Posts by CubesAndFish

    5. A tweak to the trading element. If I am picking up grain for cattle then that grain should cost me something just as IRL. This also affects supply. If I go to pick up cattle but they haven't been properly supplied with grain then they would cost me a lot more and if they cost me more than what the city pays then I have to move grain to cattle to lower the price. I realize the current system does this but with wait times. Let me try to explain the difference: under the current system if I am hauling cattle and I am away from the game and cattle is not being supplied it just takes my trains longer to make the trip. With my suggestion if I am away from the game and cattle are not being supplied then it will end up costing me more per cow which will affect my total revenue, if I don't have enough money to purchase the cows then I cannot make any revenue, if the receiving city/facility is paying less for the cow then I am paying then I am losing revenue. Therefore it is in my best interest to make sure that the facilities are properly supplied.

    Ummmm, in this part the game works as "IRL" already, and you just have a wrong conception about it. Also, no "you don't see the trade behind the scenes" magic is needed to explain the economic actions there. The point is, that you don't run an trade enterprise, which buys and resells stuff, but a transport enterprise, which means that you get paid for the service of transporting goods. And you get paid less for this service of transporting a specific good, the more other transport enterprises offer to haul the same good. The loss in money you can make there is, when you create less income with offering this service, than your costs for buying and repairing trains, buying waggons, buying tracks etc. are.

    Hmmmm, tricky.

    I understand why city players think that they should have better means to defend the city they've been working on all round. Because - and not even @DramaMagneTSorry denies that - it's easy to mess up their style of play, while they have hardly anything to defend themselves or to mess with other playstyles in return. (That he likes it this way is a different story ;) .)

    However, I also wouldn't want to see huge sanction tools in the hands of many city leaders. Because even if they only intended to use them on purposefully harmful saboteurs (and who says that they do?), who are saboteurs without the city ever having done harm to them, way too many city players and even leaders know way too little about the game to make a qualified decision about that. Just a random example from the last round on US 102 Grand Central (US scenario):

    • the city that ended up second had city leaders that were in many endgames before and even won some
    • still, when they saw messed up facilities, and players from the winning city in their ranks, they immideatly complained about being sabotaged by the winning city and only losing because of that

    What they failed to see/ check was:

    • that the facilities were messed up mostly by their own players, and by the typical players from the neighbouring ghosttowns, who just like to throw all their trains on 1 or 2 goods and then log off
    • that a lot of the hauling from the players they accused of sabotage was from the warehouse and not the facilities, and even those hauling from the facilities had moved along a while ago already
    • that very most of those they accused of sabotaging for the winning city, weren't actually playing for this city, but just were prestige farmers, who had set that city as hometown for prestige and carreer point reasons

    So when even experienced city leaders fail to see the difference between prestige farmers and saboteurs, and between having a city as hometown for the EG and actually playing for it, why would you want powerful means against other players in the hands of city leaders? The risk of them abusing those means seems to be way too high for me.

    More Offline talk.

    I believe there is more to offline calls than Borg states. I believe offline calls are more than just a way to keep inactive players out of the way. I think Neilus's response is a more accurate summary than borgs on the whole offline for inactives, and I am trying to knit that into my understanding now.

    I'm not even sure whether or not @Neilus isn't basically saying the same as me, just in a more polite way. What does "most offline players have way too few waggons, so let them run stupid faraway goods with no/little supply and not too expensive waggons, so they can afford some more waggons ... for the next stupid faraway goods", if not to keep them out of the way, so that they don't haul a bit of everything for hours and hours with the waggons they've got. Of course it can happen that they finish those goods, while the active players are working on the other goods of the set, and without needing an additional cooldown hour for those other goods, and in this case it's fine, because they don't have to waste time for dealing with the offline goods. It can also happen, that another good for an additional cooldown hour would've been a good thing, and/or that the online haulers are stuck with the offline good at the end of the set, which forces them to grind it from facilities with high wait time, except they're lucky with the warehouse. So assuming people were suddenly turning into robots (with offline times - and often poorly prepared, because they were humans before) for the endgame, for the callers it came down to make the correct qualified guess which of those cases is more likely to happen in their city. And the more active hauling power a city has, the more likely it becomes that the latter scenario will be the case. It also means that having offline calls at the start of a set have a way higher likeliness to be actually useful - beyond psychology - than making new offline calls in the middle of a set.

    I think you only need to classes to classify offline players.
    1. The actual offline players (your 1 + 2), who can't be around to haul the online calls and/or aren't prepared enough to haul the online calls. -> I'm mostly talking about them, when saying that offline calls are mostly a nice way to get them out of the way or at least try to.
    2. Active and prepared players, who need to go offline for some hours for sleep and real life (your 3 + 4). They are the ones, where IMO there's more point in discussing on how they could help the city in that few hours. But I'm not sure how one could make offline calls that suit them better than the offline calls for class 1, beyond @Tigerhawks making a 'real' offline call which is de facto for them, and an easy offline call which de facto for class 1. Also you need to keep in mind, that those players are more likely to have better options which they can haul in the ghosttowns, so some of them might not even care much about offline calls.

    I've seen so much frustration or outright anger from callers expecting perfection and getting human begins :) I think that's why most people hate calling. They don't see it as a beautiful puzzle that needs to be figured out.

    Yes. People in combination with having to make quick decision - and mostly having to make those because of people - is the worst :P .

    I didn't mean to use the ID vouchers for instant dispatching at the offline facility, but for avoiding the 10 min wait time in which you can't use your trains after getting them out of the museum. It's likely not worth it to spend 25 of them to instant activate the hydras for offline hauling, but possibly it's worth it to use 5 of them to switch back to Olys for online hauling. This way you would only lose 10 min for switching trains instead of 20.

    But yes, it's more a thought experiment about optimizing offline hauling than really thinking that this would work for typical offline haulers, while those who could pull this usually don't do much offline hauling anyway.

    Personally I don't have much experience with Hydras (you would probably have to ask @Rockhopper88 for that) and even less with them in endgames, but what I can say from my little experience is:
    * in the one SoE game where I tested them during the regular game, because we needed every little advantage we could get to make it into the endgame, they easily beat Olys and Wormies (especially the latter) when it came to fresh era 6 goods offline grind. Even more when hauling fully integrated, because the wait times at the rather fresh supply facilities were high as well. Hence my thought, that they could work well for offline goods, because that are similar scenarios.
    * they can be nice for offline farming in a few selected megacities from the warehouse. You don't move them from one megacity to another, but just get some hydras in every megacity before the endgame started and then let them permanently haul the goods of their current sets from the warehouse. (Of course this might make people mad at you.) However, I don't think that they get so much more tonnage done than Wormies this way, that's it's worth it to switch trains for that. If you're the top hauler of the 9th, 10th, or 11th best corp on this good doesn't really make much prestige difference and you're probably better off with upgrading the concourse than with buying hydras and waggons, except you've got them anyway, because you've also used them in the regular game.
    * for active prestige farming or active city hauling they aren't really suited, I agree with you on that.

    Bonus question: if the museum is available (it's currently tested for the US scenario on the PTR server, so it might happen on the live servers at some point) and there are no passengers to haul as offline good, should players who insist on hauling the offline good get 25 hydras out of the museum when doing that for longer? (Assuming that they could afford those extra trains and can afford the extra waggons.)


    According to the Dutch train comparison tool*, at 100% they break even with Olympuses (divided by 5) on 6 tracks direct hauling at 59 sec wait time when both trains are fully upgraded, and the wait time on offline goods is usually way higher than that. On the other hand there is the lower reliability and 20 min time loss for switching trains back and forth if you don't want to use ID vouchers for that.

    * Rail Nation vergelijker

    Offline goods, or zombie survival skills, is my current greatest endgame enigma, so I will just state the problem, I had typed up a strategy for San Diego to try but we didn't make it. The problem is that Zombies haul a significant amount, but run into the consumption wall and then their hauling mostly treads water, essentially throwing their carloads away. and if you groom and close an RG after the zombies do most of their work, you have completely thrown their trains away. There needs to be some way to manage zombies actively, despite zombies being... well... not active.

    Tbh, the more endgames I play, the more I think that very most offline calls from good callers (not me, but I get to see at least one excellent caller in action almost every round ;) ) only serve the purpose to minimize the damage inactive players do, by giving them a task for the city, where they can feel useful and appreciated. Because else they would try to "help" by hauling everything from wherever they feel like, or even do that out of spite, and by that mess up everything for the active players. So from good callers, offline calls are IMO more a psychological trick to comfort rather inactive players, than the caller actually thinking, that them grinding the offline goods helps the city more than having more choices with a low wait time they can call for the active players.

    Also the observations I made in different kind of megacities fit with that logic. Megacities with a low hauling power, that only got into the endgame, because at least 40 other cities had even less, won't have the numbers to beat consumption by a high enough margin to make it worth it, when they also have high wait times at the facilities. Cities with a lot of active hauling power don't have that many offline players to make offline goods actually worth it, but they could use more options with possibly low wait times, because with their players playing many hours in a row and staying up late, the risk of some of them making concentration mistakes (ooooops) and messing up the next planned call increases. So having an offline good does more damage than good to them most of the time. The only megacities where in theory offline goods actually make sense - beyond the psychology behind them - are cities with a lot of rather passive hauling power, but little active hauling power only. But in practice they most likely have poorly organised calling, and way too many rather inactive players didn't get their trains out of town in time, and/or are hauling whatever they feel like anyway.

    However, I think there are a few occasions where having offline goods can be a good thing:

    • Passengers in Classic and SoE. Pretty obvious, because they won't be an online call before all cargo goods are finished anyway, because not only the wait times will likely never be low enough, but also because you would lose 10 min for getting the passenger trains out of the museum, and then another 10 min for getting the cargo trains back to work. Because of that passengers are only a useful offline good for players who'll be offline for several hours in a row however.
    • If facilities for possible offline goods (I agree with @sacroima and @Neilus about the criteria for them) are messed up anyway, you've got only little hope that this will become better over the next hours, and you've got enough possible offline haulers to beat the consumption by some percent nonetheless.
    • If you've got several facilities for a possible offline good, but they all are 6 - 8 tracks away from the city and you really manage that the offline players only use one of them, so the active players can finish off the good from a low wait time facility during a mid hour call.
    • If you've got a good to 80% or so with online calling, but a lot of players are leaving for sleep or work - in this case them at least beating the consumption and hopefully adding some percent could be a good thing, but I'm not even sure about that.
    • Similar scenarion: if the endgame is going to end in some hours and you've got no hope that the facilities of the offline good will be of any use for the online calling.

    It's rare that the callers dare to say that players should just park their trains or even better haul in ghosttowns far away enough from any megacity to make prestige and some money for waggons when they are going offline, rather than making offline calls. Strictly by logic* I think it would be the better choice from a city point of view however in most cases. And getting my trains to ghosttowns is also what I usually do, when I go offline for some hours and the endgame isn't to end soonish.

    Funny side note: The guy who managed the winning city on our server the last 2 rounds, tried that no offline goods strategy some rounds ago. To much upset from the second corp in town, with the result that he agreed to offline calls from the warehouse only. (I assume some of his love for really huge warehouses stems from that :P .) Still the second corp in his city was so upset, that for most of the endgame they didn't show up at all, instead of just being semi-active at their usual level.

    * I'm aware of the irony when that comes from a guy who spends a lot of time playing a buggy browser game, and then even writes lengthy forum comments about it.

    I hate those fallacies so much, and I hate even more that you can't get it into the minds of most city grinders, that they are fallacies. Thank to trains coupling through now, it has at least become a smaller problem in endgames, because less people are like: "my baby trains can't haul the current call, so I let them supply that messed up era 1/ 2 facility instead, so they've got something to do." Yeah, but even in the case that we don't need the supply facilities anymore (already finished, or not in the current set and the winning city will end the game before we get a new one), they help those that left their train on the supplied facility to haul more out of it and by that increase its occupancy and wait time even more after recalc.

    That's bad enough already, but it's way worse during the regular game, when "experienced" city grinders try to force everyone in the city to haul fully integrated all the time, except maybe for the hard level pushes - no matter how many extra tracks the trains need to drive for that, no matter of the wait times on the supply facilities ("You neither have maj or friendly on parts of your supply chain, because another city corp need them? How dare you not to haul fully integrated nonetheless!!!"), no matter of unbalanced supply, no matter that the difference between 90% supplied and 100% supplied is pretty insignificant. I get that hauling RGs fully integrated (ideally with licenses) is the way for rather inactive players to combine making decent money, decent prestige, and helping the city - but that city leaders want to force their active players to do that all the time and rather lose them than letting them get away with direct hauling or 1-stop-integration round after round is really mindblowing.

    But those are 2 distinct topics.

    The original topic was about the balancing in the competition between the megacities in the endgame. The criticism there is that the cities which level up highly and therefore start from the top ranks, have a disadvantage against the low level megacities, because the lower basic amount to haul of each good (+ the lower consumption) is more useful than the 30 min headstart per rank and level. And even while I agree with this critic, I think one has to say that this only matters for about equally strong teams. If one city has way more active players, who follow the calls and switch their trains every hour, than the others cities, this city is going to win, no matter if they start at 1st, 10th, or somewhere in between. It's just that really active teams know that mechanic and are organized enough to make the best use of it, so their victories from the 10th rank (or even lower in SoE) just make it seem that rolling up the field from behind is the only chance of winning the city race. Just like the other way around with the opposite complaint, that no other city than the 3 top starters can win, on the servers where there is no active team that goes for a low level strategy. The main reason why this molochs win isn't their top pre-endgame ranking either, but that they got in that position simply because of superior hauling power, which also grants them the endgame victory.

    Your new topic is the prestige balancing between city haulers and prestige farmers, and here I don't agree with the critic at all. If someone is skilled and active enough to connect to a lot of ghosttowns and all megacities, and can coordinate farming them for prestige the best (that's not me at all, but I've made my peace with that), why shouldn't this player be rewarded with the most prestige? Plus I don't get the fuss city haulers make about the "unfair" prestige balancing, or even worse about others "stealing" their prestige (as if it belonged to anyone). They've decided for themselves to play - at least that round - with the goal to be a part of the winning city, so why do they even bother with things like making the most prestige? And what stops them to play for having the most prestige in the next round, or to set themselves goals that have neither to do with being the best city or having the most prestige (e.g. region/ faction victories, breaking a record, unlock certain carreer achievements...)?

    Why not simply go back to a 1 h head start per rank and level instead of the 30 min now, as it used to be? If the top city start at level 46 and the 10th city starts at level 36, that would put 19 h between their starts. Which is still not impossible to catch up - even back then many cities prefered starting between rank 8 - 10 over starting first, so I still don't understand why this has been changed at all -, but it doesn't make getting into the EG with a low level so much preferable as it is now.

    Of course people will argue now that things shouldn't be changed, because they love their low level strategy, and it is a nice strategy indeed. But while it is fun in the EG, it makes the city part of the game during the regular game even duller than it is anyway, when latest from era 5 on all relevant cities go into level avoiding mode.