Subject: Server1, game 1F, player rocq of And Ora (#195)
Date:    Thu, 15 Jan 1998 23:46:01 -0500

Dear Mr. Patel,

   I have been playing Earth 2025 for some time now, and I would like to offer some suggestions.
   I'll start with a bug report, though.  The messaging system is still buggy.  It delivers incomplete messages, throws strange breaks between words, and drops characters in the middle of the message.  If you take a look at my message file, you will see what I mean.
    Another (minor) bug--don't allow nations to have the same name.  It is unnecessarily confusing and not-realistic to have two Canada's or three Morder's.

#1, Messaging
   Even when messaging works, it is clumsy.  No record is maintained of outgoing messages, and one huge html table of incoming messages is the wrong approach.  Perhaps you could offer the option of e-mailing the current message table, and also e-mail a copy of each outgoing document to the sender.  If your goal is some semblance of realism, then maintaining a reasonable paper trail of diplomatic activity is essential.
    If you want to avoid e-mail, then you need to break up the messages.  I would recommend having one table of recent messages (72 hours maybe), which would include messages sent.  After this time, breaking the messages up into the countries involved would be nice.  For example, there could be a list item letting me select whether I want to view messages to&from Canada, Raistlin, inconspicous, etc.  Then that one selected table of messages would come up.

#2, National Histories
    I would love to see more information displayed when I look up ("search") a nation.  Any information which hit the "news" would be accumulated and tabulated for the entire history of that nation.  Something like the following:

   On the items with the slashes (12/ 9), the first number would be attempts, and the second number would be successful attacks.  If there is a + symbol after people killed, that would indicate deaths due to plague.  The Retaliation Ratio would represent an approximate indication of whether the action was in response to prior action against you or your defensive allies.  It would be approximate because this public database would not know about hostile intelligence operations.  Admittedly, there would be a bit of "extra" information because you would have to snoop alliances when accumulating these statistics, but neither the allies nor the foes would not be named.
   I would like to see this because it will give more depth to the game and provide a better feel about the nations and their histories.  For nations hunting for allies, this would be a good information source to find like-minded players.

#3, Public Alliances
    In the real world, nations know about each other, and which nations are friendly with whom.  There is no such infrastructure in Earth 2025.  If you would allow public alliances to be registered and their members listed there would be more realism added to the game.  Management of such a block-alliance would prove awkward--"who's in charge?", "who can join?", and "how can we get rid of  Wolf-in-Sheep's-Clothing?".  You could either assign one nation as the managing lead of the public alliance, or there could maybe be three leads, the agreement by any two of the leads would allow a member to be added or thrown out.
    For each public alliance a statement of purpose would be written and displayed.  An evil alliance might have something like "blood, death, pain, guts, forever".  And a good alliance might state "Our goal is to grow peacefully, but provide a framework for defending our members in the event of unjust aggession".
    There would be no tax levied on members of a public alliance, and there would be no automatic or direct benefits either.  Any benefits would accrue from the honor and commitment of the fellow alliance members.  The alliance leader(s) would remain anonymous, just listed like any other members of the alliance.  No nation could be a member of more than one (or maybe two) public alliances.

4, Reperations
    There exists no way for a nation to sue for peace and offer reparations, short of forming a trade alliance.  There should be.

5, More Realistic Formal Alliances
    If two nations are defense, offense, or intelligence allies, they should be able to see the full "Status" listing of the other country.  Technological allies should be able to see the technology listings of each other. Tecnological allies should be able to transfer technology points directly to an ally.  And intelligence allies should be able to see what formal alliances each other has.
    There should be some actual benefit to being in a Trade alliance.  Perhaps allowing the transfer of goods in 1 turn instead of 3 would be a reasonable benefit.
   Also, in some circumstances it should be simpler to break an alliance.  For example, if there is an offense alliance, but neither nation is at war nor was at war, it should be able to be broken without waiting the 72 hours.  And if an ally attacks you or performs offensive intelligence operations against you (assuming these things are allowed in the first place), the alliance(s) with them should be immediately broken.

6, Spying
    There should be a distinction between non-destructive spying ("spy" and "spy on alliances") and offensive spying (all the rest).  Perhaps the likelihood of success of non-destructive operations could be increased by 25% for "spy" and 15% for "spy on alliances".  Also, the number of operatives killed in a failed non-destructive spying operation should be reduced.  Losing 1500 agents to gather information that is available in any newspaper in the country is kind of ridiculous.

    Most of these suggestions are aimed at broadening Earth 2025 from a "war" game to a diplomacy game.  Those who wish to just play and fight can still do so, but people who wish to interact more with others would have that added capability.  I hope you can tell that I enjoy the game now, but these are things I think would make it even better.

-- Rich

Rich Franzen (home)
Melbourne, FL (work)