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17-04 Article : Global Bankruptcy
Author: sbanks
Last updated: Never
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A lot of changes in gameplay, and tweaks in balancing have happened recently on Omerta. Some were accompanied by a newsitem in the latest news, others happened quietly, without people noticing them at first. Of the changes that were reported in the latest news, almost every one of them had a serious debate in the forums, discussing whether it was a good change or a bad change. Admins often had to defend themselves against people shouting that this was yet another bad change, causing the game to go bankrupt and ultimately destroying Omerta.

Of course the admins would not deliberately kill their own game, and that is not what those shouting people imply. They simply say that most of the recent changes were bad, and not thought through. The admins are only going for immediate gain, and not thinking about long term consequences (as all of the older, "oldskool" players have seen before many, many times).

Some of the more detrimental changes and tweaks are :
- removal of the heists that make a lot of cash
- decrease in average revenue of oc's and moc's
- serious decrease in the chance to steal good cars
- return of the feds who steal money, and a lot of fluctuation (and bugs) in their activity

These changes, combined with a gradual drop in players, have resulted in the worst money-situation in the middle of a version, ever. We can identify 3 semi-distinct parameters that each are directly influenced by the amount of money in the game. More correctly, by the health of the economy in the game. These 3 parameters are bullets on obay, bullets in the bulletfactory and total amount of pocketmoney. There are more effects of course, but these are the most direct ones.
It is remarkable that all of those parameters are lower than ever before :
- A pack of 1000 bullets now sells for rougly 600k, when some months ago it used to be 1000k and more
- Bullets in the BF are not bought, even when their price is as low as $700, when some months ago they used to be empty even at $1000.
- Total amount of pocketmoney dropped below 1 billion, when some months ago it was between 2 and 3 billion.

Now what does this imply? Simple, there is not enough money in the game. When people don't have much money to spend, they of course won't spend much money. Is it fun for a player to be poor all the time? It is not. These days, there is only 1 relatively feasible solution to get cash, which we'll come back to in a moment. Players who can't make money no matter what they do, don't have any fun, and eventually decide to not play as much as they used to do. They decide to spend some time away from their computer. They decide not to rank up a new account when they die, and just stay ES.
Hence a gradual drop in players. Proof of this drop is easily seen from the Users online statistic, showing that the number of online users almost HALVED since the start of the version! There are of course more causes for this, though happiness and fun (related to money) is certainly a driving factor.

So, admins change stuff, causing a decrease in money, causing players to quit. Of course the less players there are, the less money there will be in the game. So more players quit. This is a gradual process, as an addiction to a game isn't cured in a day. So it's hard to spot the decrease on a day to day basis. But the long term effects are really noticeable.

But why? Why would admins (seemingly) take away more money when they also see players don't have a lot of money anymore. The answer is simple, and brings us back to what we stated earlier. These days, there is only 1 relatively feasible solution to get cash : Selling dc's on obay. Since the admins have a bot/script/program that automatically buys donation codes (granted that they're not *too* expensive), selling donation codes for money is one of the only remaining ways to get cash. The bot has an infinite amount of money, so it is not affected by the global depression. This is also the reason why the prices of dc's haven't dropped along with the rest of the prices.

So now everything becomes crystal clear : when people don't have a lot of money, and see that dc's sell for a lot of money (relatively speaking), they will be more inclined to purchase some dc's and sell them. Purchase them with real money, sell them for omerta money. It's an old way of gathering ingame money, though it seems that the admins now are trying to enhance this a little. Forcing more players to give them real cash in exchange for some easy ingame money, by making the other ways of getting ingame money much much harder. So the admins want some more cash, and who could blame them? It is their game after all...

The admins are however totally forgetting the long term effects of these actions. Omerta is first and foremost a FREE game. People play this, because it's free. A lot of people would not play it if it required mandatory monthly payments. Yet that is exactly where we seem to be headed : "give us your cash, or you won't get ingame money". What fun is a game like that? No wonder people leave and don't come back.


Omerta is a miniature economy. An economy comprised of about 10,000 people, who all interact with eachother, increasing and decreasing the amount of available money with their actions. It's a big system, with various ways to input money (e.g. steal cars, do runs etc), and to output money (shoot away bullets, 10% transfer costs etc). Yet when the only viable input of money requires the donation of real-life money, something is seriously, seriously wrong...

Regards,
Fingon