Sunday, 9 June 2013

Protostomping is out of hand

As those of you that follow me on twitter know, I occasionally make assertions as to the size of the real life equipment of a certain breed of player, is inversely in proportion to the level of equipment they use in the Pub matches of Dust 514.

Part of this is the usual putting down of your opponents in battle to encourage your own troops, a tradition in armies since the beginning of time. Part of it it is to get a bit of a rise from the twitterspere. But it is a serious point that I'm trying to make. Proto-Stomping as its become known, is a detrimental problem in keeping newer players interested in Dust 514.

Now, the easy way to dismiss this and many do, is the phrase that we hear a lot from the veteran Eve and Dust community.


But this a simplistic, naive view and an incredibly short term one at that. The game already has its hard-core, they're not going anywhere. But for the game to grow beyond the point where it achieves the critical mass required for it to become an essential download on its current format, the PS3 and the future ones it will appear on, it needs a continuous supply of fresh blood. And this is where our problem lies.

The game is hard enough as it is for a new starter with an almost bewildering array of customisation for your newly formed clone. What we don't need is veteran players going out of their way to make it as hard as possible to get any enjoyment or sense of accomplishment in the game.

I was was asked for my input prior to the launching of the Academy playlists for the new players. Anything that makes it easier for the new player to get acclimatised to the harsh realities of New Eden is something I'm always going to support. But I didn't take into account the more nefarious elements of our community taking that idea and twisting it for nothing more than their own amusement.     

If you've set up a couple of new accounts, as I have, to test the Academy matches to give feedback to CCP, something very obvious is happening. Experienced and veteran players are going in these matches, fully aware of how to squad, the tactics to use for each map and how to get the best out of the basic equipment available to new mercs. And they go in, expressly for the purpose to kick the snot out of some noobs for nothing more than the lols. 

Well, thanks a lot for that you ignorant pricks, is an easy thing to say.

Obviously it would be pointless to try and blame CCP for the more sociopathic tendencies that reside in all of us to a degree but it is symptomatic of a serious inadequacy in Dust 514. The complete lack of a discernibly working Matchmaking system.

How do I come to that conclusion you ask? This is as you've said, experienced players coming into Academy matches just to be arseholes. 

Well, actually it isn't. Once you do a bit of thinking about it and you know, ask them why they do it. 

Frustration is why they do it. 

There are always going to be players who only ever going to better than average at the game in comparison to others. Partly because of their own innate skill levels, partly because they don't have the time to grind the SP for the skill tree. And these players are hitting a proto equipped wall. The higher tier of players, the ones that are very, very good and have the SP's to invest aren't the ones coming to Academy matches to stomp noobs. They've no need to do. Because they win enough as it is.

I've said before, to help ease the pressures on new players in Academy matches, CCP shouldn't just limit the amount of times an account can create a new merc to play in Academy matches It should be a limited amount of times a PS3 unit can do it, using the individual MAC address of each PS3.

But that would mean that the frustrations of those average players will have no outlet. They lose more matches than they win. They keep getting killed by the same players. And so we run the risk of losing them as players as well as the new ones. 

Dust becomes nothing than a niche game, never fulfilling its full potential.

To solve the problems of Academy matches and help the new players which we in DUST University exist to serve, CCP must fix the Matchmaking system. And they need to do it soon.