Recommendations for the Improvement of Squadron Battles

Some of you will recall a forum post I authored Feb. 10th 2021. As the old forum architecture is retired and this takes its place, I do not want the work Squadron Commanders and Squadron Members put into the proposals and discussions to be lost. I have copied the entirety of the post and comments in both screenshot and text format. That thread had 63 comments and over 10,000 views. Below is a direct, unedited copy of the original forum post, the 1yr anniversary follow-up post, and a space for continued discussion by the community here on the updated forums.



Archived Initial Post (Feb. 10th 2021):
Introduction:

The following contains suggestions for improvements to Squadron Battles, with input from the Commanders of 1MAW, 33GAC, 525th, ARMY1, AYAME, BGSTK, BigF, BofSs, CHADS, EUA, GRZLY, HRVZ, INDIA, KAiD, KHAOS, MACV, N, NAT0, NFMG, NOI, PROWL, RO6, STAHL, xTHCx, vTHCv, THICC, TRMC, Unit3, Unit4, and V1PER. Russian Squadrons: AFI, AVR, ARRC, BOYND, EGIDA, FGA, MoSB, MANUL, NEXT, SibAr, and WarCA also support the post. Members of these Squadrons have dedicated countless hours to the gamemode and to their respective Squadrons, and their insights into potential changes to the gamemode come from that experience. This represents the opinions of Squadrons from all over the Leaderboard, not simply the “Top Squadrons.” It is our opinion that the issues faced by the Top 5 may not be the same as those faced by those competing for Top 100, and that opinions from all were highly important to the discussion.

Please note: below are preliminary suggestions where we believe improvements can be made that will have the greatest beneficial impact to Squadron Battles for the greatest number of Squadrons. At this time we are not proposing exact, highly detailed solutions though those may follow in the future. These were originally designed as talking points for a voice chat we expected to occur.

To that end, below offers a summary of the discussion points we believe to be of most importance. These include Airspawns, the Rewards System, Time Zones, Promotion of Squadron Battles to the community, and the Points System. Other smaller talking points were included as well, that are aspects of others, not totally discussed out/agreed on, or of less impact. The full document can be found at this link. Below will be summaries taken from that as well.

"Previous Poll Results:



"Adjustment of Bomber Airspawns:

Issue: Bombers are incredibly strong and potent. At some BRs especially, they make gameplay dull and nearly insufferable for ground.
Proposed Solution: Move bomber airspawns back over the runway. This allows more time for tanks to spawn in and disperse and for fighter interceptors to engage the bomber. The bomber will still likely get a run off, but will then be engaged or will be forced to turn away and wait for support from its fighters. This would balance its effectiveness.
Perceived problems with this solution: In the past when discussed, there was a hesitation to change this as it would also impact Tank RB maps. Tank RB and Squadron Battles make use of the same map pool and it makes sense why this is done. However, even Tank RB may welcome this change for those who complain about planes and close air support. Or a separate map rotation can be created for Squadron Battles.


Reward System:

Quick overview for those unfamiliar:
There are 500+ Squadrons who participate in Squadron Battles each season. Of those, only 20 (<4%) receive GE rewards and those that do get relatively little for two full months of playing the gamemode (for some Squadrons, their total activity is greater than the amount of time actually present within a season). The GE prize pool offered is distributed by giving the Top 20 players of a Squadron more than the rest. For a Squadron placing 3rd, a player outside of the Top 20 received 19GE. A player in the Top 20 received about 120-140. Winning a single tournament, which can be done in just one afternoon and often solo, would yield 500. At best, it would take 4 seasons (8 months) for Squadron Battles players to see the same amount. Squadron borders and decals, which are other prizes awarded to some positions on the Leaderboard, are removed if the Squadron does not maintain its former placement. Removal of rewards from competitive play is not seen in any other games that we can think of.

Squadron Battles are played for the competitive atmosphere and team play for sure. For some, it is the only reason they still play the game. But it is hard to deny that these rewards are inadequate relative to work and dedication put in. Increased rewards or a change to the reward system would greatly benefit those across the Leaderboard, and bring in new players who are excited about competing. That alone (more interest in the gamemode) will solve many issues such as queue times, formation of teams especially in the lower/middle ranges of the Leaderboard, and more. This will be further discussed in the “Promotion of Squadron Battles” section. Alts (alternate/secondary accounts, discussed in more depth later) also impact rewards. Their use and abuse is done in part to help Squadrons achieve better placement on the Leaderboard and therefore better rewards. These accounts also rob players within the Squadron itself from rewards by taking a piece of the overall pie. As requested later, a stance on Alt accounts needs to be made. Officially they are against ToS, but in practice no action has ever been taken on them. We can understand why, but a stance on them is important to future discussions about reward changes.

Issue: Rewards do not reflect the dedication and effort Squadrons put into the gamemode. It is hard to motivate players at all levels to want to play, and not just feel like they need to play.
Proposed Solution: There are many. Some include sticking with only GE rewards while others propose decals, aesthetics, and others. The section below was written two years ago but still breaks down the system and possible changes to it well. There are further proposals in the document provided, but regardless, the system needs to be changed.
Perceived problems with this solution: Though on paper it may look like Gaijin is losing money by handing more GE out for free, we do not believe this is what will truly happen. We have seen first hand Squadron Battles players contribute to the game with their own money. Many others would be even more inclined to if they received some GE as a starter. For example: If I received 1,000GE at the end of a two month season, I may be inclined to go get another 2,500 to get a vehicle I want or premium time. Hardcore Free-to-Play players will still wait of course, but it’s believed far more would do the former. As stated elsewhere, further promotion of the gamemode and more players getting into it would yield similar or compound results.

Reward System post from Oct. 20th 2018

To further illustrate just how long this has been accurate and has persisted, below is a post addressing the reward system I authored Oct. 20th 2018. As the old forum post is being removed, I will post what was written back then below.

*The following is a proposal to rework the Squadron Battles (SvS) reward system. I believe (and I think many others would agree) that a change is necessary, what follows is simply a proposal.

The basics of Squadron Battles are: currently SvS rewards are dependent on what rank your Squadron achieves over the two month season. #1 gets 30,000 GE split among the Squadron’s members, #2 gets 20,000, #3 gets 10,000, Top 5 gets 4,000, Top 10 gets 3,500 and Top 20 gets 3,000. The top 20 members by Personal Squadron Rating then get slightly more of the GE than the other members of the Squadron. Ignoring this for a moment to make my math simpler yet still prove my point, the top Squadron with 128 would each make about 234 GE at the end of the season (30,000/128 ignoring the fact that top 20 players get more GE). My Squadron with 84 members and currently within the top 20 would make 35 or 36 GE each. At the time I am writing this, the Squadron with the lowest amount of time in game within the top 15 is at 21 days worth.

For two months of playing every window, every BR we can, the rewards at the end are sadly minuscule. SvS on its own is a lot of fun, and brings out the competitive nature in many people. But being rewarded for the work put in is important as well. It’s difficult enough for Squadrons to motivate people to play SvS over random battles (unless you are sitting in the Top 5 and always winning. Winning does a hell of a lot for morale), but if we can say, “I know this is tough and requires a lot, but THIS is what we are fighting for” and being able to point to an actually significant prize would change the game. As it is there seems to be a low percentage of the player base interested in playing Squadron Battles. Some just want to play casually and don’t like competitive play while others don’t want to invest the time or want to meet the requirements. Two months is a significant amount of time, and I believe players should be rewarded for their commitment. If I had the money, I’d reward players myself but that’s certainly and sadly not a feasible option. The following is my rework for SvS:

Instead of making the rewards at the end of the season chunk amounts that are broken down, make them into “This is what individual players will receive.” The decals are nice, but could use some changing out I think though that isn’t the primary issue. Everyone is in it for the GE (and the respect/pride of being in a top squadron but that’s less tangible). Even 234 GE is nothing for the top Squadron. Now, I understand that GE and other purchases are how Gaijin makes its money. And I feel that the money is well deserved. Great game, and we obviously all love it if we dedicate this much time to it. You wouldn’t want to give out tons of free GE because then players won’t buy as much on their own. Tournaments are a good way to earn GE without buying it. Some people can’t take that much time out of their day to play however. Though the rewards from just one tournament could be more than that of an entire season of SvS for an individual player. I think that the GE system in SvS needs to be looked at. Something like members of #1 get 5,000 GE each, #2 get 4,000, #3 get 3,000, Top 5 get 3,500, Top 10 get 2,000, and Top 20 get 1,000 each. I chose nice numbers and fairly large numbers, but this would make SvS more worth it in my opinion. 5,000 may be a bit much, but earning 1,000 GE for a Top 20 finish sounds a lot more reasonable than 35. Possible other changes may be needed with the 1, 2, 3, 4-5, 6-10, 11-20 grouping, or how long a season lasts.

Assuming an average of 120 players per Top 20 Squadron, that’s 2,300 players who would be earning GE rewards. Using the breakdown I said above, which as I said may be a tiny bit on the high end would cost Gaijin 4,350,000 GE. That’s 174 purchases of 25,000 GE from the store which would cost about $20,000. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were to get a little bit of free GE, I would be more likely to go and buy a little bit more to get a vehicle/premium time/free XP etc. I think in the end, they wouldn’t lose all that much, Squadron Battles would have an influx of new activity, with other benefits as well. Two months of hard work should be rewarded accordingly, and I don’t think the current system does enough. I’m not sure my system is the best either, as the draw to the top echelon of Squadrons would be even higher than it already is, but I think it would be a step in the right direction. Squadrons are a great place to be part of a good community (with the right group of guys) but it’s also supposed to be competitive and a “higher level” of gameplay.

Gaijin, on the off chance you read this I’m sure you can come up with a different/better solution. but I think it should really be looked at. Seems SvS has been neglected for quite a while. If World War mode does ever make it out, that could also help improve Squadron Rewards and give people more reason to be in them, but I don’t see that as happening any time soon, nor am I sure how motivating those rewards will be.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, please share with your Squadrons, leave your comments below, and see you on the battlefield*


Time Zones:

Squadron Battles right now can only be played 14hrs out of a 24hr day. We believe the breaks this system offers are far better than being able to continuously play Squadron Battles. Burn out, queue times, and more would all be worse without it and concentrating everyone into two times makes sense. However, we believe these timezones need adjusting, and with more players hopefully getting into the gamemode with these changes implemented, queue times should be less of an issue. As it stands right now, there are two windows (referred to as EU and US).

For players based in GMT, the EU window starts at 2pm/14:00 and ends at 10pm/22:00. The US window starts at 1am/1:00 and ends at 7am/7:00

For players based in EST, the EU window starts at 9am/9:00 and ends at 6pm/18:00. The US window starts at 9pm/21:00 and ends at 3am/3:00 (daylight savings shifts these times one hour earlier).

The disparity should be apparent. The EU window is actually better for Americans than their own US window is. Except for those who work a full-time 8-5 job, who get out just as the window ends. The US window starts so late, that many need to be in bed a few hours after it starts to be ready for work the next day. The US window’s late finish may be alright for the West Coast, and good for the Pacific, but most Squadrons cannot field a team that late into the US window. Those that can, are usually forced to stop as there is no one else to fight.

Issue: The current time zones are inconvenient for a large amount of the player base. The breaks are good and necessary, but it is believed that a change to the times would be beneficial.

Proposed Solution: Exact times and duration are up for debate, but the solution below shows an option that allows for the approximate amount of playtime/breaks but broken into time zones that better fit the majority of the player base. Each break could be extended to 3hrs even and still provide a good spread.

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Perceived problems with this solution: None that we can see. More players are able to play the gamemode at more convenient times yet it still allows the breaks necessary to prevent burn out


Promotion of Squadron Battles to the Community:

Issue: Squadron Battles never has a light shined on it, and much of the community does not understand the primary and initial purpose for Squadrons. This has been made evident in a number of ways, and we think that this would help many Squadrons as well as the gamemode as a whole. It goes hand in hand with many of the other “quality of life” suggestions

Proposed solution: The document goes into more detail, but this can take a number of forms. Videos detailing how Squadron Battles works, profiling different Squadrons, Q&As with Commanders, etc. But the fact of the matter is, much of the community is missing out on what is an incredible gamemode and something that can give players a real sense of purpose to play the game (helping player retention). Not just for Squadron Battles, but for playing the game itself to improve and gain new vehicles.

Perceived issues with this solution: None. Time would have to be spent improving the gamemode and showcasing it to the general community, but it is believed these efforts would yield incredible results for the Squadron Battles community as well as Gaijin and the game as a whole.


Points System:

This has been a large topic of debate, with many thoughts and aspects to it. What we can all agree on is that the points system and Leaderboard may need looking into but we do not at this time have a solid proposal for how this may look. Aspects of the current system are good, others need change or clarification. Part of this discussion surrounds the use of Alts (alternate/secondary accounts) as well. It has long been known that alternate accounts are against ToS however lack of action has led to many Squadrons deciding to use them. It is the feeling of many that a stance needs to be made. Either Alt accounts are not allowed and from xx/xx/xxxx date forward will be punished, or alt accounts are allowed and no longer against ToS. Depending on how you look at it, there are merits to both but the gray area surrounding them needs to be cleared so that either those holding out/not using them can start to or those using them can phase them out.

Another option would be a point system that discourages their use. This could take a number of forms, and some ideas have been discussed but we have not landed on something we agree on or believe is worth proposing at this time. We simply all agree this situation needs to be addressed and a stance needs to be made.


Conclusion:

We thank you for taking the time to read the above. To reiterate: the ideas here are nothing more than ideas and talking points we wish to pass on to Gaijin and the Game Developers. Speaking for myself, and I am sure many others, we would be happy to discuss and submit our thoughts in any way we can be it topics here, voice chats, or other forms. We make no demands or ultimatums, but we would implore you to take a serious look into improvements to Squadron Battles. There is a dedicated group who love it, boundless potential to expand it, and benefits for all parties involved if improvements are made.

To any Commanders, who after discussions with their Squadrons wish to have their names added to the above list, please feel free to reach out to me on Discord. My DiscordID is Grogdan#7021. Though I authored the document and post, these ideas are not only my own and instead have come from discussions involving the Squadrons listed above.

Again, we appreciate the time of anyone who took a serious read into it, and ask that you respond to the poll questions above and leave your own comments below. Remember, these are just ideas. None are perfect, nor have they been refined. They are to get the discussion started and are focused on overarching topics that would have a greater impact rather than tiny nuances, please keep that in mind and we look forward to seeing your responses and thoughts. o7



Archived 1yr Anniversary Follow-up Post (Feb. 11th 2022):
Introduction:

A year ago, I authored the above. It was the culmination of many discussions with other primarily English speaking Squadron Commanders and sought to start a discussion regarding the future of and improvement of Squadron Realistic Battles. Efforts were made the first time around to get the Russian side of the community involved as well, but due to language barriers this was difficult. Since then, that has changed. A translation of the above was posted to the Russian side of the forums earlier today and is gaining traction as well. It can be found here: (Since taken down, no longer available to my knowledge). This is where we stand a year later:

Airspawns:

Since posting: The locations of plane spawns in Ground RB were pushed back for BRs that included jet aircraft, forcing them to have a longer flight into battle than they did previously. This is similar to the change made with airfields, whose locations were also moved back some time ago due to the speed aircraft at these BRs were able to make.

Effects on gameplay: Tanks at all BRs now have slightly more time to spawn in and spread out before the bomber is overhead. However, the fact remains that airspawns, especially at certain BRs, are overpowered. This is especially true at 7.3, where the Arado C-3 defines and dominates the BR. It is a borderline necessity for any team and running four of them remains a common strategy.

Proposed Solution: This was a positive change and I commend Gaijin for making it. Though not specifically for Squadron Battles (previously requests to move airspawns back were met with hesitance as it meant changing Tank RB as well), the impact it has had on Squadron Battles gameplay has been beneficial.

Reward System:

The Rewards System has remained unchanged. Please see the initial post and embedded document to see more details regarding the issue and proposed.

Time Zones:

The timezones have remained unchanged. Please see the initial post and embedded document to see more details regarding the issue and proposed.

Promotion of Squadron Battles to the community:

The promotion of Squadron Battles to the community has remained unchanged. Please see the initial post and embedded document to see more details regarding the issue and proposed.

Points System:

The Points System has remained unchanged. Please see the initial post and embedded document to see more details regarding the issue and proposed

Conclusion:

In case the above was too much reading: little has changed.

The purpose of this is not to portray Gaijin in a poor light. I am sure there is more going on behind the scenes than we could ever imagine. Instead I wish to start an open dialogue and conversation. I had reached out to Squier prior to posting the original message. We had a productive conversation, during which he said: “For understanding: I am not directly involved in the development of Squadron Battles, but as a Community Manager I send feedback and suggestions to the developers (bug reports).” When asked what I should do regarding the document, he encouraged me to post here to collect information/feedback, after which point he “could send this thread to other developers (game designers).” I sincerely appreciate the time taken to talk to me and our conversation ended there.

Reading Squier’s messages, it appears no one is directly responsible for Squadron Battles. This is supported by the BR occasionally not being switched at the proper time. I would hope this isn’t the case and that the latter is simply forgetfulness but increasingly it appears that Squadron Battles simply has no one taking care of it. This does not seem to be the case with Tournaments (TSS) however, as they have received reworks to the ranking system, introduction of different tournaments, and sponsored tournaments.

WarThunder uniquely has two competitive game modes but one, the one more accessible to more players, is left unappreciated. Tournaments that last a day offer higher rewards than two months of effort in a Top 20 Squadron does (at the time of writing, 580 Squadrons have points on the leaderboard). Tournaments may have more streaming potential, but Squadron’s histories, rivalries, and more are equally interesting and colorful. At its foundation, Squadron Battles is an incredible game mode, with 128 players working towards a common goal with ever rotating BRs. All it needs is some attention and adjustments to alleviate stressors and issues that have long gone unaddressed. Even something as simple as the promotion of the game mode to the general community, be it in an article or YouTube video, could greatly help dilute the queue so that Squadrons lower on the leaderboard are not constantly facing much higher ranking teams. Changes to the rewards system to incentivize players further as well as potential adjustments to the time slots would also increase this.

None of these change the core foundation that makes Squadron Battles unique, but greatly increase quality of life, as would gameplay changes as those discussed regarding airspawns. Maybe there are bigger changes to really revolutionize that game mode that could be beneficial, but we feel those are unlikely as smaller improvements have not been made or even considered.

Again, I would implore Gaijin to take a look at Squadron Battles and consider solutions to the above issues as it would be beneficial to them as well as the players. The game mode is fantastic and for some players the main reason they play the game, but it needs some love. I can understand hesitance to approach or discuss with the community as players can be demanding, critical, and unrelenting but I would be happy and honored to assist as a liaison between the two if that would lead to improvements to the game mode so many have dedicated countless hours to.
I look forward to seeing further responses from the player base to the above proposals. o7 all



Start of July 2nd, 2023 Comments:

Though initially authored over two years ago, Squadron Battles has largely remained unchanged except for adjusting for the addition of new BRs. One notable change however, has been detrimental. Medals earned in Squadron Battles used to be presented on both the Squadron’s in-game profile as well as our individual profiles. The latter has been turned off, meaning you can no longer see your own personal medals from past seasons and Squadrons on your own profile’s achievements tab. Whether this was an intentional change or an accidental flip of a switch is unknown.

While we understand that the gamemode is under the control of the game designers (who have other important business to attend to) rather than the eSports team who is dedicated solely to that side of the community, we still believe Squadron Battles should receive its due attention. I, and many others, have mentioned the benefits this would provide to both Gaijin and the community. To Gaijin’s credit, Niika (one of the eSports coordinators) has reached out to me for a brief conversation regarding how we believe Seasonal BR Changes should occur and other changes we would like to see to the gamemode. In response to the former, I said a rotating, descending schedule of Season 1: #.0, Season 2: #.3, Season 3: #.7, Season 4: #.0, Season 5: #.3, and Season 6: #.7 or some variation would be preferable in my opinion. With there being 6 seasons in a year and 3 choices of BRs brackets, this seems like a suitable amount of variation and consistency. In regards to the latter part of Niika’s questions, I pointed here to the long ago written proposal as unfortunately every single argument it makes still plagues the gamemode.

I will again reiterate that the gamemode as it stands has an incredible foundation. We love the core of Squadron Battles: 8v8 combined arms with every vehicle at a BR at your disposal to create compositions with. It is the sole reason many people still play the game, but after years and years of the same thing, it grows stale for even the most dedicated players. All it needs is some attention and new life without sacrificing what makes it so enjoyable and unique. We hope to see Gaijin dedicate some resources to that end.

If you made it to the end, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read through all this. Please feel free to leave your constructive comments below. This is meant to be a community discussion, not just one crazy man screaming from the podium.

Personal Disclaimer:

I say all this as a long time veteran of Squadron Battles. I have led a Squadron for 5yrs and seen positions from Top 50 to 1st Place. I will certainly not claim to be all knowing but I do believe I have a capability to analyze and appreciate both the good and the bad that the game mode provides.
I have also organized a Squadron Commander’s Discord server for quite some time to promote better communication between competitively oriented Squadrons and to encourage a healthy Squadron Battles Community. The initial forum post had the support of all Squadron’s mentioned and I was given the privilege of acting as the spokesperson/liaison on behalf of the other Commanders and Squadrons at that time. I have reaffirmed that they continue to support me acting in such a capacity, and I am honored to do so so long as they see fit. If there were to be a day they no longer wanted me to fulfill those duties I would step aside without hesitation. Until then, I appreciate the trust they have in me.
This post and discussion is not about me. It is about every Squadron and every player from the lowest position on the Leaderboard all the way up to the very top.

1. Please respond to this AFTER reading the post/document to gauge community interaction even if you do not respond to any/all of the questions below:
  • I have read the above and agree that Squadron Battles should be assessed for improvement.
  • I have read the above, but I do not think Squadron Battles should be worked on.
  • I have read the above and have no opinion, I am responding to show I looked at and read it.

0 voters

2. Please select the issues you feel are most important to be looked into (can select more than one):
  • Airspawns
  • Rewards
  • Time Zones
  • Promotion of Squadron Battles to the Community
  • Point System
  • Alts

0 voters

3. Thoughts on Airspawns section:
  • I agree this needs to be addressed, moving them back over the airfield is the best solution.
  • I agree this needs to be addressed, spawning on the airfield is the best solution.
  • I agree bombers are an issue, but I do not know how to best address them.
  • I do not think Airspawns are an issue.

0 voters

4. Thoughts on the Reward System section (due to number of proposals, choices will be simple)
  • I agree this needs to be addressed, and would really help improve desire to participate in Squadron Battles (for myself and others).
  • I agree this needs to be addressed, though I am unsure if it will have an impact on the number of players participating actively in Squadron Battles.
  • I think rewards are fine as they are and do not need to be changed.

0 voters

5. Thoughts on the Timezone section:
  • I mostly play the EU window, and believe that the time zones are fine as they are.
  • I mostly play the US window, and believe that time zones are fine as they are.
  • I mostly play the EU window, and believe that the time zones need to be changed.
  • I mostly play the US window, and believe that the time zones need to be changed

0 voters

6. Thoughts on the Promotion of Squadron Battles to the general community section
  • I agree that Squadron Battles needs to be showcased and introduced to the general community.
  • I do not believe Squadron Battles should be showcased to the general community.

0 voters

7. Thoughts on the Point System section:
  • I think the Points System needs to be addressed in one way or another.
  • I think the Points System is fine as it is and does not need to be changed.

0 voters

8. If the decision was up to you, how would you treat Alt accounts (secondary accounts)?
  • I would allow their use.
  • I would punish their use starting from a certain date onward and not retroactively punishing for their use as this has not been done previously.

0 voters

20 Likes

亲爱的朋友,我生活在北京时区。我每天晚上想与朋友组织队伍玩联队战,只能等到22:00之后。在这个时间,我很多身处中国的朋友都即将休息,所以联队战总是很难组织起来。我希望给联队战添加一个适合使用北京时间的玩家来玩的时间段,例如北京时间18:00到次日3:00这样。

2 Likes

I Agree

1 Like

I 100% stand by Grogdans words, and i urge Gaijin and even more so the responsible people on here to actually respond to this

1 Like

Bump

1 Like