Handicap for aliens

CRaZyCAT
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2 October 2017 - 17:04 CEST
#1
NSL matches with low skill level of participants always had the problem with marine winrate. So it was during Season 3 in 2013, so it will be during every Season. For these four years nothing was done to improve the quality of low skill matches.
Yesterday I witnessed another coinflip-based victory in Newcomer Tournament and I had an idea why we did not try to solve this problem by use of sv_nslhandicap feature that was always an option?
In my opinion the main reason of marines failure in low-skilled matches is a bad shooting so it seems to me the best solution would be if we could somehow increase the marine outgoing damage but afaik sv_nslhandicap do not allow such things so only way we can try it is to decrease alien outgoing damage.
I suggest to use 12% handicap for aliens which will follow decrease 75 to 66; 60 to 52,8; 50 to 44; 90 to 79,2; 10 to 8,8.

Also we can use another fixed spawns settings to ease the marines the winning.
The bad side of the medal is that these change will require some habituation from both sides. At least we can try it and check if it can positively influence the marine winrate. The idea should be abandoned if it won't change the winrate properly or, on the contrary, we can try increase the handicap value.
If somebody has the better suggestions how to make low level matches more unpredictable please post them. Anyway such features should be spelled out in the rules and I suggest to add a new section to the chapter 8 (Match Procedures) of the rules:

"(i) In order to improve the quality of the game in matches where low skilled players take part it's allowed to set 12% handicap (decreased damage by percent) for the alien team.
(ii) That could be apply as the rule by decision of the NSL administration for entire division or entire tournament only before the contest start. It is stronly recommended to ensure referee attendance on these matches.
(iii) If it turns out that some of players did not set the proper handicap the round could be replayed at the request of the opponent or the match could be forfeited in case if that players did that knowingly and tried to conceal that fact (e.g. by adding a ' (12%)' line in the end of their nick).
(iv) To set a handicap in a right way EVERY (including the commander) alien player has to write the command "sv_nslhadnicap 0.88" in the game's console. That action should be performed before alien team denote 'ready'. If players did it correctly, the line ' (12%)' will appear in the end of their nick.".

The commander's hadnicap as I suppose should also affect whips, contamination's bilebomb and infestation vs armor damage values as well. And please somebody fix my rules wording.

P.S. It is quite easy to check if player set the proper hadnicap: on parasite hit game will show value "8", on lerk bite game will show value "52" and on onos hit game will show value "79". If player did not take lerk or onos it is getting harder to check if he use 11% or 12% hadnicap but it does not really matter.
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2 October 2017 - 18:21 CEST
#2
You're right that NSL mod currently doesn't allow a handicap greater than 1 but this should be quite trivialTM to change. But then you would have to restrict who can set handicaps greater than 1. I guess only referees?

P.S. sv_nslinfo theoretically shows handicaps (haven't tested it in a while)
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#3
why not just have people get good instead of making the game even more handholding than it already is.
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#4
I don't think it's just the shooting. You could say that, but I'm sure the aliens miss a lot on that level too. It's also marines not playing aggressive.

The marines in the newcomer tournament kept giving the aliens 5 extractors to start the game it seemed like. I didn't go back through the videos to verify that, but seemed like in the games I watched aliens were holding a lot of res early easily. It takes time to realize 6v6 you can't sit back most of the time and give aliens a ton of res. You have to pressure at the right times. Marines takes an adjustment. By being agressive, it also helps you get lifeforms down because aliens are more likely to go for risky plays instead of doing whatever they want.

On aliens, you just kill the marines and stay alive on low level. You don't have to time your attacks perfectly. So alien play is generally easier to be successful. On pub servers, it's different. Even if you sit back, you have more marines (sometimes much more) shooting the aliens instead of only a couple. And you can slowly take back the map more. The player count on those servers changes the game-play, and because I don't think the game really shows any emphasis on aggressive marine play.

So what helps is teaching people how and when to be aggressive on marines, and that takes time. Of course going over positioning and shooting drills would also help. They both matter. You would have to totally change the game to make up for lack of aggressive marines (like your handicap suggestion), is that better than teaching people how to play it?
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#5
I need to agree with Deck. In 2015 when I joined the NCT it was a bit different. We were friends playing together on pubservers with no idea how to comp. We grouped up, played som PCW's (and got wrecked) to prepare us for the NCT. Also after the NCT we joined S6 and we learned alot in this time. Especially when you are a bad shot (like me) it is way more important to compensate this with positioning, awareness, learning to focus on 1 target, cornerchecking and keeping the distance. In pubplay it's common to resbite as aliens, also since bad players who don't like to engage marines, get something valuable to do for theyre team. But to do the same as marines and go yolo to take down a Harverster is rarely seen.
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#6
I don't think the finals were decided with just the coin flip, sure aliens won all rounds except one in NCT but I don't think there should be handicap.

After watching the streams after finals, it was clear that we made so many serious errors that helped opponen team win. I cringed when I watched myself play lol, also some players including me were pretty nervous ofc, so things went chaotic. I think main problem with no marine wins in NCT was too passive marine play, poor lane blocking in some games, bad phase gates/too much time spent defending those phase gates, running around the map just defending, waiting too long to make any pushes etc.
Only marine win in tournament we got was after we had reached ALMOST every upgrade, and decided to get aggressive pretty much because there wasnt anything else we could do.
I don't think player skill/"OP alien"/accuracy was the problem, it was more about how to play as a team together, knowing what to do, when to do it and confidence in what you are going to do.
It wasn't comp mods fault that we lost, it was our own fault not knowing what to do and how to do it properly. With more practice I think those faults could be erased.

If that makes any sense.
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3 October 2017 - 19:24 CEST
#7
I would like to add that the problem of low marine winrate is not only the problem of newcomers but a global problem of every low skill team including the low division teams.

Also IMO such artificial measures to increase marine viability shouldn't force the marine to be less agressive or to play wrong game meta. The only goal I want to see here is to increase the marine winrate.

I have been studying the problem of training weak russian teams for a long time and I can say with certainty that the main reason why weak players don't play agressive enough -> because they don't see why it may work in a way how it works in a skilled teams -> because they can't play an aggressive attack so that it does not lead to inglorious death -> ergo they can't play the proper 6v6 meta because of trivial reason: the bad shooting. Ofc this is not the whole picture but to some extent the handicap will affect positively on low skill players aggressiveness.
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3 October 2017 - 19:28 CEST
#8
Such game's aspects as a skulk shooting, postitioning and decision making very closely related and significantly correlated in case of skill growth. The bad shooting does not allow the bad player to do a good decision and vice versa.
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lebra
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#9

CRaZyCAT says

Such game's aspects as a skulk shooting, postitioning and decision making very closely related and significantly correlated in case of skill growth. The bad shooting does not allow the bad player to do a good decision and vice versa.



So it's not only being bad at video games, it's also related to being stupid?
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#10
I agree to both sides they should learn to get better on the game and that's probably the better way but for that you need people coaching teaching them and idk who will do that.

But if we just have a the lowest division with playing with a different handicap and we suddenly end up with 50%:50% marine to alien wins instead of 10%:90% marine to alien wins it was worth it.

Like as soon as a team gets better trough getting coached or trough tutorials or playing much or idk they will start winning Marines so they automatically gonna win that Division and can play in the next Season the next higher division without that handicap.

So i guess its worth a try on 4 Divisions ?

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#11
Marines lose because they don't know how to play... everyone agrees on that.

By hand holding and implementing a handicap to allow games to "feel" more balanced, you're actually hurting the marines, not helping.

How will they learn to play better? sure people could coach, but what about back at the beginning... who coached then? thats right, no one... people learned on their own through trial and error.

By implementing a handicap, you eliminate the likelihood of trial and error correcting them, because they are playing bad and still winning.

There are plenty of videos, forum posts and documents on both the NSL and the UWE forums that can help people if they are unable to find a coach.

TL:DR - Introducing a handicap will just make people continue to play the way they are now, nothing will change and they won't learn.
"Out with the gorge, into the ready room" F4 - iSay
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#12

Kash says

TL:DR - Introducing a handicap will just make people continue to play the way they are now, nothing will change and they won't learn.




You know if we judge a game's balance objectively we do not judge only the highest level of play. Primarily it's a game problem if it can't show a balanced gameplay in any level of playing. All of you are wrong here if you are thinking that weak players HAVE TO get better or otherwise they shouldn't play NSL. You can call them stupid, lazy, dependent persons and that's why they can't get better. Does this mean that we should not seek to improve the quality of their gameplay?

"You are playing in 4th Division and can't win marines? Get better! You can't get better? F*** you then!" As I understand, it was never the goal of this league. This league is about organized fun ns2 game experience but not about improving the skill level. The game remains unbalanced on the lowest skill level and NSL community should be interested in fixing this. It's sad that now players need to improve their skill level to feel the game more balanced.

IMHO
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#13

CRaZyCAT says


Kash says

TL:DR - Introducing a handicap will just make people continue to play the way they are now, nothing will change and they won't learn.




You know if we judge a game's balance objectively we do not judge only the highest level of play. Primarily it's a game problem if it can't show a balanced gameplay in any level of playing. All of you are wrong here if you are thinking that weak players HAVE TO get better or otherwise they shouldn't play NSL. You can call them stupid, lazy, dependent persons and that's why they can't get better. Does this mean that we should not seek to improve the quality of their gameplay?

"You are playing in 4th Division and can't win marines? Get better! You can't get better? F*** you then!" As I understand, it was never the goal of this league. This league is about organized fun ns2 game experience but not about improving the skill level. The game remains unbalanced on the lowest skill level and NSL community should be interested in fixing this. It's sad that now players need to improve their skill level to feel the game more balanced.

IMHO




Sadly I agree that people are very strict towards new players. However, if they are reaching out themselves and want to play against better teams or have any questions they want answers to, I for one am completely fine with explaining/helping them learn the game.
But it's not happening, and it isn't happening because newer players are put off by the 'git gud' attitude, when in reality if you really need help you are going to get it, people just aren't brave enough to ask.

Handicap shouldn't be used because it is not only severly hurting the player whos using it in muscle memory it is also making the 'worse' player think he has a real shot against higher teams because this guy shot 50 bullets or something and still didnt kill a lerk.
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#14

Spring says


Handicap shouldn't be used because it is not only severly hurting the player whos using it in muscle memory it is also making the 'worse' player think he has a real shot against higher teams because this guy shot 50 bullets or something and still didn't kill a lerk.




The thing about making worse players think they have a shoot against higher teams just scrim them without handicap and show them their limits easiest solution and tbh not a point to worry about.

I also might have misunderstood you.
But the idea is to give Handicap just to Aliens not Marines so it would still be the same amount of bullets to kill a Lerk.


Crazycat says


You know if we judge a game's balance objectively we do not judge only the highest level of play. Primarily it's a game problem if it can't show a balanced gameplay in any level of playing.




This period. Perfect balance is if every skill level has similar chances in win with a race. (maybe in different ways)
And this should also be the goal+fun+competitive idea.


So i see Crazycat's point the question is what does it really hurt if ask the Teams for the lowest division the question: "Handicap yes or no" and they say yes.

Like this is a fairly low price for keeping more players in the community and giving them a fun experience.



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#15
applying a damage handicap changes how aliens play entirely potentially. their skulks lerks and fades are going to build muscle memory for biting marines with extra bites, get good with it then be forced back to the real-game and have to relearn it all.

they won't be able to practice or build muscle memory in pubs or gathers. maybe not even scrims unless they are able to get a ref/admin in to set the handicap setting every map.

it's just a bad idea. if you insist on a handicap of some sort, it needs to be something that doesn't directly affect muscle memory when it comes to killing. maybe less res per tick, or less often ticks. idk. it'll mess up tech timings, but those are easy to adjust.
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#16

CRaZyCAT says


Kash says

TL:DR - Introducing a handicap will just make people continue to play the way they are now, nothing will change and they won't learn.




You know if we judge a game's balance objectively we do not judge only the highest level of play. Primarily it's a game problem if it can't show a balanced gameplay in any level of playing. All of you are wrong here if you are thinking that weak players HAVE TO get better or otherwise they shouldn't play NSL. You can call them stupid, lazy, dependent persons and that's why they can't get better. Does this mean that we should not seek to improve the quality of their gameplay?

"You are playing in 4th Division and can't win marines? Get better! You can't get better? F*** you then!" As I understand, it was never the goal of this league. This league is about organized fun ns2 game experience but not about improving the skill level. The game remains unbalanced on the lowest skill level and NSL community should be interested in fixing this. It's sad that now players need to improve their skill level to feel the game more balanced.

IMHO




I think we simply view this in a different way, which is fine, I do agree with your points.

My view on it isn't about players that don't want to learn, its about players that DO... some are too shy to come forward and ask for help, others suffer anxiety or similar, and some just don't know who to ask or where.
Those people learn from trial and error, but by imposing a handicap you limit the punishment for error, which hinders their ability to learn at a speed they would usually be able to learn at.

I do understand your points, and I do agree that "something" should be done to attempt to achieve balance... I just don't think that a handicap is the right way to go about it... not only because of what I've said above, but it could also be used as a crutch that people start to rely on, which means when they increase division and that crutch is suddenly removed, they suffer more and the chance of demoralisation is increased.
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#17

Kash says


CRaZyCAT says


Kash says

TL:DR - Introducing a handicap will just make people continue to play the way they are now, nothing will change and they won't learn.




You know if we judge a game's balance objectively we do not judge only the highest level of play. Primarily it's a game problem if it can't show a balanced gameplay in any level of playing. All of you are wrong here if you are thinking that weak players HAVE TO get better or otherwise they shouldn't play NSL. You can call them stupid, lazy, dependent persons and that's why they can't get better. Does this mean that we should not seek to improve the quality of their gameplay?

"You are playing in 4th Division and can't win marines? Get better! You can't get better? F*** you then!" As I understand, it was never the goal of this league. This league is about organized fun ns2 game experience but not about improving the skill level. The game remains unbalanced on the lowest skill level and NSL community should be interested in fixing this. It's sad that now players need to improve their skill level to feel the game more balanced.

IMHO




I do understand your points, and I do agree that "something" should be done to attempt to achieve balance... I just don't think that a handicap is the right way to go about it...



maybe they should git gud.
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5 October 2017 - 07:20 CEST
#18

turtsmcgurts says

applying a damage handicap changes how aliens play entirely potentially. their skulks lerks and fades are going to build muscle memory for biting marines with extra bites, get good with it then be forced back to the real-game and have to relearn it all.

they won't be able to practice or build muscle memory in pubs or gathers. maybe not even scrims unless they are able to get a ref/admin in to set the handicap setting every map.

it's just a bad idea. if you insist on a handicap of some sort, it needs to be something that doesn't directly affect muscle memory when it comes to killing. maybe less res per tick, or less often ticks. idk. it'll mess up tech timings, but those are easy to adjust.




I absolutely agree that it would be much more correct if we could use a different gameplay change than a alien handicap. From this point of view I think increasing marine damage multiplier the most "painless" since it will just make the marine who made only 100 damage make 110 damage or somehow so. This change has also the bad side of the medal too: in case if one player of low div team plays really good this can lead to the appearance of an "ultramarine" which rapes alien lifeforms with ease. It also adds a problem that Keats has already identified.

I just offered a simple and not requiring technical innovations method which we can use already now. I think Mega is right we just can ask weak teams yes or no. If they say yes we can test the change and see how it really affects gameplay. If it will increase the marine winrate perhaps we should go for the sacrifices you have identified.
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#19
There could be other soluations you could think over like giving marines a tiny bit more ressources or getting the Hitbox a bit bigger for them again.

Every change has the potential to give a bigger hurdle if they play the normal compmod.
And most importantly there should be a way to activate that via chatcommand if both teams agree.

Of course you can say get good, but that might never happen if they know they always will loose as marines -> they loose interest in competitive at all and the ensl dies out faster than it would have been
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#20
It takes alot of time to improve as a player and as a team. Nothing happens over night and nothing happens especially if you don't analyze your own gameplay and TRY to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid the same mistake in the future. Trial and error makes a better player, not fixed damage numbers.

Artificial damage handicap is the worst idea for the players to improve. It seems already that every pub server runs their own version of NS2. I still don't know which is the "right" one after coming back to this game, for example it feels like the alien upgrades are all different for each server, it's fucking hard to even figure that out. And now you want to make another version of comp mod too with different numbers? How is a new player going to figure that out? I'm not fond of this idea.

Once a team think they're "good" as marines and play the "real" comp mod against a decent team, they're gonna get fooked and the cycle starts all over again.

I watched a few matches the finns played in the newbie tournament and the problem wasn't the aiming or not being able to kill aliens, it was mostly decision making related. Not pushing at certain times or at all, missing important timings, sending too many marines to do simple stuff, or one marine to do important things, allowing gayliens to have routes to RTs etc.

I would say the main problem with new players is what happens between their ears. Thinking. They lack the experience to act and the way to fix that is by playing, analyzing and watching better players. Gameplay and positioning improves over time when you're getting killed in the same spot like an idiot multiple times, it's natural (selection). They improve over time IF they put the time and thought into it.

--

If the newbie teams want to play with said handicap, that's their business, but taking the step to higher level of play is going to be harder in the future.

tldr; git gud in time.
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#21

lebra says


Kash says


CRaZyCAT says


Kash says

TL:DR - Introducing a handicap will just make people continue to play the way they are now, nothing will change and they won't learn.




You know if we judge a game's balance objectively we do not judge only the highest level of play. Primarily it's a game problem if it can't show a balanced gameplay in any level of playing. All of you are wrong here if you are thinking that weak players HAVE TO get better or otherwise they shouldn't play NSL. You can call them stupid, lazy, dependent persons and that's why they can't get better. Does this mean that we should not seek to improve the quality of their gameplay?

"You are playing in 4th Division and can't win marines? Get better! You can't get better? F*** you then!" As I understand, it was never the goal of this league. This league is about organized fun ns2 game experience but not about improving the skill level. The game remains unbalanced on the lowest skill level and NSL community should be interested in fixing this. It's sad that now players need to improve their skill level to feel the game more balanced.

IMHO




I do understand your points, and I do agree that "something" should be done to attempt to achieve balance... I just don't think that a handicap is the right way to go about it...



maybe they should git gud.




I would be inclined to agree with you, they should just learn to play better... but the problem is, some people don't have the time spare to dedicate enough to the game to get as good as others, be it jobs, kids, or other hobbies, and some just don't have the ability (mechanically or via reflexes, or colourblindness/poor eyesight etc) to get as good as other people do.
To relegate those people to the same "aliens win XX% more than marines most of the time" scenario is frustrating for those involved.
I 100% believe in balancing from the top, any game should be balanced for the highest skill of play, but I believe alternatives should also be added in that don't really alter high skill play, but allow for lower skill play to achieve better balance.
"Out with the gorge, into the ready room" F4 - iSay
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#22
What Ive been wondering, how there is still no coin-flip function or so for official matches?

Would be nice, atleast for matches that are pretty much decided by coin flip. :)

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#23

Aazu says

What Ive been wondering, how there is still no coin-flip function or so for official matches?

Would be nice, atleast for matches that are pretty much decided by coin flip. :)




Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the only randomness is during playoffs:


Da Rules says

8(b)(v) At the beginning of the match the higher seeded team is determined by:
* the overall collection of points during regular season
* if tied: the collection of points against the other team during the regular season
* if tied: the number of won matches during the regular season
* if tied: by coin flip.



How often does this happen? There really should be refs present for playoff games.
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#24

Keats says


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the only randomness is during playoffs:





Yes or games like Newcomer Tournament.

Ive only got experience from NCT and few playoffs, and it would be nice to have /flipcoin command so everyone can see it, instead of 12 players trusting one internet guy.


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#25
Your pissed off that your latest games had no Ref (nearly every recent game)

Save other Teams from the same Problem and start becoming Ref:

https://www.ensl.org/articles/1013

Want to Become Caster/Referee for the ENSL Apply here: http://goo.gl/forms/Fp8vnCDelFYrqhDn2
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#26
lol mega good luck getting more refs.

since this is a coinflip thread now I'll let you know that coinflipping is now in the game. it costs USD0.99 per flip. if you don't want to pay you can alternatively post "ensl is dead" in the shoutbox.
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