I do not really like the direction FAF is going with all these metagames and psychological tricks to get people to spend more time playing (League System, Division System, elaborate year-long point systems). This is the type of stuff commercially oriented games do because they need people to play their game over other games and need them to be wrapped up in it so they can make money. FAF does not need to make money or compete with other games, so there is no need to treat players like a resource. Growing the player count and hours spent are not logical goals and are just weird cultish behavior. Giving players point rewards, monetary rewards, and division upgrades for playing X amount of games and restricting tourney access to players who played X days of the year are just manipulative tricks to get people to play the game beyond the amount they would naturally find fun and interesting. If people have more fun playing other games or think their time is better spent elsewhere, then just let them go and do that instead of punishing them for it. The goal of FAF should be to allow people to play Forged Alliance and to improve the game itself, not to force people to play or trick them into spending more time playing.
FAF League Invitational Series
@Sinforosa Yes faf doesn't have commercial motives to increase and retain its player base. But it has a motive to increase its playerbase just for its own survival. Players will constantly leave, that's just how games are. In order to maintain a large enough playerbase you have to work on increasing your influx of players, retainting that new players, and keeping as many old players as possible from leaving FAF. You will not prevent them from leaving eventually, you can just delay it but that is already helping. The question is how much can you push your old playerbase into being active before they start leaving because of your pushing.
For a game to be successful nowadays it needs to meet basic quality requirenments which are suprisingly low. Marketing/community interaction is unfortunately the more important aspect in game development.
Completely hypothetical scenario: old pro refinds motivation for faf 2 months before lots. He starts practicing and week 1 he gets mediocre result in tourny. End of month 1 hits #1 in ladder. End of month #2 hits 2500 ladder. Tough luck bud not enough league points, some 1900 ladder guy with less than 1% win probability vs 2500 gets in instead.
Like I get it, this long term points stuff works pretty well in sc2 since the top players play it professionally. But we ain't professional here. God forbid we want to play some other games every now and then after 8 years of faf.
You can feel free to play other games, but like most things that carries an opportunity cost. I reward the people that play FAF not other games and I don’t really understand why you would try to get me to empathize with people that coincidentally get a FAF spiritual reawakening a month before the big tournament.
And yes, I do value the 1900 that has been actively trying to place well in the year’s major events and has been actively playing ladder more than the marginally improved LotS quality the guy that has a FAF career that consists of a dozen 1v1 games before LotS but is 2500. One has the potential for growth, the other doesn’t.
The 2500 is free to play in the invitationals or ladder series and secure an invite through a top position.
Well, we all know that there is significant burnout in the rating bracket of 2100 and above. People like Blodir and Tagada can't exactly stop in for their weekly ladder games the same way a 1900 can. Games are more mentally taxing, and your laddering partners are usually the same 2-3 guys. Unless you can convince the entire (10 or so) 2100+ crowd to come back and start laddering all at once, It will be a little difficult for them to just 'hop' back into ladder.
But this is the same problem we have had for like, 10 years. Once in a while, an inactive player around 2.2-2.3k will 'come back', ladder for a few weeks, then get bored and leave after winning 90% of their games for the past week against the same 2 guys.
Granted, this system is an attempt to fix that problem, but there should be a way to differentiate players such as Blodir/Tagada/Turbo/Nexus, who are very inactive in ladder but still play customs and TMM now and then, vs the blackheart petric group, who only come back to play in tournaments.
The differentiation is giving points for major tournament performances that I outlined in the LotS thread.
Custom games are casual games and tmm is too new to be given any infrastructure around it, but it isn’t relevant for 1v1 anyway. If your casual games do not result in any productive returns in tournament performance, I have no reason to give it consideration.
I agree with Ftx here, if you are 2.3k+ and you come back from your breaks you can still secure good spots in the Invitationals ( 5th-8th at least) and other smaller tourneys.
Tex pointed out one of the biggest issues with high level activity on faf - there just isn't a critical mass of 2.1k+ high level players where players can "hop in" and play ladder.
What that means is the barrier to playing ladder effectively becomes much higher, as you basically have to hope that one of the few people you can match with is online and playing ladder. Sometimes the windows when people are playing ladder just line up, and you get a ton of decent ladder games (Tagada/Blodir a year go, Mozy/Thomas a while ago, Swkoll/Tex now). However, that isn't always going to be the case, and it's very demotivating when your ladder buddy isn't playing when you want to play (for me personally, there's quite a vicious cycle as playing less makes me want to play less). The issue is the way ladder works right now is that most people in the 2.1k+ range have very, very few people that they can realistically match up with: their opponent must be 2k+ rated, in a similar timezone, and actually active on ladder. You can probably count on one hand the number of people that fit those criteria for a given top player.
What is the solution to getting more high level ladder activity? Get more top players. This may sound facetious, but I am listing this as a solution because it is the best solution to the issue. If there is a critical mass of top level players, to the point where your top player could just drop in and play a ladder game, at least during the active timezones, it would really fix this issue. Of course, this is perhaps just a pipe dream, since even just getting more players ≠ getting more top players, really, we need a lot more players + the next bracket of players needs to get a lot better.
What is a more realistic solution to getting more high level ladder activity? Give an option for players to increase their search range, so that they can at least find a game if both parties are willing. I think being able to find a game at all, rather than literally being unable to find a game through matchmaking, is the most crucial part of the solution, and this is a fix that does exactly that.
Implement a checkmark that asks "Would you like to increase your search range? It will increase your chance of getting a game but also increase the chance of getting an unbalanced game." that the user can tick or untick. If you tick it, you get reduced search range (e.g. +/- 300, or whatever is reasonable), and if you untick it, the search range can increase so you can match with people 400 or 500 points away.
The rating system should be able to handle the "imbalanced" matchups that result (e.g. if I face a 1400 as a 1900 on ladder, I would have a 95% chance to win, but get like 2 points or something from winning, -14 from drawing, and -30 from losing), and players who don't want to use this option can just not tick the box, so I don't see any reason this shouldn't be implemented.
What do the concerned player think about all this ? I feel like we hear a lot of suggestions from tagada/tex/ftx on this issue but not a lot from the 2k+ player you want to motivate into playing more ladder (yudi, turbo, bh , nexus, blodir ... etc).
As far as I know, all of them are still around : among the 20-25 top 2k+, only 5-6 are completly away from the game. All the others are seen regularly playing custom games, tmm ... etc.
If their answer is "there is no way you can make me play ladder again", all those talks about what to change to ladder feel pointless. On the opposite, if they point out few things that would motivate them to play ladder, well you have a clear direction.
Nexus isn't motivated to play any try hard 1vs1, Turbo and Yudi play 1vs1 ocasionally when they feel like it, same for Blodir. BH said he is only really interested in tourneys but it seems like he is keen to play some show matches on the map gen maps especially the unexplored ones that he was pushing for.
It mostly comes down to motivation, if you have motivation to play and try hard but there are no opponents to play versus then you get demotivated. It's a viscous cycle where you need enough players with motivation to play at a given moment otherwise there won't be any games. You may say that it's players fault that they loose motivation so easily but the truth is that this game IS hard and going back to your desirable form takes a lot of time, effort and practice which is tiring. To give you an example after playing 2-3 1vs1 games of decent length I am mentally tired and I won't play more, sometimes for a couple of days.