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  • AFK and sending players to teams

    This is an idea that I am throwing out there for the sake of discussion as I would have no means of making the required changes for this.

    Right now, if an Admin/Guardian sends players to teams, the default behavior is to send players that are not AFK. I understand the reasoning behind this, and it makes perfect sense. This is done generally early on, when a map changes, or when a round has ended and people are picking teams. This is also the time that many of us pick to go take a drink or bathroom break. If we have too many people AFK, this results in teams being poorly balanced, because whoever was away now gets a free choice of whichever team they would like to join, defeating the purpose of a balance.

    So just to recap:
    Game ends or map change -> Players go to take a break, go AFK (!) -> Admin/Guardian sends players to teams -> Player comes back, joins team -> CHAT: OMG! BALANCE THE TEAMS.

    My proposition is that if a "send players to teams" occurs, and a player is in the Ready Room, when they come back, they can only join the team that they were assigned to by the balance.

    Thoughts?
    HaX^

  • #2
    Re: AFK and sending players to teams

    Restricting which team players can join has proven in the past to be a fast lane to unchecked rage.

    I could disallow the command when X players are AFK.

    If I did that, where would you have X?
    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.

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    • #3
      Re: AFK and sending players to teams

      It's not really a question of numbers, because 2 good players could change the balance as much as 4 bad players can. If it is a problem of people pressing keys, and not being able to join the teams they want to join, then perhaps it could force them on a team when they move their mouse and/or touch their keyboard, rather than displaying a message that they can only join X team. This would function the exact same way as a "force even team".

      Unless I am misunderstanding the purpose of forcing people to teams (which I thought would be for balancing), if it is truly about balancing the teams, then it shouldn't matter which person wanted to join what team. Forcing people to teams does exactly that, it forces people to teams. Purposely or not, when they AFK, they are bypassing the balancing of the teams, and it shouldn't matter what team they want to play. If they were there for the balancing, then they would have been on those teams anyways.
      HaX^

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      • #4
        Re: AFK and sending players to teams

        That's a fair point. I'll ponder (mostly about the technical challenge of what you're proposing).
        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.

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        • #5
          Re: AFK and sending players to teams

          I agree that this is not something that will be easy to do, far from that. I figured since the system is able to tell when you press the keyboard or move the mouse (removing the ! in front of the name when you're AFK for example), there must be some sort of Event system in place. I'm guessing that part is easier. The harder part would be keeping track of who goes on what team and forcing them.

          The other thing that I was thinking about is that sometimes, when people don't want to play a certain team because they've played that team recently, we often do a switch in between teams. Also, when a team loses players, players will often switch teams to balance the teams. Maybe a compromise could be that if you press F4 after the balance, you would be able to join whichever team you want, but for one, that complicates this mod because now you have to account for people switching, and for two, now we're right back at square one as far as bypassing the balancing teams.

          I don't think I have all the answers, but I do think there needs to be some sort of solution to people AFKing at the beginning.
          HaX^

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: AFK and sending players to teams

            Maybe we should create an opportunity to vote for a forcebalance.

            I know that's going to be a lot of work, and I know there will still be complaints about balance not being... balanced.

            I feel like we put this syntax in place for situations like these, but I rarely see it used. I think that a lot of people are scared to use it once teams have been assigned. I feel like if we had a vote system for it, it would work out a lot better for the server. Maybe?

            I guess a better question would be... how should we be expected to use forcebalance?

            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

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            • #7
              Re: AFK and sending players to teams

              I personally think this should be a social solution and not a technical one. I personally make sure that I don't balance unless almost all of the people have connected to the server( I rarely do it if there is more then 2 still connecting) and generally things are looking like most players are there.

              I know some people that balance at closer to 12 players, or within a few minutes after a round.

              A lot of people go AFK post round to get something / do something. So that is the worst time to balance. As you hit the maximum number of AFKs (Specs and players on teams that left to do something at the end).

              The first is a bad time to balance as you have good players like Roland who end up taking a good 5-10 minutes to load. Balance should not be run with 4-6 people still connecting.

              I don't think we need a technical limit, as I can see valid cases where both could be avoided (18 people on the server already, 2 still connecting can't play even if they did finish, no one goes afk because of a short game ).

              We just need people to not be so ready to hit that balance teams until it is a good time to do so.

              I could however see a warning pop up if say, 3 people are connecting or more then 3 people are 'afk' or the last game ended within the last 3 minutes as some sort of warning that you might want to wait, but just let them do it a second time within say a minute to override.
              Current game name : Lost, Phantom Thief

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              • #8
                Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                I think the problem with resolving this socially is that it doesn't get resolved and usually ends up in arguments at the end of the round. Speaking from the "send players to teams" type of balancing, in my experience, when we try to change teams that are already picked, we have players, even regulars who will complain that the teams are fine. Then we start the game and we end up getting crushed. On the other hand, I've had other instances where there are players that have switched, and then someone like Roland connects later on, and joins our team, and we end up crushing the other team. Then, at the end of the game, we get questions like, "Why did you say the teams were stacked/unbalanced?" This then usually ends up in an argument, and then is later split up with someone saying "Let's just play/focus on the new round, if you want to talk about it go on the forums".

                I don't think there is a good solution to this problem, as like I said, one player can make a huge difference. However, I am perplexed as to why we would be sending players to teams, allowing people to AFK, or load up later on, and let them join any team they like. If the purpose of sending players to teams is to balance the teams, then we're not utilizing it as such. Perhaps I am just not clear on the "Send players to teams" functionality. I kind of see it as a way for players who are not actively choosing a team to be put on a team in a balanced way. In a lot of ways it is like force balance teams, but the fact that people can join a team before it is set is also what differentiates it from force balanced teams.

                I do agree that perhaps a time limit on both types of balancing of teams would reduce this to an extent. I don't really know that that would solve it completely though, and it seems like it has been discussed in the past, due to people balancing the teams too early, and the idea of a timer was rejected.
                HaX^

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                • #9
                  Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                  The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to try to solve this at all, socially /or/ technically, given our (mostly good enough) status quo.

                  I'm generally underwhelmed by two efforts, and I have been for a while:

                  social: Anyone's efforts to balance teams per their personal design. The results rarely leave me particularly impressed (it happens).

                  technical: TGNS' multiple efforts and UWE's multiple efforts to create balanced teams by force have both created ample support for the "average is the best you'll do" argument. I'm keeping an open mind as data forms from UWE's latest effort.

                  I'm beginning to feel pretty strongly that, given how "well" TGNS' balance offering performs (well, during prime time, at the very least), people showing pre-game anxiety about "stacks/balance/etc" would be better advised to just poor that energy into finding new ways to transform what they've been given into something strong and, more importantly, accept that some games are just going to be much harder than others.

                  It's hard for me to share strong "opinions", as they sometimes tend to halt discussion. I'm all for people continuing to brainstorm, but this specific issue has me a bit fatigued, and it has for some time, and I think people might be solving the wrong problem.

                  If someone suggests something technical (or social, for that matter) that a lot of people voice agreement for, I might give it a shot.
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                    If that is what your thoughts are, perhaps the enforced policy should be, "Let's focus our energy on the next game, rather than discussing stacks/balance". I would be OK with it as long as it means not getting into arguments.
                    HaX^

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                      I think you're right to a certain extent. I think that accepting some games will just be harder than others should be a standard in our server.

                      That said, I also think that morale is the greatest killer of games and enjoyment for people playing NS2. I feel like allowing people to see both teams is a problem and is killing games.

                      I feel like there is no point to seeing your opposing team after one person has joined a team. More often than not, balance is ran in the server. That means that everyone is assigned to a team at one time. If we turned off the ability to see the opposing team on the scoreboard (not even sure this is possible) then I think we'd break that whole "oh God look at that team" stigma and, ultimately, would see better games.

                      But, again, that's a strict product of experience for individual players. It's just like training an animal. If you swat that dog on the nose enough times, he won't pee on the floor again. The same is true for humans. We get wrecked by Retraced with a shotgun time and time and time again... lose fades, lerks, onos to him... then every time we see him on that opposite team, we get the same reaction.

                      It's a double edged blade. On one hand, it sucks to see that. On the other, it feels amazing when you own his JP/SG with 100 HP left. It makes for awesome experiences and bad games, depending on how the luck falls that night. And that's not to mention how you lean up in your seat and physically try to push that skulk/fade/lerk to get an inch closer to land that last bite on that marine. You can't find that kind of intensity in a lot of games, and we get it every night.

                      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


                      • #12
                        Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                        Originally posted by Wyzcrak View Post
                        I'm beginning to feel pretty strongly that, given how "well" TGNS' balance offering performs (well, during prime time, at the very least), people showing pre-game anxiety about "stacks/balance/etc" would be better advised to just poor that energy into finding new ways to transform what they've been given into something strong and, more importantly, accept that some games are just going to be much harder than others.
                        Originally posted by HaX^ View Post
                        If that is what your thoughts are, perhaps the enforced policy should be, "Let's focus our energy on the next game, rather than discussing stacks/balance". I would be OK with it as long as it means not getting into arguments.
                        Occasionally I think it is worth running a force balance (when one team has 4 rookies and the other team doesn't), but before I run it I try to always make sure someone else from the other team actually agrees with me. I don't think many of the people on the server are all that good at being able to tell if the teams are stacked. There is a tendency to read the P/A on the scoreboard or the badges as a show of skill, but often the teams are just fine, the person judging it just isn't familiar with some of the non-regs. Also many of the people who comment on stacks can't or won't captain on captain's night, so why would we trust them to judge balance if they have no track record and no ability to pick the teams themselves?

                        In terms of hiding the info, I don't think that's good because people will want to see it anyways, and if you delay it they'll just get that morale hit a bit later into the game. It also reduces the ability to compensate for the team makeup. As Khamm if I see the other team has a lot of good shots, I know I'll need to choose a more conservative strategy and maybe prioritize getting some more spawning power over economy expansion. As Comm, if I see a lot of good fades on the other team, I know I'll need A2. If there are just a lot of good players, probably a second IP, and depending on how aggressive those other players tend to be possibly mines over upgrades to reduce the importance of of shooting that my team needs to do. Just like captaining is not just about picking your favorite pick at each turn (you need to factor in how certain people work together, how communicative they are, what lifeforms they can play, etc), commanding is not just about picking your favorite strat. It's about picking a strat that will synergize well with your team and be effective against your opponent. If you hide the info, the games will suffer.
                        remi.D

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                        • #13
                          Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                          I tend to not captains much, because, despite having the knowledge of how to command, I am a lousy commander, and I am an even more lousy commander when I am under pressure. One might say practice makes perfect, but the few times I have tried to practice, it ultimately ends in the game completely changing from one patch to another, and I end up not wanting to command anymore. Rinse and repeat.

                          Despite that, I don't think that captaining a game is necessarily the only skill required to tell if a player is good or not, or even if the teams are balanced. When you play with the same people every day, you tend to get a feel for where their strengths and weaknesses are.

                          I can tell which player is good at what, and I can tell when I see 4 regulars on one side, and maybe 1 other person on my team that I recognize, I'm probably going to have a bad game. When a "send to teams" occurs, and 2 regulars are AFK, and then they come back from their bathroom break or whatever they were doing, and both join the other team, while I get someone I don't recognize, I'm probably going to have a bad game. It's discouraging. The few times we have gotten people to switch over and actually won a game, there have been arguments about why the teams were stacked the other way.
                          HaX^

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                          • #14
                            Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                            The point is that just because you don't recognize them doesn't mean the teams are unbalanced. They may have just started playing on the server that day, but it only takes a few games to gauge the impact of a player to the balance in a general sense. This is why I try to get agreement before force balancing. Other people sometimes have more info than me.

                            Despite that, I don't think that captaining a game is necessarily the only skill required to tell if a player is good or not, or even if the teams are balanced. When you play with the same people every day, you tend to get a feel for where their strengths and weaknesses are.
                            As Wyz pointed out in another thread, this is all captaining requires, which is exactly my point. You need to be able to captain when the server is full of regs to be able to even have the slightest credibility when commenting on balance when there are less regs on because there are more variables.

                            Another point to this -- sometimes our regs are even ranked differently, depending on the role they choose or if they are having microphone troubles. You wouldn't be able to know this unless you have played with them earlier in the day and are actually on their team, which again is why I try to get an opinion from the other team before I force balance. I often will go gorge or command when I feel me fielding would impact the game too much. Whether that makes me more or less valuable to the team may be up for debate, but the fact that it changes my impact on the team balance is undeniable. :)
                            remi.D

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                            • #15
                              Re: AFK and sending players to teams

                              As Wyz pointed out in another thread, this is all captaining requires
                              But it is not exclusive to captaining. I can tell you generally if a player is better than another one.

                              You need to be able to captain when the server is full of regs to be able to even have the slightest credibility when commenting on balance when there are less regs on because there are more variables.
                              I would argue that you are right on this point. Regular to regular, it becomes more difficult for someone who does not captain to judge if the teams are balanced (assuming that these players play Captains Nights, or are regularly playing captains games), but not impossible. This is where the captaining becomes an important factor in balancing teams.

                              The issue that I am talking about becomes more of a factor when you balance unknown players. As far as I know, the system does its thing and balances. But then you have people who are AFK or still connecting, and they are not balanced. If we get 2 Non-Primer signers, who were AFK or connect afterwards, and they join my team, and 2 regular players join the other, how am I supposed to know the teams are balanced? I don't. I may have really good players, and I may have rookies on my team, but I know the general skill of those 2 regular players. You were right in saying that just because I don't recognize them doesn't mean the teams are unbalanced, and like you said, a regular could have mic troubles, decide to employ a different strategy, etc... but those are all unknowns, what I do know is that 2 generally Good players have joined the other team, and my team is left with the additional unknown of whether the players are good or not.


                              Another point to this -- sometimes our regs are even ranked differently, depending on the role they choose or if they are having microphone troubles.
                              No one would know this ahead of time, unless like you said, you played them earlier in the game. A regular player could decide from game to game to switch back to their regular strategies, and there would be no way of knowing this beforehand. This is what makes games roll differently one way or another. I can tell you ahead of time generally if a player is a better player than another player if I have played them on a regular basis. I cannot tell you anything on Mr. Non Primer signer, or Primer Signer that I've never seen before in game.
                              HaX^

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