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Balance GCR Dominance

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Galiantus III
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Balance GCR Dominance

Postby Galiantus III » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:29 pm

Having seen the several recent topics attempting to address the problem of GCR supremacy, I figured I would jump on the bandwagon with my own ideas. I have already made other suggestions in the past, including the creation of a null region for new players to spawn in, but today I thought I'd try a few different angles suited to the current debate: the extreme power advantage GCRs have, and have always had, due to being the "default" regions.

So here are some ideas:


This doesn't correct the root of the problem, but it does address the imbalance of power in the WA.

Rather than give extra votes to WA delegates of the feeders and sinkers, the extra votes will be dispersed throughout the region as a whole, to create a collective action problem, of sorts. In order to make use of the extra votes of the WA delegate, the region at large must be able to show a decisive preference for or against the proposal in question. If more than 2/3 of the region can vote the same way, then the WA delegate gets the extra votes. If the region is not decisive to above that threshold, then no extra votes will be applied to the WA delegate.


This also doesn't address the root cause, but the imbalance of power in the WA.

Institute a maximum vote count which may be derived from being the WA delegate of a region. Something like 100 per delegate would work fine. The extra votes that the delegate would have gotten will be passed to the nation with the next most endorsements in the region, with a limit of 50, then likewise on to the third, fourth, fifth, etc. until all extra votes have been distributed among the most top endorsed nations in the region. Only the real WA delegate will have executive power.


One problem that has been brought up in other recent threads is that GCRs have the advantage of always being able to contact new nations first. This is an obvious imbalance: this is a million times better regional advertisement than using the API because it is automatic, instant, and not subject to the API limit. But this should be a fairly easy fix - just delay these welcome telegrams long enough that a region doing manual recruiting should beat the GCR welcome telegram fairly easily, or only have them send if the nation actually clicked a button to move to the region, rather than at founding.


Another problem others have mentioned is the so-called "recruitment bomb" that new players experience upon entering the game. The idea is to try and cut down on this while also attempting to help new players more quickly find a region they would like.

The idea is that, when a nation clicks on the "Move to [Region]" button in a recruitment telegram, some information about that nation when they clicked the telegram will be stored along with the template for the telegram. This could be answers to the survey questions during nation creation, the classification of their nation, or some other statistics I am not thinking of. The system will then push recruitment telegrams further ahead in the queue for nations that more closely match the average nation that is clicking the telegram. This could also be implemented based on averaging some stats of the recruiting region, or by involving a region's chosen tags in the calculation.

At the same time, the rate at which recruitment telegrams are allowed to arrive in the inbox of a new player will be slowed down significantly. This is so that the order in which the telegrams arrive actually matters, and so that new players don't feel so overwhelmed at receiving so many new messages within their first two minutes of the game.


This would require the implementation of rules limiting how regions may be tagged, along with more clear definitions for each tag, and a new page for players to select a region to spawn in.

At the bottom of the nation creation page, the player would see the following arrangement of buttons:

"Create nation!" or "Select starting region" (optional)

Both buttons are self-explanatory. The important thing is that the player will be presented with a choice to either follow a default setup (a GCR) or go out and look for a region on their own (with a little help). This could be a very useful feature for class nations, as they could more quickly skip right to their region.

In terms of region tags, there would be a few modifications to current mechanics. As of now it is possible to add seemingly conflicting tags to your region. Under this new system, conflicting tags would not be allowed: "Liberal" could not be used with "Conservative", "Socialist"/"Communist" could not be used with "Capitalist", etc. It is especially important that the most common political descriptors are clearly defined, because these tags will be the ones primarily used by new players to select a starting region.

Players exploring possible regions will be presented with an interface which will allow them to choose from groups of mutually exclusive tags. There would be a brief description of what a region is and how to find regions using the interface. Players could search for a region by name, or they could limit the search based on a nicer version of the tag cloud. Regions tagged "Puppet Storage" or "Jump Point" would be excluded from all searches. Regional executives could also mark their region unlisted. The most prominent tags would be the more political ones (i.e. Democratic, Liberal, Religious, Feminist), the size tags, and the more self-explanatory RP tags. Other select tags would be hidden in an expandable section titled "more tags" (Founderless, World Assembly, Warzone, Offsite Forums, etc.) All tags would have an expandable definition, describing what kinds of regions use the tag.

After clicking "Search", players would be presented with a list of the regions matching the tags they selected, sorted so the region with the most recent successful recruitment is at the top. Clicking on the elements of the list would not open up a page to the region, but would instead open up the WFE for the region, with a button below: "Start in [region]". Players could, at any time, click a button in the corner of the page titled "Default Region" and be whisked away to a random feeder.


Rather than just add a bunch of new static feeders or sinkers, introduce feeder and sinker mechanics as a reward for regions that do a good job at consistently attracting and keeping new players active. Obviously this is too much power to give regions with founders, so this should be limited to founderless regions only.

The modification to current game rules is that the feeders and sinkers would be the 25 founderless regions with the most WA nations. The top 15 would be feeders, and the other 10 would be sinkers. The Rejected Realms would remain completely unaffected by this change. That is the simple version.

The detailed version is that to be eligible for feeder/sinker status, a region would have to be founderless for over a year, and would have to maintain a spot in the top 25 for 28 days in order to claim its status as a new feeder or sinker. If the region is the least most WA-populated sinker when another region hits 28 days in the top 25 it loses its feeder/sinker status. If the founder of the region is refounded, then not only is feeder/sinker status lost, but the region must again remain founderless for a year before the region can be eligible again. TRR would not be considered eligible ever, just to be clear.

* An alternative suggestion, based on a comment by Feux, would be to re-introduce the option to create true "founderless" regions
(like NationStates), and limit the pool of regions eligible for feeder-sinker status to these specific regions.

Along with this, it is worth considering adding a new SC proposal category which could be used to prevent target regions from gaining feeder/sinker perks (Not sure what we'd call it. "Castrate", maybe? Sorry/not sorry \:P). Some regions, like Nazi Europa, Capitalist Paradise, or Communist Bloc, would not be appropriate locations to start new players, based solely on their name, and there should be an available channel to prevent them from attaining this status. While this could easily be weaponized by the existing feeders, it is important to note that they would derive almost no benefit from passing such resolutions against regions eligible for feeder-sinker status. This is because the feeder-sinker mechanic would always be active in 25 regions, and also because of the ease of users being able to create new regions. The usefulness of this is debatable, however, as this would initially give existing feeder-sinkers much more direct control over the new UCR feeder-sinkers, and there would be other, more engaging ways ways for people to influence the feeder-sinker regions.


So currently, NationStates is an extremely English-dominated game, and that's very unlikely to change. But perhaps a change in feeder mechanics could actually promote the growth of non-English communities. Instead of spawning new nations entirely randomly within the feeders, spawn nations in feeders based on either their IP address or in answer to a question during nation selection, "what language do you speak?". Start with the more common languages besides English, and in this manner expand the site to be more inviting to non-English speakers.


GCRs get free nations, and by extension an easier pool to recruit from. Foundered regions get security. But non-GCR founderless regions get nothing, and thus get less attention. So here's an idea: let founderless regions annex each other to win extra WA votes for their delegate. To keep this fair, feeders and sinkers would be excluded from these mechanics. They could still annex and be annexed, but no extra WA votes would be gained from them either annexing or being annexed. Given enough time, we should see some empires crop up with power rivaling that of the GCRs.

Annexation would happen the same way as embassies, but only delegates could propose, accept, reject, or cancel annexation. If the annexing region and the annexed region are both founderless, non-GCRs, and not passworded, then the annexing delegate would gain bonus WA votes, while the annexed delegate would lose all their votes from endorsements. The bonus votes gained from annexing a region would be half the largest endorsement count ever held in the annexed region (rounded down). Importantly, annexing regions may cancel an annexation at any time, but an annexed region's delegate could not cancel annexation unless they got more endorsements than bonus votes would be gained by annexing them. Lastly, annex chains could exist, but not loops.

The intent of this is to create a gameplay reason for players to invest time in a founderless region, without diminishing the things that make GCRs and Foundered regions unique. This kind of game would also discourage the practice of passwording conquered regions in favor of a more economic, strategic approach for maintaining control. And the more powerful a region was at its height of glory, the more players will invest in capturing and holding the region in the face of active opposition.





Thoughts?
Last edited by Galiantus III on Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:28 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Aclion
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Postby Aclion » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:57 am

1. and 2. only address symptoms of the way nations are distributed. So i'd rather see 3. and 4 and see how that changes the dynamic.

I especially like 3 as my biggest hangup with recruitment is it's so hard to personalize and recruit effectively that it basically becomes a contest of who can most effectively spam inboxes. With the result that most telegrams go unread.

4 Is quite nice as well. I was lucky starting out to be creating a region with buds, so I didn't have to put up with finding a decent region. But it took me 2 years before I found another region I wanted to be involved in.
Last edited by Aclion on Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Vespertania
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Postby Vespertania » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:45 am

Be sure to add my own idea to the list: Ban the GCR delegates from voting in the Security Council.

Of course that only addresses the symptoms of the way nations are distributed..

You should also add the idea of creating some 50 new feeder/sinker game-created to dilute the sheer number of nations per region & the power feeder/sinker GCRs hold through that.
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Jar Wattinree
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Postby Jar Wattinree » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:56 am

Vespertania wrote:Be sure to add my own idea to the list: Ban the GCR delegates from voting in the Security Council.

Of course that only addresses the symptoms of the way nations are distributed..

You should also add the idea of creating some 50 new feeder/sinker game-created to dilute the sheer number of nations per region & the power feeder/sinker GCRs hold through that.

That won't solve anything for a year or two unless admin also forcibly displaces a lot of the current GCR population into these new feeders.
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Postby USS Monitor » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:02 pm

I kind of like the idea of limiting how fast recruitment TGs can arrive in a new player's inbox to make it less overwhelming and spammy.
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Leutria
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Postby Leutria » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:30 pm

USS Monitor wrote:I kind of like the idea of limiting how fast recruitment TGs can arrive in a new player's inbox to make it less overwhelming and spammy.

I think this already happens, although it might be nice for new players if the rate was reduced.

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USS Monitor
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Postby USS Monitor » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:56 pm

Leutria wrote:
USS Monitor wrote:I kind of like the idea of limiting how fast recruitment TGs can arrive in a new player's inbox to make it less overwhelming and spammy.

I think this already happens, although it might be nice for new players if the rate was reduced.


Yeah, I think the rate should be reduced.
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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:27 pm

USS Monitor wrote:I kind of like the idea of limiting how fast recruitment TGs can arrive in a new player's inbox to make it less overwhelming and spammy.


If the GCR welcome telegrams are also considered a part of this spam to be limited, that would be a significant improvement in my book.

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Jar Wattinree
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Postby Jar Wattinree » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:34 pm

Galiantus III wrote:
USS Monitor wrote:I kind of like the idea of limiting how fast recruitment TGs can arrive in a new player's inbox to make it less overwhelming and spammy.


If the GCR welcome telegrams are also considered a part of this spam to be limited, that would be a significant improvement in my book.

GCR Welcome tellies will be given precedence over recruitment anyway.
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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:02 pm

Jar Wattinree wrote:
Galiantus III wrote:
If the GCR welcome telegrams are also considered a part of this spam to be limited, that would be a significant improvement in my book.

GCR Welcome tellies will be given precedence over recruitment anyway.


The point of my suggestions is actually to help decrease GCR overall size and power. One of the biggest advantages GCRs have is the ability to send welcome telegrams instantly to all regions founded within their borders. These telegrams include instructions to keep these new nations from receiving any recruitment telegrams from UCRs, so if we are going to try and decrease the "telegram bomb" new players experience at the start of their NS experience, I think it is fair to nerf the GCR ability to recruit to something that can actually be competed against.

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Postby Flanderlion » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:13 pm

For 1 and 2, if they're deemed necessary should apply for all regions so it's not just replacing one group with another. Obviously I'd prefer to keep the votes, but that isn't life or death (for me personally, this isn't representing NPO). Losing any voice in the WA at all would suck, so against that.

Strongly dislike 3, welcome TGs are critical to keeping new players engaged.

I like 4, but that probably wouldn't make a significant difference to GCR strength, but does seem a decent QoL for new players. I also wish you could have a 'looking for region' type tag where you'd get all the recruitment TGs you can once you want to find a new region.

5 is alright, don't have strong feelings for or against.

I like the venters idea, and I am fine with losing portions of our WA vote as long as it applies equally to all delegates (giving individuals more of a voice). Welcome TGs are great for orientating new players to what is actually happening when they join, and if you look at the quality of the welcome TGs vs the recruiting ones you'll understand why a decent welcome TG is a breath of fresh air before you're choked by the other ones.
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USS Monitor
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Postby USS Monitor » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:12 pm

Flanderlion wrote:I also wish you could have a 'looking for region' type tag where you'd get all the recruitment TGs you can once you want to find a new region.


That would be an interesting tool for targeted recruitment rather than just TG-bombing anybody that was founded recently.
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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:50 pm

Added a sixth idea, just FYI. The idea is that if a region is founderless and is among the best regions at creating and maintaining activity then they can gain the luxury of feeder/sinker status. We discussed something like this on the Gameplay discord and I want to see more discussion of it here.

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Leutria
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Postby Leutria » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:32 pm

One interesting thing about number 6, is that in a way if allows the world to (try) and control what regions get to be feeders/sinkers through military gameplay. If that is a good or bad thing might depend on your opinion, but it would open the door to raiding feeders/sinkers to knock them off the list, and try to elevate a preferred region into the top 25.

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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:15 pm

I'd say that's part of the intent of the idea. It means that the 25 feeder-sinker regions have an interest in taking military action against regions poised to replace them, thus making the path to becoming a feeder-sinker a bit more complex than simply being good at building the power of a founderless region.

Other interesting bits:
  1. Pre-founder era regions, and the current feeders and sinkers, have a significant advantage in being able to hold or maintain their status, since they don't have a founder who can randomly log on and wreck everything for them.
  2. There are pros and cons to being a founderless region versus a foundered region. Founders have a clear security advantage, but founderless regions have a higher potential for power and dominance.
  3. This is how current feeders and sinkers would be affected:
    • All the sinkers would immediately become feeders.
    • Since the number of feeders would expand from 5 to 15, each of the current feeders would see their volume of incoming nations shrink down to 1/3 of the current rate.
    • Sinkers would experience a much smaller drop in volume, but their ability to retain nations would also increase slightly.
    • The current feeder-sinkers would experience very little initial shrinkage. They are all very well established and powerful in the WA, and it is extremely unlikely a small cut in potential growth will have short-term consequences.
  4. Powerful foundered regions like XKI, Europe, etc. would be presented with the option to gamble their security away for a chance at more power.
Last edited by Galiantus III on Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Vespertania
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Postby Vespertania » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:34 pm

Galiantus III wrote:Added a sixth idea, just FYI. The idea is that if a region is founderless and is among the best regions at creating and maintaining activity then they can gain the luxury of feeder/sinker status. We discussed something like this on the Gameplay discord and I want to see more discussion of it here.


Alright, this is enough to content me. Thanks for adapting my request.
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Old Hope
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Postby Old Hope » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:09 am

All the sinkers would immediately become feeders.

cough cough TRR
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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:03 am

Old Hope wrote:
All the sinkers would immediately become feeders.

cough cough TRR
you need a last region where people cannot get ejected from. Or else it gets ugly.


I was thinking of exempting TRR from all of this for that exact purpose. I guess I didn't explicitly say, but that was my intent. :blush:

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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:12 pm

After letting myself forget about these ideas for a bit, here's what I think of them now:

1. If no other amount of balancing is taken, this would be desirable, as it would give the feeders a reason to take sides on political debates in the WA, and it would balance the overall power of the GCRs without placing a hard limit on their overall power. It is also interesting to note that this could create an incentive for delegates to sometimes eject nations for not voting as a bloc, if they really want to use their extra votes and couldn't otherwise do so.

2. This isn't actually a GCR balancing thing as much as it is a WA-balancing thing. It could be applied to UCRs as well in order to slightly limit WA power.

3. This might not actually be as effective as I was thinking. I still think it has merit, but it's not a silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination.

4. If done right, this could be great for everyone: it could both cut down on the number of recruitment telegrams initially received, improve overall activity game-wide, and be a positive feedback loop for regions currently satisfying the needs of new players. However, implementation could be difficult, compared to most of my other ideas.

5. Beginning to not see much of a point to this one, honestly. Lots of work for very little improvement overall. Doesn't actually solve the problem. Probably just going to scratch it...

6. I still have a good opinion of this one. In fact, I'd like to make some additional arguments for it:

By giving founderless regions which are good at attracting and keeping new players the potential to become a feeder-sinker, there would be an enormous incentive for them to create vibrant, active communities. Conversely, any feeder-sinkers doing a poor job at keeping up activity would be in danger of slipping into oblivion and collapsing. Going the other direction, this structure would help to place new players in regions that are most qualified and able to give them a good introduction to the game that is likely to keep them active.

This would also serve to balance the WA powers and reduce GCR bloat, but the nice thing is it would only do so very slowly. No GCRs will immediately lose their place of power they've built up over the years, nor will they wither away and die. They will continue to receive new nations. The only difference is that, years down the road, they will have had to prove their ability to maintain their status.

Not that it matters, but something tells me the NPO would absolutely thrive in this kind of setup. Just a thought...

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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:58 pm

The problem displayed by the results of Liberate Westphalia is the result of player choices and in-context politics. You could probably break that up quite effectively by significantly increasing the number of GCRs- at least double, maybe triple as many as there are now. If there's a balance issue between Feeders and Sinkers, just combine the two types so they all do both.
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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:48 pm

Klaus Devestatorie wrote:The problem displayed by the results of Liberate Westphalia is the result of player choices and in-context politics. You could probably break that up quite effectively by significantly increasing the number of GCRs- at least double, maybe triple as many as there are now. If there's a balance issue between Feeders and Sinkers, just combine the two types so they all do both.


I kind of like the idea of keeping feeder and sinker mechanics separate from each other, as that has the chance to shape the culture of the region. However, a mix might actually be best, as otherwise you'd regularly have the top regions swapping back and fourth between feeder and sinker, and that would just get confusing for everyone.

Jar Wattinree wrote:
Vespertania wrote:You should also add the idea of creating some 50 new feeder/sinker game-created to dilute the sheer number of nations per region & the power feeder/sinker GCRs hold through that.

That won't solve anything for a year or two unless admin also forcibly displaces a lot of the current GCR population into these new feeders.


I think it is more justifiable to make changes that don't immediately attack and disburse current GCRs, but rather act over long periods of time. The GCRs did nothing wrong to get to the top, they just exist the way they do because of the structure of the game. If any of them fall out of power it should be because of their own neglect, not an act of forceful, immediate action from Admin destroying everything, disrupting the game and making everyone angry at them.

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Spam Spam Spam
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Postby Spam Spam Spam » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:11 pm

I personally think that your "null region" idea was much better.

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Galiantus III
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Postby Galiantus III » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:53 pm

Spam Spam Spam wrote:I personally think that your "null region" idea was much better.


The one problem with the null region idea was its chances of killing activity overall. From what I can tell, Admin prefers using feeders and sinkers because that places new nations in the center of the action, thus keeping more people interested in the game. So the idea ended up being shaped into a sort of neutral region where isolationists could go to specifically avoid the drama of regions, rather than a feeder/sinker kind of region; and that doesn't really do anything to solve the problem. So if we could find a way to produce lots of activity in a null region, then maybe Admin could look seriously into the idea. However, if we can't address the activity problem, then the "top 25" idea is probably the rout to go, since it is specifically designed to reward the most engaging regions for new players.

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Founded: Jan 20, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Spam Spam Spam » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:14 pm

I think adding a "top 25" list makes sense. Though I still think we should have a null region that you can move to if you want, however you can't spawn in it, which forces new players to look around and explore what the game has to offer.

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Minoa
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Posts: 3974
Founded: Oct 05, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Minoa » Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:46 pm

I wonder if capping delegate votes (at around 50 or 100) has been suggested before (my mind feels a bit cloudy at the moment).

I support the idea of allowing new nations to choose an existing open (no password) region to start in. I understand that there are players who wish to avoid the Pacific regions because they already know where they want to reside in, and if they do maybe set the recruitment telegram to "None" or "Allow Some" instead of "Allow All".

I would retain fixed feeder (new nations), feedback (revived nations) and fallback (ejected nations) regions for sake of easy recognition. I was thinking instead of 5 new feeder regions (The Atlantic, The North Atlantic, The East Atlantic, The South Atlantic, and The West Atlantic), as a trial to see how that will reduce crowding in the Pacific regions. If there is a measurable reduction, then we could expand the number of feedback and fallback regions to 5 each.

Another thing that came up in my mind is that new and revived nations could spawn in regions named after real-world countries. Unfortunately, this idea is unlikely to proceed because many of them (like France) are user-created, albeit tempting given that a number of such regions (like Bulgaria) are trophies of Macedonia. An alternative option is to turn only neglected regions named after real-world countries into feeder regions for new and revived nations, but again it could be too controversial.
Last edited by Minoa on Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Madame A. d'Oiseau, B.A. (State of Minoa)

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