Season 44 - Newsletter Part 2

A New Beginning

February 06, 2021 / by alibby1152

Welcome to Season 44 of Dominion League! We’re about a week into the season and there has already been great progress made in terms of matches played and only a handful of players who have neither played a match nor checked in. If you’re reading this and haven’t done so yet, hop on into your division channel, say hello, and start scheduling some matches. The overall structure of the league and promotion guidelines can be seen in the chart below:

As mentioned in Part 1 of the Season 44 newsletter, SamE has passed the baton of Administrative Moderator over to me. I’d like to personally thank him for everything he’s done for the League. He leaves some big shoes to fill and hope meet the high standards that he has set these past 3 years. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me on Discord at any time.

I am excited to start my tenure by announcing that this will be our second largest season yet, with 829 players spread over 138 divisions. These come second only to Season 41, our second of the pandemic era. This puts an end to the downward trend in participation we saw begin in Season 41. We’re excited to welcome 238 new players into the mix, alongside 591 returning players. Much of the growth this season can be contributed to the increase in signups, and we hope to see this trend continue next season with a number of players indicating they’re taking a one season break and hope to return for Season 45.

Organizational Changes

Three changes emerged from our recent Setup meeting. None of these impact League play, but are geared towards helping get new players acclimated to League and help us as Moderators continue to make League better for the players.

  1. We will be introducing a new channel in the Discord, #intro-to-league. This will serve as a forum for players new to league to ask any questions prior to the season to help them hit the ground running. This will be separate from the #league channel to help keep things from getting buried in any match or standings discussions that take place there (and that we love to see!). It will be open to everybody on the Discord, so if you see someone asking a question, feel free to help them out.
  2. We will be starting a rotation of recurring questions on the Returning Form to collect feedback on issues that cycle back every so often. You’ll now start seeing questions at least once a year regarding season length, break length, division size, expansion defaults, and cardlists. Additionally, we’ll be asking about your scheduling experiences every season.
  3. We are adding a new Chair to the Moderation team: the Analysis Chair. We have a wealth of data collected over 43 seasons of League spread out over various sources. The goal for this new position is to have somebody dedicated to managing the data and looking at various metrics related (but not limited) to drop rates, retention rates, and growth rates. With someone dedicated to the job, more questions posed by League players and Moderators can be explored. The exact description hasn’t been settled on yet, but we are ironing out those details now as a Moderator team and will soon be electing our new Chair.

Season 44 Town Hall

As many of you probably know, there is a client update on the horizon. Last weekend we were given a 48 hour preview of the new interface and the introduction of complexity levels of cards. For those who don’t know about this, cards are grouped into pools from the simplest (level 1) to the most complex (level 10) and is meant to gradually introduce new mechanics. To prepare for this switch, we are planning our Season 44 Town Hall on the topic of how League will handle these complexity levels with regard to match defaults and how they will replace the current expansion restriction rules we have in place. Stay tuned for an announcement of the date of this Town Hall.

Season 44 Chairs

The Moderator Chairs for this season are as follows:

  • Admin: alibby1152
  • Analysis: TBD
  • Bot: Cave-o-sapien
  • Feedback: eh1414
  • Issues: nottoobad
  • Onboarding: Rozyroz
  • Recruiting: tracer
  • Rules: crlundy
  • Setup: alibby1152
  • Sheets: SamE
  • Website: truffles

Setup Meeting Minutes

  1. Onboarding
    1. Intro-to-League Channel
      • Motion: Create an #intro-to-league channel for New Players to ask questions prior to when the season starts.
        • YES (2 dissenting)
      • Opinion (alibby1152): A lot of new players each season are also new to Discord and the number of channels/amount of discussion can sometimes be overwhelming. While #league often does a good job of answering questions that our new signups have, things do sometimes get lost. A dedicated channel can keep questions and conerns from these players separate from match discusions and broader league topics and help ensure that nothing slips through the cracks with regard to getting signups up to speed. Additionally, we can use pinned messages in this channel to reiterate information/expectations of league players.
      • Dissent (tracer): This seems capable of taking place in #league or by direct message. I don't think there is a problem here that is fixed by having a dedicated channel.
      • Motion: If the above passes, who should the channel be open to?
        • New Players - 6
          Signup for League - 4
          Everybody - 12
      • Opinion (alibby1152): We have a lot of people in the Discord who know the ins and outs of league and can help answer these questions. Keeping the channel open to everybody ensures that there will almost certainly be someone to readily provide a response.
      • Dissent (nottoobad): I'm mostly opposed to this channel existing as the Discord is already cluttered and overwhelming. If it is to exist, I think we should restrict the audience so that the channel stays catered to its purpose. However. in my opinion the best ways for new players to ask questions about the league are to DM the moderator that onboarded them before the season starts, to ask in their division channel or DM their division moderator once the season starts, or to ask in the existing #league channel.
  2. Chairs
    1. Analysis Chair
      • Motion: Should we add an Analysis Chair to the set of Chairs?
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • Opinion (alibby1152): Season after season, we ask about issues such as drop rates, retention rates, and league growth. Furthermore, there are questions that various Mods, Chairs, and even league players pose about league. In most cases, we have the data available and can find answers to these questions. Until now, the responsibility has fallen on volunteers to dive into the data on an "as available" basis. Creating a Chair for this position puts someone in place to oversee this process and make sure things are answered in a timely manner.
      • Dissent (tracer): responsibilities for this chair seem as of yet ill-formed and not distinct from other chairs. While it might be nice to have people dedicated to analysis and infrastructure to go with it, it has not been made clear why these responsibilities require their own division of power.
      • Motion: If the above passes, proceed onto nominations and voting on the Chair at a later time (within a week of this meeting)
        • YES (unanimous)
      • Opinion (alibby1152): Given differing visions on how this position would operate, a more formal discussion period, including Chair nominations and platforms, is certainly warranted.
  3. Feedback
    1. Feedback Questions
      • React to the following questions with how often (number of seasons between each asking) you'd like to see them asked in the returning form (N if never):
      • Question:Question: "How many games would you like in a League match?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 4
          6 - 2
          N - 9
      • Opinion (alibby1152): This question has been asked on numerous occasions in Returning Form questions and in Town Halls and widespread support for a different match length has never really gained traction.
      • Dissent (nottoobad): At least once a season, A player suggests matches would be better at 4 games rather than 6. This seems like something we should poll every few seasons to keep track of league players' feelings on this.
      • Dissent (catmom): I agree with nottoobad. I think this is more about people feeling heard rather than anything else. I doubt we will change this, but each season there are those who feel this way.
      • Question: "How do you feel about expansion restriction in your tier?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 11
          6 - 2
          N - 2
      • Opinion (alibby1152): Although mainly restricted to lower tiers, we have concerns raised every season about which expansions should be used in matches between subscribers and non-subscribers. We have the ability to parse the Returning Form questions by tier, so this will help track any shifts in thinking.
      • Dissent (sweetjohn33): I personally haven't seen much concern over expansion restriction in league, but I could see it coming up in lower divisions occasionally. I think 6 months is reasonable to check on an issue that doesn't appear to me to be urgent.
      • "How many players would you like there to be in a Division?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 3
          6 - 10
          N - 2
      • Opinion (alibby1152): These next three questions tie together regarding the overall structure and pacing of league. In particular, this one directly aims to gauge whether players wish to expand or contract divisions. Indirectly, this also offers an avenue to collect feedback on flex divisions.
      • Dissent (nottoobad, catmom): Once per year is a long time, I feel generally every 3 seasons is a reasonable pace to check in with player's feelings on various topics including this one.
      • Question: "How long would you like a League Season to last?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 0
          6 - 14
          N - 1
      • Opinion (alibby1152): This question addresses not only the pacing of a season in terms of matches per week, but also any subsequent adjustments needed if division sizes were to increase. Any changes to league structure as a whole would be addressed in a broader discussion, but getting this information on a yearly basis helps inform us of shifts in player opinoins.
      • Question: "How long would you like the breaks between League seasons to be?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 1
          6 - 13
          N - 1
      • Opinion (alibby1152): Some players have voiced concerns that the league break is too short and that with the flex week, there isn't really a break. Additionally, this information would assist in any sort of restructuring questions that surface. Since the number of conerns are small and there are no plans to restructure, polling at a slower pace seems appropriate.
      • Dissent (sweetjohn33): I see league fatigue as a relevant issue and one that deserves semi-frequent attention.
      • Question: "How do you feel about the use of the VP counter in League?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 2
          6 - 2
          N - 13
      • Opinion (alibby1152): In general, this topic rarely comes up in league discussion or in our end of season feedback. Bringing it up seems like an attempt to create a problem that hasn't really existed.
      • Dissent (nottoobad): similar to what I stated in other dissents here, I think topics that do not involve drastically changing league structure should be polled twice a year.
      • Dissent (catmom): Again with what I said above, this feels like something to ask just to help people feel at ease. I feel pretty confident saying that more players would dislike using it, that polling about it might allow the players who want to use it feel like it's being considered. And then obviously if it is a majority, then that changes things. Just seems like it doesn't hurt to poll.
      • Question: "How do you feel about the use of like lists in League?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 4
          6 - 9
          N - 3
      • Opinion (alibby1152): At the cardlists Town Hall, there was support for leaving like lists out of kingdom generation. We haven't really seen any push towards adding them to the league default, but asking once a year to see if there are changes in opinion never hurts.
      • Dissent (tracer): Random kingdom generation best falls under the defaults for the client. If people want to change this they should talk to the developers of, not us.
      • Dissent (nottoobad, sweetjohn33): Again, polling the League never hurts and I support polling twice a year for topics that don't change league structure. Regarding agruments about this being a development issue, the League has an opportunity to be the voice of many players to the developers. Many players wouldn't know where to start to contact the developers directly. Our collection of data could be used in the future to report on what a large part of the active Dominion community supports. This opinion is one I hold for disliked and banned lists as well.
      • Question: "How do you feel about the use of dislike lists in League?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 1
          3 - 5
          6 - 9
          N - 3
      • Opinion (alibby1152): Similar to like lists, the opinions on the dislike list were clear from the Town Hall and there is little evidence that opinoins have changed. However, we do get some feedback each season regarding them in the Returning Form, so getting a general sense from the league every once in a while helps monitor any shifts.
      • Dissent (tracer): Random kingdom generation best falls under the defaults for the client. If people want to change this they should talk to the developers of, not us.
      • Dissent (catmom, sweetjohn33): This question feel like it has potential to open up a whole can of worms. I think we should just leave it as the default.
      • Question: How do you feel about the use of ban lists in League?"
        • 1 - 0
          2 - 0
          3 - 5
          6 - 9
          N - 3
      • Opinion (alibby1152): This is similar to the other card list questions. With some concerns raised each season about using them, it's worth getting a general feel from all players every so often.
      • Dissent (tracer, catmom, sweetjohn33): Random kingdom generation best falls under the defaults for the client. If people want to change this they should talk to the developers of, not us.
      • Question: "How easy did you find scheduling this season?"
        • 1 - 15
          2 - 1
          3 - 0
          6 - 0
          N - 0
      • Opinion (alibby1152): Some of the biggest complaints we have each season are related to players having difficulty scheduling their matches. "I hate scheduling matches with my opponents" is one of the top two or three most frequent reasons for not returning. Keeping tabs on how this is going league wide is a major priority for the Mod team and collecting this data every season will help our efforts.
      • Dissent (Cave-o-sapien): I feel like asking the same question every season will lead to survey fatigue.