Alpha Centauri 2
Community => Recreation Commons => Topic started by: bvanevery on March 29, 2018, 02:46:49 PM
I started out wanting to shill my massive After Action Report, to try to get it more views and some kind of audience. I think I pretty quickly identified the few relevant SMAC forums out there: CivFanatics, Apolyton, WePlayCiv, and Reddit. Ok fine, links posted. Hope it helps.
In doing so, I ran into broader cultures of 4X TBS game playing. Also of AAR writing. Some sideshows of people doing "Never Ending Stories" or other kinds of simulation / role playing hybrids. I've seen the historical life cycles of a number of communities, because many of them had their peak years earlier. When a community has been on the wind down for several years, it doesn't take very long to click through a few web pages of posts and end up back in 2012.
This has made me wonder, if I am to "have another go at it" and write a 4X TBS, possibly with RPG narrative elements, what "scraps" am I fighting over? Is this a basically healthy arena in which to try to be writing a game? Are there any forums that are vibrant, with a paying audience? Is there a viable customer base? Or are there a lot of people who complain and don't spend money?
I'm currently still trying to digest the Reddit /r/4Xgaming forum. It has a lot of subforums for specific titles, for instance a nominal SMAC forum with almost no traffic. The toplevel forum seems to revolve around diatribes concerning "the big 3" titles: Stellaris, Endless Space 2, and Galactic Civilizations III. I haven't made the time to try to examine any of these titles firsthand. What seems clear to me from following the threads though, is that historical problems of the 4X genre in general have never been solved, by anyone. GC3 still suffers from unit pushing, for instance. Same kind of stuff we were complaining about in the days of Civ III. "Why do I have to clean out this continent?" AI still pretty much sucks for all titles. Some suck less, others suck hard because the devs didn't come remotely close to doing any kind of job with it.
/r/4Xgaming claims 11,367 Redditors and eXpanding. Doesn't feel like I'm reading the thoughts of any vast number of people though. A nominal audience number doesn't reflect the active user set, in my experience. I wonder how many people checked out the forum briefly and never came back? I wonder how many people stuck around but only lurk? I don't yet have sense of whether this is a "large" watering hole for 4X TBS, or a backwater.
I do wonder at the value of trying to promote one's game through such channels though. There's a lot of negativity. Maybe that's because game developers keep making the same mistakes, getting the same things wrong from product generation to product generation. Maybe it's because these forums attract people who complain as a sport, to prop up their own psyches.
Rating systems that have both upvoting and downvoting are daunting. There was a thread recently that the top 10 posts in the forum by upvotes, only numbered in the low 100s of upvotes. By general Reddit standards, for instance what will land you on the front page of Reddit, that's completely pathetic. One would say that nobody has the power or interest to push awareness of titles. I haven't calibrated this phenomenon against other forums for better known games in other genres, but I suspect it will make /r/4Xgaming look like an abysmal waste of time.
On the other hand, if one is actually committed enough to 4X TBS to want to solve problems in the genre, then it behooves one to understand the loci of "tastemakers" wherever they may be residing. I'm still looking. However I do find myself wondering if historical notions of "what 4X TBS is", are a market not worth chasing. That a broader conception of what a game can offer an audience, may be necessary.
"Space ships" - get grief about why your game isn't like game X. "Fantasy" - may be less limited, for lack of work done in that area. Cue Salvador Dali approach to 4X. Yes, you don't even even know what you're fighting over, or what winning would mean. But think of the style points!
I've been watching this kind of thing like it was a full-time job for nine years now, so I have thoughts worth listening to seriously.
Hmm. Sid's still making bank, and I'd say the market's still there - just, this is a greater community grown long in the tooth, and no Firaxis game since Civ4 has been found satisfactory here.
Some of it's just web trends, too, I don't Reddit, and rarely have ever lurked from a googling for something, but I've been told more than once by people at the top of the CFC staff pecking order that many of the admins there are terrified of Reddit.
Too, still on trends, Facebook, one of the nasty things about it being that it's taken over the internet, and competes with all forums, scratching many of the same itches without being any good -stuff posted here, for instance, not being effectively vanished forever in a week or a month- but ALL forums are seriously diminished by Facebook being bigger than God and syphoning off all the time and attention it does.
No, grognards will be with us always, and forums of any vintage and/or focus are no measure of their numbers, enthusiasm or buying-power. ;nod
Yes, Reddit is terrifying. It's a home turf for alt-right white supremacists. It's not difficult to avoid direct contact with their toxic culture. But indirectly, they poison most layers of Reddit culture. Generally speaking the place is a toxic 551thole, especially if you're a woman. I am unlikely to ever get a date from hanging out on Reddit. That's the major reason I stopped even trying to hang out there. I'm only driven back by proxy career interest, trying to understand the publicity space available for 4X TBS titles.
I'm a Facebook refusenik and do understand that they're sucking the air out of the room. I only have 1 answer for that: build cultures that don't do Facebook. I can't expect the masses to wise up, but some people will. I do take some consolation that Facebook's stock value took a significant tumble recently, over some kind of spying / lack of privacy / I forget what concern. The story made it to the front page of one of the sections of the local Winston-Salem NC newspaper, so that is something. Let it fall!
I finally got the "calibration" I was looking for. Someone happened to reference a /r/civ thread and I saw that forum has 231,525 nominal subscribers. That's a factor of 20 higher than /r/4Xgaming, whose "big 3" sensibility clearly doesn't include recent Civ. I shouldn't complain too much about the Civ franchise, because much like the TSR of old, they kept RPG alive via AD&D sales. I should probably study the degree to which Civ players are disaffected or not, when developing a strategy.
Also I should see what the communities of the /r/4Xgaming "big 3" are like. I did play Gal Civ II. III is supposed to have "decent" AI. Game mechanically, II just ended up being about buying entire star systems wholesale though. I did the equivalent of Huge or Giant maps in that game several times. "OMG too many mouseclicks!" became the problem for that, then as now.
As you'll have already noticed, web gaming communities and their cultures and trends are an abiding interest of Green1's, too, and I'm interested to see what he'll add when he comes by. He's half full of crap and will talk about MMO's and first person real time stuff mostly, but still; I think he's got a valid perspective and interesting insights and a LOT of war stories. Worth paying attention, because he definitely has for a very long time, and put a lot of ongoing thought into it. Incredibly helpful to your purpose, if a bit outside your focus.
My REAL sweet-tooth is gossip within the greater Civ community where I know people and where many of the bodies are buried, but kicking around the whole gamer culture all over the nets is indeed my idea of a good time.
I can probably be real helpful if you have any questions about this community's history, going back ten years before my time - but I've listened and remembered when War Stories Were Told...
The 4X genre is a niche. SMAC is a niche within a niche, and also 19 years old. The game this site is about can legally purchase alcohol in Canada.
Forums will be your best engagement to view ratio while reddit skews the other way. On a dedicated forum you may only get 30-40 views but you're likely to get 2-3 replies as well. On reddit, you'll get hundreds, if not thousands, of views but very little to show for it.
When I did writing for myself, not for this, I'd do some advertising on reddit. It was a great source of traffic but not engagement. That seems to be the case for most everything submitted on reddit for purposes of advertising. If you want traffic more than you want engagement, reddit will provide. Smaller communities without much traffic rely less on upvotes; your post with, say, 5 upvotes will likely end up on the front page of that subreddit even if the front page of reddit is restricted to posts with 15k+ votes.
The Steam Community forums are useless. The developer forums are (usually) useless as well. Dedicated communities are rare and you'll most likely be dealing with a couple dozen people at most.
4X fan fiction is not the path to riches or fame. :P
I guess if I figured out 4X TBS, not niche but doesn't suck, I'd be rich. Problem is, the "runaway hit" games I've seen in recent years (Minecraft, Flappy Bird) do suck. I would never have wanted to write those games, even if I knew how much money they would ultimately make.
One thing those 2 games did teach me though, is that the demographics of all gaming turns over every 10 years or so. I had my historical objections to Minecraft Alpha as a builder game, that they weren't even trying to be a good builder game, compared to so many other builder titles that had come before. That doesn't matter to some new squeaky kid who's never played previous titles! Or casual gamers who don't have a hardcore gaming background. Both kinds of players are found in much more abundance nowadays due to the increasing reach of the internet and social media.
Minecraft Alpha could not have even existed without social media. Notch outsourced major production activities of traditional game development. No instructions, no directions, people just make YouTube videos about playing. You're supposed to want to watch those and to like doing so (I sure didn't). No game design, just bang your head against an inscrutable crafting system until you gain bragging rights for how clever you are. Guess those people hadn't already worn themselves out on Interactive Fiction text adventures, didn't have better things to do with their lives than bang their heads against brick walls.
The stories that receive more attention in the gaming world are likely linear RPGs. Mass Effect and Bioshock are big ones.
Minecraft has good translation to screen media, like Shadow of Israphel from Yogscast, but not sure it has any merit for written word. Maybe? Eh... It'd be tough to do well given how much time is required to create a compelling landscape/scene in Minecraft. 4X AARs are already time-consuming and fizzle out quickly.
My favourite stories have been non-AARs but still being based in the Civilization series. This one (https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/shahanshah.621895/) is one of the more recent ones I've enjoyed but you can see that engagement is low.
When I read that one, I'm made very much aware how it isn't a novel by Wilbur Smith (http://www.wilbursmithbooks.com/books/egyptian/warlock).
With the Advent of Mobile Devices and their takeover of the general computing world, the games have first had to be "dumbed" down and much simplified for their use. That and the up rise in more complex gaming consoles while still having very simplistic input devices. You almost use the same finger/thumb motions no matter if your using your IPhone or your PS4 controller.
Where as, your more significant 4X games practically require a full on computer (desktop or laptop) with Mouse (or like myself, I Logitech Thumb Trackball) and a standard keyboard. And some versions of the 4X games tried to port into those other things, but without very much success. Does anyone remember the outcry when people thought that Civ5 was designed the way it was so as to be possibly ported to a Mobile Device??
And a LOT of people whom get Mobile Devices, do so thinking that They can no get rid of that old Computer that they had and embrace the future. And some later find out that they still need that old computer to be able to do things that this fancy mobile just can't do?? How many people have attempted to write very long, thoughtful, insightful or even derogatory posts while only using a Smartphone and have it do things like auto-correct your spelling (when you didn't want it to because it auto-corrected to something wrong) or even, when your about to post the whole thing, hit the wrong button and lose everything that you had been working on other the last hour?? I have on more than one time...
Or even copy and paste a number of things without throwing the thing across the room and give up until you can get home to use your computer in the first place....
Thing is, Forums of the 4X type are geared towards the basic computer user, reddit isn't at it's heart, neither is facebook or others in the social media sphere.
This, if any thing else, is the reason that these sites are falling away...
I did notice a degree of typing brevity to some degree on Reddit, especially as compared to the Usenet of old, which it superficially resembles. However there are long winded "full keyboard" posts too.
Thank you for reminding me why I haven't cared about consoles or mobile as platforms.
So now I've got copies of Stellaris, GalCiv III, and Endless Legends installed. For me these are "demos", they will be deleted when I've gotten a sufficient taste of the games. How much of a taste? Well when developers abdicate the morality of deciding that in their own official demo, I make the decision myself. Actually, I did not even check if any of these games have an official demo. I'm so used to them not having one nowadays, that I find it difficult to care anymore.
I don't quite have current versions of all of these. GalCiv III is shipping a 3.0 version imminently, it seems. Stellaris as at 2.0.x, but I have 1.9.x because the more recent version had 2 Trojans in it. That's atypical for my "demos" but I guess it happens.
Now the problem is, uuuh, motivation. Do you suppose it's any coincidence that I started the Pirate drowning game yesterday instead of delving into the new titles? I'm not generally fond of learning curves. Also I had some "real chores" to do yesterday, cutting down on my available mental bandwidth. Today my big accomplishments so far, are I've taken the dog for a very long walk, and I've ordered him some fish oil pills to help with his presumed arthritis. Lotta research to figure that one out, but I pulled the trigger on something.
Please pretend you do not employ cracks, not post almost openly. It puts AC2 in an uncomfortable position. Instead you have a game; you're trying it. We don't need to know more on how you got it.
sisko would step on this much harder, faster, but we're off all companies' radars with that unlikely to change real soon, and I only barely care, but still. Please.
Thanks, and as you were. You're doing very well, sir... ;)
Well, Reddit is pretty much a superforum on everything. Yes, there are some alt-right, Red Pillers, and such... but they generally keep it to their small areas as long as they don't do things to make the big admins of Reddit mad. I don't care about them one way or another about them because it's not my trip. I would hope they realize while anger is great if to help you want to change things, hatred numbs things but really leads to an unhappy existence.
I do not see forums going down. There's too-big-to-fail forums like CFC that have an established poster base.
But Reddit, and Steam community hub pages are really convenient ways to post stuff and find content over forums. A LOT use them and some communities strictly operate off of Reddit and Steam.
I will say, the better forums, you get better discussions. But lots of folks do not read nowadays. They want it short, quick. To the point. Cell phone interfaces, too.
We didn't want the illiterates and the idiots anyway. Not exactly Our Kind Of People...
You don't want me? :(
Reading books is good for you. ;nod
Reading books is for nerds.
Stellaris as at 2.0.x, but I have 1.9.x
Thing is, 2.0.2 (finally out of beta) is very, very different than 1.9.x. In many ways, a brand new game...
Check out the Paradox Sub-forum over at WPC for some Stellaris discussion and AAR/DAR's. We are even in the planning for a secession Game...
This is gratitude in action, apparently...
Edit: He's telling you square, though, b.
I have been told that Stellaris is more RPG-ish and Grand Strategy than 4X. I'm interested in the RPG aspect to the extent that it may provide narrative, ala SMAC. I hoped that 1.9.x would give me a sense of that. I am less concerned about the play mechanics. A number of people on /r/4Xgaming howl bitterly about them.
Doesn't other 4x have forms of grand strategy if their own? Civ's Domination, diplomacy and science wins are examples of that's games grand strategy... And you can put RPG into anything that you have a mind to, it just takes the imagination to be able to create the story to fit the game play as it plays out.
And after playing the game, I can tell you that the RTS aspect of it is just a TBS game with a pause button while mid turn. In Stellaris, a month's timeframe, stretched out over 30 days, is your EOT, so to speak for each game turn...
We didn't want the illiterates and the idiots anyway. Not exactly Our Kind Of People...Hmmm. So I made the cut because I'm only an idiot and not illiterate?
It would be rude of me to argue, wouldn't it?
I'll explain when you're ready, no worry. ;nod
b, to the extent any of your interest extends to the nuts-and-bolts of how forum community works, you might want to have a look at my Site thread at WPC, (where I took your name in vain in passing in one of my walls-of-text yesterday when E_T tried to lure you over for Stellaris talk) involving, as it does, issues we've been discussing here about the long-term health of online TBS 4x gamer fan communities...
We didn't want the illiterates and the idiots anyway. Not exactly Our Kind Of People...Hmmm. So I made the cut because I'm only an idiot and not illiterate?
Don't forget that ya' got a soul, unlike the ones that BU is talking about...
b, to the extent any of your interest extends to the nuts-and-bolts of how forum community works, you might want to have a look at my Site thread at WPC,
Ok I've read it. It was illuminating as to dynamics over the past 10 years. I myself have participated in, led, or tried to lead many commmunities over the past 20 years, both online and face-to-face. They have life cycles. A hard thing about face-to-face communities, is that people move away for career reasons, sometimes even romantic reasons.
I find that communities are sustaniable when they have a shared cultural interest that doesn't require too much work out of lay members to participate. For instance the backbone of the Asheville Skeptics is we drink beer / eat pizza on Wednesday evenings and talk "stuff" without any structure to it. It's a social call. I try to force a topic of conversation to "something actually Skeptical" at least once in the course of an evening, but I don't always succeed. We also have a once-a-month semi-formal lecture presenation, with audience discussion expected afterwards. This is more work for people to do, but as a conscientious group member, I do endeavor to make 1 such presentation in coming months. Unfortunately the book I picked to do it about, turns out to be a dull read for me, so I might have to go back to the drawing board.
Strategically the problem for a Civ focused site is that Civ sucks. I don't think it's accidental that you've had some luck with a SMAC focused site, even if it saw better days 5 years ago. SMAC doesn't suck like Civ. Sure it has points of tedium, but Civ III had more tedium. Civ IV wasn't as bad, but they didn't really spend time fixing any major problem of the genre. They added religions and corporations, so in short more gewgaws, indicating they clearly don't understand what's broken. Oh and their combat system sucks rocks, you have to build every kind of unit to have any hope attacking an enemy. Then Civ V the baby joke came along, and it had enough in common with the Civ IV I'd played extensively, to say thanks but no thanks. Beyond Earth is a watered down travesty. I don't even care what Civ VI is anymore, even if it's any good. It won't run on my ancient decrepit 10 year old laptops anyways, and by the time I get that straightened out, they'll probably be on Civ VII and I'll care even less.
I cut teeth in the cesspools of Usenet back in the day. I was Newsgroup Proponent for changing the venerable rec.games.programmer to the comp.games.development.* hierarchy. That means I shouldered 50% of the work of getting that to happen. The place became nasty enough that I went off and made my own gamedesign-l, which was successful for a number of years. Eventually though, Web 2.0 happened, Usenet died, the reasons for anyone to go to gamedesign-l waned, and finally Yahoo! groups became invisible to search engines.
For the past several years I've scratched my head from time to time about rebooting gamedesign-l somehow. However what's really needed for something like that, is a group of motivated talkative game designers, that I actually want to listen to. I go on Reddit from time to time because it superficially resembles the old Usenet, and I try to participate in their discussions for a bit. But I rapidly find myself losing interest for various reasons. It could be that I'm talked out, that I've heard every basic subject under the sun many times already. Or there could be something wrong with the pace of Reddit; too ephemeral. Anyways it hasn't provided the solution. I've generally thought, if a game design community already exists somewhere and provides what I want, then I don't need to make one with my personal name tag on it. On the other hand if it doesn't exist, then I have to think about all the social engineering dimensions of Making It So.
I wrote Constitutions for the IGDA game design and indie developer SIGs, back in the day. I got everyone to vote on them. If memory serves I think we even PASSED those Constitutions. However it all turned out to be an academic exercise. There was a nasty core culture in most of the game industry that was not grassroots. When I finally got booted off the IGDA site as non-paying member (there are horrific political reasons for taking such a stance, long story, basically a vote of NO CONFIDENCE on how they were running things), I realized that game industry people were in a Command & Control mindset. They enjoyed the idea of having power over others and making people go away that disagreed with them. Whereas I had first participated in face-to-face community organizations like the Fremont Arts Council. It had "hippie DNA" and was a Consensus governed organization, however that may have actually worked in practice. I mistook that model of organization for the general trend of "what self-selected people would actually want". I was wrong. People wanted to feel like they were running their game studios. Most of them are deathly toxic and that's why I've never worked for one.
I won't even get into all the Open Source projects I've been through. Let's just say I have many community war stories. I don't do Open Source currently, and if I don't ever again, that will be ok. I worry about solving my own problems nowadays, before concerning myself with any kind of Community Good.
Nowadays the only online community I do besides this one, is WetCanvas. It's for visual artists. I was at odds with it and didn't do it for 2 years, but I eventually came back. Their moderation policies are effective at avoiding many unpleasantries, but often onerous for freedom of expression. I feel that probably most "edgy" artists have been roundly hounded out of the place. I haven't really found an alternative with the kind of intellectual content I have in mind, nor a sticky membership. Your comments, BUncle, about Facebook sucking the air out of everyone's lungs may be apropos here.
Things change and not always for the overall better (i.e. most Social Media Networks). When we have a Commander in Tweet instead of an actual leader, then the seams are showing in our society. Actual places for serious discussion and (even) discord, are drowned out by the plethora of selfies and inane BS.
It's sad, but sometimes things end (or lose momentum or fall away to mostly silence). For the person whom likes to sit and think (I'm leaving you an opening, BU... ;) ), these sites are our bread and butter. For the must have cell phone freaks, this place is a dead space, no matter how active it is. Or they congregate at places like CFC and 'Poly. They are safe there....
And we are safe here....
I'm not touching your opening, and don't be disgusting.
I wouldn't say better days 5 years ago, for AC2 -aside from MP mostly dying off- but I don't know that I can any longer say we're growing anymore on the whole, alas.
That may just be me getting tired, though. I haven't made any major addresses to the people of AC2 in a couple years encouraging the membership pitching in and recruiting and all...
I say 5 years ago because when I've perused the archives looking for heavy discussion of SMAC on various things, that's roughly when I found the biggest body of posts with the most people engaged.
On-topic has been a little slow for a long time - why I was willing to work things out with you, actually. You're almost as valuable as you think. Gold, no kiddin'. And others answer, activity drawing more activity. We NEED on-topic posters, or we're nothing but an OT like 'poly, and that ain't healthy for the future.
You're almost as valuable as you think.
Well, to the extent anyone cared about AARs. Nowadays I have a good excuse to prevent me from making AARs. I want to see what shelf life the current "big" one has, and what traffic it creates. No reason to knock it out of its "top spot" various places until that more naturally occurs from something better coming along. There's been a little bit of discussion at CFC. The subject of "map generation" probably deserves some kind of final, highly polished summation once I feel I'm there. Still haven't explored the continent proportion variables.
I've noticed that a lot of game review outlets have a substantial writeup of SMAC somewhere. It might be worth collecting those up, repackaging them, and shamelessly plugging them. Something like "six reviews of SMAC" of course aggregated here, with key quotes from the reviews themselves when making the pitch elsewhere.
Give me links an I'll put having a look and considering and probably doing on my to-do list. That's probably a great idea.
I actually meant your non-AAR contributions. This and that you posted in TOE, for instance, generated at least as much posting/response by others as the HARD work...
BTW? We're releasing Fusion power Is NOW! tomorrow - um, I'd really like it to stay topped all month at WPC, CFC and 'Poly if you can help it... :win:
By all means. I'm not worried about being 2nd or 3rd place in a listing, I'm already slightly that far down on Reddit for instance. I just don't want to be knocked out of visibility any time soon.
You're in NO danger on the forums.
I'm a little confused... I think responding to your GotM post elevates it at CFC? So I'm about to...
There's three different
petty stupid drama outbreaks going on at once tonight, more than one place, and I'm in a mood. You being cool about it helps more than you know. ;nod
I need a "drama wand". Wave it and drama goes away. All I've actually got is CBD oil.
I have trouble believing that you need it as bad as I do - I live on the net.
Your bumping post was excellent - I actually wrote considerable autobiography in Roze's thoughts. Mart gave me enough to have the inspiration, suddenly I was like, my favorite victory, Ascent to Transcendence = The Group Mind, my own arch-enemy...
HOLY CRAP could I ever pen a screed against groupthink and stupid herding. I knocked out that short intro story at one sitting about this late a week ago -less than two hours- few words changed on the second pass Friday.
So, I'll wait as a bump opportunity to respond, if I'm still choosing to have anything to do with CFC by early afternoon and beyond. (More than one 'tard thing going on, alas and alack...)
I have trouble believing that you need it as bad as I do - I live on the net.
I've got a family problem. I went through a jar of CBD oil in a month that was supposed to be for my dog's arthritis. So I ordered 2 jars this time. I think the difficulty of "dramas" is whether you can walk away from them and never have to deal with them again. In that case, they don't have any kind of permanent power over you. If you hate some social situation, you abandon it, get rid of it, get the toxic people out of your life. But when the situation is with people close to you, like family, or an important business partner, it's much more difficult.
Yeah; I got bullcrap w/ important business partner, or I'd probably never gone back after the last time they screwed me over.
Too stupid to know what a 'tard mistake they're making if I can't fight my way through it. Stupid, everybody-loses bullcrap. -And I'd already be gone if it was just me, and not business. &^%kers better learn some respect, quick.
I'm making another post, then off to bed, wrath being vulnerable to sleep. Busy day, and went spectacularly pear-shaped around 8PM.
I don't know if this thread is too old or not, but since it's pinned and I have some useful input (I think) I'll jump in. I own and have played every game mentioned so far in this thread and several others; 4x and grand strategy are my games of choice. SMACX being an old game presents significant challenges re community building; it's a niche game that is more difficult in some ways to mod than more modern offerings. Stellaris, for example, is self consciously built to be easy to work with. SMACX isn't new or flashy and it's AI shows it's 20 years of age, but there is one thing that it has over most of the more recent strategy offerings in that it has really solid core gameplay and it has stability.
I enjoy playing Stellaris, EU4, GC3 and the others, but I never really know what I'm coming back too. Stellaris' core gameplay has changed in major, foundational ways twice in the last year, and it borders on infuriating for those of us who like to mod the game. A lot of the communities that surround other games are essentially beholden to whatever the developers decide they want to do to the game next, since games with multiple expansions and dlcs are becoming the norm in this genre. We don't have to deal with that here. SMACX is a classic and a known quantity. I've played it for a couple thousand hours, much more than any other strategy game and I know that I will be playing it another 20 years down the line; because no matter how many times I leave, when I come back it never fails to grab my attention, flaws and all, and give me a fun time. I don't know exactly how to go about it, but we have to capitalize on that.