Incentivize Mic Use and Match Players Based on Mic Use
I've got about 17 hours in the game so far and love it. Still a newb, I know... but BE has great potential and I'm looking forward to putting in more time and seeing the game grow. There's already lots of great feedback on the site about improvement so I'd like to just put forward one out-of-the-box suggestion I don't see anywhere else: incentivize players to use their mics more. So far, unfortunately, I could count the games I've played with other mic'd up players on one hand. Perhaps give players who use their mics during the game some marginal amount of extra coin or mod material, and match players with a track-record of using their mics more often with other players who have a track record of using their mics more often.
A number of comments on this site focus on players leaving the match early and the need for a leaver penalty, players being matched with teammates who aren't as serious about the game, and the need for a ranked/competitive mode to ensure players get to compete with others who are at their level and share their focus. It seems to me a shared underlying factor in the above concerns is lack of team communication. Reflecting back on games where my team got crushed or someone left us high and dry, the common factor is often that we were not coordinated or communicating well. The chat wheel can only do so much, and the same is true of being the lone mic'd up voice speaking into the void (which is also just a bit too intimidating).
I share the desire of many to see ranked/competitive mode on this game someday, which will help with some issues, but having spent time on Overwatch I can also say competitive play won't solve all the underlying concerns people are putting forward here. You can still leave competitive Overwatch games feeling like you were strung out by your teammates, left to die, or rendered ineffective by bad team combinations when you play with a group that doesn't communicate.
It my not be popular to say, but I'm also actually less concerned about joining a team where everyone is roughly as good as I am and more concerned about joining a team where everyone genuinely wants to work together to give it their best shot. I like playing with a mix of people who are much better than me, or much newer than me. That has it's own appeal.
Bottom line: the real game-changer would be finding a way to encourage a stronger culture of verbal communication among teammates and less radio silence. That's something I haven't found in many online games so far. It's not enough to just say in the opening game banner that communication is essential and everyone should do it. No one actually seems to listen to that. Instead, why not provide a small concrete incentive for players to follow through and turn their mics on? Better communication will lead to better gaming experiences for lots of players. Those who take the bait would end up with more of what they want and, as a final upshot, those who don't have mics or don't want to use them aren't going to be penalized - they'll just be a little more likely to play with others who don't have mics or don't want to use them.
@Matolius For example, it's not convenient for me to use the mic, because I often play at night and don't wanna disturb my sleeping family. Besides, not all people know English. I may even be ignored in chat, or only one player shows that he understood me.
@Commander-Brand - I certainly don't want anyone to be penalized for not using a mic. I just want those who do use mics to have a higher likelihood of finding each other. If we don't speak the same language, nbd; there's always the next game. If only 10% more of my games were w other mic'd players who speak my language, I think that would still make for a better experience.
@I-WORSTPLAYER-I - I hear you on the toxicity, and that's a real and valid counterpoint. I would love to see the devs put out a sportsmanship award system along the lines of Overwatch that incentivizes positivity, which is much-needed in this game. Some basic positive psychology carrots would be an easy fix to add and go a long way toward a better user experience.
To the point about 4-stacks, that's also fair and would definitely be better, but I'm not lucky enough to have 3 buds who play BE at this point. I'm too much of a newb and too casual to find a "team" on here, but there have got to be plenty of other players like me out there who want a good experience coordinating in-game online. Why not make it easier for peeps like that to find each other?
Yeah, I think winning is incentive enough tbh but it's like @Commander-Brand said, people have a lot of reasons why they don't use mic, very valid ones. For me, the whole thing is seemingly broken. I can't hear any mics, ever. I'd see them pop up, even see mine when I try to tell people I can't hear anything. Just nothing comes through so I personally have to rely on pings.
I'll be that guy but honestly getting gaming buddies to play with is probably the easiest social skill out there.
See somebody in game that you had a "good game" with. Add them, message them. They might be like sure
dude and you're off to the races.
Doesn't mean they won't be a dick later or scream in your ear though
I have a crazy amount of gaming only friends because people do just that. Between this board, reddit, twitter, and discords you're in there pal. Not everyone is trying to be hardcore; ESPECIALLY, most Bleeding Edge people.
I mean that's all fine and good, but it doesn't really address the original point of the post, which was to offer a suggestion I think would make the overall user experience better. Yeah, I could obviously do work to make friends and play in 4 stacks, as could anyone, but not everyone wants to do that, for lots of reasons, and the devs could make some small tweaks to still make the user experience better regardless. Like what's the actual objection, on the merits, to the original idea? You just don't think it's worth devs time? If so, fair enough, but I continue to think it would make for meaningful improvement to a lot of users' experiences, with the caveat that I fully agree with you on the need to address toxic culture first.
@Matolius Personally I feel that there isn't much we can do to improve the user experience other than promote the game to our friends or whoever to try get more mature players. I truly believe any poor user experience in the game right now is because of an abundance of unsportsmanlike players who don't wanna communicate, don't wanna try and don't wanna be civil.
@b4nj4x7581 - 100% agree with you that the most important problem facing this game is toxicity (which is one of the things that disincentivizes making friends in the way @I-WORSTPLAYER-I suggested). I know you saw my other post saying as much, so won't rehash it. And the mic issue is definitely secondary to that.
But here's why I think the mic issue is still important: the two problems are related. I think this game suffers from some classic problems plaguing many games, and online culture in general, where a minority of highly vocal and toxic participants ends up interacting, for mathematical reasons, with the whole community. This minority makes it seem, for psychological reasons, that the whole player base is toxic, even though most of us really aren't. And this minority incentivize toxicity in others. Meanwhile, the majority of players who would otherwise be positive opt for silence, because the cost of speaking up has been raised significantly by the jerks. Why chat and open yourself up to the risk of encountering someone toxic? Better to keep quiet and play on your own. I do that for sure.
Rewards for speaking up help combat toxicity bc they reduce the cost of speaking up for positive players, making it more likely that toxic players won't be the only ones on the mic, which further reduces the cost of speaking up for other positive players, and which ultimately results in a lot more positive experiences in the game. Gotta create those positive feedback loops. That's how you drown the toxicity.
At the end of the day, the mic thing is only one idea, and it wouldn't kill toxicity on its own. If devs address toxicity in other ways, then I'll take that instead.