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Open Discussion: CN Game Mechanics - Present/Future

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Xiphosis

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So as to not continue cluttering up the discussion of political/social factors past/present/future in the other entry I'm opening this one up strictly to core game mechanics.

The two main things that have been identified as needing change are:

  1. Foreign Aid System
  2. Nation Strength Calculation

Suggestions So Far

- Change how much tech/land contributes to NS after a certain NS point

- Remove the ability to send tech at all, and institute tech degradation where the more tech you have, the more it degrades per day (if I'm understanding Seerow's proposal correctly). Unresolved is how tech costs would scale - normally? This would certainly hurt warchests but it would also curb inflation. Also unresolved would be what to do about the nations already stacked with tech - although presumably they will lose it in time from wars and degradation [rapidly].

- Add a 'game tax' to every foreign aid transaction [some percent of the money sent - like 50%] and uncap foreign aid slots. Change DRA and FM to lower the tax by 5% for marginal gain. Allows new nations to be 'caught up' quickly but at the expense of warchests.

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Too many people !@#$%* and moan and try to excuse it as being no fun or unfair because they can't catch up. What they really want in instant gratification, its a remarkably common attitude in north America, but certainly not limited to there.

You know, it's not me, I am almost in the top 1% and I know that I'll get there the next year (barring unexpected events), but nonetheless I do see a problem when becoming really competitive requires about three years even for the "more smart than average" player.

Anyway, the real problem with your reasoning is that it's a straw man. I don't care if there are people that want to be the best at CN in a short time, that's not what I am talking of and I am not supporting them.

There's an individual-level problem and a political-level problem.

You're right that CN SE is a political game, but nation building and especialy military effectiveness remains relevant, and especially it's relevant for the vast majority of players that, unlike me and you, don't focus their game on the political side. I agree that having played for long should in general give an edge, but the difference shouldn't be that big that the new player will be irrelevant for years no matter what he does. A skilled new player should have the opportunity to become competitive - still at a disadvantage but in a position of not irrelevance - in a reasonable time. Otherwise the game only rewards seniority and it completely frustrates commitment and skill.

The extreme difficulty of filling the gap, especially when it comes to technology, is a political problem too. Large, organized and committed alliances like the NPO could basically be put out of the pool of the top alliances (for military) just by destroying and then hampering their tech acquisition.

I'm not saying that that strategy shouldn't be viable, mind you: it's OK that it works, but it's not OK that the effects go on for years and years on end.

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@TypoNinja:It's OK if a 5 year head start means something, but it's not OK if the new player knows that he won't be competitive, ever.A new player joining now is told that (military) he's going to be completely irrelevant for one year, and even after that he will remain at a severe disadvantage for another couple of years. Then some of the nations that are on top right now will anyway have twice his tech level, and while at that point he might be somewhat significant, the top guys will "always" remain out of his reach.Also remember that to obtain that "success" he needs to stay put and out of trouble most of those three years, or else...Do you think that this could be appealing to any new player? I don't think so.
You can be competitve. This is my second nation, I lost something like 2 years of growth. When I existed CN I was in the top .1%. Now I'm not quite in the top 10%.But holy crap, I'm nearing the top 10% of the game despite losing two years of headway. I'll probably never see the top 1% again, but that's not the point. Too many people !@#$%* and moan and try to excuse it as being no fun or unfair because they can't catch up. What they really want in instant gratification, its a remarkably common attitude in north America, but certainly not limited to there. The idea that you should be able to be the best at something just because you want it bad enough, and if you can't get it clearly somebody should make those big meanies doing better than you stop being exceptional.You can catch up. I caught up, you will never be the best of the best, but you can definitely still grow to a significant size. New nations are extremely unlikely to ever become the best, but they have more than enough opportunity to be able to matter. If you really want a stat game focus on TE, it resets regularly. But remember that SE is a political game too and your nation is only one piece of it.

You lost two years of growth, but your nation is 2 and a half years old. In two and a half years you've managed to break into the relevant nation zone. Just think about that for a minute.

Now consider what is a relevant nation has an increasing threshold as time goes on. If you rerolled today, it would probably take 3-3.5 years to get to the same relative point.

Seriously, you say you've caught up. But there's still a huge gap between you and the top. The top nation literally has 40,000 tech. It would literally take you 5 years of non-stop tech importing to reach that level. And by that point that same nation would have 75,000 tech.

You haven't gone from 0 to top in 2 and a half years, you've gone from 0 to relevant in 2 and a half years. There is a huge absurd difference there. If it takes 2 years of exceptional play for a nation to go from new to on top, that's fine. We're talking about a game that you have to go through 2 years of exceptional play to hit the point where you can contribute meaningfully to any war effort. No matter how you try to spin that, it's a bad thing.

This isn't people wanting instant gratification as you keep saying. Instant gratification would be demanding an instant rise to the level you're on now. Start out day one, and be able to keep collecting as many times as you want to get there. We're talking about a nation being able to hit that point in a month or two rather than a year or two. That is a perfectly reasonable demand of a game, to be able to reasonably participate in all aspects of the game after investing 2 months into it. If you actually think that 2 months of game time to be useful is instant gratification then you probably have no real place to be discussing anything as far as game mechanics go.

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So many flawed arguments.

Everyone keeps saying that smaller nations are not relevant. That's complete bull. Nations at the top ranges can't hit nations at the bottom. ALL nations are relevant within their narrow offensive/defensive band.

I've been playing this game for nearly 5 years, and it's pretty clear that I don't have a shot at the #1 position -- by the logic in this thread, I should quit playing because all is hopeless.

I agree that there is too much money in the game, but you don't solve that problem by punishing successful players and making the game less fun. It can only be solved by giving people more ways to spend the money: more wonders, more improvements, etc. I think lifting the aid cap would be disastrous, but most of us do understand that the $3 million limitation is terribly outdated and could stand to be increased.

Degrading tech is perhaps the most terrible idea yet. You work hard to build your nation, and then you must struggle simply to keep it static? Talk about a surefire way to destroy the interest of veteran players.

-Craig

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So many flawed arguments.Everyone keeps saying that smaller nations are not relevant. That's complete bull. Nations at the top ranges can't hit nations at the bottom. ALL nations are relevant within their narrow offensive/defensive band.

Except they're not. Really, when you go to war, what happens in the ranges of nations below a certain infra/tech level simply don't matter. Generally anyone below that level doesn't matter for the overall war effort. Especially since during the war they are typically taking less damage, and after the war it's easier to help those smaller nations bounce back.

I've been playing this game for nearly 5 years, and it's pretty clear that I don't have a shot at the #1 position -- by the logic in this thread, I should quit playing because all is hopeless.I agree that there is too much money in the game, but you don't solve that problem by punishing successful players and making the game less fun.

It's not punishing successful players, it's discouraging habits that are in fact bad for the game. If a character needs a 2bil warchest to compete, he's stuck collecting for a minimum 3-4 months after growing to a decent size to be able to get there. There's a reason a lot of people don't follow their alliance's warchest guidelines, sitting around collecting doing nothing because it is optimal is boring.

So the answer is to make doing that not optimal.

It can only be solved by giving people more ways to spend the money: more wonders, more improvements, etc.

This is always a temporary stopgap, that in the end leads to more inflation than what it takes out of the game. Things like the WRC that are expensive and provide an exclusively military bonus are nice, but then it gives big nations an advantage in war and sets the new nation several more months behind that he needs to be competitive.

Personally I'd love to see improvements uncapped (with 1 only improvements like Harbor becoming really cheap wonders instead), with an exponentially scaling cost, so people actually have to choose between military effectiveness and economy, as improvements become a means for specialization and a money sink. But this alone wouldn't fix the game's issues.

I think lifting the aid cap would be disastrous, but most of us do understand that the $3 million limitation is terribly outdated and could stand to be increased.

Disastrous how? Uncapping aid completely may not be ideal, but I fail to see how it would destroy the game. Upping the aid cap is something that should have happened years ago. FAC would have been a nice start if only the sender needed to have it instead of both sender and receiver.

I recently put in a suggestion regarding this, but it'll be like 6 months before it gets approved for discussion, so whatever.

Degrading tech is perhaps the most terrible idea yet. You work hard to build your nation, and then you must struggle simply to keep it static? Talk about a surefire way to destroy the interest of veteran players.-Craig

Well consider the alternatives:

1) Do nothing. Tech dealing remains in place, people keep buying tech as long as there's still young nations willing to sell. The gap between old large nations and younger nations continues to grow, nobody is ever able to catch up.

2) Remove tech dealing, do nothing else. Now the old nations have a permanent tech advantage over everybody else.

3) Remove tech dealing, reduce tech cost. This could potentially work, by reducing tech costs enough that people could eventually catch up tech wise with those on top with a pretty huge investment. But it'd be tricky, because those top nations could buy more tech too unless you have some sort of a softcap, at which point people are sitting at X tech anyway, that X tech level is just different than with tech degradation and it takes away the money sink.

3) Remove tech dealing, reset tech. This is even more disastrous for old nations than degradation. And yes, people have seriously suggested this in the past.

4) Leave in tech dealing, reset tech. This is probably the worst option as it leaves tech dealing as a part of the game while still destroying years worth of work, which is really bad.

Now consider what tech degradation adds: It provides a mechanic that eventually normalizes tech levels, without destroying everything over night. People could still choose to maintain higher levels of tech, just at the cost of saving their money away. If you simultaneously institute something to discourage warchests, people are looking for something to pump excess money into anyway, so this works. Higher infra/better nations can afford to maintain higher tech levels. The vast majority of nations would probably gain from this, while that top 1% would find it hard to maintain what they currently have. This doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

As an aside, if the above mentioned limitless improvements is an option, you could have an improvement that allows for a slightly lower tech degradation rate, so people could invest more in that improvement to maintain higher tech levels for their size, which could introduce an interesting choice to the process (as long as the benefit from that improvement allowed for more tech than the equivalent economic improve would allow you to support).

Finally, as to why this is necessary...

http://i.imgur.com/I2hqW.png

This game isn't on a decline because new members are chomping at the bit to wait 2 years to become relevant.

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So, no instant gratification, but still make it competitive. That is our issue.

Best way would be more wars. How can we do that?

Simple. Have some sort of limited resource. Some magic thing that, when possessed by a nation, it makes said nation better.

Sounds like tech, but tech is unlimited. We need a resource that will be directly proportional to the # of nations.

I propose calling said magic resource "Admin's Blessing." Every nation, at the age of 1 month, receives 20. That's it. only way to get more is war.

Every time you give your opponent more damage then he gives you, per week long war, you "steal" 5 blessing.

As for what blessing does, well, I don't know.

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There's no good way to degrade tech. I'd be in preference of simply removing the tech dealing process altogether. It wouldn't be permanent. How would it? Unless they're neutral.

Or have a world pool of tech; a scaling system of maximum tech which increases/decreases with the amount of nations there are in the game. Give something to fight for. Upper nations are more likely to be attacked because they're using up a god awful tonne of the world's allowance.

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