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I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

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  • I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

    ...at least for a while.

    The only time I can have fun in this game anymore is when I play marines, because that's the only time I feel like I actually have some control over the game. As aliens, you have to be ridiculously good to take down a marine with even the slightest idea of how to jump and aim. It didn't used to be like this. I can't ambush anymore, because more often than not, I'll sneak up behind the marine, get a few bites off, and WOOSH! They're gone across the room, and I've just been killed in the blink of an eye. When playing as marine, this isn't difficult to do at all! Typically, I can take on 1-2 skulks at a time with ease (assuming a regular skill level... of course not cryme or happycat!). This is the complete OPPOSITE of what it was before Reinforced. Back then, skulks could actually do SOMETHING on their own, without needing to group up for just ONE marine. I have pretty terrible aim as well, so it's not surprising that I always considered myself a better skulk than marine. Now all of a sudden, I'm "better" at being a marine than a skulk. When the hell did this happen? (rhetorical question... ;) )

    This on its own is enough to piss me off, but not make me quit the game. I know UWE will fix it eventually, I'm not the only one raising this fuss. What really did it in for me tonight was when I couldn't help but notice that the three ridiculously good players on marines (with none on aliens... guess who won...) always joined marines. This is RIGHT after I voiced my concern (read: complained) about team stacking. All I get back is vague BS about "nuh uh, they're not stacked", or "oh you've just got to work together/be better" (we were working together), or "oh it just sort of happened". Really? You couldn't have re-balanced the teams in the middle when HALF my team rage quit? Also, yea that's against server rules to just rage quit or ready room, but did you stop to think that there's a damn good reason why they did that??? You're always going to have a few bad apples that just don't care about the team, but even I was having a hard time willing myself to stay in that game. There was nothing to be done! We were bottled up at our hive, and they were building a friggin base OUTSIDE our hive... To run into the hallway and attack was suicide. Couldn't concede because of the usual "one guy" who just wants to fight on (read: waste everyone else's time). After the match, in the ready room, I decided to call it a night (or week... or month... or w/e) after I noticed the same three have already stacked Marines. Hell if it's all about winning I'll join the stack every day. But I usually don't... and I ALWAYS regret it. Why? Because the stack ALWAYS gets... er... stackier. The game is fun even when losing in a FAIR match, and no, winning isn't everything. But dammit it is NOT fun to have your ass handed to you every single match, feeling like you never even had a chance. This wasn't just outplayed, this was high-schoolers beating kindergarteners with a rusty chain, AND THEN preparing to do it again, knowing full well what the outcome would be (same map too!). I can't blame my other teammates for leaving.

    So I'm done for a while. A good, balanced match is just far too rare now. Until it starts being about having fun again, I'm done. Goodbye.

  • #2
    Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

    Sorry Beige. I'd hate to see someone who brings a lot of fun and good times to the community leave it. I really enjoy playing when you're on (and besides, what about your map!?!).

    I do agree that often sh_balance is executed after a few have joined a team, and the stack has already occurred (or sometimes it feels like balance doesn't take into account who's on the team already), and I've played my fair share of games that were decided before the round began.

    That being said, I've also witnessed people switching teams to balance it out, even asking for a member of the opposing to switch so they can join.

    I've also watched some switch teams in the latter half of a match knowing it was going to be difficult, or even futile to turn it around. Yet they tried to balance it when possible.

    I think stacking has become standard and all NS2 servers seem to accept it as inevitable, but what makes TG so special is its ability to buck that trend. I know some of our more skilled members get pigeonholed into joining the team they may not have wanted to play, and often are the first to take the blame for the stacks (I admit my guilt at tossing it and ask forgiveness), but "with great power comes great responsibility".

    So, for the love of Uncle Ben, can we collectively agree to try to keep it as even as we can?

    Beige, don't give up on it, continue to be an advocate of good sportsmanship, and do all you can balance matches, we need that example and attitude to persevere.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

      Wow, a little bit ragey.

      That said, it's not like I don't feel the same way, although it's less about "stacking" and more generally speaking about the changes b250 and onward.
      For the NS2 changes, there's really not much to say here - everyone knows marines are outmaneuvering skulks in close combat. Best way about this is to probably complain on the UWE forums so they can take note, but I recall hearing that they are scaling back (though not eliminating?) the strafejumping speed and such. Time will tell what changes are made in the upcoming patch.
      I myself have been cutting back NS2 time because of the fact that I haven't found NS2 very much fun lately. (Something is to be said when, honestly, one of the most fun rounds I've had in the past month -- Captain's rounds included -- has been that one round Wyz executed 25 bots on us.)

      However, with regard to the server issue and stacking - stacking is an issue that affects every team oriented game on the planet.
      The best solution is to rely on an honest community to regulate themselves, but realistically speaking, although some communities may get close, none are perfect.
      People are still people, and they want to play with friends they are familiar with, or enjoy playing with.
      As people become acquainted with the community and its members, they start developing "gaming relationships" - for lack of a better term - and have a natural preference for who to play with.
      I don't think anyone should deny anyone else the right to play with who they wish. The caveat here is that the expectation is for the rest of the community to balance themselves on the other team accordingly, but this is a very optimistic scenario.

      At the same time, there usually aren't that many "high level" regulars who are on simultaneously*, which leaves much of the weight on the opposing team to simply try to come up with a clever way of "beating the stack." (*By this, I mean enough of them on so that there are enough available to go to the opposing team to balance.)
      I can probably only think of maybe 5 people I've seen often on TG who I would say are skilled enough to turn around a game on their own - and I am not one of them. Still, we shouldn't shun these people for "unbalancing" the game, but rather welcome them as they provide a challenge that forces all of us to step up our game in order to counter them. Does this lead to frustrating games? Yes, of course - I've been on both sides. It comes down to community members trying to balance themselves, but there's a limit to what you can do here without robbing people of their freedom to play what they want.

      As far as balance goes, most admins I see tend to balance pretty quickly. If no one else does it and it is up to me, I will typically wait about 30 seconds or so to give everyone a chance to join their preferred team before executing balance on whoever chooses to remain in the readyroom for said balance.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

        A few programming solutions:

        1) Auto-balance every round
        2) Auto-balance automatically only when certain high tier players are on server
        3) Drop everybody to RR (including anybody already on a team), then run balance. Activated only when admin runs balance.

        Don't think any of these options are as good as the interpersonal solutions mentioned in the posts above though. Why not try sending a friendly PM to those who are doing it? If it keeps being a consistent problem after that send a PM to an admin.
        Like the server? Become a regular! TGNS Required Reading
        Answers to every server question? Yes! TGNS FAQ

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

          I had a very long response ready to go but it turned into more of a broad statement about the state of the game as a whole in both public and competitive play, so i'll keep this about TGNS2, last nights games and my personal opinion of those two things.

          I played 7 rounds of NS2 last night, all of them played between the two TG servers, and with the exception of the fun of shooting down skulks in the first few minutes of my marine rounds I did not enjoy them at all. Each game was imbalanced one way or the other whether sh_balance had been run or not. All games ending in early concedes with only 2 games actually ending in a destroyed chair/hive, not that that is a bad thing, too often games get dragged on far to long but there were several 2 hive concedes in there and some just people straight up quitting/F4ing on 2 hives causing an inevitable concede/loss.

          As long as I have a choice of teams I am going to hop on marines 9 times out of 10 and enjoy dancing with skulks until the game is decided in the first 5 minutes one way or the other.

          Some people want to play with friends, some want to play a certain side, some just want to win and pick which team they think will win, some people just random. While it is nice for some to pretend that the TG servers can be a nice and perfect little world where everyone gets along and sorts teams out nicely there a many people, non-primers and primers alike, that fall into the first 4 categories and just want to play their way. It may be realistic to have those "perfect" and well balanced games when the server(s) are caulk full of regulars that is not always the case, the most recent captains games I played in were grossly imbalanced due to either skill imbalance between the captains or one captain picking players to win vs another just picking people he just preferred to play with (big assumption on my part). In my opinion the only way to achieve balanced play consistently is to force it on people, some will like it others won't. The only thing I can honestly gripe about is the balance mod as it fails (far too often miserably so) to do anything other than get people out of the ready room. I am aware development of it is on hold but I can still complain :p

          The rest of it is just people being people and I gave up thinking they would change long ago. When my team is awful is just pour my drink for that round extra strong now. Could always ban people for playing with who/what side they want I guess? /s

          That got long again...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

            Oh I'm sure I'll be back some day. Hopefully they'll have made some balance tweaks in today's update, but if not, I can wait a little longer. :(

            I'll still be working on my map in the meantime. I've put far too much time and effort into it to just let it die. :) Not to mention everybody else who has taken time to help me test it. Wouldn't be fair to just throw that away.

            On a different note, has anybody else tried out the LFEM? (Lucky F***ers Enforced Mod, formerly Lucky F***ers Balance Mod). I tried it a few days ago and it seemed nice. No more alien research from structures: just biomass. Also it seemed marine strafe jumping was either gone or toned WAAYYYY down. Might be worth looking into until UWE decided to balance this game again.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

              It's my opinion that the balancing and stacking doesn't make much of a difference. I think the core of the problem is a lack of aggressive commanders.

              I can remember the NS1 days when Wyz would command. He knew so-and-so was awesome, and he'd try to rein that person in. No, you cannot go to the hive. OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE HIVE BY YOURSELF?! No... don't spawn camp. Can you go get this node for me? Yes, I know we don't really need it and you're better served elsewhere. (Another edit: With that being said, if we got to a stalemate, it was not uncommon for Wyz to give someone awesome a JP/Shotgun and say "Go solo X hive".)

              You may have heard me calling "crymeariver" is in X location. The reason for that is because I expect my team to recognize that this one guy can walk from one side of the map to the other and completely change the course of the game in a matter of 5 minutes if he is not put in check. I call that expecting people to come help me, and I have to say that for the few games I've played, it's been 50/50. I'll call it, wait, wait, wait... and maybe I'll get help, maybe I won't. This, imho, is the core of teamwork. You are in TG so that you understand that if a friend makes a call, he doesn't need to explain why or ask a few times. If you hear someone call "omg player over here", go help them, because that one player may be the difference between the comm chair dying or the hives dying.

              I was about to type that "oh I do understand stacking can make a huge difference blah blah", but it can't, really. If we choose for it not to, it can't. If you see you are on a stacked team, and you know how to comm, volunteer... and control that player or those players. It's literally in our rules that whatever player HAS TO LISTEN to the comm, regardless of personal feelings. If the comm tells the best player to defend double... for the entire game... he doesn't have a choice. And, honestly, the way I feel about it is that if you don't like it, don't try to file sexual harassment charges on the door after it hits you when you leave. Again, I'm probably more hardline than most, and I don't expect a comm to tell a single guy to stay in double the entire game...

              I'm trying to illustrate my point. It's up to the commander on said stacked teams to determine whether or not this stacked game is going to suck for one team, or if it's going to be something that strategy can actually overcome. The first thing I'd do if I comm'd a game with cry and happy on the same team is tell them to split up and go to opposite sides of the map. "Cry take skylights. Happy take topo. When you get them, proceed toward overlook and c12, respectively." They're going to get stopped if the Alien team is following guidelines and working together in the slightest manner. EDIT: I think a good thing to say here is that if you are the commander of a team, it is NOT your sole job to win the game. You are also responsible for ensuring that the game is played in the tactical, strategic manner that TG intends for it's servers. It is important for commanders to understand that, in some situations, you have control of the server in your hands. If you do not use your players correctly, you may very well be the reason this is the last game of the night. It's not just a position for dropping med packs and telling people what to do. (Yet another edit: I think it's important to remember, also, that both teams have commanders. Khamm is not just there to research upgrades and drop structures. The khamm has the same ability as the Comm to say "Go here, go there, do this, do that".)

              With all that being said, I understand frustration with game balance changes... I've been there and done that a thousand times. It's killed games for me and it's made them better. But, it doesn't change the situation. I can understand someone being upset about not being able to kill a group of marines with 2 fades an onos and a lerk, but you shouldn't be able to kill a group of marines with 3 skulks very easily unless you're using teamwork... which, again, is a foundation of TGNS.

              All problems can be solved by the rules in place. I assure you.

              Mom
              Games lubricate the body and the mind. - Benjamin Franklin
              Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds. -Miranda Lambert

              You're a 34, Mom. Thirty. Four.
              Forever Perplexed

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                When reinforced came out I had the same thoughts about skulks as you until I decided to practice my movement for survival. I ended up just playing on combat servers for 3 straight days until I was satisfied I could survive long enough to kill a marine 1v1. My tactical approach was to basically not attack any marines on combat maps but rush their bases and see how long I could survive without attacking; I got to where it would take 3-4 marines to bring me down.

                As for the stacking, I really haven't seen much of that lately save for a couple games over the past month. Mostly i'll wait give people 30 seconds to join a team on a new map change and then balance to get them out of the ready room; ironically most members are still chatting in ready room and haven't joined a team by that point. After the first map i'll wait about 10 seconds before a balance and usually no one has joined a team them so the balance stacking is very minimal.

                I would just say that try working more teamwork into your approach and people usually seem to respond. Usually the more negativity I see in a game, the faster a team usually loses. Hopefully you come back :)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                  Originally posted by YerMom View Post
                  words
                  I am of the opinion that purposely not fully utilizing your resources(in this case, your players) is neither tactical nor strategic, and goes against the spirit of any competitive game in general. It is also insulting to the opposing team.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                    Best way to balance out ns2 is to put the effort and focus on the teamwork. This requires a lot of additional effort on top of the regular deathmatch style gameplay. Right now I think I have only seen one commander besides myself actually explain a tactic to their team and ask them to execute it. Otherwise its just been strategic level 'GET ME A PG IN REACTOR'. Field commanders should be picking up the slack but often lack the situational awareness to know who is in what room. I sometimes hear people like Solarity ask 'hey micro where are you', which makes for better games. TG can do better than have commanders just be medspam+waypoint+upgrade bots.

                    The cause is probably a combination of the amount NS changes so comms don't know what should be done at a given time, and the general railroading of upgrades which are starting to get less-railroady.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                      Me the Player:

                      Talk of systematic stacking absolutely bores me given how much improvement we stand to make as teammates. The odds of me changing the behavior of the other team is so very low. If they want to stack, they'll stack. The odds of me changing the behavior of me and my team is much moreso where I want to put my energy.

                      Me the Admin:

                      I have the technical means to force a Balance (improved algorithm or not) automatically. I don't want to lose community members due to burn out.
                      Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                      Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                        Originally posted by violentsquirrel View Post
                        I am of the opinion that purposely not fully utilizing your resources(in this case, your players) is neither tactical nor strategic, and goes against the spirit of any competitive game in general. It is also insulting to the opposing team.
                        This isn't my point at all. The above said that I would send cry and happy to both sides of the map. I know that those two players are probably my best assets as players. I'm utilizing them to the best of my ability, as well as keeping in mind that if there isn't a balancing factor on the other team, those two players together will likely turn the tides of the game so early that it will result in the kind of game I do not want to play. If it happens while I am comming and giving orders trying to avoid it, then it happens. But I'm not going to be a commander that says "cry and happy go here" nor am I going to be a commander that says "just leave base and get nodes."

                        The overall point to my entire post is a lot of what micr0 said. Perhaps he spoke better than I did. We do not have the caliber of commanders that we should, or at least that was my experience in the... 30 games I've played over the last couple months. Granted, those games were late night on the east coast, so perhaps I've missed something.

                        I don't want you to read my entire post and only get "send happy or cry to double and tell them to stand there the entire game".

                        I actually played for a month or so... and I was all "Omg, NS2. I've missed TGNS so much." Then I began to realize that the caliber of games I was playing was no where near what they used to be. And now I'm like, "Meh... I'd rather play ....." and it's because of two things:

                        A lack of commanding - in roughly 7 out of 10 games, I experienced commanders that might as well have been bots. Very vague orders. A tone in their voice when something went wrong that immediately said, "I don't know what to do. Just give up guys" which could happen anywhere from 5 minutes to 60 minutes into a game.

                        A lack of teamwork - and when someone actually tried to be a good comm, I experienced "Come on guys, go to XXXXX". "I need you guys to go to XXXX." Time and time again, I'd show up... and stand there for a minute.. alone. And die. "Try to get XXXXX." Nothing. I'd even call to guys near me to come help me follow commander orders. Sometimes when I called someone out "Whoever is in XXXX come to XXXXX and help please", I'd be met with radio silence. I never figured out if it was because people were lost or they just didn't care.

                        These games were mostly full of P and S players. And, in my opinion, this is a product of two things:

                        New players - not to say new as in a guy with no skill, but new in the sense that said player has never experienced those insanely epic games TGNS2 is built for. They don't know what they're missing, so they don't have a lot of reasons to follow orders, especially when morale is low.

                        A lack of control - in the NS1 server, it was not uncommon to see people drop like flies from admin enforcing tactical rules. Not just kicking people because they were vulgar or disruptive, but if the commander asks you to go somewhere, and a minute later he finds you near a hive on the other side of the map, you're done. ESPECIALLY if you were a regular or SM, etc. I think this needs to be implemented a bit more.

                        It's not stacking, guys. We can't control NS2 balance. We never will be able to. But we can change how we play it, and we can change how people play in our server.

                        Or... if this is too long and people don't want to read it:

                        Originally posted by Wyzcrak View Post
                        Talk of systematic stacking absolutely bores me given how much improvement we stand to make as teammates. The odds of me changing the behavior of the other team is so very low. If they want to stack, they'll stack. The odds of me changing the behavior of me and my team is much moreso where I want to put my energy.
                        ^ This... this times a thousand.

                        Mom
                        Games lubricate the body and the mind. - Benjamin Franklin
                        Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds. -Miranda Lambert

                        You're a 34, Mom. Thirty. Four.
                        Forever Perplexed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                          There's no "playing it" when they have 3 ridiculously good players who cannot be taken down because they group up and simply don't miss. There's no tactics to get around this. You can't win a game without having to encounter the enemy at some point (apart from base rushes of course), and there was just no way for us to win, or hell even scratch them for that matter. That's fine. But the fact that IMMEDIATELY after the round the same three group up and go marines again, well I had had enough of that.

                          There's only so much "behavior adjustment" that can be done when all the skilled players go to ONE team, leaving all the greens and more casual players on the other team. Not to mention, guess which players tend to rage quit more?

                          EDIT: I guess what I'm trying to say it that it's all well and good to just tell me to improve my game, when that's what I'm trying to do every night. Blaming me (somehow...?) for having teammates who rage quit isn't really fair either. I try to lead by example, I try to calm the team down when they're getting angry, but it's pretty damn hard to do that when I'm the only one making an effort to do so, and NOT just automatically jumping over to marine team.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                            I've said my piece... but I would like to point out one more thing.

                            If the original NS1 forum was still up, you'd find an almost identical thread in there posted by me roughly 6 years ago.

                            The trend of rage quitting ended up... "cleaning" the server of the problem. People who wanted to play played. People who couldn't handle it didn't try. I'm not pointing to you directly, Beige, more the people you are referring to when talking about rage quitting. But it didn't clean it before we lost quite a few good people due to the trend of rage quitting. It's the same thing as morale, and if you let it get to you, you'll end up regretting it.

                            I'd also like to reiterate...

                            All problems can be solved by the rules in place. I assure you.

                            Mom
                            Games lubricate the body and the mind. - Benjamin Franklin
                            Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds. -Miranda Lambert

                            You're a 34, Mom. Thirty. Four.
                            Forever Perplexed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: I'm done... (re game balance and team stacking)

                              When i see what I think is a stack, I am normally right, though i can be suprised by the under dog. Usually i will see what i can do to fix it. Usually people have no problems. On rare occasions I have been guilty of contributing to a stack, though that goes after a really bad loosing streak and i just want to win once and go to bed as i should have been asleep two hours earlier.

                              I agree marines are easier than skulks.

                              I also hope you don't quit
                              Lights Out!

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