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    Mr Camp, the game is having a fatal disease that has been ruining it last few years, and its nature itself is that nobody but you is able to help the game now. Let me introduce you into as much of the case history as I know it.

    1. Small islands

    On summer 2007, 40.1 series 2, the main server maps set included a special type of map, very small island. It was a funny map making quick rounds and it was a highlight for all players to get this type of round in game. However, one day these maps stopped appearing. Nobody knew why, people were feeling regret missing these islands and wondering – what happened to them?

    Several days after that, somebody ‘BOY’, a person to appear online once in a weeks for a very small time – and it was one of those rare moments, it was server admin BOY – though I didnt know it that time, however, there was another player who knew so he asked BOY a question that players were concerned of. “What happened to small islands?” The answer was: “I asked Gavin to remove them because players were complaining about them.”

    Let me inform you, Mr Camp – that information was false. That time, I was playing the game mornings and evenings, staying on during whole weekends, many times pulling all nighters and that all was making me familiar with players from all time periods. I was playing so much that even though I stopped few months before the series end, my stats rank had lost only one position. And in the reality – game reality that I was participating – nearly everyone was having fun from these maps. If there really were any players ‘complaining about small islands’, then probably the types that complain about almost everything.

    So you understand that the statement was a nonsense, and I came to forum and made a post inquiring about the small islands.

    Nobody answered it. Question of one of the most active regular players of the series was not something important enough for admins of the game to pay attention to. Of course, the proper answer simply did not exist. And admins were too busy with much more important things, for example – writing huge replies into senseless threads started by trolls that would grow 10 pages thick.
    (In the series 41.2, I repeated my inquire. And of course again I – being one of the most active regular players – received no reply.)

    Why it happened this way has an explanation. In series 40.1 s2 game admins were probably already communicating with great amount of players from their imaginatory reality. The overwhelming majority of these players whose interests admins were representing was making them too busy to pay attention to just one player like me. And ‘no answer’ implied that I myself should have learnt from these imaginatory players that what was done was good for the majority. However, unlike the game admins who would appear in real game once in a month, I was not seeing them. Only what was real.

    Part of fun was removed from the real game and real players for some imaginatory reason. And the game is meant to bring fun, so it cannot be given other other definition than direct harm to the game.

    2. Grid counting legend

    That thing existed in the game for some time before the series 41. It was a popular belief that best shooters of the game were using the grid option and ‘counted cells’ to perform calculation that resulted in a perfect shot. It was talked about as some kind of dirty thing, in fact, almost like cheating. And of course many people believed it to be that way, especially new players.

    The legend was so strong that I was affected by that belief too. However, it felt kind of stinky since I personally knew a player who was rumoured to be a ‘grid counter’ while it was not true. In fact, that player was rumoured so by nobody else than game admins, the authority. It was making other players disconnect or not join the game when the ‘grid counter’ was playing. The situation made the player so bored that he finally left the game. Eventually, in the next versions when the grid was gone, of course it appeared that it had nothing to do with his shooting skill.

    Yes, the grid was removed. In the version 41. I was not playing that series, but from stats and forum posts it can be seen, that there was a significant inflow of people who used to be ‘mod players’ of just stayed outside before that, scared by the legend. And then they came to the main with the false beliefs that ‘now all these grid counters are removed and we can play a fair game’.

    And that was the reason behind the whole cheating crisis. Here I do not speak about the cases of real cheating (which were not the first in the history of the game), but the influence it had upon the community.

    Examples of excellent shooting skill, ‘top players’ were playing as they used to. Nothing changed for them because grid had nothing to do with their skill. But the forum keeps the record – the opinions of people who were clearly saying that they ‘can not believe playing at such level’. Generations of players were raised with a lie that good shooting is just using of some dirty method, and were waiting with their false expectation for the ‘grid’ to be removed and it appeared that there was no paradize for them after all.

    Although it is a fact that some people were really using this method, and they belonged to the category of ‘top players’. However, they were generally equal match to the others of the category, and if it makes no difference, why is that ‘grid counting’ so special? In fact, if the game had actually lost some of these ‘grid counters’ because of grid removal means that the change was harmful in this way too.

    There was no proper understanding and proper approach to the problem behind that, and admins were actively participating in building up that legend – thus increasingly adding to its weight. But lies can not lead to anything good. If you try to walk with eyes closed, once you gonna hit something hard, its inevitable, and it had happened. Grid was removed and there was some shock.

    I started with these two examples from my knowledge that indicate that it was the 40.1 series 2 when the false information had already grown powerful enough to affect both game settings and even the development process.

    However, this is just a beginning. Then there followed some degradation changes that completely turned the game from its uprise to the decline.

    Free market

    In the series 41.2, something to change the economy system with big name ‘free market’ was introduced. I failed to find any description of it principles in forums, as well as I am not capable to understand the game code to see.

    But as this is a game of buying – nothing comes from the outer sources (only in mods), and where almost anything has its peculiar irreplaceable role, hence the demand is constant so the prices could be only rising.

    Very soon it hit one of the most important items of the game – parachutes. Of course, it made players react and complain. It would be about the time to realize that things are not working this way and even realize why. Its not a catastrophe to make a mistake, if you are able to see what is wrong step back. But instead of it, game preferred to keep things as they were. The price for the parachutes was set fixed. So was the price for batteries, according to some unknown will, set to be twice as high as it used to be before.

    The prices of the most expensive and popular things raised to their peaks which were twice as high as the original and got stuck there. They were not changing at all. The prices of nearly everything else were rising.
    And for many things, as soon as the price had increased, it was suddenly appearing to be low. It was said that the admins are dropping the prices.

    Very much in the flavour of the trend – some personal will influencing more and more things in the game. Although there could be hundred different opinions what price should be dropped, it was somebody selecting which price should be low. Not a system working properly, but people deciding for all others.

    That gives a picture of a ‘free market’. Some prices fixed, many prices not formally fixed but stuck to value twice as high as the normal, many prices constantly rising and by choice of self-chosen ‘gods’ of the game being dropped down, few prices constantly low.

      Q: I want to use the new free market feature on my server. How to do it?
      A: Actually, it does not work. If you want to make it looking anything like it works, you need to hire an admin.

    Now about the achievements.

    Breaking the balance
    So, in general there was a huge increase of prices. And there is a simple objective law of the economics (that in a country like mine is known even to a kid due to having passed through it maybe even more than once) – when the prices rise, the gap between the poor and the rich grows.

    In game where all players start with equal amount of money has initally no such distinction. It is created by the achievements of the early rounds with the interest based economy. So who are usually ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ in the game? Rich are players who can operate effectively even with small and cheap things that allows them gain some money. Simply, high skilled players.

    Even before the ‘free market’, the game was not perfect in this aspect. The gap in ‘possibilities’ between high skilled and most other players was a part of the problem behind the ‘grid counting’ legend – the problem, which, it seems, no one was able to understand. Problem of – how to make best players and other players come along and so that game is fun for everyone?

    The game was not perfect. But it was very well balanced still.
    With game of many players, there was some distribution of people to levels according to skill, with some competition focused on each level. Depending on luck and other factors levels intertwined. Everyone could make some achievements according to his own level. New player was able to get a couple kills in a game, more experienced players were going for a few kills, experienced ones around ten – and game win with luck, and the top players values above and the game win.

    Luck, efforts to improve were making people progressing on this stage. And that was the thing making people interested to play. First of all the efforts you get a single kill in whole game, next time you get two, you are stick there, there are people to challenge, there are heights to climb.

    That kind of best game condition was present in game with many players, around 10. When the game included less players, the gap between the high and less skilled was always more obvious.

    In 41.2 the prices increase made a blow even to that type of balance.

    Top players were more likely to gain kills from first round, thus having an advantage in economy, whereas other players were the ones in more need of the money, requiring heavier weapons to achieve something.

    In these conditions, all other players started to lose interest in the game as it was giving them less – more of being beaten and less of beating somebody – that aint no fun.

    For the same reason, the ability of game to ‘catch’ new players and develop interest in them was also seriously damaged.

    And players losing interest means for each individual taken that they would connect and play less often. And each individual connecting and playing less often and/or stay online for less amount of time means that there is less of game condition where server is full of players. Which, in turn, leads to even more sharp opposition of top players and all others. That means more loss of interest by these other players. That means these other players will connect and play game less frequently and/or stay online for less amount of time. That means……..

    Occasional superadvantage
    Besides this general economic advantage of people who were more likely to make some achievements in the beginning, another problem was an occasional superadvantage.
    This problem, too, was already known to the game before, and as well, it was made much more pronounced.

    It was when someone was lucky/skilled enough to start first and/or second rounds with significant amount of kills – was getting so huge economic advantage due to interest nature, that the game victory by that person was decided.

    In the conditions of prices increase, the value of difference of first rounds success that was creating such type of game became lower. Or, to say it different way – amount of games that could be described as someone having this superadvantage greatly increased. So such games became a pretty frequent occasions. And the power of ‘predeterminateness’ became much more significant – because due to prices increase the differences between what players were having transformed from quantitative – ‘I have lots of stuff, you have stuff’ – to qualitative – ‘I have stuff, you have nothing’.

    Even for the top players of generally competetive level of skill, the games where in round 4 or 5 it was already obvious who is winning – the game was becoming boring. It was becoming boring even for the winning player as well.

    It was becoming boring for all other players besides the ‘top competitors’ besides only reason for being beaten, but also because part of what builds their interest in game is not only watching the competition going on, but to affect that process, even if they personally are not likely to be going to win the game.

    Thus, unlike the previous point of damage by the ‘free market’, the significantly increased amount of such types of games were causing even ‘top players’ to get bored, as well as all other players. This was resulting in people losing interest, disconnecting in the mid game.

    And for each individual who disconnected, it was less likely to connect to the next game because of feeling of disappointment and frustration. As well as the desire to connect again and to stay online for a long time will reduce. And even for those who would not disconnect but stayed in game, the feeling of boredom such game was causing was making them lose interest.

    Thus, for each individual who on a certain day had started playing with intention to stay online for some time, there was much likely a result of a player who disconnected soon and did not return that day. As well as for all who participated such games the expectation of interesting passtime was ruined, and more boredom and disappointment was associated with game, which in turn lead to desire to connect and play less often/for a less amount of time, which in turn was causing more effect on the point 1 of ‘free market’ achievement.

    Reducing the variety of game strategies
    In the condition of the prices increase, the mentioned change of importance of amount of money players had upon their game abilities reduced the freedom of game course, which also made game much more boring.

    While there used to be various types of economic strategy to pass through the game, which, being used by players of competetive level of skill, could lead to the game victory in the end; after prices increase there was only one way left to play, and it was exceptional conditions when the other way could succeed.

    Some people could run risk starting with shields or heavy weapon from round 2. Some people could try to perform tactic moves early. Some people were keeping low amount of money through the game, some moderate, some tried to save as much as possible, each way had advantages and disadvantages. There were many approaches to build the economic plan for the game with a high chance to succeed. The prices increase cut it all, ‘save as much as you can in early rounds’ became the only way that would lead to competition for the game victory, with a very rare exceptions.

    Thus, the game lost part of its variety and freedom which in turn resulted in earlier ‘consumation’ of potential interest of players and, well, rather in the first place – players losing interest.

    Killing the ‘playing right away’
    In the condition of the prices increase, to start right away in a game, not waiting for the round 1 but whenever, unless the feature of ‘gifting’ was generously used by someone, became mostly senseless. While a simple pack of parachutes, not expensive shields and some basic weapons could be bought with normal economy, the amount of things that could be bought right after joining in ‘free market’ became so miserable even with spending them all, that the new-joining player could have almost no offensive role in game, unless having a very high skill, and being rather just a target for somebody else to kill, and that is not an enjoyable type of game.

    That made people avoid to join games in the middle, even if they had a desire to play. Instead of just fulfilling their lust for scorch, people had to come through some effort of waiting, watching not to miss the beginning. And for each individual experience of effort done just to start playing, any type of disappointing, boring and frustrating experience has an additional force.

    First of all that struck the people who had limited amount of time or timeframe to play – their chances for positive experience with game had greatly reduced.

    Second, there is a simple consequence that follows from this one, all mentioned and further mentioned here problems.

    Each and every single reason that makes person not be online – whether its general decrease of interest which makes person dedicate time to game less often and connect for a shorter periods of time, or it is ‘not connected yet waiting for new game’ or disconnected because of boredom, frustration and disappointment – there is another person who will not connect because either does not see a friendly name in the list or just doesnt see enough people playing. Just a simple law of gravity – mass attracts mass.

    Reducing the in-round tactical freedom
    Increase of batteries price, together with general increase of prices made them something people preferred rather not to buy, especially in the early rounds, because in condition of prices increased 15k of money was something to have a signinficant impact on economy. That cut another aspect of the game – tactical. Instead of second chance the batteries would provide, being damaged, people had to die or resign. Great amount of ways for situation development: recovering, getting a kill, shooting back were cut from the round course.

    In fact, tactical part was damaged by the whole increase of prices, although such things as fuel and teleporters often were sold at price no different from ‘before free market’ economy, the picture should be seen as a whole, since the other things you also need to buy being expensive negate the fact of availability of a certain item.

    Dirt, due to its implementation not completely fitting the way of things of the original design of the weapons set had, was already known to the game as a problem for a long time, from time to time causing disturbances among players both by somebody dirting himself and somebody dirting other players.

    The way people who had dislikes for being dirted and dirters expressed their feelings were expensive powerful weapons, and that had enough effect to regulating the conflicts.

    What has changed with the prices increase, is, first of all that the dirt as an item to be bought very rare, costed really low. At the same time, all serious weapons had their price increased, and that combined with the general prices increase – which means, considering buying a heavy thing player also must consider lot of other stuff he also needs and its also expensive made dirt something beyond the ability of players to confront such actions. As well as the increased batteries price made people more vulnerable to laser attacks.

    So one day one player of the game decided to start using dirt excessively. Soon, there was significant amount of players who were made very upset with this fact that game settings didnt allow them to properly counter.

    There was a complaint in the forums supported by many regular players of the series. However, that was given no reaction at all. As usual, there were some forum scorchers with their important opinions. Some individuals said that ‘they personally have no problem with dirt’ and probably that was considered by the game admins as sufficient. As if the fact that some people dont have the problem cancels the fact that other people do have it.

      – Hello? 911? Help me, I am dying!
      – You are dying?? But I am not!! *beeps*

    If you lived in a country where they treat people like that, you would probably want to run away. Countries like that do exist in this world, and people indeed want to escape from there. But it is not that easy to change a country where you live as to change an online computer game to something else. It all what was left for people to do.

    As you know already, in series 40.1 s2 the game was totally ignoring separate regular players. In 41.2 game was totally ignoring many.

    There is no way that game that is treating players like that will have increasing amount of them. Only if you establish a worldwide dictatorship and make a law obliging people to play scorched online for some fixed amount of time every day. Maybe you have this planned and coming soon, Mr Camp? Please let me know if its so, and I wont be writing any posts like this anymore.

    The amount of unfriendliness, aggression and negative feelings in the game from this ignored problem had increased to incredible heights.

    Weapons usage variety?
    One of the reasons sounded behind the ‘free market’ idea: to add variety into weapons usage in the game.

    Take a look at the chart of the weapons usage – percents indicate the amount of kills made with the weapon in the overall amount of series kills. The following chart is showing the kill ratios for weapons.
    [attachment=6:1pqnigqy]weapons usage chart.jpg[/attachment:1pqnigqy]
    [attachment=5:1pqnigqy]weapons kill ratios.jpg[/attachment:1pqnigqy]
    To remind you what the difference in prices means. Just something cheaper than usual – and – something cheaper than usual or just usual together with the most of other things being expensive are very different things. Your country must be too good to provide such experiences, so try to imagine a quarter of your average monthly budget for food and plan a living with that amount of money. That should give a very different look on things that are cheap or kinds of sales and discounts.

    Baby digger – there is a slight increase in usage, absolutely insignificant in the absolute scale. The price is very low most of the time, sometimes incredibly low. At the same time there is a decrease in diggers – price high, and increase in heavy diggers, price affordable.
    Baby missile – about 20 percent increase is observed. That shows how much more poor the game had really became.
    Baby nuke – price being high most of the time, decrease by 1/4.
    Baby roller – because of its properties were changed, usage had decreased twice and more. Price was about average.
    Baby sandhog – two times increase. The increase is observed for sandhogs (less) and heavy sandhogs (more).
    Death head – more than twice decrease in usage. Price at its peak all the time.
    Funky bomb – combined effect of destructive modification and the price increase – almost near its peak. Five and more times decrease comparing to 40.1.
    Heavy laser – about triple increase, same for laser. Both had their prices pretty low, and first of all the simple fact of batteries price being high.
    Heavy roller – double increase, not so much due to price but to degradation of baby rollers which usage was redistrubuted to regular and heavy.
    Hot napalm – very powerful weapon coming at about the same or often lower price than before, increase.
    Heavy riot bomb – more than twice but insignificant increase, being very cheap.
    Leap frog – about one and a half time increase because of being kept low most of the time, price was seen dropped frequently.
    Missile – up to 2,5 times increase by 15 percent of total. Reflects the increased amount of MCB games people would play to protect themself from the game course imbalance.
    Napalm – more than double increase, being incredibly cheap most of the time – 3-5K for 10 pieces.
    Nuke – about double increase because of price being dropped frequently.
    Roller – about double increase, price usually not low. The value that baby rollers had lost is higher than rollers together with heavy rollers achieved.
    Spread mirv – more than two times increase for price often being kept very low.

    To add to the picture, some comments about few changes in kill ratios.
    The first obvious change is falling of kill ratio for the death head. That reflects how much it turned from a multikill tool to something to be used only in the end of game against individual targets.

    There is a slight increase of kill ratio for baby sandhogs, sandhogs and heavy sandhogs (from 10 to 20 percent). That means that the amount of them being used in game increased somewhat lower than it can be concluded from only usage stats.

    There is a slight decrease of leap frog kill ratio. That means that the amount of them used in game was somewhat higher than it can be concluded from only usage stats.

    Missile kill ratio shows increase due to the higher skill.

    There is a slight increase of spread mirv kill ratio, which means, the increase of their actual usage was slightly lower than usage chart indicates. In fact, another significant part of that insignificant in absolute scale increase is explained by a simple fact: in 41.2 one of the most active regulars ‘discovered’ them and you can see that just one person’s taste creates about a quarter of total usage of the weapon.

    There are other aspects not reflected by general stats. If for the funky bombs in 40.1, they were used generally equally by all players with just a few exceptions. But, for example for the sandhogs, in the 41.2 already, there was a group of players, mostly european timezone – who were almost or completely refraining from using any sandhogs. That means, much more than the half of them were being used in other time periods. It would not be overestimate, with formal usage having raised about two times, to speak about three times increase of sandhogs usage during these ‘other’ periods of time.

    As you can see, despite the great amount of funky bombs usage reduction and death heads reduction that value was not redistrubuted into other weapons. For each that have gained some usage (insignificant in the overall value) there is another that had lost some. With all destructive influence of most prices being high few types of weapon had won only an insignificant total value of increase. And having two most powerful spectacular weapons usage greatly reduced did not make the game more visually and emotionally attractive.

    Funky bombs
    There is more to say about funky bombs. The change of their design should be perceived in connection with the whole ‘free market’ plan as the reduction of funky usage was pursued by both changes. While the better suggestion was to just increase the funky bomb price.

    That had three general destructive consequences.

    Unequal chances
    First – funky bomb stopped being a weapon that was making people equal.
    As you already know, this ‘free market’ created two highly pronounced preconditions for unfairness: game being advantageous to the top players comparing to all others, and in a certain game course – game being advantageous for the player being ahead with economy – even comparing to other players of equal and sometimes greater skill.

    New funky bomb design, where bomblets were not coming in a whole bunch, but separately and to various distance, became something less destructive against the target protected with shield. On the other hand, the ability of bomblets to either fall close to the place of hit or to spread to the distance one by one and dig under the target, making it lose parachutes and eventually die – something much more destructive to the target that is not protected.

    Although for the old funky bomb design, of course, any type of shield would provide some defence, the ability of non-shielded person to survive was pretty high to, if the bomblets would either fly over head or all go under. Two could wipe each other out equally with good shots.

    However, if we imagine a situation of duel of an advantageous player, wearing a shield, having a lot of parachutes, and his poor competitor, having only couple of them and a single funky bomb with last money he saved – it would require a low quality shot for the first one to kill the second one, because the kill would be achieved even with the bomb getting quite close and quite far, while the contrary sometimes even a perfect shot would not work good enough for the poor player against the defended one.

    Instead of thing equalizing the chances, funky bomb was turned into a kind of suppression weapon thus adding much oil into the fire of game unfairness.

    Of course all situations of that type are creating feelings of frustration and disappointment in people, that does not at all increase their interest in game.

    Self kills
    Another consequence of the same design change was the greatly increased amount of self kills because of target funky death. In situations, where previous design funky bomb explosions would make it over the head, or wasting just one parachute with a whole bunch of bomblets, the new ones were killing the shooter often wasting many parachutes prior to that.

    Of course, having a self kill like that became a frustrating experience to players. The average amount of such events per player by the old design funky bomb was pretty sufficient. As well as seeing such thing starting often included a brief moment of emotional burst of quick thinking – kills or not? which was a kind of small entertaining experience too.

    This diagram shows the average ratio of funky deaths to funky kills by top 10 funky users of the series. That is not completely precise since it does not count upon personal rate of funky kills in the amount kills made, however, it is an average value and thus is good enough. Also it should be said, that of the value presented for version 40.1, the amount of funkies in game was so great that people were really killing self with their own shots pretty often.

    So the triple increase of funky deaths can be seen. As a brightest and the most pronounced opposite points, pay attention to the two examples of a great playing skill accordingly for two different series:

    40.1 s2: One - funky kills: 993 - funky self kills: 23 - ratio: 2.23%
    42 : Raden - funky kills: 160 - funky self kills: 32 - ratio: 20%

    Consequently, we can speak of at least triple increase of such thing as following such self kill disconnects – ‘rage quits’. Which, as you already know, was affecting the game by reducing possibility of somebody else joining because of a player being absent.

    And as well it should be said, that even for people who would not leave the game, their emotional condition would often change so that even the other players in game experienced reduction of fun. General amount of negative feelings that is associated with the game because of such events had increased, and that does not at all favours the increase of interest to the game.

    Reducing capability for social regulation
    The third, and but not the last by significance aspect of destructive change

    Despite the fact being quite different from the original game design, and thus a very questionable weapon, the funky bombs as they were had a very special role in game – being a mean of social regulation. The original game, where all players were sitting in real life in front of one screen, simply could not have such kind of problems. Truces.

    Two people being close and avoiding shooting each other in attempt to gain some advantage was a normal part of the game. It was perfectly balanced by the weapon that was able to perform multikills, because each ‘sweet couple’ on the map would be very likely to receive at least one. To try to truce, whether openly or in secret, or to kill each other – was a decision of risk because it was not known which way turns better.

    But, with the new funky design greatly reducing it ability to perform multikills, made it absolutely not reliable weapon for the job. And it suddenly appeared, that trucing became very beneficial thing in the game. As well as it is often clearly distinguished by other players, they were not able to regulate it. Any tendency that does not have a proper counter can only develop into worse kind of things.

    Each time having things going this way the positive experience players were receiving from the game was decreasing, and as the only possible reaction countertruces started to appear. Whether it was real or just coincidence – ‘looked much like that’ – some people were reacting to truces with their own truces, thus building more of negativity and suspects in other players. From phenomenon existing for a short amount of time, truce turned into something longlasting, passing from game to game. Instead of people killing each other and taking things easy, the great amount of unfriendliness started appearing in the games and growing from day to day.

    As well as it should be said, that is applied to both funky bombs and death heads, not only against truces – they were the mean of people expressing their attitude to any kind of behavior they did not approve. But with funky bombs being made weak and both weapons extremely expensive in the conditons of all prices increase, players were deprived of such freedom.

    Another destructive change that should be mentioned, reducing some part of variety the game had, was ‘delayed defence’. Although that change were introduced through multiple discussions, polls and a trial, it still does not prove that it reflected the opinions of majority of players of the time. It had clearly shown that the speed of game does not change at all because there would be always either players who take long time to aim, or people who chat or whisper. Reducing a whole branch of interesting aspects of game is just a thing that reduces the amount of interest that game can possibly develop in people.

    At least this change seems to be cancelled with the new mode of play that you have introduced in the new beta.

    That was a brief description of the destructive changes that were brought into game by these 41-41.2 innovations.

    Once again about the advantages of ‘free market’:
    – It was not a free market and did not work.
    – It did not increase weapons usage variety even with all the pronounced change of their prices as an attempt to decrease demand on some and increase it for another types of them.
    – It ruined the substantial balance between high skilled and all other players.
    – It ruined the variety of possible game strategies.
    – It ruined the ability to start the game right away.
    – It increased the amount of very unbalanced type of games where the winner was determined early.
    – It contained an element of personal will influencing upon the game settings which is very much not liked by significant amount of players. “Why is it you decide things to be this way? I want them another way”.
    – It cut the freedom of in-round tactics.
    – It made the abuse of dirt beyond possibility of being regulated by community.

    And together with the destructive consequences of funky bomb design the only one achievement of both is reducing the amount of funky bombs used in game, however having instead the amount of another debatable weapon being used in game – sandhogs – increased.

    [attachment=4:1pqnigqy]activity diagram.jpg[/attachment:1pqnigqy]
    Take the look at the diagram indicating the amount of activity through the series. It uses kills as a measure of things happening in the game process. Although kills can be made with different speed, and for example the game may be going for some time while many players are waiting for just few to make a kill, but in turn, too long periods of waiting are likely to cause some players leave the game so it is a kind of thing having balance in its nature and is good as an average measure.

    These numbers are not completely precise, because they do not include such playing actions as resigns (would be few thousands for each series), as well as the number of days by which the total kills is divided is just a difference between dates, not counting the actual hours of series starts and ends.
    However, the error these two bring comparing to the difference of values to represent the situation is not significant.

    Please note the mistake that comes through these stats pages: stats call ‘games’ what is actually ’rounds’, and ’rounds’ what is actually ‘turns’. Just try to imagine thousand games a day. Also, the ‘Weekly Stats’ and ‘Recent Players’ pages are not functioning properly for many months already.

    With all those changes that were given a brief description in this post before, there appeared a long list of new reasons for players to get negative experience, frustration, disappointment, boredom from the game, decreasing amount of fun, increasing amount of unfriendliness; reasons that were making people disconnect, connect less often, play smaller amount of time, which in turn was causing more players to reduce their amount of playing in turn, things that could be progressing slowly yet still had nature of an avalanche, with negative effect of one thing increasing negative effect of another and then again and again.

    The HUGE HARM that was done to the game by these changes completely ruined the trend of activity increase the game had before and turned it into decline.

    You can see the activity level turning from the almost 1000 kills per day in 40.1 s2 to the steady value decrease. I did not play any of 41, but probably the fact of its being short does not indicate completely precise the transition of activity, as its duration matches the busy pre-new year period, which is a natural decrease of activity (also could be some effect of the cheating crisis), and I urge you to sort the monthly values of activity if it is possible to do (through some scripting maybe), and you will see that the beginning value of the 41.2 was higher than the average value of the series – comparing to my 40.1 s2 experience I can say it had nearly as much, and after that there follows a gradual decrease with only possible seasonal deviations.

    But it appears that among those who should have been responsible for the game there were no one to see what was happening. In 41.2 I was playing the game from january to end of may, and even though I stopped several months before the series end, my online time stats ends 6th top. Probably only Rommel and Raden were these days online more than I was. Mostly at my evenings – that was european morning and day, but as well playing alot in other periods of time. And let me inform you, Mr Camp, the trend for decline had completely formed during the time when I was playing. I was there in game communicating with players, seeing then losing interest with game became more tough or just boring, seeing people losing interest because of getting too much negative experiences and too few positive, seeing people annoyed with dirt who could not understand, why does the game not cares of things going this way, seeing people who were saying they gonna leave and eventually leaving, and game did not care of that.

    And even if we would put all players on a scale from ‘I like all the current settings’ to ‘I completely dislike’, even the absolute minority of first were affected by reducing amount of activity and growing unfriendliness and thus eventually losing interest.

    The game was not seeing that. What the game was probably seeing in its imaginatory reality at that time must be the great amount of players attracted by these ‘great improvements’ and enjoying them.

    In fact, the destructive effect of the ‘free market’ together with its senselessness seemed so obvious, that I never dared to think it would not be fixed any later than in the next stats series. But then I had occasional appearance in 41.2 s2, and some regular playing in 42 and did not see any change to the market, and the same prices stuck to the peaks, same ‘chosen’ prices to be dropped from time to time, and the decreasing amount of players interest.

    The number 42 in these charts stands for my pick of stats made in the mid of 42 series, and the final stands for the total value. From difference between 407 and 342 we must conclude that the second part of the series activity was at the average level of about 280.

    What makes the fact of decline pronounced even beyond these numbers, is a ratio of activity of the most active players to the overall. Ratio of kills made by the top 15 killers to the total amount of series kills is:

    [attachment=3:1pqnigqy]top 15 rate.jpg[/attachment:1pqnigqy]
    The amount of game being created by the most active and addicted players became much more significant, although even they were losing interest in the overall trend.

      Communist Party Chief Leonid Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter have a flight in the airplane above Russia. A small town is passing below. Brezhnev:
      – Thats some wonderful people living there! 5 years ago we ceased electricity supply, but they live. 2 years ago we ceased water supply. But they still live, as if nothing happened!
      – Have you tried napalm on them?

        – Soviet political joke. You would get 5 years of prison camps for telling that.

    Although it is said that the only way to convince the fool that he is wrong is to let him have it his own way, it appears that 2,5 years is not enough. Obviously, because the case is way more serious than just foolishness – its schizophrenia. Game is totally blind to reality and is seeing imaginatory things instead.

    So in the end of 2009, a hardly-ever-playing game admin BOY, whom we already know from 2007 for seeing things, suddenly noticed that the amount of playing has decreased, and believed himself to be Jesus Christ.

    And of course what should had ‘rescued’ the game was more of his fantasies because the things went bad for the only reason game did not have enough of them!

    So the whole server settings where changed to some random nonsense of the mentioned sort and the forum exploded with tons of new threads, and since it appears, Mr Camp, that you paid attention to some of them, I should explain to you who are the participants of this thread.

    There is BOY, ‘game admin’, someone whose amount of forum posts is comparable with amount of kills made in game in all times and all series. And many of them are pretty huge posts.

    Then there is a reply from Mighty Mouse. Chocolate Mouse, whose forum profile had only 1 short forum post before all that started to happen. One of the most active regular players of the last two years. A type of game-forming player, likely to stay online for many hours, being friendly to everyone, communicating, helping noobs to learn, keeping the atmosphere of fun, making players connect to the game just with the fact of her own playing – this is how valuable this player has been to the game whole this time.

    And this player has to come to the forum and to express the disapproval of things happening.

    There are also some of the most active regular players of the last two years – Shell, Hyde, Tlon, Naka, Sabi, and you wont find plenty of forum posts by most of them, but what they had done is a great amount of participation in the online playing. And they also express their disapproval.

    Actually, the ratio of kills to amount of forum posts that Mouse has should be making only her post have more than enough of effect here to blast all forum scorchers away through the google ad into the farthest corners of the internets.

    But what all these people say, is given no reaction. I do not see any communication in this thread – just a one man show.

    Changes? From long ago, many times, the players, people with real great playing experience and understanding of the game were suggesting the changes, changes that could fix the flaws, add more depths to the game and improve it. Many times game could have tried these ideas, analyze the experience and if experience appeared to be positive, make a constant change the proper way. But that was not possible even to give something a try. These changes could not happened because they were coming from players. And game has been completely deaf to the real players during the last years. However, it suddenly appears fine for some admin status whothehellisthatplayersdontevenknow to come and change everything without even asking anyone a thing.

    Time to look at what this pathetic perfomance has achieved.

    [attachment=2:1pqnigqy]08 feb daily stats.jpg[/attachment:1pqnigqy]
    This was taken yesterday at 19:59 server time, which makes 32 complete days of stats. The real amount of playing that happens between live players is at the level of 243 kills per day. The value fluctuates in range from about 230 friday up to 250 right after the weekends. Starting from today already, it will be even more boring to repeat these calculations – since once this morning I have seen nearly 10 bots appearing for a while in the list.

    It is way lower then the approximate average value stats show for the 42. And even this amount of activity is achieved, as it can be seen directly from the stats, by the influx of ‘beginners’ server residents who have moved into main, that means game is not actually winning something. Should we be surprised with it being that low, if there is a whole group of the most active regular players who have almost or completely stopped playing?

    What is ‘achieved’ in reality that there are real players of the game, who were loving the game for years and for years being the significant part of it existance – and game just throws them away.

    And seeing all this in progress during the last years in progress, I want to ask you, Mr Camp, the main question of this post: May be its just me who doesnt understand something? Maybe the real game that is going on here, on server – it is a text game where some chosen by you people are role-playing high ranked officials of the world-size organization and holy saviors? And that thing with tanks shooting that you download and install, its just an addition, a kind of widget for that game?

    Because it is nonsense for an online game to treat players this way. The game does not care of players, those whose existance itself creates the game! And what can be seen during the last 2,5 years is the amount and scale of game ignoring the players that has increased to incredible heights.

    I don’t know what ideas the game has of increasing activity level while treating people this way. I can suggest recruiting players from BDSM internet resources – there must be some people who will enjoy such experiences.

    The scale of effects of only few changes upon the game shows it clear enough that this game settings is not something that can be just squizzled and crampled with hopes that maybe something good suddenly will be created.

    All this recent commotion in forums has a strong flavor of avoiding to touch the reasons why all that has happened in the first place. I dont know what kind of explanations of activity decline may the game admins have in their schizophrenic imaginatory reality. Maybe it is aliens prolonged telepathic attack, maybe the solar radiation, or the global economic crisis.

    And despite the attempt to present things like it all ‘just happened’, the decline has very certain reasons, and it was neither mentioned nor anything like ‘game became outdated’. It was not a natural disaster or aliens attack (well, it was aliens attack of a sort – influence of many people being alien to the real game).

    And now the things are being presented like the game was just recently born and needs to learn to find solutions.

    While there is more than enough of practical game experience.
    Oops, game experience is not related to the admins.
    What are the changes that are implied to help the game?
    To add bots to the server.
    Indeed, millions people in the world are burning with desire to play an online computer game against bots. That is what online games exist for!!

    Look at the diagram of level of multiplayer activity on the bots server in the last series. This has all bots kills and mutial kills excluded thus showing the value of real PvP.
    [attachment=1:1pqnigqy]bots pvp.jpg[/attachment:1pqnigqy]
    What a great potential!
    It shows clearly enough, that this type of server configuration is not capable of developing real players community. If it would be any good, there would be naturally higher value of player vs player activity.

    But bots server is just a refuge for some weird individuals, who like to play an online game against bots while they could have been doing that offline. The personal stats of many residents tell that amount of kills of each of the bots by times exceeds the amount of kills of all real players taken together. Of course, we should care of these strange players too, but they have their bots server already.

    What attracts players to the game is the other players. Presence of more players gives the game more attractive power, so that the presence of each one in any given moment of time should be valued. But, in conditions when game has kinda realized that it is short on players – it throws a whole group of some of the most active players away! Very interesting approach to increase the amount of playing.

      Soviet prime minister Ligachev visits a state farm. Farm director complains about the cattle plague. Ligachev:
      – Have you tried to paint the cattleshed walls green? I’ve heard it helps alot. You need to do it.
      Half year later he visits this farm again and asks how are the things going.
      – Still bad! Still loss of cattle.
      – Oh! Well, don’t worry, I have plenty of other ideas!

        – Soviet political joke. You would not get any punishment for telling that. The freedom of speech was already declared. Although it did not matter what you could say – that country was going to ruin very soon.

    Some admins, no doubt, have plenty of other ideas.

    Besides, the very fact of presence of bots itself completely ruins another significant part of the game. Stats are the thing that allows people to have a kind of game beyond the scale of actual session of playing in a form of competition with various stats indicators, so that even players who do not meet in game due to timezones difference can have their contests. It is a very important aspect of the game that increases people’s interest in playing. However, the presence of at least one bot at main makes nearly all personal stats values absolutely senseless. Be it time or value related entries, first of all rank itself, kills, game wins, round wins, win ratio, kill ratio, kills per hour – everything becomes fake.

    (Also it must be said, that the new ranking system itself is also a change to have only negative impact on developing interest in playing. While the idea of finding a better way to calculate ‘skill’ is not any wrong, as it was not a much sense indicator anyway, but connecting the ranking with absolutely raw type of formula that failed to reflect the real skill, in fact it is not any better then the previous one, is another absolute unreasonable change, that has not even a small benefit contrary to the pronounced negative effect.)

    So that is not the type of server configuration that has ability to develop the amount of online playing.
    Neither was the 41-41.2 ‘improved’ type of configuration, which, although was still capable to get some new players, but two years of it being present more than clearly show that the amount of activity decrease with these type of settings far exceeds the amount of increase.

    But, the practical game experience has a type of configuration that was successfully providing the stable increase of interest. It was a 40.1 type of settings. There is no need to invent something the hard way. They had been working great for years. Ruining this configuration was the most important reason for the activity decline.

    Whatever possible type of interest to the game individuals could have, even with all its flaws that type of configuration was much better in developing them all.
    Be it a long term interest, or a short term interest, a players for just a season or players to stay with game for many years – the capability of that type of configuration to gain all the types was significantly better than any of the other configurations known.

    People were trying this game and getting caught with it. The server would hold a condition of over 10 players for hours. Sometimes getting lagged out meant no chance to return to the game soon.
    (And it sounds like a joke the fact that in the nearly alive 42 the server settings were changed to seat up to 16 players, when at the time it was really needed game was not able to do it – another sign of it becoming blind in 40.1 already.)

    The main was a place promoting a game itself (as the word game is mostly used for an online game in this topic). Anyone who decided to try this game, could see all of it magnificence. Lot of players of various skills happily killing each other and everyone was enjoying the game.

    For people who even had no intentions of becoming online players, who wanted the game to play with friends – it was showing the game variety they could have not discovered otherwise. Ahh, those chuteless noobs with their heavy shields…

    It used to be so nice and fun place, that people were brining their friends to the game, regardless of their taste to computer games, or even no such taste at all. Or some people could say: I personally dont like that type of games, but it looked like hell damn lot of fun!!

    More than just that, Mr Camp. If it were only the main server activity level that has fallen. In 40.1, there used to be a lot of activity all around, and, especially taking that after 40.1 the apoc was gone, there should had been some increase on the other grounds. But it was only few former apoc players who joined main, and everything else came to decline as well.

    The main server is a foundation of all online playing. Even if the players are eventually to prefer mods, the first impressions of the game they get from the official servers.

    If we dont think of those who are brought into game by friends, people learn of this as a Scorched Earth remake, and it is a greatest one. None of the mods had managed to gain enough mass to become independent centers of gravity.

    As well this is related to the game configuration: game has proven to have flaws exactly in aspects which work different than in the original game. Part of the reason is because people are likely to desire things being like they were in the Scorched Earth. But the main reason is that Wendell Hicken has proven to be a genius, he created a game that became that great, and his balance of things was perfect. It was pointed many times by players with real experience in both games, how making the things closer could make this game more balanced. Although some solutions are not easy to be found, keeping the course of the Scorch is the best decision for this game.

    So official servers is most likely the place where its decided, do people who try the game like it or not, do they become online players or not. That is why how things are going on in online game are so important for the whole community and the game as a software product.

    But now it is all in decline, because of the attitude of game game to the players. Although these days we often can see more life on merge than on main.

    Dont you see how the forums have changed? There used to be a lot of life, ideas, people wanted to create mods, to contribute to game in many ways. And now all that is almost gone. Nobody feels enthusiastic about the place that treats people this way.



    And now it is time to understand the reason for the online playing decline. The one behind the reasons I gave brief explanation in this topic beginning.

    Why the decline started to happen? Were it some kind of new problems that appeared before the game? Was that 41 case the first attempt of cheating in the game history? No. Or were these the first changes that turned to be not working well? No. Everything had already happened to the game before, and game managed to handle it. This is what have changed – game started to failing at handling things properly, because the connection with reality was lost.

    The amount of people who were involved in making decisions about the game which was not regulated has been growing through the years. While there were more and more, being not connected with the real game, started substituting the understanding of what was happening with their ideas what should be happening. And at some point the amount of that exceeded the rationality and it made the game blind.

    Looks like many people here confuse the IT related concept of ‘administration’ with what is an administration of social things. People are not computers. They may be – but in that case one has to be a god to look at them like that – so its just a philosophy.

    Whatever aspect of human activity it is, administrator is always in the heat of the things. Always personal contacts, always seeing everything with own eyes, even if there is a structure beneath that administrator. If you asked any of them, what would happen if they stopped to communicate and control things, they would look at you like you are crazy, and tell that everything would ruin.

    Administration related to human activity is not something that can be performed ‘remotely’. This is, for the case of the computer game – by visiting forums and reading server logs. People create the substance of online game, and constant contact with people is necessary all the time. Because any small thing getting out of control can grow into a trend, but look – nobody noticed the very fact of the decline for nearly two years!

    What was happening was things going wrong first. Then there should have been understanding, but where understanding of the game reality can come to people that are not involved in it?

    This is how for each problem instead of solving it by understanding the reason, there is an attempt to ‘fix’ the consequences in a course of suicidal self deception. First the ‘free market’ does not work and it is being faked with manual regulation of prices, now there is low activity and activity is being faked with increasing amount of bots.

    So as well instead of live communication to solve things, the forum becomes overgrown with senseless pathos of tons of rules, announcements, while the online game is fading. The game was in much better condition without all these things – it is a simple fact.

    And more and more rules are being invented. Admins already dictate people how they should play the game.

    With the real game is being nearly dead, with most players already gave up to try to get some understanding, there is still life in that schizophrenic separate reality. These people are playing different game here in the forum, inventing new positions for themselves, soon we will have new departments, offices, more rules, laws, regulations.

    What does it have to do with the scorched??

      Two political prisoners are getting acquainted.
      – Why are you here?
      – I was telling political jokes. And you?
      – I am a sanitary engineer. Was called to the (Communist Party) Committee. I examined and told them that they should change the whole system.

        – Soviet political joke.

    Mr Camp, of all the changes that online game requires, the most important is to have the ability to communicate with the reality restored.

    Please consider making few simple rules that should be applied to the entity of admins to regulate their activity:

    1. Only those who play regularly for some significant amount of time can be game admins.
    This ensures that each admin sees with his own eyes everything that is going on in game. This is a social game, not to know the people means not to know anything. Seeing all processes in the game, people attitudes and reactions as they are is the only basis for understanding situation.

    In the present conditions, admins for years absolutely not aware of what is game like. As well as for years they absolutely don’t know even the most active regular players. As if any decision made by these people could be any right.

    And while admins of this game might think they are just to mute and ban people, I believe that in any sane community the authority exists not to punish people for doing bad things, but in the first place to prevent bad things from happening.

    If you look at any players conflict in the ‘complaints’ forums, all and every of them had a long story of preeceeding. But there was nobody to notice and try to regulate these problems.

    Things are let to get to extremes, and after it comes to complaint so that somebody gets muted or banned, but more unfriendliness in the game is already sown, while not playing admins doesnt care of it.

    The fact that admin has to stand social consequences of his own approach to regulate things ensures that there will be some really serious consideration of way to communicate and make the decision.

    2. Admins represent both game to the players and players to the game.
    First way of communication means, from game towards players means providing the rules of proper behavior, understanding of the game and the community.

    To represent the game implies first of all that there must be someone trusted and respected by the community – that cannot be done otherwise. Persons who are having serious disapproval can not be admins, because that will cause more misunderstandings conflicts eventually. If a person has conflicts which he is unable to regulate, how could he help to resolve problems of other people’s relations?

    As well is if an admin is likely to have conflicts, dislikes and disapproval, he should stop being one.

    The other way of communication – representing players to the game means providing the development center with information of players perception of game problems, attitude and reaction towards changes done or ideas for changes.

    For admin who himself plays the game, it is not something requiring waking up in the middle of the night and paying one’s own money for an international calls. Just idle chat that naturally happens in game can make such things clear:

      (admin) [Darth]: What do you think if we ........... ?
    [Stinkin' Johnny]: Fuck you, Darth!
    [Stinkin' Johnny]: No, seriously, fuck you!

    So the admin can make a note:

    Stinkin’ Johnny strongly disapproves the idea.

    And whenever there is a discussion in the forum about some problem, admins provide not just their personal views, but with all players’ of their accordingly times of playing thoughts and feelings about the questioned matters. Players should not have to come to forums to have their attitude represented, if they are not interested. Only if they like to, they may come and express their views more detailed.

    As well as admins must ensure that the line from players is provided to any decision. Changes should be made counting on what is good and what is bad for those who play, and players input should be valued as much as much they are players. No brilliant thoughts of forum scorchers should be more important than what is important for players.

    Although of course people like uggsboots and bestpornforfree also can join the discussions and make their valuable contribution if they have something to say. But if someone wants his ideas to be approved, he should personnaly come into game and try convince the players about their worth. Or at least to convince the admins who in turn will personnaly try to convince the players and only if it will be achieved, the following report must show.

    So whenever a players attitude is required, for any time period the proper admin makes a small report about exactly what is it, like:

    Swamp Donkey likes the things as they are, Shorty considers it worth trying but is afraid that the consequence….., Triangle agrees but would like to have it a bit different…..

    And all this must have a public record. Which is passing on into the third required rule:

    3. Keep things open.
    Although the previous rule, that connects the entity that decides things with the real game experience, will certainly protect the game from the most groundless destructive changes like some of those that were made to the game during last 2,5 years, of course that does not exclude situations where there is no certainty and where some decision has to be made.

    Whose idea to be trusted? Whose suggestion to be listened to? The community must learn about people’s abilities to analyze, predict, understand things. Eventually the results show who had better understanding, whose ideas worked better way. And it is natural next time to listen to people whose words proven to have more sense, depth and understanding, to those who appeared to be right. And those who were wrong will have to think twice as carefully if they want to become right after being wrong, that is good both for them and everyone. This is how a progress is possible.

    But the way things currently are, it appears that there are wrong people who continue to do wrong things, and the game has to take it all without even a warning. And this style of things going does not at all feel anything like open source game. Who makes the decisions about changes? What is the reason? What is the purpose? All that is hidden in the darkness.

    And of course nobody bothers to tell players, why this or that happened, and only if you are a player like me who sometimes stays in game days and nights, you may occasionaly witness some admin, who appears online once a milllenium who says that he ate LSD and got a vision of millions of players having serious problem with something so he hurried to inform you, Mr Camp, about that, and that is how the change was made.

    Things just happen and nobody knows why, wrong things continue to happen on and on and its like it is no one’s fault, and what we see as a result clearly shows that it is not good for the game at all.

    With simple rules like these the game can stop this suicidal course of self deceptional ignoring players and learn from what had happened to it, and make proper use to this experience by correcting the exact things that went out of order and put it in a way to never happen again.

    Mr Camp, there is a fat fat demon sitting on the online game’s neck, blinding its eyes and whispering lies in its ears, and its pressure is killing the game. Maybe now its the time to shake that demon off, and make the game begin to see the reality and to care of what it consists of – people who play it?



    Well.. I guess i’ll post a short reply this time instead of the long detailed
    version i’d written to answer almost all your concerns. The other one i wrote
    seems to have been deleted by someone ‘else’ immediately after i posted it..

    Pity too. took me almost an hour to write it. should have saved it to

    Fine… Short Version.

    Almost all your concerns rotate around Free-Market, Rewards in Points and
    money, and Thier effect on the populations choices.
    It’s not Strange that these are only happening on the Default Servers.
    They were cured long ago on the mod-servers. Ask me how, if this post
    doesn’t get deleted a second time.

    As for Grids and islands.. Short version as well.
    Grids are gone.. good-thing. People relying too much on external facts
    and figures in a chart(Still are.. ) Your Brain already knows everything about
    Ballistics. It’s doing it every day as you walk, drive, play sports or even pick
    up a remote.. Stop second-guessing it and let it do it’s job.

    Islands are gone.. bad-thing. All the landforms in default are fair and easy
    to play on. Too easy? That’s what’s fun about them. Of 8 rounds with tricky
    shots, players like a chance to simply unload. Re-select the entire map-list..
    let them have thier cake now and then.



    Great read, you make good points. I really hope this will lead to something good.

    I was very active during v40, playing hours per day mainly on rommels apoc champions. After that and some time on the forums i lost hope. Sometime i dont play for months, then i check to see if there are any interesting games going on, usually on merge but they seems to be scarce these days.

    This is a great game with potential, how to get it to work needs a really good rethink about what we want it to be. I have my own ideas about what it should be but suggestions i made don’t seem to interest anyone really.

    Better communication and some sort of feedback system with the players seems to be key to me.



    Thrax, in your short version you seem to only adress the illustrations given.

    The parts with criticism of the system and the comments of the overall state of the game remain.



    A quick reply before I go back to read the rest.

    Of all the issues, why oh why list The small map issue first 😛 It is a trivial issue, there are plenty of maps to play on. I believe the intention was to remove it from the server map selection when we had fewer maps. The small map came up a lot and it sometimes spoiled a very good competitive game, as the player in just the right spot got the kills, and it had little or nothing to do with skills. Some of you might remember the old old crowd like cbx, ebo, direwolf, hobbesme, Willis……

    If the small maps are that much fun, then we easily can add them back in. I for one didn’t get much satisfaction out of it, but no harm in the map, its no big deal.

    Lastly, addressing your post to Gavin doesn’t do anything for you. If you really want to talk to him, you could PM him. He does get back to you eventually. The post stands for itself, so calling people “Mr.” is unnecessary to get attention. 😉



    Anyone going to own up to deleting Thrax’s post then??


    Laptops Daddy

    holy sh*t! is that a book?

    xtc, youve clearly put a huge amount of effort and time into that and have all kinds of ideas. why dont you make your own mod? set things up the way they should be and host it yourself. (or i or someone else could host it for you).

    i tuned out after about the first 10 mins of reading (sorry : ). hope i didnt miss anything important. i did get as far as the bit on grids and square counting, and i do have an opinion that, so (hope it’s an open thread)…

    i get the point about: better to have a few cheats than empty servers?
    (i know you didnt put it quite that strongly)

    @xtc wrote:

    However, they were generally equal match to the others of the category, and if it makes no difference, why is that ‘grid counting’ so special?

    is that bravado? : )

    anyone who can almost match a cheat without resorting to the same techniques is in a minority. i dont think these ‘elite player’s’ needs (ie, the sad few of us who’ve spent so many hours playing, we dont even need charts) should be factored into the games needs much overall.

    when it comes to square counting and the like,

    we cant have that kind of grey area. just my opinion, but i feel quite strongly about that (and i know ive posted similar thoughts on the forum before). grids (including modified game textures) and modified UI’s and charts are absolutely cheating!

    i know there have been several players who treat that kind of thing as a half-assed game strategy to try to even the odds and they dont mean any harm at all by it. but the thing is, if it’s done right, you could match a mod of the game code with some of those techniques and if the people youre talking about arent quite managing it, it doesnt make them any less cheats, it just makes them cheats who arent very good at cheating.

    i could probably make an overlay of some kind, mod the default textures or something and set up a spreadsheet of exactly which numbers youd need to hit which spots on the map in one evening, i bet you, and you wouldnt know it wasnt an “aimbot”.

    id like to see a big polite note on the forums asking people not to cheat, and i think when people do, admins should take a really hard line.

    anyway, wow that’s a long post.



    I gave the whole post a read over, but not able to read in detail everything. Much of what you said and your many conclusions about the people aspects of the game are very true. However, you mistakenly draw these conclusions out of the particular stats you have selected. I will try to give you an explanation in brief, if I can.

    STAGNATION. I think you are correct in pointing out that the changes we’ve made have slowly stagnated the game and taken much fun out of it. This is due to Gavin listening to many admins who gripe and want a really tough tournament style play in every game. I’ve already begun to address that issue. and am taking the role of Gavin’s personal representation in the server issues (the best I can). Many of the changes you don’t like are a result of someone not taking this job on earlier, (the admin commitee aproach has been shown not to work well) the last two years I have been much more tied up, but now I’m putting more into this.
    (NOTE: I’m also not the only key person, but only one person taking on as much as I can)

    GRID. This is an issue that I found unnecessary, and I said so. Many admins hated the grid thing and it was removed. It affected very little, as you pointed out, so why is it even worth complaining about?

    FREE MARKET. It is not the solution to everything, but you are correct that prices have been a big problem, and freedom to buy is a big problem. The way the free market works is “ok” but the settings are very bad. I am already attempting to change this for the next version. I could go all day on the free market issues.

    1. Fuel is again allowed in water and upward fuel movement less restricted
    2. Buying allowed in Round 1.
    3. falling damage is reduced to help with parachute cost
    4. Points focused on kills only, and less on simply surviving the round alive.

    Such as:
    Removal of Batteries from Free Market
    Significant price changes and bundle size changes

    You’re right about weapons use variety (why I’m prohibiting MCB – noted from your stats that missile and baby missile were about 50% of all kills. How boring.

    You’re wrong about Funky Bombs. There is a great benefit to the way they are now. For a long time they were so easy to use and so cheap almost all players agreed they were simply too powerful. True, a price change could have balanced it out, however, reducing effectiveness elimited the HOARDS of complaints about them. They are only slightly reduced. The fact that they cause parachute use is not a problem with the funkys, its a parachute price problem. (already addressed in v43)


    Laptops Daddy

    @boy wrote:

    I’m prohibiting MCB

    isnt that a bit silly? i mean, MCB is a bit silly, but if you have a group of players on the server who all want to play MCB style, what are you going to do?

    i dont think you can enforce a no MCB rule. maybe you just need some very careful wording in the rules box to the effect of: “MCB is ok, but if you dont like it, it’s cool and people shouldnt gang up on you if you dont stick to it, so long as youre not 1 player spoiling the game for 5 others” or similar? (put much more eloquently : )

    id guess that stuff could be allowed for as part of the game. imagine a voting system “player 1 has called a vote for small weapons rules”
    if it passes, the weapons get restricted automatically? worth a request, maybe?



    Thanks xtc…I read the whole thing.

    I been around awhile….even going back before the oldest ribbon I wear. I love the game, the fellowship and the late nights with a full server full of friends. i miss them alot.

    Like many things…when it starts being played for “stats”, using “stratagies” and needing all this wrangling over bs…it becomes less fun.

    Stop and think guys…what attracted you was the sheer simplicity of the game.

    my question boy is this…
    “You’re right about weapons use variety (why I’m prohibiting MCB – noted from your stats that missile and baby missile were about 50% of all kills. How boring.”

    Boring maybe…but if its boring to the players….why is it 50% of all kills?

    Action is found over in Thrax’s world and things like the scavenger games of past. But Main? Never boring to me….course I’m old and it doesn’t take much to get me excited.

    I’m seriously considering setting up a server turning back time to earlier version….maybe “Old Farts” server…from what I see, it just might fill up.

    “There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.” – Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914)



    the ratio of MCB doesn’t mean everyone likes it, it means the players that remain are using it. This is the result of a long trend 2 years in the making. Server activity is clearly down, we’ve covered that. MCB play is one of the reasons for it. MCB filters out players that aren’t as good. I am of the opinion it has filtered out players because it has reduced creativity. MCB became almost standard, every time I showed up, people were plaing MCB, that is because the players who excel eventually become bored with weapons like funky bombs… too easy. But new players are not bored of it, and new players are what we need. You can’t become a pro with being a new player first. It might seem fun for a few minutes as you get used to the game, but after being wholloped 15 to 2, to 1, to 3, to 0, shooting just missiles you realize, hey this game is not fun.

    MCB is prohibited due to the inevitability of a player coming in and having to have a discussion… “what is MCB”. “Hey, I thought we were playing MCB” “MCB?? yes or no”. “FFA or MCB?” “we’re playing MCB”

    Again, part of the reason for this is that MCB gives an advantage to veterans who can shoot well. Further more, it inflates thier stats more each shot, since skill is influenced by arms level. Shields are part of the game and shoudl be used for maximum creativity.

    It comes down to duels sometimes so MCB seems like a natural duel type play. It is simply very unfortunate that duels are so prevalent. We need more multi-player games 10+ players. Not duels. Duels are not what makes scorched really fun.

    I’m all for an “old guys” server. I truly am, I’d show up in a heart beat and kick but at MCB, but we really don’t have enough players for that. Sad state.



    I don’t see the reason why MCB should be forbidden. Problem is not in MCB itself but with people who force other players (mostly noobs) to play MCB. This should entirely prohibited, even under threat of ban.



    @hyde911 wrote:

    I don’t see the reason why MCB should be forbidden.
    Problem is not in MCB itself but with people who force other players (mostly
    noobs) to play MCB. This should entirely prohibited, even under threat of ban.

    2 reasons.
    Although forbidden is rather a strong word.. i’d prefer shunned or taboo.

    1. With Bots temporarily in the server, MCB cannot be maintained..
    2. You are effectively blowing a raspberry at all the hard work gavin put
    into making this game.. Default-mod contains more than 3 items, and
    you are refusing to accept that they exist. You limit your own strategy
    options, and only prove whose Charts and Calculations are better than
    the other guy’s.. not who’s more ‘skilled’.

    If you want MCB type play… Goto the place we specifically made for you, and
    let the more appreciative players use whatever they wish.
    If that place is not acceptable, explain clearly why.. and how to fix it.



    @thrax wrote:

    @hyde911 wrote:

    I don’t see the reason why MCB should be forbidden.
    Problem is not in MCB itself but with people who force other players (mostly
    noobs) to play MCB. This should entirely prohibited, even under threat of ban.

    2 reasons.
    Although forbidden is rather a strong word.. i’d prefer shunned or taboo.

    1. With Bots temporarily in the server, MCB cannot be maintained..

    That’s true. But bots in main are completely different topic.

    @thrax wrote:

    2. You are effectively blowing a raspberry at all the hard work gavin put
    into making this game..

    I guess You don’t have idea how much I appreciate Gavins work.
    @thrax wrote:

    Default-mod contains more than 3 items, and
    you are refusing to accept that they exist. You limit your own strategy

    It’s called free will, Thrax.
    @thrax wrote:

    and only prove whose Charts and Calculations are better than
    the other guy’s.. not who’s more ‘skilled’.

    I think I’ve lost appetite for any further discussion with You, Thax.

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