Thoughts on CTWC2019

Thread in 'Discussion' started by Adonis Mouse, 27 Oct 2019.

  1. So I'm thinking the lack of talk on here is because people have moved away from forums and onto things like Discord, Twitch, and YouTube? 'Cos for sure there's been no lack of hype about what just happened. :)

    I thought I'd share my thoughts just off the top of my head 'cos that's the sort of thing I like to do - and in a world of more than seven billion, there's probably at least one person who won't hate to read them. So...

    First off, I'm a 40something bloke from England with a lifetime of watching football and tennis - and I don't think I've ever been so excited about a sporting event as I was about this. Not quite counting down the days, but not far off. I watched as much as I could - had two laptops simultaneously streaming, even while I was in the bath - and caught the final around 2am tucked up in bed and trying not to cheer.

    In a word: it was fantastic.

    A big talking point, I suppose, was the upsets: so many of the big names and old names falling at the first and second hurdle - or before. Kind of sad to not see them make it into at least the last eight - it did seem like Jonas and Harry were playing as well as anyone, judging by their streams - but the standard, the pressure, the one little slip...I guess it makes anything possible.

    For many, it was a changing of the guard, the new and young blood coming through. A different generation and a different way of playing, growing up online and reaping the benefits of watching and studying those that came before.

    Perhaps also a reward for those who have been putting in the hours in contests like Classic Tetris Monthly and the Classic Tetris League. I guess there's no substitute for the pressure of competition - and I've definitely heard voices in the days since pointing out that many of those that fell - Jonas, Harry, Buco, etc - maybe would have benefitted if they'd been taking part.

    That said, it wasn't all youth: obviously, Koryan reached his maiden final, and Matt Martin, the surprise Southern Qualifier winner and relative newcomer, performed incredibly well.

    Stand out for me from among the old guard was perhaps Terry Purcell, who fought incredibly hard to reach the last eight. His first round match, I think it was, was both one of the highlights and easily the most stressful moment of the tournament for me. Fearless and incredibly aggressive, building crazily high and just going for it. It was death-defying stuff. I must watch that again.

    Not many arguments about the match of the tournament: the quarter-final between Joseph and Greentea. The atmosphere was incredible. So great to see Joseph enjoying himself and showing his love for the game - even to another level in the final - and Greentea, for me, was the player who came closest to challenging him. It would have made a worthy final - to take nothing away from Koryan - and a shame that we didn't get to see at least one more match from Greentea. His play is a joy to behold - not to mention his ever-present smile - and he continues to fly the flag for DAS players, showing that it's more than possible to hang with the tappy boys. When he stacks that good, only the best of the best, playing at their highest level, can stop him.

    Which brings me to the final: it was great, wasn't it? So much fun. So much interaction and banter between not only the players but the commentators too. Joseph showboating, tapping his forehead, playing to the cameras and the crowd. The micro-pushdown battle. The silmu-stacking. The laughter. I've never seen two people and those watching enjoying the game more. Incredible to have such light-heartedness at breakneck speeds in the game's showpiece event. Warm fuzzy feelings all round. That was as good a sporting moment as I've ever witnessed.

    And the fun aside, it really looked like Joseph had taken it to a new level. He more than answered the question about whether he'd be able to defend his title and fend off the new breed of challenges: at moments it was like watching Neo when he realises he is The One. Against perhaps the second best player of all time - a man I'd watched maxout 5 times in 7 games just before the championship, averaging close to a million in ten games - he was head and shoulders above. Sure, it went to a decider - but was there ever any real doubt - barring a disaster - that Joseph would walk away with it? He played it like a man on a summer's stroll: any trouble he found himself he quickly cleared up tout de suite. If he was feeling any pressure, it didn't show.

    A worthy winner. A gallant challenge from crowd favourite Koryan. Greentea's heroics. The runs of Matt, Terry, Josh, and all the young challengers. Was Batfoy's interview serious and straight or is he also a secret comic genius? And of course the numerous upsets - plus a mention for Chad vs Stacy, which was also one of the matches of the tournament for me. Nervewracking and impossible to predict a winner, until the very last moments. Another one I will look out for eagerly once the polished up videos hit YouTube.

    All in all, an outstanding success - hats off to all the organisers and commentators, and to Trey for his technical wizardry and dedication - and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking it more than met up to the hype, and even exceeded it. It's gonna be very interesting to see what effect this has once it reaches the mainstream, given the growth over the last few years. Are we reaching Peak Tetris? Or is this just the beginning?
     
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  2. And then I thought I'd write about ideas that occurred to me while watching, and things I've come across other people say, as there may be possibilities to improve.

    I think the main thing that occurs to me is that I'd want to see more of the top players going head to head. It was such a shame to see Greentea going out in the quarter-finals, even though he was perhaps the second best player there. The dude had flown all the way from Japan and is such a fan favourite and quality player. And though as he noted himself afterwards - "qualifying matters" - I think there's perhaps more to it than just trying harder for a top 8 or top 4 seeding: perhaps the format itself could be changed.

    My first thought is of introducing a 'round robin' or group stage. Pretty much every world level tournament does this, and it ensures that players get at least a few matches and don't face the prospect of blowing all their chances in one go. Spain, for example, won the football World Cup in 2010 as one of the best-rated teams ever, but lost their first match of the tournament 1-0 to Switzerland. These things happen, and though there's something kind of delicious about only getting one shot, imagine how juicy it would be if there were say two groups of four players, playing three matches each, and battling for those final spots.

    And not that I'm merely suggesting this as a way of helping out players such as Jonas and Harry, etc - but it would have been great to see more of them. It's a whole year building up to it. And it ends so fast.

    A lot of this comes down to time and space, I suppose. If there are more matches it needs more time. So how can more time be generated? I suppose some ideas would be:
    • Play more competitive matches on Day 2
    • Have more qualifying stations
    • Have all matches start on Level 18
    • Have qualifying start on Level 18, or even 19
    • Give all qualifiers 1 hour
    • Limit qualifiers to those with a PB of, say, 600k
    • Run qualifying on Day 1 also
    • Have another side station
    • Modify the game
    That last idea occurred to me as a perhaps unusual and even unacceptable way to speed things up: by say modifying the cart so that the Level 19 transition takes place earlier, at perhaps 50 lines. The level of play is so high now that the game really happens on Level 19 anyway. And I suppose if people can't play on that level then they're not really ready for the World Championships. I mean, it's cool that it's so democratic and open, and literally anyone can enter - but I'm not sure that's the way to go forward, or whether it's such a great idea to have people taking up qualifying time with games that start on Level 9 and end at 19. That's why I think the prerequisite of a minimum PB might be useful - that still opens it up to a lot of people who have a chance to make the final 48 - and, really, what's the point in someone who's never gonna hit 500k in a qualifying session even attempting, when the minimum score is now guaranteed to be way more than that? I think of something like England's famous FA Cup competition - any team can enter, even an amatuer village or pub team, but they don't all enter at the same stage: they have to earn their right to play against the big boys.

    One thing that occurs to me here is that the old boys who made this tournament great may get swept to the side, and that would be a real shame. It's great to see players like Robin and Trey take part but, let's face it, they don't really stand much of a chance to progress. So I wonder if there could be a 'veteran's tournament' to keep these guys going. We still want to see the characters and the faces we've come to know and love so much. It would be shame if it's all just teens with Twitch handles instead of real names a few years down the road. I still wanna see the stars of 2010 battling it out. And the games are just as good, as long as they're close, even if the scores and tetris rates aren't as high.

    So, anyway, my main suggestion is to implement some kind of 'round robin' so players and spectators get more bang for their buck, and so it's less of a one shot event, and gives a shock first-game loser something to really fight for. This would need extra time, and I guess there are lots of ways to do that. Ultimately it may look something like a number of 3 or 4-player groups, with best-of-3 matches, and the top 1 or 2 players from each group progressing to the knockout stage. Everybody gets a fair crack at the whip; the number of games between high level players increases; and it makes it more like other pro-level tournaments from the world of sport.

    I don't know how or if that would work, or if it's even that appealing: it wasn't like the tournament had any real issues; and the qualifying and seeding obviously worked really well, given that the final was 1vs2; and no4 made the semis; and 5, 7, and 8 made the quarters. The upsets were thrilling and unexpected. And maybe there's something beautiful about a one-year build-up being ended in a couple of seconds with a few bad decisions; it's just ideas.

    Oh, and I also think more 'live players' should get themselves involved in the online tournaments: That seems to have been integral to the development of the new crowd, and in some ways part of the old guys getting left behind and not getting enough competitive matches. I guess there's a reason for their not taking part, but if they're streaming anyways, and quite a few of them are, I don't see why they couldn't.

    Cheers! :)
     
    Last edited: 6 Nov 2019
    botitas likes this.
  3. Like a lot of other forum communities, activity around here is almost completely gone, and it's pretty disappointing IMO, as social media and live chat don't really invite the same amount of in-depth discussion and debate, and are terrible at archiving relevant information for posterity.

    I was at CTWC personally, and have a lot of stuff to say about it. I'll be sure to address the stuff you've posted here if I ever find the time to do so XD
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Unregistered

    What I liked (compared to previous tournaments):
    • The local qualifiers made it really to a worldwide competition.
    • The distribution of the prize pool was fair (10k = 3k + 1.5k + 2 x 0.75k + 4 x 0.5k + 8 x 0.25k).
    • The organizers made a good job on anticipating how the competition would step up: They expanded round 0 to 48th seed (Dana Wilcox still didn't make the cut). They made the quarter- and semi-finals "best of 5".
    • The organizers really cared about the tournament. For example they bought some extra NES consoles when there weren't enough during qualifying.
    • The matches are uploaded to Youtube more quickly. One week per round is fair (you can't expect a faster upload schedule because this would reduce the amount of clicks on Youtube and thus the amount of money they earn).
    What I disliked:
    • The side competitions on Friday were uninteresting. Nobody cares about Dr Mario - this game isn't even balanced properly. It's time for some other Tetris games.
    • The organizers underestimated the inrush during qualifying. The waiting line for the free stations was too long. I think they must forbid level 9 starts in future although this would be bad for the more casual participants.
    • The main event was too noisy. Obviously, players were distracted or couldn't concentrate properly. The commentators are to blame partially: They made player-specific jokes and they encouraged a little girl who screamed "boom" everytime a Tetris was made.
     
  5. Powerline

    Powerline Unregistered

    I agree pretty much with you. The noise at the event is naturally higher when something spectacular happens. Hardly to avoid. But it is annoying however if one guy in the audience shouts some nonsense in Level 18.
    I think, the competitors should wear earphones if it distracts them too much. I think that for example Green Tea is distracted by the audience quickly. If you watch the awesome Double-Max-Out match vs Joseph in the Quarterfinals before he scored the max, he misdropped the long bar and to his luck another long bar appeared right after.

    And i agree that the side competitions should be abolished. Why not making the qualifiers on Friday?

    Also it looks that the room, although bigger than last year, is still not large enough. The interest is increasing rapidly. But i am confident that the organizers will handle it..
     
  6. I think the competitors enjoy participating in the side tournaments. Invisible is pop. "No Next" is pop. Dr. Mario is not really my main game but I respect it. (What's imbalanced about Dr. Mario...?) If they have the resources to run some qualifiers on Friday alongside the side events then that seems reasonable; they've had similar scheduling in the past.

    I hope they don't actually restrict qualifier starting level, as it probably won't affect wait times significantly and it's a detriment to player consistency. Three of my four qualifying attempts were Level 9. I don't really want to wait through any length of line and be forced to do 18 starts, as it's less consistent for transition scores. I want the ability to choose between the viable starting levels -- maybe they could bar Level 0-8 more confidently, but hopefully they don't touch perfectly valid starts like 9.

    While I understand there are some tensions between keeping crowd sound within reason without stifling excitement, I actually think this is possibly the quietest the venue has ever been during finals. 2010 and 2011 were small audiences but had plenty of cheering and heckling and background music. 2012 was in a different room too if I recall correctly, but also had music playing etc.. During finals this year, there were some considerable lulls in room noise that have never really occurred in the past.
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Unregistered

    Actually, I like the current schedule: side competitions on Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and main event on Sunday. I just didn't like the selection for the side competitions. I think they should include other Tetris variants instead of Dr Mario and gimmicky NES competitions. SNES versus (1vs1 with sending lines) would be a good alternative (SNES Tetris is quite similar to NES Tetris). Or if they don't have enough SNES consoles, they could try to mod the NES cartridge to make that incompleted/hidden versus mode work.

    I don't know any terminology for Dr Mario, so I will use the following:

    • Block means a single filled cell in the playfield.
    • n-pop means the removal of a group consisting of n blocks, all of the same color and in a vertical or horizontal line.
    • n-chain means clearing n groups during a chain reaction (whereas multiple groups can pop simultaneously).
    • Trash means blocks appearing at the top uncontrollable by the player.
    The only thing that sends trash is a 2-chain or higher whereas a n-chain sends n trash. So, a 4-chain pops as many blocks as two 2-chains, is much harder to do but doesn't send more trash. Also, two 2-chains make the opponent wait longer (the trash-falls-down animation is played twice). 2-chains in Dr Mario are like Double line clears in TGM 2 versus: they are not that hard to do but they are the most effective attack nonetheless.

    6-pops are more difficult than 2-chains. However, they don't send any trash per se. The only way to make a 6-pop is through a horizontal clear. If you watch the best Dr Mario players play, they will make vertical clears almost exclusively. Horizontal clears are not worth the effort. So Dr Mario becomes a game about stacking towers (instead of making smart spins).

    At the start of a game the playfields are filled with viruses. A single game of versus will either end very quickly - a player running out of space thanks to trash and towers - or it will result in a long race about who can get rid of all viruses first.
     

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