01/07 — Feedback Adjustments
- Bumped up all U23 divisions in divisions proposal, to include Legends.
- Removed proposal to switch World Class nationals between 5AS and Full Squad, depending on popularity. All are now equally Full Squad.
- Increased proposed stacking limit penalties, with multiple penalty tiers, and added additional proposals.
We are fast approaching the next Ultimate Champions season and the final part of the sustainability update, Exciting times! (Goodbye packs!)
The huge milestone of a new season for Ultimate Champions also presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in 22/23, and make the next big step in evolving how you play the game as a UC Manager.
We heard a lot of your feedback in 22/23, some of which has been addressed over time (and a lot of which still needs to be), but think it is really time to address some of the most high level topics that aren’t clear yet.
- What are the most valuable cards to hold?
- How closely does UC reflect an athlete’s real world level of play?
- What is the balance of competitive integrity vs “fun” in UC?
Yes, some of these are related to recent events and the difference in performance of different leagues, but this only highlighted the existing issue of a gameplay framework that did not have clear intention to answer any of these questions.
Many options for change have been discussed not only within the team, but also with parts of the community. Maybe it’s ok as it is? Segregate leagues? Artificially boost/minimize leagues based on prestige? Would a scoring balance change solve everything? Many options, but none that are unanimously liked — and more importantly none that we think wouldn’t have equally adverse effects on what people love about UC as it is now!
Because of this what we would like to propose is no single game changing new system — but instead a reshuffling of the old format, aimed at retaining the heart of UC, while also clearly answering the questions above with a few key intentions in mind:
- Give every Manager a place to shine, no matter which playstyle they prefer or league they follow.
- Value the real world skill level of each athlete/league.
- Retain the heart of UC and cross-league fantasy sport.
However as a big decision, THIS IS NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONFIRMED CHANGES, and instead we would like to simply share a PROPOSAL of a set of changes — ready to receive feedback and make adjustments. Is it not enough? Is it too much? Head to discord to share your thoughts, where a new thread has been made just for this update: #Tournaments-2-feedback
Sustainable Tournaments Proposal 1
- Penalties when stacking too many athletes from the same team.
- More tournaments, less divisions — a place for everyone to shine.
- Creating fun — Capped Global tournament and regular “specials” return.
- Scaled rewards per tournament, based on the competitiveness/prestige.
- Scoring updates.
1 — Stacking Limits
Managers asked for stacking limits a long time ago — not only does it highlight imbalances between teams and leagues; but if managers are inclined to do it as a dominant strategy, it can even take the fun of fantasy away from the manager doing it. HOWEVER, we are also aware of some other feelings:
- Some managers only have the desire or time to follow their favourite few teams.
- Some managers are concerned about the complexity of calculating dynamic penalties.
As such we have tried to come up with a proposal that is simple: once you reach certain different thresholds of athletes from same team, each ADDITIONAL athlete over that cap will receive a flat and clear score deduction (the athletes added before the limit are not penalized).
Reminder: all exact values are a draft and up for debate, we are mostly interesting in feedback on the general approach.
This would mean that in a full team stack the 3rd and 4th athletes added would have a 20% penalty, and the 5th-14th would have a 40% penalty. And as it is it a flat value only on the additional athlete, you only need to mentally calculate one athletes penalty to make a choice.
Alternative Proposal (dynamic penalty on all athletes)
We understand this may still not feel like enough for some managers, or may feel complex as it has multiple tiers and penalties, and requires adding athletes in a certain order. Another alternative that is also in discussion is a stacking penalty on all athletes from the same team:
- Starting from the THIRD stacked athlete added, every athlete from that team is penalized by [5% * # Athletes Stacked]
This would mean that a stack of 3 athletes penalizes those athletes by 15%, 5 athletes by 25%, 14 athletes by 70%. This approach is less lenient on the stars first added to the team. The downside of this approach is that calculating precisely if a stack is worth it requires calculating the sum of scores lost by all athletes penalized.
A common feedback is that the simplest option may be to have strict limits, such as after the third athlete you are blocked from adding any more. However as some Managers have already invested a lot into single teams, or may simply prefer to only use their favourite few teams, and it would make smaller Gameweeks even harder to register in — we are least inclined to go in this direction.
Are the proposed directly not enough or too much? Do you significantly prefer one over the other? Share your thoughts.
2/3 — More Tournaments, Less Divisions
There are many beloved types of tournaments: from the flagship Global to the rare Underdog Forward Faceoff. Over time we have increased divisions, and especially with the introduction of the national tournaments managers (and rewards) have become spread quite thin (which has also caused us to reduce how often we do fun tournaments). We would like to rethink which divisions are really needed for each tournament, and in doing so also make room in the budget to add some new tournaments:
- Global split into 2 types: Ultimate Champions (uncapped) and Ultimate Rivals (~1600 point cap), with equal rewards.
- A returning permanent slot for a “Special” tournament each gameweek. Rotating between old favourites such as: O28, Underdogs, Packed Field, Forward Faceoff, and Showstoppers (sometimes with point caps, sometimes not).
Having a point cap is one way to change the way the game is played, in a way that can help put the focus back on strategical picks over stacking the same teams each week — we have already seen lots of love for Underdogs. But a drastic change to the overall way the game is played isn’t our intention, and we know that some managers prefer to play without the point cap — which is why we would prefer to offer both than just replace the old Global.
Here is an example of a potential setup of divisions following this plan:
📓Note: Stars would be similar to Veteran, and World Class would be somewhere between Veteran and Legends — with rewards just below legends, but allowing a wider range of top end cards. Beginner would now not require any epics (free to enter).
The focus on this set up would be to ease new managers into the game starting with free to enter nationals alongside leagues, before building up a UC or UR team — while Specials and U23 would now be reserved for more advanced collections who have enough varied cards to actually make some interesting choices. While it is less options for new managers, the free to enter nationals will now kickstart new managers into tournaments on their first day in the game, and we think overall a more clear direction of how to grow your collection could make the game less intimidating when first starting.
And yes, for those with big collections, more tournaments would potentially mean more total entries possible per Gameweek!
4 — Scaled rewards per tournament
While the Rivals (capped global) tournament may give more athletes a time to shine, the question still remains how we reflect the value of the athletes who play in the most competitive and prestigious leagues in the world. Just making them more often viable isn’t really enough to reward managers who paid a premium for these popular athletes.
One possible answer is quite simple, and is how it works in reality: national tournaments for leagues at a higher level of play should have bigger prize pools. Some example values can be found in the “Reward Scaling” in this table:
The scaling would be based on Global rewards (which would also have new values compared to now), and a 150% scale would mean that if the Champion position in Global Pro rewards earns 1000 $CHAMP, then the same position in the EFL Pro division would earn 1500 $CHAMP. And inversely 500 $CHAMP in the occasional O28 Special (50%). This directly increases the return potential when investing in a more prestigious well known athlete or league— without compromising the unique Global gameplay of UC, where an athlete from any league can carry you to the top spot in Global.
📓TO NOTE: 150% may sound huge, and there could be a concern that this would outshine Global gameplay, but remember that national tournaments do not have a Legends division. Meaning that a top end Pro national team can out earn a Pro global team, however Global Legends divisions will still be the place for top dogs to compete! Additionally, building a winning team entirely from a single league requires more intentional building and forethought than using any card in Global.
5 — Scoring Update
Another popular recent suggestion has been removing the club actions from athletes, to reduce the potency of stacks when there is a runaway game. While we can understand some arguments, we do still think that there are benefits to club actions worth keeping: athletes can help a team win in ways that aren’t perfectly captured by our scoring, and it wouldn’t be totally fair to have a goalkeeper score 0 because their defenders didn’t let the opponent take any shots!
Having said that, we do think that the balance between team and athlete performance is tilted a little far towards the team — which can result in an athlete with a not-so-great performance outscoring an athlete with a better performance because of results out of their control.
A new UC season is the perfect time to make some adjustments for the new season, so we are looking into doing a small scoring update:
- Reduce club actions impact, which would be offset by increasing some other actions. The goal is to maintain the current average score of 100.
- Account for more detailed actions where possible, to score some plays more precisely.
- Address some other feedback items from managers that we have collected over the current season.
More exact details of changes would be announced at a later date.
As a game that respects the actions of athletes at various levels in various leagues there is no silver bullet for ensuring that an athlete at a higher skill level always outscores athletes from a lower league (without breaking the existing balance of the game). But we hope that this combination of smaller improvements can work to maintain competitive integrity, no matter what style of play you prefer, and can reinforce cards of the most popular real world athletes being worth their premium price.
- Stacking penalties — to ensure that betting on a single team is not the predominant strategy, and encouraging the spirit of fantasy sport.
- Rivals — a capped Global mode, creating a balanced field for deeper strategic play.
- Scaled tournament rewards — adding value to the most popular cards, without disrupting the existing balance of gameplay.
- Scoring changes — tilting the balancing a little more towards individual performance over club actions, reducing the impact of stacking a team that is lined up for an easy win.
This update would be of course in addition to the changes already outlined in the sustainability update (auctions, mgc rewards, etc). So it is really going to be an exciting couple of months for UC!
As a reminder this is a proposal and no changes are confirmed yet, so there is lots of time to get your feedback in for changes. Head to the #Tournaments-2-Feedback thread in discord to be sure that your feedback is heard!