Misconception about competitive play

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by Thingy Person, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Thingy Person

    Thingy Person L1: Registered

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    I don't remember who it was, but before our pug on Fool Hill today, someone was indignified by Leagues banning the Direct Hit and went on to assert that they should just "learn to counter it" and "stop complaining about everything".

    Like with critical hits, like with unplayed maps and like with items in Super Smash Bros., one should weigh the "Why" against "Why not". The latter is simple. I'm not up to date on the comp scene, but it's understandable why they don't like the weapon, given its erratic nature. If you say "Learn to counter it", doing so might not be conductive to competitive play because the counterer's skill would have to far exceed that of the DH user in order to do so. As I said, I haven't looked into that, but discrepancies like these are very often the reason for gameplay restrictions/bans. After all, the motto of comp play is "May the best man win". Compare with Meta Knight in Smash Bros Brawl, who is in a tier of his own for being a spammy spam character and is banned at certain tourneys (the first time a character was ever banned in the whole series' lifetime). If you say "Roll a DH soldier too", then that'd be making things more rigid than banning the DH in the first place. While comp players prefer to play the game in as pure a state as possible, they don't dawdle on this novelty and take priority in making the game as fun for them to play as possible. I realise that the 'Cookie Cutter' setup (2 soldiers, 2 scouts, 1 medic, 1 demo) is the most used precisely because it's the most optimal, the difference being that it incidentally offers very fun and dynamic gameplay, fine-tuned by the league's own class limits (2 medics gets boring, 2 demos makes spam). The Direct Hit ban is no different. And believe me, Meta Knight vs Meta Knight battles are not fun to play or watch.

    On the other hand, why would you want the Direct Hit? Comp players like additions that make the game deeper, but what if this weapon just doesn't work out that way for them? The main argument people brought up to jusitify their nerd rage against the Super Smash Bros comp scene is that "Sakurai doesn't want you playing competitively", but even that doesn't fly here, especially now that Valve have implemented a way to disable unlocks without plugins. Do they think the comp scene is ungrateful for rejecting the weapon (despite ETF2L taking Gorge up in its rotation)? Or maybe it's because the lack of variety bores them, I dunno. It's usually the same people who defend crits as being needed to shake things up.

    I think the folks of ETF2L just didn't consider the erratic occasions where a soldier comes around a corner and 1hits your medic worth the rather shallow gameplay the the DH gives. They discussed this like adults and decided to put a ban on it, which they can get away with because they're a close-knit community like that. After all, it's fun and games, persecuting Direct Hit users or anything.

    Which brings me to my next point. Comp play sees little amounts of rage; it's all people who like the game so much as to engage in it on a competitive level, and the DH ban was them taking care of the matter in a swift, efficient way. You, however, begin shitting bridges the moment you learn that these people you have never met don't like everything Valve put in the game. Don't worry though, every reproach I've seen against the competitive scene is just as hippocritical.

    In short, why should the comp scene be forced to adapt to something that makes the game less fun for them, when they can deal with the problem so easily?
     
  2. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    You bring up a lot of strong points, most notably that people are free to play the game as they see fit, and anyone telling anyone else "my way is better" is silly. I think arguments could still be made for "intended" vs "not intended" (Valve adding flexibility to the game to make it easier for people to play as they want is not the same as designing the game to be balanced around that play style). But that's kind of besides the point.

    However, for the sake of debate I'm just going to play devil's advocate here:

    One could easily interpret the speed with which something is banned as running away from a problem, being rigid and unadaptable, and generally promoting stagnant play. It's entirely possible the people in charge get together some serious test sessions and grind out all possible tactics and counters to these changes before making a decision, but nobody hears about that kind of thing. The sandman is the only ban I've heard of that usually comes with solid logic when it's mentioned.

    Such an interpretation is even easier when it comes from someone who has followed any comp discussion of custom maps. For example, I've seen a number of criticisms leveled against maps that allow pyros, spies, engineers, and/or heavies to be more effective, not because it made those classes imbalanced, but simply because the map did not favor the cookie-cutter class composition you mentioned. No, it does not mean all competitive players feel that way, but it is evidence of a desire for stagnant, unchanging gameplay, rather than a willingness to branch out.


    As a closing remark, I will just say that there are silly people on both sides of the line, and unfortunately those tend to be the most vocal ones. It's not terribly surprising when such misjudgements occur.
     
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  3. Thingy Person

    Thingy Person L1: Registered

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    Well, competitive play is actually one of the few instances where I lean toward a conservative viewpoint. Comp players typically don't need new maps or weapons to stay interested, and having to put up with them troughout a whole season before players have learned to deal with them. Still, like that guy in the interview posted in the chat said, an evolving metagame is a healthy one (although Melee's metagame had been evolving without external help and stayed strong throughout its seven years until Brawl).

    It's a dilemma I wouldn't be able to solve; on the one hand, you wouldn't want shitguns gaying up matches and ruining people's fun, on the other hand, having it used might reveal previously overlooked depth (though I doubt this with the soldier weapons in their current state) or allow for better feedback to Valve.

    The thing with custom maps is that you need them spread about for teams to train on, get them uploaded on servers and the like. It tests how cohesive the league/community is, I suppose. Like I said, they don't really need new maps. Smash Bros. has three or four neutral stages.
    That's rather silly. A greater variety of classes is a greater variety of tactics and depth; it looks like conservatism got in the way of the competitive mindset.




    On a kind of related note, the reason the gunboats are banned is because not everyone can be expected to have them yet. It's quite a feat getting to jump on the enemy medic with little damage taken, and one shouldn't risk favouring one team if they happen to be using it while the other team doesn't. The Spyper unlocks were also banned when there weren't any milestones yet, and stayed that way for the remainder of the season because it'd be kind of awkward to introduce them suddenly.
     
  4. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Regarding the DH it is my opinion that Valve took the wrong direction with its design concept.

    Direct 'air' hit rockets were a feature aspect of any high end league play that sees many highlighted videos in places like youtube, and got few players like 'Raptor' infamous. The DH didn't need the extra base damage bonus (IMO), the speed bonus itself was balancing the reduced splash damage radius; and i was under the impression that the point of the DH was to be able to shoot 'flying' players more easily. Rewarding mini crits for air shots but not giving the bonus base damage would seem to have been an appropriate design decision. Rewarding air shots, but not impacting on regular game mechanics to an agitating degree.

    Removing mini crits unless the jump was acquired through explosive force was yet another direction away from what i thought the whole concept of the weapon was originally designed to be (although, fair enough, this was supposed to be an anti rocket-jumping weapon, it had many more dynamic uses that didn't negatively impact on basic gameplay), but i guess i was wrong if this is their eventual finished product. I'll miss mini critting double jumping scouts. Something i don't see as an act to go unrewarded. But i suppose they had to resolve swimming minicrits somehow.

    The DH took the rocket launcher into the same design hole as the sniper rifle. The huntsman was produced as an alternative to the sniper rifle, because the sniper rifle was a "fubar" weapon that disengaged players from their wouldbe assasin. Dying from a DH poses the same issue as random crits and headshots from across the map (that valve actively attempted to combat, to increase player satisfaction).

    I am unsurprised at its ban, and from a personal perspective it ruined soldiers for pub play as well. The general skill level is so low for pub players that most people can't handle it. A DH soldier for me is synonimous with "foolish player" or "unskilled player". The DH usually winds up getting its owner killed and reducing the teams overall effectiveness, but on the far extreme end it usually winds up getting a skilled player easy kills. It's a great anti-sniper, anti-sg weapon; but its 'buffs' do not become negligable in close combat, if anything they become increased, and we start to see its power emphasised.

    One might consider the skill range the weapons balancing feature, but that doesn't prevent it from being an issue in game; as it seems to have a negative impression in both competitive and public play.

    As i said previously, i am unsurprised at its rejection and i really do not blame them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  5. Dr. Spud

    aa Dr. Spud Grossly Incandescent

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    Comp scenes in video games have always puzzled me. I like to compare it to competitive magic the gathering, where the whole point is to keep changing your strategy and work with the new sets that come out each year.

    And then there's video game leagues, where every change is revolted against. :\ I dunno, it's pretty hard for me to sympathize with that.
     
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  6. Penguin

    aa Penguin Clinically Diagnosed with Small Mapper's Syndrome

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    What Spud said.
     
  7. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    Quite frankly, competitive players need to work more with Valve, which they're starting to do. If there's a problem with the Direct Hit, they need to say what it is and a way to fix it without making it completely useless. For example, removing the speed upgrade on the rockets from the Direct Hit.
     
  8. Flame

    aa Flame

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    if you remove the speed its not anything but a direct upgrade.

    if anything keep the speed remove the damage buff and lower the splash even more. comp scene has too many internal arguments to ever get anything done.
     
  9. Cerious

    Cerious L7: Fancy Member

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    Direct Hit needs to OHKO 125-hp classes or else it's basically useless. If it doesn't, you could use either 2 Direct Hit rockets to kill a scout, or 2 Rocket Launcher rockets to kill a scout. And guess which one is easier to hit with...

    Anyways, regarding Direct Hit being banned from leagues: the leagues were started before the weapon itself came out. To simply rewrite the rules mid-league makes no sense in the first place, so all the new unlocks were banned. When the new season of competitive play starts, expect to see the unlocks allowed.
     
  10. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    The two direct hit rockets because they move faster.

    What? I don't remember all unlocks being banned. The Direct Hit is still banned.
     
  11. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    Not every change is revolted against, not revolted isn't the right term.

    The DH ban is for obvious reasons, being able to spam and kill half of the standard class layout team with one hit isn't fun, isn't conducive to gameplay, it's just not cool.

    Gunboats and Buff Banner were banned for the reason stated above, they give an advantage to a team that has them over a team that doesn't, so they're out for the season to allow all teams the opportunity to acquire them.

    Leagues didn't even touch the Demoman unlocks, because using any of them in a competitive game removes a serious amount of firepower from your team, and teams wouldn't nerf themselves.

    It's not a matter of competitive players revolting (I'm sure a lot of them are having boatloads of fun with the DH and Buff Banner, and would like to play with them), it's a matter of leagues and the decisions their admins make to keep their games fair and fun. The mindset that competitive players and whiny, unadaptive, ungrateful pricks who hate everything Valve does is falsely developed and only make you the whiny one.
     
  12. Tinker

    aa Tinker

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    Since when are all these things banned? I remember Gunboats being banned, but DH and Buff Banner just limited to 1. Even 1 Sandman is allowed now.
     
  13. littleedge

    aa littleedge L1111: Clipping Guru

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    I was the one who complained about the comps banning it. If I remember correctly, comp players were the ones who told Valve that creating such a weapon would be awesome! And then they ban it?

    I'm fine with banning the Gunboats for now since there is no definite way to earn them. That's a good reason to ban something. And back when the Sandman was how it was, I understood the reason for banning that too. I guess I can understand the hate for having the Direct hit one-hit kill.

    Maybe Valve should remove the increased damage and make it so that anybody that is higher than a single jump gets minicrit if hit (Say, falling off the top of Badland's spire, or a Scout double-jumping up something), not just explosion-propelled jumps.

    I also find a problem with how comp allows two scouts. In a small 6v6 match, you are either killed because the entire team is together, say at the start of a round, or you get killed because the two scouts get behind you and rape you with their very powerful scatterguns. In a 12v12, Scouts do not pose such a problem because of their low health and their numbers compared to the other eight classes. But in a 6v6, where it is generally a Medic, a Demo, two Soldiers, and two Scouts, you're ultimately screwed if they keep moving around, jumping everywhere. Allowing two scouts is more of a shock to me than banning the Direct hit. Why do I say that now? Since tf2lobby was released, I started playing more 6v6 games. Be it for testing or normal maps (though usually testing), I have noticed how annoying a Scout can be.

    I'm going to stick with what I said back when Sandman was out: Learn to Counter It. I followed this with the Sandman, and sure, I got pissed when I was stunned and had no chance to do anything, but it happened less often. The Direct Hit may not be easy to dodge at point blank, but why the hell are you allowing a Soldier to get that close to you anyway? And it doesn't one-hit kill at a reasonable distance, but unless you were preoccupied with another fight, you should be able to dodge it. The Direct Hit requires aim and many people are unable to do that unless you run straight up to them with a sign saying "Hey shoot me" or you don't see him coming because of that nasty scout that's shooting at you.
     
  14. Cerious

    Cerious L7: Fancy Member

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    I mean, against a scout at close range (which is where the DH OHKOs). If the scout is jumping around and blasting away at you, it's much easier to use the Rocket Launcher and blast him away, than it is to nail two direct hit rockets against a target going up and down, side to side.