The biggest issue with this game is that people keep whining that Mike doesn't add anything to the game. Adding more to the game adds complexity. Adding complexity to an already complex game drives new players away.
You can vote all you want, this game has a learning curve bigger than Steel Penn's wallet.
I do agree that Mike's involvement with the game is non-existent, but complaining that the game doesn't get any updates will not help. The sad reality is that this game is based on reading. The new player tutorial actually has a lot of information, but the information is text, and it throws you to the wiki, where you have to read a lot to learn the basics. I learned the majority of what I know about the game from the wiki. Everything you need to know is in there. Then there's the forums (new players won't even reach the forums, the new generation of manager don't know what a forum is) where there's a lot of important info.
Mike started this game 10 years + ago, and the idea of the game was great. Slow paced game. Takes months and even years to train a single fighter to reach max potential. 10 years ago, that was awesome. We're in 2019 now. Web browser games are not as popular (are they even a thing anymore?). What could save this game would be changing the way it works, like speeding things up for example. I heard a lot of former managers say stuff like "I wanted to come back to the game, but thinking that it will take about a year to have a decent fighter on my roster, not worth it."
If Mike is still interested in his own creation, he will have to pivot from his idea from 10+ years ago and make a big change.
Here is my two cents on it.
The game isn't good enough to keep people interested in it over a long period of time. I mean setting sliders is a steep learning curve but the basics of it is very simple and it isn't actually too difficult to figure out the intricacies with a little experimentation against fighters who you know how their sliders will be set. I suppose you can argue that the randomness of some things can keep you entertained but that will be more annoying than anything else over time. The org side of the game can get stale in a hurry, once you figure out the magic formula and print money then it is really quite boring in that aspect of it. The interaction side can keep you interested in it but by around 6 months in if you haven't wanted to throw your monitor out the window then you should be the patron saint of patience. Anyway, your point about the game being too long to get to the good part is bang on point. I mean it takes at minimum a year, nearly a year and a half before the game gets good. To put it into perspective, you can have a kid and almost celebrate its first birthday before your fighter can realistically climb the leaderboards. So yeah, speeding up the game would prolly help get some older players back into the game and perhaps keep newer players around.
I kinda think y'all missed the biggest selling point of this game when we all joined; the community. There was a chat that had a regular 20/30 members in it chatting about all things who usually would give you tips etc and were generally a friendly bunch of people. The forums were a hotbed of borderline fan fiction writers, role players and generally just people looking to have fun. There were people who you liked, people who you would consider an actual friend, people who drove you up the wall and people who you wouldn't piss on if they were on fire. It was basically a pretty good fantasy land to put yourself in to take your mind off real life shit. The biggest problem was the community pretty much fell apart. You had people who eventually just got bored of the game or just didn't have the time to play it anymore. That happens with almost every game if you don't keep it fresh. Around the same time this game stopped getting updated was the same time you seen members of the community just not play anymore.
by dae by, the point about the NUG etc? I never used that, it was actually one of the trophies I couldn't get when I went trophy hunting that a lot of people had. I learned from people in the chat and just experimenting. A better way would be simple youtube tutorials since everyone loves watching videos these days. The other thing about it being text base, yeah it is but the pbp function makes it imo just as good as good as it would be watching a modern day video game rendering of it. A lot of enjoyment of watching the fights by using the pbp button and spoiler function which is a major selling point of this game that should be advertised a lot more than it does. Anyway, hope y'all are good and i'll go back into hibernation waiting for Fantasy Football next year.