As previously reported, longtime SMR player Omega Renegade is quitting the game. This is part of a long term development that has seen SMR decline from 2,000 players to less than 6oo currently. Meanwhile, TDZK has gone from about 700 players to well over 4,000 currently. Other free space strategy browser based games are also thriving while SMR declines.
One big reason for this situation was originally cited by this writer in an OMGN Editorial entitled Bad Form in Space Merchant Realms in which this writer noted:
although there were several important changes made in the game for the new round of games,
including the addition of a new 8th race, the Nijarins, to the game the admins failed to either
announce these changes or to explain why they had made the changes
in the first place. In any game, the admins should always keep its players well-informed about what’s going on and seek input from the customers. At SMR, they hardly even try.
Also, a previous Nexus post called Why One Player Quit SMR where a longtime veteran player cited 20 different reasons why she decided to quit the game. Sadly, practically all of those reasons still apply.
Yet another previous Nexus post was originally written by this writer in the Fall of 2003 as a strategic primer for the Trex Mercenaries alliance included the following:
In previous rounds of SMR and its forerunner, Space Merchant, planets were at the core of most decent alliances’s strategy. Planets provided a measure of security for members and a base for operations. However, it was always difficult to build up and maintain them since most players considered it dull and boring , not to mention an activity that did little to boost their exp. As a result, only a few committed alliance members worked on the planets.
There have been a number of changes in SMR since the last round that make it very difficult, if not impossible, to build up and maintain planets. These include: no ports in planetary galaxies and no bank interest. There is also the matter of players not being able to plot course and/or use the jump drive any further than bordering galaxies. Trading is far less profitable now than previously. Also, the fact that most galaxies don’t have planets only makes it easier for the mad dog killer outfits to suppress planetary construction through regular raiding. The failure of racial councils to make peace only serves to close them off and makes it harder for traders to avoid the hunters. Likewise, the provision for planetary bonds only serves to increase the insecurity of the planets since there will be more folks aiming at harrying planetary builders in the hopes of hitting the jackpot.
Those changes by the admins were apparently made without much thought for their consequences in the game. Most of them are still in the game.
Other self-inflicted problems include the fact that there are no Help files for the game to assist new players although there was a great deal of talk about such files being created. Another problem is that it has virtually impossible for players to destroy Scout Drones (SD’s). SD’s are used by the predators of the spaceways to track down their prey. By destroying SD’s, players could frustrate the designs of the pirates of the universe. The fact that this option is practically unavailable does nothing to improve the gaming experience for most players and Omega Renegade was particularly opposed to this change by the admins.
To make matters worse, whenever players complain about these changes the admins either say nothing, promise that they will improve things and then do nothing.