STT is Crap.

Think something's terrific? Think something sucks? Rant and rave here. This is a definite "Keep it civil" area, folks. We will be enforcing common courtesy.

Postby Miss Cow » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:48 am

Just as the title says. I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm not looking to start a shitstorm against the mods or the servers, because playing here is a choice. Generally, I like the server. This isn't aimed at any particular person. The whole reason why I spent five minutes making an account here was for this very reason, to voice my opinion.

STT is Crap.

One thing that I absolutely dislike is what I call competitive coddling. It's the unfair evening out of obstacles so that everyone feels better. Team Fortress 2 is a game that is set up with two teams of various numbers of people, one team that will win and one team that will lose. As this is the internet, some people can't handle losing and they'll complain, either at the opponents who win or the team mates that contributed to the loss. TF2, as it's name implies, is a game that requires teamwork to win. Striking it out alone Halo-style is not going to get the job done.

STT basically turns this team based play and flips it on it's ear. "If you complain and vote hard enough, you can break apart a team that was working well together and then maybe YOU can win!"

The notion of stacking a team is ridiculous. Why? "Stacked" teams are usually teams full of friends who play together. I personally make friends with people who play well at their perspective classes. By calling the teams 'stacked' and complaining about it, you are essentially asking me to play against my friends. If you made a friend, would you constantly want to fight them all the time? One of the best reasons to make friends is that they can cover for your weaknesses.

For an example, one of my best classes is Pyro. As a pyro, I'm not particularly good at a distance and avoid ranged combat like the plague. I have several people on my list that play good ranged classes, so that I can cover them up close. I know a few others that play good engineers that friended me because I do a good job of setting spies on fire and giving them the boot.

Good Teams communicate with each other. They tell you what's around corners, warn you of sentry placements, and verbally come up with strategies to overcome the opposing team. It helps to keep the conversation light hearted (within reason) and have a good time with one another. Good Teams also have a good class composition. A few heavier classes, some medics, one or two of the support classes is usually a good thing. I've been on teams with this all set in play and we can really put it to the other team if they aren't playing as well. But oh no! Now we've been playing TOO WELL! Team Stacks shenannigans are thrown out and people vote to scramble.

I've been team switched before. I know the signs of a losing team. The mic is quiet. Nobody is communicating at all. Nobody even says anything in chat. I don't know about the Heavy & Medic combo terrorizing the point, building up an uber. I don't know about the spy hiding around the corner, stabbing people as they go past. I don't know about the sentry placement in the house across the way. Nobody does, until they run into it. The other big sign of a losing team is bad class make up. I'm sorry, but four snipers, three spies and 2 engineers is going to win a map underneath almost no circumstances.

Next time you lose, ask yourself the following questions:

Did I play a class that was genuinely helpful to my team?

Did anyone talk about what was going on, on the front lines?

Did we put pressure on the medics to prevent them from building up Ubers?

How many Snipers/Spies do we have?

Class 'X' is a problem. Have we found a way to counter him?

Was there any risks that I took that I shouldn't have?

These are questions I ask these to myself. I don't always win games, and sometimes, there was nothing that I could have done, personally, to prevent a loss. Some people are just better at the game than you are, be it ping or skill, they've got something you didn't.

When I first started, I was pretty bad at the game, like anyone else. I didn't understand what was going on and I got stomped for it. I have never once voted for a scramble or an STT. Instead, you know what I did? I read forums. I watched videos. I learned how to play other classes. I started out as a Medic but now I have several 'go-to' classes when I know we need something done so that we can win.

With STT, you never get that far. You just stay at your comfortable little zone, not really getting any better because now the guys who were winning are on your team (hopefully) and they just do what they do, while you can sit back and let them win for you. It's unfair to force a winning team into this just by playing the game. And who's to decide how much winning is too much? I've seen scrambles that get off on Payload maps before the opposing team even gets a chance to defend. It's just silly.

It's getting to the point now a days that the whiners and complainers of these servers are starting to grate my nerves bad enough to where I don't even want to play here anymore. Why should I bother playing my best when average joe next to me can just vote to STT and sabotage all of my hard work by making me play for him instead of against him?
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Postby RollingEye » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:37 am

I think I remember hearing a similar argument: "Don't even the teams, just get better"

If five five-year-old kids and one all-star go up against the <some fantastic basketball team>, who is going to win? I'll answer for ya, it's not going to be the children and the poor sap on their team. Maybe that wasn't the most even example, I'll try again: Let's say 6 college kids who've never touched a football in their life go up against 6 college kids who play for the varsity team. What's the outcome going to be? Of course, after getting the ever-living snot kicked out of em, at least a couple are going to try to get better (by not playing against the varsity team again). Most, however, will say "Fook this" and go back to Counter-Strike or whatever those crazy kids play nowadays.

Now, I will agree that communication is a pretty big problem with organizing a team. If no one talks, then it can be difficult to gauge what the hell's going on. But! I've also seen a good number of matches where NO one spoke the entire round, and a sufficient roll happened in our favor. What that says to me is that while communication is important, it's not a sole deciding factor in the outcome of a match.

The times when you see a scramble taking place the next round, before the winning team has a chance to defend? That wouldn't happen to be because it only took 30 seconds to push little cart from point A to point B? I'll agree, some teams are disorganized, and because of this they'll lose. But if you stick a team of people that have never seen a gun in their life, let alone a skilled player holding one, what do you think will happen?

With STT, players don't have to get rolled round after round after round. If a steam roll happens concurrently (Yes, I've seen this before), players start leaving. I believe we call it 'ragequits', when a player decides "Y'know what? I don't feel like losing anymore." My personal favorite was before serious implementation of the STT plug-in was put in: folks would join spectator en masse to get onto the winning team. Pretty hard to fight a war when the opposing force is non-existent, yes?

I've been on the receiving end of a team stack MANY a time. I can tell you, it's not the most fun thing in the world. I'd rather not be blamed for not organizing my team, because it's not my job to make sure that everyone on my team plays at regular status. This is not a competitive server, and I'm not going to bark orders like a damn drill sergeant and force people to listen to me. And if the only answer for beating a team stack is to "get better" while I'm at the top of my team? Well shit son, I'm afraid that's just plain illogical. I shouldn't have to be the one carrying my team, and I sure as hell shouldn't be the only one who's ever capped a damn point in my life on my team.

Why should you bother playing if you know the outcome of the game already?
Oh crap, is it coward-killing time already?
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Disclaimer: The views presented by this Rolly are not always serious. Use common sense/brain when reading.
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Postby Nynnja » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:14 am

I want to emphasize what Rolly said about this NOT being a competitive server. Of course, the goal of the game is to beat the other team, and in that way there is competition, but we're all here to have fun, first and foremost. you bring up some decent points, and I appreciate that you offer suggestions for newer players to get better, but I wholeheartedly disagree with your conclusions.

Now, while we do encourage you to play with your friends, we'd also like you to be willing to play AGAINST your friends too, as this is not a comp server, we have no requirements for playing here other than you be capable of behaving. This means that while you and your group of friends might be capable of coordinating a spy with a couple of ubercharges, the other team might not know how to spin a teleporter exit around so it doesn't face a wall (right click). This vast difference in playing ability is what generates the species known as 'ragequits.' This is because, put bluntly, the other team is not there to be your personal punching bag, they are there to play the game and, even if they're losing, put up one hell of a fight. There are times when myself and a number of other good players I know of will see a steamroll in progress, and will switch away from the winning team (voluntarily) to try and even out the fight. This isn't because we have some sort of higher, noble ideal we're holding to, it's because steamrolling isn't any fun, because it's not a challenge, and neither is getting steamrolled fun.

You made the claim earlier that scramble lets people stay at their comfortable little zero and never improve, while I beg to differ, scramble shifts teams around to evenly distribute point-earning players, it doesn't magically make all the 'bad' players become leeches on the 'good' players, it simply provides teams with an even mix of 'good' and 'bad' players, this means that, after a scramble, teams should be evenly matched. This doesn't make people zero out, it lets the less skilled or newer players fight against players of their own skill, mixed in with higher skilled players, while higher skilled players actually get the challenge of fighting people who are readily capable of killing them. Honestly if there's anything that zeros out your skill it is to stick with your own little group of highly capable friends and never truly be challenged by an opposing team.

Now, I understand if you don't necessarily like the scramble plug in, but it is here to stay, and as you said before, playing on the servers is 100% up to you, and we do enjoy having you here, you seem plenty nice from what I've seen of you in game, and you have never caused any trouble. If the plug in is that offensive to you then I really am sorry, but we've determined it to be in the best interests of the community as a whole. We have more than 2.5K people in the community proper, with any number of pubs more than that filtering in and out of the servers every day, and we want the server to be a fun, relaxed environment for as many people as possible.

Now, if you want to prevent scrambles, try to even out the teams yourself beforehand! Get one of your friends to come with you from the winning team to the losing team and see if you can't whip them into shape! Give them helpful tips and try to aid them at improving their game! Inform them of what they're doing wrong and tell them how they can fix it! Oftentimes all a team needs is someone to start forming strategies for them over mic, even if none of them have a mic they'll be inclined to listen to you, because you know what you're talking about. Of course, some people won't listen, that fifth spy on the team or that fourth sword-n-cowering plate demo, for instance, but if you can help someone improve, who knows, you might just make some new friends!

If you would like to suggest an alternative to our scramble plugin, then we'll be happy to hear it, but keep in mind that 'get rid of it entirely' is not going to happen.
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Postby WolfMacLeod » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:22 am

Definitely a serious topic and one that I'll pay attention to.

Yes I'm not one of those uber master gamers, and believe me when I say nothing annoys me more than the line "Don't even the teams, just get better".

It is a team game, and (as far as I know) stats aren't even tracked here. So when I log on, and one team has half their team scores higher than anyone on the other team, it's gonna be pain, it's gonna suck, and I'm gonna get bored and go back to Rock Band or Dragon Age.

As for what I can do to help stem the bleeding of a slaughterfest like I described, not much. I'll do my medic thing, get a couple cheap assist points, but if I'm facing folks like Aurafox and the BFG boys, it's not gonna help much.

The mod has helped alot as far as at least letting the STT go to a vote, and I've seen more team shuffles in the first two months this year than the previous several when I joined back.

But it goes back to what was said in a few replies prior to mine, it should be about having fun. If I'm on the steamrolled team, can't get out of my base without being sniped or backstabbed, it's not fun.

Consider this one vote for keeping the mod installed.
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Postby iller » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:27 am

Miss Cow wrote: I personally make friends with people who play well


...this is pretty much the dead give away that this was not a thread made in good faith...

Logic people, Logic.
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Postby Anthrax » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:59 am

iller wrote:
Miss Cow wrote: I personally make friends with people who play well


...this is pretty much the dead give away that this was not a thread made in good faith...

Logic people, Logic.


I thought something didn't seem right when I was reading. Thanks for pointing out what it was.
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Postby FlareKitsune » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:02 pm

Wasn't there an auto scramble built in? Like after a team wins 3 times the teams are scrambled? Yanno. To PREVENT stacking?

Yeah what happened to that?
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Postby Sekh765 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:11 pm

FlareKitsune wrote:Wasn't there an auto scramble built in? Like after a team wins 3 times the teams are scrambled? Yanno. To PREVENT stacking?

Yeah what happened to that?


It was removed and replaced with a vote system to prevent bad scrambles.
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Postby iller » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:30 pm

This is probably a stupid question, but.... (nietzsche/devil's advocate time)
....then Why does it now take a 4-0 win streak on CP maps for the vote to even be triggered?
By the time a 4-0 win streak is reached, there's usually only 5 minutes left on the map anyway.

Furthermore: (rhetorical)
....is the Timer still set to "under 0:3:30" for triggering the Vote when a round was won "too quickly"?
&...why is the "yes" scramble ratio required @ 51% now when the old votescramble only require 40 something?

Furthermore... whatever happened to Autobalance grabbing higher scoring players? ...now it's right back to only switching the player who dies first which is statistically proven a majority of the time to move the most suicidal player from the winning team right to the losing team, thus making an already losing team even weaker.

Having no autobalance at-all was preferential to this... (for careless players, anyway)
I think even Cow would agree with that last part given her/hir typical Pyro playstyle.


I'm not complaining, Sir. I just wanted to point out that in the newsletter, you stated:
We will be experimenting with a new Scramble plugin for the servers to alleviate the problems with stacking

By "problems with stacking?", did you mean that it still wasn't easy enough for members to team-stack without interruptions?

The current results suggest that this was the ultimate goal. Hence why I wrote off Cow's original post --> She is against scrambling, and the "threat" of "STT'ing" has been further reduced to a 5-minute pity-round at the tail end of 5 rounds where no one on the winning team ever has to worry about Rage-Spec'ers again. Meanwhile all the whiners who want an "STT" won't typically wait around 4 rounds just for an increasingly ignored vote that has a 49% chance to pass on a good day. Shouldn't team stackers be lining up to thank you instead of writing questionable rants that could place a spotlight on your work? I think the expediency in which you figured out the coding and implemented it should be commended! Anyone who doesn't like it can simply move to a different community, right?
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Postby Jinx » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:41 pm

iller wrote:This is probably a stupid question, but.... (nietzsche/devil's advocate time)
....then Why does it now take a 4-0 win streak on CP maps for the vote to even be triggered?
By the time a 4-0 win streak is reached, there's usually only 5 minutes left on the map anyway.


I believe it does it on a 3-0 win streak. Any less and it's too early to tell.

iller wrote:Furthermore: (rhetorical)
....is the Timer still set to "under 0:3:30" for triggering the Vote when a round was won "too quickly"?
&...why is the "yes" scramble ratio required @ 51% now when the old votescramble only require 40 something?


Yes, it's currently set to 3:30 for a round being won "too quickly." The ratio was changed to 50% because scrambling was occurring too often.

iller wrote:Furthermore... whatever happened to Autobalance grabbing higher scoring players? ...now it's right back to only switching the player who dies first which is statistically proven a majority of the time to move the most suicidal player from the winning team right to the losing team, thus making an already losing team even weaker.


gScramble will try to find a "good" player to switch over (not the best, not the worst) in case of an autobalance. However this feature is currently broken so it has been disabled. We are currently using Valve's built-in autobalancer which chooses a person randomly, not whoever dies first.

iller wrote:By "problems with stacking?", did you mean that it still wasn't easy enough for members to team-stack without interruptions?


Not sure what you're getting at here.

iller wrote:The current results suggest that this was the ultimate goal. Hence why I wrote off Cow's original post --> She is against scrambling, and the "threat" of "STT'ing" has been further reduced to a 5-minute pity-round at the tail end of 5 rounds where no one on the winning team ever has to worry about Rage-Spec'ers again. Meanwhile all the whiners who want an "STT" won't typically wait around 4 rounds just for an increasingly ignored vote that has a 49% chance to pass on a good day. Shouldn't team stackers be lining up to thank you instead of writing questionable rants that could place a spotlight on your work? I think the expediency in which you figured out the coding and implemented it should be commended! Anyone who doesn't like it can simply move to a different community, right?


Not exactly sure what you're trying to say here either. The servers are expected to run smooth, free of hackers, and with rowdy people taken care of. If things are running good we generally get no praise--which is pretty much what is happening now with the current revision of the scrambler. From observance games that are slightly tilted get a vote thrown up but it fails; games that are very stacked either get forced from people typing 'scramble' or a vote is thrown up and it passes.
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