Firstly I would just like to say that I am a relatively new player to NP2 but after playing it for a few months now and being hooked on the game I would just like to thank and congratulate Jay for coming up with such a brilliant game.
I am not sure if it has been suggested before but I think a friend system within the game would only add to the community aspect of the game and could solve several frustrating issues that dedicated players may have if their experiences are similar to mine.
I have encountered several players in multiple games whom I would happily play again however I have also encountered several players I would not choose to play again.
This could be due to ability, for example, I identify myself as a strong player and prefer to play against equal or higher strength players because that is the best way to improve my abilities. I have met several strong players in my limited amount of games which I would like to organize a game with however this is not possible due to having no way to contact them within game once whatever game I was in has ended.
Being in a game with players who do not grasp some core concepts of the game does not lead to the same level of satisfaction as a game where all the players have to really work for their position and victory.
Furthermore one big problem I have seen with this game is that the luck element in each game is determined by players who quit or go AFK early on and hand a huge advantage to another player that no amount of optimal play can compensate for. If there was a meta game friends system you could acquire a list of players who you know are committed to playing the game and will not quit if it does not look like they will win. Ultimately the point of this game is to have fun and it is so much more fun when every player is committed to playing the game and not just victory.
I believe that the ability to organize and arrange games within the game would be a huge benefit to the game.
Finally, it would also allow a bigger community to grow within the game. I know that I would enjoy remaining in contact with allies from previous games. The more games you play with the same players the bigger the rivalry’s and alliances become increasing the meta game elements of diplomacy. It would allow for the development of Clans/Guilds and increase the competitive side of the game.
I also think a friends system within the game could counteract some of the more dubious tactics that are employed in game such as starting as neighbors in dark galaxies. A friends system this could lead to some currently unfair practices being easier to organize and arrange for everyone. For example being able to choose your neighbors in dark galaxies would be a lot easier butr since this is happening anyway and I see it as an opportunity to level the playing field against real life friends who join games together as well as the other players in game who already use this tactic. If its going to happen then you might as well facilitate it so everyone can do it.
This could possibly have a negative effect on the first time experiences of new players because established teams of players would have an overwhelming advantage in games populated with new players (such as the standard 8 player game) However if it were to be a premium membership exclusive and a greater distinction between premium and non premium members were created, such that either the number of premium members in a public game were restricted to something like 2 premium player to 6 public players or even simply restricting premium players from public games this should negate the possibility of premium players abusing the friend system against non premium players.
The premium members who currently serve as what I like to think of community leaders within the game, the role players the experienced players who give tips and advice to the new players ect, could simply create public alts if they wish to continue helping the community in public games.
If a friend system were implemented I also believe it would cause more people to invest in premium memberships and result in a large group of core players emerging.
Anyway those are just my thoughts on the topic,
What are the main difficulties presented in implementing such a system and is there any way the members of this community could facilitate it happening?