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Tournament Prizes: A Debate

Akeno Asukai

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[align=justify]With week two of the Invitational wrapping up on Sunday, one of my Curators received a message from a now-former participant regarding the notion of a returning Champion defending their "title" and the lack of consolation prize money for participants who reached the finale -- i.e. second place competitors. The manner in which this topic was approached was nothing less than negative and left a rather sour taste in the mouths of myself and those who've been assisting with the Invitational as a whole. However, it did reopen a previously closed topic of conversation among myself and the wonderful people who've acted as a council for the Invitational event. 


Now, a second-place prize is something we've considered prior to announcing the start of the Invitational. It was brought up during the early stages of planning, when we discussed having the Champion from the week prior return to "defend their title" as reigning Champion. 

   During the initial stages of planning, we discussed the potential of having a much smaller sum of money awarded to the finalist, i.e. the second place competitor; however, the response within the group was mostly a no for this route as no other ongoing tournament (that we know of) offers a "consolation prize" for those who don't actually win. At the end of the day, we've all agreed to remain with the lump sum awarded to the weekly Champion and an additional amount being given to Champions who've successfully defended. 


Week One went off with no mention from participants about this "rule" and this is likely because there was no one to "defend" in the finale. During Week Two, our reigning Champion sat out for the duration as expected and chose to defend their place as Champion against our Week Two finalist as opposed to reentering the tournament from the beginning and "forfeiting" their "title" as Champion.[/align]

[align=justify]   This is the outcome we expected to occur with this event and we were all excited to see if we would have a successful reign. We did and at that moment, seeing it all come together, we were very excited. Unfortunately, that excitement was quickly snapped in two by the whisper received by our main Curator -- whom brought it to my attention.


I know this is a lot of information, but bear with me, please. 

With the conversation reopened, we have discussed several ideas including a much lower amount awarded to our finalist however, there is still some uncertainty among us as to which way we would like to go. The entire point of us bringing a larger scaled event to the public was to get more role-play out there in familiar settings with different twists. 

   This is what I intend to do here since the forums are the quickest and easiest way to reach the largest number of community members. We value the input of the community however, none of us want people to simply lash out because they don't agree. Constructive criticism and ideas will always be respected and that is what I am hoping to find here. 


So here is the question I wish to pose to you, the community: 

[align=center]Should there be a second-place prize for finalists at the Invitational?[/align]


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If you and your organizers have the wherewithal to offer a consolation prize, then do.  If not, then a "winner take all" tournament seems like it should be just fine.  Anyone who says differently could just not participate.


I encourage a consolation prize, however, simply because your first and second place winners are likely the people that put the most into the event (beyond the organizers) and provide the most entertainment, so both are deserving of reward.  It also serves as incentive for other competitors to stay in it for the long haul and/or return for the next one.


That's just my two gil pennies.  :)

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I do not participate in this tournament (or any other for that matter, most happen when I sleep. Curse you, Timezones) but if I were you I'd stick to what seems to fit with the concept. If it's a winner takes all type of tournament, then having a second prize/consolidation shouldn't be there because it takes away from the feeling of the ultimate win, being The Special Winner of the day. I would also be a bit wary of people asking or demanding there to be additional prizes, because honestly it comes across to me as them not doing the RP because they want to, but doing it solely because they want the prize. Alternatively, make the prize be an IC thing only, attaching no gil or items to it. Then you can easily say that there's also an imaginary prize for the second place person. 


Whilst I am super guilty of including gil rewards in certain types of events (not all, far from all) that I've run for the server, I am actually not a fan of the trend - I don't believe anyone should be rewarded for their "effort" put into an event as a participant beyond having the experience of awesome RP, because at the end of the day running events is usually a volunteer effort entirely wherein the organizers aren't compensated in any other way than appreciation and awesome RP-experience feelings. Roleplay shouldn't be something you can do to grind up gil, it creates an uneven field of motivation.

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Hey there! I'm a relatively new member, as if that weren't painfully obvious as indicated by my post count and registration, but I thought I'd come in and offer my opinion on the matter, for what it may be worth.


In the words of Dale Earnhardt, "Second place is just the first place loser."



I've always been of the personal belief that second and third place aren't entitled to anything. A competition is just that: a competition. It's a test to see who can come out on top, who can be the top dog out of every competitor willing to step forward. If you were not the one who ended up standing triumphant, well...


Again, in the words of someone else, this time a fictional character, "You get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir."




If your original plan was to stick by there only being a first place prize, then I personally support this decision and don't think you should deviate from it. If the vote was largely in favour of there only being a reward for first place, then I don't see any particular reason for that to be upturned.

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I'm going to put in my views on this as I've spoken with the showrunners here. This issue was brought to my attention and since my company does lend a hand with this event I'm just going to openly post my thoughts.



The concept is winner take all with the thrill of being able to actually get your characters hurt depending on the outcomes of the /randoms done plus the twist of having an overseer/curator toss in an event as a result to add some spice to what's going on. Now being this is a new event that has touches of previous ones and current ones they as far as I know don't give a runner up prize. 


Being that only one or two people have complained about this I wasn't too inclined to offer a runner up prize and if there was one I said it would have to be substantially lower because to make anything close to what the champion wins would give no one the motivation to go above and beyond to win. You could sit there and just be happy with second place to rake in gil then not really give a damn about the event. To them it becomes another means to make gil for rp'ing and having RNGesus at your side for a night. The only consolation I offered was that if for some reason the champion couldn't make it to the next event the second runner up could potentially replace them sort of like they do in pageants. Even with this suggestion I'm leery of it.


The whole idea is winner take all. If those who run the event start bending to those demanding x changes when it's still an event getting into a groove then it'll always be changing and seem like it's run by whoever complains the most. So...I'm suggesting this. Stay with what you have. If people want to complain that's their right but don't let it take away from what you've created. As times goes on you'll see what works and what doesn't work so you can make adjustments you all agree with. This is an event you're hosting for fun and to just let everyone partake in so they can show off a bit and honestly have fun. The fact you're offering any sort of prize is generous. The fact you're allowing a defending champion get to fight in the final round is generous. 


If it ain't broke don't fix it. You're still breaking things in. Stick to your plan.

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I realise that the topic of the 'reigning champion' isn't what's up for discussion here, but I'd like to touch on it briefly just from the perspective of someone competing. If you want to skip this, just head to the cactuar emote. Sometimes the brackets don't work out perfectly in a tournament/competition and a person gets a bye, where they don't fight in the first round. Sometimes someone might even get two byes, so by the time they finally fight, the other person has already been through two fights before them.


This is just how these things work sometimes, so you have to be prepared to fight someone fresh when you've got a couple rounds in you. However, at the end of a tournament, you're at a massive disadvantage when it comes to the state of you vs your opponent, just in terms of exhaustion. Just food for thought, if nothing else.




As for the second-place prize question, I think it depends on the type of tournament you're aiming to run. If it's for fun, a little practice thing for people to keep their eye in, sure, give participation prizes out. If it's a professional tournament that's intended to be a chance for someone to make money from their skills, go ahead and give second place a little consolation prize to keep them afloat. From what I've seen however (and I could well be wrong here), that's not what it's about. It's about entertaining an audience, and giving the participants a chance to show off.


Carrying on with that train of thought, that entertainment and publicity are the main purposes of the tournament, I don't think a prize for the losers, no matter how well they've done before losing, is in line with the spirit of the competition. What's more entertaining? People competing for the one and only grand prize, second place just missing out and being painted as the underdog for the next time they compete, or a tournament where you get prize money just for doing well, even if you're ultimately a loser? Obviously that's subjective, but I'd argue the former would be the more entertaining to watch, if not compete in.


Outside of monetary rewards, the second place contestant doesn't exactly come out of the tournament without reward. ICly, they've demonstrated their skills to an audience, which could lead to business opportunities, be an ice-breaker for people who want to talk to them, or just simply feed their ego. OOCly, they've hopefully had a great time participating in the fun event you're running, and they might've met some people they can RP with in the future, more so than people eliminated earlier because they've been 'forced' to interact with more characters than them.


It would also mean your FC has to cash out additional gil, or they'd have to take some of the gil away from the champion's prize money. Either option isn't very good, at least in my opinion. Finally, I'll echo Tessariel's point as relates to giving in to people's whining. If someone cries loud enough and you change the image of your event, it'll not lead to anything good. At the end of the day, there are plenty of RP events in a similar vein with different rules that people can go to if they don't like yours, and the only legitimate reason I can see for any complaints is that they only participated for the OOC gil. Perhaps you could give second place a really crappy IC prize? Like the Eorzia equivalent of an 80's toaster?

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My $.02


If you began the event with only the winner receiving rewards, keep it that way. If people try to bully you into giving out more gil than you planned (even if it's the same amount but split differently), don't let them make you change. As long as the rewards were announced in advance, participants know what they're in for. It just sounds like a sore loser imo.

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If you're having to lessen money from the winner, I'd just do something fun/funny for second place: an ooc, completely random, unannounced item.


There are so many cool things in game, from minions to mats to pieces of pretty gear to chocobo barding to whatever. Make it completely ooc, make it fun, make it a 'hey, thanks for participating and helping to make this a good show' type of deal.


That way icly you keep the winner takes all, but oocly you can have a nice laugh with the people who showed up once it's over.





...and I mean if they're being a bad sport give them an ugly minion. ;D

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My whole thought on actual prizes for RP situations like competitions and the like has always been that they're sort of... secondary? A bonus? As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, the idea shouldn't be that you're participating solely for the reward. Sure, ICly that could be the reason (and thus the prize itself could be an IC - not actually tangible - prize) but it shouldn't also be the OOC one.


The pot for winning the Grindstone is nice, but the main draw is to show off your skills in combat, climb to the top of the ladder in front of an audience, and potentially generate RP. People have made friends, rivals, and probably even enemies through the Grindstone. Started, progressed, or reach plot resolution through the Grindstone. And I feel all of that is far more important than whatever prize is at the top.


With the Chrystal Chronicle reporting on the thing too, you also get the victor and runner-up interviewed afterward. That sort of in-world publicity is also its own sort of prize. And - it may just be because us Overseers started doing it - I like to think that being the Champion of the X Bracket (Arbor, Wash, Bridge, Rock) is kind of a reward in its own right - it's recognition for getting to the top of your own bracket, which is pretty impressive in its own right even if they end up losing against one of the other Bracket Champions. Of course actually becoming Champion is pretty great, but I feel like reaching those other positions (bracket champion or even finalist) has esteem attached to it that doesn't require an actual solid prize.


That said, another good point that got brought up is that these sorts of events are usually run entirely on a voluntary basis. The staff aren't getting any compensation for the work they're doing, and frequently are also the ones funding the prize at the end. If you're running it often enough (like, even just every other week), unless you have quite a stash of gil saved up or have some outside source of funding... you'll end up having to do a lot of extra work outside the event too just farming up the prizes to hand out at the end. That's a lot of effort being put into the event to have someone who just showed up complain because they came up short.


I don't know. Maybe I'm just being rambly and repeating stuff that's already been said but... basically I think the main point of the events is supposed to be an RP thing. The prizes are bonuses being provided by the event coordinators basically out of their own pocket. They can help attract attention and bump up attendance, of course, but they should not be seen as a requirement. As such, the event runners are not obligated to provide more than they want or are willing to provide.


If you don't want to provide a physical runner up prize, there's no obligation to.

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[align=justify]Alright, so, this thread has gotten quite a few pieces of input and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to the community for reaching out and sharing their opinions on the subject. When I was approached about the potential to create and run this event, I was genuinely excited. I was also very much aware of how I prefer to do things and the "end-game" for this particular event once the decision was made to take it into a more public showcase. 

   The Invitational is (and will always be) a public event. Without the support of the community (whether it be a helpful criticism of how to do something better, a willing volunteer or a negative remark about the rules and/or the mechanics used to create a semi-safe environment) this particular event will die. I know that myself and those who've stuck out the entire creation process do not want that. [/align]



Tessarial - You are absolutely right that listening to one or two people who shout the loudest will lead us all down a very tricky path in which we'll end up catering to the people who complain the most or run the largest smear campaign. I, personally, do not want that. 

   However, I am always interested in hearing what the community enjoys and/or dislikes. 



[align=justify]The Invitational is not meant to be an easy win. 

We went with having a defending Champion to add a level of prestige -- a chance for people to lay claim to "dethroning" someone who has held the position for weeks. I am almost certain down the line we'll have Champions who decide to forfeit their position and re-enter at square one just to see if they can climb back up the wall. [/align]



[align=justify]Edric - The exhaustion is something we've considered and is one of the very reasons we've made the event similar to the Grindstone in the sense that you can and will suffer injuries throughout your climb. We want the Invitational to be not only a test of one's mind, but also of their fortitude - a means of "showing off" just how strong a competitor is mentally. Casting spells, in our minds, isn't an easy task and exhaustion does wear on a person. We wanted this to be a factor -- even a small one. 


Gegenji - I believe it was Maril who made the statement about gil prizes should always be a secondary option and that people should be involved in events for the role-play and story as opposed to just winning gil; and we've agreed to this. We welcome the good and bad of people being upset in-character about someone working their way up and then not quite having the ability to defeat that last, remaining "boss". We welcome people boasting when they are able to survive the entire competition and then dethrone a current Champion.


To answer the main question of where the funding is coming from... it's from my FC, the Syndicate. Generally speaking it's out of my own pocket, the pocket(s) of my Curators who volunteer their own gil and our FC chest. To support these types of events, the majority of my council contribute a portion of our earnings from weekly map runs and personal sales of crafted items and/or materials. 


The main point of this thread was to see if the community (or at least a larger part than two people) would be more interested in a secondary prize or a tier prize -- such as the finalists receiving something for making it as far as they did. I am surprised to see that those of you who have answered are more towards the "winner-take-all" as the event was intended to be. 


So thank you, to those who've already responded. And if there are others who'd like to contribute to the discussion, we are keeping it open. The Invitational will not be changed as of yet however, we are still very interested in hearing the ideas/opinions of the community. ^^; [/align]

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A few thoughts on this.  Who is the '2nd place'?  The person who lost to the challenger to the champion?  Or the champion if the champion loses his title?


Personally, it's really up to you all.  If you have a first and second prize, someone's going to ask about third place, etc, etc... If someone doesn't like the prize structure, they're more then able to not complete.


A potential suggestion would be to charge a small entrance fee and allow others to contribute to the pot.  Have a guaranteed first place prize as you do now, and divide up the pot in some ratio between the high ranking competitors.  This lets you do it with the cost of a bit more logistics work (keeping track of entrance fees and collecting them) but also encourages people to bring others as it makes the pot sweeter.


Something like 

1st place gets (standard price) + 30%

2nd place gets 30%

Finalists gets a split of the remaining 40%

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So let me preface this by saying I have never been to any RP tournament and barely understand how any of this works. I would be in favor of a second place prize but that's purely because I'm a softie who wants more people to get goodies.


Regardless of how little I know there is one thing I see here and that's you and your FC giving away hard earned gil that you never had to. Someone saying 'give more' to that is just flat out greedy. Someone saying you should give more is entitled. At the end of the day it's your tournament and if you're happy with it the way it is then be happy. Don't let anyone rain on your parade by telling you how they think it should be.

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[align=justify]I am so very happy to see this thread has continued to get some interest and some response. I am also still very surprised to see that the majority has stayed on the side of "winner-takes-all" as well as the "people shouldn't be doing it for prizes" concept, which I had not expected for some reason or another. There are a few things that have been noted, which I'd like to address. 


Erah'sae - The "Second Place" competitor would be the weekly Challenger who rises above all others to fight against the current Invitational Champion. Should the Champion lose their position against a Challenger, the Champion walks away with nothing -- just as the Challenger would for obtaining second place. 

   I have worried before about everyone wanting something for participating beyond the experience and enjoyment of an agreed upon combat system. It was one reason I stated the direction I wished to go with the Invitational: a "winner-take-all" and an incentive for those who've won to return each week. 


When it comes to the idea of an entrance fee, I worry that such might deter others from taking place in this particular event. It is already quite small, with only about ten (10) entrants thus far. Myself and those I speak for who've aided in the event with funds and the like aren't opposed to shelling out gil from our own pockets to support the event.


Mermaid - Your support is very appreciated and while none of us wish to completely change the Invitational's structure as a whole, we aren't opposed to constructive criticisms. Our goal is to draw larger crowds, offer a place for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies -- a competition where they can (and will) be injured, but are free to show off their talents.


Hell, we're eager for the day when two competitors develop a feud. I'm sure some of the Invitational Chaperones would love a chance to inject themselves into a fight that's become a tad bit hazardous. I, personally, am excited for the day when two competitors end their duel in a dispute -- because not everyone is a gracious "loser" nor should they be. Conflict happens and we welcome it at the Invitational provided it does not hinder the enjoyment of others and remains purely in-character. We won't tolerate harassment or people using our lenient viewpoints to ruin an experience for others. I just know some day Akeno will have to step in and put the Invitational on pause so that the Chaperones can escort some away, but I am getting off track. >.< 


Again, I thank everyone for their contributions. ^^; Myself and those who aid in running the Invitational are listening and holding private conversations about ways to better this event as a whole for a community that we genuinely enjoy being a part of. So please, never be afraid to offer your opinions -- even if you've never attended or read the Invitational rules (which are being reduced and reworked just slightly).[/align]

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My honest opinion?


Second place isn't winning.


The point of tournament is to win. To outlast all others. If Second place gets a prize for not winning, why doesn't everyone just get a participation prize and some participation money for participating in something that was optional to begin with?


You are under no obligation to reward not winning. You and the other volunteers should not feel pressured to cater to the mentality that "almost" is something to be celebrated.


To quote a popular Youtuber series, 


"That sounds like it belongs in Almost magazine. Right up there next to 'Who almost won the Superbowl'"


If you offer a prize for 'almost' winning, sure we're going to accept it and be fine with it because who doesn't love to be rewarded? But in doing so you also devalue the actual winner. That person's victory weighs a lot less when he or she still would have won something if they did not put in as much effort as they did. And that kinda sucks.


If it were me I would simply have told the person complaining that they will have an option to win next time, but that the prize money is intended for the winner. The fact that they are a runner up is valuable in itself.

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My honest opinion?


Second place isn't winning.


The point of tournament is to win. To outlast all others. If Second place gets a prize for not winning, why doesn't everyone just get a participation prize and some participation money for participating in something that was optional to begin with?


You are under no obligation to reward not winning. You and the other volunteers should not feel pressured to cater to the mentality that "almost" is something to be celebrated.


To quote a popular Youtuber series, 


"That sounds like it belongs in Almost magazine. Right up there next to 'Who almost won the Superbowl'"


If you offer a prize for 'almost' winning, sure we're going to accept it and be fine with it because who doesn't love to be rewarded? But in doing so you also devalue the actual winner. That person's victory weighs a lot less when he or she still would have won something if they did not put in as much effort as they did. And that kinda sucks.


If it were me I would simply have told the person complaining that they will have an option to win next time, but that the prize money is intended for the winner. The fact that they are a runner up is valuable in itself.


Would it be better or worse to award them a few pieces of Abalathian Rock Salt? Or like, a few pieces of all the types of salt in game. A bouquet of salt.




And maybe a single popoto.

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