Season 5 - General Info and Rule / Whitelist / League Changes

   sigafoo <3   - 9/4/2018

Rule Changes


Forfeits

We’ve been lucky the past year to have only about 2-5% of the teams in our league fold during the season. This is compared to most leagues 10-20%. However last season in our Open division, it was not good. We had almost as many forfeits in that divisions as we did in almost all of the previous seasons combined. This is simply unacceptable.

We are creating a new policy to discourage forfeiting. With our shorter seasons, it was incorrect to have a three strike policy, we will be reducing it to two strikes.

1st Forfeit: No medals for the season. Teams can regain their right to get medals if they work with the other team to reschedule the match prior to playoffs.

Teams will also have to go through a “ready up” process, where 10 rostered players will have to login and “ready up” on the team page. To prove that they have an active roster who wants to play. Teams will not be scheduled for future matches until this happens.

*The reason we require more than 7 is because we had several open teams who FF’d due to missing one player! Teams should always have a back up ready to go.

2nd Forfeit: Removed from the league, no medals, no prizes.


Hopefully, these will incentivize teams to avoid forfeits if possible, and if it does happen. Try and help them not affect other teams until they have their team/roster in order.

Stopwatch


We switched to AB - BA style of stopwatch in the third season of RGL. Meaning that the home team chooses a side and then in the second half you do the opposite. The small adjustment we’re going to make is that, if the game goes into a third half (overtime.) The Away team will get to choose what side they’d like to start on, instead of the home again.

The Salary Cap Rule


Super teams: this is an issue that is not just affecting RGL, but most of TF2. In the peak of competitive TF2, this was less of an issue. You had enough people grinding to get better, that even the best teams could be contested. There was too much top-tier talent for one team to hold it all. However, as the TF2 comp community has gotten smaller and less dedicated. This has caused many of the best players deciding to leave their teams to go to a super team, rather than take the time to help build up their own team to be able to contest the best.

This is truly an extraordinary circumstance. This isn't a rule against a good team, this a rule against a team at another level. Froyotech has won 14 of the last 16 ESEA seasons, including the last 8 straight. They haven't lost a game in the last 2 years in any competition and in the thing that did it in for us when deciding this, is the Grand Finals this last season in ESEA. After two years of teams putting in their sweat and effort, the ESEA Grand Finals was a double 5-0 on back to back maps against the second best team in the country.

It seemed like after all this time, with Froyo picking up the best players to make their skill gap larger than the next team. Time didn't actually make the competition better, but it seemed like it was worst. And so based off that ESEA Grand Finals result, we decided to step in and make this decision.

There is a precedent of leagues creating rules to stop one team from gathering all of the best players in the league. The NFL has a salary cap, making it so you will never truly see "the best team possible," but rather see consistent and interesting competition by "artificially lowering" the best teams. The NBA has a soft cap making it harder for one team to get all of the best talent. The MLB has a luxury tax, which punishes a team who gathers too many high-cost players onto one team. Also see the NHL, MLS, CFL, etc... (source)

The NBA actually had a salary cap early on in the league's life but abolished after only a year. Only to bring it back in in the mid 80's because "[it] was instituted in an attempt to level the playing field among all of the NBA's teams and ensure competitive balance for the Association in the future."

With all of this said, to follow the idea from modern professional sports and having a true salary cap to make sure that talent is not bunch up onto one team is ideal. However, we will take a simpler approach and not allow the best players in their respective classes to bunch up on one team and not allow Froyotech to form as it currently stands. All players will be allowed to play in RGL, but no more than one of them can be roster/play on the same team.

Now with all of that said, this obviously is not a salary cap but trying to accomplish the same idea of having a more balanced competitive eco-system. We are targeting one team which, arguably, has the best player in their respective classes all on one team. Whereas with the rest of the teams we see them being more balanced. I think the targeting of Froyotech is not ideal, but it is a, admittedly crude, temporary measure to see if we can help balance out the league to create the healthy competitive environment which is what the goal of all of the rules that professional leagues listed above have put into place.


Now let's respond to some common opinions

Your artificially lowering team skill, therefore every win is hallow!

That's a fair perspective, but I don't think every NFL game won is a hollow victory. Those players are putting their: time, energy, and effort. Despite not playing against the best team due to league rules. And personally, I find the league more interesting that in the last 12 years you've had 11 different champions. And I don't find NFL games less exciting to watch, because skill is -attempted- to be distributed around the league evenly, rather than allowing one team to be able to pick up all of the best players.

You've opened the floodgates and every team is going to be banned! Teams will throw on purpose!

Nope, not at all. Slippery slope arguments are a bit absurd. This situation is so clearly extraordinary, that I cannot imagine us ever decide to do something like this again. I can't think of any other team in all of TF2 that I would even consider for this. And I expect us to either lessen the rules, remove, or pivot next season.

And if we ever decided to try and help protect the balance of the league, we would not take such a crude approach.

Look at ESEA, it's completely fixed now!

Well ESEA is definitely looking interesting this season... why? Because you are not going to see the top team in TF2 play. Froyotech has partially disbanded this playing season, with arguably a weaker roster than the last several seasons as Yomps and Shade left to create a new team. I think you could argue that ESEA is going to be better/more interesting this season...why? Because talent is being distributed to multiple teams, rather than being stacked onto one. Which what the goal of our rule is trying to do.

What about NiP 80+ game win streak? Would do you the same thing?!

No, definitely not. The only reason we consider this option is due to the fact that almost all the players are doing this for fun on the side. If you're talking about paid athletics, doing this for a full-time job, this decision would be awful. I mean it's not great as is, but in that situation, it would be much worst. So no, if I was running the league with NiP back in the day, I would have done nothing to get in their way.

Your rule is overly harsh

Yes, it is. We know this. We were worried that a lighter rule wouldn't have the desired effect due to many reasons that would take longer to explain. It's possible we went too far and we can re-adjust after this coming season. If we didn't get the desired outcome.

A new super team will form!

While there almost is always a "best team," that's virtually unavoidable. The term super team is something else and then froyotech is even beyond that with their success and picking up the best players. While I fully expect there to be one team that probably is the front-runner, I'm less likely to believe that any -true- super team will fill it's wake instantly. It's possible we could be wrong on this, but this is one those ones where I think people are confusing the difference between good teams and once in a generation teams.

We could be wrong

RGL is about experimenting and trying out new ideas and seeing what works. This season is looking very interesting with sevearl teams who are going to be great, but who knows. Maybe we will get this completely wrong and competition will get worst. We're not afraid to admit our mistakes, but we're also not afraid to take a risk.

After the season is over we can re-evaluate and see if this was a good idea. Did we help balance out the competitive eco-system and see better matches? Etc...

Only time will tell if our decision is wrong. I like many of you, disagree with the idea and I don't think the way we went about it is 100% correct. However, we didn't have a better solution present. So we're going forward with this one for the time being. We'll either be right or wrong, but either way, we'll learn along the way about what effect distributing talent amongst the top teams in the league has as an effect on the league.


Players affected: b4nny, yomps, bo4r, Cookiejake, blaze, habib, arekk, garbuglio, corsa, shade.

To be clear, this and all rules listed are only affecting Prolander.


Prizepool Payouts


In the past we’ve gone with a more spread out payout style, for NA Season 5 / EU Season 2, we are going to make it much more top heavy.

Invite: (assuming 4 teams)
1st: $2,100 (300 per player)
2nd: $1,000 (142 per player)

Div 1:
1st: $250 + 10 players entries for Invite Promotion
2nd: $100


League Structure Changes


Prior to season 4, we had a small Invite and Div-1 divisions. Last season we decided to merge the two together and extend out the prize pool. While that did allow some upsets to happen, like the success of Pop Your Pipes, overall it was not a positive experience for most of the lower teams. Frankly, it was a mistake. Our new goal with our upper divisions is to structure them so that every team in the division feels like they’ll have a chance to make playoffs. They might not win the division, but at least they’ll feel like they have a chance for a postseason run.

We will also try to structure all of our divisions to use round robins and go away from using swiss style matching. This will create a more fair playing field for all teams and also not stack a team's most difficult matches at the very start to the season and easiest at the end. For our larger divisions, such as div-2, we plan to split it into multiple groups with the top teams from the respective groups going into playoffs.

Speaking of playoffs, for Invite and Div-1, only the top teams will have a postseason. For Div-2 and Open, all teams will have some sort of playoffs that they can participate in.

Maps


Keeping:
Upward
Viaduct Pro
Borneo
Steel
Coalplant

New:
Cascade
Vigil

Exact week by week maps will be determined closer to the season when we know how many weeks will be played based on division size. Season length will depend on how many teams are in a division, but we can say for certain what the first maps are going to be.

Week 1: Upward
Week 2: Viaduct

Whitelist

We are extending out the whitelist this season, as none of the weapons that are currently banned have been reworked.

The whitelist can be found here

New BAN - Short Circuit: This is a weapon we were very much on the fence about. In HL it’s a lot more powerful because you always have an engineer, whereas in Prolander it’s rarer. Most players agree this weapon is not overpowered, except when the engineer on the cart can spam it for free (due to the metal being replenished from the cart.) Though we didn’t see any clear cut signs it was broken last season, we’re airing on the safe side with this ban.

New BAN - Mad Milk: While this weapon was rarely seen in Invite, the idea of this ban is to help strengthen the flex classes. Scout is arguably the most powerful class and giving him a quickly replenishing throwable that counters heavies, spies and helps team pushes is just too much.