Why would you have left FAF?

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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.

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@Wainan I've seen it before. Just looks a bit less than FA in general.

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

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.

Failure to drive a vehicle implies real world consequences. Tens of thousands of dollars of damage to property, disruptions to commute times, death and loss of livelihood are all a real and constant day to day threat when driving a vehicle.

This is a video game, when you lose a game you drop a couple of entirely worthless rating points so you have a higher chance of winning the next game. They’re not the same.

And yet..
“Bad” players treat it with the same level of severity, and it grows into a fear that prevents them from improving at the game as they idle around in useless little bubble scenarios that have no impact in real life. This is why training is a lot more about player mindset rather than spoon feeding gimmick advice. Issues range from auto piloting under pressure, over complicating basic mechanics, to straight up being too scared to play real games.

I mention these because i know you have them, because I know who you are and how “far” you’ve improved over the multiple years you’ve been here.

I would like it if at the very least, completely asinine training programs were actually proven to work well before they’re adopted. After all, when you’re learning to drive; you’re supposed to actually drive the vehicle in public in order to progress. You can’t sit in an empty parking lot trying not to stall for 2 years straight.

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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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