Game Development

Apr 9th 2021, 1:10:37

Game administrators will soon have the ability to place player accounts into a limited mode known as "military sanctions". Player accounts under military sanctions will be subject to the following restrictions on the Express, Primary, and Tournament servers:

* Their current countries may be deleted.
* Their countries cannot leave GDI.
* They cannot attack or spy other countries unless those other countries have attacked or spied them first.

A racing game analogy will be helpful to explain the motivation behind this change. Imagine an online racing game where players compete against other players. The goal is to be the first car to complete five laps of the race track. Eventually, some players give up on winning the races and start driving their cars backwards. They hope to ram other players and to ruin everyone else's experience. Eventually, the game developers implement some kind of restriction to limit the amount of backwards distance a car can travel.

However, that's not the end of things. The same group of players then starts driving in circles around the finish line. Eventually, the game developers implement some kind of countermeasure to that. Next, the same group begins to team up with other players to blockade the finish line. Eventually, the game developers implement some kind of countermeasure to that. In response, the same group of players begins driving side by side very slowly with other players to act as a blockade.

There are three different parties here who all have different needs and wants:

1) Most of the player base just wants to race without other players trying to ruin their experience. They would like to see occasional improvements to the core gameplay experience.
2) The game developers would like to implement cool new features for the community such as new cars or tracks. Instead, they spend their development time working on countermeasures to prevent griefing.
3) The griefers want to ruin the fun of others. They say things like "Driving backwards is fun for me", "If developers didn't intend for me to do this then it wouldn't be allowed", and "Someone rammed my car six months ago so I will ram any car I see in hopes that I can get back at that player".

At what point should the game administrators stop trying to writing code and instead take direct action against the small group of griefers? I've been watching the solo servers for the past few months, and it's become clear to me that there's a small group of players who play only to "drive their cars backwards" in Earth Empires. Military sanctions are the first step to combat that kind of behavior.

Military sanctions are applied at the account level and can only be enacted by an administrator. This is an extreme measure that will only be applied to the worst offenders who continually play to ruin the playing experience of others. Similar to moderator actions, we do not plan to typically made a public statement when a player is placed under sanctions. I would like to remind players that creating multiple game accounts is cheating and is a severe rule offense.

I understand that there may be some questions about what we consider to be acceptable behavior, especially in a game where players can benefit from taking resources from other players. Conflict is a welcome and necessary part of the game, but there's a clear difference in my mind between acceptable and unacceptable forms of conflict. Examples of acceptable behaviors on solo servers:

* Warring over an ingame issue that occurred this round or the last round.
* Landgrabbing other players in an attempt to improve your own networth.
* Running an offensively-oriented country and harshly responding to any country that attacks you.

Examples of not acceptable behaviors on solo servers:

* Starting the round with the intent to aggressively ruin the playing experience of other players. For example, landgrabbing a country in GDI over and over in an attempt to force it to give up its GDI protection so special attacks can be launched against it.
* Teaming up with other players outside of the ingame alliances framework.
* Repeated targeting of players due to issues that occurred on other servers.

This isn't an announcement that I make lightly. However, we need to do something to improve the playing experience for the typical player and to reduce the amount of admin and moderator time spent dealing with a small group of players who continually cause problems. I view military sanctions as a better alternative to deleting countries set after set. Ultimately, it is our prerogative to take actions that we believe will be best for the long-term health of the game.

Feel free to ask any questions that you have about military sanctions, including what is viewed as acceptable or unacceptable behavior.