To Ponder: The Future of SSW Now that we're in nostalgia mode, there are some things I'd like to ponder before we get to January and the beginning of Cycle 19. We've pulled this game out of the closet and dusted it off, and there's some things we can assume will be different from the way things were in the Twenty-Oughts - certainly in terms of motivation for running and playing the game.
In terms of the wider gaming universe, SSW is now much like a seedy downtown bar where everybody knows your name and not much is likely to change anytime soon. Things are clunky, the decor is dated, and the beer tastes a little weird but still gets you drunk. It's a comfy place to hang out and you know all the faces.
So, in January we'll start a Cycle, maybe.. The main point of the Cycle and resets is to have a certain begin and end point for a period of gameplay where everyone starts the same and has the same opportunity to play an important role in the game cycle. This has not always been the case with SSW (the first few years had no cycles or resets, and no drone war), and it is not impossible to simply omit resets and the "game win" condition and let you play with no particular end point in mind.
I throw this out there because it has been expressed to me that this might be something people want, perhaps even more so now that so many other games we've loved have either disappeared or have gotten so complex that we can't keep up with them. Maybe what we want is a nice place to hang out and do some clicky in a familiar environment.
Anyway, ponder it, and I'll do a poll in January before we start. Keep in mind that no resets means some rather interesting balance issues come into play as stats and power grow unchecked, but it may not matter because I seem to remember being rather detailed about building in counterbalance mechanics, and you might find that as you start maxxing out stats that NPCs start becoming very difficult to deal with.. :D
Oh, I've just cleared all of Norton's drones from space, and in the game's current "Anarchy Mode" I remembered that you can't buy drones or facility kits from Spaceman's Supply. Hah! Well, then what you now experience when you hit level 33 would be equivalent to what the game would be like without drone war and resets, as is proposed above. I'll leave it this way for a bit while you ponder..
I've removed the block that prevents drones and construction kits from being available in anarchy mode. drone away! (:
Player Interest and to a certain extent money for 1 and 3. I still make my living from a number of income streams which involve running websites, and it wouldn't take a whole lot to make it worth keeping the thing running and spend some hours each month fixing & building. How much fixing & building would be entailed would depend on if we were talking about a relatively unchanging game that we like for nostalgic reasons or if we're talking about resurrecting it for new players and trying to make a real go of it. I think the latter would essentially require a rewrite of the entire interface, which would be man-hourly daunting and not in the cards given my current workload.
Then there is still Plan A, which is to just do Cycle 19 with the regular ruleset and shut 'er down for another year when the war is won. This is kind of what I was expecting to do.
Personally I am a fan of resets. I lik that the game can be won and then we strt all over as fresh popsickles. It's what makes the game diferent from KOL, which is a game that I prettymuch stoped playing.
How about a mix of the two? I know, I know "who let this guy in here?" but seriously, best of both worlds. In January we reset and have ourselves a war. then when someone wins it, we kill the drones and just hang until next January, then BAM! reset again.
If the war is won quickly then we hang a lot longer, if it's a knock down drag out war, then we wait just a little bit. This would satisfy the rest side of the player base, and still give the no drones/war side a chance as well. make any sense?
How about a reset every quarter? The society that held space for the most time would win the quarter.
"Tosses 2 pennies on the table"
As far as payment how much would be to much or not enough? I mean would a $7.99 charge a month be enough to continue to run the game and maybe add a little bit here and there or would it need to be more.
I like Salen's idea of a cycle then leaving it for a while - I mean it'd be cool to have one or two (or one a quarter - as Julionics suggested) cycles a year- since it is a significant time investment and as we're (some of us) getting older and have other shit we're supposed to be doing - it'd be good to focus on a few cycles and yet still have some of the relaxed bits in between - maybe some holiday bs out there during the off season...
and it'd be really nice for some of us that have shacked up over the years to be unflagged as multis ;)
I'm a big fan of resets, but I am okay if there are only 1-2 a year, as long as there are not 1 month cycles with 11 months of anarchy. I would get bored and disappear, in which case you would be relying on the email or Facebook to draw me back in when the next cycle starts.
I like the quarterly or thereabouts reset idea. The old way was too intense for people with work and life and shit to deal with. Each cycle was done so ridiculously fast, and then you had to rush to make it to 33 for the next one... but a whole year would be too slow. Quarterly lets everyone have a fair shot at really participating very regularly, if not every time.
Quarterly sounds like it would be pretty similar to the old way the game ran - the last three wars lasted for 54, 84, and 180 days (#16 was the longest war ever). The shortest war was 20 days (#5). If people want a reasonable length of time between wars, that would probably mean no more than 2-3 wars a year, assuming war lengths stay similar.
Play a cycle. Once the cycle ends, a four month Anarchy period follows.
This will "probably" allow for two war cycles a year in almost every case, and will almost never allow more two cycles in a year. No complex schedules, just a simple "Play a cycle, then tack an Anarchy Period to the end of it", every single time.
It will also allow a reasonable period of free-wheeling downtime for goofing off.
Seems the easiest way to get at what everyone seems to basically be saying.
and this is basically what a "Cycle" has been for 18 Cycles, with a varying amount of anarchy time in between. It's the way it works now, so I like it.
We may find that what we feel about the pace of resets changes as the Cycle commences. We are certainly older now, and we may find that once a year starts sounding like a pretty good idea as we wind down a hard-fought war. At least it always has, if I remember well.
Oh, and one other thing. I know now that there's a significant number of people who will come back and play, and that wasn't something I knew a week ago. So yes, I do have motivation to make new content. A significant break between cycles would be an excellent opportunity to do those sort of updates for the next cycle. Right now, fixing broken things is of primary importance, but there are still uncompleted planets sitting in the database and such.
I like the idea of maybe 2-3 scheduled resets a year, perhaps with a slower buildup before war can be declared. We used to have a lot of fun, just hanging out in space, knocking each other around, shagging like mad rabbits and getting bloated with power. I miss that part of the game. The constant, frantic race to space and droning is where I lost interest before.
I love the quests and puzzles, so it would be great to have more side quests for those that don't fit into the team aspect or enjoy the war. Not everyone plays well with others.
I have no problem donating, or even paying a small, flat monthly fee to access the game. I definitely think all of the work munk puts into this is well worth it and well deserved.
I'd be happy to be less player-ish and more helper-ish - coming up with content, reaching out to the newer players, or whatever would help munk keep this ship afloat.
First, resets suck people. Are you crazy? People stick around till a reset, and then when you start from scratch it's "eesh, time to move on to something else." Bye bye fan base and bye bye donations.
Second, there's an obvious need for a war. So on January 1st every year reset and start the war. Whoever is in control of space at 11:59:59 on December 31st of each year wins it. Simple enough. Happy new year party from hell, SSW. BOOOOM goes the universe in a big explosion of confetti, drones and slurring celebrities. Too soon?
Lastly, tell everyone from the moment they log in for the first time that they probably can't get through space if they get to a drone-aware level. Explain it all from the beginning. Not being able to travel through sector 387 in October without strapping 83,000 drones to your back won't make sense to them.
Related but unrelated - The whole other-game-"Oxycore"-armor-reward-that-is-reset-safe-idea is ballin. It's something to work on implementing to make it fun long term for the old guard vets. Just a thought. But don't make getting into drone-aware space a requirement to dimit, obviously.
Love the game. I'd love to get reset-safe items from the 1337 hut again. But if it's about to end in a reset next month and be on hiatus for an indeterminate time...