The competitive scene is basically dead, majority of high level players have left and most of the higher level teams have disbanded. I go between Diamond 1 & 2 at level ~100 and basically every game I'm either with newbies vs a 5-stack or I'm with newbies vs other newbies. There's very few players left who play at my level and so I've quit, too, since the matchmaking by now is basically just dice. Either you end up vs newbies and stomp or you end up vs a legit 5-stack and get stomped.
I'm sure NWI could have done - and still could - do a better job with the competitive scene (lots of maps remain imbalanced, there's some nasty glitches that have been around since launch, queue times could be increased in my opinion, you could have the option to stay with the team you're playing with, etc) but in the end it mostly boils down to a lack of players.
Ambush was my favorite mode in Ins2014. I don't know if adding it now to Sandstorm would unnecessarily split the playerbase further, but it was a great game mode. It'd been cool to play it competitively, but usually the maps weren't quite balanced enough for that.
There's lots of ways to penalize toxic behavior and encourage positive behavior, without it being intrusive or even need manual overseeing. Something as simple as automatically giving notifications of bad behavior when someone gets lots of reports is one way. Could also have basically like thumb up mechanics that show in the profile, etc.
So, I'm 100% a competitive mode player. I don't play anything else and don't really care to either. Free weekend, aside of connection issues, had some decent games here and there. Ministry's a nice addition to comp. That other new map I don't know if I like so much tho..
In short, the game continues to suffer from the same set of problems regarding balance.
- 5-stacks are allowed to play vs randos
- sometimes one team ends up with nothing but newbies, while the other team is full of high level players
- toxic behavior is not penalized in any manner. Players can shit talk as much as they want, nothing happens from it.
- lots of players have zero communication.
I'd be totally OK to wait 15 minutes per match if it means that I'm guaranteed to get a match and if it means that it's much more likely that the match is a balanced one than with these 3-4 minute queue times.
But playing games that are stomp or be stomped, it's not so much fun. Also some of the maps continue to be pretty imbalanced and just not fun to play, like Farmhouse East. A map ban feature would be pretty fucking sweet.
So, today spent 2 hours going for some competitive games.
Most of the time, I get into the ready check stage after around 3-4 minutes of waiting. Majority of the time someone does not ready and it gets cancelled and soon I get into another ready check.
Two times I've gotten "Unable to find server" or something like that when the ready stage has been completed with everyone ready. When that happens, competitive mode option says "Match in progress" and when I click it, it tries to join and soon again gives "Unable to find server". After a few minutes of waiting, I can join a queue again.
Three times I've actually gotten into the map, but someone hasn't connected or leaves in the first 30 seconds.
I've only gotten one actual competitive game (and that was totally imbalanced and I stomped it with something like 14:3 K:D..) in two hours.
@tzaeru That's actually hilarious lol... In all seriousness it’s very annoying to have someone ruin your fun for ya eh? Like say some dead idiot screaming nonsense in my ear as I’m trying to pay attention, listen to sounds, stay alive and win. Because ya know I’m the only one alive and now have 4 very special people spewing garbage and filth in my ear...
...There's the mute button for that.
Anyway, in the comp mode, communication is very important.
Player called Insid3r (https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198872587606/) has been killing his teammates in competitive mode whole day. After killing 1-2 players, he leaves game and rejoins. This resets the TK kill counter.
He gives various reasons for why he's doing so. In the morning, it was because he was "protesting" the "developers" so they might "fix the broken game". Right now he's saying he's TK'ing us because he died due to someone making a callout in voice. Which is kinda what you're supposed to do in this game...
Anyway, he's been ruining games whole day. The saddest part is that he's lvl 170 so he's probably played like, 500 hours, and still has nothing better to do with his time.