The ACVII Format Dissection

Inspired by a comment on my last article, I decided to give my opinion on the format change of ACVII, and what it could mean for the future of the Altador Cup. Now I’m sure that I share the opinion of the general populace of those who played in the cup when I say “the format was complete s***”, that being said I do not believe we should go back to the Double Round Robin.

Now many of you reading this article probably follow the Altador Cup more than the average person, which means you obviously didn’t have a problem with the DRR, sadly this also means your in the minority. The truth is there was A LOT of people complaining about the DRR, saying it was too long, saying it wasn’t fair for a team to fall 3 spaces during the final rounds, and saying it was rigged (like how certain teams were always at the top and bottom). And this translated into a decline in participation since ACII, TNT had an obligation to listen to these concerns (after all a business has to make money to survive) and it appears they tried to strike two birds with one stone, by creating a format that was both shorter and more volatile, it would lead to an overall better cup.

That being said they failed. Horribly. Their first mistake was not even addressing any changes until less then a week until the AC began, by leaving a cryptic message in Altador’s pre-cup bio, and then making only light references to it in the updates. This lead to panic in that no one knew what these changes meant, and with no new answers and only days away from the event that we “Altadoraholics” look forward to like Christmas, naturally speculation ran wild and the popular opinion was already negative. And then when TNT went into more detail about the changes they managed to make people more confused then they were before. The introduction of brackets and a length of only 24 days, and no mention to how the brackets would be determined, lead many to believe the system would fail before it even began.

The first day of the cup pretty much unfolded like this.

* The cup started and people saw their brackets

*Seeing that 3 predicted favorites were all in one bracket with Faerieland and Moltara and last years winner (Virtupets) lead many to question viability.

* About 2-3 hours into the day people were noticing that the standings page was changing throughout the day, and it seemed to reflect team performances.

There are some who don’t see the problem with the last bullet. However this changed the game dynamics, as prior to this teams had no way of knowing how they were doing compared to the other team until results were posted, however if after half the day your opponent was still higher it lead many to believe people would become discouraged and give up. This seemed to be the case with teams like Haunted Woods and Shenkuu, who’s performances in the first round were far from expectations. This also meant the importance of YYB had been greatly diminished.

Now around the time of the second round people noticed two things

1. Daily results didn’t seem to have any impact on a teams standing.

2. Brackets didn’t show any clear organization.

Like when Roo Island swept Haunted Woods the first day of round 3 yet somehow were two spots below them in standings.

I couldn’t really make this review without discussing the two main problems people STILL mention about Altador Cup VII. The fact that Mystery Island and Kreludor (the teams that spent the majority of the cup competing for first place) never faced each other at all, and that some teams never faced each other while other teams played the same team two, three, even four times in some instances. Now to TNT’s credit I think they truely thought that the day to day performances would lead to more frequent changes in the standings, but in reality after the first day the standings were pretty much set in stone. People also say that the shortened time of the cup was pretty much the only good thing to come out of it.

I’m going to close out this article now but I want to say that I will make an article about what could be the best format for ACVIII. Leave a comment below talking about your feelings on the ACVII format and what you think was successful and where you think it could have been done better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

ACVII: A Year in Review

Hello there Altadoraholics, you probably don’t need me to tell you that 2012 is coming to a close soon, and I felt the best thing to do  would be to re-cap the most recent altador cup season (while it’s still fresh in my mind). While many will say it was probably the most hated cup, who thought TNT could top the YYB outcry in ACVI, even the most pessimistic individual can’t deny it was one of the most interesting in terms of results.

To start of with two weeks before the cup even began we found the roster changes. Shenkuu traded Foltaggio for Altador’s Timu

 Members of Altador were generally thrilled as they hadn’t faced a roster change since ACII, while members of Shenkuu were a little less then thrilled. There was plenty of talk on the S.O.S boards about members going to Altador because of this, however in the end this didn’t really seem to happen. Surprisingly enough though there was another team trade, and this one came to a shock to almost everyone. As Roo Island had traded Gordo Gunnels for former Brightvale team captain “Squeaky” Tressif. This move also caused Montecito to become the new team captain.

I sadly do not remember how the Rooligans took this news but I do remember the Brightvale supporters were particularly upset with this one as Tressif was seen as the driving force of the team. And of course the only roster change that wasn’t the result of a team trade.

 Selmon Woulf took the place of Bertie Shurtz, Bertie was one of the most beloved members of the team so alot of the Islanders were upset with this, but they were also upset to find that for the entire cup Woulf (a defender none the less) had somehow managed to rank number 4 on the list of most Goals Per Game (a spot that Shurtz had held the year before) this lead many ti believe that TNT had just faked the list this year.

Anyone who was around the Virtupets/Altador Cup board during the pre-season will surely remember the “where are the All-Star groups going” boards that ran amok. Stealth! had problems keeping their secrets secret because pictures surfaced which showed they were planning on joining Kiko Lake. However after reaching out to a member of Stealth! it appears some supporters of Mystery Island reached out and asked for there assistance which might explain the surprise when the day before the cup started a lot of Stealth! members were shown to be supporting Mystery Island. SOTAC for once seemed to stay out of the limelight as no one was really sure where they were going until the day of the cup.

 

Now I can’t really recap this year without going into my least favorite change, the fact the daily results no longer mattered. I know I’m not alone when I say that waiting for the nightly results to see if your teams hard work had payed off, however after the first bracket it become clear that a team could sweep another and yet the team the got swept could still end up higher in the standings. This change essentially eliminated any sense of teamwork, afterall what was the point of trying to secure a surprise sweep if it meant your team didn’t even improve in the standings, they only people that really had an incentive to play were those who were simply playing to improve there own rank.

 

Of course we need to talk about the teams that either performed better, or worse, then had been expected of them. To start off with Mystery Island blew everyone out the gate and throughout the entire cup won every single game of YYB except for there only loss to Tyrannia. Many will chalk this up to Stealth! however on the first day of the cup I witnessed many loyal MIYP’ers max YYB, there really seemed to be a changed air about them, and they seemed to be trying to put there best foot forward. While the longevity of their success seems to be in part to the group (as small teams historically never manage to maintain dominance for long) their over-all ability to sweep teams that had steam rolled them the last two cups really shows how far Mystery Island can push the limits of their power.

Kiko Lake was another team that showed dramatic improvement, they went from pulling single game upsets, to upsets that resulted in full sweeps. From sweeping the predicted power houses like Maraqua and Tyrannia, to side sweeping Mystery Island (effectively ending their undefeated streak) and also being the only team to beat Kreludor in Slushie Slinger. While this new found power seemed to have fizzled out by the last round of the cup, there certainly is a new air around this team, and predictors seem to have very different opinions about this team in terms of ACVIII.

Lost Desert also showed one of the biggest changes, after setting the record for the farthest drop in ACVI (taking the tittle from Shenkuu) they single handily managed to rise from 13th place to 5th. Perhaps this is a testament to the the increasing power of the “Winners Curse” (which begs the question where Virtupets will end up next season) but I’d like to believe this is the same united core as last year with the same strength, after all this team really didn’t receive any hype in anticipation of this season (many felt the would stay in the fourth tier) so their rise can really only be attributed to the members of the team that continued to stick with the team.

Maybe I’m wrong though. Leave a comment below about your feelings towards this past cup.