An open letter regarding the Classic server

futurama1001

Well-Known Member
The year is 2009. A guy is bored, and whilst wasting hours on the web browsing random gaming websites he comes across an advertising banner for a game titled "The West". He's never played Tribalwars so he's never heard of this company known as Innogames, but he decides to give the game a crack anyway. Fast forward a couple of weeks and he's fallen in love. I don't know whether it was the telegrams he shared with a few random players or the fact that he'd placed his skill points in strange places and promised he'd do better next time. But whatever it was, something made this guy decide that this game was worth dedicating thousands of hours and over 8 years of his life to.

That game from 2009 is unrecognisable compared to what we're faced with whenever we can muster the energy to bother logging in here today. Instead of logging in to an inbox full of duel reports and the subsequent trash talking telegrams that enticed you to duel them back, you can pick any day of the year and you've got a roughly 1/3 chance of there being a tombola active. More, if you include the random nugget sales for soccer gear, venomous snakes, summer hats or whatever other clothing theme that you can think of.

I'm well aware that games have to evolve to stay relevant. I'm probably more aware of the processes behind that than most people, having been a staff member here since midway through 2010. But that's one of the reasons I'm so disillusioned right now. Of the thousands of hours I mentioned above, for me more of those have involved helping to run the game than actually playing for my own benefit. And perhaps that's the main reason why I've been more frustrated than most to witness what's clearly been an attempt to milk as much cash as possible from the remaining players while this game continues to limp on rather than trying to improve it, advertise it or do literally anything else to even try to make it an enjoyable experience once again.

But I digress. For once the target of my rant isn't actually the modern game or its tombola dependency. Because for the last 20 days, I've been reminded of exactly why I fell in love with this game. Sure, the classic server is missing some convenient features that we've grown accustomed to - the market, for example, or being able to reskill for a reasonable price - yet it's managed to amass over 6000 players regardless. That's far more than any .net world in the last two or three years, and perhaps more than our entire server at present. I played the classic version for four months with no more than 15 other players while it was being tested for bugs, and I had an absolute blast. I'm playing it now with 6000 people, and I completely understand why myself and countless others thought this game was worth slaving over for 8 years.

However, the fact that we've been playing for 20 days means that a sad reality is drawing near. This server is scheduled to close at the end of this month, and from what I've seen in chat, telegrams and forums, nobody is anywhere near ready for that to happen. After testing we realised that a month would be far too short for anyone to reach more than level 40, which is roughly when the game really starts to become interesting. Yet despite our recommendations, a month was chosen anyway.

I know this was mentioned to senior management within days of the classic world opening, but after two weeks we still don't appear to be anywhere closer to receiving a response. So I figured it was time to post something here, where it might receive more support and possibly come to the attention of the powers that be.

This is my request - no, my plea - to anyone at Inno who can possibly influence this. I've spent years locking threads like this, deleting petitions and more, but I've reached the point of desperation here. PLEASE allow the classic server to remain open. Permanently would be ideal, but even an extra month or until the end of the year would be better than the current situation. We're aware of the limitations with regards to premium features being incompatible with the modern payment system, and we're aware of the current culture of "nuggets or nothing", but we're having fun. For the first time in years, we're having fun playing The West. I never thought I'd say that again, but here I am. Sort out a premium system if you must. If it's not possible, I'm sure thousands of players would be willing to pay a subscription.

Or, better yet, keep running this server for free. I know it doesn't turn a profit, but surely allowing players to have fun must still be a secondary goal at least. Give out the nugget prize at the end of the month, most of us don't care about that. We're having fun. But please, PLEASE, don't end this fantastic world after the event is over. Because if you do, I can't see myself continuing to log into the modern game version that's now a shell of what was once a masterpiece. I can't even see myself having the motivation to log in and click that delete button, but after a few weeks it'll happen by itself and I'll just be another non-existent member of that 17 million players you lie about on the homepage, and hundreds more will follow.
 
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Thank you Futu, for having the guts to speak these truths. Please consider his plea, Innogames. These past weeks were awesome, playing the game as it used to be, a game where you had to think. And plan. Not just pay for a tombolaset and be able to do everything right away. For the record: I never had a problem to pay for a few (or a lot of) nuggets, and would gladly pay for the possibility to continue playing the classic game.
 

Disinterested Horse

Yes to this! I support you as well Futu.

Also I so wish this version of the game was open source. I still think it is a masterpiece of game design. I would love to tinker with it, learn, and come up with my own take using its code.
 
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I couldn't agree with futu any more.

To this day I still play the modern The-West worlds, but none of them have captured my attention & enjoyment like these last 3 weeks of classic have. More importantly, no other time in the west has been so fun, fun from the bare bones game that came out in 2009. As others have said, it's the lack of tombolas and overpowered gear that help to make it more fun. A consistently level playing field is so refreshing. In modern worlds interest lessens with each opened world, our playerbase is scattered, each world is practically the same and within a couple months the luster is lost. They require very little patience, they are click to win, require little to no team work, and you can now buff yourself to the point where getting yourself knocked out is barely more than a minor annoyance.

It's the bare bones experience that Classic offers that has been so engrossing, we pay for our mistakes, we have to take our time, we are engaged. I'm completely in love with Classic, and I'd put far more money into keeping this experience I've adored than I have into the constant tombolas we've become accustomed to dreading. In a game that is no doubt dying you've given our community a reminder of the good old days & we're certainly not ready for it to be put out to pasture. "I love this game" is something I haven't said about The-West in 5 years but Classic has had me saying it every day. You can keep your worlds where your flavour of the month set is on offer, where your gear offers over a thousand skillpoints, where you can travel to any spot on the map and do any job within 15 minutes, you can keep your dead duelling community & half filled forts. Have all of them, just let me walk around without a donkey in my short shorts, poncho & bow tie for a little longer whilst trying to avoid the next town overs' duellers, I love every second of it, I'm reminded why I loved this game in the first place, and I'm nowhere near ready to say goodbye.
 

xShteff

Well-Known Member
Crickets ... does anyone
at Inno read this stuff?
I made sure they did as I had it posted in the Community Managers chat :p. Our LCM was really impressed by it.
Sadly there's not much to do here. I personally had a chat with our LCM yesterday who contacted the Product Manager (aka the guy that's in charge of everything) as an attempt to convince him to allow classic run for more time. The thing is that unless other games do it as well, there's an incredibly small chance the server won't be closed on 31st. However, there is a somewhat high chance they might run multiple classic rounds, in the future.

I played the classic version for four months with no more than 15 other players while it was being tested for bugs, and I had an absolute blast. I'm playing it now with 6000 people, and I completely understand why myself and countless others though this game was worth slaving over for 8 years.
Four months? Dayum time really flies. :p
 
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When the Inno will close this world (I really hope this will not happen!), I think we need to write to the Anonymous hacker's to hack the source of this amazing classic world! ;)
 

HondaTiger

Member
i feel robbed that i didn't know (my fault?) about the classic server. however, i've been in and out of this game for many years, the shortcomings are well documented here and elsewhere.... i definitely miss the dueling and trash talking more than anything and i'm definitely in on anything that would bring that back.
 

deadleg

Well-Known Member
id forgotten how much i loved this game its just fantastic, i find myself logging into this classic server more than galveston i still make sure i gift fireworks every day. But here on the classic server im most happy il be sad to see it go but with 6000 players that should send out a clear message to inno how they have lost their way and so many good people have left the game i do hope we can have at least another month it will be so sad to see it go :(
 

jarograv

Well-Known Member
Completely agree with everything already said here.

This is truly the most fun I have had playing the west for a long time. Starting from scratch on a classic server feels infinitely more rewarding and challenging than it does with new world releases in 2.x. Everything is difficult. In 2.x you can create a new character and be level 40 in a day. In classic it took me about 3 months to get to level 40 (I was fortunate enough to get to test it before hand :p). In 2.x founding a town requires no effort and the town can be built in about a week solo and with little effort. In classic every town has a diverse set of players including duelers, builders, and those farming cash jobs to grow the town. The level of cooperation needed is amazing and reflects the game I signed up for and grew to love many years ago. In classic, unlocking jobs and quests is difficult. I have been waiting over three weeks to be able to pick beans just hoping I might find a piece of gear that would allow me to complete the job and give Waupee some beans. If I want to do even the hardest job in 2.x, I can easily equip a single piece of gear giving +150 stats allowing me to do the job. The challenge is completely gone from the game and this classic server has brought that back.

The thing is that unless other games do it as well, there's an incredibly small chance the server won't be closed on 31st.
I know it's likely not directly from you and is from the LCM, product manager, etc. so my response goes to them. This is completely ridiculous and not thought out at all.

1. There is a Tribal Wars and a there is Tribal Wars 2. On the release of Tribal Wars 2.0 the classic version was retained and essentially Tribal Wars represents the classic version of the game. Tribal Wars is currently doing well it seems, at a glance there are over 10,000 players on W94 of Tribal Wars. I can understand why they didn't do the same when West 2.0 was originally released since the "new" version of the game wasn't in the same abysmal state in October 2012 as it is now. 2.0 represented improvements to the game but it quickly became this dreadful cash cow known as Tamboola Simulator 2k17. It is not too late to go back and give The-West the same treatment as Tribal Wars received.

2. Just because the market for other games do not present the same opportunities as West Classic, that doesn't mean West Classic should be abandoned. West Classic server currently has more players than most (all?) .net servers and likely more than some entire markets. More consideration should be given to this than pushing it to the side since other Classic games wont be released on a permanent basis.

3. Comparing a game that has undergone drastic updates for the past 9 years (The West) to games like Elvenar or Forge of Empires that are still fairly new is just silly. Of course Elvenar classic or FoE classic isn't needed, the game isn't that different now compared to when most people stated playing it and it always had awful freemium features. Whereas West Classic represents a game completely different from it's current state.

However, there is a somewhat high chance they might run multiple classic rounds, in the future.
A month or even four isnt enough time for a round of classic

Again, directed at whoever thought it was a good compromise. This is an awful idea. I can appreciate you taking in the feedback and offering this, but if you play West Classic you will understand that rounds of the game are not enjoyable. It takes months to reach level 40 and actually have enough gear, skills, etc. to be able to specialize into different aspects of the game. This is why people want a permanent server, one month or even four months is not enough to play the game and reach levels in the game where shops are established and build variety shines.

Lastly, I urge whoever is in charge of this decision to take a look at the company Jagex. It's quite interesting from a business perspective. In short, they released a classic version of their game Runescape. It started off quite popular as old players came back and quickly fell off as the hype died out. Still Jagex kept the game running and invested in ways to improve it. Over time players returned and new players began playing this 2007 version of the game. Now it surpasses all their other games including their newest version of Runescape and provides more revenue than the new version of the game (Source: http://www.misplaceditems.com/rs_tools/graph/). My reason for posting this is to shed light on an example in the gaming industry of a company rereleasing a classic version of their game and turning it into a profitable venture for the company and pleasing customers at the same time. Yes, releasing a classic version will likely cannibalize sales from Tamboola Simulator 2k17. Yes, there are costs associated with running the classic server. But I am confident if you can get the payment system working with West Classic you could establish something that is able to generate enough revenue to justify it and will please players wanting to play the game they know and love.

/rant

TL;DR: This is the most fun a lot of us have had in years of playing the West. It is possible to have West Classic co-exist with Tamboola Simulator 2k17 and there are examples within inno and in other gaming companies that show that. Please reconsider releasing a permanent West Classic.