Leavers ruin big room games. Someone is going to get a massive unfair advantage. Any solutions to this?

Leavers ruin the game for big room games and I can’t think of a solid solution, so just brainstorming ideas.

It seems half the players leave when the game randomly starts after waiting for the last person to fill the spots. I get that the game is RTS but it should at least have a ready set go at lobby. This would cut down the amount of leavers immediately. It would be unfair if the last person to start or someone super refreshing the game to see when it starts, starts making first moves for hours and gaining a strategic advantage. If I was a late person I would very likely leave the game to as it is a waste of time, not a challenge of strategy and skill, just straight up unfair.

More people further leave later on in the game because it becomes apparent how pointless playing an unfair uphill game.

Beyond that, how do we actually balance an leavers is the hard part:

  • Should tech level up cheat as described here Extremely frustrating playing as leader when 2nd place abuse AI tech level up cheat - #2 by Golden_Ace be disabled?
  • Leavers just have their fleet in place but no AI, base race, but even that is unfair as neighboring players get a free random advantage, that is unfair to those further away.
  • Should the stars of leavers just disappear as in value go to zero and unclaimable? That way fleet can still move through the map but there is no resources gained. That would suck if leavers took strategic resources then erased them essentially.

Idk what are your opinions?

This basically ruins the game for me. The AI tech cheat level up wouldn’t even be a problem if this was somehow cleverly solved.

The AI tech level is not a cheat for one thing. It’s part of the game and everyone has the same chance at manipulating it. It’s even less of an issue in a 64 player game because only one person has this disadvantage. If you are worried about being able to trade with the AI, just keep your star count down… complaints about having the most stars are likely to fall on deaf ears anyway.

In all games, you can make moves before game start within your scan range. So you have a window of at least 10 hrs where you wont be set back severely. If you can’t check in on a real time game every 10 hrs, you likely wont be competitive in any case.

Increasing starting scan would widen the window of time you have from game start to stagnant carriers. That is a customizable option if you host your own game.

Cooperation with real players is more important than you are giving credit in the big games. Tech research is more important than early growth. Also, hanging in there and working diplomacy magic when the cards are stacked against you is an enormous part of the game and not something to overlook.

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Also, what’s unfair about someone checking in on the game more often than I do? They are putting the work in, I’m hoping to get some sleep…lol… not unfair.

If that aspect of the game is a major factor for you, i recommend turn based games.

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If I was the leader of a galaxy where other frustrated participants are either quitting or AFK, my job is to :Find some other remaining live player to buddy up with.

I would not help them to knock myself off,
I would help nurture them towards a 2nd place buddy finish.
We could find some common border AI player(s) to wipe out in succession.
The trick is to manage my star count to stall off the victory condition before the new ally can reach 2nd place over all other empires.
If the nominal bribe of 2nd place rank is not enough, then additional bribes can include tech trades, cash, and renown. I would also ask for renown from the ally since the galaxy was already mine to claim, but my generosity kept me in the joint galaxy for a week or more before starting my next galactic NP2 conquest… to help them.

This offer will not always get accepted, but each galaxy is a chance to develop your teamwork abilities, and challenge yourself to strategic and social growth.

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I agree that leavers can ruin big room games. Here are some possible solutions to this problem:

*Have a ready set go at lobby.
This would allow players to indicate that they are ready to start the game, and would prevent the game from starting until everyone is ready. This would help to reduce the number of people who leave because they are not able to start the game immediately.

*Disable the tech level up cheat.
This cheat allows players to level up their AI faster than normal, which can give them a significant advantage. Disabling this cheat would help to level the playing field and make the game more fair.

*Have leavers’ stars disappear.
This would mean that the stars that leavers have claimed would no longer be available to other players. This would help to prevent neighboring players from getting a free advantage, and would make the game more fair for everyone.

It is important to note that there is no perfect solution to the problem of leavers. However, the solutions listed above could help to reduce the number of leavers and make big room games more enjoyable for everyone.

I think the ready set go lobby is a nice idea, having a 24 - 48 hour time frame would be good for people to decide if they want to stay in the game instead of leaving or automatically hitting AFK.

The leaver’s star thing is pretty interesting. That might be a cool experiment or an option for custom games.

Personally I think it would be nice if going AFK or quitting would be marked on a players profile. People could create a custom game where all players can’t have over a 40% afk rate. It’s definitely not an easy problem to fix.

I don’t want to put a strike against players because those players will just create a new account.

Then there might develop a culture of not playing with (or trusting) new accounts because you decide they might be a bad person trying to hide all the times they AFKed.

Personally I do just check every few hours if a game has started and also already make my first few moves before it even starts, so they start moving right away.
But I do get the problem if it takes to long you will check less and less. specially for the big games since those take a while to fill up, so in that case a read-set-go might be good. I think if that is added it should also be a setting to turn on or off when you create a custom game.

I have notifications off (mail etc) if I had them on would I get a message that the game has started? If not perhaps that is something that can be added (or a only missing 10%,5%,1% of players message)

As for players leaving during the game, just removing the value of the stars is also not a fair option I think since that would mean that for expansion I need to bridge that gab and that means I have a big time sink between parts of may galaxy that are not well connected. you could change this by making the travel time to those stars minimal or something. The risk of that is that if someone leaves you suddenly “jump” next to new neighbors you might not have talked to that much.
Just removing them all together is also somewhat problematic since then you might get isolated and need of warpdrive many times higher than normally needed to get back to the rest of the game. It might also be used/gamed by team or users to drop out at the right time to make a ally reach the goal since removing stars might lower the end-goal if this is a % of stars captured.
instead of reducing the travel time, is it possible to rearrange/fold the space. so cut out the player and stitch the galaxy back together.
you could also do something like if a player become afk move their stars evenly trough out the galaxy so the stars stay the same but now they are scattered around the world (disable tech trading for this user since it how sees everything)

as for the tech level cheat, I will need to read up on that to know a bit more about it.

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