So back in Ins 2014, I used to champion for the inclusion of a matchmaking system but now that it is here, I have some mixed feelings about it.
Firstly, it doesn't seem to be able to create very balanced games with these player amounts. One side might have 4 random novices with one side running an experienced 4-stack. In that situation, your contribution to the game is going to be minimal. The point of matchmaking in games is to have games with roughly 50% to win for both teams. On community servers, we could do balancing ourselves based on the statistics of the players' on those servers and it actually worked pretty well.
Secondly, I now realize that what kept me playing Insurgency 2014 for as many hours as I did (~500, which is a lot for me) was in part the server communities. I knew the regulars on some servers and it was fun to play with them. Now we do have integration with steam so I can e.g. friend up with people and invite them to the same team, but I find that this doesn't really give a similar community experience as the community servers did.
Thirdly, on low hours, the matchmaker doesn't seem to be able to find a game very quickly. It took me over 30 minutes to get a game today. Granted, the process involved one game being cancelled with 9/10 joining, but still.
On the flipside, it's great you can in theory on the high hours get good, balanced games, and that you can stack with your friends and chat away in over e.g. Discord while playing.
All in all, I am undecided if the matchmaking has actually been an improvement over vanilla Insurgency. What are others' thoughts on this?
It absolutely frightens me that people want a ticking UI of reward points over an immersive sequel to what are arguably the two best immersion shooters ever made, Ins2014 and DoI.
That's an odd thing to be frightened about, but alright!
This to me is just contrary to the whole point of what an Insurgency game is.
Maybe, but if Insurgency doesn't manage to appeal more to the FPS players, it's going to have trouble with player numbers.
@tzaeru “(and well, assists, but those are rare).” Lmao what game you playin breh? I get so many goddamn assists every single game I play. Cause lord knows when people can survive being shot multiple times like nothing even happened there gonna be lots of assists...
My experiences may be biased due to playing almost only competitive, but usually people die to 1 or 2 hits and most encounters are 1v1 situations either way. Perhaps there's more assists in the Versus mode though. Doesn't change the core of the suggestion.
If you don't like playing the game, don't ask for numbers on your screen that go up when you do things. Find a game you like.
I literally started the post with "the features I am proposing are not really ones that I'd be needing for myself". That's in the very first sentence.
Point isn't what I or you might like, point is that the game needs more players. It's already hard to find a game in low hours. I've been sitting in the queue for around 30 minutes now. The game needs more players and to do that, it needs to be more appealing to the average gamer. You will get the more hardcore players and more competitive players after that.
I'll preface this with that I actually solely play the competitive mode myself and the features I am proposing are not really ones that I'd be needing for myself. Rather, I believe that these features are more or less mandatory to get casual players play the game.
So, reward mechanisms. People play games and really, do anything at all, because there's some sort of reward. In games, no doubt the simplest reward would be winning your match. This reward however does not come very often nor does it come every time. Therefore there needs to be other mechanisms of reward in the game. For example, in Battlefields you get points for supplying your teammates, you get points for standing on a capture point, basically you get points just for breathing. This makes the gameplay feel rewarding even if you don't win the whole match. The game still continuously rewards you for things it thinks you did right. Even in more hardcore shooters that have at least some casual appeal, say Squad, you get points for e.g. being near your squad leader or for supplying covering fire and so on.
In Insurgency: Sandstorm, you don't really get this feedback. You only see your score when you're dead and the only things that give you any score are your kills and point capture (and well, assists, but those are rare). I think the game would benefit from more immediate reward and other feedback mechanisms. This doesn't mean that it should be all CoD, or that e.g. kills should be announced to the player. But more immediate rewards would either way make the game more appealing to the casual player.
Therefore, I suggest that in the Versus mode, player would get score feedback right on their screens from actions such as defending and capturing points, giving suppressing fire in cases where the enemy would have made a sound anyway (so that the points don't give away the enemy's presence), and so on, to make the gameplay feel more rewarding even when you don't win the match.
@arc Thanks for the suggestion. Putting input gain to max and disabling "Automatic volume gain/control" in Steam settings seems to have helped somewhat. However I still have to keep my headset mic very close to my mouth and talk quite loudly for it to pick the signal up.
I wanted to collect three improvements I'd personally like to see for the competitive mode into one post. These are just my own ideas and I think that the competitive experience is not too bad as is. Regardless, here goes:
1. Minimum level for entering the competitive mode. All too often completely clueless level 0-5 players pop in, walk around the map aimlessly, then leave before finishing the whole BO8. I'd suggest the minimum level to be 10, though even 5 would be a clear improvement in my opinion. Additionally, there should be a warning displayed against leaving when the player is about to exit before the match has been finished.
2. Leaver penalties and disclaimers against leaving. Leaving is a moderately common problem in the competitive mode. At the moment it seems that there are no particular penalties against it (at least none I was aware of). I suggest that leaving would lead to progressively increasing penalties in the form of suspension from the competitive mode. For example, leaving once in a week might be 30 hour suspension, leaving twice 2 hours, so on.
3. Improvements to how balance between the two teams is done. I understand that making games perfectly balanced with such a limited player pool is not possible. However I do feel that once a game has been formed, better job could be done in balancing the two teams. Far too often I end up in a team with all lvl 30+s with several level 0-10s in the opponent team and we end up stomping them 5-0. Here's an example of such an occurrence from day:
In that game, we totally dominated. It would have felt fairer if we had had some of the newbies from the other team. Far as I could tell from the chat, they weren't grouping either, so couldn't have been that.
Continues to be a problem. Makes it almost impossible to communicate in-game.
I think the USB microphone is the problem. Some people have fixed this by boosting in Windows mic settings. I can't do with what my USB mic. Need a sensitivity tuning option to Sandstorm's settings.
- If you only have to mute what you believe is a small minority of players who don't contribute to the game and only cause issues to you, why is it an issue at all? You're caught between the game being completely ruined as if the entire player base is the Aryan Brotherhood and as if there's not enough of them for you to give the time of day. Personally, it seems to me like you want some power that allows you to inconvenience others who inconvenience you.
Well, I've made sure to say it several times now that I don't have a big problem in regards of toxic players. They are rare enough. I've only had to mute like 1-2 players in the comp mode.
- The game isn't slurring anyone sure, but you'd be lying to yourself if you think the people out there in the real world that this game is based around aren't slurring those they fight.
This is a very broken analogue on multiple levels. Firstly, we're not on the battlefield fighting with real guns and bullets; we're in our homes sitting on our comfy gamer chairs playing a video game together. Secondly, the context was discriminatory and other strongly toxic speech. Shouting "fucking shitfuck" when you die for the 5th time to that Farmhouse C-side camper is OK. Repeatedly telling your teammate "kill yourself nigger faggot" after he fails to wipe the whole enemy team as the last person alive is not OK. Nor is it OK to go on bizarre rambling tangents against minorities. Even the real armies do not tolerate that sort of stuff.
I would say the game definitely contributes to a hostile and unfriendly environment compared to the last game on the gore and violence alone.
Nah, people can separate virtual gore and violence from genuine hostility and unfriendliness.
Just because you're used to seeing it does not mean everyone else is and there is certainly a large section of the population of the world who is not familiar with the level of gore in games like this and certainly is not willing to put up with it (remember that some countries have and I am sure still do have bans on the level of gore detail in video games, most prominently Australia and Germany have had them).
Those people are probably not the ones screaming racist bullshit in gory video games.
- To me your thought that community servers are no longer feasible is just more complaining that you don't personally hold power over people you dislike.
Sure, I want to have some means of rebuttal against people who act, in my view, strongly out of line. I don't dislike people very easily. When I do, they're being pretty far out there.
You have an option that's already there and if you don't believe people would play with you on a no-racists-allowed server it likely shows that the people who play this game don't agree with your belief systems. If people aren't willing to use the browser for specifically anti-racist severs, then the rest of us who don't take kindly to censorship shouldn't have our speech restricted because you deem it intolerable yet do not wish to use the mute function.
I ran a set of moderately popular servers for Insurgency 2014. They were all branded around being well-moderated and friendly places.
If you go check the server browsers in Sandstorm, you'll see that no one is playing on any server but the 32 player push and mixed-mode servers. I don't play those modes myself, I only play 5v5 Firefight (and in 2014 played Ambush).
- As I stated previously, I think you think your opinion is more popular than it really is.
I don't think that really matters, whatever the truth of it is.
I also believe you're in an extreme minority of people who are perfectly fine with the sight of ridiculous gore details in video games but cannot handle/tolerate excessive swearing and/or racism/bigotry. Not really a huge overlap considering on requires insensitivity and the other requires hyper-sensitivity.
Swearing has, again, never been the problem. Open, blatant racism or other discriminatory speech however makes the game less enjoyable experience to lots of people. It's easy to not understand that when you're never the one being targeted by it. All my female gamers for example avoid talking anything when they're playing solo because they'll instantly be targeted with harassment and sexist remarks. I'm not sure if that would pertain to Sandstorm, as none of those friends plays it. I would hope it didn't and I can see it a distinct possibility that at least the competitive mode would be OK. That's obviously great.
- Those who invoke the slippery slope fallacy are those that create the slippery slope. Slippery slope is very real when it comes to politics (which, in my opinion, this argument is about) and anyone who calls it a fallacy is trying to throw it away as an argument because it's inconvenient.
Sounds a bit like fallacy fallacy..
Communities self-moderating toxic behavior very rarely leads to any significant backlashes. Almost every community self-moderates to a degree. The idea that not allowing blatantly racist talk would somehow lead to dystopic levels of censorship is just completely ridiculous and just reactionary.
- I've known many Finns and all I can say is across the board your social standards are different than that from America. If you don't like the way Americans behave, don't play with Americans. I also find you unique as a Finn because I've never met one that isn't extremely prejudiced yet quiet about his beliefs.
I don't play with Americans much, simply due to latency. But we aren't culturally all so distinct anymore. You and I probably have more common cultural background by being English-speaking gamers than we would have with a random non-gamer Finn or American.
We share this community, platform and culture, whether we're American or Finnish or Israeli or so on.
- If you think that appalling behavior isn't here to stay, you're very naive in your beliefs. Not sure if you've checked the news lately, but people aren't exactly getting more civil by the minute and that change in the way people behave in the real world will most certainly be reflected onto the in-game world.
On large timescales, people have actually improved. Less war by capita, our humor is much less brutal, we've stuff like civil rights and whatnot, people can be openly gay without being booed home, so on..
Appalling behavior happens and will happen, sure, but it that doesn't mean that we should tolerate and accept it. Actually, I would claim that one of the reasons why hate crime has been on the raise in USA and in parts of Europe is because parts of our population are becoming more accepting of discriminatory speech and attitudes. This part of the population - young male adults with low future prospects - happens to coincide some with the competitive gamer culture. Therefore, I actually argue that it's very important to stand against the worst sort of behavior and attitudes in gaming and other Internet communities.
But, again, Sandstorm's comp mode doesn't seem to have a huge issue with this at the moment. I simply hope that the community can take pride in the fact and stand with keeping it that way.
Oh, and a report system would be nice. Even if it's purely automatic and even if it isn't very easy to get suspended by it.
Today we had this:
Interpreting from the chat, at least some of those players were not in a stack.
We obviously won, easily. Wasn't a fair match at all. I and Albiino were stacking, but e.g. fox. wasn't in our team. Perhaps if enemy had fox and we had one of the low rankers it'd have been a bit more balanced.
On the other hand, I understand that if low skill are forced into the same team with high skill players, then the high skill players can feel very frustrated... It's a difficult problem.
The minimum, I think, is having a rank requirement for comp, whether it's 5 or 10. But some sort of "soft" matchmaking capabilities that try to minimize their impact on the queue times could be considered. As well as some between-teams balancing, possibly.
- Dont be a little bitch
- Quit virtue signaling
- We do really need a votekick
- Mute players who offend your precious little mind
- If you cant mute them, turn off all radio comms in your settings until patched
- STFU and play the game
- If you heard half of what is said on the REAL battlefield, you'd STFU.
- Grow a pair
- Of Balls
- And dont be a virtue-signaling snowflake bitch.
This is honestly just a pretty low effort post with no constructive value. We're obviously not on a real battlefield and well, I am pretty sure that even on the real battlefield, black soldiers would not want to hear "nigger cunt kill yourself" from their teammates. On the real battlefield, soldiers support each other and have each others' back.
No one had a problem with swearing alone. Problem is with players who use extremely racist, sexist and homophobic language to attack their teammates with. I, for one, have enough pride to not play with that kind of players at all. Which is why I am happy that they seem few and far between in the competitive scene, on the EU region at least. This is a much less toxic game than most competitive games are and I hope it stays that way. One way to make sure it stays that way is for its community to take a clear stand for it.
You can't just cut out your coworker's tongue and call it a day. You can mute everyone else online.
Idk, but, muting everyone while playing Insurgency sounds a bit pointless to me. If I had to do that (which I don't, as I've not had too much over the top toxicity happen) I'd rather just call it a day and quit.
We're talking about a mature game that involves suicide bombers, chemical gas attacks, and burning people alive. If someone calling you gay or n-word has offended your sensibilities to the point where denial of a paid good is the only appropriate response, then rest assured, you need to evaluate why you're playing an 18+ game.
The game isn't slurring at anyone nor does the game itself contribute to a hostile or unwelcoming community.
In regards to community servers, by all means they should have administrator and moderator privileges enabled, with the additional option to enable vote systems at host/owner discretion.
I don't think running competitive mode community servers is super feasible anymore. People use the matchmaker and the only servers that seem to have enough activity are 32-player push servers.
In regards to public lobbies, if such toxic behavior is as prevalent and commonplace as implied, what makes you think that you won't be the one removed for questioning the mass majority's behavior and in-game norms? By all means, it's a matter of majority (read as mob) rule, and in this instance it's made to sound that you're a minority.
Firstly, I think you're mistaking an obnoxious, loud minority for the majority. At least I sure hope you are. Secondly, majority opinion isn't automatically right or the best way to approach something. Thirdly, no one's said anything about removing people for questioning something.
I'd say that usually, racist people don't leave a game because they aren't allowed to be racist. However, a game whose community has a lot of racism in it definitely does turn lots of people off from it.
Though again I should stress that in my experience, the competitive mode at least has been pretty OK. I play on the EU region which helps somewhat. I know the American regions in most games can get a bit more.. wild, at times.
You start one chain of censorship, you're opening a door for a very slippery slope, and I guarantee that slope is a cheese grater in disguise.
Sounds like a slippery slope fallacy to me. In my experience, majority of the time a blanket ban on openly racist/homophobic/sexist slurs is simply a good thing. The examples of it going too far that you posted are just a few fringe cases and they weren't very serious anyway. If you can't write "Nazi" in a game about Nazis, so what? The game isn't the place for deep discussions about the European history. It's a place to share a few shitty puns at, talk tactics, make callouts and just wind down.
I am not saying I am taking the trolls' side here, but I have come to realize that gaming is and will forever be a very frustrating hobby if you can not deal with socially retarded people.
Have you ever been to a public restroom? Have you ever boarded and disembarked an airplane? Ever watched a public debate? Have you ever driven a car? Have you ever worked in customer service? Do you live on planet earth? Well, then you should be well aware that a good chunk out of the human race (I'd claim about 10%) is an utter abomination and waste of oxygen.
As a Finn this doesn't quite match my experience! I think most people in real life are pretty nice and friendly and just looking to go about their business without being too much of a bother. I've literally never had anyone start a toxic rant at me at the airport, or while driving, or whatever.
Appalling behavior is here (and everywhere else) to stay. I have not seen more, or less, "toxicity" here than in any other shooter I play, or on different forums... the supermarket... at work...
Just ignore them.
It isn't here to stay. It varies greatly between places. But it sure as hell wont get better by ignoring it. If someone's being a toxic prick publicly or at your work, fucking tell them so.