Bored with 5x5 maps - why I am considering quitting FAF

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I am a rusty player who has recently returned to the game, won a few and lost even more.

I am probably going to find another game soon - I am bored with 5x5 maps which always end the same way: with a com rush supported by lvl1. I asked in the client chat why the majority of my games were on tiny maps and was told that anyone with a rating below 500 had to put up with it and learn on these maps. The way the map cycles work, a rating below 500 means tiny map after tiny map, apparently.

I just don't find it any fun. Total Annihilation/Supreme Commander have always been at their best as strategic big picture games, not as micro management Starcraft style games. I simply can't get excited by tiny maps in which the winner is the one who com rushes better - but until I get above 500 again I am told I can't expect anything else.

I am now bored with a game I used to enjoy hugely. I am not prepared to spend hours playing the same tedious games only to get good at com rushing - a "skill" that plays no real role in the game on small, medium or large maps anyway (only on the tiny ones).

I just thought it worth explaining my dissatisfaction here. I feel like I am being punished for being rusty by being given a kind of poor man's version of the game. I can't say I got much sympathy when I raised this in the chat - although one person encapsulated my feelings perfectly when he said he just can't get excited playing on the com rush maps. Fair enough if my thoughts fall on deaf ears - I thought it worth raising them just in case.

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Custom games!

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Your last ladder game was on Regor, where you immediately mass stalled min 2 because you failed to properly handle a 4 mex hydro build order. Your 500 rated opponent did not mass stall. He has gotten double the mass you have by min 5. If this was a 20x20, you would have likewise lost by min 2 just as you did here. If this was a 5x5 you would have likewise lost by min 2. The fact it is a smaller map means you do not have the natural 5-10 minute lag to realize you lost the game at this point that would exist on a 20x20.

Part of the reason you get a lot of 5x5s at this rating level is that you need to play this smaller maps to get a solid basis of underlying hydro rush/no hydro BOs under your belt to actually have any decent games on maps like regor. It isn't fun to auto lose at min 2 only to realize you did at min 12.

Your last 20 games:
9 5x5
10 10x10
1 20x20

This is a totally adequate ratio to me and I don't understand why you feel you get "tiny map after tiny map"

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@tomalak said in Bored with 5x5 maps - why I am considering quitting FAF:

only to get good at com rushing - a "skill" that plays no real role in the game on small, medium or large maps anyway (only on the tiny ones).

That's not true at all, ACU combat is the bread and butter of the vast majority of ladder maps, from 5x5 to 20x20.

Bigger maps just require you to fight while also keeping track of more mass, map control, units all over the place, and so on. That's why players start out on 5x5, it teaches you the basics that will be needed later.

If you don't like playing like that, you may enjoy custom games on larger maps instead.

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I've made use of ACU combat from the Seton's air slot doing com drops. The ACU is the most powerful combat unit for quite a while in game, to not use it is pretty much a nonstarter in any sort of competitive play. I've had com centric gameplay on plenty of 20x20 ladder 1v1 games and I don't even play that much ladder. Watching people better than me tells me I should probably use my com even more.

But yeah, sounds just like you need to play more custom games or deal with a little bit of grind to get over the 500 ladder rating mark. Along the lines of what FTX said the bigger maps are just plain harder to play than 5x5 maps are, I'm currently a decently solid mid level player at ~1350 ladder and ~1750 global and I struggle to keep up on the bigger maps 1v1. Granted I don't play much ladder and I'm sure that'll get better for me with practice, but solid fundamentals at the 5x5 map size absolutely helps with managing the larger maps

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@tomalak said in Bored with 5x5 maps - why I am considering quitting FAF:

I am not prepared to spend hours playing the same tedious games only to get good at com rushing - a "skill" that plays no real role in the game on small, medium or large maps anyway (only on the tiny ones).

Ah yes, Seton's Clutch, a tiny 1v1 map.

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Play custom maps if you don't like t1 spam+com rush games, as it doesn't work that well on a number of the more popular ones, and/or there are non-'front-line' starting positions on such maps.

e.g. Astro Craters, The Pass, Setons, Dual Gap, Gap, most free for all maps (except on the smallest maps), '1 mex only' maps, Island/navy maps, etc. which offer significantly different gameplay experiences to 1v1

Alternatively if you want a 1v1 just on a larger map you could host a custom game on that map (you just may need to wait a while for someone to join)

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I think what Tomalak is trying to say is that the type of gameplay that the balance enforces these days is not what he expected from the game. Regardless whether the commander is one of the best combat units out there.

The meta of FAF is to make use of your commander as a combat unit. Whether this is on a 05x05 or a 20x20 map - chances are that if you don't then you'll lose against an opponent that did. A solution is to play custom games with people that explicitly won't use their commander like that. Another is to look at the LOUD community - another community like FAF, quite a bit smaller player-wise, but with a different balance and therefore meta. The commander is barely used as a combat unit there.

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Or you can just play like ZLO and use your commander to exclusively build stuff, while still being able to crush a lot of the other top players.

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Thanks for various thoughts on use of the commander. I definitely don't just have mine sit there on any map size, to be clear.

Yes, custom games are one option but as maudlin points out, that may involve waiting a long time. What I have always loved about the 1v1 is that I can click, wait while reading an article and then pretty soon a game loads. I don't think I'd get much joy out of the alternative.

FX, I know we discussed this yesterday but I ask you to believe that this is not all some result of losing a lot on 5x5 maps. As you say, I lose on other maps too. If you are just going to assume that everyone who disagrees must be a sore loser rather than have a legitimate point, obviously there is nothing I can say.

But I honestly think I would rather lose on a small, medium or large map than win on a 5x5 map all the time. The former I can learn a lot from, there is huge variety of games, every one is different. On 5x5 they're all the same, whoever wins - com rushes to middle with lvl1 and a struggle ensues in which one of them dies. If you think this is the peak of Supreme Commander, you would have the same map limits for everyone, but you don't - you clearly see a variety of map sizes as a good thing. I am simply saying I want that even as a rusty player whose rating has fallen a lot. Maybe it's a learning experience, maybe it's not but I would rather learn in a way that is fun and varied even if I learn slower rather than play endless com rush on 5x5 map games.

Your other point - that 5x5 was only 9/20 games - I have a lot more time for. Subjectively it certainly feels like even higher than 45% - maybe your sample was unusual - but either way, I think 45% of games on the smallest maps is way too high for my tastes. If one game in ten or so was on a 5x5 com rush map, I would not be raising this issue, or thinking of quitting.

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More generally, maybe I will keep playing a bit longer. I guess I just feel like I am enjoying the game far, far less than when I played a few years back and I remember I would get a variety of games. One game would be a sea map, the next a small land map, the next maybe a 5x5 map, the next a mix of land and sea and so on.

Yeah, I am a much rustier, worse player than I once was - but now I feel like I have been confined to a huge proportion of games being identical com rush 5x5 maps as punishment. I am not enjoying it as I once did. Yeah, I guess I could get great at 5x5 maps and my rating would rise but I'm probably more likely to find another game before that happens. If you're happy with that or really think I am the only one, I have said my piece.

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Join a custom game, alt tab out of the lobby, read your article, when the notification pops up that the game is full alt tab.

There is at least 10 different faf game modes that change faf to a completely different kind of game. Really shows that the casual game queue needs to be implemented asap to showcase the versatility of the faf mods to change up the game.

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The issue is that most players in your rating bracket prefer 5x5's over the large 20x20's maps and if we would change the proportions we would have even more player complain and eventually leave, it's not perfect but it's as close to general player preference as it can be right now.

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Thanks, Tagada - but I am arguing for variation, not a load of 20x20 maps. When I played a few years ago I had a lot of variation.

What % of maps for under 500 ratings are 5x5 out of interest right now?

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@tomalak
Based on this forum, it would appear that 3/7 (~43%) of <500 ladder maps are 5x5. However, you can check which maps are in your ladder map pool (their sizes are labelled) with more certainty by clicking the maplist button in the FAF client that I circled below:
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Also, btw, there are a lot of other people who don't like to play on the types of maps often put in the ladder pools. A lot of those people usually play custom games at present, so you might want to try playing more of those.

Also, fwiw, I am running for PC (an elected position in FAF) in this election with a goal of adding options to the matchmaker, including having multiple map pools that players can choose from (so they only queue for the map pool(s) that they want to play with). If/when I am elected and matchmaker options like that are implemented, you should then be able to queue for map pool(s) that have lower percentages of 5x5 maps, as well as other variations.

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I never said this was because you were mad about losing. I’m saying the reason you are losing would make you lose the exact same game the exact same way for the exact same reason on 5x5, 10x10, or 20x20. Any stuff about “variety” is a lie you’re telling yourself if you cannot get through a basic hydro rush bo. The whole point of having more 5x5 at lower rating is that you need to build up these skills which are easier to see as the problem to rectify on smaller maps where there is a much larger causal relation between that failure and actually losing the game. You do not have the inherent noise of larger maps.

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@emperor_penguin said in Bored with 5x5 maps - why I am considering quitting FAF:

Also, fwiw, I am running for PC (an elected position in FAF) in this election with a goal of adding options to the matchmaker, including having multiple map pools that players can choose from (so they only queue for the map pool(s) that they want to play with). If/when I am elected and matchmaker options like that are implemented, you should then be able to queue for map pool(s) that have lower percentages of 5x5 maps, as well as other variations.

fwiw, you’re running on the goal of degenerating ladder rating into the same garbage of global rating.

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@ftxcommando "I never said this was because you were mad about losing."

The entirety of the rest of your post only makes sense if that is what you think! You're so obsessed with this idea that when I say I want a variety of maps I really mean "I want to lose less" that you tell me I am lying to myself and therefore to you about it. You simply can't believe I just get bored of the same 5x5 maps...

I completely get that if you screw up a build order on a larger map you still suffer, just like a 5x5 map - and that you may not realise it simply because the map size makes the defeat slower to arrive. I just don't think these correct points do anything to answer my actual point which has nothing to do with me losing on 5x5 maps and winning on others.

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No, the entirety of my post is about how the mistakes you make will lose you a game on any map size so your rationale on a lack of variety is baseless. There is no variety in a loss at minute 3. The point of smaller maps at lower rating levels is to make it more evident these are the failures in gameplay causing game losses. As you get better less blunders exist and you add layers of additional complexity to the game so that players have more room for mistakes which in turn is what creates the real variety in gameplay as people are making proper tradeoffs between viable tactics.

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well maybe he prefer to lose on 20x20 than on 5x5 (a bit like player that skip the tutorial, because they want to play with all the toys, even if they can't really handle them). But as Tagada said, i'm not sure that's how other rating of his range are feeling. There were some result of poll about that i think.