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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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CN is a product and like any other product is subject to market rules. There are newer, flashier, substitutes, replacements. competitors.. being released daily. Like any product CN has a life cycle. It is on the slow decline side.

The one thing CN as a product has going for it, is the friends that we play with. I know from personal experience that friends are one of the few things keeping people here. When those go on to greener pastures, the loss of one popular individual, can be the loss of a legion of their friends. That said, the only way to get CN bigger, is get more friends involved, because the likelihood it of its own attraction is going to draw new blood in comparison to the threats against it.. is not very high.

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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.

SO. Your saying that since people play the game, a disinterest isn't the problem?

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Gentle Persons

I tend to agree with much of what Fox Fire has stated. And much as it pains me I actually agree with many of Rush Sykes ideas(well thought out) but not the elimination of tech trading or unlimited wars.

However the strength of Digiterra is not the mechanics but the community. In the past there were long term grudges and very definite camps. In my view the strength of that community structure has not been added with the other mechanics changes. Team colour should matter more. Changing should hurt more staying together in an alliance on a single team should matter more. Wars on a the same colour alliance should cost -2 happiness for the duration of the war.Senate should be expanded and made more powerful BUT it should require the senate to vote and be limited to one senator per alliance. Treaties should have an actual in game value and cost to break.For example +1 happiness for a month for signing a NAP to the entire alliance BUT -2 happiness for 2 months for a formal break or violation be alliance war.Give the bonus again very 6 months it stays in place.Require a specific request to support when in war already to require an alliance to war or break the treaty. Grade the different treaties up in the same fashion. This would end the moronic practice of signing treaties that are then broken upon the smell of war.The violating alliance suffers double the penalty. Make the community think and benefit from keeping the politics and community active. Give a legitimate reason for people to join alliances and blocs.

Give people a reason to do things not a penalty for not doing something. Instead of penalizing those who wish to hang out in peace mode give a benefit for staying in war mode that grows over time. Give an incentive for those who post on owf. Yes even the perpetual self indulgent ones they help build the community.

Down declaring should cost happiness, up declaring gets you a hero bonus to happiness. 3 on 1 attacks should have a happiness penalty defending against multiple attacks a bonus.That lasts three times the war length. There is already the advantage of loot for the attacker. This would encourage newer nations not to roll over and alliances to actually fight. No bonus for turtling. No penalty as it is a choice.

Eliminate the ability to rogue on any nation not in the top 250. The big nations are able to defend themselves though it will cost. The practice of roguing at the lower end by idiots with a grudge makes zero logical sense in a nation simulation game and allows people to drive others from the game. Even the most insane national leader in RL cannot suicide his nation though some morons have tried. But it is always on a bigger major nation.

Make decelerations of war mandatory before war and provide a 24 hour window before attacks can begin. Once again for those who wannt reality in warfare no RL nation can build up on another nations boundaries without it being know.THis has the huge advantage of allowing both sides to plan and react in the community to make wars interesting and actually political.

This community is why we play and we should encourage the strongest part of this Digiterra to actually effect game play.

Respectfully

Dame HIme Themis

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Gentle Persons

Treaties should have an actual in game value and cost to break.For example +1 happiness for a month for signing a NAP to the entire alliance BUT -2 happiness for 2 months for a formal break or violation be alliance war.Give the bonus again very 6 months it stays in place.Require a specific request to support when in war already to require an alliance to war or break the treaty. Grade the different treaties up in the same fashion. This would end the moronic practice of signing treaties that are then broken upon the smell of war.The violating alliance suffers double the penalty. Make the community think and benefit from keeping the politics and community active. Give a legitimate reason for people to join alliances and blocs.

Give people a reason to do things not a penalty for not doing something. Instead of penalizing those who wish to hang out in peace mode give a benefit for staying in war mode that grows over time. Give an incentive for those who post on owf. Yes even the perpetual self indulgent ones they help build the community.

Dame HIme Themis

We would probably see quiete a bit of E-lawyering here about treaty interpretations etc. I mean, for example, if two alliances sign, say, an optional non-agression pact(I think Kashmir did this once), should they still get a bonus? The treaty itself in this case is basically worthless. In other words, where are the lines to be drawn? The suggestions here are good for politics, but they would be next to impossible to enforce.

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Good Mr. Director

Not really and optional NAP would have zero value. Any all optional would be a lower value than a mandatory and would be triggered if requested. Empires in Arms has a treaty point system akin to what I have suggested. Any war with that alliance or any alliance that is treatied with that alliance or bloc would be an auto cancellation. :) It would become far more of a hinderance than benefit.

Respectfully

Dame HIme Themis

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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.

If people still play the game then there is still some interest in the game. Hell they still have Pac-Man tournaments.

I just feel like this is a gross oversimplification of CN's problems. CN has many problems. I guess a lack of interest over time is one of them, but the way politics are done around here is another that very few people address. Those who do address it get vilified and put down.

SO. Your saying that since people play the game, a disinterest isn't the problem?

What I should have said is that it is only one of CN's problems. I'm also saying that if no one is interested in the game then why do people still play it? People leave CN for many different reasons. I've personally left CN several times because of politics, which is why I think it is the main problem. CN could be a fun place to be again. Like I've said several times though, it needs a "revolution".

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The worst problems with this game, and the things that cause more players to leave than any other, have nothing whatsoever to do with graphical content or lack thereof (good graphics get people in the door, nothing more), or faulty game mechanics (though those issues should be fixed whenever they are found and sooner rather than later).

The worst problems with this game involve the players and the community and how they interact with one another, and there's nothing to be done to the game to fix it. Let's face it, we eat our young around here far too often and some of the social clubs will do ANYTHING to "win", even if that means doing some pretty crappy real life stuff and slandering others to get there. As much as we as a community claim to care about each other, there is a definite dark side.

Having said that...I'll address the 500 lb. gorilla in the room. it does not help the game's growth (or efforts to tread water) when a person signs up for Cyber Nations and can't invite others he/she lives with to also play. The game has lost out on many thousands of additional honest players for the sake of denying a few bad ones. The rules need to be changed.

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Good Mr. Director

Not really and optional NAP would have zero value. Any all optional would be a lower value than a mandatory and would be triggered if requested. Empires in Arms has a treaty point system akin to what I have suggested. Any war with that alliance or any alliance that is treatied with that alliance or bloc would be an auto cancellation. :) It would become far more of a hinderance than benefit.

Respectfully

Dame HIme Themis

But then whats to stop people, from, say, signing treatys and adding secret clauses or simply agreeing nt to act on treatys, but just keep them for the sake of that bonus. There would be no way to plug up such loopholes.

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Instead of deleting nations at 25 days, just let them go inactive. It's like PM with reduced income for how long you are inactive. They can still be raided and stuff

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Having said that...I'll address the 500 lb. gorilla in the room. it does not help the game's growth (or efforts to tread water) when a person signs up for Cyber Nations and can't invite others he/she lives with to also play. The game has lost out on many thousands of additional honest players for the sake of denying a few bad ones. The rules need to be changed.

There is too much room for abuse and no way of enforcing, because if rules are relaxed then there is nothing stopping even the most honest players from going "just my bro and not a multi"

But then whats to stop people, from, say, signing treatys and adding secret clauses or simply agreeing nt to act on treatys, but just keep them for the sake of that bonus. There would be no way to plug up such loopholes.

You tie the treaties in with the game mechanics.

For example making it that if a treaty partner doesn't enter the war to assist then the benefits are nullified or both alliances are penalised, doing so would maybe untangle the treaty web once and for all and only sign treaties with alliances they will defend.

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Gentle Persons

I tend to agree with much of what Fox Fire has stated. And much as it pains me I actually agree with many of Rush Sykes ideas(well thought out) but not the elimination of tech trading or unlimited wars.

However the strength of Digiterra is not the mechanics but the community. In the past there were long term grudges and very definite camps. In my view the strength of that community structure has not been added with the other mechanics changes. Team colour should matter more. Changing should hurt more staying together in an alliance on a single team should matter more. Wars on a the same colour alliance should cost -2 happiness for the duration of the war.Senate should be expanded and made more powerful BUT it should require the senate to vote and be limited to one senator per alliance. Treaties should have an actual in game value and cost to break.For example +1 happiness for a month for signing a NAP to the entire alliance BUT -2 happiness for 2 months for a formal break or violation be alliance war.Give the bonus again very 6 months it stays in place.Require a specific request to support when in war already to require an alliance to war or break the treaty. Grade the different treaties up in the same fashion. This would end the moronic practice of signing treaties that are then broken upon the smell of war.The violating alliance suffers double the penalty. Make the community think and benefit from keeping the politics and community active. Give a legitimate reason for people to join alliances and blocs.

Give people a reason to do things not a penalty for not doing something. Instead of penalizing those who wish to hang out in peace mode give a benefit for staying in war mode that grows over time. Give an incentive for those who post on owf. Yes even the perpetual self indulgent ones they help build the community.

Down declaring should cost happiness, up declaring gets you a hero bonus to happiness. 3 on 1 attacks should have a happiness penalty defending against multiple attacks a bonus.That lasts three times the war length. There is already the advantage of loot for the attacker. This would encourage newer nations not to roll over and alliances to actually fight. No bonus for turtling. No penalty as it is a choice.

Eliminate the ability to rogue on any nation not in the top 250. The big nations are able to defend themselves though it will cost. The practice of roguing at the lower end by idiots with a grudge makes zero logical sense in a nation simulation game and allows people to drive others from the game. Even the most insane national leader in RL cannot suicide his nation though some morons have tried. But it is always on a bigger major nation.

Make decelerations of war mandatory before war and provide a 24 hour window before attacks can begin. Once again for those who wannt reality in warfare no RL nation can build up on another nations boundaries without it being know.THis has the huge advantage of allowing both sides to plan and react in the community to make wars interesting and actually political.

This community is why we play and we should encourage the strongest part of this Digiterra to actually effect game play.

Respectfully

Dame HIme Themis

This would be abused so much (though, I do like the ideas :/)

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There is too much room for abuse and no way of enforcing, because if rules are relaxed then there is nothing stopping even the most honest players from going "just my bro and not a multi"

You tie the treaties in with the game mechanics.

For example making it that if a treaty partner doesn't enter the war to assist then the benefits are nullified or both alliances are penalised, doing so would maybe untangle the treaty web once and for all and only sign treaties with alliances they will defend.

It would be a pain to keep track of all the treaties like that, and, also, it would be easy to abuse.

On a somewhat related note, CN just hit 9,994 nations. :( We just started of the year in a very bad way. Last person out, please turn off the lights.

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But then whats to stop people, from, say, signing treatys and adding secret clauses or simply agreeing nt to act on treatys, but just keep them for the sake of that bonus. There would be no way to plug up such loopholes.

Good Mr. Director

Very easy. If an alliance is attacked and they hold an MDP then if their ally does not defend within 5 days the treaty is broken. IF they hold an MAP and they attack and their ally declares and do not attack within 5 days then the treaty is broken. You can have as many secret pacts as you want or not secret. If you want the bonus you pay the price if it is triggered and not kept. Simple really.

Respectfully

Dame Hime THemis

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Good Mr. Director

Very easy. If an alliance is attacked and they hold an MDP then if their ally does not defend within 5 days the treaty is broken. IF they hold an MAP and they attack and their ally declares and do not attack within 5 days then the treaty is broken. You can have as many secret pacts as you want or not secret. If you want the bonus you pay the price if it is triggered and not kept. Simple really.

Respectfully

Dame Hime THemis

Well, judging from the current war, an MDP ally isnt expected to declare war on EVERY alliance who dows on their ally. Generally one or two is considered enough. I'm not sure if people would want to be forced to counter on a half dozen alliances. If such a suggestion was implemented, it would certainly shorten an alliances life-span quite a bit, as micros would be forced to choose between hitting alliances several times their size, or suffer severe economic penalites. Under those circumstances, many would simply leave that alliance. This doesn't really account for instances where an alliance requested its allies stay out of a conflict. If this suggestion was implemented, it is likely that some alliances would simply switch to just signing optionals rather than mandatories. It also doesn't account for neutrals, who don't sign treaties, and thus would be cut out of the benefits that would become to be seen as the norm in other alliances. Micros would also be affected, as people left for big alliances with lots of connections, and thus more economic benefits. The five day limit doesn't take into account instances in which alliances are held in reserve during wars. While this is a good idea in theory, execution would either be difficult, or make life difficult for the players.

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I agree with many of the ideas and thoughts here..

the biggest problem is the lack of advertising, the fact there is no phone app of any sort, and there is no facebook app of any kind..

when the game came out facebook was an idea.. smart phones were in star trek.. and there was no real advertising

facebook as 1 billion users, just picking up on a few of those could help.

half the world has smart phones these days so a phone app would be useful or at least a new web 2.0 mobile layout.

a new web 2.0 look for the main site could not hurt either..

and advertising could actually bring in people..

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I agree with many of the ideas and thoughts here..

the biggest problem is the lack of advertising, the fact there is no phone app of any sort, and there is no facebook app of any kind..

when the game came out facebook was an idea.. smart phones were in star trek.. and there was no real advertising

facebook as 1 billion users, just picking up on a few of those could help.

half the world has smart phones these days so a phone app would be useful or at least a new web 2.0 mobile layout.

a new web 2.0 look for the main site could not hurt either..

and advertising could actually bring in people..

Especially the advertising. It doesn't have to be some big fancy expensive ad to work. I believe that when Fark was founded, it managed to get permission to advertise itself on fark.com, and gained hundreds of members that way.

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Nail on the head. I mean, I am actually quite surprised that 1000s of people still play text browser games in this day and age. Or the fact that people still use IRC. I predict that the only players left in these games will be the ones who are like die-hards who still play vintage games, or those who just stick around for the community. Oh wait, it is already in the mature stages of the process....

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" a new web 2.0 look for the main site could not hurt either" Not sure how many people it would attract, but Id like that.

looks can attract alot of people..

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'Not having the time for the game' is poppycock. People manage to find time for all sorts of games these days. Assuming you know how the game works and aren't in gov or whatever, it really only takes 5 minutes to play CN each day. Click a few buttons, bills, sledding and bam, done.

I see the primary causal agents including the following;

- Less attractive medium. As rebel mentioned, gamers these days expect shiny graphics and a streamlined gaming experience; CN has not aged well in that department and desperately needs a complete gui overhaul a least)

- Learning curve. I know this by personal experience; playing cybernations as a completely new player is difficult unless provided comprehensive guidance in the process. Sure, large alliances can provide help with that, but help isn't always forthcoming. The game has an incredibly insular culture which also magnifies the difficulty of CN and dictates to new players how they should play the game. The lack of freedom for players in building up their nations their own way is a big minus versus newer games.

- Disincentives for new nations. New nations have to compete in an environment where there are many low-NS nations with a well-developed spread of wonders and improvements. Many of these are also not above raiding for fun and profit. If a group of people try to play CN together, then it becomes even more difficult. The wonder gap keeps growing over time and barring a reset will never be resolved.

I find that most discussions over improving mechanics to be hilariously myopic because their implementation will almost never happen. It took us YEARS to be able to change the name of our nation - and even then, you have to pay $20 for the privilege. Do you really see that happening, ever? Will changing aid mechanics really bring back the thousands of nations that delete every month?

No, arguments over mechanics can only be resolved via a total overhaul; a 'Cyber Nations 2', if you will. Hire a team of competent coders and you can make all the changes needed to bring this game up to date.

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If people still play the game then there is still some interest in the game. Hell they still have Pac-Man tournaments.

I just feel like this is a gross oversimplification of CN's problems. CN has many problems. I guess a lack of interest over time is one of them, but the way politics are done around here is another that very few people address. Those who do address it get vilified and put down.

Exactly, their still is SOME interest in the game, what fox fire was saying is that people are LOSING interest in the game and we're losing people because of it.

And the reason your put down, is because YOU ARE ONE OF THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO THINK THIS IS A PROBLEM. If everyone puts you down because no one thinks its a problem, then its not a problem. Let me ask you this. If you can find ten people, TEN PEOPLE, just ten, out of the THOUSANDS of people on cybernations, who think YOUR specific problems with cybernations are a problem worthy of a revolution, then I will admit there is SOMETHING to your "revolution" if not, then your just some madman rambling on about a non-existent problem.

What I should have said is that it is only one of CN's problems. I'm also saying that if no one is interested in the game then why do people still play it? People leave CN for many different reasons. I've personally left CN several times because of politics, which is why I think it is the main problem. CN could be a fun place to be again. Like I've said several times though, it needs a "revolution".

Yeah, but if you're the only one who thinks its a problem, then we have absolutely no reason to take action.

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Nail on the head. I mean, I am actually quite surprised that 1000s of people still play text browser games in this day and age. Or the fact that people still use IRC. I predict that the only players left in these games will be the ones who are like die-hards who still play vintage games, or those who just stick around for the community. Oh wait, it is already in the mature stages of the process....

there are alot of games that use irc.. most players just dont know they are using irc.. due to the new fancy interfaces..

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there are alot of games that use irc.. most players just dont know they are using irc.. due to the new fancy interfaces..

If you are referring to games such as <censored> that can be played over the phone or FB, then yes, there is a mass chat feature between players that is integrated into the game interface itself. The IRC that I was referring to is in its form that is most commonly used in CN (sign in outside of the game, enter commands etc.)

While such games are certainly more advanced and engaging than CN, I see two issues with it

1. The smaller issue - these "modern" games (at least the ones I've played) require too much activity compared to CN. Also there is no limit to the amount of attacks that can be done per day, nor a cap on attack range (but that is a bit too much to bring to this discussion)

2. There are too many of them out there - with the same basic features and different skins. This means that there is not one game that players will likely congregate to - unlike CN and its predecessor which more or less held a monopoly when they came out.

Even if CN were to "modernize" itself and join the flow of these modern games, it's a bit too late. There are too many choices out there right now. CN will never be "the one" again. It can however, continue to be "one" of the many.

One thing that CN has to its credit though, is the maturity of many of its players. Just looking at the chat room of one of these modern games on any one day makes me wonder if the alliances there are run by 10-year-olds.

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