The concept of a SINS Academy has crossed my mind many times over the years. More than cliche is the idea that the life blood of any game is new blood, but acceptance into the MP community is a grind.
We all know this, and we all know why: we went through it.
Central to any effort at improving the player base is willingness on the part of the new player to learn, and by learn I mean conform. The MP community has made strides in recent months to embrace those willing, and many games now will attempt to "balance" a game with one noob on each team, or similar concessions. Today's New Player has guides, how-to threads, and replay posts that foster a much more inclusive agenda on the part of the community.
However, the principal reason so many veteran players remain resistant goes back to how challenging it is, and has been in the past, to field a group from our "inbred" ranks. There simply hasn't been a strong consensus or even prevailing sentiment until, like I say, "in recent months".
There is also the fact that any training culture we strive to embrace is dependent on the "recruits" themselves demonstrating their desire individually to acquiesce to our accepted standards. One of which is the hosting of games with the sort of titles that indicate they are "Skilled Only" and yet many new players will populate these lobby's with no clue as to whats going on, and often reinforcing the disdain veteran players have for disrespectful, brash, or uniformed players. This motivated my Sticky on Societal Standards in hopes of providing a "barometer" of the prevailing conditions in the MP arena.
I have advocated hosting "Training Games", however, no training course, guidelines, or instructional videos will bridge the gap until the community as a whole supports the effort across the board, and that requires structuring an acceptable regimen. I believe there exists a need, but to develop an "Academy", there have to be the aforementioned recruits, and recruits generally have to apply, and/or have a sponsor.
I would propose that veterans that are willing, declare so, and take on the role of sponsoring/vouching for players that have demonstrated to them an affinity for the task of learning. We could have the devs add new category in the forums called "SINS Academy' where new players could "apply" by stating a brief history of their gaming experience, what they like about SINS, their motives for learning, etc., and a statement requesting sponsorship. Companion threads would chart acceptance announcements into the Academy, and track progressive achievements of some base line metrics we could lay out.
Some things like gaining endorsement of sponsors checklist for:
- Victory over 2 hard AI in SP mode in order to advance in sponsorship.
- Approval of early build order for Colonizer capital ship.
- Scouting protocols.
- Recognizing Military/Civilian lab priorities.
- Accomplish solo colonization with colonizer and platform turret only.
Of course, to many much would be seen as rudimentary, but keep in mind; there are so many advanced tactics and mechanics that seem simple relative to a veteran player that a noob might consider somewhat complex.
In any event, a simple but structured regimen of a sponsorship type "program" could really pave the way to establishing vetted recruits and offer them a pathway into more skilled games.