Ruleset Changes V1.2

roboticphish

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Hello again, everyone. We have another amendment up for voting. You can read the full text of the amendment here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/175ZnIMUTh4rFkPStp7Ona4cLp1OjkDe9VmQwQtAx1Yg/edit

This one is a very simple amendment to understand, but it'll surely be contentious. In short, this amendment proposes to reduce the length of the game clock from 8 minutes to 7 minutes. The 5 were split on the vote, with 1 hard yes and 2 hard no votes. The two procedural 'yes' votes count as procedural because the two members of the panel felt that this was a question best left answered by the group of 25 rather than themselves. Please confine discussion of this amendment to this thread; voting will be opened at the link below. However, unlike the last time, for this and future amendments, your vote can be changed after its submitted in the event you change your mind. Votes will close Wednesday, November 22nd. That's the day before Thanksgiving here in the states, so if you don't want me pestering you over the holidays, make sure you've voted! Thank you all!

VOTE HERE:
https://goo.gl/forms/wo9VsSi2spKRQSQo2
https://goo.gl/forms/wo9VsSi2spKRQSQo2

Thanks again!
 
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Vro

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We don't have data on the effect of this change and I don't see an easy way to collect data on it.

What is the purpose of this purposed change? Does it actually accomplish what it sets out to do?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are only two reasons to advocate a 7min timer.
1) Attempt to reduce the effects of camping/stalling
2) Attempt to reduce the overall time of tournament sets

One can argue that reducing a timer will create more timeouts - it is easier/more feasible to stall out to 7 mins. If more matches go to time, tournament sets would be longer.

However, one can also argue that if a game were to timeout to begin with, we could all save ourselves 1 min.

As a TO, the 8min timer is not in such a spot where I would ask for change. Rarely do matches go to last game, all games timed out. Time spent before a match, time spent during a match but not in game, and time wasted after game result but not proceeding to next match are all more consequential and reducible.

imo there's little value to exploring this except for kicks.
 

PracticalTAS

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Off topic, but has the UCF discussion been postponed or canceled?

On topic, two types of match will definitely be affected by lowering the timer:

* floaty-floaty matches on Dreamland, which can go to 7 minutes without either player actively camping
* matches where one person is playing for time from the start, often on Pokemon Stadium

The question is whether decreasing the timer is worth saving a minute during an obvious timeout, at the expense of making long floaty-floaty games easy for the winning player to turn into a timeout.

Initially I'm leaning no to the rule change, but my mind can change.

One interesting thing to note: on a 7 minute timer, a Stadium transformation starts with less than a minute remaining and goes for the majority of the last minute. On an 8 minute timer, the final minute is on the default transformation.
 

HugS™

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Strongly opposed.

Shortening the timer would encourage time-outs if less time is needed to secure a victory.
Also, certain matchups (Floaty vs Floaty) can take up to the full 8 minutes even without camping.

As an added problem for Floaty characters, a shorter timer would put way too much of an advantage on an early lead vs a floaty, and encourage the player with the lead to run the clock for two reasons: the shorter timer makes a timeout easier, and some characters are naturally disadvantaged when forced to approach (Puff, Samus, Icies), and these characters WOULD be forced to approach more recklessly as a result of this shorter timer.

Overall it helps characters who don't need much help, hurts characters who don't have aggressive approach options, encourages more timeouts, and unnecessarily affects floaty vs floaty matchups.
 

roboticphish

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Off topic, but has the UCF discussion been postponed or canceled?

On topic, two types of match will definitely be affected by lowering the timer:

* floaty-floaty matches on Dreamland, which can go to 7 minutes without either player actively camping
* matches where one person is playing for time from the start, often on Pokemon Stadium

The question is whether decreasing the timer is worth saving a minute during an obvious timeout, at the expense of making long floaty-floaty games easy for the winning player to turn into a timeout.

Initially I'm leaning no to the rule change, but my mind can change.

One interesting thing to note: on a 7 minute timer, a Stadium transformation starts with less than a minute remaining and goes for the majority of the last minute. On an 8 minute timer, the final minute is on the default transformation.
The UCF discussion was not finished and is being postponed at the moment.


We don't have data on the effect of this change and I don't see an easy way to collect data on it.

What is the purpose of this purposed change? Does it actually accomplish what it sets out to do?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are only two reasons to advocate a 7min timer.
1) Attempt to reduce the effects of camping/stalling
2) Attempt to reduce the overall time of tournament sets

One can argue that reducing a timer will create more timeouts - it is easier/more feasible to stall out to 7 mins. If more matches go to time, tournament sets would be longer.

However, one can also argue that if a game were to timeout to begin with, we could all save ourselves 1 min.

As a TO, the 8min timer is not in such a spot where I would ask for change. Rarely do matches go to last game, all games timed out. Time spent before a match, time spent during a match but not in game, and time wasted after game result but not proceeding to next match are all more consequential and reducible.

imo there's little value to exploring this except for kicks.
Also it's worth noting that Royal Flush ran a 7 minute timer, and the number of timeouts did not noticeably increase.
 

Dr Peepee

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Strongly opposed. Maybe Royal Flush did not have a significant increase in timeouts, but if we let Genesis and other big tournaments have a shorter timer this could play out in the meta over a longer term when players realize this is going to be a common exploitable strategy.

Either we reduce stock and timer by a lot(such as 2 stock 3/4 minutes) and raise game count(to say 5-7) or we leave it as it is I believe.
 

MacD

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The note PracticalTAS made about stadium is pretty interesting. I never knew that, but stadium ending on a transformation would be super lame.

I have similar thoughts to Vro/Hugs. What's the point of this change? Can we get those from the 5 who voted yes to explain why?

To jump off of what PP said, I've been thinking 3 stock 6 min is actually probably the best for how melee should be played. 4 stocks just seems like a crazy amount comparing to other games. It's probably way too late in our game's life to do that, but it's something i've been thinking about.
 

Gtown_Tom

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I also am opposed to reducing the timer from 8 minutes to 7.

As noted above, in some floaty-floaty matchups this will encourage people to play to the timer more often if they get a lead in the early/mid-game and I don't believe that is what we want; I also don't think this is necessary from a "saving time" standpoint or for the sake of reducing camping in tournament matches (and could well make it more common.) 2 minutes per stock is fine, and has been the standard for a very long time.
 

PracticalTAS

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I imagine the best of the best players would be strongly opposed to 3/6 or 2/4 stocks/minutes, but I can't help but wonder whether the variance that other games enjoy is a positive factor for their scenes. As much as I love watching a good 4-stock, I'd 100% be behind a tournament like Royal Flush 2 going 3 stock/6 minutes.
 

R3N0

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There is a lot of speculation that "players will just camp"
What is a minute if those players are going to camp to begin with?

You reach the apex of the exciting moments which is within the final minute, an entire minute sooner.

Our current average of matches are roughly 3 minutes long between 1 floaty + spacie, between 2 floaties can go to 5-6 minutes. And even faster if just two spacies.

In those rare times that games between floaties goes to 7 minutes and one player decides to start camping out until 8 minutes, I submit to you that the idea of stalling out the final minute does not actually occur until the final minute. Even then, the last minute of the match is the most exciting for spectators and players, so if we moved it up by a minute, the result is the same.

Obviously all of my reasoning from the above is anecdotal, but Royal Flush did not see significant increases to timeouts. If Royal Flush 2 happens, we will be running 7 minutes again, likely with larger attendance to see if there are any changes, however I expect there not to be.

This amendment, however, is not a "huge" change to melee and will likely not affect tournaments one way or the other. But I think it's interesting to explore.
 

Nihonjin

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My question is simply.. Why? It seems entirely useless to me. Unless someone comes up with a strong argument to adopt the change, I don't see any reason to vote in favor.

[edit]

Actually, I have on reason to vote against. Floaties on Pokemon stadium & DL64. Two floaties going at it can take forever even if they're both being aggressive on those stages. Since the extra minute as far as I can tell won't do much other than rob us of a conclusive ending to those fights, I have to say I'm pretty strongly opposed at this point.
 
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R3N0

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The benefits are:

1. Reaching climax of a match faster by a minute if it goes that long.

Potential downsides are:

1. Players start camping more due to a minute being shaved off.
 

Nintendude

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My thoughts on the issue:

1) One of the key factors in determining if you support a shorter timer is if you value time as a compelling win condition. Personally, I do. I think that time pressure is extremely hype across all sports. Even in the TEKKEN finals just yesterday, I saw time pressure result in some amazing last second plays. It creates a culminating moment of tension that is very hard to replicate without it.

2) Generally, the exciting parts of a game are the beginning and the end. All the stuff in the middle is actually just filler content, especially given that I think we'd all agree that you don't learn more about who the better player is in 7 minutes as opposed to 8 minutes. Lowering the timer removes filler content and gets to the hypest part of the game sooner.

3) Most of the games that time out in 8 minutes do so because of stalling. Players do not feel compelled to make a play because they know they can wait for a better opportunity. That's boring and the game would be better without these dull moments. A lower timer removes time otherwise used to stall.

4) The most convincing counterargument to lowering the timer is that some matchups "naturally" take 8 minutes, but this goes back to the first point. I think winning on time is a valid win condition. I also do not believe we learn more about who the better player is in the 8th minute, as stated previously. If a player with the lead decides to go for a timeout after 5-6 minutes, then the losing player needs to compensate by playing more aggressive and making plays. We have plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that this is often a very exciting moment in the game.

I personally think we should be playing 6 minutes, but that's not up for vote right now. The bottom line really is that 8 minutes is too long and I'll support any reduction down to 5 minutes. Also, I don't think that saving time is that relevant to this debate, although it is a very very minor point in favor of lowering the timer.
 

PracticalTAS

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My thoughts on the issue:

2) Generally, the exciting parts of a game are the beginning and the end. All the stuff in the middle is actually just filler content, especially given that I think we'd all agree that you don't learn more about who the better player is in 7 minutes as opposed to 8 minutes. Lowering the timer removes filler content and gets to the hypest part of the game sooner.
This sounds like an argument in favor of decreasing stock count, not timer. If you want to get to the end faster, decreasing the timer will only do so in maybe 1% of matches (just an estimate)
 

Nihonjin

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Let me rephrase my question. What exactly are we trying to fix with this rule?

There's not exactly an epidemic of tournaments running late because of the timer being 8 minutes. If this amendment is just for more entertainment from a spectators point of view then I'm 100% against it.

I personally could not care less about whether rules increase or decrease hype. I prioritize competitive integrity above all else and this doesn't really address that at all.

We all know that having a percent or stock lead doesn't necessarily mean you'll come out on top in the end, so rather than forcing the game the pick an ambiguous winner, I think it's better to reach a conclusive ending by having one player lose all their stocks. The only reason I'm not in favor of removing the timer entirely is because we can't allow matches to go on indefinitely (even in theory). 8 minutes is long enough that it's practically a non-factor in the vast majority of matches, but not so long that outliers become a problem for TO's.

So yeah. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm voting against unless we run into an actual problem with the timer being what it is.
 

Nintendude

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This sounds like an argument in favor of decreasing stock count, not timer. If you want to get to the end faster, decreasing the timer will only do so in maybe 1% of matches (just an estimate)
I'm in favor of both, really, but I think that changing stock count is a much more fundamental change than lowering the timer. Also we have no data on it. I would like to see 3 stock / 5 minutes tested at a regional-sized tournament.
Let me rephrase my question. What exactly are we trying to fix with this rule?

There's not exactly an epidemic of tournaments running late because of the timer being 8 minutes. If this amendment is just for more entertainment from a spectators point of view then I'm 100% against it.

I personally could not care less about whether rules increase or decrease hype. I prioritize competitive integrity above all else and this doesn't really address that at all.

We all know that having a percent or stock lead doesn't necessarily mean you'll come out on top in the end, so rather than forcing the game the pick an ambiguous winner, I think it's better to reach a conclusive ending by having one player lose all their stocks. The only reason I'm not in favor of removing the timer entirely is because we can't allow matches to go on indefinitely (even in theory). 8 minutes is long enough that it's practically a non-factor in the vast majority of matches, but not so long that outliers become a problem for TO's.

So yeah. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm voting against unless we run into an actual problem with the timer being what it is.
We are trying to fix matches that take too long for no reason other than the players taking their time simply because they can. It sounds like you do not believe in time as a valid win condition, and that's fine. I think that's one of those philosophical things that you either believe in it or you don't, and if you don't believe in it, I totally understand not supporting a shorter timer. I don't think competitive integrity is affected by the timer at all though. Everyone is still being held to the same rules, with the same tools and win conditions available to them. It's just that with a shorter timer, the alternate win condition would occur more often than it does right now.
 

Dr Peepee

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Waiting is what is done right now usually, but I'd like to add that these longer matches can test players' stamina and help them play slower positions without hurry like they might if they had less time but still wanted to play positional games. Something cool about Melee to me is the choice to play that way, and I believe the higher timer allows it. Even if you don't agree, it's hard for me to say it needs to be changed because of the way it's currently played in the rare cases that do time out just by waiting, and I'd rather let the option stay open for floaty matchups to go longer as well. Not to say I'm against lowering timer/stock count but even then I don't have an issue with our current system so I don't feel change one way or another is a big deal.
 

emilywaves

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I agree with a lot of sentiment above.

- Why change? Don't fix what's not broken.
- Lower timer will lead to increased time outs in the long run as the meta develops

Overall, I'm against the timer change but could be persuaded otherwise. I just haven't heard any really good reasons why we should and implementing this logistically isn't worth any minor benefit.
 

Nintendude

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I guess it's worth asking - what exactly it is about timeouts that you all don't like? Do you not think it's valid in determining the better player? Do you think it's boring? Is it because it "isn't Melee" (and what does that mean?)? How do you reconcile your views with the fact that timeouts currently exist in our competitive format? I'm genuinely curious to hear your thoughts.
 

Dr Peepee

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I'm okay with short timeouts, or long ones that have a lot of prolonged thoughtful interaction between them. Timeouts where it's a long grind without anything happening are what I want to avoid, and keeping a longer timer helps avoid that since most people won't want to just do nothing for longer but lowering the amount could take advantage of the anchoring effect(people notice a lower timer so it would feel shorter to them to attempt stagnating timeouts) among other things. However there is something I don't like about timeouts and that is they force someone to fight instead of allow a position to play out. Someone is already being punished for being behind by being behind in the match: why should we then dictate they lose more for already losing exchanges and being forced to approach by a certain time? In many matches this won't matter, but in more protracted matches I wouldn't want this to happen more often. Maybe it is naive of me to avoid timeouts for this reason since I can't know/control how people will use less time, but as I said before I don't mind there being many short timeouts like in the FGC if we shorten stock/timer and lengthen game count to get similar total amounts of what I believe to be worthwhile interactions.
 

watch(わっち)

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Sorry to be late and my writing is not good sorry.

I think it’s ok to change the timer to 7 because we don’t have a character which need a chargeing time like smash4 Wario. And I don’t think it occurr a big effect to the fighting so much. But a character which can easier to champing or run a away would be possible to try time up than before. Time up would be a
strategy to win, but I think it’s not that fun to look and need time every much so it’s not good for entertainment and tournament running. I think respect for your win beautiful but too much is not good. And if you change the timer to 8-7 I think the tournament running time doesn’t change that much too, because it make easier to challenge for time up win. (If I were puff and the limit was 2minits left I’ll try to kill but if it’s 1minits left I’ll try for time up)And we try a 7minits rule tournament once at a fun event but the running time didn’t changed actually. A lot time up happed and a lot people said first time up was hype to see and play but too many feel tiered and not fun to watch. I don’t know this happens every time and every where but I could not find big benefit. Maybe at a major size would change a lot so I can’t say it strongly.

So what I think about this topic is that
“ If there are no serious error or so many benefit from the changing the rule you don’t have to change it”
 

PracticalTAS

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Just want to throw a little data into this debate. Here is a collection of 25 streamed matches in 2016/2017 that either ended in a timeout or a near-timeout (less than 2 minutes left on the clock when the final KO occurred).

Things to note:
  1. Matches going to time are very rare occurrences. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I couldn't find a lot of examples of matches going to 6 minutes, let alone 8.
  2. The "excessive camping?" column, which was a judgement call on whether I felt one player was clearly playing for a timeout and/or deliberately stalling for a significant portion of the match. These are a minority of the occurrences in the sample, but probably stick out more in people's minds.
  3. The "close ending?" column, which was another judgement call on whether I felt that the existence of a 7 minute timer could have changed the end result of the match. Not all timeouts are close, and not all close matches in the sample end in a timeout.
After looking at the sheet, I feel that changing to 7 minutes is a decision that should be based purely on how we think of time as a win condition.
  • If we want players to think of timeouts as a viable option, then we should cut the timer to 7 or even 6 minutes. We would have more timeouts - some matchups between evenly skilled players would see playing for time become viable after taking the first stock. At the same time, we're saved a minute or two of waiting in the subset of matchups that would end up as timeouts even under 8 minutes. These appear to be a minority among all the matchups that would be affected, but they're important nonetheless.
  • If we want timeouts to remain secondary, then we should keep the timer at 8. This would continue to result in some "checkmate" scenarios like Puff with 3 stocks vs Popo on a large stage, where the ICs player can't feasibly make a comeback even with a lot of time to spare. On the other hand, a decent chunk of the matches on the sheet get to be played out "naturally".
I'm strongly leaning towards keeping the timer at 8, but I'm waiting for a bit more discussion before voting.

Sorry to be late and my writing is not good sorry.
Your writing is not bad, I understood everything you wrote.
 

Marc

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I believe we primarily have a timer out of necessity, to ensure sets end and have some degree of control over how long a tournament can possibly take. Having played Brawl extensively, I don’t consider winning by timeout as uncompetitive, but I do see it as a secondary win condition to getting the opponent to lose all their stocks first. From that experience, I also know that timeouts become more common if they are more easily attainable and that could very well make the average set length go up.

There are outlier matchups where the risk/reward to approach is so poor for either player that the time needed for someone to run out of stocks is far beyond what is practical. Examples here are matchups like Jigglypuff vs Ice Climbers or Jigglypuff vs Young Link, where we have seen timeouts where players weren’t even at their last stock. With the large freedom of movement in Smash, there are also realistic scenarios where someone intentionally running the clock from the start can last for a long time. In my opinion, the timer exists to control that sort of extremity only. I don't think we are in dire need of limiting it further, as those matchups are rare and I doubt many viewers would appreciate the difference 1 minute makes.

Consider that with 4 stocks the main reason we don’t see many matches go beyond the 3-4 minute average is that our metagame is centered around fastfallers, though it might also have to do with community mentality. As a floaty main, I have run into several matchups that naturally go to 6 or 7 minutes without either player attempting to run the clock (Peach vs Doc, Marth or Samus, for example). I feel that if a game doesn’t happen to have a fastfaller, players should still have a realistic chance at fulfilling the primary win condition of winning through stocks. I acknowledge that a large part of that argument is philosophy, but so is the rest of our ruleset!

I also recognize that the actual length of the timer is as arbitrary as the stock count, but the status quo should be favoured if there's no clear-cut reason to change it. Smash takes relatively long, but we still manage to run a lot of events compared to other fighting games (teams, crews, low tier etc.). After 15 years of competitive play the match length doesn’t seem to hold us back, though I could theoretically see Smash being more accessible with faster games. That’s not something lowering the timer by 1 minute addresses however and I have seen no hard evidence of that.
 

TheCrimsonBlur

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Great data PTAS. Helps frame the discussion.

One thing I'll say is that I truly don't think 7 minutes will cause a dramatic shift to more timeouts; frankly, 7 minutes is still a ton of time to conclude a Melee match. Even in matches where there is little camping (I'd point to Hugs - PewPewU on PTAS' list for example), the number of interactions that have occurred by the 7 minute mark is so many that I am more than comfortable saying that the leader at 7 minutes is the rightful winner. Indeed, our high timer is a primary reason why floaty matchups so rarely have upsets: with 8 minutes and best-of-5, there is so much time and so many interactions that the skill difference bears out eventually. A floaty v floaty bo5 is like the equivalent of a fastfaller v fastfaller bo15 lmao.

I'd question the argument which posits that floaty matchups need that many interactions for competitive integrity and our own sanities to be retained. A big reason why floaty matchups are boring is a) there are few upsets because of the aforementioned reasons b) while the first 2 minutes and last 2 minutes are entertaining, the middle 4 are excruciatingly slow. In so many floaty matches, they're -both- camping at the 5 minute and 6 minute marks. At least with a 7 minute timer, 1 of them would approach.

Reality is, 7 minutes is still a very high timer. Personally, like Nintendude, I think 6 minutes might be even better, but I'd rather do the baby step before going all-in.

And for those saying "don't fix what ain't broke," earlier this year we had a ton of timeouts (that seems to have settled down, mostly because Chu is doing worse than he was). Fans hated it, the players didn't feel good about it, and the commentators had to pick up the pieces (source: I was one of the casters. I had to spend half the match stopping Toph from ranting about how lame the match was). I know it can -feel- like there isn't a problem with 8 minutes because on the whole Melee is pretty sick, but that'd be true with 10 minute or 12 minute timers too. The timer doesn't affect 90% of matches unless you make it 5 minutes or less. But the matches that -have- gone 6.5 minutes+ -have- been bad, both from a viewership and a player standpoint, and we haven't done anything to remedy that.

The forest of Melee is dope. The trees (timeout matches) aren't, and haven't been. We're missing the trees for the forest -- that's not how the saying goes, but it's what's going on here. The trees are rare enough that we haven't cultivated them. Indeed, let's be honest, if Melee was only timeout matchups would we have an 8 minute timer? I am quite certain we'd have a lower timer (and probably lower stock counts) ... we wouldn't subject ourselves to 40 minute best-of-5s. We only put up with it now because its so rare and therefore doesn't need "fixing."
 
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GimR

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Probably no voting on this one. Good arguments on both sides and there isn't enough data Imo to support a change. I also don't feel like this particular change is an easy one to have an informed opinion about. It requires a ton of research for one data point and ton speculating on a data point which has almost no data
 

Armada

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Against the idea of changing the timer!

Some MUs naturally take a long time even if you fight and don't even try to time out/play very deffensive.

I personally feel that reducing the timer will lead to way more time outs, I know we don't have "data" but from my experience I can tell it become way easier and if anything matches on average Will turn out longer once people are more used to the timer.

I also don't see any real issue with the current timer so that's another reason I support 8min
 

D1

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Against the idea of changing the timer!

Some MUs naturally take a long time even if you fight and don't even try to time out/play very deffensive.

I personally feel that reducing the timer will lead to way more time outs, I know we don't have "data" but from my experience I can tell it become way easier and if anything matches on average Will turn out longer once people are more used to the timer.

I also don't see any real issue with the current timer so that's another reason I support 8min
Literally this.

It isn't as if every match in Smash 2 goes to time, but if there's an intense match where both players are really evasive and careful with the moment that they decide to commit to an action, it will inevitably go to time. My favorite compromise would 7 minutes if we had to choose.
 

DarkDragoon

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We're calling it here, then.
Going to make the public post about the results now, ending on:
Duck
Gtown Tom
HugS
Anibal
Tafokints
Emilywaves
Hungrybox
Amsah
Marc Hagen
Vro
PracticalTAS
PPMD
SleepyK
Druggedfox
Reno
Hax$
Wobbles
Watch
GIMR
Cactuar
D1
Druggedfox
Leffen
KirbyKaze
MacD

(It didn't pass)
 
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