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Proposals for the Improvement of the CN Community


Krzyzewskiville
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So, I wasn't really planning on posting anything like this, in spite of having these thoughts for a while, but it feels appropriate right now, given everything that's going on right now. Plus, I'm stuck in peace mode these days and bored, and I read so much crap on IRC and the OWF that I feel like we need to address it. This community is destroying itself in several ways, and I have 7 points that the community can/should address in order to make this game more enjoyable for all. You may not like all of my ideas, and you may believe that they come from a particular political viewpoint/alliance, but the reality is that more people in CN agree with (at least some of) them than you think, including leadership of "powerful" alliances. They may not be willing to admit it for a variety of reasons, primarily political.

[b]I. Scrap the entire treaty system[/b]

In my mind, we should either be fully allied or not at all allied. If you stand by someone, it's unconditional. Otherwise, you don't sign a treaty with them. With all of these "optional" treaties it's just crap, because you don't know who you can or cannot trust among allies, and isn't that a problem? The expanding treaty web has led every war to become either a global war or a tiny war. That means that alliances who are stuck in the middle try and stop every situation from blowing up, and it's just bad. The less treaties you have, the less being stuck in the middle that you are, and the more likely people will be willing to go to war instead of just sitting out.

[b]II. A return to spying[/b]

It may be frowned upon, but let's face it, it was the onus for so much war and action in the old days. I don't know why spying became so frowned upon among everyone and why spying has stopped, but it's obviously hurt things. We had such a pretense against spying and it was !@#$%^&*. Let's recognize it as a fully legitimate tactic and let it cause things to blow up. If I was a leader of any alliance, I would be sending out spies to gather intel on my enemes. Why? Because it's the best way to learn. Espionage works to get info and, especially, to stir things up. In my mind, the reason for this is the loss of influence of the !@#$%* players, as that game has/had a long tradition of spying.

[b]III. Stop assessing reparations to losers of wars[/b]

People keep fighting forever because they fear these. Once they're assessed, people are stuck paying them off for months and months at a time. That takes them out of the politics and keeps their allies from wanting to act. It slows down the game to a stand-still.

In the real world, punitive reparations make more sense (I'd personally beg to differ, but I'm more Wilsonian in that regard and I can understand the merits). They're a deterrant, they're a way to keep a nation down. In this game, they do the same thing. Unfortunately, in a game where we want war and political movement for our fun, what's the point of them? More wars and more movement is fun. Even small-scale wars, ones that don't become gobal, are great. (Note: I'm a law student, we talked a lot about the purposes of punitive damages vs. compensatory damages in my 1L Torts class, and a lot of what we discussed rang true even in a game like this. That being said, I would still consider compensatory reparations to be extreme in a game where building and rebuilding happen very quickly)

With all this being said: I can absolutely understand how punitive reparations, or the threat of them, could be a good way to get an alliance who is losing to make a peace agreement. But even then, I'm not so sure.

[b]IV. Stop amassing huge warchests[/b]

Without punitive reparations, there's not as much need to fight a war for months and months at a time. What the hell will you do with a $5b warchest? Sure, you use it for rebuilding, but realistically, we all just use it as an excuse to be able to fight a 6-month long war. Guess what: That's not fun, either!

[b]V. Stop ordering your members into peace mode at the outset of a war[/b]

If you're in a war, don't be a wimp. Your members, top to bottom, want to do something. After a month of just being in PM the whole time, they're bored. If you're building, building, building, and then don't even get to fight, you are going to want to quit the game.

[b]VI. Increase artful and thought-out propaganda[/b]

Let's face it, we're running out of good stuff. We come up with the first thing and just latch onto it. We use things that have been used about people's non-CN life against them. We can do better. Instead of the usual "ZOMG X ALLIANCE SUCKS" we can actually come up with fun things. As much as many of us all hated the old NPO propaganda team (Z'ha'dum, Josef Thorne, etc.), they at least were having more intelligent propaganda wars than we have now. Better than the style of propaganda we've got going these days, where everything devolves into ad hominem attacks, stereotypes of alliances from years ago that aren't true anymore, or veiled OOC attacks on people. I don't know about you, but I miss the days when there were at least semi-intelligent propaganda wars on the OWF and on IRC.

[b]VII. Have fun and stop taking this game so seriously[/b]

This is a GAME. Let's enjoy it and allow others to enjoy it, too. You CAN have IC animosity with someone and have a cordial OOC relationship.

Edited by SeasonsOfLove
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[quote name='Chief Savage Man' timestamp='1326494719' post='2899068']
VIII. the game is six years old and hasn't changed fundamentally at all and there is nothing that can really be done about that at least by us
[/quote]

The mechanics of the game haven't changed, but the community and the politics have changed plenty. If we blame the mechanics of the game for the community's problems, that's just ridiculous.


[quote name='Sarmatian Empire' timestamp='1326494896' post='2899070']
and here we go again
[/quote]

I know, right? I feel like this is at least well thought-out.

Edited by SeasonsOfLove
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[quote]The mechanics of the game haven't changed, but the community and the politics have changed plenty. If we blame the mechanics of the game for the community's problems, that's just ridiculous.
[/quote]

The community has evolved to fit the mechanics. People amass huge warchests because they work. They sit in peace mode because they can. People have tons of treaties because the tried and true method of CN is bring more numbers at your opponent than they can bring against you.

Warchests could be discouraged by providing more things to buy, or penalizing people who sit on too much money rather than using it. Treaties wouldn't be seen as so necessary if a lone alliance had a chance. People might not sit in peace mode while on the losing side of war if there was more incentive for them to come out and help. People might spy more if the spying obtained more important/relevant information, rather than just maybe having a chance of hearing some rumors that you were going to hear anyway.

These are things that largely could be addressed with game mechanics that are designed with the intent of encouraging players to act the way you want. Yes, they are also things the community COULD do, but that will only happen if you get 100% support from the community. If everyone agrees "No more warchests" but one alliance says "No we're going to keep our warchests" ruins it. Or a few alliances agreeing and then not following through (because how do you make sure? Spy on everyone in the game?) results in those few having a huge advantage. Telling people to not go to peace mode so they can take more damage is similarly a self destructive act, of dubious benefit to the community.

Basically, you expect the community to come together as a single cohesive unit and act in a way that is not selfish. This is incredibly naive.

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[quote name='SeasonsOfLove' timestamp='1326494917' post='2899071']
The mechanics of the game haven't changed, but the community and the politics have changed plenty. If we blame the mechanics of the game for the community's problems, that's just ridiculous.
[/quote]

Considering the community's behavior developed as a direct response to mechanics, it is not ridiculous at all. In fact, it is the only rational reasoning you can come up with.

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Launch yourself into a dimension in which human behavior is paradigm-shifted, SoL, and perhaps you'll see these changes. Otherwise you're out of luck.

[quote name='Chief Savage Man' timestamp='1326494719' post='2899068']
VIII. the game is six years old and hasn't changed fundamentally at all and there is nothing that can really be done about that at least by us
[/quote]

Pretty much.

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Alliances and players that succeed in this game have evolved to maximize the mechanics of the game to their advantage. Having massive tech and cash stockpiles among your members, treatying the right people and positioning yourself well, and not allowing yourself to get caught up in stuff like spying has brought the top alliances in the game to the level they are at, and the inability or unwillingness of alliances not to do those things has kept them down. On the flip side, those alliances who are not successful use things like peace mode to mitigate the advantages those successful alliances have.

The only way to fix those 'problems' would be to change what is advantageous for alliances to do. When it is not advantageous to sit on huge warchests, connect yourselves well, and avoiding things like spying, is when you will see people stop abiding by those principles.

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[quote name='Sarmatian Empire' timestamp='1326494896' post='2899070']
and here we go again
[/quote]
[quote name='xoindotnler' timestamp='1326494992' post='2899072']
Stop trying to understand what I find fun about this game and tailor fit it for yourself.
[/quote]

What these guys said.

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[quote]IV. Stop amassing huge warchests

Without punitive reparations, there's not as much need to fight a war for months and months at a time. What the hell will you do with a $5b warchest? Sure, you use it for rebuilding, but realistically, we all just use it as an excuse to be able to fight a 6-month long war. Guess what: That's not fun, either![/quote]
OH the amusing irony, i love it

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If you look at any massive online game (I'll use TF2 and Guild Wars as two specific examples) then the community always comes up with some kind of winning strategy through trial and error. In TF2, soldiers were able to hose people down with a ton of rockets because they had a large surplus of ammo. So Valve reduced the extra ammo and forced soldiers to be more selective with who they shoot rockets at. In GW, you could use a shout called Vengeance or some crap that would give you extra health regeneration for each dead team member and pet. So a full team of guys with this shout would roll into a match all with pets and as the other team killed off your pets and team members, the remaining members became pretty much invincible. They changed it to last 10 seconds for each dead team member but only give a set amount of regeneration and killed off that particular approach. Now in CN, it has been years since any substantial change to the game (I think space wonders were the last, bfd) and there has been plenty of time to discover the optimal nation-building and war approach. Now the only variation is based on how diligent each alliance is on pursuing things like warchests and tech buying and what have you. Asking CN players not to use warchests is like asking the armed forces of the world not to use planes.

Edited by Chief Savage Man
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[quote]I. Scrap the entire treaty system

In my mind, we should either be fully allied or not at all allied. If you stand by someone, it's unconditional. Otherwise, you don't sign a treaty with them. With all of these "optional" treaties it's just crap, because you don't know who you can or cannot trust among allies, and isn't that a problem? The expanding treaty web has led every war to become either a global war or a tiny war. That means that alliances who are stuck in the middle try and stop every situation from blowing up, and it's just bad. The less treaties you have, the less being stuck in the middle that you are, and the more likely people will be willing to go to war instead of just sitting out.[/quote]

Treaties are the "friend confirmed" of CN politics. How could we confirm friendship without these :(

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[quote name='SeasonsOfLove' timestamp='1326493899' post='2899059']
OP
[/quote]
I. [b]Scrapping the treaty system[/b] cannot be done unless it is done in game where alliances can only attack/defend together if they have an in game coded treaty. The treaty system is fine the way it is.

II. [b]A return to spying[/b]... who says it ever stopped? Seriously, you're naive if you think it ever really stopped.

III. [b]Stop assessing reparations[/b] The last alliance to pay harsh reps was TOP. Changing this will not be a game changer or a fix. Most wars end in white peace or light reps.

IV. [b]Stop amassing huge war chests[/b]... this is ridiculous. NO.

V. [b]Stop ordering your members into peace mode at the outset of a war[/b]...peace mode should be eliminated from the game and any peace wanting nations can go to GPA, WTF, TDO, etc and have their peace mode simulation there. Peace mode is what prolongs wars more than anything. It's simple: GPA/Neutrals if you want to grow in peace or any other alliance if you want to war.

VI. [b]Increase artful and thought-out propaganda[/b]... I could careless about propaganda sigs, sigs don't win wars.

VII. [b]Have fun and stop taking this game so seriously[/b]... we are having fun, but it seems admin for some reason is reluctant to implement changes that would change the game like eliminating peace mode and tech dealing (force nations to buy their own tech to reduce war chests) and increase the nuke purchase requirement from 1000 infra to 5000 (or there abouts) to eat away at huge war chests.

Edited by Jaiar
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[quote name='New Frontier' timestamp='1326497086' post='2899088']
I genuinely lol'd at the first point. Because what CN desperately needs is LESS uncertainty, and LESS political backroom dealings.
[/quote]

Agreed. To that end more secret and more unpredictable treaties are in order.

The game mechanics mold expedient strategies. The community molds expedient alliances and treaties. An influential player with an idea to change the political status quo can alter the political structure.

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A lot of these issues could be addressed with some very simple gameplay changes that have already been suggested. Like uncapping the nuke limit to allow for real arms races, eliminating peace mode, and setting up a mechanism that reduces warchests by a fixed percentage regardless of absolute value. My suggestion on that last one would be to mark a nation's infra level once they enter war, and if they lose that amount of infra while continuously at war, they lose half their WC.

As far as the treaty web goes, unfortunately the community has developed almost no backlash against alliances amassing treaties, so there's little disincentive to getting as much defensive backing as possible. Sure, it means every significant war is going to go global and drag everyone in, but that's just been interpreted as an incentive to align with the more powerful side. The other rational option - go independent of the web and avoid all these ridiculous wars - requires some degree of ambition and courage, which is severely lacking here.

Edited by Prodigal Moon
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[quote name='Emperor Whimsical' timestamp='1326495658' post='2899076']
A lot of alliances are already streets ahead with the lack of keeping a warchest. They're [i]innovative[/i] at war.
[/quote]

Just what I was going to say.

I like this game, I like how things change, people change, thoughts and ideas change, it's what makes things interesting. Why go back to the ways of old, when can do new things which haven't been done yet?!

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