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Revising the Tournament System Post-Worlds


#1

So Worlds is now out of the way and congratulations to @mediohxcore for taking it down. I hope we can arrange to get an extra status bar for his account on here to go with “Stimhack Author” and “Live Streamer”.

Anyway, the main thrust of this post is more to discuss what we think of the tournament format now we’ve had a full season’s play with it. In particular, are we all still happy with double elimination - given how unbalanced the game is between Corp and Runner right now?

Secondly, I read in the other thread that players in the swiss rounds were paired based on alphabetical order of surname, resulting in a systemic bias of tied players being paired up/down accordingly. It is a sad day for the game if event organisers aren’t well-informed enough to be able to realise the implications of such an error. I hope their tournament software (when it eventually arrives) doesn’t make such a basic error.

What do we think of the current tie-breakers and would we revise them given what we’ve seen this year?


#2

FFG’s ‘software’ has been pairing like that from the get. Reason why my teammate Aaron Andries was at table 1 all Gencon 2013.


#3

check this out for good tournament software for anr:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4vDaAKM0rwKRDB1VUdPU3k5VlU&usp=sharing


#4

I still like the double elimination. The option of both side single elimination where ties are measured by difference of scoring/stolen agendas was worse. That was very unfair for decks like PE and I don’t want to see that system ever coming back. Other feasible option is best out of three single elimination where third match side is decided by random or stronger swiss position can choose. This system would still have the unbalance of one side playing more corp than other. Also it would add a little more time to the elimination but single matches would decide less. Biggest problem of double elimination for me is dropping without even having chance to play other side, the bracket is also a bit hard to follow.

The problem of Corp/Runner unbalance creates these issues. I would also like to see option of changing your decks completely for the elimination rounds to keep them more interesting. Everybody will know if you play a surprising deck in the swiss.

SoS decides a way too much who gets the cut to elimination. I am not sure if I was only one liking the Weak Side Win tiebreaker. SoS isn’t so much of your hand but WSW you can affect by your own play. WSW is a bit artificial but I feel it’s better than SoS. SoS has a huge problem with players dropping in a big tournament. There needs to be a weighted SoS at least if that is used as only tiebreaker.


#5

I agree that the game is unbalanced in favour of the Corp right now, but I think that problem was exacerbated substantially in the Worlds double elim by the current state of the meta. We especially saw it in the finals, where two Andy decks tuned to beat blazing fast NEH decks ran into slow, grindy decks and faltered.


#6

Bingo. That’s the rock-paper-scissors luck of matchups. Love it.


#7

I’m all for having a varied metagame where certain Runner decks are best against certain types of Corp decks, but with Corp dominant overall and the best Corp decks being polar opposites of one another, it does turn into rock-paper-scissors. And that’s absolutely a problem.

I went with Inject Noise specifically to get around that, albeit at the cost of the known risk of higher variance. I knew I’d need to get lucky to make the cut (and I didn’t), but that risk and outcome is more palatable to me than (hypothetically) bringing an anti-NEH Andy deck and then running into RP five times – because I chose to accept the variance risk when I built the deck. Whereas even in a well-understood meta, you don’t know what your individual matchups will be.

I think once FA slows down a bit and most Runner decks don’t have to be laser-focused on either FA or glacier, we’ll see a significantly healthier metagame.


#8

FFG where asking for input on mixing constructed with limited in the tournament, so some form of limited tournament option will likely by available in the not so distant future.

Lukas sounded like he wanted to run a modified strength of schedule instead of regular when I chatted with him about tiebreakers. My suggestion was to run Cumulative scoring as first tiebreaker but in general they need new tournament software if they want to do something about the tiebreakers. I think Strength of Schedule has been “OK” for pretty much every tournament I’ve played in besides worlds, but with the amount of drops in worlds it’s just bad to have as first tiebreaker.

More information about Cumulative scoring can be found here (as well as other systems used in chess where swiss has been common for a long while and have a similar scoring structure):


#9

Is the alphabet thing really news? I’ve yet to be at a tournament where I don’t get paired up (usually first or second round) with my roommate because our last names are somewhat close.

Cumulative scoring looks pretty great, actually. Might make for some rough early games for some folks but shouldn’t be impossible to recover from, and means that stamina in Swiss isn’t as big a deal (though still obviously important), so if your losses come right at the end you’re not quite as far out… which I like for personal reasons.


#10

It’s not so much the R-P-S effect I’m objecting to - that’s just metagaming and is part and parcel of the LCG experience. What I’m talking about is the fact that you can drop out of the KO brackets without getting to play one side and, hypothetically, you can win the tournament without playing one of your decks as well.

If a game isn’t balanced 50:50 then randomly deciding what side you play isn’t fair. I buy that the seed has the advantage in the first round, but currently all seeds will choose to play Corp and have a better than 50% of winning, leading to random determination in subsequent rounds in the vast majority of cases. It then becomes a really big deal if you win an early game with the disfavoured side because it means you’ll quite likely get at least two rounds in a row with the favoured side.

@mediohxcore: How many games did you play with each side in the KO stages? I’ve seen the bracket up to the Winner bracket final and it looks like you played C,R,C,C - is that right?


#11

This would be a cool idea IF THERE WAS ANY TESTING DONE FOR THE LIMITED FORMATS WHATSOEVER AND THEY WEREN’T SO TERRIBLE. Seriously, though, if it’s stimhack cube, I am 100% on board. If it’s FFG draft packs, absolutely not.

I don’t think tiebreakers are a huge problem. However you do them, someone gets screwed and has barely any control over it. That’s the nature of swiss. To me, there are two big problems with FFG tournaments right now, (not including prizes, which I will leave out of the equation):

(1) lack of cohesive rules for enforcement. The rules for the game are great, they’re clear, and almost everyone knows them. Rarely does a judge get called for a game rules ruling. The issue is that when something goes wrong, (someone’s deck isn’t as registered, someone accesses, sees, or draws a card that they shouldn’t, someone takes an extra click or extra money and gameplay continues, etc etc), there is no written rule for what to do. Often, there is no penalty whatsoever for the person who made an error and that person gains a measurable advantage. THAT IS NEVER OKAY FFG. Someone played a PE deck in worlds but showed RP as an ID, and lukas ruled that he had to play that game as RP. Well, thats not the ID he registered, it changed the game a lot, and that needs to be an automatic game loss. It feels like they don’t want to penalize anyone for anything because it leaves a bad taste in their mouth, but it needs to be done sometimes to keep the game fair. Not only does it need to be done, but there need to be explicit rules about what should be done about what so whenever you go to a new place to play it isn’t the wild wild west of rules enforcement.

(2) time. There is not enough of it. Ever. Not enough time for enough rounds, not enough time for elimination, not enough time for any individual game in elimination. 65 in swiss is usually okay because its averaged over two games, but 35 for elimination is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO ENOUGH. Not only are you exposed to the variance of the length of one game being much more than that of two, but the game is high stakes and thus incentivizes players to think more, and potentially stall out the game for a timed win. These rounds should be 45 minutes. What was more important to FFG, that they could get out of the building an hour or two sooner or making sure that the world championship games werent decided by the largely arbitrary point score when the round ends. With regard to the swiss rounds, I think for larger tournaments such as regionals and worlds where people travel for them, they should really play as long a tournament as they could possibly fit in the allotted time to reduce variance and give everyone a chance to do what they came to do. 11 am is too late to start and 8pm is too early to end, imo. We could have had 2 more rounds, and we should have had 1. Just forget about the fact that a 238 person tournament should cut to at least 32 by their own rules.

Another minor thing I would like to see is more player commentary, (get people who were just knocked out to do commentary, they are much more competent and entertaining than your employees, and there are plenty of accomplished broadcasters in the crowd). For smaller tournaments, they could use their channel to host other peoples streams of tournaments and promote the broadcasting of netrunner in general which does a lot to grow the game.

Largely, I thought it was a very well-run event. They’re doing what they do without many people working on it, which is hard, and asking them to hire more people is maybe unreasonable, (but getting volunteers might be a good idea). Everyone I know had a great time and I, personally, enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, even if you set aside the whole becoming world champion thing.


#12

All of that was very well-said.


#13

Dear God yes. No offense to the commentators as I’m sure they did their best… but world-class commentary means a deep, intimate knowledge of the game and ideally some knowledge about the players also. Random Employees #1 and #2 definitely didn’t bring that to the table.

There were a ton of facepalm moments over the course of the tournament where the commentators would say something dumb and a half dozen qualified people on Twitch chat would correct them immediately.

Something cool to see would be have guest commentators on the Top 16 be people from the same meta. Like when @IirionClaus was playing, have Apreche or other NYC dudes filling us in on the background, reasoning behind card choices, that sort of thing. Have Philly players talk about how @mediohxcore ravaged them with such and such a play. Just to have a more personal touch to things.


#14

I think the FFG staff did a pretty good job considering they don’t do this quite often.
Those that watch twitchtournaments regularly know that you geenrally need a good analyzer as wellas a play-by-play commentator for a great stream.
Both Mark and Jaffer did a pretty good job at play-by-play and for the few games he was there Lukas was a ok analyst.
With that said, a top player would have been great in there as well.


#15

My over all impression of the event was that its more promotional marketing and product pushing than serious tournament, at least for the employees. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except the hundreds of people that travel to compete feel differently.

I imagine the employees think about this weekend like your typical retail employee feels about black Friday


#16

The commentary was fine if all you cared about was following along with the individual plays of the game. But I would much rather have heard a recently-eliminated player comment on the deep strategy elements of the game – why the players made the choices they did, when they’re hoping to get lucky to win from behind, etc etc.

It was clear that FFG commentators spent a bunch of commentary time just trying to figure out what actually happened in a given turn, while an experienced player would easily be able to provide play-by-play and strategy analysis at once.

Plus it would be a great move to connect with the community more. It sometimes felt like they were trying to advertise the game instead of focus on the players but I suspect 90% of the audience would be much more interested to hear about the people and their preparation and so on. I didn’t once hear them mention a player’s community involvement – even hearing short blurbs like “Dan is a well known poster on the Stimhack forum, contributes articles, and streams live gameplay online” would have been great.


#17

It might be good idea for FFG to distribute whatever participation promos anyone wants at the time they recieve their event badge. You could prevent a lot of people from dropping out of tournaments that way


#18

[quote=“mediohxcore, post:11, topic:2208”]
(2) time. [/quote]

While I mean something different, you touched on this a little. My issue is that they act like they are doing us a favor for having us buy passes and travel to BUFU USA and don’t put in the time to make a schedule that allows for a tournament of sufficient length to be ran. Like “oh, the judges are tired” or “we are worried about time”. Fuck that. It’s their job to do things correctly. 230 players requires more care than 7 rounds and a cut to the top 16. A lot of people traveled from far away to play just Netrunner and get a poorly planned tournament because FFG doesn’t want to spend 1-2 hours extra on Saturday/Sunday? Even if all 230 got the $40 dollar tickets, they made nearly $10,000 dollars from Netrunner players paying just to play. I think you can give them the experience they deserve as written in their own rules.
Conquest was 6 hours (minus 1 from lunch), and for some reason the final cut was on Saturday? Directly in the middle of Netrunner? And they are forcing you to choose between the two at the threat of being Auto-dropped? It’s just so amateur and discouraging.
I’m not campaigning against FFG, but I won’t be going back to worlds. Maybe I’m the minority but by the time the tournament came my will to strive and succeed was greatly reduced by the feeling I get from FFG that they don’t care about their competitive players.


#19

I two thirds agree and one thirds disagree with you on the streaming thing.

Agree: We need more player commentary. The employee commentary just wasn’t at the same level as the live streaming commentary we see elsewhere, even for simple things like just explaining the cards and the rules and getting more passionate about the game.

Agree: Player commentary on the main FFG Live channel for smaller tournaments would centralize the “tournament netrunner audience” and help grow the game. It’d be great if every other Sunday there was live activity in a centralized place and a more consistent calendar of live netrunner events.

Disagree: I don’t like the idea of getting people who were just knocked out to do the play by play commentary or even primary colour commentary. Having consistent voices throughout the tournament to build the interaction between chat audience and the commentators is good, and having specific knowledge of the previous games the audience has seen that day can helpfully inform the commentary, something that is unlikely to come from someone who was playing at some other table while the audience was watching. I would like to see more interviews with knocked out players though.

I think the best model is what the Fall Guys/ANR Blackhats guys did during Canadian nationals. Knowledgeable players doing the commentary from start to finish with a high level player friend in the tournament who came in to be an extra voice in the final rounds. Add in plenty of interviews instead of pointing the camera at a milling audience during the downtime. Get the Blackhats crew to do it, or the conceivably Team Covenant guys could do it provided two of them were willing to skip playing in the tournament and focus entirely on commentary.


#20

I. It is absolutely crazy to have a major tourney, let alone THE tourney, in MN in November. The number of times this will be subject to freezing cold, weather disruptions etc is crazy. If you can’t afford to make it a standalone world championship, partner with a larger company for a shared venue - such as Wizards/Blizzard, whatever.

  1. The random factor of whether a player got to play corp or runner had way too large a role in the determination of the winner. Seems to me that if you just made all the matches play corp/runner and then eliminate all players that got swept each round would be far preferable.