Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rankings HQ Is Shutting Down

by SandWyrm


Just got the news via email that Rankings HQ is calling it quits due to funding issues.

It is with some regret that I am announcing the Rankings HQ miniature gaming rankings web site is shutting down.

As you know I made a public announcement recently that unless adequate funds could be raised I would be winding it up and despite some willing supporters out there at the end of the day not enough users were willing to part with $10 to keep the site going.

Thanks to those that supported!

Thanks!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you that decided to support RHQ with a donation. I appreciate it.

As promised in my previous email all money will be refunded since I am shutting the site down.

I wish everyone the best in their gaming pursuits as I look forward to taking a break from running rankings, tournaments and masters events after 15 years! It has been a rewarding experience as well as a hard slog. :)

Regards,

Andrew Galea

It's sad to see RHQ go. It was the first real attempt to produce a good player ranking site. Not just for 40K, but for Flames of War and other games.

Unfortunately, the 40K rankings were never all that reliable. Given that there was no official tournament format that everyone followed. So win/loss results got intermingled with battle-point events, and there were no terrain standards to make events directly comparable. But for other games like Flames, that did have at least a common tourney format, I felt that the rankings were much more valid.

20 comments:

  1. aww. ya beat me to this news.

    Steve McLaughlin (formerly of WWPD, now with Battlefront) hinted in the WWPD forums something MIGHT be coming, or at least to hold on.

    My guess is either BF will implement it's own ranking system, with Steve's Help, or will help prop up RankingsHQ. I'm leaning more towards BF doing it's own rankings.
    ToF is trying to take the 40K rankings over, and sell people the results and data mined from the lists people took and placed with. I don't have a high opinion of Tools 'o Fools, and the new INAT they are becoming. Then again, I prefer to not make money off of people in an already costly hobby/entertaining passtime.
    I'm also still not too sure how accurate ToF can be with the miasma of tourney formats and comp.

    FoW might have an imperfect scoring and tourney system, but I find it better than the current state of 40K attempts at tourneys.

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  2. My bet is that BF will partner with an established fan-site like WWPD to do it.

    Personally, I don't have any reason to hate the technology side of what TOF is doing. It's the deceptive marketing, info paywall, and the glorification of WAAC play that I object to. It's literally the antithesis of everything we worked to promote when NOVA first came out.

    FoW, the game, is far better than 40K. But for tournaments, it's a step backward from what 40K had at the height of 5th. Which is why it frustrates me. Love the people at the events, but without fair scoring... meh.

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    1. My feelings on ToF as well. It's really just a disappointment.

      I know what they are going for. I think they want to be a governing body for the competitive scene, but their business model is counterproductive to that goal. Fair play has to be at the center of any initiative like that. If you look at anything from the U.S Figure Skating Association to the NFL or even what WotC does with Magic, It's all about creating common rules and enforcing fair play(to a certain degree of success).

      The whole marketing message of paying to get an advantage doesn't work towards that. But I think they where stuck with that approach because a real governing body can't exist without control of the rules. ToF and the big TO's are trying, but what the last four months has shown us is that all those efforts are futile with GW going KooKoo for Cocoa Puffs. Honestly, trying this with FoW and Warmahordes would have the same issues, but they are at least a little more predictable and consistent in the rules department.

      Trying to create a competitive culture out of 40K as a third party is futile. If GW ceded the rules to the community or they actually tried to support competition like Privateer, Wotc, and BF do--maybe--but that's never going to happen. You have to write the rules yourself and ignore what GW does rules wise at this point. And if that happens, why would I play ToF 40K, Nova 40K, or Adepti 40K, versus a 40K rule-set where I had a real voice. I don't necessarily want to neg on what these guys are doing or say that they are not making the right calls. The problem is all of these groups are all self appointed guys that have the final say. They see it as they put in the work, so it's their show. Good for them, though I would still prefer a democracy over even a benevolent dictatorship.

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    2. There are exceptions, but for the most part, the TOs accept input on rulings because, quite simply, open-sourcing is way more effective and less time-consuming. So I think you do have a voice, as long as you are a registered attendee and have a stake in the event.

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    3. Subject to the approval of the organizers. Again a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy. One where having any real agency requires the commitment of running a major grand tournament.

      The current system would be akin to Putin getting to determine the rules for curling at the Olympic games in Sochi. Of course that's patently not fair, unless it's a 40K tournament, and then that's just how it's done.

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    4. I don't think you have an accurate assessment of how we make our rulings and decisions. At least from a NOVA perspective, the very first misconception is that I'm the primary driver in them, or that any one individual is.

      It would be closer to an enlightened oligarchy, or a capitalist representative democracy, or something to that effect, since all of our decisions are based upon the largest majority (and when possible we work to make that majority as big as we can via consensus and widely accepted decisions) of prospective attendees, without whom we would go personally and professionally bankrupt.

      I accept that there's always going to be dens of internet haterade where reason and reality are inconvenient roadblocks to a more rage-venting cathartic narrative, but risking exposure to some of those elements b/c I've never thought that of most of the opinions and posters here.

      Democracy doesn't work for a professional organization for whom attendance minimums are roughly the same as attendance maximums and success can be roughly translated as not losing money while people have fun. We have to cater to the 85%+, and not the 51%+, b/c the latter is a direct route to an unhappy con (comparatively) and relatively epic fiscal crisis.

      This is why a narrative of TOs legislating from their thrones is somewhat dense. If we have thrones at all, they are built on making attendees happy and making sure they have fun. Seriously, and there's an example in the author of this very article, if they don't have fun for whatever reason they don't come back.

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    5. I wasn't saying that you guys where not being inclusive or making the wrong calls. Only that the at the end of the day the buck stops with the organizers. You have a veto power over how your event is run. You may not use it or use it justly, but that doesn't mean you don't have it.

      My opinion has been that the competitive health of the game should be decoupled from the effort of putting on the tournaments. Making a fun event and making a competitive environment aren't always the same thing. 58% of the Nova attendees probably don't want to trash the entirety of GW's rules, but that just may be what the game needs to be competitive.

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    6. And also Nova attendees by and large are probably OK with how Nova operates. That's cool. I think most people still playing 40K are mostly cool with the direction of the game. It's kind of a self selecting group in that way. I don't expect or want you to cater to my whims.

      I've just come to see that real competitiveness is not going to be created out of the current state of the affairs. And it not your fault, or any TO's fault. It's the fact that GW has left us with a stinker of game, and thwarts just about every effort to make it so. I just don'e see a real competitive environment being generated from the current way things are done.

      That's my opinion. Call it pointless internet hate if you want, but I don't really feel strongly enough about any of this to call it hate. Really just disappointment.

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    7. I guess the point is though that it can get to be "more" competitive. Or acceptably competitive. The idea that there is going to be some tear down of the game and re-write from the community is a pipe dream. People don't buy into that stuff. You can get buy in for tweaks, or bans, or restrictions. But getting people to play a different game....is a stretch. Trust me I wish re-writes could work. But they don't

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    8. I'm fully aware that what I'm saying is largely impractical in the context of 40K. Which is why 40K has serious problems. GW is mismanaging the game. TO's aren't in a good position to fix it because they are beholden to their attendees before the health of the game.

      And the current attempts to resolve the situation are only making things worse.

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    9. I honestly think, from my own experience writing and testing a game, that it’s much easier to get folks interested in a ‘new’ game than a tweak. Everyone has their own idea of what tweaks 40K needs. But if you offer a new experience, they don’t have as many preconceptions to deal with.

      As for NOVA, Mike is doing what he has to do to keep his event going. In his place I might just say 'ef it' and quit. But if you're going to continue running a 40K event, you have to appeal to the population of players that remains. The idea of a heterogeneous group of TOs 'fixing' the game as GW tries just as hard to break it may be doomed. But at least they're trying.

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  3. I find the Olympic example Laughable. By your argument the Athletes should vote on the rules? That is not what happens at all. There is a governing board for each sport (much like a board of say GT runners would be) that make decisions for their sport, and make changes/rulings as needed. You let the athletes vote and then you have issues where people don't agree. One country is really good at one aspect of the sport so they want to change things to their benefit etc. Moreso because what you propose is akin to the guy playing pond Hockey voting on rules for the NHL, (which is what we have in our game, people with no vested interest in events that want to change the rules for them, for whatever reason), guys not even participating wanting to tell others how they should play.

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    1. A lot of governing bodies are made up of former players. Anyway, the key is organization. Rules that govern the making of rules. Rules that determine who gets a seat at the table. Everything we do in the war gaming community is ad hoc and generally very ego driven.

      I'm not telling others how they should play. Only saying that if you want a competitive environment. What we currently do is not the most efficient or optimal way to do it.

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    2. Agree with you on that, but TOs are generally "former" players too. Have the most at stake, and likely be more open to discussion than many players. SO a committee composed of those people is the most likely way to make any kind of in roads. Players voting on stuff, or voting people onto commitees to make rules won't really work. The population of the game is too diverse.

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    3. Take a look at the Star Wars CCG players committee(http://www.starwarsccg.org/). Here's an example of a game system ran by the players. It's an example of the thing you say doesn't work, working.

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  4. there's a lot of interesting discussion going on in the WWPD Forums thread about Rankings HQ:
    http://forum.wwpd.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12225

    talk of things from adopting ELO ranking format, to disbanding rankings, even switching over to W/L (which a lot of places use adapted W/L for FoW, like W/L with points accumulated being the tiebreakers)

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  5. To raise another thought:

    RHQ got its money from TOs running events, right? So would the general decline in the number of 40K low-mid level competitive events be behind their income problems? I know that RHQ was used by other games too. But 40K is still king, and the competitive decline of 6th had to affect them, no?

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    1. I don't think they got much money from that. In part, this is because I don't think many TOs found their software for running tournaments to be of any value.

      I stopped using them after they listened to random hearsay from non-attendees after 2012; somebody somewhere told them we'd lied about our attendance and only a handful of people showed up, so they wouldn't post up our results. It took me nearly losing it and clarifying that they needed to do their homework, and might as well have claimed AdeptiCon lied about attendance, before they finally posted them up. It may be good for Flames, but RHQ was of 0 value or quality in my experience on the US 40K front.

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    2. It was... adequate... for Flames. Or at least more so than 40K. Which isn't saying much I guess.

      They had software for running tournaments? That's more than I thought RHQ offered.

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  6. Eric Riha (community Mathemagician, and professional economist and statistician) got a thread going about what to do with the rankings void left by RHQ.

    It's going to be open to discussion.
    http://forum.wwpd.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12244&start=0

    I'd like to see some sort of tournament management package that easily enables data for a tourney to be saved to a flatfile, then uploaded to the ranking system. You can get more data out of the flatfile that tells how the tourney unfolded W/L/T and BP than just simple standings.

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