Feedback on Gwent Qualifiers

Posted by lerio2 March 7, 2020 in Critique

Introduction

Due to top players feedback, following update to Top16 and Top64 qualifiers in Gwent were announced:

  • Regulated coinflip will be back

Regulated coinflip would be possible due to return to predetermined coinflip result in friendly matches. The person who sends the invitation will always start the game (blue coin).

In Bo3 and Bo5 matches regulated coinflip will mean alternated coinflip results, where the first coinflip result will be assigned randomly.

  • Players will use the same decks for both days of top-64 qualifier

This means that 3 decks for Bo3 and one additional deck for Bo5 playoffs have to be specified before top-64 phase. It is different in two aspects from the former situation. First – all lineups have to be prepared before Swiss (while earlier Playoff lineup was built after). Second – Bo3 and Bo5 lineups are no longer independent.

  • Seeding for Day 2 of top-64 qualifier will be random

Top8 players will no longer know opponent before the match day, and would not be able to react with special preparation.

Link to Vlad Tortsov tweet: https://twitter.com/ThorSerpent/status/1235921733707759616

Feedback

Regulated coinflip

The introduction of regulated coinflip will bring consistency to esports competition. Main tournaments and qualifiers will have same rules and require similar preparation in terms of deckbuilding and training.

Predetermined coin in Friendlies

The reintroduction of predetermined coin in Friendlies will enable more comfortable practice. It is at the price of casual players experience. It would be impossible to get random coin for one match duel – casual players would need to do use third-party random generator, which is not what casuals are supposed to do. Even then, the situation is different than in-game coinflip, because coin is predetermined at the moment of choosing decks.

While we are happy that the short blanket will be on our side, we would like the blanket to be longer, instead of going back and forth between two solutions. Coin regulation should be optional and determined by players in the pre-match screen. This could be realized in many ways, let us present one.

Suggested solution

Each player declares preferred coin before match. If coins are the same (blue-blue, red-red), then coinflip is random. If declared coins are different (blue-red, red-blue), then the coin is predetermined.

Tournament impact

Reasoning

The main point of controlled coinflip is to avoid situations where one player is especially favored/unfavored due to random factor. Controlled coinflip directly resolves this issue. One player still would be favored in each match if the meta is unbalanced with respect to coinflip, but this is unavoidable.

Deckbuilding impact

Controlled coinflip will change tournament preparation and deckbuilding a lot. Right from the match start, the coin in each game is exactly known, which enables use of very polarized blue/red coin decks. Tournament decks will have more utility character, and with few exceptions, would not be playable on normal ladder.

This effect could be viewed as positive (more control over gameplay, more ways to outsmart opponent in deckbuilder) or negative (odd decks exploiting various blue/red coin shenanigans and not reflecting the meta). The negative impact could be alleviated a lot with other means of controlling coinflip. For example, instead of alternated coinflip, the total proportion is fair (e.g. 3/2 or 2/3 in Bo5), and coin is assigned randomly for each match in such a way, that players have no direct information. Polarized decks will then risk deserved failure.

Chess analogy

At the point when one player is systematically slightly favored due to coin stronger in the current meta, the situation is pretty much analogous to the game of Chess, with White/Black bias. Therefore we believe that introducing Swiss system used in Chess to Gwent is called for at this point. This will help to equalize the number of won/lost alternated coinflips for each player, unless the situation is very peculiar.

Monty Python

We are also concerned with the need for players to use 3rd party random generator for the coinflip. We hope this feature will at least be included in Tournament mode soon. If the random generator will be included in Aretuza Pick and Ban, I hope there is no need to explain how awkward the situation is: game developers hide fMMR and nicknames ‘for the good of esports’, and the coinflip for each match is done in the application provided by main Gwent team (the honesty of which I do not question here and coinflip inclusion I support)

Same decks for both days of top-64 qualifier

This change is based on player’s feedback (declaring decks on Day1) with a big twist however (using same decks).

I do not personally support both changes, especially after including random pairing for Day2 (sometimes one deck is malfunctioning even in very good player lineup, and from sporty view, he deserves to change it for Day2), but let’s discuss ‘using same decks’ part. If the motivation was to make decks less technical and more of universal quality, it would be understandable to some extent. But we completely could not agree with the official motivation behind which was provided:

Minimizing the paperwork for players(sic!) and admins is hardly a serious argument. Competing for Open slot, paperwork is zero issue for pro players. They do much, much more work than pasting 7 links into a document! We are also concerned that there is no impromptu software doing copy-paste work for admins after filling forms.

But going back to change implications: tournament is a contest of lineups, not decks. It is possible to create optimal Bo3 lineup and optimal Bo5 lineup, but it is rarely possible to go from one to another just by adding/cutting one deck.

The player has to decide then, which day he wants to have better lineup. Does he want to cut one deck from Bo5 for the first day, or add one deck to Bo3 lineup for the second day? If only “paperwork” is the motivation behind, we believe this change should be reverted immediately for the good of Gwent as a mind game.

Remaining issues

  • Top16 Double Elimination lasts too long for one day especially for 2nd and 3rd player (~15h)
  • Top64 Swiss is very random, and due to drop-outs, players losing in first rounds have very low chances for Top8.

Written by lerio2 and Team Legacy

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