Posts by Salix

    My name is a variation of my last name in Latin...sort of.
    This is actually a new nickname for me that I am using since I am working in the gaming industry, since my previous nickname was absolutely impossible to pronounce for everyone who isn't German, so I wanted to make sure it's something that everyone can pronounce, which is why I chose a latin word.

    Also Salix is genus of trees (willows) and we had one in my parents garden, so that fits as well^^

    There is no logic in any argument which says that 25% of the population

    The logic behind it is that the distribution of players is in no way identical to the distribution of the world population. The 25% you mention apply to the world population, not to Rail Nation. Also technically it's just 20% and those 20% also include the non-native speakers.

    Just to explain this with another example: There is like a billion of people who speak mandarin. So should we offer a Chinese server? No, not really, because RN is not at all popular in China; we have essentially 0 Chinese players.

    This example should make it quite clear that simply looking at the languages in the world is in no way at all a logical way to decide which servers are needed.

    Come on RN, World population = Less than 8 billion. English only speaking population = More than 2 Billion. English Speaking as a second language population upto 4 Billion, (total upto 6 Billion) and increasing rapidly. Let us at least have a logical answer, please.

    Not sure where you got that data from, but the amount of english speaking people (including non-native) is below 1 billion, not 4 billion. The amount of native english speaking people is around 300-400 million, not 2 billion.
    But even if we ignore that your numbers are incorrect and just pretend they are correct, it does not matter at all. Also my numbers don't matter. What matters, is the distribution of RN player, not the distribution of the world population.

    Trains are in the English blood. The English invented the steam engine. The first Steam Locomotive, Pen y Darren, was invented in Wales. The British love their Trains yet you write them off.

    Yet you ask us to write off the 90% of people & train fans who do not speak english (at least if we follow your logic of just looking at world population).

    If you are unhappy about not having your own server where only your language is allowed but only a server where your language is recommended and the most common one, try to imagin how you would feel instead, if you were not allowed to play at all, because none of the languages you speak are allowed.

    Because that is precisely what a english-only server means. This is what you are demanding. I can only repeat myself: Please, have some empathy with other players.

    Salix will tell us about the costs to run servers for small groups

    Don't put words in my mouth please; we talked about that before (strawman arguments, in case you remember). I never mentioned the topic of server costs at all, for good reason: Server costs, while significant, are not a major argument in comparison to other factors.

    In this case, server costs have literally nothing to do with the server setup for Fast Forward. Even internally we never talked about that even once. It's not a factor here.

    it would mean to have a multilanguage support team

    We already have an international support team, living all across the globe.

    If we talk about languages in RN, we talk restrictions

    Yes, sometimes, because players want us to. Example: This thread. We offer a server where english is recommened but not mandatory, but some players want us to restrict it and make it mandatory.

    Yes there are a lot of people that only talk their native lanauage. So it might be a good idea, to ALSO have servers with only one language.

    We already do, if you mean in general.

    I suggest you do an experiment.

    At the next similar events (not now).

    Start an English-only server together with the international server.

    The first round of Fast Forward was essentially that experiment.

    Most international players will have no problem playing English-only server.

    Most, yes. However we did receive A LOT of complaints about players ignoring the language restriction. That's also something to consider: Just because we say "This server is english", this doesn't necessarily mean players stick to it.

    And among the older Germans there is a big part (about 20%) who never had a chance to learn perfect English at school.

    I'm quite sure it's way more than that, depending on what level of english we are talking about. But yeah, I am of course aware of the age structure of our players and how that affects english skills. The age structure also applies to most of our other regions, it's not just a German thing. So overall, the RN community (not just the German one) is speaking less english than the average gaming population.

    OK, back to the idea of an Englisch FF server. Why not? Wouldn't it even help Travian to spread out our game to the west?

    So many of the Germans play on international and English servers ... they don't care, some even like it more to be allowed to use ANY language and find new international friends.

    Spreading the game to a region requires way more than just setting up a server. And that is precisely what we did for the first round. I'm not sure if you are aware, but there WAS a english FF server. So the question "Why not?" is not really approriate here, because we did in fact already do that. And the result of that experiment in combination with the fact that we can not do the same kind of actions to fill that server again results in the answer to the question "Why not AGAIN?": Because starting an english server again would very likely result in this server being too empty.
    If the resulting numbers prove me wrong and starting an english server would have been an option in hindsight, but as I mentioned before: We do not gamble here. We rely on the the knowledge we have. And the knowledge we have right now is that restarting these servers will most likely result in less players, especially because we can not the same kind of actions to aquire players (and even if we would be, it would be way less effective).
    If the future proves me wrong and (for example) Corona floods the servers with way more players than expected, I'll be the first to celebrate that I was wrong.


    it's simple why not, only two languages are important. German and Russian. People from both these countries are poorly trained in english. At an English server only they can't communicate in their native language.

    First of all: In Europe, Germany is one of the non-english countries with the hightest percentage of english-speakers, only a few percent away from Skandinavia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Saying Germans are "poorly trained in english" couldn't be more wrong. In Germany, learning English is mandatory in school and you learn all through high school, nowadays even in elementary school or even some kindergardens, resulting in one of the highest percentages of english speakers in Europe. Depending on which statistics you consult, the percentage of German English-speakers is double or triple of many other European countries.

    For Russia you are of course right, there it's a bit more uncommon to speak english.


    However, it doesn't even matter that what you said about Germans being poorly trained in German is wrong. Even if you were right, this wouldn't change anything. Two things matter:
    a) Can a certain region fill an entire server (or multiple) on their own?
    b) Can a certain region play at all?


    Russia and Germany (combined with Switzerland and Austria) both have huge player bases, they can easily fill servers on their own, there is no need to combine them with any other region.

    Basically all other regions struggle to fill a new server on their own. And I'm saying "new" intentionally, because event servers come in addition to other servers of that region. That's also for example why regions like Poland also don't have a Fast Forward server for themselves, despite having their own servers in general. Filling a new server is an entirely different challenge than keeping up existing servers.
    In my previous post in this thread, I explained in detail why we are not able to fill a French or English-only server for the second round of Fast Forward. So if you wonder why that it, just go back a few pages.

    Now let's talk about b) , "Can a certain region play at all?"
    Those of you who complain about language barriers and not having a server in your own language (i.e. english)...do you realize that these arguments are precisely the reason why the server is international and not english?
    There are plenty of regions with RN players who simply don't speak english at all. Contrary to countries like Germany or Netherlands, it's not teached in school and is not part of modern culture.

    Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they would feel if we said "Instead of an international server, we decided to make this server english only. If you speak anything else but english, you will be punished. Oh, you don't speak english? Well, sucks to be you".
    That is what we are trying to prevent from happening. No one should feel like a second class player, just because he doesn't happen to live in country where english is common.

    And despite the server being international, please keep in mind that english speakers will still be priviliged there in comparison to other languages. English is the recommended language and it will be the most common one.


    Like I said in my other post: Yes, of course communication problems are annoying. But making the server english only would be more than just annoying, it would essentially mean "You are not allowed to play here because of where you come from".

    So please have some empathy with players who don't speak english. I know that it's sometimes hard to imagine how someone nowadays doesn't speak english, but it's perfectly normal in many parts of the world and even for a majority of European countries (who make up almost all of the RN community).

    And if your answer now is "Just open an English server AND an international server"....please read my previous post in this thread.
    Link


    If one thing is crystal clear here it is that RN have NOT listened to us on this subject on this forum page.


    It's not that we are not listening to you. It's that we are not ONLY listening to you, but also those players who don't speak english.

    Damn, just one song, that's difficult. Ok, let's go for "Sugar Man" by Sixto Rodriguez. Why? Because it's not just a incredible song and artist, but also because I just love the story behind it. In short, Sixto Rodriguez was a American musician who was incredibly succesful in South Africa; more succesful than Elvis. However, he disappeared and was rumored to be dead until 30 years later some fans found him while they were filming a documentary about him. He was still alive in Detroit, completely unaware of his incredible success and importance in South Africa. That documentary of finding the supposedly dead Sixto Rodriguez and connecting him with his fans 30 years later ended up to be the documentary "Searching for Sugarman" that won an Oscar in 2012.
    Absolutely incredibe story, awesome documentary, fantastic musician, unique song:

    the proof of this is the OJ, a scenario that certainly had a great investment and ended up being passed over

    What exactly do you mean with "being passed over"?

    what I think (and many players) is that you have preferred players, those who play hard with a credit card, and that's okay, but in that case you should tell everyone about it!

    That is simply not true. I mean, sure, finances is important. For example we could just throw money at google or facebook or other ad platform and we can essentially fill every server, if we just use enough money. That is a possibility...but of course a financially foolish one that we can't afford. So in that apsect, of course we want to stay profitable. We have employees and plenty more costs to pay, so of course we need to generate revenue. Nobody is denying that.
    However, not starting a French or English server has very little to do with money. France, for example, is not actually a bad market in terms of revenue. Much better than some eastern european markets. Yet we do have a Easter Europe game world but no French gameworld. The reason for that is that we have enough players to fill an Easter Europe server but not a French server. The same applies to an exclusively english server plus an international one. It is very unlikely that we fill both. We COULD fill an EN-only-server, if we directed non-english players there (for example by advertising this server for Italian players). But then they would not actually speak english, essentially making it an international server where everyone is violating the language rules.

    So yes. We care about revenue, we have to. But revenue was definitely not the deciding factor here. The DAU and the ability to acquire enough players are.
    Saying all this, I might look like a complete fool in 2 weeks. It is of course possible that our predictions are wrong and for some reason (for example Corona) the Fast Forward game worlds are flooded with way more players than expected. That can still happen, making all my explanations here look ridiculous in hindsight. But with the information we have available right now, that is not likely to happen. And as mentioned above, we have to rely on what we know, we can't gamble. Otherwise we risk having game worls that are essentially unplayable. And that is in no ones interest.

    what makes the RN have the number of players that you just mentioned are the ones who spend many hours of their time playing and testing the game, they are the real soul of the game

    Yes, I totally agree. And this includes the players who happened to grow up in a country or time where you don't learn english. This is precisely why it's important not to treat non-english-speaking players like second class players and not offer a game world to them.
    And this is also why it's important why we can't just open so many game worlds that some of them will not be able to provide proper gameplay.

    rapid rail has 1,000 more accounts than fast track, yet not restarting? How is this so?

    Hi there.
    Let me try to answer this and a few other questions about why there is no "english only" server.


    The relevant info here is that registrations are not the most important number here. It's not really important for anything, be it gameplay, serverload or generally the "success" of a game world. Because just a player registered, this does not necessarily mean he is actually playing for long.
    What matters are the daily active users, short: DAU.
    While there is of course some kind of connection between registration numbers and DAU, it's a rather complicated connection that strongly depends on the context behind the registrations.
    Registrations from some sources tend to transform to DAUs reliably while others do not. For example if an already active player decided to register on a Fast Forward game world, it's rather likely he will also play it. If we advertise Fast Forward on a mobile platform, we attract mobile players who have a much stronger tendency to just test everything (so it's easy to get a lot of people), but they are also incredibly likely to leave again very quickly. So when 1000 of those players register for a gameworld, the resulting DAU will be waaaaay lower compared to 1000 RN veterans registering.


    That's why registrations are only a small part of the puzzle and why DAU are the far more important metric. We actually have a pretty neat example on the current round of Fast Forward. One of the two Russian servers actually reached the limit of 10.000 registrations and therefore exceeds all other servers for that metric. Sounds great, right? But if you look at the current DAU, it's only the 7th best Fast Forward gameworld. That's because this particular server had a higher percentage of players who do not tend to stay.


    So why does the english server not restart? Basically because we noticed that, despite seemingly high activations, the server has pretty low DAU. If we could just repeat what we did for the first round, that would not be a problem. As you all noticed, the game is still playable on that server, the DAU are not too low.
    The problem here is that usually, when we repeat a certain event very quickly, numbers are much lower. There are multiple reasons for that. First of all the appeal of it being new is lost, so people are less curious about it.
    Secondly, a big part of launching an event like that usually goes along with a marketing campaign, i.e. advertising. This helps to get new players in the game or bring old players, who quit playing, back. Launching the same marketing campaign twice has a much much lower effect, because we basically already reached everyone who is interested the first time. Players who did not react to this advertisement won't change their mind just because we do the same again.
    That could be changed by developing an entirely new marketing campaign. However that takes weeks or months. With a spontaneous decision like right now, this is simply not possible.

    So because of these two reasons, we expect much lower numbers. Of course we might be wrong. These things are hard to predict and especially the current corona situation changes a lot of things in unpredictable ways. Maybe there will be much more players than expected. But maybe not. We simply don't know. So we try not to gamble but work based on what we know.

    And finally, one more argument for why there is no English-only server: There is another server that didn't make the cut, the French server. The French server also has pretty low DAU and the only reason why it has just enough players is that marketing tried very very hard to make this happen. For the reasons explained above, this can not be repeated; a second French server would have much lower DAUs.
    But of course we want our French players to be able to play anyway. And not just French players, but also Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, Italian, etc. etc.
    All of these communities are not big enough to have their own server. However, that is no reason to exclude them. That's why we need a place where everyone can play and that place is the international server. The problem is of course communication. While English is the most common second language in the western world, not everyone is speaking it. A lot of our players simply don't speak english. So we can't just say "English is mandatory" on the international server. It doesn't make sense to force people to speak a language they simply don't speak. It also doesn't make sense to completely exclude them, based on their origin. That's why English is recommended on the international server, but not mandatory. Making it mandatory would be extremely unfair towards a big part of our community.

    Yes, playing on a server with multiple languages is challenging and of course we understand that it would be much easier if everyone just spoke English. But that would essentially mean that we have to be jerks towards everyone who simply doesn't speak English by completely excluding them. And that is not okay and I don't think anyone really wants that.

    I hope this info helps you to understand why we planned the game worlds this way. For future, bigger releases we can can certainly try again to also have a English-only server. For this spontaneous release however it simply wasn't possible. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask.

    Kind regards,
    Salix

    PS: Sorry for the (probably plenty) spelling mistakes. I wrote this before my morning coffee :sleeping:


    Dear players,
    we are here for you. While the world out there is standing still, we want to continue to provide entertainment and diversion for these maybe boring times at home…completely contact-free.


    In the last weeks we received a lot of positive Feedback about our Fast Forward game worlds in 4x speed. Originally, we did not want to restart those right away. But because of your fantastic feedback and the current situation, we will start a second round of Fast Forward at the 11th of April; our #stayhome game worlds.

    For those among you who have not yet played Fast Forward, you now have the chance to experience this 4x speed event. If you are already participating in the first round, this could be your chance to optimize your tactic.


    Of course, we won’t let you start empty-handed. With the voucher code FAST-FORWARD-2 you can get a free package worth 10€ on every Fast Forward game world. The package contains:


    • 100 Gold
    • 10 days Plus Account
    • 1 x Bonus Engine Upgrade Voucher
    • 10 x Mechanic Vouchers
    • 10 x Boost Vouchers


    • Only valid on Fast Forward 2 game worlds
    • Valid until the 30th of April
    • Only usable once per account
    • Only browser and Android


    For those of you who like to play competitively, we have a special challenge this time: The TOP 10 player of each server of the second round of Fast Forward will receive the gold version of our brand new „Community Hero“ Achievement and the server winner will even receive the platinum version instead.

    Since the second round of Fast Forward was not planned and is a spontaneous reaction to the Corona pandemic, we sadly cannot activate pre-registration. We still hope the second round of Fast Forward will bring you joy in these unusual times.

    You can check the server starts here:



    See you on the game worlds,


    Your Rail Nation Team





    FAQ


    Why are some game worlds missing this time?


    That’s because some of game worlds had relatively few players. While those numbers are still okay, a second round usually has lower numbers and will lead to player numbers that can cause problems with the gameplay.


    Doesn’t another event slow down your work on HTML5?

    No. When we thought about how we can offer entertainment in the time of Corona without putting a burden on our developers, we specifically chose Fast Forward since repeating this event does not require any development or testing. That’s also the reason why Fast Forward 2 will still run on Flash. This way we don’t have to test another version of the mode right now and our developers can continue to focus on HTML5.


    What if the second round is even more popular and too many players register on the game worlds?


    All our game worlds have a limit of 10.000 registrations to prevent overcrowded cities and performance problems caused by this. Should too many players be interested in playing the second round of Fast Forward, another international game world is ready to be started on demand.


    My country or language is not among the announced game worlds. Does this mean I can not play Fast Forward?


    No. On the international game worlds all languages are available and allowed. While we recommend English for international communication, every other language is welcome too. Please respect that we have players from all over the world with completely different languages skills. Not everyone will speak your language or English. Please stay respectful, even if communication is a challenge. This is especially important, given the hard times many people go through right now.

    It won't stay like this forever, but right now we either have this or no video bonuses at all. We didn't want to take video bonuses away, so we decided to temporarily giving away them for free.

    Sadly this is something we can't fix for mobile devices right away. This problem is related to HTML5 and the external video providers and changing this will take some time.

    This is definitely something we'll keep in mind for the future, in case we introduce new competitions with unique and fun new mechanics. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Isn't html5 the most important thing to focus at?

    It's a common misconception that we have to or can focus on just one thing. HTML5 for example is something that almost exclusively concerns our front end developers. And they work on pretty much nothing else. However that doesn't mean the rest of the team will just go on vacation or that artists, game design, UX or marketing will suddenly write HTML5 code (which, no doubt, would not be a good idea).
    People often forget that the Rail Nation team does not just consist of one homegenous group of "devs". There are different kinds of devs and plenty of people who are not devs at all. One group can do things while the other is busy.
    And it turned out that 4x speed is one of the things we are actually able to do without bothering the devs that are working on HTML5. And it's not the only thing. There will be more announcements and changes in the next weeks or months that simply do not concern HTML5 and the devs behind it at all.

    If we would truly focus on one thing at all and everybody here would lean back and relax, just because our FE devs are busy, then your last sentence would be justified: In that case we really would have to fear the continuation of Rail Nation.
    Luckily that's not the case.

    Just to add to what Samisu already wrote: He is correct that we currently have no plan to relaunch Origin Journey again. However, that doesn't mean we won't ever do it. It's just not planned RIGHT NOW. Plans can change and our plan also doesn't reach in all eternity. For example our internal content plan covers mostly 2020. For 2021, a lot of things are still open. So maybe then it will be in our plan to relaunch Origin Journey. Or maybe circumstances change during 2020 and we adapt our plan and we repeat Origin Journey this year.

    So in general I can say that we intend to repeat all or most of our event-like releases at some point. That's why I consider it extremely unlikely that Origin Journey will never come back, despite not having any plans for that right now.
    So don't give up hope on that, it's most certainly going to happen at some point in the future.