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2017-05-15 16:43:37
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Black Box Monoactivation and You...
As I sit here watching yet another box draw fail because there were not enough possible matches (from 4 coaches), I ask myself, yet again, why a significant proportion of our userbase think it's in the best interests of the community at large, and the box itself for them to activate only a single team in each draw.

For those of you who are not aware, here is how the box scheduler works. It's extremely complicated (and it has to be), but it's probably the best methodology we've had on the site. Here's some key points though:

Below 3 games played, max TV difference allowed is within 10%
For 3 to 9 games played, max TV difference allowed is within 15%
For 10 to 29 games played, max TV difference allowed is (15 + (games - 10) * 2)%
For 30 or more games, any opponent is allowed.

For a match to be allowed, both teams must be within the limit of the opponent.

For each possible match, the suitability score (explained in detail below) is calculated. As an example, if coach A has 3 teams (A1, A2, and A3) and coach B has 2 teams (B1, and B2), the list of all possible matches could look like this, where ";@NNN" is the suitability score):

A1 vs B1 @950
A1 vs B2 @799
A2 vs B1 @893
A2 vs B2 @912
A3 vs B1 Not allowed due to too high TV difference
A3 vs B2 @635

With this lineup, the scheduler would pick A1 vs B1 as the match for the pair of coaches and skip the rest of the possible matches.

The box generates the schedule based on a best-fit suitability score for each matchup, and does this both per coach and per match (see the link for details). It then generates the schedule with the highest overall suitability.

When you say "I want to play only this team" in box, you are effectively saying I will accept any matchup this team gets in box" (this is especially true for a 15+ game team which can end up in some quite lopsided draws, 30+ game, you know what's happening). But what you are also doing in a low man draw, is forcing either no-draw, or hoping someone else has a similar TV team, or is forced into playing a lopsided game with you.

Effectively, you are feeding the box trash options and hoping for a positive outcome.

If people actually "just want a game" in the box, then mono-activating a single team is not just to the potential detriment of yourself, it's to the detriment of the whole box community. Because you're limiting the scheduler's parameters in an already low population.
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Posted by Cloggy on 2017-05-15 16:52:35
The problem is with your assumption: .. why a significant proportion of our userbase think it's in the best interests of the community at large, and the box....

They simply don't. They think it's in THEIR best interest to activate only the team they think they will enjoy most right then. Assuming a sense of responsibility for the common good from individuals plaing a relatively anonymous online game is frankly kinda naieve.

This is why I think the pretty good writeup that follows is not going to make much difference.
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-05-15 16:55:46
Encourage coaches to activate at least 3 different teams (one bash, one hybrid, one agile) by giving them draw priority, while monoactivators receive a draw penalty.
Coaches willing to monoactivate could still do it but would have less chances of finding a game.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 17:11:18
Cloggy, my initial sentence was sarcasm - I *know* they're being self-serving. the irony is they're actually screwing themselves too.

If people want to use a single team, ranked is better tbh.
Posted by Verminardo on 2017-05-15 17:22:18
Well AD, I like the fact that you’re explaining how the scheduler works, and why it might be good to activate a variety of teams. I don’t much like how you’re getting all judgmental about it, especially as the best interest of the site or the community as you frame it is actually the best interest of AD, who isn’t a mono-activator and therefore would benefit if other people also stopped mono-activating, wouldn’t he?

Bear in mind that there are a variety of reasons why people will want to play that one team, like for example they’re running a sprint, or they’re trying to prep it for a tournament, or hell, they got a new logo and want to see it on the pitch. Also bear in mind that not all coaches here play as frequently as you do, so they have to make the most of the matches they do get in. Yeah I get that there are a couple of notorious High TV Nurgz and CDs that activate a lot and always that team but if you only mean those, it’s not really about mono-activation as such, now is it?

So instead of just pointing a finger at people and pissing them off, why don’t you go and say, hey folks, not sure you realized but this is how the scheduler works, so I think it would be cool if more people activated a variety of teams, who’s with me? (Also, I don’t perceive the Box as being that bad these days, and looking at your last couple of B matches they’ve been pretty even TV wise.)

And as for Ranked being better for a single team, firstly I don't think it's true and secondly it's irrelevant to what people should be doing in Box.
Posted by DrPoods on 2017-05-15 17:24:15
I only haz crappy teams. And I iz a crappy coach. Not many options!
Posted by koadah on 2017-05-15 17:27:03
"If people want to use a single team, ranked is better tbh."

Or League. ;)

But then you would have had a two or three coach draw and zero chance of any matches.
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-15 17:33:30
It's not a problem of only activating one team, it's a problem of only activating new teams. I've activated 4 teams and seen nothing happen, only to see 15 min later another guy pop in to make it 5 coaches and I'm left out as 4 new-ish teams play.

I didn't get mad those guys all wanted to play their shiny new teams.

Maybe the scheduler can be changed to allow 1 match up if 3 or more coaches activate? North America needs more Box action, and that would help.
Posted by Verminardo on 2017-05-15 17:35:39
Yeah if you throw a new-ish team in it will almost certainly get drawn, that's why I'm currently not throwing new teams into Box, because I'd never be playing my other Box teams if I did...
Posted by mrt1212 on 2017-05-15 17:35:48
Verminado, it's objectively worse for matchmaking as a concept to only enter one team because it prevents matches from being made, period. No judgment.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 17:37:41
Nice Vermi, I really love you projected all that. Because that's what you did.

I mean, sure it's in my best interest to "get a game", that's what we're all here for, isn't it? Other than that, this isn't about my interests at all - because you know, I actually have some involvement in watching and encouraging a set of sprints.

It's wise of us to note that these are *meta* goals, ie. outside goals we bring to the box. The scheduler does not account for the fact you may be on game 15 of an ARR sprint and that's that's why you've got 1990tv Underworld... All it sees is one option for 1900tv UW.

The post wasn't prompted by "what's best for AD", it was prompted by people coming onto Discord and asking why eg. they have 3 matches in a row as goblins vs dwarves with 600+ tv gaps on occasion.

Looking at "my matches" wouldn't show you jack, because this was never about that - it's not personal. It's about "why on earth are we minimizing potentials in a low population", and reducing overall games? Who does that suit? And also explaining why your poor goblins might end up playing 1200tv up to nurgle.

But way to take it personally.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 17:41:25
And obviously this doesn't apply to new coaches with new teams. But if you're sitting at night watching draw after draw fail because *one person* has a rookie team, and you *actually want a game*, what's stopping you making one too?
Posted by asteflix on 2017-05-15 17:49:44
Yeah , monoactivators are the spawn of the devil.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 17:58:15
AD, Verm is correct that your tone was accusatory, so it could have been phrased better
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 18:00:23
"watching draw after draw fail because *one person* has a rookie team"
How do you find this out? I didn't think you could see anything much about what got activated
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 18:02:52
Considering how many times that has been discussed and ignored, and considering how many draws I just sat through with 11+ team in it, I reckon I could be forgiven for starting out with an impassioned argument, eh?

We *do not* have a large community, which means the box does not have a large set of inputs to work with on many draws. Which means if you're only entering an extremist singular input, you're hardly helping solve the match-making problem (and it is a problem, of a mathematical nature).
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-15 18:08:46
"They think it's in THEIR best interest to activate only the team they think they will enjoy most right then."

And they're wrong, since more boring match-ups means less people, and less people means less matches, so more time waiting for nothing.

Unless you mean that there are coaches whose best interests are to come here and waste their time to wait for nothing, in which case I agree with you.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 18:11:41
here's a failed draw btw:


The Chaos Renegades are mine, one of many teams I put in. The Skaven are Madmatt13's (who I got in the following draw), the Norse belong to an unknown. And the last coach is also an unknown.

Considering i also entered had 30+ games teams, and a variety of TVs (<30 game teams too) entered that were not considered, the likelihood of the last team being a rookie team (or inside 1-5 protection) is quite good.

My response about *one person" with a new team was about the NA Box (which this blog is *not* about) which is a highly specialised case with serial monoactivators and serial people with new teams only most nights. Ie. An utter deadzone.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 18:15:45
"considering how many draws I just sat through with 11+ team in it, I reckon I could be forgiven for starting out with an impassioned argument, eh?"

If you want to rant, go ahead
If you want to change people's behaviour, an accusatory rant isn't a good method

The other factor is TV range, and game range. Ideally people would not activate a bunch of massive 30+ game teams, it'd be best with a spread of teams
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-15 18:19:24
EDIT. Added "tone" somewhere.

"Verm is correct that your tone was accusatory, so it could have been phrased better"

Even if true, it only follows if having an accusatory [tone] is inherently bad. It isn't. Aristotle even has a mode for it - search for "epideictic."

Welcome to the Internet.

Verm does not seem to really disapprove the epideictic mode, since his tone policing looks accusatory to me.

I doubt it's about wording anyway.


If you want to change someone who rants, concern trolling ain't the way to go.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 18:20:45
"The other factor is TV range, and game range. Ideally people would not activate a bunch of massive 30+ game teams, it'd be best with a spread of teams"

Spookeh, I activate a variety of teams, at a variety of stages of development, with a variety of games played most draws. No matter how I feel about playing certain team (yes, it does leave me playing a team I wish I hadn't activated sometimes).

I strive for that... that's why I have a load of teams - maximise the chance of a successful draw.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 18:22:12
Yea, I saw after I posted you'd mentioned that
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-15 18:23:18
Also added:

"If you want to change someone who rants, concern trolling ain't the way to go."

More generally - passive aggressivity is still aggressivity. Own it.

Even more generally - if you think that monoactivating increases your reward, you're an idiot.

Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 18:25:00
Lol thoralf, thanks
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-15 18:27:21
You're welcome, Spooky.

Now, all - please address tangible points to AD.

For the silly Internet argument, send it my way.
Posted by koadah on 2017-05-15 18:39:10
It is what it is. People don't have to play Box. They'll play it if it is attractive to them.

It is often proposed to force people to activate n teams. That still only helps if that is n teams of fairly different TV. But you could then also lose the 1 or 2 team activators.

If the rule says there has to be a minimum of 2 games, that rule needs to go.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 18:46:21
I think that's in to protect against conspiracy of coaches planning playing against each other to build teams
Posted by mrt1212 on 2017-05-15 19:04:13
It's protecting against a conspiracy that could only be exploited by me and 6 or 7 other active coaches in the NA time zone, none of who I actually enjoy playing because their teams are affronts to decency.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-15 19:06:04
"But you could then also lose the 1 or 2 team activators"

One, not two.

We can shorten AD's argument:

1. Monoactivating increases chances of unfair match-ups for everyone except the Alpha team.

2. You never know if you're the Alpha team.

3. The community could exclude an Alpha team that abuses the pairing system with a simple parity convention.

The last point simply means that once an Alpha is spotted, you make sure there's an odd number of activations.

The first point is inexact, since unfair match-ups also happen for the Alpha - it's predatory. It's unneeded for there's little point in trying to change a sociopathic evaluation function. It could be made stronger by considering the negative feedback monoactivators.

The second point insures that in an iterative context, the Alphas will seek dominance.
Posted by pythrr on 2017-05-15 19:11:10

People are garbage
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 19:12:09
I'm not even just discussing potentially unfair matchups here, I'm talking about *getting matchups at all*.

We're now getting 3+ in a row no-draws on Euro afternoons/evenings as summer kicks in.
Posted by paradocks on 2017-05-15 19:40:06
trying to play with a team that one is not well-practiced with can lead to a lot of hostility from the die hard everyday players who expect you to be able to complete every turn in 2 minutes... this is probably the main reason I only activate with my most recently played team
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-15 19:40:14
Fair enough. Let's revise 1:

1. Monoactivating increases chances of unfair match-ups, so unfair in fact even C's bot refuses to pair players.

In fairness, I will also add that 3 is not AD's, but mine. AD would never dare to suggest to social engineer a solution. The KonfuzARR would.
Posted by Verminardo on 2017-05-15 20:17:02
Oh dear, this has moved on a bit. Well anyway AD, I appreciate your effort to explain how it works, especially if prompted by people actually asking the question, so cheers.
Posted by PainState on 2017-05-15 21:38:30
Well, if they would just merge ranked and box into one huge Div with draws every 15 minutes and the ability to pick in between the draws....the box scheduler would not be having the issues you are talking about.

jsut saying.

Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 21:52:30
This isn't about that PS, and I don't want to even discuss it here.

This is about improving the options the scheduler has - since we can't personally increase the participants, what we can do, as individuals, to improve things is increase the options those participants present to the scheduler.
Posted by bancobat on 2017-05-15 22:12:04
I'm quite a mono activator (I create a team then push until it collapses or get me bored, meaning most of the time 20 straight box game with the same team).
As it has been said, I don't play every day so I like to choose my team for my game.

Anyway, I saw some no game draw with 4 coaches and I know my mono activation can provoke this.
I think the obligation to activate at least 2 teams would worth a try.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 22:27:21
Merci Bancobat!

That's basically what I mean - I know there are plenty of reasons for someone to mono, but if people are willing to try 2 (or more, but no reason to activate many, many teams like me), at different TV bands, then we all should see more games (via more successful draws), and possibly even better quality matches, without having to increase the volume of people in the box :)
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-15 22:48:46
Why not just allow the scheduler to make 1 match if 4 coaches activate? so the last 2 guys didn't get paired up. No collusion and someone gets a game. The guys that activate multiple teams are likely to be the ones actually playing. Everyone wins and those of us that hate ranked and cherry picking get more box games.
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-15 22:55:49
I always monoactivate. The team played its 31st match in 2008 so we can be drawn against each and every team ouside the pillow fight zone.

Can you please explain again how my team is the one cancelling the draw and not the 150 ARR teams that are being retired at game 29 so they dont have to play what the scheduler considers fair matchups.

To be constructive: just remove the young team proction that was only introduced to handle a certain user who abused a certain skill which isnt in the game anymore and who has also given up his shunned behavior.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 23:21:34
Rawlf show me these ARR teams?

Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-15 23:25:43
"allow the scheduler to make 1 match if 4 coaches activate? so the last 2 guys didn't get paired up. No collusion and someone gets a game"

that's actually the only real improvement i've seen suggested, bravo

assuming christer doesn't read every blog, how would we get him to look at this?
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-15 23:27:24
I'm serious Rawlf, list them.

ARR is famous for having 50+ game goblin teams etc and stuff floating about at 1900tv (Dirold's I Gigietti to name just one). Rinse/repeat teams tend actually to be more people playing tier 1 to increase their CR.

So, let's hear them.
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-15 23:33:39
Okay, I take back ARR.
Can you please answer then?
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-15 23:34:15
My point is the # of games ofc.
Posted by JellyBelly on 2017-05-15 23:45:48
Some thoughts AD (I know this has been bothering you a bit recently):

I monoactivate sometimes - I admit it. But, put yourself in my shoes: I like competing in the Box Sprint/ARR; however, I live in the NA timezone, have a busy job/small kid, and limited time to play. Pretty much the only way I'm going to be able to complete a 16-game sprint over 2 months with a team is to monoactivate, if I want to compete in those meta-leagues.

The thing is ... don't get me wrong here, because I love the Sprint/ARR ... but, I think they probably encourage monoactivation, to a certain extent. Sparkly goodies are given out for the best run of 16 games with a single team, so there is an incentive for players like me (with a limited amount of time to play) to monoactivate and focus on just one team. People's behaviour is to some extent determined by their reward system. If we want to discourage monoactivation, then perhaps prizes should be given out for the best run of 16 games across four different racial/TV categories instead?

I am going to cut down on the monoactivation though, especially during NA evenings. I'll do it more over the weekends, when I can activate at times where there are more coaches in the mix :)
Posted by koadah on 2017-05-16 00:00:36
The ARR point is not really about rinse repeat. It is that less prolific coaches may need to play every game with the same team to make the sprint.

Whether you are sprinting or not, multiple teams spread around the games and you get very slow progression. Basically, some people like to play the same team until it burns out. 20-30 (32?) games is about how long it takes for some people to lose interest and start a new team.

That is how they get their buzz. Take that away they may as well not be in the Box.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 00:01:25
Some separate points:

Rawlf - rinse/repeat is what you refer to, and I'm not exactly a fan of that either - but if people play a team for 29 games and keep it low tv/sweetspotted to shoot for favourable draws while the %difference they can play is restricted... Hazard a guess how many teams they're usually activating?

Jelly: These are meta goals. They frankly only exist to the people who are interested in them; and a great deal of box isn't. Despite putting a lot of my typing time into it, I have rarely completed an ARR sprint myself because quite frankly, I activate too many teams. But I think it would be quite possible to do so over a period of 60 days if I activated 2-3 teams only.

ARR was created to bring variety to the box :) We owe it to ourselves to keep the environment one in which people are able to get games.
Posted by Lorebass on 2017-05-16 00:09:51
Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-doo
I hear a polka and my troubles are through
Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-dee
This kind of music is like heaven to me
Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-doo
Has got me higher than a kite
Hand me down my soup and fish
I am gonna get my wish
Hoop-dee-doin' it tonight

Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-16 00:15:52
I am not talking about peoples motivations, may everyone do as he pleases.

The point is, the only reason for a 4 coach draw to fail is that one or more of them activat only teams aged 29- games (could be as many as 150 of whatever race) and noone else brought a perfect partner to offset his/their limitation.

Monoactivation never causes a failed draw. Rooktivation does.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 00:23:07
And if those of us with higher tv teams or many teams activated many of them, then we increase the chance of a draw as well as increasing the chances it is not a tv-wide gap game.

Blaming people playing inside rookie tv for activating is easy, but at some point we all only had teams inside that protection bar.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 00:23:48
"The protection" btw, for a 15+ game team, is really not that narrow.
Posted by JellyBelly on 2017-05-16 00:31:09
@AD: I agree that not everyone is interested in the meta-goals, but I *am* and I enjoy playing towards them. Yes, it would be possible to make 16 games work in 2 months, if I was activating 2-3 teams every night. But, I just don't have time for that. Besides Box, I spend my meagre FUMMBL time playing in 2 leagues, Ranked occasionally, tourneys ... my playing time is getting spread quite thin.

Yes, the ARR encourages more racial diversity, but it also encourages monoactivation, for those that don't have much time and want to take part. Racial diversity and monoactivation are two completely separate issues, imo. For example, I could spend the next month monoactivating with Halflings, then the following month doing the same with Slann. I could argue that it would still be helping to improve the diversity in the Box ;)
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 00:43:00
The point I was making is that ARR is supposed to improve our Box community by increasing the variance of games available to the scheduler and by extension opponents.

It's not a selfish venture. Pursuit of loot is secondary. I'm delighted people share my enthusiasm for not mindlessly beating up each other in a bash-only division, but I would obviously prefer to be encapsulated in an environment where everyone works together to provide the best quality they can for each other, rather than just themselves.

Oh and lastly - the other problem monoactivation is it becomes really easy to see what team(s) people are playing, and then when they are activating for a sequence of draws picking/avoidance are quite simple. Just ask the NA box crew how easy that is.

For me, the "blind" aspect of not picking your opponent is a central aspect of box. Monoactivation potentially removes it.
Posted by mrt1212 on 2017-05-16 01:06:13
Rawlf, seriously, new players with new teams is the problem? Not old players who have more information and experience but need to be dragged kicking and screaming like a toddler to play something outside of their comfort zone including rookie teams?

I don't know if you're a sophist or contrarian or what but you're wrong.
Posted by ramchop on 2017-05-16 01:09:27
Rookie protection is not necessary against my useless goblins. Remove rookie protection from opponents of flings and gobs and my monoactivation becomes less of a problem :)

I agree with JellyBelly. Box for me comes a distant second to League. I play Box in the Euro primetime (my weekend mornings). I only run 3 teams but will activate them all except when nearing the end of the 2 months when trying to complete my Sprint.

Sprint may essentially be a meaningless meta, but it is a driver for me to enter Box more frequently. Is a monoactivator worse than a nonactivator?
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 01:25:40
I don't know Ramchop, if hypothetically you were the guy asking about having to play 600+ higher dwarfs with your goblins, was the hypothetical game better than no game at all for you? And your possible opponent, who may have seemed equally bewildered?

You said yourself, you usually activate all 3 anyway.

Posted by ramchop on 2017-05-16 02:13:00
I was that guy. I was patiently explained and directed to the matchmaking formula. An interesting discord discussion followed. And I quite happily survived that dwarf game. :D Nothing hypothetical there.

I think the matchmaker does a fine job of what it has to work with. The only tweak I'd make is removing the rookie protection from two races. Unless there are some predatory minmax flings out there that I'm yet to meet.

AD I think you see the easy fix as being encouraging players to bring more teams to the Box. A slightly harder fix is bringing more players to the Box. But I think this is the better fix.
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-16 02:25:58
"that's actually the only real improvement i've seen suggested, bravo"

Thanks Sp00keh!

So a thread full of complaints and two suggestions for how to fix.

1. If 4 coaches activate, let 2 of them play if they have the best match up.
2. Unlock Gobs and Flings for anyone to play regardless of # of games.

The rest isn't a fix it is "suck it up and make and activate teams you don't want to play."

Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 02:33:41
That suggestion has been made many times and refuted on the forums, if you care to read them.

And yes Ramchop, the best solution would be to improve our population, anyone could tell you that. Hell, I've referenced it enough times in this blog. The point is if that's not becoming, there are things we can do ourselves to make the scheduler's job easier.

As for how you wish to project it, feel free Dash. I know you play more than one team anyway.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-16 08:25:09
4 activate, 1 game matched - what was the downside of this, please?
i've not read everything in the forums...
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-16 09:03:17
@AD and mrt1212, I'm not blaming anyone, certainly not newcomers. I leave the judging and telling how to have fun to you guys.

I am talking purely about the blackbox algorithm, explained in length in the OP.

It knows 2 reasons to cancel a draw:
a) not enough coaches
b) not enough legal matches due to the rookie protection bit

Nowhere is the number of teams per coach factored in. Or show me where I missed it please.

I say this without any judgement about people's behavior, about what can or should be done. Everybody is entitled his own opinion and on fumbbl people make use of that right. I dont take part in a discussion that involves making (false) assumptions about peoples opinions.

Technically, Monoactivation is irrelevant to the question of whether a draw takes place or is cancelled.
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-16 09:11:37
Oh, and about my suggestion of removing the rookie protection. That was not voicing my opinon, that was naming the correct technical solution to the technical problem of cancelled draws when 4 coaches activate. Whether that is making things better or worse may be decided by everybody for themselves. I dont reveal my own opinion, as it is irrelevant anyway.

And I want to remember everybody that rookie protection is a very new part of the blackbox code. The division worked well without it, until that one coach abused the piling on killstack vs new teams specifically. Since that isn't the case anymore, it is thinkable that the division might work without it.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 09:13:16
It's funny Rawlf, I'm not telling anyone how to have fun, but you seem to take it as if your right to have fun is somehow being impugned by it being pointed out that if everyone/the majority activating only give the scheduler one option to make a match with, then it's much less likely for matches to be produced.
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-16 09:23:44
And yet more likely than if I didnt.

But that is not your point, at least not of your OP.

The point I object is that I spoil peoples fun by turning a 4 coach draw into a cancelled one by bringing only 1 team. Because it is simply not true, however loud and often you claim it.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 09:24:24
And with the current incarnation of rules regarded treasury transfer not being counted as TV, then it is utter folly to suggest that removing rookie protection would be the be-all and end-all solution.

As an example: Do you want teams playing up volumes of TV dif% they would usually be saved from, with the potential for the older team to also purchase inducements the smaller team has no answer for?
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-16 09:37:03
I did not suggest "removing rookie protection would be the be-all and end-all solution". I did not even suggest to remove the rookie protection.

Your problem is a 4 coach draw being cancelled.

The only possible cause for it is the rookie protection part of the code.

I merely suggest you seek your solution around the only factor that matters for your problem instead of insulting people whose behavior has no technical influence on the problem but is simply against your liking. Which I am not objecting, it is your opininon.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 09:37:23
And Rawlf, a clarification, since I think you're a great guy and a great coach (despite your reference to mid-tv as the pillow-fight zone ;) ):

This is *not* about people bringing high tv teams, but a point that, if everyone suits themselves and only brings one team, regardless of its TV value then we all sit twiddling our thumbs hoping that the TV-ranges cross or that there's agreeable games+ played.

I exempted rookie coaches from this because obviously, they'll only have one team. But is it really worth it to you to have 0-1 games a day instead of 3-5 simply because you *must* use the Woodhead Wanderers? I'm guessing yes.

But it's not for me, and it might not be for many others. And how many of those others realise that they might get more games if they activated more teams? Plenty of people aren't aware of the mechanications of the box draw (even though it's explained right next to it).
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 09:39:07
And from previous discussion with Christer, rookie protection isn't going anywhere.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-16 09:40:13
Rawlf, if you mono activated a rookie team, and 3 other coaches activate non rookie team, then it makes matching less likely
Posted by Kondor on 2017-05-16 10:42:51
Is it better for people to activate several teams? Yes.

Is it better that they activate only one rather than zero? The answer is also yes.

Lately, I have activated in the box only when I have difficulty getting a game in ranked. I usually activate only one or two teams because those are the ones I feel like playing. If there is no draw, I go back to game finder.
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-16 11:08:16
AD, in box i *must* play the Luckville Dodgers. The Woodhead Wanderers are my Ranked team. See, I mono activate over there, too! Lol @ myself. :)

If a 4 coach dud happens and I mono activated a 1700tv team, I could not have made a draw happen even if I had activated my other 2 box teams or even 100 more if they are all tv1700 too. Because none of them could be matched with rookiezone-only coach who is in the draw too.

Mono activation of old teams does not reduce the number of matches scheduled.
(It does reduce suitability scores, but that is a different story.)

What I need to do to turn the dud into a draw is to always activate a team in the rookie protection zone to give players who are restricted to that area a lift.
I would actually do that if it was for newcomer coaches. I would even try to be help them, give hints etc. and being the helpful guy would offset the disadvantadge of not playing my favourite team for me.
But I am afraid that more often than not, I would be scheduled with a low tv metagamer who is keeping his tv artificially low and deletes the team after 29 games. I dont want to get into that situation.

Also AD, I admit the pillow-fight and ARR bit of my first posting was to wind you up as I felt insulted. Sorry for that.

@Sp00keh: True, and the reason is the 'rookie' bit, not the 'mono' bit. That is exactly my point!
Posted by Jeffthejar on 2017-05-16 14:57:58
I think it would be really neat if there were a way to implement some sort of system to reward coaches for activating at least like 3 teams (other than the obvious higher chance of getting a game, of course).

I have been activating all of my teams (12 teams, not a high variety of TV because I don't get to play as often as I'd like so I think I range from 1000-1500 or so), and only recently have I had a bad TV matchup. It is really nice to get TV matchups that are within 40k or less..

and if somehow, there were magically a way to incentivize coaches to bring the most coaches to the draw that would be great... and why not provide an incentive for coaches to make rookie teams to allow for more match-ups...

I am biased, though, because I am at the stage in my BB career where I just want games with different races because I realize how little experience I have with different races... I understand a large portion of the box community is well established/experienced with what teams they like to play, so there is that.
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-16 15:28:52
"That suggestion has been made many times and refuted on the forums, if you care to read them."

honestly where? When? Quick summary of why it's a bad idea, or is it just to hard to code? I'll go read if I knew where to start looking for where this was discussed years ago.

"As for how you wish to project it, feel free Dash. I know you play more than one team anyway."

But, I might as well only activate 1. I activate several older teams. Right now I would prefer to play my newer Chaos Dwarfs (~1500-1600 tv). I like the logo and I'm building them up. I'll active a higher TV chaos and nurgle (~1800 and 2000k) Those are really protections from bad match ups against other high tv teams (like Rash, who I really like playing them with those other teams). Even when I throw in the 1300 rats none of those teams can get matched up if the other three guys are playing rookie teams.

Let's assume 3 other coaches activate with me but all bring a rookie team. That's 4 coaches, 7 teams, but no matches get scheduled. But, it's not the fault of the guys that activated the 1 team. They've all got an allowable match up. I'm just as much the reason the scheduler didn't post match ups as the guy that didn't activate his 30 game goblins along with a rookie team.

Posted by JellyBelly on 2017-05-16 15:52:11
This is the most comments for a blog in the history of the universe! :D
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-16 17:30:28
"I am afraid that more often than not, I would be scheduled with a low tv metagamer"

That's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The only way to deal with metagamers is that a solid base of experienced players face that fear and meet these metagamers on the field.

My own experience is that most of these metagamers are really good TT coaches, and meeting their teams within a 15% TV differential is not purely sacrificial.

As for the other kind of metagamers, if our experienced base doesn't meet them, who do you think will? Exactly those who aren't ready, who will leave B in disgust and perhaps also Fumbbl altogether.

And then Fumbblers wonder why the player base stagnates or declines.
Posted by mrt1212 on 2017-05-16 18:55:03

A significant amount of coaches would rather forage for grubs than collectively farm together. I don't get it.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-16 19:41:25
@Rawlf Dammit! I knew I had one of the team names right, I curse my sleep-less brain.

Anyway, just to point out - rookie protection isn't as stead-fast and firm as you seem to believe/imply: it *is* quite tight for the first 5 games (although I have frequently found myself playing against a 1100tv team as a 1k completely rookie team if that's what needed to make matches). Thereafter even a team that has played less than 29 games *can* play against your 1700+ tv team if their own TV is high enough.

I get you don't want to play 1rr+leader metagamers/sweetspotters. But to assume that they are the only people playing low/mid-tv is a bit much, no? I mean surely the guys who will eventually play vs your Woodies have to come through them first? In addition, if nobody disturbs the racket the metagame sharktank employs, what's to stop them running it forever? These guys don't bother about being called vermin, they do care about losing.
In the meantime anyone new to the box/site has a significantly greater higher of being mercilessly crushed by them because some of the other users of the box just don't want to participate at that level.

@Dash It comes up all the time in blackbox scheduler change threads. And forums & suggestions, usually suggested as a result of the NA crew. The answer given is usually that 4 matches are minimum to ensure the algorithm can produce a competitive games. And that a 2 man draw isn't allowed to prevent transparency.

In your example there's monoactivation? I don't get your point? As I addressed earlier if you saw a draw happen like that and you *just want a game* you can lob a rookie team in the next draw.
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-16 20:41:56
The "latest" formum thread with any substances seemed mainly about the problem with clawpomb, maybe it's time for a new discussion? I understand why the collusion is stopped. But if 4 guys are colluding they can do it now.

If you activate multiple rookie teams it still wouldn't help. If the solution is always activate a rookie team and an established higher tv team, that sounds great.
In practice, not everyone wants to constantly make new teams to play 3-5 games before the tv is too high to play other rookies.

Searching the forums I never saw where it was an algorithm problem. I don't understand how i have a 900+ rated matchup and an unplayable one results in algorithm problem. If 4 coaches activate the team algorithm match up scoring is the same, why not pick the highest rated matchup and have the single game fire off?


A vs B @805
A vs C @900
A vs D Not allowed
B vs C @825
B vs D Not allowed
C vs D Not allowed

All coaches monoactivate...A, B, and C could all be matched up. D can not an is the problem. A and C get matched up as the highest rating and B can call D names on the forums... everyone wins!
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-16 21:09:30
The stable roommate problem is avoided, if no one wants to be roommates with D, then D just doesn't get a room, and one match goes ahead which is surely better than no matches

Dash, I'd suggest to wait a day until someone manages to find a actual link for this specific thing being refuted, then post in forums to get Christers attention
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-16 21:10:10
I mean, if there is no suitable refutation, then post
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-16 21:20:29
"The answer given is usually that 4 matches are minimum to ensure the algorithm can produce a competitive games. And that a 2 man draw isn't allowed to prevent transparency."

Both of these items are a bit off

4 coaches to produce competitive games, sure. If the mix is bad, then 4 coaches 1 matchup means it can pick one good highly suitable matchup without needing to worry about shoehorning a second bad compromise in

2 man draw would still give no matches. This suggestion still requires 4 coaches to activate
Posted by JellyBelly on 2017-05-16 21:47:44
Thing is, people have been appealing to concepts such as 'decency' and 'responsibility of coaches to nurture their own playing environment' ever since the box began, and its never made any difference.

As I said before, the only way you're ever going to change people's behaviour is by changing their reward system ... people don't play for selfless reasons - they play to get loot, win tourneys and build up a big rating/win rate. Just the way it is.
Posted by keggiemckill on 2017-05-16 23:13:15
Please refer to Box Activator as the Monovation station from this time forth.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-16 23:19:51
Sometimes telling people about the effect their choices do has an immediate impact on the rewards. All you need is for a sufficient subset of these people to change their own behaviour in a way that makes metagaming less rewarding.

There's no other known way in an environment where metagaming is possible. Think about it - this is exactly what metagaming means. So all you need is to metagame the metagamers in a way that reciprocation rewards the behaviour you want. This kind of thing is known to iterative prisoner's dilemma, I believe.
Posted by Sp00keh on 2017-05-16 23:52:57

Also: https://cupidorcats.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/img_6103.png
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-17 00:26:33
As if lobbying for a solution that misunderestimates the stable room problem wasn't naive.

Posted by koadah on 2017-05-17 00:29:29
And why are you talking about metagamers?

A game lasts an hour. Maybe more. Some people want to play the team they want to play. They don't want to play some other team for an hour to please you.

If you have 4 teams in the draw 2 teams at least should be able to play. Even if you have 3 teams in the draw.

Fix that first.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-17 00:43:44
Why Koadah?

It's not about pleasing me, it's about maximising games - this "me first" attitude has killed this community.

Stop thinking it's about pleasing me. And try to realise mutual benefits instead of simply trying to maximise your own gain.
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-17 01:01:34
" And try to realise mutual benefits"

If 4 coaches are in the draw 2 teams at least play, box match ups happen more often. If match ups happen more often, I'd play more often during US nights, thus activating more often, thus more possible match ups and activation for others. I can't be the only one.
Posted by koadah on 2017-05-17 01:08:01
@ArrestedDevelopment :
The point is there are a lot of ways to play blood bowl. If hardcore Box guys want to activate multiple teams then good for them.

Casual coaches may play Box. They may play Ranked or League or Cyanide. You are better off having them activate their one team than sneering down your noses at people because they don't activate more teams. As it stands you still need 4 coaches. Don't be chasing people away.

Yes, we get it. If people activate more teams there is more likely to be a draw.
But you can't expect everyone to have that same loyalty to Box. Whether there is a draw or not going to as a big deal to people who value the other options just as highly.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-17 02:05:00
"why are you talking about metagamers?"

Because I was responding to someone who was expressing fright about some of them. Hope this helps.

Oh, and requests to change a pairing system is about *rules*, while suggesting that Boxers activate more than one team is about *norms*.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-05-17 02:32:18
Koadah, I'm far from a hardcore box coach - I don't play optimally, i don't always play to win and i play very uncompetitive teams.

I'd consider myself casual. And you know what the numero uno aim of a casual player is? Getting a game. Any game.

I'm not sneering down my nose at anyone, and I don't appreciate the projecting you and several others have made in this blog.

I'm not appealing to the people who sit and play L or R instead - I'm appealing to the guys who day after day sit in boxchat or discord and say "what no draw?" for hours. They exist, I see them. You, who are removed somewhat, do not.
Posted by BillBrasky on 2017-05-17 07:22:54
I'm into [L] at the moment, but [B] is truly the best division for open play in my book. I enjoy the diversity and non-match making.

I haven't played [R] in many years, but I assume they still get a good number of games. I would bet a big number of them are from North Americans that are too lazy to sit through a few no-draws of [B].

Monoactivation could be part of the problem, but it is hard to change a gamer-style mindset, I think. You will get metagamers, and pixel-huggers, both of which shy away from [B].

Maybe I'm all over the place here, but the point I'm trying to reach is that we can't force coaches to step up to the plate. Let Rankers rank. Let Mono's mono.

Let's just all get along & kill some pixels!

[B]ox 2017!
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-17 09:15:53
When i said metagamers i meant people deliberately playing in the rookie protection zone. I have no problem with that. I just do not want to be forced to get out of my way to help them along when they could help themselves just as well.

The crusade vs the metagamers (whoever they be) needs to take place without me. Playing 1 game every week or two makes me a bad knight. I do humbly request though that you do not call every not-knight an infidel. That would make you an extremist.

The only point I am defending here is that 'activating more teams gives more games' is a false statement. As per scheduler code.

Exclusively activating teams in the rookie protection zone is the only means to reduce the number of games drawn.

The number of teams activated per coach is irrelevant to the number of games created. It merely stunts suitability scores.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-05-18 00:26:10
"I just do not want to be forced to get out of my way to help them along when they could help themselves just as well."

Everybody's free to get no games after monoactivating a non-rookie team.

Everybody's free to think that's what helps them most.

Everybody's also free to fight for the matchmaker to become transparent.

Anybody's even free to think that changing Box rules is waaay more reasonable than to consider abiding by a simple convention from time to time.

Good luck trying selling that as the most rewarding path.
Posted by tussock on 2017-05-18 04:56:04
Posted by Rawlf on 2017-05-18 08:34:11
thoralf, monoactivating a non-rookie team does not decrease the chance to get a game.

I am not selling anything or judging what is rewarding for others. You are projecting. I just don't take the blame for something that results from someone else's behavior.
Posted by dashergeaux on 2017-05-18 15:20:33
Anyone still looking at this:

I added a thread in the forums to discuss the 4 teams, 1 game suggestion.

Bring the discussion over :)