Why would you have left FAF?

0

I am a fairly new player in FAF, but have played the game for like 13 years. I would agree the biggest thing I to overcome was relearning to play the game. The experience I had to go on was that of the Supcom campaign, which didn’t really help in my team games. The biggest way I improved was watching casts of Supcom and watching games after I got killed in the first 5 mins.
I would think the best approach to this would to offer a bootcamp thing would kind of work like survival games. You could set it up to matchmake one noob and a pro to go through a like 20 min match where how the AI tries to kills the com rotates. One match the enemy com makes mercies, or just t1 gunships.
The mission ending once the enemy strategy has been defeated
I also think you could make ladder in the threat being T1-T4 and let the player choose which they would like to deal with.
You could have it just be two slots of any ranking, but the idea is the matches are quick, there is a team element and noobs can learn how to defend the basic early attacks.
You could even have little missions like build the hydro, make a smd, or build flak so there is some guide.

1

@SpatialDude Try the map 'Rainmakers' - turn down the difficulty to easy (in the options menu). It is quite similar to what you'd expect on a low-medium level ranked game:

  • You have to expand and get those mass extractors
  • You have to defend said mass extractors but can't do it with PD as the space you'd need to defend is just too big - you need units
  • You need to defend from small raids (single units) to full-fletched platoons (16 - 40 units)
  • There are various small objectives to help you out - they can make life easier once you succeed but are hard to get right for players that are starting out
  • You have to reclaim or you won't have the resource curve that you need to survive for longer periods of time

Depending on the difficulty the game lasts between 25 - 35 minutes, assuming that you survive 🙂 . Once the easy version is do-able you are free to switch up to higher difficulties and experience the resource curve by surviving longer, more micro by having more units versus you, more understanding of reclaim because there will be more units to reclaim, etc.

Make sure you play it with two other people - it is designed as a three player survival. Put the best player in the most north spawn - that is the hardest spawn!

6

Have recently been thinking on this, right now introducing a friend to FAF also, I have been exclusive ladder player so far, and quit for a few years up until november 2020... some thoughts:

  • Why did my eco suddenly crap out?!
    • Starcraft 1 Says "Not enough minerals." and displayed "Not enough minerals... mine more minerals."
      FAF should say (yes audio) "Power Stall" and display text "power down shields, radars and stop aircraft production"
    • The post-game score screen should flag power stall and mass stall events.
  • Game introduction is rough, because the rating system completely ignores friendly games and games vs. AI.
    • Give AI players a fixed rating for teamgames.
    • Give checkbox for AI players to appear in ladder for low rated players
    • Allow practice games, uneven games etc should be rated at max 0 - and always as if a victory for the negative rated players (you are bound to have learned something).
  • Team games... I still struggle today. Long ago, when I made my account, I got a 1200 rating for free. I am affraid to join team games, I just play ladder 1v1 - soon hopefully ladder 2v2.
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It's a game from 2007 and you can really feel that. Unresponsiveness when giving orders (they only get executed every 500ms...), pathfinding, weird terrain issues and many other things that feel bad when you know other newer games. On top of that once you join multiplayer you get completely dumped on because most people are way better than you. New player lobbies are terrible, too many idiot hosts that have retarded views and call everyone a smurf. There's no guide or whatever to explain what the hosted game titles even mean. I guess for the latter stuff we do have TMM now as a solution, but it's still only 2vs2, it should at least be up to 4vs4.
Also, 2 years is a long time to play a game, most people don't play the same game for hundreds of hours, so not sure how useful that 90% figure is.

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have any of you played starcraft 2??? its tutorial for getting people up to speed for multiplayer is very good, repetitive but good. starts on slow speed and builds up to normal game speed so people dont feel rushed and unlocks tier by tier. I know that seems like a big project but noobies need to learn land/air/navy/eco positions. also get told that while playing eco if you die to air then thats not your fault, your air player failed you or the enemy air was just better. too much emphasis on you suck instead of well if your team did this you wouldve won. I think a mandatory video on build orders and how some maps work before even letting people into the lobby. non skippable video and with emphasis on good replay games where you can watch different positions and they can be acknowledged by us telling them this is good gameplay.

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I think that those of us who have played the game for years underestimate how skilled we are and how difficult it is to do even basic stuff.

People host "noob" games and it's for under 1000 rating. That is not noobs. That is top 8000 in the world. Could there be some way to define and enforce what a 'noob' is, and stop 600-rated players hosting games with noob in the title? Anybody who knows a semi efficient build order is not a noob.

A friend has just started playing FAF after playing LAN FA about eight years ago. He hasn't got a clue what he's doing and I woke up to a message saying he's getting discouraged because he doesn't feel like he gets the game.

Hopefully I'll be able to help him get his head round it but most new players probably don't have that level of support.

I'll report back with how things go with my friend. Perhaps his insights will be useful at finding a way to retain players.

2

I played SC, FA and FAF, left for some years and happy to see that my account exists and FAF is alive with at least nr of users in chat comparable with 2015

Good ideas:
1.
@LargeMaleBennis said in Why would you have left FAF?:

an add to the opening page of the client: "YOU ARE NEW: GET HELP HERE" and then a list of people to approach

2.Tutorials are very helpful tool, better to have some more EX: fast build orders for units, templates for building, proper use of patrol; attack, Unit alignment, attack/defence strategy by land; air; water, etc... There are some interesting videos on Youtube

  1. Should be explained to New players that patience is needed for a reasonable period of time, to adapt, understand and fell the game.

  2. Kindergarden 👶 is a good idea. A place where they can feel save for a while 😉

  3. One of pure advantage is training of Multitasking, and that is real because you have to keep in mind a lot of stuff during a game

P.S. Thank you all for keeping FAF alive 👍

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One thing that comes to mind that I've really noticed with my friend is that new players are attracted to big maps and big weapons. I'm sure we all went through that phase when we started playing and it's a terrible noob trap.

Why would I make T1 tanks when I could make a Monkeylord?

To learn to play the game you need to be able to play 5k and 10k land maps. That's the fundamental building block that allows you to progress to maps that allow experimentals and battleships.

Let's think around that, how do we convince new players that they will get the most rewarding gameplay from learning how to do T1 spam? And how do we help them get to a stage where they can comfortably make ten factories and 300 Mantis?

1

Sorry for triple posting, can't really edit comments on my phone.

One thing I've noticed is that when noobier players feel trapped they start to make inappropriately big things to try to get out of it. I've seen a few games lately where somebody tries to make a Mavor. Obviously they're out of ideas so they go for the most extreme solution.

I started playing FA in 2008 and I have literally never seen a game where a Mavor was successfully made.

So there's some education to be made there. I'm not good enough to say exactly how we do that, but I'm thinking along the lines of a kind of logic gate flow chart that shows the various solutions to different problems. We need to teach people that the cheapest viable option is always the best.

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I find people expect too much from newer people and instantly blame them when things go mildly wrong when they're in one of the bigger map games

0

Would Starcraft 2 meta based maps work to ease players into it?

With all a players resources centered into a main, natural expand, and second expand.
Possibly with hostile civilian T1 PD in natural expand, and T2 PD + Flak in second expand, to sort of time-gate the expansions like Starcraft 2?

5

I believe that one of the main reasons for FAF is the toxicity of players. People watch streamers or casters, learn to be toxic from them. People see the behavior of high-ranked players and succumb to it. If everyone in the game tries to help everyone else, then the community will only bloom and grow. Propaganda of aggression on streams or in videos (not of an entertainment nature) should be punished. The less FAF will have toxicity, anger, aggression, the more pleasant it will be for us.
I also believe that everyone in the FAF is trying to "pull the blanket over themselves". More than 90% of players believe that they are stronger than everyone else and there is no one stronger than them. This is what makes the generation of FAF idiots grow up, trying to appear strong when they aren't. Only small circles of people support each other. The rest, in turn, only hate everything that others do, when they themselves can not do anything to promote.
Thank you for your attention!

5

It's cool to think that a training system is an idea to keep people around - just like it's cool to think that way every other month when this topic appears... But if you haven't been paying attention to FAF proper; you'll find that we're already having to resort to giving 500 rated players trainer status because the supply of volunteers can not and can never meet the demand. If you put out a call for more high rated players to help train people, you'll maybe get one or two, but everyone who cares about this sort of thing is already doing it.

Here are two ideas that would help with retention:

  • Maintain some form of clan relevancy.

It's pretty clear from reading this thread that "a dedicated FAF community" is something that many people take for granted now that they're in a circle of like minded people. Frankly, this is not the way it's going to go for a lot of new people. Imagine knowing nobody and having to put up with Ninrai teamgames/Bisq01 in ladder/etc/etc.

While I don't think that toxicity is a huge factor in player retention (see: overwatch, league, any mutiplayer ranked queue), Easily finding a group of people you enjoy hanging out with keeps you around in spite of all of FAF's issues.

It's just the basic human desire to belong to something and clans are/have always been an easy way to acomplish that.

Right now clans only serve as a way for letting veteran users know who to avoid. It's only a matter of continuing to promote and provide incentives for them before they become relevant again. You'll find that when better players have a good reason to, they'll train lower rated guys on their own. People in their own clan "can't be that bad" and helping them win games for the clan benefits them. Strange to see that clans are forgotten when they're oft a critical factor in most legacy game communities.

  • Unranked queue

I already know that if you're a vet, this is the most asinine suggestion this side of the decade. But frankly, you can see it in this thread and you've known this since forever. Many new players cannot overcome ladder anxiety. It's the difference between "us" who just "played the game because it was fun" and eventually became good, and people who seem to think they need to spend 4000 hours doing everything but.

Unless TMM and then new divisions systems we planned out work to remove the game by game "fear" of losing rating - the only incentive to play and only major community wide status symbol - we're likely going to need to create an enviroment that further removes the anxiety. It's a place where losing is not really any consequence and your learning experience (if you want one..) is not stained by scripted scenarios or AI games that teach you the wrong impression.

Just some 2 cents, don't bother trying to imagine tutorials because we don't have people who are able to make them to an acceptable standard. and besides, you likely came here from a cast showing off some nice gameplay? If people come here for nice gameplay, don't be suprised if they leave after spending 2 weeks doing something else.

1

Bit of a leftfield thought maybe, but Russians. Specifically, what is it about the game that makes it so popular with Russians? If we can figure out what it is about the Russian mindset that makes the game particularly appealing, maybe we can use that as a selling point, kind of reframing what a player can expect to get from the game.

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I think newcomers are very intimidated by multiplayer. Other than a few campaign scenarios there isn't any singleplayer content.

How about we make use of the achievement system and make a bunch of low-effort scenarios to beat? Something along the lines of "you vs. AI, T1 only", or "you vs. 2 AI", or "you, air-only, with a teammate, land-only vs. AI", all on existing maps. We have so many good AIs for that right now, don't we? It'd give players something to do instead of quickly gravitating towards turtly games.

9

I started playing FAF 2 months ago, so I consider myself still somewhat of a new player. What I found/still find very challenging and frustrating:

  • Joining a community and finding players to play with is HARD. There is a clan system in place, but actually finding and joining one of those clans is very difficult, as nearly all clans do not post contact/recruitment data publicly. Even a recruitment section here on the forum would go a long way of fixing this issue.
  • 1v1 ladder is punishing and winning offers a lot less rewards than other RTS games. The gamification of the ladder rating system is basically non-existent. Other games (starcraft 2, LoL) do a better job here at motivating you to play by pitching you against similarly ranked players in a division.
  • initial setup of hotkeys and mods could be even more 'out of the box' than it currently is. I remember I had to spend a couple hours at the start setting up /refining hotkey assignments. Things like this should just be set to sensible defaults in my oppinion.
  • Teamgames, astro crater, survival maps and dual gap are all great fun for a beginner, as it feels like a lot less punishing environment, and more like a place where you can explore and have a good time. But getting into a game is frustrating, as lobby hosts will happily have you sit around for 20 minutes to fill their game up, only to kick you in the last second because gray=gay.
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Hi all, I'm not sure I'm legit engouh to post here: I really suck at sc, although I love it. I first played when vanilla was released, and a couple of years after FA. Took a long break, and now I'm back, and happy to be.

What is intimidating when returning is that you don't feel part of the community easily, although FAF and the team running it are quite amazing.
Of course, the learning curve is steep, this is a demanding but rewarding game. But when you play a custom game, more guys play to win, and forget about the fun. When you enter a game and say "hi", often enough no one answer... Too bad.
About the game itself, hard to know why 90% of newcomers leave... many of you have good ideas about what could make more stay !
Having played less than 100 games, I would like to have access to a more "structured" lobby: what is a "noob" now ?? is means nothing anymore ! Hard to find a game where your actual rating is representative of what's gonna happen ingame.
Anyway, thanks for the good work, and for keeping sc alive 😉

6

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

How about we make use of the achievement system and make a bunch of low-effort scenarios to beat?

Yes, and have the client keep track of user progression. Treat each simple scenario as a lesson, so when one is finished the client can suggest the next one. The client itself would encourage low-rated players to play these scenarios.

Some of them would have limited tech. So you might have a scenario where the only possible thing you can do to survive/win is to spam land factories and T1 tanks (because the other units/buildings are disabled). In this way, players would learn how to do a simple build order and how to spam T1.

So some scenarios would be about teaching people to build/use a single unit. The campaign already does that, but not as well as it could. For one thing, campaign missions tend to be too long. And they encourage turtle-style gameplay. A scenario that encouraged a faster start (encouraging a fast build order so they can deal with immediate threats) and then taught players to use a particular unit and only lasted 8 minutes would be better than a 30-minute campaign mission turtlefest.

Or just have a premade base to skip past the turtle phase. Mix it up between teaching build orders and skipping them entirely. Just giving people premade bases with adjacency bonuses in place will give them the idea to make bases like that for themselves. If noobs have a hard time even imagining making 12 land factories with mex adjacency and only 15 pgens (most noobs would get 50+ pgens before their 12th land factory....), then drop them into a lesson where they start with that and they will start to think that it's normal.

You could have a scenario where there are no mexes close to home, so the player would have to take reclaim to get started, fight there way to more reclaim, before they could fight their way to some mexes, and then have a normal game against an easy AI from there. So the player could learn how to use light artillery to break some civilian PD, with limited mass so they have to build the correct unit types. Maybe in that scenario they don't even get an ACU (no generated mass/power + you can't bulldoze through the PD with your ACU).

There would also be scenarios where the only goal is to grow your economy to a certain size. There might not even be enemies at all in these scenarios. That would help to teach players about how to grow their economy efficiently. And they would always have a few examples of replay files they could watch to see how other people did it. So a lot of the lessons would essentially be puzzles: "you can do this 8-minute puzzle to learn the game better."

Every scenario would be intended to teach a small amount of information in a memorable way. Some would be more open ("beat this AI, however you want to do it") and others would be much more rigid ("overwhelm 3 triads by making a lot of lobos and then the scenario ends immediately").

How about a scenario where there are no mexes, no ACUs, you start with 4 land facs, 20 tanks, 5 engineers, and 1 scout plane, the AI has like 70 tanks, and you have to scout out the map and pick off AI forces with "defeat in detail" in order to get enough reclaim to make new tanks to win. It would teach scouting, looking for mass-efficient fights, and taking reclaim. For some lessons, you completely remove eco management so they can focus on units. Other missions, completely remove combat stuff so they focus on eco. Instead of always throwing players into a situation where they can win by improving eco OR by being smarter with units (which doesn't specifically teach anything, it does push them to get better, but not in the same way as specifically teaching 1 skill/idea)

The idea would be, if a player completes all of the lessons, they should have enough skills to play at the low end of 1v1 ladder without feeling bad or to participate in low-end team games without feeling completely lost.

Rather than going for voice acting or lots of text in the scenario itself to explain things, the explanations should be kept brief and outside of the scenario, to make them easier to prepare. People who can't beat a scenario would watch replay files to learn how to do it. That way, there is no language barrier for anyone. The "mission briefing" in the client for each scenario (before you click on it to open it) could be a simple picture showing a good base layout along with arrows showing the order to make the buildings.

Having the lessons would be a way for people to get a sense of accomplishment, and an easy way to blow off steam if they're annoyed about losing. If they take some of that negative energy, and put it into completing lessons for 30 minutes, they would hopefully feel better about coming back to the competitive part of the game and trying again.

The worst thing is when people take that energy and spend it on playing pointless games against AI, which only teaches the players to turtle and not to learn new ways to play. "1 human + 3 AI vs 4 AI" is not a way to learn anything. Puzzles could provide more satisfaction, with not a lot more stress.

Of course we would also plant the message that once you finish all the lessons, you SIMPLY MUST try the ladder. Like: how can you complete all these lessons and NOT get on the ladder? You gotta show off your skills! We need you out there!