Monday, July 2, 2012

Looking back at the round...

It's been nearly four months since I last posted a blog post, and although that could be considered a bad thing, I actually believe this game round has been going well! We still have 100'ish players online most of the time, and 200'ish players take the time to login every day! So what's been going on this round? Here's my view on things.

Changes from last round

We made a few changes this round, and I have to say they had a positive influence on the game. Here's a summary of those changes and the effects I noticed:
- Fewer cities decreased the amount of (useless) properties, which worked well.
- Artillery Bunker still lacks documentation but is being used - especially after certain players got banned for duping while holding loads of bullets.
- International Prison with minimum jailimes worked well, and increased traveling.
- Fixed bullet minimum and maximum prices worked well, tuning these allowed us to control the economy somewhat - which is also good.
- Easier killing is mainly noticed by the players, not by me.
- Script tests failed; scripts were tuned to stop or logout whenever one was sent out.
- First-to-post activity in the shoutbox and game forum added some activity, which was nice.
- Adding scums to GMW was fun to watch, and also added some activity.


Of course this round has seen problems as well, mainly the amount of cheating is a problem. Scripters shared their scripts, some even read the TOS to avoid getting caught, and others just created 50 accounts to rank them all up slowly while avoiding bans. Another related problem is that the auto-logouts became useless to certain scripts, and there was no real way for us to stop it.

We hope to (partially) tackle these problems next round by a set of changes that will not be published before that round. The main goal of these changes is to make the game more fair and make ranking more of an achievement rather than a logical consequence of scripting. Because most of this also depends on the players, I will once more repeat that creating 50 dupes is stupid and doesn't add any fun for anyone playing TMN. It's a game, and should not be played like that.

Long round

Possibly the best thing about this round, is its length; this round has been going for nearly 4 months, and will continue for at least another month and a half. I believe this knowledge causes players to not end the round by killing all players, but also motivates people to stick around - which is good in general. Players seem positive about it as well, and activity is still alright most of the time.

The reason for this round to last until at least mid-August, is the fact that I will be out of the country for a month. For TMN this meant that no round could be started between May and July, because there's always work for me during the first period in a round. Going out of the country "near the end" of a round is less of a problem, and was therefore preferred. 

So, when's the reset? 

I will be away starting July 17th. After my return on August 15th we will decide what happens to the round. Here we have a few possibilities:
1) Throwing TMN offline instantly (not preferred; announced resets are always better);
2) Throwing TMN offline 1-2 weeks later (possibly the best option);
3) Keeping TMN online for another month (if the round is still active);

After TMN goes offline, I need roughly 2 weeks to prepare the new round. After that I am sure we will have another nice round.