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View Full Version : Active & dynamic "Ranking/Level" System


edhe
7th Apr 2005, 09:31 AM
There's a recurring point in all these threads that people would like to see a proper player tracking & matching system that will zone servers with certain levels of players into 'your level' or 'not your level' or flat out 'no go'.

The biggest driving issues would be:

How?
Why?
Opt in/out?


How: Statistical analysis. By collecting serious stats from every game in every gametype you play, rated against the players in that server, a ranking function could be developed to marks servers/players as good/bad for your skill level.
Such stats would/should include:

Efficiency against other players
Percentage of pickups taken vs other players
percentage of time of pickups used (or how long the armour stays on?)
Aggression (% of time spent in enemy territory &/^ close proximity to enemy players
Positional - % of time spent near nme/base flag/nodes/objectives
Teamwork - % of time spent in zoned distances from team mates.
etc


Comparisons of this against the other players in the server, using a branching search to backdate against whom other players have played against that the current player may have played against, would render a Plus or Minus stat that could be used to 'rank' against those in that server.

Also this kind of information could be used to find clanners that could fit into your side, or you could trade for if you've got spare... (heartless clanning... ;))

Please add your serious comments to this post - mods maybe even sticky it?

Xipher
7th Apr 2005, 11:27 AM
I like the idea. I wouldn't mind being able to grab this info via some sort of web interface as well (maybe grab an XML file with the info). Would be nice to be able to incorperate the data into a personal site, or even a clan site.

1337
7th Apr 2005, 01:53 PM
I usually fool around and sometimes I don't fool around as much. Sometimes I can hang with TDM clan players other times I can't. It has to do with what the connection is like, what my mood is, if I'm screwing around, if my game is minimized, if I am using sound, if the computer's environment is warmer than normal, etc... I think there would be alot of other players also not showing a consistent competitive pattern. I don't think it would be worth the effort or resources. But it might be a marketable feature, even though I doubt it is going to be accurate. And any clan that dumps a clanmate for someone else's higher utstats score shouldn't be considered a clan.

CyMek
7th Apr 2005, 05:53 PM
There are also intangibles! And there are unmeasureables, like dodging. I mean, sure you can say that factors in in DM, but really once you get into team games (Yes, the link gun is in Envy... Can you say ONS?) there are things that you really can't measure that determine how good of a player someone really is.

edhe
8th Apr 2005, 04:52 AM
You can measure everything that happens in a game.

Determing a player's 'level' takes something else :)

I still think it's an idea that would provide an excellent extension to the support of the users. And to be honest i don't think the UT series will compete with anything else if it doesn't have some sort of automatic guidance for the newbs vs the experienced. The game will flop if people only play it for a week, get bored of the SP immediately and can't enjoy themselves online.

That's the most important part of it all, the game needs to regenerate a community, despite the actions of the 'pros'.

Taleweaver
8th Apr 2005, 05:58 AM
I don't think the measurement will be much of a problem; after all, the tracking of stats goes back to UT99.

What I'd like to see is an extra filter that you can add/remove in the server settings (exactly like the 'standard only' filter). There are two ways this can be done:
server side: each server admin has the ability to assign a minimum and/or maximum skill level.
client side: makes the computer do a check on a certain server, namely checking each player's skill and computing the average skill level


Like Cymek says: there will always be flaws or skills that aren't tracked. Therefore, there shouldn't be too much skill levels (about 8 at the very most).

Mulch_D
8th Apr 2005, 07:25 AM
There's another problem that I don't think has been mentioned, I live in Australia and we don't have many servers or many players it would seriously suck if I couldn't get into our only good CTF server 'cause I'm not good enough or (less likely) too good. It would also not be good if our servers could no longer fill because we have 6 in one and 10 in the other due to skill and not 16 all in the one.
Is there any news on this sort of stuff?

Taleweaver
8th Apr 2005, 08:29 AM
Ehm...I mentioned it, but maybe this wasn't clear enough: the advantage of using the players' skill as a filter means that you can turn it on and off whenever you like. Just as in UT2004, filters don't work on favorite servers, or whenever you're querying for buddies.
However...If you're looking at the general server, you are free to 'get rid' of the servers you're not going to like anyway...like empty servers, full servers, servers with too low/high average skill, servers without mutator X, and so on...

Mulch_D
8th Apr 2005, 08:57 AM
Okay, thanks. I never thought of complaining to the admins of the servers (if that's what your saying)

edhe
8th Apr 2005, 09:06 AM
Ehm...I mentioned it, but maybe this wasn't clear enough: the advantage of using the players' skill as a filter means that you can turn it on and off whenever you like. Just as in UT2004, filters don't work on favorite servers, or whenever you're querying for buddies.
However...If you're looking at the general server, you are free to 'get rid' of the servers you're not going to like anyway...like empty servers, full servers, servers with too low/high average skill, servers without mutator X, and so on...
Integral to the idea :)

Go&nd
8th Apr 2005, 10:49 AM
I'm sorry if I'm way off here, but doesn't Halo 2 have a ranking system that helps similarly skilled players play together? I haven't played Halo 2 and it's been a few months since I read about it, but I understood that to be one of the innovative Xbox Live features of Halo 2.

Couldn't we gauge the success of such a feature by how it's doing in the Halo 2 community? And then couldn't Epic learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the Halo 2 system?

I really like the idea of making this ranking system a filter. :tup: However, the filter would have to be something that can be enabled both by the client and the server (separately).

I definitely would like the ability to turn it off and play against players superior to me. Some of my best early UT memories and best learning experiences came from having my ass owned by better players. :D

It's difficult to improve your game if you don't have to the courage to play with players better than you. :)

Taleweaver
8th Apr 2005, 11:46 AM
Okay, thanks. I never thought of complaining to the admins of the servers (if that's what your saying)
:confused: Ehm...No. That's not what I said at all.

Well...maybe that can happen if the feature is implemented. Just look at the server situation as it is: some public servers seem to attract better players than others (Cains, Jolt, Dry Lobster, Titan, ...). Admins are aware of this, or at least they should be. All I suggest is a better way to let the general audience know what kind of players they want to draw in.

@Go&nd: the idea isn't so much of allowing servers to enable/disable the feature, but by setting the default settings to "minimum skill=<lowest skill level>" and "maximum skill=<highest skill level>", the servers can still reveal themselves to everybody out there.
At the same time, players aren't obligated to use the filter if they don't want to...in fact, they can even set the filters to display the servers that just advertise themselves to the stronger audience.

The point isn't to separate the different skill levels, but to make sure that when you join a server, you know what kind of game you can expect.


Hmm...while thinking of the skill levels, I came to another idea I have for a while...I guess this is the right thread for it. It's about the "starting skill". I'd like to suggest that everyone starts at skill level 0. You are not allowed to play online at this skill level. To get to play online, all you have to do is either watch all the tutorial missions, or win the singleplayer campaign (no matter what skill level).
Here (http://ut2004.titaninternet.co.uk/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=1219&start=0)'s an example that happened a few days ago at Titans: a guy asked for help, because he couldn't move "his thing"...It quickly turned out he was trying to drive off with a turret. Somewhat later, he asked for more help, because he didn't knew how to exit the game... :lol:

Though entertaining, we can miss these kind of players online (these kind of questions generally don't have polite answers). The best way to practice is online, but don't you all agree that you should know at least the very basics about the game before starting on the net?

EDIT: almost forgot...anyone know how the "Halo 2" system of finding likewise-skilled players work?

Go&nd
8th Apr 2005, 12:11 PM
@Go&nd: the idea isn't so much of allowing servers to enable/disable the feature, but by setting the default settings to "minimum skill=<lowest skill level>" and "maximum skill=<highest skill level>", the servers can still reveal themselves to everybody out there.

At the same time, players aren't obligated to use the filter if they don't want to...

in fact, they can even set the filters to display the servers that just advertise themselves to the stronger audience.

The point isn't to separate the different skill levels, but to make sure that when you join a server, you know what kind of game you can expect.
Oh I understood this -- but I guess I didn't explain why I said "the filter would have to be something that can be enabled both by the client and the server (separately)."

In every generation of Unreal multiplayer, starting with the original Unreal all the way through UT2004, I've witnessed leet players who loved to inflate their egos by joining servers of less skilled players to indulge in some ownage.

If you make this an entirely client-determined filter, I guarantee you a large number of asshats out there will abuse it to find newbies to pound.

Thus you have to offer some kind of server control, too -- a device that protects a newbie server from players who distinctly outrank anyone playing on it. (Again, such a feature should be optional, of course.)

I definitely support the idea of requiring a minimum skill level to get online, with that skill level determined by progress with in-game tutorials.

BooGiTyBoY
8th Apr 2005, 12:17 PM
I don't think the measurement will be much of a problem; after all, the tracking of stats goes back to UT99.

Yes and look at how well it works in it's current state.
Pardon me while I fall over :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

There's just so much to take into consideration for a system like that and there's always going to be players who purposefully bork it, mods/muts that will throw a kabosh on it (love how ut's current system tracks invasion and vctf stats :rolleyes: ), and then there's players like me and Briach who will hop on a server and jump around and stuff committing lots of suicides and such in the process.
I just don't see it coming off well....

And back to my previous statement.. how long has 2k4 been out and they STILL don't have the stats working correctly? (and probably still won't by the time the next game is released)

Go&nd
8th Apr 2005, 12:22 PM
Just because the stat system for UT2004 doesn't work doesn't mean an entirely different system for a different game can't work. (Again, I'd like to know how things are going with the Halo 2 system.)

In fact, the old ngWorldStats for UT was actually quite a bit more reliable and accurate than anything Epic's done with UT200x (although, no, it wasn't perfect, either).

Maybe that portion of the game requires Epic out-source it to a company that specializes in stats and huge, high volume web-based databases. *shrug*

I guess I need to add that I agree the system will never be 100 percent perfect -- especially with UT's plethora of gametypes and mutators. But I think they can at least make it worthwhile for players looking for a reasonable spectrum of standard games with players of a certain skill level.

BooGiTyBoY
8th Apr 2005, 12:24 PM
Isn't that kinda what they did for ngWorldstats in UT? Probably why it worked so much better :D
But could still easily be worked around...
I remember quite a few people in UT that were in the top 50 players.. and didn't exactly "earn" their place if ya know what i mean. ;)

Taleweaver
8th Apr 2005, 01:34 PM
Ah...the criticism I expected. That means the idea has potential :)

If you make this an entirely client-determined filter, I guarantee you a large number of asshats out there will abuse it to find newbies to pound.

Thus you have to offer some kind of server control, too -- a device that protects a newbie server from players who distinctly outrank anyone playing on it. (Again, such a feature should be optional, of course.)
Basically...you want to prevent people from joining servers that are underneath their skill by a large margin. I am certainly aware that in my approach, asshats will abuse it. IMO, those guys will always find a way around it, because there will always be server admins out there that just want to attract about as much players as possible. Sorry, but removing these kind of pwnage guys from the server is the job of the admin. I don't want the game to interfere which servers I can and can't join (note that sometimes you just want to join a game with someone you know, independant of what server it is).

Yes and look at how well it works in it's current state.
Pardon me while I fall over :lol:

There's just so much to take into consideration for a system like that and there's always going to be players who purposefully bork it, mods/muts that will throw a kabosh on it (love how ut's current system tracks invasion and vctf stats ), and then there's players like me and Briach who will hop on a server and jump around and stuff committing lots of suicides and such in the process.
I just don't see it coming off well....
I'm fully aware of that fact. But then again, I didn't want the stat system to take every headshot, rampage, flag cap or lollerskate session into account. I just want it to divide the players' skill into a small amount of groups (8 at the most). If that is too much to do even remotely accurate, then stats should never have brought over into UT200X in the first place...

What is the problem with those stat lovers, anyway? From one side, you have a group that absolutely loves it, but as soon as you try to do something usefull with it, it gets greeted with criticism :rolleyes:
It's almost as if people want stats to be nothing more than webpages that boost up their ego...

1337
8th Apr 2005, 06:22 PM
This seems like more of a hindrance than anything else. Hardly any TDM servers have people in them nowadays. Disallowing people from joining pubs will only make it harder to play a game online. Not being able to join a server with a new friend because he is pro and you are beginner. Don't make a social system built-in within the game, let the community create the system. 8 levels? Too many if you ask me. If they were to do anything similar to this they'd have to make 3 levels. 8 levels? honestly what game has that many players?

FireCrack
8th Apr 2005, 06:59 PM
It should be a server side setting, "only allow people beween ranks xxx and yyy"

carmatic
9th Apr 2005, 09:48 AM
It's difficult to improve your game if you don't have to the courage to play with players better than you. :)


hm i think its only difficult to improve your game if you dont play with players better than or as good as you, and playing with players as good as you is better than both playing against people who are better and people who are worse than you... like going to the gym and selecting the correct weights, really...

if you start dividing servers between players , it will chop the server scene up into something that not alot of people can use easily... its like, at the end of each match , you get to see people's scores and stuff, if you split people according to their scores and put them into different servers, you'd need alot of servers with alot of players which come back again and again to play... and what about the details in UTstats, like their efficiency with different weapons, how they died, etc etc, how will this affect whether they are 'good' or not...

i think that its important to put players in an environment where they can learn the fastest, by pitting them with people of equal skill... like , they get to try out their skills and styles against other people without getting killed before they even get to try, but they also will get killed if they dont pull it off well enough...
what makes a good player, simply is at the end of the match you look at their scores and they have the most kills etc, something about how they play enabled them to gain more kills than most people they played against... if you go into the game and you record how they play , you might be able to find out what made them win... maybe its just good aim (or an aimbot) , or some specific way of not getting killed in situations where other people would have gotten killed and in turn killing someone instead...
i think that in every client, as well as having the player at the computer doing stuff, there is also something that tries to match the player's complicated pattern of movement to what the AI would have done in that situation... the worst the player can do is ignore any threats to him and get killed like a very easy bot, but as the player gets better , the more complicated his responses should have been just like the bots, and this way we can equate players with bot skill levels...

FireCrack
9th Apr 2005, 05:07 PM
Mabye i shouldvbe rephrased my post, "optional server side setting"

This way most servers would be for anyone but some would allow certian ranks, default is off ofcourse.

fresh&minty
9th Apr 2005, 11:26 PM
IMHO a ranking system is a stupid idea

1.UT doesn't have large online numbers, 2k4 is only at 1,500 and I doubt the next one will best it. UT isn't a main stream FPS, it's an underground FPS that sells well, but never gets large player numbers. Why segragate people?

2.You only get better by playing people much better than you, or atleast slightly better. Locking people out of this is just silly.

3.There is not set way to judge skills. Even in top TDM teams some players are just timers/lock players, while others get the frags. Implementing such a system can't dynamicaly rank people.

4.As WC3 proves, rank systems can be abused with a simple dl of a keygen and start over from scratch, thus making it pointless.

5.People separated themselves. This is why there is gameamp, proU, ina, BU... competitive sites for top players, and casual sites for the rest or the just got started. Is there a need for epic to step in and try to say what goes where?

I seriously think this is a bad move.

-{SC}- Renamon
10th Apr 2005, 12:11 AM
2.You only get better by playing people much better than you, or atleast slightly better. Locking people out of this is just silly.


Yeah right, I get slaughtered and I don't improve a bit, all it does is frustrate me cause I can't even get a single kill any match, I seem to improve better agansit people of equal skill, ATLEAST I kill someone just as easily as they could kill me.

1337
10th Apr 2005, 01:28 AM
It wouldn't be worth the time and resources to build this into the game. Would the normal everyday admin even utilize this? If I were an admin I sure wouldn't. If admins really wanted this there would be a mutator.

edhe
10th Apr 2005, 08:27 AM
IMHO a ranking system is a stupid idea

1.UT doesn't have large online numbers, 2k4 is only at 1,500 and I doubt the next one will best it. UT isn't a main stream FPS, it's an underground FPS that sells well, but never gets large player numbers. Why segragate people?
Ut doesn't have large numbers because people are quickly alienated by the online community that easily smash them up. If you actually look to the community forums you'll regularly see the poor folks who post about how they can improve, about how they're not having fun because they're getting molested. A Ranked/levelled system for *guiding* people into more appropriate servers (NB, not segregrating people for the sake of it, but to get the right kind of people playing with eachother) will surely allow people a better elarning curve. Had comprehended the first post you wouldn't have made that comment. P.S. UT2k4 was #1 & 2 in the sales list for weeks when it came out, there were plenty people buying it and didn't go online, i myself know people that go online, have problems, then go play somethign else.

2.You only get better by playing people much better than you, or atleast slightly better. Locking people out of this is just silly. Again had you read/comprehended then you would be able to get to play better players. A breadth of levels on a server would allow people to play against those ranked higher and those ranked lower. Also integral would be those servers that don't use ranks, You'd get to play better players, whilst not getting owned all the time.

3.There is not set way to judge skills. Even in top TDM teams some players are just timers/lock players, while others get the frags. Implementing such a system can't dynamicaly rank people.
Indeed, the issue. But should you take a comprehensive set of metrics and produce a curve from that and compare that against those the person has been playing against you can figure out if the player is efficient or inefficient against those people or in those situations, again.. did you read the thread?

4.As WC3 proves, rank systems can be abused with a simple dl of a keygen and start over from scratch, thus making it pointless.Everything can be gotten around, but people like that would be a sub-percentage of the community, and lame. Sadly you've got to deal with people like that. 2k4 also uses a guid which is a hash of the cd iirc, uniquie per person.

5.People separated themselves. This is why there is gameamp, proU, ina, BU... competitive sites for top players, and casual sites for the rest or the just got started. Is there a need for epic to step in and try to say what goes where?You're talking about forums, how does that relate to ingame?

Anything else?

It wouldn't be worth the time and resources to build this into the game. Would the normal everyday admin even utilize this? If I were an admin I sure wouldn't. If admins really wanted this there would be a mutator.


It's a little hard to have a mutator that does all this, you'd need backing from the game devs.

And if server admins didn't care then why would most 2k4 servers have utcmop or antitcc on them?

IMHO it should be default on, option off.

1337
23rd Apr 2005, 03:37 AM
This would sound a lot better to me if they could make ping be less of a factor in gameplay in the new netcode, because this would increase the list of active servers available. I'm sure there is a possibility that a ranking system could increase online activity. Atleast for the Epic hosted servers anyway. This could make the demo experience better for new people, but this could also turn people off.

Being denied from a server that you have become acquainted with and know almost all the regulars that attend the server would make me pretty pissed off. A lot of pubs form their own group of regulars, atleast on dm, tdm and 1v1 servers. So this would be much more of an annoyance than something appreciated in that case.

I know ONS servers can be different. 16 players that have no idea who the other person is, all trying to get a good score. And if they get killed too many times they take it to heart and such. I know this would most likely be disabled on tdm and 1v1 servers, or atleast only filter out the people on the lowest level, but keep everyone else allowed.

The bad thing about this is it can divide an online community making every match an impersonal mutliplayer competition. You might as well not even have an alias, because you'll be in a different server the next match. But I guess this might be a good thing for the ONS/Conquest and demo crowd. It should be disabled by default atleast. No need making admins do even more work when trying to get a server set up because it isn't disabled by default.

Bazzi
23rd Apr 2005, 04:58 AM
ping should become less and lesser of an issue anyway with more and more people moving to broadband access and with new technologies ahead.

rhirud
23rd Apr 2005, 08:20 AM
I think you can fairly easily group UT player into

a Total novices
b Those that know how to drive without hitting trees and know how weapons work
c Those who play a solid, average game
d Those who play at good clan level
e Those who are seriously, worryingly good.

The important thing is allowing the opportunity for a's and b's to play without being dishartened by meeting up with d's and e's. I can immagine what it would be like when I was playing Torlan on a Demo server when the demo was released - and coming up against the likes of fluffy, mr pixel or qwer.

I've a fair ideas on what needs to be done to give accurate stats for ONS - but that's for another thread.

The thing is that there are some goop players who are idiots, and they just love being the cat amongst the pidgeons.

So really for this system of servers to cater for levels to work; each licence of envy needs to be locked to one or two unique users per licence -so that experienced players can't create new identities to cause havoc on the newbie servers.

rhirud
23rd Apr 2005, 08:25 AM
p.s. there are a lot more than 1500 playing. A low ranked ons player is about 8000 th in weekly rankings and 13,000 in monthly rankings. So 15,000 ons players is about right.

An epic certainly does hope envy will be a success - i.e. will sell a lot lot more copies.

-And to do that; the novice players are the ones that need looking after, not us.

Bullet10k
23rd Apr 2005, 05:35 PM
Excellent thread! I agree with ALL or almost all of the ranking/level suggestions made. I hope all this makes it in envy.

I think in the in-game lobby, the servers should be sorted by skill/level difference by default instead of ping. At the top would be servers with the lowest skill difference and at the bottom would be very high skill difference (extreme newbie or extreme leetness depending on your level).

Also, enforcing the skill level in servers allowing only players that are in the required skill range is a must. AS LONG as it is OPTIONAL and it is set SERVER-SIDE. Also don't forget that they can still spectate and chat, perhaps they can even ask PERMISSION with the server AND get VOTED IN to play while in spectate mode. Also include a CLIENT-SIDE filter as said previously.

One more thing, just to make it clear, the stats are going to be calculated based on who you kill right? (or that is one of the suggestions posted rite?)

To the people who say you can only get better by playing better players: FUN>IMPROVEMENT. MOST people that play a game play a game because they MOSTLY want to HAVE FUN and NOT for IMPROVEMENT. After all, the overall deciding factor in whether a game is good or not is FUN, not graphics, not gameplay,etc. A LOT of people dont care about getting better, they just want to have FUN. Now dont say they can go to cs because we all know that everyone wants more people and more servers for ENVY.

JaFO
23rd Apr 2005, 07:42 PM
But what about those players that don't want stats for various reasons (such as me) ?
Should I be forced to enable them just so that I can play a decent game ?

'cause the one thing I dislike about the current stat-system in the UT-series is that you're forced to enable stats even though you don't even play enough to make them useful.

As for the stats themselves ... IMHO they only promote gloryhounds and kill any chance of real teamwork. It makes far too many people think about the damage their current game is doing to their stats instead of just playing the game and having fun.

// Bazzi :
ping will remain an issue as there are far too many games to play on-line and most aren't popular enough for a single server. It's highly unlikely that this will be solved unless everyone on the planet can reach anyone else as fast as the average lan ...

rhirud
25th Apr 2005, 06:53 AM
The way I see it - it would be a foolish admin who prevented new players from joining his server.

But having servers hosted by Epic to allow new players to play and develop in the same way as we did a few years ago has to make sense. The purpouse is to keep good players away from some servers, and not to keep new players away from those who believe themselves too good to face the unwashed.

A different problem is that the stats as they stand encourages poor play through rewarding selfishness. Persisting with a flawed stats system isn't really a good idea - I agree entirely. It would have been impossible to write a good stats sytem for ONS when it was launched - because who would know what "good" play was.

What epic has to do is write the new game; in a way that statistics are kept of much more events in game- for example there are some interfaces that record each point of dammage.

The only way to crack the issue of people playing for stats is that the stats must follow "good" play with utmost accuracy.

One concept would be to have 3 stats rankings -or even more. A simple way would be...
-One for teamplay- giving lifts on mantas\cicadas\and penalties, if you drive a vehichle that is intended for many by yourself (i assume envy will have such vehichles)
-Another for objectives -destroying\building nodes - with shared points for linked nodebuilding.
-Another for kills

Then very quickly you get a more rounded profile of players - and you could even get some basic processing of that data to aid new players. BUILD SOME NODES would be what would spring to mind. The server would look at each player's stats and interpret them into a player profile in terms of words- which would give more meat to a player's rank and number.

And joining up from rounded player profiles on a public player profile page would strengthen the whole concept of lobbies and suchlike.

Ah blue skies thinking..... Perhaps in ut 2010

JaFO
27th Apr 2005, 02:25 PM
The problem is that it's impossible to 'reward' good gameplay and actually get 'good' games from the stat-obessed.
Reason : they'll find a way to abuse the stats in a way that makes them appear good.

Example is CTF. Seems simple enough (reward players for returning the flag as well as killing efc's) ...
Statwhores will learn that letting the enemy steal the flag and then returning it offers more points (in total) compared to fragging the enemy before he even touches the flag.
It is obvious that in a normal game under normal circumstances both actions have merit, but the net-result is very easy to abuse.

IMHO it would be better if the game produced less individual stats and more team-based statistics.
So instead of rating an individual in a team you could (try to) rate a team.
However even that has its downside as (new) players would try to join the team with the best rating instead of trying to help the lesser/weaker team. You'd (quite obviously) get a lot of complaints if a 'bad' player joined a 'good' team as he'd bring their score down ...

Discord
27th Apr 2005, 02:52 PM
Epic's been claiming that this sort of thing is going to be a part of the next UT. Sounds great, but the big hitch is here:

How: Statistical analysis. By collecting serious stats from every game in every gametype you play


UT Stats has been substantially broken for major stretches at a time since UT2k3 came out... they're just not having a lot of luck with it, it's usually something about how the master server can't cope with the extra load or somesuch.

It's already caused no end of griping... and now they want to actually increase the role of stats in the game? Either they've found a magic bullet that's guaranteed to fix the problem, or else they're off their collective rocker.


I still say that the easiest and most effective way to get like- skilled players together is to have the skill- level declared serverside, maybe with color- coded names appearing in the server browser and slight rules variations to go along with the skill declaration, just to sort of help "enforce" said declaration.

IE, skill 1 server runs UTComp, has no adrenaline or superweapons. Skill 3 server uses bots to balance teams. Or something, I still don't have the details down... but anyway, each skill level would include a default server setup geared to appeal to players of that skill level. See?

Kronon
28th Apr 2005, 04:45 AM
I suggested this feature back before UT2003, but according to DrSin they didnt have time to implement it (I guess they didnt have time before UT2004 neither).

The reason why a game like UT/Envy needs this is that its very frustrating for new players to jump into a pub and be 100% completely owned by other more experienced players. After the fifth map with -3 to 3 frags and 40-60 deaths, its no wonder they quit playing.

One way to solve this would be to implement a ranking system, with the CD-key as key (it has to be the CD key, since thats the only absolute id available). Some servers that wants to let new players have some fun could then set a filter that only allows new players or players that arent skilled. This system would also make it possible to implement a 'Find Server' functionality, i.e. you press the Find Server button and joins a server with a good ping and good competition skillwise.

For us experienced players, the ranking system is not really needed, although it could be fun to play on servers with high ranking requirements. And ofcourse its always fun to inspect your own stats to find weakness and strengths, etc. I used ngWorldStats a lot in UT for this purpose.

If this ranking idea is taken one step further, and computes a ranking for the whole clan as well (based on results against other clans and the individual clanmembers ranking), it would definitely be a help to league admins when they assign more or less unknown teams to divisions.

All in all, everyone would benefit from a ranking system, and the ranking should be computet for everyone, although an option should probably be available to hide your ranking from other players if you want.

/Kronon

edhe
28th Apr 2005, 04:57 AM
Indeed good points.. JaFo you sound paranoid - if there's a good stats/ranking system for the purpose of proper game balancing then it wouldn't be about who got the most headshots, and the multiple ways of collecting stats such as teamplay etc have already been mentioned in my first post.

The biggest challenge would be taking meaningful statistics and applying them, as well as keeping the stats up at all times like above. IMHO the chance of having an active part in the server name declaring it's current skill and having a client side option to filter such things would probably be a good solution, but in order to stop the 'in at the deep end' or 'cat amongst pigeons' situations then there would have to be enforcement along the way at some point.

On those servers that choose to follow it..

-And to do that; the novice players are the ones that need looking after, not us.
My point exactly.

JaFO
28th Apr 2005, 06:36 AM
I...
The biggest challenge would be taking meaningful statistics and applying them,
...
but in order to stop the 'in at the deep end' or 'cat amongst pigeons' situations then there would have to be enforcement along the way at some point.
...

That's the two major hurdles :
- it is impossible to collect meaningful-stats as everyone has a different opinion as to what constitutes 'meaningful' compared to how they'd think the game should be played.
Endresult ? Stats are only 'valid' if you follow Epic's rules of conduct in games. I'm sure plenty of people would have something to say about how a game should be played according to them, thereby making the ranking immediately useless for them. Plus there's nothing that can be done if gameplay-tactics change as overall player-experience increases.

- enforcement : also another biggy.
The basic problem here is that stats-based servers attract the same kind of lazy admins that AntiTCC did, with exactly the same kind of problems.
In effect this will result in servers set to skill-levels with zero enforcement of such levels.

Paranoid ?
Sure, but I think it is closer to the real world endresults.
You're presenting statistics as 'the ultimate' solution to a games' problems regarding the different skill-levels of players.
I seriously doubt that.

edhe
28th Apr 2005, 08:32 AM
It could be done, hence the thread ;)

What makes good players... well let's ask clans - that would help. If epic wanted to do their stuff they could measure the kind of play that good clans manage. Not just the fragging skills, becauase that's pretty meaningless overall without context, but other things even down to weapon tossing (a player that regulary uses weapon tossing on WS on servers = more throughtful player, WS Off servers = likely team play aspect).

Good CTF clans have common features:
The players stick well together, they backup eachother meaning there are plenty of times when they share the same space on the map and target the same people. Good D players will spend time close to the flag, not near it, and will coordinate with another to take down the nme, and will be between the taken flag and the nme flag. Good O players will stock up, avoid fights on the way in and get out fast sharing map space VERY closely with eachother by the time they hit midsection, a good backup player will stay with their FC very closely, and make a lot of frags whilst doing so/perform flagswitches etc. These things *can* be measured into percentages which can then be worked out in practice.

It's not a perfect idea, it's a do-able concept. As with server setup, that will obviously have to be a mandatory part of setting up a server - just like server password or playercount, or gametype, be it not-on, indicative, mandatory, variable or limited settings.

One thing would be.. would there be actual levelling involved, or just a comparison in general. Mean having a 6-part level system would be inadequate, 20-30 levels would be confusing (but nice for a +5/-5 or +3/-8 type system) but general 'see as you go' levels of difference may not help.

carmatic
28th Apr 2005, 09:22 AM
In every generation of Unreal multiplayer, starting with the original Unreal all the way through UT2004, I've witnessed leet players who loved to inflate their egos by joining servers of less skilled players to indulge in some ownage.

If you make this an entirely client-determined filter, I guarantee you a large number of asshats out there will abuse it to find newbies to pound.

Thus you have to offer some kind of server control, too -- a device that protects a newbie server from players who distinctly outrank anyone playing on it. (Again, such a feature should be optional, of course.)



to this i say, use a punishing system when one player is clearly outclassing all the other players... like, he becomes a 'mutant' , but with the opposite characteristics, doing little or no damage while helplessly being hounded down by what was one his prey... weapons spew out random nonsense instead of bullets, he shines with an extraodinary glow, his head gets extra big for headshots, etc etc

but only implement this if you have a classing system for it to defend , otherwise people would literally be punished for being good at the game

edhe
28th Apr 2005, 09:39 AM
You cannot punish people for being good at a GAME that they have BOUGHT to PLAY for FUN. If fun is newb bashing then sadly that happens. It would be up to server admins to choose to instigate a policy of booting them - maybe after one or two games then it'd kick in in that way... It's a harsh one, but the fun of the greater is more important than the fun of the few.

And more profitable.

rhirud
28th Apr 2005, 09:54 AM
Absolutely. If we look at the onslaught demo servers right now, they are full of really experienced players; spidermines seveywhere, and it's difficult to get anything done. (Why on earth Epic thought it wise to add Primeval to their demo version escapes me entirely. It has no room for manouvre, and no room for novices to enjoy the game. It's dodge the spider - manta whore splat, everywhere - but that's a side issue)

So it is really down to the game developers to set up and encourage the setting up of novice only servers -and set up a system where players can't set up multiple new identities to bypass the system.

Kronon
28th Apr 2005, 10:45 AM
If the user could choose to hide his stat from others, then I don't see the problem for users who don't like stats (just don't look at them). Remember that a stat system like described in my previous post is made primarily to enable new players a better gaming experience, even if it will also slightly enhance the gaming experience for us hardcore gamers.

Onslaught and hopefully Conquest makes it a little easier for new players, since in these gametypes even new players can contribute a little. But for a gametype like TDM, a new player will only hurt the team he is playing for if the others are more skilled, and I can't see how he would like to play under these circumstances.

I guess the Atari servers will disappear (or atleast not be for Envy), but if rating filters where implemented then maybe Epic/Midway could provide with some servers for new players.

It will also provide goals to new players. Maybe they hear about a server, or see it in the browser, where lots of skilled players play, and wants to try it. But for them to be able to join, they have to improve their rating, which will give them a little goal to look forward to.

/Kronon