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Is there a prophecy about bringing balance to GSF?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Is there a prophecy about bringing balance to GSF?

Gaarukk's Avatar


Gaarukk
04.23.2019 , 11:40 PM | #1
Disclaimer: This post is both objective (based on many hours playing Starfigher over the past few months) and subjective (based on my own personal thoughts of the competitive nature of GSF and its pilots).

GSF is a love/hate game mode. Some people love it, some hate it. Some, as we well know, try it once and never again set foot in a cockpit. Personally, I love the concept of space combat. From pen and paper Star Wars to Jump to Lightspeed, and everything in between (the opening scene from Revenge of the Sith <3), the allure of space battles is a draw for many. After nearly a year and a half away from the game, I returned a couple of months ago at the petitioning of a dear friend who I started playing SWToR with just before the launch of RotHC. One of the major draws was playing Starfigher once again. The changes in 5.5 were a huge plus as I loved flying Strikes and finally felt like they had been brought up to par with the rest of the ships.

I feel GSF is better than it was, and the server mergers have increased the frequency of pops, which is great. What is not great, however, is continuously getting railroaded in heavily unbalanced matches. This has been affecting GSFers for some time, based on chatter I've seen in the in-game chat channel, and what I have seen perusing the forums. I'm writing this now after quitting an in-progress match for the first time ever. Whether it be ground or space PvP, I had never once bowed out of a match until tonight (still not proud of the fact). I knew before it started how it was going to go down. The opposing side had at least four notable aces, three Pubs and one Imp, if memory serves, in an 8v8. I knew it was going to be bad.

Within the two minutes, it was approximately 20-1 as their Gunships easily sniped our pilots attempting to chase down their strikes. The first time I re-spawned they had already established camps at the center beacon, and I foolishly spawned into an instant missile lock and within the half second it took me to k turn out of there, I was space dust. In a random setting, it would have been amazing teamwork and strategy. In a match where one side had as many ace pilots as the other, it would have been a thing of beauty. This sadly was not the case. It was clear that our team was comprised of mostly new pilots and possibly a few of us who might go on to consider ourselves "decent", at best.

I play GSF at random times throughout the day, and see this mostly in the late evening, generally just past 11 Eastern. Other times of the day seem to provide more balanced matches, though the occasional blowout is inevitable. Occasional is fine. It's something that every player has had to deal with at least a couple times, generally speaking. You live, you learn, you queue again. No big deal. However, this trend appears to be consistent enough to beg the question: Is there a way to balance the queues based on player rating or other statistics?

Obviously there is no way (currently or possibly ever as it doesn't quite seem right) to stop the greats from grouping up (I saw a thread touching on this concept briefly), but it seems like something should be done to preserve the integrity of GSF, and to encourage less experienced pilots to keep queuing. As a competitive person, of course I like winning. Along with that, however, comes a sense of quality competition. I know I don't speak for everyone when I say that I prefer a competitive match as opposed to steamrolling lesser skilled players in any PvP game mode. Sadly this is probably not a shared thought process with many players. That's okay. We can't change how people view these things, but there should be a way to balance teams, at least to some degree, to keep GSF not only competitive, but also to maintain a numerous player base.

Limiting one healer to pre-mades in ground PvP was a start for the planetary game mode, but we need a real solution to one of the issues that's plaguing GSF.

Verain's Avatar


Verain
04.25.2019 , 02:56 PM | #2
Quote:
I play GSF at random times throughout the day, and see this mostly in the late evening, generally just past 11 Eastern.
I mean, I start playing at around that time many days, and I don't have any problems.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

Shariva's Avatar


Shariva
04.26.2019 , 11:06 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Gaarukk View Post
GSF is a love/hate game mode.
I love GSF. I have ever since it hit in 2013. I always enjoyed flying my scout and having great matches in both domination and team deathmatch style. I wanted to fly a Star Wars themed ship ever since SWG stopped and I could again. I remember saving the fleet requisition (5000 of it) to get the flashfire scout as it at least looked like the A-Wing I loved in JTL.

Quote: Originally Posted by Gaarukk View Post
I feel GSF is better than it was, and the server mergers have increased the frequency of pops, which is great. What is not great, however, is continuously getting railroaded in heavily unbalanced matches.
I left early 2016 because I needed a break from the game. I played a few last GSF matches and had fun. I said goodbye to those that remained behind and went on with my break from the game. I returned late 2018. I found myself on a different, to me unknown and new server. OK, lets start again with GSF. First few matches I expected to be on the losing end as I needed to get back into it. But eventually I realized something was seriously wrong. Darn near every match ended with 1000 to 50 or 50 to 3 one way or the other.

Quote: Originally Posted by Gaarukk View Post
I play GSF at random times throughout the day, and see this mostly in the late evening, generally just past 11 Eastern. Other times of the day seem to provide more balanced matches, though the occasional blowout is inevitable. Occasional is fine. It's something that every player has had to deal with at least a couple times, generally speaking.
I spent the past months flying throughout the days and found that on the server I'm on, the first couple of days of the conquest, I'm better off foregoing the GSF matches. It will be roflstomping one way or the other. If, on the other hand, I fly from friday on until the next start of conquest (monday at the latest), I get somewhat more balanced matches. For as far as you can call 1000 to 500 or 50 to 25 balanced. Still, it's about 10 times better then in the first few days.

Quote: Originally Posted by Gaarukk View Post
Is there a way to balance the queues based on player rating or other statistics?
Not based on the current kept statistics or ratings. The current tracking of statistics and rating that we all see in the "Battle Record" window, is based on statistics earned in GSF as it is or was. Since my return, I have, in example, my win/loss ratio seen going down from 75% to 43%. How did this get so bad? Well, imagine going up against a group each and every time. I'm not the best pilot, but I'm not the worst either. But the game makes the groups based on those same statistics and then when enough time has gone by, will pitch a ragtag band of lonewolfers against an organised group of pilots. I don't need the force to see the outcome here. The game doesn't break up those groups, nor does the game say: "You want to group? Wait for another group to queue."

Herein also lies the issue that newbie pilots will get spawncamped and slaughtered. It doesn't take to many matches, I think 2 of those will do it, to make those pilots go: "If this is what GSF is like, then the hell with it!" Now I fully recognize that this isn't happening on all servers; there are enough posts to find that people see more balanced matches, yet there are also plenty that share my experience.

So, back to your question; the only way I see to balance is that the idiotic matchmaking is being resolved first. However, that alone doesn't fix the issue. Because that won't fix the statistics and rating. My rating and statistics have been shot to hell (no pun intended) in a bad way. But those that fly in the roflstomping groups have statistics and ratings that are ridiculously unbelievable the other way. What to do with that? Wipe the slate clean? Talk about stirring up a hornets nest.

Quote: Originally Posted by Gaarukk View Post
Obviously there is no way (currently or possibly ever as it doesn't quite seem right) to stop the greats from grouping up (I saw a thread touching on this concept briefly), but it seems like something should be done to preserve the integrity of GSF, and to encourage less experienced pilots to keep queuing. As a competitive person, of course I like winning. Along with that, however, comes a sense of quality competition.
I don't think that prohibiting people from grouping up is the answer. I think that groups should be matched with groups, not with a randomly thrown together band of lonewolfing pilots. Yet this is what happens currently in the game. And if that results in a competitive match, count your blessings. But most often, it will result in spawncamping.
I like competitive games as well. And off course I like winning just as much as the next guy. But winning with 50-1 or 1000-12 is not rewarding as well. It leaves me with an empty feeling. I much rather loose with 48-50 or 875-1000 and have the feeling our team did their very best to win. Far more satisfactory then roflstomping the other team.

As to how to get people to stay in GSF: Well, the introduction of GSF is.. actually it is nowhere near what it could be. The piloting community has been saying this for well over 5 years now and has been skillfully ignored regarding that. As I mentioned at the start, when I started with GSF, I had to save up 5000 fleet requisition just to purchase the flashfire (the ship I desired). When I came back and took the introduction quest, I got 25K fleet requisition. Not saying this is a bad thing, but it doesn't inspire newbie pilots to stay. Having a good introduction to GSF explaining all parts of the game would be a good start.
Another thing that I remember being suggested, is the notion of PvE piloting. As mentioned, the current introduction quest gives 25K fleet requisition. Every pilot know that to be sort of a minimal viable pilot, the suggested load-out of your ship should have all components at at least tier 3, and that you need the correct crew. 25K Fleet requisition is not getting you there. Have the option to get a certain amount of ship requisition through PvE maps. This gives newbie pilots a way to get better at flying and earn requisition to upgrade the components on their ship. If necessary, make it so once you have all components at tier 3, no more PvE on said ship.

Darn, if I knew I was going to be writing this much, I would have suggested to get a bear at the start of this post.
Anyway, these are my thoughts.
The crystal is the heart of the blade. The heart is the crystal of the Jedi.
The Jedi is the crystal of the Force. The Force is the blade of the heart.
All are intertwined. The crystal, the blade, the Jedi. You are one.

phalczen's Avatar


phalczen
04.26.2019 , 02:52 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Shariva View Post
Not based on the current kept statistics or ratings. The current tracking of statistics and rating that we all see in the "Battle Record" window, is based on statistics earned in GSF as it is or was. Since my return, I have, in example, my win/loss ratio seen going down from 75% to 43%. How did this get so bad? Well, imagine going up against a group each and every time. I'm not the best pilot, but I'm not the worst either. But the game makes the groups based on those same statistics and then when enough time has gone by, will pitch a ragtag band of lonewolfers against an organised group of pilots.
That's not correct.
Teams are organized based on the following factors:
  1. Games played across your entire legacy
  2. the total amount of requisition currently invested in the five ships on your bar
  3. How long you have been in queue
  4. If you are in a group or not
Win/loss rating does not contribute to matchmaking currently, as far as we can tell and as far as Bret Hoffman has described.

It has been hypothesized, by Drakolich, that there may be a "cap" to the number of games played across the legacy, such that a player with 1000 games played is considered equivalent to someone with 10000 games played.

Bullet point 2 has a couple of implications: first, that players who have a filled 5-ship bar will be considered higher "skilled" players in terms of matchmaking than players with fewer than 5 ships; and that players who have completed ships, meaning they have upgraded every single component available on that ship to max, will also be considered "higher" in skill than those who have simply mastered a ship (upgraded at least one component to maximum).
Spoiler


Assuming no one is grouped, if people in queue have been waiting a while and equally long, but are a wide variety of "skill" levels, then the matchmaker will construct teams as best as it can based on bullets 1 and 2.

I believe that it constructs the teams based on the algorithm first, and then sends out the invites. This is what results in a match that ends early for lack of players, because it can't predict who is going to decline the pop.

Lastly, with 5.10.2 I think, the system was changed to prioritize 8v8 over 12v12. Previously it had always prioritized 12v12, but with cross faction matches in 5.9 the population increased such that we saw a lot more 12v12 than we ever had. I interpret that patch note to mean that if there are 17-23 people in queue, the game is more likely to go ahead and pop an 8v8 if it has decent distribution of "Skill" rather than wait till there are 24 people in queue.

Obviously, true skill is more than just a measure or function of bullet points 1 and 2, but that's what we know about matchmaker post 5.9
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Shariva's Avatar


Shariva
04.27.2019 , 02:37 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
That's not correct.
Teams are organized based on the following factors:
  1. Games played across your entire legacy
  2. the total amount of requisition currently invested in the five ships on your bar
  3. How long you have been in queue
  4. If you are in a group or not
Win/loss rating does not contribute to matchmaking currently, as far as we can tell and as far as Bret Hoffman has described.

It has been hypothesized, by Drakolich, that there may be a "cap" to the number of games played across the legacy, such that a player with 1000 games played is considered equivalent to someone with 10000 games played.
OK, thanks for that. I stand corrected. Yet I have to say that these criteria got me more puzzled then the "Battle Record". How many battles I played across my entire legacy is nice to know, but doesn't mean squat. Because I could leave the group before the battle starts, and as such never have flown in it, but it will still count as a lost battle and therefore played. This means that the number of battles played across your legacy means exactly nothing. Even with a hypothetically cap in place.

Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
Bullet point 2 has a couple of implications: first, that players who have a filled 5-ship bar will be considered higher "skilled" players in terms of matchmaking than players with fewer than 5 ships; and that players who have completed ships, meaning they have upgraded every single component available on that ship to max, will also be considered "higher" in skill than those who have simply mastered a ship (upgraded at least one component to maximum).
Spoiler
This also has me baffled, but does make me now adjust my bar with the ships on it. I have three ships mastered and the rest I couldn't care less about. Yet, the amount of requisition spent on that ship, doesn't say anything about my skills in flying said ship. It only shows what tier the components are on said ship.

Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
Assuming no one is grouped, if people in queue have been waiting a while and equally long, but are a wide variety of "skill" levels, then the matchmaker will construct teams as best as it can based on bullets 1 and 2.
Everything that has been explained so far comes down to two business rules that can be regarded as highly questionable in respect to the mentioned "skills". Both of these business rules, games flown over your legacy and the amount of requisition spent, are tracking statistics that mean exactly squat in determining what kind of a pilot some is. It only tracks what tier the components can be on various ships. It could be me, but I see a huge difference here.

Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
Obviously, true skill is more than just a measure or function of bullet points 1 and 2, but that's what we know about matchmaker post 5.9
In that respect we agree with each-other and have a hunch others will agree as well. The question now becomes; what can be regarded as statistics that actually say something about the skill of a player? Is it number of kills? Kill/death ratio? Number of assists? Damage dealt? A combination of all of the before? Does it have to be factored per ship type (a gunship can do a hell of a lot more damage then a scout)? With all the data that is being tracked, surely something should be possible.
The crystal is the heart of the blade. The heart is the crystal of the Jedi.
The Jedi is the crystal of the Force. The Force is the blade of the heart.
All are intertwined. The crystal, the blade, the Jedi. You are one.