Why would you have left FAF?

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In my opinion, some will stay others will leave and will be members who will play, leave, play again. We all must have in mind that this game is quite old but has something interesting that made me come back.
About the changes or improvements

  • they must be countable
  • as a rule is good to have targets, aims
  • Also they must be done in a reasonable periods of time ex: 1 in 6 months and understand what is the achievement
  • What are our target client? age? sex? location? all this count
  • etc...
    It is very good that questions like this arise and they are discussed with community
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Same as it was 7 years ago:

You join a game with 0-rated you get booted, ask "Why?", told to join "all welcome" games.

You play "all welcome" games to find beautiful -8 gameplay full of hysterical, messed up people who just shit on you for not knowing how to "play the game" on extremely strategic maps like dual gap and astro crater.

TMM was pushed hard by every councilor across the board (including myself) so there is a variety of games and at least some introduction to content beyond the aforementioned trash experience.

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Community is a very large reason why many people stick around, if you turn up with a group, you're much more likely to stay, there's natural competition between members and the experience becomes more chilled. Problem is that a large majority of people who join are going to be coming in on their own, I'm with Ftx on this as my experience was similar to his. Mainly played ladder up to 2016 where I found the GB lot.

People don't usually want to improve to then commit to a game, they will improve because they're already committed, and that's why training material won't resolve this issue. Again more material is good, just doesn't help with this issue. The factors bringing people in are doing extremely well, Yuri, Brnk, Gyle and many others have put some serious hours into the community and to that they have my thanks.

Retention is a completely separate issue, you don't leave a game because it's "too hard" or because one person called me a smurf, you leave a game because either the community is the issue or the game isn't fun.

Now unfortunately we can't dictate what is fun to some people so naturally people will leave when the game becomes less entertaining to play, now, usually that doesn't happen for newer players, but since the point is players leaving before 2 years, it cannot be completely disregarded. This will hopefully be helped with the addition of tmm due to less games being dictated during the lobbysim, but the results will not be seen for a while, to see over 500 names on the 2v2 leader board gives me hope.

As for the community, it's not bad. It's leagues friendlier than league, CSGO and other high player count games but that doesn't quite cut it. It can be a little discouraging being a 0 0 to find nobody wants you, but hey that's where ladder and tmm help by removing hosts. Maybe a better clan system would help, possibly categorizing them into relaxed, beginner friendly, competitive, coop groups etc.

What you need to take from this is that no, training isn't the answer to retain players, as most people play the game to enjoy it regardless of how good they are, if any more evidence is needed, refer yourself to the last ladder league where lower brackets had the players with the highest time spent in ladder. What will probably help is a more helpful way to introduce new players, I know #Newbie channel works for people below 50 games but maybe having a newbie channel per major language (Russian, English, German etc) might help people find others in a similar situation.

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@nine2

I feel like the most likely reason people leave is because they have other games to play. Some people want to try RTS but inevitably decide they prefer fps or mmorpg, etc. Every game has a learning curve and every game has new players, good players, and great players.

I don't really feel that FAF has alot of abrasive players; most people who play a game as old as this one do so because it's great and have an appropriate sense of ettiquette as a result.

I do have some suggestions based on my time here that I think would greatly improve player retention both for new players and experienced players:

  1. Ladder matching i think would work better if instead of matching closely related ladder ranking, there are also matched based on number of games played. Maybe create a new players bracket where they'll only be matched with other players in the same bracket, maybe 0-99 games or 0-199 games. This will give new players to play against other new players, learn from each other, add people to their friends list, etc.

  2. Instead of having ladder games launching every 3 mintues, I recommend having them launch after X number of players are queued up to play. The matching system can then more closely match rated players. Possibly it would be nice for the client to show how many people are queued to play(EDIT: I see in 1.4 this has already been added) / how many people are required for the games to launch.

  3. Upon matching, I think it would be absolutely awesome if each pair received a popup of 3 ladder maps and given the OPTION to veto one of them. The system could pull a 5k, 10k, and 20k map from the pool, each player can then accept all 3 maps or veto one of them not to play. if both players choose different maps to veto, the 3 map gets played. If 2 or more maps are left unvetoed, the system can then randomly pick. This will allow players at both low and high levels to play a wider variety of maps. This will also allow people who don't have time to play a large 20k map to veto it to play a quicker game and vice versa. This would be a big boon for people to enjoy ladder more. I personally didn't play any ladder in december because I really didn't like most of the pool. (BONUS: devs can also use the information received about map veto vs draws to determine what maps people like vs don't like, thereby allowing everyone to essentially have a vote as to which maps to remove from the pool everytime it changes)

  4. As for custom games, Morax has a very good point about people getting kicked from all welcome games. I might suggest required hosters to retype the game title each time instead of the client saving the name from the last game, although I can see some players saying that would be annoying. Sadly I have no other idea on who to improve custom games simply because of the nature of custom games.

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The community is toxic and if you lose a match it gets blamed on someone, then when people try to talk about it on here the answer "you can report them" or something similar that does nothing.

I only play survival types of games and the campaign missions anymore since those games don't matter to anyone, you can have a full out noob doing nothing and nobody cares. I also have a 1k rating and haven't played a real game in so long that I could no longer perform as a 1k so adds to the toxic problem.

I do believe playing more 1v1 and tmm 2v2 can help my problem.

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Hi I will try to explain my point of view correctly in English (I'm French Canadian)

First, I'm impress by the quality of FaF! It's incredible 👌 All the job you do to improve this game with new AI, texture, balancing....

I play this game since 10 years. But like a noob in FaF I am not comfortable to play with other player. Because I never play online before and I don't think I have enough skils for now to play with others.

To day, my fun is to play many game in skirmish and improve my strategy. Mayby I will try later.

For proposition, I think it can be helpful to had a guide for new player just to help them to navigate in FaF app.

Maybe add a place where players can put tips to help new players to improve their strategies.

Maybe for PvsP have different categories for noob or medium player and the regular section like we have now. This can be less stressful for new players.

It's only ideas. I relay enjoy FaF and all the job you dot to improve this game. I'm very proud to found FaF! 👌

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Also, quickly:
I think the FAF culture has pushed a lot of the gameplay variety of supcom out of the window, and with "ranked games" being the only thing we have to offer, we don't have a lot of draw for players outside of one specific user demographic anymore.

Raise your hand if you have played all of the following:

  • Wave of Death Survival
  • PhantomX
  • Claustrophobia
  • HardFFA
  • Gap of 64 ACUS
  • SCTA, Nomads, etc
  • The custom "challenge" coop missions
  • Murder party
  • WARTIME2 (lol)
  • Crazyrush
  • etc

This stuff was more common "back in the day" and allowed for more than just the same old ranked experience. It helped you grow as a player and let you have fun with your mates. Now what do people do? just spam 1v1 games vs ai in a desperate attempt to feel "ready" for ladder. It's a bit boring.

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New player here, who probably isn't going to stick around.

Played this game casually a lot in LAN and some of my best memories gaming were in SupCom.

I really want to be able to play competitively, but the steep learning curve and general frustration of being punished for less than optimal play is probably the sort of thing that only people who are far more patient than I am would be able to weather.
It's a wonderful game for casual play, but trying to reach a point where I could move up the ladder feels like it has optimized all of the fun that I had in casual games, to the point that I don't wanna pick it up and just want to play something that I feel like I could occasionally win at.

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I think one of the knowledge issues that new players encounter arises with not knowing how to host games. Knowing how to host your own games is incredibly important both for enjoying the game and improving as a player. Without knowledge of how to host, fitting maps, how to balance a game, and what the settings affect, players will either be forced into whatever the regular hosts want, or wade through on their own and hope the settings are alright. As others have mentioned, some of the people who commonly host are unreasonable or instantly kick new players. And often, new players will find that the only maps in custom lobbies are turtle maps, even though there are plenty of lower rated people who want to play better games.

More information on what players should expect would also be nice. I see new players join a half full game and instantly hit the ready button, and it just gives me the impression that they are staring at the screen worrying that if they look away for a minute they will be kicked. Which can be exhausting to do game after game.

Helping people with playing the game is important, but I think helping new players get used to the client and lobby also has a place in any player retention plans.

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I have played since about 2010 and joined FAF on another account back in about 2012. I played one game back then but my godawful internet meant that I lagged out. Since then I have played on and off but only with friends against bots.

The few people that I have introduced to this game, had never played an RTS before. So I went through the FA Campaign with them. Not going fast or anything just doing the usual shit like stalling the expansion until you have 50 soul rippers, Playing Meltdown as a super turtle holding the mesa with 500 ravagers etc. (By the way having timed expansion on by default is a BAD idea. If you are only new and fumbling around having your problems get worse and getting destroyed in the campaign is only going to make you feel further from the people in the casts you watch and join because of.) Getting them to understand how to play at the most basic level. If you have ever seen someone who never played an FPS as a kid try one, look it up, you'll see them unable to move and shoot at the same time and other basic tasks.

For people who join solo and don't get this I can understand why they'd leave. I think a tutorial where the player is hand held through a generally good build queue would be good, and another that removes building and just supplies them with units to micro. Another good level might be to cover the slight faction Pros and cons to show strats they might not know, same for units.
Adding a Trainer mode might be another idea, a teamed observer who can ping things and manage a timed expansion with the other trainer to have a managed 1v1 with the other Trainee. Maybe even break these down to land only then add air then navy. You could even run Trainer tournaments with brand new players.

Gamifying is another option, add exp. Give players a few exp for every game they stay till the end of. This adds a level separate to your rank, maybe even have them "pick" a faction (does not effect gameplay just like a kind of a selectable badge) and the faction with the most exp after a week gets a cool chat color or something. Obviously take a bit of time avoid exp grinding, maybe only MM, no cheat campaign victories and trainer matches give exp. When people finish a campaign game have a message that says xxxx did that mission 3 min faster and show them their time rank.

Clean up the mod vault. Get all the big mods to have pictures and proper descriptions, make it so that if a mod has a dependency it is automatically added or at least warms the player that they will need it. Maybe don't have the same mod twice of 2 different versions in recommended mods. Another thing might be to pick a big player or popular community member and have a combined X's recommended Ui mods that is a one click add.

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As far as I remember me starting all of this FAF thing after gpg days,could probably tell that most of it depends on the community you're playing with,since meeting a premade stack while you're still below 200 games is probably extremely challenging as people are likely to play their own game and entertain themselves with building structures/units they barely can afford or just don't have a good strat of using them.
Not to mention that 80-90% of the newcomers are jumping to ''rookie'' maps at the start like gap or craters/pass and get flamed after for not being as good as your ratings says,i have personally received more than 300-400 requests of rating drops so people can go to the start and get a different experience.
As Medicraze said in one of his videos about tips for the new players,ask questions since the high rated community is going to help you with forums posts/useful videos even will go and watch your replays with you in voice chat,marking your mistakes and what should have been done better.

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@nine2 IMO it's because new players start with 0 rating. The issue is, I think, that hidden behind that zero is a rating of 1500 +/- 1500, which is actually a pretty high rating. Most players have an uncertainty of around 200-300, so really the rating that new players start as can be thought of as being around 1.2k-1.3k. That means most new players, unless they have significant prior RTS experience, will lose the majority of their initial games. I think that's pretty discouraging for a new player.

I remember when I first started on FAF in like 2015. I played around a hundred games before I quit for 4 years. For a bit of background, I had pretty good general RTS experience: having played a ton of Starcraft 2 (diamond 1v1), Supreme Commander 2, CNC3, COH, etc. I had even played a ton of FA skirmish and campaign and watched like 50 Gyle videos.

I played exclusively teamgames (Gap of Rohan, random 4v4s, mostly whatever lobbies were available) and lost the majority of games I played. I am almost certain my winrate was <50%. I'm pretty sure I started off much stronger than most new players on FAF, so the experience is probably even worse for your median new player. Also, I think hosts can and will systematically stack games against new players (as I think was the case for my early games) - taking away some of that power could help too. It was pretty discouraging - I know you shouldn't expect to start playing and be good at the game, but in a lot of other games you start at a low rank and you can win your way up. First impressions matter, and I think the impression of the first few games will determine whether someone stays on FAF or leaves.

Maybe lower the actual rating players start at, so they have a higher chance to win the first few matches they play? Not sure how that would affect the rating system overall, and perhaps FtX developed an aneurysm just reading this suggestion, but I think something like this would make the game more accessible for new players.


Also, on the flip side of the coin, one thing that kept me on FAF - doing well and seeing my games casted. BRNK casted a game of me back in like 2015, where I did well and outperformed my 1600 mirror in a 4v4. I was super hyped and probably watched that cast from start to finish like 5 times over the years. More recently, Jagged casted a 2v2 game of me in like 2019 where I carried 1v2 against some random 2300 noob. That was super exciting and gave me a pretty big impetus to get good at the game. This would be up to the caster, but maybe Gyle could start something like Low Elo Legends in AOE2, featuring entertaining gameplay from noobs. Getting featured in a cast and watching yourself on the big screen is a big part of the draw IMO.

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We could actually look at the data instead of just guessing what the winrate of new players is. I found two files on my hard drive that I used a while ago to plot the rating evolution of new players. Should probably alter it to give you wins and losses instead of rating, but it's a good starting point.
Don't really know why I have two files here, but you can have a look. I don't have time at the moment to do it myself.

They are python scripts, but I had to rename them to be able to upload them.
get_rating_evolution.py.txt
get_rating_data.py.txt

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@AlleywayJack a quick glimpse at your replays shows you haven't tried ladder yet. Now I don't want to pick you out as I'm assuming this happens to a lot of new players.
I agree that it might be daunting, expecting to lose the first few games, but there is a system in place, designed to put you against people at your skill level fairly quickly to give you that chance of winning. I'm wondering if you knew about this.
It would be nice to hear your thought process behind what made you come to FAF, what games you want to play and why you're leaving. It would also be nice to hear how you've developed these opinions of ladder or competitive play after very few games in them, possibly a difficult stigma surrounding ladder or other reasons. Any response would be appreciated!

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

It's popular with Russians almost entirely because of Yuri and his casts.

I'm sure that's a big contributing factor, but we do have popular English language casters as well and that doesn't seem to have as much impact.

I might just be talking nonsense based on stereotypes, but it occurs to me that Russians really like chess. FA is comparable to chess in a lot of ways and so I think that whatever it is that the Russian national mindset likes about chess is also present in FA.

So thinking along those lines, would targeting promo material towards chess players be worthwhile? If so, how best to do it?

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

I'm sure that's a big contributing factor, but we do have popular English language casters as well and that doesn't seem to have as much impact.

Yuri has 747k subscribers. Gyle has 40k subscribers. Yuri is almost 20x bigger.

(and the best caster, which is of course Jagged Appliance, has 4k subscribers, making yuri nearly 200x bigger)

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Yuri was still making casts but not releasing them on the channel, just giving out links with casts. He can't afford to post unpopular videos on his channel cause it hurts the channel.
He now made separate channel for supcom casts https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKucg78eVWN8ud_6dF-9D5w

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@Blodir wow.

I still think it's because Russians have a natural disposition towards strategy games but that's seriously impressive.

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