I could have posted this in German but I decided to go with English so maybe more players could comment on my thoughts and more of a discussion might entrail to garner some actual attention. I'm gonna have to split this up apparently because it's longer than 10.000 characters.
First off, maybe to add some legitimacy to my opinions: I've been playing, on and (mostly) off for almost exactly eight years now. Back when I joined, the first, original design of the game was just being phased out and the one that is now considered "legacy" became standard. This game means something to me. I've looked far and wide for a game I could play instead those many times Supremacy frustrated me, but none ever came close. I'm not trying to bash any devs or be the kid going "MAKE DA GAME SO ME LIKEY". I've been here for some major changes and I've defended many of them from unjust criticism. I recommend this game to people all the time. I've spent a no longer overseeable sum of money on high command and surely an occasional GM shot every now and then. I do what I can to involve myself by reporting any bugs or issues I find. I really care about this game. Not that this makes my opinion any more important than anyone else's, I just think it may be important to see where I'm coming from with all this.
I'm used to coming back to this game after a few months and finding more or less significant changes have taken place. The changes that have happened in recent times are an entire disappointment for me this time though.
1. "Measures against Betrayal", the new Coalition rules
This whole package of changes that I understand dropped in January baffles me a little bit.
Up until that point, Bytro's stance on betrayal was that it's a part of the game. It is part of the game to choose your allies wisely and take measures not to be betrayed. I'm not gonna lie, sure I've been legit mad about betrayals, but I appreciated that stance. It adds another layer of depth to the game of which the ultimate goal is to win it, not gain friends.
Of course, it's up to Bytro to change their view on that and now consider it undesirable to a point where they will change the game mechanics to combat it and it's not my place to berate them for that. It would be nice to hear that this change in philosophy has officially taken place though and these changes were not just based on the complaints of players who felt "cheated" because someone took advantage of their weakness in a war game.
Because honestly, it's not outside of your control not to be betrayed by your allies or coalition members. It just required some smarter playing.
To get to the points:
The 72 hour cooldown after leaving a coalition before joining one is outrageous. This may make sense at Day 25 in a game but during the first week or so where things can get chaotic and happen very quickly, this is a disaster. And get this: If you disband a coalition that you were the only member of, the cooldown still applies. For all intents and purposes, that wasn't a coalition at all. If nothing else, at least that needs to be fixed just for reasons of common sense.
The 24h cooldowns are a more fitting gesture I think for what was supposed to be accomplished, a feeling of safety I presume, but they also mess with things in many situations in ways that are neither fair nor reasonable. Have an inactive member of your coalition attacked by hostile forces, you have to wait at least 24 hours before you can cut your losses and make any strategical moves in their territory. This is awful. Once again, doing the smart thing became harder in favour of making the less involved players feel more secure. I don't think that's a fair way of balancing.
Then there's not being able to grant shared map or right of way to members of other coalitions. I guess enough people found it "unfair" that this could be used as a way by people who were creative and smart of enough to do so to jeopardize their safety.
The fact that coalitions are now actively hindered from working together is a real shame as well for the amount of depth it removes from the game. It happened quite frequently that coalitions would have a common enemy and from temporary alliances to defeat them. That's a natural development of war and diplomacy that form the core of this game. I take that it is this exact thing that was for some reason undesired now but I don't understand why. Games have become much more linear and less exciting. Once again it seems the players who are involved and clever enough to form ulilitarian alliances and work towards their goals using more diverse tactics are being stripped of an advantage that they earned.
This also extends to other situations, where moles could become factors, double-agent nations were a thing. Apparently this is now considered "unfair" in a war game that used to be all about that stuff and again, if that's so then I can only politely ask to reconsider. I don't think whoever approved these changes really knew how much depth they would drain from the game.
Please bring back all diplomatic status options for players in different coalitions. You have hurt the appeal of your longtime gameplay with this change and it mainly punishes those who make some extra effort. And that is while I still read constant complaints of backstabbers in all the games I play, putting the effectiveness of these "Measures against Betrayal" in at least a little bit of doubt.
2. Removal of trading options
Undoubtedly, if one thinks about it they would now just heavily consider steering free from coalitions for all the flexibility and options in diplomacy they now rid you of. There are problems with this though.
Many players will distrust someone who wants to collaborate with them but not join a coalition with them, because they want the safeguards to be in place, which is understandable when they exist. Trust can be built other ways though and this human factor I can work with.
The bigger problem is what happened recently though, when trading was simply wrecked for some reason I simply cannot grasp. With trading resources now only possible within coalitions, coalitions are overpowered by a huge margin. By not joining one you would cast aside a really important gameplay aspect completely and put your own self at a disadvantage. You'd wind up being the fool. So you have to go and subject yourself to the immense straightjacket that is joining a coalition now that the above rules are in effect, just because the other choice is strategically punished.
And this one I can't explain to myself with a philosophy change. The "rumours" I hear are that this was related to multi-account cheaters which, quite frankly, I hope has to be ridiculous. It can't be true that 100% of players were punished for the methods of a few cheaters who were reasonably well under control by existing measures and have many other way of gaining advantages other ways, right?
This has cemented coalitions as unavoidable, no matter how unwise it may be to join one for all those other reasons. The choices a player can freely make are effectively being limited by this, as deviating from what the majority of players will do will have you facing severe obstacles.
This really, really has to go back. Please bring trading back into the game!
It's neither fair nor in any way, shape or form realistic that direct trading is only possible with members of your military coalition. This also once again takes something out of general gameplay and once again hurts those who were commited to establishing relations and in it for a little more than shootey boom-boom. I really feel like the way I used to play is being combated with these changes and I still assume that's mostly not what was intended.