Thoughts On: Smurfing, Family Sharing, Hours Played, Cheating, Balance, and Accepting the Game

NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 147 Advanced user
edited April 6 in NS2 General Discussion
Dear NS2 Community, and new players in particular,
  1. A smurf is player who utilizes a new account so as to present the false appearance of newbishness. A smurf wants to be underestimated both socially and mathematically. An example would be an ex-pro player creating a new account with the sole and express purpose of dominating less skilled competition while receiving beneficial hive skill placements in shuffles. While this can be a problem, NS2 developers have already taken steps to mitigate the negative effects of smurfing. In simple terms, your hive skill is based exclusively off of your winrate, and the introduction of adagrad means that the amount of time the game takes to calculate your "true" hive skill is significantly reduced. As such, smurfing is a self-limiting problem: if the smurf is actively producing wins for the teams they play on, their rapidly adjusted score will quickly place them in non-smurf territory, therefore limiting the extent to which any smurf can capitalize on a fresh account before being forced to create yet another one. If the "smurf" isn't producing wins for the team, then this is a non-issue to begin with. See where I'm going with this?
  2. The smurf described in the example above is fundamentally indistinguishable from a legitimately skilled player utilizing a fresh account for legitimate reasons, whatever those reasons might be (like having lost an original account or whatever other reason someone might come up with when invoking the principle of charity to interpret the actions of others). This fact alone should give you pause before flipping out. And since their hive skill will be recalculated pretty quickly, this is - again - a self-limiting problem. Have faith in adagrad because this game isn't going to see a better shuffle scheme anytime soon.
  3. There are other, more common and perfectly legitimate reasons to create new accounts (either by repurchasing NS2 or using family sharing). These include: privacy (e.g., well-known players not wanting to deal with noisy recognition, or streamers who want new accounts totally unrelated to their existing ones), practicing lifeforms one never plays (e.g., gorge, lerk, fade), or learning to comm in an active environment (because veteran players cannot join rookie servers to practice commanding anyway). Why might someone use a new account to practice their uncommonly played lifeforms/roles? Because a high hive skill account is expected to carry once shuffled. It isn't uncommon for 4k+ players to be stuck on teams with standard deviations of over 1.2k to 1.5k. This means that the gap between the "skilled" and "unskilled" players on those teams is huge. In these cases it's correct to say that it's disproportionately up to those high hive skill players to secure their team's win. In these circumstances, going gorge, playing a completely unfamiliar lifeform, or learning to command may well be the equivalent of condemning the team to a loss. It's not abnormal to want to avoid that scenario for multiple reasons including but not limited to: not screwing over others, and not generating the ire of people who don't want to have their own hive scores gimped by your decisions. As such, some players have created accounts specifically to practice (and to get a sense of their hive skill when it's exclusively determined by these role decisions). Hive skill will do the work in these situations. It would be nice if the game offered other alternatives, but they don't exist as of yet.
  4. Hours played mean little to nothing when assessing an account. An account's hive skill to "realized skill" ratio (i.e., the account's numerical skill rating relative to the player's actual contributions to games) is the only ratio that matters when determining who is and isn't a smurf. Once an account breaks 2k skill, it's really silly to consider it a smurf account. And when an account has 4k+ skill? Don't even get me started. At that point it's not even in the realm of reason to consider the account a smurf account.
  5. If someone with multiple accounts has one account with a higher hive skill than their "main" account, the non-main account is definitely not smurfing; by definition that account cannot be said to be smurfing, because the opposite is happening in practice: the game is saddling that account with the responsibility of winning to a greater degree than it would with the same user's main account. Relativistically, the non-main account in this scenario is less of a smurf than the main account is because the non-main (higher hive skill) account is expected to do more work. By contrast, a player who is actively smurfing isn't expected to make a significant contribution to the team (because they have a low hive skill), but does anyway (which is the part people take issue with). So these are diametrically opposed scenarios and should be understood as such.
  6. There aren't many cheaters in this game. If you suspect someone is cheating, spectate them and gather proof. Due to how spectating a player provides you with something of an abstraction of what the player is actually seeing clientside, this still isn't a perfect process, but it's better than nothing. Please remember that your hive skill is fundamentally relativistic; it measures your likelihood of winning relative to the competition you're playing against. If you're always playing against the same competition, all your hive skill represents is your likelihood of winning against that specific group of players. If you've achieved 2-3k hive skill within the confines of your preferred server, great, but you aren't necessarily going to gain an inch on someone who has achieved the same score by playing against the game's very best competition. I understand that you might feel like you understand the game really, really well because you've been playing for three thousand hours or whatever, but actual skill growth requires positive change relative to previous ability, and this kind of change must be preceded by the belief that improvement is both possible and necessary. If you think you're a perfect player then you clearly don't think that improvement is possible or necessary. If you've already accepted this ludicrous notion that you have nothing left to learn, you're almost definitely wrong. Trust me: your shitty walker fade is proof positive that you have plenty to learn. Rather than issuing kneejerk accusations against the high skill players who are expected to carry the teams they're on, stop and consider that you might be the problem if you're dying repeatedly and ineffectively. Egregious examples of hacking/cheating are available on YouTube if you need a basis for comparison, but do not underestimate just how good the best players in NS2 are. I'm not sure if this pattern of constantly whining and assuming the worst of others is the consequence of a new generation of gamers who've grown up expecting to make a massive contribution with a single keypress or merely the result of generic assholes who've internalized a misguided notion of their own superiority because they've sunk enough hours into the game, but NS2 has different mechanics than the more democratic AAA titles released today. In essence the game reflects the "high skill floor, higher skill ceiling" dynamic that characterized the twitchy arcade shooters of yore. The only valid response to failure is to try harder as opposed to shifting the blame.
  7. Don't blame good players for playing with you: there aren't many other options. Not everyone has the time or willingness to wait for gathers to collect, and many players simply select servers that ping well or have open slots. I hate to say "get good", but: get good. No, it isn't your fault that it's difficult to get good. That's just the way it is. Hopefully we'll someday see better tools to help you adjust to the game's demands/meta, or a much larger player base to establish better skill brackets with. Until that happens, adapt.

TL,DR: Smurfing is a self-limiting problem. There are good reasons to make alternate accounts. Hours played matter less than you think precisely because alternate accounts matter less than you think (after the introduction of adagrad in particular). Cheating is rare and there are ways of documenting it when it does happen. Try to get good before getting bitchy.

-N
Post edited by NousWanderer on
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Comments

  • BeigeAlertBeigeAlert Texas Join Date: 2013-08-08 Member: 186657Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,696 admin
    It's only a truly self-limiting problem if they were somehow limited to creating 1 extra account. Since that's obviously not true, they can simply create a new account when their current account is ranked too highly. Adagrad is a vast improvement over the old algorithm, but it still takes hundreds of matches to generate a reasonably accurate score.

    I admit, there are many times I want to just go gorge, but I know I'll be handicapping my own team by doing so. There's also many times I'm forced into commanding because nobody else will, and I know that my team is at a major disadvantage because of this.

    I don't think deception is the solution here... I don't know what a good solution would be, and I'm open to suggestions.

    The best I can come up with is remove ready-room joining, and replace it with a menu that allows players to state if they want to play on the ground or as the commander, THEN shuffle teams according to those choices... but then of course people could exploit this by having a lesser skilled player jump in the comm chair, and of course it does nothing to eliminate the "I want to gorge" problem... so I'm open to suggestions.
    SquishpokePOOPFACE
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 147 Advanced user
    edited April 14
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    It's only a truly self-limiting problem if they were somehow limited to creating 1 extra account. Since that's obviously not true, they can simply create a new account when their current account is ranked too highly. Adagrad is a vast improvement over the old algorithm, but it still takes hundreds of matches to generate a reasonably accurate score.
    Of course - I'm not saying it's a perfect solution. It's just a better solution than a number of other games have. It's enough of a solution that, in practice, most people complaining about this issue are misguided. I point this out when I say that adagrad's principal value as a smurf deterrent is to "limit the extent to which any smurf can capitalize on a fresh account before being forced to create yet another one." The number of people actively creating new accounts, winning, and repeating the process is small enough that the impact on the community at large is negligible. The number of people who've created at least one second account is greater, but there should be no issue with creating a separate account and there are legitimate reasons to do so; if someone does this for a good reason, more power to them. What doesn't need to happen is excessive policing by others. It's easy to tell the difference between a real smurf and someone who is simply dedicating a new account to practicing a new playstyle and/or for any other valid reason that doesn't amount to exploiting shuffle.

    Yeah, it's still going to take a number of games to reflect true ability, but I guess the vexing notion of "true ability" is central to what we're discussing to begin with: what does true skill even mean when the game features play mechanics as diverse as 1) comming, 2) marine field, and 3) alien lifeforms to begin with? A single hive rating is only reflective of that diversity if a given player regularly and routinely practices all of the options. This is unrealistic in practice because of how hive skill actually functions. Once a skilled player finds themselves down the road to a true reflection of their hive skill, the barrier to exploration increases. This is most obvious in the case of comming, but it applies to the other examples we've discussed as well (e.g., gorge, fade, etc.). The mathematical purity of ELO is that everything is abstracted to winrate, and although this has its strengths it also has significant weaknesses, some of which I've enumerated (principally #3 in the post above).

    This isn't totally unique to NS2. There are some popular OW streamers who have sniper-specific accounts, for example, where they simply geek out on hanzo and widow as opposed to gimping their comp. teams. In the case of NS2, I suspect that the number of people who've made more than one account is vanishingly small to begin with, and the number of people who've made more than two is even smaller. What makes NS2 unique is that the community is so small that it's still more noticeable when it happens. It doesn't make a difference, though: you still have clueless people in the community accusing 3-4k+ accounts of smurfing. It's not even an internally consistent point of view. It's not what smurfing means. What's a bigger problem? The fact that someone skilled up a second account, or the fact that so many people in this community don't even know what good play looks like? I vote number two. In any event, there are plenty of cases where a second account has nothing to do with deception. I've been considering doing some streaming. If and when that happens, it's highly unlikely that I'll want to broadcast anything related to my principal steam identity. That said, I know how to play the game, so the consequences are obvious.

    I can't think of any mathematical solutions that wouldn't be fairly complex or subject to manipulation. Many people have advocated for separate alien/marine scores, and others have advocated for separate alien/marine comm scores as well. These mechanisms would still be subject to manipulation, but I think there are strong arguments for both. I also think that you need to have some synergy between new players and veterans. Rookie servers are inadequate. I've outlined my preference for allowing veteran players to command in rookie servers. It's not a perfect solution, but it would at least provide a training platform with some degree of social responsivity (as compared to bots). There would be value there.

    One of the best solutions would be to have a combat-esque game mode. That's nothing new. You've heard it before. I know there's some sort of legal issue given that development was handled by a third party. That said, I can't imagine that an approximation of the combat mod would be completely off-limits. Am I wrong about that? My guess is that the biggest barrier is the development time that would be required. A clear answer would be useful; maybe it's something that could be coded by the community and integrated thereafter (pending review and testing)? After all, combat was originally a mod. In any event, the game needs some mechanism by which players can practice the large range of lifeform/tech options outside of the confines of classic, where every decision matters that much more.

    My principal goal in posting this is to get the community to chill out a bit. You have people who are merely above average relative to the old div1 players who get accused of hacking every time they play. You have people who have newer accounts that - despite their freshness - are around 4k+ skill who are being kicked because of their lack of playtime and for no other reason. Where's the logic there? Either the account is smurfing (or in the "smurfing phase" en route to their true hive score) or it isn't. For the reasons I mentioned, a 4k+ account isn't smurfing in any sense of the word.

    So yeah, it's not the best situation, but I don't have any great ideas on how to fix it, either. What I'm advocating for is members of the community who take issue with this stuff to develop a more rounded perspective instead of defaulting to a state of endless bitching.
    Post edited by NousWanderer on
    BestProfileNameantou
  • BeigeAlertBeigeAlert Texas Join Date: 2013-08-08 Member: 186657Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,696 admin
    Most of the community that needs to chill out (eg the "fuckign team sucks" crowd [sic]) don't frequent the forums anyways. :(

    The only other solution that comes to mind is to introduce a handicap system... but that of course comes with plenty of baggage on its own. I've suggested it many times, and many times just barely escaped with my life.
    IronHorse
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 147 Advanced user
    edited April 6
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    Most of the community that needs to chill out (eg the "fuckign team sucks" crowd [sic]) don't frequent the forums anyways. :(

    The only other solution that comes to mind is to introduce a handicap system... but that of course comes with plenty of baggage on its own. I've suggested it many times, and many times just barely escaped with my life.
    A handicap system only makes sense on specifically flagged servers which are designated as places for rookies and non-rookies to interact, and which are unambiguously presented as unique places where handicapping is in effect. In other words: bridge servers designed as the next step after pure rookie servers. The community can't support those numbers right now, in all likelihood. In any other case I'd be completely against the idea; handicapping skilled players has no role in a skill-based game. Instead, players need more avenues to train (edit: in actual combat scenarios, i.e. against other players) without sacrificing the enjoyment of their team, and more feedback mechanisms to encourage proper play. Until those exist, this is where we're at.
    Post edited by NousWanderer on
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,600 Advanced user
    edited April 5
    Personally I think the community's/game's reliance on shuffle does more harm than good. Shuffling is essentially mandatory now and the games frequently shuffle prior to starting a game, then the game might reset and the shuffling starts again. Not to mention shuffle doesn't account for players who want to play as a commander or gorge, and it also gets in the way of being able to play with a friend and not having to play against them.

    Then you get games that never start because a server shuffled and no one wants to command on one team and the server op doesn't let you switch teams after a shuffle. So then the server dies.
    NousWandererBeigeAlertNordic
  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,204 Advanced user
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    It's only a truly self-limiting problem if they were somehow limited to creating 1 extra account. Since that's obviously not true, they can simply create a new account when their current account is ranked too highly. Adagrad is a vast improvement over the old algorithm, but it still takes hundreds of matches to generate a reasonably accurate score.

    I admit, there are many times I want to just go gorge, but I know I'll be handicapping my own team by doing so. There's also many times I'm forced into commanding because nobody else will, and I know that my team is at a major disadvantage because of this.

    I don't think deception is the solution here... I don't know what a good solution would be, and I'm open to suggestions.

    The best I can come up with is remove ready-room joining, and replace it with a menu that allows players to state if they want to play on the ground or as the commander, THEN shuffle teams according to those choices... but then of course people could exploit this by having a lesser skilled player jump in the comm chair, and of course it does nothing to eliminate the "I want to gorge" problem... so I'm open to suggestions.

    At least for commanding you could have a separate way to join teams as commander directly, and take that into account when determining "team skill".

    This is of course not 100% fool proof, because you can hop out and play on the field, but it would be better than nothing.
    formerly known as F0rdPrefect
  • 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: 4,317 Advanced user
    edited April 6
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    Adagrad is a vast improvement over the old algorithm, but it still takes hundreds of matches to generate a reasonably accurate score.
    I am fairly confident @McGlaspie has mentioned that on average, hive skill values are statistically significant after 90 games since hive 2. Being an average, it can be more for some and less for others. I can not find any evidence of him saying it, but I am pretty sure he did. With the average game length being about 17 minutes, it would take about 25.5 hours to play 90 games.

    Reasonably accurate and functionally accurate are two different things. The kind of player described in the OP skyrocket up with a smurf account. I don't know who's smurf account this is, but I played with him, and it was a very clear smurf. After only 17 games over 4 hours he was up to 2333 hive skill, which was still too low for him. He stopped using the account. On a per account basis, it is self limiting. On the other hand, family sharing is not completely unlimited which means more sales for UWE.

    The account I linked skill growth over time is in this spoiler. This is one smurf's skill growth, and is not representative of all smurf's skill growth. It does show how fast a smurf's skill value can grow though.
    0,804,846,850,1013,1059,1146,1146,1496,1647,1651,1800,1866,2064,1965,1866,2191,2331, then he quit

    On a related subject, here are a few graphs of rookie and veterans skill over time since hive 2 began recording until December 15, 2016. This is not showing anything about smurfs, but it is interesting to see hive in action. These players were semi-randomly selected. This is a small sample and not representative of every player's skill over time.

    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    The best I can come up with is remove ready-room joining, and replace it with a menu that allows players to state if they want to play on the ground or as the commander, THEN shuffle teams according to those choices... but then of course people could exploit this by having a lesser skilled player jump in the comm chair, and of course it does nothing to eliminate the "I want to gorge" problem... so I'm open to suggestions.
    This would be ideal, but as you said, but it would require locking commanders into the chair/hive.

    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    I've suggested it many times, and many times just barely escaped with my life.
    giphy.gif

    Personally I think the community's/game's reliance on shuffle does more harm than good. Shuffling is essentially mandatory now and the games frequently shuffle prior to starting a game, then the game might reset and the shuffling starts again. Not to mention shuffle doesn't account for players who want to play as a commander or gorge, and it also gets in the way of being able to play with a friend and not having to play against them.

    Then you get games that never start because a server shuffled and no one wants to command on one team and the server op doesn't let you switch teams after a shuffle. So then the server dies.
    I want to state that while I do disagree, it would be awesome if we could play with friends. It is a tradeoff, and I personally prefer what we have now.

    Please do not awesome anymore of my posts. I have 888 awesome's, and I would like to keep it that way. Shame on @Vetinari,
    @cooltic, and @.trixX. for ending it.

    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
    .trixX.NousWanderer
  • McGlaspieMcGlaspie www.team156.com Join Date: 2010-07-26 Member: 73044Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, Squad Five Gold, Reinforced - Onos, WC 2013 - Gold, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 944 admin
    edited April 6
    Regarding the behavior of adagrad...

    Yes, it's not 100% accurate, and it never will be. Good luck finding an algorithm that can be with the inherent variability involved with NS2. Also, @Nordic is essentially correct about the number of games required to achieve "reasonable accuracy". However, it begins roughly honing in on a player's Skill Range within the first ~30 games or so. And our tests and the community's own validation (largely thanks again to @Nordic ) have shown it to be very reasonable in its accuracy. While I did implement the Hive system, I did not create its underlying algorithm. That was @moultano, who deserves 100% of the credit for it. It's a very very clever algorithm that even takes Bots into account. And to the best of my knowledge is the first Skill System used in a video game that utilizes an adagrad gradient (which gets lots of cool points! :P).

    Regarding Smurfs...

    I have been extremely tempted to flatout prevent Family Sharing to function with NS2 (yes, it's possible). This would eliminate the bulk of the problem immediately. However...I'm very, very apprehensive to blatantly prevent legitimate users from being unable to use that snazzy feature of Steam. My personal _opinion_ is Valve should not have allowed this feature to work for any purely multiplayer games, under any circumstances. In addition, it shouldn't be usable by users that have any sort of VAC bans in their account history. At this point in time, concerning the immediate, the most viable option is for good community server administration / moderating. Unless there is a rampant flood (that can be proven) of Smurfing we won't be adding any totalitarian-style restrictions.

    Colored Skins Mod ( Forum Thread - Steam Workshop )
    Marine vs Marine Mod ( Forum Thread - Steam Workshop )
    BicsumNordiccooliticBeigeAlert
  • .trixX..trixX. Budapest Join Date: 2007-10-11 Member: 62605Members Posts: 600 Advanced user
    edited April 6
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    Most of the community that needs to chill out (eg the "fuckign team sucks" crowd [sic]) don't frequent the forums anyways. :(

    The only other solution that comes to mind is to introduce a handicap system... but that of course comes with plenty of baggage on its own. I've suggested it many times, and many times just barely escaped with my life.

    I don't know if you're aware of @HEllrunner2k 's idea, where he put a big red skull-and-bones icon above high-ranked players. While I'm against handicapping players in game mechanics, alerting less experienced players about the potential of being stomped is acceptable imo...

    EDIT:
    To elaborate a bit, knowing someone is much more skilled than you gives you the option to disengage and go for more fruitful targets, for eg RTs or other marines on the map, or just shout out to your teammates for help.
    Post edited by .trixX. on
    NO Cyril, when they're dead they're just hookers!
    coolitic
  • BestProfileNameBestProfileName Join Date: 2013-01-03 Member: 177320Members Posts: 445 Advanced user
    edited April 6
    I've outlined my preference for allowing veteran players to command in rookie servers. It's not a perfect solution, but it would at least provide a training platform with some degree of social responsivity (as compared to bots). There would be value there.

    Like that idea. Good way for them to learn too.

  • HandschuhHandschuh Join Date: 2005-03-08 Member: 44338Members Posts: 158 Advanced user
    In that environment I could concentrate on remembering buttons and stuff instead of hectically trying to do everything at once because we would loose otherwise...due to my 3.5k+ Hiveskill... it's like learning an instrument... do it slowly as a beginner in order to have better results.. currently it's more like getting thrown into cold water with piranhas in it..
    NousWanderer
  • MoFo1MoFo1 United States Join Date: 2014-07-25 Member: 197612Members Posts: 565 Advanced user
    edited April 6
    Personally I think the community's/game's reliance on shuffle does more harm than good. Shuffling is essentially mandatory now and the games frequently shuffle prior to starting a game, then the game might reset and the shuffling starts again. Not to mention shuffle doesn't account for players who want to play as a commander or gorge, and it also gets in the way of being able to play with a friend and not having to play against them.

    Then you get games that never start because a server shuffled and no one wants to command on one team and the server op doesn't let you switch teams after a shuffle. So then the server dies.

    It's also very common for the game to be shuffled, then suddenly one team is down 3-4+ players because people left. Why did they leave? Because they were shuffled to the team they did not want to play on.

    On top of that shuffle isn't very accurate simply because it uses one score for both Marine and Alien. Since hive 2 was introduced my score fluctuates from 200 all the way up to 1600, and it all depends on which team I get shuffled to. When I get placed on Marine, my hive drops like a rock.. When I get to play Alien, it skyrockets. If I've been playing Alien a lot and my hive skill is around 1500 and I get shuffled to Marine, then the teams are unbalanced because it's expecting me to perform at a 1500 hive skill level, when I can only perform at a 200-500 hive skill level at best.

    I don't understand why the hive score can't be split between Alien and Marine (bonus if there's a third score for commanding). Most people who play this game tend to be way better at one side over the other, and having shuffle accurately know a person's skill for each side could only serve to make it produce more evenly balanced games.


    I also don't see why we can't have an option somewhere for preferred team, with three choices: Alien - Marine - Either.. Then shuffle could use that alongside hive to try to place people on the team they actually want to play. I can't even begin to guess how many times I've been forced to Marine, and when I say "damn marines again" someone on the other team goes "lucky, I wish I was on Marines" - Even just having the "switch" function from the Tactical Gamer server added to vanilla would be a vast improvement.







    As far as cheating goes, there are more than a few cheaters in NS2, but it's useless to try to prove it as you can have the most hilariously obvious video evidence posted to youtube, and people still just say "they're just a pro player, you can't rely on spectate anyway" Well if we can't rely on spectate, then it becomes virtually impossible to prove someone is cheating because any proof is written off with the excuse "spectate is wonky". (and If I'm wrong then please explain how to obtain video proof without spectating the suspected cheater)
    Post edited by MoFo1 on
  • maD_maX_maD_maX_ Join Date: 2013-04-07 Member: 184678Members Posts: 458 Advanced user
    edited April 6
    I created a "smurf" account specifically to gorge/command. Now my main account is 4K and my smurf account is 3.5k. And if I get in the chair or gorge on either account people bitch...

    Still think we should get a skill plot added to the round summary. This would show average team skill through the game so if there is a sudden imbalance when a 4K player leaves mid game it would "explain" the sudden turn around.(if my son wakes up from a nap early... it's time to alt-f4)

    I was playing seige mod a few nights ago and got called a hacker(not the first time)... huge open map (domesiege) me with a JP/HMG him a lerk. "He never missed". All settings on low, 144hz, 1440p, 3000+ hours, of coarse I'm not going to miss a lerk.... he spectated me for several rounds, never giving up his claim that I hack.

    In 3,000 hours of NS2 I can only think of a handful of times that a player has frustrated me so much that I thought he might be hacking. Only when aim and positioning didn't line up, if the shoot 30% but move poorly... again maybe 3-5 times in 3,000 hours.

    I credit a lot of "unbelievable" things to the NS2 sound issues. I hear things all the time that I feel I probably shouldn't.
    NousWandererNordicBeigeAlert
  • amoralamoral Join Date: 2013-01-03 Member: 177250Members Posts: 1,331 Advanced user
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    I created a "smurf" account specifically to gorge/command. Now my main account is 4K and my smurf account is 3.5k. And if I get in the chair or gorge on either account people bitch...

    Still think we should get a skill plot added to the round summary. This would show average team skill through the game so if there is a sudden imbalance when a 4K player leaves mid game it would "explain" the sudden turn around.(if my son wakes up from a nap early... it's time to alt-f4)

    I was playing seige mod a few nights ago and got called a hacker(not the first time)... huge open map (domesiege) me with a JP/HMG him a lerk. "He never missed". All settings on low, 144hz, 1440p, 3000+ hours, of coarse I'm not going to miss a lerk.... he spectated me for several rounds, never giving up his claim that I hack.

    In 3,000 hours of NS2 I can only think of a handful of times that a player has frustrated me so much that I thought he might be hacking. Only when aim and positioning didn't line up, if the shoot 30% but move poorly... again maybe 3-5 times in 3,000 hours.

    I credit a lot of "unbelievable" things to the NS2 sound issues. I hear things all the time that I feel I probably shouldn't.



    4 or 5 times i think, maybe less. when you die a little tooo fast, over and over.
    BeigeAlertmaD_maX_coolitic
  • Kouji_SanKouji_San Sr. Hινε Uρкεερεг - EUPT Deputy The Netherlands, Hoogezand Join Date: 2003-05-13 Member: 16271Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue Posts: 14,387 Advanced user
    Just let this guy know where those Smufs are...
    Gargamel_and_Azrael.png

    Guardian of the "magic cookiejar" AdminModerator

    Existence Unknown

    Retired forum Admin, I mostly used a flamethrower tank for disputes... Mostly
    Retired EUPT Deputy | Moral Support | Squad 5 Blue
    102 1HP Skulk escapes and counting | Play the Latest Version of Booster Z-Frame
    YouTube NS2 Playlists: Unusual Selection | NS2 Stuff | NS2PT | NS2 Tuts

    SquishpokePOOPFACE.trixX.coolitic
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,126 Advanced user
    If you want, we could switch to adam learning rates. :) https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.6980.pdf
    (this is essentially adagrad + momentum, so if you win a bunch of games in a row, your update keeps going up.)

    Only problem with adam is that the update blends the current value with the previous value, so your skill could go down even if you won the game, just because you lost the previous game, which I think people would hate.

    There might be some way we could take inspiration from this but prevent that particular behavior, I'd have to think about it a bit.
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,126 Advanced user
    @McGlaspie, maybe a more workable solution would be to initialize new hive ids that come from family sharing to be the maximum hive score of any of the players under that steam account. That would remove any incentive to create new accounts to smurf, but would still allow your little brother to play, (granted, they'd lose their first few games.)
    NousWandererNovoReiantou
  • NotPaLaGiNotPaLaGi Join Date: 2014-05-29 Member: 196291Members Posts: 103 Advanced user
    moultano wrote: »
    If you want, we could switch to adam learning rates. :) https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.6980.pdf
    (this is essentially adagrad + momentum, so if you win a bunch of games in a row, your update keeps going up.)

    Only problem with adam is that the update blends the current value with the previous value, so your skill could go down even if you won the game, just because you lost the previous game, which I think people would hate.

    There might be some way we could take inspiration from this but prevent that particular behavior, I'd have to think about it a bit.

    How exactly does this stop the 3k+ skill player (i.e. loyal NS2 player) from needing to create a smurf because they want to command, gorge, not be forced to carry the team every game?
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,126 Advanced user
    NotPaLaGi wrote: »
    moultano wrote: »
    If you want, we could switch to adam learning rates. :) https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.6980.pdf
    (this is essentially adagrad + momentum, so if you win a bunch of games in a row, your update keeps going up.)

    Only problem with adam is that the update blends the current value with the previous value, so your skill could go down even if you won the game, just because you lost the previous game, which I think people would hate.

    There might be some way we could take inspiration from this but prevent that particular behavior, I'd have to think about it a bit.

    How exactly does this stop the 3k+ skill player (i.e. loyal NS2 player) from needing to create a smurf because they want to command, gorge, not be forced to carry the team every game?

    The skills would be uncoupled after that, so after losing a few games it would be free to drift down. This just prevents people creating new accounts to be initialized at 0. If you have a long-standing comm account, and a long-standing regular account, the skills would still be accurate for each after convergence.
    NousWanderer
  • 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: 4,317 Advanced user
    edited April 8
    moultano wrote: »
    @McGlaspie, maybe a more workable solution would be to initialize new hive ids that come from family sharing to be the maximum hive score of any of the players under that steam account. That would remove any incentive to create new accounts to smurf, but would still allow your little brother to play, (granted, they'd lose their first few games.)
    The odds were against them without being stacked against.
    MoFo1 wrote: »
    Since hive 2 was introduced my score fluctuates from 200 all the way up to 1600, and it all depends on which team I get shuffled to.
    I can fact check this. This page shows your hive skill value over time since January 2017. It does not fluctuate as much as you say. Before January 2017, you didn't play all that much. You started with a skill value of 1014 when Hive 2 began recording.
    MoFo1 wrote: »
    ...I don't understand why...
    ...I also don't see why...
    I have explained it to you before, many times, in different ways. I am sorry I am not a skilled enough communicator to help you understand.
    Post edited by Nordic on
    Please do not awesome anymore of my posts. I have 888 awesome's, and I would like to keep it that way. Shame on @Vetinari,
    @cooltic, and @.trixX. for ending it.

    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
  • BeigeAlertBeigeAlert Texas Join Date: 2013-08-08 Member: 186657Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,696 admin
    NotPaLaGi wrote: »
    moultano wrote: »
    If you want, we could switch to adam learning rates. :) https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.6980.pdf
    (this is essentially adagrad + momentum, so if you win a bunch of games in a row, your update keeps going up.)

    Only problem with adam is that the update blends the current value with the previous value, so your skill could go down even if you won the game, just because you lost the previous game, which I think people would hate.

    There might be some way we could take inspiration from this but prevent that particular behavior, I'd have to think about it a bit.

    How exactly does this stop the 3k+ skill player (i.e. loyal NS2 player) from needing to create a smurf because they want to command, gorge, not be forced to carry the team every game?

    That's not really a solvable problem. :( It is impossible to create a system that trusts player intentions that cannot be exploited. Although I still like the idea of allowing vets to comm/gorge on rookie only servers.
  • 2cough2cough Rocky Mountain High Join Date: 2013-03-14 Member: 183952Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Supporter Posts: 1,017 Advanced user
    Nordic wrote: »
    MoFo1 wrote: »
    ...I don't understand why...
    ...I also don't see why...
    I have explained it to you before, many times, in different ways. I am sorry I am not a skilled enough communicator to help you understand.

    Don't be too hard on yourself. If someone continues to argue against numbers, for example a notion that 77% means never and 23% means always, something else may be wrong. You've done your best.

    Also, why haven't I seen this site?! Is this the new... thing??

  • AeglosAeglos Join Date: 2010-04-06 Member: 71189Members Posts: 498 Advanced user
    edited April 8
    Nordic wrote: »
    I can fact check this. This page shows your hive skill value over time since January 2016. It does not fluctuate as much as you say. Before January 2016, you didn't play all that much. You started with a skill value of 1014 when Hive 2 began recording.

    Is that website supposed to be shared? I thought that the hive website was taken down so people don't obsess over their hive?

    Anyway, while I'm sure you meant January 2017, wasn't hive 2 started before that? I remember I had some ridiculously low hive at one point after the swap was made. I couldn't go back to find how low it went.

    Edit - How do you know which is his account anyway? Stalker.
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    NotPaLaGi wrote: »
    moultano wrote: »
    If you want, we could switch to adam learning rates. :) https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.6980.pdf
    (this is essentially adagrad + momentum, so if you win a bunch of games in a row, your update keeps going up.)

    Only problem with adam is that the update blends the current value with the previous value, so your skill could go down even if you won the game, just because you lost the previous game, which I think people would hate.

    There might be some way we could take inspiration from this but prevent that particular behavior, I'd have to think about it a bit.

    How exactly does this stop the 3k+ skill player (i.e. loyal NS2 player) from needing to create a smurf because they want to command, gorge, not be forced to carry the team every game?

    That's not really a solvable problem. :( It is impossible to create a system that trusts player intentions that cannot be exploited. Although I still like the idea of allowing vets to comm/gorge on rookie only servers.

    Comm (locked in chair) yes. Gorge no. Some players can be devastating on gorges as well. Not to mention the players who lose all their pres and decide its time to go skulk.

    Nordic
  • 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: 4,317 Advanced user
    edited April 8
    The UWE hive website was taken down because it was incompatible with Hive2. UWE is making a new Hive website. The linked website is a third party website made by an NS2 fan, because people couldn't stop obsessing over their hive skill values. As far as I am concerned, I can't fight human psychology. People are going to obsess no matter what I do. There is another third party russian website that displays hive stuff too. Both websites are independent of UWE, and free to share. Thank you for your concern, but I do take my NDA seriously, and think before I post.

    I did mean January 2017, and Hive2 did begin recording a couple months before then. The graph of skill overtime starts in January, because that is when the website began recording. It works via the hive2 api, it is made by @morrolan. He mentioned it awhile ago. I personally have some data that goes back further than the website shows.


    I can not imagine a herekles gorge on a rookie server. I am not saying he would, but someone of his skill. I am pretty sure that even my gorging would be devastating on a rookie only server, and I am not that great of a gorge. I am just not a rookie.
    Please do not awesome anymore of my posts. I have 888 awesome's, and I would like to keep it that way. Shame on @Vetinari,
    @cooltic, and @.trixX. for ending it.

    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 147 Advanced user
    moultano wrote: »
    @McGlaspie, maybe a more workable solution would be to initialize new hive ids that come from family sharing to be the maximum hive score of any of the players under that steam account. That would remove any incentive to create new accounts to smurf, but would still allow your little brother to play, (granted, they'd lose their first few games.)
    moultano wrote: »
    The skills would be uncoupled after that, so after losing a few games it would be free to drift down. This just prevents people creating new accounts to be initialized at 0. If you have a long-standing comm account, and a long-standing regular account, the skills would still be accurate for each after convergence.

    This is a great idea. Big +1

  • BeigeAlertBeigeAlert Texas Join Date: 2013-08-08 Member: 186657Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,696 admin
    The idea is, if we were to allow gorging (which I think we should!) they wouldn't be allowed to use spit. Everything else, yes, just not spit. We also wouldn't prevent them from exiting the hive/command chair, but their capabilities would be severely limited (eg marines only have an axe/welder, no higher lifeforms except gorge, and skulks can only parasite, the idea being to make their most useful contributions be IN the chair, not out of it... but still allowing them to do useful non-combat things outside the chair, like building.)
  • 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: 4,317 Advanced user
    Spit is one thing. Bilebomb in an experienced players hands vs an inexperienced team should also be a concern. From experience I know this can be abused, because I have abused it. Inexperienced teams do not have an understanding of lane blocking or the economy in NS2. As a lone gorge I have been able to turn lost games around against inexperienced teams by suicide bile bombing high value targets. Without the map awareness or a concept of lane blocking, it is easy to reach these high value targets. Eventually, they marines just lose most of their economy. It sounds silly that this is possible, but that is just how it is with an inexperienced team. The lack of teamwork also helps make this possible.
    Please do not awesome anymore of my posts. I have 888 awesome's, and I would like to keep it that way. Shame on @Vetinari,
    @cooltic, and @.trixX. for ending it.

    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
    .trixX.
  • dePARAdePARA Join Date: 2011-04-29 Member: 96321Members, Squad Five Blue Posts: 1,325 Fully active user
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    The idea is, if we were to allow gorging (which I think we should!) they wouldn't be allowed to use spit. Everything else, yes, just not spit. We also wouldn't prevent them from exiting the hive/command chair, but their capabilities would be severely limited (eg marines only have an axe/welder, no higher lifeforms except gorge, and skulks can only parasite, the idea being to make their most useful contributions be IN the chair, not out of it... but still allowing them to do useful non-combat things outside the chair, like building.)

    I was hosting the 1st rookie only server ages ago and was playing as skulk only while i gave the players some tips. While playing i was using only parasite and distracted the rines.
    Well, this was enough to win as aliens pretty easy.
    In an rookie only enviromnent even these ability locks you mentioned are not enough.
    image
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 147 Advanced user
    edited April 8
    Just collecting some ideas presented in this thread so that they don't get lost:
    1. Initialize new hive IDs that come from family sharing to be the maximum hive score of any of the players under the primary steam account.
    • Let's say that your main account has 3.5k skill. You create a new commanding-only account for practice. This account begins at 3.5k skill as opposed to 0.
    • After initialization, the account skill values will naturally diverge depending on how each account is used. For example, if one account is used exclusively for commanding but another account is used as a primary, the skills will update to reflect true ability after games are played. We have adagrad, so the process won't take unreasonably long.
    • This disincentivizes smurfing and requires the purchase of a new copy of NS2 if someone wants to initialize at 0.
    • Potential Caveats: Ensure that accounts created in this fashion won't show up on any future Hive Skill Stats site unless certain conditions are met (e.g., a specific number of hours played, or a specific number of games played). Because you know at least a very narrow, trollish subset of the high skill folks would do this just to try to spam the leaderboards with duplicate skill ratings.

    2. Consider Adam. (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.6980.pdf)
    • Moultano describes it as follows: "This is essentially adagrad + momentum, so if you win a bunch of games in a row, your update keeps going up." In other words, it's like a snappier adagrad that would possibly reflect true hive scores even more quickly than adagrad alone does. But there's a downside that would have to be addressed:
    • Potential Caveats: "The update blends the current value with the previous value, so your skill could go down even if you won the game, just because you lost the previous game, which I think people would hate.There might be some way we could take inspiration from this but prevent that particular behavior."

    3. Allow veterans to command in rookie servers.
    • This will accomplish a few things. First, it will provide experienced players with a low-risk environment they can practice commanding in. This environment will contain some actual social feedback, and will be better than bots (usually). Second, the rookies themselves will benefit from the overall gamesense the commander brings to the table. While the commander practicing in a rookie server may not be an APM wizard, it's still likely that they'll know more about the game than the rookies do. This cross-communication can only be a good thing.
    • Implementation Option 1: The commander must join from the ready-room, and cannot leave the chair or hive. Logging out will return the player to the ready room.
    • Implementation Option 2: The commander can play as: a marine, a skulk, or a gorge. These marines cannot shoot guns, skulks cannot bite, and gorges are limited to healing.
    • Potential Caveats: The main thing here is to ensure that the system shouldn't be subject to abuse. I think the eject system would be sufficient, though.


  • DC_DarklingDC_Darkling Join Date: 2003-07-10 Member: 18068Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 4,334 Advanced user
    A problem with hive is that it only averages your hive score amoung the communities you play on. (So far I know)
    So if you play on 1 server only like forever and get 2000, its not the same as someone who has 2000 playing on many servers.

    Not that I have a good idea yet to fix that.
    NousWanderer.trixX.
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