Thoughts on VPs as Tie-Breakers?

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Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:21 pm

  • Victory Points (VPs) are a useful tie-breaker in tourney formats that need them. However, when VPs are used as a tie-breaker for a series of matches rather than to decide an individual match, what's the best means to use them?

    VPs generally come from killing wizards, creatures, et cetera in a match. Players who end a match with the most VPs have, by and large, killed more things than others. Thus, players who go for the win early and get it will, at the end of the day, have fewer VPs than someone who plays more conservativelyy and grinds out a long match to an actual or near tie.

    So, if we use whoever has the most VPs as a the tie-breaker, then we give an advantage to players who took the longest to defeat their opponents and/or ended their matches in draws. Perhaps this might incentivize some players to play their matches conservatively to give them more opportunities to earn VPs. In contrast, if we use whoever has the least VPs to get to a tied record, then perhaps this might incentivize some players to take more risks and play more aggressively. Another way to look at it this is (a) using highest VP total as the winning tie-breaker standard almost is a proxy for using whoever took more turns to win their matches while (b) using lowest VP total could be a proxy for using the lowest turn total.

    I don't believe either use of VPs is wrong or invalid. Heck, either use is more fair than a penalty shoot-out that can end some high-stakes soccer tournaments. Though I must confess, based on my play-style preferences, I have a bias toward using whoever has the fewest VPs as the tie-breaker.

    Though if we're looking for another tie-breaker stat, then total turns to achieve wins could be that stat with similar low/high options as we have with VPs....
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Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:21 pm

  • was thinking about this yesterday, actually, cause the VP's can alter gameplay and be exploited etc...

    Would maybe consider simply having a quick knockout round for any players that are tied in a group.
    3 players tie? throw them all in a ring, let 'em fight it out.

    I don't know...maybe?
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Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:37 pm

  • I don't think VP's have ever worked as a concept (how they were intended to work). It has been interesting trying to find an alternative use for VP's in various competitions (using it like 'goal difference' was an promising experiment), however it remains a highly problematic system which affects individual games (and the competition overall) in too many negative ways.

    VP's are always completely unreflective of what happens in matches, the many factors which make VP scoring deeply flawed have been discussed countless times. I could give a bunch of examples and actual scenarios on why VP's don't work on any level but it would turn into an essay. The conclusion would basically be I don't think it's possible to ever find a fair use for VP's.

    I guess the solution to this is to play more games so it is less likely for final standing positions to be shared, but when places are shared there are many criteria that can be judged well before 'goal difference' (we've established that VP's don't actually work like goal difference)..

    ..Overall record could be judged first, most amount of wins/least amount of losses. If players sharing a place have an identical record then their head-to-head result(s) against each other is counted.

    If the players (who share a placement) head-to-head result was a tie, the only other binary scoring system I can think of which could be used as way of deciding the tied placement would be to count the number of hits on wizards during their game (it's very easy to remember how many times you hit each other in a match, e.g, no one forgets a bolt fail to the face)..

    ..At the end of a draw sometimes neither wizard managed to land a punch on each other, this is a true 0 - 0 survival draw (would require a rematch).

    ..However some survival draws end with one wizard getting a couple of hits on the opposing wizard (one player survives the KO to earn the draw, the other simply fails to win), in this case you could say it was a 2 - 0 draw in favour of the wizard who landed two punches (under these circumstances the 2-0 score would only be taken into account if all other judging criteria at the end of the season was tied).
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Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:02 pm

  • Just to channel this a bit here - There's actually two different considerations to make with VPs.

    You've got competitions taking place on challonge, and then competitions that are being manually recorded by tournament organiser.

    For a manual competition you could basically use any means you like in order to 'tie break' participants who are level on score.

    With challonge, you're limited to just these options.

    challonge tie breaker.png


    Of those options available the Median-Buchholz system isn't really valid for the types of competitions that we run, neither is Game/Set Wins or Game/Set Wins %

    To which we're left with a choice between Match Wins, Wins vs Tied Participants, or (Victory) Points Scored and (Victory) Points Difference.
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Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:08 pm

  • SpiteAndMalice wrote:To which we're left with a choice between Match Wins, Wins vs Tied Participants, or (Victory) Points Scored and (Victory) Points Difference.

    Good points. If VPs Scored is used as a tie-breaker, do you have opinions as to whether the favorable outcome should be arbitered by fewest VPs scored for the wins achieved (i.e., victories in short matches) or to most VPs scored (i.e., victories in long matches)? Also, what about using the total number of turns for each match as a tie-breaker, for example giving the advantage to the persons with the lowest turn total?
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:00 am

  • To which for Challonge the question is then not so much, is using VPs a perfect deciding system, so much as, is it the best option available.

    I do feel that VPs are flawed in their nature as a whole, they certainly not a good means of deciding who wins a match. But as a decider for places I don't personally think they're too bad. I can see where you're coming from in saying that a player who plays conservatively will potentially rack up more VPs (They might also concede more), but I don't think a player would often be in a position of turning down a potential win in order to score more VPs. VPs are just a tie breaker/goal difference, whereas a win is 3 match points, and that should always trump trying to gain more VPs by allowing your opponent to live. I know that I wouldn't take the risk, if I see an opportunity to end the match, I'm taking it. The downside to VPs is that they do have the potential to be arbitrary. The strengths that VPs have as a tie breaking factore are that they're clear for player to understand, both in match and when looking at a table (you can see at a glance why people are positioned where) and that they very rarely leave a situation where a 2nd tie breaking factor is required.

    Match wins, if we use STS as an example, would only come into play for two players who are tied on 6 points. There's only 4 games total, so the only way that you could get a tie on points with players that have a record of 2W-0D-2L and 1W-3D-0L. If players have an identical record, then you're not going to be able to resolve anything with Match Wins either way. If one player has 2 wins and 2 loses, whereas the other player has 1 win and 3 draws, then the player with 2 wins would go through. Is that right or wrong, I think it depends on your perspective of how you see a draw. The player with 2 wins killed more wizards, however the player with 3 draws didn't get defeated even once, moreover the player gaining draws is already penalised because a draw is only worth 1 point, whereas a win is worth 3 points, so is it fair to then penalise them a second time because they achieved less wins?

    Wins vs Tied participants - This I think is a really nice system of breaking ties. It's fair on everyone, no matter what your perspective, and it potentially adds tension to a tournament. However it can also reduce it:
    Player A is on 6 points and has played all games, Player B is on 3 points and has one game remaining. However if Player B already lost to Player A then that group position has already come into affect. No matter how well Player B wins their last match, they will always finish below Player A. With VPs player B would have a chance to win by enough VPs to overtake. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing I don't know, but I do think it's the one point where as a player I would actively be trying to score as many VPs as possible. You can also get quite a few situation with wins vs tied opponents, where the tie breaker isn't tie broken, and then you have to go to a second deciding factor. Take a look at the last season we ran for Goo-Power, of the 3 tied places across the 2 division 'Wins vs Tied' participants' only helped with one of them, and then not entirely.

    http://challonge.com/goopower9_gdragon/standings
    http://challonge.com/goopower9_rdragon/standings
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:02 am

  • NoWorries wrote:
    SpiteAndMalice wrote:To which we're left with a choice between Match Wins, Wins vs Tied Participants, or (Victory) Points Scored and (Victory) Points Difference.

    Good points. If VPs Scored is used as a tie-breaker, do you have opinions as to whether the favorable outcome should be arbitered by fewest VPs scored for the wins achieved (i.e., victories in short matches) or to most VPs scored (i.e., victories in long matches)? Also, what about using the total number of turns for each match as a tie-breaker, for example giving the advantage to the persons with the lowest turn total?


    Short answer - No, not for challonge. And I can't manually alter the places either, once challonge sends someone into the next round (based on its sorting methods) I can't then alter who is into that next round.

    EDIT - Worse case, if you can't tie break people via one means or another, challonge then sorts them alphabetically and sends wizard Aardvark through.
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:13 am

  • Aka wrote:was thinking about this yesterday, actually, cause the VP's can alter gameplay and be exploited etc...

    Would maybe consider simply having a quick knockout round for any players that are tied in a group.
    3 players tie? throw them all in a ring, let 'em fight it out.

    I don't know...maybe?



    If it's a straight cup competition this is my favoured solution, just play a rematch and switch the starting positions over. (This is what we're doing for the knockout stages of STS) I also like it for leagues if you're trying to resolve promotion/relegation between divisions.

    With a 2 stage competition on challonge, you also simply can't do it (There is a feature request submitted, so hopefully one day).

    I guess with challonge, you could manually setup separate competition pages, one for the groups, and one for the 2nd stage knockout. But you've also got a time factor, I don''t think it can be helped, but my biggest bug bear with PvP competitions is trying to get the last results in each time and being able to declare a winner/promotion/progression to the next stage etc... between seasons for a league, I think this is a good way to do things as everyone is waiting for the next season/signing back up etc... waiting an additional upto 20/40 days has the danger to take all momentum out of a competition that is 'in progress'.
    Last edited by SpiteAndMalice on Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:17 am

  • Mazy wrote:I don't think VP's have ever worked as a concept (how they were intended to work). It has been interesting trying to find an alternative use for VP's in various competitions (using it like 'goal difference' was an promising experiment), however it remains a highly problematic system which affects individual games (and the competition overall) in too many negative ways.

    VP's are always completely unreflective of what happens in matches, the many factors which make VP scoring deeply flawed have been discussed countless times. I could give a bunch of examples and actual scenarios on why VP's don't work on any level but it would turn into an essay. The conclusion would basically be I don't think it's possible to ever find a fair use for VP's.

    I guess the solution to this is to play more games so it is less likely for final standing positions to be shared, but when places are shared there are many criteria that can be judged well before 'goal difference' (we've established that VP's don't actually work like goal difference)..


    We were talking about this a bit the other night - Goal difference itself is a bit of an arbitrary measure as you can have a very close game that ends up being 3-0, or you can have a very one sided game that ends up being 1-0 (or even a loss for the dominant team). I think where goal difference become relevant is when you increase the number of matches, over a 46 game season (you can tell that my club is not in the premier league) you will on average find that goal difference is an indicator of which teams have been the more dominant if you need to use that factor as a tie breaker. Can the same be said of VPs? Over a 46 game league, would they become more relevant as bumps and spikes get ironed out?

    One thing for certain; playing more games is always a good factor in deciding places :-)
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:36 am

  • Mazy wrote:If the players (who share a placement) head-to-head result was a tie, the only other binary scoring system I can think of which could be used as way of deciding the tied placement would be to count the number of hits on wizards during their game (it's very easy to remember how many times you hit each other in a match, e.g, no one forgets a bolt fail to the face)..

    ..At the end of a draw sometimes neither wizard managed to land a punch on each other, this is a true 0 - 0 survival draw (would require a rematch).

    ..However some survival draws end with one wizard getting a couple of hits on the opposing wizard (one player survives the KO to earn the draw, the other simply fails to win), in this case you could say it was a 2 - 0 draw in favour of the wizard who landed two punches (under these circumstances the 2-0 score would only be taken into account if all other judging criteria at the end of the season was tied).


    If it was in game maybe this would a nice alternative deciding factor - To explore the idea; how would you account for hits from Blob? And for wizards being attacked whilst mounted/in wall/magic trees, and for retaliation attacks (Paladin). How do you account for a battle wizard who stacks up on divine shields with a strategy to soak up attacks?

    Comparing to football - It's not the number of shots that decides the winner of a match... the keeper (or in this case rng) can have a blinder.
    Last edited by SpiteAndMalice on Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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