NuNiverse Review Part 1
Fixed Turn games in place of TopAdvance and AFoF will change League going forward, but will it be for good or for ill? Planets Magazine asked several players for their thoughts on the subject. This is what they said:
Reactions to Leagues in general have been fairly well balanced. Many players have chosen not to participate, but criticism in the Feed has largely been limited to precise objections to parts of the implementation and not the concept as a whole. A few respondents have been quite positive, perhaps expressed best by Vader666: “I do enjoy League games, as the standard of play is high and you get few drop outs, so they are my priority for the time I have available for planets.”
One notable and highly expressive anti-teamwork statement, in practice if not necessarily in intent (We didn’t get a response by press time — our own fault for not asking sooner -Editor), was JoeSnoffy’s impressive results in his solo League Team outing. The objections of several others can be summed up with this quote from SocialAssassin: “It’s amazing, it just needs to be tweaked.”
However, several people found League games such an unpleasant gaming environment that they stopped participating entirely. Social Assassin went on to say, “I dropped from playing League because I think the season is too short. Which creates undue influence to play more games than I can handle.”
Another player went even further: “Every game I saw was dominated by a coalition among leading League teams that was [equivalent to a] pre-game alliance. I refuse to spend the better part of a year investing time and effort in a fixed game.”
According to J-Zan: “The Top Advance system was toxic. It incentivized the strongest players to avoid conflict with each other, and pick on the weakest players out of the gate.”
One player confessed, “It promotes factions. Pregame most probably, for sure we were communicating before [Turn 1], not to create a faction but to get a jump on diplomacy.”
Judging by the numbers, a lot of other people felt the same about League. Participation has declined fairly drastically; this is evident from even a cursory view. And, judging by our response, this has been directly related to the Top Advance / AFoF win condition in specific, and more generally the artificial time limit.
There does seem, then, to be a fair consensus among the discontented that a change in the win condition from TopAdvance is likely going to be a positive one -even if- the end results are not ideal. The question remaining to us is thus more along the lines of “How positive is it?”
From Commander Koski: “In all my league games it was evident that in the very first turns the coalitions were formed amongst the to-be survivors; somehow it was easy to just agree that “this is the bunch that plays together to win, no matter the positions”. In the future I’m sure it is much more difficult to argue this.”
LlewSilverhand was pithy: “Fixed turn… won’t prevent [pre-game] alliances, but IMHO, is preferable to Top Advance.”
Vader666: “I’m not convinced that a change to fixed turns will change the dynamic. It is the league format itself which values 2nd and 3rd place and therefore cooperation to achieve this even if a win is not possible. But I am open to the change and seeing how it plays out.”
For some players, however, this shift to Fixed Turn games won’t be enough. On this point, SocialAssassin said, “Planets can be played quickly, but when deciding our most prestigious award, the [championship] game should be allowed to play out. I understand we can’t go forever, but I know 1 year for top level play is far too short. As “Top players” this is what we sign up for.”
He’s far from alone in his opinion. “I don’t think a “Fixed Turn” environment will help that much,” said J-Zan. “Top Advance and AFoF gave us the incentive to not fight each other on the top. To actually “take down the king” you need to have the time to maneuver for that assault on the top player; to betray your partner to go for the top spot you need time to maneuver into that betrayal.”
“Top Advance might have incentivized people to form partnerships diplomatically and avoid conflict at the top initially, but it’s the premature ending point of games that forces people to NOT realign their commitments,” he continued. “Fixed Turn will shake it up a little as different folks calculate their choices – but it doesn’t actually change the incentive structure.”
It is our sincere hope that the new League format will improve the play environment. If the willingness of the developers to continue to make needed changes can encourage some of our lost players to return to the game, that can only help us all.
After all, it’s the players that make the game.
NOTE: The Developers declined to comment on this story.
We always welcome comments; further discussion on this topic is especially encouraged.
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