First of all, I want to give a big thanks to everyone who participated, helped organize, streamed, or tuned in to watch the tournament on Saturday. Special thanks are due to Thomas, who served as match coordinator, and to refs Dynemanti, ATeddyBear and Sgt.Spoon, who also handled signups. This was the first-ever tournament for Guns of Icarus Online, and we’re immensely grateful for the wonderful turn-out and level of excitement for the event. There were a few hitches, and we can’t thank everyone enough for suffering through them and for bearing with us as we learned some hard lessons. We will make sure that we do things much better for our next tournament. Overall though, we had some great matches, saw some really interesting competitive play, and had a lot of fun.
I’ll discuss some of the details in a moment, but first, congratulations are due to our winners! Here are the final standings (brackets and complete results here):
First place and the title of Champions of the Dunes go to the crews of Saint Rocket and the Ergonomic Cog, captained respectively by Dr.Spaceman and LieutenantHindenberg. The Squid-Goldfish team put on a stunning show, blasting their way through the competition to emerge undefeated!
Second place goes to Baron’s Pride and the Qwerty, a Pyramidion double act captained by Queso2469 and Qwerty2jam. Following a first-round defeat by Homebrew and Fail-Midion at 5-2, they powered all the way through the loser’s bracket to face Saint Rocket and the Ergonomic Cog in the final round, and fought a close battle to land in second with a score of 5-3.
In third place we have Durandal and Red Herring, a Pyramidion-Squid team captained by Vayne and Bauhaus. With an impressive flawless victory against Calamari and Negotiator in the first round and a default win in the second, Durandal and Red Herring defeated Serenity and Kraken 5-2 in the third round. They put up a good showing against Saint Rocket and the Ergonomic Cog, losing 5-3, before finally going up against Baron’s Pride and The Qwerty in a sudden-death elimination round that sent Baron’s Pride and the Qwerty to the finals and earned Durandal and Red Herring a hard-fought third-place finish.
A more in-depth response to the tournament follows after the jump…
Now, as anyone who was following the tournament is no doubt aware, the tournament had some organizational snafus that led to delays, confusion, and a few disputed calls. As the organizers of the tournament, we take full responsibility for this and apologize to any of the contestants who may have been adversely affected. We know everyone practiced really hard for the tournament, and we tried hard to deliver a fun experience for people. As this is a beta tournament for a beta game and this is the first time organizing for a lot of us, we expected there would be wrinkles, but we weren’t fully prepared to handle them smoothly, which is completely on us. Although we tried to anticipate problems and remain flexible, there could have been a lot more clarity regarding the rules and procedures to deal with disrupted matches, and we also could have improved our communication channels, both with the players and internally. A more general post-mortem will follow where we’ll look at our tournament procedures and how to improve them for next time, but for now we wanted to address some of the specific events that happened.
The volunteers responded with grace and poise to the challenge, and we tried hard to be fair and accommodating to everyone. Unfortunately, our main contact method, Steam messaging, was subject to some obscure settings that prevented a few of the organizers from receiving PMs, causing confusion and delays right off the bat as crews tried to reach refs and find their matches. Muddying things even further, our new spectator mode, which was used by the refs to oversee matches, had some interface issues that made it difficult for spectators to observe and respond to chat messages, hampering communication between players and refs.
This was most obvious in the infamous Match Nine, and I’d like to take a moment to address some of the core problems with that match. We did instruct the refs to call for a restart and reform the match if there were disconnects, bugs, or other issues affecting balance, but we didn’t offer any clear guidance about how many times this was allowed to happen or what to do if a match was running over time. This happened once in Match Nine after one side reported a bug, delaying the match for a restart. When a second bug was reported, the ref didn’t believe there was time for another full rematch, and an attempt to stop the match and organize a single-kill sudden death rematch (our chosen tiebreaker method) within the time limit failed because of communication difficulties, and the match ended with a loss for the team that had reported the second bug.
When we heard what had happened, we decided to try again to stage the sudden-death rematch to eliminate the influence of any bugs and try to be as fair as possible to both teams. We unreported the result and called the teams back, but not before the ref had already assembled and started the next match in the bracket, taking one of the teams away while the other waited for the rematch. This one match was the cause of almost all the following delays, spreading ripple effects throughout the remainder of the tournament, with most other instances of no-shows or missing teams being resolved fairly quickly and matches starting promptly for the most part.
I want to underline that we made the decision to hold a rematch not to appease anyone in particular, but because we thought it was the most fair thing to do since the bug wasn’t properly recognized while the match was still in progress. We fully support our refs and think they all did a fantastic job, making tough calls under pressure with limited information and scanty instruction. In this one case we reversed the ref’s original call because after receiving more information we believed it was the right thing to do. We regret the display of any unsportsmanlike conduct in chat, and plan to have a better moderation system in place to prevent things from getting out of control like they did. All of the CAs have also been briefed on the proper way to respond to disruptive player behavior when disagreements occur.
We also made the controversial decision to decide the last few matches in the loser’s bracket by sudden-death elimination in order to get the tournament back on schedule, which we regarded as a regrettable necessity but fair (or perhaps, equally unfair) to both teams. This ruffled a lot of feathers, and we want to apologize to all the teams that competed in those latter rounds for changing the rules on you and cutting short your experience. We worried that we wouldn’t be able to make it to the final round at all if we didn’t find a way to expedite things, thanks to the delays we’d incurred earlier in the tournament, and we’re sorry that you were the ones whose matches were cut short in the interests of wrapping up the event on time.
As I said, this was a new experience for all of us, and we have learned many lessons that we will use to make our next tournament even better. Most of all we were surprised and touched by the passion and intensity you brought to the event. We did our best to respond in kind and rise to the challenge of providing a fair and fun experience for all. We know that you spent long hours assembling your teams and practicing your moves, and in some cases rising at or staying up until ungodly hours just for the chance to compete. It was thrilling to us to see real competitive play on this scale, and it means a lot to us just to know that you guys really get this game and dig what we’re trying to do. We hope you’ll forgive our shortcomings and help us to make the next tournament even better, and we hope, above all, that you had fun. Even though it was tough going at times, we had a blast, and we’re already looking forward to the next one.
We plan to have some highlights cut together for you in the next few days, but in the meantime you can review some of those spectacular plays and see all the tournament footage here: http://www.twitch.tv/gunsoficarusonline