Why would you have left FAF?

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@F-Odin
That very well may be. But either way, if you're trying to grow the community you have to identify what you can change to increase retention.

People who are leaving because they're just done with it, yeah, there's not much you can do.

So my original post is directed towards the things that bore me with the game and might chase me out sooner than 2 years. And my tech race point is actually being echoed by players with many games, so it is something to be considered. Whether that's trying to dissuade players from using the same maps constantly, or whatever other solutions may come about.

https://forum.faforever.com/topic/1098/increase-t3-mex-cost-reduce-reclaim-to-reward-aggressive-gameplay-at-t2-stage?_=1611169438095

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

As for Amygdala's points, as much as it would be nice to have moderated lobby's for new people, that won't happen, you could get some people who enjoy hosting all welcome games like phong, but at the end of the day if they don't enjoy it then they wont be hosted and it comes back to the point that those games can be completely imbalanced with one decent player which could demoralize new players.

Those games do not need to be played by the host. They "just" need to be hosted in a popular, low threshold way that newer players know they will get a decent game there and are not lost because the lack the meta. The host could to the balancing, answer some questions, maybe give some ideas what could work on a map.

I recall it from my early days on FAF how difficult it can be do fill a lobby in a decent time on a map beside the well known turtle maps. And from what I got (also in this thread), this is still the case. TMM will help to solve that to some extend although quite some of the newer players may be to intimidated by it.

Giving players a better time exploring teamgames without getting flamed at when they screw up (they are new, they dont know the meta...) may help on the long run to improve player retention. And I think having FAF-"moderated" game lobbies could help/be one part to achieve goal.

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@F-Odin
Hey F-Odin.

I happen to be the friend that Wainan mentions - the one that doesn't really have a clue what I'm doing.
I haven't attempted ladder because as I understand it, I will just lose.

My experience of the game so far on return has involved starting games against individual AI and increasing the difficulty, then watching my replays.

The focus has been on getting me to understand Feb basic style of play that I need to be able to master in order to ladder.
I'm shit at this, and feel like I just end up pissing off my teachers. From my perspective, If I can't beat the AI up to at least harder difficulty, there is probably little point laddering. I am probably just too late to the party with games like this.

So far it feels like a lot of losing in order to prepare myself to play people that I'm probably going to lose to.

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I think some of the gap and chokepoint maps like Gap of Rohan and Astro Craters would be great for the ladder pool, for players less than 500. Those maps are much easier to play, and more forgiving. They were very fun for me when I was a noob. They were also great for learning to eco and basic strategy. Even now, I wish the maps in ladder at my rating (700) were simpler. Expansion, and reclaiming trees and rocks can be tedious on many maps.

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@Amygdala I'm with you now. Nice point but hopefully tmm will just cut out the middleman.

@AlleywayJack I can see where you're coming from but it seems to me that there's a fear factor of losing, which is understandable. If you were to try ladder, yes there would be initial loss where the system works you out, but this system is fairly accurate and will put you against people you will have the ability to beat. No you're not too late to the party and I can assure you will be able to beat people, even if you cannot beat AI. That's why there's a placement period and a rating system in place. What I'm curious is how you've got into this mindset because it's a dangerous mindset to be in, if you truly enjoy the game, which I'm guessing you do, then even 4-5 losses on the trot shouldn't push you away. I speak from my recent experience trying my hand at chess, which has a similar rating system, yes you lose a few games but there is a point at which you'll start winning.

@khabume You have to remember that large team games (5v5 and over) are a feature of FAF, but the original game wasn't designed with that in mind therefore should it be balanced for Dual Gap or Setons, no. With regards to the thread posted, will increased T3 mex cost help promote t2 on those maps. No. You have 96 Mexes in the bases compared to 36 outside on duel gap and with setons all positions have several easily defended mex. All that will happen is the games will be that little bit longerwhich is the last thing you want when a game could already go on for multiple hours. Your tech race point is only viable on easy to turtle on maps, you can see t1 and t2 used on other high large team game maps such as wonder as well as in every 1v1/2v2/3v3 played. What I really can't understand is that if you're so against the "tech race" meta that has developed, then why do you still play dual gap and why haven't you tried ladder where the game was designed to be an RTS? Like, I get how you may have gotten into playing those games, but they can be used as a stepping stone to feel more confident to host more open maps or to try games with lower player count.

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@F-Odin
Because I'm not a 1v1 guy. That's why I don't play ladder. It's not fun for me. I like the team games.

I told you what I don't enjoy about the Team Play game, which is what I like to play to help shed light on why some people might not stick around.

Your responses, thus far, have been.

  • Don't play Team Games
  • Don't play the Maps that everyone plays Team Games on.

?????????

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I've played 50+ games so far and have had 1 player toss abuse for gameplay deficiencies on my part. I think most players are normal players who don't sling harassment. I've had far more annoyance with the controls of the game.
Units playing bumper cars with one another.
Units taking a long time to heed orders.
Units straight up ignoring orders.
There's a glacial feeling to the game that will make modern rts players twitch. I don't mean to say we need SC levels of mechanical response with stutter stepping and other rapid gameplay nonsense. The game simply feels old. And this will likely put off new players.
Personally, as a new player, I want to see technical improvements. But I also want to see continued development of the game. New units being made core and the like. For new players, the most obvious thing separating this rts from others might be the large scale battles and the experimentals. Arguably, the T4 stage is when faction differences become very apparent. I'd want to see an expansion when it comes to T3 and T4 units. And possibly units one final tier higher. This game is incredibly old. Purists would take offense at the idea of developing it further. But I personally think it would retain players who might have returned for nostalgia purposes or players who came because they were attracted by the scale and the T4 meta.

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@ChingChengHanji

I hope this isn't sacrilege but maybe give Planetary Annihilation a go. Personally I think it's inferior to FA but there's a lot to like about it and the UI is much more responsive.

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I bought SupCom when it was released in 2007 and played most of the way through the storylines; then SCFA came out and I played that for a bit but life intervened. Then I discovered FAF but mostly didn't like the actual online community because it was punishing being a noob still and the only advice people had was "play more games", "learn to play better" and "watch your replays to see what you did wrong". A friend of mine played FAF together vs AI for a while and then we discovered the ANZ FAF discord channel and I've been having a lot more fun.

So firstly I think that players stay if they have a group of friends to play with. You can lose to those friends occasionally but you can cope with that if people support you, you work together as a team and your mistakes are overlooked. People who trash talk need to be called out and settled down, and people who contribute to the team's success need to be complimented. A "learners discord server" or similar, with a small complement of experienced coaches there, might help contribute a community for new players.
But really the big problem I see is that if we taught drivers to drive the way we teach people to learn FAF, we'd have carnage on the streets every day.

With driving, you start a new driver out just doing the very basics in a safe environment. Then you might take them for a drive around an empty parking lot to learn a bit of control. Then and only then do you take them out into the world to do some driving on known routes in good conditions - and all the while an experienced driver (hopefully) is there to take control if they need to and give advice and encouragement.

The way we 'train' in FAF it's like we throw a new person into the drivers seat and say "OK, go". And then we blame them for crashing and say "just look at what you did wrong and don't do that next time".

Here's an example of a single exercise from a FAF training plan I'm working on:

  • Map: Cobalt Valley or Theta Passage
  • Exercise: Build one engineer, five labs, and one scout. Assign the lab/scout group a number and target enemy mexes and engineers. Practice moving the group around while continuing with your normal build orders.
  • Objective: To kill one engineer and at least two mexes not in the core base using that lab/scout group.

This could be played vs an AI by oneself, or against a trainer playing the opposing faction who was in voice chat with the learner. That's a very basic exercise but it's clearly one that some newer players never learn. Then they get ravaged by LAB raiding and they think "this is unfair, I don't know how to do that". I've got ideas for exercises right up to T3 and experimentals. I'm happy to share this with other people - it's in its early stages (too many things to do, you know?)

The other thing I'd recommend is that in team games one person in the team take charge (a bit) and give directions. Coordinate your actions and make sure that people are getting the assistance they need. If there are newer players, check on them to see how they're going - and lend a hand if they need it. If you see them getting into trouble, help them out! You're almost always better off with two players than with one player dying early. People know they're struggling but they're doing their best and they'd far rather be helped than cursed.

I love this game and I love the community around it. Some of my best gaming moments have been winning, and losing, in Supreme Commander. If we can keep new players interested and learning, we'll all enjoy it more.

Have fun,

Paul

faf.mabula.net maintainer.

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@khabume, I cannot see the majority of people leaving because of Gap, just a select few who have enough experience of the game to know otherwise. For it to be as high as 40% seems way too high as this would account for numbers in the hundreds leaving per month which would be very obvious in the multiplayer community. If that claim is right then about 600 players are leaving FAF a month due to this reason alone. If you want you can see the stats in the forum posts linked. Babysitting new players also isn't an option, if people want help, they are old enough to ask for it.

https://forum.faforever.com/topic/287/is-faf-growing
https://forum.faforever.com/topic/705/faf-statistics-megathread

My original point was that I think the majority of players who leave FAF are those who go completely under the radar I'm talking people about who get the game, play it for a week and then leave. Their reasons for playing are mainly based around being able to play an old game again, with the possibility of cool mods, coop campaign and possibly the attraction of multiplayer. Now those first two reasons, the mods and campaign require little community interaction and you'd expect these people to disappear in a matter of months, let alone 2 years. Now rather than looking at reasons why people might leave isn't the view we should be taking, you could be playing 100's of other games, why stick to FAF. Community will be an integral part for those who do play for over 2 years. Its nice to read comments saying that people can get on with the community.

Maybe what's required to increase retention is to involve newer players; have regular events each week such as group teaching sessions (different to babysitting players as the emphasis is finding people with similar skills to encourage early friendships/rivalries). Noob friendly nights where someone hosts different maps throughout the night specifically for new players (as @Amygdala suggested earlier)are also a good idea, again with emphasis on creating common friendships and rivalries. I feel this would be far more effective than any rebalances/babysitting as people will learn if they have an incentive to learn, they won't learn if they are being spoon fed missions vs ai. The idea is to routinely allow newer players a couple of nights a week where they can interact with one another and build this community. I'm happy to even regularly host one of these idea's a week. If @nine2 is onboard, you can feel free to PM and I'll work with you on implementing some of these newbie events.

Saying that, no one has mentioned the elephant in the room here, 90% or so of new people are leaving FAF is because some major worldwide pandemic might have resulted in a large influx of players who simply don't have the time to invest into the game under normal circumstances, and so these people are more than likely to have joined, played for a bit during lockdowns, and then left. Even many of the older players who had left came back to try again and have since left again. FAF is still growing, people will come and people will go. You cannot force players to stay, and many won't see FAF or Supcom as a long term game. As long as the influx of players is greater than those leaving then is there an issue? I can't see there being one. This will hopefully be the last long post from me in a while.

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On that note, @FtXCommando has made a good point, people are afraid to play ladder because it puts them out of their comfort zone, there is nowhere to hide and they can't blame anyone else if they lose. Playing the Ai is the worst thing someone can do to "train". The Ai play completely different to human players, often putting people into dangerous habits which are easily countered when they come to play other players. There is also zero point teaching someone how to micro a megalith if they never have the economy or reason to have a megalith in the first place.

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@LargeMaleBennis talks about taking new players and taking them under his wing, and the effectiveness of doing so. @Wainan has offered training both here and in a different forum post. @PaulWay has great ideas for training lower rated players, but this is the first time I've heard ever of him or his plans. Players rated <1k would be well suited for training new players. How will the new players who need the training the most find those trainers?

I think curating a list of active trainers into one place will be very helpful, both for the trainers, especially lower rated ones, to advertise their availability and for new players to find willing and motivated trainers. Instead of what feels like being dumped into a wild west, there is a sympathetic resource for new players to reach out to. This could help jumpstart that sense of community that people have referenced multiple times in this post.

https://forum.faforever.com/topic/1112/active-trainers-contact-page

If you would like to get added to the list of trainers, please PM me on FAF, Discord, or on the forum. Once there are a few trainers on board, it could be posted in the #newbie IRC channel or PMed by a bot to new players.

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Yeah right ftx. Training is pointless, its all about t3 mex and getting t3 mex fast.

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I give up.

I'm a new player. Answering the question of why I would quit...

And I'm being told I'm wrong.

Are there any other NEW players here with under 100 games that can provide feedback?

Because mine isn't valid. So we need a new valid opinion. It should preferably involve something about "community" and "training" cause you need friends and you don't understand the game. That's why you're leaving. In fact, we know that's why you're leaving. Don't bother answering.

"BARTENDER! Can you make a "Community with Training"... on the rocks... Make it a double."

@nine2 - I'm sorry. I was just trying to help.

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

I give up.

I'm a new player. Answering the question of why I would quit...

And I'm being told I'm wrong.

Just so you know, no one here is actually responsible for any UX persona research in this thread.

They’re just players giving their opinion (if bad ideas were banned this forum would be empty)

You have no obligation to respond or “defend” yourself if you don’t wish to do so.

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Also, as far as training goes:

I would be interested to see how many of “the new players” have played another multiplayer game with a ranked system before? Even FAF veterans..

You don’t win more by getting better at the game, the rating system is supposed to ensure you have a half chance of winning most games against people for your skill level. The feeling of loss and failure is not something that fades away.

The idea that training a player will keep them around is entirely baseless. Most of the profit comes from new players actually getting more out of community interaction outside of reading the daily British Aeolus politics discussion.