifiers. Not quite so sure about the resource proposal though - how would you apply that to nations already created?

Simple - they get, as new other nations, the chance to switch their second resource once a month to any agricultural one of their coice. If they do, they cannot switch back to a geological one. If they don't, they keep their second geological resource.

If they currently have 2 Agricultural resources, they have the 1-time-offer (of course unlimited delayable) to "dig for resources" - doing so would switch out their first resource for a random geological resource. After that, they have the same choice like everyone else, produce an agricultural good and switch that once per month if they want. If they don't dig for geological resources, they keep the first agricultural resource and can only switch their second once per month.

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I got a feeling that market for Lead is already improved (since before) for nations that supports large navies.

I haven't done any simulations, but I think for starting nations, FJ/AP/FF+wheat is quite good in gaining money, but then again it won't outperform a 3BG one in overall efficiency. This solutions are quite good except that it doesn't do much for Bonus Resources variety among nations. Well, this is a simple game with a simple market solution anyways, if you add in simulated economics it would be a strain rather than an improvement.

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I got a feeling that market for Lead is already improved (since before) for nations that supports large navies.

Not quite. I own one of the largest navies in CN and the only use Lead has is as temptrade for billpaying. In any longterm setup I could import almost *anything* else and I would be better off than with lead. No matter how good the navy or military upkeep reduction is, all the military of a nation usually cost not even 10% of its daily bills. The effect looks big on paper but does almost nothing in cash-value. The choice between "collecting 500k more" or "saving 200k in upkeep" is obvious.

I haven't done any simulations, but I think for starting nations, FJ/AP/FF+wheat is quite good in gaining money, but then again it won't outperform a 3BG one in overall efficiency.

FJ/AP/FF+wheat is good in the *very* early stages if you are on your own = don't get much outside aid, because that setup produces a good amount of cash. But the infra is damn expensive so you won't grow faster than with FJ/AP/Steel and outside aid (from techdeals or alliance aid) is invested with a lesser return-value in infra.

This solutions are quite good except that it doesn't do much for Bonus Resources variety among nations.

I disagree, these changes would make the FJ/AP setups more attractive and the Microchips route (which is today absolutely crappy) also. It does not lead to a point where ALL setups are equal = but that is not even desired. But it does lead to a point where the right now totally underused features (=techreducers) get a purpose and will be used by some of the players for their advantage. And competition and diversity of options is always good. At least a lot better than the current situation.

Well, this is a simple game with a simple market solution anyways, if you add in simulated economics it would be a strain rather than an improvement.

I fail to see why more options would make the game less interesting for those who don't want to deal with it? They simply don't need to care if they don't want to and go for whatever long-term setup they desire, not looking at its benefits or disadvantages. A lot of players do this right now anyway and they would hardly notice nor care for a change in the resource balance. But a lot of interested and motivated players would.

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It's certainly not about the "interesting factor" for the players, heck I like simulated export/import scenarios to be added, more like physical server and coding capability of the admin :D

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It's certainly not about the "interesting factor" for the players, heck I like simulated export/import scenarios to be added, more like physical server and coding capability of the admin :D

I cannot see how any of these suggestion would put more stress on the server than there currently is. For the server there is no difference in the bonusgoods or effects. Its all simple math that neither requires more CPU power nor more database queries nor more bandwith.

When it comes to coding, the Changes to Microchips/Scholars/Wonders probably need 30minutes to be implemented. It is really just the changing of some lines in the code and some additional if-then-functions for the microchips-wonders-relation.

The Resources-Change is a bit more complicated, but I won't expect more than one or two hours coding time for that. It is also very easy if/then and just counting days stuff.

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Its a pretty cool idea, the possibility of switching out one resource...

I'm sure that it could be accounted for, but in the early days there would be some confusion when say, ppl say who are trading for the 3BG set log in after a few days away and are suddenly trading for Wine, Rubber and are doubled up on Fish etc.

Obviously anything that further levels up the balances of resources (eg strengthening lead) I'd be all for.

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Yes, its just a rough idea which had to be developed a lot before it could be implemented. Changing resources should probably require time to adapt the economy, so your trade partners would get an automated message like:

"New Syzygia has begun to stop their production and exports of Oil, they will instead focus on producing Fish in the future." - 10 days later the trade is changed from Oil to Fish. The trade partner can either keep the agreement, or cancel and look for another trade partner.

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How i would love to swap Furs for Rubber, the 3x nation growth gets like a citizen every 5 days or so as land gives + 0.2 citizens per mile the land bonus itself is not counted when it comes to purchases or NS boost (which IMO it needs to be) which makes it pretty much useless and due to the lack of resource combos means its often taking up a slot for no real benifit. Having Gold and Rubber is not teh best set, but in terms of furs its so much better

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the swapping thing needs to be done. I'm stuck with furs and rubber and it is making the game almost unplayable. I got straight into it before looking at the trade sets and threw $60 in donation and donation deals on my nation. Only reason I still play is that I don't want to have thrown my money away.

Admin needs to fix this.

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Is there any reason why the developers have not gotten around to addressing an issue that so many users have? I mean, the fact that people continuously reroll should clue them in.

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I don't really have any other way of advertising my suggestion without doing this...

New Resources -

Copper: Base Effects of -2% Infra Upkeep and -5% Infra Purchase Cost

Electromagnets

Requires: Iron and Copper

Effects: Increases the Effects of Microchips by 150%

Advanced Robotics (Yeah... we'd need more stuff, but this is some basic things)

Requires: Steel, Electromagnets, Microchips, Fine Jewelry, Affluent Population

Effects: Population Boost of 2%,Population Happiness of 2, Infrastructure Reduction 5%, and requires Tech of 200+

This would effectively create a new trade ring, with only one new resource created overall. I feel the Fine Jewelry/Affluent Population not only helps to add a new dimension for those with poorer trades, but it also would put something out that actually helps rival the current 8BR sets. Plus, things like silver and gold are used in the creation of circuits and microchips, gems not quite as much... But Affluent Population is good because you need quite a deal of money for Robotics.

Overall Resources: Gold, Silver, Gems, Coal, Fish, Furs, Wine, Iron, Lead, Oil, Copper + Wildcard

Summary: Yes, trades need to be changed. Its amazing that a guy like me, with lead and silver, can even find a stable trade ring, let alone one that has Nukes, a decent population and doesn't significantly drop my income. I am lucky to have people willing to take some crappy resources into a trade circle in order to promote stability. Why not offer some more trade circles/options to at least balance things out. Otherwise we may need an overhaul.

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So I just stumbled on your blog here. I had no idea you had one. Good stuff, thanks for posting, especially this entry. I'll be sure link all the "8BG is the best" and "FJ/AP/Steel is crap" people I run into here. I try to tell them the same thing but as you mentioned in your suggestion entry, stuff just seem to "look better" better coming from you.

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