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A bit of a rant
Type Review
Game Cantr II
Submitted by seko
Created 2014-08-12 00:37:42
Everybody is always complaining how the number of players keeps going down, but the average number of players has remained around 800 for the last three years. The all time low (during the time which statistics have been gathered) was 730. Undoubtedly the game would be much better if the number of players was even doubled. It's hard to imagine what it would be like if it multiplied further than that. During recorded history, the maximum amount of players was almost 1900.

I think one of the main problems with Cantr is that it (at least officially) forbids planning things outside the game and teaming up with your RL friend's characters. Yet some people are doing it. Some get caught, some don't, which leads into an uneven playground. While most other games encourage people to recruit their friends by requiring a certain number of friends to unlock things, or making your character more powerful by forming teams and guilds, Cantr encourages characters to make friends with other characters played by strangers without trying to figure out who's behind them. People might make new friends on the forums and some people reveal others who their characters are, but it can lead into drama and unfair treatment of characters. Characters might act against their nature and either choose to die or to run away with someone they just met over OOC reasons. This might make it difficult to trust players to stay in character, especially if you don't know who is behind some character. For example, it's hard to trust a person with a spare key to your ship, because even if they might seem like a nice person, the temptation of owning a ship might be too much for the player, and cause a character to become a thief, even if it was completely against their previously rp'ed personality.

Also sometimes cheating happens. For example, (and any similarities to actual events that may have happened are purely coincidental), someone's character might get kidnapped, and the player's other character will announce this on the radio, causing into an angry mob to go rescue the first character, leading into the kidnapper's death. The kidnapper's player will complain to PD that no one could have possibly know what had happened to the victim, because he made sure there were no witnesses. The result is PD will most likely kill off or permanently lock the character who sent the radio message, leading into the loss of another character. Yet this won't bring the kidnapper back to life, and the world is now minus two characters, when in the first place it could've been that the kidnapper wouldn't have even killed the victim, just traumatized them and made them more interesting.

Likewise someone might have two accounts because they love the game so much and can't get enough of a fix with just 15 characters, so they need 30 instead. All 30 make friends and get involved in their communities. Then PD finds out and locks the accounts. Suddenly there's 30 sleeping characters with friends who have no idea why they suddenly fell asleep. There are no public statistics on how many banned players or locked characters there are. Hopefully not very many, but who knows.

I have played the game for 10 years now and hardly ever gone a day without logging in. It's often advertised as something that can be played just a few minutes a day, but honestly if someone is planning to do that, they don't contribute much to the game. I'd rather have one player with 15 characters who plays several hours a day than 15 players who only play for 15 minutes a day. The point of the game is not just to set up projects and make sure your characters are fed and have enough of a shield to fend off the animals, it's to simulate functional communities. It's okay to have some hermits and explorers but if all of your characters are like that, you're not contributing anything. Also just because you are playing a role instead of yourself doesn't mean you should be turned off because you can't emote. It's perfectly okay to just talk and never *smile* in your life or make other facial expressions. You could still contribute to the community anyhow. It's enough that your characters each have a unique name and variable goals, beyond that no one can say that they were clones of each other.

I wish Cantr had more players but I'd rather take quality over quantity. I'd still wish everybody used proper capitalization when their characters talk, unless lower caps are intentionally used to symbolize mumbling, and in that case you should still capitalize and punctuate emotes to show people you're not just being lazy. And if you're going to cheat, it's better to do it in some other game because in Cantr you would eventually get caught anyway. The last thing we need is another locked character.

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