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Problem with small tribes no one talks about.


Suggestion

This isn't so much a suggestion as it is awareness of what I think is a big issue with this game. A game like this relies on it's playerbase to generate content on a daily basis in regards to PvP and therefore the more players the game has, the more content is generated, and therefore the more successful the game is. I feel Small Tribes is a trap for new players that ultimately prevents growth in the game longterm as well as failing to convert newer players into longtime players of ARK.

The prevailing narrative for new players is if you play on Official you're going to get zerged by these huge mega tribes. With this assumption new players are then corralled into Small Tribes under the belief that because tribes are smaller they are less likely to be zerged. The problem with this assumption is they do not take into account the differences between the average Official player and the average Small Tribes player, as well as the conditions that the 6 man tribe limit creates. If you visit Official servers these days you're unlikely to encounter "Beach Bobs" as you were in the past, these potential players now mainly exist on Small Tribes, this is bad for the game long term for multiple reasons.

You would think that because there are less players and there aren't Mega tribes that it would be less hardcore, however not only is that false the opposite is true. Small Tribes players (of any renown anyway) are actually significantly more hardcore than Official players. Each player has to shoulder a very large weight when it comes to creating, maintaining, and defending a tribe. On Small Tribes the weight you're shouldering could be the equivalent of 10 players in an Official tribe because of the 6 player limit which forces those 6 players to work harder individually to carry the weight of their tribe. Having 6 players to look after a 24 hour window also creates problems for Small Tribes players meaning that have to play significantly more than an Official player to cover all timezones. Now you could recruit 6 players with different timezones to make sure someone is always online but then that means that you'll never have 6 players online at the same time which is a large disadvantage when you actually get attacked because even if you have 5 players you're still missing approximately a sixth of your effectiveness compared with an enemy tribe that has 6 players online. 

The conditions Small Tribes creates with it's 6 man limit means that meshing is extremely prevalent. Meshing is arguably the worse part of this game far worse than other forms of cheating. I'd argue more players have quit the game as a result of meshing than any other means and by encouraging newer players to play on Small Tribes you're putting them on the fast track to quitting the game as a result. Meshing is much less rare on Official because tribes are much bigger meaning that they have more players to cover various parts of their bases, more players online around the clock so there is less downtime and potential opportunity to mesh. The threat of meshing also encourages account sharing as that is the only means to get around the 6 man tribe limit in downtime. This means "big" Small Tribes might have 10-15 players instead of 6 that all just all play on the same 6 accounts, this creates a large advantage for these tribes over regular 6 man tribes in that they have can 6 players online 24/7.

Small Tribes has unintentionally become a meat grinder for new players. The concept was great, smaller conditions allowing new players some room to breathe that they wouldn't get on Official and ability to play the game, get hooked, and then later on move to Official of whatever. Unfortunately the combination of burnout and meshing isn't healthy for any person playing this game, let alone new players who have yet to really decide if they want to stick with the game. The conditions on regular Official are much more lenient as more players can shoulder the burden of running and defending a tribe making it overall more pleasant, less prone to burnout, less prone to meshing, and better for casual players. I'm not sure how you fix Small Tribes (maybe 10-15 man tribe limits instead) but it's clear as it stands Small Tribes is doing more bad than good when it comes to the new player experience which is bad for every cluster because most new players are either starting out there or on Unofficial alternatives that have a similar tribe member limit.

 

Edited by moshbeast321
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