Future of RAGL

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Yara
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:22 am

Future of RAGL

Post by Yara »

Hey everyone,

I think a few things should be changed in the next RAGL season, but for that, we would need a change in the administration, and I am obviously not talking about anjew.

I don't want to creat a huge drama, so let me just state what I mean:
- More active administration of both, Masters and Minion
- Trying to be more nice to the players, especially to new ones
- Involve the people more who care about the game (Balance, Maps, Casting, Devs)
- Thinking about using technology more, so players can focus on the game
- Repair relationship with OpenRA devs
- Check if Ladder-Servers could replace RAGL in the mid-future with Monthly Champions

As of now, WhoCares, Orb, Ganon and me decided to not join the next RAGL season. I was considering for a while a RAGL 2 anti-league, but I don't want to waste my time, and I was convinced that it would be a bad idea to further split the community. So if no change is possible, we have to live with the status quo, but we opt-out.

Would be nice if we could have a reasonable discussion here. Comments / Thoughts / Feedback is very welcome. Please no drama (:

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WhoCares
Posts: 311
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:28 pm

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by WhoCares »

Same for the academy, it needs fresh blood and new motivation/perspective in order to keep the spirit alive.

As for me, I'm tired to see .1 in an official position where players have to rely on him while he keeps being rude and inadequate to his role. Therefore, it is a hard pass for me on any competitive event where he is involved even a tiny bit.

spetsnaz84
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:50 pm

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by spetsnaz84 »

I am sure you have your reasons but I am very disappointed to read this.
I have enjoyed every edition of RAGL a lot (OK, RATL was a not a success but I am blaming the timing for it) and your participation was part of that success.

Don't really understand how playing a game we all love to play can end up in such a big drama. There are zero stakes so what's the point of all the fuss ?
Replying to your remarks in detail:
- I think better administration can be solved by having multiple admins. People also have real-life obligations so we should spread the admin burden over multiple people and also use some tools to make it as easy as possible (the bot is already a great help I guess?). I think .1 was also asking for some people to help him ? Maybe I can help out.
- Yep, we should definitely be nicer - I always try to refer them to the academy
- I don't think Ladder-servers (which I totally support) can replace the RAGL. They are complementary systems of competition IMHO.

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Clockwork
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Re: Future of RAGL

Post by Clockwork »

My personal opinion is while he is rough on the edges, .1 has successfully navigated RAGL through a lot of controversy including but not limited too: the competitive balance, alleged Punsho cheating, alleged Punsho dodgy match scheduling, Ganon dodgy final scheduling, the split from the official discord, dealing with minion league stomping. As well as heading RAGL to its best ever Masters turnout (with 0 drops) and arguably most competitive season ever. Now while he also handled alot of things in the grey (the auto promotions), these were good and in the best interests of everyone but executed poorly in my opinion. Overall I think he has done a satisfactory job with his no nonsense approach. Though I can understand frustration from the more outspoken of the player base.

I draw two comments from the Discord dicussion from ILM and Goat.

"By the way @Yara could you elaborate on this: - Involve the people more who care about the game (Balance, Maps, Casting, Devs)?
Balance were made and tested by players and maps were picked based on player suggestions and as for casting what are you suggesting? Kaution casted as many games as he could but ultimately it is going to depend on the players unless you are suggesting forcing players to play at a specific time?
I think some of your points are a bit vague"


"i mean ive disagreed with several of .1s decisions as well but id rather point it out and try to see if it can be fixed
not sure i see the point of making a new tournament. Yea but i mean that is why this to me at least come across as personal."


Personally I agree with these two statements. Balance is already currently community run with minor RAGL affiliation. Technology is always advancing thanks to Punsho and the rest who put tireless hours into the automation. Kaution, Biomecaman, and Fiveaces have casting covered. .1 actually progressed these changes havign a hand in BAIN balance, announcing Kaution as the official caster/streamer and introducing the bot.

I see this as a definite coup d'eat against .1 and would rather it is stated as such that you and your group of players do not want .1 in control of the reins; than sugar coat it as wild scale reform.

Now I am not against coups, sometimes they're needed. But I would, and I think many other, would prefer to see the alternate proposal of admins or how the new RAGL's cogs will turn before deciding the grass is greener on the other side. It may be but IMO the grass is quite adequate as of now. RAGL is currently on a steady trajectory, motoring along and doing good. To change that dynamic IMO needs a much greater system to be introduced and be worth the risk. However .1 has multiple times said no one has come forward to take his shoes as head admin. So when you boot .1, what then?

lawANDorder
Posts: 139
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Re: Future of RAGL

Post by lawANDorder »

Related: #17578

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Punsho
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Location: Lithuania

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by Punsho »

I think this season was the best in terms of masters league, but minions seemed like a complete mess. Afaik it lacked administration and rules were completely ignored. Most people haven't finished all their matches, and they weren't even punished for it. Players were pretty much left to deal with issues on their own. I had quite often to intervene and solve problems in RAGL, do things that were previously netnazguls job, since admins always took ages to respond and actually do stuff. I could do that since I run the bot and have access to interworkings. There's clearly a lack of manpower and more active people need to be recruited. This has been addressed by .1 and they are looking for more admins, but noone seems to want to step up. I just don't like minions and administration issues being downplayed because of success of masters league

And now about admin recruiting. I feel like people don't want to step up because .1 is in charge, while he's often reasonable and does a decent job at being an admin, he's also often toxic, creating unfriendly environments. Many people don't like interacting with him, to a point that they don't want to touch anything .1 has hands on. To quote Goremented "A ragl admin should not have the luxury to be a person who people prefers avoid to interact with"

Yara
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:22 am

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by Yara »

[1] More active administration of both, Masters and Minion
The keyword here was "both". Minion was left to itself. It is a bit sad to read how that seems to not be an issue to some players. There were a lot of new players who played RAGL for the very first time. Some of them seemed to not understand the rules or how RAGL works, they seemed to not understand that they have to organize games themselves for a while etc. Should the focus have not been on them?
Things I take an issue with:
[1a] When being challenged by a player why certain players were promoted directly into Masters, the response was very aggressive and personal in nature ("Why do you ask? Are you angry because you were not promoted?"). This is not acceptable. That person dropped out a few days after, even though he said it had nothing to do with the response.
[1b] It was after 2-3x weeks visible (in minion chat) that certain players have lost interest in finishing the season. While there were people ready to step in (ex: Kaution, who got super excited to play ;) ), these zombies were identified too late. When I tried to get some more active players in, the response was "too late" and when being questioned, the 2nd response was in the usual aggressive tone: "that is none of your business".
[1c] I tried hard to motivate players to finish their games, to play them at any given Sunday etc. Explained the rules when questions appeared. Admin activity: "Hey, you got 2x week left", "Hey, I freeze the table tomorrow".
[1d] The table was frozen when 2x players could have still made it to the 3rd place. The admin seemed to not care about it or at least acknowledge the situation at all, even though both players agreed to make a decision match. Unfortunately, that never took place. He just froze the table, closed the channel and called it a day.


(2) Trying to be more nice to the players, especially to new ones
[2a] I knew him before, but I was still surprised by the very aggressive comments which were made at the very first game being casted: ILM vs morkel. Is that really our standard? Check the Youtube video. Maybe people are used to that, but I was not. I guess others who will join this won't be prepared for that either.
[2b] Responses when being challenged on certain decisions were always very aggressive. Maybe it is here the same, many are used to it and choose to ignore it. I really don't care how I am treated, but I can't stand it if others are treated like shit by people in power. I also think an admin should always stay calm and respond in a civil tone, even when the raised issue was poorly phrased.
[2c] BioMacMen posted 73x (!) Minion videos in just a few weeks. Then one day, it is announced out of nowhere that Kaution is the official caster. I immediately intervened and told Bio that he can ignore that and just cast whatever he wants to. Bio responded to the admin with "What do you mean by that"?. Guess what happened? He stopped casting after that entirely. Maybe life got in the way, but that should have never happened. Either the admin knew nothing about it, or choose to ignore it, both are bad.
[2d] When I raised an issue about a map, apparently without enough proof, the first reaction was again pretty aggressive. I don't expect an admin to immediately take action and find a solution. But a simple "thanks for the issue, we will look into it. Until we know more, the map is banned" would have been enough. I know he reacted that way because of me, but what kind of example does it set for others? What if someone else reads it and also find an issue? Will that person then post it? I am not so sure about it.
[2e] I think it is pretty disrespectful to make comments like "OpenRA devs this, OpenRA devs that", or to say "yeah those OpenRA mods suck". First of all, these people put a massive amount of their private time into building something we can use for free. Just because one disagrees with the direction does not justify those pretty negative comments. They are also not at all productive.
[2f] Post Season: (i) reacting negatively in the forum feedback thread, (ii) reacting in a defiant manner to a PM asking if he would consider to step down, instead posted a screenshot of the PM in the public chat with a video saying "I am not going anywhere", (iii) Deleting a Discord post which criticizes him within 5min. Instead of addressing the issues, getting personal.


[3] Involve the people more who care about the game (Balance, Maps, Casting, Devs)
Balance:
I think it was pretty good. My plans were to have an official Balance team that steers the direction. My idea was to give that role to Happy, Widow and Punsho. Sure, they disagree a lot but I don't think that is a bad thing. Those compromises could be good for all of us. Unfortunately, multiple of them already said they don't want to be forced to be in a group with the others. That is really a pity, I wish people could be more professional about disagreements and try to keep discussions more civil, but well. I also learned by now that the mastermind behind the balance is actually goat, maybe he wants to have some official role? My idea was further to give the "Balance team" some power, as in, the normal RAGL admins would not interfere in their decision making. The team should of course be able to include the community opinion about balance issues.

Maps:
Same here, I thought WhoCares and Widow could form a "RAGL Map Team". Widow, and maybe others, could review maps and make sure they fulfill RAGL standards. WhoCares then at the end produces the final RAGL maps, once it is clear which maps have been selected.
Also, I think the map selection process should be 100% transparent:
(1) Make a "Call for Maps" post.
(2) Evaluate maps if they fulfill the standards
(3) Make a full community vote what players want to play
(4) Create and Public Map pack and start playing!
I disliked that there was some kind of "behind the scenes" things ongoing in the map selection process. It was published just before it started, while some RAGL pros knew already which maps are being played. I was als disappointed that there was never a vote, which was mentioned somewhere, I think in the forum thread?

Casting:
Help Casters and Players get together. Make a public Calender, where players, who agreed on a date and are both ok with it being casted, could register it so that (1) Casters may choose to make a session then and (2) also all players can plan their day/week according to certain games. It could increase the viewership massively. Currently, it is like this: "I am online, oh, there is a Masters game ongoing in a lobby server, lucky me".

Devs:
Well, obviously trying to find common ground and see how the game can reach both, a certain level of depth for the competitive community as well as keeping to a certain degree true to the original game. There are already ideas about different "configs". I wish that discussion is being picked up again.

[4] Thinking about using technology more, so players can focus on the game
We are not bad in this, but as I mentioned before, what about a calendar, where players optionally add dates when they play? Is Google Docs really the best choice? Is the replay upload to Discord channel a good idea? How do other communities organize these kinds of events, are there lessons to be learned from them?

As the badge thing was mentioned:
I think they should be given out way more easily. Professional games also shower you with them. Gamification is a thing and it works to reward players, also for smaller things.
Why not:
- Give RAGL Master 1-3 a badge and Minion 1-3 as well (not saying that because of myself :>)
- As well as any tournament who got more than I don't know, 10 players? 12?
- I proposed in the academy to offer a badge to students who made it to level 4. net said that might create too much overhead. Not sure about that?

RAGL server
I was skeptical at first, but think it was from a technical point of view pretty good. It separates different focuses: OpenRA: Tech and more, Academy: Teaching, RAGL: Competitive.
The only issue I see is that it promotes a certain level of tribalism in this community with the constant "us vs them" talk. I tried to stay away from that, but well, I still think that does not disqualify the separation. People should just be smart and not join that "game".

[4] Repair relationship with OpenRA devs
See above. The fact that the RAGL admin is not in the OpenRA server, and the head maintainer (I hope I got that right) is not on the RAGL server is pretty sad and it is clear that there is an issue. Als that certain "high-level" people are not talking with each other.

[5] Check if Ladder-Servers could replace RAGL in the mid-future with Monthly Champions
I am excited about this due to my time in Command & Conquer: Generals (and zero hour) where I was pretty active in the competitive community.
The monthly ladder was the highlight of the month. There were 1v1 champions, 2v2 champs (not so sure about this one tbh) and Clan Champions. Our clan sucked, but it was still a lot of fun. We were pretty proud to have made it one month into the top 20. Good times. I am still in touch with my 2v2 mate, as he is now my insurance guy^^ I tried to get him to play this game, but he is kinda busy, but I am still working on it.
Back then, we also had to report all games ourselves into a homepage and upload the replays etc.

If we could have something like that, it would be great for the following reasons:
- reduce massively the overhead: if we can (1) automate the result reporting, (2) automate the replay uploading.
- Live rankings, stats every month, every day of the year. If this would grow, we could think even about a match-making system.
- Why not creating a ranking for 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, Clans?
- This could open the door to a lot of new players, who may never find their way into the forum/discord etc. No registration needed to play competitive, you just come and go as you want.
- Sure, some people dislike the "spam character", but for that, there exist some models to prevent the benefit of spamming.

I have to admit I choose a poor wording, as I would have preferred a ladder. But of course it does not need to replace the RAGL if people prefer that. I just found that the RAGL season was too long and too much overhead.

btw, some players were arguing strongly in favor in the beginning to create a large table. I warned that this might not be a good idea. Guess what? The players who were the most vocal about it played in Masters (smaller table) and only started playing at the very end of the season. Those who were not in favor were stuck in a larger table and had to deal with the consequences. Not everything which looks fun on paper works out great in reality :)

---
This became a lot longer as I expected. I tried to structure it a bit more. You may just read the parts you are interested in.

I am happy to respond to questions in a civil manner, but don't feel like responding to certain accusations. Thanks to those who kept a clear head and tried to have a constructive discussion.

lawANDorder
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by lawANDorder »

I am slightly interested in this topic because I once made some now erased plans for connecting more information from the game with the forum accounts. To add an outsiders perspective:

> I think it is pretty disrespectful to make comments like "OpenRA devs this, OpenRA devs that", or to say "yeah those OpenRA mods suck". First of all, these people put a massive amount of their private time into building something we can use for free.

I don't have the impression that anyone is putting a lot of time into OpenRA beyond their personal goals at the moment. :P

> Well, obviously trying to find common ground and see how the game can reach both, a certain level of depth for the competitive community as well as keeping to a certain degree true to the original game. There are already ideas about different "configs".

I have the impression that discord pretty much has free reign over upstream yaml, for everything else there are map-mods. Configs are even if everyone agreed quite some work to build in, so I'd advise anyone to utilize option one or two.

> As the badge thing was mentioned: (...) Gamification is a thing and it works to reward players, also for smaller things.

Yeah, that is doable when the game can send information to whatever the backend then is and that information can to some degree be trusted. Key is automation. Competitions are only one element, mission and ingame achievements might be even more interesting. Exciting stuff that is not going to happen soon :P

> The fact that the RAGL admin is not in the OpenRA server, and the head maintainer (I hope I got that right) is not on the RAGL server is pretty sad and it is clear that there is an issue. Als that certain "high-level" people are not talking with each other.

I locate the issue rather in the assumptions behind that statement than in the relation of Discord admins and project maintainers :lol: Tbh, when looking back, I think it would have been better to not overload some minds with what seems to be mainly consuming time and energy for no gain.

> reduce massively the overhead
see the PR above, there is apparently an unofficial ladder coming soon.

Besides this, from what I've read I have the impression that .1 has the required authority and lack of empathy for managing a bunch of people on the internet, so think twice before trying to replace that (what if the hate stays no matter who is in charge)?

Ronald
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:05 pm

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by Ronald »

Yara wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:11 pm
As of now, WhoCares, Orb, Ganon and me decided to not join the next RAGL season.
That - to me - is a really sad thing to read. The "top RAGL players" deciding not to participate anymore.
Yara wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:11 pm
I was considering for a while a RAGL 2 anti-league, but I don't want to waste my time,
and I was convinced that it would be a bad idea to further split the community.
When you keep the spirits up Commander and continue to look for other ways
to really enJOY those awesome Openra Matches, i'm sure you will find (more then one) way.
Yara wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:11 pm
So if no change is possible, we have to live with the status quo, but we opt-out.
Status quo's only exists inside one's mind and totally depend on one's current RAGL context and mindset, since - to my opinion - "Change is always possible". One therefore only has to switch their viewpoints and mindsets and one has more "change" (again) then one could ever imagined.
Yara wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:11 pm
Would be nice if we could have a reasonable discussion here. Comments / Thoughts / Feedback is very welcome. Please no drama (:
Although i've personally never entered any online RAGL tournament:
- I've watched many good RAGL matches on the famous Five Acess Youtube channel.
- I've also read (in-between-the-lines-of) many postings on the RAGL section on the forum.

From that experience, I have come up with a few suggestions for a RAGL NG setup.
Let me know if you are interested in then Yara.

Yara
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:22 am

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by Yara »

lawANDorder wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:24 pm
> Well, obviously trying to find common ground and see how the game can reach both, a certain level of depth for the competitive community as well as keeping to a certain degree true to the original game. There are already ideas about different "configs".

I have the impression that discord pretty much has free reign over upstream yaml, for everything else there are map-mods. Configs are even if everyone agreed quite some work to build in, so I'd advise anyone to utilize option one or two.
Could you elaborate on what you mean with "free reign over upstream yaml"? I am not sure if I follow :)

I assumed that it would be a central change, and people have voiced already that they are against it and it might also not be so easy to maintain it (the differences in each config/mode).

Still, to me, it looks that a lot of issues are based on how certain (majority) groups of player prefer to play the game:
- Group Singleplayer: For them, the game should stay as close as possible to the original: Keep the dark shroud, don't change the units or buildings. Original maps are important, but new once are nice as well I guess. They also like to play the missions.
- Group Casual Multiplayer: For them, small changes to the original are ok: No dark maps, but shroud. Crates on, fast speed. Changes to units or buildings seem to not be a problem for them. A considerable part of that group prefers "chocky"-maps where they can play the sim-city-style game.
- Group Competitive Multiplayer: For them, all changes are fine as long as the game becomes more challenging: Changes to units, buildings or anything else really. They are happy to sacrifice "original game elements" if it means the skill level is increased.

If we could split up the modus in the map tab, it looks to me that a lot of problems are solved. Competitive could just change as they please, without ruining the fun for the Singleplayers. If the Casual Multiplayers should follow suit with the changes would have to be determined.
lawANDorder wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:24 pm
> As the badge thing was mentioned: (...) Gamification is a thing and it works to reward players, also for smaller things.

Yeah, that is doable when the game can send information to whatever the backend then is and that information can to some degree be trusted. Key is automation. Competitions are only one element, mission and ingame achievements might be even more interesting. Exciting stuff that is not going to happen soon :P
Yeah, I think the sky is the limit ^^ I am waiting for the day where we will have really cool Singleplayer-Campaigns with some people doing funny videos at home for the introduction of each of their mission. For badges, my impression was that for the low hanging fruits, it does not work because the right people are not talking with each other :'(
lawANDorder wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:24 pm
> The fact that the RAGL admin is not in the OpenRA server, and the head maintainer (I hope I got that right) is not on the RAGL server is pretty sad and it is clear that there is an issue. Als that certain "high-level" people are not talking with each other.

I locate the issue rather in the assumptions behind that statement than in the relation of Discord admins and project maintainers :lol: Tbh, when looking back, I think it would have been better to not overload some minds with what seems to be mainly consuming time and energy for no gain.
Could you elaborate? Or are you saying, it is in everyone best interest if there is less talk (about the same old problems)? :)

lawANDorder wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:24 pm
> reduce massively the overhead
see the PR above, there is apparently an unofficial ladder coming soon.

Besides this, from what I've read I have the impression that .1 has the required authority and lack of empathy for managing a bunch of people on the internet, so think twice before trying to replace that (what if the hate stays no matter who is in charge)?
fyi, I stumbled over this a few days ago: viewtopic.php?f=85&t=21260

I can't imagine things to not improve once there is a new admin team. Sure, the drama in Discord will never stop, but an admin surely should be measured by different standards.

Ronald wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:57 am
Yara wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:11 pm
So if no change is possible, we have to live with the status quo, but we opt-out.
Status quo's only exists inside one's mind and totally depend on one's current RAGL context and mindset, since - to my opinion - "Change is always possible". One therefore only has to switch their viewpoints and mindsets and one has more "change" (again) then one could ever imagined.
Yeah, I agree. It was more a point to those who think that nothing should be changed.
I am waiting for the change (hopefully) to happen after next season. Then I am happy to return. I don't feel like joining now, as I would probably just quit mid-season when things get messy again. So it is in everybody's interest that I am not playing as long as he is an admin.
Ronald wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:57 am
Yara wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:11 pm
Would be nice if we could have a reasonable discussion here. Comments / Thoughts / Feedback is very welcome. Please no drama (:
Although i've personally never entered any online RAGL tournament:
- I've watched many good RAGL matches on the famous Five Acess Youtube channel.
- I've also read (in-between-the-lines-of) many postings on the RAGL section on the forum.

From that experience, I have come up with a few suggestions for a RAGL NG setup.
Let me know if you are interested in then Yara.
NG = Next Generation? Sure, share your thoughts :)

I am currently excited about this:
viewtopic.php?f=85&t=21260

But I don't have time for some weeks to really look into it.

AnthonyFoster
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:08 am

Re: Future of RAGL

Post by AnthonyFoster »

Yara wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:17 pm

- I proposed in the academy to offer a badge to students who made it to level 4. net said that might create too much overhead. Not sure about that?
I like the idea in general.
I would love to get my student badge, it is easy to make it level 4 for me :p

pimion

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