I joined FAF in october, used to play on the original FA 10 years ago (mostly with friends vs AI). I've got around 50-60 games and around 1000 global rating. I apologize for my english as I'm not native.
What would lead me to quit FAF is the lack of variety in maps that are hosted. I would say 90% of the games available are Astro/Dual Gap/Setons. If you try to host any other game you will have to wait at least 10min a lobby. I'm playing with a friend and we ended up hosting mostly Field of Isis 2 vs 2 games, as we figured people would join (a little bit more action than the previous maps mentionned but still really turtle heavy).
The eco and firebase meta are really boring and as a new player I find it difficult to stop (T2MMls are basically useless vs shields+TMD+t2 arty) and you're often forced to eco up and spend more time in an already boring match.
So I know this problem is only on specifics maps that are sadly really popular so I will not talk about balance here. Ultimately you learn bad habits, get inflated elo on this specifics playstyle that leads you to get destroyed when you try something new, and most of the people will then chose to get back in their comfort zone and the cycle continues.
To solve this issue I thought the 2vs2 matchmaking was a great idea to introduce players to new maps and playstyle. I heard about it watching Jagged stream which led me to download the latest version of the client. When doing it I realized I was on v1.2.0 and spent 2 months on an outdated version of the client. For me it's highlight a little communication issue :
- The client update notification is way too small. Without my interest in TMM learned from watching streams, I would probably never have updated the client. When updating I also saw a new tutorial tab with BOs etc that I was missing on my old version and could be helpful to new players (I actually thought the Theta video with BOs and the way to protect your engis while expanding was great for newbies).
If this happened to me I'm seriously wondering how many active players are running on an old version of the client and don't even know about TMM. Is there a way to force the version update or make a pop up notification instantly when you log in ?
- The news window about TMM is also too small. For a functionnality this important I think it could be highlited by a bigger window on the news screen (maybe same thing could be applicable when a new client udpate ?).
The fact that the matchmaking now pops up first before custom game is a great idea, as mentionned the only thing I'm afraid is that half the playerbase would be on the wrong version of the client, so people won't find much games in TMM and stop caring.
On the training material, I think the most common problem among new players is to be really conservative factory and units wise (that is further teached in astro/gaps that will 90% of the time be the first multiplayer game they will ever play). Just by ending on a youtube recommandation of Jagged and watching Tagada on Twitch I could instantly see that I was building way too less factories and units.
This leads me to think that more communication towards streamers could be done (again it's a really small icon on the landing page) as it's a tool to build a community which will ultimately retains players, and you can easily copy paste some of their way of playing (so a less ressource-heavy alternative than the tutoring while still being able to pick the most obvious things you're doing wrong in your gameplay).
In general I think a redesign of the landing page putting the emphasis on new features, streamers currently online ( and youtubers wih POV content) and the forum (I don't even know if 5% of the playerbase actually end up here) would be useful.
The tutoring idea post from Archimskat is also cool but then again it's on the forum where maybe 5% of new players will see it. Is there a way to have it as an header on Aeolus (nobody even goes on #Newbies) or have a bot send it automatically every X minutes ?
A little communication push could also be done towards AI mods like Uveso or Swarm AI, as a good amount of the new playerbase will spend a lot of time vs AI in the beginning because of anxiety. I don't know if it's possible to make them one of the sandards AI or have a dedicated AI filter in the mods section but those AI at least make a lot of units and could teach news players about standard mass t1 on small maps. Uveso also generate AI markers so they can play on more maps. Hopefully the new tournament can make newbies aware of those alternatives.
So yeah, for me it would be mostly the boredoms from the most populars maps that people who would rather play teamgames than 1vs1 have to face. As mentionned the 2VS2 TMM is a great idea to face this but I think some improvements are definitely needed on the way of communicating about it and making sure it becomes a success.