A big problem

Server setup, history & future
Degrek Phantoka
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A big problem

Post by Degrek Phantoka »

Well, I've been playing on the server for many weeks and I realize that it has a big fault that many have paid attention to but no one has fixed in a more or less acceptable way. "Weeks" may sound a short time, but it's enough to realize what's wrong.

This main issue that has troubled my head for days is fair play. There are a lot of great maps on CEONSS, but no matter how good weapons or vehicles are on it, there are people who always spam Redeemers or Ion Tanks, as on Tyrant or Omaha Beach, or just stay sniping from rooftops, as in MasterBath. It's very hard, and frustrating too, to capture a node and cope with a Redeemer blowing the node and your head up every five minutes. Not to mention those who monopolize vehicles or take profit of unsolved bugs. Yesterday I just saw somebody shooting at a guy who had the white bubble on his head, meaning that he was writing and the rules specify NOT TO SHOOT PEOPLE WHO ARE WRITING.

I like CEONSS. I don't want to leave just because a couple of campers ruin my day, but it's infuriating. As you can see, there are tones of examples of this lack of fair play. And obiously, the problem is not easy to solve, because it depends very much on the person. And the anti-hack isn't human.

We currently have two options. One is to leave the server like this and assume we're all good fragmates. The other one, which is not the best solution but could work for many people, is that we link the forum to the server. Everytime someone wants to enter CEONSS, he'd have to be a forum member and have to have a minimum of, let's say, 20 or 30 messages. I think that with that amount you got to know any person well enough to know if he/she plays fair or not. Or, if our suppositions prove to be incorrect, there's always the option of ban.

This may sound a bit drastic but I'm tired of people who don't care about the rules, and I suppose many of you are as pissed as me. The system has failure, I won't deny it. It would prevent me from enter the server, in first place, and it would decrease the number of people joining in significantly. This is my solution, people, take it or leave it, and if you share my point of view I suggest you consider it.

I must say that all this is purely theorical. I don't even do if this can be done (I don't even know to use the UEd). But I perceive my job here as the one of a thinker and an idea gatherer, I let Wormbo or Cat tell me if we're able to do this or not.

I therefore let you speak your mind about it.

Re: A big problem

Post by [P]etya »

I can understand your problem but there is nothing which can be done about them. There are maps where there aren't many options other than spamming, camping and sniping. The Ion Tank generally doesn't fit into ONS, because it is either useless (yes really) or too powerful. On OmahaBeach it is useless, because Falcons can take them out pretty easily, while on Tanks a lot it is decimating. Some maps are kept because they have great history and many ppl like them. Our tastes are different. Honestly I don't like certain maps and I may comment how bad they are, but demanding to remove them would cause more harm than benefit. Redeemers can't be really spammed unless the map contains an Arbalest which can shoot 2 different deemers (a powerful one and a weaker one) or that special Leviathan in which one of guns can shoot Deemers. But even in this case you can find them and kill them.

Your idea is bad, because I know that it won't work. Sorting out ppl in that way won't work and it would make the server... well, deserted. And the admins sacrifice money and freetime to have a server and I have to say that CEONSS is a pretty good server compared to the remaining ones. Personally I like this server, it has some issues, but which server doesn't. Generally the community is very good and friendly. There are lots of maps. Many of them are even edited so they are more playable. Thanks to the admins. :thumbup:
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Re: A big problem

Post by Karma_geddon »

I can agree, partly, to Degrek.

There are some issues on sportsmanship from time to time, but we have the ingame admins for them. I think that the best solution is to take note of the infractions that you notice, or even to record demos of them, and then report them to the admins.

I don't know about chatkilling... I witness it very rarely these days; maybe I'm not noticing it, or maybe I play always when there are some admins online.

I also think that there is a thin line between spamming/camping and proper fighting.

In Tanks-a-lot, for example, basically you can't use the Ion tank properly and in an useful manner without "spamming" and "camping" ( = staying at a safe distance and suppress everything that could enter in the shooted room)... But there are countermeasures: the enemy team could work to get the Ion from behind and destroy it, with some teamwork (usually a full-equipped Badger or a well-guided Deemer can do the job). Or, the enemy team could coordinate to destroy the Ion when it spawns at his node, that is quite exposed in my opinion (more then any other node room in that map).
The same goes for many other maps with Ion, Mino & co. In Gunshop, for example, the Ion is VERY exposed and, usually, hard to protect.

Or in Masterbath, for example, people often stay on some roof or lamp and do the sniper job, or attack the node from above. It can be frustrating, but I don't think that it's stupid or lame: the map itself enables that kind of play via its own design (it's actually a good thing to cover your mates from above with the snipe and the avril), and a smart player can go hunting for them, or fight them with their own weapon ( = shooting them with snipe or light).
And I find it particularly satisfying to hunt down snipers and long-range tanks.... >D

All of that, IMHO of course... But in the last year I realized that campers are something that is better to learn how to deal with straight in game.
Other more experienced players/mods/admins (like Peg) could be more precise (and more right) about what is acceptable on this server and what it's not.

I believe that the line between camping/spamming and sniping/proper employment of vehicles, stays in the *goal* of the player. Is he/she just trying to get some easy points, or is he/she doing something useful for the team on a bigger level? Is he/she employing the vehicle in the best tactical way, or is he/she just hunting for points?
And, related point: is he/she sharing his/her vehicle, or is he/she always taking it for himself/herself?
Hint: if the player has LOTS of points, BUT the team is losing, he/she is playing selfishly and camping pointlessly (from a team point of view). It happens relatively often in MasterBath with the tank at core.

I think that the best way to deal with them is to (1) expose them ingame "Hey *name*, stop doing *this* plz" and (2) if the player keeps doing that, and if you were right in the first place (because it's possible to make a mistake - "Hey you, stop chatkilling" "My bad, I didnt noticed it sry" "K np") contact the admins, better after recording a demo.

Of course the ones in the best position to keep the order are the admins, but peer pressure can do a lot (I noticed that lame players often leaves the game when they are told to stop doing lame things).

...However: I do realize now that we may have a crucial difference in terms of experience with the server: I mostly play at (local) night, when there are many usual players and 1+ admins online (and so, there is a lot of sportsmanship and order), while you (from Argentina) might be playing at (local) morning or evening, when the servers is less crowded and usually there are many casual players online.

Also, I definitely agree with Pet about the forum solution.
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Re: A big problem

Post by MrPenguin »

Agree with Karma - a couple of strategies, particularly for MasterBath:

- If there are snipers being annoying, spend a little time as an anti-sniper-sniper. Its easy enough to scan the usual locations and clear them of snipers every now and again
- the ion tank is a major part of the map strategy. If the opposition has it, you MUST take it out. Even if a front on assault won't work, there are several routes to get behind it (e.g. the cabinet shelves) and take it out that way

Regarding camping - I also play on a server that runs an anti-camping mod, and to be honest its a PITA. It catches me out all the time when I'm trying to heal other players (its a Freon server), and experienced players have learned how to fool it anyway. Much better to understand what advantage camping plays in a situation, and figure out a good countering strategy.

There are some maps where there are particular problems - e.g. the Mino play on Kingdom - but right now I can't think of any really terrible ones.

I haven't seen any chatkilling, apart from when I accidentally spam one of our "chattier" members like Eman, but I always say sorry :D

Overall I think we have a very well behaved and friendly server compared to most others!

Re: A big problem

Post by [P]etya »

Also, if a camper proves too big problem, which means you can't deal with him alone, then with a little teamwork every camper can be taken out.
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Re: A big problem

Post by Zon3r »

Unfortunately laming, especially with OP vehicles is starting to be a habit of more and more players, who are doing this only to stack up kills. they consider it fun to ruin others gameplay. i'm getting tired of this and losing patience. feeling less and less motivation to play on the server. if i want s**t gameplay i will play on a demo server, ceonss shouldnt be like this. it's the last ons server in europe, if i can't play here anymore i will be forced to leave UT2004. there were players who left the game because of lame players. like Trackpad, Su_su_super, El-timbo, 7homasito. most of you don't even know these names. they were good Fair players. Nothing will change, it will only get worse, and the downfall is getting more and more faster and obvious.
This is one of examples of some players mentality about laming. it's fun

Re: A big problem

Post by [P]etya »

Yeah, Tanks a lot, the Ion camp game :D
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Re: A big problem

Post by Cheese_it! »

Finding a way round these "problems" can make the game more challenging.
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Re: A big problem

Post by Pegasus »

So to sum up the picture painted at the top of this thread, CEONSS seems to be facing a "big fault" where people "just stay sniping from rooftops" and "always spam Redeemers" that makes capturing a node "very hard [to] cope with" and results in the node and player getting their "head [blown] up every five minutes", vehicles getting monopolized or used to also "always spam" with, people getting chatkilled against the rules, "infuriating" campers "ruin[ing] your day", and it's all serving as "tons of examples of this lack of fair play" that necessitates forced registration to play in order to address this "failure" of the system. Not to debunk your personal ingame experiences or pretend like we haven't talked about most of the issues these accounts touch upon before, but, ummm, don't you think you're laying it on a bit too thick with that wording there, Degrek? In fact, this may be a good opportunity to take a brief step back from the sensationalist light that statements like "I don't want to leave [...], but..." and " This is my solution, people, take it or leave it" cast this convo in, go through each of these grievances and examine whether CEONSS' setup is capable of adequately dealing with 'em or not.

To start from one of the narrower problems identified as indicative of a generally unfair playstyle, redeemers are mentioned as a problem because people can "always spam" them and using one to take out a node and any nearby enemies is "very hard and frustrating". Tbh, I dunno what exactly is supposed to need fixing here. Just like any other stock superweapon in the game, redeemers are on a considerably long countdown timer (120secs for nukes) and all players are aware of that, meaning that choosing to hang around a deemer pickupbase for up to 2mins just to make sure one gets to grab it will invariably carry the serious cost of removing oneself from the action for that amount of time and leaving their team with one less active player, all for the chance of using it against some enemy controlled location or equipment that can be reattained at a much shorter timeframe. I mean, this might well be one of the few ONS subjects that ppl can easily reach unanimous consensus on: deemer balance is a solved issue. Even if a map offers a deemer near each team's core and some people always opt to waste time to get 'em first, I'd say that falls in the overall "consistent, selfish hoarding of team equipment" category of unsportsmanlike play, which will get covered further below.
Now deemer prevalence in certain maps could be a problem worth discussing, but such a concern is always on a per-map basis and, with sufficient content curation and roster oversight, this is entirely preventable. As far as CEONSS is concerned, I can't think of any hosted map where redeemers are so numerous as to be able to effectively hamper gameflow, even with the StarReach and GunShop versions we have offering 'em in the highest counts among all other entries (4 and 5 respectively). When you got 32 ppl playing and a maximum of 4-5, slowly moving, fat rockets available at any time, there's only so much those can do to set things back in any area for longer than, say, 10secs. Even going by the complaint's own wording, getting your noggin blown up "every 5 minutes" hardly qualifies as a tragedy in a game like UT, so it's best to avoid exaggerated portrayals where we can and look for actual problems instead.

Moving on to snipers positioning themselves on rooftops, umm, that's also kinda par for the course; they do kinda get a better vantage point from there, after all. Lots of maps incorporate sniper fights into their geometry designs, and MasterBath is indeed a good example of that. Still, just like persistent campers of any other creed, unless opting to stay at one place for too long in the hopes of getting some kinda edge out of it is part of some calculated strategy, they're liable to be wasting their own, and their team's, time, and that will only work against 'em. Going by personal experience, for most people, adopting the sniper role only comes into play when they're around locations that favour such a playstyle (i.e., too distant from an objective where it makes more sense to act as support for others than as a main attack force), and then only temporarily while they're moving from one important location to another. Still, even persistent/habitual snipers in maps like MB aren't a hard problem to solve, as every locker offers one kinda sniper rifle or another, so as long as they can see and take potshots at you, you should be able to do the same and return the favour. Rooftop snipers is not an innately unbalanced gameplay situation in need of fixing, is what I'm driving at, not unless the mapper's been neglectful and has only provided CSR/LG pickups near such locations, but that's also something we tend to screen for during content eval. Lastly, if someone is constantly and exclusively opting for the turret/sniper careerist path to the detriment of their team, that too may be part of the unsportsmanlike/problematic behaviour, so see below for more on that.

In terms of vehicle usage now, while it's true that some are built to deliver inordinate amounts of mayhem through increased damage, RoF, range or radius (ions, minos, hurricanes, PPCs, etc.), their role also tends to be taken into account when evaluating maps, so their presence in the end should be a bit of a hint as to their balanced state. The ion tank's role, presumably in MB, (there's no Ion in Tyrant, nor does it play a significant enough role in Omaha) may indeed be to cause as much visible spam and area coverage per shot as it can, but that doesn't mean that its inclusion in the map immediately indicates gameplay deterioration, to say nothing about unfair play. As it spawns at the top of the central node, one can easily tell that it's supposed to be the map's centerpiece and the substantial edge a team can count on, should they manage to get up and hold up that completely uncovered node for longer than it takes to do the teleporter run and while enemies can be expected to be trying to take it down, shooting from all directions high n' low; basically, it's a hard get with some serious payoff. Even so, as Karma already pointed out, there's still many ways and many tools one can utilize to take it down - which should become an immediate priority - and ones that the ion will have a hard time countering (say, by grabbing a U.dmg and training a rocket triplet on it, followed by a standard avril while in mid-air between central jumppads, by teleporting behind it via the enemy shower and whittling it down from there, through stealing the enemy nuke and lovingly guiding it on it, etc., etc.). Long story short, if the match has reached the point where ion spam has become the main concern, that might be a pretty good indication that it won't last much longer.
With regard to Tanks-A-Lot now, corridor spam of all kinds, artillery included, is pretty much the main course on its menu, but while spammy maps with little redeeming value don't tend to last long on CEONSS, as you might've noticed, Tanks provides enough alternative paths one can take around said spam (again, Karma offered some apt examples), as well as enough spaces where non-vehicular/spammy [counter-]playstyles can be viable and impactful on matches' outcomes that it makes the cut. Moreover, each team's ion becomes a focal point of tactics, meaning unless the team coordinates properly, keeps it healed and well-informed, it'll likely die to a rear ambush by the proximal primary or while attempting to cross the lower central intersection by tanks hiding in the shadows. Hell, I've also seen knowledgeable Aegis heroes managing to "tame" enemy ions all by themselves, just by virtue of proper timing and a good grasp of anti-ion movement tactics. My point is, while Tanks' gameplay does include corridor spam - and it's a quality I've frequently bemoaned as a player myself when I'll be in the mood for something else - there's enough variety and room for strategic gameplay in there to make it worth having. For my money, examining unsportsmanlike behaviour with vehicles in this map more often revolves around Aegis players spawnkilling the enemy ion nodes than anything else, and when that pattern proves consistent and beyond the pale of any tactical interpretation, that too can be considered problematic behaviour, which will be summed up below.

The last specific example of unfair play mentioned up top involves killing people while they're typing a text message. Right off the bat, lemme just point out that, contrary to what's alleged there, we do not have a set rule specifically against chatkilling, and the reason for that is pretty simple: depending on where a player decides to stand around and start typing, it may be very hard for them to not be killed by accident, just by idling in the middle of the battlefield. As a rule of thumb, the most sensible choice is to type after you get fragged, or at least seek some kinda shelter away from all the action when you gotta respond to something, but when that doesn't happen, to demand any (or all) chatkilling be treated as a sportsmanship offense would only force the ingame admins to enter into balancing between players' intentions against sensibility of the victim's chatting location and even the probability of that becoming a hotspot; needless to say this can become a mess, especially between people already bearing a grudge against one another and seeking to get their rival into trouble. And just in case anyone was interpreting the existence of the chat bubble's function as being a clear n' fair warning against shooting that person, the counter-argument I could easily see being made would be that it's there to inform teammates that an idle player isn't experiencing connection problems or decided to go AFK at the expense of the other players. Put short, while not shooting a non-speccing chatter can be considered a sportsmanlike courtesy (and would be recommended if possible), drawing any definitive conclusions as to a chatkiller's intentions in the contrary scenario isn't as clear cut a matter. Compared to the rest of the ways a player can more distinctly behave immorally, then, chatkilling might at best be included in that profile when examining their behaviour more thoroughly after a report against 'em gets submitted. Aside from that though, I'd be hard-pressed to consider this a telling indicator of any supposed CEONSS moral decline.

With all the nits picked, lemme now move on to the final, main point at the core of this issue, and it's something that many of you will likely have heard me say before. Investing in a server, whether that be emotionally, time-wise, resource-wise, or even financially, isn't placing your trust or directing your efforts towards getting the best hardware, finding the best host, putting together the best possible roster, or even having better stats in numbers than neighbouring "competitors" so much as it is about investing in other people. I know from personal experience how hard that is to do, especially over a faceless medium like the internet, but in the end, the net that holds everything else together and makes it worth a damn really is the people that you do manage to form a worthwhile connection with, working together, playing together, having fun together or through any other way. If people who enter the server aren't readily inspired to give the best of themselves because they simply don't want to be dicks to people they know, play daily with and care not to be a dick to, that's probably a server that either does not have a community or whose community is well past the tipping point and on its way to unraveling.
That's one of the main reasons why CEONSS has always chosen to regard UT as more of a sport and itself like a neighborhood field where the same people can meet and play day in and day out than just a game where aliasing players can log in, aim to pad their scores n' stats as much as possible each time and be on to the next fun activity without a second thought as soon as that's over. It's also why we bank on sportsmanship as a way to foster an atmosphere of genial camaraderie n' cooperation, even beyond the game's confines and subject matter, and why members from the community itself accepted to volunteer their free time and act as the ingame admins so as exactly to preserve that mentality and ensure that later newcomers will be able to enjoy ONS the same way that inspired them to get involved with the community in the first place. I'd say that for most people who've been through this place that arrangement has worked, and continues to work, just fine. Others sometimes saw to put their own enjoyment, even at the expense of others', above all else, and it's with such people in mind that we've had to lay some ground rules for behaviour and accepted, sportsmanlike play from the outset, and proceed to enforce 'em as consistently and transparently as we can. Some of those troublemakers reformed themselves, others left on their own accord, others still were eventually forced to leave - and don't think that was ever not the case. Over time more people got added to the enforcement team that once consisted solely of Heinz, and as the rules and methods have also evolved accordingly, we're at a point where most of the playable hours of the day people can find an IA whenever they're trying to deal with a disruptive player and turn to them for assistance. Even when that's not the case, however, we continuously aim to impress upon players that, after attempting to resolve a dispute respectfully, if an IA is not around, they can always collect any evidence of an offender's infringing behaviour they can and submit it here for examination, validation and any necessary, subsequent administrative action. This has happened many times before to the point of Rules and Anti-Cheat Enforcement becoming a routine, with its own acronym (RACE :p) and its own user group, jurisdiction and subforum. In fact, most of the transgressions and offenses described here already have their equivalent stipulation added to the rules long ago, as well as a number of examples of people who've had IA/admin action taken against 'em.
My point here is, while keeping things civil and upstanding will remain primarily a conscious choice of the players themselves - just like with the issue of team balancing - what I can absolutely assure you of is that CEONSS is NOT unprepared, NOT oblivious of such concerns and definitely NOT unfortified. There's no doubt that problems of this sort will keep popping up from time to time because that's a direct consequence of people exercising their free will, but the extent and frequency of such incidents will be dependent mostly on the community being able to self-police and self-correct through mentality and conviction long before the IAs even need to train their eye on a troublemaker; I'm very confident of that statement because I think I already got a pretty good sense of the kinda people that play here and how mature and kind they can be :). For some - maybe Degrek too - both these methods might not be fast enough or effective enough, and I have no problem respecting that. Not everyone's (dis)order sensibilities or perception are calibrated to the same frequency, and what might be perceived as a slight hiccup to some people, someone else might consider a crisis in progress with the same amount of evidence. Still, no matter how your tolerances are calibrated, what I'd say remains common for all is the conscious choice of what you do when you conclude there's a problem. Some people quickly choose to see and proclaim a troubled server a failed experiment, one they should abandon. Me, I can't help point out that projects like CEONSS can only ever give back in aggregate to the community what each player individually puts in first themselves; when there's a problem, by anyone's own accounting of its scale, what I feel should be the moral measure of the responding action is being able to honestly say that they're giving up on the server after it first gave up on them. If they indeed tried to right the demonstrated wrongs, repeatedly, and nothing became of it, I'd definitely acknowledge they were right to go. That's why, regardless of whether one talks about leaving early or late or simply just sits around in (constant) protest, I'd still hold the mirror up to them and ask 'em to take a good look of what, and how much, they did to help on their own before opting for their current action. Being comfortable with what they see in it, IMO, will be a telling reflection of anyone's true principles in such situations.

I know I can't prevent Degrek, or anybody else, from considering the instances of unfair play they come across as a justified reason for lambasting the server or even considering leaving, but what I can do, and will continue to be doing, is try my best to keep CEONSS a friendly, dedicated and mature place for anyone looking to have some ONS ggs on in every way I can, and I know the same to be true for a lot of other people here, both on the staff team as well as regulars.

PS: Gating the server behind a mandatory registration & participation scheme would not only bloat the msg. board, but it'd also be self-defeating because this is a little known corner of an old n' dwindling game that nobody would care to go through hoops before being let in to and allowed to try for themselves. More importantly, however, given the path that most contributors here took before ending up offering their services to the community in all the helpful ways they chose to, it'd be empirically downright absurd. CEONSS has willingly and consciously always maintained an "open arms" policy to everyone who'd care to enjoy ONS, and maybe want to reach even further than that after awhile and give back in any manner they can. The "sports field" is open to people of all skillsets, aspirations and motivations, and those who after awhile care to look further into things can walk the short path to here, look around, see exactly how and why we do things the way we do, and decide if they want to get invested in that. That is how people set themselves apart as individual members and, in time, even become parts of the staff team itself; meritocratically, organically, and of their own accord. This is the most sensible way to run things and that's why most servers have stuck by it. Trading expansion potential for a presumptive uptick in accountability is not good math.
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Re: A big problem

Post by GLoups! »

I must say that I began to be agreed with zoner, yesterday I have several really horrible matchs, unfair and lame attitudes, monopolize vehicles all along the match, I do not mention name (but you know who), the problem is that it seemed to be contagious: even players who seemed quite normal so far have starting to base-laming the losing team (kingdom).
Problem with balancer or someone switch? even after restart, always the skilled-players in the same team and nobody to balance manualy and especially the impression that the strongest were happy to win against weaker.
The super-weapons are the only thing that has allowed us to resist a little against the enemy plus it is very rare to be bored by them.
I begin to wonder whether we should remove radically the super-vehicles on the maps where they make problems (specially falcons- which is good on big maps like magicisle) , the gameplay will completely change and the team-play would be possible again.
Because some players cheeks only these maps and quit after leaving a hole in the balance.