In my view, this is a slam dunk no
. If every single captain besides me wanted to do it, I'd consider it - but they won't and I'll explain why.
Firstly, if I can find the IDL forum backup (which I know is floating around somewhere), we did an analysis on the franchise seasons of IDL. We learned two key things:•Teams were more stacked than ever
Each season basically had two super squads because of the franchise system and they almost reliably went to the finals each time with little opposition. Being able to stack two top players on a team and then grab ANOTHER upper-level player allowed for those top teams to crush the other squads. My response is similar to the one I gave to Spooky and Rude in regards to entering pre-made teams - the entire season will become unbalanced and it will be a schedule of massacres.•Franchise system discouraged people from signing up for the IDL
This was the conclusion that we came to after analyzing the franchise system when we discussed returning to it years later. The franchise era lead to a less competitive league and less opportunities for newer players because half of the roster spots were automatically filled before the draft even arrived. Signups fell over that period and bounced back up when the franchise system was eliminated. It was very bad for the IDL. My personal opinion was also that the seasons were trash and not very fun for anyone but the top squads.
Even if we bumped to 5 roster spots as recommended, what good does that do for those players? Is it going to drive signups? The road to playing games is tough enough for 4ths in this league - being a 5th only buries you further. More on this later.Here are more thoughts on how I think it affects the current WDL:•It further discourages good players from captaining and neuters the auction draft format
Regardless of whether or not one thinks the WDL is stale or stubborn in the way it makes rule changes, I think one would be hard pressed to deny that the past few seasons of the WDL have been some of the most competitive in any CTF league history. While IDL seasons had great teams, there were usually only a few at the top. This is not as much the case in the WDL, at least when it comes to regular season bouts.
Shrewd upper tier players who are focused on winning in a cut-throat style will game this system quickly. Why should I captain when I can franchise with DemonSphere and have him spend all of his money on his first nomination who happens to be HumanBones? There are only so many top players to go around which will leave at least half of the league with mid-tier players at the top of their squads. Again, we saw this in the IDL too. The franchise system would be even WORSE with the auction draft.
Currently, there is some incentive for great players to captain. Take Caution for instance. He missed the playoffs the past two seasons when neither were likely his fault. That is part of the risk when you enter the draft. However, he is a great player and he decided to captain and choose his own destiny with a team that nobody pegged as the top squad immediately following the draft. He has now not even lost a round through four weeks. The incentive to take control of your own path changes big time for great players when they have the "easy out" option of teaming with another top player in pre-draft.
Another example: why would Alt_Stab ever continue captaining under a franchise format? I don't want to single Stab out as a bad player - he is great and a very smart captain. However, most people would rank him below over half of our current captains. He doesn't have the "name brand" so to speak. Why would the top non-captain ever franchise with Stab's team when they could pick the most elite playing captains instead? At least now, Stab has a shot at them and that contributes to the competitiveness of this league.•The current auction draft allows you to franchise currently already - at a premium
You can franchise already with the current format. Just bid 28 dollars for the player you want immediately. Most teams don't do this - why? Because it puts them at a competitive disadvantage. Again, this goes back to my major criticism of franchising - it allows easy team stacking at no cost to the captain. Currently, you can have that player but you need to pay out the ass for it which is why our teams are so balanced in general.•Conclusion on bringing back the franchise system
Franchising would not be good for the WDL, even for a one-off season. I think the correct course of action, if players want to get onto pre-made teams, is still to run a separate event at another time where pre-made teams can enter. If an overwhelming amount of reliable, good players that will captain under this format approach me and say they want to do it, I would reconsider. I do not expect our current captain group would approve it.
SEASON SCHEDULE VOTING
I am totally open to this. A couple things would need to be done though. When does the voting take place? We currently release the schedule prior to the draft so that captains can draft for their opponents and the maps they play them on. So, the vote would have to occur in pre-season, but it would have to only count people that stay signed up for the season. Somewhat complicated, but we could probably make it work.
Currently, and Bones knows this as he's helped me on a number of schedules, maps are shuffled around the weeks according to a "formula" of sorts. Typically a heavy team-play map in the middle, light fare in the early weeks, another standard later in the season, and one or two new or less played maps to mix it up. This is done to make sure we don't end up with three weeks of total grind maps in a row followed by two high flying maps. I try to cater the schedule to everybody over the 5 weeks while making sure teams have to work to stay competitive (so not playing 5 standards for the entire season usually). Voting could mess up the "week placement", so I'd prob have multiple schedules for each map that players would vote on.
36 MAP EXPANSION
As the person that goes through the wad every year and then has to listen to everybody loathe a good majority of the newly introduced maps, I guess I just don't think this is necessary. Most maps in the wad are barely played already and we are always on the verge of cutting existing maps from the pack only to find out that there is not a lot of great stuff out there. MAP15 in this year's pack got replaced, what, 3 times before the final release for the year? We try out new stuff but certain additions are loathed or just end up not working and they gotta go.
If there are better CTF maps out there that we are missing, they need to be in the wad and there are maps we can cut to get them in. For instance, we grabbed the current MAP09 from the IDL wad and people generally enjoyed it. A good addition of a well seasoned map. I just don't see the point in adding new maps to a wad that has room for new ones NOW. Maybe you can elaborate further at a later date and tell us what maps you think should currently be cut and what wads you want to grab new maps from to expand to 36. The only new ones to come out recently have been 32in24 and Q3CTF which were both scoured many times. I believe Q3CTF is still in development and should be revisited for the next wad.
I also personally feel like this is a no. I'm open to changing it, but I think there are better ways to move forward if we can afford to field 5-player teams in the league.
First off, as I said earlier in the franchising section, it is hard enough for 4ths to make it into games. They occasionally rise up like Souler has this season (who was even undrafted) but more often than not they get stuck not playing as much as they want to. To stick another player BEHIND them is practically cruel and unusual punishment.
For every Spooky, there are 2-3 players on the FA list that haven't even joined our servers or IRC channel. There is a reason many are undrafted - stashing them as 5ths isn't going to do the ones that want to play any favors. What if Souler was stashed as a 5th on a team this season? He would've probably never played at all. Instead, the FA system allowed him to show himself off in team practices to the captains. Blair noticed his effort and swapped him in for a player who barely showed himself.
Here is what I believe is the ethical answer. If we have 8 additional players that deserve to be on teams, then we need to do the right thing and actually expand to 10 teams instead of sticking those players behind others or letting them ride the FA pine. This would allow those players that should be starting, like Dastan, Souler, HTG, and Evo, to move into bonafide starter roles while players like Spooky, Fonze, Widower, and Awup can still get used to the league in a 4th role. Our long-term goal should ALWAYS BE finding more opportunities for players to get into actual WDL games, not be stashed on benches.
Thanks for making this post Bones. Very good stuff. I was glad to be able to contribute and look forward to thoughts and discussion from others.