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Suggestion Fixing Teamstacking

Discussion in 'Annihilation' started by squallythewally, Jun 5, 2022.

Suggestion - Fixing Teamstacking
  1. squallythewally Obsidian

    It is no secret that teamstacking is plaguing the gamemode. Almost every game sees a dominant team with multiple players stacked up queueing. We can isolate one primary reason for this before suggesting solutions:

    Players tend to join the team/queue for the team that appears most likely to win. This is ascertained via nexus health, number of players and number of percieved 'good' players.

    Given that this information is available prior to joining a team, the simple solution is to remove it.
    • Hide nexus health of teams
    • Hide the tab showing who is on what team
    • Hide chat which would also show this information
    The information will be available after joining a team. This solution would foster a fairer game where players are forced to work with the resources and teammates they have.

    I know what you're thinking, you want to join a team with your friends/clan! I completely agree with this but it requires further consideration. The current state of the gamemode means that teams with even one or two extra players/a clan will have a huge advantage. This is at detriment both to the fun of the gamemode, but also it's health and attraction to new players. I have a few ideas but maybe you can help:
    1. Clans/friends can queue but only if they are in a party beforehand and excess players will be added to the team queue as usual
    2. In very small games :)heart:0 total players?) you cannot queue and players are forced to join the team with the least players
    Now none of this solves the problem of players leaving but it will go some way in solving this. Players leave because they may think they are going to lose based on being on a percieved 'losing' team or simply because they have a tendency to leave. This solution should balance teams and spread the players that tend to leave more evenly.

    TL;DR: Hide the information which indicates the current 'winning' team from players who have not yet joined a team.

    PS... Dear Admins, please understand that you are prime perpetrators of this issue. It is consistently you who are on the team with the advantage of extra players. While this obviously helps you win, please understand that it is making the game VERY boring! I understand that it is not necessarily your fault as you cannot help your percieved excellence - but please consider this suggestion wholeheartedly!
    All suggestions and additions welcome, shit on the idea if you think its awful too!
    GoldenAppleIV, ment0l66, Cupu and 5 others like this.

  2. ChillWarrior2005 Gold

    They should add something like this and make Premium (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Emerald and Obsidian) users have more benefits, because only benefit I know of is the kill effects and skip queue in for annihilation.:neutral_face:
    It's like 10-100$ dollar for some kill effects and a grappling hook :lmao:.
    Maybe ability to join phase 4 or 5 for teams with less players to help counter the team stack, I always see staff randomly appear on stacked team's in P5 sometimes when I look at the tab? or maybe a special trails or particles for when you walk around in a fight at least?
  3. squallythewally Obsidian

    Yes and it's often the premium players that stack because of the skip queue, basically deters rankless new players. They should add more cosmetics and p4/5 join function for sure. Not sure if that complies with EULA tho - anyway, this is for a different thread[/quote]

    Yes staff stacking is a mystery. This is NOT an accusation but I am 70% certain they also use vanish ability for an advantage when joining a team. e.g. stay hidden until they join or only join a team at the last min in P3 because theyve been moderating that game/their admin friend has told them to. Regardless, they may be on a call with a fellow admin who is moderating a game/could give info about which team is doing best. Again, this is NOT an accusation but the consistent team stacking from them makes their intentions questionable. Even if it's not true, it's not a good image to have! I'm glad somebody else noticed.
  4. Lord_Mercer Regular Member

    Your post has no effect because the shotbow administrator has long stopped managing internal affairs
  5. squallythewally Obsidian

    I'd like to hope you're not right
  6. Flandersss_ Regular Member

    Suggestion: allow ranks to See the game through waiting in lobby, would be amazing to spectate teams
    squallythewally likes this.
  7. Mysterious_Seven Platinum

    Joining a team and then immediately losing I thought at first would be a bad player experience, but then I remembered that it's basically free xp / ranking for getting knocked out of the game. I think that's fine. The lowest nexus team would most likely also be the one with no defenders and the most "leavers" meaning that the team getting KO'd would actually be a plus for the system. I give this the all clear, it'd be annoying but at the same time, just join a game and lose out of it and then join the next fresh.
    Losing isn't that big of a deal, unless you believe it is.
    Playing with your team / clan is something you cannot rule out. You have to find a healthy game balance to facilitate new players joining and having teams / clans in your game. One such method would editing coastals nexus enterance as well as any other maps with single entrance chokepoints.
    Beating a clan should be feasible. Victory against all odds is a hugely gratifying experience and players deserve the chance to win. That, and Coastal with a capital C needs a facelift.
    Well yes, the admins and developers play the game too. If they coded the game to reinforce their playstyle they would fit the communities wants pretty much perfectly, an astounding level of overlap that I wish more companies shared. Lately however, the only things that get implemented are, perceived in my opinion, short term solutions. "Def" banning, players per team restrictions, queue system, afk timeout... Nothing is meant to reinforce the playstyle they want to see, just punishments for the playstyles (or reactions) they don't want to see. It's very easy to see how others are wrong but it's hard to see how yourself is wrong, nothing is new under the sun.
    Ultimately I see the admins as equals, I can't fault or praise them for that. I can give them my support though. You can do this because you are apart of the very community that keeps this game alive. I appreciate you.
  8. Mysterious_Seven Platinum

  9. squallythewally Obsidian

    Yes this is also why they added the abandoned games stat which should also be partly seen as a loss statistic. It highlights players which leave once they think they're going to lose.

    Clans and friends are fundamental, I don't disagree. As I said, it requires much more conisderation and something I haven't figured out yet. At least hiding tab/chat would prevent players from spotting a strong team and stacking them, giving them a further advantage. It's a minor issue, but I think players also queue for a team until that team can no longer be joined resulting in a player deficit on the other teams of ≥2 because those teams just don't balance out before P3/4.

    I'm less convinced by your emphasis on editing Coastal. I think a revamp would be welcomed but I'm not sure that it gives such a huge advantage to clans? Open to your thoughts here if you could elaborate.

    Of course and it is feasible to beat a clan/team of friends however, the constant teamstacking of staff members makes this difficult and is something I just want to encourage them to be conscious of. There is resentment building amongst solo players and small groups alike because it is a considerable chunk of the day when one team has a clear advantage.

    I'm genuinly unconvinced by this second point because everyone has different playstyles. Staff often play a long game, slower to catchup to the META as they are still tied to traditional strategies - I am also stuck in the old ways to some extent! The gamemode should be adapting to the younger PvP community if it wants to maintain and attract them.

    I think we're more or less agreeing here now. Solutions are topdown rather than bottomup which is one issue with my suggestion, it may not be totally sustainable.

    And yeah, there is a genuine hysteria within the staff team. It's unavoidable, I can attest to it for both periods where I was a staff member. Unfortunately Shotbow has fostered a culture where Shotbow is always right and there is a weird Othering of the community. This is a separate and much broader issue and would probably a require a complete overhaul of staff members and their organisation. It is, however, the primary problem that we can trace all the smaller issues back to.

    GiveLifeB2Music likes this.
  10. SnowVi1liers Annihilation Mini Admin

    Thing is that we admins actually play the whole game out unlike many people who quit halfway through the game... whether we join late in P3 or not, vanished or not, none of us can join a team that is full and players need to know that, it is not our fault that we don't leave games too.

    We usually join the smallest team so we can all play together much like any other clan/group. If all players stayed in their teams the player difference between teams would only be 2 maximum (unless teams are 20+ from which it is 3) which would keep the game much more fairer.

    The focus I personally think should be about player-game retention once they join rather than punishing:

    1 - People who are actually committed to ANNI to play the whole game out
    2 - Groups of friends that want to play together

    As for why our teams seem to always have so many players, it is not because we ourselves joined.... it's because other players want to play with us and will stay the whole game for that... I bet if we abandoned the team a lot of players would also leave.

    That's my take on it based on our experiences, if players need to leave the game then that's on them in my opinion at least.
  11. Mysterious_Seven Platinum

    Leaving the game at any time is the players right, the standard 4v4 team setup does not work well with casual players and especially not under ~36 players.

    Players who like to play a certain way are punished when the phases arbitrarily move forward, giving gear to the dominating team while not giving other teams any competitive recourse. There is a pretty massive power imbalance given to people who stay in a cluster in mid and have varied classes. A longer respawn on diamond ores or a hard nerf to fortune picks or the ore block itself being given instead of the item could remedy this. Diamond armor has an 80% damage reduction when crafted and an effective range of 86.6 to 89.1% damage reduction, on level 2 enchants, depending on enchanting procs. These numbers are insanely high

    New players are restricted in three areas, knowledge, networking and class flexibility. This makes the game inaccessible to new players meaning to learn all three you need to: learn the early game to keep up, network to gage which team is the most viable to win, farm xp to get more classes and learn what the classes do. None of these depend on staying in one game, quite the opposite actually since you'll be dying often.

    All in all, the minigame isn't balanced to retain players and especially not new ones. Consider this following; you have no gear left, no pick rushing options and 8 uncoordinated teammates (assuming all teams have 9 people), it's also 35 minutes into the game and another team is dominating mid and bosses, obviously leaving and restarting is your best course of action. A common complaint because of this is that gearing up in later phases takes to long. Auto smelting ores mined in P4 would likely correct greatly for this. Other considerations would be free 'upteiring' for Berserker and RobinHood in later phases or other such buffs across a wide variety of classes.

    Everything that fixes problems involves time and effort. With a lack of this, Annihilation is dying a slow death.
    squallythewally likes this.
  12. pigplayer Administrator

    How will hiding that information prevent clans/friends (who already happen to play together with voice chat) from just joining/queuing for the same team individually?
  13. squallythewally Obsidian

    People do understand this but it still reflects badly on the staff when it is a blatant issue that is often giving you an advantage. The fact that the problem has not been solved makes you look ignorant. It may not be true, but it's how it looks. I've actually asked admins in games where teamstacking has happened, what the solution is, and I'm met with honestly quite a rude/hostile response.


    Here I asked JT and he tried to say a solution had been proposed and then blames the community for not liking it. (Please note I wanted my name removed from the thread because he tried to claim I had suggested such a dreadful solution - the one which prevents players from getting stats/XP until the game ends!)


    In this example you can see the game was completely broken - note phase! I repeatedly asked the admins why and was ignored.


    This kind of behaviour feeds into a narrative where admins seem ignorant, hiding behind excuses for problems they participate in. Again, it may not be true, but it's how it comes across and a lot of people think it.
    Sens likes this.
  14. squallythewally Obsidian

    Thanks for your support and the evidence you have to back it up!

    I'd like to take this moment to reiterate that my solution may not be the right one, but it is something to consider given the cliff the gamemode stands on. When the current playerbase grows up, much like the previous generational gap, I'm not sure the network will survive!

    It doesn't and that's intentional. Clans and friends should be allowed to play together, this just shouldn't affect other players' experience in a way that is dependent on a badly managed balancing process.

    As I said earlier, clans and friends can queue for a team by joining a party etc., they will just be filtered through slower in tandem with the filling up of other teams.
  15. squallythewally Obsidian

    Slightly off topic but think it's a cool suggestion. I think it would only be feasible for players who's team have died but still have teammates alive to spectate from their perspective. Anything else would give an unfair advantage as they could relay info.
  16. pigplayer Administrator


    In that case, I don't think this will be the solution to fixing teamstacking. As you even said, "The current state of the gamemode means that teams with even one or two extra players/a clan will have a huge advantage." So, in your proposed solution, while other players would have to join teams blindly, without knowing the players of each team, a clan can coordinate to join one team and take over the game. Clans/friends won't ever queue as a party if they know they can just join the same team individually.

    Hiding the scoreboard doesn't sound too great either, because players who join a team with low nexus health will be even more inclined to leave than they are in the current state of Anni. At least now they can see what the health is of the team in which they will be joining, so they know what they are getting themselves into. Imagine, you join a team that has 15 health (which you didn't know until you joined), while other teams are still at 60+ health (and those teams probably have more players). Most players in that situation would quit/give up.

    Let me know your thoughts.
  17. squallythewally Obsidian

    It’s a tricky one. From my perspective, pretty much playing exclusively solo, I see the problem as a clan/group stacking and players then only joining that team because they seem superior. Thus, hiding this info would prevent that from happening and encourage players to join a team and fight no matter what. I guess this may not be a mentality that many players have.

    I think the scoreboard argument is bad. Basically means a team with low nexus is doomed to lose. This is most definitely not always the case! A sudden influx of players could help to balance it out. A team loses when the nexus dies and that’s how the game has been coded and should be. An imbalance in players should not determine the outcome - that’s what this entire thread is about!
    Sens and pigplayer like this.
  18. SnowVi1liers Annihilation Mini Admin

    I would agree on that one personally... hiding team info (apart from the nexus health) before joining could stop other players from jumping in with groups, but I feel this wouldn't prevent people from leaving once they joined which ultimately is how the teams get really inbalanced to begin with.
    The xp/stats update kept everything until your team loses or wins and was to try to keep players in the game but the community didn't like it so we removed that.
  19. squallythewally Obsidian

    It was a bad idea.

    What about a 10 minute cooldown from joining new games upon leaving? It works on CS:GO/Valorant and other competitive games. This is a hottake because a lot of the time there is only one game open and may just deter players away tbh. Some kind of punishment for leaving may work - I'm not tottally convinced.

    The way I see it we have two issues:
    1. Stopping players from leaving
    2. Stopping players from joining teams that will lead to an imbalance

    I think my original suggestion goes some way in solving 2, issue 1 is more problematic but it does need to be resolved.
    ChillWarrior and SnowVi1liers like this.
  20. Mysterious_Seven Platinum

    So we're wishing on a star for people to be better than they are? What a lump in my throat. But more to your point, this game (pictured above) would be as balanced as physically possible if blue and yellow were absorbed into red and green because only one team could be up 3 players from the lowest team instead of three teams, not accounting for leavers or why they leave. Small teams often don't have enough presence in their own base, this is frustrating for obvious reasons. Merging teams might also shorten iteration time, it's completely theoretical but there would be less travel time and less split focus in PvP and more friends to back you up. Basically rewarding team comp and skill. Good things, things we need.
    • My first solution is to change the code to only allow the game to start when 20 people are in teams before the timer will start. Forcing everyone to pick a team not only balances the game at the start, especially for low population games, but it also makes anyone trying to deviate from from balanced teams obvious. It's effectively self moderating, like punishing an army core by the actions of one person, it's unfair and their peers hold them accountable. Self moderating systems like this is the cream of the crop when it comes to game design feel. It may sound corny, but psychology of players is important as it's the only thing that makes a game fun or engaging.
    • My second solution is a slightly harder fix. Make 2 team games, literally just remove two teams from the code. Or don't, make the teams unjoinable and blow up their nexuses at the start. Do it with current maps that are available if you have to, or only do it with the coastal 1v1 map, not enough people would complain about it for it to be a pressing issue. If the games are balanced THEN devote development and builder time to it. The less disparities in the x+3 / x-3 zone means the game is more balanced. That's my main push for 2 team games. All we need is 2v2 maps.
    • Alternatively you could combine these two together, only allowing for 2 teams to be chosen from when the game is just barely making it over the 20 player bar, though this would probably take some extra work to debug.
    • Solution three, capping team sizes to 15, or capping team sizes based on map would probably be the heaviest hand to force teams to balance out. This would also cause "weight categories" to form. It might mix up the map rotation a bit, coastal is a midweight while cronos would be a lightweight and something like Terrig would be a heavyweight. Theoretically you wouldn't need to have any sort of queue or X+/X-3 system with smaller games, but waste not want not.
    My suggestion on implementation is ultimately, go with whatever is easiest to code first. Play it by ear, heck run it back by me if you want, I'm always down to chat. My personal discord hangout is posted to the front page of the AQR so I'm very accessible now. Point is, a step in the right direction is likely to cause positive changes. It doesn't need to be far, it doesn't need to be perfect and I'm hopeful that these might garner some more positive feedback. The admins are only human and are likely bitter towards the community for being so whiny and entitled, need I start quoting? I can only do so much.

    Good luck out there folks.
  21. Mysterious_Seven Platinum

    Alternatively give only one diamond and +1 ore for every level of fortune. The extra step in smelting gives other teams some counterplay options.

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