Once airlines in AS reach a certain size, it becomes increasingly difficult to actively manage them. The tools in AS are very good for managing individual flights or routes; but they do not scale well, making it extremely time-intensive to manage an airline with hundreds of routes.
From my experience, and from posts from other players, this causes two problems:
A lot of players shut down their airlines once they reach a certain size, because for them, the need to manage a rapidly growing number of manual steps stops being ‘fun’ and starts feeling like a job or chore (e.g. scheduling multiple new planes, every day; cancelling or adjusting many routes a week; spending time trying to manually find empty slots to fit new planes into etc)
Some players still really enjoy the challenge of managing very large airlines (it is one of the great things about AS), but it is common to hear many of them on the forum saying that they oppose changes or updates to older servers, because it would be impossible for them to restructure their airlines. That seems like a shame to me - as it makes players choose between having access to new features, versus abandoning their hard-built airlines.
I would really welcome a few ‘quality of life’ updates to the interface, to make it easier to manage larger airlines. There are probably many, many ways this could be done - different people might prefer different changes. But, they could include:
Being able to make bulk, ‘criteria based’ changes to prices or services - e.g. lowering prices on flights that have been less than 90% full over the last 48 hours, and where the ORS is less than 100. All of the information and functionality to make these changes is currently in AS - you just have to manually search multiple screens, one at a time, at the moment.
A tool in flight scheduling, to automatically find either the next free block of 7 slots, or the next free slot on a given day - I don’t know about others, but it would make it more enjoyable for me, when I have multiple planes to schedule every day, to not have to spend time manually moving departure and landing times by 5 minutes at a time, to find free slots at congested airports.
A tool to copy a flight schedule to a new plane, but to shift the days on which each flight departs - for longhaul flights, I think a lot of players set up efficient schedules that require multiple planes to achieve daily frequencies. I find having to manually re-enter the schedule for each new plane, on different days, to be a bitmof a grind. Being able to copy the schedule, and then update it to depart on different days, would save a lot of time.
I know that device time is limited on AS at the moment, but I assume that all of these changes would be pretty achievable - they are just extensions on existing tools and functionality that already exists. And, I think they would help keep more players in the game for longer. Perhaps other players have other suggestions?
Growing size of airlines is one of the biggest reason people stop playing.Those who have these big airlines stop playing because they are too tedious to manage.
Other players stop playing because their small airlines are destroyed by those big ones.
Adding tools to help manage big airlines could partially solve problems of their owners, but it won’t help other players with small airlines from being destroyed.
I know I could probably open an airline on some server in China or US and grow it to 2000 planes, but the thought of scheduling 2000 planes is a nightmare. Not to mention that at this size airlines become completely stale, not able to react to changing market.
I would like to have artificial limitations to airline size. For example add tax based on number of planes. It would be 0 for airlines with less than 50 planes, and then growing, so adding each new plane would cost more, as a result making airlines with over 600 planes unprofitable. It would be a task of the player to find a perfect balance in number of planes for his airline. It would add new fun in deciding which destinations to cut in favor of others.
It would also fix slot problem, as people would prefer to send one bigger plane instead of few small ones.
In case of subsidiaries, all airlines in one country would count as one, and foreign subsidiaries would have higher tax than main country airline.
Look at real world airlines - Lufthansa has 360 planes, Ryanair 462. In AS there are airlines in Europe with over 1500 planes.
This would result in more small and medium airlines instead of few huge ones, and people opening new holdings on multiple servers resulting in more income for AS.
Do you think with current credit consumption people will be opening on more worlds? Exact opposite is true, people have been liquidating airlines. Currently AS receives same or less revenue than before the increase. Your logic in this regard is flawed.
I wouldn’t say the problem is that it’s hard to manage when you get big. Planes are flying themselves and there will be no difference. I had 1000 planes scheduled and had no need to micromanage them. Let’s say you receive 3 planes per day you will have gotten 1000 planes in a year. The only problem here was that is was getting to tedious to schedule. When scheduling 3 planes per day, every day it started feeling really boring, especially as most scheduling was just to the same airport.
I know some do it differently but I just looked in the station page and when I saw a high percentage somewhere I looked a bit more on that route and added a couple of planes only flying that route. As I had covered my entire market it was just about adding planes. Long haul was a bit more interesting to schedule but when using the 7 plane strategy its usually only interesting to schedule the first plane and then the other 6 where only copying the first.
In the end it felt to much like a job to always schedule planes so I couldn’t be bothered and with enough planes that were not flying my American airline went under. Before that I had always continued buying credits and keeping my account up just to not lose the hundreds of hours I had put in. When the American airline went under I decided it wasn’t worth it so I just liquidated all.
With that said I don’t see a problem in the tools to manage late game (as the game manages it self) but rather that there aren’t many challenges in late game.
Some situation from late game. At the beginning I set up hundreds of random flights from JFK, BOS, ORD to Europe. Not being in waves they are not doing well. One of my competitors liquidated leaving some empty slots, so I could reschedule flights in waves and add feed. Unfortunately this would mean rescheduling hundreds of planes which is a too tedious task, so I am left with crappy network and an airline that barely gets any profits.
I am in the same situation. Is started in 2017 out of BOS with little understanding of how to make a profitable airline. Now after almost 2 years I have learned a lot however to try to fix my BOS hub would take so much time that it really isn’t worth it to some extent.
Yes, I agree that the fact that the late-game gets stagnant is the bigger problem - one you have dominated a market and built a powerful network of connections over a hub, you basically get to print money.
But, I think that problem is much harder for AS to solve (although the ORS changes may help, a bit). Making it easier to manage large airlines would help, a bit. It would also be necessary to have better management tools, if and when AS introduces changes that make the late-game more dynamic, so that airlines can adapt.
The game just needs to make it more difficult to make money with a large fleet. We need planes going tech, more fluctuation in ticket sales, something like 5-10% LF fluctuation, we need C and D checks - so costs of keeping a massive fleet get huge. A C check can cost nearly a million, a D check on a A320 can be millions.
They need to update the costs of running a flight as well, its a lot more expensive these days.
Reeve, thank you for a well written post that I can really relate to. I think you identified a real problem with some potential solutions.
I also feel the same and have wished for some kind of AI assistant manager that I could delegate work to. It could make suboptimal decisions (that would be a balancing thing but also would reduce the server load) but it would be nice to be able to say here’s a plane, fill it with flights whenever from AAA-BBB.
At the same time, there’s a real downside to making it easier to manage large airlines. Like caranubis said, it’s tough for new players to compete with large airlines. In a way, the stale un-fun nature of large airlines is exactly what creates opportunity for smaller or medium sized airlines to shine as a server ages.
I think it’s also possible that the first 6 months of AirlineSim is the fun part and that is just how it goes. I feel the same with some other games I play like Europa Universalis IV, Anno, or Civilization. They are quite different games, being single-player, but they are games that I enjoy massively at the beginning/mid-game but don’t enjoy the late game.
The thing is that all these “disasters” would also affect new players who would get way harder hit if 1/2 planes gets broken than a players where 1/100 planes gets broken. Ticket fluctuation might also be very disastrous for new players.
The maintenance checks are a mixed batch. How I ran my business model I leased all my planes and always replaced them before they turned 2.5 years old to keep top image. Meaning that I would never have to carry out a D check and barely any C checks (wouldn’t bother me to replace the planes after 20 months to not have to pay for the C check). If I would carry out a C or D check it woulnt at all bother me as I would always afford it and I would always have spare planes. The issue is also with the leasing. I believe leasing costs should be renegotiated every year to account the age of the plane. But how it is now there is no reason paying the same price for a old plane when you could get a brand new one.