this below is my personal view and impression
As many of you wrote above here, you see yourself thast there is not just "the one reason" why we have the current situation.
It is a mix of many things, even if probably a big part of the responsibility is indeed from Nadeo side.
But they did not only release a new version (MP4) because they just like what they do,
they also did stuff for us, because we asked and keep asking for many things.
It is very sad to see that the development (both of the game and the players) is apparently going in a wrong direction,
and that there is no clear communication from Nadeo about the current state.
There is no communication at all except the answers to support issues.
What are they doing now? 40 people working and no output? Does not sound good.
And this makes me and probably many others feel lost.
Why should we continue playing if there is no further development?
Nadeo will say "look at TMUF, it is still very popular and this without any support".
Ha. Ha. Not funny.
Trackmania has superseeded itself, but I would say, not only because of Nadeo.
When the dedicated servers were relatively easy to setup, everyone with some minimum degree of knowledge, every team, wanted to have an own.
Then came all the server controller scripts, Dedimania etc, lot of great stuff.
But already there the split started.
Too many servers = much less people on individual servers. Perhaps except the well known and well running servers of e.g. SSM or Maniacs.
Since the community had enough servers, Nadeo were able to shut down their own (saving costs).
But then players were more and more frustated, because of empty and overcrowded servers, spam and bans, bugs and issues.
And also the creative players wanted to have more and more stuff, e.g. own blocks, own items, own mods, and finally own titles.
The idea to have servers with own titles is not bad, but the quality of both the title and the server+controller must be good enough to attract and keep players active.
Nadeo relied and relies a lot on the community to regulate things, but this does not work by istelf. It depends a lot on the engagement of players.
There are ladders, there are map rankings, there are developers, but there is no clear overview anymore,
especially since MP4 update which apparently broke many things kind of unnecessarily.
Instead of increasing the stability and reliability, the focus was more towards new players.
There are certainly everyday, with old known and new problems like account issues, skin not showing up, or network connection issues.
But the games are not keeping them attracted like it was in the past to have a critical mass of the community, or they don't care, play only causally perhaps.
Also, along with the various releases of Maniaplanet, Trackmania2, Turbo, I don't know exactly when,
but it doesn't matter actually, there was a noticeable change in the community.
I guess most of the "old" players were saturated, and perhaps also disappointed by the development.
And the new players can't keep the pace with the new titles, each one more difficult than the other.
Good for the best, but catastrophic for the newbies.
Steering of Valley was already difficult, but somehow manageable after lot of training.
Lagoon was really to hard, or worse: erratic, especially in Turbo.
Sure, I don't have anymore the time to play computer games as much as earlier, for different reasons. My own fault you say.
But this is why I chose games - or titles - which are either easy to control, or at least don't frustrate me on the long term.
I also remember of long discussions about titles being DLC, and all possible cost discussions.
But we have all to admit that Nadeo games are rather cheap compared to other games.
Only one example, since I'm also a railfan, I have several different train related games, starting with Sid Meyer's Railroad Tycoon and its successors, ending with the current Train Simulator from DTG. And there, often the DLC costs a lot of real money. Just one engine costs between a few euros up to 30 euros. New official scenarios (a track line of several kilometers lenght in a part of a specific country) cost up to 50 euros. And there are hundreds of such DLC contents, not including the contents which are not listed on the official site or in Steam.
There is so much DLC, nobody can play everything, it's like if you would try to play all maps on Maniaexchange, its simply impossible.
But still I purchased lot of DLC (admittedly mostly in sales), because I am interested in those tracks or trains.
In the Steam forum, there is even regularly the question "Why do all DLC cost several thousands of euros", as if they would like to purchase them all...
I have stopped counting the DLC and the money invested.
What I want to tell, I'm not ashamed because of the amount I have invested, and the time I already have consumed simply driving trains on tracks.
Most of you will tell it is boring. Sure it is, but it is relaxing
And don't think that because it costs a lot that there are no bugs. It's actually the opposite. There are lots of bugs which are not fixed. Bugs in the Train Simulator engine, bugs in the train models, bugs in the scenarios, bugs in the scripts...
Some bugs are fixed then and when, but I don't have the time to play tracks again only to see they are working now.
They release every year a new version of the game, only slightly modified, but they also have started working and releasing a much more modern version of the game, under a new name ("TSW - Train Sim World"), where the DLC are even more expensive.
And people are buying that!
Sure, not everyone can afford buying DLC all the time, or even one title for some time. Only telling.
What I wanted to say is:
We should all be thankful that Nadeo did not ask for that much money and that they allowed to create stuff and also give the creations to other players nearly for free.
But I'm sad that meuh21 did never continue nor release his Moon project, for which the low gravity setting was introduced after lot of "fighting".
Nadeo did add it, and at the end there was still nothing for the players? Too bad.
Perhaps Nadeo has opened a kind of "Pandoras Box" with the title creations, also another box with Shootmania.
But I really hope they are working on something astonishing.
Otherwise I fear that the Trackmania and Shootmania universe will decrease furthermore and finally stop forever.
You know, I also already thought of stopping my engagement here, at least as moderator, since there is not anymore that much to moderate luckily.
But also as player... I was never good driver, never good mapper, and most of the times playing alone or without success on servers.
It was really fun for some time, but it should never frustrate or make angry. Not for a game!
I still like Trackmania, no doubt, and I will still follow its process.
But my heart is not anymore attached to it there like it was before.
I wouldn't say someone stole it, I rather say I gave it to someone, to a person who brought me back into the real life after a long period of loneliness, and this even made us both winners of our personal games of life, because she somehow had a comparable evolution in her life.
If you find someone who is willing to go with you, to support you without any condition, to love you like you are, this is the best what can happen to you!
In the past, at least for some time, I felt it was also a bit the case between Nadeo and the community: that there was a good connection.
But now I feel that both the players and Nadeo have lost the contact, the trust, the respect, the patience, and also the will to do good things.
Both coexist, but both wonder about each other, since even if we are writing here, the eternal complaint "they don't listen" is still there and unfortunately well valid!
Nadeo, we want, no, we need good and substancial news, not only like "we are in a good situation", but what you are working on!
We need more frequent updates on development version and real fixes in stable versions of the games.
We need new good stuff, like good and professional titles, as showcase or blockbusters.
And if you can't provide, teach the players to do great stuff on their own.
Do not only tell "it is possible if you want", but really help!
Not on random cases, but on regular basis.
Give tutorials, improve the documentation, have showcase servers, allow channel customization, do whatever is necessary to make the players happy
Or at least clearly tell if you have stopped working on Maniaplanet and Trackmania so people don't wait for things which will never happen anymore.
Also thanks to all the support from you guys, players and developers