1) Farming/point hoarding discourages competitive players because they know that the only way to get to the top is to farm new recruits and point hoard. This is commonly accepted, admitted by farmers themselves, and I have nothing new to add here.
2) Farmers prevent new recruits from playing games with their friends by joining games before their friends can. Usually farmers claim that there is no detriment to new recruit retention rate but I have some concrete evidence.
I didn't pore over hundreds of games to find these examples. My sample size is 5 from the 5 active games that Maxatstuy is currently playing. In one of them the new recruit (no games played) who started the game or the friend that wanted to join told him in game chat that they actually created the game to play with their friend. In another game, his farming protoge castigates him for being quicker to the draw at joining this freshly created noob game. A third game is separate from my initial sample size that Max brought to my attention, highlighting the prevalent disregard farmers show to new recruits.
- Game 3749171
This guy wants to play a game with his friend, doesn't know how the site works. He starts a game. Before his friend can join, evil vampire Maxatstuy joins the game in order to feed off his noob blood like the ghoul that he is.
Read the chat, the new recruit is obviously disappointed that Maxatstuy joined his game, he probably only joined ConquerClub because his buddy said, please try this cool site out, we can play the online game of world domination.
2008-11-29 11:52:41 - spfy: Umm, hey man. I was supposed to play with someone else to learn how to play
2008-11-29 11:52:50 - spfy: but he didn't come lol
2008-11-29 11:53:23 - spfy: anyway to forfeit?
2008-11-29 11:58:11 - maxatstuy: oh
2008-11-29 11:58:12 - maxatstuy: hi
2008-11-29 11:58:21 - maxatstuy: im sorry, you cant forfeit
2008-11-29 11:58:34 - maxatstuy: I can try and teach you how to play though
2008-11-29 11:58:49 - maxatstuy: and you can play up to 4 games at once
2008-11-29 11:59:05 - maxatstuy: sorry that I took the game from your friend though
2008-11-29 13:11:23 - spfy: Haha, it's alright. He should've been quicker. I'll see if I can learn within the next 23 or so hours. ;]
It's too bad. That was his first game. He wanted to play with his friend. When he couldn't, he dead-beated and he hasn't joined a game since.
- Game 3742402
2008-11-28 07:36:53 - kylegraves1: you stole my game
How many farmers are out there in competition with one another to join new recruits' games moments after they are started, blocking them from playing with their friends who led them on to the site?
- Game 3231819
Max himself brought this game to my attention. Max told the guy he should not be joining games intended for other players to join. But you can see the prevalent farming attitude.
2008-09-10 13:29:56 - maxatstuy: hey H2, I think he was waiting for his friend
2008-09-10 13:30:01 - maxatstuy: thats I why I didnt join
2008-09-10 13:31:36 - happy2seeyou: Hello, have fun
2008-09-10 13:31:48 - happy2seeyou: If he was, then he needs to make a private game
2008-09-10 13:32:24 - happy2seeyou: I don't read minds, no matter what people may think
2008-09-10 13:33:21 - maxatstuy: lol
2008-09-10 13:33:31 - maxatstuy: he is a freemium noob
2008-09-10 13:34:09 - happy2seeyou: not my problem
Why would someone shell out the money for a membership so they can make a private game if they have not even had the chance to play with their friends yet?
- Keep the current scoring system and game joining flexibility intact, but create a 2nd, "competitive" scoreboard consisting of players that played with people more than 2/3 their score for at least half of their last 100 games. This idea is based on one recently put forward by Inhuman14 and it was by reading his suggestion that I got interested in further refining the idea.
Check out my color-coded spreadsheet that shows valid match-ups within the 2/3 ratio depicted in green: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pDS7aRIBiu0f3bagoahBmHQ
In my proposed system, raw scores would be used to determine whether an opponent is within 2/3 of your score, but my spreadsheet uses median rank scores as a way to approximately convey valid rank-rank match-ups.
Perhaps a different color could be displayed under a players name to assist someone in easily figuring out whether the opponent would be considered competitive or not. A way to ensure non-competitive players don't flood all your open games could be easily implemented, but it should really be easy enough to play half your games with competitive players.
- Make conqueror rank only attainable by players in the competitive ladder.
Whether 2/3 is ideal can be debated, but the concept is what's important. This is very similar to the proposal to limit people to play within their rank but I think provides a lot more flexibility and will achieve the desired effect - to move up the competitive ladder, you have to play people somewhat near your own rank in half (or some other fraction) of your games.
This will improve the following aspects of the site:
- Increase new recruit retention rate because there will be fewer farmers that block their friends from joining their games.
- Increase COMPETITIVENESS and interest among the competitive players because top ranked players will have to play against each other to defend their titles instead of only playing against noobs, which drives them away because they joined to play with their friends instead.
- Increase retention rate of those players who want a system that rewards competitive play instead of noob farming. Many players have left ConquerClub in search of other online games.
- Try this out and farming will greatly diminish. And the beauty of it is that the problem gets solved without having to define farming, which many farmers claim is too subjective to define and hence prevent.
- Celebrated farmers who love to play new recruits for their love of the game and naive charm can continue to do so and retain their scores and ranks, they just can't become Conqueror. They could even try to join the competitive ladder by playing 50 games against players at least 2/3 of their score.