Recently there has been some discussion among players around the Community Support Team's use of rule 3.5.
After reviewing all the comments and concerns, it has become evident that there is a misunderstanding on two specific topics: 1) what constitutes "disruptive" player conduct in the game, and 2) how should the endgame be played.
Because of the confusion around these two topics, we would like to provide you with some information to help clarify the situation.
What is rule 3.5, and what is its purpose?
"3.5. The Rail Nation team reserves the right to protect the healthy and fair state of gameplay for its players at all times, especially in situations where the evaluation and investigation of the potential harmful situation or action strongly indicates that harm is being incurred against gameplay and/or one or more players in the game. In such situations, the Rail Nation team has the full right to take necessary actions even if the specific situation as such is not covered in the current game rules."
The purpose of this rule is to cover extremely rare instances where our current ruleset doesn't provide the coverage needed to handle the situation. This can be any number of scenarios, including, but not limited to, penalising a known threat to the game or taking action to protect an individual in immediate danger or harm. It is essentially a "safety net" rule to be implemented when all else fails, and it's deemed that action is required, either by the company or the Community Support Team.
It is imperative to note that this rule is currently rarely used, and when it is, it only occurs after an extensive investigation and discussion internally. Furthermore, it is never implemented unless there is evidence to support the relevant action. Without any evidence, it is never considered.
Who is responsible for this rule?
We realise that it is not very clear to the community that we have a team dedicated to ensuring all player reports are investigated and that the rules are enforced whenever needed. The Customer Support Team receives your report tickets regarding in-game player conduct, and it is their responsibility to act based on the evidence and investigations of every case.
We also have another team dedicated to handling multi-account violations only, the RET Team. This team is separate from the Community Management and Customer Support team, although they do support each other if there are any questions or uncertainty on community issues.
Both of these teams can enforce rule 3.5 if required but only when there is sufficient evidence to do so.
What is considered "disruptive" player conduct in the game, and when should rule 3.5 be applied?
As mentioned above, rule 3.5 is only used under extremely rare circumstances when our other rules do not already provide coverage and only if there's evidence that supports action.
That being said, if a situation occurs where there is evidence that indicates a player or group of players is exploiting the game to cause harm to a player, create unfair gameplay or damage the game world's gameplay, this rule could be enforced – but only if the reports can provide evidence or the investigation uncovers evidence of exploit abuse.
One thing must be made clear on this topic. The definition of "exploit abuse" includes, but is not limited to, intentionally impersonating another player, intentionally impersonating an association, as well as future yet to be determined exploits, etc. This DOES NOT include the various ways players can choose to play the game or favouring collaborative play, regardless of how much more challenging it might make your gameplay experience. To give this explanation context, see the information below on "How should the end game be played".
In the instances where exploits are abused, and there is evidence of this, we look internally into ways to limit the impact or remove it altogether while still retaining the flexibility and freedom to play the game in various playstyles, without forcing players to play in one specific way. As you can imagine, this takes time and needs testing. Please bear with us as we work on trying to find the right balance. We also ensure that all our potential fixes and changes are tested on the "Player Testing Realms" (PTR servers), so if you want to get involved and give your feedback, please consider joining the PTR servers here: Free browser-based online strategy game - Rail Nation
How should the end game be played?
The answer to this is quite simple. There is no one specific way the end game SHOULD be played. The endgame preferences on playstyle will vary depending on the server, the group of people you play with, your length of time playing and overall knowledge of the game. But ultimately, the core nature of Rail Nation is to allow players to play the endgame how they prefer and in a way that is enjoyable/understandable to them.
Some players have expressed frustration towards other players who choose to play independently of a city where the majority is collaborating; they explain that the practice makes it challenging and is detrimental to the majority of the players in the city. That is understandable, but it is indeed a legitimate mechanic of Rail Nation as an economy management game. Not all players will work with you; they might not fully understand the benefit of it. They might be working towards becoming the highest prestige earner, or they may simply prefer solo play.
Another aspect that contributes to this endgame conflict is the ever-increasing number of new, inexperienced players who have started playing Rail Nation since the COVID-19 restrictions have increased the time they have available to play. It is apparent that for many players, information on the many available playstyles, tactics, strategies and benefits isn't very clear to players. We are happy to announce we have plans to fix this, as it's essential to us that players have access to game and community knowledge to improve their game experience.
Educating Players: Launch of the Official Rail Nation Wiki
Over the next few weeks, we'll start a series of media sharing platforms to distribute Rail Nation game knowledge to the community as quickly and efficiently as possible. This will involve launching Rail Nation streams to share new and upcoming game details, tutorial-style videos on the Rail Nation YouTube channel as well as the launch of the official Rail Nation wiki for the community to utilise when clarifying something in-game. Details regarding the planned streams and YouTube content will be announced soon, but for now, we'd like to give you some more information about our plans for the Rail Nation wiki.
We are aware of some extremely knowledgeable and experienced community members who often take extra steps to support and mentor new players. We want to give these community members some extra support and access to the Rail Nation team, to work collaboratively towards documenting their knowledge and experiences in a wiki that will benefit the whole community.
The Rail Nation wiki will be publicly available for the entire community to contribute towards; however, we will appoint key community members to take the lead, sync with the Rail Nation team to clarify information and ultimately regulate the wiki's content alongside ourselves.
With that in mind, we would like to call for any community members with wiki (specifically fandom) experience, who would like to help us build and maintain a Rail Nation wiki for the community
If you are interested and want to get involved, please make yourselves known to the Community Management Team.
Once again, we would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support, patience and valued feedback. With your continued involvement, our goal is to nurture community-driven knowledge sharing as just one of the many planned improvements for the Rail Nation community experience.
The Rail Nation Community Team