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How to Save Our Beloved CN

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Magicman657

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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.

~Magicman657

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You can't take away the hard work of those who have put in their hard time into it. However, life usually has ups and downs doesn't it! War is either up or down but it is based usually on cunningness and power! Real chance actions is what is missing!!! Like Monopoly when you landed on a Chance Card or Community Chest: you would either pay something or win something. So chance should be built into this game! Like finding gold mines, oilfields, diamond patches or developing new software or product like IPhone and Blackberry or a medical breakthrough which dramatically increases revenues or on the negative side natural disasters, epidemics, famines, civil wars, terrorist attacks, strikes, financial wall street crashes would dramatically take away hard earned cash! Yes, there is some form of chance actions(the famous questions that pop up) built in but they just don't have the same dramatic realities like in real life! A model should be developed based on real historical data on the economic impacts of sudden major wealth generators and severe national emergencies.

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You can't take away the hard work of those who have put in their hard time into it. However, life usually has ups and downs doesn't it! War is either up or down but it is based usually on cunningness and power! Real chance actions is what is missing!!! Like Monopoly when you landed on a Chance Card or Community Chest: you would either pay something or win something. So chance should be built into this game! Like finding gold mines, oilfields, diamond patches or developing new software or product like IPhone and Blackberry or a medical breakthrough which dramatically increases revenues or on the negative side natural disasters, epidemics, famines, civil wars, terrorist attacks, strikes, financial wall street crashes would dramatically take away hard earned cash! Yes, there is some form of chance actions(the famous questions that pop up) built in but they just don't have the same dramatic realities like in real life! A model should be developed based on real historical data on the economic impacts of sudden major wealth generators and severe national emergencies.

Your current nation. You have the experience and that has alot to do with how fast your nation has developed.
I'm going to say this one more time in the hope that someone actually reads it.It does not matter how many times one has re-rolled. It does not matter how many times one has played. What matters is whether or not one joins an alliance that genuinely encourages growth.Also, please don't try your hand at neologisms by typing 'alot'. Every time you do that you shave days off of the life of anyone who has ever taught English.
You're wrong. :rolleyes: neologisms...you try too hard to make yourself more than you are; you should stick with photoshop :P

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You have the experience and that has alot to do with how fast your nation has developed. A player that just heard of CN today would not be able to develop their nation equally to yours no matter what alliance they joined. They could be here two years, learn, then leave, then return and in 18 months they could be you and say their current nation has 14 wonders in 18 months.

I have 11 wonders in a year. And this is my first nation. :rolleyes:

If seniority is the problem, why aren't there more nations in TE?

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Jammar:

TE's missing something in SE.

I'm pissed off that the discussion is occurring here, not in this thread, but you have the respondents and I'll post here. If people want to move off to the gameplay discussion forum, I'd be delighted and obliged.

http://forums.cybernations.net/index.php?showtopic=105108

===

Let me elaborate on what I've said to Jammar. Most people think that war is good in itself because it's "fun", but war isn't really anything interesting in this game. It's the build-up to the war that matters, you spend a lot of time building diplomatic ties, building up an alliance's organization, and building up an alliance's strengths, and that's what makes things worth it. When the war comes, you get to see whether your alliance is better than theirs when it comes to all of these strengths, and that's why war matters, not because there's anything joyful in bashing other people's nations to the ground. This is what's missing in Tournament Edition. You don't have a logistics trail in the TE aspect, most alliances don't have strong communities, although recently I've been impressed by what's coming out of TPC, you don't have politics because war doesn't matter as all the nations are disposable. So TE is just pure war and meaningless war at that.

With regard to Magicman's posting on player recruitment, I'd actually reverse his order of priority. It's more important to retain new players than to obtain them. Most CN players only give one shot at the game, and if they get bored of the game that's it. They're not coming back. If you tap new forums or communities to join the game, it's quite possible they'll just turn out just like The Flood Empire (Bungie). As others have said, the number of possible communities for the game is depleted. 4chan made their shot, SA's here, Fark is here, FOK is here. What other forum invasion is possible?

The two main issues for me, as I've said in my post, is the lack of new nation relevance and the extreme difficulty in setting up a new alliance. For new nation relevance, we've already discussed the matter, but let me make my comments.

I think Magicman is making a mistake here when he discusses Wonders, because the Wonder system does not deserve such a drastic change, and not only that, the Wonder system is not the main reason new nations are irrelevant. It's the tech system which is so brutal at the moment, not only because it takes a long time, but because the tech market takes a lot more effort, and the variability of different alliances when it comes to tech matters. Some alliances have very high tech incomes due to well-developed and/or exploitative systems, others have a lot more difficulty since they're effectively only buying on the open market.

===

I'll post on things for new alliances, later.

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It's not my fault that my blogs end up getting so popular :P This probably gets more attention than the thread though since the link is always visible on the side (because apparently very few people write blogs anymore :\)

Instr, you have some valid points. I'd still say that both player retention and obtaining them are important, though, and that's what matters. We could debate the semantics of which matters more but ultimately you're going to need both things for the game to thrive as it once did.

I whole heartedly agree that the tech issue is more important than the wonder issue. I brought up both points though because I wanted to show two things- that seniority affects more than just 1 part of the game, and that the problems are fundamentally different in nature. The wonders affect the "grinding" period of the game. As it stands, to have them all collected takes a minimum of 2.5 years, which means it will take that amount of time for a new player to be "equal" to an older player (at least in that specific regard). I mentioned that because out of all the game's I've played, 2.5 years just for the grinding period of the game seems ridiculously long to me. For example, if I were to play a game like Diablo 2 and grind a character up to level 99, it would take no more than a few months, not years. Of course just getting to 99 isn't the entirety of the game (as then you still need to find loot for your character), nor is is 100% necessary, but to have a truly equal duel between two players they'd both need to be the same level. With that in mind, that's why I proposed removing the wonder clock because it would turn that nasty 2.5 year grinding phase into something closer to 1 year. Of course, an alternative (that I don't necessarily agree with but for the sake of argument) if we want to adjust this grinding phase would be to keep the clock but make it like 15 or 20 days instead of 30.

However, the grinding period isn't the REAL problem. The most brutal part of CN is the tech system because it creates shifting goalposts. Meaning, that no matter how long a nation grinds for (even an infinitely long period of time), a new nation will NEVER be able to get higher NS than me as long as I keep importing tech every 10 days. In fact, because being able to buy nukes relies on being in the top x percentage of nations, there will eventually be a point where it's FASTER to buy all the wonders in the game (thus having a manhattan project) than to hit that 10% (or whatever it currently is; I don't know off the top of my head). This makes grinding NS a progressively longer task every day that goes by as the average NS of nations will continue to rise and it will make a new nation take that much longer just to reach a mildly decent NS.

That's why I keep coming back to this idea of design. While there's only so much we can do outside of the game as far as players are concerned, we CAN control the way the game is built, and the best thing we can do is to make it as attractive as possible by analyzing the design flaws and figuring out how to redesign each system in the game so that CN becomes more fun and fair for everyone.

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Micros and protectorates are the cause of the decline. They clog up the treaty web, witness 07 when this game was fun and take a look at the web then. Wars happened because they could happen, these days wars take ages to occur because everyone is tied to nearly everyone else in some manner or fashion. A few alliances just need to go berserk and start attacking people causing a ripple effect like Attila the hun or something :awesome:

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