In an 16 player server, it definitely shows that whatever you do in the game has a greater effect in the outcome of the match. This makes actions and killings definitely feel more rewarding because you're under pressure to do a lot of significant actions for your team because of the lower player count. Less players, the more effort you have to put into the help win the team. In other words, lower players, more rewarding with actual effort from an individual. Certain players like it because with lower player counts you won't get mobbed by players as easily and it makes it much easier for players to engage in individual 1 on 1 battles which many players like experiencing this. This is great in theory. However this is definitely an idealistic view if it was in an organized 16 player highlander team.
Sadly this is the internet and players just want to have fun, fool around and do things on their own without accept criticisms or feedback. Now I am not saying their actions are wrong but in most cases it does not help their team. For example, player A builds a sentry right outside of an intel room however the intel room has multiple ways of getting in and the engineer builds in a spot where the enemy player can get into the room and steal the intel without ever meeting the sentry because of the way the map designed. Because of this, when a teammate criticizes or tells that engineer player that he should build in the intel room, his response would be typically be insulting the critic. While this does happen in other servers, in a lower player count environment, the consequences are significantly huge. One person's screw up can damage the entire team's performance. In a 24 player server, this occurrence does not happen often and because of this, your actions do have consequences but it does not affect the team as much as a 16 player environment. So players who just want to lay back a bit and just melee only won't affect their team significantly.
Another issue with 16 player server is team stacking. Yes I know team stacking can happen in 24 players but the chances of it happening are significantly less than in an 16 player environment. For months, whenever I join Nom main, I always click autojoin once I finally loaded the game however even after 60 seconds of waiting for players, I notice many players still stay in spectate. The reason? They don't want to join a team with non regulars and they want to join a team with good players. For example, what they do is when they finally connect to the server and they reached the team select screen, they hold the tab button. This brings up the scoreboard and they can see who is joining a team. Because of this when they see certain players joining a team, they let go of the tab button and start spamming the button for the team they want to join. I did some experimenting with this in nom main and I have observed this happening. 5 blu, 4 red, 8 guys still in spectate during the setup time. I joined the red team 5:5 and then instantly a person joins blu. Not an autojoin but a join and then another 10 seconds of setup and not one person wants to join red. I have experienced this many times. Because its a lower players, it is much easier to team stack then say a 12 player team because in most cases it is evenly distributed. Now I am not saying that this will take away team stacking but this will alleviate this issue significantly. More players means less team stacking problems. I don't see this happen often in nom main when it was 32 player.
Heavies. We love heavies. We want to use heavies. However ever since the 119 update, Valve had decided to buff him to the point where you cannot even kill him in a 6 vs 6 environment. In a 9vs9 environment, 1 heavy is fine however 2 heavies and up it creates a significant problem. The reason they buffed the heavy was because newer weapons made him harder to use and Valve had no choice but to buff him. However this buff was only tested in a 24 player enivironment and not in 16 players. With more players like in 12 vs 12, heavies don't pose as much as a threat because more players = more aware of heavies presence and therefore it is much easier to kill him. Personally I would not mind 2 or more heavies in a 9vs9 environment before the 119 update. But because of this significant change they did to him, he has become a power horse. I understand he is meant to be the tank of TF2 but in a lower player environment it is not fun to experience because he creates significant damage to point where even the worse player in the world can destroy an entire team with him.
I love nom and I definitely love the community however the 16 player server has definitely caused a toll on my behavior and some other players in this environment. I started feeling more aggressive, more competitive and overall, my attitude has become more negative. Yes I know I've been a negative nancy of nom but overall I feel that the 16 player environment is causing a significant problem for some us in our attitudes and psychological actions. A significant number of my nom friends who used to play on nom stopped playing because they felt the sever has come to the point where in an 16 player environment, players are becoming very cocky and too competitive (I am not counting the ones that are in school or have jobs right now). I understand the reason we made it 16 players to begin with is so that regulars can come back to Nom main and use the reserved slots to play with each other but I feel this is not working as not every regular can play everyday. I know with 24 players, the reserved slots feel or seem less significant because we're left with 8 reserved slots in the server instead of say 14 reserved player slot.
Overall, I am just not finding 16 players fun anymore. Don't get me wrong I love the Nom community as a whole but the 16 player environment has definitely changed my attitude and some of my online friend's way of playing the game. I found more flaws and significant issues occur more often in an 16 player environment then a 24 player server. I admit myself that I do like playing in 16 player servers however only in an organized 16 player match that is evently distributed and sadly no matter how much we love nom main, that server is still a public server. Therefore it needs to be converted back into a pub server environment. When it was 32 players it was too much because TF2 was not designed for a 32 player environment however 24 players feels like it is right balanced. 16 players while is fun this cannot be held true for a public server. At this point, I feel it's the right step to change Nom main back to 24 players instead of keeping it at 16 players. Don't get me wrong I love playing with you guys but I just find the teams, player's attitude and the community just works better with 24 players. I know this suggestion won't get passed and this is almost a year and an half old since the change but this is what I am feeling right now.
TL;DR Convert the Nom Main Player Count Server from 16 players to 24. Maybe even 22 players.
Edit: Lots of grammar and spelling issues etc but I hope it's readable. 18 changed to 16
Edited by kingddd, September 09 2012 - 05:59 PM.