I wanted to put together a bunch of my thoughts regarding the possibility of creating the Overload Teams League.
Those who played Descent 3
might remember that I took over something called the Descent 3 Teams League from bash and Sirian, and ran it for a number of years. I kept it going until well into the second half of the aughts, with help from Matrix and IceHammer to keep things running smoothly. Eventually the game dried out, and with it the league was retired.
, the potential for Six Degrees of Freedom competitive team action returns. I've recruited Chilly Bus and MobMessenjah to bounce some ideas off of, and wanted to list out what we've come up with so far.
The Spirit of the OTL
The OTL "spirit" borrows a lot from from the D3TL. Essentially, teams get together to play competitive games against each other, and the system is there to facilitate the games with as little interference from administration as possible. However, we are planning on having a few notable differences for the OTL.
First, seasons are being planned. While there will be lifetime standings, we want to rotate out the standings every 6 months to keep the leaderboards fresh.
Second, we're going to want to keep big rosters down. The D3TL team NT was a unique idea, but we really don't need to have teams with 50+ players on it. This means that large clans would have to enter multiple teams on the D3TL, which means more people will be able to play, and even allow for intra-clan matches. Right now, we're looking at rosters being between 5 and 8 players, although we're leaning towards the higher end of that list.
Third, we're looking to keep the game time down. D3TL games averaged an hour in length. Overload right now only allows a MAXIMUM of 20 minutes, and that's the standard we're looking at adopting. If Revival raises that maximum, I don't think we're going to want to follow suit.
Fourth, we think map, opponent, and mode diversification is unnecessary in 2018. To keep teams from playing the same map over and over, we're likely going to borrow the "home map" concept from The Observatory
. To keep teams from not wanting to play other opponents, we want to implement a ranking system that's more than just wins and losses. And, there's only 2 real modes in Overload right now, and both are team anarchy... one with friendly fire off, and one with friendly fire on.
Finally, we want to do frequent events. Three kinds of events we're thinking of:
- Regular events, perhaps monthly, that are at different days and times, where people can get together and play a small Swiss tournament for a few hours. Similar to The Observatory's tournaments.
- Mid-season events, a top 6-team invitational knockout tournament, perhaps with something on the line like a guaranteed spot in the knockout tournament of the end-of-season tournament.
- End-of-season events where we pull out all the stops... qualifiers for people to get into groups, a group stage round robin, and concluding with a knockout tournament. You win this, you're the season champion!
Choosing Maps, Servers, and Colors
I mentioned using The Observatory as a way to determine what map to play, but I wanted to go into more detail on map selection, and other selections that may give advantages to one team and not the other.
First, here's what we're thinking for maps. Teams will have a pool of "home" maps, and when they are the "home" team, their opponent will choose one of those maps. Who gets to be home? That'll alternate every game between the two teams, with the first game being random. What if both teams want to play a map that's not their home map? Teams will be able to agree to play any map available, overriding the home team concept for one game.
Servers will work the same way. One team will be assigned to start the game, which allows them to pick the server of their choice, and the next game between the teams your opponent gets the choice. Every 2 games this resets. However, you can agree to play on a particular server (provided you have access to it) to override this behavior for one game.
Finally, colors will just be assigned in a similar way to servers. Unlike the servers, though, your team color shouldn't be something to agree upon. Sometimes you'll be orange, sometimes you'll be blue.
Overload has a lot of ways to play team games, but we obviously want to standardize them for fair competition. This is what we're thinking:
- Time limit: 20 Minutes
- Show Enemy Names: Team Only
- Respawn Time: 2 to 4 Seconds
- Respawn Shield: 2 Seconds
- Powerup Overall Frequency: High
- Powerup Initial Secondaries: Low
- Powerup Super Frequency: Low
All powerups are allowed, largely because we can't disable anything non-weapon.
As for Friendly Fire, we're actually thinking of making that a separate "mode". If you recall, the D3TL had separate rankings for each mode, but there was an overall ranking as well. We'd probably do something similar for this.
The Ranking System
Let me come out and say NO ONE is going to like the ranking system. Regardless of what system we use, nothing's perfect. I am hoping that by using a combination of a ranking system and regular events, any decent ranking system will be accepted as long as it's not the final authority on "who is the best". With that said, I'm going say that naughty word: Elo
Long story short, I want to have score ratio be a factor in Elo score changes, and have the rankings be somewhat volatile given that these are not lifetime ratings.
First, we have an idea to have the score ratio factor in the Elo "result" calculation. Normally, a win would give you a 1.0 result and a loss would give you a 0.0 result. In our version of the Elo formula, you'd only get 1.0 if you doubled your opponent's score, and 0.0 if your opponent doubled your score, with a logarithmic curve filling in the points in between. I came up with the "double" by examining the history of Team Anarchy scores in the D3TL Tournament. It maxed out at a ratio of 3.27 to 1. If you're beating your opponents 45 to 15, the team with 15 is going to need to improve dramatically to ever have a chance of winning. 45 to 30 feels more like that the team with 30 could eventually win. There's no real solid statistics on what exactly to use, but this feels like a good starting point.
Because we want a decent level volatility, K will need to be high. On top of this, because we're going to be using score ratio as the result, this requires us to have a higher K to keep things a bit volatile. I'm looking at experimenting with a K=50 for the first season.
Finally, we want to use a provisional rating so teams can't play 1 game and be ranked among the top teams. Teams that have 10 games in a season will have their full Elo as their rating. Outside of that, every game a team plays will give them access to 10% of their Elo. So, a team with an Elo of 1500 but has only played 2 games will have 20% of their Elo applied to their rating, so their rating will be 300.
We'll also have individual player stats, like total points, points per game, deaths per game, and efficiency.
Things We Want Revival To Do To Help
Revival has done a great job at making a game people want to play, but there's more that can be done to make this game really shine, as well as help out the OTL with doing what we want to do. To this end, we currently have a small list of ideas we'd like to pass on to them.
- Overload NEEDS an observer mode. In 2018, it almost feels like an oversight to not have some kind of observer mode. Even Descent 3 had observing!
- To keep games fair, all players need to be able to confirm the selected settings for a private match. Without this, the person starting the match could sneak in some setting that the other team won't be aware of.
- Game stats from private games should be output to a text file. No funny key combination required, no UI element, just a way to always output private match results. It should include each players' score line (kills, deaths, assists, suicides), and each players' kills and deaths against each other. Again, something to take away from Descent 3.
- Allow the player hosting to pick which region to start their game in. Right now it just defaults as the closest to them, but what if a bunch of US players want to play Germany players on a UK server?
- Right now you can select which weapons to allow or disallow. Extend this to other powerups: Ammo, Energy, Armor, Invulnerability, Cloak, Overdrive... everything.
- Make an option to disallow players from delaying their spawn in a private game. This would prevent cases where a team is in the lead, but the other team is making a comeback, except the team in the lead just stops spawning.
The primary interface for the OTL will most likely be a Discord bot. I have a lot of experience with Discord bots as I've made 3 now, and having a bot to help out with managing things like rosters, game reports, and more will really make it easy to keep the league running without anyone getting involved unless there's a dispute that needs to be resolved.
We'd still have a website, but its primary focus would be to show standings, results, and more. All other communication would take place on Discord.
Discussion, of course! I am posting this on a Friday to give everyone some time to read it over and form their own opinions as to what might be fun in an Overload Team League. On Monday, I'm going to do an Overload stream at http://twitch.tv/roncli
and hold an AMA regarding the league. I'm looking for your questions and suggestions, so be sure to add your questions on the Reddit OTL AMA
comments thread so that I don't miss them.
Overload is pretty well-suited for a teams league like this, and I think that having an organized teams league will get people playing multiplayer, and especially team games. Additional support from Revival will allow the league to do more, drawing even more interest from players who would not otherwise play multiplayer.