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View Full Version : On the hot subject of #saveHotS: About integrating the compeitive & the casual !



Todie
10-20-2012, 05:32 AM
So i have been keeping at least a lazy eye on the most verbal sides of the starcraft community lately and it seems like some people are making an attempt to stand up for some fundamental problems the game has. It may be great and become greater as a one on one competitive endeavour, but for casual gamers to take part of that gameplay experience themselves will always be very intimidating and potentially bring more anger, bitterness and frustration than it brings satisfaction.

the contrast is teambased games, they may be arguably lacking in comparison, in terms of pure strategical depth, but even the team-dynamics alone, of games like lol/dota or CS make the gameplay experience even in the most competitive setting to be something casual players are more likely to keep coming back to, than to starcraft where its all on them, win or lose.

Suggestions to address these problems that i have seen are mostly about brining esports into the client and making the client / Bnet environment more socially attractive overall as a platform.

My idea:

The idea i had this morning was for Blizzard to quite simll use the tools already in place or promised for the HotS client to actually integrate potentially casual gameplay with very specific tacical and stategic situations from current tournaments that everyone are able to see, hear cast, and relate to. Allow me to brake it down:

So the GSL code S finals just went down. it was a great series. lets assume blizzard pics out one game and one situation as particularly amazing. the link to this VOD is featured in the BNET client,

along with a blog post from a blizz rep. or maybe artosis (in this GSL case), explaning the game up to some predetermined critical sequence in the game.

Along with the blogpost is the replay of the entire game and two badass buttons for "tactical challenge" one for each race/side. Pressing the tactical challenge will search for a match through the matchmaking system and put both players in the shoes of MVP or Life. giving them some 15-20 seconds to read the situation and set some hotkeys before the game starts......

,
winning the challange (maybe 3-10 times something?) grants an achievment and a portrait - a custom portrait tied to the challange-feature with a picture of the player might be nice.

the challenge would last a month or a couple of weeks, then a new game and situation would be highlighted - with new rewards available!

Im quite proud of the idea and hope i can get enough people to notice it to highlight it.

TcheQuevara
10-20-2012, 12:22 PM
This is a very good idea: using playable replays as a kind of mini-game (just like SP chalenges, but much better) supported by Blizzard or the community (if the community has the tools to feed it).


Unfortunately I don't have any idea to add to yours, or any objection to start a debate :)

Except that maybe, some people won't like your idea. They should listen to it nonetheless. The best thing about it is making SC2 potentially so versatily it could be considered a game plataform. A lot of ideas like this should come up, and the community should have the means to make it happen.

Todie
10-20-2012, 12:40 PM
Ok, good to see someone thinks its a good idea. You may be able to contribute by upvoting on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/starcraft/comments/11szp0/an_idea_about_how_to_integrate_sc2_esports_with/

and commenting both there and on my TL blogpost: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?topic_id=376822#1

Triceron
10-20-2012, 12:48 PM
Wait...

You Blizzard to open up to the casual community... by implementing a feature that puts you in the shoes of the most hardcore of the hardcore? As a non-player of SC2 and a casual Esports follower, this doesn't exactly sound appealing.

Todie
10-20-2012, 01:02 PM
A lot of people used to ladder, or ladder paresely on lets say a gold league level. You either press the find match button or you dont, and maybe you struggle to find more meaning to the wins than silly internet points that nobody but you really care about, and the losses as proof that you suck.

by contrast, its appealing to see the great play displayed in big tournaments. A lot of players including myself keep on watching while playing less and less melee starcraft. I still like playing the game, it just always feels like such a hardcore endavour that it doesnt end up being that many games played that frequently. (This is coming from a quite mature gamer who has been able to rationalize the maeanings of wins and losses quite well.)

The fact taht we are playing less, in turn, is over time making the sc2 games we watch less and less relatable and exciting.

my proposition is to link the two worlds. It would be a cool new thing to play for other than playing the ladder. I think the game needs this.

Triceron
10-20-2012, 01:47 PM
If you want casuals back, bring back BGH. As much as people may hate on it, it's what a majority of SC1 players played, and it's the type of map casuals would enjoy rather than the competitive scene of ladder.

The most highly played custom maps are simple competitive games like Desert Strike and Nexus Wars. Casuals aren't interested in stressful 1v1 style competitive games, they want something quick and fun that a BGH type map can offer. You just build big armies and throw them at your opponent.

BGH was what kept SC1 alive. DOTA is what kept War3 alive. Ladder isn't meant for casuals, and I don't think you will be able to tailor it so that it will appeal to them. Anything on a ranking system is already too hardcore.

Todie
10-20-2012, 02:09 PM
you and i are referring to partially different groups when we say "the casuals". Yes. the people you are talking about enjoy BGH etc more than anything related to a competitive 1v1 situation.

im talking about the whole lot of people who actually have enjoyed 1v1 laddering to some extent in the past. These are the people who are more likely to be interested in following esports. I feel quite certain there are more people who have played more than one game of starcraft ladder than there are who have given watching starcraft esports a real shot.

You have a point though. I think Blizzard are hoping their Dota map, blizzArena or whatever it is they're calling it, will be a ood draw on that crowd. My suggestion can tie into that though, allowing for special skins and stuff for the blizzDota to be unlocked with completions fo the tacical challange.

Sarov
10-20-2012, 04:27 PM
There are really two main types of casuals: those that aren't competitive and those that don't have the time to play.


im talking about the whole lot of people who actually have enjoyed 1v1 laddering to some extent in the past.

You think Blizzard would have learned from World of Warcraft.

For some reason, they removed skirmishes and replaced them with war games in Cataclysm. War games required you to challenge another group, which had to be on the same realm as you. I don't think Blizzard understood the appeal of skirmishes, otherwise they would know why people hate war games.

Casuals loved skirmishes because they could play arena without worrying about the pressure. Competitive players could play with these friends without worrying about their rating. Other players used skirmishes for practice, whether that was with current teams, potential teammates, or just to test classes/comps/talents/glyphs. For all intents and purposes, skirmishes were just unranked arena matches.

It's the same with SCII.

Anxiety from being ranked kept most of the people on my list from playing. Some people only played custom maps but then they became bored and left. I used to do ladder but the anxiety eventually got in the way. It would have been better if they had a separate, unranked system.

I went from a list of more than twenty, to under ten and now it's empty. Doesn't give me much of a reason to log in anymore. Except even if this is fixed, they already moved on to other games. And that's not counting the other problems I hear about. :/

Todie
10-20-2012, 05:05 PM
SOme of them will come back for HotS, and some new people will come onboard with HotS. its also resonably easy to meet people bby just being nice on ladder..

You are right, we've needed unranked matchmaking for a long time. HotS has promised to bring it, but im thinking tats not really enough.

Triceron
10-20-2012, 07:45 PM
"im talking about the whole lot of people who actually have enjoyed 1v1 laddering to some extent in the past."

This is a very small niche, and what players are into that kind of play already have it available. The game is designed for the 1v1 laddering system. Also, these aren't typically casual players. They may play 1v1 casually, but they are a tiny minority of players compared to those who don't 1v1 and would rather play something more relaxing or fun.

If anything, more people gravitate towards 2v 3v or 4v games for casual laddering.

Rake
10-21-2012, 01:52 AM
I think SC needs to be even gentler in introducing new players to the ladder. It should go:
-protected bases and slow game speed
-slow game speed
-normal game

At the moment, the protected bases and the slow game speed is removed at the same time and it is too much for brand new players.

They should make these changes, and perhaps even more, for new players to HotS.

flak4321
10-22-2012, 09:52 AM
I think the opening post is a novel suggestion and would appeal to some casuals, but not as widely as it would appear. This suggestion would be just as prone to ladder anxieities as the ladder itself is. The reason for this is the need for the matchmaker. Much of the anxiety in laddering is a result of the broadness the matchmaker must encompass to effectively match a player but also challenge a player approaching a league promotion. This broadness may result in a match up in the challenge situation that is very unfavorable for the casual.

The challenge would also be difficult to set up as well. This is because of the difficulty in replicating the resource situation. The bank of each player would be easy, but the remaining resources unmined would be quite difficult to replicate without something to keep a constant record of unmined resources. It's by no means impossible, just very difficult.

I personally do not feel the ladder anxieties my fellow casuals feel because I, and I recommend this to every newer player I come across, I approach the game with a necessary sense of humor. In order to 1v1 without anxiety you have to be able to place yourself in a mindset that focuses on the game at hand alone, and then laughs at any negative circumstances that may arise.

As laughter is the best medicine, so too can it keep your mind in a state of learning readiness. Because of this, I do not typically need to watch my own replays to find out where I went wrong. I watch them to find out what more I could have done, what I could have done differently, how my opponent reacted to crtain things, and how my opponent tech switched when I thought I had his/her econ badly snuffed (i.e. did I miss a ninja expand).

I have also recommended the existing challenges as training tools as well as playing vs. the AI and being able to consistently beat the Hard AI as a barometer of having the basic skill set to compete in 1v1 bronze, with the additional note of learning to scout your opponent consistently. Not all of those I have helped have become friends, but almost all of them have been thankful.

sandwich_bird
10-22-2012, 01:42 PM
It's a cool idea but, like people already mentioned, I doubt it would accomplish the mentioned purpose.

The big problem is that 1v1 is too stressful for the vast majority of casual players. Hell, I've been playing 1v1 since SC1 and I still think it's stressful. This is especially true in lower leagues where it's all about dumb cheese/1 base all-ins most of the time. It's not fun at all. Sure, it's nice to watch a game that last 15+ minutes in the pro leagues but it will never come down to this in a casual 1v1 until you reach at least gold league and I believe that most casual players will quit before that. This is something you can't change. This is why team games are much more appropriate for casual gamers and this is why Blizzard should focus on making team games competitive. The fact that you are with other people greatly reduce the stress level and generally augment the fun factor. Think about it, LoL would never be where it is now if it was based on 1v1 hero combat. But honestly, if Starcraft wants to be at LoL level, they better act fast with drastic changes and an excellent marketing campaign to back it off. Things they should consider:

-Make SC2 F2P (following ideas mentioned in a previous thread on the subject)

-Creat a team based pro league tournament (not to be confused with something like GSTL but where players actually do 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4).

-Give more incentives to play league games:think mass effect 3 where the only real way to get the "best" ending is to play multiplayer. Also, need more rewards to progress up on the ladder. Portraits are not enough. Something they could implement would be a currency that you can accumulate each time you win a game. That currency could be then used to purchase campaign related stuff, cosmetic rewards and possibly even a way to buy premium custom maps. Those are all successful tricks that are common in the industry now.

-Allow players to coach other players in unranked games + allow replay sharing and the ability to watch replays with multiple players (why is this still not in there?)

Todie
10-22-2012, 03:40 PM
. Much of the anxiety in laddering is a result of the broadness the matchmaker must encompass to effectively match a player but also challenge a player approaching a league promotion. This broadness may result in a match up in the challenge situation that is very unfavorable for the casual. Actually, if im not misstaken they increased the broadness of the matchmaking process a few months back - with reduction of anxiet as one explicit reason (though there may have been others too)
previously you were always matched vs people pretty much exactly as good as you were. "evenly matched" (unless you were masters or high masters etc, idk) ... and no, being close to a promotion or not did not affect this.

after the change, you can be matched vs significantly weaker or significantly stronger players, so sometimes you are expected to outplay and win easily and other times you are very likely to lose. Somehow this was considered better than having every game be a nail-biter. i think i agree with that, although i cant currently rationalize the argument.



The challenge would also be difficult to set up as well. This is because of the difficulty in replicating the resource situation. The bank of each player would be easy, but the remaining resources unmined would be quite difficult to replicate without something to keep a constant record of unmined resources. It's by no means impossible, just very difficult. Im pretty sure blizzard has announced a "play from replay" feature for HotS. this is a feature that can help make up for disconnections in competitive games and was popularized though a community-made custom map that proved it was possible; you could save the gamestate ingame and later role back to that point at any time... If blizzard implements that to HotS, my suggestion wont be very hard to implement either. it just needs the separated infrastructure to set up the non-ladder matchmaking - something they are doing anyway though the announced "unranked ladder" option; ability to play a ladder game without the stakes of ladder points or affected MMR


Good points made overall guys, i agree with much of it.

Triceron
10-22-2012, 08:48 PM
What about a 'No rush 5min' mode

flak4321
10-23-2012, 09:02 AM
Actually, if im not misstaken they increased the broadness of the matchmaking process a few months back - with reduction of anxiet as one explicit reason (though there may have been others too)
previously you were always matched vs people pretty much exactly as good as you were. "evenly matched" (unless you were masters or high masters etc, idk) ... and no, being close to a promotion or not did not affect this.

after the change, you can be matched vs significantly weaker or significantly stronger players, so sometimes you are expected to outplay and win easily and other times you are very likely to lose. Somehow this was considered better than having every game be a nail-biter. i think i agree with that, although i cant currently rationalize the argument.


Im pretty sure blizzard has announced a "play from replay" feature for HotS. this is a feature that can help make up for disconnections in competitive games and was popularized though a community-made custom map that proved it was possible; you could save the gamestate ingame and later role back to that point at any time... If blizzard implements that to HotS, my suggestion wont be very hard to implement either. it just needs the separated infrastructure to set up the non-ladder matchmaking - something they are doing anyway though the announced "unranked ladder" option; ability to play a ladder game without the stakes of ladder points or affected MMR


Good points made overall guys, i agree with much of it.

I remember Blizz giving that reason for the most recent matchmaker change as well. Overall I'm okay with it, but my win % did dip from 55 to 48, so I'm not entirely happy with it either. Perhaps something in between where it was before and where it is now may be best, but I wouldn't argue if they elected not to change it again. ;)

I agree a play from replay would be neat, regardless of implementation intricacies. I also will add a point that for some players it may prove to be motivation to ladder more if they like this option enough to want have some of these situations of their own creation.

DemolitionSquid
10-23-2012, 12:04 PM
What about a 'No rush 5min' mode

The problem is, how exactly would you implement that?

If you set all units to invincible for 5 minutes, it would not encourage long games. Fast mass Baneling and Widow Mine play, to simply enter the enemy base untouched and then wreak chaos when the invincibility wears off, would be popular. All-ins would be more common.

If you created an uncrossable line in the middle of the map, either a force field or though destructible debris, you'd deny scouting and cause pure build-order wins. So then you'd have to decide what units were allowed to cross the line to scout - maybe workers, Overlords, and CC Scan. But then Protoss is at a disadvantage because the only unit they'd have to scout is the higher tech, costly Mothership Core. Which has an attack of its own, effectively removing the NR5Min. With workers, you'd encounter more surprise worker rushes because its supposed to be NR5Min. It would also not help the Reaper's viability to be denied crossing the line.

No rush cannot work in ladder play because there's no way to ensure player cooperation while limiting cheese.

Triceron
10-23-2012, 02:26 PM
Sentries start with hallucination now, you can use a phoenix to scout easily.

What could be possible is to make all units weaker in the first 5 minutes, and after the mark their DPS goes to normal. Or you could simply deter enemy rushes by giving an obvious Defender's Advantage. It would help weak players survive rushes with very basic defense, but something that would also promote making units rather than simply making tons of turrets.

Maybe take a page out of Warcraft 3 and give workers a 'Militia mode' that gives them a temporary health and speed boost; ability granted from every main base. The mechanic would not work for expos or for a Terran that flies their main in hopes to 'worker rush'; and the ability goes away after the 5min mark.


But I'm just coming up with ideas for the sake of it. I'm not a fan of the idea of 'no rush', I just see the potential in it being an option as a casual-friendly game mode.

sandwich_bird
10-23-2012, 04:25 PM
Sentries start with hallucination now, you can use a phoenix to scout easily.

What could be possible is to make all units weaker in the first 5 minutes, and after the mark their DPS goes to normal. Or you could simply deter enemy rushes by giving an obvious Defender's Advantage. It would help weak players survive rushes with very basic defense, but something that would also promote making units rather than simply making tons of turrets.

Maybe take a page out of Warcraft 3 and give workers a 'Militia mode' that gives them a temporary health and speed boost; ability granted from every main base. The mechanic would not work for expos or for a Terran that flies their main in hopes to 'worker rush'; and the ability goes away after the 5min mark.


But I'm just coming up with ideas for the sake of it. I'm not a fan of the idea of 'no rush', I just see the potential in it being an option as a casual-friendly game mode.


That‘s actually a smart idea. You could make casual players start with static defense or something along those lines.

Alex06
10-24-2012, 01:29 AM
No rush 5 min mode? Simple. Just have an giant wall that divides the map into 2, or have a giant shield that entombs the entire starting area of each player, preventing them from getting out and anyone from getting in for a certain period of time. This was present in C&C3 for Xbox 360.

TheEconomist
10-24-2012, 08:57 AM
You mean, kind of like the rocks in practice mode maps?

flak4321
10-24-2012, 01:21 PM
The problem is, how exactly would you implement that?

If you set all units to invincible for 5 minutes, it would not encourage long games. Fast mass Baneling and Widow Mine play, to simply enter the enemy base untouched and then wreak chaos when the invincibility wears off, would be popular. All-ins would be more common.

If you created an uncrossable line in the middle of the map, either a force field or though destructible debris, you'd deny scouting and cause pure build-order wins. So then you'd have to decide what units were allowed to cross the line to scout - maybe workers, Overlords, and CC Scan. But then Protoss is at a disadvantage because the only unit they'd have to scout is the higher tech, costly Mothership Core. Which has an attack of its own, effectively removing the NR5Min. With workers, you'd encounter more surprise worker rushes because its supposed to be NR5Min. It would also not help the Reaper's viability to be denied crossing the line.

No rush cannot work in ladder play because there's no way to ensure player cooperation while limiting cheese.

Actually it would be quite easy. Any unit other than workers would be makeable but would not be moveable by the player until the time limit expired. This immobility would include Terran's lift off. The only scouting option would workers. In order to increase the fairness of the no rush mode, players would also be unable to build any static defenses, inclusive of PFs. To avoid a worker rush, workers would be modified to not have an attack during the time limit. The last thing to regulate to allow fair scouting would be disallowing wall-offs in no rush games, which can be done by one of 2 options: either put a no build zone of one block around buildings for the time limit, or allow adjacent buildings but have them lose HP at a high rate that would freak players out within the time limit, i.e. have at least one of the adjacent buildings buildings die in about 30 seconds, the second one would be preferable.

An even more fair rush mode would be no rush until both players have 3 bases, with the caveat that there is a time limit to get the third (say by the 9 minute mark). This would include a requirement that a macro hatch/CC would count as a separate base.