daedroth wrote:Competition is good for the game as long as it does not become toxic.
When it becomes toxic, we both lose.
The wheel of time turns… and yet the dejavu of a toxic atmosphere leading to good quality players quitting/leaving continues. We’ve heard before of staff abuse, excessive PKing harassment, verbal abuse etc… and having seen some of the other recent posts on this forum, it’s apparently even descended to the ridiculousness of trying to purposely abuse/taunt people into reacting in such a way that results in getting banned. And so more veteran players get sick such toxicity and leave. Cos who really wants to play a game that is really less about playing the game and more about being played by the other players?
For all RoK’s issues, it was still a game the generated a great amount of goodwill and positive nostalgia. So many newbies end up here saying something like “wow I had a great time on RoK and was sad it was shut down so I’m really happy I stumbled upon EO”. And yet for all EO’s coding improvements we still keep losing once-invested players and can’t grow the playerbase beyond max 30ish online (despite over 450 forum accounts showing interest at some stage).
Having gone through so many iterations of this cycle, the cause should be increasingly obvious by now (almost such that its getting really ridiculous to deny or distract from): The current guild system is broken and this brokenness incentivises (and ultimately leads to) bad player outcomes/experiences.
New players come into the game full of motivation and wonder. They are encouraged to join one of 2 super-guilds (and generally speaking they do). The existence of these super-guilds leads people to factionalism, whereby they can do everything they want within their faction and are generally encouraged to be jerks to the other faction. So newbies are hunted by the rival faction and are taught by their own faction to hate the other faction. The newbies eventually become 25ers and see new players joining the rival faction and don’t even care to get to know them beyond anything as PK targets. But then they find there are also ppl in their own faction they may not like and have to live with. All this gets complicated when some friends they have made may end up in disagreements resulting in some friends switching factions…. and they now have to deal with the nauseating drama of being caught in the middle when 2 parties of their friends are being jerks to each other. Then inevitably one party of friends get sick of it all this drama/hypocrisy/hatred and leave the game. And the newbie realises he’s now a jaded veteran playing a game which generates so much hate and feels more like ‘psychological warfare’ rather than fun/enjoyment.
Basically where the 2 super-guild system falls over is that factionalism does incentivise people to be jerks to whoever is not in their faction. If there are say 20 online players, under the current system the most incentivised way to organise is approximately 10vs10 (although each side will continue to strive for numerical supremacy so it may not be exactly 50/50 split)…. But what this means is that each half of the playerbase has enough numbers to be self-sufficient within their faction (eg run OADs/keys, get items etc) and therefore also have the luxury of being jerks to the other half of the playerbase (who they see as rivals). The only incentive to being nice to ppl (purely from a game standpoint) is to recruit them to your faction so you can beat the other faction numerically.
But say there were caps and/or incentives such that the 20 online players actually represented 5 guilds of 4ppl each. What happens under this scenario? MORE DIPLOMACY! (which is actually good for curtailing toxicity and dis-incentivizing jerk-like behaviour). Suddenly Guild A is no longer self-sufficient and doesn’t have the luxury of being jerks to everyone not in their guild. They need Guild B in order to get numbers to do stuff and therefore will be nice to them and build an alliance with them. Guild B may not even have enough ppl online at any one time and so they may need also to make some friends in Guild C or with some of the guildless etc etc. Sure they may still have a rivalry with Guild D and Guild E. But players who quit Guild A (for whatever reason) and hate Guild D will still have Guild’s B & C to join which may have ppl in them that they can stomach playing with (rather than seeing too many jerks on both sides of the super-guild equation and leaving EO altogether).
Sure we can blame the individual jerks (as many often do). But lets face it: there’s jerks everywhere and on both sides. The game is full of adults who want to win so badly that they act like children to do so. And the problem is that the current system that encourages them to continue being bigger thuggish jerks rather than provide natural repercussions for not acting like civil/diplomatic adults.
Some veterans (eg Terron/Rodeo) have even previously suggested abolishing guilds altogether or establishing set guilds based on divinity…. These ideas are radical (and I would rather see many smaller guilds than guilds abolished altogether), but even these radical ideas would be better than the status quo because they would better accomplish the aims of incentivising more diplomacy/niceness/civility and basically achieving an overall nicer atmosphere for long-term gaming.
Why hasn’t it been fixed yet? Well previous discussions on this (see here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2056 ) show that NH seems aware of the issue but a certain portion of the playerbase actively rejects change likely because it means blowing up the established vehicles of power in the game, which people have understandably worked hard to build. But imho it really is getting to the stage where resisting needed change in order to hold onto established power is decimating the devoted playerbase of the game. I hope that the staff members (especially those with vested interests in leading powerful/established guilds) will consider these arguments on their merits and support change. These staff members deserve our thanks for working hard to build the game as is, but their desire to uphold the current guild system could indeed be breaking more than their appreciated hard work in development is building.
The guild system needs to change to one that ultimately promotes rivalry via more diplomacy rather than outright rivalry between 2 “us vs them” mega factions.
The awaited update will hopefully help. Things like world-chat are an obvious step in the right direction. But things like new OADs and Guild Housing may not be depending on how they are implemented (eg is the cost of guild housing a barrier to entry for new guilds? Are the new OADs promoting more factional self-sufficiency or diplomacy?). Hopefully the game will survive these new things and the issue will be fixed before all the RoK goodwill erodes. But unless the guild system is somehow fixed to promote more diplomacy and less factionalism, then I think most other fixes/improvements will be as ineffective in fixing the leakage of good veteran players as putting lipstick on a pig. That’s my 2 cents. Peace all
PS – I hope this post does not offend or discourage anyone (especially NH or staff) as this is not my intention. I merely hope to promote open discussion on key issues affecting players and player enjoyment, with the hope that the game (and its old and new players) will ultimately benefit from it.