World of Tanks Blitz - 61 The Tournament, part 2
Amaunet85 21st Oct 2016
The first day of the tournament was really just for shits and giggles. It was best of 1 (yes, -best- of -one-), and points would decide who would go through. I got to play every single battle (yay, so useful!). The first team we met didn't even have a full team there - and used tier VIII in a tier X match. That explains just about how serious and hard that day was. Some clans didn't even show up. Yes, it was amazing that we won all the matches that day. Now, after that was over and we had to see who we'd end up with the second day. I was quite shocked to learn that a few known clans were already knocked out - I really don't understand how that happened. And pools where teams tied had both teams through to the next round.

Now, things had already started going wrong. For one thing, the battles were only 5 minutes instead of 7, and no one could tell us why. Second, there were maps people had to fight on that were said to not be in the map-pool for the tournament. But what was more than a little frustrating was the fact that some of the clans that hadn't shown up at all were through to the next, and I'm not surprised that caused quite a stirring on the forum. How the heck can you expect people to take a tournament seriously if you're letting afk clans (not to be mistaken for AFK or IRMA btw) through to the second round of a tournament? It's one of the many things that I don't understand about the way this whole tournament was set up and not thought through. Of course it's their first Blitz-tournament, I get that, but WG has tons of experience with PC-tournaments. Why didn't they look how that went, and build from there?

The second day of the tournament, things were more serious, with the only exception that José got to play all the games because it was his birthday. It was from thereon out that we agreed that the best would play the games. With the best, I mean those that were the best in the tanks they drove, on the maps they were needed in. We started taking things more seriously at that stage, and that was good. Battles were actually 7 minutes long this time, too. Since we didn't lose a single match again, it was quite evident that we were through to the playoffs the next weekend.

Meanwhile, Slava, a fresh CC now too, asked the staff if someone was streaming the Playoffs the next weekend, and was in turn asked to do the streaming. Now this was tricky business, because the tinfoil-hat-brigade is out there, and it wasn't for nothing that WG had stated that anyone that'd stream had to be without a clan since at least 2 weeks before the tournament. I don't get why that rule wasn't followed, but that's not up to me to decide - if WG and Slava wanted to take that risk, then that'd be their problem. And their problem it became, sure enough.

For one, I know that I wouldn't have been happy with Phoenix being streamed. It's one thing to have people lose against you and have them have a vague idea of your tactics, quite something else for them to see you do it, and to be able to watch it time and again. I can imagine that being the same for most clans - except of course those that have plastered their trainings all over youtube anyway, by themselves or the teams they trained against.

The remaining clans were divided into two groups, with one group appearing heavier than the other. On the other hand, all the clans that had gotten to the playoffs got there by winning the previous rounds, so no one could be taken lightly anymore at that point. Now, when the playoffs started, Slava would get random invites to join a room to stream the battles there - which turned out to be synced to only one group - and it wasn't the group Phoenix was in. This was precisely why the no-clan rule had been put into place before and exactly why it shouldn't have been streamed at all imo. The tinfoil-hat-brigade made their way onto the forums immediately.

What surprised me most were the objections by the clans that have had quite a few of their training sessions streamed to youtube already, claiming that it would give us an unfair advantage over them, because we had seen their tactics now. Of the clans that have not been streamed to youtube by themselves or their enemies, I can get that, but not those that have been on their for a few months now. Just, wut? And despite watching the stream, they were quite sure that Slava hand-picked the battles and group himself, because when you get random invites to rooms, that is -so- what happens, of course... But this led to WG saying that the map in question - Dead Rail - would be not used in the map pool on Sunday.

The semi-finals would be where we'd finally leave the best of one behind and move on to best of three. That's much more representative for a clan's skill than a best of one, imo, because if you get an ammorack or an unlikely fire that kills you, your team would be behind one man already, and that'd put you at a very big disadvantage. That's something I've heard back from quite a few people, too. I'm hoping WG will take that to heart and will actually do something with the feedback this time (I'm still waiting for a reply to the feedback I gave them right after Tankfest… in June… Or maybe it's the fact that nothing was done with the feedback given by a bunch of clan-leaders when we were asked how the tournament system should work and we never heard back from them… For some reason, I just don't have much hope there).

Anyway, they would be held on Sunday of the second weekend this tournament ran. So, when the time came, the whole team was ready, we were geared up and ready to go, put our team there 20 second before the start of the match and waited the last few second. I wished them good luck, muted my microphone, then got a loading screen like I always get, before being thrown back to the garage. With the difference that this time it wasn't just me and the other reserves, but it did it to everyone. Yes. The tournament system was broken.

Of course, well prepared for anything that might possibly happen during their first official big tournament (#sarcasm), MrConway was the only staff member put on duty by WG, and had to figure out what the heck was going on. They at first seemed to think this was to do with the best of three system, but that had worked perfectly in the test-tournament. The only thing different now was the fact that it was set to a random map instead of a set map. It was agreed that one hour later, we'd try again. This wasn't ideal, but there was no avoiding it.

So we waited not-so-patiently for an hour, got a new room, did the same thing, and the game did the same thing again too. The tournament-system was utterly broken. After that, MrConway asked us to come to a specific ts server with him to talk. With us, I mean me, and the team captains. He explained that it was unlikely to happen anymore that day - especially since teammembers had already had to leave by then - , and asked if we could reschedule. The original idea was for us to decide between ourselves when we'd be doing it. But while we were trying to see if we could do that, he discussed options on WG's side too, and in the end said that we'd reschedule for next weekend, and that he'd posted up a time as soon as he could on the forum that the teams would have to agree or disagree with as soon as we could.

When that time was posted up on Monday, opting for Sunday at 15.00 CEST, Sten posted as quickly as he saw that that he would ask the team. We gathered information on who could play when exactly to see when we'd have a full team for the rest of the week. We found out that Sunday was quite impossible for us. Six out of our ten members couldn't play on Sunday, as we had rescheduled what we would have had the previous two weekends to that weekend. I wouldn't be able to attend either, already having had quite a bit of an argument in the family because of the time I had to make free for this whole tournament business, at the cost of some family business that urgently needed to happen too. This "bloody game" needing a third weekend, with a time in the middle of the day which rendered the whole day useless was a very definite no-no for me. Either way, Sten posted in the early evening that Sunday was a definite no-go for Phoenix, and proposed a different time.

Tuesday came and went - with nothing happening or being said or decided by WG. Come Wednesday, WG reacted in the Contributor chat. Basically the message was that they hoped we could sort it out ourselves. At that point, Sten and I took matters into our own hands. Sten contacted 60 and Legion and asked if they could make it Saturday for the semis and finals, while I contacted Gunes from M8 (who's been a very dear friend since back in our LOCA days) to see what could be arranged.

Since it was already Wednesday, we didn't have all that much time to try and do this. After discussing with Sten, I could offer Gunes Thursday evening, Friday evening or Saturday evening - Wargaming had agreed to make it happen at any point we could arrange this for, as long as we'd give them a time and date. At this point Pixhul from M8 contacted me as well and I ran two channels of communication with them. M8 couldn't make anything happen either of those dates.

At that point, Gunes posted on the forum that he didn't want to make things difficult and that if three out of four teams could play on Saturday, they'd play on Saturday too, even though they'd miss three players then (which would mean they'd have a full team, but no reserves whatsoever). That meant the world to me, and I was so grateful for that. Drizzell from 60 asked if it would be possible for M8 to get more reserves to help with that, and I poked the staff quickly about that. It was fine by them. Sten and I both felt so relieved at that, that it was finally settled. We gave WG the new date and times and sat back.
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