Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Discuss policy guidelines for the community and whether something needs to be changed or not.
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Mountebank
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Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Mountebank » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:07 pm

Pokemon TCG is in the unique position where it is raced far more frequently than it is run outside of races. Compared to the 87+ people ranked on SRL, there are only 4 runners on the TCG any% leaderboard, and it has gotten to the point where the actual TCG community (which can be found on #tcg) uses a different leaderboard instead. The reason for this is obvious: the game begins with a mandatory 8-minute tutorial which is the same every time. Even on PSR, TCG any% would be more popular if the tutorial was not mandatory [1].

In addition, I think that TCG would be a better category if the single segment restriction was removed and RTA timing is used instead. First, this would allow race times to be submitted, thus removing the need for a separate leaderboard. Second, this would add another dimension to potential strategies used in the run. TCG autosaves during each of your turns in a duel, and if you reset, you have the option to continue a duel from the last save. The reason this is significant is because the RNG is saved as well: if the opponent is put into the same position, they will always get the same results from coin flips. Whether it is worth resetting to avoid bad RNG is debatable, but at the very least this would give runners more options and add consistency to the run.

Therefore, I propose the following two amendments to the TCG any% rules:

- Timing is done by real time. You may save and quit as much as you want.
- The run may begin from a save file immediately after the tutorial. If this is the case, then an 8-minute penalty will be added to the final time (to be measured more precisely later).

Looking forward to see what people think.

HorouIchigo
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by HorouIchigo » Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:15 am

Agree 150%. Tutorial is boring, time wasting and not enjoyable, and you should never ever lose time on it if your doing speedruns cause you follow a script on very slow text speed. Most people actual refrain from doing runs because they have to do the 8 minute tutorial after every reset.
Secondly, the fact that you can take losses that come from 100% RNG in EVERY SINGLE GAME and you literally can't do anything about it makes RTA and S+Q much more appealing (even tho I'm a very strong supporter of doing IGT when possible). The Grand Masters, aka the E4 has to be done in sucession and not being able to reset deaths because you get benched out t1 or t2 without being able to do anything again refrains people from doing runs. I myself had 2 out of my very few attempts die to the 3rd E4 member.
Also, just for some leaderboard clarity, not taking any shots at the current times posted, and not wanting to attack any runner at all, but there's an actual run posted on speedrun.com with a soft reset. Changing the rules would make it so that run is still valid, which honestly should.

Also just saw werster's comment on the other TCG post that mounte linked, I agree with adding the All Cards category, but disagree with removal of the currently invalid run, since I believe that RTA is the way to go with this particular game.
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Veedrock
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Veedrock » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:25 am

I don't have a horse in this race so forgive me if I shouldn't be here.

Having both a starting save file and allowing S&Q is contradictory. I mean sure you can start from the file then save later, but then you're forced to do the tutorial again anyways, kind of defeating the point. I suppose they could coexist to a degree, depending on where players decide to use them; for example if they're only used during the Grand Masters, you may end up resetting a significant number of times before that so you're spared the tutorial until you get a worthwhile run. It really depends on the frequency of their use. This doesn't apply to autosaves by the way, but it seems silly to allow those but not proper saves.

It seems like you'd need to pick one or the other for consistency, and each option has their pros and cons. With save file you're still susceptible to frequent resets but don't have to endure the tutorial. One side effect of this is that a save file may make it easier to cheat since there's some deck editing at the very start, so it'll be more effort for mods to verify start decks weren't edited in adavnce (probably not too hard to do though). S&Q on the otherhand would result in less resets (ideally), so you'll encounter the tutorial less though it won't be gone completely.

I realize that by picking one that doesn't help SRL racers' ability to post to the leaderboard, but that's just a reality of the situation. The same thing applies to every other pokemon game.
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Keizaron
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Keizaron » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:57 am

Veedrock wrote:I realize that by picking one that doesn't help SRL racers' ability to post to the leaderboard, but that's just a reality of the situation. The same thing applies to every other pokemon game.
The difference between this game and others, though, is the others are actually run by a decent chunk of people and do not have the deterrence that this game has.

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werster
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by werster » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:58 am

Add a variable to the leaderboards to distinguish between running the whole game and starting from a save file, and quote the best time that does the whole game as the "World Record". Everyone wins.

IGT vs RTA I don't care about for this game, but please make a real decision and stick to it. This backflipping is getting old

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Dabomstew
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Dabomstew » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:25 am

Bump for a reminder that this is still unresolved. If you guys can work out a clear start/end for RTA timing and the amount that should be added to no tutorial runs to get a "final time", this can be pushed onto the leaderboards. As Werster indicated, runs that skip tutorial should/would not be eligible to be considered "World Record", but otherwise there doesn't seem to be an issue with allowing them on for a general comparison kinda thing.

On a related note, this game's leaderboard on speedrun.com ( http://www.speedrun.com/pkmntcg ) currently has no mods other than the series mods. It would help greatly if one of the people interested in running/racing the game from this topic actually applied, as these rule changes would most likely significantly increase the amount of runs eligible for the leaderboards and add some moderation work.

Mountebank
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Mountebank » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:09 am

I think Werster's suggestion of adding extra columns is a good solution and I have already made clear my position that RTA should be preferred. I was really hoping to get more input from runners though, especially those on the leaderboard already, since they have the most to lose, and I don't want the final decision to be made without their input.

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Dabomstew
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Dabomstew » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:21 am

That's fine, I was more concerned that this was going to die quietly like other similar causes and not actually achieve anything when the desire for change is clearly there. The discussion should continue until you guys actually come to a solid agreement (or at least until there's been a decent period with no clear disagreements) then this should actually be implemented.

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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by Blazephlozard » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:42 am

Hey, I was told to give my input here by Horouichigo, since I lucked out into having the single-segment w/ tutorial "WR" and all, so I'd be 'affected' by these changes.

I had a long post here but I didn't like it. Basically, yeah, skipping the tutorial is cool. It does give an advantage in that it only takes 2 minutes to fight the first couple duels and see pack contents, rather than 10 minutes, so yeah, mark if it was skipped, but those runs should totally be allowed. Real-time+resets is cool too, adds a lot more strategy to duels being able to back up a turn, and possibly even manipulate the RNG, to survive. But, there was a comment on that other topic which worried me...
Because considering the RNG in TCG you can win basically any match with good first turn rng, like getting the right starting hand and the opponent only having like one poke and not getting any other good cards can let you win basically any game in a few turns. So with save + quit I can see a lot of more boring, "restart until good rng" strats.
Now who knows how fast that actually could be, and no one would actually be dickish enough to even try a run like that, but, the possibility WOULD be there if you made it real-time. I'm for it being real time but I just hope no one ever tries to get turn 1 wins like that.

In the end what I think doesn't even really matter; as you said, it's got 87 people thats raced it on SRL yet only 4 valid runs with these rules? Then these rules are not the rules of the game's community. I'd say they're more like the rules of SDA. It kind of reminds me of Banjo-Tooie, which if you don't know, is nearly entirely ran from pre-made files. In that case it's for RNG manipulation rather than a lengthy intro (the Jinjo pattern is set upon file creation, so you can create a file, immediately exit it, and copy the file to check what pattern it has). The leaderboard speedrun.com has for Pokemon TCG is basically like if Tooie's leaderboard was only non-manip runs. We aren't SDA here. And god, that tutorial is bad.

And one last note, I'll put the All Cards route/knowledge text file I made, plus a download link to the program I made to keep track of the rares, in the 'guides' section on speedrun.com http://www.speedrun.com/pkmntcg/guides

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werster
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Re: Why the current TCG leaderboards make no sense

Post by werster » Sun May 17, 2015 12:27 am

Since nothing was happening with this I took it upon myself to make the changes

Runs are now timed by real time. A variable is added for SS runs vs S+Q runs.
A variable is also added for runs without using th tutorial, but it is noted they don't count for "WR"

http://www.speedrun.com/pkmntcg

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