AMA October 27th 2022
Host: Julien, Rail Nation Lead Community Operations
Guest: Bruno, Rail Nation Game Designer
Notes taken by: Yaenara, Rail Nation Community Management Team Lead
Julien: Bruno, can you tell us what you’re working on for RN right now (you personally)?
Bruno: There will be a special event and there are some changes in the game. It will be a very fun thing for all the players, and I look forward to that. When the time comes, we’ll announce it.
Q1: Count Duckula: Is there a plan to increase the bank limit because of different power bonuses you wake up with a full bank?
Bruno: It’s not planned at the moment. You need to upgrade the bank if you have bonuses or there is a city competition and you have double revenue. With the maximum bank level, even with the power bonus and worker and 1 city competition is enough to sleep at least. If you have the Plus Account you have double bank limit.
Q2: CyberLola: Has the game been slow lately?
Julien: I’ve seen some reports about this, maybe after the Premium Survey update – I don’t know if it’s related to that. There are some server crashes sometimes, not as often, but it happens. Bruno did you have any performance issues lately?
Bruno: Everything works normal for me, but at the very beginning we had many players joining, but I didn’t see any problems so far.
Julien: For us it’s important that we gather feedback from players when problems happen, so that we can have someone from the team to fix it as fast as possible.
Q3: Dean Winchester: I had issues getting my career points counted.
Julien: We had an issue with that which was fixed. This is ongoing right now, and if there is a loss, it will be minimum. We’ll prepare more accurate information. (Issue solved since the AMA).
Q4: Lani Doodle: Since the Orient Express is so popular, is there a chance that there will be an ongoing server?
Bruno: It’s not planned for now. We see that you like the scenario and we see many players and it might be taken into account later. It could be a permanent one like American Dream and Steam over Europe, or an event scenario like Origin Journey.
Julien: It’s still very early to take such a decision, as we’re barely in week 1 of the scenario.
Q5: CyberLola: How are the roles defined here on Discord?
Yaenara: There are many roles with different attributes/responsibilities.
Some roles can be achieved by any player and they are based on number of posts: the more you write in Discord, the higher the role you’ll get. These are the same as the ones we had on forum in the past: Passenger, Porter, Platform Supervisor, Ticket Inspector, Train Driver, Train Dispatcher, Station Conductor, Locomotive Engineer, Railroad Director.
Then, we have special roles, such as:
– Community Conductor: There is one winner per month, selected either by winning an event or being selected by RN Team for their contributions in the community that month.
– Community Ambassador: Experienced players who volunteer to represent the RN community and interact with RN team. They are selected based on their game experience, knowledge etc. via an interview process. We’ll re-open recruitment for this role in the near future!
– Wiki volunteers: Experienced players, content creators for our Wiki page, who write articles themselves (collaborating with each other), do translations of articles etc. We’re looking for more volunteers, so if you’d like to become a volunteer, reach out to your CM and tell them why and how would you like to contribute. We’ll then review your application.
– Limited edition roles: E.g. Golden Duck. If we have community events, we might have special Discord role as a prize.
Q6: Tycoon Wulf: Is there a possibility for better player amount balance on American Dream?
Bruno: We have an idea here, but at the moment the devs are focusing on the performance and after that is done, this will be one of the first things we will implement. E.g.: If currently the Red or Blue has 100 players more it’s very hard to win.
Julien: I have seen the topic being addressed in meetings internally and it will be changed and improved in future.
Q7: KUKIKO123: Why don’t we have offers for cheap gold purchases?
Julien: Bruno and I are not the persons to answer this question. You can submit this question as feedback in your local channel. We answer all questions/feedback entries.
Q8: Yansi: I know players who think that passengers’ income is too weak on Orient Express, is there a reason that could cause this?
Bruno: It always depends on how many players are doing the transports. But on OE is a little bit lower than on Classic. If the bar is still read and not many players are using that route then there’s still possible to make a lot of money. There is a general rule in game: the longer the distance, the more revenue you get. On OE is between 10-20% lower.
Q9: Naike and Manny-Hommer#6737: When will the bug in the iOS app be fixed with the keyboard overlapping the text field. It is almost impossible to post messages on the iOs app.
Julien: This was reported, the development team is aware of it. We looked into it and it’s so difficult to fix, but it’s not impossible.
Bruno: I remember when Android bug was present and this was one of the most annoying bugs for me as you couldn’t use the chat and messenger because you cannot see what you type and you make many mistakes. It’s one of the most important things.
Q10: CyberLola: A while ago I answered a survey about accessibility features in the game which I thought it was great, since as an autistic person I appreciate a game that worries about making it accessible. Am I going to hear back about the results of that survey and if suggested accessibility features will be implemented?
Julien: Specifically for this survey, I haven’t spoken to the persons who created this survey. Bruno, do you have information?
Bruno: I’m not working on that, but I know that UX team works on that and had some tasks. Every time we have a new update, everyone can bring their top 3 ideas and we have a meeting about that next week. I don’t know what they will bring but I know the accessibility is rated quite high at the moment.
Julien: In terms of sharing the survey results – I don’t know. Also, analysing the survey can take time and they seem to be working on what is really needed to facilitate accessibility in general, so it’s taken seriously.
Q11: KUKIKO123: Will we have a Christmas special?
Q12: Dean Winchester: Following up from Kukiko123 is there going to be a Halloween special as well? I haven’t seen anything.
Julien: No, we have not communicated anything special about the Halloween. We’ve been trying to keep the focus on the Orient Express because that required so much preparation and time from everyone and this was an exciting event for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that people are not working for the next thing. Bruno said that there’s a secret in place. So, something will come for sure.
Q13: Dean Winchester: The surveys have been buggy, sometimes it doesn’t show any surveys or the survey bugs out and you can’t complete it. Is this also being improved?
Julien: Yes, we have read similar reports. The surveys are being improved and we have to go through all the surveys that come (not answers) to see the fail rate to make sure that the whole feature is working a bit smoother. There’s also the possibility that in the country you play from there are less surveys and that’s also a fact and we don’t have control over it.
Bruno: I am not working on this feature and honestly, I don’t use it. I tried it once but it didn’t really work.
Julien: I share the same feeling. I tried it a lot because we had to test it, but very often I was denied to do the survey because I wasn’t part of their focus group so I didn’t pay attention to it.
Q14: Tom / Punk: Would it be possible in the future to set a time on train schedules? For example: From 14:00 to 16:00 o’clock.
Bruno: It’s a good idea but not easy to implement. This could be useful for the night time, competition, or even endgame. It comes up often and it’s still on our list. However, we want you to still play our game and not set a schedule for the next week and do everything automatic, so it needs more thinking.
Q15: Klabbauter: Many many years ago we had a winter game: throwing snowballs at the trains to hit snowmen/snowwomen. Will it ever come again?
Bruno: This year it won’t happen, but the game should still exist. Did you like it?
Julien: If you really like it, I encourage you to make noise about it. Maybe it gets out of the mind of people, but it could come back at the right time.
Q16: sam_play: For mentor program, the new player does not necessarily respond (even rarely) to contacting the sponsor. As a result, the investment of the latter is not rewarded. In addition, new players are often in a city far from the coach’s home city; it doesn’t help with training. Can these aspects be revised?
Bruno: There must be some interaction in messages in order to get the reward (lottery ticket). If there are no questions, just ask the player if they like the game, if they need any help etc. I also often ask if they want to join the association, because new players don’t know which association to join so they need someone to get started and it helps sometimes. If the other player stops playing or doesn’t want to talk, then you won’t get the ticket.
Q17: I heard that account sharing is allowed. Is that true? If yes why is that allowed? This can lead to the situation, where one player cannot compete for top positions with for example 3 other people playing on one account. In my opinion this rule should be changed if it is true.
Bruno: I’m not the expert for this question.
Julien: Account sharing means that more than one player accesses that one account, while not playing with another account. So, they are co-players. That’s completely allowed as long as you don’t have another account and don’t hop into another account.
Q18: Ope: What do you think about replacing the money worker’s bonus from fixed amount to percentage ratio from income?
Bruno: It’s interesting, but the money workers are not that popular at the moment. Maybe it would adapt your play style to make more money and not prestige.
Q19: Ope: Do you plan to add the worker with reducing of time of route construction?
Bruno: There is already an idea noted, but I don’t think this would be popular either. The associations don’t really want to have that. Near endgame, if the tracks take ~1h if you have a bit network, it could help but it won’t reduce it that much. Maybe the worker could create a route instantly, but the money would still be the problem. So, money could also be an idea so that all tracks cost less.
Q20: Tom / Punk: How about adding a Power Bonus with +100% acceleration on the engines?
Bruno: We could do that. We already have the workers with the same bonus, so this could be interesting.
Q21: Cyber Lola: I play in 1 Russian server and I cannot buy gold there because of all the sanctions on Russia. Credit cards from outside of Russia are not accepted. Would it be a great idea to buy gold in the Rail Nation website and using it in the server the player chooses to use it in, to avoid issues with purchases due to war sanctions?
Julien: So basically, like a Lobby gold account…
Bruno: There is an idea for something like that, but I cannot promise we will have it.
Additional information: There are two options for Credit Card payments one for RU only and one for all credit cards. Also, there is a possibility to switch to Ukraine profile of the shop and have CC there as well.
Q22: Winter: Are there plans for giving an association more means to „play” against the other associations? Something similar to setting a team as rival. To have some „cards” or power to use in key moments.
Bruno: Of course, you can invest more to get either workers or the majority in industries, but things like bombs to destroy the others won’t be in the game. We don’t want the other players to get damage or lose something. The most of our players like to play together and cooperate.
Julien: For shared industries, is there something to make it official?
Bruno: The players mostly use the messenger when they say that this association should have the majority there and the others shouldn’t invest much, but officially there’s nothing; no rule that you shouldn’t break majorities.
Q23: Shiko_xiii#7996: If I don’t want to use premium survey at all and never, how can I switch it off, because the notice annoys.
Julien: Yansi says that you can switch it off in the notification options. But will that switch off only the premium surveys or all notifications in the shop?
Bruno confirmed that will only deactivate the premium survey notification.
Q24: Oliver: Are the Oriental cities (with the exception of Istanbul) connected to the Orient Express? Or were the cities chosen because of other (historical) railway lines? Or were they chosen more at random?
Bruno: First, the idea was a little bit different. The original track from Orient Express from Paris to London to Istanbul. Then all the players need to find their way to Orient by themselves. But this was too much effort, then we wanted to use the map. All the other cities were more or less big known cities. We also had to consider the distances between cities.
Julien: Because the Orient Express exists in real life and it went through many different phases and routes, last week I decided to make a blog article about it which is called The real Orient Express which will detail the different periods and routes, and you can take a look on the blog: click here.
Q25: 20ares(GTD)#4897: Will there be 25 association spots readily available by the next event?
Bruno: Yes, for the next event we will have that.
Q26: Naike: When watching videos, you often get the Pollux and she wondered if there is already an update for the feature to turn that off (she did raise this before but got no update on it). Many players in her area don’t watch videos anymore because they don’t want the Pollux.
Yaenara: You can request to Support to remove the Pollux engine if you don’t like it. Once per round.
Julien: Bruno, is it a good idea to remove the Pollux?
Bruno: No, it gives you revenue, Prestige. But if you don’t really upgrade it, it will not get that good, but still better than nothing.
Julien: Naike, why is this something you would like to do?
Naike: To not have to watch videos every day to get its upgrades.
Q27: Lupine: There are myths about whether players get their donation-money (or HQ donation vouchers) back when they are released from an association. Could you clear that up?
Julien: A good point raised! After testing, our tech-support colleagues explained to us that (quoting Saphirus now) “If you donate for HQ and leave yourself, there is a warning that you will not get your donation back. It doesn’t matter if money or voucher was used. It’s lost. And the association will lose it as well. If you are kicked out instead, you will get your money or your voucher back, which ever you used and there will be a system message afterwards informing you that you got it back. Association loses the donation in this case as well.”
Q28: CYFER19: What about servers with entry fee and then equal for all? Set amount of gold without option to move or buy more. True competition in game.
Bruno: We had the Birthday Festival and we had an entry fee of 2,000 gold. But the feedback wasn’t that positive, so we decided to not do it again.
Q29: Teilzeit-Gamer and Fabian1311#1270: Will the app’s problem with correctly copying train schedules be solved soon? It almost never works on the first attempt. And especially in the EG it is annoying when you assign new goods to all trains and half an hour later you see that all 5 Olymps are attached to the goods of the last hour.
Julien: Tech Support says that the bug fix is already planned for the next Product Care 4 update so hopefully it will be fixed let’s say, soonish 😉 Product Care 4 is our next update in line, as soon as we have a target date and the content, we will publish it.
Q30: Winnetou#5866: When or how are the groups (association classes) calculated for the auction of a worker? Does this process take place in „real time”, i.e. every time a new worker appears? Or is there another mechanism behind it?
Bruno: Every time a new auction is created. As soon as the auction is calculated the groups are created. It depends on the rank of the associations. There are 4 different pools.
Q31: Onkel Otto#3886: Is there a possibility to create private channels for the in-game messaging system where chairs and deputies can discuss among themselves (also with other cities, regions and such) and manage access themselves?
Bruno: We have this on the idea list as well, especially in SoE for the council, mayor, president etc. that they get their own area in the messenger. But this isn’t something that will come in the near future. Not 100% if this is part of our upcoming plan for messenger improvements.
Q32: Hub3rt#2816: Will there be any faster OE this year?
Bruno: This year, no. We mostly have the event servers at 2x speed, but this time we decided to have OE in 1x. If we will do OE again, I guess there will be a faster server as well.
Julien: When we survey players on the speed, it’s always almost 50-50, so it’s difficult to choose the best option for the majority.
Q33: Hub3rt#2816: Are you considering a special edition „morning coffee” or „evening drink” scenario? (Start a server in the morning or evening hours)
Bruno: It’s an interesting idea. We know that most players are active in the evening, so it would be cool. But we always have to consider our working times for setting up the servers, testing etc. US servers start at 4pm CEST, not at 2pm CEST for example. If there are many players that would like to have this, then we will consider it.
Julien: The weekend endgame is also a popular demand.
Bruno: So why not have a server start on a Friday evening, for example? It could be interesting.
Next, took place the live Quiz!
Thank you everyone for your participation and see you next time!