Since my horoscope today said that Ill be very communicative and won't get any work done because of that I'll share a few opinions about certain aspects of CF multiplayer.
Let's start with the situation we are in.
CF needs active players and it needs funding to keep the server running (which can be considered a requirement to have active players).
We used to have a more or less healthy clan population renting systems and funding the server that way.
They earned the privilege to build a new space station and "govern" their clan system while also having a representative in the GR (Server Police).
By itself I consider having clans to keep the server running a good concept and let's face it, it was working well for a very long time.
The problems start with the activity of the clans... and how to keep clans and their members active.
The construction of clan bases is one way... but lets face it... once the station is build the clan needs different motivations.
No player really wants to do the same stuff over and over again. The day will come when a player has the best ship, more money than can be spent and every system of the game has been visited and explored.
Beyond that players and clans need different motivations to play.
We have Events that are held on the server but lets face it... Events only work if there are people willing to host them... and if there are people willing to regulary participate. Eventmanagers did a good job so far and those that endured even in times of low participation deserve deepest respect.
The problem with events is that they are limited in time. A few hours a week.
CF needs long term activities for players and clans specificaly.
There is a word fitting exactly for that. That word is called Roleplay.
Servers with active roleplay also have active players and active clans. That is a matter of fact.
It does also not matter how good or bad the roleplay is. I know that people complain about the RP on other servers... but fact is that messed up RP is better than no RP at all.
To be honest I am not sure why people on CF do not realize the potential behind RP.
Maybe I am not good that explaining it.
Maybe we just should take a step back and start with the basics.
What Id like to see is RP that would be beneficial to clans... because in the end we would need clans to keep the server running. You can consider this the goal of this discussion.
RP in itself is just a decision. The decision to play a role.
It does not mean to have a RP licence on your ship. The licenses are just tools for us to let RP happen in certain boundaries. They prevent that people complain about unfair treatment or start crying while RP happens.
But in itself they are not RP and buying a licence is not yet the decision required to do RP.
The way I see it the server will die without active RP, so lets try to find a way how to get RP going again.
This community exists now for meanwhile ~18 years and we had times with very active RP. The problem back then was that we did not have the tools (licenses) to prevent that people let RP escalate.
But nonetheless history of this community proved that RP can work if people want it to work. We are currently in a situation that every player has to help us to make it work again.
From my limited perspective of once being the leader of one of the Police/Military clans (long time ago) I can say that such a clan needs a clear task.
Back then for us it was the task to police the shortest passage between the vanilla systems to the new CF systems.
With other words we controlled the Custodian system. We allowed new players to travel through the system while we ensure that other clans (especially smugglers, mercs and pirates) were not able to pass through the system.
That task in itself kept this Police clan active (while we of course also did other police duty outside the system).
To have such a task and follow it consequently can be a foundation for RP to happen. Especially when you also have other clans with very different motives on the server.
e.g. a pirate clan who gives a fuck about what the police wants.
Roleplay lives by its conflicts. You have to have conflicts on the server because they make everything much more interesting.
The 2nd pirate clan that joined the CF server (loooooonnng time ago) was LP.
Despite not wanting pirates to roam in our territory I agreed because it was a perfect roleplay opportunity.
The pirates had something to do (stealing our whisky) and the cops were busy preventing the theft.
If we project this into our current situation this kind of agreed roleplay would perfectly fit into the current environment. The server rules and RP rules would allow this to happen. The licenses could serve as the tool they were meant to be. It also would give clans a purpose and clan members a reason to be active.
I am not saying that the same constellation has to happen. It is just an example of how it can work and how it used to work.
But it also means that players have to make the decision... the decision to do RP and to stick to that RP even if it is sometimes a bit harder.
Just having a license installed on your ship is not enough.
If you are a cop you have to act like a cop.
If you are a pirate you have to act like a pirate.
You have to play the role... no matter what. Your role creates the activities on the server, it creates a purpose for your clan, it might even cause conflicts but those are part of the fun.
I know that the situation today is a bit different... it is going to be harder to get started because less people are online. It certainly would not be bad to start at a smaller scale. A bunch of people willing to do RP on a limited scale... but doing it regulary. Having at least two contrary groups with conflicting goals.
Also worth to mention is that RP needs to be visible to the public. It does not help if you are a pirate and tax 3 people... everyone needs to know that you taxed 3 people. RP needs to be visible to others to motivate them to join it.
Back in the day when privy did the Whisky thefts in custodian every theft was published as a small RP story here on the forum. The pirates were bragging about how they fooled the police and the police published their stories about how they caught thiefs.
This motivates others to join the action. This keeps conflicts fueling and RP running.
RP is a decision... sometimes even an agreement to cause conflicts.
I am sure that RP could return and stay on CF if people make that decision.
That could be a foundation for the future of the server and the community.
Maybe we just should return to what used to be normal on the server and in this community.
People that identified with RP and a RP faction... characters with a biography and purpose... and also accepting that conflicts are part of the fun.
RP also does not stop because you had a bad day or are not in the mood for it today. It has to be persistent in order to work.
We can discuss structural changes if you want... I see room for improvements in various areas but most important is that people make the decision to get stuff started. You can discuss it with others... you can work out your own version of RP events (like the one in my example), you can make agreements with other players/clans to get engaged in some action.
And, yes I want you (you all) to work on that. You can not expect me to play the game for you. My job is a different one.
PS.: I know that recently there was a suggestion to expand RP beyond Sirius. Personaly I dont think that there ever was a limitation and there should never be such one. However I think that if people decice for an agreed RP as in the example above it should be focused (but not limited) on a specific region in order to let conflicts and RP events happen more frequently. Expanding when more people get involved always will be possible. But you have to get it started somewhere.