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Ben

Plans for the future of the Masters and Rankings

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11 hours ago, Thebiggesthat said:

This is something that Honest Wargamer has been advocating for a couple years, you should have a chat with Rob. Just look at the coverage of BOBO and CANCON to see the future of T-Sports broadcasting

It’s a great idea. I’ve been championing it for 11 years now since I stole it from the Oz guys who started the rankings and the likes of Adi Mac and the WPS who ran the champion of champions events in the 90’s

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8 hours ago, BobbyB said:

Would be a good opportunity to look at the rankings again, whether it's little things like making sure allegiances are recorded properly and not split between different names for the same allegiance, or a complete overhaul considering some of the ideas that @ianob came up with, definitely worth a review anyway.

Agreed. It needs some work. Icons and factions are an easy fix. 

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global rankings. World final. It’s all possible. Summer 2020 is far enough away to get things rolling too. 

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I do think a global ranking system is very far off, and I don't think that would be a reasonable way to include international players in the near future.

However, one thing you could do is having a play-in tournament to select the final participants. Assuming you keep the 16 player Masters format, you invite the top 12 British players directly into the knockout bracket and players ranked 13-16 into the play ins. You then allow international players to compete with ranks 13-16 for the final 4 spots. In the event that no internationals manage to show up, you still have your full 16-man roster of players for the knockout stage.

You could run the play ins on the Friday, and the knockouts on the Saturday as per your original plan, and this would be a great event to visit for us foreigners. Worst case scenario we get eliminated from the play ins, participate in the GT and get a great weekend of Warhammer.

Cheers Ben, and thanks for all the hard work you put into this hobby!
Samuel, Swedish ETC captain

Edited by Solaris

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I have no idea how you guys get it to work the way it does hahahaha

We tried, once, to do a thing very similar, with rankings and a season of events and a season-ending Masters.  It brought out the WORST behaviour in everyone, all season long, and that one season-ending Masters event is still locally famous for how awful the atmosphere was and how ****** all the games were and the battles and gripes that lingered well beyond the event.

 

And yet, you guys have made it work, almost without flaws, for over a decade.  There's no theorizing or worst-casing or what-abouting that can counter the cold hard fact that it very demonstrably has been a successful format for you.

 

So is it you that's the outlier, or was it us?

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I think your main issue is making it spectator friendly because let’s face it the game as it stands is not and that’s how you get money coming in and pay for it all. Crack that and everything else should just fall into place, it seems like you’re already doing a great job with the other stuff so that would be my focus, because if you don’t, well there won’t be a year 2.

I’ve been a season ticket holder for years of a painfully ****** football club, I’ve gone and watched different sports in different countries from baseball to tennis to rugby to golf, Christ I’ve even paid good money to attend the world darts championships and quite often stay up far too late to watch snooker.

So I’m no stranger to getting unduly involved in what are on paper pretty dull sports but I struggle to get enthused about watching people play Warhammer, a game I like a lot. Sadly I can’t see how much you can do with the game itself, each game goes on for years, it’s slow, the ‘action’ involves static 2” high models (how close will spectators be? How do they know what’s happening), and there’s not really (m)any ‘ooooooooooooooooh’ moments apart from dice rolls which are just random and involve no skill.

I’m not trying to be an ******, I wish you well, you just need to really think very hard about how you make something like that interesting for those not involved FOR HOURS AT A TIME.

Which I think means making the games, and even the final itself just part of the spectacle and draw. You need to think like a proper entertainments promoter and as someone who spent over a decade running clubs, gigs and parties I can assure you it’s a lot of work (but incredible when you pull it off).

So in your shoes I’d be looking at what Warhammer related nonsense I could arrange to throw in on the side, author signings, model reveals, cosplay, painting competitions, etc that makes it more of an event and attracts people who aren’t just competing.

People were, I assume joking, up above about entrance music and the like but seriously you need to be considering all that stuff, maybe briefly before going no but this lives and dies as a spectacle. The main thing is if it’s a knockout style event that culminated in a grand final game what is keeping people there till the end as a grand final with half a dozen spectators at the end of a long day will be one of the most miserable experiences of your life (again I speak as someone who has stood there looking out onto an empty club willing the void to come and take me).

 

Edited by JPjr

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3 hours ago, amysrevenge said:

So is it you that's the outlier, or was it us?

Where and when was this? Was it using AOS or 8th Ed?

I feel AOS plays much more like MTG then it does 8th Ed. Combos and big moves that finish games. AOS is a far better game for competitive play than 8th ever was imo.

We have the ITC (west USA last year but growing some in other regions this year) that finishes the season at LVO. I find that it contributed to much growth, enthusiasm and positive play than subjective best Overall from one off events that we have seen in the past over here.

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This was in 8th, see my sig for the region.

To be fair to the current community, I guess, the majority of the people who ended up invited to the season-end event are now 9th Agers...  Hahahahaha

I also live in the vicinity of the infamous ITC 40k event-cheating/ballot-stuffing/rank-inflating scheme of a couple years back, which has even further soured my mood toward these sorts of things (again, maybe it's just us that's the problem haha).

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20 minutes ago, amysrevenge said:

 To be fair to the current community, I guess, the majority of the people who ended up invited to the season-end event are now 9th Agers...  Hahahahaha

No this is my feeling exactly... competitive 8th ed was awful where I play as well. I blame poor players packs that led to upvoting and chipmunking and a combination of poor GW rules for competitive play that led to comp and houserules that benefited some armies and tanked others. But I don't know, maybe i'm bias... could have been alot of things.

All those guys play 9th age or kings of war now. Most of the AOS players are new blood from MTG or 40k where I play. The AOS rules set is much better imo and alot of subjectivity has been removed from the scoring for our events.

20 minutes ago, amysrevenge said:

 I also live in the vicinity of the infamous ITC 40k event-cheating/ballot-stuffing/rank-inflating scheme of a couple years back, which has even further soured my mood toward these sorts of things (again, maybe it's just us that's the problem haha).

I'm in OC Cal which is near SD the heart of the ITC 40k. We have cheating here too if its allowed. There is a huge need for tight players packs and objective scoring but I feel like the TOs in the area do a good job... but its a ton of work for them.

We had one TO drop AOS completely recently because of the influx of cheating for his new AOS events... moved right back to 40k where he has a better handle on the rules and how to run events.

 

Edited by svnvaldez

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The old Warhammer Players Society rankings were UK based and included data from all around the world.  I don't recall the mechanics but I know it included data from other countries events.   


Blood Bowl has a very very robust system of data tracking including ELO match ups that can produce all sorts of interesting data

https://public.tableau.com/profile/mike.sann0638.davies#!/vizhome/NAFWCRules/RaceGridNumbers

https://member.thenaf.net/index.php?module=NAF&type=rankings

The key there is having everyone participating in tournament have a single universal ID that carries through all events.   And a backbone system for data analysis.   ITC has some of that by using email addresses as their unique identifier.   

But as do others I worry about rankings driven angst and bad behavior.   The US WFB scene had some problems just in jockeying in how ETC teams were determined in 7th-8th ed much less the big money ITC stuff.    For what it's worth the US Masters for 8th ed was basically born out of that inter regional  'who is on the US ETC team' beef - each region  could determine their own system for determining who their best in the region were and the top from each region was invited to the US Masters.    That might be a model but I like the standardized WPS/Blood Bowl model.      

Keep the money out of it and you are more likely to have an event where you aren't going to have bad behavior. We've already seen in the US some very high profile problems with the high stakes ITC 40K events.  

 

Edited by gjnoronh
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7 hours ago, JPjr said:

willing the void to come and take me

We've got a lot in common man.

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14 hours ago, JPjr said:

I think your main issue is making it spectator friendly because let’s face it the game as it stands is not and that’s how you get money coming in and pay for it all.

Funnily enough that was one of my thoughts too.  I'd probably suggest a format sort of similar to they use for some cricket matches, so alongside you've got a load of food & drink stalls so you're free to flit between grabbing a drink and watching the action.  It also means that people who aren't quite as interested in the hobby can come along and quite enjoy the experience.

I think the benefit you have in a live format event over a streamed one is that you can actually build up an atmosphere.  If you're watching on your tablet or PC, an un-engaging game is likely going to result in you not paying attention and potentially wandering away or simply turning it off.  If you're physically at an event you're going to "want" to be entertained.  Flashy graphics and jingles for things like priority rolls, little popup charts of rolling statistics (player A has made 86% of their charges etc), even certain "events" - snake eyes, double six's etc all help to make dull games that bit more exciting.

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Super excited at the prospect of the growth of the Masters, would absolutely love it to be a massive spectacle for the end of the AoS event season. 

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1 hour ago, RuneBrush said:

Funnily enough that was one of my thoughts too.  I'd probably suggest a format sort of similar to they use for some cricket matches, so alongside you've got a load of food & drink stalls so you're free to flit between grabbing a drink and watching the action.  It also means that people who aren't quite as interested in the hobby can come along and quite enjoy the experience.

I think the benefit you have in a live format event over a streamed one is that you can actually build up an atmosphere.  If you're watching on your tablet or PC, an un-engaging game is likely going to result in you not paying attention and potentially wandering away or simply turning it off.  If you're physically at an event you're going to "want" to be entertained.  Flashy graphics and jingles for things like priority rolls, little popup charts of rolling statistics (player A has made 86% of their charges etc), even certain "events" - snake eyes, double six's etc all help to make dull games that bit more exciting.

I think that was the intention of running it on a Saturday alongside the standard GT,  you would already have a crowd there for a fun weekend of gaming who would for the most part be interested in hanging around the venue to watch the final Masters match.  There would already be general socialising going on, just needs to be scheduled appropriately and the 'presentation' of the game to the audience worked out.

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I'm just a guy who watches battle reports.  To me it's very important that the commentators explain what's going on and that the action on the table be shown. 

Don't do it the way they do it on Warhammer TV.  I'm not interested in hearing the commentators chat about things unrelated to the game.    They do a poor job. 

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Hi all, this is a great idea, and one that I'd love to watch later on down the line.

I'm sure the competitors don't want to have a game then go home. What you want from a spectator perspective, is the real opportunity for those that won games to fall down rankings and be overtaken by those lower down.

Personally I'd like to see the best player of each faction competing with their faction, so naming 16 factions and then using your rankings within the factions... It means that those players have to commit to a faction and will be seasoned veterans. 

I really wanted to see Ben Savva's DoK against Jack Armstrong's Stormcast. 

If you were to have a refereed game then you'd have to define some conduct rules as every ref. has a set of rules to play by. In football the attacking team is supposed to get the benefit of the doubt on a marginal offside call for instance. So if a player forgets to roll something, when are they allowed to ask permission to take the game back? for instance, if I forget a prayer that only takes effect in the combat phase and I remember it at the start of the combat phase - this is probably OK, but if I remember it after we've started activating units then that's probably not...

 

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17 hours ago, Ken said:

Don't do it the way they do it on Warhammer TV.  I'm not interested in hearing the commentators chat about things unrelated to the game.    They do a poor job. 

I think it's actually very difficult to keep the chat just focused upon the game as the commentators often have a few seconds delay from the table and also have to compete with players changing their minds when they do stuff. I think if they kept the chat to just the game it would become more like snooker match commentary.  Also you need to remember that some players may not just want that and enjoy the chat, so it's trying to strike that balance. 

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Commentating is a all about the balance plus wargames are likely going to have more free time where there isn't much happening. It's not like football or rugby where the action is pretty much continual. I think so long as they remain relevant to what's going on, the event, the warhammer game etc... then its good. It's when commentators start giving you the life history of the player or start talking about their new car that they just bought then you know they've lost the plot. 

Plus there aren't that many chances for "action reply" or "goal camera" as such in a wargame so they've not got as many visual elements to fill in for slow times like a player moving 200 skaven in one go etc... 

 

Edited by Overread
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50 minutes ago, Gaz Taylor said:

I think it's actually very difficult to keep the chat just focused upon the game as the commentators often have a few seconds delay from the table and also have to compete with players changing their minds when they do stuff. I think if they kept the chat to just the game it would become more like snooker match commentary.  Also you need to remember that some players may not just want that and enjoy the chat, so it's trying to strike that balance. 

I agree, but WHTV always ends up being a chat with the 'chat' and very little actual breakdown of the game.  Honest wargamer coverage of Cancon was the best ive seen so far, mostly due to the Australian Ben (dont know his actual name) keeping it on track and discussing options, what the players thoughts might be etc.  but also the format and how/what they present.  I actually think it was better than the standard Rob/Nathan coverage as they also tend to fall into the trap of talking to the 'chat' too much.  I can understand why everyone does it (those are the people who are funding them essentially, and are their friends,  so they want to engage with them) but it reduces the quality of the coverage in my eyes, so i dont/wont stay to watch.

I think, as its essentially Ben's event and he can set it how he wants, players will have to respect how the event is being set-up and choose not to enter (even the masters you enter/invited) if they dont want to be on a stream.

 

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19 hours ago, Dan_Elkington said:

Hi all, this is a great idea, and one that I'd love to watch later on down the line.

I'm sure the competitors don't want to have a game then go home. What you want from a spectator perspective, is the real opportunity for those that won games to fall down rankings and be overtaken by those lower down.

Personally I'd like to see the best player of each faction competing with their faction, so naming 16 factions and then using your rankings within the factions... It means that those players have to commit to a faction and will be seasoned veterans. 

I really wanted to see Ben Savva's DoK against Jack Armstrong's Stormcast. 

If you were to have a refereed game then you'd have to define some conduct rules as every ref. has a set of rules to play by. In football the attacking team is supposed to get the benefit of the doubt on a marginal offside call for instance. So if a player forgets to roll something, when are they allowed to ask permission to take the game back? for instance, if I forget a prayer that only takes effect in the combat phase and I remember it at the start of the combat phase - this is probably OK, but if I remember it after we've started activating units then that's probably not...

 

Best in alliance masters is something I could get behind 100%. 

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Some more of my thoughts on the event:

Saturday Masters event is so it makes it as accessible as possible for players and spectators.  A Friday event would be less likely to have a top 16 attendance, less likely to be watched by the maximum amount of people at home.

Going on the side of a GT is for a similar reason, and getting a bye in the event for reaching the masters is its own reward in that you get a stab at rankings points on the board next year when you play the masters, instead of having to choose the masters instead of another weekend away event.  

In a perfect world this wouldn't be an issue as people will want to play regardless of where and when the masters is held, but we are not there yet.  

On the streaming side of things, with a live audience, it might be an option to have the game in a separate room and the streamers be the thing that people are watching.  Interaction with the crowd, with live Q+A about the final could be a thing that would keep it interesting and exciting. 

I really don't think keeping it interesting will be an issue.  We would have all the other masters players on-site to drop in and out of the coverage of the final to talk about their games, especially the defeated opponents of the finalists.  

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On 1/28/2019 at 4:55 PM, Ben said:

It’s a great idea. I’ve been championing it for 11 years now since I stole it from the Oz guys who started the rankings and the likes of Adi Mac and the WPS who ran the champion of champions events in the 90’s

Points scoring 👍 

If you love Warhammer and the community try a bit more to bring it together than let personal issues drive pettyness

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9 hours ago, Gaz Taylor said:

I think it's actually very difficult to keep the chat just focused upon the game as the commentators often have a few seconds delay from the table and also have to compete with players changing their minds when they do stuff. I think if they kept the chat to just the game it would become more like snooker match commentary.  Also you need to remember that some players may not just want that and enjoy the chat, so it's trying to strike that balance. 

I dislike the Warhammer TV commentators as well, I find it to be very poor. Also I have never understood why they can't figure out a way to display the battleplan, they claim when asked its because the players roll at the beginning of the game. They could implement the simple fix of just pinning to the chat or something. As a subscriber I would tune in and have no idea what game they were playing if I had not been watching from the start. I have dropped by subscription since. 

You should take a look at Honest Wargammers coverage of Cancon and screen display. It was far superior.

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I would love to see Warhammer take off, but to make it engaging to watch live you have to put in quite a bit of production effort. It can be done, but the two things that I think are the biggest points of order:

  • Static, top down cameras are terrible for viewers in my experience. You can barely see what everything is, and it's very boring since nothing happens for long stretches. The best, imo, would be mobile cameramen (preferably mounted or stabilized) that can get "action shots" of important locations on the board/unit positions, and switching between that and player cams. Heck, a small camera or GoPro on the table that's lined up next to the unit that's shooting or casting, or next to a brawl, is in my mind infinitely more interesting than a top camera with some vague circle around the acting unit.
  • Commentators, as said here, definitely need to stay on track. Some faffing about is whatever, but when they start talking too much about random stuff it makes the viewers care less. Imagine if you're watching Football (of any variety) and the commentators started talking about tangential stuff like cleats and socks. It's important to think beforehand about what to do to fill in the downtime - list reviewing and combo discussions are one thing, but Warhammer has a lot of downtime for people who aren't playing, and letting it lapse into silence or random chatting is no good at all. I'm not sure what would be the best way to fill the gaps, but it's something to think about. 

 

Honestly, I just don't think Warhammer is a good spectator sport. We've all stood around watching friends play, and most of the experience is goofing around chatting rather than watching the game. Also, unlike esports or traditional sports, it's really hard to follow if you're not familiar with the material. With those, at least you can see action happening and follow the exciting flow of the game, even if you don't understand the nuance. With Warhammer, there's basically no action outside of moving models and rolling dice, so it's almost all nuance and getting someone like a wife or random friend to watch has got to be like pulling teeth. 

Again, it would be cool to see it take off and be played in arenas. I mean, you see things like Poker being played on TV, and it's not like Hearthstone is really that interesting to watch, so it's very possible to happen. I'm just skeptical on the whole thing. I do like the knockout format, though, it makes matches more tense and gives a bit more gravitas to victories. I would like to see a double elimination style, but I realize that would take a lot more time and space. 

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Personally I'm all for the more casual commentators. When a game takes 2-3 hours there isn't that much to talk about when the majority of the actual table 'action' is someone moving units of 30 guys or working out how many 6's they've rolled. I also don't think it's very watchable in general unless you're actually stood around the table.

Having said that these are my suggestions based on WarhammerTV, some other youtube battle reports and having watched a lot of esports over the years of what I think would need to be done to make it more appealing to spectate  (also very pie in the sky and expensive I expect):

I think any game needs a director or observer in the same way a game of Starcraft does who  can relay the information to the screen in a far more readable fashion. Generally at the moment this seems to be more making sure the camera is pointed at the right place but I think it really needs to be more involved with them having a virtual map of the battle from which they can select information to display like being able to throw warscrolls up on screen.

No dice rolling, use an app. This could be displayed on screen in a far more readable and immediate fashion. There could be the risk of having an automated solution that works things out from beginning to end and it might be less satisfying for the players to not roll buckets of dice but it would be better for an audience and the players could still work out what the effects are from roll to roll. You'd also get the specifics of x unit hit y with this weapon and it did z instead of stuff being rolled and models being taken off without any visual reason for why. This might save some time too and could also be used for some kind of cool Advance Wars style visualization of each combat.

Twitch Extensions. My main exposure to these has been through Hearthstone where you can mouse over cards in the play field and it will pop up with the stats of that card. I've no idea how possible it is to make something that could be moved in real time by a director of some sorts but it would be good for someone to be able to put icons over units on the play field that could be moved as they move in the style like WD battle reports would. You could then mouse over or click on these icons and it opens up the warscroll for that unit. It also means you don't have to devote screen space to rules when you can just say what battleplan or realm is being played and someone can hover their mouse over it if they want the specific details

Following on from this some kind of fog of war that dims the rest of the table and makes either one side or both sides more obvious because I tend to find a lot of models get lost when you're looking from a top down view.

An app that contains the data in real time so you can see the actual battle on the screen and you can look at your phone or tablet for the specifics. Again a format like a WD battle report would be fine. You don't need to know the exact placement of every model just be able to see what stuff actually is and what it does.

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