- Provide an additional option in the Game Finder to allow games to be sorted according to the rank of the person that started the game. The option could be set either low-to-high (cooks show up first) or high-to-low (conquerors show up first).
- Include an additional option that searches only for games started by players within a specific range of ranks.
- Adjust the behavior of the "Join a Game" button for New Recruits to sort games by rank (low-to-high) and possibly only include games initiated by non-officers on the default list. New recruits could still access the games started by higher ranking players by searching with the "Game Finder" and not checking the rank sort option or the rank range option.
Various means have been proposed to help new recruits get into winnable games and to reduce the potential for farming. By sorting the games according to the rank of the player that started the game, the first games new recruits come across will be those started by lower ranking players, which will presumably be much easier for them to compete and win at. The sorting would not take into account the ranks of other players that join the games. Furthermore, the default "Join a Game" behavior would be restored to the way it presently works once a player receives his first promotion.
The sorting option should also be provided to other players. Very few more experienced players would be interested in sorting the games so that they see a whole bunch of games started by cooks at the top of the list, but many might like to sort by rank within a range of ranks. For instance, a Sergeant might want to search for games started by players with ranks between Corporal and Captain.
This will improve the following aspects of the site:
- This will make it much more difficult to farm new recruits and will even give lower ranked players an easier way to find games more in line with their experience level.
- This should allow new players to find a wider variety of games rather than having the "Join a Game" screen filled up completely with 2-3 game settings due to higher ranking players starting 30+ games on a specific map.
- This should make it easier for experienced players to find more challenging games and for newer players to find games better suited to their skill level.
- This should actually help higher ranking players that really enjoy specific maps avoid farming charges. New recruits will not immediately find those games, and lower ranking players will have an easier way to avoid them, so the players that do join those games will tend to be somewhat more experienced.
Possible Questions and Objections:
- Will this make it tough for games to fill up with players?
I don't think it will. The 50 or so Circus Maximus and City Mogul games on the first page of the "Join a Game" screen might fill a bit slower, but the players that do join are more likely to be somewhat higher ranking players rather than cooks and privates. In fact, I suspect this will make it easier for players that are fairly new to the site and start their own games to see them fill up a bit faster.
- Is there potential for abuse?
As with most changes, probably so. It will certainly make it easier for higher ranking players to find games that they anticipate being able to win easily. However, a pattern of such behavior is much easier to label as farming than is simply creating 100s of games that newer players are likely to stumble in to.
- Will this limit the possibilities for newer players?
No. New recruits will not be prevented from joining any games they can currently access. If they go through the "Game Finder" and only select the "Waiting for Players" and "Public games" options they will see the same list they currently do. The default behavior of the "Join a Game" link (for new recruits only) would include the additional options of "Sort games from lowest rank to highest rank" and "Only show games started by ranks from Cook to Sergeant First Class" (for example). New recruits would be completely allowed to join those other games, but the ones that do will be the ones that put in a bit more effort than simply clicking "Join a Game" and jumping into the first 4 games listed. Thus, the players that get into the games started by higher ranking players will be those that put a bit more effort into their play and are less likely to be chased away due to a few losses to experienced players.