I am a higher ranked individual with admin access to our servers and a controversial topic keeps on coming back to us:

How do we deter team stacking on Battlefield 3 on our own servers? 

We have multiple popular servers and we want to keep them populated as we pay for them. But How can we prevent team stacking? Normally our clan will dominate the server ( as we are all on TeamSpeak, coordinate our tactics, and dominate the pugs)... But this hurts our reputation...

We have a scrambling script on our server to mix up players but it does not break up squads (we are always in a squad). [This also brings up the concept: It's our server, we should be able to do what we want.] Is there a script or other method that we can use on our server to prevent team stacking / one sided team domination?

We have tried enforcing:

  • After X rounds of domination, it is our responsibility as admins to switch it up.
  • Not attacking uncappable spawns
  • Team stacking in other servers ( to get it out of our system / work on tactics without hurting our clan's reputation per our servers )

We have considered implementing a team NUKE button, that kills everyone on the dominating team (doesn't count as a death), but the only means we have seen would be by killing both entire teams.

  • I'm confused as to what you really want. Your clan seems to enjoy stacking and dominating the other team. Who says you need to keep it balanced? Mar 5 '12 at 20:14
  • @DaveMcClelland Obviously, we enjoy a good domination, but we want to keep our servers balanced. We don't want people leaving our server because its all our members dominating the other team, every single round.
    – Zero
    Mar 5 '12 at 20:17

This won't be specific to BF3, but I feel like it's good general advice for this class of problem.

I spent months trying to figure out something similar for TF2, and I had a whole team of really smart people advising me, along with a really powerful scripting engine that could mold the game in whatever way I chose. I spent weeks going over gameplay statistics and soliciting opinions from the clan's members. I incorporated just about every idea, thought, data point, and everything else in at least a dozen different iterations of scripts. I tried random rebalancing, skill-based rebalancing, different weights, different times of the game... They all failed.

What I eventually learned was the following:

  • Some people play to win. They are going to get angry and quit if they lose repeatedly.
  • Some people play to hang out with friends. They are going to get angry and quit if you move their teams around on them.

You can't please both groups of people at the same time. Good people who play together and coordinate are going to steamroll. If you break them up, they'll either start losing (which angers the first group) or not be able to play with their friends (which angers the second group). If admins are going in and mucking about, they'll be the target of this anger more often than not.

If your concern is keeping the server full, make it social. People stick around when there's community, when frequently you're playing with and against interesting people. Try to make friends with another clan and invite them to play when you guys play. Then you can round out the teams with random players. That will help balance the teams while still letting people play with their friends. Plus, crushing non-organized players can get boring after a while.

Finally, consider if you're willing to break up your squads to different teams in the interests of keeping the game balanced and fun for more people. In our organization, it was pretty much a requirement that if the other team was quitting, and there was a leader on the "winning" team, he or she had to switch teams. It was part of the responsibility of being a leader to ensure the livelihood of the server.

  • 2
    I was a part of agent86's TF2 project in a non technical capacity. (One of the really smart people advising?) Sadly, what he says is 100% true. Nothing we tried was able to fully solve the problem. Our big takeaway from the experience was that we were trying to use technology to solve what was, fundamentally, a social problem. If you want to avoid team stacking, it's going to have to start with you and your fellow clanmates changing teams and leaving squad to try to balance things out.
    Mar 5 '12 at 23:30
  • This is a great reply. Im sorry it took so long for you to find it / test out methods to resolve this issue. You save me the hours upon hours of searching / implementing.
    – Zero
    Mar 8 '12 at 17:41

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