Combat Master #4 - War Is Over


Combat Master #4 - War Is Over


Greetings, ACCers and spectators.

War’s over, kids. There’s a lot to go over, so let’s dive right in.

Now Hiring

Since my last report, Scudi (the judge formerly known as Kelly) has stepped down. In her 15 months on the job, Scudi judged 29 matches, including a good chunk of the Coach’s Corner event, and contributed to innumerable staff discussions. Those of you watching the average time to judgment creep up over the last few weeks before the War may have guessed that this has left us a bit short-staffed.

The only hard requirement is that you must be an ACC qualified member in good standing.

Obviously, the main duty for a judge is to judge matches. The way this process works is that the lead judge on a match will transfer it to a Google Doc and mark it up, noting the things they liked as well as any possible score detractors. That document is then reviewed by at least one other judge to get a second set of eyes on things before being finalized (the Rule of Two).

We’ve been training judges the same way since before I first came on staff in February 2016, and I think it works well. You’ll mark up your first two matches by yourself, and then we’ll compare your notes to the lead judge’s. After that, you’ll be able to take the lead on matches, albeit with slightly more scrutiny during Rule of Two-ing.

Each match is a decent amount of work, but there’s less of an emphasis on being around every single day compared to unit leadership or most magistrate positions. This makes it a good option for folks who want to contribute to the club or get some leadership experience for EQ3/4 without pressure to be ever-present on email and Telegram.

Rather than force people to come up with their own pitch, I’ve taken a page out of the Justicar’s book and created a standard application, available here. Note that the last three questions are optional, so you can do some, all, or none of them. Our standing deadline for judging a match is 10 days, so it makes sense to me that applications should be due within 10 days of this report, i.e. September 12.

Match of the Month

The 2019 championship tournament’s top four placements went, respectively, to Lucine Vasano, Atra Ventus, Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj, and TuQ’uan Varick. Our top two have received their dossier titles and possessions bling, and the Regent and I will issue a brand new possessions accessory to our top eight finishers after the GJW business ends.

I was delighted with the amount of interest we saw in this event and the calibre of the competition. It’s a safe bet that I’ll be mining the tournament matches for the Match of the Month feature for some time.

Speaking of that, it only makes sense to start at the top. Your Match of the Month for September is Adept Atra Ventus vs. Battlemaster Lucine Vasano. For the final two rounds of the tournament, I had Wally serve as my Rule of Two provider based on his longstanding experience with the ACC as an initial designer, judge, CM, and Voice, as well as his neutrality in this event as a non-competitor. You can read our final comments on the match here and our full GDoc comments here for more insight on what we loved about this match.

Future ACC Events

There was something of a theme in the questions I got for #AskArch last week:

Sang asks: when’s the next ACC event?

Rajhin asks: what's the next event youd like to run?

Scudi asks: What's your philosophy on units running their own ACC events?

I was not previously a huge fan of ACC events, but when I started crunching numbers on historical ACC activity as a part of my application for CM it became pretty obvious that they’re a good thing. Not only do they generate a lot of matches in absolute terms, but the completion rate for both club and clan event matches (and Funderdome) is much, much higher than we see for non-event matches. It also pushes people into writing with people they might not otherwise match with, which I like. That’s why I was so keen to jump into the tournament while I had that window of time available before the war. And it worked: the tournament was the largest bracket in almost five years, had a match completion rate of 81%, and brought us some phenomenal combat writing.

So to get to those questions above: I hope to do something between now and the end of the year, but we’ll see how that goes. One of the things I want to do is have a one-on-one with each of the consuls and try to work out how we can build up ACC activity in their clans, and at the moment it looks like we’re going to have two CONs and the Voice changing over in the near future.

As far as the next club-wide ACC event goes, I’d like to highlight the Scenario Hall, Cooperative Hall, and Funderdome formats a bit. The first two, especially, don’t see a lot of matches, but I think all three formats have a lot to offer in terms of keeping the ACC experience fresh and enjoyable for our competitors.

My philosophy on unit events is that they should happen at the clan level to ensure adequate participation. I would handle the logistics and the ACC staff would do all of the judgments. For everything else, including the event structure, I’m happy to advise the clan but it’s really up to them. Most of the clans have their own ACC venues, and if nothing else I’d like to see them get some use for a change. If you’re interested in seeing an ACC event for you clan, talk to your summit and we’ll go from there.

Rubric Change

One issue we ran into almost immediately after my last report is that there was no guidance in the rubric on what happens when you have only a single major detractor for Continuity. Multiple minors got you a 3, and a major plus one or more minors got you a 2. After consulting with my staff and the GM, we updated the language for Continuity 3 to match how Realism is scored:

The Judge spotted either a single major or multiple noticeable, but minor, omissions of elements that could have made a difference in the conflict.

This isn’t so much a change as a clarification in wording to eliminate any gray areas.

Operation Review All the Things

In addition to the day-to-day operational things like keeping the ACC staffed and running events, I want to do a bit of spring cleaning. I think Mav, Wally, Atra, and the myriad of other folks who helped build our CS system and the current incarnation of the ACC did a fantastic job; that said, in the past five years a lot of hands have touched this system and the rest of the club has changed dramatically. Inevitably, that means there are little inconsistencies and ambiguities—and worse, typos—scattered throughout the reference documents. And that’s what I’m talking about: tweaks and refinements, not any major overhaul.

However, one of the tricky things about being Combat Master is that there are a lot of moving parts that impact the ACC and I have personal control over very few of them. All I can do is provide recommendations to the system owners. For a good example of how this works in practice, check out Atra’s report from yesterday.

See that changelog? Before yesterday, there were items in the possessions system that were capable of blocking a lightsaber because the item description said so, and there were other items that were capable of it because a wiki article said so. Now, thanks to Atra, Evant, and Wally, all “saberproof” items are documented in the same way, which hopefully makes things a little bit easier for our ACCers.

In addition to the possessions system, I’m reviewing a whole mess of things. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out. That said, please keep in mind all the caveats I mentioned above. If you’re looking for a complete rewrite of how something works, you’re better off talking to the Dark Council office that actually owns that system.

The Numbers, Duke, the Numbers!

ACC Stats for 1st Quarter, 2019
Total Matches: 43
Completed Matches: 14
Completion Rate: 33%
Top Clans for Participation: Arcona , Taldryan, Odan-Urr
Qualifications: 5

ACC Stats for 2nd Quarter, 2019
Total Matches: 60
Completed Matches: 35
Completion Rate: 58%
Top Clans for Participation: Arcona , Plagueis, Odan-Urr
Qualifications: 1

As you can see, I came into office during a bit of a rough patch for the ACC. I’m pleased that we saw such an uptick in both the number of matches and the completion rate. While I suspect we’ll see a drop in total matches for Q3 due to the GJW, I hope we can at least maintain the higher completion rate.

Odds and Ends and #AskArch

Hector Ricmore asks: What’s the ACC policy when it comes to vehicles that require more than one person? The ACC is meant to be a test of writing skill between 2 people and NPC’s are generally looked down upon. But what if something in a loadout requires multiple people to operate? Are these things unusable in the ACC?

Since Evant/Wally/James changed the way loadouts work, vehicles are no longer on snapshots for ACC matches. Even before that, I don't recall seeing vehicular combat in matches. Not saying it never happened, but it was rare enough I don't remember seeing it.

On land, I don't see much of an appeal. Every now and again people make noises about wanting space ACC so they can write dogfights, which sounds cool in concept. But going back to at least 2015, the standing request from the Combat Master has been for people to head over to discourse and do a for funsies test "match" to demonstrate interest and help us evaluate how viable the idea is. So far, we haven't had any takers. I'm not going to shoot the idea down out of hand, but given that scenarios and cooperative matches haven't caught on in a big way makes me hesitant to throw a lot of work at another alternate format.

Brimstone asks: will the rules be updated more clearly to understand reversals of judge's rulings?

So I don't expect this to come up, because I changed the standard judgment procedure a bit. Judges don't really solo matches anymore. A judge takes point and writes up the comments, but before that goes public it gets reviewed by at least one other member of the staff, and if there's anything that they're not on the same page about, we talk it out in gdoc comments and staff chat.

In the unlikely event that we do overturn a judgment, I’ll do my best to be very clear and transparent on the reasoning behind it.

Jorm asks: imagine an ACC match, but the participants have to use the opponent's char. Yay or nay?

I mean, technically that's all of them. But I know what you mean. I've played around with writing my posts primarily from the opposing character's point of view and it's a fun change of pace. I don't foresee us forcing people into that, but I'd suggest people give it a shot to see how they like it.

Lastly, everybody please join in welcoming our newly qualified ACCers: Emere, Etah, Malisane, Appius, Aari, Ahsik, and Erinyes.

Until next month,

Combat Master

Congrats on all your hard work, Scudi!

Looking forward to see your reviewing operation. I imagine a bird in special attire now. lol

Welcome new ACCers!

Ty Scudi for the work you've done.

Ty Arch for clarifying my question.

Well done, Scudi and good luck to new applicants.

And rule clarifications are always good! ;)

Awesome, good luck to those who apply.

Great statics, great information. Excellent report, Arch. Can't stress how rewarding working as an ACC Judge can be if you are willing to put the betterment of the club over yourself.

Very excited to see the Saber resistant aspects in play. Thanks Arch!

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