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[SUGGESTION] Casual vanilla balance

#1
As you might have noticed vanilla isn't exactly popular. Most players flock to mods that look like vanilla (jeff, nexuiz akimbo) but play completely differently. Judging by experience from public servers it's because vanilla is stacked in favor of "pros" - people who know every trick in the game and use it to become invincible gods who win DM 30/0. When I tried jeff's mod and akimbo it still had people stronger than others but they weren't impossible to kill.

Current vanilla is too heavily based on item control and I simply think it's not what most people expect from this game when they try it for the first time. Therefore I suggest to shift the focus from the metagame to the actual fighting on casual servers.

What I am not suggesting:
Changing what is played in pickup games and tourneys. Balance-xmp (DM/duel) and balance-xonotic (ctf) stay as they are.

What I am suggesting:
A new separate config for public newbie/casual servers heavily based on vanilla and less focus on "pro" features.

Item jitter
Prevents timing items. Xonotic should be more about fighting and less about collecting stuff. I suggest +- 10s for megas, +- 5s for 50a/h.

XPM-like H/A limits
To prevent getting to 200 health just using 25h. As I understand, the point of allowing all pickups until 200 is to prevent confusing players and to teach them to get health more. I'd say it's not working at all. I rarely see casual players ever pick up anything, they usually attack right after spawning (which is presumably what works in other games). It's counter-intuitive that you don't spawn with full health - because right now 200 is full.

Other arena games I've seen have limits for non-mega pickups, I don't see why it should be confusing in Xonotic. You use normal 25/50 when you're hurt, you can get above 100 with "special" items - shards and megas.

Randomize weapon pickups
This should prevent pros from going straight for the strongest guns while allowing new people to try out all weapons more easily.

Dead players drop more/all weapons
This gives a larger reward for killing a strong player and makes weapons more accessible.

Don't pickup weapons the player already has
Results in more weapons being available on the map, reduces ammo available to players who survive longer.

Random/different starting weapon
I am sure this one is gonna get a lot of hate in the comments Wink
  • Either give a random starting weapon - perhaps with lower chances of getting the stronger ones like vortex and RL
  • Or give the players progressively stronger weapons the lower they are in the scoreboard.

Shotgun tweaks
SG is not weak, it's deadly when used right but you need to get close, which requires movement skill and even then melee takes a lot of practice to time correctly. A lot of new people try to use it at any range (because they can't get any better gun and are too slow to get closer) only to end up doing -4 damage per shot. It's laughable. The starting weapon shouldn't need the most skill to use.
  • Give primary less spread (and slightly less dmg to compensate) so it's usable from further away.
  • Make secondary faster with less dmg.

Replace quad/shield with buffs
Powerups only help the strongest player get his 30 kills in half the time he'd need otherwise. Buffs will provide more randomness and variety to the gameplay without being OP.
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#2
(01-21-2017, 12:23 PM)martin-t Wrote: Don't pickup weapons the player already has
Results in more weapons being available on the map, reduces ammo available to players who survive longer.
Be careful with this, it may break maps that don't have many ammo items on them. (or possibly none for some ammo types)

(01-21-2017, 12:23 PM)martin-t Wrote: Shotgun tweaks
SG is not weak, it's deadly when used right but you need to get close, which requires movement skill and even then melee takes a lot of practice to time correctly. A lot of new people try to use it at any range (because they can't get any better gun and are too slow to get closer) only to end up doing -4 damage per shot. It's laughable. The starting weapon shouldn't need the most skill to use.
  • Give primary less spread (and slightly less dmg to compensate) so it's usable from further away.
  • Make secondary faster with less dmg.
This may make it difficult for players to learn how to use SG in non-casual modes, though.
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#3
I still think that slap should be moved to blaster secondary for all balances.

Also, there are already other shotgun secondary attacks available (apropos g_balance_shotgun_secondary).
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#4
(01-21-2017, 12:23 PM)martin-t Wrote: Xonotic should be more about fighting and less about collecting stuff.
That's where you misunderstand Xonotic though. It's not primarily about fighting, rather it's about surviving. In CS, you're expected to run off and fight, in Xonotic you're expected to run off to resources and survive. It's pointless to cater to an audience that prefers a different type of gameplay in first place. It can help more people getting into the game, but that game would not be Xonotic. This would in no way help the existing vanilla community, other than by (maybe) creating content like the Instagib community often is.

Jeff's servers shift towards fighting a lot more, but even they retain the survival based infrastructure. It's just a lot harder to survive there as opposed to just running around guns blazing and dying left and right. EDIT: Just like Jeff's servers, you're free to do whatever modification of the core gameplay you want. Just don't expect every idea sticking onto the default settings.

Xonotic vanilla is not that hard to grasp, rather than making it simpler we should point the effort towards tutorials, tips and guides. It's already quite simple compared to what other arena shooters have to offer. I'd even argue it's the easiest arena shooter to learn, as far as resource control goes.
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#5
Xonotic isn't Xonotic because a bit of armour will resist 70% of the damage you take. Tweaking the weapons to work better in combat and not so effectively in sneaking away to gather items won't make it a different game, big plus if it does attract more players.
Can't be fun gathering items when there's nobody to defend against...
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#6
I don't think stripping this game down to something where nobody recognizes it anymore will magically invent a new playerbase for it. Those people are busy playing shooters that are not Xonotic.
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#7
(01-21-2017, 04:09 PM)Lightbringer Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 12:23 PM)martin-t Wrote: Don't pickup weapons the player already has
Results in more weapons being available on the map, reduces ammo available to players who survive longer.
Be careful with this, it may break maps that don't have many ammo items on them. (or possibly none for some ammo types)
I wouldn't worry about this too much, we shouldn't compromise the balance because of bad maps. Besides, admins are free to add more ammo by overriding .ent files if they insist on keeping those maps.

(01-21-2017, 04:09 PM)Lightbringer Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 12:23 PM)martin-t Wrote: Shotgun tweaks
SG is not weak, it's deadly when used right but you need to get close, which requires movement skill and even then melee takes a lot of practice to time correctly. A lot of new people try to use it at any range (because they can't get any better gun and are too slow to get closer) only to end up doing -4 damage per shot. It's laughable. The starting weapon shouldn't need the most skill to use.
  • Give primary less spread (and slightly less dmg to compensate) so it's usable from further away.
  • Make secondary faster with less dmg.
This may make it difficult for players to learn how to use SG in non-casual modes, though.
The idea is that unless they wanna be competitive and wanna actively learn to get better, they wouldn't go to the competitive servers. The Recommended category in the server browser would be the casual servers and the competitive would be clearly marked as such (in fact, they already are a separate category in git/autobuild). If people wanna start being competitive, they have much bigger obstacles (item control, timing, combos) in front of them than different SG spread.

(01-21-2017, 04:53 PM)Freddy Wrote: I still think that slap should be moved to blaster secondary for all balances.
If we indeed decide to (sometimes) give different starting weapon than SG, it would probably be a good idea. In that case however, I'd really like if pressing blaster again reverted to previous weapon like blaster secondary does now. We could have a toggle in the menu if someone doesn't like the behavior (default on). It would make it more clear that blaster is only for quick jumps, not for fighting (usually).

(01-21-2017, 04:53 PM)Freddy Wrote: Also, there are already other shotgun secondary attacks available (apropos g_balance_shotgun_secondary).
1 seems to be slap, 2 quickly fires three shots like on nexuiz/akimbo. From what I've seem on the nexuiz servers, that makes primary completely redundant. I feel like this is unnecessary dumbing down and makes the weapon pretty boring.

(01-21-2017, 04:54 PM)Smilecythe Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 12:23 PM)martin-t Wrote: Xonotic should be more about fighting and less about collecting stuff.
That's where you misunderstand Xonotic though. It's not primarily about fighting, rather it's about surviving. In CS, you're expected to run off and fight, in Xonotic you're expected to run off to resources and survive. It's pointless to cater to an audience that prefers a different type of gameplay in first place. It can help more people getting into the game, but that game would not be Xonotic. This would in no way help the existing vanilla community, other than by (maybe) creating content like the Instagib community often is.

Jeff's servers shift towards fighting a lot more, but even they retain the survival based infrastructure. It's just a lot harder to survive there as opposed to just running around guns blazing and dying left and right. EDIT: Just like Jeff's servers, you're free to do whatever modification of the core gameplay you want. Just don't expect every idea sticking onto the default settings.
Yes, I realized it's about surviving some time ago and I started playing Overkill accordingly. Now it's almost dead. I don't claim I am solely responsible but I was the most active player for quite some time and I certainly wasn't alone who learned how to play "properly". Surviving is fun for me personally but it's just not what most people are looking for in this game. Half the people on jeff's and akimbo are former overkill players. We drove them away and vanilla is doing the same.

(01-21-2017, 04:54 PM)Smilecythe Wrote: Xonotic vanilla is not that hard to grasp, rather than making it simpler we should point the effort towards tutorials, tips and guides. It's already quite simple compared to what other arena shooters have to offer. I'd even argue it's the easiest arena shooter to learn, as far as resource control goes.
They don't realize what they're doing wrong. I sometimes like to watch how people play on public servers (WTWRP deathmatch, BuddyFriendGuy's Fun server, ...) and they're terrible. They don't know how to use most of the weapons. Nobody steers rockets, nobody combos electro, almost nobody switches weapons. Not even a hint of comboing to improve dmg/s. Nobody uses blaster to get faster. I saw a guy stuck in a tiny hole just a bit too deep for normal jump for a whole minute before I managed to show him to push himself out. Hell, how often do you see people at least bunnyhop? You can't possibly expect them to understand item control.

Xonotic-casual is meant as a stepping stone that gives people a taste of what the game offers without overwhelming them. Survival and item control are great and I am starting to like vanilla more and more but it took me 3 years of playing different mods to get here.

Just look at xonotic.org. "It combines intuitive mechanics with in-your-face action to elevate your heart rate." This is exactly what I am aiming for with the casual balance. Tutorials can only get you so far. We need to let players have fun while learning and that means preventing pros from completely trashing them on casual servers.

(01-22-2017, 06:17 AM)PinkRobot Wrote: I don't think stripping this game down to something where nobody recognizes it anymore will magically invent a new playerbase for it. Those people are busy playing shooters that are not Xonotic.
See response to smile. I am only stripping down "features" that serve pros. I bet most casual players won't even notice the difference. Once they learn the "basics" and start to feel limited by casual, they're free to move on to competitive. I am not trying to magically invent a new playerbase, I am trying to prevent people from ragequitting without giving Xonotic a chance.
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#8
martin-t, I very much appreciate that you are trying to make things more enjoyable for beginners. And I think many of your ideas will give them a much easier time.

I also think this "beginner mode" cannot be too disconnected from the essence of Xonotic. Ideally, I'd like beginners to grow to be able to play/enjoy the current "normal mode" (and eventually the "pro mode"). The normal mode, in my opinion, provides a path to grow for a long time (the "pro mode", even more so, but I'm not an expert in the pro mode).

I think the transition between the beginner mode to the normal mode should be smooth, i.e. they shouldn't be drastically different.

Jeff's servers have their niche. For me, I go to Jeff's server for those fun maps, some silly weapons, and most of all, player presence around my usual play time. However, it's quite hard for me to improve my skills in such servers because there is too much unpredictability which makes learning difficult.

I believe this is the reason why those who play on akimo or Jeff's servers usually don't go to other servers.

Actually, the players are already divided. I don't race much because it requires very specific skills that I wasn't able to learn from other modes. I don't do insta much because my aiming isn't that accurate. I don't do hook much because that also requires very different skills.

There's nothing wrong with having these different modes and I very much appreciate that Xonotic provides different types of fun (I hope some day I can become good at racing, insta, and hooks).

However, I feel the beginner mode has its special role. It shouldn't be a "mod" like race/insta/hook. It should give beginners some taste of what Xonotic is really about.

Many of your suggestions serve this purpose, but I think it'll be helpful if we can discuss the goal first.
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#9
I don't think that fighting symptoms is ever a long term solution. Let's take it a step further: if new players don't know how to run, take away bunny hopping for everyone?

I have also seen new players not picking up any items. I too have the feeling that they just don't know that it is needed in this game. But I think it's counter productive to then remove the need to pick up stuff.

If you make the game more about fighting then you make it even more about aim. New players will still lose out to pro's, maybe even more so. I'm an old man with pretty lousy reflexes so I could never compete with the aim of better players. In FFA my only hope it to keep running, picking up stuff and getting to higher ground. Take that away and I am a sitting duck.

We are probably just doing a bad job at showing those new players that running around and picking up stuff is one of the most important aspects of the Xonotic gameplay. Maybe we can think of ways to do that better.

In my opinion we need an in-game tutorial to show these essential elements to new players. Within five minutes after launching the game they should be able to join servers and have something of an idea what is going on and what they should be doing. I don't even care if it's just a screen at launch with a couple of bullet points about the game Wink
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#10
I don't believe in taking away from the gameplay either (in fact, I think starting with all weapons takes away the fun too), but if we continue to balance the game only for duel (stripping away all randomness and variety), then public (and casual) matches will be less enjoyable, and as we've seen, less active.

Contrary to popular belief, tutorials and guides only help a minority of players, especially in an FPS where one thinks they "know" the basics already (or finds enjoyment in figuring out the game without being told what to do and where to go).
There's also the issue of the need of a tutorial being discussed for years, and only one partial attempt at making something like that a reality...

My opinion of not focusing on fighting would be due to preferring the resource management and survival aspects of games, but it should still be an intuitive side in which one doesn't get utterly destroyed if they don't know the exact combo to use at that moment in time.
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#11
I don't see how making the gameplay more random on as large a scale as this is beneficial to newbies at all. Someone who knows what the game mechanics are will always win from someone who doesn't. Give a new player all the weapons and a pro only shotgun and the pro will win without problems.

I really don't think you should fix new players not going anywhere by making it pointless to go somewhere. That's throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I would much prefer a Newbie server on regular settings where advanced players are simply not welcome. Put that server on top of all the others in the server list as "Recommended". Make sure there are always some bots online so that it shows 4/16 players and new players will join it. That way you do not divide the playerbase even more by settings, but rather by skill level.

Long story short, I'm with BuddyFriendGuy. We could use some help but let's first establish what the goal is and what the ways are to get there. Not every solution should have to do with balance. It would have to become the default Xonotic balance to retain some sort of uniformity in the game and I do not think that would be beneficial in the long run.

And pessimistic me says arena shooters are pretty much history anyway. So let's at least try to make sure that the people that are playing it regularly now are having a good old time and not rebalance the whole game for a group of players I am not convinced even exists.
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#12
I do acknowledge that we have a lot to improve upon when it comes to welcoming new players, but I'd like to see a solution that doesn't involve creating yet another configuration. Perhaps we need to focus instead on cultivating and growing skill. Part of that is having a set of people who can welcome new players and guide them towards some successful in-game habits. Another part is to have more educational resources like videos, tutorials, or blog posts. We have people who are pretty skilled at doing these things, so I'd ask them to contribute them back in a way that makes things easily discoverable to new players.

- Have a video? Let me know and I'll feature it on the site, favorite it on YT, or post it on Twitter.
- Have some strategy you'd like to share? Write it down and I'll publish it as a blog post.
- Can't do any of these things? Take some of your free time to idle on a "vanilla" server and be a helpful ambassador to the game.

As a side note: Vanilla is not as unpopular as it might seem, and I think confirmation bias is playing a role here. Looking into the database of the games played over the past year, the top mod is Insta with 41% of games (75.6K) and vanilla is in second place with 35% of the games (64.5K). The rest form a long tail of numerous mods.
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#13
Couldn't agree more. I wish I had more time :o((
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#14
(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 04:53 PM)Freddy Wrote: I still think that slap should be moved to blaster secondary for all balances.
If we indeed decide to (sometimes) give different starting weapon than SG, it would probably be a good idea. In that case however, I'd really like if pressing blaster again reverted to previous weapon like blaster secondary does now. We could have a toggle in the menu if someone doesn't like the behavior (default on). It would make it more clear that blaster is only for quick jumps, not for fighting (usually).
How many ppl are actually using blaster secondary to switch weapons? There is a bind that does that for every weapon (default: Q), so why have this redundant feature? It's also inconsistent with other weapon secondaries.
Also, if one were to disable the switching in the menu, what would they get instead? A "dead" key? Or another attack mode that would give them more options in fighting -> an advantage for ppl who tinker with settings ("pros")

(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 04:53 PM)Freddy Wrote: Also, there are already other shotgun secondary attacks available (apropos g_balance_shotgun_secondary).
1 seems to be slap, 2 quickly fires three shots like on nexuiz/akimbo. From what I've seem on the nexuiz servers, that makes primary completely redundant. I feel like this is unnecessary dumbing down and makes the weapon pretty boring.
That attack could be easily combined with charging, so it would not be overpowered, dumbed down and boring.

(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote: Yes, I realized it's about surviving some time ago and I started playing Overkill accordingly. Now it's almost dead. I don't claim I am solely responsible but I was the most active player for quite some time and I certainly wasn't alone who learned how to play "properly". Surviving is fun for me personally but it's just not what most people are looking for in this game. Half the people on jeff's and akimbo are former overkill players. We drove them away and vanilla is doing the same.
I think jeff's and the akimbo servers are popular because there are a few ppl who actually like them and are already on them when other players come home. Very few ppl visit empty servers.

(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote: They don't realize what they're doing wrong. I sometimes like to watch how people play on public servers (WTWRP deathmatch, BuddyFriendGuy's Fun server, ...) and they're terrible. They don't know how to use most of the weapons. Nobody steers rockets, nobody combos electro, almost nobody switches weapons. Not even a hint of comboing to improve dmg/s. Nobody uses blaster to get faster. I saw a guy stuck in a tiny hole just a bit too deep for normal jump for a whole minute before I managed to show him to push himself out. Hell, how often do you see people at least bunnyhop? You can't possibly expect them to understand item control.
A very basic ingame tutorial would be enough to prevent that.

(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote: Xonotic-casual is meant as a stepping stone that gives people a taste of what the game offers without overwhelming them. Survival and item control are great and I am starting to like vanilla more and more but it took me 3 years of playing different mods to get here.
Removing the features that they need to learn does not help them learn these features. If you played modes/mods that have these features, you would also have learnt it faster. I played insta almost exclusively for quite a while (only a little bit of cra or ok). When I started playing vanilla, I quickly learnt that item gathering is important because I got crushed since other ppl used them. The singleplayer campain does not make this clear as you only need a somewhat good aim to finish it. What's needed is a tutorial level that maybe is even forced onto you when you first start the game.

Another question could be: How do other games handle beginners?
Overwatch: Training area and matchmaking
Rocket League: Training area and matchmaking
LOL, DOTA: They don't seem to have much ingame help for beginners
TF2: Claims to have "Detailed training and offline practice modes"
CS: Not much to learn except aim
L4D, Rainbow Six, Arma, Battlefield etc: They have a singleplayer campain that teaches you

So except for LOL and DOTA these games have a tutorial (=singleplayer) or matchmaking.
IMO we need an ingame tutorial. Advertised casual servers only for beginners would help, but using a different balance for them is the wrong way. Most ppl would never do the switch to other servers since they would need to learn new features as well as play against stronger opponents
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#15
I want to throw in my thoughts on the "empty vanilla servers" that are considered the issue. In Summer and early Fall 2016, my vanilla server was one of the most active servers by XonStats' metrics. Here in this snapshot, https://archive.fo/tmXuA , it's second place behind an instagib server. So here, I say people are still willing to play vanilla.

I also want to recognize the player populating behavior, where if one or two people are on a server during a specific hour of the day, the server activity "snowballs" with high player counts concentrated for that one server of the category its in.

Nowadays, my server is mostly empty because the usual people, players dedicated to a server (i.e not random casuals), are not there anymore because they don't want to play FFA Deathmatch anymore and would rather play Duel, CTS, or some other game. FFA Deathmatch in particular, because it can be played with an odd number of people and with the other game modes, there's the self-imposed issue of getting teams to be fair and fun for both.

Before work is invested to whatever new game mods, configurations, et al. I'd like the careful consideration into how servers get populated. Some servers have communities to kick start these large scale matches, and some don't.

Also, another thought:
If I were to evaluate the activities of modes, it wouldn't be by match count because of the amount of time for a match to finish will vary. Meanwhile a vanilla CTF match may take 20 minutes, multiple instactf matches may conclude within that time.
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#16
Antares - you'd have similar issues going by time spent as well (2 person, 20 minute CTF duels anyone?). Using match count is nothing more than a rough metric, but the fact that it has some inherent jitter doesn't mean it is invalid.
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#17
I didn't say it was invalid and neither did I say I would be going by session time.


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#18
@BuddyFriendGuy, thanks for the response, I mostly agree with your post, just wanna clarify:

(01-22-2017, 11:49 PM)BuddyFriendGuy Wrote: I also think this "beginner mode" cannot be too disconnected from the essence of Xonotic. Ideally, I'd like beginners to grow to be able to play/enjoy the current "normal mode" (and eventually the "pro mode"). The normal mode, in my opinion, provides a path to grow for a long time (the "pro mode", even more so, but I'm not an expert in the pro mode).

Right now the only balance difference between "normal" xonotic and xpm are limits on health/armor pickups. (Plus shootfromeye and some cup-related features like warmup etc. which don't affect gameplay noticeably imho) It's unfortunate because as I understand it, the XPM limits are there to provide more balance by making it harder to stack which would be really nice in "normal mode". On the other hand, current "normal" xonotic still includes some (again imho) hardcore pro features like being able to time items. As soon as one player starts timing them in DM, he gets a total monopoly on them. (To this I get replies like "then ambush him", "start timing as well" - you can't expect casual people or complete newbies to do this successfully. Any time I try I fail miserably and I dare say that at least I know what I am doing, most people don't at all.)

(01-22-2017, 11:49 PM)BuddyFriendGuy Wrote: I think the transition between the beginner mode to the normal mode should be smooth, i.e. they shouldn't be drastically different.

...

However, I feel the beginner mode has its special role. It shouldn't be a "mod" like race/insta/hook. It should give beginners some taste of what Xonotic is really about.

Many of your suggestions serve this purpose, but I think it'll be helpful if we can discuss the goal first.

Totally agreed, I am not trying to make another mod, just tone down the pro features.

Goals:
  • 1) Make it fun for people who have no aspiration to play "ProMode" - jeff+nexuiz excel at this
  • 2) Teach the basic mechanics gradually so when/if they chose to play "ProMode" they have an easier time than starting from scratch.




@PinkRobot, I don't wanna remove items completely, just reduce the need to obsessively collect them. Yes, pros will still win but less. Obviously, I am not proposing a balance where newbies rule and pros cry for help, I just wanna make the differences less extreme.



(01-23-2017, 05:10 AM)Mario Wrote: Contrary to popular belief, tutorials and guides only help a minority of players, especially in an FPS where one thinks they "know" the basics already (or finds enjoyment in figuring out the game without being told what to do and where to go).
There's also the issue of the need of a tutorial being discussed for years, and only one partial attempt at making something like that a reality...

After my experience with making an Overkill tutorial (text+videos), I can't stress this enough. Videos or detailed text tutorials will only help people who are already willing to learn and actively looking to improve. Most people are not. Neither will help a dialog box with a couple bullet-points when first launching Xon.

Xon really needs an in-game tutorial level that explains things in a short and concise way while letting the player have fun. I think Cortez666 got closest with his running levels.



(01-23-2017, 10:21 AM)Freddy Wrote:
(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 04:53 PM)Freddy Wrote: I still think that slap should be moved to blaster secondary for all balances.
If we indeed decide to (sometimes) give different starting weapon than SG, it would probably be a good idea. In that case however, I'd really like if pressing blaster again reverted to previous weapon like blaster secondary does now. We could have a toggle in the menu if someone doesn't like the behavior (default on). It would make it more clear that blaster is only for quick jumps, not for fighting (usually).
How many ppl are actually using blaster secondary to switch weapons? There is a bind that does that for every weapon (default: Q), so why have this redundant feature? It's also inconsistent with other weapon secondaries.
Also, if one were to disable the switching in the menu, what would they get instead? A "dead" key? Or another attack mode that would give them more options in fighting -> an advantage for ppl who tinker with settings ("pros")
A "dead" key. Any key is dead if you already have the weapon selected and it doesn't have reload. The last weapon bind requires another key which is an expensive commodity around WASD. Especially if I only intend to use it for blaster. Imho, my suggestion doesn't hurt anything (as long as blaster doesn't reload).

It would give pros an advantage if it was off by default. That's why I said it should be on. Defaults and ease of use in open source wildly underestimated. Unfortunately, the consensus about better binds was "let noobs suffer".

(01-23-2017, 10:21 AM)Freddy Wrote:
(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote:
(01-21-2017, 04:53 PM)Freddy Wrote: Also, there are already other shotgun secondary attacks available (apropos g_balance_shotgun_secondary).
1 seems to be slap, 2 quickly fires three shots like on nexuiz/akimbo. From what I've seem on the nexuiz servers, that makes primary completely redundant. I feel like this is unnecessary dumbing down and makes the weapon pretty boring.
That attack could be easily combined with charging, so it would not be overpowered, dumbed down and boring.
Sorry if I came across too harshly, I just have this attack connected with nexuiz/akimbo, which means I hate it Wink

I never was a fan of hagar secondary charging, it felt campy and without a drawback to make up for it. OTOH, anything as long as it's newbie friendly.

(01-23-2017, 10:21 AM)Freddy Wrote: I think jeff's and the akimbo servers are popular because there are a few ppl who actually like them and are already on them when other players come home. Very few ppl visit empty servers.
Agreed, sadly vanilla doesn't inspire such devotion from players.

(01-23-2017, 10:21 AM)Freddy Wrote: A very basic ingame tutorial would be enough to prevent that.
Agreed.

(01-23-2017, 10:21 AM)Freddy Wrote:
(01-22-2017, 10:53 PM)martin-t Wrote: Xonotic-casual is meant as a stepping stone that gives people a taste of what the game offers without overwhelming them. Survival and item control are great and I am starting to like vanilla more and more but it took me 3 years of playing different mods to get here.
Removing the features that they need to learn does not help them learn these features. If you played modes/mods that have these features, you would also have learnt it faster. I played insta almost exclusively for quite a while (only a little bit of cra or ok). When I started playing vanilla, I quickly learnt that item gathering is important because I got crushed since other ppl used them. The singleplayer campain does not make this clear as you only need a somewhat good aim to finish it. What's needed is a tutorial level that maybe is even forced onto you when you first start the game.
I took a similar path - insta -> CRA -> OK -> OK+vanilla. I would not have stayed with xon if it didn't have beginner friendly mods like insta and CRA. My point is Xonotic expects too much at once. We both used insta as our stepping stone but not everyone likes insta and with CRA dead + OK getting too pro lately they have no other options.

Plus don't forget that some people don't want to be competitive. I'd say the jeff+nexuiz crowd is quite happy with the simpler gameplay.

Finally, notice that I am not for removing features, I want to make them less overpowered.

(01-23-2017, 10:21 AM)Freddy Wrote: IMO we need an ingame tutorial. Advertised casual servers only for beginners would help, but using a different balance for them is the wrong way. Most ppl would never do the switch to other servers since they would need to learn new features as well as play against stronger opponents
I bet those "most ppl" right now quit Xon because it's too hard. At least we'd have a playerbase that would more easily attract other players. Important is that some people would switch.

Not everybody wants to be competitive. Let's not pretend like XPM should be the endgame for everyone. The playerbase is already fragmented with a lot of people playing essentially a 6? years old version of nexuiz. What happens to them when nexuiz is gone?



[Image: 6QxXhFf.png]

^ Antares*, Antibody that is generated from our 3 master servers - It represents more or less what players see in the server list (some private servers have stats enabled, some (a lot) public servers have stats disabled so they don't show up in xonstats and its database).

Vanilla here represents all servers I could not classify as a known mod (hence the "/other"), it includes servers which may be slightly modified or mods I have overlooked.

---

I feel like a lot of people are rejecting my ideas because they're not perfect. However, they're easy and fast to implement - most of them could be tested on current servers.

Don't forget current git/autobuild already has Recommended, Competitive Servers, Normal Servers and Modified Servers so I am not proposing such drastic separation as some might think. Just make the new casual "Normal" and classify the current normal as ProMode (which it essentially is).

I think this is better than nothing because nothing is what we've been doing so far and I don't remember a time vanilla was popular. If/When someone makes a proper tut, that we can reevaluate if casual still has a purpose.
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#19
I disagree with the proposed configurations in your opening post because I think it creates the scenario that when the training wheels or crutch comes off, it's much harder.

So the item jitter randomizes the item spawn times. So by playing this casual balance, they won't learn the real item times. And when they do come out of casual balance to try the vanilla game, they may confuse themselves- is the MA/MH spawns random just like my casual mode, or were the timers 25s, 35s, or the other way around? Meanwhile, they also may get the wrong impression, if they were competitive in other games, that Xonotic is non-deterministic in this sense thus conclude some common perceptions of randomness and fairness.

Indeed it is common for new players to completely disregard item pickups and opt for offense, but informing them, whether its another player or the HUD itself (e.g them actually dealing more damage but still losing), about this changes this behavior.

Edit:
Also label your y-axis.
And the odd new player that isn't as aim-inclined and relies more on map tactics, would not benefit from a casual mode that complicates map control.
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#20
Most good intuitive games give you tips while actually playing, not as part of some specially designed map (that, let's face it, will probably never be built - this conversation has been on a loop for years).
We could do this via a "hints" HUD panel that tells the player they need to collect armour, or that their health is low. While I may not think much of games that tell you exactly where to go and what to do, some basic advice while learning (that can be turned off if desired) would benefit in a big way, especially compared to a desolate training map with no players to play with.

It would also have a much higher chance of making a difference (maybe I'm the only one who skipped the tutorial map in Nexuiz?).

As for the more advanced stuff like strafing: TimePath was working on an in-game guide in the menu. If made easily accessible and provided enough information, one would take quick reference and try it while in a match (or of course, in a local match if they want to practice alone).
This could tie in with the hints system, which once player has acknowledged most of the hints, they're told about the menu for further guidance.


While the balance for public servers is far from perfect, I think it doesn't need too much in the way of dumbing down mechanics (that said, things like buffs replacing powerups and maybe even random item timings would be a good start).
As someone who just checks on the megas occasionally instead of trying to time them, I don't think much of those elitists who spend the time to study their respawn times to get an advantage, especially in public matches. Rewarding skill by giving them even more of an advantage does seem a bit silly in a way... Almost as silly as giving a player instagib for half a minute with that insanely overpowered strength powerup.
[Image: 230.png]
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#21
(01-25-2017, 05:28 PM)Mario Wrote: Most good intuitive games give you tips while actually playing, not as part of some specially designed map (that, let's face it, will probably never be built - this conversation has been on a loop for years).
We could do this via a "hints" HUD panel that tells the player they need to collect armour, or that their health is low. While I may not think much of games that tell you exactly where to go and what to do, some basic advice while learning (that can be turned off if desired) would benefit in a big way, especially compared to a desolate training map with no players to play with.

It would also have a much higher chance of making a difference (maybe I'm the only one who skipped the tutorial map in Nexuiz?).
Or some detailed scoreboard reporting on map control as opposed to just reporting shooting accuracy and damage.

Look at the end match screen for this single player game, where you run around collect "orbs" scattered around the level and kill things. You do well, if you're fast, collected those orbs, killed things (stylishly), and didn't take much damage and the game reports on how much the player has collected and etc. It's a completely different genre, but generally players understand the nuances beyond killing things, and get an idea where and how they can improve.

   

Also going back to the balance idea, I am slightly reminded of the gun game in CSGO. If there is to be a game configuration to draw in new players by having it focused on fighting as opposed to map control, there is already Last Man Standing and the team equivalent, Clan Arena. But those aren't commonly played.
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#22
(01-25-2017, 05:28 PM)Mario Wrote: We could do this via a "hints" HUD panel that tells the player they need to collect armour, or that their health is low.
How about making health and armor pickups blinking to make it blatantly obvious that you should collect them?
And while I personly dislike it, we could also add heartbeat sounds and the cliched red tinted screen to the default config (would need a prominent place in the settings menu as quite many ppl find that annoying).
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#23
I think one obvious and neutralish thing we can do to make vanilla inherently easier, is to have item respawn timers or respawn waypoints visible for players. The former was not received very well in Reflex (because there was no option to force it off) but it clearly helped new players to become more systematic at item control. This would lower difficulty without mutating the infrastructure of the gameplay.
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#24
(01-25-2017, 01:47 PM)Antares* Wrote: I disagree with the proposed configurations in your opening post because I think it creates the scenario that when the training wheels or crutch comes off, it's much harder.

And I disagree because I think most players will never want to take the training wheels off at all. See any other simplified mod. When overkill died those players didn't move to other game modes. They just quit playing Xonotic. Minsta players, if that great scene ever stops playing, will not move to vanilla for a better challenge, they will move to a new easy fast minsta-like game. We had a huge defrag scene at some point. Those players didn't move to vanilla, they moved to another defrag game.

What new players play in the first days and weeks becomes "the game Xonotic" for them. They either find what they like, or they don't. And you can only like vanilla if you like a challenge. Small tweaks will not help that. Big tweaks will change the game into something it is not. This is no solution.

The problem seems to be that at least it's something we could easily do and it would make us feel like we were doing something. Like Mario said: the actual solutions would be hard and maybe even impossible to do. But that does not changing the balance the right course of action.
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#25
I feel like we have a misunderstanding here. Antares*, PinkRobot and maybe others respond like I am trying to create a "tutorial" mod only for beginners. No. I am trying to create a relaxed and fun experience for both newbies and casual players alike. Some responses also indicate that everybody should in the end go play "normal xonotic" which would be basically XPM. No. Why? Why couldn't people be happy without timing megas? Xonotic-casual shouldn't be a staging area - it should be the real thing - and XPM should be for the competitive minority. Casual is not ever a mod, it's only a slight variation with a bit lower skill ceiling designed to keep pros out (happy on their XPM servers) while still offering (almost) the same depth as XPM.



(01-25-2017, 01:47 PM)Antares* Wrote: So the item jitter randomizes the item spawn times. So by playing this casual balance, they won't learn the real item times. And when they do come out of casual balance to try the vanilla game, they may confuse themselves- is the MA/MH spawns random just like my casual mode, or were the timers 25s, 35s, or the other way around?
This post sounds like nitpicking. According to you it's easier to learn bunnyhopping, laser movement, combos, all the weapons AND item control at the same time? It surely can't be easier to get one thing right at a time. This problem is easily avoided by just having the differences documented in an accessible way. People who care about being competitive will learn it pretty fast.

(01-25-2017, 01:47 PM)Antares* Wrote: And the odd new player that isn't as aim-inclined and relies more on map tactics, would not benefit from a casual mode that complicates map control.
So we lose that one odd new player. Currently we're losing the majority because the majority are aim inclined. Just look at the webpage, it screams ACTION, not item control.



Agreed with Mario about in-game tips (perhaps as part of HUD, loading screen isn't a bad place either since there are no distractions at that time).

(01-25-2017, 05:28 PM)Mario Wrote: While the balance for public servers is far from perfect, I think it doesn't need too much in the way of dumbing down mechanics ...
Please don't feel like I am trying to dumb the game down. I am only against creating invincible 200/100 or 200/200 tanks who only switch between vortex and RL and kill everything in their path. 25 and 50 items will still be important when you're hurt which is imho enough considering their abundance.



(01-25-2017, 06:35 PM)Antares* Wrote: Or some detailed scoreboard reporting on map control as opposed to just reporting shooting accuracy and damage.

I am pretty sure this is being worked on although it'll almost certainly not make it to 0.8.2. Strongly in favor of this feature.

(01-25-2017, 06:35 PM)Antares* Wrote: If there is to be a game configuration to draw in new players by having it focused on fighting as opposed to map control, there is already Last Man Standing and the team equivalent, Clan Arena. But those aren't commonly played.
Both of them have a huge issue: They make players wait. We usually lose about half the players per after each LMS game in OK. It's highly unsuitable for people who get killed a lot which is basically all beginners. Not to mention the high hitpoints mean there are fewer kills which again makes it boring for casuals who play mostly to get kills.



(01-25-2017, 09:09 PM)Smilecythe Wrote: I think one obvious and neutralish thing we can do to make vanilla inherently easier, is to have item respawn timers or respawn waypoints visible for players. The former was not received very well in Reflex (because there was no option to force it off) but it clearly helped new players to become more systematic at item control. This would lower difficulty without mutating the infrastructure of the gameplay.
That was my idea too before I discovered jitter. Maybe your experience from Reflex is different but in Overkill we have this and I looking back feel like it mostly helps people who already care about items while newbies and lots of casuals continue to ignore them. Focus on casuals - I've seen people ignore them despite being told how important they are.


(01-26-2017, 04:26 AM)PinkRobot Wrote: When overkill died those players didn't move to other game modes. They just quit playing Xonotic.
That's just plain incorrect. Most overkill players moved on to jeff's and later akimbo. About half of the initial playerbase there was from overkill. Even now (over a year later) I recognize a lot of the names when i look there.

(01-26-2017, 04:26 AM)PinkRobot Wrote: What new players play in the first days and weeks becomes "the game Xonotic" for them.
Not if we make the differences clear (duel is already separate anyway) and guide the few competitive players in the right direction while giving the rest the defaults they want, expect and currently only find in mods.

---

To me it seems like vanilla has a few very active hardcore competitive players who are vocal about what they want in Xonotic and Xonotic bends over backwards to make them happy while completely ignoring the silent majority who are here just to have fun (and move on if they can't because they're losing all the time).
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