Two weeks down! There were a lot more close matches this week than last week and I think we'll continue to see things get more competitive as the PR scores settle in.
The two biggest problems I am having right now are:
1) getting class selections/bans submitted on time
2) people having trouble connecting for their matches
I want to make this league great but honestly I don't have the time or desire to chase people down to turn in their selections every week like I have been. I hope to continue to grow the league to a point where this would become impractical anyway. For these reasons, I am going to lay down some clear guidelines on how and when these things should be done and what will happen when they are not. These rules below will go into effect for the fourth week of competition (next week), which is the first position round of this season.
1) Class selections - Class selections will be due by the end of the day on Wednesday. I won't be sending out reminders - it will be up to you to remember to do this. Thursday morning, I will send the captains a list of players who have not submitted their classes. The captains can either a) track down their own player to get the classes submitted by the end of the day Thursday, or b) Find a sub for that player for that week.
2) Subs - If a player isn't able to play one week, they or their captain may replace that player with a sub from the available free agents. All subs must be registered with the league as free agents at least a week in advance to the match date in question. Each player may be replaced by a sub only one week per season. If a player is unable to play (or neglects to submit class selections) and has already been subbed for once during that season, that player will forfeit their matches and the opposing player will be awarded the full 5 points for the match. In season Alpha, subs may have any PR. In future seasons, subs must have a PR that is equal to or less than the PR of the player they are subbing for. All substitutions must be communicated to the league by the end of the day on the Thursday before that week's match. Unannounced substitutions are not permitted.
3) Bans - Bans are due by the end of the day on Friday. I will email the bans and publish them in the spreadsheet at 8:45 PM EST on Saturday. For anyone who has not submitted their ban, their opponent's ban will also not be published (as a means of preventing counter-banning). If you have submitted your ban on time but you opponent has not, at the time of your match you may insist that your opponent tell you his/her ban first, since your ban is already on record. If you and your opponent both want to share bans early, that's fine with me and I don't see any fairness issue with allowing that to be discretionary.
4) Scheduling matches - The next week's matches are published on Monday (or possibly Sunday if all matches conclude on Saturday). When the match is published, both players should attempt to contact each other and confirm the time of their match. This can be done either through battle.net or email, but email is usually a more dependable method. If there is no communication between players during the week, it is assumed that the match will occur at the standard time of 9:00 PM EST. If one player is online and waiting at 9:00 PM EST and the other player is not heard from within 30 minutes, the waiting player may claim victory by disqualification. The waiting player may otherwise choose to allow his/her opponent another chance to compete before the end of the day Sunday. All matches must be completed by the end of the day Sunday. Once the matches are published on Monday, if you cannot compete at the scheduled time on Saturday evening, you may coordinate a match time with your opponent any time before Sunday evening.
That covers the most important things I wanted to address. I want to remain as flexible as possible and I want everyone to play and have fun. At the same time though, as competition heats up, fairness is very important and flexibility can almost always be seen as unfair to one party.
Some other errata:
1) In the rare event of a game ending in a tie, both player take a loss and must change classes.
2) If two competing teams have an equal score at the end of the week, they will each receive 1 bonus point instead of the normal 3 point team victory bonus.
If you think of anything else that should be addressed, please let me know. I'll be working to get these added into the rules section as I find time.
Thanks to all of you for making this a success so far! Our league is shaping up nicely :)
Our first week of competition is finished! First off, I'd like to thank you all for your participation. I think it was a great success.
That's not to say there weren't any issues. I screwed up several people's class selections and bans and I apologize for that. This is a very manual process for me right now so unfortunately, chances are that mistakes like that will keep happening. You can help by checking my work and alerting me to any errors.
I also notice that most of the matches were pretty one-sided. I know getting blown out isn't much fun but don't get discouraged! I actually expected this to happen this week for a few reasons. The first is that our initial PR scores are based off of ladder performance, which in many cases isn't a very accurate measure of a player's ability. This is going to get better, however, as the PR scores adjust week to week. Another cause of bad match-ups is our relatively small player pool. Ideally, we'll have good amount of players of all levels. Right now, we're quite top heavy with many more legend and high level players than newer players. In hearthstone term, our curve is too high. As we add players and teams in following seasons, our curve will even out. Combine that with more accurate PR scores and I'm confident that we will see matches getting more and more competitive as we progress.
We have one more week one match to complete and as soon as that's done, I'll finish posting the week two match-ups. Speaking of week two, the week two class selections will be due on Wednesday Feb 18. Bans will be due on Friday, Feb 19, and week 2 matches will be Saturday, Feb 20.
I'm on vacation this week so I should have a little more time to work on the site. My main goal is to get the rules sections much more fleshed out out and detailed. If anyone has any suggestion for other improvements, I'd be glad for the feedback. I hope everyone has a nice weekend!
The week one class selections are published. Check them out on the "week one" tab of the Season Alpha Spreadsheet. If you see no classes beside your own name, it is because your opponent is a replacement and has not yet submitted their class selection.
Use the Week One Ban form to select which one of your opponent's select you will ban. Please do this by Tuesday (2/10) afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.
Your selection of five classes to use in week one competition are due tonight. There is a form to submit class selections on the site under Seasons > Season Alpha > Week One to submit the classes. Tomorrow, I will email everyone who has not submitted their classes to remind them to do so. After the picks are in to me, I will publish them all on the site simultaneously. Then there will be a new form for selecting bans. You choose which class on your opponents list that you don't want to let them play. Then I will email the bans to the players 15 minutes before match time. That is why it is important to let me know if you have arranged a different match time with your opponent.
If you haven't already, you should contact your opponent to confirm the time you will be competing. You can see who your week one opponent is on the "Week One" tab of the Season Alpha Spreadsheet. If you cannot meet at the official time (Wednesday 2/11 9:00 PM EST) it is your responsibility to coordinate a different time with your opponent. Let me know if you need any help contacting your opponent.
Anyone who has not submitted their classes by the end of tomorrow (Sunday) will be disqualified for week one. Teams have the opportunity to find a substitute for any disqualified players. We have RadDreams waiting as a free agent and any new people can be brought in as well (this will be less flexible in future seasons/weeks).
It's pretty likely that we will have a few people who have signed up that we'll never hear from again. That's just another part of the growing pains for this first week/season. Players who have been unresponsive will just have to be removed from this season so we can start working on replacements. They will all be welcome back next season or even this season if their spot is still available.
Thanks to all those who have been asking questions and helping me identify where I need to better explain things. If you haven't already, you can like our Facebook page or follow on Twitter to be notified about updates like this one. I don't want spam up people's email boxes any more than necessary. Or you can just check this page regularly.
I have some very important rules updates and clarifications here. Please make sure to read this full post carefully.
1) Players may have multiple decks ready for a single class. Once one of those decks is played, it is locked in. For example, if one of my selected classes is mage, I could have both a mech mage and freeze mage ready to go. After losing my first game with a different hero, I could choose whichever mage deck gives me the best match-up. Once I pick a mage deck, I have to stick with it for the remainder of the match. This isn't the way it's normally done, but since we aren't submitting deck lists there's no way to prevent it, so we might as well officially sanction it and allow everyone to benefit from this tactic.
2) All decks must be fully constructed before a match begins. No teching out a deck after you've seen what your opponent has. This is pretty easy to enforce - just don't cancel the challenge after it has started and definitely don't go into your collection after the match. If you need a break during the match, just stay in the hero selection screen. If you go into your collection after the beginning of a match and your opponent catches you, the penalty will be a DQ and the REMAINING points in the match will go to your opponent.
3) This one is really important - NO GETTING HELP DURING A MATCH. All players must disable spectator mode before a match. Getting help during a competitive event is completely unfair and blatant cheating. Anyone found to be sharing their screen during a match, either through Hearthstone spectator mode or any other software will be permanently banned from the league. This is super important and we will have a zero tolerance for any violations.
4) Streaming a league match is allowed but all streamed league matches must be on at least a 15 minute delay. (As an aside, I think it would be fun to cast the matches of the final week that will determine the winner of the season. Anyone who's interested in casting, please contact me).
5) Our official match time for week one is 9:00 PM EST on Wednesday 2/11. If you can't make that time you can coordinate with your opponent (find you opponent on the "week 1" tab of the Season Alpha Spreadsheet) to set a different time to play. That time must be BEFORE the official match time for that week. All matches need to be complete before the end of Wednesday night.
If you can think of any rules that need to be addressed, please let me know! Unfortunately, this first week is almost sure to be a bit bumpy and chaotic but we have to start somewhere. We're having this alpha season so we can identify the problems and correct them.
I chose the Last Hero Standing format because I felt like it's a good introduction to the tournament format. I only have a very limited experience with amateur tournaments, myself, and I know many others also have little or no competitive experience outside the ladder. The rules are more familiar for those who follow pro hearthstone and the strategy can be as simple as "I know what my opponent is going to play, so I pick my deck that has the best match-up against that". Simplicity in this first season is really important.
That being said, I don't want to be the only person responsible for making these kinds of decisions. It's not that I mind it, but I'm pretty sure that given enough time I'll have enough bad ideas to kill the league if left unchecked. I don't want that - I think this is going to be really fun and would like to keep doing it. For that reason I'm looking for for a few people who would be interested in participating in a governing body for the league. Not that the governing body would do anything yet. I'm trying to keep it simple, remember? Just keep the thought in your head as the season progresses, "Am I enjoying this enough that I'd like to be part of shaping its future?". If you'd rather not be a part of that, you can still help the league survive by giving me a heads up when make a bad decision. I take criticism very well.
In future season, I think there are many more interesting formats we can try out, such as Blizzard's new 'Conquest' format, Primata Cup format, and Pinnacle format. The nice thing about having a match once a week is that we can hold multiple seasons of different formats during the same period, and players can participate in as many or as few as they want. I'm going to hold them close to my chest for now, but I have lots of ideas for ways to tweak the formats and/or league rules to make different seasons feel like diverse experiences.
I hope you are all in contact with your teams. I've been enjoying discussion with the Hairy Generals and will now start working on setting up a team meeting. It's he team element that's going to make this special.
For next season, I'm going to cast a slightly wider net for players and my goal is to double the size of the league. If you're not a captain but at any point think you'd like to become one and form your own team, you can do that at any point and I feel confident that we'll have players to fill out your team when the time comes. You may have made a few friend on other teams and decide to split off a new team with them. Just food for thought. The future is bright for THL.
Hi everyone! Pretty much only practical information here. Please read carefully because it all pertains to our first week of competition, which is next Wednesday, 2/11 at 9:00 PM EST.
The first thing to address is scheduling. The Season Alpha Spreadsheet has been updated with all the matchups for week. Check it out to see who you’ll be playing against. Captains, if you have two players with the same PR score, you can select their seeding order for this first week only. Any seeding changes are due to me by Wednesday 2/4 at 11:00 PM EST.
If you aren’t able to compete at the official time (Wednesday 2/11 at 9:00 PM), contact your opponent and coordinate a different time to play. Once you have that time arranged, make sure that I know when this is supposed to happen. If you’re having trouble getting in touch with your opponent, let me know. If you can’t work out an alternate time to play, you might need a sub. We have RadDreams lined up as an alternate so you can contact him if need be.
Submit your class selection by using this form. Your five class choices are due to me by this Saturday 2/7 at 10:00 PM EST. I’ll publish all the class selections on Sunday morning. From there you have until Tuesday 2/10 at 10:00 PM EST to submit your class ban selection.
Now I’d like to explain the match format of the Alpha season in greater detail. By “Last Hero Standing”, here is what I mean: Each player comes in with four different classes (heroes). Five classes were submitted, one gets banned by your opponent, and you’re left with four. Each player chooses one class for the first match, not knowing which class the opponent will choose. The winner of that first match much use the exact same deck again in the next game. There is no sideboarding allowed in the league. The defeated player must choose a new class and may not use the defeated class again for the remainder of the match. Repeat until one player has no more heroes left to use. This means that the first player to win four games wins the match (best of seven). Be sure to keep track of how many games you have won and lost because every win earns your team points, even if you lose the overall series.
I’ll have a form for each player to report the match results. I highly recommend taking screenshots of each game’s result just in case there are any disputes. Once that’s done, I’ll total the points and post the standings as well as the updated PR scores for each player. Seeding is based directly off of PR score so with the updated PR scores from week one I can publish the match-ups for week two and the process will repeat.
As usual, I'll start the post with some updates and practical information and follow it up with less vital (but hopefully worth reading) thoughts.
First off, we have team changes. I didn't want to do it but we had a player drop out and it was necessary to maintain balance between the teams. Teams were originally formed using a mathematical process that was agreed upon by all the captains. Once we replaced the lost player, I used the same process again and the new teams were formed. Because fairness and transparency are core principles of the league, you can view the details about this drafting process here. Anyway, sorry about the false start with the teams. It come with being an Alpha season, I'm afraid.
Because I have zero web skills, this Google Spreadsheet is going to be the primary place for the most up-to date information about Season Alpha. It includes team lists with current PR and seeding, weekly match-ups, and a contact list that includes the Battle.net ID of all players and email addresses for those who elected to have their email shared (please check over the info I have for you and let me know if there's anything I need to correct). On the topic of email, this Google spreadsheet has security set so that anyone with a link can view it. If your email is listed and you'd rather it not be, contact me and I'll remove it. Please feel free to make requests for anything you'd like to see added or changed. You can drop any requests in the comments here or comment directly in the spreadsheet.
With the teams set, you should start adding all your teammates as friends on Battle.net. Drop into observer mode with a teammate and get to know each other. There are a lot of things teams can do to improve their chances of winning but the basics are practicing together, discussing match-up strategies, and improving each others' decks. Preparation is key to victory and successful captains will motivate their teams to more and better preparation.
Communication will be very important and that's something I'm have some questions about. I'd like to get some league communication going but I don't know what the best platform would be. Please vote in the poll below.
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