Explicitly allow multi-accounting (with narrower restrictions)

  • It's just time. The idea that alliances are allowed because of some perceived layer of separation ("you have to get them to agree") is ignoring the fact that the same criticisms of multi-accounting should be criticisms of alliances. In fact, several have quit in the past stating some of those criticisms about alliances in the first place.

    I don't care about people's principles, that's their decision and I support them in quitting or having their opinions or whatever. What I do care about is interesting problems and not shaming something some people are clearly doing anyway. (To head off the conspiracy theorists, no, I'm not multi-accounting. I don't have the time to run, and if anyone thinks Jacoboco isn't really my son's account, they could just watch how inefficient he is at getting things done that I want him to, like taking over space so I can respawn right now.)

    It probably needs some caveats, like only one Steam purchase should be allowed per person so an army of 10 CPU-ers doesn't just blanket take up space, but adding another account to the mix should be allowed outside novice areas. What are the concerns? Let's deal with the concrete ones, as opposed to the fluffy "it's not fair" things that don't have a place in a sandbox game anyway.

    Reasons to do this:

    • Increased revenue. If someone wants to go as far as taking over a shard with their subs, great, that's a lot of revenue, just create another shard instead.
    • Less shame. Shaming culture is anathema to a community. Discourse is healthy. Shaming someone out of the community just means it's not a community worth having, and we've seen that happen here before, so let's just explicitly state "this is ok, so leave people alone about it." This also means we'd know more about who is multi-accounting and you can target them if you don't like it, just like we do with bots.
    • More interesting problems. Right now my office mates and I are trying to do a cooperating AI, where it acts as a sort of hive mind. We're not close to finished, but it's showing some promise. What more can people do with this kind of thing? What ways can such an interesting scenario be used?
    • Mechanical balances. These just always follow when you open up explicit behaviors. The game can't be abused to a certain point or the devs have to step in and make changes so everyone feels they can get a chance to do what they set out to do. Lots of examples of this exist in every sandbox game ever. This would be balanced just the same.
    • Allowing things is easier than disallowing things you can't control. There's no way to tell if someone is multi-accounting definitively unless they admit it. Right now, a lot of multi accounters I've heard of just don't admit it. I'd personally die on that mountain because I don't like secrets, but I understand why they keep it to themselves. Even those that admit it, how would you enforce it? "Well, you said it to this guy and we trust him, so..." It's so much more scalable and customer friendly to just allow it.
    • The problems with it that I've seen can be dealt with. It's also easier to deal with problems that might be rather than limit something that might cause the maybe problems.

    Tell me how I'm wrong. Not that you disagree with it on principle. Tell me what concrete things you think will break if allowed. My feelings don't matter, your feelings don't either. Engage the mechanical problems. If you can't come up with a reason beyond how you feel about it, then there's really no reason not to do it. Well, beyond inaction taking less effort than action, of course. =cP


  • I agree that multiple accounts should be allowed. That being said, by allowing multiple accounts I think other policies would need to be in place (honestly these policies should already be in place since while not allowed multiple accounts already happen). The biggest one I can think of is explicit policy around respawn abuse/harassment. I completely agree that multiple accounts should be used to play this game, but I don't think multiple accounts should give someone the ability to attack and harass another player in a way that they could not be accomplished with a single account.


  • I think the majority of the community would disagree that alliances have the same issues as multi-accounting. But you are entitled to your opinion. Working together with a group of players to achieve a shared goal within an alliance (win a war) is what makes this game interesting for a lot of people.

    I have been playing MMO strategy games since I played Earth 2025 in the '90s and virtually every game I have played has had an issue with multi-accounts. They don't add to the game, they detract from it, because those with multiple account invariably use them to feed a single account for some perceived benefit. In Screeps that benefit would be to get top of the ranks for expansion or power or perhaps something else. Maybe you don't care about those things but a lot of people do. Buying sub tokens is another way you could obtain a similar benefit and personally I think the game would be better without that way to get in game credits.

    If you want to do experiments with hive minds and multiple accounts you can setup a private server.

    Oh and if you don't have time for multiple accounts, why do you care?

  • @stevetrov said in Explicitly allow multi-accounting (with narrower restrictions):

    Oh and if you don't have time for multiple accounts, why do you care?

    More importantly, why doesn't everyone care? Taboos break communities (of games or otherwise), and frankly breed distrust. From the limited number of people I know that multi-account, it limits their participation in the community about what they can share and frankly I think that's sad because I think there's significant overlap between those that would multi-account and those that are passionate about various code approaches. That's purely anecdotal, though, so I can't claim it as anything but my hunch.

    I want this to be another botting style opinion war forever, where it doesn't have to be this threat of "I'll tell Dad!" and instead becomes "you're botting, I don't like that, so I'm killing you." Great! That's how sandbox communities should be. You're multi-accounting, I don't like that, so I'm killing you. Can we verify it? About as much as we can verify bots, and maybe we develop better strategies for doing so, like LOAN is trying.

  • Culture

    I think the majority of the community would disagree that alliances have the same issues as multi-accounting.

    I don't think it's a good idea to speak for the community. Your personal opinion is one thing, but unless someone actually does a survey of the community itself it's pretty hard to gauge what everyone is thinking.

    While I personally don't agree that alliances in general have the same issues, I do think that as long as we allow NCP's and alliances of shared code bases then there really doesn't seem to be a reason to ban multiple accounts. I personally don't see much of a difference between having "Bob" and "Alice" run the same code on two accounts compared to having "Carol" simply run two accounts named Bob and Alice).

    I do agree with @rajecz though that there would need to be some better policies in place if that were to become official. For example, I think it would be a good idea to block someone from respawning within 20 rooms of any of their existing territory for at least a couple of days. That would prevent a lot of respawn abuse.

    I also think this is a good conversation to have in general, as the TOS has evolved over time based on previous things we've done as a community. For example, the TOS was changed to make it clear that you can't use multiple accounts for playing the game, which opened up using multiple accounts for creating applications (The League of Automated Nations website, #thewarpath bot, even the silly little "badge" web service).

  • Multiple 10-cpu accounts are roughly equivalent to 1 subscribing account. Why would anybody ever pay for a subscription when they could have 1 10-cpu account per controlled room? (Yes you pay for screeps on steam, but that's equivalent to 1-2 months subscription, less if you buy screeps during a sale).

  • I'm not so sure there's really a difference. The obvious doomsday scenario is pay to win multi-account empires. But we already have massive multi-account empires dominating the game.

    Personally I hate how alliances have changed the world of screeps, although I have long since accepted that whether I like it or not, they are here to stay.

    So from my perspective, I really don't see a downside to allowing multi-account play anymore. They would not be any different than what we already have.

  • @wtfrank I don't know but creating all those accounts is quite a nuisance, sure that won't stop people dead bend on multi-acountung from doing so but it is imo not worth the time.

    I think there is absolutely no reason to ban multi-accounting, I think it is more like a challenge to get those working hand in hand together.

    Most negative stuff about that, are problems with individuals and personal relations, this should be handled accordingly regardless if the person is multi accounting or not.

    I wouldn't mind to ask steam friends for a authkey if they decide to stop playing the game actively, could be really fun to solve the whole set of new problems.

    So yes multi-accounting should be endorsed I see absolutely no game breaking stuff in there.

  • I haven't made my mind up on the question itself. On one hand, I'd love to have a larger universe. On the other, it's pay2win-like, and may cause even more stagnation.

    However if it would be explicitly permitted, it should be done in a controlled manner; e.g require players to register their extra accounts to be linked to their main account, and ban those who don't (if there is sufficient suspicion). This has numerous benefits:

    • it's possible to limit the amount (e.g max 3) or usage (max 1 per shard)
    • it's possible to avoid lots of 10cpu clones (a drain on the rest of the community)
    • it could be made public, to warn possible attackers (like GCL and alliance membership is an indication now)
    • permits integration in the game if needed (auth keys, billing, rank, ...)
    • could help avoiding "toxic" effect (new players being surprised it's allowed because the docs don't mention it at all, unfounded allegations of being an alt, less chance of "trolling" since alts are not fully anonymous, ...)
    • keep track of how widespread it's use is
    • limit interaction with new content like the arena minigame to the "main" account only, if needed for fairness.
    • ...

    basically, keep the door open to tweak and extend it later.

  • I don't have a firm opinion about whether multi-accounts are good or bad. I do feel the current situation of it being disallowed but unenforced is bad. I think the cost to properly enforce the rule likely out weighs the benefits (if any).

    I suggest we allow multiple paid accounts and strongly enforce a 1 free account per person rule.

  • 1 account per shard seems fun.