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The Survival Of CTF

Discussion in 'Capture the Flag' started by Forleb, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    The information discussed here is annotated from the #discussions channel @3/31/2021.



    CTF is going to die. When? That depends on a number of factors, but with the current conditions of the game as a whole, that time is approaching much faster than some people realize. Yes, this game has been around for roughly a decade already, but only in recent years has it truly evolved into something that people want to play and enjoy. The issue there is that, for 90% of players, I'm referring to the competitive scene, as casual has remained an unstable nightmare for its entire existence. I can't explain it all in as much detail as I have with separate threads in the past, but I will try to pin down each issue as thoroughly as I can without turning this into a Cow essay.

    Lack Of Moderation
    Before you jump to conclusions, no, I don't mean the staff team; I mean the rules of the game. Casual pretty much has no directive other than the standard rules of any other server (chat rules, no hacking, etc.), which makes it very difficult for new players to understand even remotely what comp is like without actually seeing it. To quote myself in a recent thread: "There's that cool rectangle over there you can grab, but nothing is stopping you from abusing class abilities to make the game a living hell for the few that know what they're doing." With a maximum capacity of 50 players, and 0 limitations on who can play what class, casual is essentially just a dev server with no whitelist. I could list all the wonderful class combinations people come up with, but what's more important about those players is my next topic:

    The Skill Floor
    It's difficult to speak on this without being harsh in some way, but I'll try my best to keep it neutral. The fact of the matter is that a large percentage of casual warriors do not have the game sense to progress to comp right now. There are people that join the server that don't know how to press w and click at the same time - but are able to get killstreaks on things like Archer and Mage because they are mechanically silver platter classes. Against people on official teams, they don't really make an impact, but casual is pretty much fully populated with these people, meaning that they actually benefit from that kind of gameplay. 5 Casual archers couldn't dream to have the recov capabilities of b0s or BM5, but boy can they mow down whatever comes their way simply because of the way headshots work. Even on an individual level, almost every new player learns that they benefit more from just sitting around and shooting whatever they see coming instead of figuring out recov positions, and they stick to that forever. Assassins only know how to hide, Ninjas only attack something if they know it's a free KDR boost, Mages are basically just robots, Chemists suddenly forget what left clicking is... All of this can be directly attributed to several players over time because they are never shown what we consider "normal" gameplay.

    Retention And Migration
    So, with all of that open and bleeding, how does that actually affect competitive CTF? I said myself most of those players will never make it into comp, so why am I worried about them? I'm not worried about them in particular; I'm worried about the others that have potential and never get the opportunity to use it because the competitive scene is so discrete. When new players log on, they are met with two massive walls to overcome: The mechanics of CTF on paper, and the environment casual has created to distort them. Right clicking that nether star and seeing 14 different classes is already a mouthful, and when all of them are being used at random by 40 other people, it becomes exponentially harder to understand what the hell you're meant to do. Think of it like this: In Valorant, you just hop on, queue for a 6v6, and are either defusing or defending; Very straight forward, with built in barriers like the player limit and 1-character-per-player lock that prevent broken imbalances. It's pretty much the same story with comp, except the unrestricted version is also present and rearing its ugly head no matter what you do with it. The bigger problem is that new players have to dig for the Discord link themselves to discover the normal side of things, instead of automatically being prompted with PPMs or something similar in the lobby when they join. Most of them never take the time to get that far, and just mold deeper and deeper into the mindset that playing for stats is the only way to enjoy CTF.

    The State Of Teams
    At the end of 2020, we had 10 active teams that were full aside from Fotia and Team Fallen. 3 Months later, there are only 8 left, and several of them are not full. This is because players are transitioning to seasonal or leaving entirely, whether it be because of school or because they are moving on from CTF. That's understandable, but what remains is the unsolved issue of nobody coming to replace those players. Even with Team Fallen actively recruiting a couple dozen newer players and letting them branch out to other teams, we are still left with 8 of them when there were 10. I'll get straight to the point: TF can not be the only team doing this for the team scene to stay afloat. 8 Teams is pretty much the bottom of the barrel for things like seasons and tournaments, and right now I'm not even sure if that can be maintained. It doesn't have to be every single team, but more of them need to be reaching out to new players with potential and at least teaching them about comp so they can pick a team themselves. If that doesn't start happening more often, the decline will only continue. It is absolutely possible to achieve this, but the action has to be taken; Otherwise, CTF is going have a heart attack at 50 when it could have taken some meds and made it to 75 if you get what I mean.





    I'm not trying to pin the blame on anybody. This is just where we're at right now, and awareness is the first step to attacking a problem. Hopefully this lights a spark in some of you, staff or team leaders, to start taking a more serious approach at keeping CTF alive. Of course, this is all in Minecraft and shouldn't be a top priority in your lives by any means, but the effort required to make this happen is not as great as some of you think it is.
     
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  2. _DmacK_

    _DmacK_ Member

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    Thank you for bringing attention to this, I completely agree that this is a problem which needs to be fixed. It's sad to see a game with so much potential being pushed aside. The CTF concept is so unique in the many special classes that are exclusive to Brawl. The majority of the current player base is made up of old McPVP players or people who have been around for a while in general. You are not seeing the new generation of Minecraft players coming in, which is important in order for the server to continue to grow.
     
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    #2 _DmacK_, Apr 1, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  3. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    Fully agree with the last part, but CTF isn't really being neglected; I just feel that the higherups haven't been focusing on the right areas until recently. They are absolutely in a more progressive state of affairs than say a year ago, and hopefully that means the rest of the community can have faith in their ability to solve these issues, especially now that they are given a say in almost everything.
     
  4. ZBoy3210

    ZBoy3210 Member

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    This goes along the lines of Dmack's evolution thread in which I voiced my opinion on already: https://www.brawl.com/threads/77434/

    That out of the way, I fully agree with this post. Honestly, a lot of what you mentioned stems from past missteps and oversight that has not been reversed. Below I want to comment on some points I found to correlate.



    This is simply a huge issue with CTF. Casual is what is left of the traditional McPVP server which was not a great idea and I question why this was left to occur. Regardless of speculating this point, there is a distortion of what CTF actually is - especially for newer players. I've argued this point in-game quite often because it is extremely frustrating. CTF is advertised literally as "Capture The Flag." Okay great. PvP, classes and team-oriented gameplay are also promoted (or at least assumed in a CTF server and rightfully so). Players join into a casual server. Or, mentioned as what the Brawl community considers "normal" gameplay. Huge issue here.
    CTF is promoted as an actual CTF server, though players join into something quite the opposite. Selective PvP, sometimes targeting those who actually try and play the game, cliques, etc. Yes, casual has become more of a hangout for regulars and that is NOT how the server is promoted. Often as a result, new players are going to become frustrated and leave. Same goes for older members who rejoin after time off. Now, I'm not saying that always happens, but trying to get a similar point across. Brawl CTF has a bit of a distorted meaning.
    When it comes to a competitive scene, it is far too difficult for new players, and returning old members, to know this exists. Brawl CTF split in two different paths, yet promotion of the server never changed with it.

    I could be completely wrong in saying that, although it is what I have personally seen.
     
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  5. Forleb

    Forleb Well-Known Member

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    Come to think of it, casual and comp aren't even their proper names now that you've said it like that. CTF is basically split between the old MCPVP version and the new Brawl adaptation, with some overspill into the MCPVP side of course. Up until tomorrow, not a single thing other than classes, credits, & maps have been modified on casual since who knows when. Comp (Brawl) has pretty much created the "official" version of the game, and fed parts of it to the old one. This new update on the 3rd is going to be a big step forward in melding the two closer together, so hopefully it starts a chain reaction of "we're this close, just keep going."
     
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  6. Deppuccino

    Deppuccino Well-Known Member

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    The main issue here is that team-focused gamemodes on Minecraft are rare, so most people will end up just going for kills. To fix this with in-game mechanics would be extremely debilitating for player freedom, but there are 2 ways to fix it in other ways:
    1) In-game pointers and tutorials: For example, when a new player joins, they'll be taken through a 1 minute or so scripted tutorial cutscene to explain the basics of the game such as the flag, the roles, and the classes. In addition to that, a proper guidebook would be useful, one that goes in-depth into everything and is available to read in the server hub as that's the only place players will have time to go through it.
    2) Bigger media coverage. What separates CTF from games like Overwatch and Valorant is that players buy those games knowing what they're going into. Obviously Brawl can't lock CTF behind a paywall, but the idea that players can educate themselves on what they're getting into by watching videos and stuff still stands. It won't help people who find Brawl through random searching for MC servers, but a successful media presence would bring in enough players who know how the game works to make up for the casuals and then some. CMS already spearheads this movement with their match broadcasting (if CMS still exists that is, I haven't kept up to date on them), but they could also possibly make edited videos of match highlights and even tutorials, which would attract the attention of people who don't spend enough time on Youtube to watch an hour long vod. Having individual creators making CTF content too would also help, they generally get more people attached to their content than a big group will.
     
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