New format thoughts

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Anka

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Hello,

Before I start, I'll just say that this is MY own opinion, not a team opinion, or general one, this is just MINE.
I also want to mention that I write this topic after seeing the google form linked by MKU staff a few hours ago,.

Ok so, what you guys thininking about this new format ?
The season isn't ended yet BUT a lot of matchs have been already played and I think we already have a good overview of the new format now.


So why imo this new format is bad :

1) 16 teams / division :
Now we have 16 teams for each divisions which means being D1 is meaningless, before the D1 was kinda like a grail, everyone was like "wow look at this D1 team they godlike at the game", obviously the same goes for D2, D3 ect ....

2) The matchs schedule :
Basically we have seeding phases with 3 matchs (hell that's a lot, especially for low player base teams), but then you have some weeks with only 1 matchs, sometimes 2, the general organisation for the MKU became realy hard now, before you had 2 matchs and that's it. And you know before playing which team is against yours, which lead to strategical preparations (tracks TT, line-ups, ect ...).

3) The consistancy isn't rewarded :
The old format has a lot more reward by being consistant, you had 10 matchs to get into playoff, then prove that you deserve your spot for it. So you can have some bad weeks and not being hard punished for that (except for playoff), now any bad week is instant punished.

4) The seeding :
It's imo a fake problem and everything was fine with the old format (with only a few exceptions), the only problem was the low divs seedings but that's mainly because we lack of informations for these players, so maybe keep the tournement thing for low divs or maybe recruit some "seedings helpers" with this player base representant and do the old seeding version.


Not gonna lie, I don't find any pros for this news format, I just want the old format back, most of competitives games use this kind of format this is maybe for a reason. I probably missed fews things, but I just want your opinion about this and if you have some ideas, just bring them here.

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NIGHT

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I agree with you on points 2-4. Personally, I've enjoyed the 16 team divisions.

Below is my twitlonger I made not too long ago about how to combine both formats. Realistically, the conference format needs to be the key component, with an interchangeable playoff system.

The one thing I really enjoyed watching (trust me, not playing this season) was the promotion and relegation system which I enjoyed. Having a transparent path to move up / down the proverbial MKU ladder is very interesting and removes some subjectivity.

The group stage made or broke the season for several teams. If you're interested in reading my full twitlonger, click below.

First off, I would like to start off by saying I have really enjoyed this current season of MKU as a spectator. It's been clear there have been mixed reviews of the current format, and many individuals are looking to potentially revert back to the original conference format.

First, I really enjoy the transparency in this format of how you can get promoted or relegated. The playoff section is MUCH more interesting, and you have a clear path of how to maintain, gain, or lose your divisional status.

On the other hand, your group really dictates your path, and I have seen many examples where teams have gotten some circumstances to align with little effort to advance into an upper group to safety (I'm looking at you ph1 in the second phase). There are other examples as well especially in tighter divisions such as D3, but rather than being critical of these specific instances, I think we can all agree that the group stage is vitally important and sets you up for the remainder of the tournament. You have to be on in all 3 races, which more work than being on for a traditional 2 hour stretch in the conference format.

Additionally, while I am all for the wheel of death and randomization, the current system has proven in multiple groups in certain instances two teams relegated down from an upper division were paired with two weaker teams in the same group which can really throw a team's season off entirely if they are not prepared for that doomsday scenario. To be fair, there was a reason why teams were relegated, but so much weight is on RNG that it does make me want to consider taking a look at leveraging the regular season similar to the conference format.

This format can be modified or altered in any way. It is not perfect. However, entertain this idea for the future.

First, the number of teams in the division really dictates how this can be modified. In this example, I'm basing it off of 16 teams which is the current number of teams in a division in Season 15. You can even have a deeper regular season / conference format if you shrink the number of teams.

To start, just like in this season, teams are placed into 4 tiers based off of their finish in the prior end of the tournament. Unlike the Felix format which has 2 phases, cutting it back to one phase would be more simplified and really raises the stakes on jumping or being relegated in a division.

For this example, I'll be using S15 division one. Rather than 4 groups, teams will be assigned one of two conferences to start the season which can be done at random.

Conference A
MainClan (Tier 1)
PIKE Florida State University (Tier 1)
Midnight Wasps (Tier 2)
SecretX (Tier 2)
Sweatyzard X (Tier 3)
Arcadia Sky (Tier 3)
Ataraxia (Tier 4)
Les Lions de l'Atlas (Tier 4)

Conference B
World Friend Star (Tier 1)
High Definition (Tier 1)
Banana Legion (Tier 2)
World Friend Moon (Tier 2)
Kira Team 2 (Tier 3)
Jean Messiha (Tier 3)
Difference (Tier 4)
Jean Pierre Papin (Tier 4)

In the regular season, each team will play their conference opponent once, which is a total of 7 games. This is where this middle ground format gets dicey. If you shrink the number of teams in the division, you will have more room for INTER-CONFERENCE format matches. It will increase the time spent in the regular season phase, but also slowly shrink the amount of time spent in playoffs. This is one of the ways the format can be modified.

Now... assuming all things are equal, that is 7 matches that would be played over 4 weeks. The 8th match can be one of two variations. First, it could be a random opponent from the other conference. Second, it could be an opponent from the other conference at a similar record level (ie: 7th overall faces 7th overall of the opposite conference, etc.). Lastly, in a more transparent alternative, it could be one of the 2 teams from the opposite conference that is in the same tier. You can even make it so the top tier 1 team faces the top tier 1 team of the opposing conference if necessary. Some unique options here if you wanted to add an 8th match. Without an inter-conference section though, this is essentially a glorified round robin.

After facing each of the 7 teams in your conference once, you could add on a potential week to the tournament to have 2 additional inter-conference matchups. Logically, it would make sense to play the other two teams from within the assigned tier for those, and the inter-conference match the week prior could be done at random. Another alternative if you added an additional week would be to play 1 match against one team from each tier that your team is not currently within. (ie: MainClan gets a tier 2, tier 3, and tier 4 inter-conference matchup) done at random. This would make the regular season be a total of 10 matches, which is exactly the total from the conference format.

Here would be a mock schedule look at MainClan for example. Keep in mind, you can shuffle the schedule so the top tier teams are not first:

Week 1:
Pike
Midnight Wasps

Week 2:
SecretX
Sweatyzard X

Week 3:
Arcadia Sky
Ataraxia

Week 4:
Les Lions de l'Atlas
Kira Team 2 (Random Inter-Conference Match)

Week 5:
World Friend Star (Tier 1 Interconference)
High Definition (Tier 1 Inferconference)

It is also important to note that these interconference matchups do not have to be at the end of the schedule, they can take place during any week!

Regardless of if the season has a 4 week long or 5 week long regular season, the playoff format is exactly the same... except there is ONE phase only.

The top 4 from each conference will advance into the playoff bracket. This is where Felix's format is EXACTLY THE SAME. The top 8 will duke it out in a pro bracket (double elimination), with the top 3 teams being eligible to move up a division. For the consolation bracket (double elimination), same thing. The bottom 3 teams will get relegated.

This will remove the confusion of the halves in the season, streamline the transfer process, and solve a few more logistical issues.

The only thing that this format really raises questions on is the inter-conference portion. The last 3 MKU seasons were either 6 or 7 weeks long. Having 1 Inter-Conference match would mean you would stay within that window with a 16 team division.

If you wanted to add 2 more interconference matchups, it would make MKU 8 weeks long.

Just some food for thought!
Feel free to message me if you have questions.

I explored a lot, and may not have been clear. But if it was me, I would make MKU 2 months long and get the best out of both formats:

4 to 5 Week Long Regular Season
7 Conference Matchups
1 to 3 Interconference Matchups

3 Week Inter-Conference Playoffs (exactly the same as Felix format)

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion and not the opinion of MKC in any way, shape, or form.
 
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Joswald7

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This has been my first season in competitive kart. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, but too often there have been situations where either I personally have underperformed or my team has been significantly outmatched. Frankly, I believe that the promotion and consolation/relegation brackets haven't really been representative of the potential of each team (see SX winning MKF but failing to finish higher than 6th in MKU).

This is due to the lack of competitive matches available. While I understand why this needs to happen (for scheduling and availability purposes), it doesn't represent where teams truly stand in each division. Unfortunately, I don't think conferences do this either; the difference between the old MKU format and professional sports is that the pros play a season that lasts a substantial portion of the year, allowing for results to follow a relatively expected distribution (see: English Premier League (soccer)). Additionally, in professional sports, conferences are generally done along geographic lines to reduce wear and tear on players and staff. This isn't really necessary for something like competitive Mario Kart when we all play as a team online. (Disclaimer: I am not asserting that kart should become a professional sport. Rather, I am just using this as a comparison for statistical and logical reasons).

Let's assume, for simplicity's sake, that there are 16 teams in each division (like this past season).

Here's the idea:

1. Follow a system of promotion and relegation used in professional soccer in Europe. Keep the divisions the way they are (without implementing groups or conferences), but promote/relegate 3 (or 4) teams between the end of the season. This also incentivizes low div teams which want to improve to do so, or have individual players who want to improve attempt to stand out so that higher div teams can recruit. Conversely, if a high div player wants to help a low div team improve, they can make informed decisions about which team(s) they want to help improve.

2. Have each team play each other at least twice, if not more. I think the current MKU format suffers from having a season that is too short. It means that mismatches happen too quickly and teams don't end up where they believe they should, affecting self confidence for both the team and individual players. Scheduling-wise, if we assume 16 teams, each team plays at least 30 matches in the season (one team plays the other 15, so 15 teams x 2 matches per team = 30 matches played). This allows for more time to play and more opportunities to play against teams with similar skill levels. The schedule could even be condensed so that it's not played over 10 weeks! Having two matchdays per week (instead of the current single matchday) could allow the entire season to be run in five weeks.

3. Promote/relegate the top/bottom 3 (or 4) teams at the end of the season. Placements are determined using current MKC rules and tiebreakers. This system incentivizes teams to improve while also ensuring that teams eventually work their way into divisions that are more appropriate for their skill level. For example: a div 9 team is, in reality, a very good div 8 team. The promotion and relegation system works so that eventually, this team consistently plays teams of their skill level, resulting in fair and competitive play for all teams. It results in teams in MKU following a distribution that makes sense from an objective competitive standpoint rather than using a (frankly subjective) tier placement system.

While I think that the format used in MKU S15 has some advantages, I think the flaws significantly outweigh any benefits it has. I think the above system would minimize the number of mismatches experienced by all teams each season and give players more competitive experience, overall. It also motivates teams and/or players to improve or try to put in more frequent standout performances each season. Ultimately, I think a system like this will better serve the community for subsequent seasons in a way that will strengthen and motivate the community to grow even more than it already has.
 

mytDRAGON

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Imo the format is good and more interesting but have some problems that could be solved. I see only 4 main issues:

1. The 16 teams format seems to work for every divisions below D2. I would suggest using 8 teams div for D1 and D2. It would make more sense to split the MKU in 2 leagues. So the lasts of D2 would demote to the league below and vice versa.

2. Everything is played in the first week. If one of your best players cannot play that day, you are likely doomed. Seedings use the best LU a team can use so you will likely underperform if you can't have all of these 6 players the first week. To have a group stage more consistent, I would prefer to have 2 matches against each team of the group in a two week.

3. The consistency is not rewarded anymore and a team that failed 1st week cannot make a come back. We had a lot of team dropping in the consolation bracket because they estimmed it was clueless to play aynmore. I think it would be maybe, I'm not sure at all about this suggestion tho, a good thing to have only one bracket but with 3 lifes for the top 2 of each groups and 2 lifes for the bottom 2. So if, for whatever reason, you underperform the first week, you can still get a chance to win the division. If a team deserve to demote, they won't win anyway. And if a team that was in the 0/3 first week but next win the division, they would deserve it since they were more consistent overall.

4. I still don't know why we didn't use Ben's suggestion. Please make Australian team able to play, or stop call that "universal".
 

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A few comments based off what I've read so far.

In the first season of change, there's likely going to be growing pains. I think there's 2 things that definitely should've been implemented earlier that would've massively improved reception.

1) Placements should've been done differently, because how they're affecting reseeding right now is not ideal. In the past it made sense for the D2 champion to outplace the last place team in D1, because there was quite literally nothing else they could do better to get ahead. In this format however, that's not true, because the 8th/9th place teams currently both had the same opportunity to advance to the premier bracket in the group phase. By treating the consolation champions as a tier-2 team in the next seedings, I think we made the seedings more imbalanced for the 2nd leg.

However, this change imo is not as important, especially as you get into lower divisions with less knowns. The next point affects every team's motivation dramatically, in my opinion.

2) Classifying divisions as 16 teams was a very big mistake, and I actually thought it was the wrong call well before the season started. We currently have the following format:

W1: Group Phase
W2-4: Bracket Phase
W5-W8: Rinse and Repeat

Instead, it should be seen as the following:

W1: Placement Phase
W2-4: Divisional Phase
W5-W8: Rinse and Repeat

It's essentially the same format, but the context of everything is incredibly important. The whole selling point of this format was how progressions were more quickly rewarded, because the S7-14 version of MKU was quite frankly, reliant on staff seedings each season over teams being rewarded on their improvement. The objective of Weeks 1 and 5 should've been seen as a measuring stick for teams. You play a wider variety of teams, and the goal should be to see how you stack up. Instead, teams are seeing bad week 1s as failures and season enders and if the goal of MKU is to allow each team a chance to compete for something meaningful to them, thrusting them into a "consolation bracket" is simply seen as a participation award.

Half of the entire league is entering Weeks 2 and 6 now feeling like their season is over, when a simple change in context could quite literally change everything. For instance, take a current D4 consolation team for example. They go into Week 6 feeling like their season is over, when with a simple change in context, they could be going into Week 6 with aspirations of winning Division 8.

So what I'm saying is, Sz should really be seen as Division 3 champions who moved up and were given a chance to compete for Division 1. If they couldn't make the push, they instead still get to move up into Division 2 and compete to win that title. Especially in lower divisions, when a team rapidly improves, this would've been huge for them in terms of natural progression. Division winners who completely dominated a division would get a chance to move up 2 divisions following a win, but if they weren't ready yet, they'd still move up the traditional one div. It's worth noting that the entire league is used to 8 team divisions. This really could have been very similar to what we've expected of MKU in the past, while fixing some of the flaws that Felix pointed out.

Instead, we now stand at a crossroads where I believe one thing is clearly inevitable, and this format will sadly never be fully realized.

Before concluding, there were some other things to note about previous posts.

The word competitive was used quite a bit in one. I think our definitions are different. One may say a tournament is more competitive when the skill levels of teams are closer I guess. For me, I believe a tournament is more competitive when people are trying their best to win every match. Wins are supposed to be good, and losses are supposed to be bad. Typically speaking, there is supposed to be consequences for winning and losing league matches. They are league matches, not scrimmages. I think people are not diagnosing the real issue here: it's not a bad thing for matches to have consequences, good or bad. It's a bad thing when those consequences are that after 1 week teams feel they have nothing to play for anymore. I think I've already highlighted the solution to this. In a tournament like MKU, it makes sense that you should be trying each week. It is weird to me that we just prefer to only have matches mean everything in the last 2 weeks of this season, because it is pretty much collectively admitting that we prefer it when Weeks 1-5 don't matter as much.

One post also mentioned not rewarding consistency. SX won Frontier and got a lower placement in MKU was cited as an example of this. I think it's worth noting that variation is how tournaments quite literally are supposed to work. If the same team doesn't win, it doesn't mean the tournament was bad or that the seedings were bad. We quite literally play tournaments because we don't expect things to stay the same forever. There'd be no point in playing if we had all the answers already. Sometimes different teams show up to play on different days. Sometimes team improve. It's why things are interesting.

Conclusion

I personally loved this format and I'm really sad that it's not going to ever be improved upon. There were a lot of things in earlier seasons that I felt were just annoying. A few of the highlights to me were:

- The division where one conference went like 15-1 in interconference play, but only 3 can make the playoffs of course
- Beating wf multiple times in the regular season just for it to ultimately be meaningless in the context of bracket advancement
- Going 8-2, still playing wf round 1, and then watching xi come just a game shy of having a chance to win D1 with an 8-8 record in that same season

I mentioned ways I would recommend improving it, and I've seen another question come up:

"Wouldn't this format make a great team tournament, like Agility or Velocity though?"

Despite me saying I like this format, the answer is no imo. This is because there's not much of a reason to run this over a tournament like Frontier again. This was very much an MKU take on a team tournament, which is ironic given that everyone seems to believe it's nothing like MKU.

The site team tournaments have some similarities:

- Direct consequences for winning or losing a game
- Larger brackets, sometimes varying amounts of games per day
- "Group phases"

But the big distinction between these tournaments and MKU is that everyone is on the same playing field before the tournament starts. There is nothing stopping any team from winning them if they just don't lose. That's not MKU, or this new format.

In a sense, MKU is a really good tournament for new teams because it's somewhat protective toward teams getting an opponent that they are just not ready to handle whatsoever. This style has its pros and cons. This imo, makes MKU a fantastic starting place for new teams trying to find their footing. However, it definitely is a much more casual approach. Important note: there is nothing wrong with a more casual tournament.

I think the gray area here though is that we don't know what MKU is trying to be. The format is just objectively more casual than a tournament like Frontier, and there's nothing wrong with that whatsoever; it even has its own advantages at times. The thing is though, the community treats MKU as the gold standard of MK8 team competition, and for that reason, I believe we have some of the top level teams in the community craving something they see as a more competitive tournament. And that's why this format felt like a compromise in a sense, because it allowed MKU to maintain its identity as a tournament great for new players and teams via division restricted formats (including rapidly improving teams too!) while also trying to maintain itself as the top competitive team tournament for the community.

The reality is, I think we all want MKU to be different things. If we're going back to the older format (looking that way), I think it'd be best if we made an effort to have MKU be the perfect entry level tournament that it is and use it as a selling point for people to join the community, and to start treating tournaments like Frontier (Amplify too coming up?) to be the more hardcore competitive events of the site. In summary Frontier does a better job as a tryhard competitive tournament than the new MKU format does, so if MKU goes back to what it was the last few seasons, I think the format should just be scratched completely. The only real sad thing to me is not getting to see the format be improved upon, really. I just don't think we need more divisional tournaments than MKU; it feels like a step in the wrong direction.

S15 Format Flaws

While I'm clearly a fan of this season's format, I'm not going to pretend that there aren't some things that seem to not be super solvable.

Forfeits are the big one. One of the D2 groups just got decimated by a double format, which made the group phase useless. Yikes. I guess this can still happen in the older format, but maybe there is still stuff to play for here I guess. In fairness, I think double DQs like this are incredibly rare.

The Australian community was shafted here and I still hate that. I feel like we could've made something work, but there are undoubtedly complications to it. It would be better and maybe easier to swallow if there was another (major) teams tournament that was friendly to them, but most of your most competitive events just don't work well for them. You need something.

Primetime was a mess this season. Just too much seemed to be going on, and the bracket presented a lot of what ifs. The actual matches being more important at the end of the season feels dumb to me, but when it comes to the casting team, you can reasonably setup a team for just 2 weeks at the end of the season even under tougher conditions. When bracket is most of the season though, it becomes a little nightmarish sometimes.

So yeah, I'm sad that I think this format will not ever get improved upon and thrown in the garbage after just 1 season. Season 7 demonstrated some actual structural problems to us also, but we worked through it and were better for it. I just think that the motivation to try is way lower now. I think it's ok if we change back. But I do think the next question is deciding what exactly we want MKU to be in the future.
 

ApG77

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The Australian community was shafted here and I still hate that. I feel like we could've made something work, but there are undoubtedly complications to it. It would be better and maybe easier to swallow if there was another (major) teams tournament that was friendly to them, but most of your most competitive events just don't work well for them. You need something.
And the Japanese community. You forgot Air and BP would have participated in this season if the format didn't shaft them.

Regarding the rest, I enjoyed reading this, and I believe you have summarized the overall situation pretty well. However I don't think the d2 double dq that happened ruined the group. Actually it gave ARC2 a shot in top bracket (if a triple 2-1 tie happened they were out) and if I'm not mistaken they are still fighting for winning d2 right now, so I'm confident in saying it made the division more interesting.
 

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And the Japanese community. You forgot Air and BP would have participated in this season if the format didn't shaft them.

Regarding the rest, I enjoyed reading this, and I believe you have summarized the overall situation pretty well. However I don't think the d2 double dq that happened ruined the group. Actually it gave ARC2 a shot in top bracket (if a triple 2-1 tie happened they were out) and if I'm not mistaken they are still fighting for winning d2 right now, so I'm confident in saying it made the division more interesting.

To be honest, maybe it was a case of good luck then. Regarding the Japanese teams, sure, but I think it's not as urgent of a matter since the Japanese community on its own seems to be as large as our playerbase if not larger and frequently runs their own competitions for Japanese only players
 

Auré

Member
Founding Member
Hi there,

If I can add my opinion about this:

1) Division Size

Basicly, a 16-team division format seems logical seeing the expansion of the community at the moment. I'm not completely sure a MKU landscape with 20-30... even more divisions in the future would be as much challenging for the most of players. Also, so many teams are getting closer to each other in terms of level, especially in mid-low divisions. By those points, I don't really see the idea of larger divisions as a bad one.

In another hand, yes, I concede I still wonder about D1 with 8 or 16 teams. With 8 teams, the division would be still tight, with tough matches every week-end, and the sensation that playing for a D1 team feels like an accomplishment. But I would also say that a 16 team format could allow some other teams who play in D1 for their first time to have the chance to take on the greatest teams at the moment and gain experience.

2) Current Format

I think this is the main issue I have with the current MKU format, on many points.

First, placements phase (First phase) is somehow the best bait for some teams to for example lose every war on purpose if they didn't agree with their current seeding. Unfair for the others, and for competitivity besides. This same phase is also not at all rewarding since the goal of all of this is to decide how will look like the stage for the second phase, which one is in fact the only real interest of this season.

Then, the format in itself suffers from many flaws in my opinion. When after only one week, half of the registered teams see their season already over by seeing themselves in consolation bracket. You'll tell me that the challenge is to not getting demoted in the lower division, sure, but what's next ? What is the point of winning a consolation bracket in MKU ? Maybe it makes sense for some teams in high division, but I really don't think it does lower. Then, some teams this season also ended their group stage in a 2-1 ratio and still got drafted in consolation bracket. I completely agree that things like this happen everywhere, but when it happens after only one week, in the main competition of the community, besides, it surely is frustrating.

In addition, I think one of the reasons why MKU is praised and challenging so far is the clarity of its format until now. Before, the "Conference stage + Play-offs" format was a sure value. And I'm conviced it still could be with 16 teams with few readjustments to not make the season too much time consuming. Right now, the current format is illegible, very complicated to understand. To be honest, I don't even know exactly which rank my own team ended at during this season, and I really don't care. Because in the big lines, if people look for a team's rank this season, they would mostly look for their division, if they won it or not, and which bracket they were in. It feels like getting deeper is useless, when in the former format we could quickly see which rank each team reached.

To finish this point, playing 3 wars of 12 races in a row, in the same evening is really a bad idea. The competition must remain fun to play, not overwhelming and exhausting like this.

3) Visibility

I already in the bigger part explained it in 2), but even from outside, the current format seems way less attractive. Why ? For example, I'm writing this few days before divisions finals and hype about it has almost vanished. Before, we already knew which teams are facing each other in division finals, people talked a lot about it. Not now, because bracket and schedule decided so. We still have to know the names of half the finalists, and I really think that counter productive to keep the community attracted to the competition, and to motivate newcomers to be a part of this in next seasons.



Of course, I'm not meaning at all by saying this I could do things better than staff does at the moment. Only, the path we've taken right now with the new format seems to lead us in a wasteland in my opinion. I just brought my own ideas, in case it could help.

Thanks for reading :)
 
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