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    Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance

      @pcdev and I have been discussing the best way to manage the desire to play with Friends vs the overwhelming need to attempt to keep teams even so players don't abandon servers.

      First off, a party based system like the consoles have is out of the question. Don't bother asking. That system has a dependencies on lobbies, which the PC doesn't have because it has dedicated servers. You can't have it both ways with that one.

      The best idea we have is to allow you to switch teams at the start of rounds, but run the auto team balance anyhow. That would at least allow you to try and be on the same team as your friend.

      I thought I would put it up here for discussion. Please keep it civil.

      David 'Vahn' Vonderhaar
        • 1. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
          Mustaches
          That seems like a good idea... But what about this.


          Implement a system where when your on the "friends" screen, you can have an option to "follow" your friends. This will connect you to the server that your friend is joining, and automatically "switch" your team so you at least try to be on their team. If this would cause an imbalance, then it would revert you to the other team.

          ---Edit-

          *** Also, add a system where when the game is doing it's "autobalance", it prioritizes players that joined as a party. This would try to move players to the other team that didn't join with the "follow" command.
          • 2. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
            jabbaonthedais
            It is very simple. Add a Lobby option to the Friends tab. If I feel like playing with some friends, I click "Friends", "Start a Lobby". I invite all my friends, then I (as the lobby leader) find a server and join as a group.

            I reject the idea you can't have lobbies and dedicated servers. I don't play consoles, so maybe its different through. But from a programming perspective, it is very simple.
            • 3. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
              Mustaches

              jabbaonthedais wrote:

               

              It is very simple. Add a Lobby option to the Friends tab. If I feel like playing with some friends, I click "Friends", "Start a Lobby". I invite all my friends, then I (as the lobby leader) find a server and join as a group.




              ^ This also works. It's very easy to just develop a way for a group of people to follow one users "join" command.
              • 4. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
                fullspecwcc
                Hi. Nice to have you here.

                Team switching and auto balance should be just fine (as it has been for years).  But why allow switching only at the start of a round?  I'm almost always in games that are full, 9v9.  So the only time we could swap teams, or have a friend join the game, would be when a player leaves, making the game 9v8.  ("Hey there's a spot open, you can switch now"). That's not a huge balance risk.

                As far as getting entire clans on one side, wiping the floor with the poor sods on the other side,  That should be left to the server admins.  At least give admins the option to enable or disable team switching.  Frankly, I don't expect it to be a huge problem.  If one side can fill up with one clan, the other side can do so just as well.  Conversely, a group of random people can still totally dominate a server without having to be part of a clan.  Lopsidedness is just a risk of gaming.

                Either way, the benefits of playing with your friends so heavily outweigh the risks of getting in an unbalanced game, I can't believe it's even an issue.
                • 5. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
                  Milkey
                  IMO enable autobalancing on Treyarch servers, where on player rented servers autobalance as the player joins with the option to switch teams and stay there.  Otherwise no team shuffling should occur.  Kind of like BC2 servers (which never "died out")
                  • 6. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
                    kbone213

                    Vahn wrote:

                     

                    First off, a party based system like the consoles have is out of the question. Don't bother asking. That system has a dependencies on lobbies, which the PC doesn't have because it has dedicated servers. You can't have it both ways with that one.



                    Don't be so hasty. You are making a huge decision here.

                    You can have the best of both worlds here considering the staggering amount of empty servers.

                    Instead of the quick find that you currently have in the game (which is severely broken btw), you can easily replace that with a lobby system that puts the players into an empty server that meets the requirements.


                    ie you and friends party up. Leader uses quick find match. It finds other players who are also using quick find. Once there are enough players, it transports them into a server.




                    Why does it have to be so one-sided only because there are dedicated servers?
                    • 7. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
                      Kanikilu
                      It would be nice to have the "switch team" option available at any time (assuming it wouldn't unbalance the teams), but I guess enabling it at the start of the round would at least be a step in the right direction.

                      Say I'm playing with 2 other friends, currently, 9 times out of 10, we will end up with 2 people on one team, and 1 person on the other. Now, if the team with the 2 people loose a player (or more) due to people leaving or getting disconnected, I really don't understand why it would be a problem to allow someone from the other team to switch to even the teams up a bit. This is how it's been done on other first-person shooters for years.

                      People's suggestions of elaborate workarounds and changes like starting some sort of psuedo-lobby with friends, or "following" each other, would work too - but I think simply allowing to switch teams when it won't unbalance them, is really the easiest, and I think, natural, compromise.

                      In any event, thanks for posting and at least asking for input. With regards to the frequent lock-ups a lot of people are experiencing since this weekend, it seems like all it would take is a simple acknowledgement or communication from you guys could prevent a lot of, to put it nicely, "heated", posts
                      • 8. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
                        kbone213
                        I forgot to write this in my last post, and for some reason it won't let me edit.


                        I wanted to thank you David and to Cesar Stastny for being so forward with your community and for being so helpful. You two make up for a lot of the damage caused by many others working with you. You restore my faith in Black Ops as well as future titles.

                        I just wanted to say thanks and keep it up!

                        EDIT:

                        I don't like the idea of switching teams mid-round. It would be too easy to just switch to the team that is currently winning and cause more of a balance issue.
                        • 9. Re: Playing with Friends vs Auto Team Balance
                          seems like a good idea to be able to change teams at the start of the round but why cant we change teams when the teams become unbalanced as well.
                          would like a response to the question that has been raised concerning the need to have 6 players to start a match seems to me it would be much better for the players  if the screen was not black and white and we simply do not earn points untill 6 players are present
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