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PSA to Tournament Organizers: Halo-Style Map Rotations, an Alternative to Smash-Style Picks & Bans

Discussion in 'Competitive Discussion' started by Hitzel, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Hitzel

    Hitzel Inkling Commander

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    Hello everyone,

    My name is Hitzel, I'm a member of Squid Squad Hearts. I am a former MLG moderator and have about 14 years of competitive FPS experience, including Halo, Shadowrun, and others. I'm here to talk about Splatoon tournaments and bring to your attention an alternate way to format Splatoon tournaments that may serve our needs better than what we are currently doing. I'm here to talk about Halo-style map rotations.

    I think it's safe to say that a lot of people here have a background in Super Smash Bros, and it shows in the way we've run tournaments so far. The process of banning and picking maps closely mirrors the way Smash tournaments are run. You guys are simply recreating what you know has worked in the past. Splatoon is, however, not a Fighting Game. The impact of picking and banning maps has a different impact on a Shooter than it does on a Fighting Game. That is why I want to show everyone an alternate method that has proven to work in Shooters such as Halo, which are closer in nature to Splatoon than Smash is.

    What are Halo-Style Map Rotations?

    In Smash-Style picks and bans, both teams go through a process that leaves one game mode + map combination each game of a set (we'll just call these combinations Gametypes). This means that the players have direct control of what gets played. Halo-Style is structured differently, as the Tournament Organizer (TO) decides the Gametypes to be played every game of every round of a tournament and releases the list when the tournament is announced.

    Each round of the bracket, the players must play the Gametypes they are scheduled to play, in order, until a team wins the match. There is no banning, no picking, no playing the Gametypes out of order. You play what you are scheduled to play. The list of Gametypes changes every round so that all of the maps and game modes are evenly used throughout the bracket.

    This means that a different list of Gametypes is used for each round of a tournament like so:

    • first list used for Winners Round 1,
    • second list used for Winners Round 2 and Losers Round 1,
    • third list used for Winners Round 3 and Losers Round 2,
    • fourth list used for Winners Round 4 and Losers Round 3,
    • etc... etc...
    When we arrive at Winners Finals, Losers Finals, Grand Finals, Bracket Reset, etc, we may use bigger lists for best-of-7's or whatever. It's flexible.

    Let's illustrate how this would look:

    [​IMG]

    You can see how every match in each round of the tournament plays the same Gametypes in the same order. Remember that a Gametype here means a Map + a Game Mode, the letters here just represent different arbitrary combinations distributed evenly.

    The method of creating these lists is arbitrary, but the point is to have all maps and gametypes evenly distributed throughout the tournament. You don't stack the same map or too many of the same game mode in one round.

    Halo always had 2 Team Slayer (Team Deathmatch) maps and 3 objective maps (CTF, King of the Hill, etc) per round. Splatoon has multiple gametypes to distribute too.


    What are the Benefits of Halo-Style over Smash-Style?

    It is more efficient - Because players do not need to go through the process of discussing, banning, and picking maps, there is much less downtime between games in a tournament. Long downtime between games was one of the few popular complaints about Booyah Battle 1.

    It requires players to be good at everything - One of the traditional complaints about using Smash-Style picks and bans in a shooter is that it allows teams to avoid a portion of the game they are not good at. Halo-Style Rotations force these players to be successful at all maps and gametypes to succeed.

    It preserves variety - Ink or Sink 1 and Booyah Battle 1 saw issues with variety. In IoS WF teams banned each others' preferred game modes and only Turf War was played, and in BB teams that won games forced the same game modes repeatedly. Halo-Style forces a variety of maps and game modes.

    It supports a healthier meta - There is always talk about how good maps, game modes, etc are for tournaments. With Smash-style, it's hard to tell. Already in tournaments, popular gametypes get overplayed and taboo gametypes always get banned. This game is way too young to get banned and picked down to the same 5 maps every tournament match! How can we tell if the unpopular stuff deserves to be used if it always gets banned? Halo-Style doesn't have that problem, and it develops the meta more evenly. If time proves certain gametypes to be issues, they can be banned, but their inclusion can also be simply limited instead of outright banned from competitive play. It's a flexible system.


    What Problems can Arise with Halo-Style Map Rotations?

    Luck can be a factor - When players don't have any influence over what gametypes are chosen, they may randomly run into rounds where their best, or worst, gametypes happen to be chosen and the results of their match can be influenced by it. Of course, the answer is to simply be better at everything, but in reality teams have things they are good at and things they aren't as good at. Halo-Style Rotations can occasionally amplify that and it can affect tournament results.

    It can give TO's too much power - This is actually a big problem that happened with Halo. MLG reduced the gametypes down to a select few and rejected everything else, separating tournament play too far from normal play and preventing all sorts of growth in competitive Halo. Although that's an extreme example, the personal biases of TO's can come through in their gametype selection and steer the competitive scene in a way that players can't control. Using Halo-Style Rotations demands wise and responsible TO's more than Smash-Style does.


    Conclusion

    I hope this paints a clear picture of what Halo-Style Gametype Rotations are, why they are good, why they aren't good, and most importantly, why they are worth considering as an alternative to Smash-Style Picks and Bans. It's not my intent to replace Smash-Style with Halo-Style, but instead to make the Splatoon community aware of a good alternative to what they know and hopefully see some large tournaments give Halo-Style a try.

    I also want to caution the Splatoon community about allowing TO's too much power to ban things, it's hard to go back once things are banned.

    If you feel that Halo-Style Map Rotations are worth trying in big tournaments, go ahead and show your support here. Feel free to also discuss ways it can work for Splatoon or anything I missed.

    Thank you everyone!
     
    #1 Hitzel, Sep 4, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  2. Aweshucks

    Aweshucks Kinda a loser
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    Thank you for this great in-depth write up. I'll look at it more later, and I want to try it out in a future SCL tournament
     
  3. Hitzel

    Hitzel Inkling Commander

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    That's cool to hear, let me know if you need anything better explained for you.
     
    Flying_Tortoise likes this.
  4. Kaliafornia

    Kaliafornia Splatin' through Inkopolis with my woes....

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    I personally would prefer this method it's clear cut and saves time between matches.

    A counter to giving TO's too much power could be establishing that there had to be an even amount of mode/stage rotations or at least every stage/map show up once.

    As far as the luck factor, it is a consideration but I think it balances things better than banning maps/modes in the longer run as there is more variety and an even amount of good/bad stages for each team..
     
    Smashwidget likes this.
  5. SupaTim

    SupaTim Prodigal Squid

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    This definitely makes sense to me. In Smash there are certain maps that lend themselves to more random outcomes or poor spectator experience. I don't think that is the case in Splatoon.

    Also, shouldn't we be looking to other shooters for competitive structure, instead of fighters?
     
    UnnecessaryTodd likes this.
  6. jamesrcade

    jamesrcade Senior Squid

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    Yes please, more variety and less time between games sounds great.
     
  7. Kbot

    Kbot Full-time TO
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    Okay, here I come with my long-argument analysis, if you don't mind. DISCLAIMER: I have no other shooting game experience. I've never played in the Smash community, but I follow it. Bias? Possible a bit. Here are my opinions; no matter how I may state them, they are still my opinions. These are also my first reactions as I roll through reading this.

    1) I am for seeing a Halo-style tournament pan out in Splatoon. It's going to happen, and I'd love to see it.

    Yeah, sure. But when you think about it, couterpicking and all works. You're counterpicking what you believe their greatest weakness is. If you have no weaknesses, you can't be beat. All maps/modes have the possibility of being picked (besides turf war, cause **** turf, and then anything else we may/may not decide to ban or soft ban). If you're not ready on that map, you loose. Then you have another chance to beat the team due to what you think their weaknesses are. Are there some flaws? Sure. But for a community starting out, this was the default ruleset because most of everyone was familiar with it.
    Somewhat true. However, a smash-style tournament can make sure a team is good at most of everything. I think, in a Halo or Smash Style ruleset in bracket (more important in single elimination, but still valid in double) the gametypes made or the gametypes being played need to be a combination of all modes.
    Very true. However, this probably isn't going to happen in a tournament without Turf. That's most likley gonna get banned from tournaments in general, so I won't call this invalid, because I can see where you're coming from, but the community is going to (most likley) move foreward without Turf Hell in the ruleset. ("Turf Hell" was a joke. Laugh if you want. I'm trying to be somewhat amusing here :p )
    So that means that we can go back to our Smash system in a year when we have our meta figured out right? :p
    All honesty, that makes sense, and I 100% agree with you there.
    What's to say that TOs can't just go to a random number generator and use that to help decide pools, then (possibly) refute some when the meta develops more? I'm not going to say that this won't happen with Splatoon, but there's going to be more than one group producing tournaments on a consistent basis.
    Yes. Very much. We shall try.
     
    Hitzel likes this.
  8. Burritoburger

    Burritoburger Semi-Pro Squid

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    Nah m8 people are just gonna complain that the TOs are rigging the tourney
    If we can't handle bracket seeding to prevent teams of the same squad fighting each other near the beginning, imagine how outrageously booty blasted everyone would be if they the TOs picked everyone's maps and modes
     
    Aweshucks likes this.
  9. Aweshucks

    Aweshucks Kinda a loser
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    That's a good point, but part of a TOs Job is to say "**** you guys, I know what's best for my tourney
     
    Hitzel and SlimyQuagsire like this.
  10. Flying_Tortoise

    Flying_Tortoise Sushi Chef

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    Yes! lol thanks @Hitzel for the explanation. I only understood it a lil through your other explanations, but this makes it a lot more clear
     
  11. Marraphy

    Marraphy Inkling Cadet

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    This might sound kind of complicated, but I had an idea that could offset this maybe?

    So, in halo-style each game of each round would have a set map / match type. What if you also offered 3 random Counterpick map/type combos for each game, and then each team was allowed one counterpick per round?

    To clarify, let's say Round 1 (in a best-of-5 style tournament) is:
    1. Blackbelly Skatepark, Turf War (CP: Arowana Mall, Turf War | Blackbelly Skatepark, Tower Control | Port Mackerel, Turf War)
    2. Flounder Heights, Turf War (CP: Walleye Warehouse, Turf War | Flounder Heights, Rainmaker | Blackbelly Skatepark, Rainmaker)
    3. Bluefin Depot, Turf War (CP: Saltspray Rig, Turf War | Bluefin Depot, Tower Control | Flounder Heights, Tower Control)
    4. Kelp Dome, Turf War (CP: etc etc im tired of typing these)
    5. Urchin Underpass, Turf War (insert CP)

    Each team gets one counterpick per round, and only after they lose. So, Team A wins match 1 on blackbelly, and then loses match 2 on flounder heights. Since they lost, instead of going to Bluefin in Turf War they can choose one of the counterpicks.

    This kinda incorporates the map choosing strategy of the smash style with the predetermined maps of the halo style, or at least that was my goal
     
    #11 Marraphy, Sep 5, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  12. flc

    flc Inkling Commander

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    people need to understand that luck is not a factor this early on where nobody has a clue how to play each map properly. you can't get lucky maps if you suck at all of them equally.

    the only way the meta will progress is if we stop doing counterpicks where everyone bans the same three maps every time because they have a preconceived notion that the maps are bad. counterpicks this early on in the meta promote laziness and stagnancy.

    also to whomever said that counterpicks work: they really don't. at this point, any information you have on a team's weaknesses is going to be flawed at best and completely wrong at worst. perfect example: squid squad clubs banned kelp against im1 in IoS with the reasoning "it's one of their best maps". truth is: it's our worst map, we permaban it, and I can't do **** there with elitre. other teams would know this if we didn't have the option of permabanning kelp. if there were a randomised gametype rotation for each round of a tournament, we'd have to learn kelp and stop being **** at it.

    also mode striking is a ****ing terrible idea as well, and it's sort of inherent to the counterpicking system since you need a way to vary the modes fairly. mode striking is either unfair on the first map (because you have 2 viable modes right now) or makes it so the winner of the first match wins the set (because modes are much more influential than maps on a team's win rate).
     
  13. Box

    Box Pro Squid

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    If the maps are chosen up front before registration, then there's no transparency issue.

    One advantage of this format only happens when the maps are not random but chosen explicitly to represent what the TO considers representative of skill.
     
  14. Chhipz

    Chhipz Semi-Pro Squid

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    This needs to be applied to all Splatoon tournaments, especially since this is a shooter and not a fighting game.
     
    SupaTim likes this.
  15. River09

    River09 Inkling Cadet

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    Very well done @Hitzel Very insightful.

    From the sounds of it, this seems like a more healthy system to adopt this early in the meta. The Ink or Sink tourney had some... interesting patterns. I remember somebody made a pie graph of which maps got banned the most. Unfortunately, I cannot find it again. From what I remember Arowana Mall got banned the most in round 1, although I could be totally wrong so don't quote me on it.
    Anyway, the point is that if maps or modes are banned too frequently it will snowball and nobody will bother with them anymore which is just asking for the games competitive scene to stagnate. For that reason I think Halo style is a better pick as of now.
     
    RespawningJesus likes this.
  16. Ultramus

    Ultramus Pro Squid

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    Ink or Sink MessFest just used this setup, and it ran flawlessly. Compared to every other tournament, downtime was almost non-existent, and as soon as a match ended we were getting into the next match, despite a late start, we have made it to the end of the tournament in record time. I believe that as long as we pick maps/modes intelligently, then we should have no issues. One of our best matches, that went absolutely down to the wire was on Moray Towers, a map that we literally didn't play at all on the tourneys that had banning. I feel like the best way to figure out if a map is competitive is to get high level games to be played on it, and the only way to make that happen is with Halo style picking. We are far too young in our meta to stifle growth like this, and allowing all maps allows players to utilize normal squad ranked and be contributing towards their understanding of a gametype and map they may play in tournament. Banning and counterpicks means that competitive players are diverging from the normal population, and we absolutely want as few barriers to entry right now as possible.
     
  17. Chhipz

    Chhipz Semi-Pro Squid

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    In addition to the OP, we as a community need to pick the most competitive game types and weed out the rest. For example, we can't play every game mode on every map, because not every mode is suited for such.

    Our competitive community should come up with X amount of gametypes (it was 11 gametypes in MLG Halo) to use for tournaments. Although this will likely vary between tournaments hosts as to which gametypes they find most competitive, we should at least start to filter out the lesser competitive ones.
     
    Kbot likes this.
  18. Kbot

    Kbot Full-time TO
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    This list shouldn't come for at least another 6 months though, cause we still need time to develop each of the gametypes. We can't just suddenly ban SS RM because stalling now and never play it again. It shouldn't work that way.
     
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  19. Chhipz

    Chhipz Semi-Pro Squid

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    Absolutely, the meta is quite young and still evolving. It's important we keep an eye on how things develop so we can make the best decisions when the time comes.
     
  20. Hitzel

    Hitzel Inkling Commander

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    That's actually something I think we should avoid. If things work, keep them, and if things are so dreadfully horrible for tournaments that we can't use them, ditch them. Picking an arbitrary number of gametypes and sticking to it is one of the biggest problems with MLG Halo. So many maps and gametypes were rejected because there wasn't enough room in that imaginary number holding everything back.
     
    Trunks159, Ultramus and Kbot like this.

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