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Commerce and Revitalization

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MaGneT

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Lately there have been a lot of moans and groans among the community about how CN's player population is now well below 20,000. A lot of people are talking about how the next war is "the last war" and the game is dying. That's silly. CN, as a game and as a community, is still going strong. The political landscape of alliances is constantly changing and I think that I'm more engaged than I have been since the months leading up to Karma. That being said, I understand their complaints. We are facing a dwindling population and the gameplay has remained stagnant for quite some time.

The way I see it, there are three distinct camps on this issue. First, we have the people who think that Admin is letting the game die, everything is coming to an end no matter what we do and that things are so boring. Next, we have the people who claim that there is nothing wrong as most of the people who have left were not major political contributors anyway. These are primarily the folks that say that talking about the decline of CN is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lastly, we have the folks who see flaws and propose them and the other two camps shoot down the proposals. Everyone is a little bit right here and the only proper way to move forward is to analyze why everyone is upset.

After every major war, there is a lull in the action. People complain about a lack of drama as the main parties of the previous war lick their wounds. Political maneuvering gets done, but it is usually nothing like the rapid treaty action in the immediate buildup before a war. It's the calm after the storm. During wars, there is a lot of in-game action as well as a lot of forum-based political maneuvering. The difference here is in-game action. The problem is, during peacetime, the only in-game way that a single player can affect anything is by growing. You can make friends by being a diplomat or argue on the OWF to make a political impact, but the only thing you are doing as the ruler of your nation is pay bills, buy infra, collect and tech deal.

The obvious issue here is growth - not necessarily growth itself, but the process of doing so. Many people see the problem as being that it takes far too long to grow back in between wars, so the action is more segmented and further apart. I disagree, I think that just making the intervals between the hands-on part of the game shorter will not solve people's discontent. Instead, I'd suggest making growing a more hands-on process. Infrastructure is not my primary concern, there is a very good suggestion out there to make rebuilding infra easier and that's a step in the right direction. I think we should focus on international commerce. Let's start with aid slots.

A lot of us have toyed with the idea of uncapping foreign aid. $3,000,000 - heck, even $4,500,000 - is nothing to a nation that has existed for more than a year, 50 tech is insignificant in a world with nations that have over 10,000 tech and 2,000 soldiers won't help a nation above 10k NS. Some have said this takes skill, because you need to manage your aid slots more wisely and you can't drop x-hundred million bucks on a new guy and suddenly make him huge. Understandable objections, but they just don't hold up. This reminds me a lot of when I used to play Starcraft. You were only able to control 12 units at a time and many of us were under the impression that it took a lot of skill to be able to manage a very large army. While that's true, as it forced you to perform a difficult task and certain nuances allowed the player to excel at moving a large army, it turned out to be very limiting. When Starcraft II was released, you were able to control as large a group as you could find to select. It reduced the amount of mindless clicking and allowed me to focus more on strategy. It also enabled me to do more interesting and complex things with my troops, because I didn't have to worry about managing 72 units in 6 different sections.

Uncapping aid alone would reestablish the importance of bank nations. It would revolutionize tech dealing and growth. It'd be the first in a few steps to add more commerce to the game, but I say it's long since necessary. If enough of us think this is right, we could put a decent and intelligent suggestion together and hopefully Admin and the mods will see where we're coming from.

Thoughts?

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The issue is that we don't want to accelerate any further the obscene growth of the handful of "runaway" nations at the very top.

It's nothing personal, but I'd love to see a good war cut Hime Themis' nation to a quarter of it's current size.

Though there is still a limit to how much tech you can buy in one shot from a tech deal - The nation buying it still has to send it all in one shot, and it will get super expensive the more they buy.

Another issue is that when someone leaves, they can dump 30k tech on someone just like that. I think something should be done to limit that - Like perhaps a system of "earmarking" tech for sale.

Earmarked tech wouldn't contribute to your nation in any way, and couldn't be destroyed or raided in war, but would cost the same price as if it were a part of your entire tech level. The only way to convert it to "normal" tech would be to ship it on elsewhere.

Allow a cap of say 50-100 "normal" tech to be sent in aid, but uncap the earmarked tech.

The other issue... Is that such a system favors the people currently at the top of the global structure. Good heavens, Umbrella could make monsters out of the entirety of GOONS with unrestricted cash flow. You want a good way to kill the game, that right there would do it. For that reason, at the end of the day, I sadly have to say "no" until the "sides" become more evenly matched.

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Why do we need increased growth rates in NS and tech? You will still end up with a mirror image of what we have here today...

What would solve the boredom of the world is to agree to do a player game reset, all nations bloody each other down in like a free for all till everyone has below a 1 bill max warchest and below say 60-100k ns... then have a cap put on infra and tech amounts, because most people tend to want to grow to the high NS which in turn causes boredom in wars due to lack of targets. With a realistic cap in place there wouldnt be a problem of that and everyone has "fun"

But since that wont happen... we are all talking to a brick wall because everyone has had ideas to "solve" the world, but its a world we created...

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Calm before the storm? Each sphere has a treaty with every other spehere at this point. Most leaders lack balls and that's why you don't see any drama or not ONE major treaty cancellation. We just have to accept that the game is dying and we might as well $%&@ things up until only the most loyal of players are around.

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Not everyone is engaged in the world, I have been borderline inactive and bored out of my skull since Karma. Before that war I felt I was very much a part of a community, I took pride in RPing and helping out where I could. And trying to make CN more fun for everyone.

I miss the old CN where I was a part of the community, but I am not a fool. I know that is gone and a new world is here which I have no part of. This was made very clear to me during the karma war, and I have no wish to intrude where I am not wanted.

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I'm more in favor of a complete reset of nations then I am of increasing growth rates but I do like the thought of having a slight chance of getting to the top.

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I'm more in favor of a complete reset of nations then I am of increasing growth rates but I do like the thought of having a slight chance of getting to the top.

The problem which would happen with a complete reset is a group of old timers who have had the same nation for years and got a mass of tech/warchest/wonders would just leave and never come back because it can take a year or two to achieve that and would of been a complete waste of time.

I know of a handful of people who got deleted due to inactivity, remade a nation and totally lost interest of CN, which could become widespread through a reset and could kill CN for good...

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I find the game as interesting as ever, you have new blocs being made, vehement rivalries, alliances being torn between allies. A reset or artificial NS cap or enhanced growth rates won't change anything.

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Indeed Lord Fingolfin,because the same old will happen regardless...

Anyways we was given the tools to make the game run however the majority community as a whole decided, so any problems of boredom etc is OUR fault for not doing anything to solve it. No one can complain and moan about what we the community created...

If you dont like the treaty web mess ruining your fun and action then join an alliance on the outside or make your own and take no crap, the world is what you make it and shouldnt have to rely on other people to have balls in place of your own.

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There probably needs to be a cap on the military bonus that tech gives: say somewhere around 10K tech.

It used to be capped at 300 tech, which was wayyy too low. Then the cap was removed entirely.

Now the runaway nations do absolutely stupid amounts of damage, and so nobody wants to fight them. Ever. Because fighting someone like Hime Themis will remove so much tech that there is no way you will ever rebuild.

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Then there are those of us who need to be texted at 20 days inactive by friends... if not for facebook PMs i would have lost my nation many times by now. Actually, that is about all facebook is good for.

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Well, you know a large majority of the nations currently existing are just inactives with extremely small nations, who've made one and will never log on again, with an enormous turnover. A nation with 551 NS is ranked above about 20% of all nations, for instance. A nation with 1,028 NS is ranked in the top 78%, so there are ~4k nations at less than 1k NS. I think it's always been like this, except that we're 5 years into the game, so there's fewer people to find the game for the first time, make a nation, and forget about it completely. I think that might account for some of the decline in "player base."

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I'm more in favor of a complete reset of nations then I am of increasing growth rates but I do like the thought of having a slight chance of getting to the top.
The problem which would happen with a complete reset is a group of old timers who have had the same nation for years and got a mass of tech/warchest/wonders would just leave and never come back because it can take a year or two to achieve that and would of been a complete waste of time.I know of a handful of people who got deleted due to inactivity, remade a nation and totally lost interest of CN, which could become widespread through a reset and could kill CN for good...

A reset would pretty much destroy much of my interest in the game. Not simply because of the NS change... I can deal with being destroyed in a war... But I've invested over 4 years in my crumby nation, and that's what keeps me coming back.

It's an emotional thing.

-Craig

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To clarify, I'm not whining and I'll be here until an hour after the server turns off, even if the Suggestion Box remains completely ignored until that day.

That being said, I think that growth in CN could be enhanced. I said it before and I'll say it again - growing is boring. There is very little differentiation in the process for a mature nation. Pay bills for 20 days, buy a ton of infra/land, collect taxes. While you're at it, toss out 3mil to a bunch of little guys, get 50 tech in the mail 10 days later and another 50 tech 10 days after that. Rinse and repeat. Now, as I said, this is good enough and I'll keep doing it contently. That's good and jolly, but the aid system could be far more interesting.

I'm tossing a bunch of ideas around in my head as I pace around my room here. What sticks out most is applying something of a light-speed principle to aid. Of course, c needs to vary for each nation, otherwise we'll just have an aid cap that can't be reasonably reached. So, what do we change? First, we would need a fundamental overhaul of how aid slots actually function. Forget the aid slots that take 10 days to expire. I say make them expire based on how much is sent. There shouldn't be a baseline of 3mil = 10 days and every additional 3mil is another 10 days, or something like that. Instead, base it on the nation that is sending the aid. Make a formula (with some sort of exponent involved, of course) that incorporates tech, land and infra into the mix. I'd also suggest that it favors infra, because ever since the tech bonus was uncapped, infrastructure has become but a showpiece.

Essentially, the function would be that a larger nation would be able to send out more aid more quickly. So, a big guy might be able to toss 500mil in the amount of time I can toss out 50mil. It should be slightly more complex than 10x the size = 10x the rate, though. If a nation has 5k infra and 10k tech, I'd say that his aid should go more slowly than a nation with 10k infra and 5k tech. Why? Well, many of you would argue that if a nation is more technologically advanced, it'd be able to send out aid more quickly. But considering that the technology for foreign aid is given to all nations via the fact that a 0 tech nation can send aid, I'd say that's silly. A higher tech level should give you a benefit, but infra:tech ratio should be chief. So, what remains is the infrastructure necessary to distribute that aid and the land mass that the aid is taken from. I'm not sure if land should have any effect, but if you are considering this, keep it in mind. We should also toss some other variables into the mix. Make a Foreign Aid Commission speed the rate that a nation can process its aid as a replacement to the +50% bonus to aid. Add Cargo Ships as naval vessels to do the same. Perhaps add Cargo Ports as improvements and if a receiving nation has them, they reduce the processing time.

A big snag many of you might be thinking is "well what about those huge nations who will just send out 1bil and get 30,000 tech in return?" Okay, so let's say it takes them X days to clear that outgoing 1bil slot. It'd take a whole lot longer for that little guy to clear is 30,000 tech slot. Well, the next obvious argument is "it will take X days for a lot of nations to acquire 75% of the largest nation on Bob's tech, you don't have to worry about the little guy even sticking around for a day after he sends out that 30k tech." You're absolutely right if you thought that. So what do we do about that? Pretty simple. For cash in an aid deal, it can all be there the day that it is accepted. This makes sense both realistically and in gameplay. Obviously, nowadays, you can wire billions in a moment. That'd be consistent. Gameplay-wise, cash aid is often used for instant purposes, as in the case of an impending war. Tech, however, if viewed as computers and stuff, needs to be shipped. Gameplay-wise, it isn't used for quick, pre-war aid, but instead for slow growth. I'd recommend making tech added to a nation at the end of an aid slot's duration. I'd also recommend making aid slots containing tech only able to stay open if the nation sending it regularly pays their bills.

This will discourage people from making these huge purchases from undedicated newbies or their buddy who they called up to make a dummy nation to help inflate their own. It will raise the value of the active tech seller vastly, as those who can be trusted will be swamped with massive deals. I think it's a pretty good though primitive idea. Any feedback/thoughts? I obviously need to refine it, but I figure I may as well not go further because I think I got the gist across and I want to hear any criticism y'all have.

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