The Wooza Spirit

Posted by in Uncategorized, November 10, 2016

There are a number of notable differences between how Wooza servers are run and other hosters. This article aims to collect and explain the idea and logic behind it.

What sets us apart from other servers

For a while we tried different approaches. The well-known teamstacking problem was the one that broke most ideas. If a player goes out of line the first idea that comes to mind is to limit said players sphere if influence. Creating and enforcing rules, restricting movement/free speech and a tendendy to overachieve is the usual response. We tried a number of those and realised it doesn’t work.
It’s like whack a mole, you believe to have solved one problem and two more pop up.
All the while you’ve failed to realise one more effect. You’ve opened the path to negativity and alienation.
Basically this meant the end of the line for us. The problems, which can be particularly severe on 24+ servers where many humans are interacting, would skyrocket to a fest of chaos. Admins would police everything. A nightmare.

ATF eventually proposed to embrace the chaos. Freedom. Freedom to do as you please. If there are issues, they absolutely cannot be handled by sacrificing freedom. Instead, methods of information and suggestion were to be used.

The switch was daring to say the least. Existential fears were present. Allowing for total freedom on a 42 slot server, one could imagine another kind of nightmare happening.

It turned out most players embrace that freedom and leave other servers for it.

Examples for informational and suggestive methods
To counter stacking, inform players about the stack, it’s implications and how to solve it by themselves.
The “show avg team skill” on scoreboard was introduced as the informational bit.
Players now have actual data to look at instead of guessing which team is supposedly better based on how many badges they have (or whatever else).
An example for the suggestive method is the mapvote. Note the number of custom maps that are available to vote on the server.
Be aware that forcing (note the term) custom maps on players does not work. Suggesting plenty of them in the mapvote while still also having plenty of default maps resulted in the highest custom/default map ratio of all servers.
Following a path of freedom of choice made us the most effective promoter of custom maps.

Dealing with a troll

Freedom and avoiding negativity means we will not intervene unless absolutely unavoidable.
The current (May 2016) number of total bans on Wooza’s is five. From memory those are players that worked very aggressively to ruin every single round. This is increasingly rare.

Understanding a troll
What happens when you’ve decided to run a freedom-embracing server and a troll shows up? He will wreack havoc in no time, right?
Yes, at first he will. He will wreack it and be happy. Others, not so much.
Trolls are people that like to get away with shenanigans. Nothing says they do not enjoy actually playing the game.
Let’s examine what happens to a troll that builds two tunnels close to each other so you have a difficult time using it. He is not punished in any way. The tunnel has his name on it so everyone will be able to find out who did it (informative method).
The tunnel will be a pain and his team might even lose because of it. He’s not punished for it. No admin is paying him attention.
The trolls mission is to create negativity. For now he’s allowed a little bit of success.
Imagine you were the admin seeing it: Go and ask him to make the tunnels closer to each other so nobody can even get in, not even with luck. Make sure he sees you have said priviledges (activate badge). The troll will be confused and make the tunnel closer. He has fallen into your trap. You just denied his mission. Read this slowly: By ok-ing his behaviour you have completely nullified it’s effects. You’ve accomplished that without using your priviledges.
Bonus effect: Most trolls will turn into normal players after a couple of those experiences.

Let’s have another example: A marine is standing in base shooting a wall. He keeps shooting and when his gun is empty, he grabs ammo from armory and goes happily at it again. Instead of policing him and creating negativity, let him be.
Shooting a wall gets boring fast. Let’s say he’s very, very dedicated. Leave him, don’t talk to him. Ignore him. Fail to give him the attention he craves.
Eventually, a gorge will make it’s way into marine base. The wall shooter will have a choice to make. Keep shooting the wall or switch to the gorge until dead, then wall again. Because shooting a wall is boring, he will pick the gorge as target.
Once the gorge is dead, there’s a high probability (from experience) that he will actually -forget- to shoot the wall again and go for some more gorge kills.
By doing absolutely nothing you have succeeded to drag this guy back into the game. Without creating negativity, without using your priviledges.

Different kind of trolls

Music/Voice spammer
Ask them for specific songs and if they play constantly mid round, just say that it’s very welcome in RR etc. but mid round it’d be better to hear the enemy. If it persists, inform everyone how to mute players. Using CSAY for this is especially indirect. If it’s really bad suggest a votekick.
There’s no reason to do anything as mute counters the effects already.
Do insist for that specific song and see what happens.
If you have spotted someone who is exploiting the fact that the voice user is displayed too shortly to decipher for short bursts, that means they know what they are doing. sh_gag at the very least.

Spec ghosting
Any type of ghosting is an abuse of the freedom to spectate. If you want to point that out, do it in a way that your action strictly avoids creating negativity. Meaning formulating a direct warning is taboo. Type something in chat like “Spectator, know your place!”, or “Could you also tell us where the alien upgrades are? That’d be swell”
It happens sometimes that even the most respected players can’t help slipping up. Laugh it off.

Someone votekicking an afk player
We’ll try to address this with a userconfig change. Until then telling someone not to kick afks doesn’t work. Instead, explain they are denying a player their afk timer that Wooza has set. Ask them if they would like that happen to them when afk, including the temp ban that’s included in votekick.
Circumventing the afk kicker has actually become difficult. Spot someone and they’ll know what they are doing. It’s usually ok to boot them if it gets excessive. However, one afk rarely makes any difference.
One exception: Non-moving, often slightly floating players that have blackscreened (bug)
For the blackscreened, only place them in rr in the rare case you might spot that, do not boot!

Commander teamswitching after getting ejected
Ignore or laugh at them, make sure everyone else laughs at them, too.
Very often simply pointing out publicly has enough effect for them to reconsider the next time.

There are exceptions
Not every problem can always be solved through methods of ignoring, information and suggestion.
Most notably if someone is ruining the reputation of the server through abuse of the given freedoms in an especially bad an repeating way.
A commander -repeatedly- giving up and joining other team/going spec is one such example.

When in doubt (and you will end up in doubt a lot) try answering this question:
Does my action create negativity in any way? If it does, try thinking up a better response. This is hard work but the result is a community like no other.

Some cases are not clear cut or outright difficult. Like(Name removed). Do tell if anything obviously bad is happening, better we handle the difficult ones.