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SeCKSEgai
08.19.2017 , 08:26 AM | #1
Alright so I've been back a week or so visiting and evaluating whether I wanted to resub. Being gone for a year or so does help provide perspective after being away from the daily grind.

I also started a fresh new character on The Red Eclipse. At first it was almost glorious, but that was probably because I caught a certain someone going through dailies. Regardless, matches tended to be extremely one-sided. However, the fresh competition and being relatively unknown on the server allowed me to get a better sense of the pain and frustration of a starting new player.

The new reward for the intro quest is really nice. You can essentially unlock every ship and use the daily and weeklies to help gather req or invest it all in one or a few ships.

The grind is still painfully slow. I was left to rely on the heavy hitters to get a win or generally eat a blowout loss for very little req.

I am level 22 I think at the time of writing this. My ships on the other hand are still far from competitive - primarily as I'm going up against skilled pilots who are nearly or fully upgraded vs my "baby ship". It really puts in perspective just how often I did this to level multiple characters before costs were reduced.

What I want to emphasize is that starting out, against skilled experience opponents, you lack the tools to truly be effective as an individual and are relying almost exclusively on your teammates. Sure I was able to net kills even at stock but it was like night and day compared to a fully equipped ship.

While it was kinda neat when people would start to recognize my experience, it was a bit of a double-edged sword. As a nameless unknown people tend to relax when they engage you or ignore you completely. As people start to notice, its a lot harder to sneak up when they're specifically keeping an eye out for you.

Now consider what that means for a brand new player who doesn't have the countless hours of experience and is simply trying to get a feel for everything.

I lost count of how many matches consisted of one-side getting completely decimated to the point of barely trying since trying was near instant death.

Now most pilots will acknowledge the impact of a skill gap but most won't own how dramatic of an impact a team of vets working together can have in a match. When you have to rely on capital ship fire for defense as they have more kills than your entire team combined....

Now you have no control over other players, and as such people chose not to queue and the wait grew longer. Thankfully a familiar name recognized this and came over. We still didn't win, but went from essentially hiding in spawn to providing minimal resistance, like going 25 vs their 50. A few more fights later and the scales tipped in our favor... heavily, like pilots recognizing most strength was on one side and those "in the know" swapped over.

Skill gap is a dominating factor. When the majority of pilots are new or inexperienced, all it takes is one good pilot to heavily dominate. Now when pilots of similar skill group together to take on those same inexperienced players, its just a bloodbath.

Now as an "MMO" you actually want to encourage grouping and socialization. However, when that grouping leads to overwhelming strength, you cannot rely on the community to self-regulate nor should they be forced to split. I personally always saw this as disrespectful towards their fellow pilots but the reality is with so few playing at any given time power swings are inevitable.

Now, if GSF was more popular and had a much wider player base to choose from there would be no reason not to group or to hold it against people who did.

But, as that's not the case, the only way I see of making things more competitive is to implement some sort of handicap/buff system or streamline and simplify the upgrading process. Right now, while it rewards people who invested into it, it also magnifies the skill gap.

Picture this: you've never flown before and you're up against people who's ships fly faster, turn quicker and deal more damage all while their pilots have in-depth knowledge and experience you lack. You load in, moments later you are blown up never seeing who shot you. The respawn timer completes, you load in and you're immediately shot with something, your shields are gone, and you can't use your boost. You explode.

Anyone who would claim that never happens to new players is lying to him/herself. When I was leveling on TRE, i largely got to avoid this experience as my teammates were doing that to the enemy instead. If I had been new, I would have had quite the positive experience on the winning side, but a horrible one on the losing.

In fact I inadvertently created this experience on harby. I was desperate for a q pop and queued with a group to try and catch one. The only notable opposition was Mendac, who was swarmed, effectively leaving me free to shoot at anyone without worry of retribution as the only person capable was preoccupied. There was a gunship or two around but because their team could offer such little resistance I was already waiting and shooting while they were evaluating targets after leaving spawn. When I shot at folks it was clear they lacked the tools to do anything about it other than desperately try to flee.

It wasn't a fun match for me, but I am fully aware it was worse for those I was against.

Now while things like a legacy hangar would help, if I spent an entire match leaving spawn only to die moments later repeatedly, I would not want to play again. Simply put, the mode isn't friendly to new people and is inclined to put people off just from their first flight. At least the regular pvp mode allows some interaction to take place and a chance to react even if one side is completely decimating.

Unless you can find a way to give temporary boosts or benefits or something to allow new players to be competitive, the number of pilots will continue to dwindle. In the current setup, even folks starting with a maxed out fighter like a rycer or strike would really help but still provide reason to upgrade other ship types.
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