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Approaches To Teamwork In Online Games Surveyed

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the friendly-kills-off dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 31

Thanks to GamersWithJobs for their piece discussing a new study about teamwork in online games. The study homepage has a PDF download of the student-authored paper, which is based on a survey interviewing "a total of 4,712 people" about their team-based gaming experiences online. In terms of improving and evolving teamwork, a variety of options are discussed: "A central commander role like in [Half-Life mod] Natural Selection supports the team aspect... and received positive feedback. However, an unskilled commander might destroy the team experience, as indicated by the votes for S2's Savage."

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i made it!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7663829)

first post!

omg there are so many people i wanna thank..

um, jesus


oh yeah, SATAN! (and the GNAA)

Re:i made it!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7663862)

Yea, and God said to Abraham you will kill your son Isaac, and Abraham said: 'I can't hear you. You'll have to speak into the microphone.' And God said, 'Oh I'm sorry - is this better? Check check, check check. Jerry, pull the high end out, I'm still getting some hiss back here.'

Meh. (-1, Redundant)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663910)

With online gaming there's always going to be a high percentage of time-wasting assholes. Same with everything online, I suppose.

Frist post!

Oh, I'd like to point out (0, Troll)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663947)

that this was in fact a sideswipe at first post whores.

Nice (0, Offtopic)

kgbkgb (448898) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664348)

Way to pat yourself on the back.

Re:Nice (0, Flamebait)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664551)

I thought the subtle humor might be above the capacity of some slashdot readers.

Mirror of the Real World? (3, Insightful)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663911)

"A central commander role supports the team aspect... and received positive feedback. However, an unskilled commander might destroy the team experience" That last bit makes me think of the PHB in Dilbert, which suggests teamwork in online games is just a mirror of teamwork in everything else - makes sense really.

Re:Mirror of the Real World? (2, Insightful)

SuperMo0 (730560) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665188)

Teamwork in an online game in no way mirrors teamwork in the real world.

Teamwork in the real world involves people who are committed, more or less, to the project at hand.

Teamwork online involves people, who, when they don't enjoy what's being done, they simply leave. Instantly. Which is NOT a teamwork skill you can use in real life.

Re:Mirror of the Real World? (2, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666555)

I'm not sure which Real World you've been in, but I'd like to visit. :) In the real world, the PHB world, projects have people assigned to them who are not necessarily committed to the project - rather they're committed to their paycheck and/or promotion, or worse, they are there to bring the project down. Happens all the time. Heh, real world griefing.

Successful teamwork however does involve commitment from everyone. A good team system would reward commitment (sort of self-fulfilling, but good for the game environment) above nearly all else.

Re:Mirror of the Real World? (1)

neglige (641101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666810)

Teamwork in an online game in no way mirrors teamwork in the real world.

ACK. I have yet to cover my co-worker with an AK-47 while he's planting a bomb...

Re:Mirror of the Real World? (1)

SuperMo0 (730560) | more than 10 years ago | (#7667512)

Ah, yes, but have you covered for a teammate by talking to your boss while he's finishing up the assignment you didn't do last night because you were out boozing when you should have been working on it...?

Bad commanding.. (5, Insightful)

JMZero (449047) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664117) indeed a problem in Savage. It's a problem that's solveable (there's a vote to impeach command), but players often won't bother to vote - kind of like reality.

A smaller threshold (30% or so, with longer vote time) to impeach would largely solve the problem on public servers. Alternatively, command could be restricted to those who scored well in the previous round (or they could be allowed to choose commander). These players will not be horrible commanders, or will at least be able to choose a non-newbie to command. The game also needs to handle "command vacuum" better. For example, requests for funds should be auto-approved.

I guess what I'm saying is that the problems are not so much in concept but in implementation. Like other game features in the past, "team with commander" is something that needs to be ironed out. On the whole, though, it makes for a rewarding gameplay experience - it's a good way for allowing individuals to play together cohesively without being game experts.

Re:Bad commanding.. (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664841)

Shouldn't there be some sort of way for people to practice being a commander? How do you learn if you don't get to play as a commander? If I just get impeached every time I get the role of commander, I'm not gonna learn much.

Re:Bad commanding.. (2, Insightful)

33degrees (683256) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665136)

That's the big problem with savage... since the game is only played online, there's no way to practice. The only thing you can do is start your own game and play as commander all by yourself, which at least gives you a feel for the various structures and technologies, but it's far from an ideal preperation for online play.

Re:Bad commanding.. (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666498)

Yeah, try playing Warcraft 1 or 2 before playing Savage. Or read the information on their website.

Savage has one of the most rudimentary strategy systems I've seenen in a long time. You protect your main building, you build a research center for items, you make an arsonal for weapons, you make X building to get X weapon. Its not that complicated compared to more modern strategy games. You get an absolute max of 10 workers! That doesn't exactly call for 'micromanagement' either. Even after you make all the upgrades and fortify your base/expansions, theres no REAL need for a Commander. I'm saying this out of personal experience.

After everything has been researched and its just a matter of waiting for your troops to destroy the enemy base, whats left? You can grant players temporary boosts, but you only 3 types and it takes about 3 minutes to recharge. You can grant officer-ship to certain players (only to three of them though, and most commanders pick their officers at the beginning). You can give orders, but most players already know the basics of demolishing bases quickly and effectively (read : suicide attacks with demo charges with whatever weapons going crazy).

'Offensive towering', as its called in other strategy games, doesn't work since they're pitifully weak in armor. The commander cannot make ANY offensive units for his own use. Don't even think about using the workers to attack either since more experienced players chop through them like a hot knife through butter. In the end, the commander position is nothing more than a glorified observer.

Indeed (1)

JMZero (449047) | more than 10 years ago | (#7668330)

The game should have had a commanding tutorial. Perhaps the full version does. Barring that, the best practice is to play as a non-commander (to see what weapons/towers/strategies do, and to hopefully see what a good commander does) and as commander on an empty server.

Tribes 2 ? (2, Informative)

Grand (152636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664265)

"A game like Tribes 2 'scored' in both 'worst support for teamwork' and consequently 'worst teamwork experience'."

Shouldnt this be Tribes *1*. In Tribes 2, classes and roles actually mean something. Tribes 1 on the other hand.....

Re:Tribes 2 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7665254)

Amen! The original Tribes is just team-deathmatch with jetpacks. Tribes 2 IS a team game & a damn good one at that...the best in fact.

Re:Tribes 2 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7681572)

I'd like to add that any person who ever enjoyed playing engineer in team fortress needs to play the engineer mod in tribes2. That is all.

Teamwork idea (2, Interesting)

calebtucker (691882) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665230)

I like Battlefield 1942 for the most part.. however, most of the time it feels like I'm playing by myself.

Rarely when I get on a team with some people who actually have some teamwork skills, it's great -- like all of the tanks actually working together to take over bases, or having the chopper hover over a group of tanks protecting them.

I think a neat idea for games like this would be to have a single "commander" play the game in more of an RTS overhead fashion. He can tell the units playing in the 3D environment where they should go and who they should group with. At the very least, this mechanism would just give each unit a way point. This alone would make the game have much more of a feeling of teamwork.

Maybe I should look for a clan or something.. I'm just too used to the crappy public servers :)

Re:Teamwork idea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7665293)

You mentioned choppers so I take it you're playing Desert Combat. It's a pretty fun mod, but I've found less teamplay on DC servers than regular old BattleField. I don't know why, just an observation I've had. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to do their own thing. (which is rush head first into the enemy & die, respawn, repeat) Hitching a ride with someone in a vehicle is extremely rare in DC. My cries for "Requesting a pickup!" or "Wait!" go unheard almost constantly. It's very frustrating sometimes, enough to drive me back to vanilla BF1942...which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Re:Teamwork idea (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665420)

This is exactly how Natural Selection's commander works. NS is played between two teams with differing (but mutually exclusive) objectives: Marines and Aliens. The marines have a commander with an overhead view, who can order his troops around and build structures using a Starcraft-like system. Of course, they're not always that responsive--generally guys in combat are more concerned with the alien chomping on them than the flashing waypoint on their screen.

Aliens, on the other hand, don't have a commander. Rather, they have something of a hive-mind: each alien knows where all his buddies are, whether they're under attack, etc. Buildings are built by aliens "on the ground", which gives an aura of ad-hockery to alien bases--some friendly Gorge thought it'd be a good idea to plop a defense tower in that corner.

The asymmetry between the two sides makes Natural Selection a great game.

Re:Teamwork idea (1)

calebtucker (691882) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665542)

Eh, I guess I should have RTFA :)

I'd like to check this out, but I doubt I could dig up my half life CD from some odd years ago.. I don't really want to buy another CD. It sure would be nice if someone would mod BF1942 like this (*cough* are the Desert Combat mod devs reading this? *cough*)

Re:Teamwork idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7681663)

I hate the BF1942 engine. I wish carmack would build an engine for large landscapes. He would do it best. But he's probably not the least bit interested. :(

HL2 will probably be perfect though :D That engine is going to give birth to some really great mods (Natural selection 2 anyone?)

Teamwork! (2, Interesting)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665312)

I play online games, almost solely for the teamwork. I don't like Deathmatches, I like feeling as part of a team.

My favs:

Subspace/Continuum:Highlevel play, especially when flagging. The attaching dynamic (You can warp to any spot where one of your teammates are), encourage team play.

Day of Defeat/Counter-Strike:Both, I feel offer impeccable team play, in a bit different style. I prefer Day of Defeat, as there is nothing better than hopping around ruins, laying down covering fire and slowly moving forward. As well, I think that one-kill rounds kinda suck for teamplay. It encourages conservatism which ruins it.

Diablo/Diablo II:Made for co-op.

I'm looking forward to playing FFXI, for some good team play as well.

But mostly, I play Day of Defeat now.

Re:Teamwork! (1)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665620)

I like Day of Defeat a lot; it's what I spend most of my time playing these days. I disagree with you about the one shot, one kill nature of DoD. It really encourages teamplay, since nobody can be a "superman". Sure, you could charge into the enemy's base and go on a killing spree, but 9 times out of 10 this will only get you killed. Since individuals are so vulnerable, people have to work together to take over in numbers. And nothing is more fun than a 20 or 30 minute round where both sides are fighting over the same flag in the middle of the map the whole time.

Re:Teamwork! (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7670986)

I disagree with you about the one shot, one kill nature of DoD.

You're disagreeing with something he never said ;) He mentioned one-kill rounds, which refers to Counterstrike, where you die and you're out, and rounds last maybe 5 minutes.

Personally, I only play CS in LAN games, where I can have a good laugh with someone when I die, and watch the game progress over people's shoulders while I'm dead rather than trying to spectate (if the server allows it at all). I haven't even tried an HL mod in a couple of years, anyway, and spent most of my time playing TFC, which has completely different methods for encouraging teamplay (which most people seem to forget anyway).

Soldat (3, Interesting)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665422)
Play capture the flag. Be a true leader, or a true follower, or just a stupid sniper camper. Someone's gotta defend the flag, after all.

XMP (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665751)

I don't know if any of you /.ers have heard of it, but just recently, a demo of Unreal 2's XMP (eXpanded MultiPlayer) was released. Its a great little game, and really reinforces good teamwork over anything else. A lot of people really like it, except for little things like the lack of decent servers... and the vehicles are kind of tough to get used to as well. But i've heard it compared to all sorts of games, from BF1942 to Tribes and back again. Personally I think its a bit of a mix between '42, Tribes, Fortress games, and Unreal 2. Though it is distinctly Unreal 2 flavoured. Lotta fun. The full version should be out very soon (possibly as early as tomorrow), and the best part is that its FREE for owners of Unreal 2! If you don't own U2, you can either snag it from the bargain bin, or go pick up a copy of U2: Special Edition (basically U2 reboxed with XMP), which should be out soon as well.

Either way, give the demo a shot if you're craving something new and interesting. You just might like it. :)

(PS: You should just be able to Google for the XMP demo, but is a good place for a few mirrors)

teamwork in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666315)

t0mmygunz: d00d wtf shewt hiz azz
cyklon3_81: biatch whur is he?!!
t0mmygunz: rewft0p, rewftop, wtf wtf sh0000t!!!
art3miz: d00dz ther cuming 4 teh fLAG!!! HEELP
cyklon3_81: fux i died

if i remember correctly from my online quake games, that pretty much sums up a lot of the teamwork out there. but like homer, my memory's not the greatest (obligatory simpsons quote):

Homer: Hey Marge, after your big tantrum against legalized gambling, I bet it feels pretty weird to be in a casino.
Marge: I was for the casino.
Homer: Strike three, Marge! I remember that meeting and I have a photographic memory...
[flashback: Marge wears a blue dress and has green hair. She holds a rolling pin. Homer's arms are massive]
Marge: Legalized gambling is a bad idea. You can build a casino over my dead body. Blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah.
Man: For you: it's the President. [tentacle hands Homer a phone]
Homer: Y'ello?
[back to reality] And then I said to the President -- get this -- Marge? Marge?

10,000 player Planetside anyone? (1)

Oriental_Hero (72624) | more than 10 years ago | (#7667275)

As a contrast to a 16 player game where you are pretty stuck with the players you have, how do you organise almost 10,000 players? Yes, thats the number of active players on the European server for Planetside. Check the bottom of this stats page [] if you don't believe me!
Essentially though, the system allows the setup of 10 man squads that share experience. The leader (the first to invite anyone else) also gets commmand points for base captures. The draw is that you should get more experience in a squad and the more exp, the more certifications for weapons/vehicles allowed ...pretty good draw!
Squads can also communicate easier and can see each other on maps as well as squad waypoints, but a recent update allowed three squads to be formed into a platoon and also see the other squads locations and their waypoints(objectives) too.
There's a draw for squad leaders as they get additional command powers like setting waypoints, to battleplans on the map or at higher levels, usage of the orbital strike ...heheheheh!
Squads/platoons are purely "whilst playing" structures. If everyone logs off, the squad needs to be formed again. This brings up the Outfit which is almost a clan.
Outfits are there so players can find ppl that want to play the way they like to. Outfits are persistent and you have to be invited into an outfit. You can communicate on an outfit level so that you can get invited into a squad that fits you eg: a tank squad or an airborned squad.

The leader feedback part though is pretty much "U don't like, U leave". After all, if you think you can do better, there is nothing to stop you setting up your own squad!
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