RAC2017 Final Hour Suggestions

It is nearly time to announce RAC2017 as well as sign-ups, and all other specifics for the event.

If you have any last minute suggestions please post them below or get in contact with myself or Chris.

The primary reason for posting this is in regards to match time limits. Over the past year some time was spent by players experimenting with a 60 minute time limit for RFW matches. What are peoples final opinions on this subject as we move into the final weeks before the official announcement?

by Spr0k — posted in General Discussion
Matsuzen

60 minutes time limit will never be tested properly without a tournament because no one ever plays, so I suggest trying it this tournament. As for stall strategies, they are powerful because no one expect them and know how to react. If you plan beforehand for an eventual stall, then you should be able to break it or prevent it. Otherwise, you simply lost to a strategy that isn’t more powerful than any other.

Contranaut

It’s true that if you expect a stall strat, you can probably plan a bit better around it, but even if you do it definitely doesn’t mean stall strategies can’t still be effective. Remember the 2 pugs/play tests we played on Manifold Mania 2.0? The first game we just stalled for 60 minutes and you guys didn’t have much of a chance to win, even though you won the beginning of the game. Then the 2nd game the teams were almost the same, and we did a stall strat again, even though you surely would have been expecting it. Once again, we won without too much trouble, even though it was a little closer. Of course that was a play test so it’s not the best example, but I think the potential of stall strategies has hardly even been tapped into. I’ve never heard of a tournament match where one team’s strategy was to take the match to time limit, it usually just unintentionally happens because of losing resources, etc. Think of what you could do if you stratted to take the match to time limit. For one, you potentially only need to get 1 wool, and you only need to hold 1 lockdown, so you can focus almost 100% on resource denial in the early game.

Plus, your “it will never be tested properly so let’s test it this tournament argument” doesn’t make sense to me. If you have a brand new map that hasn’t been tested, you don’t just want to throw it in a tournament and see how it plays. The best way to get down to 60 minute time limits is to slowly work our way down (I’ve suggested starting with an hour 30 minute time limit) and to re-balance maps on the way.

Matsuzen

I remember the games. However, these were pugs and not organized. I do not recognize them as a proper representation of what would happen in a game where I prepared for it with my own team.

Otherwise, the argument does make sense. It’s not comparable to having brand new maps in a tournament because a 60 minutes time limit does not drastically changes how the map plays. As opposed to a new map, it’s fundamentally the same. If you think otherwise, then give a few concrete examples and do not just say “it drastically changes the gameplay”

zzrules21

Stall strats are effective because map makers make their maps susceptible to stalling. More specifically, maps with a victory monument in the sky are incredibly weak to prolonged stalling. I would be all for contacting map makers to try and stall-proof their maps so that we can have a map pool that can’t be stall cheesed in a 60 minute time limit. I am all for doing whatever we can to make the overall match length shorter (I did the math a little while ago, and I spent almost 8 hours on the matches for last year’s RAC as both a player and a streamer, and that’s mostly because of two matches that went to the time limit. Being on both the streaming and playing end of these matches, I can definitively say that those matches were just not fun for anyone involved. 100 minutes is a long time. You also have to consider the fact that the finals will most likely be a Bo3 again. Imagine the first game going to time limit, the players would be exhausted for the two remaining maps and that just would not be enjoyable). For the future I would love to see a map pool that can work for 60 minute matches.

However, since we are apparently in the “Final Hour”, and since the map pool has been announced for 3 months at this point, and since making map changes too drastic this late in the game wouldn’t be great for the tournament, I feel like a 60 minute time limit would not be a good idea for this RAC. This tourney absolutely should not have 1:40 matches, but I feel like 60 minutes would be a bit too big of a change. Last time the time limit was lowered, it was lowered by 20 minutes from 2 hours to the current 1:40, so I feel like dropping another 20 minutes down to 1:20 would be a good place to land on. The only matches in the 2016 RAC that would have been affected by the time limit change would have been the games that went to the time limit, unlike a 60 minute time limit where USNZ vs BPF would have had the final minute cut off from the match.

Contranaut

I agree with a lot of what you said. If we want to move the 60 min limits definitely the best thing we can do is remove sky monuments, and that will probably take us most of the way there in terms of balancing 60 min time limits. There’s still other things to consider though like heavy lockdowns on wools or terrain lockdowns on maps. A good example of the latter is that one match on Norway where one team made a terrain lockdown before 2nd wool. The team getting locked down wound up just tunneling underneath all of 2nd, which was a good way to break the lockdown, but took lots of time to do. With a 60 minute time limit the time you take to dig the tunnel is a lot more valuable, so that terrain lockdown strat is a lot better.

You also talk about how you want to reduce the amount of time you spend streaming matches. I obviously can’t say this for certainty, but think about this. If we go to 60 minute time limits, I believe there’s a good chance the average time it takes to complete a RFW match actually goes up, because more teams might adopt stall strategies because it’s easier to delay till time limit. Oh course if maps are balanced around the new time limit, average match length should go down instead.

zzrules21

The average match length for the previous RAC was around 51 minutes, and that was largely due to the two time limit matches. For the average time per match to go up, it would require just about every single match to go to time limit. As long as maps are chosen/built/designed around not having super heavy lockdowns, then I would find it hard to believe that the average match time would go up as a result.

Spr0k

In terms of sky monuments, I think it depends on the map. It seems pretty difficulty to lock people out of the sky monuments on either Procession or Tunnel Vision… especially if they dedicate to establishing their victory run earlier in the match. However, I was in at least one of the Manifold Mania 2 PUGs where it was very easy to lock the other team out of the victory monument, even when they were demonstrably better PvPers.

Should be something to consider for post tournament season map tier score evaluation.

Matsuzen

It was easy for them because the team trying to get to the VM was unorganized. The VM was also literally destroyed (couldn’t tell where it was; I remember being able to bridge quite up, but wasn’t able to place the wool because I didn’t know where the VM was.)

Spr0k

That’s right, there were no indestructible blocks on those VMs. So it was impossible to tell where the wool should go. Yeah… bad example.

Contranaut

I still don’t think 60 minute time limits are nearly tested enough. There’s only been 2(I think) throwdowns with 60 minute limits, and none of those were on maps in the tournament map pool (some updated maps like Rain Eater and Erosion are still hardly tested at all). I still have the opinion that time stalling for 60 minutes on certain maps could be very strong strategies, and I don’t think this type of gameplay is desirable for competitive RFW.

I’d be in favor of reducing the time limit from 1 hour 40 to 1 hour 30, because I don’t think that will be a drastic enough to really cause any major changes.