Play Balance - Reigning In The Mammoth Airlines
In a world full of typical city-builder games, AE is a refreshing change. Instead of annoying build-timers, we live in real-time. Instead of milking you for cash to buy speed-ups and boosts, the game rewards shrewd analysis and - dare we say - good common sense. Not to mention that aviation fanatics can enjoy perusing all of those tables and plan routes and such.
AE's main problem, as I see it, is that it rewards the biggest airlines by keeping them indefensibly mammoth. There's no way to take them down a peg, save widespread collusion. Once they're in the top tier, I imagine they could only amuse themselves by collecting every airplane imaginable and connecting to every airport on the globe.
Here are some solutions:
PUNISH LARGE AIRLINES THROUGH TAXATION When an airline starts out, it might receive some support in the form of government investment (negative tax). But as it gets larger, it should face increasing levels of taxation, as governments try to extract its cash and perhaps even try to regulate it out of existence. However, instead of basing tax on income. We would instead base it on the total exit capacity of the airline's fleet.
Income tax rate = (Total Exit Capacity - 2000) / 10,000 e.g. 525 (14.75%) income tax credit!! Yes, startups get rewarded for losing money. But we would place a cap on the cash position such that tax credits could never push the balance higher than $80,000,000. 3,500 15% income tax rate 7,213 52.13% income tax rate 12,245 122.45% income tax rate!!! Yes, they'll pay more than they earn.
When an airline gets too big, it starts to attract a lot of negative attention. This somewhat reflects how a government might try to break up a dominant airline when it gets too big. Pick whatever numbers you want, but its pretty easy to set an effective cap on airline size. The challenge for players probing the upper tiers would be to do so efficiently. Other players might instead prefer to restart rather than to maintain their behemoth.
TOP 50 ROUTES LISTING Kind of like an honour roll, this would proudly display the highest dollar amount earning routes for the past 24 hours. In doing so, it would perhaps draw competition to these routes and provide a means for competitors to harm the most valuable assets of the top airlines. It would also provide valuable clues to newer players regarding how to maximize route profitability.
REVISED CREDIT RATING CALCULATIONS This post had some good things to say on the topic. Improvement to Credit Rating Calculations #526
These changes are important because:
- Apart from periodic game resets, there are few opportunities for a new airline to enter the game and achieve prominence.
- Because the game has a fixed number of airports of a fixed PAX population, the environment can effectively only support so many profitable routes. Thus, super-large airlines seriously crowd out new entrants.
These changes would benefit other users by:
- Providing new challenges to super-larger airlines. Instead of growing ever huger, they would need to find ways to be both huge and efficient, with the former decidedly working against the latter.
- Opening up the game for a larger group of mid-level operators.
- Make it easier for new airlines to expand, thus increasing player engagement during the initial weeks of operation.