Remove the NS2/Arcade Server Categories

GunterGunter Join Date: 2003-09-21 Member: 21101Members Posts: 7 Fully active user
With the small community of die-hards left that play NS2 regularly, it seems that the category system detracts from the overall population issue.

In particular, I've had a lot of fun (and I'm sure others have as well) playing Avoca's siege mod as well other mods, the category system just makes it more difficult (nearly impossible) get a decent size server populated.

Can we look at removing the categories from the server browser - back to the "good 'ol days"?

-Gunter.
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Comments

  • GhoulofGSG9GhoulofGSG9 Join Date: 2013-03-31 Member: 184566Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, Reinforced - Supporter, WC 2013 - Supporter, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,819 admin
    edited November 2016
    There seems to be a clear misunderstanding of that the server browser segregation makes it harder for custom game modes to get players.

    Custom game modes with the exception of combat and ns2large were never really popular at any time. Both of those just managed to create an own stable communities compared to all the other game modes. The only thing the segregation did was making the server browser more user friendly.

    Most players just use the server browser in one way: They open it, sort after players and join the first non full server in the list. They still do so with the goal to play NS2 and not some other game mode. With custom game modes in the first tab this lead to some players joining custom game modes by accident causing confusion and even new players having their first impression of NS2 based on the custom game mode (leading to refunds and bad reviews).

    Now some ppl argue that the segregation takes away the possibility for custom game mode to be seen which I think is based on the user activity stats not true. Users can easily see how many players are currently playing at Arcade servers, even a significant part of the users are checking out the tab frequently but choose to play NS2 in the end.

    The same can be observed at servers with mixed map cycles where people can vote to play another game mode. On my own server the probability of that to happen however is below 1%.

    All in all this indicates that it's not a UI problem but simple the users not wanting to play custom game modes. We tried to increase the interest of the player base in custom game modes multiple times so far but none of those tries worked out leading me to the conclusion that the issue very much comes down to that the majority of the current player base is not willing or interested to play custom game modes.

    Reverting the UI to a way that it intercepts with the usage flow and user choices and confuses them on purpose is not a way to solve that.

    If you like a certain game mode and want to play it just try to seed given server. With some luck you will be able to at peak times given that enough other users are willing to play given game mode.
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  • migalskimigalski Boston Join Date: 2014-07-02 Member: 197181Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 111 Advanced user
    All in all this indicates that it's not a UI problem but simple the users not wanting to play custom game modes. We tried to increase the interest of the player base in custom game modes multiple times so far but none of those tries worked out leading me to the conclusion that the issue very much comes down to that the majority of the current player base is not willing or interested to play custom game modes.

    Turns out separating one, maybe two semi popular servers from the rest in an already struggling community hurts.

    Use to play on Wooza's on and off, can't be bothered to ever check, every time i do its dead. Never had a strong opinion on the server either way, simply went to the servers with lower player counts, checked if they were open, if not slowly moved up.

    The problem since the beginning was that this should have been implemented years ago when modded began to grow, not once an entire community existed. Instead the server browser change did nothing except kill it. Having a developer separate you from the rest is extremely disheartening for an entire community. I know players who quit ns2 simply because of the change, which resulted in rarely having their favorite server being full or even remotely populated.
    There seems to be a clear misunderstanding of that the server browser segregation makes it harder for custom game modes to get players.

    There is no misunderstanding, this is quite literally the current situation. Look at csgo, back in source all i played was modded on the server browser, in csgo the server browser is by itself thrown away. Once i spent hundreds of hours in modded, in csgo i played maybe 20 hours of zombie run total, once maybe 10 servers at any time full, maybe 3 at most now:

    http://www.serverbrowser.com/

    Look at the player counts between csgo, cs 1.6 and cs:s

    At 6:06 am est, sorted by player counter, on the front page csgo lowest server has 20 players, cs:s has 28, 1.6 has 30.

    No one wants to be bothered with going into a different menu just to see if a game type is populated, personally i love the faded mod but it was rarely to never seeded, it i saw it seeded today, i probably join, now id never even know by the current server browser, i can't be bothered to check.
    .trixX.
  • Soul_RiderSoul_Rider Mod Bean Join Date: 2004-06-19 Member: 29388Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue Posts: 4,268 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    As a modder, I have to say this is a two sided coin. Yes some people are checking the Arcade tabs, but because the servers are not populated, they are not using them, however, it is also my personal experience that a lot of NS2 players don't want to play mods, they play NS2 because of NS.

    In the early days of modding for NS2, there was a lot of resistance to gameplay mods, as the players felt they would fracture the small community, as people believe combat did to NS. Sure the playerbase has changed a lot over time, but generally, NS2 is such a hardcore game, that people who are in to it, tend to want to play NS2 for the most part.

    Combat was largely successful because of it's name and association to NS. Players were asking for Combat to be made, and in fact pressuring me into changing my mod to be combat.
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  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,679 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    I checked to see if there were any infested servers the day when the infested marines spotlight went away, and I wasn't surprised to see that the server which was nearly full during the event was now averaging about 4 players max. I don't think they just suddenly lost interest in playing the gamemode either.

    Maybe look into a system for whitelisting version compatible mods that are popular and giving them a matchmaking/quickjoin button. Perhaps even allow community hosted mod spotlights for weekend events and so on.

    Like this,

    paSP96eh.png
    Post edited by IeptBarakat on
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  • Deck_Deck_ Join Date: 2014-07-20 Member: 197526Members Posts: 298 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    There seems to be a clear misunderstanding of that the server browser segregation makes it harder for custom game modes to get players.

    Custom game modes with the exception of combat and ns2large were never really popular at any time. Both of those just managed to create an own stable communities compared to all the other game modes. The only thing the segregation did was making the server browser more user friendly.

    Most players just use the server browser in one way: They open it, sort after players and join the first non full server in the list. They still do so with the goal to play NS2 and not some other game mode. With custom game modes in the first tab this lead to some players joining custom game modes by accident causing confusion and even new players having their first impression of NS2 based on the custom game mode (leading to refunds and bad reviews).

    Now some ppl argue that the segregation takes away the possibility for custom game mode to be seen which I think is based on the user activity stats not true. Users can easily see how many players are currently playing at Arcade servers, even a significant part of the users are checking out the tab frequently but choose to play NS2 in the end.

    1) All the server browser did was make it more user friendly? False, you can't honestly say it just made it more user friendly. Sure it made it more friendly to what UWE was trying to do or get people to play, but you can't say it JUST made it more user friendly. Edit: I don't think you're considering the other side with this comment.

    2) I understand why you did it. You didn't want people playing in big player servers especially as their first experience. I agree, NS2 is not as good with tons of players in a server. That is my opinion though. Lots of people as we have seen over time really enjoy large player servers. You could have kept the old note that popped up when a server was above a certain amount of people. Remember that? That wasn't enough for UWE, so you moved it to a different tab. You didn't have to move it to a different tab, and I think it was a harsh and incorrect move.

    3) People clicking on a tab? Even if you have those statistics, that doesn't change the fact that one thing looks like a very fringe style of ns2, and the other looks like normal servers. So you accomplished your goal, you pushed the large player servers to the fringe, but I don't know how you can honestly think it doesn't affect those servers. Of course it does, that was the goal, to make it harder to click on those servers. You should go to a one tab system with filters. All modes are visible when you open the game unless you have changed it. You can click a ns2 filter to see only non large/normal ns2 servers if you want. That would be good for the community.

    Post edited by Deck_ on
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  • .trixX..trixX. Budapest Join Date: 2007-10-11 Member: 62605Members Posts: 804 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    I checked to see if there were any infested servers the day when the infested marines spotlight went away, and I wasn't surprised to see that the server which was nearly full during the event was now averaging about 4 players max. I don't think they just suddenly lost interest in playing the gamemode either.

    Maybe look into a system for whitelisting version compatible mods that are popular and giving them a matchmaking/quickjoin button. Perhaps even allow community hosted mod spotlights for weekend events and so on.

    Like this,

    paSP96eh.png

    Looks nice, but the problem would still persist.. you have to choose a game-mode BEFORE you see the server list... if by chance no server of that mod is populated, you have to go back, and select another mode. If anything, it would introduce more clicks to switch between server lists.

    I've never understood the tab separation though, why not just add another filter? You know, something like [x] Ranked only
    (I know that wouldn't map to the current separation, there are currently unranked servers in the first tab, like Hellarious Basterds)
    Or give us a multiselect dropdown so we can choose which mods we want to see in a single list...
    You could also make those filters persist between game launches, so we dont have to reapply our preferences every time we start playing (maybe thats in already and i just havent noticed)
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  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,679 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    .trixX. wrote: »
    Looks nice, but the problem would still persist.. you have to choose a game-mode BEFORE you see the server list... if by chance no server of that mod is populated, you have to go back, and select another mode. If anything, it would introduce more clicks to switch between server lists.

    You're assuming that this leads to a server browser, this is actually the quick play menu but expanded to include custom gamemodes. As in they click on it and the game immediately starts searching for/joins the best available server of that gametype.
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,677 Advanced user
    ...the issue very much comes down to that the majority of the current player base is not willing or interested to play custom game modes.
    migalski wrote: »
    Turns out separating one, maybe two semi popular servers from the rest in an already struggling community hurts. ...

    I don't see why these both can't be true.

    The majority of the playerbase has never been all that interested in gameplay mods.
    Moving gameplay mods to a separate server browser did hurt.
    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
  • RadimaXRadimaX Join Date: 2013-02-05 Member: 182840Members Posts: 586 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    the game had 199 players last time i checked, i know uwe wants newcommers to experience the REAL ns2 but honestly why dividing with so few players left. Most that still play this game are veterans and hardcore fans of the game anyway, so dividing playerbase in 2 tabs only makes it an extra step to go between them just to see what players are online on what server to join, merge them already so we can have a long and nice list of servers to look at, game mode will tell what it is anyways plus popup warning if you have no clue if you picked arcade server for first time.
  • Deck_Deck_ Join Date: 2014-07-20 Member: 197526Members Posts: 298 Advanced user
    edited November 2016
    RadimaX wrote: »
    the game had 199 players last time i checked, i know uwe wants newcommers to experience the REAL ns2 but honestly why dividing with so few players left. Most that still play this game are veterans and hardcore fans of the game anyway, so dividing playerbase in 2 tabs only makes it an extra step to go between them just to see what players are online on what server to join, merge them already so we can have a long and nice list of servers to look at, game mode will tell what it is anyways plus popup warning if you have no clue if you picked arcade server for first time.

    IMO: UWE has created this, and people have fought back as they don't like these boundaries. We want a ns2 world where anything can happen. We want to be free.

    Wouldn't it be nice, for the good of the community, to have a compromise? I'm proposing to add the larger player count servers back to the first tab, but still restrict the play now button from joining those servers. You can still have filters if someone wants to not see those large player count servers. That would allow for the larger servers to be easily seen, but you're also not subjecting a play now player to an experience that you have deemed terrible. It makes more sense to me than pushing those servers to the fringe with an arcade tab. Requesting you to do this for the loyal community.
    Post edited by Deck_ on
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