Add the "Shahrazad " experimental which, when completed, restarts the entire game
Best posts made by CheeseBerry
I first joined FAF like many people at the beginning of the first lockdown in March, but really started playing just a couple of months ago so my new player experience is still relatively fresh.
That being said, I am at a 1.3k global ranking now and do intend to stick around for a while, so I guess this is the opinion of someone who got over the "new player hump".
First and foremost, I agree with many of the posts here: The game is indeed very hard, unintuitive and complex. More casual game modes that can bridge the gap between the (coop) campaign and multiplayer would also be greatly appreciated to onboard new players.
But really, what got me closest to quitting was the toxic community at ranks below ~800. At those ranks, every game is a complete clusterfuck, and sometimes (often) one side just straight up gets destroyed by the other, even if both sides were of the same skill level. Imo there is nothing much that can be done about that. The game's economy of unrestricted exponential growth means that even a 20% difference in skill, can result in you having 10 times the number of units than your opponent just a couple minutes later. So new players will regularly get destroyed at lower ranks and there is nothing we can do about it.
But what we can change is how they FEEL about getting destroyed! Every such game that ended with people starting to flame and then ctrl+k-ing their entire base left a sour taste in my mouth while games where I got equally murdered that ended with friendly advice on what I could have done better, made me want to play again right away!
It's not even about people like me I am concerned about. I have thousands of hours of competitive multiplayer games under my belt by now, so I am (sadly) very used to online toxicity by now. But, the toxicity at lower ranks does prevent me personally from introducing some of my more casual, less abuse proof friends to the multiplayer side of FAF. Because who wants to introduce their friend to the multiplayer experience of a game they adore, just for them to be called slurs for minutes on end?
Playing 2v2 with them is only a partial solution as the scale that many casual players love is found much easier in 4v4 or larger multiplayer matches. There are many other good things to be said about larger team games too:
On many noob-friendly maps, the initial minutes are conflict free, which just feels much more relaxed than the "action from second 1" that smaller maps have.
Larger team games usually have dedicated roles for each spot. While suboptimal for learning FAF the most "efficient" way, one single role like "you are the air player, just have more planes than your opponent" is conceptually much easier to understand than the myriad of stuff you have to do in 1v1 and 2v2 games.
Larger team sizes also make it easier to write off losses as not entirely your fault. It's not that I'm preaching unaccountability here, but loosing 5 times in a row, and knowing for certain it's your fault, can be a much harsher experience than just knowing you could have done a bit more.
None of this is new information of course. I mean, there is a reason that lower ranked players get drawn to 6v6 dualgap and not 2v2 Fields of Isis.
So the most natural place to onboard new players is in large team games - at least half of which end in flaming at lower ranks...
My suggestions therefore would be a Karma system of sorts, fully built into the client.
Make flaming, griefing, ctrl+k-ing your base reportable and start restricting people's functionality once peoples karma score drops too low.
Maybe start by restricting all-chat during games, so they at least can't flame the other side for "being smurfs" or whatever, maybe even disable team-chat too if they drop too low. Put a skull picture next to their name in the lobby so people know right away not to take them seriously, ban them for a day or a week, stuff like that.
You could reward positive behavior too, although I don't know what those rewards could be yet.
tl;dr: Have been playing FAF for about 5 months, the toxic community at lower ranks is imo the biggest hindrance to introducing new players to the multiplayer. My solution would be a Karma system to punish bad behavior.
In the vault there is a mod called "chat beep lite" which plays you a small "beep" whenever your allies write something in chat. At least for me, it hugely helps to actually read chat and coordinate with allies in hectic games.
As I'm seemingly not the only one that sometimes has trouble reading chat, integrating that into the main game options would be great
A lobby option allowing premade teams to play together in an opti lobby would be great!
Example: Two people want to play together in a custom 4v4 with opti enabled. The host enables this new "opti with premades" option, and then puts those two players on the same "opti team". The opti algorithm then takes this into account and tries to find the most balanced teams, with the condition of those two players always ending up on the same one.
UI wise you could even use the already existing "Team" selection interface, as it's literally useless in opti lobbies.
I'm not sure how small of a suggestion this actually is (I guess a similar algorithm already exists for tmm?) but if implemented it would certainly find some use.
If more people hosted "nice players only" lobbies that would suggest there is more demand for good behavior. I think there is a lot of willingness to tolerate toxicity and trying to force everyone to be nice would also have serious downsides.
For example, "Gentleman Seton's" has specific rules about being polite, not ctrl-k your base, that sort of thing. The vast majority of Seton's games are not "Gentleman" games.
If someone hosts a "Be Polite 500+" lobby, I'm guessing there would be 90% less toxicity in that game.
I always advocate people to host the games that they want to play. It doesn't matter if you have 2 games or 2000.
Your suggestion is indeed a workaround if you are already invested in the game and just fed up with the toxicity. I see a couple problems with relying on this approach though:
New players don't know the game, the maps or the implicit rules about hosting (initially, most of them don't even know what "being grey" means), so new players don't host games. I'm fairly certain this is true in basically all server lobby based games, so the experience new players will have is the one we give them, for better or worse.
Even if new players were to host games though, it would put the responsibility and work of curating a good game experience on them, which is not what we want. If we want to retain as many new people as possible, they should be able to just play the game and have fun, without worrying about all that stuff.
Therefore, I would strongly argue that curating an enjoyable new player experience is on us, the invested people, and not the new players themselves.
I think the new player experience would be greatly improved by linking to external Youtube/written tutorials in its Tutorial section.
I know that's not what it was meant to be, but I think it would be a pretty big improvement over what's currently there, i.e. not much.
Finding good educational content for FAF is hard enough as it is, even searching the Forums for it is not super straightforward, so having an "official", easily found place to get started would be great for new players.
The "all welcome" lobbies all being a lie is definitely a problem and racism should of course never be excused.
Sadly, there is actually a non-racism related issue why many Germans can't play with many players in South Afrika:
Some of the most popular German ISPs throttle their connection speed to South Afrika to such an extent, that the game becomes straight up unplayable. Nobody knows why they do it, but afaik there is nothing the customer can do directly to lift that restriction.
I, as a customer of such an ISP myself, couldn't join any lobbies with South Africans in them due to that for the longest time.
Giving the Russians the benefit of the doubt (maybe a mistake, but whatever), I'd assume that they have a similar problem.
My working solution is to just use a free VPN. It's not perfect and does increase your ping by like 50 ms. But it turns the game from "literally unplayable lag fest" to "pretty good". I'd recommend Proton VPN, but many others are available.
If you want to do a connection test with a German having such a shitty ISP, just pm me and we can hop into a test game.
Like I said, its not that you must learn a BO for every map on ladder to be successful.
What I said is that it feels like you should learn a BO because it will have a positive impact on your gameplay and is simple to do.
Again, I myself enjoy the BO aspect of the game, but it does represent a certain time commitment I just don't want to invest to play my 5 ladder games a month.
Could I just play on static maps w/o looking at BOs at all? Of course! But I will always have the feeling in the back of my mind that I should have.
Is that dumb? Yes, but so is all of human psychology.
I have a very positive opinion of the Advanced Strategic Icon mod.
Yet, whenever it gets mentioned anywhere a very vocal group of players immediately accuses the mod of being made by Satan himself, ostensibly completely ruining the gameplay of everyone who uses it.
Normally I'd just ignore them and chalk it up to nostalgia or whatever, but in this case many of the game's best players are some of the mods most vocal critics.
For example, here is what Blackheart, currently ranked number 5 on the 1v1 ladder, has to say about the mod in his UI mod guide:
"Advanced Strategic Icons: Extremely strong NOT recommended. I would go as far as saying that this mod will completely destroy your ability to improve past a certain level."]
I don't get it.
I have played the last year with some version of it installed, and while I'm still far away from the level of e.g. blackheart, as a 1.8k global I imagine myself to have a decent understanding of the games fundamentals.
And I still don't see the major downsides people insist the mod has.
This is what this post is about: I want people to show me proof of how and where I'm just to blind to miss the very obvious detriments of the Advanced Strategic Icons mod.
One of the most common arguments I hear is that the mod clutters the screen and makes it impossible to accurately judge army sizes and unit types. In my experience, the exact opposite is the case.
For example, lets look at the below scene captured at 1080p resolution and at the same level of zoom each time. If you want to follow along, just open the pictures in full screen but do not zoom further in. Not needing to zoom in further is exactly what distinguishes a good icon set from a bad one.
Here is the scene, ye old lategame setons with the default icons:
So what do I see? Well there is a t3 navy battle going on. The two tempests are pretty eye catching and there are obviously lots of frigates everywhere. Purple also has some battleships but without staring at it for a couple seconds I don't know if purple has 4 or 10. The red navy is even worse. I think I see a battleship in there but its really hard to distinguish it from the other ships because the damn pips are so small.
Lets see how this looks with the small icon set from the mod:
If you are unfamiliar with the modded icon set, open both pictures in separate tabs and switch back and forth a bit to see what changed. Again, no zooming in though.
So what did change? Destroyers, cruisers and battleships are a lot more distinctive, especially compared to the literally unchanged frig icon. It's now much easier to see what ships are important and counting the 8 battleships from purple is a lot faster than before.
This is not even mentioning the actual strengths of the mod, like how finding and sniping purples sonar with a couple torps is now a trivial exercise or how you can easily see that teal has a smd due to the purple border added by the mod.
But, as mentioned above, I don't want to look at the upsides of the Advanced Strategic Icons mod, but at its downsides.
So at least for naval combat, the modded icons are, at worst, a neutral change and up to personal preference.
"But the ground armies!", I hear the naysayers typing. "The mod makes it impossible to accurately read the size and composition of dense ground armies.", they say.
Well, lets look at the same picture again, this time at default army icons on the land bridge:
Even at fullscreen resolution, without looking at it for an embarrassing amount of time, the only thing I can really make out is that there are "like 30-40 T1 units".
How does the icon mod fare?
Well look at that: It's now blindingly obvious that the first two rows of units are of a different type then the back rows. So now my observation is "like 30-40 T1 units, half T1 tanks and half T1 arties". As the heretic that I am, I'd say the modded icons are straight up better than the default ones in this case.
So what about the air? Lets look at the canonical "estimate army sizes quickly"-test and see if we can estimate ASF amounts any faster or slower:
So can you estimate ASF counts easier with the default icon set? I would say there is effectively no difference. In both cases all I see is that the ASF numbers are about equal, no clue who actually has more but the difference can't be huge either way.
It seems to me there are no real downsides to the Advanced Strategic Icons mod when looking at armies and lots of upsides regarding the readability of bases, especially in large team games, the latter of which I didn't even get into here.
So what's going on? Why are so many, often very good, players so strongly against using this mod?
Latest posts made by CheeseBerry
While we are at it, would it be possible to add features 1 and 3 of random-ui-improvements as well?
There is literally no situation in the game where you want to give a reclaim order on an empty patch of ground.
This is especially true considering that you can easily missclick a rock sometimes, making it look like you gave a valid reclaim order, when you actually clicked next to your target.
Similarly, the automatic conversion of move commands to patrol is basically all downside too.
Trying to quickly spread some gunships via spread move, only to accidentally click the same spot twice, converting the entire thing into a patrol and hence having to start over, is just no fun.
One disadvantage of the current system is that it's only predictable if you already know the health of every unit in the game, even if just roughly.
For the people in this thread that's trivial (fatboys and snipers are made of tissue paper, GCs and percies are thicc bois, etc.), but for a player starting out that's hugely unintuitive.
If I see a sniper on the field, I can hover my mouse over it to see that it's made of sticks and bubblegum, but once the sniper becomes a wreck, that information is lost entirely.
It becomes yet another "you just gotta know" part of the game. making the game harder to learn, without offering the experienced players anything.
If the goal is to simplify wreck health and make it more intuitive, such a compromise would be the worst solution as then you need to know both systems and do some math in your head to figure out the health.
Then I don't quite get the energy cost explanation though: "while the bigger energy cost increase makes it a lot harder to make a fast second nuke."
On the current balance it takes (roughly) 1 additional t3 pgen to build a nuke launcher in a reasonable amount of time and 2 t3 pgens to actually load the missile.
The proposed change of doubling the energy cost would make it so you need 2 t3 pgens for the entire process. While this means you need to build the 2nd pgen earlier, which is a slight nerf, this results in essentially no change to the total cost of launching your first or any subsequent nukes.
(the additional 3k mass increase does of course increase cost though)
If the goal is to discourage building a second launcher, beyond the proposed 3k mass increase, further increasing the launcher's mass cost, or the energy cost for launcher (and missile) beyond the 2 pgens from the proposed changes would have a much bigger effect imo.
I like it!
It makes intuitive sense (big thing should be harder to kill than small thing),
makes interactions much more predictable and as such strategic decisions regarding wrecks a lot more appealing
(a t1 bomber will always delete X mass from a wreck, so you know when it would be worth it)
and I don't think we'd loose anything important changing the current behavior (I guess it would be a very slight buff to fatboys, but that seems fine).
So yeah, great idea