I didn’t actually mean MY game world – NO!…..close a game world…..but not the one I play in!
In fact close lot’s of game worlds, kick people out of one into another ~ just don’t close mine.
It’s a common enough topic in the official forums these days, speculation is rife about what direction Sports Interactive will take to address the current low levels of activity across the game worlds. The most common assumption is that there are too many game worlds and some must close, not mine though.
What people don’t agree on is how it should be done, and to whom. There’s a common expectation of people being compensated in some way if their world was to close, then again amongst some there is an expectation of being compensated even if they don’t. You can’t please everybody; in fact it’s certain that whatever decision is made to address this latest concern there will be some who don’t like it. So what are the options, what are the suggestions that are being talked about, and how sensible are they?
New Pro Game World
One of the suggestions currently doing the rounds is that of opening a new Pro game world, and letting people flood to it as they want. While it might seem a reasonable suggestion to get those who want more activity into the same world, in effect it would only be a short term solution to create another world that will in time experience the same issues of today. On the plus side though it would have a major impact on the size of some worlds, and therefore make the choice of which worlds to close much easier.
But what about those who miss out, those who miss the opening day, and those who don’t get the squad they wanted to start with? A big part of what got the game worlds in the state their in now was the opening of new worlds – to open more would seem an odd way of trying to fix that.
We looked at this a while back in one of the Dying Game Worlds articles; it’s certainly a suggestion that gets a lot of support. The difficulty comes when looking at how to do it, if it’s about making a new game world and ‘moving’ clubs to it from a number of other worlds then it’s the same as above (opening a new pro GW). But if it’s about moving clubs from one ‘dying’ world to another existing world then that’s worth more thought.
The first big sticking point to this proposal is which game worlds do we close, and which game worlds receive the influx? At the start of the article we already looked at the fact no one wants their world closed down, what about the game world that receives the influx of new managers? If you said you were moving 500 teams from Cantona to my world I’m sure the majority of managers would applaud the decision. At least up until they found out the terms of the merger, what benefits are these intruders bringing with them?
Ok so you come to my world with all your skills in place, that’s fine the worlds are of a similar age, there won’t be any great advantage in that although if they were moving to a younger game world like Callaghan it could present some issues. But then they want to bring their stadiums too, their bank balance, and their players or compensation for the value of their players! Is this a friendly merger to sustain activity or a hostile takeover?
“Building stadiums is too hard, I don’t want to go through that again.” ~ So they work then, because it should be hard, it should be seen as an achievement, and for those that have built one it lives up to those criteria. But the problem is there’s nothing else, for a new user joining an old world the fact they are behind in terms of stadiums isn’t the issue that makes it hard to catch up. It’s the fact those with stadiums no longer need to spend their income elsewhere, having completed a stadium (or as much you need) you can sit back and watch the cash roll in. It puts these teams in a similar position to the worlds before stadiums, and that’s a long way above a team without one.
What’s needed is more money sinks, more permanent money sinks. So while the new team is battling to build their stadium, the old team is battling to maintain their academy or whatever else is added to the game. Yes the older team is ahead in terms of infrastructure, but they are catchable on a monetary level. Once the new team has their income producer (stadium) sorted they can then choose their next stage to develop, and it’s vital for all clubs that there is a next stage.
If you want to bring your stadium with you in a merger then that’s fine by me, but it’s going to make the game world less attractive to new users. Even more managers sitting back collecting cash with little effort means the economy will go crazy again. It will be the beginning of a new end of the world – but nothing lasts forever right.
You want to bring all your cash with you? Again not real sure about that one, economies are different on every game world, how much cash you have and how you acquired it will be connected to that. Bringing in a flood of cash to another game world will seriously unbalance the existing economy, the value of players will be blown out of proportion for a long period. The value of any currency is directly proportional to the amount of that currency, so the more you bring the less mine is worth. Not a great attraction by any means, but something I could live with, again though it means the world becomes even less attractive to new users in the long run. Give them more cash too? Brilliant idea, let’s just flood all the game worlds with cash, make those 16k youth players worth 15mill regardless of their potential. Every player wanting 100k wages, every manager with enough cash to offer twice that. It’s one area that I think the game could handle though, in time the economy would right itself by removing the excess cash from the world. But if you start giving teams a cash boost now, when does it stop? More money does not mean more buying power; it just means higher prices for everything.
Players and Values
A lot of the world merger threads look at the option of combining player databases so teams can keep the same players, to date this has not been a possibility. Whether or not it could be coded is another issue, but as it would be a short term “save a world” approach and not something required for long term sustainability I would hope such coding would be considered very low priority.
Another common suggestion is that teams would keep the value of their players when moving into a new/other world. This one has a lot of ramifications on the economic level, if you want to come to my world with the value of your old world’s players then fine – I can jack all my prices up to meet the sudden cash influx. If you want to start a new world with teams from various worlds starting with huge bank balances, then I’m only interested if I can get in first. Even more than the initial worlds this would emphasise the race to log in first, the race to sign players from day one – minute one.
Again no matter what was done with all of these suggestions they are about short term fixes, and they would make any world even less attractive to a new user than they are now. One of the biggest issues for new players is the ability to sign quality players from day one, none of these suggestions help this – they just make the gap bigger.
Something that barely raised a blip on the forums, this is actually one suggestion that I like. It should definitely be a part of the game, at present the only thing you keep if you move game worlds are your skills (assuming you move to an appropriate world). But isn’t your club’s history a better reflection of your time in the game? Skills are purely a time issue, and given the current options there’s nothing that is really required when you move game worlds, none of the skills give huge advantages. If it was limited to carrying one specific skill tree then I’d take my finance skills, because nothing else has as big an impact on the success of my club. But the clubs history is what I’ve worked for over the past year, more than anything else that is the thing that will be lost and cannot be reclaimed on a move of game worlds.
Reset All Game Worlds
Finally a sensible solution! Well not quite, sadly most of the forum suggestions that refer to this also come with a flood of “what about me” type demands that include most if not all of the above. Quite simply there’s no point restarting a game world if you’re then going to unbalance it from day one by giving people extras. As we looked at in the last of the Dying Game World articles, some good changes are coming to the game and whilst they may fix many of the issues currently making old worlds unattractive what they don’t do is fix the imbalances that are already in place. They may in time, but how long do we want to wait to find out. Closing all the current game worlds when 1.4 is rolled out is possibly the best solution, and then re-open fewer worlds under more controlled circumstances It won’t make anyone happy – but it may be the best solution for the long term survival of FML as a game.
It’s a big part of what the game is about, the communities within game worlds, the friendships people have already made and the rivalries. All of these are important elements of what makes FML work, and as such any decision that might require the closing of a game world should be done in a manner that allows for these relationships to continue into the future. Give people the time and opportunity to move to new worlds where they can continue to develop that community, or the option to walk away from it if they wish.
The one thing every thread on this issue has in common is the expectation of some sort of compensation. Why? When FM’10 came out did everyone with a copy of FM’09 or FM’08 demand a refund? Of course not, you paid for a game you got what it was at the time, you enjoyed that. If a new version comes out then you go and buy that, you don’t expect a refund. But MMO”S are a little different, you pay a monthly subscription for the service, you expect the game to be updated at times. But I’m not convinced that gives you any right to compensation for what you have done over the past year.
There’s certainly no guarantee that any particular game world would survive forever, that you would have an unlimited amount of time to complete your big plan. What is missing is a clear indication of when a game world would be deemed dead, and therefore it would be closed. But for now there’s no reason why SI couldn’t just open new worlds and leave your current world to die a natural slow death. Of course that’s not the sort of thing that’s likely, they stopped opening new worlds a long time ago and that in part was in an effort to save your current world. But that doesn’t entitle you to some special compensation that would see you continue on in a new world unaffected.
My big beef with all of these claims for a type of compensation are that they are all based on unbalancing a game world. They are all focussed on the people playing now, and not those who may join later. They all make it less likely anyone is going to want to join your game world in the future. So what’s the point of that? If the issue is the game worlds are not attractive to new users, that they don’t have enough activity, they don’t work as long term ventures then surely we should focus on that issue. Surely it’s better to start over as we mean to continue, create fresh new worlds where new people can join at anytime without being put off by the fact that teams playing in them got there through exploits of the past.
If you want compensation then ask for time, ask for a subscription extension. Don’t ask for things that will mean your next world (or the one your in now) is destined for closure in the future ~ that’s what we are trying to avoid!
The Big Decision
The good news for many, well at least those who don’t agree with my views, is that the big decision isn’t mine to make. Something I’m certainly very grateful about!
Whatever decision is made by Sports Interactive / Sega about the future of the current game worlds you can be certain it will not please everybody. The focus of most people is about what will happen to their team, and not about the longevity of the game itself. I suspect that the better the decision is for the future of the game, the more people that will be outraged by it on the day it is made.
So how much longer do we have to wait, how much longer will it be left to speculation and rumour? Not long now, following some final meetings within the SI Towers over the last week Marc Duffy has announced in his latest blog that an announcement will be made on Monday the 23rd of November, and over the course of the following few days the plans for the future of FML will be detailed for all.
|Written By Mark Burton
A moderator since May 2008 in a number of beta worlds and now GW Fowler, he strives to highlight the community aspects of FML and inform new & experienced users about future game development.