For us, it is marginally relevant to Best Overall (i.e. less than 5% of your score), but even that will likely change and diminish going forward. It also impacts seeding within same win-loss record for the Rounds 5-8 rebracket, but does not otherwise impact your score.
Why doesn't the NOVA use Margin of Victory as a meaningful mechanic, though? This discussion came up in comments on YTTH, when someone wrote the following ...
Hey MVB and Neil,Over here in this part of the country, we use the margin of victory to determine who won the best. That way it is just like in the Ardboyz. So a person can get from a total loss (massacred) to a total victory (massacre).Why do you think the margin of victory is so bad? I find it really great for a small store that has small tournaments. Do you think it bad for tournaments with less then 20 people? Or do you just think it is bad, period, for everyone everywhere?I would love to hear more of your input about this. The margin of victory has worked pretty well so far, but if there is a better way of running a tournament then doing that, then it could very well be worth considering for the group I play with.Thanks dudes!
I gave a brief reply there, but decided to go into greater rambly depth here.
First, let's acknowledge what the 40k tournament scene is and is not.
- There is no barrier to tournament entry
- There's no meaningful national ranking system (Rankings HQ is meritless, b/c it does not rank people along standard tournament formats or sizes, and weights # of events participated in over % of possible score regardless of # of events, and a million other issues that could be a separate blog post)
- There's no standardized tournament format
- There's no known way to skill bracket, and there are no 40k professionals
- Due to the lack of professionalization and ranking, all first round pairings are random (or in some rare cases determined by subjective evaluations of army composition)
So theoreticals to highlight why this presents a severe problem for Margin of Victory:
Major tournament, Round 1
Table 1 - Player A (highly skilled) barely beats randomly paired opponent Player B (also highly skilled)
Table 2 - Player C (highly skilled) annihilates randomly paired opponent Player D (his first tournament 40k game ever)
In a simple bracketed tournament approach,Players A and C advance, and continue to play at wherever they would as part of a bracket, against other winners. If they continue to win, they will eventually face each other and determine who is best for that Tournament.
Pause and interjection - Tournaments NEVER DETERMINE THE BEST PLAYER They ONLY determine the best player for that tournament. A million variables from random pairings and match-ups to the issues in someone's personal life or amount of sleep all factor into how each person will play, especially in a game with dice as a determinant factor. LEAGUES and SEASONS are used to determine the best, and even those ONLY determine the best for that league/season. The goal, therefore, should then be to fairly determine precisely that ... who is the best for the tournament.
Let's go back to Player A and Player C, and put them in a Margin of Victory event.
Player A is considered inferior to Player C at this point in time. Player C's score is higher, because he scored a Massive Victory against a beginner. Player A scored a Marginal Victory against an equivalent opponent and therefore scored much lower in a Margin of Victory format.
Question Series:How many professional sports use Margin of Victory to determine the winner of their tournaments? Is the Super Bowl determined by Battle Points scored in Rounds 1-3 of the NFL playoffs?Is the NCAA basketball tournament halted after Round 3 and the Championship awarded to the team with the most points over 3 rounds?How many people are happy with the way NCAA Football determines its title game? At least instead of arbitrarily awarding the Championship to the highest BCS-rated team, they have a play-off between the top two that's oriented around simple Win-Loss. Imagine if only a bare victory in triple overtime there was ruled as "too close to call margin-wise" after the fact.
The downsides to Margin of Victory are amplified by fewer rounds, and by more participants.
Fewer rounds means more undefeated players at the end from which Margin of Victory events assign a de facto-arbitrary Best General. More participants means a higher likelihood of some skilled players (unintentionally) dodging tough opposition while other skilled players (unfortunately) randomly face only peers.
The biggest issue people bring up is, "What about a small event in a smaller store? You don't have time to pare things down to a single undefeated for Best General. What if you have 16 players and only the time/resources for 3 rounds?"
At the end of Round 3, split your Best General prize two ways between the two undefeated players, and award a Best Overall that's 50% win rate and 50% appearance score (the NOVA calls this award Renaissance Man, and it is our highest value prize).
Now you aren't telling one of the undefeated players their wins weren't good enough (even if they were against extremely tough opponents), and you are still awarding a BEST Overall (so, don't fret, there's still a single Winner if not having one bothers you). This is elegance at its best - not only do you reward a pristine performance equally across players who accomplish it, you reward Best for the person who is the best present at the entire Hobby, not just the best Gamer. If multiple players are still undefeated when your event ends, let's also face the facts - you have NOT yet determined the best Gamer at the event anyway.
Tournaments should strive for fairness above all else. The best way to enhance sportsmanship and the feelings people experience in the aftermath of the event is to provide the fairest environment possible for them to compete and participate in the fashion they personally desire to.
When you consider random pairing, variable player skill, and the many other complications already mentioned, it is inherently unfair to assign value to the amount someone wins or loses a game by.
The responsibility of a TO in my humble opinion is to do all we can to eliminate or further marginalize unfairness.
There are some things about the game of Warhammer 40,000 you cannot and should not change, because doing so would inherently change the game itself. You cannot take dice out of it, the random rolls for first turn, the variability in army and match-up that occurs, the inherently random nature of first round pairings and the like. Adding unfairness via player-constructed (not GW-designed) tournament systems only causes more players to be upset by the results of an event, and it further discourages good sportsmanship as a result.
As a final note, it is always a risk for a TO to be perceived as competing with or criticizing events run differently from their own. While those I directly interact with across the tournament circuit know better, I feel always a need to reiterate: the NOVA is extremely supportive of variety and depth in the circuit. While I'm flattered by and love seeing other events run as "NOVA style," I also attend and enjoy participating in tournaments run in many other ways, including Margin of Victory. These posts are meant to share with readers why we do as we do; there are certainly many reasons a TO would use Margin of Victory, and as with any opinion in such a field - both sides are quite often right. By rejecting Margin of Victory as appropriate for the environment we seek to create at NOVA, we are not simultaneously rejecting the value of Margin of Victory in other events, formats, and games.