I'm going to open a sensible topic that has already been discussed several times, but I'm also going to add a few so strap in, it's going to be a long ride. For this I'm going to split my subject into several topics, but they all address the same thing, and that is: exploiting unfair advantage over players that experience the game linearly.
1. ALTERNATE ACCOUNTS
This is something that I have experienced firsthand last round, on COM2, when I've noticed almost an entire association (20+ members) that had the same pattern when it comes to laying tracks, upgrading the station, their hauling discipline and even engine maintenance. Of course this was an easy case to deal with since all the signals were there, but even so I had to create two support tickets and send an e-mail to travian central until all those players became black dots (presumably got banned). But there are far worse cases that are incredibily difficult to spot for the average player; of course this can be easily highlighted through the back-end using the game database tables, such as IP table, login timestamp, online time, number of competitions (alternate accounts don't run many, if any at all), private messages, number of actions, etc.
To give you an example, along with the motivation behind, let's say I'm running for 1st spot and I see my main competitor has been generating prestige points from Millton, Romsey, Courtville cities. Of course I can connect to those cities and bring the battle to his doorstep but then I will be generating less prestige from the cities I've been mainly doing before. So I create an alternate account, or more, and let them run only the RGs. No freehauler can surmount such focus, therefore 1st spot is lost. How is Rail Nation dealing with such behavior? Myself being a very active chairman try to recruit people all the time and out of 100 PMs sent I can safely say that only about 25-30% returned my messages. Of course there are other factors that can affect this statistic but still, it's a worrying percentage.
(Edited by CM: Please contact game support if you suspect someone is breaking the rules)
2. EXPLOITING WORKERS
Again this is something that I have experienced firsthand this round, on COM2, when one of the first competitor, in his hunt for the prestige worker (Washington, Lincoln or Roosevelt), is constantly switching between two associations (his main one and a temporary one). How is this possible you might ask? Well there's an exploit here when you're being dismissed from the corporation you can immediately join another, circumventing the 24hrs time interval otherwise needed to join another corporation when you are deciding to leave the corporation. Thus they can increase their chances of the aforementioned worker that can provide them quite a boost, and most importantly, an unfair advantage over the competition.
The solution to this is easy to implement but it doesn't eliminate the behaviour. If I were to be so devious I would still practice it, even with the 24 hrs time interval since it still provides me with extra chance at getting the worker than I would have by simply staying in one association. To fix this Rail Nation must expressly condemn, and sanction it, through the game rules.
3. HOT SEAT ACCOUNT
The term comes from my childhood time when I used to play a lot of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 with my highschool friends. Anyway it refers to two (or more) people playing on the same account and allowing it to have an unreasonable amount of online time that would be naturally impossible to have for the regular player. And to my biggest surprise, this is even something being condoned (accepted) by the Rail Nation game rules. What this means is that I am running for 1st spot and the competition is fierce, therefore I ask a friend who knows how to play the game to login and keep generating prestige when it's my time to sleep, providing me with a huge advantage over someone who stays online and plays for 14 even 16 hrs per day, pushing their mental and physical limit altogether.
How is this an accepted behavior? I understand it's a game but fairness should be adamant when a system ranking is present. I'm not even addressing the unfair advantage of players who can spend huge amounts of money, that's not the point. All my points adress the very baseline of the game which favours the cunning over the honest. For a game with so many intricacies the game rules should really be more detailed and should cover more points and cases than the ones that they currently cover, while also changing some existing ones. I am curious about what other players feel about this and, if possible, from the moderators themselves.
I have only one simple thing to ask you, please try to keep the discussion over those main 3 issues, give or take, and don't turn this thread into a "free to play vs pay to win thread" because that's really not the point I was trying to make.