A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

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Concord
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A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Concord »

Spurred on by the tourney format thread I started to reconsider our approach both to tournaments and to TRONIC.

Because I want as many people as possible to read this, I'm using bullets.

Our Current Approach to TRONIC
  • Singular tournaments independent of each other. (Ladle 21 has nothing to do with Ladle 20)
  • Self Organizing tournaments with not executive.
  • Captain as leadership units. (Captains sign up, captains are responsible for players, etc)
  • Repetition (Same approach to each tournament)
  • Scalable (Just a bracket, we make it bigger if we need to)
Those are the characteristics of our current Fortress tournament. The ideals being:
  • Singular tournaments make it easy for new teams to jump in each month.
  • Self organization takes stress of central organizers, allows any one to participate.
  • Captains will be responsible for their team
  • Repetition creates a community that knows how to deal with problems. We have precedents.
  • This is going to be big, it should be future proof.
A couple unfortunate or mistaken parts of the ideals
  • Lack of central organizers causes either a volunteer (see 2020, rain, Monkey, Concord, Durka) to step up or no progress to be made.
  • It is not all together future proof (as we are seeing with all the timing problems, bracket problems)
Still, the Ladle system has been great, both the number of players and the level of competition has increased. These 2 characteristics are something the MLS has been able just begin to accomplish after 11 or so years. And that league has money ;).

Perhaps instead of creating individual tournaments designed for maximum participation and growth we should take a year and produce a high level league. We refocus from growing the number of players to maximizing this league both in producing a captivating level of gameplay and producing interesting statistics, highlight reels, interviews.

My plan for such a Fortress Premier League. This is still theoretical, lets make this the best it can be by working together.

Now - September 12th // Organizational Stage
  • Captains sign up as individuals
  • Captains form their teams just like Ladles
  • Maximum 18 teams
  • 3 divisions (American, Open, European)
  • American plays American evenings
  • Open plays around 17:30 GMT.
  • European plays European evenings
  • Captains submit a preliminary roster of maximum 10 to FPL
  • Captains indicate numbers of Euros and Americans
  • League office determines divisions
  • Finalized September 19th

September 20th-December 20th // League Stage & Qualifiers
  • Teams play each divisional opponent twice (10 matches if 18 teams)
  • Teams play certain out of division opponents once. (4 matches if 18 teams)
  • Captains must register all roster changes with league office.
  • Server admins submit score logs of each match to FPL
  • Match of the week recorded, commentated, shared

January 27th - March 14th // Group Stage
  • Captains teams lock in a 10 man roster for Spring on Jan 3rd, no more roster changes after this point
  • 2 4-team groups created from top 8 teams of League Stage.
  • Within groups, Captains organize with each other to play each other team in group stage.
  • Group matches to be played at any time the captains agree on, matches played in FPL Server.
  • Open Ladles played on Feb 7th, Mar 7th
  • top finisher in each Ladle that is registered with FPL advance to Final 4
  • Top finisher from each group advance to final 4

Final 4 to be played March 21st

Thoughts? I hope to create a captivating league that can run for this long and to insure teams do not drop out. It would require a large and multitalented staff, but nothing we can't accomplish.
Last edited by Concord on Sat May 30, 2009 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DDMJ
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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by DDMJ »

No. The problem with AFL was commitment. There's no way I (or anyone else) can devote every Sunday (or whatever day) to playing in a League for an extended period of time, especially since we aren't being paid for this. The beauty of the Ladle is that it's only a one-day commitment, once a month. A lot of people are busy and can't set aside this much time. The only way I could see this working is if teams consisted of at least 12 players so if 50% showed up, they'd have enough to play, but what if all 12 showed up? Anyways, I like your ideas, but this seems too unreasonable, sorry to shoot it down.

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Lucifer »

Indeed, we had serious problems attracting staff for the AFL. Everyone wanted to play. :) Even when Durka ran it without my rule about staffers can't be players, there was still no staff because.............

.......everyone wanted to play.

Commitment is a serious problem, and managing the damn thing is a significant undertaking.

I'd love to see someone manage it, and keep it going regularly, I really would, but I think the only two people in the whole community who understand the amount of work involved have written in this thread now. ;)
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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by DDMJ »

Yep, managing the AFL was a million times harder than the Ladle. I had a fool-proof system setup for reporting matches, but people just wouldn't do it or forgot. It's hard to find ways around things like that.

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Concord »

yeah...

To solve one of the problems I was thinking that the server admins just send the league staff a log of the match. Server owners are usually quite responsible

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Cosmic Dolphin »

Those are the reasons that I would never participate in a racing tournament if I ever get it set up right. Need to see how it goes, and plus no one could say i cheated and memorized the maps before hand.
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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by pike »

The idea is good. I'd really love to see Fortress League working. The problem is that there are still not many fortress players out there. Professional football teams' 1st squad is ~30 players, when only 11+3 subs can play the match. For 6v6 Fortress match 16-20 should be fine. But that's about 300 Fortress players in total. And 18-20 active clans/teams (I don't think open teams should be considered). I think we should wait until winter and see what happens. At least one fortress server packed full every European evening brings some attention of other players. If they don't get kicked somehow, they might come back and dig it more :)

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Concord »

pike wrote:The idea is good. I'd really love to see Fortress League working. The problem is that there are still not many fortress players out there. Professional football teams' 1st squad is ~30 players, when only 11+3 subs can play the match. For 6v6 Fortress match 16-20 should be fine. But that's about 300 Fortress players in total. And 18-20 active clans/teams (I don't think open teams should be considered). I think we should wait until winter and see what happens. At least one fortress server packed full every European evening brings some attention of other players. If they don't get kicked somehow, they might come back and dig it more :)

hmm

if we consider we've doubled since last december, we should hope to double by next december - seems reasonable

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by sinewav »

Concord wrote:if we consider we've doubled since last december, we should hope to double by next december - seems reasonable
I was going to say the same thing. We're not quite there yet, but eventually we might have enough committed people to start a small league that will grow, concurrently with the Ladle. It's perfectly realistic to start a league with just four teams and a shortened season. As more teams join, the seasons would be extended. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that, over a long time, the league would overtake - but not replace - the Ladle. If the community gets to a certain size, it shouldn't be any problem to have both a league and the cool, massive one day events.

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by pike »

sinewav wrote:It's perfectly realistic to start a league with just four teams and a shortened season. As more teams join, the seasons would be extended. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that, over a long time, the league would overtake - but not replace - the Ladle.
Season doesn't have to ve shortened - we can use Scottish PL system where teams play themselves 4 times per season.
I think it's important to make league a little bit different than Ladles. Example: cup games are usually played best of 3/5/7 etc. - because someone has to win and go further. There is no such limit in league play - games can be 2 matches, which gives a possibility of draw.
2 matches = about 30 minutes of play, and with games played every (second) week, i think some clans with 15-20 members can put 6-8 player (fit :)) for a game.

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Concord »

ok, the combination of sine's and pike's ideas sounds good

perhaps we should work on a 4-6 team league from the most active teams

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Flex »

I don't see why nobody has realistically mentioned the idea of creating a system that runs itself. Like most large tournaments that can not produce the amount of staff for the many amount of players/teams. As we are not in the thousands, but really just having a staff shortage, we can still use the concept to our situation.

A league with a system that both teams turn up on a specific date, server and play till a result is formed. Unless neither team has reported a complaint a staff does not need to get involved and the results are reported by the captains and the other captain simply needs to confirm or deny. Thus everything is simply running itself with everyone doing a tiny bit of work. Also there would be no need for a server admin if both captains have admin rights on the server and know how to do it.

This system can be scripted into a web form by someone willing to code the system, or it can be a simple forum. Both works. I believe this is the best way in order to be future-proof. Which also means moving away from using Wiki's and creating a real dynamic system to incorporate the whole league.

As the season progresses. With that sort of system, you possibly only need 1 staff to control it all, (but of course using as much staff as possible and splitting the work.) Simple requirements such as each team having at least proof of played match, like a screenshot each round is enough for everyone to be happy. With this sort of system, we can still keep it open source, because power leads to corruption. :p

I like the name Fortress Premier League, or just Fortress League. Ultimately we can all vote on which kind of style we want the tournament to be played out. Ladle I guess is a knock-out tournament, so we can stick to that concept to keep it competitive and classic while still giving everyone the satisfacation and having a future-proof League for potential player growth.

We all know Sundays has become the day where Fortress matches/tourneys are played, so I'm sure that on the first seasons it would be like the Ladle on Sundays, as the finals come close, only a few teams would be participating. If people have issues with dedicating more than one Sunday a month to Armagetron, then we can split the whole league to every first Sunday once a month till the League comes to an end. (Which would probably mean, it would last a few months.)

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by sinewav »

Great, we're getting some very nice ideas.

So, what is different between what Flex has described and the past AFL (authentication perhaps)? What parts/infrastructure from the AFL can be reused?

It seems most of the responsibility (and commitment) would lie on the team captains. The captains can communicate and follow the season through a website that requires little or no staffing. This almost sounds too good to be true. I'm about ready to register a domain. ;)

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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Lucifer »

The infrastructure that Flex has described (web form yadayada) is stuff that was intended to be written for the AFL, but I have limited time for that. I think Durka came up with something....

.....however, it's likely that a Google form from their Docs and Spreadsheets app could be used for the purpose. I don't think it'll allow file uploads, it's worth checking out (to upload recordings and/or screenshots, if there are any).

Some of the bureaucracy from the AFL can probably be removed, such as keeping recordings, logs, and screenshots of results. If the reported results of a game aren't disputed, then there's no need for that crap anyway (other than the possibility of putting together a promo video from the recordings, but AA itself doesn't exactly have the stuff for that anyway). Edit: If the reported results are disputed, maybe you can come up with a resolution that doesn't depend on having a paper trail of the game. Or rather, a way to resolve it. Somewhat obviously, you don't want to say something like "If there's a dispute, replay the game", because you don't want sore losers to require repeats of every game they lost, but there may be other solutions available that we didn't pursue in the AFL. Also, I think that in the two seasons of the AFL that ran, there were 0 disputes on game results, so this isn't as big of a problem as we feared, but keep in mind that *when* it finally happens that a game is disputed, it will be a big problem by itself. So at least have an idea how you will address it, with or without bureaucracy. I think I've mentioned that I ultimately felt the AFL bureaucracy was too restrictive if it couldn't be automated, for the benefit gained, considering there were no actual disputes.

Other than that, Flex pretty much described the system the AFL worked under, with two minor caveats:

a) There weren't enough server admins willing to give appropriate admin capabilities to AFL captains (and armathentication didn't exist yet, so there are more possibilities available now than there was in the last AFL). To solve this problem, teams were asked to provide their own servers, which introduced even more bureaucracy. Using armathentication, it's likely that the system that was intended can actually be used. ;) (Of course, you still need to settle how to resolve conflicts over which servers to play on, but spend some time networking ahead of time and you can schedule that problem away)

Edit: Also, two teams *could* elect to play on a different fortress server. The AFL tried to enforce standard settings on AFL servers, but it's reasonable to instead provide a list of servers that run reasonably close to desired settings. This would be comparable to a soccer league that plays on any available soccer field. The AFL would require every soccer field to have pits at all the same places, the same type and cut of grass, the same size goals, etc. You *could*, however, say something more like "As long as the goals are the same distance, and the basic measurements of the field are the same, you can play the game there." Of course, in soccer, there are plenty of rule variations available that aren't dependent on the field, and in AA, the only rules that can be considered canonical are the ones running in code. But the idea can still be used. Then, if an AFL server isn't available, the two teams could just go to another server that's reasonably close in settings, and try to deal with people coming in that want to play. It's better to do that with admin support, but I think it would be nice to have a community-enforced rule that if two teams want to meet and compete on a random server, the rest of the community is expected to stand back and let them.

b) I think Durka made a convenient web form for reporting results, and captains didn't use it as much as they should have, which he was mentioning just a few posts ago in this thread. :) This is a problem that'll go away eventually, with enough practice, experience on the part of captains, and precedent.
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Re: A Change in Strategy // Fortress Premier League

Post by Concord »

Revisions:

Games would be played the third sunday of each month. 1 match a month.
Games are complemented by monthly Ladles as we have now. Ladles are open to all, but FPL teams get points for high finishes, and such. FPL teams would also be placed in particular spots in the bracket based on league standings.
The last week of the season, the top 2 teams play a 2-leg final. On penultimate sunday they play the first leg in an American server: 3 matches. Last sunday of the season they play the second leg, 3 matches in a European server. At that point if one team has won 4/6 or better, they are crowned champions. Otherwise a 7th and deciding match is played.

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