Posts by Klabbauter

    As I think, most of the ingame fighting is based on some sort of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding the mixture of the game ideas.

    - First there is railroad romance ... people are attracted by the marketing actions showing great railroad pictures and promising great landscapes and maps. But as HMR says: The came is based on competition ... not on romance. However, I unserstand, that people coming for the railroad picturs might get upset by the competition.

    - Also, there are solo fighters. But RN is not a game, where you get a gun and have tu run and jump and shoot and collect points and kills ... however, to end up on position 1 you have to do a lot to minimize the chances of others to gain points. So, it's a combat game too (solo competition) though the actiond to be taken are not simple shooting, jumping and running, but they look more like business actions, investing, taking and using majority ... so in this part, it's a zero sum game: taking a majority means someone else loses majority ... being a winner (of majority) includes there is a loser.

    - Contrary to this, there is (announced) team action. You cannot win the endgame as a solo player, You need to motivate, lead and coordinate 100+ players to be in the team of end game winners.

    So even the end game needs a team and a few playsers with the charisma to motivate, with great ledership skills, with the ability to motivate big teams. Plus: solo fighters can use the end game to gain points by acting opposite to what those teams are trying to do.

    3 examples, there are more. RN is a complex game, using combat, competition, leadership, charisma, coordination, modivation, the stron will to be the winner ... so much is included.

    However, marketing actions always focus on one of those parts of RN. "Be a team" focusses on team spirit, but they will find competition on majorities. "Railroad romance and great landscapes" focusses on the nice, harmonic features, not on competition. And like the marketing people also players often focus on one part, forgetting about the other parts and shouting at those, who like one of the other parts.

    My idea is, that RN should be announced as a complex game, made for people who like the cnallenge to use a combination of their skills: combatting and fithing, compete AND enjoy nice machines and landscapes, do business calculations AND enjoy point and click the trainspotters, showing charisma and leadership AND the will to take advantage, even if that's disadvantage for other players.

    RN is a complex mixture of so many game ideas ... it needs players who love to deal with that variety of challenges.

    My idea is to tell them, starting on marketing actions, which will attract those customers, who enjoy this sort of game.

    There are a few other games that tried that and it's not inherently a bad ide (in fact it worked quite well), but it comes along with a surprisingly big amount of work to keep it running, mostly due the "Who watches the watchers?" problem. Similar to AI, this is a method that is viable for massively big communities that have a huge problem with disruptive behavior.
    But in general I am a big fan of using this method and creating systems that allow a community to govern themselves. I'll keep it in mind.

    So true! There are lots of games, that use observers. (as I suggested: be present). The main objective of the owner of the game to send out observers, is to make their employees know the secrets and strategies of the game and to gain some knowledge about the community they are developing for. But the side effect is: they are thre, sometimes, they are present ... and simply knowing they might be near keeps people from excalating fights and from trolling.

    But this is also very true: "who watches the watchers?" A watcher watcher should be a company worker, and there comes the problem: they have to watch their colleagues, who work in the next room, who they meet in the cantina ... I have seen watchers, who definitely say: "I cannot tell the player that my colleague did wrong. I must be loyal!"

    They often have this problem of a wrong understanding of loyalty. They feel they have to be loyal to the company, to the watchers they watch ... so in those game, players / customers never succeed with complaints.

    At the end, the watcher and the watcher of the watcher feel good, they were loyal to the company, to each other ... but they scared away a customer, which decreases income ... which is definitely not loyal to the company and their own jobs.

    I always hope that the bosses of the watchers who watch, have an idea of these human feelings ... of loyalty.

    Do you think there would be a reliable way to identify the trolls in Rail Nation?

    No. Just because it is to easy to point at someone and shout "Troll!". Finger pointing and shouting "Troll!" is ... trolling.

    A wise man told me: "You never know, who is in the audience." Even if you witness the action right from the start, you never know, who the real troll is. You do not know it. If you do not know the players exactly, you never know, who started the escalation.

    From counselling partnerships and families, I know: you will never find out, who is the troll, the one who started it all. But you can stop the excalating fight and go back to the times when they were not (yet) fighting. Quite often there is a chance to go back on their time line to a point, when they liked each other.

    Trolls want attention. Making a big fuzz about trolls and threatening them with punishments tends to increase the problem instead of reducing it. Trolls are a rather unique problem because, in a way, they want to be punished, since punishment is a form of attention. Even today the best weapon against trolls is still to ignore them. "Don't feed the troll" is probably the wisest of all internet wisdom and it's actually backed up scientifically.

    I would be interested to read about the scientific article that proves that.

    Because: there is no way to identify trolling 100%.

    Imagine: "HMR talks about biggest problems" ... I like that. But someone else might answer: "RN is fun, stop trolling by accusing them to cause biggest problems!" For me, the person who answerd started trolling, but they are 100% sure, they found a troll.

    it is true, in RL and in games many people attract attention by getting punished. Little kids to that too, but also adults, who learnt well in the sandbox.

    But I cannot agree to the general rule to ignore a troll. 80% of the trolls came up with a nice idea, which is fought by those who do not like the guy or the idea and attack them personally. The guy reacts, it escalates ...

    My (mabe better?) way to react on trolls is: do not feed the troll nor their attackers. Return to the first idea and comment that idea, not the person. Do NOT make comments to character or missing skills of the humans involved, strictly stick to the theme.

    This ignores both: the troll and the trolls trolling the troll.

    That's actually not correct. We just finished a round where 20-25 of us participated.

    Well, I wrote: " But today, everyone knows: you are there 0/0 on 0 servers."

    Even if the subclause is totally incorrect, the main clause (ev1 knows) can be correct.

    Now, if you talk about first round of Broadway, I think there were even more.

    But if you talk about a different round/server ... who did know?

    When I suggest to be present, I really talk about someone being visibly present from time to time, so players know, there might be a witness of the game owner who might report to support. My experience is, that just 1-3 showing up now and then will stop escalations of fights almost completely.

    This is a very nice thread, which should make everyone think ... and I am happy that HearMeRoar met Salix here.

    Let me make an example:

    Someone takes the majority somewhere.

    The problem is: that is totally with the game rules. Like in combat games you are allowed to shoot other players, the RN rules do not disallowed to take the majority of any of the goods or any of the factories on the map.

    So, if player A takes a majority

    - he achieves a better time for his trains, he can deliver more, that increases his income

    - he gets more points (PP)

    - it might give him an advantage to win a competition, imagine you can win the bonus machine and all competitors are in associaton X ... taking the majorty from X will make you the winner of the machine

    --> those are 3 examples, how A can have much more game fun, without breaking any game rule

    However, player B might have less fun from that action of A

    - taking the majority from X will make up to 25 members of X suffer from more waiting time

    - B gets less points

    - B and other members of X will lose the competition for the bonus machine

    - the lost majority might destroy any team strategy of the region team, the team in that city, befriended associations ...

    So, A did interfere with an action that is totally with the game rules.

    Problem is, if he did that on purpose to annoy many other players ... if he has fun in destroying other people's fun, that would be a punishable action ... but how can you tell? Only very few will brag about their action, they sit at home laughing loudly when reading the reactions of the others, and how they escalate to insults ...

    For Salix:

    There is some contradiction in the messages we get .... when RN tells the objectives of the game, they tell: be the best, take more PP thann others, be the winner ... we hear that for both: single players' objectives and association objectives. So, if we read that, RN sounds like a zero sum game. There can only be one winner.

    On the other hand starting screens, blogs etc. tell us: This is a team game, be a team leader.

    Marketing actions of RN praise the team spirit ... because there are associations, because the end game will always be team action ...

    ... but at the end ... well, I am talking of the German section now ... if a new round is announced, only the winners of the zero sum game are announced and celebrated, the team of the city that won the end game is not even mentioned.

    The winners are celebrated, but not the team efforts shown in that round.

    This contradiction, RN being a combat game that you can only win by making more points than all others, taking more majorities, winning more competitions, investing in more (German: Wartezeithalbierungen) in more cities, being on rank 1 on most goods to be delivered ... and on the other hand the game would not be playable without teams, forming associations, city teams, region teams, motivate to a cooperative strategy, acting together to win the end game ... this contradiction causes a lot of misunderstandings.

    A player motivated by winning (zero sum game) will be annoyed by team actions and agreements of teams (like about majorities) ... on the other hand team orientated players will be annoyed by the winners who have to "interfere" to get the points they need. These contraticting objectives of the game, which also are an essential part of the game, cause a lot of angry discussions, that often escalate to insults.

    In my experience on game worlds (my experience as dev and admin is 90% in virtual worlds, not browser games) there is one simple way to avoid escalation of diskusstions and insults: be there ... just the creator, owner, publisher of the game being present often stops insults, escalations, unfair interferences. If you are present, you can talk to those, who act to escalate the situation.

    Over the decates I experienced the power of moderators who do nothing but being there, making known they are there. And also, if players are arguing or even insulting each other ... even if I just appear, known as one of the devs/creators, they immediately stop the insults and try to talk to me, tell me now much they love the game, and tell be about bugs, directly, so I immediately know about the problems.

    Being there, being present, means to get some moderators, so it's a problem of "human resources". But also: in my experience the employees of the game owner should be there.

    Managers often thin, a programmer will be better, if he writes code 8 hours a day. Well, let him play the game 2 hours each day, he will write much better (and more) code in the remaining 6 hours, he will know about the humans that play his game, their problems, their wishes ... and being there, being present, he will get to know what causes the interferences ... and how they can be overcome by some coding.

    There will always be interferences, some caused by misunderstandings or by competing strategies ... but also many caused by people that only have fun, if they destroy the fun of others.

    However: you must be there to know, how it happened, to judge if the action is taken by a killjoy or a good player ... no ticket system, no support, will ever be possible ... the written complaints about rule breaking or interferences will never allow fair judgement. You must be there, there must be a reliable witness.

    Salix, you will tell me: no way! We cannot be there 24/7 on all server in all countries.

    Yes, that's true. But today, everyone knows: you are there 0/0 on 0 servers. And that makes it so easy to interfere and if there is a complaint to tell: "It's all with the game rules"

    No need to be there 24/7 on all servers ... but to show up a few times ... would stop 80+% of all interferences.

    May I add an example:

    Got the mail today to start a new round with the promise of a surprize bonus if I use the mail button. Well, I did, but as my default browser is FF same happened to me: it stopped on the language selection.

    However, this time I did not worry. I closed FF, started the lobby with Chrome and when I clicked to continue on that new server, I was already registered and Lucy came with the surprize starter pack.

    So it's true, if FF stops at the language selection, just close it, use a different browser or the app, and everything is fine again. Even those bonusses of mail promotions or Facebook.

    Never thought about that,but I like the idea.

    Why? .... There are pros and cons. Others will tell us, the cons are: possible misuse and envying ....
    However, what happens now is not really fun and not really team orientated. The forums of towns, regions and assos are - despite all forum rules, game rule and tos rules - full of announcing wrongdoers, denunciating those players who forgot to change schedules or took the majority at one of the stations. Game forums and chats are full of negative comments about actions of others.

    You rarely read something like: "Thank you ManacH for changing your schedules right on time." or "Well done, friends, we did the level up in just 1 hour." .... happens, sometimes, but most often you can read: "Klabbi does not know how to play, look at his trains" or "Klabbauter writes novels but not short and wise forum comments." or "That xyz asso is full of cheaters."

    Rewarding players performance is rarely done, writing nice words would be free, but it's hard work for so many.
    So, giving out rewards would be a way to show respect and appreciation. There should be a way to spread out little rewards to several members rather than to give one big one to one member.
    Some little rewards given out by the chair of the asso might help to reduce flaming and bashing in all forums and chats.

    Well, let's see, what I could find. At least, as I am not a serious person, I found 14.
    Hopefully the 12 that count, will be among my finds:

    OK, here we go.
    Group A "Familiar goods". They are goods that we know from the game and carry with our trains:

    1. Tools, iron goods
    3. Sausages / meat products
    5. Pots, household goods
    6. A ball (if we trust RN, they are made of aluminium)
    8. Lamps ... well at least bulbs
    9. Bath ducks, toys.
    11. Clothing.

    Group B "Freshly introduced". Those are goods I found in the German forum game. so they are introduced today ... yes, that's what I would call fresh.

    2. The chocolate chops cookie, my fav cookies.
    4. The glove ... well, he holds the other hand deep in his pocket, like he does already on the station seen on lobby background. I doubt that left hand is gloved too.
    7. The bodyless snowman's head with its big charcoal grin
    10. The sleigh There should be some kids around taking posession of it.
    12. The cup of cappuchino ... or is it a goblet full of mulled wine?

    Group C: The "not so serious" finds:
    13. He is holding a dead white mouse, and as I got a new mouse for my computer 2 days ago, mice count as freshly invented too... for me.
    14. Snow. Happened here yesterday, a bit of it at least, a fresh invention after summer, so it should also count.

    Server: German server Neuschwanstein

    - - - - -

    There is a rule in the German forum game, that members are allowed to take part in only one language of the same forum game. This made sense in the past, when the challenges were the same. This time, they overlap, but the challenges/games are different, the prizes are different and the time is different.
    So, please, Samisu, I took part in both games. I guess that's ok with different games running at overlapping times. If not ... I like the English game much more, it's more fun, more creative, more a challenge. So, if the bosses think that German rule also counts for different games running on the same day ... I would prefer to be in the English game, not in the German game.

    Hi Roarer,
    thanks a lot for your great work. Howver, today I suggest to go through all your international posts and change soms "N"s to "L"s. (in titles and texts) Only if you think, autumn and November ist rain time, you might leave it as it is.
    Cause the opposite thought months ago let me make this movie poster for one of Samisu's funny challenges:

    May I add another thought:
    I read about a new internet law, the Europeans are about to decide about (or have already done) to disallow geolocation for internet services and internet sales. With some restrictions, it will make sure that all services must be offered in the same way to anybody. So, if you offer a service to in Greece, it must be available in Russia, the UK and Germany too.
    It starts with - for example - me (a German) to buy gold for RN on "German servers", even when I am on vacation in Italy or the Carribbean. But it will also give comparable access to services to residents of different countries ... I think, it will change internet payment a lot.

    I will investigate to find more information about it, at the moment I am not even sure, if it is planned for this year or the next. But the idea is, that internet companies must make their services available, no matter where they just are in the world.

    Maybe, this (planned) law will cause rethinking ... so maybe, we will remember this thread in some weeks or months and discuss the idea on a new basis.

    My guess is, it's not possible because of the different taxes in contries, where they sell gold. If they sell gold to a German, for example, they have to pay the German "Umsatzsteuer" (sales taxes), which is different from the taxes in different countries.
    So if we could transfer freely, we would by in a country with lowest taxes and transfer it to the servers of countries with high taxes.

    I know from Second Life - for example - the company resides in Los Angeles. As a German I can buy virtual currency, sure, but I have to pay them 19% sales taxes, which they transfer to German financial authorities (same for the other European countries).
    So, as I paid the sales taxes (which makes it 19% more expensive for me than for Americans), ingame I can transfer my virtual currency to any other user worldwide, and also receive it from others.
    Interesting: as after the purchace any virtual currency has no value at all (accorting to laws), once I got it and paid the taxes valid in my country, I can transfer it to others.

    This last point might make transfer between RN servers of all countries possible ... if ... yeah, if RN would make agreements with all financial authorities in countries in which they sell gold. I can't imagine that they will take over that lot of bureaucracy ...

    Well, those are my thoughts. Curious, what RN will say. Maybe I am totally wrong ...

    Well, the start Question is answered in the FAQ, with one exception:
    If you start the new round with 21 members … well, you have to wait, till your income allows to pay a few millions to level up the Headquarters.

    Also, there are two ways (even more) for new Players:

    Start low, build up your association with Friends. TheEarl says it: you grow slowly, but the big advantage is, you Play with Friends, who built the asso up together, who cooperate, who grew as a community. There is a lot of respect and team spirit in groups who did it this way.

    The other way: quite often, members of big assos pre-register to enable big headquarters, but then leave the asso to join another one or a different region. Old asso members often switch, when cooperation goes down, when ideas and strategies go different ways, or when they just want to get to know different players. These associations look for new members just a few days in era 1, so new players should have a look on the assos around them, joining one of the big ones will also give give them good Mentoring. Watch the assos around you, many of them will show decreasing member numbers during 1st week of the round.

    I have to agree to many of your points, Erkie.

    Back on classics and US scenarios, the leading groups had/have a leader, who attracted a lot of players by good leadership, by motvational skills, by charisma. They ware/are able to LEAD, not to rule the others around. I like good leadership much more than dictatorship, so the old leaders get much more support by players acting to their suggestions and adding good ideas.

    Also, if we forget about the US president (who is an exception, but fits into the picture) presidents and kings or queens just are nice people, who smile and wave and represent their countries and their peoples. But they do not rule. The work is done by chancellors and cabinets, who make laws and do decisions.

    Players on SoE experience presidents that act like dictators. They give out rules (but break them themselves), they get involved in fights and are more than willing to fight back, they do not movivate by making good suggestions, but by ruling all others.
    i would say, the cabinets and town leaders should do the work, but I often see the presidents just rule them: "Set the bonus to A-town as 6 a.m."
    Well, to be sure, there ARE presidents acting different ... but I have rarely seen them.

    They get into trouble with players who "know better". They accept the fight and argue back, but not on strategy, they argue about persons.

    I like some of your suggestions.
    For example, to be president gives carreer points, but with 10 regions there are 10 presidents, 10 of 1000 get a carreer point, Only 0.1% ... not really fair, so I like the idea that presidentship can only last 1 era. Next era would start with a new election.

    My idea about the cabinet was, that those 10 members are elected by the 5 towns, each town sends 2 members, and the president has no vote on them. Like in real life, the elections are done by the people, not by the president. This way the president had to demonstrate cooperation skills, he has to work with those, who are sent by the players, not with those, he likes most.

    Well, many presidents are not presidents, but dictators. They take command, they rule, for complete 12 weeks, the quarter of a year. And next round the same 10 presidents rule again, taking the carreer points ... and at the end this leads to strategies that are always the same .... and boring (like leveling 1:1 for 8 weeks).

    There are good reasons to think about the president powers, would be great to read of others.
    That is, why I wrote a little one-sided ... would be good to read arguments against my experiences.


    Reminds me of Alan.
    Alan of the series "Two and a half men" ... when Alan answers to his son's question: "Dad, what is a quickie?"

    For those who after the bow experience think into a totally wrong direction:
    Alan's explanation: "Quickie!" is a warning call of the swineherds in the American Wild West. They used it, when they cleaned their stuff in the creek, before they went to the local market ... and their pigs ran towards the creek too.
    (Well, a true Alan)

    Well, Samisu, you are true, the mood of the picture is great, colors are well chosen, I also like it. It just needs a cowboy riding towards the sun ...

    However I also look at those inconsitencies. This is the cover picture for the US scenario, but it shows a passenger train, which is not, what we will find in the game.
    But my first look stopped at the animals. My thoughts were: Are they cows? How can they be that fat in a desert? And if you ever milked a cow, you know very well: cows don't have such fat back parts. I thought of a big big pig ham, when I looked at it.
    (Well, tell everyone, Klabbauter first looks at the back part of cows).

    See, if it wasn't a desert, but a grassy prairee, I would expect well fed cattle in the picture ... but the picture shows a desert.
    It's just a little bit incorrect ... but even a cover picture should be ok to watch it in all detail.

    It is like one of the cover pictures of SoE. They said, this shows the future of Rail Nation, called Steam over Europe ... but it showed two machines just coming of tunnels (the Alpes) and having to stop immediaty in front of the bumpers in south Italy.
    See, the inconsistency between "Future of RN" and the picture showing the end of the track ... it made me think a lot.

    Creative artists talk, they use their artwork to talk to us. Those two pictures are talking to me too ... but in a funny way.
    So, the RN artists are talking to me too, by way of their artwork. But what they tell me is funny, but not really an invitation to the game.

    Just some thoughts about "Bad Art".

    Honestly, I never thought of this point.

    Fighting 6 weeks, or even 12 on the normal servers and watching the winning region players getting half of what you have fought for ... that makes you think.

    Well, it is not that bad, because region on 2nd place gets 80k, 3rd place 70 k and so on ... just the losers get nothing.

    However, it's more or less a lottery. Because you cannot change your home region. Picking a region at start determines, if you get 100 k or nothing. And you cannot "fight" for more, for example by building tracks from the region that you picked or had to pick (because the others were full already) into a region that looks better.

    So even if you lay your tracks from the losers region to the winners region, and support the metro there as much as you can, which is a lot of playing and fighting, will just get you 10k (winning metro), while the players around you get 110k ... just for the 1 of 10 luck in picking the winning region ... or for clever pre-registration.

    I think, those are points to think about ...