Editorial – Mix Teams in SSL – by notas

[DISCLAIMER: All opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s opinions and do not reflect the opinions of Sauerworld.]


ON THE PARTICIPATION OF MIX TEAMS

Have you ever wanted to play with a group of friends who just so happen to be in a different clan? Do you not have a clan, but still feel the urge to compete? Well, you can’t, at least not in SSL. Their decision to ban mix teams seems to be a strained attempt to force people into what they imagine is the more elite world of clan competition. It’s an authoritarian policy that is terribly ill-suited to such a small community of players. Allowing mix teams is vital to keeping sauer fun and accessible for everyone.

To get started, mix teams encourage people to play by providing an alternative to the monotony of clan participation. It gets boring playing with the same people all the time, however much one may like those people as individuals and clanmates. Mix teams are a welcome break from that, as well as being an exciting reason to play when sauer might otherwise seem boring. The only sauer tournament I’ve played in since the summer of 2014 was the SSL ectf mix tournament, and the only reason I’m writing this column is that I thought it would be fun to make a mix team with Raffael and Acuerta, and train for SSL. But noooo, it’s more important that everyone who plays have nice official tags and websites and shit. Please. Long running clans are good for training, building camaraderie, and working towards a shared goal – but their existence is not mutually exclusive with the forming of mix teams.

In addition to that, it’s extremely difficult to objectively define what constitutes a clan. Why is a mixteam not a clan? It’s a team of players working together to play their best and win games. SOUNDS LIKE A CLAN. In sauer’s loved and hated parallel, QuakeLive, clans are essentially nonexistent, and teams form on an event by event basis (with the exception of lasting sponsorships). The only way I see that SSL can define what is and isn’t a clan is by enforcing arbitrary rules for how long a group must stay together in order to compete. Apart from being an overextension of authority, this makes being in a clan an onerous commitment: once you join, you either play with these people or you don’t play at all.

This last point hints at another drawback of limiting participation to established ‘clans – Mix teams are the only opportunity for newer or more casual players to compete. The other day I played a mix with Ironman, who I’m told is applying to vaQ, and Sparta, who was at the time applying to sp4nk. If either of these players wanted to participate in an SSL tournament, they would be unable, even though they are clearly players looking to take a committed approach to sauer. There are also players who simply prefer to remain clanless (eternalsolstice is the first who springs to mind – don’t hate me). Should they not be allowed to compete? We’re not exactly overflowing with competition in the Sauer community. Do we really need more rules to keep people from playing?


SSL didn’t have much to say to these points when I presented them in IRC, but they did give me their reasons for prohibiting mix team participation anyway. These were:

1) Mix teams may discourage people from putting in proper practice.

2) Mix teams increase no shows and dropouts – Swatllama tells me that he’s observed this tendency particularly in the World Cup, and feels that signing up with a mix team is less of a commitment, as you risk disappointing only your two teammates rather than your entire clan by no-showing.


As far as the first point, I find this argument to be backwards and naive. I’ve read Swatllama’s “Viewpoint on mixes” and I imagine the opinions expressed there are driving his decision here. But you can’t squeeze water from a stone. It’s sauer, for fuck’s sake – a lot of clans don’t have enough active members to field teams, and if people overall are more focused on having a good time than training hard, it’s pretty obsessive and anti fun to say “no, that’s lame, we need to make rules to correct it.” Besides, certain mix teams are more likely to practice than a lot of clans – they’re formed with a dedicated focus on a given event, instead of being default teams who attend tournaments out of habit. One look at the PSL hall of fame (http://ogros.org/psl-history/hall-of-fame.html) shows several very successful mix teams – b00b were CTF grandchamps, and DBSIET took back to back titles in two modes. Obviously these were serious teams, or at least more seriously skilled than the opposition. On the other hand, I can’t count the amount of times sp4nk showed up to modes just to screw around, just because we were sp4nk. Participating as a clan (whatever that means) doesn’t automatically mean taking things more seriously than in a mix team.

The second point seems to me trivial and irrelevant. If a tournament organizer is having problems with no shows, they should solve it by making the tournament better, not worse. Besides, there are other ways to combat no shows that SSL does not seem to have tried. Having signups open the day of the tournament (and close 1-2 hrs before) is an approach that ensures the players who sign up are those who are present and sure they can participate (This model has worked well for the North American duel cup in quake live, which is almost as casual as sauer leagues due to the small NA QuakeLive scene). As far as teams ‘shuffling,’ or no showing later on in multi-day tournaments, just make sure teams sign up with one or two substitutes and limit the team to that roster. If there are dropouts, they are removed from the bracket – simple as that. As an absolute last resort, issuing sanctions for repeated no shows might be an effective way to ensure you are ‘disappointing’ more than just a few teammates if you fail to attend matches – although personally, I can’t really imagine the ‘disappointment’ of clanmates factoring into the decision to no show.

So, yea, that’s my rant. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a shit rule.

TL;DR – Mix teams make things more fun, and we really, really don’t need more rules to make it harder to compete.

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22 Comments

  1. notas

    Authors note: this column is not intended in any way to demean or devalue the work of SSL organizers, who deserve the fullest appreciation for providing a serious tournament for the sauer community.

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  2. Agalloch

    A hard work of someone who is trying to make the clan can be easy destroyed by bunch of faggots they decide to play in a game because they or have no clan, have no mates around, or their strongeir mates are playing already in first line so they waat to play too.

    Suddently whole effort goes to the hell when 3 guys e.g. Potato Hades and another lagger are playing together “just for fun”.

    If you want to play competitive, just join some clan or make your own. You will help to sauer by #1, more clans more sauer, more sauer more players, etc.

    There are sometimes tournaments where mix guys can play, as few weeks ago the great World tournament, or even mix tournament by ssl.

    But i reccomend you to join some clan which fits to you. At least sauer gets back great player again.

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      1. Lokio

        but if any clanless players want to follow his advice apply to DM lol

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      2. notas

        yea, mix teams shouldn’t really be a threat to clan participation… If clans really are this competitive pinnacle that SSL wants to see more of, they shouldn’t have a problem sweeping the mix teams that supposedly ‘discourage practice.’ And if not, then its all the more incentive for clans to train hard for real glory.

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    1. notas

      you can’t ‘just join some clan or make your own’ because (a) clans generally don’t accept every person who wants to join (b) you may have a long term goal of a specific clan you want to join (c) you might not want to be in a clan and (d) forming a clan means you couldn’t change your mind and join another clan without being banned from SSL, otherwise I could just form NRA w raffael and aqrta and then go back to sp4nk later.

      thx for the great player thing tho :)

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  3. Acuerta

    I’ll just repeat what I said on IRC a few days ago.

    My main issue is that – considering what a sorry state competition in sauer is in – you really shouldn’t turn people down who just want to play your f****** tournament

    Now at the end of the day this is just my opinion, and as someone who has previously hosted tournaments I understand and fully respect that it’s their tournament and their rules. The few times I did manage to play SSL I always enjoyed it and I couldn’t say anything negative about it other than the issue as described above by notas.

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  4. Suicizer

    I miss the days where clans of the ‘lesser’ skilled (or just mixed teams) so could participate and have a good time, period.
    A tournament shouldn’t be about winning, neither practicing before hand. It’s about being united with all participants by those games and feel like one group of players. To see Sauerbraten grows again in it’s amount of players. That won’t happen when having other goals then written above.

    Nevertheless, also appreciate and respect the amount of work and time which has been spend into this event, but I agree Notas.

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    1. pix

      > A tournament shouldn’t be about winning, neither practicing before hand.

      That’s obviously bullshit, it wouldn’t be called tournament if it wasn’t about winning.

      I also don’t see what stops ‘less’ skilled clans from participating. I agree with notas though that mix teams should be allowed as well.

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  5. Rexus

    Beautiful editorial. It’s great to see that sauerworld is happy enough to take on multiple different points of view for all readers to view and decide for themselves what they believe is best.

    As for my own opinion, it’s struck me that competition in sauer is NOT going to be the same as competition in any other game. Everyone knows everyone. We’re a wonderful, tightly knit, community and segregating the community by forcing only clans to play together makes life hard when, say, only 2 players in the clan are available, (Yep, happened to myself many times before rC and even in rC, and we’re not even that inactive!) but also the fact we’re so close in the game means that failing to show up will cause just as much disappointment to the team, whether it be your clan mates or anyone else.

    For example I get on well with players like Skillz and Lokio. I would definitely not be okay leaving them as much as I wouldn’t be okay leaving Jawer and Deluxe from a tournament. Because, let’s face it, you’re probably not going to make a team with players you don’t get on well with or don’t know that much. For example I don’t really know Origin and Odyssey that well and so probably won’t make a mix team with them.

    Is this maybe just how I feel? I’m not sure, but I can be fairly confident that many players share the same feeling that abandoning their mix team is going to be considered just as bad as abandoning your clan mates.

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  6. Honzik1

    Whole article is only about that ban for mix teams is shit. Everything could be said in 1 sentence. If you dont like how it is, then do your own tournament a do not criticize hard work of the others. Sauerbraten is getting more and more inactive (I remember 300 players online every evening) and still there are dumbasses which criticize effort of the others to make Sauer more active… Because of whining people like you, tournament organizers will lose motivation to do something for Sauerbraten community. “THANK YOU…”

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    1. Acuerta

      Usually I would try to argue against the “points” you raised but seeing how you’re obviously mentally challenged to a point that makes it impossible for you to grasp the basic concept of opinion exchange and constructive feedback I’m starting to think it would be a waste of time, not unlike the sentence I just wasted on you anyway.

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    2. notas

      honzik1, civil and intelligent as always… did you read my comment at the top where i said this isn’t to take away from the hard work of the SSL team? Do you really think the SSL organizers are going to give up and go home just because i disagree with one policy? Reading between the lines I think you must consider all criticism in any aspect of life to be a blatant objectively disrespectful personal attack….

      Also, did you notice that the entire point of my article was that we shouldn’t ban mix teams because, and i quote you, “Sauerbraten is getting more and more inactive (I remember 300 players online every evening)?”

      Also when you say ‘go run your own tournament’ remember that I worked as an organizer for SWL and SDOS… It’s not like I’ve never experienced the workload of running a tournament. If you can’t also listen to feedback from ‘whiners like me’ then your tournament will never be as great as it can be, regardless of your other work.

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  7. miu

    I think it’s not right to allow mixed teams because you can make a team which will 100% win the tourney what you can’t say about clan teams because every clan has its strongest players, tactical and noobs. It’s just harder to make a 100% WIN team for a clan unlike for a mixed team because pros and just good players don’t gather in one clan, they spread out among the clans. That’s the main idea of tournaments, you have lack of possibilities but still try to do your best. In mixed teams there is no lack of possibilities.

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    1. notas

      I was waiting for someone to make this point! :-)

      I think the fact that there have only been two winning mix teams formed in the history of sauer says something about whether or not this should be a serious concern. In the event that a truly dominant mix team was formed, something like PSL’s grandchampion ban would be the way to balance it out, IMO. Besides, w00p of old was basically a superteam of this nature – majikal and tenshi on the same team with the likes of Deimos, Teppo, Jay-em…!

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  8. Suicizer

    Just popped in my mind;
    Why is it actually still even called a tournament when clans are the only who are supposed to participate?
    Isn’t that what the term ‘clanwar’ also stands for?

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  9. Fohlen

    Speaking of my expierence with the DKSC, mix teams are a good way to encourage people to play, and I do not see any sense in excluding them. There are only 3 thing’s that strike me in Acuerta’s monologue
    1) Established clans certainly decrese the risk of no-shows, as the leader (or whoever sign’s up) is aware of blaming the whole team if they do not show up
    2) It is much easier to plan leagues with “longterm-partners” which you can trust on, because they will very certainly sign up on events they did signed up earlier
    3) “Overpowered” mixed teams, such as Agalloch mentions, discourage many clans to play, when they suddenly have to field “randomly” created groups of top-notch-players

    Instead of excluding mixed teams in SSL you should rather be diving your league into 4 slots of clans, and 4 mix slots (for example), playing in a double elimination system, where the winner of mix has to field the winner of clans..

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