Progression impossibility in tournaments

It is fundamentally impossible to achieve the higher rewards in tournaments, even the week-long tournaments. Couple this with the way that tournaments go to the people who frantically play the last hour, and that the final placement is essentially random based on the luck of the draw on retaliations and match-ups, and it discourages even bothering to play earlier on.

Trust me, I've tried. For the length of the current Black Widow (Grey Suit) tournament, I've held the #1 position pretty consistently in my bracket. When I leave my device(s) for a couple of hours, I can get fairly severely beaten down, even after walking away with a 200-point lead (say, 900+ to the #2 player being 600-something). Then I come back and reclaim. I play a LOT, both during the week and during weekends. (I've held the #1 position in a bunch of previous tournaments as well.)

I suspect that there's an algorithm involved in matching that tends to favor you for match-ups when you are near crossing a point boundary to a reward (whether this is coincidence and simply an artifact of those point boundaries also being used for matching, or a deliberate design choice, I don't know), typically at the 500+ point level. I often find that just as I'm on the cusp of a reward, there's a sudden flurry of attacks, so that there's a huge number of matches of gain-loss until I finally hit the reward threshold. Then usually things settle down for a bit.

The way that I usually deal with the progression rewards is to try to do my big push to cross a reward boundary (which typically involves having to deal with having lost 200-300 points since the last time I played a few hours ago, plus then pushing forward the next threshold) at a time when many fewer players seem to be online. This greatly reduces the chances of retaliations impacting the big push.

But once you're #1, you quickly reach a point where pushing the score upwards is almost impossible. You're rarely offered anything better than a 10-point match, and you generally don't want to take it because you'll lose more in a retaliation than you'll gain. You have to wait until other people have had time to catch up before you can push forward again. So even if you want to keep playing for the progression rewards, there's just no point.

And then you receive exactly zilch for maintaining top standing over a long period of time. The tournament is essentially decided in the last 5 to 10 minutes, largely by luck of the draw of the match-ups you get and the retaliations you suck up. It's insane that I can spend days as #1 and then end up with a top-25 placement thanks to the last few minutes.

The stuff that IceX previously posted about "make yourself an unattractive target for retaliation" only goes so far. Within a bracket there doesn't seem to be anyone that you can't beat, especially if you use boosts, and especially if you get three tries. At some point in time, the amount you're worth is attractive enough for people to spend the boosts defeating you. If you're #1, that's certainly true.

I'm enjoying playing, but I loathe the fact that the system seems designed to basically cheat players out of rewards, and to promise a lot of things for playing more but making the top progression awards effectively impossible to achieve.


  • Someone else suggested a king-of-the-hill type tourney, where points would be awarded for the amount of time that you hold a rank. That would reward playing early and often.