Why does everything suck so much right now?

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Looking at the general state of things, it seems that things are not the best.
There seems to be a lack of general vision. There is fighting about certain features/changes, but there seems to be a general lack of willingness of elaborating arguments. Instead people only post their conclusion ("we obviously need this", "this is obviously a terrible idea") and they seem to be too disillusioned or frustrated to put in any more effort.
And the worst thing is that I am guilty of this too.

I am tired of the fighting. I don't want to put time into developing features and having the feeling that the biggest hurdle are other people that are in my way. I want the biggest hurdles to be technical in nature. "Technical" doesn't really capture it, but what I mean is that we overcome problems that life gives us instead of an opposing party that consists of other sentient humans. That way nobody has to lose and we can all win.
Some absolute son of a bitch is trying to burn this place down by ddosing it relentlessly and actually paying people money to attack this community in various ways and I don't want to give him the satisfaction by letting him watch how people that all at heart have the best interest of FAF in mind are mauling each other on the forum or on discord over internal disputes.

I'm not saying that everything is actually getting worse, but to many they seem to feel like they are. I want to explore the reasons behind this in this thread.

I would like to hear what you think what the reasons are.
Now before you start typing I want you to reflect on if the first things that come to your mind are the actual reasons. My hypothesis is that things like the rename period or the league system are not the underlying cause that started our grieves, but that it is something else. And then when we are already agitated, we can't calmly discuss these surface problems anymore and everybody starts having a bad time.

If you don't want to state your opinion in public you can also write me in private.

A short thing about behaviour in this thread: I think to really get to the truth it is important that we speak the truth. That we let go of masks made out of sarcasm or "professional appearance" and talk about how we really feel. That doesn't mean to insult anyone. It's okay to be angry in this thread, but show us your anger in a way that we can empathetically relate to it instead of burning bridges.

I will probably add another post later that describes more in-depth how I feel and what I think the reasons could be, but it is getting late here and I want to get this out.

P.S. if writing a lengthy post, remember to save it externally before posting as this forum has the unfortunate issue to sometimes error out when you try to submit it.

Well, i think the reason everything seems worse is quite obvious.. the connection issues. It's as simple as: there are connection issues > games is not fun > am not motivated to play that much (or at all) > incapable of finding games (at least high rank games).

There are a bunch of complaints regarding this change or that change (which do have an impact), but i still firmly believe that the main issue is that i can't just start a game and know it will be a good game (connection wise).

It got to the point where FAF was barely playable for me due to the DDoS attacks. I was getting busier with life and had less time and energy for games, and then the occasions I had time for FAF I'd try and fail to have a game that would last longer than a few minutes. It got to the point where I just wouldn't bother and I'd play some other game if I had time to play anything. I knew that I would come back when I had more free time and connections were more stable. From what I could tell devs were actively working on fixes, so I was mostly waiting for those fixes + life to calm down.

Fast forward to now, and both of those things seem to have happened; I can now play full games without issue and I have a bit more free time. It does feel like there are just fewer higher rated games though. A few times I've been on recently where this time last year there might be at least one or two higher rated games going, whether it be setons, mapgen, or likely both, but there was just nothing.

Nuggets is right, the connection issues were a huge problem. I don't think the recent things that have come up would be quite as big of a deal if it weren't for the piece of shit who was (is?) DDoSing FAF. Or, perhaps they would be, but we wouldn't get people quitting over them. I think the rename rule changes would piss some people off regardless of how happy they were with FAF previously, but it wouldn't on its own push people to the verge of quitting.

More thoughts on recent changes/proposed changes.

Rename changes

If the mods just came out and said, "hey no impersonating people, we can't have a bunch of high rated players be TheWheelieNoob for reasons x, y, and z" then while people would be unhappy and I'm not sure I'd agree, it wouldn't be as bad. However, they didn't. They both said no similar names and made a significant change to renaming in general where you can only rename once a year. Furthermore, the first post was pretty light on the details to justify the change, and they then took entirely too long to start addressing the real feedback they were getting. Sure, lots of people were just being angry without posting anything of substance but there were good counter points that the mod team should have been prepared to address. They then, in my mind, proceeded to use arguments mostly against impersonating people as justifications for changing renames from one month to one year.

This change doesn't even impact me and I still don't like how it's being handled, so it's far worse for the people it actually impacts.

League System

I don't think anyone has a problem with the league system. I legitimately like it. I think most people either like it or are indifferent. Where the issue comes in is having the league system replace the trueskill rating rather than living along side the existing rating system. I think it brings a lot of potential value that's harder to do without it, such as seasonal rewards, potentially nicer leaderboards, and another avenue of progression. All of which are accomplished without hiding trueskill and trueskill rating changes.

I find the arguments for hiding mmr and mmr changes to be weaker than what you lose by hiding them, especially for higher rated players, but I am also getting tired and have other things to cover. If you'd like I'll elaborate there later.

The one other thing I'll say here is that I also see this as a move towards getting rid of global rating. I know, I know, that's a slippery slope fallacy, but basically all of the arguments for hiding rating are using global games as the example and not ladder games so I'm not sure I'm being unreasonable with that concern. I feel very, very strongly about not getting rid of global rating and I could see that actually killing FAF.

Reclaim changes/area reclaim

I thought people had been against this for years, and for good reasons. Why is this suddenly a thing that might actually go into FAF?? The scarier thing is that people are now seemingly so jaded that there's barely any actual discussion there. I said this on that thread, but it was legitimately sad watching The Ditch replay that was given as an example for the corresponding reclaim nerf. We are seemingly going from reclaim being so fast that the best can't use it entirely (overflow from Setons mid years ago as the example), to now which is a nice balance where skilled players actually can manage reclaim, to this where you're stalling with 3 or 4 reclaiming engineers minute 3 on the ditch. That's a joke, and not a funny one.

Small recap

The theme with all of these changes is they disproportionately impact higher rated and more active members at a time when said higher rated and more active members are already becoming less active and less engaged largely due to the connection issues.

The ddos is a pain in the ass but I'm still having loads of fun with this game. I'm really excited to try out the new mapgen, and I started playing tmm a bit more and I think it's great.

People that are generally happy with faf or don't agree that things "suck so much" are generally not going to seek those conversations out to share their thoughts, so you disproportionately have to deal with negativity in such interactions although this doesn't necessarily reflect the general attitude.

I'm sure you already know this though, and still, it's hard not to let it affect you. What helped me in this situation, at work, was getting my managers to do most of this emotional labor so i could focus on technical stuff, although I realize it's not a pleasant task to dump on someone, but some people actually enjoy arguing on forums. I have no idea if this is an option for you, but I hope it is since I wouldn't want to lose such a contributor to petty bullshit.

If it isn't, I would personally be happier if you and people that feel the same kept doing what you do without having or trying to explain yourselves, even as some people will start bitching that nobody's communicating with them to the extent they feel entitled to.

Having people being the biggest hurdle to developing new features rather than technical is going to be hard to avoid given the way FAF is setup (i.e. a volunteer project where in theory anyone is free to contribute towards a change, which in turn means you need some form of control to stop changes that one person thinks would be great but almost everyone else thinks would be terrible).

Case in point (of how people can be the biggest obstacle) - the Blinky Lights saga, which came before the DDOS/Connection issues, and shows how even a seemingly innoculous change to a feature that the majority of people didn't know existed can still generate resistance to change:
https://forum.faforever.com/topic/3502/removal-of-the-blinking-lights

My own experience though is that things don't 'suck' now anywhere near as much as in previous periods, but it could just be I've gotten lucky on the connection side:

  • I play almost exclusively TMM now, and it's been a long time since a game has had a connection issue (vs the majority of games during the worst of the DDOS time)
  • TMM - I can find a 3v3 game that isn't astro craters much faster now than a couple of years ago (when TMM didn't exist, meaning if I wanted a quick team-game my options were for the most part setons, dual gap, or astro)
  • The game itself runs much faster than before - gone are the days where groups of asfs fighting would trigger a massive slowdown, and I can analyse replays much faster than before (running at increased game speed)
  • No backlog on reports, which means from a player perspective 'bad apples' are dealt with much faster, and from the perspective of those being temporarily banned they no longer risk being banned months after the event (when they've forgotten all about it)
  • Easy to get replay reviews (i.e. there's a designated discord channel to discuss replays, the trainer team has spare capacity to handle more reviews, and it's rare that you dont get responses in under a day) - when I was starting out it was more hit and miss if you could get such feedback
  • Up to date unit database - for what feels like the majority of the last few years one or both unit databases has been out of date, but my understanding is they're now both up to date, and (Jip? or one of the other devs) has managed to semi-automate it so it should be much easier to maintain

@blackyps said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

A short thing about behaviour in this thread: I think to really get to the truth it is important that we speak the truth. That we let go of masks made out of sarcasm or "professional appearance" and talk about how we really feel.

Allow me to be controversial then 🙂

Attitude problems

@blackyps said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

Looking at the general state of things, it seems that things are not the best.

Nothing has changed, I think it has been like this for years. Allow me to explain how being a game lead has been like so far.

Initially my focus was on performance. The first performance improvements were about the build drones, Another, more complicated, example is the target check interval. There's also for example the changes to how range rings render (4th point) by Kionx, and of course the table allocations fix that in overall improved the performance by 10% to 20%. There are many more changes, but these (together with the ASF fix) have been the biggest improvements.

At some point I was also interested in other aspects of the game experience. This primarily involves fixing bugs, improve the graphics and improve the ability of how a player can interact with the simulation. The most infamous bug I fixed is the Tractor Claws of the Colossus. There's also the Distribute orders and the Copy orders feature. In general all the order related pages contain new features that improve your ability to express your intentions into the simulation. I'll come back to the area commands in a bit.

What is different between the type of contributions of these two paragraphs? Nobody disagrees with improving the performance of the simulation and therefore all was good. But the moment you do something that people (individuals) disagree with it feels a post is made immediately based on their imagination to make all sorts of accusations and demands, which mimics:

@blackyps said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

And then when we are already agitated, we can't calmly discuss these surface problems anymore and everybody starts having a bad time.

As a quick example, take this topic or this one, or for example this one where I had to write an entire f'ing post in response to bust the bullshit that people imagine happened surrounding the changes of the Tractor Claws, instead of just asking about it or looking for themselves.

These are not the only examples - I've received a lot of useless flak that is often based on the imagination. Especially frustrating when I've made a mod and/or put the feature on the FAF Develop game type for people to try out the changes, but instead of doing that they keep on spewing arguments based on their imagination.

To come back to where I started - nothing has changed. There's always been people that just spew nonsense and are not actually interested in understanding, improving or just enjoying the discovery (novelty) of a change. And they will always be there when you do something that they do not agree with. I just got lucky the first 18 months of being game lead that I was working on topic(s) that roughly everyone agrees with. But the past 18 months have not been that much fun, to the point that I'm looking for a replacement 😉 .

In general I think it's an attitude problem. And not everyone has this problem - don't get me wrong. There's been good feedback and lengthy discussion topics from various people and I highly appreciate that. One quick example here is the extensive post of Excelsior which I think is a healthy post. Another example is extensive discussions about the Distribute orders feature. And in fact - the majority of the players do not even post on the forums and/or Discord (as mentioned by @phong). There's a relative small number of players that are very vocal about their opinion in a toxic manner and it is a problem that we've accepted over the years. Every time someone toxic comes around to derail the discussion it is within the rules of the community but that does not make it less toxic or annoying to deal with as a contributor.

As a quick example: why was the HQ redesign never finished? Because the initial feedback was so overwhelmingly oppressive and negative that it scared away the contributors that were working on it even though a lot of players also agreed with the changes and were in favor of improving the status quo.

In general, I wish we (as a community) shared the attitude of Grubby more. Recently even Warcraft 3 has been receiving balance patches and bug fixes that contain changes that, if done equivalent, would put the forums on literal fire. The attitude of Grubby is different however - he makes an extensive video to discuss the patchnotes and then proceeds to just have fun with the changes. How refreshing is that - someone that just experiments with the changes, has fun doing so and at the same time provides healthy feedback about the changes. He even plays on the equivalent of FAF Develop occasionally - on the damn stream!

Top-rated scene problems

@exselsior said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

A few times I've been on recently where this time last year there might be at least one or two higher rated games going, whether it be setons, mapgen, or likely both, but there was just nothing.

Fast forward to the higher rated scene (2000+ rating). I think we can all agree to the following observations:

  • (0) the number of unique players each month have around 13k pre-covid, 19k during covid and is around 17k the recent months (that is impressive and before we fixed some issues with the ICE adapter, think about it!)
  • (1) the current higher rated scene have been (roughly) the same people for several years now.
  • (2) the players participating in tournaments have been the same people playing (and winners) for several years now.

These observations are not necessarily unhealthy. For (1) and (2) the same applies to other games where the same teams and/or people are always playing at tournaments. As a quick example, the top ten players in Warcraft 3 also barely changed these past years, and some have been there since the game was released (Happy, among others). There are also many tournaments and matchups that are great content for casts to generate exposure.

But there's a fundamental difference: in Warcraft 3 the top players are active players - they all play the game almost daily. If you look at the history of Happy then he played more than 80 matches in June. That's roughly 4 matches each day, and those are only the recorded matches! And the same applies to almost everyone in the current top 10 of the highest rated players in Warcraft 3 - they're all active and playing the game.

Meanwhile, here at FAForever one can decide to not play the game for months (or effectively years) and still manage to come up on top in tournaments. How's that even possible?

And this is where the controversial part starts 🙂 .

In my humble opinion the gameplay experience that we created in FAForever has two fundamental problems:

  • (1) There has been no fundamental shifts in how the game plays and/or is perceived the past decade.
  • (2) The current meta is extremely volatile.

The problem with (1) is that once you learn and understand the trick that works then you can keep applying that trick. You discovered it, you use it and you win. It's as simple as that - there's no more challenge and you stop playing.

A lot of games that still receive updates they are often so large that suddenly certain tactics no longer work. As a few examples:

And the reason this is important is simple: each time such a big shift happens it levels the playing field. Through novelty you allow players to discover new tactics and new approaches to the game. And by doing so existing high rated players may actually find a fun and interesting challenge against players that they would previously utterly dominate. Every game that is still maintained does it. It keeps the game fresh and allows you to find new challenges. It's just good practice. And we're not doing it.

Then the problem with (2) is reclaim rate. This is the part where I talk about area commands that I previously mentioned I'd come back to. The reclaim rate that we currently have is absolutely absurd. The current reclaim rates are mentioned by Tagada here and whether you agree or not - let the current values sink in a bit.

The current values are 25m/s for wreckages and 50m/s for props. The average base has about 7 to 11 extractors in the average map. If all those extractors are tech 1 then they produce 14m/s to 22m/s.

How is it possible that a tech 1 engineer is able to reclaim 1x to 2x as much mass as an entire tech 1 base produces?

If we use different numbers:

  • A tech 1 engineer reclaiming wrecks produces as much as roughly 12 tech 1 mass extractors (!)
  • A tech 1 engineer reclaiming props produces as much as roughly 25 tech 1 mass extractors (!!)
  • A tech 1 engineer reclaiming tree groups produces as much as roughly 2.5 tech 1 power generators or half a hydrocarbon (fine to me)

It's absolutely volatile, and it completely removes various aspects of the game. The idea of 'fighting over a reclaim field' effectively does not exist.

Let's take several small patches of reclaim fields of about 300 to 400 mass each. This is not unusual, especially with the rocks that are worth 38 mass. If you manage to defend your engineer and snipe the engineer of your opponent then within mere seconds you suddenly have 25 additional tech 1 mass extractors (!) over your opponent.

And when you take an engagement you better not take a bad engagement too close to an enemy engineer that manages to survive. If the engineer is nearby the fight then within seconds it can start reclaiming and your opponent suddenly has 12 additional tech 1 mass extractors (!) over you.

Compare that to the rest of the game, take this distance:

3d158e81-d6d2-443c-b5d7-d3a0fc42ea35-image.png

It takes roughly 55 seconds for Mantis (one of the fastest of tech 1 units) to cover this distance (right to left). If this is your response to try to contest a reclaim field (of any type, but specifically natural prop-based reclaim fields) then by the time you arrive the patch of reclaim is long gone. It's not even worth trying.

This feature is so volatile on its own that the moment you understand this and what reclaiming means that you will instantly win all of your games until you get to the point where you play against players that also understand this. After all, a single engineer that is able to reclaim roughly continuously can support between 4 to 12 tech 1 land factories depending on what you are reclaiming and what the factories are building.

There has been a lot of recent discussions about area commands, both public and in the private balance team channels. And personally I think it's been a long wish of more casual players, as an example:1 2. The reason is simple: area commands make the game more approachable. It becomes easier to convey your intentions. You feel less 'blocked' by the UI.

418a1ba4-dd37-41ac-b275-2dc925c3a206-image.png

With thanks to the effort of various contributors of the game team we did not only manage to make area command work, we can also make them reasonably user-friendly to use and they do not destroy the performance of the game. You can now drag an area and all mass-based props (no tree (groups)) receive a reclaim command:

8ae0f1c3-5b4f-451d-b08e-251248d25743-image.png

63a62921-e178-49e0-9a45-ba47a7bb20dc-image.png

It makes reclaiming trivial, it allows you to queue things more easily and in general I think it's a great quality of life improvement. Similarly, area attack commands are also available in FAF Develop right now but they're not discussed as much. Other area commands could be in the making if we choose to be open to them.

There's been a lot of discussion about the reclaiming area command. About 90% of the people who actively participated in these discussions are of the top-rated players. In general the consensus of this group is:

  • (1) It simplifies the game too much.
  • (2) It completely breaks balance (because of the current reclaim rate).
  • (3) It removes the need of 'attack move'.

And therefore almost all of the players in that group do not want the area reclaim command feature. For some quick feedback:

  • (1) is nonsense - the game is complicated enough just ask the other 17k unique players. That you're so good that you need this to keep it interesting is a different problem and can be solved with a natural shift in meta instead.

  • (2) is nonsense - it's not the area command that breaks the balance. It's the balance that's broken as explained previously and can be fixed with a natural shift in meta instead.

  • (3) is nonsense - attack move still has benefits from factories, to reclaim energy and if you're in dire need of a quick few general reclaim orders when busy with actually playing the game: managing and macro'ing your economy and armies.

(3) is also tightly coupled with (2) - attack move introduces a small delay of a few ticks (3/10 of a second) before it attempts to reclaim the next prop. This is even different per faction (UEF and Seraphim have a longer delay) and the reason this delay matters so much is because the reclaim rate is so absurdly high that this relative small delay becomes a dominant factor in how efficient attack move is for small props (rocks worth 2, 5 or 10 mass).

Meanwhile, any casual player that I show the feature to is exciting about it 🙂 . And as @phong mentioned , they're not as well represented in the forums. They're not as invested in the game to spent three hours to write a post such as this. They just want a fun gaming experience. And they're right.

Medium recap

I think BlackYps is right - there is a general negative notion towards (almost any) change from a (small) vocal group of players. This small vocal group of players do a lot of damage. Contributors are humans too, we have the best intentions and we'd like to craft a better experience for the community. Harsh comments that add (very) little to no value do a lot of harm towards the motivation of contributors. Being negative towards a change is fine, but keep it constructive. Share the details why you think that way. Do not attack the contributor(s) or their intentions. And have the decency to acknowledge that contributors may not agree with your arguments or may not weigh your arguments the same that you do. It's fine if something happens that you don't agree with - that doesn't mean we did not listen to the community.

In general I think we can use more grubby-attitude in this community where people just experiment and enjoy the novelty of changes. Have a laugh. If it does not work it can always be tweaked or reverted. Specifically relevant when features are still being developed - the distribute orders feature works so well not because it is made by an experienced developer but because throughout the process a lot of (detailed) feedback was produced about the current status quo of the feature on FAF Develop. Without that feedback the distribute orders feature would never have been as good as it is now and it was a lot of fun (on my end) to work on it too because of that. Things got scrapped, adjusted and improved and what we have now is in all honesty a unique selling point.

And last I think a lot of the problems that are perceived right now on the top-rated scene are self-inflicted. If the game remains the same you'll remain at the top. And no other player with a reasonable budget of time (and there are enough of those - look at the other 17k unique players playing 400.000 lobbies each month) can ever match your play time and experience with the current meta. They'll always look bad. You'll always look good. If you're also against change, then enjoy being there alone when life moves on, players move on, but nobody can manage to catch up to your understanding of the current meta.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

This post is deleted!

@jip i get it with the harsh comments part, the communication and getting more points across in a nicer way could be a lot better. but do you not think that sometimes the reaction is genuinely warranted with the way that some mods and contributors respond with. communication goes 2 ways and neither side does it anywhere near perfect. however i just think its unfair to slate that "small vocal group of players" as if they do nothing for the community especially when in fact they do quite a lot for the community. we all want the best for the game.

in addition to a lot of the changes, imo and i think quite a few others from that "small group of vocal players" might agree is that i think one of the biggest problems is that players should be but aren't getting rewarded as much for making better plays whether thats micro or macro. rts's aren't supposed to be easy all the time. I get it that you want to make it more accessible for newer and lesser skilled players, and it make sense but the direction of the game in my eyes feels like we're seeing less reward for being a better player and i dont think thats how rts's should be balanced and in our case, it shouldnt be the way to solve a lot of the problems. however i do like the idea of meta shifts in terms of game balancing as it adds to the game and keeps it fresh. but changing entire mechanics of the game (area reclaim) isnt exactly what id call a great change either, for the reasoning being of what i said before.

@thevvheelie said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

@jip i get it with the harsh comments part, the communication and getting more points across in a nicer way could be a lot better. but do you not think that sometimes the reaction is genuinely warranted with the way that some mods and contributors respond with.

Please be specific and link the posts that you are referring to.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

could you respond to anything else i have to say before i do that

@blackyps the main problem is frustration in the game. for me it's when 3 uef vs 3 cybrans, one team together builds fast novax and the other team can't counter it at all. of course there are still disagreements with balance overlords. there are more examples in the game, I don't like how the new scatis works, hives are too weak now, harms is also too weak and all that was needed to counter harms was ground fire, T2 ARTY omg reverse this nerf, wtf, but balance overlords says it's not like that. they have some of their own parameters that follow. just compare the strong points of the factions against the weak points of the factions and there you have the frustration doubled. for me it is nothing more than that. that's why now I play bar and dual gap. but balance overlords does well as far as the external aspect of the game is concerned. sorry if anyone got mad.

i forget to add , no hover for cybrans, it is super frustrating when you are the only player on island and all the others all sera.

conclusion, we need to make a great revolution, the reds will rise again!

Not about to write an essay, but I do agree and have said it before that the balance changes in this game are way too small and way too slow to happen.

There's nothing wrong with meta shifts other than some people won't like it and some will. I think FAF is in desperate need of a big shakeup lately. I'd love to see a shift away from the arty spam that most large mapgens turn into. And yet again I'll advocate SMDs shooting down Novax's. Because why not? Give it a damn shot.

@snoog i like SMD idea to conter novax. tx comrade

10

When the attempts to change the game cause enough of your high level scene to change that there wasn’t even a high level game to join this Saturday afternoon/night. When the inability to compromise causes TDs to retire and stop hosting so that now we are down to 1 tournament every 4 months due to the fact there is 1 (now 2) active TDs. When discussions ultimately end in some appeal to silent majority fallacy regardless of the criticism leveled against it.

I never really had that bad of an experience with the ddos connections except for maybe a few very early months. I also play within a bubble of reliable and tested connections along with players that can compromise if disconnects happen to make things fair, like not using an ACU when it happens.

My distaste for FAF lately just comes from the fact it just hardly seems like anyone matters. You have some completely inconsequential matters that would be an excellent PR matter of just conceding because they genuinely do not impact anybody much at all and instead they need to be turned into total war because unless you can quite literally ensure there are 0 supporters of a change people will hyperfocus on those few examples to justify their mindset.

Take this “casual player” justification of area reclaim. They are saying it’s cool because

  1. new things are cool
  2. automation is cool
  3. they think they lose games because they don’t reclaim fast enough

No the problem is that they

  1. are not spending their mass at all (so manual does not matter)
  2. spend way too much time doing manual reclaim (losing everywhere else due to focusing on a matter that is extremely low relevance)

This change primarily changes the game at the level of play where genuine questions need to be asked about what you are spending attention on in build orders. This is not happening below like 1500ish rating. I have not once in years of training ever told somebody below 1000 rating about manually reclaiming. Just send more engineers out with attack moves to resolve the problem, that’s all they need to adjust.

The problem is the change totally destroys part of the game complexity (the several reclaim management methods) while adding nothing but a new strictly optimal eco management style that isn’t even enjoyable to utilize at a high level.

This is why nobody cares about area attack in comparison. It isn’t destroying the potential for game complexity, it adds to it. It enables aggression to be rewarded and might enable new methods of unit usage. High level players enjoy changes that add instead of remove strategic diversity. People liked ATP, they didn’t like snipe mode for all units. One made the game more complicated, one made it more simple.

I am not involved with the inner politics of the FAF Dev team, so I can say from a outsider point of view, things have greatly improved over the years.

Matchmaking, Performance, Mapgen, Bugs, Mods, Client, game play features have all noticably been improved, bumps along the way are unavoidable even with large multi million dollar companies, so dont spend too much time thinking about these issues.

A good thing to do is look back a year and think what is new or has been fixed in that time and you will quickly see all you have achieved.

the only thing in my opinion holding FAF back is the size of the player base, as most "high" level players state it is hard to find games, even for most players there are parts of the day that just arnt very active, when you log on ther are just some astros being hosted.

FAF is very much a PVP environment, so when youve exausted yourself in PVP and played against or with the same people several times that week or even in a day is gets a bit same same.

I used to spend hours trying to get a quick time in the campaign and seeing where I placed in the leaderboards for particular missions trying out different strats, there have been several additions to this but i feel they dont quite hit the spot, some are extremely antagonizing to play if you expand you get bombed, then you build aa then you get rushed by land they kill the aa, then you get bombed again and its very frustrating to play.

T2 air snipes ruin this game also TML OP

So, I want to reply to a few of these points that particularly stand out for me

@jip said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

Top-rated scene problems

Meanwhile, here at FAForever one can decide to not play the game for months (or effectively years) and still manage to come up on top in tournaments. How's that even possible?

And this is where the controversial part starts 🙂 .

In my humble opinion the gameplay experience that we created in FAForever has two fundamental problems:

  • (1) There has been no fundamental shifts in how the game plays and/or is perceived the past decade.
  • (2) The current meta is extremely volatile.

The problem with (1) is that once you learn and understand the trick that works then you can keep applying that trick. You discovered it, you use it and you win. It's as simple as that - there's no more challenge and you stop playing.

A lot of games that still receive updates they are often so large that suddenly certain tactics no longer work. As a few examples:

And the reason this is important is simple: each time such a big shift happens it levels the playing field. Through novelty you allow players to discover new tactics and new approaches to the game. And by doing so existing high rated players may actually find a fun and interesting challenge against players that they would previously utterly dominate. Every game that is still maintained does it. It keeps the game fresh and allows you to find new challenges. It's just good practice. And we're not doing it.

Other than Ashes of Singularity and Warcraft 3 (because i don't know much about them balance or change wise) these examples are beyond bad.
It's not like the game suddenly decided "ok, lets change balance". It is the fact that new content releases and thus the balance has to change accordingly. The area-command for example is not new content. It is a fundamental change to core mechanics, which is (kind of) considered for no reason (coming to that further down).

Then the problem with (2) is reclaim rate.

  • A tech 1 engineer reclaiming wrecks produces as much as roughly 12 tech 1 mass extractors (!)
  • A tech 1 engineer reclaiming props produces as much as roughly 25 tech 1 mass extractors (!!)
  • A tech 1 engineer reclaiming tree groups produces as much as roughly 2.5 tech 1 power generators or half a hydrocarbon (fine to me)

It's absolutely volatile, and it completely removes various aspects of the game. The idea of 'fighting over a reclaim field' effectively does not exist.

Let's take several small patches of reclaim fields of about 300 to 400 mass each. This is not unusual, especially with the rocks that are worth 38 mass. If you manage to defend your engineer and snipe the engineer of your opponent then within mere seconds you suddenly have 25 additional tech 1 mass extractors (!) over your opponent.

Well first of all, you don't "fight" over 300 to 400 mass. That is way too little to even consider "fighting" over it.
If your opponent snipes your engi, and he gets the mass, he also invested more to do this. Also, he doesn't get "25 addition mex", he gets the mass, for which he also needs the energy for. Yes, you probably just didn't formulate that correctly, but it's still a bit ridiculous comparing the 2 things like that.

And when you take an engagement you better not take a bad engagement too close to an enemy engineer that manages to survive. If the engineer is nearby the fight then within seconds it can start reclaiming and your opponent suddenly has 12 additional tech 1 mass extractors (!) over you.

I'm sorry but i just have to be sarcastic about this. You better watch out where you fight! Otherwise the enemy will "abuse" micro in a micro heavy beginning of a game!! And what's more; the opponent gets rewarded for better micro?! Ridiculous!

Compare that to the rest of the game, take this distance:

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It takes roughly 55 seconds for Mantis (one of the fastest of tech 1 units) to cover this distance (right to left). If this is your response to try to contest a reclaim field (of any type, but specifically natural prop-based reclaim fields) then by the time you arrive the patch of reclaim is long gone. It's not even worth trying.

Ok? And the enemy spawns in the reclaim field? He has to walk there aswell. Even if you sent an early raid that didn't work out, it feels like it's more of the players fault that he doesn't have a follow up?

This feature is so volatile on its own that the moment you understand this and what reclaiming means that you will instantly win all of your games until you get to the point where you play against players that also understand this. After all, a single engineer that is able to reclaim roughly continuously can support between 4 to 12 tech 1 land factories depending on what you are reclaiming and what the factories are building.

There has been a lot of recent discussions about area commands, both public and in the private balance team channels. And personally I think it's been a long wish of more casual players, as an example:1 2. The reason is simple: area commands make the game more approachable. It becomes easier to convey your intentions. You feel less 'blocked' by the UI.

Meanwhile, any casual player that I show the feature to is exciting about it 🙂 . And as @phong mentioned , they're not as well represented in the forums. They're not as invested in the game to spent three hours to write a post such as this. They just want a fun gaming experience. And they're right.

Well, it is a given that a casual player is "excited" about it. If somebody shows me a new mechanic for Stellaris or whatever, I would be excited aswell, because I am a casual player and not invested enough to care.
But as somebody said in some other thread; "balance should be focused around high rated play / games". Maybe not always true, but I feel like this is true for balance and change-wise.

Medium recap

And last I think a lot of the problems that are perceived right now on the top-rated scene are self-inflicted. If the game remains the same you'll remain at the top. And no other player with a reasonable budget of time (and there are enough of those - look at the other 17k unique players playing 400.000 lobbies each month) can ever match your play time and experience with the current meta. They'll always look bad. You'll always look good. If you're also against change, then enjoy being there alone when life moves on, players move on, but nobody can manage to catch up to your understanding of the current meta.

As you mentioned earlier; there is some sort of "trick" and you figured the current meta out. That is just completly wrong. I myself slowly grinded my way up to 1600 by just playing the game. At that point I started to watch streams are notice the descision making of high ranked players; and because of that I started to actually think about my descisions and analyze what I am doing - and then I was 2k.
So what I am saying is there is no trick, but just look at your own plays / mistakes and think about what to do better. Has nothing to do with the meta or it's understanding directly.

-4

The moderation and dev team is in complete denial about the state of the game right now. They are to self absorbed to even acknowledge the problem much less do the hard part an admit that it's their fault.

@thewreck said in Why does everything suck so much right now?:

The moderation and dev team is in complete denial about the state of the game right now. They are to self absorbed to even acknowledge the problem much less do the hard part an admit that it's their fault.

Precisely the type of empty message that adds nothing to the discussion but negativity. Please take the time to expand on it, add references and create a meaningful contribution to this conversation.

Oh, and don't attack the contributors and their intentions while you're at it too 🙂 .

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

-3

See what's left of the game I have given up on having well faithed arguments about changing unpopular decisions no one admits that the 2k community is dead. No cares that they left. No one wants to change what made them leave. Furthermore don't pretend the administration would listen even if the argument was presented in a less blunt manner because I already know this has not been the case see username change rules update if a reminder is needed.

This thread is to gather the people that have not given up on well faithed arguments. The administration is not a monolith. Coming in here and saying "You are in denial and I won't tell you about what" is helping nobody. If you have something to say, say it, even (especially) if you think it should be obvious, because it probably isn't to everyone. But if you don't want to do that, please leave this thread. I don't want this to turn into a shitshow.