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Conclusion I: Problems


Tevron

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Conclusion I: Problems

 

I’d like to begin by thanking General Kanabis for his contributions to this particular post, which is a collection of many of the points raised by myself and others. I also reached out more broadly to various government members and will give some small summaries on additional areas of concern. Some additional special thanks need to go out to those that I've discussed these problems over the years. (Lord of Darkness, Lowsten, Alexio15, Canik, Lord Windmark, Osravan, Mergerberger, Dre4m, Greywall, and many many others who will remain unmentioned so as to not make this post too silly). I’d also additionally like to apologize for the delay here, the real life has been busy.

 

The Case Studies I laid out discussed a lot of the contributions to political stagnation – and there are certainly others to consider. (I had thought about creating both a Polarsphere and Doomsphere case study but then decided against it ultimately)

I’ll summarize the problems I’ve identified in the creation of these various blog posts:

 

From Case Study: Oculus: 

Victory and the conditions which allow for continued victory”

 “[T]hey care about their community and winning”

 

From the Comments: 

“[T]he same power players from seven years ago” - Lord Hitchcock

 

From Case Study: RFI:

Treaty bloat and compounding issues that occur due to the nature of blocs”

“[P]erpetuation of the ‘old guard” and “jaded leadership”

“RFI does not exist as an independent sphere outside of its direct members”

“They have too many merger AAs.”

“[T]heir political power is also unclear

 

From Case Study: Cobrasphere:

Apolitical activity: “Activity is not politics”

Ideology

Disagreements on traditional diplomatic approaches.

Negative environment of the OWF.

“[P]ublic relations” related to “coalition building”

 

From the Comments:

“A vast majority of the player base is concentrated in the mid-upper level and they are slow. Real slow.” - General Kanabis

“Ever building up for a war that will never happen”. - General Kanabis

Historical tensions created and proliferated by mergers - General Kanabis (paraphrased)

“‘Waste of Time’” style OWF posts - General Kanabis

the lack of people who they (the poster) had been building up to hit one day.” - General Kanabis


 

From Case Study: Ex-Moralists:

Inactivity

Inflexible Politics

Limited Worldview

Anti-real politik

Poor Leadership

“waiting for the lights to go out”

 

And so on.

 

Some Areas to Touch on:

 

Leadership:

 

Foreign Affairs leadership (and the lack thereof). A glance over the top twenty Alliance Affiliation Leaders includes (to my knowledge) only four people who have been primarily Foreign Affairs Players (That would be myself, Osravan, Lowsten, and Keysariyt Hanssen. There might be a couple tucked in there that I've missed too, but they have been in executive leading roles far, far longer than FA roles at this point.

 

How could this make the game staler? Well most all of them were either Internal Affairs or Defense Ministers. It’s important to stress those to aspects. Internal and Defense. Internal ministers are about what is inside the alliance, and thus they don’t necessarily care much for the externalities of the political game. Defense on the other hand, focuses essentially on defensive maneuvers. Aggressive warmongers are rare among them as well, since they primarily protect the alliance. In both cases, these are individuals who didn’t start wars. Most of the best wars that were started in the history of the game (and nearly all of the global ones) were as a result of an FA minister’s direction or an FA-directed players’ desires. The people who seem to complain the most about stagnation also tend to be the defense-style players, who are not adept at creating wars, and instead just prefer to fight them. The painstaking work that goes into building a coalition to actually roll someone requires persuasive ability, and “I wanna fight cuz the game is boring” is not a battle-cry people are willing to rally behind today. They want to gain something, and the IA-led alliances are more concerned with their internal cultures.

 

Game Mechanics:

 

The above problem wouldn’t really be a problem if the game mechanics encouraged political activity. Almost all politics are player-driven in this game, which means that most of the time, they aren’t happening. I have spoken at length with several alliance leaders about this issue over the years, and ultimately there is little to no reward for declaring wars, but also for signing treaties. What do you really gain these days if you go to war and demolish an alliance? You probably risk more than you gain. What’s the deal with color sphere politics? They are only rooted in miscommunication for the most part, and it would be shocking to see an alliance actually pursue an agenda (like supporting high-tier only) on a color sphere. For that to even happen, it would have to be created by the players.

 

Inertia:

 

A lot of problems stem from momentum and lack of it, that is central to Planet Bob. It requires a battle against entropy to get much of anything done and I can say that from experience. Did you know it took months for CnG to disband? RFI’s formation took another half dozen of months. The hatchet being buried between Polaris and Pacifica started between Dajobo and Brehon but didn’t end up amounting to much of anything until much further down the line. There are countless examples that can be cited, but those are a few that jump out to me. Fighting inertia is something people are generally unwilling to do.

 

It is this very lack of desire to resist inertia that inhibits some people from being dramatic enough. They do not act out in the way that they perhaps need to, if their aim is to actually free the world from its seemingly monopolar state. A whole lot of people are willing to silence idiotic or aggressive ideas for this reason (including many of my own) strictly because deeply ingrained inertia acts against these plans.

 

Community:

 

I am responsible to the Global Alliance and Treaty Organization. And I owe nothing to any of you who are not my allies. It isn’t my job to figure out the treaty web cypher that you need to solve. It isn’t up to me to save the game with a persuasive post. This translates to a tendency to support the generally good position of my alliance. I’m not going to do something that is objectively good for the game if it sacrifices my alliancemates in the process. And the expectation that others should act in the interests of the greater meta-political-game is illogical. Different motivations bring different players together and most alliances are doing nothing to expedite, but also nothing to impede the stagnation that has settled into most of the corners of the web. 

 

One area that can be improved upon is extra-community activities. Alliances with active memberships and internal activities should consider sharing their activities outward. This is probably not enough though, since these activities are very unlikely to relate to the situation on Planet Bob itself, and will not likely mobilize members who were otherwise doing nothing. There are exceptions though. Perhaps there will be a RFI-hosted mass chess tournament eventually, although the RFI one hasn’t been the most successful due to time zones.

 

Initial Conclusions:

 

We’re doomed, aren’t we?

 

In seriousness I would like the initial conclusions to be a discussion. This is a synthesis of the points that have been raised thus far, with the addition of a few. What do you think, do you have any solutions in mind?

Edited by Tevron

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1000% agree with the point about game mechanics. CN is a nation simulator that accidentally got used as a political simulator, except the game never evolved to really cater to that play style. As you pointed out, there's no in-game benefit for being good politically, and sometimes you actually end up behind the curve even if you're successful in your goals. It makes politics mostly unrewarding, which is probably why so few FA-talented folks still actively run things. It doesn't help that the community has grown complacent on top of it, but fundamentally there will always be something missing as long as the game works the way it always has.

 

Your point about a community is interesting to me. It's a fair point, although I think it provides more positives than negatives. Frankly, the community that alliances have always fostered is why the game hasn't died yet, despite the stagnation that they also encourage. Besides, at some point politics isn't worth a whole lot if you're not helping your side win, and there's no penalty if you don't have a side that you caused to lose.

 

All in all, I don't know what the answer is. The way the game works is never going to change, so either the majority of the remaining active community agrees to change/break some rules to encourage political activity and discourage stagnation, or we'll always be in this state. I feel like there are enough remaining political leaders (and not enough minor players) that we could make changes if we wanted to. Change all non-bloc defense clauses to be non chaining, use tools like lyricalz to decide official winners to wars, bring back sanction races, etc. It wouldn't be perfect but it might help. Otherwise we're probably stuck with what we've got for the foreseeable future.

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Things to consider:

 

 

.power politics permeates almost every level of the game

 

.asymmetrical warfare is a perpetual preference 

 

.widespread use of proxy warfare

 

.competition for limited resources 

(specifically, control of new alliances)

 

.propping of recycled ideas via recycled political posses (old guards)

 

There is no one solution, but an entire host of them may just do the trick.

A myriad of ideas need to ferment before anything like that can happen though.

Please share this link.

Far and wide.

I'll do my part.

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Personally I would look beyond the top 20 at this point for Leadership.  The top 20 are mostly run by players who have only ever been IA based leaders, and honestly with the current treaties between each of them.  Bob will just remain a stagnant world.

 

We're getting to the point where large swathes of the player base are doing nothing apart from gathering stats and losing capacity to do anything.  At the same time you have super tier nations who are too apathetic to defend themselves if someone like the doombirds come calling destroying years of tech/infra growth.  And the leaders who could "do something about it" can't convince their upper tiers to blow themselves up either.  At the other end of the sphere size as well, there's a growing group of players who just ignore the current power spheres.  There is literally no reason, for any alliance who wants to be entertained in game, to grow above 130k NS, as the minute they "do something" they would immediately get knocked down by nations 3x their tech level.  So you then have the types of war that DOOMHOUSE used to play.  Each alliance peace out a certain band of nations bit by bit.

 

CN is a nation simulator, which makes perfect sense for people and alliances to grow their nations to super large sizes.  But at this point, as mentioned with the top 20 basically all being allied to each other, it means that anyone outside that sphere who "does something" can easily get rolled by a ready made coalition of 10-15 alliances who do have nations in range. 

SEE: NG vs FTW being a fun war that would have scratched an itch for a few months, and then getting embroiled by Oculus hitting us and keeping us in war for a year.

 

NG has been the one alliance over the last decade who has made the most dramatic FA moves (see leaving PB, see signing NPO, see LoSS & Valhalla treaties) - not saying all of those FA moves were the best moves to make in hindsight.  But it made the game do something.  IF NG hadn't left PB, at this point we probably would have been on NPO rolling number 10.  You want inertia to get the world rolling, I am afraid it may need something that dramatic once more.

 

 

Edited by Stewie
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Hi all,

 

This is my first actual post in this community as I'm a newer player. I used to play a few years back for about a month or so, then deleted and returned a few days back. I do have some thoughts to share, which would hold very little value to anyone I think that has played this game for a long time.

 

I've played in several MMORPGs, dabbed into several other roleplaying ventures and such where vision takes a back seat and communities run the entire scope. On top of that, fresh players like myself tend to be overwhelmed/unvalued in certain circumstances due to just starting out - when in reality, our newer base needs to be guided and should be a part of a new foundation. Politics change with us and can change the scope of what's been done before and bring new "clashes" and "objectives" into the game that maybe have gotten stale because to us, it's absolutely new.

 

The community needs to look at other games, take NS for instance, where there's zero customization but yet they have a thriving legislative group, active forums, laws/debates on the hour. That may be the direction we need with this game to keep it interesting and keep it going. We can visualize a bigger forum, larger interactions, perhaps even sub-forums where Alliances bring thoughts/laws/debates or even restructuring for debate. It might have been tried or seem worthless to some, but here treaties do mean things and so does building a nation and being active. I can only imagine the possibilities.

 

Welcome new players into politics, don't be an elitist, and don't have senseless acts against players or bring them into drama right away. The game takes time to learn and I know even for myself, I don't know where I'd fit in with the political scene - if that's the case for me, I can only imagine how others feel.

 

I hope I can play a part in keeping the game alive, fun, and build some friendships along the day. I plan on being very active myself and I'm excited about the opportunities. I can only hope that there's several more like myself that can contibute along the way.

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I apologize for my lateness to table. RL-  I needed these few days.

I know I am very late to the discussion, and again, I risk being both redundant and tangential, but I insist the problems described above all starts at the top. It is in fact, the the most powerful and oldest nations, players, spheres and alliances who create the environment for stagnation and inertia. It is not their intent so the blame is not in them, but the solution may be with them. 


I previously remarked the design of the game rewards stagnation of the oldest (perhaps best developed nations and alliances), but I claimed this is unnatural because in all things there should be natural degradation over time. But not here. GK, rightly suggested the solution may be in the game design itself.

 

However, I have believed for quite some time there is a practical solution. It would be a more unnatural and radical (and perhaps  more civilized) solution where members of the community reward the new nations and provide less rewards to the older nations. As I said, radical. There is obvious self-preservation disincentives to do such a radical thing. Still, it seems to me inviting and rewarding new blood would be beneficial to the entire community.

 

I have seen far too many leaders retire with their entire nation booming with treasures, safely stowed away for posterity and nothing else. 

 

Simply put, if the game was not designed to incentivize the next generation, it seems only reasonable to me the players must do so. 

Edited by Sir Gunz
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On 11/25/2020 at 12:47 AM, Velyni Vas said:

Welcome new players into politics, don't be an elitist, and don't have senseless acts against players or bring them into drama right away. ....

 

I hope I can play a part in keeping the game alive, fun, and build some friendships along the day. I plan on being very active myself and I'm excited about the opportunities. I can only hope that there's several more like myself that can contibute along the way.

Velyni Vas,

 

I am not familiar with you but you represent many I have spoken to (most of whom did not stay because they lost hope). Your are emblematic of the problems I alluded to above. I welcome you to the community and I hope you can find a home where you can also grow here. 

Edited by Sir Gunz
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28 minutes ago, Sir Gunz said:

Velyni Vas,

 

I am not familiar with you but you represent many I have spoken to (most of whom did not stay because they lost hope). Your are emblematic of the problems I alluded to above. I welcome you to the community and I hope you can find a home where you can also grow here. 

 

Sir Gunz,

 

I have only been playing a week at this point. I've been fortunate enough to have made a good choice for an Alliance to join which has gotten me immediately involved, plenty of comradery, and trust. They've held my hand and introduced me to the mechanics, immediate trade circles, aids, etc. It's been a VERY fun week and I really look forward to continuing to grow within the game and build relationships with other Nations/Alliances. Hopefully others are as welcoming as they and you are. Even if not, it won't detour me away from the game. Elitists and communities ruin games (WoW for example) over time. People want an active, accepting, but challenging community - not someone who shames for mistakes.

 

Feel free to reach out to me for networking if you're ever interested. I'd be glad to.

Edited by Velyni Vas
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