The !donate command
To explain why the !donate command is bad for gameplay is simple, though a little long-winded.
Renegade has many RTS elements to it, and that's no accident. It was designed by Westwood, the company who literally invented real-time strategy. Economy is a huge part of Renegade's gameplay, just as it is in an RTS game. Go and watch a replay of a top RTS player. Do they stay in base until they can afford the most powerful units? No. They go out there and perform what is known as harassment. In most RTS titles this is done by attacking your enemy's resources, and if done correctly, the end result is this: you get your powerful units out there before your enemy does. In doing so, you secure yourself a large advantage. This is absolutely true for Renegade too - at the top levels of play, that is to say clan wars and community matches, games are frequently determined by which team harrasses better.
Renegade has a direct equivalent of this. Depending on the map, it's any or all of the following: - killing the enemy harvester - protecting your own harvester - C4ing or grenading enemy structures - money crates - the !donate command
Look at this list. Which of the five did Westwood not specifically choose to implement? Which of the five was not in the original game? Which of the five is physically impossible to stop your enemy doing? (in other words: uncounterable) Which of the five does not require you to leave your base and fight for it? Surprise, surprise: the answer to all four questions is the same.
The economy system in Renegade is remarkably well-made and surprisingly balanced. If you were to remove the donate option from that 5-item list, then the following statement becomes true: The team with better infantry skills and better co-ordination is able to obtain money more quickly than their opponents. City Flying, for example. Let's say Team A has very good shooter and pistol skills, Team B doesn't. Everyone goes out to the field... and what will happen? Team A's infantry will slaughter Team B's infantry. As a direct result of this? Team A is able to kill the enemy harvester, save their own, and get money crates. Therefore, they get cash faster and are able to secure a good advantage as a direct result of the fact they harassed better.
So what's wrong with donating? Firstly, Westwood didn't intend it, and understandably so. They didn't MEAN for you to have to contend with an orca, apache or APC faster than it is legitimately possible to afford. Secondly, it is perhaps the only thing in Renegade that it is physically impossible to stop your enemy doing.
The enemy's trying to kill your harvester or get boxes? You can stop that if your team's better than theirs.
They're trying to sneak into your buildings and get C4 off? You can stop that if your team's better than theirs.
They're sitting in their own base and typing a line of text in the first 10 seconds of the game? If you were the best team in the world and your opposing team was the worst team in the world, you still couldn't stop it.
Therefore, the cash race which is a huge part of Renegade's strategy (INTENTIONALLY, I repeat) stops being about which team has better infantry and better co-ordination, and becomes about which team has a couple of people willing to simply give some credits to another player.
It is flawed to suggest that it is fair because the donator loses money. Why? Let us suggest that two teammates each have 225 credits on a no-donate server. They are both basic infantry. They want an artillery. Without !donate, one of them has to earn 225 credits to achieve this, which will take some time, or work, or both. With !donate, one player can donate 225 credits to the other. The other player can immediately afford an artillery. The problem is, the artillery driver can simply shoot a building for about ten seconds to earn those 225 credits right back.
Finally, to suggest that the !donate command improves gameplay because it takes "teamwork" is rather feeble. When you refer to someone typing a few words as "teamwork", you simply devalue the word. You might as well say: "it's OK for me to use admin commands to give my teammates credits because it takes teamwork".