Esteemed colleagues and friends,
I see spirits and tensions run as high as they always tend to. I won't feed the conversation surrounding Tedivm and do think it should be discussed somewhere else. This thread is here to hold an important discussion that is likely to yield a useful outcome for the game.
Here are my thoughts around the tick time.
I personally don't believe that the tick rate is a major cause of player loss. I think the tick rate is a simple excuse. A visible thing to point to. Whether the tick rate is 2s, 3.6s or 5s, it's still in the same order of magnitude. This game is (and should be) a slow game with engagement over hours or days. In fact, this is one of the things that has been very attractive to me about the game.
I have been playing mmo games for a long long time now and I've had a special attraction towards mmo strategy games. One of the core problems with most mmo games is that they require time. Lots and lots of time. Which is fine if you're a teenager. Not so much when you've got a job, wife and kids. It's natural for interest to rise and wane over time. The beauty of Screeps is that it allows players to maintain a connection with the game during their low periods.
I'm strongly in favor of a 3.6s tick rate. It makes understanding and translating game events into the real world much easier. An hour is 1k ticks, a day is 24k ticks. You send off an attack and log back in one hour to see it in action. It segments interaction with the game in a clean way.
2.4s is another reasonable choice due to the creep life cycle but does not translate Screeps time to real-time as clearly.
Still, the only reasonable choices IMHO are 3.6s and 2.4s. The choice of which to pick should be made on ideological grounds of how the player is meant to interact with the game and not on which one is the cheaper or fastest choice. A faster game is not necessarily a better one and, again, I seriously doubt that the game's speed is the real reason people would leave.
Personally, I feel faster tick rates benefit established players more than they do new ones. The faster the game, the more automation plays in and new players can't be automated at the required level. My memory of 2s tick times was quite a stressful time when the game was sucking much more time then I could afford to give it. I was close to quitting a number of times due to the game being too intense.
Fundamentally, I think people are not having a problem with the tick time, but with reaching a point of equilibrium with their environment and losing the pressure to survive. Once a player is in that state, it doesn't matter what the tick rate is.