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Open Discussion: Past, Present, and Future of CN

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Xiphosis

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I do love over analyzing the culture on this game (compared to NS, et al it is fascinating), so I thought I'd open up kind of an open thread for what made CN enjoyable in the past (and didn't) and similarly what does it for you now v. then. What makes you happy to play, what doesn't?

Obviously I think the political aspect is going to be a heavy part of the discussion, because (necessarily) most of the people who visit the forums get most of our entertainment out of it - and certainly we should talk about that - but let's not neglect the core game mechanics either.

Observations

It's interesting to me that wars have gotten longer the more our individual capacity to do damage has gone up. You would think it'd be the opposite, but it hasn't. Do we take from that then to mean the real purpose of war isn't to damage an opponent? Is it just fun? And what part of doing such massive scale of damage [as happens with every major war now, all around] makes it particularly fun?

Couple of explanations I can think of (agree/disagree) would be: perhaps the driving political factor for wars has changed from strategic demand to catering to our own desires and more generally, mass membership desires - wars for the sake of them. And maybe it's precisely the scale of damage that makes it more enjoyable, although with the addition of the 24 hour wait time for nukes, wars certainly seem more monotonous to me these days (a surprise nuke is a fun thing, I'm not sure what the justification was for removing it) - and the monotony of it is very, very unfun. On the other hand, squad coordination is still fun - but that was true in the old days, so this hasn't really changed.

Politically, I can't talk about the old days very objectively - rose tinted glasses come into play. I was 17 when I started on CN and the game was still pretty new, so looking back I'm always going to see it as better days. Having admitted that and gotten it out of the way, I do think there's a more pervasive negativity about the game. You see this on the forums, IRC, in private, etc.

Winning or losing, no one seems all that pleased to be here or all that excited. There's this strong current of pessimism - "The game is dieing" "Politics is stagnant" [not claimed as much anymore, but you know] "The treaty web is choking the life out of the game!" and on and on. And some of it's almost certainly valid.

Objectively, the game is losing nations, although I would contend it's kind of a false alarm considering you don't need very many nations to have a vibrant community and culture - although it certainly doesn't hurt.

And sure, the treaty web does complicate a lot of things. And even that being the case, it raises an even stranger observation - if we're all so much more interconnected, why are wars longer than when we weren't? GW2 was all of a month or two and the only tie between North/South was GGA-LUE and that tie died a fiery death.

It seems to me like we have two major reasons for wars to be shorter - the increased damage making achieving the strategic ends easier + the fact that you're almost always going to end up fighting a friend of a friend. But, again, they're not.

On the first point, it's probably to a degree that doing that scale of damage is fun [and it is]. On another point, it's probably also because we have and use warchests now, so wars drag on because you can't simply erode someones infra and call it good. They'll just buy it back. Maybe we need to push a suggestion [or two/three] through and see if Admin will take us up on it to change the mechanic on that level - increase how much aid can be sent, and increase how much infra can be bought at a time. Perhaps even a "Your nation is stagnating" factor when you tie up so much of the national wealth in savings rather than reinvestment - some incentives to not to keep warchests.

On the second point, I think there's a fairly easy explanation for it as well. We all know the mega-alliances are gone, and that by and large they fractured into the wind. And we've all mostly had experience with allying ex-members and splinters. They go and make their own political reality, and there you have every little end of the web being tied up. Easy to explain, but I have no solutions for that - it seems like a human nature thing.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. Thoughts? And back to the original question - what do you enjoy [and hate] now about being on/around/in CN versus when you started?

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I miss all my old friends first and foremost. The game doesn't feel the same without them here.

Agreed. I'd trade all the tech and wonders my nation has to get Diskord and Monorojo back.

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I think cynics are cuddly and cute.

Regarding war length and warchests, I'm not sure there's another way to do it with the hand we've been dealt. Like you noted, there's no incentive whatsoever for people to spend beyond a certain point (say, WRC reqs).

CN appeals to an odd and isolated group of people to begin with because it's so bloody slow-paced. Add more of what amounts to sitting around and waiting on top of it, and voila.

I think that's the genesis of most of the political complaints about stagnation and the web- people spend so long waiting for stuff in-game that they basically become adrenaline junkies on the political level because they're bored out of their brains sitting there and collecting taxes.

Everyone could run around like headless chickens a la the current stupid thing going on, I guess. But the arrow for me points straight at improving the game itself instead of trying to "fix" the metagame.

Edit: I guess what I'm trying to say is that you've got to have a good foundation to have a strong game. CN...is iffy. To say the least.

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I hate the system of tech selling.

I want so bad for an alliance to grow because its members care about the alliance and not about their own nation.

1. Grow enough low tier nations to 3999 infra.

2. Each low tier sends tech every 10 days / 250-300 per month

3. Each top tier nation should be getting 900 tech per month.

Have large nations so they don't have to go to peace mode in every war. Have a system that will replace that tech quickly so that those large nations don't have to hide in peace mode during war time.

It's really not a matter of giving Admin suggestions to fix the game.

An alliance or even a bloc should be having all 3999 or so nations sending tech to all large nations. In a war you're going to have your hands full at the top tier or it will be you that enemies worry about. Alliances or Blocs should be building as many 100k NS, 8k-10k+ tech nations as they can. Tech deals suck. Have it be automatic where large nations only receive tech and tech bankers send tech.

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Do you think it's possible that wars keep getting longer because of the negativity surrounding disbandment and surrendering?

I personally wasn't around for the "good old days" of the great wars, but I did witness Pax Pacifica. These days most people would rather fight a viet-FAN style war than admit defeat and pay reps.

I remember disbandment being hailed by someone. He said the disbandment of all of those alliances during Pax Pacifica helped spread Pacifican hate through all of CN. While had those alliances not disbanded then Pacifican hate would have been concentrated to a select few.

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I hate the system of tech selling.I want so bad for an alliance to grow because its members care about the alliance and not about their own nation. 1. Grow enough low tier nations to 3999 infra.2. Each low tier sends tech every 10 days / 250-300 per month3. Each top tier nation should be getting 900 tech per month. Have large nations so they don't have to go to peace mode in every war. Have a system that will replace that tech quickly so that those large nations don't have to hide in peace mode during war time.It's really not a matter of giving Admin suggestions to fix the game. An alliance or even a bloc should be having all 3999 or so nations sending tech to all large nations. In a war you're going to have your hands full at the top tier or it will be you that enemies worry about. Alliances or Blocs should be building as many 100k NS, 8k-10k+ tech nations as they can. Tech deals suck. Have it be automatic where large nations only receive tech and tech bankers send tech.

While this is a valid system (and is actually already being used by some alliances), the big problem is it relies on some nations giving up their ability to participate meaningfully in a conflict for the greater good of helping their alliance. What happens if later they want to change alliances? They're still SOL and sitting at low levels. What happens when war comes along? They're stuck being ineffective because they have no tech.

The problem IS with the core system, not with how alliances currently choose to utilize it.

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Do you think it's possible that wars keep getting longer because of the negativity surrounding disbandment and surrendering? I personally wasn't around for the "good old days" of the great wars, but I did witness Pax Pacifica. These days most people would rather fight a viet-FAN style war than admit defeat and pay reps.

Absolutely, I think this is probably a big factor. There's a lot of bitterness in those types of topics and it's become a matter of humiliation, as if those single alliances personally lost the war [ignoring the reality of coalition efforts]

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What happens if later they want to change alliances? They're still SOL and sitting at low levels. What happens when war comes along? They're stuck being ineffective because they have no tech. The problem IS with the core system, not with how alliances currently choose to utilize it.

Yup, Seerow nailed it. It's a viable system but it requires you to have a large, large window of peace to carry it out effectively - or else you end up with your entire 3999 tier at 0 tech and completely ineffective.

You'd need time for them to supply tech, some sort of hard cap on how much they send before buying their own, and then an effective means of keeping them buying. Not impossible but certainly requires time and coordination.

Change the core slot limitation [or up how much tech can be sent per package] and it changes everything in a good way. The core mechanic is the problem - no matter our elaborate work arounds.

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Change the core slot limitation [or up how much tech can be sent per package] and it changes everything in a good way. The core mechanic is the problem - no matter our elaborate work arounds.

Disagree with this. Changing the amount of tech that can be sent, or altering slot limitations is short sighted and ultimately ends with us where we are now. It may work as a short term stopgap, but in the long term, it would result to an even more tiered system than what we have now.

IMO The solution is to destroy tech dealing altogether, and institute tech degradation, where the more tech you have, the faster it degrades. So for someone to sit comfortably at 10k tech, they're spending the majority (if not all) of their collections keeping that tech level up.

This provides interesting choice (how much tech do you really want to sit at, how much can you afford? Are you willing to sacrifice growing your warchest for it?), and allows in the longer term for smaller nations to actually catch up to large nations, by growing out their infra first, then buying up a large chunk of tech at once, where the other nations are paying keeping their tech levels up.

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Change the core slot limitation [or up how much tech can be sent per package] and it changes everything in a good way. The core mechanic is the problem - no matter our elaborate work arounds.
Disagree with this. Changing the amount of tech that can be sent, or altering slot limitations is short sighted and ultimately ends with us where we are now. It may work as a short term stopgap, but in the long term, it would result to an even more tiered system than what we have now.

(I've actually submitted this but it never got through moderation)

The devil is in the details - have slots scale by infra level [1 per 1,000 like improvements?] and then have the DRA/FM instead of adding slots raise the money/tech cap. And add a third, higher infra req version of that DRA.

IMO The solution is to destroy tech dealing altogether, and institute tech degradation, where the more tech you have, the faster it degrades.

Doesn't this just add another annoying feature now that trades are fixed, though? It's pure maintenance.

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I feel rather devolving from mega alliances, it has become mega clusters with alliances. The DR-mjolnir group would be an example.

That is not a recent development. It has been around for a couple years now. Just the groups have changed. Mainly due to the former groupings unravelling once their immediate concerns were addressed. Good politics I would think.

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I hate the system of tech selling.I want so bad for an alliance to grow because its members care about the alliance and not about their own nation. 1. Grow enough low tier nations to 3999 infra.2. Each low tier sends tech every 10 days / 250-300 per month3. Each top tier nation should be getting 900 tech per month. Have large nations so they don't have to go to peace mode in every war. Have a system that will replace that tech quickly so that those large nations don't have to hide in peace mode during war time.It's really not a matter of giving Admin suggestions to fix the game. An alliance or even a bloc should be having all 3999 or so nations sending tech to all large nations. In a war you're going to have your hands full at the top tier or it will be you that enemies worry about. Alliances or Blocs should be building as many 100k NS, 8k-10k+ tech nations as they can. Tech deals suck. Have it be automatic where large nations only receive tech and tech bankers send tech.

Considering you're not a very large nation, I'm actually quite puzzled why you hold the opinion you do.

In order to fill 6 upper tier nation's slots pretty much non-stop, you need 6 nations willing to pay for the tech to fill ALL 6 of their slots (I'm assuming for those 6 nations that they've gotten a DRA already to simplify things in the discussion, but that's being idealistic as practically most tech sellers will have only 5). How many tech selling nations do you know of are willing to spend 5 to 6 million of their own money every 10 days to send 250 to 300 tech to another nation with no obvious immediate personal gain? *Hint* It's not a whole lot of nations.

That's the first problem, no immediate payoff for the tech sender. Even if you had the "mid" tier send cash to pay for the tech for an upper tier nation (assuming "mid" tier is at a good tech level for war), that increases the number of "low" tier nations 2 fold (at the current prices of 3 million/50 tech) to fill the slots of an "upper" tier nation. This gives you a sub issue to the first problem. Lack of willing people to basically sacrifice themselves for the "benefit" of the alliance.

Problem number 2, for your average tech seller that actually does burn their own cash for tech dealing, 5 to 6 million is a decent amount of cash to be spending from their own pocket (around 2 days income for a nation at 4k infra with no wonders, but for a smaller nation, the loss in income can be much, much greater). I'm talking nations that don't have the wonders to boost their income big time like mine, but younger nations who have no wonders and the population boost from wonders for more improvements for even greater income. In a 20 day cycle, that's at least 4 days of their own collections that goes to dumping tech onto someone for no benefit to them. That's before considering the costs of labor camp swapping.

Problem number 3, once a nation acquires a MP, the question of getting tech becomes an important issue for said nations to consider. In the event of war, with their low tech levels, they will be at an extreme disadvantage, the higher up they go in infra (and the economic benefits of tech dealing at higher infra levels also begins to make itself apparent via the loss in collection income and increase in infra bills).

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First, I skipped the reading of all of the comments, so maybe that illuminated the points of life but I dunno.

Secondly, you're old, pops, face it.

:smug:

To address the points you put forth though, it doesn't really matter to me whether the game is "dying" or not. Conflict in what ever form is extrapolated to life. It doesn't matter if there are 10 nations and it's dived up between two, I'm going to be there, because this is only a model for life.

I had more to say but I'm really drunk and am lucky to hit they right buttons to make words. more later.

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First, I skipped the reading of all of the comments, so maybe that illuminated the points of life but I dunno.Secondly, you're old, pops, face it. :smug: To address the points you put forth though, it doesn't really matter to me whether the game is "dying" or not. Conflict in what ever form is extrapolated to life. It doesn't matter if there are 10 nations and it's dived up between two, I'm going to be there, because this is only a model for life.I had more to say but I'm really drunk and am lucky to hit they right buttons to make words. more later.

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I'd say that the reason for longer wars is partly related to warchests, but partly related to nation size as well. Simply because everyone's nations are so large (and, like you stated, their capability to rebuild is so big), it takes so much longer to bring them down to a point where they don't pose a future threat to you.

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Change the core slot limitation [or up how much tech can be sent per package] and it changes everything in a good way. The core mechanic is the problem - no matter our elaborate work arounds.
Disagree with this. Changing the amount of tech that can be sent, or altering slot limitations is short sighted and ultimately ends with us where we are now. It may work as a short term stopgap, but in the long term, it would result to an even more tiered system than what we have now.
(I've actually submitted this but it never got through moderation)The devil is in the details - have slots scale by infra level [1 per 1,000 like improvements?] and then have the DRA/FM instead of adding slots raise the money/tech cap. And add a third, higher infra req version of that DRA.

All this would do is raise the gap between the weak and the strong, as those strong nations with 20k infra would be capable of importing much more tech, while small nations would still grow at the same rate they do now.

The primary problem with tech dealing is that it is basically small nations screwing themselves in the long run to support large nations. Not quite as badly as Jaiar's proposal, but every 10 days a nation spends sending out tech rather than gaining it, that is 10 days further behind the rest of the world that nation is. Everyone currently gains tech at the exact same maximum pace, so even if a small nation plays perfectly, it is literally impossible for him to catch up.

Doesn't this just add another annoying feature now that trades are fixed, though? It's pure maintenance.

I think you misunderstand what made trades annoying. This is like saying infrastructure upkeep is a bad thing because it's pure maintenance. In reality, it's a decent mechanic that slows down the growth at higher tiers, making certain thresholds harder or even impossible to pass without first having the wonders/improvements to back it up.

Trades were annoying because trades were 100% random. You started with some random resources that you had no control over, and as a result were forced to trade with anyone who had the combination of resources you wanted, with no way to bias that towards people you knew, or trusted. This made people with bad resources nearly impossible to find decent trades (since anyone with a good resource who was remotely active or competent knew what resources to get, and thus avoided the bad ones. So they'd either get trades with other people with bad resources, or trades with bad people who would drop them randomly at some point down the line or just delete). It also made finding trades for someone with good resources annoying, though not as bad.

Tech degradation would be nothing like the old resource system. There is no randomness involved. No needing to deal with bad people involved. If anything, you are taking out another annoying aspect (having to deal with unreliable young nations to get your growth), and replacing it with something that is more standardized. It might cause a bit of outrage from the upper tiers when they lose a huge chunk of tech the first few days because they're way above any point admin ever expected them to have, but in the long run it would be a simple mechanic that most people could grasp easily. It would eventually bring the superhuge nations down to a reasonable level as their collections were unable to sustain buying tech up to what they have now, and would give younger nations a chance to catch up. (And since the large nations are no longer worried about slot efficiency for their tech dealing, they have more incentive to send free aid to younger nations to help them grow faster).

We are getting a bit off topic though. Maybe we should start a new topic over in Gameplay, or a new blog post, to discuss this further.

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The length of wars going up is imo actually a result of the rate of damage *not* keeping up with the growth of nations. To inflict the same amount of 'permanent' (i.e not instantly repaired) damage to a large nation today requires many times the war length as it did years ago.

for that matter, ive long felt that what the game actually needs is to fix the way ns growth works.... i.e our ns graph shouldnt have as many major outliers as it does, and it should be relatively easy to rebuild to the mean point. The best way to do that imo is something where within 6 months of intelligent game-play, it is possible to be in the 90k ns range. And then couple this with maybe, after a certain ns benchmark (say 150k) additional tech/land only adds a fraction to your ns that it did before. The damage it does can still go up steadily... but make it so you arent sitting there with 250k nations that someone who just joined the game has 0 chance of ever impacting.

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I feel rather devolving from mega alliances, it has become mega clusters with alliances. The DR-mjolnir group would be an example.
That is not a recent development. It has been around for a couple years now. Just the groups have changed. Mainly due to the former groupings unravelling once their immediate concerns were addressed. Good politics I would think.

Was gunna say this. im sure its been done before this but SF had ties to Q/Citadel

Also regarding wars, some time ago Londo wrote up some sort of CN wide consitution that kind of laid out some basics of which were wars werent to last longer than 60 days and things like that. Would be nice but alas

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Culturally speaking you could argue that the community has grown into its own unique code of ethics. Whether it be in defining the parameters for raiding to how we conduct diplomacy, you find widely accepted concepts such as 'white peace', 'EZI', 'old heg', etc, roundly defined and agreed upon and shaping the way we conduct affairs.

Politically you see powers walking a tightrope, trying to balance security with action, while avoiding the 'as bad as the old heg' label. The devolution of the political sphere that began with the take down of NPO and friends has slowed since Karma, as even the ghost of NPO was a worthy boogeyman to maintain a ready coalition. Now that the final nail was seemingly planted in the coffin of 'the old heg', who knows what will happen; an accelerated devolution resulting in multipolarity, or a big war leading to an even firmer coalition than what the SG represented?

What "makes me happy" is watching the culture evolve as political realities shift. I presently enjoy the current culture of competition that exists, vs the might makes right culture that defined the "material reality" era of the Old Heg. I also am enjoying all the blocs and spheres of influence that are competing for positions of power. IMO the game is alive and well.

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It took me a while, but despite going away/coming back a couple of times and taking part in various 'crusades' I just don't care anymore. Five+ years is quite enough time to have wasted here.

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