Now that the Swiss portion of AHGL Season 4 has ended, we wanted to share a post-mortem with everyone and get feedback. There will also be an end of season survey like normal, so try and keep discussion to this blog.
One of our missions at AHGL is to maximize overall fun. This season we reduced two of the biggest fun-blockers: weekly match scheduling and uneven matches.
Our feedback and observations so far show that the regular season matches were much closer and more fun. This was due to our Adjacent pairing Swiss system, where teams of all skills were mixed into groups and paired with their nearest skill neighbors that they hadn’t yet played. Not only does this system make for more fun games, it also means we don’t have to set an arbitrary A/B league dividing line based on unreliable skill rankings provided by game developers. Instead, the Swiss system will sort teams by actual skill. Great right?
Mostly, here’s where it gets weird though. We still have to draw an arbitrary line on what’s A vs B league skill at the end of the season. Aye, there’s the rub.
If we announce the format of the finals on day 1 and therefore the cutoff between A and B brackets, people will game the system by intentionally forfeiting later matches to ‘make’ B league finals because the expected value of being a top B team is higher than a bottom A team. If we don’t announce the format, most people will guess and develop expectations. Reality is unlikely to meet everyone’s expectations, which leads to disappointment. Sorry if this was you :/
There’s another problem we found. While Swiss makes for fun games and guarantees you can find the top few teams with relatively few games, you end up with a LOT of teams with roughly even records and no great way to sort them by skill other than running many more matches which are progressively less close and fun*. So now that arbitrary line we draw between A and B will have a few stragglers of teams that should be A and are in B, and vice versa.
Even with it’s flaws for the playoffs, we think the Swiss format was an improvement. We’d love to make it better though, and are very open to ideas and suggestions. What did you think?
- The AHGL Team
*This is true for Adjacent pairing swiss, which starts the season with the closest matches and gets progressively further from even skill matches. Slaughter works in reverse, but as the name indicates it’s less fun...