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Old 02-20-2012, 06:50 PM   #1
eyeris
 
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So hard to find an even match

This is not fun: Almost all of the level 60 vets on Cons vs a level 1 comm for Emp. Unfortunately this represents most matches I've played in the last week.

It does not matter how many awesome units, gizmos, vehicles, etc you put in this game if it doesn't either force more evenly matched teams or offer stronger incentives for players to make more evenly matched teams themselves.

The Cha0s server has an auto-balancer script, but this game provides strong incentives for the players to wait until after the game starts to join, or to just switch after the auto-balancer script moves them.

There's plenty of changes to nudge this in the right direction:

1. Don't let level 1 players take command. Personally, I think the threshold should really be something like either level 25 overall or level 10 with each unit but I'm looking to build consensus here, so let's start with a threshold of level 2 to be comm.

2. Provide a restart vote. A bad comm can ruin a game in 5 minutes but it takes 15 minutes to play out, even though one team has no chance. If the majority of players want to restart, let them.

3. Slightly lower the threshold for mutiny votes against low level commanders. The "majority rules" voting ignores the fact that newbies barely see the mutiny vote message and/or don't know what the smart choice is. If your team is 16 players with 2 newbies that don't vote and 1 commander, then you really need 8 of 13 or 62% to pass the mutiny vote. That's starting to look like a filibuster

4. Move the options currently in the armory tech menu into the bunker tech menu. This is the least obvious thing for every new commander. A lot of players have lost a lot of game they could have won simply because their otherwise-skilled commander didn't understand that the armory offers another tech menu. This just leads to frustration and confusion all around. There's no real reason building the armory shouldn't just expand your main tech menu. Lots of other successful RTS games provide a single tech menu where some options are grayed out until specific tech milestones are passed. This game has the commander interface analog of a 1999 Nokia flip phone.

5. Require each team have an even numbers +/-1 level 60 players. Level 60 doesn't mean you're good, but it does mean you have been exposed to all of the gizmo options and have played enough time to have a clue. A lot of players will balk at this, but they probably have no problem with the lack of fairness on display in the screenshot above.

Last edited by eyeris: 02-20-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
Zoridium JackL
 
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you make some good points, and now so shall I!

- at the moment you if two people apply for a comm role and only one has completed the comm tutorials the one that has done the tuts will ALWAYS win, this should be made clearer when someone opens the game for the first time.

- any level 60 comm worth his salt (or sand if you;d rather) would step down if asked to allow for an equally noob comm to step up, people underestimate the joys of a lowbie comm match teaching match, you get a real sense of teamwork as your comm asks you questions and LISTENS to your input.

- of you do get a 60 comm you can try demoting or ask one of the either high level players to switch team and comm for them, although this can seem a little unfair to the lowbie comms that really just want to have a go.

- while i detest the idea of limiting a new players options I'm open to the idea of a LOW level requirement for comm, probably about level 7-10, but once you get too high it becomes a hassle and a lot of players wouldn't want to bother.

- while I like the idea of an even amount of high level players I fear that this limits peoples ability to play with friends who are also of a high level, I would much rather see a system that tallies the teams overall level and than evens them based on getting the numbers within 100-150 of each other (IIRC Cha0s had something like this, not sure if they still do, but last I was there it was keeping the teams in check, and the only complaints were more about WHEN it chose to balance someone, not why)

P.S. whats wrong with a 1999 Nokia flip phone?
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
Enigma314
 
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The idea of a pluggin that prevents low level players from being commander has been mentioned a couple of times but I don't know if anybody is actually working on it.
Also, Interwave has stated that they have been working on a much better default balancer for version 6.

7 vs. 1 level 60s seems a bit odd. It theoretically shouldn't happen unless like five of them all decided to join consortium after the warmup round.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snivilous View Post
Yea, we run a custom sourcemod plugin that balances players during a 60s warm up round based on level grouping (rank 1, rank 2-10, etc.).
The way that the auto balancer works makes it so that it should be attempting to evenly distribute the level 60s at the start of the match.

Last edited by Enigma314: 02-20-2012 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
snivilous
 
 
 
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People are bypassing our balancer like you say, by simple staying in spectate until it balances and then stacking a team. For a matter of fact, I will disable spectators now and see if that helps at all. I would like the plugin to forceteam people at round start, specifically so they can't stack.

One of our coders is also working on a "commander balancer", that will have a minimum level we can set, then pick two commanders of equal levels (ie. 40vs40, 60vs60, etc.) to try and balance one of the single most important aspects of the game.

Also, what time zone are you in and when was this? We try to have mods on at all times.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:04 PM   #5
eyeris
 
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The commander selection logic has been improved vis a vis completing the tutorials. However, players who have been around the block know that they can go spec during the warm-up, wait for the auto-balancer to do it's thing, then join a team to get an advantage. This reduces the number of high-level players on teams during the commander selection, which increases the chance of a team opening the match with a sub-par commander.

I can get behind your level 7 commander threshold but I'm really not even asking for that. I'm simply asking for the smallest baby step we can take: don't let level 1 players be commander. That would eliminate a lot of bad matches. Most players, by level 2 or 3, have heard enough mic chatter to know that commanding isn't a cake walk and elect to stay out of the seat until level 7-10.

Personally, I have a blast with new commanders. Usually you have a bit of an advantage on the ground then and it's fun seeing how new commanders approach a map because they haven't had the canonical build-outs ingrained into their visual cortex yet I'd simply rather we elect to let them have the seat after we know they at least understand how to use chat to ask, rather than them blindly joining their first games and clicking the apply for commander button.

Quote:
Also, what time zone are you in and when was this? We try to have mods on at all times.
That was about 8-9 PM EST (1-2 AM UTC).

Last edited by eyeris: 02-20-2012 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:28 PM   #6
Enigma314
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snivilous View Post
Also, what time zone are you in and when was this? We try to have mods on at all times.
Wait, theres a command to force the auto balance?

Is there a list of mods/admins posted anywhere? It might be helpful if somebody wants to contact one of us via steam if none happen to be in game.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
snivilous
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma314 View Post
Wait, theres a command to force the auto balance?

Is there a list of mods/admins posted anywhere? It might be helpful if somebody wants to contact one of us via steam if none happen to be in game.
Yea, !sm_bal_teams forces the balancer. And good idea on the mod stuff. I really need to compile a list of mods and admins, and what commands apply to who and what commands do what, as well as a generic code of conduct. I'll get on that after this essay.

Wonder if we could setup a public force balance vote, so any player can call a vote to run the balancer.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:25 AM   #8
Suminagashi
 
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I always just choose Auto Team on FPS games that have the option; and those that don't, I either pick the team with less players or pick the one with less points if they have an equal number of players. I don't see what's so fun about stacking. *shrug* And while there have been multiple times where my team might go several minutes without a commander and it seems like no one wants to step up, I, too, am afraid to give it a shot, just 'cause I know I'll screw it up. Training provides the basics, but it's just that: training. Training helps but unfortunately it's no substitute for experience. Perhaps joining an empty and usually inactive server would be best, to sort of have a "sandbox" to get a better feel for structures and what they do.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:48 AM   #9
Beengalas
 
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Why not implement a exp system for commanders? We already have it for the classes so I don't see a big issue with it. And then, when commanders are elected at the beginning, the system should try to pair up the commanders in each team.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
snivilous
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beengalas View Post
Why not implement a exp system for commanders? We already have it for the classes so I don't see a big issue with it. And then, when commanders are elected at the beginning, the system should try to pair up the commanders in each team.
The issue with commanders having experience or judging them by the win/loss ratio or just wins, is that some people are great commanders and don't play much. Others are able to win so fast, or don't use turrets and artillery that they don't get a lot of experience when they do win. So how do you judge the commanders role, when there are so many variables, especially since the team has a lot to do with it.

That's not to say level can't be used, but there's still the issue that some level 60s never try to command, and then decide to in a full server and totally suck. The plugin Viperblades is working on will balance commanding levels with the assumption level is proportionate to time as commander, though that will only be very effective for low levels.

What would be best is a tiered commander play time, so your commander rank is based on how many hours of commanding you have, because as a rule the more time means you have a better idea of what you're doing.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:17 PM   #11
Beengalas
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snivilous View Post
The issue with commanders having experience or judging them by the win/loss ratio or just wins, is that some people are great commanders and don't play much. Others are able to win so fast, or don't use turrets and artillery that they don't get a lot of experience when they do win. So how do you judge the commanders role, when there are so many variables, especially since the team has a lot to do with it.

That's not to say level can't be used, but there's still the issue that some level 60s never try to command, and then decide to in a full server and totally suck. The plugin Viperblades is working on will balance commanding levels with the assumption level is proportionate to time as commander, though that will only be very effective for low levels.

What would be best is a tiered commander play time, so your commander rank is based on how many hours of commanding you have, because as a rule the more time means you have a better idea of what you're doing.
I just throw the idea out there, of course there is issues no matter the path one chose to take. But I think it would be preferable to the current system that seems to be completely random. Because at this moment, its pretty a lottery.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:56 PM   #12
Dorje
 
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Another option would be to implement a team handicap.

This could be done a number of ways and be actively adjusted in some. These are just broad areas:
  • Supply Regeneration rate
  • Capture Rate of Points
  • Points gained from captured points
  • Build time on building/research
  • Building HP
  • Cost of Assembler (and other buildings)

The idea would be to give a low level team/commander either a bit of an overall buff to pad for some of those learning mistakes, or bring a bit of a nerf to a very high level(stacked) team and make them play with a bit less.

For example a team of mostly level 1s to 30s vs a team of majority level 60s. If the Supply Boxes regenerated their supplies a bit faster for team Noob they would not need as many and avoid getting pinched by the novice mistake of having enough on/near the front.

Likewise a decreased rate for recharge for a really advanced team would mean they would need more, rely on their medics/engies, or try and avoid getting shot as much.

The capture speed and resource gain amount from points would also be good candidates for tweaks. One of the difficulties on a low level team and commander is keeping resources vs a higher level team. Also again you can have resource loss to learning mistakes. If lower level teams could capture points faster they'd have an incentive retake points. Also giving the new commander more resources per point will help make up for the better team knocking down his structures all the time. You could do the opposite to high level teams.

Adjust the % of buff/nerf with observation of balance or by how much a server wants to "pad" for noobs.

Handicap level to adjust mid-round as players leave or join.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:24 PM   #13
UltrixPrime
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeris View Post
This is not fun: Almost all of the level 60 vets on Cons vs a level 1 comm for Emp. Unfortunately this represents most matches I've played in the last week.

It does not matter how many awesome units, gizmos, vehicles, etc you put in this game if it doesn't either force more evenly matched teams or offer stronger incentives for players to make more evenly matched teams themselves.

The Cha0s server has an auto-balancer script, but this game provides strong incentives for the players
.....

Last edited by UltrixPrime: 02-28-2012 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:50 PM   #14
lord_beklanaze
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorje View Post
Another option would be to implement a team handicap...
Actually quite an intriguing idea. I like this. Not sure about the practicalities of it, but interesting nevertheless
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:48 PM   #15
UltrixPrime
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeris View Post
This is not fun: Almost all of the level 60 vets on Cons vs a level 1 comm for Emp. Unfortunately this represents most matches I've played in the last week.
.....

Last edited by UltrixPrime: 02-28-2012 at 04:20 PM.
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