Is it Morally Incorrect to Attend an SPE over a Regionals?

Yesterday, in response to Joe's tweet, I wrote this: According to Joe, I have Zero Integrity and Don't Deserve Respect as a Competitor. Here is the gist of my post summed up in a few bullet points:

1) Special Events are unfair (compared to Regionals) in terms of Championship Points, but Regionals' cash prizes even things out

2) We need Special Events

3) I like Special Events

4) The Day Two system is flawed, not the SPEs

I like what I wrote. I feel like I described the issue at hand pretty well, and proposed a useful solution.

Here was Joe's response:

What Joe is saying is that he is not addressing flaws in our system. He is specifically addressing players who take advantage of that system.

Applying this to League Cups

This goes deeper than just SPEs, as these type of flaws (albeit in a much less exaggerated form) exist all over Pokemon because of the nature of the CP system. For example, here is the Championship Points breakdown for League Cups:

The way these tournaments work is that regardless of attendance, what place you finish at a League Cup will always earn the same amount of points (if you do earn points). If I am the only Master at a League Cup, I would earn fifty points. If I win a League Cup with ten people, I win fifty points. If I win a League Cup with one hundred people, I win fifty points.

This system is ripe to be exploited. For someone who is hunting Championship Points, there is incentive to attend a smaller tournament in order to have a higher chance of winning that same amount of points. On February 9th, I had the opportunity to attend a League Cup just 13 minutes from my house in Keller, TX. These League Cups could get pretty big, and in Q1 there were 44 Masters there. There was also a Cup over an hour and a half away close to the Oklahoma border in a more rural area in Denison, TX. In Q4, they had just nine Masters. My priority was to get the most CP possible for invite math. Anything besides a 1st place would be disappointing, because I was trying to replace a 4th place. I traveled an hour and a half to Denison that day!
Miguel and I grabbing lunch before Top Cut in Denison
Does going to the smaller or "easier" event mean that I don't have competitive integrity? The way I was thinking was that if I stayed in Keller, it would be more difficult for me to win the event. I had a limited number of weekends to try and get my 1st place, and I wanted to maximize my cup days which I valued more than my money.
Miguel plays his Top Four match in Denison
A player going for Day Two is competing against other players in the country in order to obtain the most points during a season. My specific goal was to get my invite in as few cups as possible. In both scenarios, if someone has the opportunity to get points in an easier fashion, they have incentive to do it.

The point of my blog post yesterday was to focus on that. I proposed ways to move that incentive. Shaming players into playing in harder tournaments is not an effective solution, in my opinion.
Standings before Top Four
My friend Miguel and I drove to Denison from the DFW area. Funnily enough, there were more players in Denison that day than in Keller. We drove all that way... just to play in the harder tournament after all! We took first and second place.

This is how the kicker system is designed

In my opinion, the Championship Point system (and kickers) incentivize this. A 600-person Regionals and a 1200-person Regionals both provide the same amount of points and money to the winner. If your goal was to win a Regionals, wouldn't you choose to attend the 600-person tournament instead of the 1200-person tournament? Does that mean that you don't have competitive integrity?

There is asymmetry between differently-sized League Cups. However, there is massive point asymmetry between SPEs and Regionals. This is because they provide the same amount of points, but SPEs lack incentives for player attendance.

Regionals draw in players with both Championship Points and cash. SPEs only have the incentive of Championship Points. For this reason, Regionals seem really fair. If someone attends all the Regionals, that isn't necessarily "pay-to-win", because they can recoup their travel costs back with good finishes. There isn't a way to do that with SPEs outside of the quarterly stipend.

Reducing points for first is a self-fulfilling prophecy

If we make smaller tournaments worth less points, people will have less incentive to attend them. Then, those events will stay small.

Pokemon wants larger tournaments. If you lower the CP given out to the winner of a smaller tournament, you remove incentive for people to attend the tournament, which means that it will become a smaller tournament, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm not sure if lowering the points an SPE gives out if the correct solution, for this reason. Some specific SPEs in their current form have CP that is worth too much. But the vast majority of SPEs are fine in terms of CP value. The solution has to work for everyone.

This is all moot, since Joe wants to talk about the players and not the system.

Joe specifically says that he is not discussing the system but referring to the players who use the system to their advantage. To that I would like to respond that the system is flawed, but players who take advantage of that system should not be demonized. To not take advantage of the system puts one at an inherent disadvantage compared to those who do.


Popular posts from this blog

Did we just fix SPEs?

According to Joe, I have Zero Integrity and Don't Deserve Respect as a Competitor

Why SixPrizes Hated Me Circa 2011