Recently I sent this email out to players outlining a change to the format we're considering for D[K]S:
Difficulties in scheduling over the past week have brought some of the inherent weaknesses in our current format to light. As such we're considering changing the format to potentially help with these problems. In no particular order, the most difficult problems we face at the moment are the following:
1) The schedule is hard enough to predict for our staff members that covering for each other is very difficult.
2) The variety of player time-zones makes match times hard to line up properly.
3) The live nature of the matches makes it difficult for viewers to tune in on a consistent basis.
I've been thinking about these issues for the past couple months and looking for different solutions that we might try. One that has consistently popped up is switching from a live format to a replay format. After talking to most of the staff over the past few days, we've decided to give this approach a shot over the month of October. At the end of the month, we'll assess how it went and pass around a survey to players. After looking at that we'll decide whether or not to keep it or return to the old system with some changes.
October's format test will entail three major changes. First, matches will be casted from replays bi-weekly from Saturday at 11 pm PDT to 3 pm PDT with a spill-over slot on Sunday over the same times for extra matches we don't reach. Second, map vetoes will be different. Players will flip a coin; the player that wins the toss picks the first map. All following maps are loser's pick. Third, we will no longer require players to play on the weekend, but instead get their matches played and sent in before Friday evening of the cast weekend.
All this means that players will have the chance to send in games from today until the 2nd of October at 5 pm PDT. Anything received after would be bumped to the following weekend.
As of right now we are aware of a few problems.
1) Getting matches to actually happen may be more difficult if people procrastinate.
Solution: Toward this end I am available to provide reminders and skype groups to players so long as they inform me of when they are going to play. I will still provide one hour reminders as well, presuming I don't have a job. This may before more difficult once I have work, but we'll cross this bridge when we get there.
2) Interviews are harder to do.
Solution: We'll salvage what we can here. Namely, I'll give players a couple questions to answer when I send out the email so I have something to read before the match. This will also have the opportunity to highlight anything you guys want us to advertise for you as well. We will still offer the winning player a chance to come on for a post game interview if they are watching the match when we cast it.
3) We lose some of the realistic tension of a live match.
Solution: Not having the pregame interview before the players participate does change things a bit. I understand this may actually be a positive for some of you. I know the additional pressure doesn't always help. At the same time, some of you like that element of stress as well. There isn't much I can do here right away. There are talks among the staff of allowing a fixed slot for a live match in the future for those of you that really like the intensity of playing live. But this will not happen in October since we're not sure how flexible the schedule is going to be.
Otherwise nothing else will change. I'll still be matching players as I always do. I'll be sending out match emails, though now I will be highlighting different ways for you guys to contact each other and setup the match, making the whole, "reply all" thing less necessary. (On that note, we'll be making a facebook page. I'll make another email on that tomorrow.)
Ultimately, I'm not sure if this is the way to go in the long run. But the improved scheduling and consistent broadcasts seem like good enough reasons to give it a try. The group and player emails will be going out later today! Keep an eye out for those.
So what about this week? This weekend will not have matches. We'll be moving that to the first weekend of October to give everyone two weeks to get their matches in. But, we will be playing LotV Saturday during the new time slot for funsies! Archon stuff and such will happen. If you'd like to see how the new slot works out, be sure to show up!
As always if you have any questions, please feel free to reply and ask away.