Squad combat stagnation

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Squad combat stagnation

Post by Shiny Rice » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:27 pm

So I'm going to jump in the bandwagon of the huge text walls here and chip in with informing about something that will put squad combat into yet another coma, but apparently has gone completely unnoticed by the whole of the community.

During 2012 and until late 2013, I've witnessed a general decrease in interest for squad combat. Members of the 57th just went inactive, Crazypilot disappeared off the face of the Earth, and almost the same for the 323rd, the 49th, only the 171st had some activity, but in general there wasn't a lot of people doing combat in squads. But with the recent release of HQ 4.0, the tendency inverted. I started seeing new people come in slowly but surely, and same for combat. I saw people join the 323rd progessively more and more. But no other squad was recruiting as much people as they were. The 171st has recently admitted Copperhead, and the 57th's got SimonG. But the 323rd have been getting about at least 10 more people since late 2013. I honestly don't know why, I would congratulate them if it weren't because of this.

Squads exist to make combat much more stimulating, organized and fun overall. They foment competition and ultimately wars (which there have been many and quite large as many of you know) but they need something else to make all of this happen. A competitor. Even if they're 2, that will make people get online for a reason. People need to fight and against someone else. Either way, it will just get boring, One squad monopolyzing all of the pilots available is not good, since there will be nobody to fight. AI aircraft and ground targets? Please. Only real people can truly challenge real people. Even if that squad exercises, having nobody to fight will end up stagnating combat and finally dying again.

This has already happened in the past. The 171st have suffered from this, not on such a large scale and not precisely for the same reason, but it still bended the scale greatly to their side. The 323rd is acting like this again, and instead of bending the scale to their side, they've taken almost all that was on the other scale and put it in theirs. There's almost nothing on the other scale. Copperhead, a couple 171st vets, me, SimonG, and tell me who else, can't remember. On the other you got at least 10 323rd, pretty sure it's more. And the other scale is not even the same squad. If the 323rd were to rage war against the other side, it would be rather boring. I know, Bomb and Doom are like the ground, but they won't if 12 people are shooting their guns and missles at them.

But there is a solution. A no admission policy. Basically, said squad stops admitting pilots, until other squads have an equal size, or a size that allows them to compete with said squad. Even though I've directly mentioned the 323rd and pointed it as the source of the problem, I seek no flame wars, more verbal fighting, or trying to make the 323rd look as the devil. If you want to fight me, please do so on YS, Quake Live or Loadout. I'm trying to point out what's wrong (for me) and suggesting how to fix it. Balance is fundamental, in pretty much everything you'll ever see in your lives. This is no exception. Unbalance can get really boring really fast.

Word up, lads. Your choice of action. I had my turn here.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Eric » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:43 pm

I've got to agree with this - we don't necessarily need to have exactly the same number of players on each squadron, but some balance would help promote competition. Squad leaders need to come to an agreement on this issue in order for the solution to work.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Alpha Star » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:59 pm

Ive said it before and I will say it again. YS has phases of years at a time. I know that this year will be an aerobatic year. 2012 or 2011 was a massive VA year, years before that it was combat. You have to find the time, and get your timing right to be seen. This year your not getting many people because the airshow side of things is the dominant thing. However next year with the way the 323rd are going may be the combat year.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Dan » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:26 pm

Well what can I say? The staff of the 323rd thoroughly worked hard and are still working our asses off to keep our European based squadron active and interesting. Currently at this moment in time we have flown a lot of sorties (training and mini exercises) and are currently half way through our full scale exercise which we are actually testing out for a possible YSFHQ combat event (which is going well so far). The 323rd understand the current situation of the combat section and are actively working on ideas to get the pace up and running again. However i bet you didn't know that we actually have a limit on the number of recruits we take in for the sake of fair recruitment. We also refer pilots to squadrons like the 57th, SARF etc. That being said, it's mostly down to the squadron. If you put 100% in, you get 100% out and it really shows. If any squadron wants to pop in and fly a sortie or exercise with us then your more than welcome.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Bombcat » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:40 pm

Just instituting size caps, or equivalency caps, will mean nothing if other squadrons don't offer a comparable experience. The 323rd is as large as it is in part because they offer more. If we want greater consistency between squadrons, we can't just require comparable sizes - we have to offer comparable experiences. During the planning session on Sunday night that led to the current layout changes, I also brought up an idea to address this very issue - the idea of a common central command for all YS squadrons.

This idea, which we dubbed the YS Air Force, would centralize several supporting functions of squadrons with an aim to both reduce the challenges inherit in starting a squad, and lower current barriers for those who wish to join a squad. All squadrons would share a part of the burden of training, planning events, and possibly, add-on production. Participating squads would have the option of retaining independent training and events as long as they were willing to also contribute some time to the larger force. Squadrons would remain fully independent in terms of member selection (not forced to accept any particular member), in the area of aircraft selection and development, and in any matters pertaining to the internal running of the squadron. Squadrons would also still be free to develop rivalries and go to war - but since that has not been the norm of late, the YSAF would join units to ensure regular, reasonably balanced combat opportunities for any interested pilots. Tools to encourage competition within the group, such as a leader board, would be extremely helpful, but the idea does not depend on coding as much as on the willingness of members to participate.

This idea clearly needs some development, and no one person or squad could make it work. I cannot claim to be the originator, as such ideas have been kicked around for quite some time, and I've often been a major opponent. I hope, however, that either this idea, or something that steams from it might help us to provide better combat services for all.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by VNAF ONE » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:27 pm

In my opinion, we don't need to regulate the number of people in squads, ever. That is negative in a number of ways and would just not play out well. We just need something to do. When I was CO of the RPFS, the squad was dying because there was nothing to do. All we could really do was get on a server and blow up AI. A few times, we may have gotten in with another squad but it was short lived because there was no fuel for the fire.

Basically, we need at least two big squads and they need to show some polarity. We have been so adamant on making everyone such a community, that we've entirely killed off the spirit of having a squad for any reason. When the 171st and 49th were around and active, there was a reason to join. It didn't matter which way you went, but whichever you chose, you had an adversary. Yes, things may have gotten out of hand at some times in the past, but you gotta let the boys fight sometimes to make things better. We do a good job of keeping things where they belong around here anyways.

I'm no guru on how to make this work and frankly, I'm only in the combat stuff for the fun of it. I honestly have no suggestions on how to do this. It's just something that has to happen. What I would like though is to not have to go through and watch another great squadron die because people are getting bored. I've tried to do something about it, but it's not a problem that can be fixed with just one squad. Everyone in the combat community has to participate to make it work. Things like the blacklist are what we need more of. There needs to be more incentive for combat to exist. It used to be as simple a task as escorting a certain VA on their routes.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Schwarzwald » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:22 am

This may be a stupid question but surely couldn't squads, if they are so big, practice fighting against each other? Like divide into teams which they stick with and simply fight together? That way pilots gain practice and skill fighting whilst also building the squad's skill level? I recently managed to convert two of my friends to YSFlight and I'm training them by fighting with them, mostly winning and then analysing together what happened, so whilst their skills are improving, we're also having a lot of fun.

This is just a side note, but if you browse through the forums, the main active topics are usually miscellaneous ones like "Ban the person above you" or "What music are you listening to now?", there are hardly any intellectual/interesting discussion topics that a newcomer can engage with.

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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Midnight Rambler » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:13 am

Yep.

Some things I've found that link into this:

Having members in a similar timezone to you helps by a long way. I can't count the amount of times I've missed training or battles because it was 2-3am over here. This also makes it hard to run a squad effectively. If you can get 3-10 of your members on a server at training/squad events then you're a powerhouse. This is what makes the 323rd work - they can fly together and work with each other. A similar thing happened with the 171st. This problem now is that the mean age of the 171st is greater, school becomes important and there is less time to play = inactivity.

Time - you need buckets of it. The time to build the ground work, find members, build a training system, train your pilots, actually find time to fly... It takes time. Unless you can deliver it, you don't get very far.

Preparation - Making a forum and finding pilots is the easy part people. 'Training' and building your fleet is what kills most squads. So much time is spent debating colours, aircraft and what skills to use in a training session that people begin to get bored and drop off.

I don't think there is any easy way to fix this, people. Someone like me is time strapped, but would like to join a squad just to fly every now and again. I'm happy to teach people what I know, I just don't want to lead anything. This is what happened with the 49th - I joined saying I can't commit much time. Because of my experience, I eventually ended up XO when people lost interest. Between Waspe and I, the squad crashed because we couldn't commit the time.

Capping recruitment won't get squads started or create a level playing field. Someone (or people) needs to stand up, with a unique idea, time and the charisma, to attract people. The 323rd have this person (or group) which is why they work (IMO).

Why I look for in a squad now: one that flies in a timezone that I can, one that is active, one that has enthusiastic members, one that has fun and doesn't debate aircraft creation/spend time training over actual flying.


Speaking of which, have you guys seen the 501st on the servers? They have the spirit and the right idea - they fly together, have fun together and gang up on me... But anyway, you get the idea.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Flake » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:40 am

Midnight Rambler wrote:Time - you need buckets of it. The time to build the ground work, find members, build a training system, train your pilots, actually find time to fly... It takes time. Unless you can deliver it, you don't get very far.
od I can't stress this enough. You need TIME, and not just time convenient to you, CONSISTENT time, for things like practices and etc. All the paperwork and bureaucracy of the world will not get you anywhere if you don't have time to spend with your squad.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by mh3w » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:38 am

Is there a comprehensive history of YS squads written anywhere? I feel lost stepping into this conversation and reading about two squads that i'm not familiar with haha.

I agree fully with Midnight Rambler and VNAF One, time online and conflict between groups will help get things going again. I also think the idea behind YS Air Force will oil the wheels. I remember when the 241st had a sub-forum on YSP, It was very convenient having everything in one place, other squads should benefit from having common ground on HQ to compare stats and plan competitions.

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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by VNAF ONE » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:34 am

I don't know how recently the wiki has been updated, but it does at least briefly describe some history between the older squadrons (such as the 171st/49th wars).
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Shiny Rice » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Alright then, time to answer.

Dan, I know you're a great person and work your asses off like shit, and that you also recommend other squads, but I heard you said sometimes that you got people on a waiting list, not that you have a limit on how many people you admit.

Bombcat, something that we could really use too is a comprehensive list of squads that includes all of them, and their current active members, so newbies or other people can make a right, informed decision. And updated.

VNAF, what happens if there are no two squads that can't fight each other properly, because of one having many pilots? 'course, in this situation some kind of coalition could be made.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Margatroid » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:49 pm

everyone is right here really.

what rise and shine is saying is that the problem with squads "monopolizing" is that there are tiers of skill and knowledge and its completely possible to get a squad that just hoovers up all the best and brightest people in the game. the 171st was a good example. a lot of pilots who start off in the game are noobs who dont know anything and thats normal, but sometimes youd get the odd figure who actually kind of knows what hes doing even from the beginning. when we came across pilots that knew their shit with less of a need to train them from the ground up, we took them. in that sense, squads should regulate themselves with some form of capping (the 171st did that briefly a while back; there was a brief time where we didnt accept recruits, but it didnt last for long afaik) to give other squads a chance to get these kinds of people, because those people usually turn out to be better performers in combat.

that said, i dont know what kind of skill level the 323rd are because some of them i havent fought for years, and some of them ive never fought ever. they may or may not be hoovering up the kind of people im talking about and if they arent, they can easily be countered by simply recruiting and training as normal, which as everyone else in this thread points out, is equally important, and is something a squad leader should do first before they start concerning themselves with the skill of the opposite side.
mh3w wrote:Is there a comprehensive history of YS squads written anywhere? I feel lost stepping into this conversation and reading about two squads that i'm not familiar with haha.

I agree fully with Midnight Rambler and VNAF One, time online and conflict between groups will help get things going again. I also think the idea behind YS Air Force will oil the wheels. I remember when the 241st had a sub-forum on YSP, It was very convenient having everything in one place, other squads should benefit from having common ground on HQ to compare stats and plan competitions.
http://ysflightsim.wikia.com/wiki/Virtu ... ght_Groups some of it is outdated i believe
VNAF ONE wrote:I don't know how recently the wiki has been updated, but it does at least briefly describe some history between the older squadrons (such as the 171st/49th wars).

http://ysflightsim.wikia.com/wiki/Virtu ... adron_Wars as far as i know its basically the same, apart from maybe the 57th - RPFS "war" back last year, but i wouldnt call that a war. that was more me just killing people for a bit and everyone else being lazy.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Shiny Rice » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:28 am

So if nobody has replied to Sent for 2 days, that means he's right?
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by VNAF ONE » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:47 am

It means everyone is right.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Midnight Rambler » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:29 am

So what happens now?
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Gunny » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:55 am

I hate to be the barer of sad tiding gentlemen but it seems that no one wants a structured anything.
We get a good structure going and boom every body disappears not only in combat squads but in VAs as well.
How do we fix it? Well we can't because no matter how good the idea or how well you build the infrastructure without participants we have nothing.And to be brutally honest here participation sucks big time.And that is why combat squads and VAs stagnate :x :cry:
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by PR1NC3 D4RK5T4R » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:26 am

I'm just gonna say something here.

Encouraging the return of combat YS is essentially saying that you want things to be violent again. You're saying that you want squad wars...really? Or even worse, squad servers...
I have a little story about squad servers...

Flash back to 2011-early 2012 (and bear in mind, this was when I was only 11, and I knew very little about aircraft and how they worked). The 171st server was the most active on YS at the time, with Fariiniq and Eric running close behind.
After being trolled with a lot on Fariiniq's server, one day I had decided I had had it, and went on a rampage with Major's UFO, obliterating the server.

Soon after the 171st sees this, and boom, I'm officially hated for releasing my anger on them. Mid-2011 rolls by, and Gasman and his crew start tracking me down on the 171st server and start vulching/civ-killing/whatever in an attempt to run me out of YS. Through the whole shit fest, Iceman and the rest of the 171st don't even try to help. No, they join in fucking around with me, adding onto the growing hate I had for the 171st, and YS in general.

I only found peace when that godforsaken server was overtaken by 42south and shut down.

Jump forward to now, and we finally have some sort of peace with the death of combat YS in general. Except for the occasional rule breakers, its been smooth jazz.

The return of squad-operated servers like the 171st is something that I'm not sticking around for. Do one thing wrong and you'll be at your wits' end with the shitstorm.
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by Copperhead » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:19 am

So you say you were being trolled, and that's why you wen't on a rampage in the UFO, right? I am curious to know what you mean by "trolling", what were they doing that annoyed you to that point?
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Re: Squad combat stagnation

Post by PR1NC3 D4RK5T4R » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:25 am

You are killed by [insert person here] with AIM9X.

'Nuff said...
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