Roadmap to Success; Revisit to Alexis Bonte 2

Day 3,563, 10:18 Published in USA USA by Yui MHCP001

It’s been almost 10 years since eRepublik started its geopolitical adventure. People have come and built empires, governments, and communities alike. People have grown into titans, both in military rank and name recognition.

But only a few have never had their profile display ‘Dead Citizen’ since their account’s creation. Only a few have made it through the hellfire that may be their country's’ government and become President.

Even less people have contributed their time and effort into building tools from eRepublik’s API to host on a 3rd party website on their own dime. I know a name comes to mind for many of you.

It’s been over 10 months since the publishing of Revisit to Alexis Bonte (This will be referred to as RtAB here on out). It reviewed the previous 9 months of updates, in comparison to the roadmap that was given to us by Bonte himself, and even elicited a response from him.

The roadmap given to us had a 18 month timeframe. Those 18 months end on September 26th, or Day 3598.

Close enough.

Just as I did in the first RtAB article, I will give a rundown of all the updates that are listed on the forums, and give my opinion of them.

In the first article, there were 16 updates. Between then and now, there have been 28, or 20 if you count out the Developer logs.

November 25th, 2016 - Issues with the Appeal Function - Fixed

December 8th, 2016 - Developer Log: November 2016

December 13th, 2016 - Cat Emoji

December 20th, 2016 - Aircraft Leaderboards and Decorations

December 24th, 2016 - Giftmass 2016

January 9th, 2017 - Developer Log: December 2016

February 3rd, 2017 - Minor Tweaks and Improvements

February 8th, 2017 - Country Revenues Update

February 8th, 2017 - Developer Log: January 2017

February 24th, 2017 - Civil War Limitations and Upkeep

March 2nd, 2017 - Developer Log: February 2017

March 6th, 2017 - Minimum Salary Update

March 8th, 2017 - SMS Payment Update

March 17th, 2017 - Energy Recovery Changes

March 21st, 2017 - The Spring Weekly Challenge

March 22nd, 2017 - Media Widget Changes

March 28th, 2017 - Prestige Hunter Update

April 1st, 2017 - April Fool’s Day Event

April 5th, 2017 - Developer Log: March 2017

April 14th, 2017 - Giftster 2017

April 24th, 2017 - Top 100 Prestige Hunters Update

May 2nd, 2017 - eRepublik is on Discord

May 8th, 2017 - Developer Log: April 2017

May 19th, 2017 - eRepublik Cities Update

June 7th, 2017 - Developer Log: May 2017

July 5th, 2017 - Developer Log: June 2017

July 27th, 2017 - New Feed Updates

July 31st, 2017 - Introducing Plato’s Foundation

In the summary and opinion of the updates, I’ll be skipping very minor ones (such as fixes and payment updates) that had little effect, as well as the Developer Logs ( Dev.NUL).

Aircraft Leaderboards and Decorations: This one is self-explanatory.

Normally this would fall under changes that had little effect, but I thought it was important to point out that it took them 153 days to “take the Community’s requests seriously…”

Giftmas 2016: You got gifts to either use yourself or to give others based on what you did in battles, in what division and on what side.

A bit underwhelming compared to the Raffle that was done for Christmas 2015, but at least there was something.

Minor Tweaks and Improvements: This was a ‘minor’ overhaul of the media module, more specifically how they are ranked. It made it so buying votes wasn’t as important. Now it seems that comments are more valuable.

I definitely liked this update, however I think age needs to be a bit heavier as it gets older, and comments a bit lighter.

The first day of this was pretty funny, with really old articles dominating new ones:

Civil War Limitations and Upkeep: This changed the requirements and cost to run a dictatorship.

-Must be Level 25 to create Military Unit
-Military must be 60+ days old to start a Civil War
-Commanders must be in charge for 14+ days to start a Civil War, and must be Level 25.
-Dictatorships now cost 50% of the daily income of the country, with a minimum of the CC equivalent of 25 Gold. Note that this took 476 days from its initial mention in the Resource Wars 2016 Edition forum post to be implemented.

This killed most Defensive Dictatorships, and made Dictatorships in general not as attractive.
It also lead to a funny little interaction. A few weeks ago, a country under dictatorship was very close to dipping under the 25 Gold minimum, so another country proposed an MPP to put them under the minimum, which nullified the Dictatorship the next day.

I think this was overkill, but perhaps it was intended to be. The Dictatorship module did damage to political involvement of citizens. Damaging one module with another is not wise, so this could have been the “fix” without actually deleting Dictatorships.

Also, player cards. Nice.

The Spring Weekly Challenge:While initially intended for only the month of April, it had effects that are still felt today.

Rewards went mostly unchanged, however instead of gaining +10 energy recovery at a time, they restructured it into +1 intervals. The total amount of energy recovery gained between Prestige Point Milestones was unchanged, however it’s now slightly faster to get to the next energy recovery milestone.

Starting in the 2nd week, they added the newest medal we have, the Prestige Hunter medal, which is achievable by reaching 40k PP.

All good so far.

However, they removed ALL rewards past 40k PP without notifying anyone, which caused many to ‘waste’ energy bars getting to 40k PP as fast as possible. In addition, the PH medal provided 5 gold...quite underwhelming.

Enough people complained (and the website crashed) that they very quickly sent out an update on the 1st day of the event.

At the start of the first day, a redis server slowed down, making eRepublik unusable. Since this happened during a rare D4 epic, they restored all boosters that were active during the time, and also added 4 +1 PP 5 minute boosters to anyone who logged in on the 1st day, expiring at the end of that week.
They also implemented better rewards for those who tanked to 40k PP. The 100 players with the most PP were rewarded anywhere between 100 and 2000 gold at the end of each week, depending on where they placed in the standings. Unfortunately, they still haven’t implemented a PP leaderboard, so it’s mostly guess work to know how many PP you need for a rank.

After the Spring Weekly Challenge ended, they kept the +1 Energy Recovery, Prestige Hunter Medal (although as far as I know this was always intended to be kept), and the Top 100 Prestige Hunter rewards, which was fantastic. Especially with the Top 100 rewards, this was one of the better examples of the admins listening to the community.

April Fool’s Day Event: You could switch your strength with someone else.
You also got 20 bazookas instead of 1k CC for True Patriot medal.

I quite enjoyed this event. I liked seeing the developers willing to code a completely new feature for a one day event.

In summary: haHAA.

Giftster 2017: See Giftmass 2016.

Copy and paste, bit lazy, but I’m glad there was something done.

eRepublik is on Discor😛 My baby. My precious little baby.

This marked the official public release of the Discord server, which I heavily encouraged the Admins to do to improve communications. In fact, I created the Discord and set it all up for them. I’m not the owner anymore though ( 🙁 ) but you’ll see me as the only Minister of Discord Affairs in eRepublik.

This also came in handy for the Plato Foundation update, since that’s where the Plato Foundation Board hosts its discussions.

New Feed Updates: The News Feed saw many needed improvements. There’s now a country tab, where Presidents, MoFAs, Congressmen, and etc, can post announcements, which gives more of a sense of community in a country. Party Presidents and MU Commanders can remove posts from their feed, which, as a mod, was nice to see because they were annoying to take care of in the first place. Achievements take up less space. You now see how many shouts you’ve missed on your feeds since you last closed the tab, and now you can fetch the link to a post directly.

8/10, 10/10 if we got the option to hide all medal notifications.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see that I skipped the two biggest updates of these past months. This is because they deserve special attention, for varying reasons.

eRepublik Cities Update: Now you can choose a state capital to reside in. Residing in a city costs some initial CC, and gives you an extra 50 energy, and an extra +2 Energy Recovery from staying in your residence. If you move out of your residence, you immediately lose your energy recovery, but the extra energy lasts for 30 minutes afterwards. Cities also gave you a house duration bonus, which is nice. Also, mayors soon™.

So why does the City update deserve special attention?

It’s been 94 days (at time of writing: August 22nd, 2017) since this update. We still don’t have elections for Mayor or the City Council, and by extension the City Budget.

This feels familiar.

Oh right, it’s because the then-called Regional governments were first brought up in the Resource Wars Prologue forum post, with an initial timeline of two months. So in actuality, it’s been 489 days (at time of writing: August 22nd, 2017).

Plato Foundation: Basically, if you have a project idea that would stimulate the community, you’ll get gold to help fund it. Or if you’ve done something really cool, like write a Discord bot for eRep, you can get gold as a reward. It’s all decided by a small committee, filled with 2 Community Officers, 3 eRepublik Moderators, and 4 high profile players.

This is definitely a great update. So why did I skip over it initially?

Because this is just a recycled idea.

The Plato Foundation, in a nutshell, is the community giving the community stuff. This has been happening for all the days that eRepublik has existed without the help of eRepLabs for the most part. There’s nothing new here, besides an infinite supply (capped at 1000 gold a month), and now there’s a team to approve of its use. It’s a great way for eRepLabs to support the community and I would love for it to keep going for months to come, but there’s no new, refreshing feeling to it.

This article, and RtAB before it has had enough of my opinions. What do other prominent citizens think?

Master_rg, obviously the citizen I was referring to in the introduction, recently had some choice words.
Click for a full size image

Master_rg points out that there’s very little content a user can create within the confines of eRepublik. You can host competitions, like most kills, most damage, best guerilla performance (looking at you Clopo), but when looking at the rest, there’s so few options. The first contest that the Plato Foundation gave funding to, eRepublik Idol, has absolutely no ties to the game. It’s just a singing contest between people who happen to play the same browser game. So when there are very little unique ideas, there’s very little use in the long run for a foundation that gives funding for these ideas.

He also says that the Plato Foundation should have had a completely different objective, closer to that of the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management (CSM). The CSM is a board of players, elected by the players, to represent them to the CCP, EVE Online’s game developer. They give “focused, structured feedback from the community to CCP and represents its view and interests.”

Just to make sure Master_rg didn’t put words into Clopoyaur’s mouth, I asked him about his streaming, and he also was kind enough to let me quote him.

Gnilraps also had something to say in response to Master_rg’s message.

3 of the biggest personalities in this game (4 if you include me, but let’s be real you probably don’t) all in agreement.

Doesn’t that say something?

Let’s return to the roadmap itself, and see what they have or haven’t succeeded in doing in these 17-18 months

Objective 1: Retaining new players
What was visibly done: Daily Orders and Daily Rewards are now notifications, players are now put into Military Units focused on helping them progress through the game.
Was the Objective complete😛 Based on the graph provided by eRepBox, no.

Peak - 98,801 on February 24th, 2016
Lowest - 60,857 on October 27th, 2016

eRepublik is still seemingly hemorrhaging its new players, since 1-2 months after player spikes, a sharp player decrease is seen.

Objective 2: Go from 2 successful games to 3 or 4, with a focus on eRepublik
What was visibly done: Age of Lords continues to be successful, with World at War joining it. Hard to tell if eRepublik was focused on, since there’s still a lack of transparency.
Was the Objective complete😛 Depends if you think eRepublik is still a successful game. If so, then yes. If not, then no.

Objective 3: Dedicating more resources to eRepublik, by applying new knowledge and taking more risks.
What was visibly done: …
Was the Objective complete😛 ...

None of the objectives that I pulled out from Bonte’s original article have a definitive completion.

In the 18 months Alexis gave to the team, none of them got done. What was the point of giving us this roadmap? The general point of roadmaps is to lead to success.

But all this was was a roadmap to failure.

From most of the big updates we’ve seen, they’ve felt, in Master_rg’s words, half-baked.
They don’t feel completely planned on release. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No. Sometimes you’ll want to collect data on certain aspects of the new update before pushing out others. But what IS a bad thing is saying X and Y are coming, collecting the data, then deciding to not release X and Y, while not informing the community of the cancellation. We’ve seen this countless times.

Q6 and Q7 Housing.
Perception TGs, thankfully now confirmed to likely never come.
Q2+ Weapons for Airplanes
Regional Governments
Region specific taxes
Mayor and City Council, as well as their budgets.
And probably more that I cannot recall or wasn't here for.

How do you expect the common citizen to react to these updates? Many people get fed up from these and leave, it’s reflected in the citizen data.

How do you expect the community leaders to react?
Click on images for the full size

Master_rg, the provider of the largest 3rd party website for eRepublik, one who has many people supporting his endeavors of providing this 3rd party, is now about to quit the game, and his website will leave with him.

Gnilraps said it best in the quote earlier in the article; “If they waste this opportunity, I fear they will squander the last remaining goodwill they have among those who linger. There will probably always be a few goldbeasts…but if eRepublik loses its community leaders this particular game will be useless.

You’re about to lose the biggest community leader in the game, perhaps 2nd to Clopoyaur.

And he’s not the only one.

Some of you know that I pick up many jobs in eRepublik: President, Pacifica Secretary General, MoFA, Director of Damage in Resource Wars 2016, eRep Moderator, Keeper of the eRep Discord, and a few others.

I’ve been asked why I do this, and why I seemingly don’t take a break.

It’s because I don’t have fun in this game. It seems backwards right? If I’m not having fun, why would I get myself more involved?

The only way I feel engaged is by taking up all these roles and jobs. Sometimes I find it enjoyable, but most of the time they feel like meaningless tasks.
However I know if I take a break, I probably won’t return for months.

I’d get burnt out doing the bare minimum before I’d get burnt out doing everything.

Now, Alexis and eRepLabs, you stand at a crossroads, perhaps similar to one you’ve stood at before.

One path is just trying to maintain the game, keeping it alive on life support for as long as possible, waiting for everyone to get fed up and leave.

The other path is actually taking initiative and a risk by doing everything you can to revive the game, no matter how extreme the change.

Currently, we see your chosen path as the first one.

Clopoyaur is finding it harder and harder to stream eRepublik.
Master_rg is ready to quit
I’m running out of jobs to pick up, and unlike in the first RtAB article, I’m running out of hope.

We’re tired. Not just us 3, but the player base as well.

We’re all tired.