Forum IndexTeam Fortress 2General DiscussionHow to Get to In-Game Comp Lobbies
#1
Frags 271
I promised some exciting news through twitter, so here it is.

eXtine and I had a long meeting with the TF team and Robin. They are happy to make a competitive lobby system in-game.

However, there are serious caveats and hurdles to overcome for us to get there. These fall into "philosophical" and "tactical" categories. Let's start with philosophy:

1) 6v6, and even most forms of highlander, are currently too different from regular pub play. This matters because the TF team is time-constrained and they simply can't spend time providing updates to a small subset of their customers. Robin's thoughts on clearing this hurdle boil down to "highlander with a pick/ban item system." More on this below.

2) The competitive format is currently too stagnant. Robin articulated this brilliantly and I'm not sure I'll do him justice, but here goes. Robin barely watches competitive TF2 anymore because nothing surprises him. There are no "sick new strats" for him to see, especially not at the pace of other games. He wants to see Vhalin's black box innovation happening once every 2-3 months. Highlander allows for this a bit more than the current ESEA setup, but it's difficult for Valve to get feedback on which items are truly overpowered vs. which ones are just hated or loved as the flavor of the month. Again, clearing this hurdle is the same: highlander with pick/ban data that Valve can see. If a weapon is banned in 95% of games, then the TF team can obviously see "oh nobody likes playing against that, now let's revisit it."

Now, the tactical hurdles:

1) Valve hasn't had good insight into what works best for competitive. I think that's solvable by doing some testing and experimentation, and that's where you come in.

2) Current reasoning and feedback for league weapon bans aren't always data-driven, and Valve has no insight into that. This will probably be solved when (if?) they roll out a Highlander Lobby Update. Data on what gets banned in the pick/ban system, as I said before, will make it abundandtly clear what is just not fun to play against.

Given all this, here's the path forward for putting lobbies into competitive TF2:

TESTING AND FEEDBACK.

By no later than this Saturday, everyone should try to play in a pick/ban PUG. The tactical questions, I leave to you. Should each team ban 5 weapons for the game? Should each team pick 9 non-stock weapons that become their only choices? Should defaults be in play for bans? Have a chat about this and run some PUGs with different rules. See what works, what's fun to play. Do so with the knowledge that you are essentially alpha-testing a competitive lobby system for TF2.

I'm hoping the PUG.NAHL and other IRC titans will be able to experiment with these systems, and I hope you all get the word out. 6v6 players may be somewhat disappointed with this update, but I'm going to make it very clear: highlander is the only way Valve will ever support competitive TF2. Let's make it happen.
I promised some exciting news through twitter, so here it is.

eXtine and I had a long meeting with the TF team and Robin. They are happy to make a competitive lobby system in-game.

However, there are serious caveats and hurdles to overcome for us to get there. These fall into "philosophical" and "tactical" categories. Let's start with philosophy:

1) 6v6, and even most forms of highlander, are currently too different from regular pub play. This matters because the TF team is time-constrained and they simply can't spend time providing updates to a small subset of their customers. Robin's thoughts on clearing this hurdle boil down to "highlander with a pick/ban item system." More on this below.

2) The competitive format is currently too stagnant. Robin articulated this brilliantly and I'm not sure I'll do him justice, but here goes. Robin barely watches competitive TF2 anymore because nothing surprises him. There are no "sick new strats" for him to see, especially not at the pace of other games. He wants to see Vhalin's black box innovation happening once every 2-3 months. Highlander allows for this a bit more than the current ESEA setup, but it's difficult for Valve to get feedback on which items are truly overpowered vs. which ones are just hated or loved as the flavor of the month. Again, clearing this hurdle is the same: highlander with pick/ban data that Valve can see. If a weapon is banned in 95% of games, then the TF team can obviously see "oh nobody likes playing against that, now let's revisit it."

Now, the tactical hurdles:

1) Valve hasn't had good insight into what works best for competitive. I think that's solvable by doing some testing and experimentation, and that's where you come in.

2) Current reasoning and feedback for league weapon bans aren't always data-driven, and Valve has no insight into that. This will probably be solved when (if?) they roll out a Highlander Lobby Update. Data on what gets banned in the pick/ban system, as I said before, will make it abundandtly clear what is just not fun to play against.

Given all this, here's the path forward for putting lobbies into competitive TF2:

TESTING AND FEEDBACK.

By no later than this Saturday, everyone should try to play in a pick/ban PUG. The tactical questions, I leave to you. Should each team ban 5 weapons for the game? Should each team pick 9 non-stock weapons that become their only choices? Should defaults be in play for bans? Have a chat about this and run some PUGs with different rules. See what works, what's fun to play. Do so with the knowledge that you are essentially alpha-testing a competitive lobby system for TF2.

I'm hoping the PUG.NAHL and other IRC titans will be able to experiment with these systems, and I hope you all get the word out. 6v6 players may be somewhat disappointed with this update, but I'm going to make it very clear: highlander is the only way Valve will ever support competitive TF2. Let's make it happen.
#2 50 51 49 Frags
holy SHIT
holy SHIT
#3 2 3 1 Frags
:O
Edit: Sorry for taking this spot with a useless post :/
:O
Edit: Sorry for taking this spot with a useless post :/
#4 25 26 24 Frags
Reserving space for future updates.

Also - assume all items are allowed when running this pick/ban system. Enforcer, pomson, everything.
Reserving space for future updates.

Also - assume all items are allowed when running this pick/ban system. Enforcer, pomson, everything.
#5 16 17 15 Frags
It's happening.

First it is highlander. In two years sixes. And then? The world!
It's happening.

First it is highlander. In two years sixes. And then? The world!
#6 52 53 51 Frags
highlander is the only way Valve will ever support competitive TF2. Let's make it happen.

Welp I think im done with comp then.
[quote=Salamancer]highlander is the only way Valve will ever support competitive TF2. Let's make it happen.[/quote]


Welp I think im done with comp then.
#7 16 17 15 Frags
jkhjkhjkhuiojklfkdjfkldskjgklsdjlkgjsdkljgklsdjkgsdkglksdjgkljsdklgjsdkljgklsdjglksdjlkgjslkgjskljgklsfjklgjsfkljgklsjflkgjsfkljgljsfkljglksklgjskljgklsjklgsfjkglsjflkjgsfkhgljshfjkhgsjkhgjshfjklgjklsfjklgjskfjgklsjfklgjsfjklgjsfkljgklsfjgkljsfklgjsfklgjsfhjkgsflkgsfljklgjsfjgsfljgklsfjklgjsfkljgkljsflkjgklsfjglksjfljgklsjglksjklgjslkgjskljgklsjgklsjklgjslkjglsk
IT'S HAPPENING!!!!!
jkhjkhjkhuiojklfkdjfkldskjgklsdjlkgjsdkljgklsdjkgsdkglksdjgkljsdklgjsdkljgklsdjglksdjlkgjslkgjskljgklsfjklgjsfkljgklsjflkgjsfkljgljsfkljglksklgjskljgklsjklgsfjkglsjflkjgsfkhgljshfjkhgsjkhgjshfjklgjklsfjklgjskfjgklsjfklgjsfjklgjsfkljgklsfjgkljsfklgjsfklgjsfhjkgsflkgsfljklgjsfjgsfljgklsfjklgjsfkljgkljsflkjgklsfjglksjfljgklsjglksjklgjslkgjskljgklsjgklsjklgjslkjglsk
IT'S HAPPENING!!!!!
#8 10 11 9 Frags
we've been waiting for this moment for so long and it's finally (almost) here :D
we've been waiting for this moment for so long and it's finally (almost) here :D
#9 38 39 37 Frags
highlander is the only way Valve will ever support competitive TF2. Let's make it happen.

Welp I think im done with comp then.


You know, "ever" on the internet extends no further than a year max.
[quote=Brisk][quote=Salamancer]highlander is the only way Valve will ever support competitive TF2. Let's make it happen.[/quote]


Welp I think im done with comp then.[/quote]


You know, "ever" on the internet extends no further than a year max.
#10 18 19 17 Frags
That's really interesting. 6v6 is kind of awful without a cooperative team in mumble so it was pretty much doomed from the start but this could both get more people into comp and actually maybe rebalance some kind of dumb items so this is promising.
That's really interesting. 6v6 is kind of awful without a cooperative team in mumble so it was pretty much doomed from the start but this could both get more people into comp and actually maybe rebalance some kind of dumb items so this is promising.
#11 8 9 7 Frags
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydxIeO-2C2M

(DO TURN DOWN VOLUME RIGHT YEAH)
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydxIeO-2C2M[/youtube]

(DO TURN DOWN VOLUME RIGHT YEAH)
#12 23 24 22 Frags
This is an extremely exciting update.

I am, however, disappointed with the emphasis on Highlander. If such a system was to be implemented, how much additional work would be required to apply it to 6s as well? If the limited appeal 6s is an issue, why not source further development from the community, much like the recent hat update?
This is an extremely exciting update.

I am, however, disappointed with the emphasis on Highlander. If such a system was to be implemented, how much additional work would be required to apply it to 6s as well? If the limited appeal 6s is an issue, why not source further development from the community, much like the recent hat update?
#13 21 22 20 Frags
[img]http://i.imgur.com/WiW9W.gif[/img]
#14 5 6 4 Frags
Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.
Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.
#15 21 22 20 Frags
Hey, lets not complain too much. Sure sixes is better, but Valve is finally giving us at least something; don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Highlander is still awesome, and it's a great opportunity for competitive.
Hey, lets not complain too much. Sure sixes is better, but Valve is finally giving us at least something; don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Highlander is still awesome, and it's a great opportunity for competitive.
#16 –16 –15 –17 Frags
Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.
Wrangler, and maybe degreaser but thats mostly just me not liking that a class called pyro gets 90 percent of his kills with an axe.

[quote=lamefx]Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.[/quote]
Wrangler, and maybe degreaser but thats mostly just me not liking that a class called pyro gets 90 percent of his kills with an axe.

[spoiler][img]http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/327/5/6/gaben_in_______the_wrangler___by_dendrok-d4h4gi3.jpg[/img][/spoiler]
#17 1 2 0 Frags
It may be hard to get a lot of data on the pick/ban system. PUGS already take awhile to start as is and I can see a lot of people not wanting to spend time deciding what to pick/ban.

Cool update but really sucks that will never be any sixes support especially considering how involved the community is in the the scene. Sixes is able to get upwards of 2000 viewers which is something that as far as I know highlander can not consistently do.

Despite that though it's awesome to see valve recognizing the competitive scene after so long!
It may be hard to get a lot of data on the pick/ban system. PUGS already take awhile to start as is and I can see a lot of people not wanting to spend time deciding what to pick/ban.

Cool update but really sucks that will never be any sixes support especially considering how involved the community is in the the scene. Sixes is able to get upwards of 2000 viewers which is something that as far as I know highlander can not consistently do.

Despite that though it's awesome to see valve recognizing the competitive scene after so long!
#18 23 24 22 Frags
This is an extremely exciting update.

I am, however, disappointed with the emphasis on Highlander. If such a system was to be implemented, how much additional work would be required to apply it to 6s as well? If the limited appeal 6s is an issue, why not source further development from the community, much like the recent hat update?

Have you ever played a 6s lobby? They are awful. And the playerbase is significantly smaller and already kind of knows about competitive. You put a bunch of pub players in that environment and it would be even worse. Without people knowing what they're doing, 6s is not fun. It makes TF2 look bad and it makes 6s look bad.
[quote=Boar]This is an extremely exciting update.

I am, however, disappointed with the emphasis on Highlander. If such a system was to be implemented, how much additional work would be required to apply it to 6s as well? If the limited appeal 6s is an issue, why not source further development from the community, much like the recent hat update?[/quote]
Have you ever played a 6s lobby? They are awful. And the playerbase is significantly smaller and already kind of knows about competitive. You put a bunch of pub players in that environment and it would be even worse. Without people knowing what they're doing, 6s is not fun. It makes TF2 look bad and it makes 6s look bad.
#19 15 16 14 Frags
was excited for a second there... why no 6v6 :(
was excited for a second there... why no 6v6 :(
#20 1 2 0 Frags
It's happening.

First it is highlander. In two years sixes. And then? The world!

Pretty sure Valve will never support a mode that is so far distanced from pubs. 6s is practically a different game.

Edit: I shouldn't say never. It needs to be more proven than HL needs to.
[quote=the301stspartan]It's happening.

First it is highlander. In two years sixes. And then? The world![/quote]
Pretty sure Valve will never support a mode that is so far distanced from pubs. 6s is practically a different game.

Edit: I shouldn't say never. It needs to be more proven than HL needs to.
#21 9 10 8 Frags
Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.

The Beggars Bazooka and the Pomison must be banned, as well as the Bazaar bargain until the glitch is fixed. Other than that, the sky is the limit I'd say
[quote=lamefx]Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.[/quote]

The Beggars Bazooka and the Pomison must be banned, as well as the Bazaar bargain until the glitch is fixed. Other than that, the sky is the limit I'd say
#22 2 3 1 Frags
Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.
You can't allow the pee sniper or YER through because of how devastating they are in the sets. A spy that can't be heard unclocking and a sniper that can't be headshot? Massively lowers the skill ceiling while still making them almost as threatening as a player really talented at either class. Honestly, no other items in the game have anywhere near the impact of those two sets.
[quote=lamefx]Lets start with a list of absolute must bans.[/quote]
You can't allow the pee sniper or YER through because of how devastating they are in the sets. A spy that can't be heard unclocking and a sniper that can't be headshot? Massively lowers the skill ceiling while still making them almost as threatening as a player really talented at either class. Honestly, no other items in the game have anywhere near the impact of those two sets.
#23 ESEA 95 96 94 Frags
I'm extremely excited for an in game comp lobby system but this weapon pick/ban thing is going about it the wrong way. I can't remember anyone saying CS is boring as shit because they don't go for the auto sniper or that quake had two few weapons. The strategic differences in MOBA and FPS are more than you can possibly count so going about the games in the same way is kinda ridiculous. If anything, this will eventually devolve from who has better aim into who has better items. That literally kills what I find so beautiful about this game, the majority of TF2 is pure execution. Aim, movement, awareness.. not gimmicky weapons.

If robin finds players striving for perfect execution boring and that we need to have heavys punching people to laughter then tis a sad sad day.
I'm extremely excited for an in game comp lobby system but this weapon pick/ban thing is going about it the wrong way. I can't remember anyone saying CS is boring as shit because they don't go for the auto sniper or that quake had two few weapons. The strategic differences in MOBA and FPS are more than you can possibly count so going about the games in the same way is kinda ridiculous. If anything, this will eventually devolve from who has better aim into who has better items. That literally kills what I find so beautiful about this game, the majority of TF2 is pure execution. Aim, movement, awareness.. not gimmicky weapons.

If robin finds players striving for perfect execution boring and that we need to have heavys punching people to laughter then tis a sad sad day.
#24 8 9 7 Frags
a pick/ban system will more than likely lead to trolls who ban the sticky launcher, scattergun, medigun, or the useful unlocks such as ubersaw and gunboats if you can't ban defaults.
a pick/ban system will more than likely lead to trolls who ban the sticky launcher, scattergun, medigun, or the useful unlocks such as ubersaw and gunboats if you can't ban defaults.
#25 10 11 9 Frags
frankly i have little to no interest in this because it's highlander, we should take it as it is though and push for 6s later
frankly i have little to no interest in this because it's highlander, we should take it as it is though and push for 6s later
#26 16 17 15 Frags
Let me comment on the HL/Sixes issue:

I can see where valve is coming from. 6s in a way is like chess. It is perfectly balanced and the outcome depends pretty much 100% on the skills of the players involved (and their teamwork). It simply doesn't allow for many "new strats" based on items, unless they are perfectly balanced. Valve make their money from adding new stuff to the game. That is why Robin said that highlander is more interesting for him. I doubt he says this because he finds it boring personally. Highlander allows to give valve the data they need to finally realize that the Pomson is crap. This might actually lead to rebalancing with a competitive standpoint in mind and lead to new the new weapons and "strats" that were talked about, in HL as well as 6s. If people show interest in the "pub lobbies", maybe valve will even add 6s as well, especially if it becomes the new standard for lower level comp like lobbies are atm, which I can see happening.
In any way, it will raise awareness for competitive tf2 in general, and those who realize that they are actually good in valve HL can easily step it up to "real" HL and sixes, making the entire scene grow in one way or another.

Let's be realistic-basically no one on here who is into comp at a higher level already was really gonna play a "valve" 6s league (probably with no mumble comms) seriously, were you? It will simply boost the comp tf2 scene a lot if it goes well, and all options are open for the future.

/my3cents
Let me comment on the HL/Sixes issue:

I can see where valve is coming from. 6s in a way is like chess. It is perfectly balanced and the outcome depends pretty much 100% on the skills of the players involved (and their teamwork). It simply doesn't allow for many "new strats" based on items, unless they are perfectly balanced. Valve make their money from adding new stuff to the game. That is why Robin said that highlander is more interesting for him. I doubt he says this because he finds it boring personally. Highlander allows to give valve the data they need to finally realize that the Pomson is crap. This might actually lead to rebalancing with a competitive standpoint in mind and lead to new the new weapons and "strats" that were talked about, in HL as well as 6s. If people show interest in the "pub lobbies", maybe valve will even add 6s as well, especially if it becomes the new standard for lower level comp like lobbies are atm, which I can see happening.
In any way, it will raise awareness for competitive tf2 in general, and those who realize that they are actually good in valve HL can easily step it up to "real" HL and sixes, making the entire scene grow in one way or another.


Let's be realistic-basically no one on here who is into comp at a higher level already was really gonna play a "valve" 6s league (probably with no mumble comms) seriously, were you? It will simply boost the comp tf2 scene [b]a lot[/b] if it goes well, and all options are open for the future.


/my3cents
#27 31 32 30 Frags
so the reason they can't do 6s lobbies is because robin thinks its more boring?

seems like valid reasoning, i mean nobody watches the NFL MLB NBA or NHL since none of those games change drastically multiple times per year

I get that they wouldn't want to invest the time into -only- 6s since creating a lobby system from scratch is non trivial, but surely once the framework is there adding an option to choose 6v6 or 9v9 wouldn't be much more work, the only difference in terms of coding is allowing fewer people in the lobby, different class assignations, and a couple different cvars in the server config. If they use a pick/ban system don't need to keep up with ESEA whitelist or anything
so the reason they can't do 6s lobbies is because robin thinks its more boring?

seems like valid reasoning, i mean nobody watches the NFL MLB NBA or NHL since none of those games change drastically multiple times per year

I get that they wouldn't want to invest the time into -only- 6s since creating a lobby system from scratch is non trivial, but surely once the framework is there adding an option to choose 6v6 or 9v9 wouldn't be much more work, the only difference in terms of coding is allowing fewer people in the lobby, different class assignations, and a couple different cvars in the server config. If they use a pick/ban system don't need to keep up with ESEA whitelist or anything
#28 7 8 6 Frags
#23 Part of the reason for the system is that it gives Valve much better feedback on which weapons need rebalancing. Currently their only sources are SPUF, Reddit and other forum threads. Those are not useful data points. Having a pick/ban item system allows them to focus on balance early on.

#24 Sure, you may get trolls. Let's think of ways to mitigate that - who's doing the picking for each team? Exactly how would you set up such a lobby? That's what this community needs to test.
#23 Part of the reason for the system is that it gives Valve much better feedback on which weapons need rebalancing. Currently their only sources are SPUF, Reddit and other forum threads. Those are not useful data points. Having a pick/ban item system allows them to focus on balance early on.

#24 Sure, you may get trolls. Let's think of ways to mitigate that - who's doing the picking for each team? Exactly how would you set up such a lobby? That's what this community needs to test.
#29 8 9 7 Frags
Its great that Valve has allowed for this to be a possibility, but whatever happened to the idea of putting some other comp related thing in game, and letting pub players find out about it themselves? Like maybe whenever newbie mixes are being done, its announced in game or something?
Its great that Valve has allowed for this to be a possibility, but whatever happened to the idea of putting some other comp related thing in game, and letting pub players find out about it themselves? Like maybe whenever newbie mixes are being done, its announced in game or something?
#30 26 27 25 Frags
A couple of thoughts:

1) Do "sick new strats" come out at a rate of one new one every 2-3 months in CS:GO? It doesn't really seem like it. Comp CS and comp TF2 seem very similar in a lot of respects, in how the upper levels of players are seeking to hone the strats that have worked for years. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think variation in comp play is really as bad as they make it out.

2) Pick/ban system seems really lame for league play... doesn't that mean the grumpy mofos who hate gunboats just ban it all day long? How can you practice playing roamer if the weapon you use the majority of the time has a random chance of being removed in a league match? Like, I get bans in DOTA, because you only get one of each hero, but if both sides have roamer/soldier why would a pick/ban system make any damn sense?

I also must insist that focusing only on highlander is a straight up failure IMO.
A couple of thoughts:

1) Do "sick new strats" come out at a rate of one new one every 2-3 months in CS:GO? It doesn't really seem like it. Comp CS and comp TF2 seem very similar in a lot of respects, in how the upper levels of players are seeking to hone the strats that have worked for years. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think variation in comp play is really as bad as they make it out.

2) Pick/ban system seems really lame for league play... doesn't that mean the grumpy mofos who hate gunboats just ban it all day long? How can you practice playing roamer if the weapon you use the majority of the time has a random chance of being removed in a league match? Like, I get bans in DOTA, because you only get one of each hero, but if both sides have roamer/soldier why would a pick/ban system make any damn sense?

I also must insist that focusing only on highlander is a straight up failure IMO.
Please log in or register to post a comment
Live Streams
More (5)
Team Fortress 2
Dota 2
CS:GO
Advertisement