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'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 02:12:25

Roi Joleil
Level 60
As of the latest blog post

"I am considering changing the ladders to use Pure Skill, since I don’t think that the highest level of play should involve the use of randomness. This would just mean changing the move order from Cyclic to No-luck Cyclic, to eliminate the starting coin flip of who gets first pick. I’m interested to hear community feedback on this change."

Quick Explanation how each Cycle works
Cyclic Randomly decides who gets 1st and who gets 2nd order during picks.
The players cannot influence this and wont get to know wether they got A or B.
This will then alternate for all future turns. So.
Picks -> ABBAAB...
Turn1 -> BAABBA...
Turn2 -> ABBAAB...
Turn 3-> BAABBA...
and so on.
This, despite it being randomly decided, creates skill to be able to make a pickset that is good in both outcomes and also adds the skill element of actually figuring out the cycle throughout play. It should be mentioned that a strong player can figure out cycle during first contact most of the time if not alr after picks. (maybe i will make a detailed post as to how)

No-Luck Cyclic changes 2 aspects.
Instead of deciding who gets 1st and 2nd order randomly, the player who finishes their picks 1st, get 1st order and the person who is 2nd fastest gets 2nd order.
After which it alternates each turn.
For all following turns the game will also tell you which move order you are on.

The timer for you only starts once you Click the 'Begin' Button in the game.
This makes sense because if you are busy and not online while your opp joins the game you would have no chance to make fast orders meaning whoever joins the game later is always guaranted 1st order.
However this now creates in inverse problem.
Now whoever joins later can force getting 2nd order instead. Because by joining later you can click the button faster so your time starts earlier.

So whats end up happening?
You will have 2 players who both are aware of this so they will both try to join as late as possible.
This sucks if f.e. you would have to wake up at 3AM just to join a game to not be in a disadvantage for no fault of your own.
This will then evolve in the Pickstage where both Players will not want to commit their Picks.
Bob who joined later and thus clicked Begin faster knows he can force 2nd move order, so he waits until his opponent commits to make sure of that.
However Bob could also chose to go for 1st order (by waiting on clicking 'Begin'). After all Bob knows that Joe knows that Bob could force 2nd orders. So Bob waits to see if Joe commits early or not.
Joe who was slower on clicking Begin knows that. He doesnt want to immediatly commit as that would tell Bob that he went for Fast (1st) Orders.
Its better to wait as long as possible so Bob doesnt know if Joe still tries to go for 2nd orders or if Joe goes for 1st orders instead.

So the optimal play for both Bob and Joe is to join as late as possible in the lobby, and then take up all time (and banked time) during picks as not doing that gives intel to the opponent.

And now imagine this in a 3v3 Game

As far as im concerned, this is just awkward all around and removes the skill of being able to figure out cycle.
Not to mention that there are many who like to look at the board, make a draft and then come back next day to have a final look.
Which they cant do if they have to go for a fast commit.
I seriously dont know anyone who is like "bah.. Cyclic sucks so much. No-Luck Cyclic would make the world a much better place.

Or to make it short.

If you are the 1st to click 'Begin' you can..
..force being 2nd order (your opp cannot stop you from that)
..or still go for 1st order (which sucks for all player who prefer making a draft and looking at a later time again)

If you are the 2nd to click 'Begin' you can..
..still try and go for 2nd but you cannot beat your opp if he goes for that
..or go for 1st order which your opponent can also beat you at (and this still sucks for all players who prefer making a draft and looking at a later time again)
Or technically you can neither go quickly or slow and make a pickset that works both ways but then you are still in an disadvantage as your opp makes specialised picks for either slow or fast picks whichever they go for.

Edited 5/3/2023 02:33:56
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 05:17:12

master of desaster 
Level 66
So tl:dr, if you use no luck cycle, people might use their one-time-bank-time to ensure they get second pick in the cycle, which is surely not the way the new ladder is intended to work. Classic cycle is superior on the current templates.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 05:31:38

Level 62
^^ MoD makes a strong point; look at the Bomber slow pick strat, you see players who want slow picks (2nd pick/1st move) wait a lot of time despite having decided their picks just to ensure the don't pick 1st. And if 2 players play this strat, you see 2 players both spending their entire 3 min + 5 min banked time clocks on picks alone, and it's thus decided by whoever clicked the "Begin" button first (which means it's still kind of random in the end, especially if it's an MD game - just whichever player happens to be on the site when the game is created and clicks Begin first).

And for those not purposely going for slow picks, NLC promotes rushing of picks to get 1st pick - which is counterintuitive to wanting to play a high level strategic game. Ideally we want players making picks carefully, not rushing them to beat the clock.

Isn't the real issue here just making it clear what the turn order is? So instead of straight "Cycle", just make it "Known Cycle", which NLC without the clock deciding 1st pick, just still decide 1st pick randomly, but show the turn order anyhow.

No one's really busted up about 1st/2nd picks getting randomly decided. If you really need a mechanism to make it driven by the players and not game decided randomness, just start off with a Rock/Paper/Scissors (RPS) game to decide 1st pick, the use NLC style post picks. RPS imho is a better mechanism than timing the pick duration anyhow, b/c it removes the conflicting factors of strategic picks vs quick picks.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 05:40:19

Level 60
if you want first pick in no luck you have to rush picks.
if you want second pick you will delay as long as possible and commit at the last possible second, and that may be, to say the least, inconvenient. and of course not fun.
also just in case you want second pick, you will delay joining until you opponent has and press begin imediately, then when boot is about to run out then commit.

in summary, no luck is quite a bad system by itself, (remember no luck lotto that got deleted where otto used a script? and the reasons above could also be applied to othrr no luck games) but add the competitiveness of ladder and its wayyy worse

we need cyclic but you know move order as krinid have suggested

Edited 5/3/2023 05:47:43
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 05:53:51

Level 65
I can confirm the above is true, introducing NLC would be a huge mistake
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 06:29:18

Level 62
Warzone is already affected by lots of luck. Imagine a situation where you fork two enemy territories from one. Then deciding which territory to attack is basically a coin flip, there is no "better" alternative, it all depends on what your opponent decides to do. No-luck cycle sucks, because 1) you are rushed to make picks - makes the game less enjoyable 2) in some cases you want to commit as late as possible - huge disadvantage to people who need to keep banked time. No need to introduce it to mitigate that tiny sliver of luck from not knowing the move order.

The only justification for no-luck cycle is in solvable templates like SE1W, where some distributions are literally lottos. Or in team games, where knowing the inner move order of your teammates poses an interesting mechanic.

Edited 5/3/2023 06:30:02
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 07:36:37

Beep Beep I'm A Jeep 
Level 64
I'm gonna add my own TLDR to voice my opinion: NLC incentivizes bad habits (such as stalling, but actually even more) and is arguably less strategic, because findings picks that are good for both cycles is a crucial and difficult skill.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 08:32:11

Level 65
I believe NLC as a setting is better than cyclic on some templates. For example on a template like Elitist Africa where picks are not always balanced, and the #1 pick is clearly superior to any other. You still need to give that #1 pick to one player, and rewarding the one who picked faster makes more sense than flipping a coin.

However, 3v3EU is not one of those templates. Even if the distribution has an objective obvious #1 pick, like the center territory in Denmark, losing that pick will never lose you the game. I've never seen anyone complain after a 3v3EU game that they lost because of the cyclic move order.
Cyclic move order works fine on 3v3EU. I've seen the community ask for attack per percentage, or for attack-only, but never for NLC.

And as mentioned above, NLC can incite some players to use the timer to their advantage and stall instead of playing as fast as possible. So i don't see any reason to change this, let's not fix what isn't broken!

Edit: for some reason, when i wrote that I assumed that the change would only be on the 3v3 ladder. But the same arguments apply to the 1v1 and 2v2 ladder templates.

Edited 5/3/2023 08:36:06
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 08:37:03

Level 61
NLC Elitist Africa CL game that just finished:

You can see I stalled picks for 11 days as there were only 3 reds and I could get 2/3 of them if I picked 2nd. Rak, NLC is trash. It doesn’t work in Elitist Africa either.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 08:45:25

Level 65
Rak, NLC is trash. It doesn’t work in Elitist Africa either.

I already had that conversation like 10 times over the years so I'm not going to get into it, this is not the place for it anyway.

But that game is a really good example of how NLC has unintended side effects. What is meant to incentivize players to pick faster can actually make them stall their picks as long as they can.
(Just like the auto-commit after 3 days was meant to avoid boots but ended up being abused by players who systematically let the game commit for them after 3 days and never click the commit button on their own.)

Edited 5/3/2023 08:45:51
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 08:54:27

Level 61

NLC bad
many reasons

Thank you
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 11:36:13

Level 63
NLC = bad
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 11:55:07

Level 62
Interesting how much disconnected Fizzer is from the strategic community. I have seen many players claiming how bad and anti-pure-skill NLC is, even before this post.

Edited 5/3/2023 11:55:47
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 13:05:00

Level 61
For NLC to work, getting the first pick should always, ALWAYS give an advantage.

This simply isn't the case, because quite often getting 2nd+3rd pick, and the first move on opening turn, outweighs getting the 1st pick.

Therefore NLC is flawed by design, and this can be easily proven by looking at all the games where players purposefully wait for the timer to run out and get 2nd pick.

Great ladder update though, I'm very happy this one change didn't make it in the end.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/3/2023 13:41:40

Level 63
Version of NLC: Similar to Joi, but if td;dr, in short: NLC does not work on a majority of the templates and should never be implemented in such a large scale. Warzone (I'd call that warlight or risk tbh) is a game that needs randomness -- Look at the amount of WR strategic templates (Old 1v1 Ladder included). The uncertainly in who gets 1st pick spicy things up.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/5/2023 17:15:26

Level 63
NLC is not good :'(
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/5/2023 23:27:03

Level 59
I agree with the comments here.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/6/2023 07:26:28

Level 63
The purpose of NLC was to allow coin games (back when coins were withdrawable) to make Warlight a game of skill, with no luck involved (pure skill = 0% SR NLC). Was to get around gambling laws I think. NLC has no other purpose.

NLC might be fine in RT games, but for reasons others have mentioned, not for MD.
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/6/2023 18:33:46

Level 58
So the optimal play for both Bob and Joe is to join as late as possible in the lobby, and then take up all time (and banked time) during picks as not doing that gives intel to the opponent.

@Roi Joleil: If I understood your text correctly then you probably have missed that you can not see the board before pressing "Begin". Thus always letting the timer run out during the picking stage is not a dominant strategy. If you immediately press Begin and you decide that you want first order, you need to lock your picks in ASAP. However if you decide to wait with pressing the Begin button until the very end, you can not force a second order any longer.

Edited 5/6/2023 18:39:54
'Pure Skill' Ladder Update: 5/6/2023 18:50:20

Level 58
Although I agree with your other points, especially joining the game late indeed seems to be the play.

I'm in my clan quite notorious for calling my mates out for their 0 minute picks in games due to there being no advantage of not thinking the board through. I don't like that change, especially since I believe that in the vast majority of the cases getting your first pick is a potential huge advantage. So it makes sense to scratch some of your thinking time. Perhaps look at your opponents last couple of games and if he takes like 5 minutes, you know how fast you have to be.

Edited 5/6/2023 18:50:56
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