I'd be much happier if we could veto a couple maps in pool...
This is how you get more people to play ladder
I have a feeling that there's something of a divide between 2 groups of players - those that prefer small maps, and those that prefer large ones.
I've read the opinions that more experienced players prefer bigger maps, I can appreciate the idea, but I'm not sure it's as simple a split as that. From those poll results it seemed as if there were small map lovers, and large map lovers, at all levels of skill (despite a trend for higher players to like larger maps).
And FWIW, Yew; I'm a low-rated player who much prefers smaller maps! Please don't hate me too much.
Perhaps this is also significant: I often avoid queueing for a game if I don't feel I have enough time or attention span for a large map, despite being quite happy to 'stay up late' or whatever should I get a small map that goes on for a long time.
I think if there were more 20x20 maps in the ladder pool, there's a good chance less people would queue for 'time' reasons, in addition to personal map-type preferences.
Likewise, it's quite possible that higher-rated players want to see large maps because it takes ages for them to queue for a game, so they want a nice, long battle to reward their long wait.
Eh I don't like 5 by 5s for what it's worth losing game cuz other guys tank lives at 20 hp is kinda stupid.
As a former competitive FAF player I preferred less complex maps because you can more easily manage everything that is going on and focus on a smaller number of more impactful decisions. Complex maps are a scramble to get all the mexes, reclaim, drop expansions, eco/upgrade quickly and perpetually, and then manage lots of things simultaneously as efficient as you can for an extended period of time until someone messes up. There is definitely strategy there, but for me it feels diluted because the speed, endurance, and multitasking overwhelms whatever thoughtful decision making and creativity I might have been able to perform in a simpler setting. Given the focus on large numbers and scales in the games engine and marketing I am most likely just asking for the wrong style of gameplay.
I do not think the size of a map is the most important factor in how a map plays. There are frantic 5x5 maps where you have tons of reclaim/mexes and rush to build as much as fast as possible, and there are 20x20 maps with more manageable and slower gameplay. It seems silly that both ladder and tournaments categorize maps by their size rather than how they actually play. 5x5 maps do provide certain gameplay styles that other sizes of maps cannot, such as base trades and weird close quarters low eco standoff type games. These unique styles are the reason why I think it is important to keep some certain 5x5 maps in ladder and tournaments. I have always been unhappy that less 5x5 maps get included in ladder and tournaments. Even when they are included they are just reluctantly thrown in based on their size rather than to get the unique gameplay they offer.
If the point of 1v1 ladder is to test players skills and rank them accordingly, then player preferences are not relevant to the composition of the map pool. It's about competition, not maximizing player count. The pool should consist of maps that test the skills FAF has deemed competitively important. All of these skills should be tested to roughly the same degree in each pool so that rating, and the experience in general, is consistent. If players do not enjoy what FAF has deemed competitively important then FAF can change what it focuses on, or players can stop playing competitive modes.
The problems are that there is effectively nobody deciding what skills are important for competitive FAF. There is just some list of maps that, on average, people agree are not trash. Maps are categorized primarily by their size, rather than the skills they test. Tournaments are all hosted by whoever feels like it and they just make up the map pool on the spot with no official rules or guidelines. There is no game designer with any control over what competitive FAF is supposed to be.
It seems that since GPG stopped being in charge there has been less focus on 5x5 maps in competitive FAF as time goes on. Competitive FAF even includes maps with modded behavior like crazyrush (mex duplication) and loki (scripted reclaim values). People seem to have concluded that maps with crazyrush levels of deviation from the norm should not be included in matchmaking anymore, but they somehow justify including them in official tournaments anyway.
Some team, or individual, should decide what skills competitive FAF wants to be about. Categorize the maps based on the degree to which they test each skill. Official tournament and ladder map pools should then be constructed to test each of these skills to a consistent degree in each pool.
Alternatively, if the point of 1v1 ladder is to maximize the number of players, and the average level of fun had by those player, then everything above should be disregarded and maps should be determined by polls and forum arguments.
This is a really interesting take on ladder. It is definitely not the idea on which ladder is currently maintained, but definitely an interesting take. I think it warrants further discussion in the matchmaker team.
The main issue with that take is that it doesn't really matter how well ladder measures important competitive skills if nobody plays it. I'd rather have a popular ladder than one which is a perfect measurement of skill but only played by 3 people. Additionally, such a small pool of players makes it effectively impossible to really, properly measure skill. At best you just measure which individual players are better relative to each other.
@stormlantern Well the secret anti-5x5 ladder pool changes you are trying now seems to be doing mostly that. Limiting the pool of competitive maps from "every map ever made" to some reasonable subset of maps that are more normal. The majority of the community only focuses on a few maps they like, such as gap style maps or Setons. It doesn't make sense to require competitive 1v1 players to be able to play every map ever made at a high level.
Theoretically, limiting the styles of maps you have to master should increase the number of people capable of playing competitively. In practice, ladder has been this way forever, so the only people who play it are psychos with thousands of hours played who know how to play every map on FAF, and reducing the pool might bother them or make them bored faster.
@thomashiatt I'm the absolute opposite of what you describe (psychos with thousands of hours/mastering every map etc), and I love playing ladder. I play 1v1 ladder loads, and I love map variety. If anything I want more map-generator random maps!
But I do like 5x5 maps a lot, and want to see lots of them while playing ladder games.
Sounds like you are an aspiring psycho then ^^
There is nothing secret about it, when it was announced on the forums.
I never seen the forum announcement since it wasn't posted in news, announcements, the matchmaker pool thread, or pinned anywhere. I do now see there was a random post that's already buried a page down in general. This is only my fourth time looking at the FAF forums in the last 6 months. I imagine most people will entirely miss it if that's how it's being communicated though.