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CTF isn't evolving

Discussion in 'Capture the Flag' started by _DmacK_, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. _DmacK_

    _DmacK_ Member

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    Hi,

    I've been a player of CTF since the days of MCPvP. In the period between then and now, there has been no significant change. I constantly see great ideas in the kits thread and new features to add but Brawl has added almost none of them. It's very disappointing to see. When games don't add new things or evolve, they get boring, as I've noticed with CTF.

    A lot of the devs have argued that classes being added need to be carefully chosen because of how they will affect competitive gameplay. Back during the good days of CTF, this was never considered. Obviously, classes need to be considered to a certain point to make sure they're not overpowered, but Brawl has spent so much time looking at how classes affect competitive gameplay that they have added literally NO classes in the period since they adopted CTF from McPVP except scout (and fashionista which is completely useless), and removed a lot of the more fun features of classes.

    I wish Brawl would consider adding more kits to regular gameplay so that the game doesn't become boring to people, as it already has to many players.
     
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  2. Zernaa

    Zernaa Member

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    Hey DmacK, I also played on CTF during MCPvP days. I agree with you, and I think that Brawl needs to make CTF a bit more exciting. Right now the gamemode is catered to the regulars, and the changes being made are usually for our competitive player base. An idea I have to fix this, is to have two different CTF gamemodes, just like how Hypixel has Normal and Insane Skywars. Normal would be the CTF you see now, and it would focus on the competitive side. Then there would be Insane, which would have a bunch of exciting and easy to learn mechanics for the newer players. Obviously these ideas are hard to bring into fruition, because it takes a lot of planning and coding. There's also the argument of not having enough players to sustain two different gamemodes. But if you have any other ideas, PM me!
     
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  3. SoCool21

    SoCool21 8 Year McPvPer

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    Agreed. While balance changes are important, we need new content as well and I think we've been falling short on that. The only major new content additions since McPvP have been the engineer & necro rework, and scout.

    There are plenty of opportunities for new content to be added. Dwarf needs to be completely reworked, and I think mage and archer would be good targets for a rework as well. Assassin will need a rework if we update to 1.16, too. There's also plenty of opportunities for new classes - a new offence class would be awesome (especially as part of an offence overhaul), and we still need a free recovery class. We also have 3 fully functional but unreleased classes (paladin, mechanic, and wraith) - these may need some balance changes but I don't think it would be that difficult to add these.
     
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  4. NinetyThree

    NinetyThree Active Member

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    my boy SPITTIN
     
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  5. SoCool21

    SoCool21 8 Year McPvPer

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    What kind of removed features do you wish to see back (or, which classes do you think aren't very fun)? I'm currently trying to come up with some ideas for what we could implement in the next update, so any input is welcome.
     
  6. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I fully agree with this post. Honestly it is sad to see a server with high potential fall flat.

    Personally, I have been around since the McPvP days as well - a time in which CTF was significantly better. Why do I think it was better? It was simple. A cut-and-dry concept with extreme PvP and flag capturing. Yes, classes were overpowered compared to the way they are now and that is why CTF was more appealing to people.
    All in all, simplicity within a server works. Keeping a community connected to the core goal of a server, or game, is important. Both of these concepts have faded away to a point where player counts continue to decrease and I see more posts like this being put out. Clearly whatever is being done to "make CTF better" is not working. Player suggestions are over analyzed or quickly rejected. A common theme to "solving" issues is class nerfs/reworks along with map recycling.

    Really, this is what needs to be asked here: is the current state of Brawl CTF working? If not, are the changes being made truly improving the server? Are players joining and staying or joining and leaving? Furthermore, what is player retention like?

    Aside from that, I have also largely noticed this CTF being divided between casual (the normal servers where nearly 100 people once played to the death) and PPM. What has this really done for the server though? Leaving the issue of lack of evolution, meaningful changes and discussion aside, it has 100% made Brawl CTF stagnant. Gone are the days of teams in an all out brawl. Gone are the days of a simple server concept: PvP, team play and Capturing The Flag.
    In my eyes, Brawl CTF is more or less a hangout spot for regulars. PPM exists for those actually wanting to play the game it was intended to, although how would newer players know about it upon joining and playing for a while? This is sad to see. I have always attempted to play the game on defense and PvP the opposing team. Using a laptop is less than optimal, but still was a great time due to the shear simplicity and all out brawl nature the server once had. Nowadays, it is rare to see a full CTF server and a large match of PvP/teams. The PvP aspect has faded into a lot of selective killing as well as assisting the opposite team and watching a battle occur. I won't say this is all that exists to the PvP/team component, although it is a larger part than ever before.

    Overall, the core concepts of CTF have faded into a shell of what once existed. Ideas and discussions run into brick walls with over analyzing and a constant desire for class nerfs/removals. All this while Brawl CTF has lost players and a true meaning to the game. I know the response on my viewpoint may not be great - after all it has been the subject of insulting in-game on a few occasions. Although, it is sad to see a server/game once so popular and fun dwindle into a shell of it's former self.
     
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  7. SoCool21

    SoCool21 8 Year McPvPer

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    This seems to be a very popular opinion, but I don't really think this is the case. Most of the OP things that we've removed - telecapping, instacapping, 414, wallspamming - these were all very popular suggestions and were very well-received. That doesn't mean they weren't bad decisions, of course, but I struggle to believe that re-adding these OP abilities will do anything but make competitive unbalanced and casual more frustrating.

    Furthermore, we still do have a lot of overpowered things. Pyro can 2 shot literally anything. Archer can 1 shot anything far away. Assassin can 1 shot anything, and due to it's (poor, imo) design, it doesn't need to be stealthy to do so. Ninja can teleport back to the flag carrier 5 seconds after it dies, and is an absolute machine in the hands of a good PvPer. Scout can swap places with people and can cause the flag carrier to take 1.75x the damage during stalemates. Compared to some of the most popular PvP gamemodes around at the moment, like Bed Wars, we dwarf their amount of overpowered items and abilities.

    I do think that we could do more to make classes feel more powerful. Mage, as annoying as it is, does not feel fun to play at all. Soldier feels way too weak and flimsy. Medic, despite having the most powerful healing and most powerful crowd control ability in the game, can barely defend itself. Offence is often completely powerless during casual, because we're balancing for competitive even though casual is a completely different gamemode when it comes to balance.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should just keep nerfing stuff and removing the fun stuff. We should be nerfing and removing the annoying stuff, but replacing it with something that is powerful, feels powerful, and isn't annoying to play against. We also need to add more powerful abilities to offence, because it's in such a terrible position right now during casual.

    It depends what you mean by working. We're certainly not growing, but we're not really shrinking either. The team scene seems to be slowly shrinking, but casual playercounts have remained fairly consistent for the last 2-3 years. We're not getting thousands of players anymore, but I don't think CTF is at risk of dying for the foreseeable future. It will eventually, but I'd be surprised if it happens in the next 2 years unless something really bad happens.

    I think the inconvenient truth is that CTF isn't growing because Minecraft players don't care about games like CTF. The most popular PvP gamemodes aren't large team PvP games with a bunch of complicated custom abilities, the most popular PvP gamemodes are Bedwars and Skywars. Even if you just look at Hypixel - large team games like Mega Walls, Capture the Wool and Warlords aren't pulling in many players, but Bedwars and Skywars are thriving. Unless games like CTF become popular again, CTF will never become popular again.

    The problem is inconvenient and the solution is even more so - I think the only way to truly grow CTF into the behemoth it used to be is by doing what every games company out there does when their game loses popularity - release a sequel, or a new game entirely.

    Brawl as a whole is no longer just focusing on it's old gamemodes, it's starting to make new ones - we released a sequel to Party and we're releasing a new gamemode soon. And while there are no plans to release a sequel to CTF or to abandon it any time soon, I think these are the only 2 ways that CTF's story continues.

    _______
    This is all rather different than the OP - it's talking about how we're not adding new things and instead focusing too much on tweaks and balance. I completely agree with the OP, and I'm trying to get some more interesting additions added in the next update. I also want to do an offensive overhaul, which'll address many of the points I've made above (and will feature new content). But I definitely think this is an important discussion to have. All to often, we're focusing on how to make CTF better, but we're not focusing on how to make CTF grow.
     
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  8. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I would agree with this, though there of course is still room necessary for improvement overall. The overpowered features removed in your list were long awaited, though it isn't exactly comprehensive and I know some changes haven't gone through with full support (AKA changing engineer/necro from what they used to be). Can't say much else since this strays away from the true issues at hand, but many classes feel stale (as you noted) or hated so much to where you will be targeted for class selection. As a server staff, you will never be able to make everyone happy, although it would be nice to see new life brought to classes soon.

    Off topic note: a lot of people ask "why don't you go" when I bring up this type of stuff. Well, the good gameplay exists and spending years somewhere makes it harder to say screw it and leave.


    Honestly, these are issues in my opinion. I 100% understand where you are coming from, but having stalled player counts is never a good thing for any server. It is factual that many mini-game servers aren't pulling in many new players. The same can be said for many other server variants as well. Though, I largely attribute that to a general lack of commitment. Gaming is secondary to many people, though with the right amount of commitment and attractive updates, good things can happen. Take Minecraft as a whole for instance. It defines the sandbox game concept and remains popular since it is:
    1. True to it's roots.
    2. Brings consistent new updates, interest and community commitment.
    Now, both of these points is something many servers, Brawl included, simply do not execute.

    Yes, Brawl is "no longer just focusing on it's old game modes" although, that isn't exactly something to brag about. You can't change and evolve so much to where the server/game is almost unrecognizable from previous iterations. By doing that, you risk alienating everyone who enjoyed traditional gameplay - and that is what has happened with CTF. Just ask Coca-Cola how their change in recipe played out in the 70's/80's. They thought their new sweeter taste would attract new consumers, but it actually negatively affected sales. I want to make it known that change is good, change is sometimes necessary, but changing too much brings increased risk.

    Unfortunately, CTF has lost a significant amount players year-by-year. Matches with 40-50 players is almost unheard of nowadays. That is sad and should not be a positive point whatsoever. Yes, Brawl does not just focus on old game modes, but that doesn't exactly seem to have worked in the long-term. After all, CTF is nowhere near as competitive, or even as fun, as it once used to be. If anyone thinks that is a good thing, you are sorely wrong. CTF having evolved to that point is not a good thing.

    I hope what Zernaa mentioned does come to fruition since CTF has changed so much to where player counts are stagnant. That is not a good thing. CTF lacks a competitive, fun, true-to-its-roots nature. Put yourself in the shoes of a newer player. You see CTF. Immediately you would think of a competitive, fun, team oriented, PvP server. Unfortunately, Brawl CTF has lost that foothold unless you know about PPM. I could be wrong about that, but it unfortunately feels all too accurate here.
     
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  9. SoCool21

    SoCool21 8 Year McPvPer

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    I agree with many of these points. Having a stagnated player base is unacceptable. It doesn't mean CTF dying is imminent, but it certainly means it'll happen one day. If we don't grow, we die, and avoiding this is the priority of all CTF staff.

    Making players more committed to playing Brawl is something I want to do. There's a significant difference between the nature of Hypixel's community and Brawl's (except for the size) - Hypixel's playerbase seems to just like playing the game a lot more. You have people grinding for leaderboard positions, grinding coins or achievement hunting. It's a genuine hobby, that takes up a good portion of their time and is unlikely to be replaced by anything. In contrast, Brawl's playerbase seems to think of Brawl as a fun way to kill time. This is problematic, because it makes it far more likely that players will quit.

    I think there are a few different ways of doing this, and I want to get these things addressed as soon as possible. We need to come up with ways to get people to play Brawl for reasons other than "I've got nothing better to do". However, I don't think gameplay mechanics are the way to go in order to address this. Hypixel achieves this by having all sorts of progression and interesting unlockables, as well as putting leaderboards and stats at the forefront of the server so that players care about them more. Improving gameplay mechanics is important, don't get me wrong - it'll make the game more fun, but I don't think it'll address the commitment issue.

    I'm not certain on what the best way to fix this will be, but I do have a few ideas. I'd like to implement changes that will reward grinding on CTF, including changes to the gamemode's progression, improvements to the leaderboards, and long-term competitions that encourage grinding.

    I should elaborate on what I mean by "we're no longer just focusing on our old gamemodes". We are not abandoning our existing gamemodes anytime soon. Each one of our gamemodes has a dedicated dev, CTF included.

    For a very long time, since I joined the staff team in 2016 until mid-2020, our strategy relied on improving our existing games. That's how we planned on growing - making existing gamemodes better. This doesn't work that well. In order for Brawl to grow, we need to appeal to thousands of brand new players.

    At the moment, our player retention is very, very poor. We've had tens of thousands of new players joining each month for several years but experienced absolutely no growth as a result. Our existing gamemodes do not appeal to new players. In order to grow Brawl, we need to implement changes that appeal to new players, not existing players. Updates that appeal to existing players are still obviously important - if we ignore our playerbase, the gamemode will die - but we can't focus exclusively on appealing to existing players.

    I don't think that overhauling CTF is comparable to Coke changing their recipe in the 80's. Coke changed a tried-and-true formula that was working very well. Our formula isn't doing so hot right now. A better comparison would be to Blockbuster. Blockbuster had a winning formula, but the market changed and they didn't. We had a winning formula when CTF was the biggest gamemode in Minecraft, but the market has changed. I think we need to change too.

    Specifically, we need to figure out how the market has changed and how to adapt to this. Personally, I think the best way to do this is by making CTF more fast-paced and short. For example, making games last half as long, and buffing offence so it can capture twice as quick. We also need to make CTF more simple, and I'll be honest - I have no idea what the best way of doing this is. It also contradicts what I'm trying to get done with CTF in the next update - new, fresh content (that will inevitably make the game more complicated). I'm not sure how to achieve this, and if you agree that CTF needs to be made more simple, I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.
     
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  10. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I agree, was an example I had off the top of my head - not a direct comparison by any means.

    I personally like Zernaa's idea of dual CTF game modes. I think a problem with Brawl CTF at the moment is the fact there really isn't much competition outside of lesser known PPM. Furthermore, there really isn't an incentive to play the game. It is has steadily trended to a fun hangout rather than a tried and true PvP server.
    For example, occasionally I play The Hive. Many mini-games and upwards of 1,000-2,000 players online at any time. Most mini-games there haven't received an overhaul or significant change and still remain popular among 100's of people. It's a simple concept and has tokens to be earned through playing. Those tokens then in-turn can grant you cosmetic items/perks specific to some mini-games. It is a simple concept that has worked for years there. I'm not saying Brawl should adopt this, but it is an example of a simple, less modified mini-game server being successful. Certainly some of that methodology could be applied to Brawl - who knows! :smile:
    I greatly appreciate the acknowledgement of concerns here. Also, I agree with and understand much of what you have mentioned. CTF, and Brawl in general, have tons of potential to be be harnessed. I have done a lot of posting on this, so I will cool it and let other members respond for now. Can generate some ideas in the near future!
     
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    #10 ZBoy3210, Mar 3, 2021 at 8:08 PM
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021 at 8:16 PM
  11. Zernaa

    Zernaa Member

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    I definitely agree with you that we’ve overcomplicated CTF as a whole. In my opinion, I would love to see the OP classes that got me personally into CTF back in action. Nowadays you need skill to be good at the classes offered in CTF, which the newbies just don’t have. It takes a while for you to get into CTF, a newer player logging on once will likely never log on again purely because of this. The gamemode is just too difficult to pickup quickly, which is why I think we’d benefit from an in-depth and interactive tutorial.

    As SoCool said above, I really think CTF would benefit as a whole if we had quicker gameplay. Casual is very boring atm, feels slow paced, and games with 30+ people are basically unplayable. I think it’s time to get rid of the idea of 40-50 player matches, and instead try to make smaller games more quality. This would also decrease the likelihood of seven archers headshotting newbies right out of spawn, and three pyros dominating a flag room.
     
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  12. Daveeeeeeeee

    Daveeeeeeeee Well-Known Member

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    In smaller games there is generally very few people defending though and its frustrating for regulars. Need to just try out different player counts for a couple weeks at a time then do polls in games where regulars and new players can vote. Honestly wouldn't be hard so not sure why staff have no done this yet (I know they tried 40 player count ages ago but nothing ever came of that).
     
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  13. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I fully agree with this - it would be nice to conduct some polls/trials to see what works and get feedback outside of just this thread.
    As far as these common 25-10 player small games being frustrating, that is 100% accurate. Very few people are really playing the game (aiding their team, PvPing, trying to offend/defend, etc.) and the ones that do often are targeted for it. I feel bad for newer players who join into a small game only to have a hard time due to a lack of involvement from others. As a result, a new player is more likely to find another server rather than stick around for stalled gameplay. I feel like some more feedback on this topic is necessary.



    Responding to Zernaa...
    Yeah, unfortunately CTF has become so overthought to the point it really has broken down into primarily a hangout spot for regulars. Quicker gameplay would be more attractive in this age of younger people having shorter attention spans compared to "Boomers" (call me one here :stuck_out_tongue:). Anyways, I agree the 40-50 player matches largely serve no purpose at this time. It was fantastic to see almost 100 players online between two CTF servers in the past, although that time has come and gone. I would disagree with 30+ player matches being unplayable as the average match count I see is around 25-35 players nowadays. Typically that is sufficient for a decent game unless casual play overtakes the game (ex: purposely not capping, defending the opposing team, etc.). I know the question of "what if player counts increase over 30-40?" can be raised, although in the short term it is unlikely to pose much of an issue as average player rates are not very high at the moment.

    Will pitch the idea of having something along the lines of 2 game modes/versions/servers of CTF. One for casual/slower paced play and one for actual competition. I understand that sort of exists, but it clearly has not been executed great.
     
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  14. Will88_M45

    Will88_M45 Member

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    While reading through everything these comments gave me more of an idea so I thougt I would write something...
    I feel the way CTF games are played at the moment is like you can join at any point and you play with a random number of players for 3 quite long games.
    This is nice as people can join in easily and not be waiting around. However if you think of more popular games such as bedwars and skyblock they have fixed sizes and you play 1 shorter game and then rejoin with a new set of players for a new game.
    This will mean you can create more competition in individual games and also not have people sit around and just join to half play or something like that.
    However I dont think reducing the size of players per game too much is a good idea. 10V10 can work although does feel a bit empty and if someone is afk you may struggle. So I would say if you did create fixed sizes for individual games, I would like to see at least 30, 15V15 or possibly 20V20. This may seem like a lot but its not skywars or bedwars where you have lots of smaller teams or one quick objective.... Its CTF where you need to have defensive player, mid players and offensive players for a successful game/competitiveness.
    Hypixel capture the wool is something like 30V30 and although a smaller number of players play it compared to bedwars and skywars. It has enough to be able to have larger games which are more balanced and still work.

    Not much else to say here for now... Thanks.
     
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  15. SoCool21

    SoCool21 8 Year McPvPer

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    The problem is that defence gets more powerful the larger the game is, but offence stays the same. It's why capping and stalemates are so unbearable on large games, but so easy on small games. Defence is essentially forced to work together, because they're all in one place at one time. This doesn't really happen with offence, because stealing attempts or recovery attempts during stalemates are never co-ordinated.

    It's a big problem. Offence is ridiculously overpowered during 4 player games and ridiculously underpowered during 50 player games. I think the best way to do fix this is reduce the range of players that can be in a CTF game - between 10 and 30 players.

    It's worth mentioning - Hypixel's CTW allows you to join midgame too. It also has enough players so that they can always have 30v30s, but we don't. This makes it very easy to balance, because Hypixel can just worry about games with 60 players, but at the moment we need to consider games of a large variety of sizes.
     
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  16. Daveeeeeeeee

    Daveeeeeeeee Well-Known Member

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    Test different player counts, its not hard to work out what is optimal and what isn't.
     
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  17. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    I do want to point out some personal concerns that I believe have ruined the game play consistently.
    - Comments such as "stop capping", or getting frustrated with other people capturing the flag, in a game where literally the name is "Capture The Flag."
    - Selectively killing "randos" and aiding the opposing team
    - Targeting based on class selection
    - Entire teams not showing any competitiveness (often in smaller games, making the entire concept of CTF pointless).

    While we're on a topic of little evolution and player attraction/retention, the game play is on a level so far disconnected from traditional CTF that anyone who was attracted to the server likely is not staying. Capture The Flag is promoted far differently than the game play occurring on the server. This cannot be helping matters in any way. Personally, I have been in matches in which PvP is legitimately frowned upon, yet this is a PvP, team-centric, capture the flag server to my knowledge.
    To me, it is stale, plateaued and potentially deceiving to any new players. This I am aware may be more controversial, although cannot be helping growth or interest.
     
  18. Zernaa

    Zernaa Member

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    I completely agree with you. Casual CTF isn’t a place for player retention to occur anymore. Competitiveness in Casual is very rare to see. However this is something very hard to regulate and fix. You can’t strike someone for throwing in Casual, and it’s very hard to warn someone for targeting without definitive proof. Unfortunately the only way to fix this is to fix the mentality of the player base, and reward those who do well. For example, giving coupons for the store or even a cosmetic for free would possibly work. At the end of the day, there isn’t much staff can do. Some regulars already use PPMs as their stomping ground, so Casual is on a different level. It’s also frowned upon to “tryhard” in Casual, even though this “tryharding” is literally just playing the objective.
     
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