Monday, May 4, 2015

Rarkthor's Response: Community Comp

Recently, through some advertising on the part of Bell of Lost Souls, I came to find the Community Comp website and packet. While I have seen a wide variety of comp styles in the past, I rarely see one as detailed and thorough as this one. I will give credit where credit is due; these gentlemen really took the time to evaluate the codicies and other rules set and attribute point values for their inclusion in army lists.

In the simplest way I can explain the system, units and wargear deemed to be over the top or excessive in power level have been attributed point values based on a number of criteria. Sometimes the criteria is a matter of certain armor values or unit types like Flying Monstrous Creatures. The criteria is sometimes codex level, with specific units and relics being targeted as too powerful. All of these points lead to a army power level determined by these metrics. According to the designers of Community Comp, tournament level lists approximately earn 8-12 points, with 20 being the cap. The designers also encourage the spending of points, but they also include a metric to convert these point scores into an overall Comp score for a tournament.

This is where I take issue. I do not mind comp systems, as I find it gives my brain a nice little workout to create a different list that falls within this set of rules. I, of course, still want to build a list that functions well together and can compete with the best, but I accept that some limitations to make another person happy is OK. It is, however, an issue when someone brings a list that intends to take advantage of the comp system points for a higher lead overall in the tournament. I strongly believe that a comp score should be a very small impact or perhaps even reserved as a tiebreaker. At that point, I find that a player bringing a less powerful list and doing well is worth breaking the tie. This feeling is very similar to my stance on Best Sportsman. In case of a tie, I feel that the person with a lower record is deserving of the prize. It is a positive quality to win with class, but perhaps an even greater positive quality to lose with class.

The 40k community that is slowly being revived in the Southern West Virginia area has suggested using this packet for larger point 40k events. This seems OK, if a majority of the community wants to see this packet being used. The crowd, however, at Arkham Games would likely not change much if the comp packet was being used. In my mind then, why use the packet if the community is already happy with the status of the game? For the folks in Australia, it seems that this Community Comp helped to revitalize tournaments in their area of the globe. This is great! I don't know if I believe it would solve much of the attendance issues at Arkham.

My final concern is one of metas and the complaining of the player base. As a Tournament Organizer, I have definitely felt the repercussions of an unhappy tournament goer's experience. In some cases, the complaints were legitimate issues. In a majority of the time, it was a matter of personal preference or some gripe that the attendee had with the system or an opponent. The Comp system, in my mind, would need to serve as an effective solution to these concerns. Effective, in my mind, would be a reduction of complaints regarding imbalance by at least 50%. I really truly doubt that more than 50% of the complaints would be resolved by implementing this system. In fact, I think it would create new complaints concerning an altered and artificial meta, along with complaints of overall restrictions being placed on their models.

I will add this caveat. We will not know for a fact unless we try, and I accept that as a truth of the matter. I do think though that through the human power of foresight and forward thinking, this would not be a solution I would want to implement currently in either of the 40k groups to which I belong. This may be changing soon with the advance of Eldar and some crazy combinations afforded in that book, but at this time, Community Comp is not where I'd like to be.

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