Not sure if I fall under the older players or the newbs who leave within 2 years.
I started on PvP on FAF over 4 years ago (was living at my old house), I played for a year or two regularly and then was playing other games for a time. I had played SC since release, discovering FAF and gradually getting into the PvP after a couple of years of just getting maps & mods. I did ok, could hold my own against most players of similar rank.
Came back and played some more the last year or so (the last 4 years my schedule also fucked my gaming as it didn't give me much time to actually play). Have only played a couple of PvP games, did ok, actually the last one I probably did really well - I got trash talked by another 1000 ranked player that I flat out punked on Gap of Rohan (we were Air on opposite sides, I hit him early with a LAB squad, followed almost at the same time by some bombers to screw his power, later on Mercy sniped him - asked a team mate afterward and he was ecstatic with what I'd done as I had that particular player locked down all game playing catchup from the early damage and removed him before he ever made a meaningful contribution). Thing is, 2/3 of the games I've joined you spend 15-20 minutes getting it together, and 3/4 of the time someone DC or leaves the game early because they screwed their build order and don't have the balls to just play it thru. Then everyone quits and you wasted what is now a half hour... To play a PvP game I generally have to figure I have over an hour I can spare with no interruptions.
Thus, I play against AI a lot, because I can pause, I can save, and I can complete the game. very frustrating to start a game to have to pull out early. Similar issues if you start up with the wife and are done in 5 minutes...
For newbs I think that it is a steep learning curve, I got beat, I watched replays of most games I was in to see what I did vs what everyone else was doing, and what worked and what didn't. Had a guy punk me once playing Rock on Setons, he was on the island from Beach before I even got a transport off. Replay told the story, after that I shaved 2 minutes off my launch time thanks for watching how someone else did it. The problem is, many people don't have that patience.
Second problem as I mentioned above, disconnecting players. It is extremely rare in my experience for someone to lose connection and get back in. In most cases a player disconnects it screws the team - though someone might inherit the units and economy, they also now have far more to task than before and for many players they can't suddenly take that on without dropping the ball in some fashion.
I noted there was a Feedback button for the mission at the end to the old FAF forums.
One problem I noted, the Trucks do not seem to respond to any orders or command markers to move from the eastern city to safety in the west. They got nuked, I could not get them to leave the area.
Looks like it worked this time, hosted it myself and appears to be working with an upgraded map. Might have been a version issue.
I attempted to play a Coop mission tonight, I heard the sound from the opening cinematic, but the screen was black and remained so, couldn't play. To test I tried running the campaign outside FAF client solo, I was able to start a campaign, but noted that it wouldn't progress - crossed the channel, blasted the Aeon base but the map was already fully exposed at start with no other units on it. What might be interfering with that? No mods other than UI in effect for the campaign.
Good detail on the problem. I know it well running 3 different machines that play FA. My old Pentium 3.6 DTA laptop still runs, has XP on it and an old version of FAF, I don't play it online anymore to avoid borking the install for the reasons you list above (until the install or machine fails). Its a backup anyway for when my newer ones have issues.
The newer machines run current FAF installs, but I get crashes frequently when playing solo using some of the older mods I liked. Again, likely because of the very issues you outlines above (that said, space wars - satellite orbitals & spaceships - was cool).
Main thing is having the base game to play, and kudos to you guys for trying to keep this going. Best RTS ever.
A link to old forums would be good. There is some information there which would be useful for a while still. IE LOUD project links.