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The Eternal Debate: Retention Isn't Everything

Day 2,446, 20:20 Published in USA USA by Civil Anarchy

Evening eAmerica,

Last month, I published a fairly large article with a very basic purpose; To give Presidential elections the contrast they so desperately need. To be honest, that’s always been one of my little issues with the way that these elections usually play out. As a fairly ardent debater, too much agreement on issues has always made me think that people don’t think enough about those issues in the first place.

Whenever I read campaign articles, it’s hard to find actual disagreement in them. Most of the articles talk primarily about ideals and broad plans, so I see how it would be difficult to even find concrete disagreement. As we all know, it’s much harder to disagree with the idea of something than it is with the actual implementation. Everyone likes “a strong and expansive foreign policy meant to protect our shores,” but clearly not everyone believes that the paths towards that goal are equal.

In reality, the only distinctions of policy we get out of the modern Presidential race is that of priority; meaning, everyone generally supports the same ideas and philosophies, but place more emphasis on other things as their primary motivation as Presidential candidates. When these people are questioned about other forms of policies, the response is generally along the lines of, “Sure, it would also nice to have that too! We should do that.” Occasionally, we have candidates disagree on certain minutiae of policy making. A good example would be something along the lines of Militia policy in the last election. While both candidates agreed on basic premise, being that militias ought be included, the exact methodology of that was disputed. One candidate wished to create a new department within the NSC, while the other merely wished to include more militia leaders in the current created decision making policy.

Maybe that disagreement is enough for eAmerica. Sometimes the smaller things are the important details that make or break a program. However, I’ve been conditioned against those sorts of plans. Understanding that, I want to present you with a real contrast in policy; something not only totally unexplored by the other campaign, but something I also intend to adamantly defend is far more important.

As you may or may not be aware, I was recently named the Secretary of Interior for the DMJohnston re-election campaign. In doing this, I’ve taken control of planning the alternative Interior department to Irule777, who had personally stated that the majority of his campaign will based on domestic initiatives. Irule has written extensively on the benefits of retention based policies, and has suggested a few ways of increasing that retention in the eUS. Specifically, he has two articles out on the subject, which you can find here and here.

I’ve told you that I was going to offer contrast, so here we go. In this article, I will forward the following argument. Recruitment ought be a higher priority of the eUnited States over Retention, and until a stable and effective Recruitment program is established, the Department of Interior will not be expanding any Retention programs. To be clear, we will not be cutting any currently existing Interior programs, and we’ll be making sure all of them function adequately.

In the upcoming month, we’ll be implementing a number of programs meant to increase the total amount of players coming to eRep. These initiatives will be placed under a blanket program called SeRI, and will begin with a very simple initial step, that also gives us the opportunity to ensure the DoI’s media presence is consistent;

The Democratic Expansion Plan will consist of one Top 5 article with a number of links to vote for eRepublik on top gaming websites. Similar to how a number of other games attempt to get popularity, we’ll be using the current eRepublik audience to recruit new people. In the past, programs similar to this brought about 200-300 people to the game. I feel as though this will be a fairly small, but effective, plan that we’ll use to help illustrate the benefits of Recruitment programs to the eUS, as well as a number of other benefits.

There are three primary reasons as to why I believe we should be focusing on expanding our efforts of recruitment, instead of retention:

1) We can only add so much to this game.
It’s no secret that erepublik caters to a very specific group of online gamers. Some people just don’t like certain types of browser games, because they’re either too slow paced, or were advertised in a slightly different way than the mechanics actually play out. And let’s be real, eRepublik isn't exactly the most clear about what the game actually is, considering it’s advertised as an online strategy game. There are numerous examples of other forms of strategy games, like tribal wars, that are vastly different than the type of experience eRepublik offers. In my opinion, this ambiguity is one of the primary reasons that eRepublik has such a high attrition rate; although, this may just be a theme of online video games in general. Nevertheless, we can ascertain the fact that in most situations, people act on their initial reaction to the game, and allow that to be the primary decision maker in whether or not they continue playing said game.

So, understanding this fact, we have to then understand that things such as the welcoming committee can then have very little effect. No matter what the message is, you won't be able to convince people who simply dislike the mechanics of the game to stick around. The only resources at our disposal are the friendly intentions of the people who send out the original messages. Don’t get me wrong, a friendly voice is sometimes good for people who already have the necessary preconditions to be a player in this game, but the people who are not enthused by the game mechanics aren't as susceptible; they can find friendly faces in games they already enjoy, and thus, there’s no reason to prioritize this one.

In addition to that fact, there’s already an existing mechanism for people who have their foot in the door, the president’s message. While, admittedly, this is only one message, it still ensures people aren't alive. We can also use that message as a springboard into the forums, IRC and everything else that we find value in. This reality leads me into the second argument.

2. The Government is the only group with enough resources to do recruitment
While retention is done by the presidents message, recruitment literally has no focus by any entity at this current time. There used to be a golden age where eRep Labs would spend their money on advertising, instead of silly contests and graphic designs. It’s fairly clear that this age has passed, and that now, the only support we get from the admins comes in the form of a 20% gold bonus for any of the people we can manage to convince to try out the game. While this is a nice thing, it is hardly the grounds for a major shift in population, or the works necessary to create the influx of new citizens that this game desperately needs. In addition to this fact, the eUS and other countries like us have largely given up any sort of pursuit in this field, mostly because of the fact that it is a comparatively harder pursuit than most other programs.

In contrast, retention has an extraordinary amount of support. The admins regularly attempt to do contests to encourage consistent activity, such as the weekly prestige contests. Military units actively recruit, directly and through the media, which helps encourage military minded citizens to stay involved. Parties, to the best of their ability, attempt to keep their members involved with the game and other meta-activities as well. They actively recruit new players, and work to create environments that effectively retain a large portion of their members. Finally, all of the currently existing infrastructure in the Department of Interior exclusively goes towards retention, not recruitment. Considering this, the reality that recruitment receives zero attention from government, party, or MU groups should be something we’re placing at the forefront of our priorities.

The reasoning as to why retention receives more attention is also flawed, when properly examined. You see, Retention is simply easier to do, because it’s a far more explored territory of governmental action. Ask any old player about the platforms of newer candidates, and I can guarantee that whichever idea they have, which is supposedly new, has been proposed and implemented at one point in the past. Thankfully, in the current day and age, most players acknowledge this reality, and write campaign articles with language more akin to reviving old programs but that’s beside the point. Consider we have a wealth of experience in making retention programs, but a dearth regarding recruitment, we face an unfortunate political situation. It is more politically viable to advocate retention programs, because you can simply operate through the previously existing methods, since all you have to do is reuse the old methods, with perhaps a handful of adaptations.

In addition to that, Recruitment requires more raw manpower than other DoI programs. There exist very few tools, such as mass messengers, due to the fact that online infrastructure is not in our control nor has the field been as developed over the years. While this, on face, appears to be a negative, it actually has a number of surprising benefits for the department. Out of necessity arises opportunity, and that opportunity falls squarely on the shoulders of our newer player base, who want a chance to prove themselves in government positions. The potential for management positions gives people the opportunity to rise within the DoI, as well as a guiding purpose. That guiding purpose can help avoid certain realities that destroyed programs like the Ambassador department, because people realize just how useless that program is when they become an ambassador themselves. The lack of responsibility and resulting lack of faith in the position they’ve been given, eventually results in them halting their work as an ambassador, which is one of the primary reasons the ambassador program had such a high attrition rate of ambassadors in the past.

In contrast, recruitment can offer as much or as little work as the average person would like; as well as other incentives. In theory, a recruitment program can actually offer something that will boost activity, keep people in the program, and give the entire eUS a bit of an edge. For lack of a better work, recruitment can offer a paycheck, which leads me into my third and final argument.

3. Recruitment makes gold for everyone

Depending on how the program is operated, and how we structure the incentive system, the 20% referral bonus can be a huge resource for the country. Evenly distributed, citizens who stay in the game can offer an average of 33 gold. More so, gold buying citizens can offer recruiters hundreds of gold over their lifetime. Personally, a referral of mine who ended up buying gold landed me about 300 gold over his lifetime. Who knows, if we end up recruiting another oblige, a random low level DoI worker could be looking at a benefit of over 1000 gold over a lifetime. These funds can be given partially to the volunteers in the program, and partially to the DoI. If we allow the volunteers to take a portion of the gold revenues, then they’re more incentivized to keep their positions for the long term, ensuring that we not only get more effective volunteers, but people who are genuinely happy with their positions, and don’t just view them as a way of moving up in the executive department.

Then, with the leftover funds given to the government, we can ensure the DoI no longer has to rely on the donations currently needed, or any form of governmental assistance. The DoI can not only serve as a resource for retaining citizens, but as a literal resource that can provide gold for weapons, food, and houses to newer players. That’s right, creating a focus on recruitment can actually make our efforts with retention significantly more sustainable, and effective. All this while, this is a supplementary benefit to the few people that end up sticking around for the long haul of eRepublik.

Understand that the plan I put forward, and the one that Irule stands for cannot both be implemented. We have a limited amount of manpower in this day and age, and we need to properly support the correct programs, not just every program. That means we need to make sure we’re not bringing back old and useless programs, but making sure that the one’s we currently have work, and that they’re the correct choice with the limited resources we have.

Our plans are in their first steps. In the past, Recruitment efforts have been rushed into. The idea of the DMJ administration is not to do everything at once, and burn out before any success is made. It is my intention, fully and totally, to create a sustainable recruitment program. What I want, above all else, are recruitment efforts that last as long as some of our current retention programs, and for people to realize that recruitment is not some far fetched dream, far too difficult to achieve. The reality is, eRepublik is, and has been, dying. This is our shot to revive what we clearly value.



Melissa Rose
Melissa Rose Day 2,446, 20:29

Civil you made my brain hurt. (as usual)

Oblige Day 2,446, 20:31

If the administration is serious about recruitment this term; I'll drop $100 on YouTube PPC ads promoting eRep if someone makes a 15 to 30 second preroll ad advertising eRep. Additionally, if DoI is interested, the official mentorship project is undergoing a revamping and the American team is in need of some fresh blood. Let me know.

Civil  Anarchy
Civil Anarchy Day 2,446, 20:33

We would definitely take you up on that offer.

Pfeiffer. Day 2,447, 08:58

Video editing is balls, but I'll help with the script if you're doing a voiceover.

dmjohnston Day 2,447, 11:17

I've done voice over work before, so script help would certainly be appreciated. Thanks Pfeiffer.

Gnilraps Day 2,447, 14:40

henry, I'd like to work with you on that script.

dmjohnston Day 2,446, 20:51

Beautiful. This is why I chose Civil for the job.

Jimmy Cincinnati
Jimmy Cincinnati Day 2,446, 21:14

I like the, main, idea. If there is any way that I can contribute, let me know.

rainy sunday
rainy sunday Day 2,446, 22:13

spot on

I am really looking forward to seeing plans come to fruition and will help you however I am able.
I've never thought there's a huge retention problem, this game appeals or doesn't. There is ample help and activity opportunity for those who choose to get involved in any area they're interested in. The problem is and has always been in recruitment.

rainy sunday
rainy sunday Day 2,446, 22:14

ps ily

Jamarcus Day 2,446, 23:51

I must say, that Civil Anarchy is one quality fellow.

Pfeiffer. Day 2,447, 08:57

are you not dead again?

Jamarcus Day 2,447, 13:28

What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger...Oh wait...this isn't Game of Thrones...

Bill Hook
Bill Hook Day 2,447, 03:07

This used to be a strategy game - I suppose it still is, in a very limited, highly artificial way. I stay, but I don't know why - I originally came for the economic aspects as much as the military, but they've been gutted, as has everything but the military aspect. I guess it's like playing the slot machines - just looking for always another goal to reach so I can feel good quitting, yet can't quit when I get there and push to yet another with the promise of the same despite the mindlessness of it all.

Derphoof Day 2,447, 08:01

I am disgustingly aroused by this.

Iamnameless Day 2,447, 09:09

Strong article; well thought-out.

kirown Day 2,447, 10:07


Jude Conners
Jude Conners Day 2,447, 11:19


Paddy OBrien
Paddy OBrien Day 2,447, 12:07

well put, a good elaboration on the theory of if you throw enough mud at a wall, eventually some will stick

Sideswipe Day 2,448, 19:39

CA correct as usual

Dell Fargus
Dell Fargus Day 2,448, 20:34

I just logged in for the first time in 2 years a couple days ago.

As an 'outsider', looking objectively, this game is dead. Don't waste your money on promoting it.

ERep became my 'time waster' after Obama killed the stock markets in 2009, and I gave up on daytrading. Then, erep killed their own economy with V2. I hung around for the 'community"...nah, I just didnt want to lose the time that i invested, to build up my character here.

Again, as an 'outsider', Erep is now a hard to follow maze of popups, rules, restrictions, and offsite dot-com-subdomain forums that arent worth tracking down if you have any semblance of a life away from your computer.

No sane person would want to be here as a new user.

Lemon Vodka
Lemon Vodka Day 2,449, 06:05

Sign me up.

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You are reading an article written by a citizen of eRepublik, an immersive multiplayer strategy game based on real life countries. Create your own character and help your country achieve its glory while establishing yourself as a war hero, renowned publisher or finance guru.