Pokemon VGC: Where do we go from here?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TheSaxlad, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. TheSaxlad

    TheSaxlad Well-Known Member Tournament Host

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    49
    Dear All Pokemon VGC Players, Chris Brown and TPCI

    I'm unhappy. You can probably tell from my frustrated tweeting over the past couple of weeks, that I'm extremely gobsmacked at the lack of respect that TPCI continually shows its players, the people who travel and pay entry fees for their tournaments. The people who keep this game going. The people who have made pokemon what it is over the past twenty years and continue to shape storylines in the game in ways we could never have imagined.

    Over the past couple of weeks, we have been totally thrown around by TPCI on various events that they havent bothered to report on or even acknowledge have happened. For me it began with the Porygon2 Pokeball requirement. Bank happened and they other balls (beast etc) became legal. But TPCI didn't change the ruleset on the day bank came out so they weren't legal. And we found out because two of our wonderful TO's got in contact and then told our playerbase. On another day bounce Gyarados became legal and once again TPCI didn't bother to let us know, and once again the same TO had to announce it over twitter to the playerbase.

    We need to be extremely thankful to our TO's that source this information, but it isn't their job. They are volunteers here for their children, or the love of the game, or the community or all 3! TPCI should be announcing this information in a timely factor to everyone, and if they've cocked up, or can't get something out in time then tell us. But they don't. Either there is no communication mechanism, or they can't be bothered to talk to us, or they dont want to talk to us.

    Earlier this week we found out Oceania Internats wasn't getting an official stream. This time, the onsite organisers, not TPCI gave out this information.

    [Ed's tweet when I get to a laptop]

    Hundreds of players in Oceania had signed up to the tournament at exactly the same price as London and rightly should expect the same benefits. They did not receive them.

    Further to this players turned up for the London IC expecting the usual tournament structure. Instead we had a carryover swiss into Day 2 of the Internationals, which should have been communicated to the playerbase beforehand. People then prepared for this in Melbourne, only to find out it had reverted back to not carrying records over to Day 2. Again no warning, and makes a mockery of the tournament structures, players at London who went x-2 day 1 then x-1/2 day two and misses cut have a right to be upset, because the same rules are not being applied across the world, in TPCI's biggest tournament set outside worlds.

    And now the player cap for Latam Internationals for VGC. Firstly, why is the VGC cap 128 and the TCG 600+ when VGC attendance has been holding steady at Internationals. How is it going to be done, first come first served. Are international players with stipends going to miss out on places and the experience of meeting and playing Latams finest? Are Latam players going to miss out on their own IC, making it inpossible for them to qualify for worlds (probably). And Pokemon just announce this and expect us to be ok with it? Thats not cool guys.

    What irks me the most, is a distinct lack of communication to the wider playerbase. Certain organisers and players with background links can gain information seemingly easily, but the rest of the playerbase is in the dark. So invite TPCI and Chris Brown to respond. Why is there no info coming out, why do you not communicate with the community any more, as you used to do? I remember starting in 2015 there was a much more open dialogue. Not perfect, but definitely felt better than what is happening right now. Even if you choose not to reply to this thread directly, get in touch with the guys here and sort an arrangement out, even a thread to tell us about ongoings, reasonings and things to watch out for would be enough, we just need some sort of dialogue.

    And Chris, I've been hard on you and I've posted memes and frankly been rude at points and I regret that. You've done a lot of hard work for TPCI over the past years, and the game has grown unrecognisably, and we as a community are indebted to the work you've put in. But you can't stay silent and expect it all to blow over, as we get more monetary and tournament support it feels like the games being run into the ground from a community perspective, which surely is the opposite of what you want. People will get more vocal, and if you'd rather spend more time on Smash then move aside and let someone new take over so we can re-energise the community, or reconnect with us and energise the community yourself, but it can't stay how it currently is.

    I've said my piece, if anyone has anything to add then please do, but in my view the ball is now in TPCI's court. Its up to you Chris, please come and explain and we will understand, but the more silence we get, the more frustrated we get.

    Its your move.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    Milhau5, Tadei, Star Raikou and 16 others like this.
  2. Gabriel

    Gabriel New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2017
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    2
    As an unknown Brazilian VGC player, I have to say that it's a shame how TPCI gives all the hard work to a single PLAYING CARD Company (Copag) here in Brazil to take care of both TCG and VGC big Tournments. He never had Regionals and Nationals of VGC here in Brazil even tough every year we have those tours, but just for TCG community. And while TCG community is hundreds of times bigger than ours, this is in a huge part thanks to the lack of VGC Tours and disclosure from both TPCI and Copag: our Video Game Pokemon community is pretty big but most of players play Smogon or just for fun. Copag acts like VGC doens't exist, which may be economically comprehensible considering the lack of players, but this time all the WORLD is being impaired. I honestly expect to see TPCI doing something about this otherwise I see no way of both Brazilian and Worlds' community growing up
     
  3. jugol

    jugol Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    12
    I figured out it was the case. Just was writing a comment about VGC being almost non-existant in Brazil, compared to the large communities in Peru and Chile and the well-accomplished players from Argentina. A couple of years ago here in Chile we were in a similar situation, the whole organized play in hands of a TCG distributor that didn't have any interest in VGC. The community had to negotiate with the guy in charge. It was quite the drama (In hindsight, the guy wanted to help beyond the company's interests, but he's stubborn AF, rather lazy and not exactly bright), however they authorized more TOs and now we have a well established circuit -and crazy attendances-.

    What really sucks is that TPCi decided that TCG and VGC Internationals had to be forcefully organized altogether, which is problematic due to the uneven realities. They should have split the events and given the VGC to Chile, Peru or Argentina. At this point I don't really know what TPCi wants to do with VGC. If they want to shut it down because it's not profitable, better be honest about it and the community looks for an alternative or someone who wants to take it. But this has to stop.

    EDIT: something I remembered about the LatAm IC but I don't want to spam with yet another comment. Notice how the player cap for Junior and Senior is 32, and the established minimum to give prizes in money is 33. That way they get rid of the burden of giving a good prize for JRs and SRs. Pure business genius!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  4. Necrocat219

    Necrocat219 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    32
    Sorry, for the incoherent ramble, but I'm just going to dump my thoughts I have on this season so far:

    I want to start off by saying that London Internationals and Sheffield Regionals were really well run for the most part. I did quite badly at London, but it was run really smoothly, and for me personally, super enjoyable. Problem is that I swear at every other event, something goes wrong:

    From an EU perspective:
    Liverpool Regionals: T32 cut with T16 CP only. the 7-0 in swiss misses top cut.
    London Internationals: The team sheet crisis. Admittedly this one is largely on Gamefreak, but really could have been handled far better.
    Dortmund Regionals: The players entered in the tournament were mis-counted, and so incorrect rounds were run. Also, players believed they were playing for T16 CP not T32 CP, therefore dropping out of tournament early when they were still in line for CP.
    Sheffield Regionals: This was really well run! Good job!
    Australia Internationals: No official stream, when there was a stream for VGC16 Nationals.
    Brazil Internationals: VGC Player cap of 128 Masters 32 Senior 32 Junior, when there is room to hold 1000 competitors. This is because the company being contracted is biased towards TCG players it seems. The 32 player cap for Juniors & Seniors means that if all players eligible for stipends claim, no local players can enter the tournament. (Bar the 8 LATAM players)

    Whilst I'm at it, @Gabriel has reminded me of something. Throughout the VGC16 circuit, there were constant efforts to stream events in Europe. Even though these streams were unofficial, the regionals being run by individuals really made them more flexible in how they were run. This season Liverpool and Dortmund both didn't have a stream - and I know players and TOs that offered to set up and run a stream. Props to allowing a stream to be run in Sheffield. However, streams weren't a problem until TournamentCentre was subcontracted out to carry out the Regional level tournaments in Europe. Luckily they have been learning fast, and Sheffield was close to perfect.

    The point I have to make about this is the quality of the tournament being ran isn't in the hands of TPCi - but that of the companies being contracted to. With the announcement of a VGC player cap of only 128 for masters, it looks a bit worrying to me that the company has the wrong priorities at heart, with more of a focus on making $$$ off TCG than being a contractor for TPCi.

    Onto Stipends. This has been very hazy to me, and announcements made way too late. For example, 5th-16th who attended London Internationals received $1000 stipends instead of the 5th-8th announced. We also have no idea if they will be consistently wrong for Australia stipends, or correct it to 5th-8th only. On top of that, dates for cut off for CP are announced with barely any notice. The Brazil stipend cut off date is 17th March 2017, exactly a week after the announcement. This is not good notice! If a player is aiming to stay in top 8 of their zone, they need to know these dates right at the start of the season to have clear goals to work towards, whilst also putting them in a comfortable situation to spend up to $600 on flights.

    I don't really know what else to write. These are just things problems I've tweeted about since this current circuit started, hoping that TPCi will clock on and fix. If I lay them out here, maybe it will be noted.

    Sorry for the incoherent ramble. This isn't meant to offend anyone. It feels like the rest of Europe has given up on TPCi though, and it's sad that half the opponents I play in tournament don't care if they win or lose a match anymore.
     
  5. jugol

    jugol Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    12
    The first mistake in London IC was scheduling it for December 8 and under the new format, giving players three weeks from the game launch (two if you're European because the game was launched later) to study the metagame, building the strategies and getting the Pokémon, EVs, IVs, etc. Can you imagine the mess that tournament would have been if weren't by ROM leaks, hacking devices and Showdown?

    I thought TPCi said they would take a larger role in the organization of bigger events like the ICs. If that's the case and they're giving away the organization to a contractor they're breaking their word.

    The lack of anticipation for visas is a problem too. I know about lots of people who got stipends but couldn't get the visa for Australia in time - including the girl who won the London IC in juniors. I was told she was devastated. She's 10 years old ffs
     
  6. ShepperoniPizza

    ShepperoniPizza Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ramblings from a scrub who doesn't attend many events but still wants to make an input:

    I've not ever been the most dedicated to a VGC circuit, but despite the format, as a UK/EU player the 2016 circuit was run way better. There were a lot more accessible high-tier events (I managed to go to 4 regionals and Nationals, and could have done more if I had the energy or drive for VGC16) and they felt like they were all run pretty well.

    I've had no incentive to play VGC since the International in London. I'm sure a lot of other lower level players like myself feel the same, as the circuit doesn't reward middle-high level players, only the elite (which I can understand on one side but this can lead to a closed community, which we don't want). VGC16 had a low worlds point cap and plenty of ways to rack up the points for it, so players had a lot of reason to play. In the VGC17 circuit, it's pretty much bust if you net no CP from an International and a Regional unless you can get to at least 2 Internationals (which not everyone can afford) and/or more than 3-4 regionals (which involves dedicating way more time to VGC than I can spare).

    I know people are more vocal about negativity in gaming communities, and Twitter shouldn't be a reliable source of information for the most part, but when about 75% of the VGC-related tweets are about how the circuit's been completely butchered, how does TPCI expect someone like me to go "Oh hey, VGC seems like an amazing idea, I'm going to compete"?

    I can only recall two times that TPCI has actually listened to the VGC playerbase regarding VGC since I started frequenting NuggetBridge in mid-2015, and that was in regards to CP for 2016 (the original output and CP bars were way too unrealistic, basically a more exaggerated VGC17 circuit), and the VGC16 Smeargle investigation (and they just say "Oh hey we're going to look into it" and never came back to us).

    The lack of communication from TPCI is hurting the competitive scene greatly - the overwhelming negativity coming out of the way they're handling it is upsetting, and I honestly don't know how they expect new players to come in and stay, if silent treatment and endless complaints is all they're going to see.
     
  7. Sigfried

    Sigfried New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chile
    TPCi is not interested in what happens with latam, it sounds bad but it is, it only focuses all its effort and resources in the US and part of Europe, many guys think that here in latam the situation is similar to US and its states, but not It's like this. Here the cost of moving between countries is much higher (+$$). In addition we will have only 2 or 3 Regional in all South America, for all this same the classification for the next world is very complex (or impossible without leaving the country).

    Worst of all is the null feedback system between TPCi and the players or communities (I get the impression that TPCi thinks it's doing great for latam ...), it seems like a joke that someone thinks this is a real e-Sport, being that we do not even have an official forum where we can communicate. I hope to get to play the IC in Brazil, but with a limit of 128 (much less if we subtract the players with T.A + stipends), a place probably reduced in size for VGC, with poor prizes in $ and without official stream, seems more an amateur event than something of global importance.

    #LetsGoLatam
     
  8. TeeJay

    TeeJay New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Kansas City
    The Organized Play team is a skeleton crew operating on a tight budget and trying to manage events around the globe with various partners who all have different interests.
    Every year, especially since Chris came on, there has been substantial growth. I still think about the lotteries and single elimination regionals.
    They're not accountable to us. Your entry fee is frankly not key to the financial success of TPCi. Be respectful if you want to be heard.
     
    Nazara and Temple like this.
  9. Temple

    Temple Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    11
    Cean agree enough with this comment. We've come along way from the lottery and single elimination events, which I'm glad I wasn't around for, to Swiss style events where all you need to worry about is signing up and showing. If we can be respectful to TPCi, then things can get better, but we need to work with their global partners that all have different goals in mind to show a more positive change in the future
     
  10. TheSaxlad

    TheSaxlad Well-Known Member Tournament Host

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    49
    As I mentioned in my original post, I totally understand the work that Chris and the team have done for competitive pokemon, and how the scene has changed since 2010 and 2011 for the better.

    There has been substantial growth, but we as a business TPCI should have had a plan on how to handle the substantial growth of the game, and communication with a growing playerbase needs to have been a part of that. All I am looking for is a much improved line of communication from the team to the players, which would have sorted out most of the issues from my first post.

    People will always disagree with TPCI's reasoning for their decision, but more people are likely to understand and be sympathetic if they communicated the reasoning to the players a lot better.

    All we currently see from Chris is a lot of Smash posts, Pokemon Go posts and a few retweets from 'high level' members of the community, there really isnt any new information coming out, and what seems to be a lack of communication, not just between TPCI and us, but also Game Freak and TPCI for when they are going to patch certain things. (Pokemon Bank for instance, they could have made the rule change really smooth between Bank being introduced and the ruleset being updated but it was completely clunky and was confused a lot of the playerbase)

    As I keep repeating, communication is key, and we really need to see more open communication from TPCI.
     
  11. Stratos

    Stratos Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    137
    that's a good mindset to have if you want your company to go under
     
  12. liquidmonk

    liquidmonk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    67
    My take on this situation is that Chris is doing his best but his hands are tied in terms of what he is allowed to communicate. Chris comes from being a major figure in the Smash community, so he is more familiar than almost everyone with how little Nintendo tends to support their games from a competitive standpoint.

    I completely agree here. I've dug around a bit to find out how TPCi's circuit is run and it seems like their crew in charge of the circuit is much smaller than similar circuits run by game developers from esports titles (Blizzard, Valve, and especially Riot)

    Chris's Twitter should not be a source of information of the circuit. It is his personal account as indicated by "Tweets Independent of Employer" in his profile. This is a very standard and professional practice.

    You're misquoting Teejay. He said entry fees while you're referring to entry. In terms of entry fees, he is 100% correct. The scale of the money TPCi needs to run the circuit is incomprehensible to most. For example, professional level esports production and set design is much much more expensive than I bet anyone in this community would guess. Entry fees and even prize pools are simply dwarfed by these numbers.
     
  13. Stratos

    Stratos Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    137
    You might be right, I don't know the operating budget of eSports stuff (although Melee survived for a long time on absolutely no funding except entry fees so you might also not be right, it probably mostly depends on how much goes into other production values). But entry fees are linked to the actual fact of entering a tournament. If you say TPCi doesn't need our entry fees to operate, then that is equivalent to saying they don't need us to enter tournaments to operate (unless you're arguing for the removal of entry fees which was obviously not teejay's angle). And if TPCi legitimately thinks they don't need people entering their tournaments to operate, they might not be long for this world.

    Of course, what's far more likely is that they think people will keep entering their tournaments no matter how many times they mess up because TPCi has a monopoly on IRL VGC tournaments. And unfortunately they are probably right.
     
    SingleThunder likes this.
  14. liquidmonk

    liquidmonk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    67
    The difference in the level of production between early smash and current Pokemon VGC in enormous. Early-on Smash production was done to ensure it cost as little as possible, as should be the case with grassroots events. There was also almost zero set design involved or outsourced. Compare this to Pokemon set design, which is clearly outsourced to a professional company. Compare this to ESL production, which is seen as the highest tier of production level in esports. ESL production includes huge crews that need to fly in, project management, tons of equipment fees, and a very hefty markup.

    I see what you're saying but I don't think it's a 1:1 equivalent. They don't need the fees, but my impression is that they'd like for a base number of people to attend. However, you're also right that people will keep entering their tournaments almost no matter what they do.
     
  15. jugol

    jugol Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    12
    Let's not miss the point TPCi looks over the whole franchise (games, anime, movies, trading cards, merchandising, etc) and Organized Play (aka Play!Pokémon or POP) is just a part of it, a very tiny part in economic terms. And VGC is an even tinier part. In fact, they could get rid of VGC completely if they wanted. At worst it would hurt a bit their PR, but that wouldn't stop people from buying merchandise.

    Right now POP has limited resources and is relying a lot in external distributors whose strong point is TCG. Many of them, like COPAG, see VGC just as TCG's parasitic twin. That's why I talked before about giving the VGC circuit to someone else -someone who actually sees a potential in VGC. The question is, who could want it?

    I agree. Chris has no obligation of addressing these issues in his personal account. In that case, they should set a separate Play!Pokémon account for this, or whatever communication channel. The closest thing to a communication chanel right now is the private TO forum and facebook group, and but as far as I know they're very tight on what TOs are allowed to speak about.
     
  16. Stratos

    Stratos Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    137
    My bad, I thought all TPCi did was POP, in that case they really don't have a reason to care about us do they. I mean we're a potential profit making venture but not one they are forced to pursue
     
  17. Archimom

    Archimom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    To sum up the issues - VGC has a lot of tiny little details to be coordinated, worldwide, in a way that attempts to be equitable. This is an almost impossible task. VGC is spread out very unevenly. TPCi has also decided to radically reorganize the competitive scene almost every single year, so they are constantly reinventing systems. A lot of times, it feels like they have bitten off more than they can chew, and so they are falling behind in making decisions, and then communicating these decisions. Due to the competitive season, they have a lot of deadlines that are not very forgiving when someone can't make a decision quickly enough. There also are a limited amount of people who know enough in order to figure out the consequences of all the different decisions. It would be nice if there was an official place where TPCi would make real-time announcements for all of these little details. The official website could have a page with short VGC/TCG updates in an organized fashion with all of the different updates, and you could sign up for updates, whether via email, text, etc.
     
  18. Milhau5

    Milhau5 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Wakefield, MA
    The silence almost comes off as arrogance to me, as in "it looks bad to admit we're wrong, we don't have to say anything". I've worked at two jobs before where that was the case from the guys on top, and all that happens is things start deteriorating from the top down.

    Of course, I could be wrong, but what are people supposed to think when no one from TPCi is saying anything or can be reached for comment?
     

Share This Page