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Presented below without comment (for now) or edit.
Sorry to disappoint, but this not a press release to announce my Jordan-esque return to FML. The M37 you knew and loved (or, let's be honest, hated) is indeed gone for good.
A shot of Vick right now: https://giphy.com/gifs/southparkgifs-l0MYDfNEMfah0SheE
However, I do occasionally lurk on the Chatter, and was disheartened with some of the threads and comments this week . I wanted to keep my word about "Lucius Fox"-ing my account, so I asked that this message be posted in my name.
I know many of you are are sad to BOR leave, but frankly, it was probably inevitable.
It is not his fault, nor the fault of those who spoke out against his posting, though that likely hasted his departure. How can I be so sure? Because we've seen this before with some brushback on FML Nerd when he had his column, and I have been there myself…
You may recall (in a thread I'm not going to spend the time to look up) my announcement a few seasons ago about "going dark". There were a few things not said in that proclamation that I had come to realize, and had hoped to "course correct" as a side effect of that decision, and ultimately led to my leaving for good.
1) The game is becoming too "easy" for the top players. I say that knowing full well that no one saw Lowriders or Bye Bye Man coming, or has come close to a perfect FML season. But the line between a Top 20, T100, T500 player has been shrinking over time. When the 25 week rolling PC% stat was introduced, 41 players sat at 92% or better. Now, that mark gets you to only 127th place. (Would be curious to see someone graph out the PC% at say 1st/100/500/1000 by week to confirm this trend).
2) As a result of that bottlenecking at the top of the charts, even as players get better, their chances of winning a season or even finishing top 100 are decreasing. So what happens? One of two things: players either become more open and share information in the chatter, gaining the notoriety of being the first to "sniff something out", since they will undoubtedly not be the only one to do so by weeks end. Or they go underground, share very little info publicly (or within a group) in the hopes of regaining that edge. BOTH options are bad for the game, as the former leads to lineup homogeneity, and the latter makes the game even harder for new player to pick up and be competitive.
3) Sadly, the FML game itself, has become stale. It was only a matter of time before someone "broke" it, and BOR - again, through no fault of his own - appears to have been that person with this damn good weekly predictions. As my former SkyNet teammates can attest, I have methods and info which I was hesitant to share publicly, for fear of causing the this same type of follow the leader result. The weekly "Not that you listen to SkyNet" threads were intentionally written in such a way that players could pick up some tips and tricks, while still maintaining the competitive balance by posting it after lock time and not overtly giving away the candy store. And for those of you in The Resistance … You're Welcome! The formation of that group was almost exactly what I hoped would happen when I went "dark", the Yang to SkyNet's Yin.
So what's next? The NCM/FML merger is coming soon, and certainly with it a whole host of new players who have no clue how to play, or play well I should say. Should they just follow the masses and play the MPC, do they find some group to join, or do they just see a ranking in the 1000s, give up and leave? The game itself has to evolve.
Here are three suggestions which should be easy to implement, and help to change the dynamic that is perilously close to becoming ruled by the "sharks" with the fish being less and less plentiful You may recognize the first two, as I've mentioned them before:
1) Sliding Scale bonuses for lock time. If by Friday, everyone has the same lineup, and you can figure out what that will be just by browsing the chatter on Thursday, there is no incentive to research or even check into the site on Mon-Wed. FML already uses the lock time as a tiebreaker for rankings, so that variable must be included in the coding somewhere, and amending that to give bonus for the earlier the lock would be an added wrinkle that makes just getting the right answer by Friday not be enough. It has the added benefit of making a Friday morning change more of a risk, as you would be forfeiting said bonus if Thursday numbers surprise.
2) Change the lock time. I know there are people strongly on both sides of the fence here, but the current lock time wholeheartedly disadvantages players who are genuinely not available on Friday between 10am and noon Eastern. (You could make the same argument about injured NFL players and Sunday 1pm kickoffs, but how many more people are working on Friday rather than Sunday?). The time, in my opinion, should be LATER, 2 or even 3pm Eastern, to give a larger portion of the player base the opportunity to use the valuable Thursday night preview data.
3) My final suggestion is a new one: Either make an "elite" league (or several) by invitation only for veteran players, perhaps those that have finished in the top 100 or 500 at some point, or simply divide the entire player base up into leagues of say 100 players (like a fantasy football league). By reducing the size of pool from which a champion is selected, and having players compete with their peers of equal skill, the natural effect will be to enhance the competition and reward structure that keeps new players invested in the game. If the 100 person league idea was implemented, you could even have a playoff type structure where the top however many finishers could compete for additional recognition. I mean, how many times have players griped that their imaginary trophies were taken away? Positive reinforcement can go a long in keeping people engaged, and other than the oligarchs in the form of the various side groups, the average player does not have really have any incentive to continue playing, other than the chatter community as a whole.
This note turned out much longer than I had intended, but as you can see I had a lot to say. The FML community should be sad that BOR left (especially mid season given his raking), but not angry at him or the posters who were critical of him for being "too good" for the game.
The FML Gods - at least their Matatron in the form of FMLQA - seem to be receptive the words of the player base, and I hope they take these suggestions, or any others that players may have, under advisement. Certainly, customizable leagues will help with a lot of these issues, but until that happens the main FML must evolve in some manner to stay fresh for veteran players, and at the same time engaging for the new ones.
So you on the flipside...
PS: Angry Geek - you would lose that $600K... - Edited
I don't know how to feel about this
Send him my regards. Hope all is good. That he is missed and and he makes very valid points.
I will also add that the "Not that you listen to SkyNet" did for me exactly what it set out to do (amongst other things) and that I learned to not rely just on what I would read, but to figure out things for myself. I've become good at some things, still terrible at others (Fandango Check anyone? Lol) but I'm in the "I want to know more" train of thought - ever a student, always learning.
So just a thanks. To him, to everyone really. THANK YOU!!!
I really like the third idea, you could even have something like what League of ledges or other MOBA's have and have a tier ranking. Your first season is your qualifier, how well you do determines which tier you are placed in. Then each season you compete with others in that tier for prizes that get better with higher tiers. Again this would only be for the main competition private leagues can have anyone join.
Also the sliding scale is a great idea and would soften the Thursday numbers players. I am on the fence with lock time change. Part of me says yes for the reasons given, another part says in fantasy football players lock once their game starts, if preview numbers are going to count maybe movies with Thursday previews lock at 8pm ( or the avg start time for previews) Thursday, then all the rest of the movies lock Friday. - Edited
Ugh. Lurkers. ;) That's ok, I sometimes lurk for you over at BOT, too.
As to all said - yup to most of it. Hopefully the Mem influence will sway some more.
PS - throw your old crew a bone, man. They need it. 😜😜😜 (couldn't help it)
Is this the complaining that everyone had been talking about for the last week few weeks that was chasing people away? I can understand why.
Thanks so much Mem for creating the Resistance! You're the best! Miss you, hope you come back soon! XOXO