This is a copy of an e-mail I sent to naa the dogs server admin

Hi naa,

I have played on Dogs servers for a while now and generally have fun. I play mainly on the 5v5 servers as I find 8v8 too random and less enjoyable as a consequence.

The main issue I have is with team balance, however a smaller issue is that of map voting. The server setting for the minimum time between a new map being loaded (at the end of the game and in game voting) and the time allowed before a new vote is allowed is set to the default zero. This means its possible for people to call and force a map change before all players have loaded the new map. Players who are half a second behind can't participate in the vote even though they're in the teams playing in the last game! This is very annoying and needs fixing. If it was set to 30 seconds or some other reasonable value this problem would be resolved. I cant remember the name of the variable but it does exist.
Back to team balance. This is the single most important factor when it comes to game enjoyment.
The bot uses Glicko/Elo to calculate team balance. This is fine if the players ratings are reliable. On the Dogs servers they are NOT reliable.
The main reason being experienced players using 'new' accounts and players playing exclusivley on unranked servers so their
rating never increases.

Why do you not enforce a minimum number of games (for a more reliable rating) before allowing players to join?
This single change would make a massive difference to rating reliability.

Why allow a default rating of 1337 (Leet or Elite in text speak) to be assigned to 'new' players?
This needs to be fixed immediatly! It wrecks team balance. This is a Minqlx balance setting please fix it.
Many times players who are complete noobs (very common) or uber skilled (very annoying) join (1337 rated) and ruin any semblance of game balance.

Why have such a wide skill range 700-1800 elo? This causes major problems for team balance.
Often you will get a player on the upper limit say 1750 in a game where the average elo is 1200-1300.
These players have to carry weaker team members but they still often prevail. For them its an easy ride.
Noob bashing is great fun for them. I say go play with players in your own league. Its easy to stand tall in a room full of midgets o_O

A much better approach would be to set a cap of say 1000 elo for beginners/casual players and from then on use a series of servers each increasing in skill
by 100 Elo/Glicko. Then have a spread of 200 for entry.
for example..

Dogs server 'A' would allow players in the range of elo 1000 Max for beginners

Dogs server 'B' would allow players in the range of 1000 to 1200
Dogs server 'C' would allow players in the range of 1100 to 1300
Dogs server 'D' would allow players in the range of 1200 to 1400
Dogs server 'E' would allow players in the range of 1300 to 1500
Dogs server 'F' would allow players in the range of 1400 to 1600
Dogs server 'G' would allow players in the range of 1500 to 1700
Dogs server 'H' would allow players in the range of 1600 to 1800
Dogs server 'I' would allow players in the range of 1800+

Dogs server 'J' No elo filtering a true 'open' server for experienced and noobs alike...
Popular servers could be duplicated to cater for increased demand. Probably in the 1200-1500 range

All these servers would have a strict limit on the minimum number of games played before their rating was accepted.
Make all mainstream servers ranked to maintain accurate elo ratings.
These tools are built into the the Minqlx balance plugins....
If all games are ranked and all players have relaible Elo them the handicap system can be removed.
I play on the 5v5 Handicap exclusivley now as the teamsize suits me and the smurfs (elo fakers) have their wings clipped!

Using these criteria players would not be confronted with players 500+ elo points above them.

The maximum advantage an opponent would have would be 200 elo which translates into approximatley a 25% chance of defeating them in a 1 on 1 encounter. Check this link for
Winning Probabilities from ELO Ratings

Another problem with team balance is when new players join a previousley balanced game. Several things can happen.

1) Game remains balanced. No problem here.

2) Game becomes unbalanced and bot recommends player A swaps with player B. Then we hear the shout !a

If players swap fine.. if not then rage ensues often resulting in kick votes and nasty things said about your mother.

The single biggest reason (I suspect) for players not wanting to swap (especially in the latter stages of the match) is because they lose their score and as a result

they can no longer finish top of their team. Also and perhaps the most unfair is that they are now vulnerable to being forced to spec if someone leaves on the other team.

This needs fixing. Im not sure if players scores can be preserved on the scoreboard but they could be preserved by modifying the Minqlx balance plugin and used as a variable when determining who goes spec in the event of a quitter. So we may not be able to preserve a players team placing but certainly they could be protected from being unfairly put into spectator mode.

If you decide to implement any of the changes I propose and need any help then let me know. I have run servers in the past and I know my way around both Linux and Minqlx.

Also if you need server resources then I would have no problem in both financing and setting up the above system in a mid european country using the Dogs server brand.

I love quake.



I will post a copy of this on ESR to guage community feedback