Why would you have left FAF?

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I'm still really interested in hearing from more newer players about their own experiences with FAF and why they think people might leave our community. We did some data analysis last year that showed that we have a steady stream of new players but that 90% leave over 2 years. Thanks everyone who has given feedback so far - I guess I will give it another week before I really look into the replies and look for common themes.

Edit: FAF is actually growing overall. I don't mean to give the impression that we are declining in numbers overall. Eg:
https://forum.faforever.com/topic/287/is-faf-growing

I just mean that we are losing lots of our new players, and I want to keep a much higher % of them.

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Seen it mentioned above but being kicked because my rank "doesn't look right" has been my issue returning to FAF. I last played in this community about eight years ago on one of the earlier/est versions of the platform. I'd only played LAN with friends up to this point, got my ass handed to me, because I can't click at at thousands miles an hour, so I played a few Phantom matches.

My rank, such as it was, has carried over from then. I'm hovering in the grey at about 800-900 while I learn to play this game properly, but I am constantly kicked after sitting in a lobby for ten minutes, because (I guess) of how those Phantom matches look.

I guess those innocents wins, against a very low number of games, makes people think I'm on an alt account, if I'm not being kicked for the score being grey in the first place.

Even more frustrating is seeing people with a thousand or more games at the same score literally screaming at players like myself with only twenty actual matches, like we're supposed to understand the obsessive compulsive meta of every map (barring Seton's).

The game is intimidating enough already, without people probably more angry at themselves for a thousand games with no progress, just lobbing insults and childish pings all over the map at new players who are trying to learn a very deep and complex RTS.

Is there a Discord for people to learn? Where higher level players could coach newbies to learn and chat? Because our only option is watching Gyle's casts which just covers the first two factories built by COMS and then hops round the map watching fights. There's barely any info out there on eco, base setup or unit composition that isn't being played or run through by someone at Heaven's level of speed and modded UI, which is almost impossible to follow.

I don't plan on quitting, and it's only due to Covid-19 lockdown that I currently have the time to spend being kicked from four out of every five matches I join, only to get insulted and mostly steamrolled in the matches I do get.

I know FAF can't do much about it's WORST players, but maybe it's BEST could reach out?

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There was a tool/webside for gpgnet (official client from 2006 - 2012) called "player tracker". There you saw how many players voted for or against a player. You could say he played bad / normal / good / great and mark him as a toxic player or quitter. The tool wasn't working with FAF, so it is offline now.

My friends aren't playing FAF anymore for a simple reason. The time is too long before a game starts. These endless balance discussions are the worst. So TMM is a great thing. Koecher and Freshy are playing 2vs2 with me again as it is so simple to start a game.

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@DrWrongpipes

Is there a Discord for people to learn? Where higher level players could coach newbies to learn and chat? Because our only option is watching Gyle's casts which just covers the first two factories built by COMS and then hops round the map watching fights. There's barely any info out there on eco, base setup or unit composition that isn't being played or run through by someone at Heaven's level of speed and modded UI, which is almost impossible to follow.

That's a good question! this discord channel of the official FAF server serves this exact purpose : https://discord.gg/eUQdmppkMp

this guide is also quite useful : https://docs.google.com/document/d/13S4nBDfcBK4WmFtykXGKNmvIPe9L2nbiriISpHNgE4U/edit

The "Tutorials" Tab of FAF is utterly amazing.

playing through the four missions (and trying each mission's many choices) is absolutely vital.

And yeah Heaven is great once you actually start understanding what he's talking about.

but before you get to him :

The Dualist is a recently 1100 rated (so pretty low-to-average) player and his videos are quite educational : https://youtu.be/NK-LvGL9HKc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAMIaYfSEBg

Decent is 500 and (so really much much more educational for newer players) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWWRgX6BCIM&list=PLF2T-nFgLhNAcMlujh4oqKsTqhTTpLhd3

Recently Brnk started making tutorials as well and they're top-notch IMO : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvMnSDvHV-U&list=PL8njGw0L9GCMmWuVXUix1t_0rQ5phYRU1

Gyle does a series where he learns to play the game with pros : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NHG6xs7DuA&list=PLghkifCs4DHOOSdrpE6yNjCcYLkh-gixM

and Medicraze really high production-values tutorials : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZymQ--z-lzo&list=PLfoxTfv2F6On8zyb7IvN-_xEQTjHmXvoj

Speed made and excellent tutorial playlist of his own : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uPjOxCTEng&list=PLTEDjzjPnGIoh43j6c2jNIYINPxgJnzoh&index=2

Somewhat outdated in terms of balance but most thorough and great for noobs TheForgedAllianceColonel's tutorials : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QhM7oC-t7U&list=PLWe0mYs3ObwL36zemynMh5G4b-3s5vol0

I personally find Jagged Appliance highly educational to watch, his commentary is a bit higher level but honestly not the technical level Heaven is on, he's really clear and I feel like he's easy to understand and it really helps that he really really knows what he's talking about : https://www.youtube.com/c/JaggedAppliance/videos

On another note I have an idea to maybe help combat the effect of players feeling outmatched. I posted about it before :

https://forum.faforever.com/topic/309/ai-megathread

The idea is that Starcraft 2 allows players to gradually ease themselves into ladder by having a vs AI mode that functions like a ladder.

where loosing a couple matches will place you against an AI that doesn't leave it's base as much and that is worse in economy and build order but the more you win the tougher (and more resemblent to a human) the AI gets. sometimes going as far as employing cheese strat rushes.

Doing something like this in for FAF would really help cushion the giant pit of spikes of doom that is switching from playing Forged Alliance/SupCom AI-Bash or FAF survival maps / co-op campaign to trying out PVP in any form on FAF.

Most people don't know what they're doing and a lot of that comes from forming terrible habits of "waiting while I build up" with the frankly not revolutionary SsupCom & FA campaigns. (although on the plus side apparently the Seraphim Campaign and the Nomads campaign took a turn for the better in that regard.)

But even the AI in FA specifically encourages turtling for newer players.

Now I'm not saying that skill gap is the only problem, but I certainly believe that helping bridging the gap will help newer players face less animosity.

As for the lobby antics (greys, pings, rating, game count) these sort of things just don't matter when you just click queue for TMM (Team Match Maker).

you play, you win or you loose, who cares it's gg's all round anyways. and it's then the FAF matchmaking bot's job to balance you so you don't have to worry about how good or bad you are, it'll eventually place you with players like you and you'll be able to progress.

Which is why I humbly believe that if we sorted AIs by difficulty and created an "AI competitive ladder" that could serve as a stepping stone for getting to TMM, this would remove a lot of the fear.

Also we need to make nomads campaign native. it shouldn't have to be installed separately.

So yeah newer players, head on to here: https://forum.faforever.com/topic/309/ai-megathread and rate the AI. yes, we want your appreciation of them. it would really help. (the AI mods not the vanilla AI.)

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I am a newer player, I think you should encourage the community to engage as much as possible. Specifically I refer to the chat tab with #newbie. I have asked questions and seen other ask questions and no one replies. Look I know sometimes people will ask dumb ass questions that could have been found with 1 search or something super obvious, but nothing turns people off of the game quicker then if they think its a dead community

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@obydog002 good point. I'm going to try to make a point of saying that I'm available for noob questions when I log on.

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

There was a tool/webside for gpgnet (official client from 2006 - 2012) called "player tracker". There you saw how many players voted for or against a player. You could say he played bad / normal / good / great and mark him as a toxic player or quitter. The tool wasn't working with FAF, so it is offline now.

My friends aren't playing FAF anymore for a simple reason. The time is too long before a game starts. These endless balance discussions are the worst. So TMM is a great thing. Koecher and Freshy are playing 2vs2 with me again as it is so simple to start a game.

Yeah I’m really happy with TMM, hoping we get 3v3 and 4v4 sooner rather later.

I quit making maps because general, custom team game players don’t want to learn anything new other then “rush middle mass, fall back, eco and tech” types. Now that there’s a competitive team game scene growing, interesting content can be made again!

TMM is reducing the time to play games and see what all the content in the game has to offer.

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Keep the feedback coming in guys

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I am a brand new player coming from AOE 2. I think i started in early January and mostly play seton's clutch land position. Before I complain I want you guys to know that the game is really fun and I am kinda addicted. Watching other people's replays is really accessible and I have been learning a lot by watching 1k+ Setons games.

Imo, there are no accessible build orders. There are some from Heaven on youtube but those are more general concepts and don't contain builds for every map. If the client had just some basic generic build orders for setons + other popular maps that work 80% of the time that would be great. Nothing fancy, just something to get people started.

AOE 2 takes it even further. There is a mod that walks you through step by step with voice direction each of about 11 different build orders. Then at the end, it gives you a grade of A-F based on how fast you could preform the build. There are builds for fast castle into knights, fast castle into Unique Unit, scouts, scouts into skirms, scouts into archers, archers, ect. If something like that existed for FAF then learning the game would be much faster.

Learning hotkeys and build orders are really the boring, initial investment into an RTS that a lot of people just fail to overcome. After you are over that hurdle and know several build orders and are comfortable with your hotkeys then it is smooth sailing.

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@arma473 Heh. "You obviously aren't interested". I find that judgements make a bad conversation, you know? Have you tried being more collaborative?

Retention and competition are inextricably linked in this game. It's fun to win, and no-one plays for long if they keep losing, even against the AI. But there are levels of competition, and I totally agree that people will stay if they have a good time even if they occasionally lose - that's why I stay 🙂

So you're right in that I'm not interested in beating Jagged or Zlo or whoever. But you're wrong in that I'm still interested in winning ladder games and team games 🙂 I'm not afraid to be told what that is, but "you should know what you did wrong" isn't telling me what that is, it's being ineffable and superior.

I am totally interested in your lessons! I think small bites are good, lesson plans are good, and giving people rewards for progress is great. I hope I can contribute to this!

And the more plans and activity we have to train and retain people, the better. They'll reach more people and will apply to more people.

Have fun,

Paul

faf.mabula.net maintainer.

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Random thought but what is the average retention rate of other RTS games? If its not higher than 15% its probably just people finding new games to play for variety.

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"The industry standard retention rates for F2P games are 40%, 20%, and 10% for the aforementioned time periods."

https://gamingshift.com/game-retention/#:~:text=Game retention is typically measured,for the aforementioned time periods.

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A kind of an olde Total Annihilation "BATTLE TACTICS" similar, as missions, or scenaries to help the learn courbe, would be interesting.
The missions in Battle Tactics are segregated into four campaigns: Very Short, Short, Medium, and Long. The Very Short missions tend to cover very basic tactics, while the long missions are meant for more experienced players with more complicated tactics and some surprises. Overall, the basic features come down to 100 new missions, 4 new units, new keyboard shortcuts (also part of the 3.1 patch for the main game), and 6 new multiplayer maps.

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

"The industry standard retention rates for F2P games are 40%, 20%, and 10% for the aforementioned time periods."

https://gamingshift.com/game-retention/#:~:text=Game retention is typically measured,for the aforementioned time periods.

If those retention rates are at 40%, 20% and 10% for 1 day, 1 week and 1 month respectively, then having 10% retention after 2 years would suggest that retention is already above average.

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@F-Odin said in Why would you have left FAF?:

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

"The industry standard retention rates for F2P games are 40%, 20%, and 10% for the aforementioned time periods."

https://gamingshift.com/game-retention/#:~:text=Game retention is typically measured,for the aforementioned time periods.

If those retention rates are at 40%, 20% and 10% for 1 day, 1 week and 1 month respectively, then having 10% retention after 2 years would suggest that retention is already above average.

Yes, however those are for free, mobile games.

While the rate of conversion (non players -> players) would be lower here, the retention rate would be higher due to factors such as buyers remorse, etc.

Personally I think this whole thing is a wash. All we can do is improve the product we're delivering. The only way promotion can really increase the retention rate is making sure to set user expectations correctly. This means not blowing up the list of features so high that FAF itself cannot actually deliver. Sure, the conversion rate might increase, but the retention rate will lower further.

We're also avoiding the harder topics, like the client ux being pretty lackluster (guys: please let me know what you think about the new TMM UI) and the backend functions also are a bit touchy too. We also have some people who feel the need to go into sister communities like the supcom 2 servers and spam them about how shit their game is on comparison to ours. While people from those games are some of the people most likely to be retained if they ever came here, bad impressions don't actually give us a chance to convert. It's something that imo should be stamped out immediately.

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I think it's pretty common to tell new or less skilled players that they are stupid and should uninstall the game rather than help them improve. True teamwork is very hard to find around here. I have played with certain people game after game and winning like crazy and playing solid but when I make one mistake and now we lose one game then all a sudden those same mates who were great during wins are telling me I am an idiot and hating on me because we lose one. Watch any replay and read the chat and more often than not it is people yelling at each other telling each other horrible things....people don't know how to lose as a team....this is the greatest team game ever and most people can't understand that. People don't understand that we are lucky to have such a community and such support....there is no love here....everybody hates everyone.

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I started playing again a few months ago so while I'm not new anymore I certainly was then and remember the experience.

I think there are a few factors contributing to low player retention but the most important is FAF's very steep learning curve. It's often said that the best games are those easy to learn but impossible to master. Imo FAF is very hard to learn to the point that it's almost overwhelming.

In terms of team games, players come to FAF having seen replays of GCs dueling it out with chickens and com drops and close tactical games and that's what they want to replicate. What they are then faced with is noob gap games where there is usually lag, nothing happening for 20+ minutes and suddenly one team completely winning.

I took the route of ladder and it was frankly terrifying and stressful up until about 600. Getting past the first few games of ladder is incredibly daunting as you have no idea what to really do and can get matched against high rated players.

Tl;dr FAF looks really cool on youtube and then people join and find it very hard to get good enough to have interesting games. They then also have to deal with "no greys" "no au/no ru/no eu/" lobbies, endless boring gap games and often a not particularly nice player base.

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Honestly FAF being a separate client and has to be downloaded sperate and outside of just buying it on steam is kind of weird. I remember watching a cast and was like, oh man this is amazing. I went and purchased it on steam and was like wtf. Is that a fixable problem or what yall are talking about? Probably not but it was quite a few days before I found out. I think it was zombies or something and was like oh man that sounds like fun then couldnt find out to get to it, eventually it lead me to FAF.

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I just read through this entire thread and I mustve been the luckiest player on this client. The worst experience I've had was getting kicked out of a lobby with a "sorry" message because I'm a grey player. I have been playing on the steam version for years and finally came here because well... steam is dead. I have had awesome games and yes the occasional troll, DC and lag games but overall my time has been positive. I am relearning the game which is nice since FAF is way different than steam and I am becoming a better player for it.
Now I just need to figure out what happened to galactic War since that sounded THE MOST FUN! And we will be good to go. Thank you devs for keeping this game alive.

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