Someone had posted a topic about trying to figure out what's driving players away from CN and after responding, I thought it would make a good blog entry. If you've been following along, you'll know that there's good reason to believe the not-TE resource system (which admin has stated will be fixed, yaaaay!) was definitely a contributing factor, but I'm sure we all know it's not the ONLY factor. Thus, I sat and thought about it for a bit and I came up with this answer.
You are entirely correct- the biggest issue with the game is that seniority is key. With the resource problem finally addressed, we will need to start looking at ways to address the seniority based problems. The two biggest ones are wonders and tech.
Just to collect all the wonders, it would take a new nation a MINIMUM of 2 and a half years, and that's assuming that they buy one every 30 days starting on the day they create their nation. 2.5 years just to be on the same collection level as me. Now, this is balanced by the fact that most wonders take a long time to pay for themselves, but still, the fact that I have that much more of a boost than any new nation is terrifying. It's not quite as bad as tech though since it's rare that new wonders are introduced, so the goal is actually reachable even if it takes years to do it. An easy way to reduce that 2.5 years to something more reasonable like maybe 1 year would be to just remove the 30 day period and just let nations be limited by their daily taxes.
Tech is probably our biggest problem though. It is literally impossible for a new nation to ever get anywhere NEAR bridging the gap that separates our highest NS nations from them because there is no limit to how much tech you can import. The thing is, because [toasters] function equally as well as [highly developed space telescopes] in terms of CN technology, tech can be bought at a flat rate all the time and there is no theoretical cap that prevents old nations from acquiring more tech. Imagine if everyone had to buy his or her own tech (or that importing [toasters] was less effective than importing or buying [highly developed space telescopes]). There would be at least some point at which nation would cease buying technology, because it wouldn't be worth the money spent on it, thus effectively capping it and making it at least POSSIBLE for a new nation to catch up (even if it took years).
As it stands, the older CN gets, the harder it is for a new player to ever become relevant because on average, more CN players progress to higher NS's than fight & lose NS. That's a large part of why we lose people- they see it as futile and pointless to even try to develop to be the best, and the scary thing is they're actually correct, it is impossible for them to reach the shifting goalposts created due to these seniority based issues.
The first step is always to try and identify the problem, and in this case, it seems to be Seniority. However, it's a hard one to fix, because it's not a direct, in game problem like the resource issue. Seniority manifests itself in many different forms, but I think we can agree that two of the biggest ones are through [Wonders] and [Technology]. While it might seem like removing the 30 day waiting period for wonders might at least somewhat address that part (which I will be considering and possibly crusading for at some point in the near future), the technology issue is a lot more complicated and there isn't an easy answer to it like there was with resources. If we want to revitalize CN, we'll need to give it some thought and come up with a good system that preserves the player cooperation aspects of tech dealing while also addressing the never ending benefits of toasters problem.
So just how do we remove or at least limit the effects of seniority? Start by looking at the biggest problems caused by it. Once we can agree that it's a problem (which it IS, there's no denying that), we can work on ideas that can address it. So with this in mind, I ask you to think about it. Tell others about it. Brainstorm up some ideas. Just, whatever you do, don't ignore the issue and expect it to resolve itself, or even worse, absolutely don't deny that seniority is hurting CN. If you want to shoot down an idea, that's fine, but I challenge you to come up with an alternative that still fixes the problem. The first step is always to recognize the issue at hand and we need to start giving this some serious consideration for the good of the game.