8 Rounds into this game, have we really seen that much of a shift in playing styles? Of course, aspects of the game change now and then, even during rounds, but do players really react to these changes and adapt their habits of many years? Well, this week, I went to investigate what the players of Bootleggers had to say.
The basis of my investigation started by looking at the motivation of the players and how this might have changed across the rounds. One of the key areas I wished to investigate was whether or not players have become more or less motivated. My first port of call was our friendly neighbourhood Moderator, Mika. I asked him first of all whether or not he thought players expected more things to be given to them. “I have noticed a tendency of players expecting the game to be more clear cut and laid out for them” Mika told us. He went on to say “Not that they are not putting in effort, but players just seemed more willing to put in a lot of effort back in the day. Then again, that may just be my memory forgetting the bad stuff”. A worthy summary of how a few other players I spoke to felt. Whilst some believe that they ought to be provided with ‘rank up’ organised crimes and other handouts, this is a very small cross section of the overall community. In the poll that I requested players to fill out, 23% of players told us that they play everyday and rank moderately and 20% said they ranked seriously. The commitment is clearly still notable with, at the time of writing, 102 players ranked Godfather or higher! An impressive commitment but not an unexpected one from the loyal community that Bootleggers is privileged to have. Indeed, one thing which many people mentioned in the forum discussion was that they were being demotivated by the bugs and lack of progress repairing them. Kevin said “With regards to commitment, I agree with SevenVirtues. I started off this round quite motivated and committed to ranking / earning cash, but seeing all the bugs remaining unfixed i’m becoming less and less motivated.” He went on to tell us that his playing style had become far more reckless as a result of this due to the lack of care for the game. This was a sentiment that was echoed by many who entered the topic. Finally, friend of the Buzz and former HDO, RatFaceRay_, told us he thought “there is a small amount of players that expect everyone to just hand them anything they ask for. These players are just plain lazy”. An apt summary which succinctly rounds off our look into player effort.
We move on to look at which features might have gained or lost a player following over the course of Bootleggers history. One aspect of the game which BSF2000 might not have anticipated, when first he carefully concocted the code which Bootleggers is made from, was the concept of being ‘Underground’ or ‘UG’ for short. This is when a player, or group of players, already known to the game go to ground and pretend to be innocent in order to amass a wealth of resources and to target their enemies who would have shot them had they known their true identities. The most notable names that have been pulling off this trick have been ‘The Family’ (TF), ‘The Syndicate’ (TS - who I am informed do not exist), ‘Most Wanted’ (MW) and ‘Asura’ to name a few. There, of course, have been many others but the selection above tend to live almost entirely underground. This is a change that we have seen not just through a single round and has developed so quickly because it was never really anticipated or accounted for. Certainly this round, the focus of many updates has been giving back the power to the crews who appear on the statistics but we are yet to see whether this has been a successful move partially because there are several bugs in the system. Mika told us “I think the underground aspect became more and more effective and popular. In the beginning, people organized in stats crews a lot, this has certainly changed over time.” An interesting point as the organisation of a crew would be instrumental to the success of rebuffing any offensive advances. Mika went on to say “The crews that are there, save for a few, also seem less into making sure they are capable of taking revenge when a member (or the entire crew) is killed. At least, that is the impression I have gotten”.
Aside from the Underground aspects (an unofficial feature if you will), the other two features that seemed to have gained in popularity are Busting and the Mission series. The first of these has increased over the last few rounds with multiple ‘busting crews’ appearing on the stats. A few people commented in the forum that the latter of these features was only being used now because it was a requirement to rank past gangster. Indeed, Ratfaceray_ told us “In previous rounds most people did not do them as they where seen as a waste of time. I am happy to see them tied more to the game as a whole”. This compounds the point that many players were making that the missions were just a key to a metaphorical door.
Finally, I investigated the opinions of how players guarded their money and if this has changed. Once again, Ratfaceray_ had an interesting point to put across: “This round we have seen the Bank go back to the old way. Back like in the earlier rounds of the game I mean. This way people that have a lot of money either buy Gold or have to use the Swiss Bank. Money holder and hidden wealth stats was bad for the game”. This is very much true as without hidden wealth statuses those accounts which are ‘bankers’ are unable to hold vast amounts of money without people noticing so easily; A change which is likely to have a reasonable impact on the dynamic of money in the game as well as the increase of the price of gold.
There have been many changes throughout the rounds with both features and the player base. It is also worth noting that the technology available in the wider world has changed around it as well which has influenced how the players expect the game to be presented. Amongst all of these changes the style in which players conquer the game has been seen to follow one of two paths; by playing the way they always have or by simply attempting a new strategy (such as playing ‘underground’) which may well be the key to dominating future rounds.