Why would you have left FAF?

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@PaulWay said in Why would you have left FAF?:

And then we blame them for crashing and say "just look at what you did wrong and don't do that next time".

You obviously aren't interested in the competitive side of things. Competitive players have to internalize the idea that if they lose, it's because they did something wrong, and aren't at all offended to be told what that is.

This isn't a thread about becoming a stronger competitive player though, it's about retention. I think we want to retain people who ARE competitive and also to retain people who are NOT competitive.

Lessons aren't just about teaching people to be better. The lessons I'm suggesting would help people to get better but they would also be about making people feel good. It breaks down an overwhelmingly-large amount of information into bite-size pieces and it tells the player "good job, you accomplished something" every time they take a bite.

I do think it would improve retention to have that. I do think retention would increase if more people knew more about how to play the game well. It would also be a lot of work to set up those lessons. I can't say it's the most cost-effective way to bring retention.

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Hey guys - yes I am very interested in hearing what the newer players have to say. Please voice your opinion and just don't worry about it when people debate you -> some of us are keen to hear what you think. Don't be discouraged just because other people don't agree. I made this thread to hear what YOU think, this is your thread! Now go nuts.

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Hello guys,

I joined FAF in october, used to play on the original FA 10 years ago (mostly with friends vs AI). I've got around 50-60 games and around 1000 global rating. I apologize for my english as I'm not native.

What would lead me to quit FAF is the lack of variety in maps that are hosted. I would say 90% of the games available are Astro/Dual Gap/Setons. If you try to host any other game you will have to wait at least 10min a lobby. I'm playing with a friend and we ended up hosting mostly Field of Isis 2 vs 2 games, as we figured people would join (a little bit more action than the previous maps mentionned but still really turtle heavy).
The eco and firebase meta are really boring and as a new player I find it difficult to stop (T2MMls are basically useless vs shields+TMD+t2 arty) and you're often forced to eco up and spend more time in an already boring match.

So I know this problem is only on specifics maps that are sadly really popular so I will not talk about balance here. Ultimately you learn bad habits, get inflated elo on this specifics playstyle that leads you to get destroyed when you try something new, and most of the people will then chose to get back in their comfort zone and the cycle continues.

To solve this issue I thought the 2vs2 matchmaking was a great idea to introduce players to new maps and playstyle. I heard about it watching Jagged stream which led me to download the latest version of the client. When doing it I realized I was on v1.2.0 and spent 2 months on an outdated version of the client. For me it's highlight a little communication issue :

  • The client update notification is way too small. Without my interest in TMM learned from watching streams, I would probably never have updated the client. When updating I also saw a new tutorial tab with BOs etc that I was missing on my old version and could be helpful to new players (I actually thought the Theta video with BOs and the way to protect your engis while expanding was great for newbies).
    If this happened to me I'm seriously wondering how many active players are running on an old version of the client and don't even know about TMM. Is there a way to force the version update or make a pop up notification instantly when you log in ?
  • The news window about TMM is also too small. For a functionnality this important I think it could be highlited by a bigger window on the news screen (maybe same thing could be applicable when a new client udpate ?).

The fact that the matchmaking now pops up first before custom game is a great idea, as mentionned the only thing I'm afraid is that half the playerbase would be on the wrong version of the client, so people won't find much games in TMM and stop caring.

On the training material, I think the most common problem among new players is to be really conservative factory and units wise (that is further teached in astro/gaps that will 90% of the time be the first multiplayer game they will ever play). Just by ending on a youtube recommandation of Jagged and watching Tagada on Twitch I could instantly see that I was building way too less factories and units.
This leads me to think that more communication towards streamers could be done (again it's a really small icon on the landing page) as it's a tool to build a community which will ultimately retains players, and you can easily copy paste some of their way of playing (so a less ressource-heavy alternative than the tutoring while still being able to pick the most obvious things you're doing wrong in your gameplay).

In general I think a redesign of the landing page putting the emphasis on new features, streamers currently online ( and youtubers wih POV content) and the forum (I don't even know if 5% of the playerbase actually end up here) would be useful.

The tutoring idea post from Archimskat is also cool but then again it's on the forum where maybe 5% of new players will see it. Is there a way to have it as an header on Aeolus (nobody even goes on #Newbies) or have a bot send it automatically every X minutes ?

A little communication push could also be done towards AI mods like Uveso or Swarm AI, as a good amount of the new playerbase will spend a lot of time vs AI in the beginning because of anxiety. I don't know if it's possible to make them one of the sandards AI or have a dedicated AI filter in the mods section but those AI at least make a lot of units and could teach news players about standard mass t1 on small maps. Uveso also generate AI markers so they can play on more maps. Hopefully the new tournament can make newbies aware of those alternatives.

So yeah, for me it would be mostly the boredoms from the most populars maps that people who would rather play teamgames than 1vs1 have to face. As mentionned the 2VS2 TMM is a great idea to face this but I think some improvements are definitely needed on the way of communicating about it and making sure it becomes a success.

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@nine2
I'll try one more time because I don't want this community to wither away, and I feel the only thing to do is retain the new players and keep new ones coming through. If you would be so kind as to share the source of your retention numbers, that would help, because as you can see in responses above, there's some who think retention really isn't an issue.

We don't know the source of a new player. How did they find the project, what were they looking for? Are they SupCom players from years ago that just wanted to play the game again? Did they just search for "Active RTS Games". Can anyone say who these people are or how they got here? Do we have that data?

So I can only theorize, based on my own experiences with how I came to discover FAF, and conversations with other sub 100 game players during matches, that SOME people got here the same way I did.

YouTube > Gyle.

So let's look at Gyle's videos. Here's the data for his last 40 videos (about 1 year) sorted by number of views, notice a trend?

Type/Views x1000

4v4 181
4v4 97
6v6 83
4v4 74
7v7 69
6v6 67
6v6 61
5v5 52
5v5 52
1v1 48
4v4 46
6v6 46
7v7 41
5v5 40
2v2 39
1v1 39
4v4 37
6v6 35
1v1 34
5v5 34
1v1 34
1v1 34
8v8 33
7v7 31
5v5 26
6v6 26
1v1 23
1v1 22
1v1 22
1v1 22
4v4 22
5v5 21
3v3 20
2v2 19
1v1 19
8v8 18
1v1 18
1v1 18
1v1 17
1v1 15

If what people see is these multi layered battles happening across huge maps with a variety of units with UP TO 16 PLAYERS (as advertised on FAF website), then 1v1 and 2v2 Matchmaking aren't going to cut it. Up that matchmaking to 4v4, and block/remove/take away those maps that undermine what's great about the game and you might have it. Perhaps, the "Custom" lobby IS the problem.

This is the thing about bringing a successful product to market. You can't make it what YOU want. You have to make what THEY want. The "THEY" should be the largest portion of the potential users you can find.

Now, if we want to say "No Thanks. The product is what it is. I'm the one who's doing the work of maintaining it, so it's going to be what I want." That's ok. There's nothing wrong with that. But then putting any energy towards wondering why people are leaving is pointless. Because unless their reasoning lines up with what YOU want, nothing's going to change anyway.

I personally don't think the lack of training, education, community events is the problem with retention. Unless there's data to support that. People want to eat the hamburger they saw advertised the way they want. They don't want to be told they're eating it wrong way.

Anyway, thanks for asking the question to begin with.

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One thing to note about AI Games, is AI have certain “logic” that is abusable if you know what it is. And some of AI types are not designed to “beat” players but play with the “player”. Vanilla FA Supcom AI case in point here. Has certain characterstics which means it not really meant to win, but to play with the player such a suiciding into Firebases.

Other AI have certain rules or criteria attached that prevent or limits possible actions. Then furthermore the AI can and does have a level of bias based on who created it and what there preference is or belief of proper gameplay.

Dilli vs Uveso for example are two incredibly different AIs. In how they approach the game. Even ostenibly AI “designed” for competitive play like Swarm or RNG. Have quite a bit of difference.

And once you know those little nuances, those ai become easier to beat. And players don’t really have those kind of “rules”

I’m a shitty 1k Global. Any balance or gameplay suggestions should be understood or taken as such.

Project Head and current Owner/Manager of SCTA Project

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@khabume said in Why would you have left FAF?:

Up that matchmaking to 4v4, and block/remove/take away those maps that undermine what's great about the game and you might have it. Perhaps, the "Custom" lobby IS the problem.

I do agree, but just in case you didn't know, this is planned already

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@biass
Fantastic! I did not know that. 4v4 in match making would be great.

@FtXCommando
I thought the matchmaking already had a set list of maps? I thought that's what the "Map List" button was there for.

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@Uncle_HunnyNubs

If you ever had to introduce new people to Supcom or FAF you would know exactly why. Me and a few friends have been trying to get our other group of friends into supreme commander. We play with each other almost 3 times a week (about 4-8 people) but only two of us (me and another guy) has played FAF multiplayer.
This is exactly why I came on and off on the game. I'm lucky SupCom is one of my childhood game due to the cool campaign and atmosphere, but it sucks to learn how to play.

Meanwhile, I easily managed to start top gold in SC2 and climbed somewhat naturally by playing and refining my gameplay. Because it was EASY to get into the game and ladder was a natural continuation of the war started with the campaign. The campaign helps you learn about the units and their role.

With regards to FAF, I've taken several year+ breaks from the game. I first played FAF around 2013-2014 and basically farmed up to 1k rating on gap. I pretty much hated the map, hated the people, and kept blaming noob teammates for why I was losing. So I quit and left FAF for like a year. I came back, played a couple more games, then quit again for a year. Then I came back around 2016, played with Farm, shitposted with him, made a clan, and suddenly I'm now a council member.

In the same vein, the only reason I'm slightly retaining while managing to have a sliver more fun every time I try is because I get better at the game in those crazy team game maps or small team play games. How ? I discovered tutorials finally (in game tutorial were low value, based on memorization), thanks to Heaven RTS.

Heaven RTS especially has an entire channel dedicated to FAF tutorial and even if it is somewhat outdated for stuff, he still has many newbie tips for ecoing, learning BO, explaining everything, explaining units, explaining FACTIONS, explaining gameplay... so now instead of not knowing what to do, I at least have a fundamental structure to rely on.

Recently a more up to date eco/newbie guide was made which is VERY useful, but it doesn't cover enough ground because SupCom is a massive game. More stuff like this needs to be made to help players that seek it instead of repeating the same information over and over. Trainers are the active part of the community trying to help people, but what about the passive knowledge base part of the community ? If it's written nowhere it may as well be a personal art that nobody shares its skills only acquired through experiences and people don't want to suffer dozens of gap or astrocrater games to understand anything at all.

Otherwise, I would have left if I didn't discover that. Because it's so frustrating to find resources about the theory of SupCom. All of them are somewhat outdated, you have to know where to find stuff such as stalking YouTube channels for relevant videos and Wikipedia on the beginner section has a detailed guide for cybran and abridged version for other faction.

Even SupCom2 has a better guide on gamereplay, unfortunately I think it's shafted or unsearchable anymore as the game doesn't appear.

Gaming :
Now the gameplay part. You read those guides and then you want to practice it and try to imitate what you see in guides/cast/execute your strategy.
Well it's difficult because most of the people plays shitty maps and you're tired of Gap and Astro crater. It doesn't incentivize you to have what you imagine as good gameplay, you don't learn much from them besides eco turtle, but they're the fastest way to play. Hopefully with the matchmaking it gets better.
So then you have to host a lobby and wait for people and it can take forever. That can be off putting. Though I have no solution for this problem unfortunately.

Now I’m merely a low rated 1100 player in team game compared to before and still sucks at economy, but I have a bit more fun because sometimes I can make stuff happen. And this is only my opinion, but the conclusion should be : needs more theory and ease of access to it. aka guides and tutorials.

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@khabume
Personally, those chokepoint maps like astro craters, gap of rohan, dual gap, and wonder were my favorite when I first started playing. I think they are fun maps for noobs to learn the basics. They are simpler to play, and forgiving of mistakes. I think they should include them in the 1v1 ladder pool for players less than 500 rating.

Honestly, dual gap very fun for chill games. Its gotten old for me, but for years It was my favorite map.

Supreme commander is such a complicated game, and simple maps like astro make it accessible for new players.

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I remember, a while back when I first tried FAF. I was one of the noobs that played with my friends against AI and steered away from multiplayer because of the steep learning curve and my lack of experience made me not want to be a burden to my teammates. I did this for about 2 months. Once I went to give multiplayer a go, you can guess that I got absolutely steamrolled and because of other commitments I didn't have the time to find out why e.g watching replays, watching top player builds and eco calculating. So I continued to stay away from multiplayer and after a while, got bored and left.

I came back to FAF about 2 months ago after a year of not playing, however, I watched basically every video of BRNKs from the last 4 years (Skipped a few phantom videos, they don't help a lot) and then tried multiplayer, still got beaten 3 times before my first win and then got beaten more after that. I reached out on Aeolus and paid someone to teach me a basic multiplayer build and tech times etc. Now I actually win games, still lose a few but I know how to analyze myself.

As for your question, new players either don't have the time or want to put that much effort into learning the multiplayer mechanics by themselves. However, if I had a solution, create a Tab in the client for teaching/learning.

Players can sign up as teachers after 100 games (White ranked) with a rating over 600 and get paired with new players that want to learn the basics. Change the registration forms to include a preferred language option and when the new player logs into FAF create a notification asking them if they would like to be assigned a teacher which will then notify the teacher of the new player's request to learn. Moderation for teachers can be done by the new players based on reporting and rating their teacher.

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Maybe add something like a "!review" ping list like the ladder list or seton's list, so any player can ask aeolus for a replay review and then the chatbot will tell people who sign up for that list. And then encourage new players to use that feature. Like someone in aeolus should say: "it's great that you're asking for a replay review, that's the best way to learn." Any then if they feel like it's beneficial, they should tell their friends to also ask for a replay review now and then. If asking for & receiving replay reviews happened every 15 minutes in Aeolus a lot of people would get a lot of training and it would create a culture of people just asking for help. We have a lot of untapped energy in terms of people ready to do replay reviews for players who want to get better, but we aren't being asked to do it. Then one of the automated messages in aeolus could be telling people to use the !review chat command. I'm genuinely curious how often someone goes to aeolus to say "I had a tough loss, what could I have done better in this match" and NO ONE responds to them. My perception, and it might be warped because when I see that I usually respond, is that there is a lot more supply than demand (more people willing to spend some time reviewing replays and giving feedback, than people seeking it out).

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People get paid to teach? Could have made a small fortune, but instead I only got a bunch of "Thank you" 's on discord. B(

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That tiny discord button seems to run into an unhandled exception

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@nine2 I have talked to a group of ''low rated'' players between -200 and 600 rating. Their main issues were:
-Small map pool (create a map pool specifically suited for low-rated players?

  • Not having a tutorial divided between easy / medium difficulty / hard difficulty
  • lag
  • No Instructional videos from the big casters (Jagged, Gyle etc)
  • Make the FAF client more accessible to people, now it just looks and feels like something build by and for coders.
    Personally i think that it would be useful to use some sort of analytics tool in FAF to see why people leave, what they play etc.
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I've had an idea, it might be bit leftfield but hear me out.

Firstly, I don't know if this is possible. Secondly, I'm not a coder so I wouldn't be able to help build it.

Caveats aside, what is the biggest stumbling block? It's the damned economy, especially power stalls and also mass overflow. Somebody mentioned that Starcraft warns you when you're low on resources or whatever, and perhaps we could adapt that and make it a soft training tool.

If there was an algorithm that looked at the buildings under construction (and their projected completion times) and could give the player a message that said "IN 35 SECONDS YOU WILL POWER STALL. BUILD POWER GENERATORS NOW" that would help to avoid the situation of being down at the bottom of a hole with no resources coming in. As I say, not a coder, but it does strike me as being pretty complex to figure all that stuff out so may not be viable.

Also you could have messages like "YOU WILL REACH MASS STORAGE LIMIT IN 20 SECONDS. BUILD FACTORIES OR ENGINEERS NOW" and "YOU ARE POWER STALLING. TURN OFF AIR FACTORIES AND RADAR AND BUILD POWER GENERATORS"

Now, I don't envision these being obligatory for all players. Perhaps new players would have them for a certain number of games, or they could be toggleable (default ON). Also, and very importantly, they would be obnoxious as fuck. Flashing text in the middle of the screen, klaxons etc. Without consciously realising it, the desire to get rid of these annoying intrusions would guide players towards more efficient play. Instead of hurting people's egos by having a person tell them where they're going wrong, we use psychology to steer them in the right direction. I don't want that damned annoying klaxon so I'm going to make enough power gens before I make my air factory. Ha! Beat you, you stupid system!

And then without realising it, they've learnt without realising they were learning. And everybody hates a school day.

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