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A plea to various alliance leaders


Starcraftmazter
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Hello there

The number of players in the game is steadily declining as it has for some time - I don't think this is anything new. I do however think that we should have ongoing efforts to try and figure out why this trend is occurring, as well as attempt to fix it. In the past, I like perhaps many thought that the loss of nations could be attributed to the Hegemony and their evil ways of forcing people out of the game and destroying communities. Indeed a lot of people did leave because of that - however that era is well over, and anyone can now play the game regardless of previous transgressions. So the question then is, why isn't the number of nations steadily increasing?

With the return of several old alliances and communities, and with the recruitment efforts they are clearly undertaking, one would think that many of those players who quit and new ones altogether would join up and bring the numbers back up to around what they were at the peak. Instead what I see is more and more nations getting bored with the game and quitting. A lot of people I know are displeased with the Admin for not keeping the game "fresh" and continuously adding new features and altering game mechanics to keep it interesting and exciting. This sounds like a plausible theory, but at this point I'd like to bring light to the fact that we should not be considering the super active players who hold government positions, who post on the CN forums, who idle on IRC 24x7 and so forth. We should be considering more "casual" CN players, of which the majority of the game consists. I somehow doubt that most of them care about the fact that CN does not change, probably because the only players whom I have heard complaining about this, are in fact seasoned players.

The next question to ask is what has changed in the game to make it less fun for such casual gamers. I have another theory which I'd like to bring to light. This theory is not complex and is perhaps not even new, but I have not seen much or any discussion of what I am going to say, hence I decided to post about it here. The recent TPF War fiasco was pretty disappointing, in fact pretty much everyone I know was very upset that there would be no great big war. I think that's pretty typical of us. More important however, was the reaction of a certain former player whom used to be in my alliance.

(16:40:14) ******: oh, they aren't declaring on anyone until wars actually start? :D

(16:46:52) Starcraftmazter: no

(16:46:56) Starcraftmazter: the entire war has ended

(16:47:03) ******: so I see

(16:47:12) ******: and now I am over 9000 thankful that I quit after karma war

(16:47:15) ******: enjoy ur !@#$ game

From seeing that, the reaction of other players within my alliance, and the reasons for why the TPF conflict did not escalate, it became pretty obvious to me what the reason for all the boredom is. And it is not as simple as "we want more war" - no, I'm a lot more concerned about the underlying issues at work here.

In my opinion, the Karma War was a turning point in the game, not because a long standing power structure was destroyed - but because the role of politics and PR was far greater than ever before. It was quite necessary many would argue in order to win the war, and I am certainly not unthankful for it. However now we see a new trend. We see the life sucked out of the game - nearly every aspect of it which is fun, is now being sacrificed to make way for more emphasis to be placed on the politics and diplomacy side of the game. PR is now more useful than a thousand nuclear nations. Because of the cluster!@#$ that is the treaty web, it is now more important than ever to gain the "moral high ground" in any conflict, if you are to draw the fence-sitters connected to both sides to fight for you.

A lot of leaders are craving more power, and are willing to do whatever it takes to win wars. I don't mean this in a bad way, not like them using dirty tactics, but what I do mean to say is that these days the key alliances use everything at their disposal - their allies, treaties, friendships and all those casual players as pawns, in a grand diplomatic game to try and obtain an outright advantage over the enemy. The very people that make up Cybernations, which do most of the fighting are sidelined - their opinions and needs are ignored.

What we have is a grand game of chess - on a scale much grander than we have ever seen prior to the Karma War, enjoyed by the elite few, but completely unsatisfying to the masses which are now bored with the game that does not deliver as much fun and excitement as it used to. It fails to do this, because the leaders of many key alliances care far more about winning wars than fighting wars. They care more about having power than having fun. Many would reply to say that they play to win, and any notion involving a question to just how far they should go to secure victory is ludicrous - however I propose the notion that to win you must first play, and if trends continue, eventually there will be no more Cybernations. Granted - that outcome is somewhat extreme and won't happen in the near future, however I do believe there exists a trend which will cause it to happen, and I certainly foresee many other problems coming from the majority of CN being bored.

In my opinion, this originates from the deep desire by many to eliminate the cancer that was the Hegemony and to survive with them dictating the CN way of life, and this is understandable. But there is no longer a need for all this, let us now shed the mindset that our very existence depends on victory, and acquire a new sense of freedom. Let us now pose the question: Why is victory more important than fun? After 4 years of CN, most of us have been through a lot. I would doubt that there exist many veterans who did not both lose and win major wars. Yet you are all still here today, just where you want to be. I ask what you have the lose by losing another major war. Does the prospect of victory at all costs really outweigh the boredom your nations will face until you finally decide that you have a good chance to win a particular conflict? Are you quite content to see your nations, your allied nations quit and go rogue while you dance on the PR floor? In any game, it is necessary to take risks and commit to actions which have unknown consequences. Such risks in themselves are fun and exciting.

Personally, I've fought in every major war starting with GW2, and I believe it is far more fun to fight a war when you are outnumbered - and I know for a fact many agree, so again I have to wonder why everyone cares so much about winning, that they would actually willingly avoid a conflict if they aren't 110% sure they would win. I think conflicts where victory is not assured - especially for either side, are the best. Unfortunately I had the displeasure of having to fight the NoCB war with the Coalition, and after doing so I really wondered why the hell anyone would want such odds on their side. It is almost as bad as not fighting at all, because each individual nation cannot feel as though their particular war effort even makes any difference. Although one nation never does in any case, it is when a single nation's targets are so poorly beat down so quickly - that the war loses all purpose. When you have a distinct advantage over your enemies, the entire war and the victory you achieve has no meaning for your side. The only good war, is a war that lasts for months because there is no clear victor. I hope that the next war resembles this as much as possible.

So my point is this: I don't meant to ask everyone to throw themselves at any possible war that comes along, but when there exists a good opportunity for a real conflict - and I don't mean some pathetic one on one or a beat-down, I mean a real global conflict involving everyone and lasting weeks if not months, when two sides have been forming and building up for days, when they both have contrasting views on a volatile issue and they believe themselves to be right, especially when it might actually be somewhat even, then the leaders should take the opportunity and provide some fun and relief to everyone, instead of trying to peace out on the first, second and third day as hard as they can for meaningless diplomatic reasons. Very very few will play a game where all you do for 6, 9 and God forbid 12 months on end is save money, and fight for a few days or a week in between. Why? because there is no point.

Overtime, there has been a lot of change in the ways alliance leaders perceive the Cyberverse and conduct their alliance affairs. Let us not stagnate progress now, but rather adept to the new times we live in.

Thanks for reading.

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Of course... It could also be the fact that we have not had gameplay-altering updates since.. well, back in 2006. Paying bills, buying infra, collecting, and buying tech only lasts for so long.

But, I must say you have one really nicely written OP SCM, and I cant help but agree. :nuke:

EDIT : oh Snapple! Firstie!

Edited by energizer
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It's human nature to want to win, and people tend to support (and in democracies, elect) leaders who deliver them victories.

Also, the politics of the game has never changed, if anything the number of decision makers has vastly increased, and nation rulers have more individual freedom to do and say what they like.

The vast treaty web that currently exists was formed either to support the edifice of the Hegemony or in order to survive it, and remains largely a relic of a previous era. Many alliances have chosen to move away from the treaty web, but overnight changes are a long ways off.

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Let's be clear about what we're discussing here.

1. CN as a mechanical game is, for better or worse, straight foward and very simple. Make money, buy things, use them to blow up someone else's things. Rinse, wash, repeat.

2. CN as a political game on the forums is actually interesting when things happen on the forums because these occurances are accessible. Someone can stop by, read up, get an idea of what the deal is and then jump in with a thought. Unfortunately, people are so gun shy about the forums now because of the merciless heckling which goes on. People want to look good and get their egos stroked and that simply won't happen here. Those who want an intelligent discussion also won't generally find it here so you're left with the mindless drones who come to attempt to score a point or three and run off at the first sign of real opposition.

3. CN as a political game on IRC is horrible. You have maybe a hundred people who are actually involved and then the milling masses around them who flock to the drama when it occurs. It's inaccessible, boring and generally involves being told half-truths or just being told you're not going to get the story at all. The common player isn't allowed access to the fun maneuvering because of the entrenched older class. In effect, if you can't find a way in you either have to invent your own fun or simply idle away. Often inventing your own fun leads to being ejected so that's pretty much out.

What's the solution?

A. Ignore the current structure - I've advocated this before. Go out, do whatever you want to and have fun on your own terms. Want to get nukes? Get them. Want to attack some dude? Attack away. Ignore the hemming and the hawwing and go make your own good time. This, for the record, is my preferred option.

B. Deal with it - Suck it up, stop whining and accept it for what it is.

C. Bring the game back to the forums - Use IRC as an internal alliance comms network and put the actual good stuff on the OWF for once. End the backroom garbage and put it out where people can enjoy it. Lord, the only time people really seem to get interested is when people log dump or generally reveal on a big secret. Take advantage of this.

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Seriously, you lead an alliance. Don't !@#$%* and moan, just do something.

I thought about satisfying such replies in the OP, but I really did not think anyone would be so silly. What I said clearly implies a change in the way leaders think as a whole. It would take more than one leader - even if they lead the most powerful alliance, to change things.

Nice OP SCM.....course I tried to spice things up a bit last night and I get 30 pages of moralist dribble :rolleyes:

That's a lot of fun for you, but not really fun to anyone else :P

The only universal fun, is a universal war ;)

Edited by Starcraftmazter
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I think there are several reasons why the game is shrinking.

Tournament Edition. Let's face it, SE can be pretty boring. It's a lot of talking and not a lot of doing. I think a lot of people sign up thinking that they are going to be playing some kind of large-scale, online version of "Risk." Instead what they find is an online version of the Model UN. What action there was has been co-opted by the existence of the much faster-paced TE.

Large Nations. The more time passes, the more large nations there are. The "old school" nations who have been around for a long time. Like all established power structures, they are inherently conservative. The powers that be never want to rock the boat. And who can blame them? When you have spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, and sometimes even RL money in building something, then the sense of emotional ownership is bound to be strong. You don't want to throw away everything you have worked for.

Not only that, but at some point a nation becomes so big that it is effectively isolated by it's very size. Who can Moto-Maniac go to war with, for example? Not too many people. And while most of us are nowhere near his level, the problem remains, on a lesser scale, for any large nation.

Admin Apathy. There are any number of suggestions that could spice up the game and make it more interesting. But, as we have all seen, Admin is glacially slow to adopt changes. Hell, even something as simple as enabling nations to upload their own flags would probably be an incentive (if *removed* can do it there is no good reason why CN cannot). How about increasing the aid limit, maybe in relation to a nation's size? Or maybe introducing some kind of alliance banking? Or any number of the many other good ideas people have brought up?

The whole game is stagnating. My alliance is feeling it, I assume others are too. It's getting harder and harder to find new members, and with more alliances than ever it's like having more and more seagulls fighting over fewer and fewer chicken legs.

Edited by Vivi
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I thought about satisfying such replies in the OP, but I really did not think anyone would be so silly. What I said clearly implies a change in the way leaders think as a whole. It would take more than one leader - even if they lead the most powerful alliance, to change things.

So, be the change. Or are you afraid for your pixels if you went against the grain?

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C. Bring the game back to the forums - Use IRC as an internal alliance comms network and put the actual good stuff on the OWF for once. End the backroom garbage and put it out where people can enjoy it. Lord, the only time people really seem to get interested is when people log dump or generally reveal on a big secret. Take advantage of this.

It was once very much, like this.

It was fun. But you cant really undo what has been entrenched by now. So its a pipe dream. Shame really, I wager this to be the way to go,..or go back in this case.

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i don't see everything you seem to see SCM. for one, i remember back in 2006/2007 when the game was around 30k players sure, but to state that it still seems to be steadily declining is false. iirc, somewhere around 2008 the number of players was around 20k. which means that we have gained around 5k players.

as for the last war, i agree it was pretty pathetic. but PR has always been in play and to state it is in play more than ever before is not true. the UjW was another war where PR was the name of the game. the SPW/NoCB/WoTC was yet another war where PR was played greatly. even going back to the GPW/GWI, PR was in play a lot both before, during, and most importantly after the war. The Initiative would never have formed if not for PR or diplomacy.

so to state that the Karma war is the reason for all of this is false. PR and diplomacy has existed since the first alliance and has been in play in every major war with only slightly varying levels. to state that no other war was ever fought where a coalition was formed on one side to fight another is well.......seriously???? you have not been here for four years if you have not seen alliances used as pawns to take out other alliances until just now. frankly, the Initiative did that quite often. every war you see alliances use another alliance in an attempt to take out an enemy. hence all the treaties.

speaking of the treaty web, it is actually getting smaller now. it has been getting somewhat smaller since the Karma war, what with most of the losing side having lost treaties with certain alliances (like NPO who lost all their treaties). since the TPF war, i have seen more cancellations than any other treaty announcements. while the Blue Balls war was disappointing in its lack of actual fighting the outcome has been to start clearly delineating two clear sides with less and less alliances being muddied in the middle.

so essentially, well written op but i disagree with the majority, if not all of it.

i do agree with Tokugawa that we need to bring the politics back to the OWF more than it currently is, but that is a trend that started with WUT and was made more so under the Heg era.

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I think there are several reasons why the game is shrinking.

Tournament Edition. I think a lot of people sign up thinking that they are going to be playing some kind of large-scale, online version of "Risk." Instead what they find is an online version of the Model UN.

Too true.

Edited by DavidRossJones
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i don't see everything you seem to see SCM. for one, i remember back in 2006/2007 when the game was around 30k players sure, but to state that it still seems to be steadily declining is false. iirc, somewhere around 2008 the number of players was around 20k. which means that we have gained around 5k players.

I forget when it occurred, but at one point, there were 40,000 active nations (pretty sure it was before 2008).

And I'm pretty sure that the number of nations never sank to 20,000 in 2008. The number has been steadily declining, though the current rate seems to have leveled out.

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Very very few will play a game where all you do for 6, 9 and God forbid 12 months on end is save money, and fight for a few days or a week in between. Why? because there is no point.

Exactly. That's why I tech raided. Because the game is boring.

But neither will people play if what they spent 6, 9, or god forbid 12 months to build, is destroyed in a few days or a week of war, especially if that war is pointless.

If there were any compassion or sympathy for that which people spent a good amount of time invested in, then you wouldn't see senseless or meaningless destruction by idiots and my idols.

I do admit that there are a number of people on planet bob who play for war, but there's a much greater amount who play for politcs and/or community. Everyone likes war, but perpetual war? I don't think so.

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I forget when it occurred, but at one point, there were 40,000 active nations (pretty sure it was before 2008).

And I'm pretty sure that the number of nations never sank to 20,000 in 2008. The number has been steadily declining, though the current rate seems to have leveled out.

i know 2006/2007 saw the peak of nations in CN so it could be 40k. though i could have sworn hearing it was around 20k in 2008.

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I would think that someone leading an alliance would understand that the game always has and always will be played by and for the benefit of an elite cadre of players in the backrooms.

While I agree with your general sentiment I wouldn't go so far as to call the entirety of the cadres "elite" unless you meant the word strictly in the privileged sense.

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