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A Spectre is Haunting Orbis


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Your post made me realize that what you said is absolutely right. As EA head of the alliance I am in, I will completely change my approach towards new players thanks to this post. I hope more people see this, because it is the true.

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6 hours ago, Raphael said:

but I think what's getting lost is the human cost. The players who leave the game rather than grind raiding.

Yeah you've gone too far now... You're starting to sound like me! Unfortunately, I've not had good ideas on how to help with this aside from the RPC change and getting Alex to actually delete the dead weight. What I have thought we need for a long time are viable econ paths (milcom is a path, and FA path is alliance dependent) and interesting low-level activities. I don't know a good way to get macro-friendly econ paths at c3.

Hey Krampus, the signature edit is under account settings. Actually, here's the link.


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15 hours ago, Adam II said:

imo a full revamp of the design team or Alex passing on the game to someone who cares might make it have some interesting updates.

If you look through suggestions there are loads of brilliant fun ideas that dont get added because they're too 'big and insignificant' which is code for we're too lazy.

Your hypothesis is very correct, as can be seen by the number of people that join the game vs the number that stay. The game has such good advertising yet so bad gameplay that;

 6,730 nations have been active in the last week
 1,460 new nations have been created this week

Meaning, more than a fifth of nations active within the last week were created this week. If even 20% of that stayed, we'd have a growing playerbase, but we simply dont.

TL;DR: Design team need to focus less on advertising, and more on creating fun gameplay for new players

The design team has never focused on advertising. We do not code anything and half the suggestions thrown at us are underdeveloped and do not explore how it would be implemented. The bigger the suggestion, the more scenarios and issues we inevitably run in to (looking at you perks).

The first half of this year (when we had someone coding) was mostly dedicated to fixing the game which had multiple issues. One being a war system that was bugging out consistently and the other being a massive influx of resources into the game effectively making them worthless. Both these issues took a considerable amount of time to code and fix. We burnt through two design leads and one coder doing it.

The game will likely get (and this may be optimistic) one large update a year. That's just the reality of the situation the coding aspect of this is. The design team has a few ideas sitting there but unsurprisingly people are not going to spend hours on trying to problem solve for mechanics that never will see the light of day. We are therefore narrowing our scope to more manageable and likely to be implemented projects. I will be posting a new roadmap next month but I thought it best to temper your expectations now.

If the game wants to be more fun in the short to medium term, it really is going to come down to political players to make things exciting and engaging. 

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[11:52 PM] Prefontaine: But Keegoz is actually bad. [11:52 PM] Prefontaine: He's my favorite bad leader though.

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I doubt having new players raid is the problem here. Granted, maybe in the event of an alliance with very long raid tracks (Rose's is fairly long, while ASM's when I started that could be done in a couple weeks by a diligent new player), it might be a bit of a drag.


Overall, however, in my experience, most new players vastly prefer the early raiding grind over what comes after. Considering we all know and have years of experience of what comes after, I'm sure we can all agree that's not an outlandish point of view for them to hold. 


The game as it functions is, frankly, mind numbingly formulaic and linear. This goes for raiding too, of course, but it's worth noting that that process is pretty much as good as it gets for game experience. Economically, growth starts feeling substantial around the early 20s in city count, which many large alliances raiding tracks bring you to. Project, unlike a certain newer game in beta right now, are overwhelmingly mediocre in effects compared to their costs. Nevermind the majority of newer ones are basically just meant to be resource sinks with mind bogglingly underwhelming bonuses to try and justify them as anything else.


Then, of course, politically the game has been rather stagnant for years. Which, to folks who were here pre NPOLT as I was, sounds positively bewildering. For myself - and many others - at a cursory glance our current political world is... Exactly what we asked for! Yet here, many of us are, seeing a hollow granting of that wish. 


The most interesting thing to happen in the last... 3-4 years or so, is the current war on HS. The previous time before that where a war occurred that had anything other than the most standard, boilerplate unprovable but known to be true CB of "ur plotting" (who isn't? Be for real right now) was HS hitting CTO, and before that...

Goodness me... Was it 10 day war? I think it might've been! That's wild! Primary cause of that was unresolved political drama between Myself and Sphinx causing constant escalating tensions for months. 


Good Lord, did we not even get past 3 before we're so far back in time was still notable Gov and saying whatever crap in public and causing trouble? 


No wonder new players aren't sticking around! The economics are a boring, dreadful, intentionally designed anchor weight on you! The war is either raiding inactives or getting curb stomped and cycled/curb stomping and racing for slots to slowly chew up someone's infra while cycling! Then the politics are... Well they'd find spending an evening reading the wiki about old wars more interesting!


I'd quit too if I weren't being made an ass of by the Sunk Cost Fallacy!

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Alright, IA-man reporting, I guess I'm gonna use these forums for something and reply to these one at a time for the 3 people that are gonna read it. (Except for Roberts because he never replies to the replies I make on his posts)

On 11/19/2023 at 8:22 PM, Raphael said:

If you joined this game after 2020, you probably don't know any better when I say this: Almost no non-raiding alliance forced, or even recommended, their lower tiers to raid when starting out their nations. Lower tier raiding became a meta once people saw what it could be. 

That isn't true. You being in Rose should know better than anyone that Rose and other majors began the raiding meta eons ago, tracing back to 2017 and 2018. That is the meta everyone followed for the last 5-6 years and one that got pushed because it was inexpensive and required less effort, not because it was profitable. The post 2020 meta didn't become overpowered when people noticed what it could be, it got abused because the admin allowed a bad line of code. C3 raiding was never meant to be that profitable and nobody suddenly discovered a new tech.

On 11/19/2023 at 8:22 PM, Raphael said:

It can be amazingly profitable and efficient -- and if you ask any alliance in the top 50 today you'll learn that most don't accept new players unless they agree to grind raiding for at least the first two or three months.


I know this is starting to sound counter-intuitive because every Econ and IA head in the game is about to tell me that raiding is the best way to grow new nations and it also limits the amount of money lost to inactive new players if you're not giving them grants or loans in the first place...


I know this is probably one of my more controversial essays, I recognize raiding as being highly efficient on paper

Again, all of these statements aren't entirely true. People repeat this narrative and take it for granted because it was popular for the last 2-3 years, but it isn't true anymore. It is currently a sub-par way of growing your low tier because post C20 timer removal, you get higher ROI simply bulk-growing your C3s traditionally through grants. Raiding has been relegated to being a test of commitment more than anything, just as it was before the 2020 bug was introduced.

The alliances that still utilize the post-2020 raiding meta do so because they run low taxes, and neither can afford the necessary investment nor will see the return on their investment because they can't appropriately tax the members they fund. ie. they're slow to adapt and need to git gud.

To those that don't pay attention, alliances like The Coal Mines and Camelot have adapted to the new system and have built massive c16/c20 walls using high taxes and EA micromanagement in their low tiers.

On 11/19/2023 at 8:22 PM, Raphael said:

The attrition of new players has always been high. However, almost universally across the game 2023 was one of the worst years for new players in recent memory. I've seen call after call for the developers to do something, to create new content so that might help retain interest in the game.

That also isn't true. If anything, retention rates have gone up since the C20 timers have been removed and that isn't the main issue we're currently having. The issue we are having is a lack of new players registering to play the game as those numbers have been going down steadily since the beginning of the year. In September, they hit record lows.

Not only that, but less and less players are willing to use discord as a platform of communication as time goes on. The reason for this is that the majority of users that register for discord tend to be adults between the ages of 24 and 34, and the majority of new nations created are of individuals between 14-18. Thus, micros that recruit non-discord users see higher recruitment rates than almost all majors with the exception of Rose and SIN.

The way to raise retention for new players isn't a secret, it's something we've known how to fix for ages, but the issue we're having is that we're more concerned with tweaking the war mechanics and thus IA/Econ discussions rarely see the light of day. Nowadays I leave my suggestions with Alex and the people on the design team directly, because convincing the active player-base on this issue isn't gonna happen since the bulk of the communication in RON is comprised of high tier raiders that are out of touch.

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This thing has always been a thing since games like this existed - even back in the CN days of my online nation sim career, its always a cycle of the same, you can follow the patterns quite easily. The major difference with the current state of the game and games like this is there are going to be those old-school players (and some newer ones that have an old-school mind) that like the grind (if you want to call this game a grind..) and like to really go deep into politics, communication, relationships, and toe the line of RP within each of those pillars. Our society, globally, has been pushed into bite size, fast, need it now, get it now, immediately rewarded entertainment - Politics & War isn't that.

Raiding satisfies that need of get it now, reward me now, mindset - up until it doesn't. Then we'll want more wars, more conflicts, less blocks, less pacts, until we don't - because this is all just a cycle, its a pattern. The same people, same groups, same alliances that fight for something NOW will become what they fought and the process repeats and then someone new will write what the OP wrote and I have no damn life so I'll probably be here writing this same response.

I've been around for quite a while, I've been in alliances since the beginning, I've created my own, I've been on the Mod team, I've been close to Alex, I've done pretty much everything here and in my history, solid in-game personalities and content is what drives people to be active. When you can develop player created content that is interactive, includes everyone, and doesn't care about sides, who to please, or anything like that, that is when you have user engagement. The issue with this is when it comes to the game - people will still play the game BUT the RP, the news, the content, and that interactive fun (now, new, bite size, fun) becomes the primary reason to be here, the game becomes secondary. 

This game has always had a very hard time meshing that player created content and game playing stuff - depending on whether someone leaves, doesn't maintain the content, or you get all these "news" servers buying up other ones and making a multi-conglomerate...all bullshit to be honest. The community here used to be diverse with multiple talk shows, news, and takes on things but it slowly evolved into a big chunk of shit. It won't be a big chunk if you start to break it apart - but to break it apart requires effort and effort isn't really included in need it now, reward me now, mentality. 

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