My $20, On the league and attitudes.

Please discuss issues concerning the Ducati League here. This is the liaison between league players and the league council.
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tokimi
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My $20, On the league and attitudes.

Post by tokimi » Sun May 14, 2006 7:01 am

I have been in and out of the league and bz for the last year and a half. And of course I
have come back to the league and bz every time so far. Since the last time I started posting
brought up a fight, I'm hesitant to get involved now. But since its ducati, where my friends
play and I still have some fond memories, I wont stand idly by while things slowly fall apart.


Of course, the league has been slowly dieing since I joined over a year ago. Matches were
between increasingly more ingrown groups. Teams changed very little, we had tlz, vbz, how, barons,
dub, bar and the rest, just as it is now. Then we have the clannish behavior between certain
teams on the league. Of course there were the occasional break away team, filled with
talented people who grouped all at once and forged their way ahead. Of course, their lives
are usually short lived, driven off by some inside force or another.

As mistake pointed out, I seem to remember the real shocker to hit the league when the ME
fight started. The flame wars were bad, and the idea of choosing a team based on politics
really seemed to start there (at leased in large quantities). That in itself seems to be a
good place to start when looking at problems in the league. The teams we have are ancient,
and its very hard for any new team to break into the league. If any do happen to show up and
start winning, they always die off! From either frontal attacks, or recently cheating
accusations, and even behind the scenes bad mouthing. How are we supposed to bring in new
blood when all we get are old timers, and new ones getting integrated into the old teams
as half a show of politics and who's friends with whom.

Also, what about the attacks on individual players. I have seen it where 1-3 people will gang
up on a person and verbally abuse them in a server, all pm of course to keep the witnesses down.
Of course its very hard to keep logs of such things, when your crying and hating every thing in
bz. I don't want to hear any crap about this being just a game. Bz has what seems to be the
highest level of personal contact in any on line game I have every played! So calling it a game
and pretending actions don't hurt others is crap and I would appreciate it if people don't get into
that.

To preempt other people, my last match was in December. I have been in and out of complete
inactivity for a year now. I dislike playing in the league, and many times dislike bz as well.
I'm what you call a vacationing bz player, friends on the servers but could care less about
personally matching ducati. Some of the reasons I do not match are in this letter, others I
will not get into now. Now, if you don't want to hear any thing from an inactive person, then
I suggest skipping the article and move on.

Now, with the history and preemptive shielding, I am going to try to address these issues,
hopefully in this post, or in two as I think of new things to add.


List of things to do:
Main idea: Whats the fundamental league attitude that keeps things in such a stagnate setting.
1) Address the fundamental issues (from my perspective of course).
2) What could the causes be for these issues.
3) How can we fix them.



So, what are the issues in people's attitude that makes the league so unpleasant at times? I
already pointed out that there were prominent signs when the first ME fight happened. We had
two very polar groups at that moment, no one who could moderate, and no one to call a halt to
it. I'm glad to see that there is a possible answer to this problem in the form of the new
council. Things seem a bit sketchy right now, not much word coming out of them, and no real
visible actions done by them. But thats neither here nor there. Returning to the ME incident,
it was obvious that there was a growing level of dislike. I have heard stories of the old
flame wars between carnage and others, but this seemed to be very different.

What I think happened was that several teams, and 'new' people started to get good. They were
starting to beat the old timers consistently. Of course, being a 'new' guy I had a skewed
view at the time, and now I do know that of course there was fault in the minds of these new
comers. We certainty weren't universally respectful of the oldies, and other problems lay
in there. But the ME fight was started by an oldie, and I was a new comer so thats my side
of the story (/me waits for some 'old timer' to set him right).

So, history aside, what happened here. We have a set of in grown teams, with people who had
been playing for ages together, along with a insurgence of new players who suddenly became
better than many of the old teams. I think that at some level, there was jealousy and the
need to protect the hard earned team rankings. That and of course, the old 'localism'
attitude shows its head, "loosing to a bunch of people that didn't earn their way the long
and hard way like we did!."

I do think these are two underlying reasons for the stagnation of the league as it is now. In
grown localism, and a slow to warm up attitude towards new comers. I think that the old teams,
between times actually spent with their families, have gone inactive out of pure boredom with
the same opponents time after time. And the new teams? Where are they? Why do they not last?
I again blame the two above reasons, localism and coldness towards them (the new comers).

Now, how can we go about fixing these kinds of problems. Localism and coldness to outsiders
is an age old phenomena that seems to me to be ingrained into human nature. So how can we
possibly try to change things. I think that the structure of the league, and how teams are
constructed, should be examined. The league should be fun, not filled with the crap we see
all the time. So what makes playing the game fun! For me personally, I find worthy opponents
to be fun, and I like being able to converse easily with people. An atmosphere where I can
feel comfortable and relax in after a long day at work. I'm sure I'm not far off of other
people's wishes.

Will just changing things to fit some general model of how bz should be fun bring people back
to the league to play? Possibly, but probably more is needed. The issue of old teams
holding incredible rankings, while little teams putter around in low levels because they
cannot break through the barriers must be addressed. Many ideas of such a change have been
pushed around ##ducleague, #kierra and other irc channels; as well as on the servers in team
and private chat. Ideas of making all the teams start over, or resetting all the points at
some fixed interval (annually, bi yearly, etc.), and/or causing penalties to occur when teams
go inactive for to long of a time (forcing the issue of inactive to be addressed).

I actually think a bit of each idea should be considered. An idea is to have two rankings,
one that is a constant running score which is the same as the one currently used, and one
that is reset each quarter or such. This way, team's over all score would be shown, and
acknowledged. But each quarter (or such time interval) a separate ranking would be reset,
showing that quarter's team ranking. So at the very leased, teams can be compared to the
teams that actually have played.

RECAP:
two scores, total running score, and score that is reset at some fixed time interval. Such
that each team's over all standing is shown as is currently done, and a separate score
comparing each team to their contemporaries.

Now, when dealing with the old teams and the grouping of the talented players in a single
team. There have been several ideas as to handling this, one was to simply delete all
the teams and make people start over. I reject this idea, because it will drive people
away from the league. Another was to use a drafting system similar to professional sports.
Where each team captain (starting at some point where the teams are fixed) gets to start
choosing players (who's only sorting would be by their personal fame). However I feel
hesitant to use this idea, because most like playing only with certain other people. But
we need to get more shuffling of the teams and players.

Setting a limit to the number of players that can be in a team to say... 6 as an example
might be a solution. It would be tough for current teams with huge numbers, so 6 might
be to small. But at some point, a team is to large and should separate into different
teams. This isn't a bad start, it would cause teams to stay compact, and would also
promote the spreading of the good players around the league.

It is already very easy to create a team, and get things started. However I think it is
the duty of the more experienced teams to help the new ones along the path to matching.
If they (the new team) is willing to listen, there should be a more experienced team
there helping out. I know we all try to do this, but it proceeds with ranging success
and authenticity. Finally, it is still an option to restart all the scores on all the
teams now. Even with the idea of two separate scoring systems. There is simply to
much of a gap between the top teams and every one else.

Finally, an important point is that there really are people in the league that go about
and verbally abuse, slander and bully others in bz and the league. I keep my distance
and so have no recent personal experience, however good friends of mine have told me
of their problems, and a few have already wished to leave for ever over it. This has
to stop, now. It is the job of the league to provide a fun and safe environment for
people to play a game we all enjoy. To let a small number bully and abuse others is
uncalled for, regardless of what these people do for the league as a whole. I refuse to
name names, nor point fingers at people. Only that this small group has to be
stopped, and should not be allowed to have greater influence on any thing in the newly formed
council over that of the normal outsider.

Any way, those are some of my thoughts on this whole thing. A few of the
council members already know of my other ideas on the topic, but I think these
are some important points to get across.
The very young do not always do as they are told, and the very old never listen any way.

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Post by the sorting hat » Sun May 14, 2006 10:12 am

I agree with you that there is some abuse going on but it isnt happing all the time as you say, once or twice I have experinced bad,abusive and intorable behaviour but mostly I have seen comical,funny and downright crazy behavoir which Is what I like about BZ!

Sello

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Post by CannonBallGuy » Sun May 14, 2006 10:16 am

Wow, tokimi... Great post, I totally agree (for what it's worth...).
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Post by Sir Lance-A-Lot » Sun May 14, 2006 12:16 pm

I absolutely agree - so glad someone finaly expressed this in a post - thanks.
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Post by tokimi » Sun May 14, 2006 2:38 pm

Sellotaped to Stupidity wrote:I agree with you that there is some abuse going on but it isnt happing all the time as you say, once or twice I have experinced bad,abusive and intorable behaviour but mostly I have seen comical,funny and downright crazy behavoir which Is what I like about BZ!

Sello
To clarify, I do not mean to imply that people are abused every moment of the game. But it does happen, and more than we care to admit I would suppose.
The very young do not always do as they are told, and the very old never listen any way.

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Post by Discovery » Sun May 14, 2006 10:51 pm

I noticed it to for the short time i have been there...
SURRENDER!

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Post by slime » Mon May 15, 2006 9:43 pm

This was addressed in your post tokimi , but i would really like to get it out there;

There are many good teams , with very good players on them. This is usually due to friendships of the people that have been playing a long time on bzflag. However , some of these good teams hardly play matches anymore , or hold players that never play matches anymore. If you create a newer team or join a team with newer players in it , and eventually get a match with one of the better teams , it is very hard to win. You are going up against players with much more experience , skill , and teamwork than you.

This is what drives many of the newer teams and players out of the league , and overall ducati sometimes. It just isn't fun to lose. Many of the older bzflagians (not agewise , of course ;)) , will argue this point. Many will say that the match itself should be fun , win or lose. And it is! , but for the most part , only for them. They have fun playing in matches with their old friends. But to the 'noobies' , it really isnt fun to play a match and lose. Losing consistantly drives many players out , I've seen it done.

Some teams are just too obbsessed with winning. They want their team to be the best in the league , however it is done. They want only the best players on their team. This is making two classes in the league: The top-ranked , top-skilled group / and the low-ranked , low-skilled group. Over a period of time , many of those lower-ranked teams go inactive. You've probably seen this done , as i have.

So maybe , from my point of view , what the council needs to do is establish some kind of way to keep these newer players and teams in the league.

I'm probably way off the point , like i usually am , but I really think that it is a big problem with the league.

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Post by Longhair » Fri May 19, 2006 2:03 pm

To clarify what happens from my point of view:

I. new player joins.

II. he/she is eventually invited to join a team
a. The team they join is a great, established team
1. Team is very easy-going about losing matches and encourages the player to play as many matches as they can.
2. Player feels guilty about bringing down the team's score and quits.
3. Team is not open to losing matches, and requires the new player to be supervised.
b. The team they join is a new team is comprised of all recent recruits
1. Team gets clobbered. (of course)
a. Team as a whole gets discouraged and goes inactive
b. Team realizes that this is something to work for, works hard to become good, eventually starts kicking some major butt, and becomes an established team.
c. Team convinces one good player to join to help them out.
1. They win a few matches, get all cocky. Meanwhile, the one good player gets bored and leaves. Things get bad from here.
2. Good player really makes an effort over the long haul and successfully trains some good players.

III. player isn't the social type, so although they're a member of the league, they never get anywhere.

IV. Some jerk in the league decides to make the new player their personal punching bag, for some reason or other and the new player leaves in disgust.

V. Inter team politics gets to be not worth the effort, and player goes away.


The ways to lose people are many. The trick is to avoid or counter them with positive action from league members. Bottom line: if you want more players, a good number of generous players will be needed in the league. Fortunately, they exist, but we could certainly use more. I think that it's also fair to point out that this is a very difficult game to master. New players should be made aware of this, and be prepared to lose for a long time.[/list]

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Post by [dmp] » Fri May 19, 2006 2:23 pm

Changing players behaviour is a challenge of its own. And will only work if players want to change. One mean is to reward these players somehow, showing that the league appriciate that they value new players over old regulars.

Perhaps giving them a dummy-symbol for each player that was mentored :)

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.. or something more neutral :) (karma-like points.. or whatever)
I don't need huge pictures here.

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