My opinion on lack of spontaneous server activity

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by mrmeow, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. mrmeow

    mrmeow Member

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    I know there were strong reasons behind it, and it's just me Mr. Meow, but the push for servers to do a "lobby" kind of thing and all go to infantry maps if there are no players strongly inhibits spontaneous player growth. I know that the idea is the bots will get people to stay and play around a bit and hopefully others will see player counts and join. But, I regularly see 1 to 3 players who are clearly brand new (cyrillic names or names i've never seen), theyre on district (UGGG), they play for 15 minutes then are gone.

    infantry maps are seriously not empires selling point, especially when there are no actual humans playing.

    1. If new players can see the massive potential that normal map empires play has, they will stick around or invite a friend perhaps

    2. I think veterans will be more willing to spend some time playing in a normal empires map, and there is a stronger chance of getting players in from there.


    Things seem quiet, so I don't know if you guys are planning some new strategy to be released or what. But at least for the sake of veterans encourage normal maps. I want to dick around right now in normal empires even with a miniscule chance of someone joining (not making my own crap server).
     
  2. mrmeow

    mrmeow Member

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    i mean, to take it a step further and perhaps in a different direction. if you asked me what my top 3 most hated maps were i'd probably just say the most common infantry maps minus glycencity. urbanchaos is probably the single worst empires map ever. it's fucking unplayable.
     
  3. D.D.D. Destroyer

    D.D.D. Destroyer Member Staff Member Moderator

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    We've been having randoms join for a few minutes during ghost pop (or any pop, really) and leave never to return well before the lobby change. If anything, they're more likely to stick around because there's something to do instead of being stuck in a glorified sandbox mode on whatever map they happen to be on. There's no potential to be had in a 1v0. District and the like at least have things that shoot at you (and you can shoot at). That aside, if you want to dick around on "normal" Empires (let's be clear here, conquest maps are normal Empires too, but they're not classic Empires. But I get what you mean), you can host your own game or go to a non-lobby server - nobody stops you, we can only encourage the lobby.

    You need to have at least 6 players on the server to get just a glimpse of Empires' potential (1 commander + 2 players on a single frontline, times 2 teams), and there's plenty of voices claiming that you need way higher numbers to be able to play properly.

    At the end of the day, no matter how you slice it, the game behaves drastically differently depending on player count. High pop plays nothing like low pop, and low pop plays nothing like conquest maps. Naturally, not everyone likes everything Empires, which is most easily observed on weekends (like today. Join and play. Wink wink) when a sizeable chunk of players join a server only because there's enough players to facilitate high pop games.

    In other words, you can't have commander maps without a bare minimum of players, and that minimum is higher than 1 or even 3. As long as we can't sustain that bare minimum around the clock, we're forced to use suboptimal measures, and the lobby is one such measure.
     
  4. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    1. When the lobby reaches 8 players, a vote will occur that will kick everyone to another server, regardless of where they are on the current map. This means they go from shooting bots to actual Empires with a player count that can kind of support it.

    2. Spontaneous player growth doesn't really happen. The lobby doesn't inhibit this either, if anything it promotes everyone into one server, therefore helping out the population. Before, I believe new player retention was around 5 minutes, now people stick around quite a while longer which usually means a whole match with the bots. This really helps increase the likelihood that another player will get on in that time, meaning they are on their way to having a game start. On top of this, since they are forced onto a server, people can easily hop on and start talking to them and reach out to them to let them know games may happen on weekends. With more than 150+ new people a week, this just shows how shit retention is and retention is ever so slightly better now than it was before with this lobby.

    3. Yea the new people join and play and then leave. However, they stick around a lot longer than they used to, considering they used to join, open the server browser and see 0/64 on everything and then just quit. Now, they stick around and at least get an idea of the gameplay by playing against the bots. Sure they aren't great, but they do play the gamemode and to new players they are quite deadly. I've joined quite a few times while working on the tutorial or such when I see 1/64 and let them know to come back on the weekends, they can join the discord, or they can add me and ill let them know when games are going on. It's allowed us to reach many players, whereas before they would have quit on main menu.

    4. We actually just had a streamer on who averages around 50 viewers and he was playing on district. Him and his viewers were playing and they found the game to be amazing. The guy was having a blast, and said he would return because the game was so much fun. They had tried playing a commander map, but he even said they had no idea what to do so they opted to play an infantry map. I think this is a problem with veteran players. New players actually tend to like infantry/grindy maps, whereas if you have played the game for years these games dont really appeal to you solely because we've all played so many.

    5. Veterans dont join really, even at low pop. All you get is veterans AFKing, which is also a negative because new people join a server, see 6 people AFKing as a means to get the server redirect, and then they are playing against 1 other player and then they quit. I can't count the number of times I've seen a new player ask "Are more people going to play?" when there are ample vets on to at least make a 4v4, if not higher. The problem is, vets just don't like low pop and that needs to be fixed to promote people to play during low pop empires. One of the solutions in this case is infantry maps with bots so they at least can do something. People who just AFK for players aren't really doing this game a service.
     
  5. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    I can assure you that this had been the cases with comm maps, as well.

    If people would leave a map where they can actually do something, they would leave twice as fast on a map where they can't do anything, and it takes forever to find an enemy.

    Believe me, we have the best solution for low pop now.

    As an old vet as well, I would say "infantry map being unplayable" is a bit biased. I mean, you can dislike them but I don't think there's specifically broken things about them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  6. mrmeow

    mrmeow Member

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    lol DDDDestructor is going over points that i specifically explained away. therefore i will not respond to zir.

    However, the rest - statistically higher new player times, etc i accept.

    maybe, strongly improve features in the infantry maps. i avoid them, so some aren't coming to mind. but really, i think urbanchaos is an extremely bland map that feels like its basically a halflife1 mod map (basically a straight line grind with no depth). the limited vehicles in glycencity do add a bit of flair for example.
     
  7. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    Are you referring to my points? They are all valid and just because you “explain them away” doesn’t make them any less valid.
     
  8. MegaMLGgaming

    MegaMLGgaming Member

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    I really do feel like that lobby isnt really helping, and i dont think newbies will know that they have to wait for 8 players. Being the fact that most newbies arent that fond of the english language.
     
  9. D.D.D. Destroyer

    D.D.D. Destroyer Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Not understanding lobby mechanics because they're in English is a relatively tiny problem for people that have trouble with the language. They will struggle in any conditions because of how heavily reliant on information flow the average round is.
     
  10. Neoony

    Neoony Member

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    It is planned to add HUD messages, which you can notice in other plugins (NCEV/SquadControl/DraftPick)

    This will indicate that you are in Lobby and how many players are needed for the vote and etc...
    Issue: https://git.empiresmod.com/sourcemod/Lobby/issues/27
     
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  11. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    A blind spot people tend to fall into is that.....what makes you think they would stay longer on comm map if they don't have a clue anyway?

    Even as a vet, I actually do find my life to be a little more meaningful when I am shooting bots, than dropping refineries against nobody.
     
  12. Lazybum

    Lazybum :D Staff Member Moderator

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    I played enough 2v2 comm maps to say it's a terrible experience if you aren't trying to learn basic comm controls which honestly can be done by yourself anytime. I would join a 2v2 on district but I wouldn't bother with a comm map unless it was like 5v5 at least. It's just so fucking boring and if you lose the fire fight you lose that whole side of the map, or if you're comm lol have fun walking back to the cv while that engy decons its ass.

    About the lobby itself, it's a good idea and I like it but it does annoy me to have to wait for empires to load the map before i can reconnect to an actual server or boot up a listen one. It would be nice if there was an option to not autoconnect to the lobby. It doesn't hurt new players at all and old farts will appreciate empires working like always for them.
     
  13. Neoony

    Neoony Member

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    I usually just keep clicking cancel if I wanna get in the menu quickly. If you are fast enough you might hit it before the loading "hangs" :P

    But also, first loading will precache things, so after the first loading the next loadings will be faster. :P
     
  14. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    I believe you can do this in your startup parameters, -map (Random map name that doesnt exist). Itll try to load that map on startup, but since that map doesnt exist nothing will come of it.
     
  15. MegaMLGgaming

    MegaMLGgaming Member

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    So, how about instead of slapping newbies straight into a lobby server, we could prompt them with a choice to play the tutorial (when and if that gets hopefully done)?
     
  16. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    It's done, its in the final round of testing. If you launch the game and type "map tutorial/tr_tutorial" into the console, you can test it out. The idea was to throw them into the tutorial, however that has its drawbacks.

    Here's the pro's and con's I came up with

    Pro -
    1. They get thrown into a tutorial to learn the basics
    2. They would come out of the tutorial knowing how to play
    3. It would force new people to play the tutorial

    Cons -
    1. Most people would just quit once they realize they are forced to do a tutorial
    2. People would try to hastily get through it and since there is no "end", they'd get frustrated (The end is you quitting the tutorial and going to the lobby/servers)
    3. It's not comprehensive enough to teach them all of the small things that create the skill cliff. You are taught the basics of each class, not the little details of each class.
    4. Going with the point above, doing the WHOLE tutorial (Infantry, Vehicle, Commander) is about a 30 minute ordeal. If I break it down to learn even more it could take upwards of an hour. This is simply too long for most people to care. Game's with complex mechanics usually have an in game way of teaching/extremely basic or a campaign where mechanics are taught slowly over the course of the campaign. Empires has neither.
    5. They wouldn't get a sense of the actual game. If they are thrown into lobby/server, they get a sense of the gameplay immediately and then would play the tutorial from there if they wanted to learn more.

    If you have anymore pro's and con's about that, I'm more than willing to add it to the list and change my mind on that.

    Edit: OH yea, and the MASSIVE COMPLAINTS I'd receive for making a vet launch the tutorial on their first launch.

    Edit again: I noticed you said give them a choice. Yea that'd be nice. However, it also will be a prominent button on the main menu whenever they press Escape.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  17. MegaMLGgaming

    MegaMLGgaming Member

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    Oh wow, great to hear its getting done. Props to the guys who put their time into it.

    Pros and cons are fair enough, but we have to agree, having an up to date tutorial is a major leap for this game and it's community.

    Still, veteran or not i think they should be prompted a choice atleat once, i think vets would like to atleast check it out because its something new. If not, theres always the option to click "NO".

    That little prompt can change a lot, and new people interested in the game will probably give the tutorial a fair chance. Some start up knowledge or little if any better than nothing at all.
    Newbies, as usual, will be absolutely raped by vets, but atleast they will not be running around in an empty slot tank.
     
  18. D.D.D. Destroyer

    D.D.D. Destroyer Member Staff Member Moderator

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    IMO game should detect whether the tutorial was completed or not and show a pop up about playing it first.

    When you start the game and have yet to finish the tutorial, you get a prompt to play the infantry tutorial.

    When you enter the vehicle creation screen for the first time in a round, you get a prompt to play the vehicle tutorial.

    When you opt into the commander vote for the first time in a round, you get a prompt to play the commander tutorial.

    You would need to complete the corresponding tutorial for the prompt to stop appearing. There could also be a checkbox in settings to disable them, maybe?
     
  19. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    I would suggest a flow like this.

    First time starting the game, it asks if you want to play an infantry/vehicle hybrid tutorial.
    Yes -> goes into tutorial
    No -> Nothing happens, goes into main menu

    Upon finishing infantry/vehicle hybrid tutorial, the game asks you if you want to play a commander tutorial.

    And, you are REQUIRED to finish comm tutorial before you play comm, like, no excuses, you are not skipping comm tutorial and still get to play as a commander.
    If there's players you'll get ejected anyway.
    If there isn't players then tutorial is a good place to start.

    Commander is NOT a job of your own, you effectively sway your team.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  20. Not Kidpaler

    Not Kidpaler Member

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    What do you mean infantry vehicle hybrid?

    Also, I proposed that for the commander but it was shot down.


    And if you guys could test the tutorial (when the next update goes live because we caught a massive bug with it) that’d be great. Give me the feedback and then it’ll go live hopefully this Sunday
     

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