Hello gang. Since April/May, we have had a controversial mechanic called the loyalty system (or res loyalties system), and many players have mixed opinions about it. The loyalty system gives you 1 loyalty point for each day where you log on and play for 10 minutes. After getting 9 loyalty points, you can attend sieges. You lose 1 loyalty point per day when you are not in your previous nation. As mentioned, the loyalty system has become quite controversial over these past few months for multiple different reasons. Many players hate it, some like it, and I want to fix it. When discussing the loyalty system, it is important to realize the 2 main functions it serves:
Function #1. Ensuring players have shown commitment to the server before letting them attend sieges (this greatly reduces the amount of log-on players that can be brought to sieges).
Function #2. Ensuring you can only fight for the nation which you have loyalties to (this prevents players from nation-hopping to attend sieges not close to them).
I believe that these two functions of the loyalty system are important and need to be kept intact. Rather, it is the details and issues surrounding them that need to be changed. I will now list the major issues I have noticed, as well as possible solutions to fix them.
Issues concerning function #1:
A. While it is a good thing to create prerequisites for being able to attend sieges (as it stops many log-on pvpers from effecting the outcomes of sieges for example), it also effects new CCNet players greatly. For example, a new player may want to see and experience how sieges work on the server, but many will not play for 9 consecutive days in order to actually attend one. This may be due to the attention span of a Minecraft player, not being able to play multiple days a week, or a number of other reasons. However, this issue is not easy to fix without also nullifying function #1 of the loyalty system (to make sure players are committed to attend sieges and reduce log-ons).
B. Not only does this affect new CCNet players, but normal ones as well. For example, let's say I am a player who previously had loyalties, but then went inactive for a bit and then came back to CCNet. More often than not, I will no longer have enough loyalties to participate in sieges and thus will need to play for 9 consecutive days to the upcoming sieges again. If I have 0 loyalties when I come back, that means I will miss 1 week of sieges if I am lucky, and very possibly 2 weeks of sieges if I come back on an unlucky day. As for how I lost loyalties in the first place, there could be many reasons. My town could have fallen, my town could have joined another nation, I could have changed my name, I could have been auto kicked from my nation for not logging on in 3 months, my group could have joined another nation, etc etc. There are just too many ways to lose loyalties, and it requires you to essentially play for 9 days straight to get a chance at going to the 2nd week siege (if you log on before a Wednesday, otherwise you will miss both weeks).
Issues concerning function #2:
C. While it is good that you are only able to fight for the nation which you have loyalties to, it can also cause some frustrating situations. I will bring up two commonly occurring events that can prevent you from attending sieges for awhile.
1: You are semi-active and the town you are in joins a different nation. You come back to play CCNet, only to realize you no longer have (enough or any) loyalties to your previous nation, and thus must sit out of sieges. Its unlikely you will log on 9 days in a row to get loyalties to (hopefully) attend the 2nd week siege (since you can't be as active as before). Thus, you end up missing multiple weeks of sieges by the time you have the necessary loyalties OR possibly decide to not bother with logging on for loyalties anymore.
2: You want to switch sides on CCNet by leaving your nation/town and joining another. However, now you no longer have enough loyalties to go to sieges as all your loyalties are to your previous nation. You must yet again go on the loyalties grind, playing 9 consecutive days and missing at least 1 week of sieges (2 depending on what day u start getting loyalties) or multiple weeks of sieges if you do not log on 9 consecutive days (perhaps you can't play on certain days during a week or so on).
D. Since the loyalty system has been added, we've seen much less diversity in terms of locations for sieges. The vast, vast majority of sieges are now only in Europe and North Africa. There have been far less sieges in Asia (especially East Asia), the Americas, and Oceania than ever before. Undoubtedly, wonky geopolitics have largely contributed to this, but also the fact that players cannot easily get across the map for sieges or nation hop to fight in a far away siege. There's not really a good way to change this without circumventing the whole point of function #2 of the loyalty system. Therefore, I don't actually think this is a very bad thing inherently, but it can cause some players to lose interest in participating in sieges.
Now that we have discussed some common issues with the loyalty system, I will present my suggestions for possible solutions:
Suggestion 1 (Addresses issues A, B, and C): Give more loyalties per day when a player plays longer. For example, I get 1 loyalty per day if I play 10 minutes, but if I play over an hour, I can earn 2 that day. Limit it at 2 loyalties per day in order to keep the purpose of function 1 intact.
Suggestion 2 (Addresses issues B and C): Lower the amount of loyalties that players who have played for awhile already need to attend sieges. For example, ranks above Colonist only need 7 loyalties instead of 9. This ensures that function 1 stays intact by mitigating loyalty points needed for players who have already shown commitment to the server.
Suggestion 3 (Addresses issue C part 2): Create a command such as [/res loyalties nationtransfer], which will allow players who have switched nations to transfer all their previous loyalty points from their old nation to their new nation. For example, I decide I want to leave Nation Alpha and join Nation Beta. However, I have 14 loyalties to Nation Alpha and none to Nation Beta yet. Thus, I switch nations and use the command to transfer over my loyalties to Nation Beta. Additionally, limit the use of this command so that a player may only use it once every 2 months or so, in order to make sure that it is only used in legitimate side-switching instances and not to nation hop for a siege. This ensures that the purpose of function 2 stays intact.
Suggestion 4 (Addresses issue B): Allow loyalty points to transfer over when a player changes their name. Iirc, when staff does a name change, the most of the player's data transfers over, and loyalty points could easily be added to this.
Suggestion 5 (Addresses issue B): Return a player's loyalty points when they rejoin a town in their nation after being auto-kicked for inactivity.