Helping grow new players

So i was scrolling through some wands reviews and i came across a 2 star one that i could relate to (though anything less than 5 is honestly blasphemy). It was something to the effect of "i waited 5 minutes to play a match, then when i finally found one all i could do was watch as i was cut down almost instantly." I really feel for this guy, as the only players i usually matched up against when i first started playing were occyring and pleased to meet you, both who had and still have way more experience and skill than i do. It was very frustrating to lose match after match, and since i always lost i never felt like i was learning or improving despite occys assurances that i was getting better.

So my question is, how can we develop players better? What can we do when playing 6 spell noobs to not crush their souls? I guess if there are a lot of new players they may find another new player. But there are always going to be the pros out there. And because they play often you are likely to match with them at some point.

I just hate seeing negative reviews from people that didnt really even play the game...maybe people just need more patience, too much instagratification culture out there


  • edited May 2017
    The ideal solution is probably a handicap system built into the game. But that would be tricky and tough to pull off.

    As players, there's a lot we can do to make mismatched games exciting for us and fun for new players. I used to be really daring against new players, experimenting and giving myself challenges. But that ended when ratings were implemented. I still went easy on new players, but never took any chances. In Season 2, I've gone back to experimenting, challenging myself, and not worrying about my rating.

    Here are some of the things I've done:
    -Use random wands
    -Limit yourself to 1 or 2 relics per game
    -Never use the same spell twice in a row
    -Try to win with under 10 HP
    -Use the touchpad
    -Use the remote
    -Play with your eyes closed (I'd only do this against totally clueless players)

    Do you guys have any other ideas?

    Sorry I didn't go easy on you, @obi2kenobi. I like to give really good players my best. =)
  • Id be upset if you did go easy on me occy. I grew up getting beat down by an older brother, so i have a much thicker skin than most people :) but i certainly do want to encourage new players if i can. I agree a handicap system could be nice. Like maybe their spells do more damage or something.
  • edited May 2017
    I have had a lot of success winning over new players lately by performing the following steps:

    1) "Wave" at them during pre-game with Shield until they wave back.
    2) Vigorously nod "yes" with the Shield when they do.
    3) Fire a Meteor straight at them from medium to far distance and hope they reflect it.
    4) Keep popping Shield and firing Meteors until they get the idea (may have to reflect one of theirs before they get it).
    5) Once they bounced one, try to bounce it straight back at them.
    6) Play tennis!
    7) After tennis, vigorously nod "yes" again at them.
    8) You have made a friend!

    They tend to stay and rematch you a few times after that, and I've been able to teach a few completely new players to fire at your feet under the Shield as well as to fire Meteor off to the side to prevent reflection and do splash damage.
  • Wow all great ideas! Might try that. Most players leave after 1st match right now
  • edited May 2017
    The problem isn't that some players are too good or that the game is too competitive; the problem is that most matches are very one-sided. The most successful multiplayer games in the world are extremely competitive and have players much more skilled than I am. Banning or discouraging good players from playing Wands is the last thing we should be doing. Good players tend to be the ones who play frequently, and those are the players you need most in a game where waiting for opponents is a problem. If you hadn't been losing to top players, you would have been standing in an empty room with nobody to play. Those aren't ideal options, but I believe the former is better.

    Other than the waiting problem, I think the fact that most matches aren't competitive is the biggest issue Wands has right now. It's probably also worth mentioning that this isn't just a problem for the losing player. Beating players who don't offer a challenge isn't very exciting. These aren't new problems and they don't just involve the most experienced players; it started the week the game was released. One of the most amazing things about Wands' design is how deep it is and how there are so many ways to improve. It's a lot like chess in that respect, and it's a wonderful thing which many games strive to achieve. But that means it doesn't take long to get good enough to wipe the floor with new players, and there's usually a significant skill gap between two randomly matched opponents. This is only a problem because there aren't enough players for you to be matched up against equally skilled opponents as you improve.

    It's a chicken and egg problem because the best solution is growing the player base, but it's difficult to keep people around when most matches aren't competitive. Since this is such a critical problem, and because I believe Wands has enormous potential and I really want it to succeed, I've put a lot of thought into it and have several ideas for how to make games between players who aren't evenly matched more competitive, including various handicap systems, hardcore modes, and some wacky, off-the-wall stuff too. But since the game wasn't designed around those kinds of features, and since they would (hopefully) just be stopgaps until there are enough players for proper matchmaking, it's a hard problem to solve. My first reply to this thread originally had a few of those ideas in it, but I decided to save that for later because this thread is about what we can do as players to help.
  • Competitive players aren't going to convince casual players to enjoy losing and casual players aren't going to convince competitive players to stop taking it so seriously.

    If the game ever reaches critical mass and stays there both groups won't get matched with each other as much and the problem will solve itself.

    In the meantime, I suggest getting in the habit of leaving after every match you don't like and re-entering the queue. When you DO find a fun opponent, get in as many games with them as you can.
  • edited May 2017
    A small minority of players post on all gaming forums. There's a competitive magic dueling game on Oculus called The Unspoken. Its forum is much less active than this one.

    I agree that part of the reason many players don't come back is because most games aren't competitive. And your posts have made me question my decision to go for 1st place instead of trying to be entertaining. But I've read every review of this game since it was released, and I can assure you that waiting is Wands' biggest problem, by far. At least the competition keeps hardcore players coming back and giving new players someone to duel. Even though it's not ideal, it's better than nothing.

    The two star review this thread is based on probably isn't even about the problem of some players being 'too good'. As far as I can tell, it's complaining about the bug that prevented players from being able to use their remote once the match started. Here's the review:
    The graphics are beautiful... but the gameplay sucks... mostly because nobody is playing it. I had to wait a good 5 minutes b4 somebody else showed up to duel and then I couldn't defend myself. all I could do was watch as I was cut down in no time.

    fwiw, when I noticed someone was experiencing that remote bug, I gave them about 30 seconds to try to fix it or leave the game before commencing the mercy kill.

    On another note, let's all try to be more civil. We're all here because we love Wands, so let's try to focus our energy on finding ways to make it better. =)
  • edited May 2017
    I'll chime in and say I completely agree that the biggest problem isn't dominant players (although I addressed a solution for that in my Practice Duel thread because it is important), it's definitely new players waiting for a game and feeling like they're wasting time. Occy you messaged me about the 'merciless' comment I made in that thread, but that was totally a joke just referencing the baseless complaints like the ones in this thread. Play as hard as you want, whenever you want, and don't feel bad about it.

    If someone is Level 1, until I find they have some skill, I'll try to avoid just hiding in a corner and casting twins until they die. But I won't go out of my way to make it close. I think this issue is not a burden of the players, it's a burden of the developers. If new players are completely fish out of water, for a game that really doesn't have tremendous complexity compared to an involved platform game, that's an issue of how new players are integrated into the game, or how they're matched up. Again, see my Practice Duel thread for ideas on improving that.
  • Maybe there should be breaks in between the seasons. An unranked period of time where you can just play as normal. They could co-inside the sales with the break so that the noobs get a chance to practice without the competitive people taking it seriously.

    I'm not suggesting there should be two different game modes, it's hard enough to get a match as it is sometimes. Just a break in between where there are no ratings.
  • sigridsigrid Sweden
    RiCarlos said:

    Maybe there should be breaks in between the seasons. An unranked period of time where you can just play as normal.

    I like that idea but how long would that period be? A day? One week? One month? We don't wanna lose the players by taking a long break. Getting points and climbing the leaderboard is such a big part of the game.
  • Im not sure having a break is a great idea. Without "ranked" games i think there is less motivation to get on and play, especially once you max out your dust, lv, etc.

    In the game league of legends, they have a ranked and unranked mode. Players who have not maxed out their lv (30) cannot even play a ranked game. By lv 30 players would be extremely proficient. Unranked games do not affect player rating. Would a ranked and unranked mode really be so hard to implement? It would be similar to the duel friend feature now but you dont need to have a friend with a gear vr...

    I still dont think two modes are super necessary here, but maybe prevent rankings from being affected when the opponent is lv 1-10. They cant lose rank at that lv, so why should i? That would at least address the issue of experienced players taking a game too seriously.

    To me though ratings are not the biggest issue, it is the skill gap itself. I could care less about ratings. Id rather slowly whittle my points down to 0 playing exciting duels with @OccyRing than play a million noob duels gaining 2 pts at a time.

    Yes if we have a rankes unranked setup there are two queues and maybe more wait issues. But as someone else said it may be beneficial in the long run if the player base gets bigger because of that feature. If i couldnt find a ranked game in a few minutes, i would probably just queue hop. Another feature that would be super super superrrr awesome would be if you do the ranked unranked modes and also have an "n players waiting in queue" indicator to let you know if a game is ready in that queue instead of having to wait idly.

    I know spectator mode exists but the truth is i rarely logon to a computer. I tried to use spectator a total of one time and it didnt even work in my browser/computer setup. An in game indication is desperately needed...
  • @sigrid I agree that the rankings shouldn't be missing for long. Maybe a week or so and then it can also be hyped more "Season 2 starts in 7 days!"

    @obi2kenobi The game definitely needs that feature! I would love to be able to take 30 seconds to look at the chalk board and see what my chances of a game were. That would be vital if there were the two options of gameplay. Do you worry that if you could see how many people were in games in would encourage less players to sit and wait for games if no one was around? I for one would not hang about if at quick glance there were no one waiting for matches.
  • edited May 2017
    @RiCarlos you could have another indicator that notes the number of players online in the lobby or whatever. If i see 3 players online, maybe theyre busy pimping out their outfit or something. If i go wait for a game and they quit pimping their outfit then maybe they decide to play me. Problem solved?

    @sigrid personally if elo goes away for a week im not very inclined to play that week unless someone i know pms me asking for a game
  • I second the ability to see how many players are online from in the Workshop somewhere. There might be 3 games going, but the next person who logs on has no idea there are other people playing...he's just waiting in an empty map. If he knew how many other people were on, he might be inclined to wait a bit longer for someone to join.

    Plus it would go a long way towards helping players know that the game actually IS quite active (in the same way that the Leaderboard let us know there were over 30,000 people playing Wands....previous to that moment, I had no idea the playerbase was that large. It really makes you want to log on more.)
  • edited May 2017
    I definitely support showing favorable numbers in the workshop so people know there's an active player base. But always showing how many players are online or waiting for a game could backfire when it's a very low number, since somebody has to be first (which often involves waiting), but nobody wants to.
  • edited May 2017
    @OccyRing I don't think that's really a problem since that information can also be obtained the second you search for a match. Though I suppose players might be more inclined to wait around in an empty map if they already went to the effort of launching it...

    Could show the "number of players active in the last n minutes" to make it a little fuzzy and reduce the odds of it ever being 0. The amount of time could be tuned for the best result, though I was imagining around 10 minutes.

    Also, worth mentioning that showing the number of players waiting for match is almost entirely pointless, since the count would only ever be 1 or 0.
  • edited May 2017
    Definitely. The first component of every Wands game is somebody entering a game when nobody is waiting. Sounds obvious, but it's very important to get players to start games, so anything that lowers the chances of that happening needs to be avoided.

    That's a good idea for how to present the numbers. There are also other numbers you could show that would look good. Dynamic stats that are designed to not dip below certain thresholds would probably be most effective. Hopefully displaying the numbers would create a virtuous circle that makes players willing to wait longer which leads to better numbers, etc.
  • edited May 2017
    I like a few of these ideas mentioned, such as awareness of how many players are playing; however, it may not even be necessary (but I wouldn't be opposed to it either).

    Gilch's idea of the dust in a corner sounds fun, but I think the same waiting game could be had with an AI opponent, which I think was on the horizon.

    Last, I think a really good idea would be for there to be 1 queue (splitting queues is not a good idea, I think we all agree), but the person can select unranked vs ranked prior to knowing who they are playing against. If there are players in either type, you could get an overlay message in the game that says something like "switch to other game map that is (un)ranked and play someone, or continue to wait." And you have to select within 10 seconds or so before it gives someone else that option, gives you the option to not receive the notification again, or gives you the option to switch to play against the person.

    That way highly ranked players who are afraid of rating tanking can continue to still play, and less competitive or new players can have fun and figure things out without the high ranking players completely annihilating them (high rank players could go into teacher mode in this mode, which can actually be fun). But priority would also be on matching people up with the overlay message. I think an overlay message in game that alerts players there are other matches to join into automatically would be very good.

    What do yall think of this idea?
  • @JalapenoTrellis here are my concerns in response.

    1. Once you are highly ranked, you can generally only get 1 point a match from new players. So once you finally find a good matchup with opportunity to earn some nice points (10+) now that opportunity can be taken away from you if the player is "too scared to face you."

    2. Interestingly, i havent run into a lot of higher ranked players scared to lose rank. I had a guy queue dodge me twice today and he had a 1500-1600 rating. I think what experienced players want are challenging opponents, we could care less about rank.

    3. I already try to teach new opponents, ranked or unranked. If you are skilled enough there is really no risk at all with losing points to a new player. However i must say i think if a player is lv 10 or under the match should automatically be unranked. It isnt fair that you can lose points due to a lost connection or something when they arent even ranked yet and cant gain points from you anyway.

    So in summary i dont think having higher rated players scared to play is an actual problem facing the game, and making games unranked wont help new players figure anything out- most of us go lenient on them and try to teach them anyhow in the current system.

    I like the idea of the overlay message, but i think it is the same idea as the chalkboard queue stats. And if they are on the chalkboard you wont have to enter the queue to figure out if anyones around
  • I'm not sure I understand the complaint about "queue dodging".

    You have to play at least one match before you can leave so there is always a risk of losing rating (I think they fixed being able to leave during pre-game with no penalty, right?). There is also no limit to how many rematches you can play, so when does etiquette say a person can leave without being labeled a queue hopper?

    Personally, I think the game should set a fixed number of matches and then automatically dump both players back into the queue so there is no expectation of rematching just to be polite. If there is no one else on, they will get matched again.

    The idea of being able to play endless rematches is not appropriate for ranked play anyway (it's fine for unranked friendlies though.)
  • @obi2kenobi The player wouldn't be too scared to face you because they wouldn't know who it is in the suggestion I offered in the last post. I was saying that people can join either type of game type, but an overlay message would let you know someone is waiting in the alternative game feature (ie. casual vs competitive mode). This way people don't have to wait and can choose to join the other game or not without having to visit the lobby. They wouldn't know who the other player is until they make that decision. This way there is no cherry picking on that, just "hey there's someone here who is willing to play in this type of mode."

    There are players who are afraid to lose rating. I wouldn't have started on this tirade unless I was repeatedly queue dodged by the #2 guy 6 times and instead forced to face some 1500 rated noob. Others have mentioned it occurs to them as well.

    @CharmedImSure As for queue dodging: did they fix the "hey I don't want to fight you, bye felicia" crap in this patch? If so, I didn't see that in the notes. I don't think there is an etiquette for what's outside of the rating system. Certain players, including some highly ranked (I believe #2 right now) chooses to leave games he thinks he may lose in order to preserve his rating and grind it up with noobs.
  • @JalapenoTrellis gotcha, when i read your post it looked like you were saying you see your opponent then choose ranked or unranked.

    @CharmedImSure when it happened to me today he quit in warmup with no penalty
  • As an addendum, even within the competitive mode, I think there should be an overlay that someone else may have created a game at the same time so you can join his or they can join yours.
  • @JalapenoTrellis im not sure you could ever "grind up the leaderboard on noobs" considering you get one point at a time. Then if you finally play someone good on accident youd lose 27 matches worth of points? Maybe they reduced the points for beating noobs this season, because it sounds impossible to climb only fighting noobs...
  • The 1 point rule was eliminated in 1.2.0, so the days of slowly beefing up your rating by beating players rated much lower than you are over. If you're over 2168, you'll now earn 0 points form someone rated 1500 or lower. That rule was just a stopgap to give players with high ratings an incentive to play (and it worked). Now that there are other incentives (leveling, unlockables, loot caches), the 1 point rule has thankfully been retired.

  • Can someone explain the ratings? I see opponents with high ratings but are not on the board. I win 1 point and then 10. I have no idea what im facing.
  • @joe the ratings work like they used to but you no longer get 1 point for beating players rated much lower than you.

    Your level is a totally different stat that gets bigger as you accumulate XP at the end of each match. It never gets smaller, even when you lose. So you can have a very high level without having a very high rating.
  • At the beginning of a match I only see the rating and not the score. So the winnings are based on the score and not the ratings. This must be why I only got one point from someone with a 74 rating and 10 points from someone with a 78 rating. It's only based on the score. BTW not super sure of the 74 and 78 but you get the idea.
  • edited May 2017
    I see my opponent's level at the beginning of the match, not their rating.

    The amount of rating points you gain or lose is based on your opponent's rating, not their level, and you only get rating points for winning.
    The amount of experience you gain (which is how you earn higher levels) is based on the same factors that relic dust used to be, like "First Blood", "Win Without Pickups", etc. You get experience after every game, win or lose.

    Yeah, two level 70 players can have very different ratings. A bad player can reach level 70 through just playing a lot since you still gain experience points in losses. A good player will reach level 70 pretty quickly.
  • I posted replies to this thread but it took a full THREE days for my account to be approved for posting? That's extreme even by most forum standards.

    Anyway, this is a real problem that other games manage through balancing opponents. I suspect it's because Wands doesn't have a big enough player base, but whatever changes they made with the last update have worsened the problem, not improved it. Prior to the update, I was typically put up against someone around my own skill level (I think I'm at 45 whatever that means, I'm still not sure.) Now, I routinely get paired up against OccyRing or some other 100+ player and am cut down in seconds. (Occy, I saw your post on the things you do to even out the game, including "play with my eyes closed" -- hmm --- but that hasn't been my experience with you. If I last 30 seconds, I've done a good job.)

    The situation is worsened by the fact that higher ranks have more access to spells and different loadouts, making the gameplay even MORE uneven.

    High-ranking players mowing down lower ones is no way to promote the game. It's not necessarily the players fault though, since the game should have opponent-matching.

    As mentioned by someone, if they had a proper single-player module (vs AI bot?) that would help level-up new users, that would help.

    I'm a casual player, but in recent days it's not worth firing it up because of the exact situation the OP mentioned: waiting five minutes for an opponent, only to be cut down in less than a minute. Where's the fun in that?
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