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The Current State of Mixed Arcade

Discussion in 'Server Discussion' started by Jaek, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Hello everyone,

    Today I'm bringing an issue into light that not many have realized exists and it has to do with Mixed Arcade, more specifically, MIN servers. I know many of you out there that play Mixed Arcade will either be in full agreement with me or absolutely appalled by what I have to say, which is completely okay because you're entitled to your opinions, I'm just here to shed light toward my viewpoints on the current state of Mixed Arcade.

    If you don't already know, MIN servers were added back in July 2019:

    This was a great day for Mixed Arcade players. Games that weren't getting lobbies for months were finally able to be played, with only a few issues like repeat games in the random rotation occurring and some bugs in the recently-brought-back games like Tug of Wool, which was quickly removed, and Squid Shooter, which to this day has not appeared in the arcade rotation.

    Many people complained about the repeat games in the rotation, so on December 7th, 2019, there became a programmed rotation:
    Essentially, alphabetical order.

    Things went well for a few months, until recently, maybe the past 3-4 months, people realized, "Hey, I could grind wins in a game by hopping lobbies!" and so it began. All day long, there was someone out there grinding wins for a game you like to play, and for someone like me, who likes to just play through a rotation, can't enjoy it because there's too much hopping in and out of players grinding wins in a specific game. The main fuel to this is roles in the Level 100 Discord. Here, I'll show you mine:
    You can see how this might be an issue. People are playing games just to get more roles to flex on people, not necessarily because they enjoy them.

    The Problem
    If you're thinking, "Jake, quit crying because you can't beat these people and man up!" Well, that's not the issue here because I can still win games. And I'm going to make a disclaimer here: Yes, I also hop lobbies because that's really the only way to get wins these days, and I'm hoping to provide a solution beneficial to all later in the thread.

    The main issue is that I, and many others, can't play through a rotation without someone sniping a game and making it - well, not fun. I always cherish competition in games but it gets to the point where there are pubstomp parties and half the lobby comprised of sweats trying to grab the win. At this point, it isn't even a "Mixed Arcade", it's just win grinding fodder. The main games that have this issue are Bacon Brawl, Gladiators, Bomb Lobbers, One in the Quiver, and Runner; namely the ones that once had quite a few active lobbies but very rarely get them today. The rest of the games usually die off with players not wanting to play them and just leaving to go find another lobby with the game they want to grind. You can see where issues arise with this, as now you have lobbies dying off at games where sweats don't feel are important enough to grind, or just too tedious. All games should be played without a doubt and with today's condition of arcade, it just isn't happening.

    Additionally, no one uses the proper queuing system to get in the games, they just memorize the rotation, view games in progress, and join the game that's before the game they want to grind, which means it's a wasted opportunity to have a proper one for the game.

    The Solution
    The solution to this is pretty tough, considering you still want to please both parties, the ones who want to see a variety of games and stay in one lobby and those who want to grind wins in a specific game. I'm going to offer two different solutions and I want to see how you accept it, but feel free to suggest your own solution.

    Solution #1: Two types of arcade lobbies, with one rotating team games and one rotating solo games, both having an algorithm to make it feel random, but isn't entirely random as repeats wouldn't occur.

    So in one type of lobby you'd have:
    Bomb Lobbers
    Micro Battle
    Super Paintball
    Sheep Quest
    Turf Wars
    Wither Assault

    And in the other you'd have:
    Bacon Brawl
    Death Tag
    Dragon Escape
    Milk the Cow
    Monster Maze
    One in the Quiver
    Sneaky Assassins
    Super Spleef

    You could execute this two ways. One way would be to have odd-numbered MIN servers rotate the team games, and even-numbered MIN servers rotate the solo games, so experienced players would know to stay in certain-numbered lobbies to get solo or team wins, and newer players wouldn't see a big difference as they mostly leave after they die and will queue regularly. Another way it to have two separate server types for each type of rotation, but I feel like that would just inadvertently split the playerbase up to where there are only 1-2 lobbies up for each type at times, and maybe even zero.

    Solution #2 (my preferred solution): Make the rotation have an algorithm to make it feel random, but isn't random, so you don't have repeats and it can't be predicted (i.e. picks a random game that hasn't been played in the past 8 games). The randomness is what makes Mixed Arcade fun in my opinion, and it should return for the sake of making Mixed Arcade "mixed" again and only bringing in people that enjoy the rotation of games, rather than people grinding out one game and hopping lobbies.

    Solution to the queuing system: Allow players to view if a game lobby is open/recruiting with a certain indicator, just like the old queue system. There's no point to not add it as we'll just find the lobbies anyway and it makes it easier on us joining games. Left clicking Mixed Arcade would still put you through Butch, though.

    This may not seem like a huge issue, but it's really disrupted Arcade over the past few months and I want it to stop. I want to go back to when Mixed Arcade was random (or at least to where it feels random, when I could relax and enjoy some short, fun minigames. I hope you can understand my viewpoint on this, and as always, have a great day.


    DISCLAIMER: This thread is NOT to call out people that grind wins in this fashion, it's the only way they can grind wins and I don't blame them, but with many people doing this, it ruins the state of Mixed Arcade.
    Posted Jun 18, 2020,
    Last edited Jun 19, 2020
  2. I agree with everything. I also have a question.
    Posted Jun 18, 2020
  3. I agree for the most part, although I think making the individual mini-game servers more readily visible to newer players would be the best bet to keep casual mixers and win tryhards separated. I also agree with how the rotation should go back to being random.

    The only drawback with advertising the individual mini-game servers more is that it would split the mixed arcade community, having the potential to have less MIN games fill up but I think a worthwhile tradeoff
    Posted Jun 19, 2020
  4. Overall the points you bring up in here are very true, but you are also comparing current mixed arcade to 2017/2018 mixed arcade where its respective games almost all had their own active dedicated lobbies.

    With Mineplex's previous decision to remove all game NPCs, for many of the arcade games, their respective communities have been diminished to the point where mixed arcade is the primary place to actually play their games. By taking away the ability to seek out individual games, you're hurting those respective communities indirectly, especially given that the new queue system does not allow you to view joinable games that are in lobby on countdown like you could at least do with "old" mixed arcade.

    To be perfectly honest, the main hindrance of mixed arcade is currently the queue system, due to a number of reasons combined with other unfortunate circumstances.
    • All lobbies start up on Bacon Brawl. While a predictable rotation helps people find games, when Mineplex is at its lowest playercount at night on the east coast, this causes lobbies to often never get to the second half of the rotation before emptying.

    • For some reason (probably to help free up memory), all empty mixed servers tend to restart almost immediately after the last player leaves.

    • Player distribution is biased to move players into lower lobby numbers when player counts aren't significantly different between lobbies (e.g. MIN-3 will always have more of a chance than MIN-5 to pull in players who are queuing in lobby, or getting merged from another mixed server that isn't starting).

      This, combined with all servers starting on Bacon Brawl really does hurt how diverse the rotation is. Instead of players being pulled out of longer-running servers during merges, they always get pulled out of higher-numbered ones, INTO lower-numbered ones.

      Generally speaking, this means that the higher you go on the MIN-# setup, the less likely you're not just going to be playing one of the first games in the rotation,
      having it empty out, rinse and repeat.

    • There are too many non-respawn (die once and you're out) games stacked in front of games with infinite respawns, or a healing system (PB, WA).
      This also contributes to lobbies emptying out much too quickly and getting sent back to Bacon Brawl without playing games that would have little to no effect on the number of people who stay in the lobby.

      If you're planning on reordering arcade, honestly the best option would to split it up into games that you're guaranteed to be playing the entire time (or have a chance of being revived), and ones that you aren't.

      Such as: Death Tag, Evolution, Milk the Cow, Super Paintball, One in the Quiver, Sheep Quest, Turf Wars and Wither Assault.
      And in the other rotation: Bacon Brawl, Bomb Lobbers, Dragon Escape, Dragons, Gladiators, Micro Battle, Monster Maze, Runner, Snake, Sneaky Assassins and Super Spleef.
    The honest to god best way to improve arcade would be to stagger which game the rotation starts based on a random number generator so servers don't constantly get sent back to Bacon Brawl when they empty out. As it stands, Mixed Arcade is the best way to find a specific game you want to play due in complete part to the lack of players playing in dedicated lobbies (blame that 100% on the purging of their respective communities back in 2018 :shrug:)

    Apart from staggering the starting game in the rotation, the thing that mixed arcade really does need is actual game updates. Many of the games have not seen updates in an unbelievable amount of time and suffer from poor gameplay easily remediable by even just the smallest changes.

    All in all, changing the current way people play mixed arcade will do more harm than good for it. The main enemy of arcade is not the people playing it to seek out individual games, but how poor its underlying system is.
    Posted Jun 19, 2020,
    Last edited Jun 19, 2020
  5. Idea: the lobbies say "mixed arcade" instead of the current game
    Another Idea: Mixed arcade, randomized rotation (as one gamemode), then dedicated servers for specific games as another gamemode... kind of like seeing solo SG and team SG next to each other -- except under team SG would be a list of every mixed arcade minigame
    Posted Jun 19, 2020
  6. Personally, I think that splitting up the rotations into one-life and multiple-life games is probably the best idea. I get the feeling that splitting it up into solo/team games would result in many more people going to solo than teams, although I could be wrong about that. However, I think splitting up the rotation like this would allow both rotations to get plenty of players, as both rotations have games that are popular with the players. And, people who wanted a single game would no longer have to sit through the full rotation, but rather a much shorter one with game styles that they most likely prefer. This could help the issue of hopping lobbies, and allow for a better experience in general.
    Posted Jun 19, 2020
    Dylan likes this.
  7. I’ve gotten back into playing Mixed Arcade recently, but I never knew that this was actually what happened wow. I was really confused as to why I’d see certain players leave immediately after a game ended all the time.

    Mixed Arcade needs more love and care. It’s a popular game mode yet games and issues often go unnoticed.

    The main suggestion I agree with is randomisation of the game order. Doing so will eliminate the possibility for players to predict which game is next and hop lobbies. That’s one of the main issues here and doing so will solve a lot of issues.

    I’m not sure on the splitting of lobbies into team and solo arcade games. I feel like it splits the arcade community by groups of players only playing certain types of lobbies, running into further problems.
    Posted Jun 19, 2020
  8. As an additional note, randomizing the rotation will not prevent lobby hopping. The current ‘culture’ of the people who play Mineplex and buy ranks and other items to support the server nowadays greatly revolves around playing competitively and obtaining stats.

    There just is not enough of a saturation of players playing arcade at any given time for lobbies not to contain people who would, to your perception, make the game less fun.

    With any randomization system in place to prevent lobby hopping, the unanimously probable result would just be people looking for specific games sweeping all 3-10 servers rapidly. I'm not going to lie, the server selector works very inconsistently and often times when I need to find a game I often just do /sv MIN-1 /sv MIN-2 /sv MIN-3 /sv MIN-4 etc. until I find a lobby I want. Like that but with every ‘sweat’ you encounter in arcade.

    The playerbase of arcade at this point is majorly people who take advantage of the current system, it's too late to sanely make changes to it now. The best that can be done would be to at least make the rotation less biased towards the games that are at the beginning of it, by making the beginning point at a random location in the rotation.
    Posted Jun 19, 2020
    Xukuwu and Jaek like this.
  9. I would be down for that, especially since games later in the rotation will be emphasized by a randomized game selector for when the server starts up, thus making them easier to grind.
    OP OP
    OP OP Posted Jun 19, 2020
  10. The reason why this is happening is because Mineplex simply lacks the playerbase for any of the specific gamemodes. Only a few types of games are open throughout the day without the need of Mixed Arcade lobbies. I believe that randomization is the best way to make the games more interesting. Preventing people from playing a game they want to play sounds ludicrous to me though. Stats are not everything, people enjoy playing specific game-modes because they just like them. For example, Cory is a well known Snake player and I am always glad to see when he joins. He is a very high ranking player for this game but nobody truly knows whether he does it for fun or for stats; that's a big assumption. I don't necessarily see a huge problem with people going to lobbies for a specific game. For me, that's the only way I can attempt to get achievements for certain games and their respective kits. The best fixes are the randomization and to get more players on Mineplex.
    Posted Jun 20, 2020
    Jaek likes this.
  11. I've experienced this problem lately and I've been unable to enjoy my Mixed Arcade experience as a Mixed Arcade player because certain players will take my games and win every single one of them, which doesn't give me a chance to enjoy playing mixed arcade. Such as bomb lobbers and monster maze, my main mixed arcade party have been experiencing this as well; with lobbies being taken by certain players. With the rotation going alphabetical order isn't "mixed" arcade. I definitely agree that the cycle should be randomized to how it was from 2015-2018. I, myself have made a thread related to this topic a couple weeks ago.
    Posted Jun 20, 2020
    BreezeBlockss likes this.
  12. I completely agree with you. I don't like playing mixed arcade and at a specific game, tryhards end up joining and leaving after they win the game. Mixed arcade is one of the most played games on Mineplex and people that just join to win and leave right after ruin the fun for others including myself from personal experience. I'd love to see an actual random rotation instead of the alphabetical order. I also believe it would be more fun for me instead of the current rotation.
    Posted Jun 20, 2020
    DeluxFTW likes this.
  13. I agree with most of this however the set rotation is something that will take some adjusting too. I myself am going for every available achievement in the game currently and a lot of the achievements I needed to get were for games in the mixed arcade rotation such as Death Tag, Super Spleef, Micro Battle, Monster Maze, etc. Having a set order made it very helpful when trying to get the achievements for these games and people. Also, people who really enjoy a specific mixed arcade game that never has a lobby can use this rotation to play the game they love so much. If you make the rotation 100% randomized, it makes it very annoying for achievement hunters and people who main dead arcade games. There is no solution that will make everyone happy and the problem can only be fixed by having more players join the less popular arcade games which is something completely out of Mineplex's control.
    Posted Jun 20, 2020
  14. I feel that the arcade should be "mixed" as it where back in 2018, however, I do feel that game voting would balance this out and potentially satisfy both issues of players wanting to play certain games and of those who want it mixed.
    Posted Jun 28, 2020
  15. I would agree with this. Typically, when people snipe games, I wouldn't consider it to be a big deal. However, when a specific game is constantly sniped in each and every lobby, it starts to become an issue. In some games, me and a few of my friends have begun to notice the same players joining right before the game they want, and then abruptly leaving once the game is finished. This almost always happens in every lobby in which the game in question appears.

    I don't know the specific steps that could be taken to fix this, but I lean more towards an algorithmic solution. In my opinion, reviving the random nature of mixed arcade would not only help resolve the issue, but also make the game more interesting overall. I think that this combined with splitting different games into different lobbies could be effective. If all the games are split into lobbies that represent an aspect of each game in that lobby (like teams or solo, as you suggested), this would reduce the pool of possible game options, meaning that people who want a certain game could join a lobby with the game included in the list and have a higher probability of coming across it than they would if all the games were combined into one list. This most likely wouldn't completely solve the issue of people only playing mixed arcade for one game, but it could help.

    If we were to focus on the solving issue of people sniping specific games, I don't think that it would be a good idea to completely bring back the old voting system. This is because people from a certain game community could bring on others who want the same game or alts in order to tip the votes, leaving the problem unsolved. It could also mean that less popular games wouldn't be chosen. However, if the voting system were altered and combined with the aforementioned solutions, it could be extremely effective.

    For example, say you have a lobby with all the team games, Bomb Lobbers, Micro Battle, Super Paintball, Sheep Quest, Turf Wars, and Wither Assault. They could all be put on a list, which an algorithm would run through. In voting, 3 games would be put against each other, and the players would vote for one. If, say, Bomb Lobbers, Sheep Quest, and Micro battle were put against each other and Bomb lobbers won, Sheep Quest and Micro Battle would be returned to the list of games yet to be played, and Bomb Lobbers would be removed. This would mean that Bomb Lobbers would not be presented as a choice in the current rotation again, but Sheep Quest, Micro Battle, and every other unplayed game for the rotation would be. Once all games are played, the rotation would be reset. This would randomize the games, making it harder for people to snipe them and reviving the random nature of mixed arcade. It would also let people who only want a certain game be able to find it more easily if they could see the "unplayed games" list.

    In all, there are many ways to tackle the issue, and none are completely perfect, but I do think that this problem is serious enough to warrant some attention.
    Posted Jul 1, 2020 at 1:36 AM
    Fusafez and DeluxFTW like this.

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