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malladin.ben

Future of the (UK) Masters

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Hi all,

With this year's Masters now over and done with, I'd like to take a moment to discuss with the community what we think should happen about the future of this event. It's fair to say that it didn't attract players as one might hope for such an event this year, and if the event is to run again in the future I think it's worth discussing how to make sure it's successful next year. I will say, though, that it will not be running the event again, but I would encourage the community to find a solution that allows the event to continue.

Q1. Do We Want A Masters Event At All?

I think there's also a decision to be made as to whether we (the community) want an invitational style event or not. When I first ran the Masters back in 2016 the national/world championship was in its infancy and the jury was still out. Now those events are well established and, perhaps, mean there is no place for an invitational Masters style event.

That said, my personal opinion is that there is space for such an event as I believe it offers something different to the both the world championships and the WTC. As someone who would never hope to be able to qualify for such an event, I enjoy them as a spectator and find it's something you can learn a lot from - I suppose in a similar way to the world's, but in a way that is more focused on the experience of playing in the UK meta.

With some of the discussions there has been about the lack or not of good quality resources to help newer players, a range of such high-level games recorded and posted online is a great resources for the wider community, and I would encourage people to get involved and see it as something that could provide a greater good for the wider community.

Q2. What Went Wrong This Year?

I've had a good amount of time and received a lot of comments, constructive and otherwise, about the potential reasons why this year's event was not as well attended as it could have been. I'll summarise these in different sections. These are questions for whoever takes over to consider the best answers to.

Q2a. Venue?

When I ran the event last year I ran it at the Sancurary in the East Midlands in an attempt to find a fairly central location to allow everyone to get together. The feedback I got from that event, largely from people coming from the South East, was that actually Element Games was easier to get to, and as it is local to me it made for an ideal venue that helped out a great deal with budgeting the event. However, the meta has shifted in the 19 months since the last event and the centre of gravity for Guild Ball in the UK seems to have shifted south somewhat, so maybe a more southerly venue is required. I would just like to add a quick note that the support from the venue staff at element this weekend has been excellent and I would wholeheartedly recommend them as a venue for anyone wanting to run an event in this locale. The problem is more likely that the venue is in the wrong locale.

Q2b. Format?

I've ran the Masters now twice with the idea that you have a weekend of gaming running alongside it for people to come and play in alongside and in support of the Masters, allowing the invitational to run without a direct cost to the participants. Is this the best way to run it, or are there better ways? Should the invitees pay their way? Should there be a more general way to contribute for those who think the event is a public good, such as patreon or crowd funding? All things that whoever takes over will need to think about if the masters continues. Is the idea of a LCQ a good one or one that should be dropped? Do we want to go back to individual guild masters getting a place, and possibly expanding to 32 players/ 5 rounds? Do we want to go wider than just the UK (in my mind no, not to be dismissive of some of the great players in other countries, but IMO the Masters is a celebration of the best play each meta has to offer and the specific playstyles of each meta. Maybe there's not that much difference, but the results on Longshanks seem to suggest there is something weirdly different going on, at least last time I looked into it).

Q2c. Scheduling?

I think there were three big events that clashed this year - Bonescon the weekend before and the LotR Throne of Skulls  and Heroic Play event on the same weekend. As a non-WMH player I wasn't aware of the clash with Bonescon until it was too late to change the date, so that one's on me, but the fact that the Heroic Play event was still well attended at the same time suggests to me that the Masters was struggling despite the proximity to Bonescon for whatever other reasons there may be. It's been suggested integrating it into Bonescon, or perhaps another convention. Would this be doable, a good idea?

Q2d. Organiser?

It's only fair that I take a cold hard look at myself and ask myself am I the right person to run this event? I no longer run the rankings, I am just one individual who believes that the masters is an event that should run, and probably not as prominent on the tournament scene as I was back in 2016. And on top of that I am perhaps (wrongly IMO) seen as one of the more vocally negative people on social media. Perhaps because of this there's also been an admittedly small number of hurtful comments aimed in my direction, and whilst I am a big enough boy to take these on the chin and move on, if there is at least one player who would qualify who would be unlikely to attend the masters because of my involvement, then it is probably best that I take a step back and allow the event to move forward without me, if that doesn't sound too much like business speak.

So I won't be running this event again, but am happy to lend whatever support I can and whatever wisdom I have gained over the last 2 attempts to run it to whoever the community decides should take over running the event. Is there one individual who would be willing to take on the mantle, or would the community prefer a committee to run it?

Q2e. Rankings?

There have been some criticisms from some of the players who are highly ranked that there are problems with the perception of the way longshanks calculates the rankings. I personally think they are sound, but if there is a perceived problem, should we have our own secondary rankings system that we operate for our own community here in the UK? If so what would it look like? Again I am happy to lend my expertise to this if the community thinks this would be something worth considering, and wants my help.

Conclusion

I'd like to see this event continue, I think it does have value and a place in the tournament scene, but it is clear that I am not the person to run it anymore. Let's please discuss it as a community and see what we want to do going forward. I am posting this, and am here, at the service of the community, should my services be desired.

Finally, thanks to all those who have supported the masters over the last two-and-a-bit years, I had a blast running them and made a load of friends as a result.

Cheerio for now,

Ben

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Ben my suggestion would be to look at something like the Uk and Irish Super Series style event for warmachine & hordes rather than a single event. basically split the country down into regions and run events (obviously this would require help from organisers in each area), and the top x from events come to finals somewhere. This would allow people to attend the smaller events and know if they qualifer for the finals beforehand. W&H is done in club / store then regional finals then finals. Could do something similar for guild ball.

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I’ve thought about this before. I don’t really see what value it adds to the competitive scene.  There’s an element of prestige I suppose about winning a place in the ‘final’ event of a series, but little else outside of that.  Is that enough to warrant the additional organisation requirements when looking at booking and running events?

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Thanks for a great weekend gaming Ben mate. I evidently don't have my ear to the ground I thought the masters would be supported by more people... The venue.. Is fine it's a drive for us London people but given notice its easily doable especially for a two day event.

 

Thanks for running it from the Rollbetter podcast and the members of the Surrey Spartan's. We very much enjoyed the weekend.

John Parish

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It's always a shame when an event you're organising doesn't quite meet your expectations, but so long as the attendees had fun, that's always strikes me as a success.

I'm not sure that any of the factors listed made an impact (especially not D). I think the main issue is that there seems to be only space on the calendar for two major GB events per year (Vengeance and Steamcon). Even the British Champs fails to attract the interest that it really should (it hasn't come close to selling out two years in a row).

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55 minutes ago, Bodybag said:

I’ve thought about this before. I don’t really see what value it adds to the competitive scene.  There’s an element of prestige I suppose about winning a place in the ‘final’ event of a series, but little else outside of that.  Is that enough to warrant the additional organisation requirements when looking at booking and running events?

That could well be the dominant opinion, in which case I guess the event should just quietly die. 

That said, I have always enjoyed masters style events as a spectator in the other game systems I've played in, but those systems didn't have national and world championships. I think they add something for the wider community in terms of the learning experience they can provide by virtue of the quantity of high quality games that are potentially played, and ideally streamed or recorded.

But, if it's not also adding value for the players at the top who would qualify, then I guess there's no point.

1 hour ago, Enazel said:

Ben my suggestion would be to look at something like the Uk and Irish Super Series style event for warmachine & hordes rather than a single event. basically split the country down into regions and run events (obviously this would require help from organisers in each area), and the top x from events come to finals somewhere. This would allow people to attend the smaller events and know if they qualifer for the finals beforehand. W&H is done in club / store then regional finals then finals. Could do something similar for guild ball.

I think that's the sort of thing we're going to have with the national and world championships going forward. The idea of the masters is to be a different sort of event.

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I can see the value of it potentially if all the games were streamed/recorded, unless it’s at a con though I can’t really see there being much spectation. Also I wouldn’t personally drive anywhere just to watch good players play, I can do that when I run an event.

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Hi Mate, 

First of All, kudos for being someone who wants to run event, as I TO myself I love the idea that people want to run events and that people want to come to and enjoy them.

I feel the Master has its place in the scene when events were not as common. Now we have pretty much an event or 2 every weekend people are less inclined to travel to an event if there is one closer. (Look at this weekend - Not sure on numbers for Masters events but 30 at Heroic Play, 13 at Dice & Destiny 7 at Ross on Wye today). Thats 50 people before masters events that were playing competitive guild ball on a random weekend. Its also becoming a chore to try and organise and event that doesn't clash. In April the only weekend both myself and Heroic Play could run an event means we are already splitting players.

Rather than a master based on Rankings how about contacting TO's from across the UK and co-ordintaing a series of qualifying tournaments culminating in a final. with and LCQ the day before. Finals could be held at an event that has draw to lots of players like Bonescon. Just an idea not saying it will work but maybe time to look at a new format.

 

Good luck with your future events.

 

 

 

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Yeah I echo what @MykMyers is saying. Right now there is probably a event every weekend in the U.K, some there is 2-3 a weekend with GB being played up and down the country. The Masters was a good idea for a event when they were far and few between, a chance for the best to get together to play and decide the best of the best. With the number of events these days I don't feel the event is necessarily "needed" to do so. Hell, look at the Heroic Plays line up last weekeend. It has Stephon Easton, Daniel Harwood, Charles Nurser, Jason Mountain, JJ etc etc etc. Dice & Destiny had myself, Conor Rooney & Maria Wieland. The best people in the country are out there competing every other weekend right now.

My second point would be if you were to continue is the selection method. While I appreciate picking the top ranking people from Longshanks is the most convinent way I don't feel it's the best way to ensure the best people currently in the country get to the event. I feel like some sort of qualifyign events placed throughout the country would ensure the most talented players make it to the event.

Lastly, for my self who was  lucky enough to be invited a 4 hour drive for a single day event just isn't feasible. That said there really isn't going to be a ideal location as ideally you're getting a spread of players throughout the country, though somewhere more central would be prefferable.

All that said I would like to thank you for your service to the game in regards to Black Orifice and the effort you put into the weekend which ultimaely was done purely for the enoyment of the game. If it does cotinue I hope you can take everyones advice on board to make the expereince the best it can be.

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I’m not from the UK but please don’t fracture the community with a second ratings system. Most are inherently flawed in some way.

I think the idea of a qualifier series is great, they do something like that in NA for Warmachine Weekend and it’s turned into a series that people,e actually care about and travel around to try to win seats in.

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28 minutes ago, Frostmane said:

I’m not from the UK but please don’t fracture the community with a second ratings system. Most are inherently flawed in some way.

 

This was what happened @malladin.ben ran the original rankings which is where the masters came from.

 

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As someone who has run Masters events in the past (on a Scottish level, for WFB), I can appreciate how frustrating it can be when the outcomes don’t match your expectations. I can see what you wanted to do with it and I love “Masters-style” events. However, I think the main difference between systems like the old WFB and GB is that there weren’t any prestigious events vying for attention like the Masters events did. Now there is the British Champs, along with a whole host of other National Champs, World Champs, Champ Champs etc. 

The point is, GB is a different beast and having seen this event being run twice, I would be sad to see it not happen again but I would also understand why it isn’t feasible. Maybe just not at the moment? Maybe it just needs another time to come around. 

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I concur it would be sad to see it go, it was something else that I could aim for.

Was also a fan of the Guild Masters classes as well, although with the increasing number of Guilds it would be hard to do with 16 players. Maybe if it increased to 32. 

Also, I don't think I would mind paying for a ticket to an event I'd been invited to. 20 quid doesn't go far these days, and is a small price to pay for a long days worth of entertainment. This would more than likely attract controversy, which needs to be considered. 

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