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The "Problem" With Cybernations


Fox Fire

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So, its no secret that CN is losing players.

We constantly see threads devoted to this with attempts to explain why, or rants from noobs about how the large nations aren't being socialist enough with their money, or ridiculous complaints about the mechanics and how they somehow don't work.

I've seen many arguments attempting to explain the decline in players. Almost all of which are assuming there's some kind of issue with the game or its community. Some people offer ridiculous solutions like rebellions against non existing foes.

I can't help but read these things and think to myself:

"If there's a problem with the community, why aren't all the new players complaining about the specific issue?"

*A) The community isn't the problem.

"If there's a problem with the mechanics, why does CN have the largest player base of all browser based nation sims (or at least the ones that involve actual playing, not just writing novels) and seem to be the only one that can actually be played as its intended because of its lack of flawed equations and mechanics?"

*A) The mechanics aren't the problem.

"If the problem lies with the fact that CN is unrealistic with limited options and 'nothing to do but pay bills and collect taxes,' as some people assume, then why has CN always had a larger player base than all the more in depth and complex nation sims?"

*A) The in depth playability isn't the problem.

"If the issue is the fact that new nations don't grow fast enough, or the rate of tech is too low, why do the vast majority of new players never complain about it?"

*A) The speed of growth isn't the problem.

In fact, I don't think there is any problem with CN. I think the game is just fine, and other than losing players, only seems to improve with time.

One thing I've noticed that makes CN superior is its staff and Admin, whome don't simply implement any suggestion into the game just because the community likes it and wants it implemented. They seem to put alot more consideration into how things will effect the game long term before adding it.

The game may be pretty simplistic and lack complex features, but maybe that is why it actually works. And despite its simplicity, all the mechanics work in perfect harmony with eachother. Almost nothing is absolutely useless or overly useful. Sure its unrealistic. Nukes are just giant CMs, the value of currency is extremely downsized, there's no option to build cities, and there seems to be a "one size fits all" building plan.

However, CN isn't supposed to be realistic. Real life sucks anyway. CN is supposed to be fun, and it is.

So then why is Planet Bob losing players?

Well, ever since I've noticed these conversations popping up on the topic, I've been trying to figure out the answer.

I think I've figured it out.

Ever since being recruited back into CN by some RL friends, I've asked nearly everyone I know to join me in CN. Even offering them millions in start up aid just to join the game.

A few of them I managed to recruit. Most of whom quit playing after a short time. A specific friend of mine who still plays CN keeps trying to recruit me into a simaler game that is a phone app. Said app is essentially a nation sim where everything happens in real time and the game play is more visually exciting.

I've since learned that many of said friends friends also play this app. So I said "Hey, if you like that game, you'd probably like CN."

So I show it to them and start explaining how it works. Some questions I seem to always get are:

"So do you actually get to see your soldiers fighting/Do you see your buildings as they're being built/Is there a map where everyone has their own specific territory that can be taken over?"

Etc...

The answer to all this is no. Upon such realization, they quickly lose interest and start offering me non browser based sims and other strategy games.

I find this to be the common response from most people I can manage to attract the interest of.

In other cases, its reversed. Where they played CN and loved it, until discovering a non browser based game they enjoyed more.

I think the actual "problem" with CN is simply the fact that times change. New fads don't stay popular for long. They're ever changing. I mean, does anyone play original X Box anymore?

I don't think there are any problems with CN as a game or community.

I think the simple answer is, browser based nation sims are just a dying breed of game.

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I'd actually like to see a phone app added to the app store, or the play store. Though it would be hard to stop people from initially cheating the no two nation rule.

I do agree with your premise that the game isn't visually exciting, and there are other more aesthetically gratifying games that satiate your desire to see things happen in real time.

Take a game like clash of clans which has caught on quite recently. It doesn't have the best graphics, but it has a clan you can join, aka alliance. You can see things being built in real time, which is nice, which could be equated to buying wonders, and building improvements. Then you have your barbarians, archers etcetc that you build actually attacking another base.

Clash of clans isn't theoretically different than CN. It's just visually gratifying.

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Some great insights here FoxFire.

That, and I would argue that the threshold to be a competent nation ruler of in-game mechanics doesn't correlate in any meaningful way to the threshold necessary to be a political player in inter-alliance politics. Once new players figure out that they can play the in-game aspect all they want, but they're not playing the same game as alliance gov who could squash them on a whim, they are a tad disheartened methinks.

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I think the simple answer is, browser based nation sims are just a dying breed of game.

Its not even that, its text-based games in general that are dying. I used to play lots of text-based games of different themes back when the internet became commercialised (dotcom bubble).

Many of those which were popular have now vanished or membership is so low that they're technically unplayable. This is due to massive advances in graphics and game design over the years across the board, entering the internet.

The remaining text-based games with decent membership levels only survive because they fill a gap in the market.

The market is a niche one and it will only get worse as the majority of new gamers growing up won't bat an eyelid at a dated concept called text-based.

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Its not even that, its text-based games in general that are dying. I used to play lots of text-based games of different themes back when the internet became commercialised (dotcom bubble).

Many of those which were popular have now vanished or membership is so low that they're technically unplayable. This is due to massive advances in graphics and game design over the years across the board, entering the internet.

The remaining text-based games with decent membership levels only survive because they fill a gap in the market.

The market is a niche one and it will only get worse as the majority of new gamers growing up won't bat an eyelid at a dated concept called text-based.

Well said. I couldn't agree with your and FoxFire's analyses further.

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Yea, this is a load of garbage.

Coming from you, that isn't worth much. My guess is that the membership will eventually stabilize once all of those inactives are gone. As to whether there will be enough people left to actually keep the game going is an entirely different story.

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Coming from you, that isn't worth much. My guess is that the membership will eventually stabilize once all of those inactives are gone. As to whether there will be enough people left to actually keep the game going is an entirely different story.

It's a load of garbage because I don't think anyone believes that CN's decline has little to do with game mechanics, or "browser sims being a dying breed". No matter how many times admin has put in new features, CN continues to decline. As boring as the actual game is, I don't think that is the main thing driving people away. The main thing driving people away? It is pretty simple: A power structure and political system that only benefits a few.

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Making the statement that the game is a dying breed... and fads change... and its a niche game, while fundamentally correct, does not address the real problem. The game has no problem attracting new nations, it has a problem retaining them.

It cannot be made perfect, but it CAN be made better. Saying things like the "mechanics are not the problem", is a blatant glossover. While the mechanics may not be THE problem, it is one of THE problems. If you fail to keep up with and fix what you can fix, then the deleting nations will always outnumber the creating nations.

Things that CAN be done to help (and yes it would be a painful short term overhaul)... include, but are not limited to....

1) end tech trading

2) end tech stealing from GAs

1 and 2 serve to put an end to the disparity between nations that it is painfully obvious that this game never was intended to support.

3) Implement a war weariness system that punishes nations for engaging in "beatdowns" over the long term. This will FORCE wars to be shorter. Further, increase the accruement of War Weariness for nations who dogpile on(I.E. no penalty if you are a nations 1st defensive war, small penalty if you are 2nd, larger penalty if you are 3rd.) As well as considering opening up defensive and offensive slots to 5 (doing this and growing discontent among your citizens for being the 4th and 5th defensive wars will make people make more strategic decisions in the early days of conflicts.)

4) Implement an Apathy penalty for nations who do not engage in FULL rounds of wars (or base it on needing to engage in X number of attacks and defenses to cleanse)... have the apathy penalty grow on a small daily basis (after say 60 days of peace). This will force alliances to a) be more aggressive in FA and b) be more aggressive in pursuing their goals.

5) Put an end to the "declaration range" being based on NS. Tech is, and always will be the driving factor. Change the declaration range to be solely based on tech. This will give smaller alliances and chance to do better against overwhelming odds.

6) CAP THE FREAKING WARCHESTS. Of all things that NEED to happen, this is the one. Set the cap at $1 billion. You may exceed that $1 billion , but for every day you are over $1 billion, you suffer a .5 happiness penalty. Your citizens should demand that you spend money on improving their lives rather than hoarding it. This will force HIGH tech nations to spend exorbitant amounts of money on smaller tech purchases. It will also make 15-20K infra nations actually take MEANINGFUL damage in wars.

7) Allow UNLIMITED attacks in a day (except for nukes). You have a couple of options to achieve this, both of which would work fine. First would be just to make it turn based. You can do 2 GAs, for instance, and no more in that day, UNLESS the other guy attacks back. Or you can just leave it unlimited, and simply put a SEVERE happiness and war weariness penalty for multiple winning GAs and Airstrikes against a defenseless target. This would actually ENCOURAGE people in wars to be active more often in the day, and actually make wars more fun, IMO.

Just some food for thought. I fully expect to be trolled, so let it begin.

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@Rush: The game is hardly advertised, without knowing cybernations traffic I wouldn't be surprised if a high majority of those "new nations" would be previous members / word of mouth. Text-based is niche and will always be a declining market as the years go on.

As for the rest of your post, its just moving the goal posts around for those that are long term players and does nothing for new player retention.

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Making the statement that the game is a dying breed... and fads change... and its a niche game, while fundamentally correct, does not address the real problem. The game has no problem attracting new nations, it has a problem retaining them. It cannot be made perfect, but it CAN be made better. Saying things like the "mechanics are not the problem", is a blatant glossover. While the mechanics may not be THE problem, it is one of THE problems. If you fail to keep up with and fix what you can fix, then the deleting nations will always outnumber the creating nations. Things that CAN be done to help (and yes it would be a painful short term overhaul)... include, but are not limited to.... 1) end tech trading2) end tech stealing from GAs 1 and 2 serve to put an end to the disparity between nations that it is painfully obvious that this game never was intended to support. 3) Implement a war weariness system that punishes nations for engaging in "beatdowns" over the long term. This will FORCE wars to be shorter. Further, increase the accruement of War Weariness for nations who dogpile on(I.E. no penalty if you are a nations 1st defensive war, small penalty if you are 2nd, larger penalty if you are 3rd.) As well as considering opening up defensive and offensive slots to 5 (doing this and growing discontent among your citizens for being the 4th and 5th defensive wars will make people make more strategic decisions in the early days of conflicts.) 4) Implement an Apathy penalty for nations who do not engage in FULL rounds of wars (or base it on needing to engage in X number of attacks and defenses to cleanse)... have the apathy penalty grow on a small daily basis (after say 60 days of peace). This will force alliances to a) be more aggressive in FA and b) be more aggressive in pursuing their goals. 5) Put an end to the "declaration range" being based on NS. Tech is, and always will be the driving factor. Change the declaration range to be solely based on tech. This will give smaller alliances and chance to do better against overwhelming odds. 6) CAP THE FREAKING WARCHESTS. Of all things that NEED to happen, this is the one. Set the cap at $1 billion. You may exceed that $1 billion , but for every day you are over $1 billion, you suffer a .5 happiness penalty. Your citizens should demand that you spend money on improving their lives rather than hoarding it. This will force HIGH tech nations to spend exorbitant amounts of money on smaller tech purchases. It will also make 15-20K infra nations actually take MEANINGFUL damage in wars. 7) Allow UNLIMITED attacks in a day (except for nukes). You have a couple of options to achieve this, both of which would work fine. First would be just to make it turn based. You can do 2 GAs, for instance, and no more in that day, UNLESS the other guy attacks back. Or you can just leave it unlimited, and simply put a SEVERE happiness and war weariness penalty for multiple winning GAs and Airstrikes against a defenseless target. This would actually ENCOURAGE people in wars to be active more often in the day, and actually make wars more fun, IMO. Just some food for thought. I fully expect to be trolled, so let it begin.
Ending tech trading would reduce the number of players because it takes away a newer players best chance to grow. Forcing people to war isn't going to help either. War isn't going to interest people, else TE would have more players. Capping the warchest may be a good idea, but one billion seems to be a bit low, as many players have gone well beyohd that.
It's a load of garbage because I don't think anyone believes that CN's decline has little to do with game mechanics, or "browser sims being a dying breed". No matter how many times admin has put in new features, CN continues to decline. As boring as the actual game is, I don't think that is the main thing driving people away. The main thing driving people away? It is pretty simple: A power structure and political system that only benefits a few.
Please, not the revolution thing again...
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The thing that makes CN enjoyable is the community and when you think about how it first started, as a small, close-knit community, it was fun and didn't need any enhancements. The whole reason CN even got big in the first place is because of NS and that community. Honestly, I don't think CN is at a point of no return, its just that not many people search for a "nation simulator game". There are many ppl out there who would love it and the only way to get CN to "expand" is to spread the word. So go, tweet about it on Twitter, tell ppl on Facebook, tell your friends in rl about it. That is really the only chance that CN has left for it to grow.

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Actually Rush, a question... If the mechanics are an issue, then why is CN the only browser based nation sim with mechanics that work?

Second, the mechanics of this game are perfect. If they didn't work, I sure as Hell wouldn't be here. Just ask Rayan.

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Actually Rush, a question... If the mechanics are an issue, then why is CN the only browser based nation sim with mechanics that work? Second, the mechanics of this game are perfect. If they didn't work, I sure as Hell wouldn't be here. Just ask Rayan.

It's not the only one with mechanics that work. To just name one, Astro Empires. Astro Empires also has new features added from time to time, more often than CN at least.

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It's a load of garbage because I don't think anyone believes that CN's decline has little to do with game mechanics, or "browser sims being a dying breed". No matter how many times admin has put in new features, CN continues to decline. As boring as the actual game is, I don't think that is the main thing driving people away. The main thing driving people away? It is pretty simple: A power structure and political system that only benefits a few.

Oh my gosh, do you hear how stupid you sound right now? Why exactly are you so determined to believe that's a problem?

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Oh hoorah! Let's revisit a concept that both-

a) Failed on principle and

b) Failed in application

CN is dying because of the lack of interest as pointed out by Fox Fire. I have queried my friends into why they leave and most of the time it's-

a) Because there are better things to do or

b) Because they have no time

I just don't see how there are people who still play this game if the main problem is a lack of interest.

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I just don't see how there are people who still play this game if the main problem is a lack of interest.

He said "people are starting to lose interest", not "every single person in the world loathes this game and would never play it ever". You assume just because a micro fraction of the Internet plays the game that means it isn't suffering from a lack of interest and there's no possible way your wrong. The sooner you wise up and realize that your wrong about this "revolution" the sooner all of us will have to stop dealing with this ridiculous non-sense.

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He said "people are starting to lose interest", not "every single person in the world loathes this game and would never play it ever". You assume just because a micro fraction of the Internet plays the game that means it isn't suffering from a lack of interest and there's no possible way your wrong. The sooner you wise up and realize that your wrong about this "revolution" the sooner all of us will have to stop dealing with this ridiculous non-sense.

Can you really not read? I never said that everyone hates this game. If a general lack of interest in nation simulators is the problem then why would there still be people playing this game; in other words, that isn't the problem.

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I think the problems are with people joining. Many noobs don't like to stay on. They create their nation and let it die. It goes inactive, and gives them a day of fun. Other people move on from this game, and don't feel like playing it. It isn't necessarily a lack of interest for everyone, but other things contribute. I once was in a hospital with a family member for 16 days. I didn't go on terribly soon beforehand or after, and almost killed my nation. So, it's hard to say.

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I think the problems are with people joining. Many noobs don't like to stay on. They create their nation and let it die. It goes inactive, and gives them a day of fun. Other people move on from this game, and don't feel like playing it. It isn't necessarily a lack of interest for everyone, but other things contribute. I once was in a hospital with a family member for 16 days. I didn't go on terribly soon beforehand or after, and almost killed my nation. So, it's hard to say.

Wat¿?

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Can you really not read? I never said that everyone hates this game. If a general lack of interest in nation simulators is the problem then why would there still be people playing this game; in other words, that isn't the problem.

You don't seem to understand what a general lack of interest even means. Nor do I feel I can explain it any better.

Its not like everyone immediately quits playing at the same exact time when a type of game dies.

IE: I can play an old console game online and still find people playing here and there. Does that mean its still a popular game? Hardly.

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As a new member I'll say what got me to stick around was tech raiding. Before I did thst I was in an alliance which didn't allow tech raiding, drn. They didn't even have a war guide so I was ignorant of the war aspect of the game. I left after leadershp issue ruined the alliance and joined a starting micro, which failed due to leadership. I was going to quit because of fustration of not finding a stable alliance. Goons requested I join them and thats where i learned to raid. Ever since then, i find it fun to raid, see people's overreactions when I raid them and met some decent people to raid with

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