Today we’ve released a small update called ‘Bootcamp.’ Bootcamp aims to create more welcoming learning environments for new Natural Selection 2 players. It does this by allowing servers to restrict their games to new players only, while allowing more experienced players to join as spectators.
When new players join NS2, it is very likely that their first games will be played with very experienced teammates and opponents. Because NS2’s skill curve is so steep, that means a new player might not have the opportunity to get a single kill for several games. We think this might be deterring new players from continuing to play for long after their initial purchase.
If new players have the opportunity to learn with people of similar skill, it is possible they will enjoy NS2 more and be more likely to play more.
To help new players learn in Bootcamp servers, bots will automatically fill empty slots. These bots have been significantly upgraded from the bots you have seen in NS2 in the past. Most importantly, they can do a passable job at acting as Commanders. New players can jump in and out of the Commander role, and bots will fill in the gaps.
Bootcamp approximates ‘new players’ as any player with a Hive level below three. If a player has such a level , they can join Bootcamp servers. After completing the tutorial, or after reaching Hive level 1, they may also join normal servers, but cannot command until reaching Hive level 3. Players with a Hive rank of higher than two can still join Bootcamp servers, but only as a spectator.
The Hive rank system is not perfect: Not everyone with a Hive level below three is a new player. But we think it will be a fairly good approximation.
The Play-Now button will tend to favour Bootcamp servers when searching for games for a new player. As a player’s Hive level increases, the Play-Now button will favour servers with more experienced players.
Please let us know what you think about this update. We’re especially keen to hear from new players, about their first few hours in NS2 went down. We’re excited to hear suggestions from experienced players about how new players can be introduced to NS2.