How would you like teams to be balanced with per team skills?

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, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,218 Advanced user
edited October 2017 in NS2 General Discussion

How would you like teams to be balanced with per team skills? 23 votes

Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
34%
IeptBarakatNousWandererFrozenSantaClawsSquishpokePOOPFACEMoFo1peblNintendows 8 votes
Use per team skills but with the average offset in the server subtracted. Race win-rate will reflect the average difference in skill on the server. Most race assignments will be random. Exceptional players may still be forced to their worse team.
43%
moultanoZavaroHandschuhJolnicoine.trixX.VetinariBlrgmigalskiantou 10 votes
Use the average of the two skills. All race assignments will be uniformly random regardless of the skill of the player
21%
StarClawsNordicagmen92StarkThe_Welsh_Wizard 5 votes

Comments

  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,082 Advanced user
    edited October 2017
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    Yeaa... This is a conundrum. I wanna say 1, but I can totally see how it can kill a persons enjoyment of the game to be forced playing gayliens over and over. Almost makes you want to throw games as marine.

    EDIT:
    Alright after thinking about it I'm voting against my own self-interest here. I just think #1 will make for the best and most balanced games.

    For high skill players to not be forced on our least favourite faction; we simply need to self-segregate ourselves from regular pubs. Play more captain modded servers and impose reverse skill caps (how we possibly populate that I honestly don't know..).

    And finally, I think it's imperative that you allow server owners to pick shuffle methods. That way if high level players want to play on regular servers, they can find one with the shuffle method that suits them. But ultimately I believe #1 needs to be the default for the best possible games.
    Post edited by SantaClaws on
    NousWanderer
  • AmarHanosciaAmarHanoscia Stuck in Mezza Join Date: 2014-03-09 Member: 194609Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver Posts: 17 Advanced user
    edited October 2017
    Not sure if I understand the question... :(

    I'm trying to comprehend it, using the two following assumptions:

    1. Shuffle works moreless like "captains pick" but the next captain may choose so many players so that the hive skill would balance (e.g. first captain, say marines, pick a player with 4000 skill, so the second one may pick 3000 skill player, and than 1000 skill player).
    2. Good players would be generally better as marines than as aliens.

    So, without any compensation (1st option in the poll), when 6 good players with marine skill 4000 and alien 2000 want to play, they would be "distributed" such that 2 players would go to marines and 4 to aliens? And we want to compensate for this by using 2nd or 3rd option in the poll?

    Are my assumptions and description of the problem correct...?

    To be clear: when I say 4000 marine and 2000 alien skill I ofc mean 3000 skill and 1000 offset.
  • 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, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,218 Advanced user
    Use per team skills but with the average offset in the server subtracted. Race win-rate will reflect the average difference in skill on the server. Most race assignments will be random. Exceptional players may still be forced to their worse team.
    @AmarHanoscia yes you have it right. If all the players are better marines than aliens (for instance) then the only way to "truly" balance the teams would put the good players on aliens and the bad players on marines. Option 3 is basically what we have now with one skill value. Option 2 is something in between.
  • 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: 4,714 Advanced user
    Use the average of the two skills. All race assignments will be uniformly random regardless of the skill of the player
    Exceptionally good players would be forced to their worse teams. Exceptionally bad players would be forced to their better teams. I find it unacceptable that anybody below 800 or above 1800 hive skill will be forced to play one team more than the other. There are already players who are upset that they get switched off they team they choose too often. This would do that more often.

    This would be annoying to a veteran, but worse for a rookie. Once rookies leave rookie only servers, they too would be forced to play on one team more often than not. They are usually exceptionally bad players. This is detrimental to them learning and it may hurt retention.
    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.
    The_Welsh_WizardmoultanoSupaFred
  • SquishpokePOOPFACESquishpokePOOPFACE -21,248 posts (ignore below) Join Date: 2012-10-31 Member: 165262Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,606 Advanced user
    edited October 2017
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    Go all-in, just to see what happens. If it is too unpopular, roll it back. A few days of experiment won't hurt much.
    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to play Natural Selection 2. The gameplay is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of military strategy and advanced mathematics you won't even win a single game. Theres also the game's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into the game. The maps and artwork draw heavily from Riddley Scott's Alien franchise, for instance. The players understand this stuff, they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depth of the game, to realise that it's not just great, that it also says something about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Natural Selection 2 truly ARE idiots. of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in the Marines' existential catchphrase "how do I get to be so good", which itself is a cryptic reference to the high degree of intelligence required to play the game as intended. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion when spectating a game. What fools... how I pity them. And, yes, by the way, i DO have a Fade tatoo. And no, you cannot see it. it's for the ladies' eyes only, and even then they have to demonstrate that they are within 50 hive skill points of my own (preferable lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid.
    The_Welsh_WizardNordic
  • MoFo1MoFo1 United States Join Date: 2014-07-25 Member: 197612Members Posts: 714 Advanced user
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    I'm for anything that puts me on Aliens more, and as an average to below average player I should be put on the team I'm better at (which is Alien by an insanely huge margin)

    At least we can't end up with something that's worse than what we currently have.

    I chuckle every time I get put on Marine and my hiveskill goes up.
  • BlrgBlrg Join Date: 2013-09-01 Member: 187580Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Gold, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 153 Advanced user
    Use per team skills but with the average offset in the server subtracted. Race win-rate will reflect the average difference in skill on the server. Most race assignments will be random. Exceptional players may still be forced to their worse team.
    I suggest slow implementation of the system.

    Good admins could still use the full use of skill shuffle when really needed

    And if the full use is ever implemented, then maybe it would need to include something like "karma points" that prevents the system from putting any player 3 times in a row in a team that he hasn't actively selected
  • 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: 4,714 Advanced user
    Use the average of the two skills. All race assignments will be uniformly random regardless of the skill of the player
    Blrg wrote: »
    I suggest slow implementation of the system.

    Good admins could still use the full use of skill shuffle when really needed

    And if the full use is ever implemented, then maybe it would need to include something like "karma points" that prevents the system from putting any player 3 times in a row in a team that he hasn't actively selected

    That is an easy solution for the shine administration mod. If server ops want to enable per team skill values, it would be their choice. The default behavior should not have the negative affects.
    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.
    NousWanderermoultano
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 258 Advanced user
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    100% for this being an adjustable setting, ideally with the shuffle method somehow displayed alongside server info in the browser.
  • maD_maX_maD_maX_ Join Date: 2013-04-07 Member: 184678Members Posts: 470 Advanced user
    Id day that most players that have >4K hive skill can dominate regardless of race and that their individual race hive skills will both be very high...

    Besides if you “suck” as an alien and are amazing as a marine... every time you play alien you would have a better team then when you play marines... might start with o prefer aliens.
  • 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: 4,714 Advanced user
    Use the average of the two skills. All race assignments will be uniformly random regardless of the skill of the player
    Go all-in, just to see what happens. If it is too unpopular, roll it back. A few days of experiment won't hurt much.

    Popularity is not a useful metric when it is not easy for the layman to know what is happening and why. It could be an extremely popular thing but be entirely unuseful or even detrimental.

    For example, California has large wildfires. You will see large planes dropping fire retardant on the fires during all hours of daylight. This method of fire fighting is not very effective while also being very expensive. They use this method because it is popular despite the costs. (Source: I have been a wildland firefighter.)

    I could use some sort of populist policy measure as an example of something detrimental but popular, but I do not want to bring politics into this.

    One area using separate hive skill values would be detrimental would be how long it takes to have accurate values. Separate values would take longer to become valuable.
    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.
  • 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, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,218 Advanced user
    Use per team skills but with the average offset in the server subtracted. Race win-rate will reflect the average difference in skill on the server. Most race assignments will be random. Exceptional players may still be forced to their worse team.
    Right now, shuffle seems pretty popular. The votes usually pass easily, and the games are pretty good. I really wouldn't want to do anything that upsets that consensus by hurting a minority of players. We don't have enough players to start pissing some of them off. :wink:

    If people really want option 1, there might be ways we could mitigate it's downsides. One possibility I was thinking of:

    Total up all the avg skills on the server.

    Choose players at random until their avg skills sum up to more than half of the skill of the server.

    Assign those players at random. (Or keep them on the team they've already joined)

    Assign the rest of the players using algorithm 1.

    This would ensure in the worst case that players play at least 1/4 of their time on each team.
    NousWanderer
  • SquishpokePOOPFACESquishpokePOOPFACE -21,248 posts (ignore below) Join Date: 2012-10-31 Member: 165262Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,606 Advanced user
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    Nordic wrote: »
    For example, California has large wildfires. You will see large planes dropping fire retardant on the fires during all hours of daylight. This method of fire fighting is not very effective while also being very expensive. They use this method because it is popular despite the costs. (Source: I have been a wildland firefighter.)

    That makes two of us my friend! Ever get hit with the orange goo getting dumped around ya?
    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to play Natural Selection 2. The gameplay is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of military strategy and advanced mathematics you won't even win a single game. Theres also the game's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into the game. The maps and artwork draw heavily from Riddley Scott's Alien franchise, for instance. The players understand this stuff, they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depth of the game, to realise that it's not just great, that it also says something about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Natural Selection 2 truly ARE idiots. of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in the Marines' existential catchphrase "how do I get to be so good", which itself is a cryptic reference to the high degree of intelligence required to play the game as intended. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion when spectating a game. What fools... how I pity them. And, yes, by the way, i DO have a Fade tatoo. And no, you cannot see it. it's for the ladies' eyes only, and even then they have to demonstrate that they are within 50 hive skill points of my own (preferable lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid.
  • 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: 4,714 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    Use the average of the two skills. All race assignments will be uniformly random regardless of the skill of the player
    moultano wrote: »
    Right now, shuffle seems pretty popular. The votes usually pass easily, and the games are pretty good. I really wouldn't want to do anything that upsets that consensus by hurting a minority of players. We don't have enough players to start pissing some of them off. :wink:.

    Could it be as simple as a sort of karma system like someone else mentioned? This would require one more column of data in hive, or a local database by shine. It would record the last team played by the player. Shuffle would do what it could to place the player on the opposite team of what they last played. If they managed to play marines three sides in a row, hive would still show marines as their last team played and try to place the player on aliens if it can.
    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.
    MoFo1
  • MoFo1MoFo1 United States Join Date: 2014-07-25 Member: 197612Members Posts: 714 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    ^^ I already get forced to play marine way way too often for me to enjoy the game for long periods anymore... usually by the third time I'm forced marine I'm ready to quit. (Hell by the second I'm praying for a quick concede or base rush just to end the suffering)

    If I was getting forced marine in every other game it would be a nightmare.
    Post edited by MoFo1 on
  • G_of_the_JG_of_the_J Join Date: 2013-08-12 Member: 186764Members Posts: 68 Advanced user
    Why do you want to force ppl play on a team they dont want? I dont understand. :|
    It wont make game more popular. It could make (those few) better players but forcing choices is always bad. Game needs more choices, not less.
    Where it all began...? Gloom
  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,082 Advanced user
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    @G_of_the_J I really don't like this argument. If this is really how you feel, then don't vote for shuffles, it's that simple.

    Because this is exactly what shuffles do RIGHT NOW! They force you to play on a side you don't want, in favour of balance. For better or for worse. And remember, ultimately it's the community that force these shuffles, not uwe, not moultano. You can only blame yourself and your fellow players on that one.
  • 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: 4,714 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    Use the average of the two skills. All race assignments will be uniformly random regardless of the skill of the player
    The problem isnt the forcing. Shuffle is for the most part random now. It is a problem that it would have a severe bias of towards one team for many players.

    We don't exactly have choice now but we at least have the potential of variety.

    This problem might be overcome. Maybe in addition to some sort of karma system, players could set a preference. The preference would be used instead of the karma system, the karma system would be used if there was no set preference.
    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.
  • G_of_the_JG_of_the_J Join Date: 2013-08-12 Member: 186764Members Posts: 68 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    ^Ye thats how i rly feel. I have my reasons. I usually wont vote for shuffle because its sometimes putting me on a team which i dont like.

    As far i know, shuffles try to keep you in a team which you prefer. Yes it puts you sometimes on a other team, but it prefers team you chose.

    There is no shuffle that can make balanced game with ns2 skill differences. Only player segaration will work, but with this little community, i doubt its a good idea. Its my opinion. You can always discuss to make it better, but forcing players to play side they dont like, eh rly. It´s like bitchslapping ppl´s faces.
    Where it all began...? Gloom
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 258 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    Fully use them. Race win-rate will always be 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on their worse race and vice versa.
    Just a few thoughts, including a summation of what everyone has been discussing. The best way to introduce these changes is via server options. If any of my interpretations re: moultano's proposals are wrong, please let me know.

    Proposed Player Skill Changes (via @moultano ):
    Each player will have two skill values. The first is equivalent to the current skill value. The second is an offset that turns the average into their skill for each team when added or subtracted.

    marine_skill = skill + offset
    alien_skill = skill - offset

    The skill values this learns without the offset are backwards compatible, so shuffle algorithms will not need to be modified. Despite the fact that each player will still only have one skill value for balancing, there is still a benefit to doing this. A player’s skill will no longer randomly walk based on their team assignment. It will always be the average of their marine and alien skill, rather than being effectively a weighted average of their skill for the teams they’ve played on recently. Additionally, by collecting this data, and returning it from hive, we can open it up to modders to balance teams more aggressively if they desire.

    Proposed Shuffle Changes: Selectable Modes (Algorithms)

    1. Introduce the following shuffle modes:

    Aggressive:
    Shuffle is determined by averaging player skills which have been calculated using the offset. Of a player’s two skill values ([skill + offset] and [skill – offset]), whichever value results in the lowest team standard deviation will be used. For a given server population, this system seeks the most statistically "even" game possible with the lowest possible standard deviation for each team. Servers running this mode will see team win-rates move toward 50/50 (subject to the limits of hive accuracy). Better players will generally be forced to play on the team they're worse at (and vice versa).

    Moderate:
    Shuffle is determined by a player's [skill + offset] and [skill - offset] values, but with the server’s total average offset subtracted before shuffling. For a given server population, this system seeks a blend of the aggressive and classic modes by attempting to reduce the severity of certain drawbacks of either. Servers running this mode will see team win-rates that reflect the average difference in skill on the server. Most team assignments will be random. Exceptional players may still be forced to their worse team.

    Classic:
    Shuffle is determined by using each player's average skill (without a + or - offset). This mode is essentially the current shuffle. For a given server population, team assignments will be uniformly random regardless of individual player skills.

    2. Allow server operators to select the mode they want to be the standard shuffle mode for their server.

    3. Allow server operators to force shuffle using whichever mode they want, even if it's not their server's standard shuffle mode.

    4. Indicate a server's standard shuffle mode in the server information window of the server browser.


    Proposed Shuffle Changes: Team Preferences

    1. Give players the option to set a default team preference in their settings.

    2. Give players the ability to select a team preference on a per-round basis. Do this by allowing them to switch their default preference (if set) at the start of each round, before a shuffle vote. To select or update a preference, there would be a simple on-screen interface allowing them to select marines or aliens. If they've set a default team preference in their settings, it will be selected by default. If they haven't set a default preference in their settings, no option will be selected. If they join a team before the shuffle vote is complete, that team would be locked in as their preference.

    3. Was the player placed on their preferred team? After each shuffle, record the resulting user statistic as a preference_mismatch value. The goal is to keep track of the historical percentage of rounds that a player isn't successfully placed on their preferred team. Update this value once per shuffle. Commit this data to the historical total only once per round, at the end, using the most recent value generated. If a player switches teams after getting placed on their preferred team, it shouldn't be recorded as a preference mismatch. If a player is forced onto their non-preferred team because another shuffle vote happens, then it should be recorded as a preference mismatch.

    4. Prevent gaming the system by only recording preference values for rounds longer than a specific duration - maybe 5 minutes?

    5. Let server operators set a 'team preference' flag. This would introduce team preference data to their chosen shuffle algorithm. Not every server would have this flag enabled. In servers ignoring team preference data, your team preference and result would still be recorded, but it would have no influence over that particular server's shuffle results.

    6. Don't use a strict karma system. On servers running this mode, allow operators to designate a % value as the server's team preference override threshold. The system would correct the problem of a player consistently being placed on their non-preferred team by giving them their first choice in the event that their historical preference_mismatch value crosses the threshold. In the event that multiple players in a server cross this threshold in a given round, randomly assign them to their preferred teams until the maximum allowed standard deviation is reached (see next point).

    7. Allowing per-user team preference to impinge upon the shuffle algorithms comes at a cost in the form of increased standard deviation, and thus reduced balance (with respect to each algorithm's goal). So server operators would need to be able to establish a maximum allowed standard deviation value which would limit preference-honoring whenever doing so would raise a team's standard deviation above that value.
    Post edited by NousWanderer on
    MoFo1Nordic
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