As a preface: bit of background for those reading who are unfamiliar with Schooly tournaments.
Schooly tournaments are comprised of female tournaments and events, directed and casted by @Schoolyy. The tournaments I will be addressing involve Ladies League and a few other of his showcase and single-day tournaments. I currently participate in Ladies League (a 10-week season followed by a playoff) and played in past events like Ladies Night and other showcases.]
I felt compelled to write this blog due to two things: the promise of female tournaments and the detrimental handling of current tourneys. Events like these have great potential to engage females in the community, fostering new friendships and possibly new teammates. Further, nurturing new female players allows a better bridge into the COD eSports community. Having these events reflect and familiarize these young players offers the chance to build the competitive community’s numbers.
In order to engage these players and integrate them into the main, the system they participate in should acclimate the general scene and expectations.
I’m here to shed light what can be improved in Schooly’s tournaments. I use his tournaments as an example due to its presence as a known female-only domain.
Here are the problems and here are my solutions.
» Inconsistent brackets. Random changes throughout season/up until tournament day
The Situation: Scheduled matches between specific teams often change without notice. Fair example I can give is team D2K pickup and drop mid-season, where D2K was scheduled to play against Valkyries and was stricken off the match and the bracket itself. Further, my team and other teams’ matchups were silently changed (Jan 13 match against weLANnaked changed to Allure, Jan 27 match against GIGG changed to Rebels in Pink, April 27 match against Allure changed to Red Shoe Rebels)
Why That’s Bad: Knowing the teams you are to play is a huge advantage to practicing the mentality and playstyle you should run with. Is a team aggressive? Passive? Should we run more ARs or SMGs? Changing brackets and matchups every week undermines the creative process of match preparation. Consistency is invaluable to the players.
How to fix it: Transparency. List of changes for each team and the reasons for such to avoid any misconceptions. Have these not only represented on social media sites but also the site itself.
» Event Miscommunication (i.e Rule set changes, time changes)
"Didn’t you get the memo?" No: All changes (both important and non-essential) are distributed through Twitter, but rarely noted on the front page or the TwitchTV stream itself. For instance, when scorestreaks were allowed a month into Ladies League, some teams were surprised about the stark change mid-season (and some who only played because scorestreaks were not part of the ruleset initially).
What’s the problem? Twitter is a fast-moving platform. While our community loves clinging onto Twitter for COD needs, feeds are often overcrowded with other information. Having repeated changes to rules, brackets or otherwise (as stated in previous point) after an announcement is a huge problem for visibility and clarity.
Let’s Make it Better: News feed on front page, TwitchTV stream and all social media sites. More engagement with team leaders dedicated to long, ongoing events. Even small, non-pressing changes should still be ratified with players when made post-announcement.
» Events scheduled on industry events or holidays
What happened? Community members already enrolled in long-standing tournaments (Ladies League, in particular) were forced to forfeit matches for PAX East. Industry events like PAX are fundamental not only the general gaming populace, but also the eSports community. In addition, one of the events was still run on Easter (a known, commonly regarded holiday).
What do you want to do? I hoped this was self-explanatory, but considering that these events did happen, here it is: don’t do it on these days. Or at the very least, allow teams to arrange their matches at a more suited time.
» (Lack of) Meaningful Ladders and Seeds
Tell Me Plainly: Due to its ongoing nature, this only applies to the present Ladies League. The conference system does not work effectively in a tournament that can potentially have a large disparity between east and west coast players, especially with a small number of teams versus a complete 16 or 32 build like the NFL. Even the current records between East and West right now have a visible difference. [link] Although this is used in the NBA, even in that association is the system constantly and consistently scrutinized for its one-sidedness. Having a simple seeding based on overall win/loss record, similar to MLG or many other tournament holders, would be more fair for those who grind it out and win.
The 10 weeks, on a personal level and also a monetary level, seem to presently be a waste. For dedicating so many weeks to the same event, there is little reward for having the best record. Besides a moral stance on keeping up with this league, there is little offer in comparison to the number of hours dedicated to participation.
Why the change?: The eSports community does not use conference settings. Pool play, group stages and standard double-elim with qualifer seedings are consistently used for clarity and overall utilization. If you’re going to stick and change rules to reflect Call of Duty esports’ global settings, stick to what tournaments successfully use. There’s a reason tournaments use these settings - they pretty much work.
How to Change It: Change it to any of the bracket settings I mentioned before. Randomized seeds or qualifers generally guarantee fairness, even in the event that teams drop out or are forfeited (which, in this community, we should expect due to none of these players are contracted each week to attend). Could bump up the prizes to make it monetarily worth attendance, if so desire.
Mind you, these are my own suggestions, based off the grievances and rants of my comrades and friends who play within these tournaments. I don’t have all the answers. I only hope for more streamlined, friendly events.
If you have any of your suggestions or feedback of your own that you’d like to contribute, either comment on this post or reply to me on twitter @ladyinsanity.
Additional Contributions from Other Players
- Allow teams to play at any given agreed time within a day. Restricting to play after 5PM is bad for many girls who have conflicting hours from work or otherwise
- Host checks before starting, as the East vs West hosts are distinctly disadvantaged from each other
- No one should have to forfeit based on them having to work for a gaming industry event on a given weekend - gaming events should not have a match scheduled on the day
- Rule changes should be properly listed on front page. Drastic rule changes should be notified to each team
- A better feedback system, where the girls have the ability to post their ideas and concerns in a non-confrontational way
- Incentive for having Top 3 season records
- Region locked. Having to play an international team is unfair to both sides (even with hosting) due to drastically different connections. As the next league allows EU players to participate, so have the rising concerns
(* Teams are listed in italics)