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Do long term empires destroy the game?


Reachwind
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I was reading a blog posted by Raph Koster (game designer from UO, SWG, Meta Place) where he was talking about a recent upset in the game EvE. http://www.raphkoster.com/2009/02/11/the-e...pset/#more-2517

The tl:dr of the blog is that giant alliances who have effectively won the game by controlling the game's economy and political landscape create boredom and apathy in the game world and cause the slow demise of the game world simply by their existance and that it is in the game designer's best interest to create systems in the game for single players to topple these large alliances for the good of the game world. I thought that this was an interesting debate that had a lot of parallels to this game.

Do you feel that cyber nations as a game and alliances in particular need a better system for unraveling themselves? Is there enough that one nation can do alone in this game world? Is this game world doomed to become stagnate once one alliance finally complete kills the last actual competition, or has that already happened?

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I don't think that has yet fully happened and doubt it will. IMO this game is self-normalizing because the majority of players actually do prefer some degree of war, so the longer we go without war the more people get bored and the more the general population's desire increases. Granted there are many who genuinely do not want war and see more than a sliver of fun or skill in pure economics, but those are ultimately a minority. On the other hand overly reckless and impatient players do get forced out very early on, but unless we by chance reach a point where the great majority of the population fall into the hippy category, there will always be war and always fun.

Edited by Chairman Cao
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Interesting article.

Scale-free networks are notoriously hard to kill. In fact, mathematically, if you start randomly removing connections in the network, you have to remove a ridiculous percentage of the total to make it cease to exist as an entity. This is how guild social structures can survive for years.

But there is a way. The characteristics of a scale-free network are that there are hubs. And the hubs are the vulnerable spots in the network. Take out hubs, and you can make the network fragment to disconnected bits, because the hubs hold subgroups together.

This part caught my attention, but I doubt that in CN the hubs are very vulnerable since there is so much dead weight in alliance membership and the major alliances are governed by a handful of superactive and hub/alliance- hoping players.

edit: to answer the OP's question, in my opinion no, and the editorial really can be used to argue both ways.

Edited by General Specific
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Interesting article.

This part caught my attention, but I doubt that in CN the hubs are very vulnerable since there is so much dead weight in alliance membership and the major alliances are governed by a handful of superactive and hub/alliance- hoping players.

Guess you have to take out the leadership of each alliance. :rolleyes:

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So the real adjustment needs to happen in game mechanics, not the political landscape. Part of what he's saying is that a game will naturally evolve to the point where large alliances will dominate economically.

The solution in terms of CN, would be to make it easier for alliances to rebuild. It takes far too long to build the infra/tech up for a young alliance (or a group of alliances that has lost a war) to compete with a more established alliance.

Lowering the cost of infra/tech for nations under 5 or 6k infra, would give them more opportunity to be able to fight. Just a thought.

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I don't think that has yet fully happened and doubt it will. IMO this game is self-normalizing because the majority of players actually do prefer some degree of war, so the longer we go without war the more people get bored and the more the general population's desire increases. Granted there are many who genuinely do not want war and see more than a sliver of fun or skill in pure economics, but those are ultimately a minority. On the other hand overly reckless and impatient players do get forced out very early on, but unless we by chance reach a point where the great majority of the population fall into the hippy category, there will always be war and always fun.

Well, the masses can clamor for war all they want, but if the leaders see no benefit in it, they won't do it. Now, you might say, hey, don't the masses keep the leaders in power? Clearly, fulfilling their wishes will be beneficial to the leaders and trigger war! But, there's two things wrong with that train of thought: first, generally a member fed up with peace will probably just rogue and/or quit the game entirely, which doesn't really do much to tip the scale of power unless he's a relatively high level official. Second, war at this point is just prohibitively destructive. The nations at the top levels of the currently dominant alliances generally have not faced a truly destructive war in a year or two, and it shows from the size they've reached. A war where the outcome is at all in doubt would probably leave nations on both sides pretty well trashed in a very short space of time thanks to the tech damage bonus and WRCs, while one where the outcome is known will probably end up with the loser's nations ground into a state that would take a very long time to rebuild or possibly removed from the game altogether in a manner similar to FAN and Vox, where they may still be "fighting on" in their own way, but effectively have no means to conventionally project power. Nobody wants to lose their nations that they've spent years on, not necessarily out of a love of pixels, but for fear of being marginalized for an unknown but probably long time (six months or more).

tl;dr imo people are too scared to migrate to alliances willing to act recklessly and in doing so erode the advantage of the boring alliances, and the tech damage bonus means we have a MAD situation if we ever have a conflict of interest between sides of any size to give us something better than a gangbang

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So the real adjustment needs to happen in game mechanics, not the political landscape. Part of what he's saying is that a game will naturally evolve to the point where large alliances will dominate economically.

The solution in terms of CN, would be to make it easier for alliances to rebuild. It takes far too long to build the infra/tech up for a young alliance (or a group of alliances that has lost a war) to compete with a more established alliance.

Lowering the cost of infra/tech for nations under 5 or 6k infra, would give them more opportunity to be able to fight. Just a thought.

I have to agree with most of that. But I would argue that it's pretty easy to get to 4999 infra under the current system. A well designed aid chain can get you from 0-4999 in 2-3 months. At 4999 infra you are netting quite a nice amount of cash. MPs make it easier for younger nations to have an impact as well. Look at how fast NpO recovered as another example.

CN reset wouldn't change much either politically. Friendships don't die with a reset.

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So the real adjustment needs to happen in game mechanics, not the political landscape. Part of what he's saying is that a game will naturally evolve to the point where large alliances will dominate economically.

The solution in terms of CN, would be to make it easier for alliances to rebuild. It takes far too long to build the infra/tech up for a young alliance (or a group of alliances that has lost a war) to compete with a more established alliance.

Lowering the cost of infra/tech for nations under 5 or 6k infra, would give them more opportunity to be able to fight. Just a thought.

if that happened, we will only see longer surrender terms and more reparations demanded to compensate for the easier growth.

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Heh, for many NPO has already ruined the game. But on the opposite side of the fence you could say it gives us all someone to hate which makes things a bit more fun.

So I suppose it really depends on your way of thinking and your experiences. I won't get into mine because it will derail the topic completely. -.-

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So the real adjustment needs to happen in game mechanics, not the political landscape. Part of what he's saying is that a game will naturally evolve to the point where large alliances will dominate economically.

The solution in terms of CN, would be to make it easier for alliances to rebuild. It takes far too long to build the infra/tech up for a young alliance (or a group of alliances that has lost a war) to compete with a more established alliance.

Lowering the cost of infra/tech for nations under 5 or 6k infra, would give them more opportunity to be able to fight. Just a thought.

Unfortunately the game is designed to ensure that people who've been here longer have a natural advantage.

The game used to be balanced out by the possibility of new alliances or invasion alliances making their way to the top. But that's impossible now that there is an established superstructure and communities whose nations are years ahead and who have a massive organisational head start. In a way this is why even a reset won't help.

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It takes far too long to build the infra/tech up for a young alliance (or a group of alliances that has lost a war) to compete with a more established alliance.

On top of that, the most effective way to grow to selling tech, which helps those you are trying to catch up to, and making it that much harder to reach.

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Then it needs to be more difficult to enforce surrender terms and wars.

There needs to be a penalty to be able to "hold people down."

Currently there is almost no cost behind keeping someone or even alliances at ZI because 3M sent from a large nation will allow a smaller nation a huge advantage in conflicts against the ZI target.

The problem is that in CN all suggestions that attempt to do that actually have made it easier to do that, than the opposite.

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What it needs is for wars to be much much more destructive (to the agressor).

I disagree. War is already plenty damaging and the concept in itself is illogical. What should happen is instead of infrastructure always being completely destroyed some should be damaged and then should be able to be repaired much more easily.

Edited by Blacky
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Slayer is right. It takes too long for defeated groups to rebuild and as such a winning side or alliance could easily dominate many people over a long period of time.

A lot of that is still player-imposed. Surrender terms have gotten more and more draconian as the game has progressed.

I disagree. War is already plenty damaging and the concept in itself is illogical. What should happen is instead of infrastructure always being completely destroyed some should be to damaged and then be able to repair it much more easily.

Correction: war is damaging in the lower and middle ranks.

Edited by Doitzel
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CN reset wouldn't change much either politically. Friendships don't die with a reset.

I'd wager that there is a large chunk of the CN populace that are not in their current alliance due to friendship. They have instead chosen their alliance due to the security that the alliance provides ... a reset would indeed change that.

To answer the OP: Long term empires do not destroy the game, the cowardice of most alliances is far more damaging.

Edited by Van Hoo III
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What it needs is for wars to be much much more destructive (to the agressor).

Maybe not more destructive, but more expensive. CN war is already plenty destructive; you have to do what Alden Peterson suggests and make it costlier to keep people down. How to do that though is the question. I've seen suggestions along the lines of increasing deployments costs, but I'm not sure what else could be done.

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CN needs a more realistic war system. In real life if you piss enough people off it's going to hurt. They may not beat you but they'll make you hurt. In CN even if a significant portion of the world stands up against the dominant hegemony they can stomp them and barely miss a beat.

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I'd wager that there is a large chunk of the CN populace that are not in their current alliance due to friendship. They have instead chosen their alliance due to the security that the alliance provides ... a reset would indeed change that.

I'd wager to guess that a good chunk of the alliances currently a part of the power superstructure would also have changing views should the game reset. With NS on an equal footing and it being much easier to rebuild (as it would be small nations we're dealing with, and seeing as how war stunts the growth in early stages - making it much less desirable), I'm certain many alliances would be much bolder. Let us be realistic though. A reset will not be happening anytime soon.

There is a lot of money tied up in this game. People pay for donations. I'd wager that at least a couple of thousand has been made in donations. People are going to want those benefits rolled over to their new nations. Then there is the time consumed by those who haven't made nations. There will be massive resistance.

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Maybe not more destructive, but more expensive. CN war is already plenty destructive; you have to do what Alden Peterson suggests and make it costlier to keep people down. How to do that though is the question. I've seen suggestions along the lines of increasing deployments costs, but I'm not sure what else could be done.

One simple change that is realistic: Make from nukes proportional to the infrastructure and tech of the target.

Imagine a nuclear bomb going off in a Sudanese village.

Imagine the same nuclear bomb going off in New York, Tokyo or Berlin.

Would the loss be equal in both?

If you have more you should lose more. This is how it works in real life and it's how it should work in CN. This is why groups can threaten major powers with home made rockets, because if you have large advanced cities all it takes is a couple of homemade rockets to cause a huge mess. If you are hiding in caves or slums a few rockets won't cause much damage.

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