Highlander Season 9 Survey Results

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  • Highlander Season 9 Survey Results

    This article was delayed due to family matters and illness. I apologize for the delay.

    Skill Range and Team Count

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    Skill range and team count for each division was in a good spot last season.

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    Newcomer through IM felt the skill range was slightly too big, however this is to be expected lower level teams tend to grow at different rates.

    Admins and Sandbagging

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    Admin interactions were positive and when needed admins were east to get a hold of. Players also felt like, for the most part, decisions of the admin team were reasonable.

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    Our anti-sandbagging policies were generally effective, however some players felt we were too lax on restrictions. The divisions where players felt we were too lax on restrictions were Newcomer, Amateur, and Main. We will look into methods of improving out sandbagging measures in these divisions.

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    Players currently don’t want to play more than 1 map per week, so this suggestion will be but on the backburner. There is discussion to possibly had about when the extra match may happen and if that would change opinions of this, but that wont be for sometime.

    Map Results

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    Vigil was the map with the highest “Very Enjoyable” votes out of the Season 9 maps. A whopping 81% of players found the map enjoyable. This is a 10% increase compared to last season with a 71% enjoyment vote.

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    Ashville was voted the most enjoyable Season 9 map, barely beating out Vigil with 82% of players enjoying the map. Compared to Vigil, Ashville had a small 4% bump in player enjoyment compared to last season.

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    Swiftwater had a slight increase in enjoyability at 63%, a 3% increase from last season.

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    Nothing too notable with Product with it’s 67% enjoyment rating. This is a 5% decrease compared to last season.

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    Again, nothing too notable with Upward. With an enjoyment rating of 72%, it had a slight decrease of enjoyment of 6% compared to last season.

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    The new Cascade did not fare well in it’s first season in rotation, with a 42% enjoyment rating. Coincidentally, this is the same enjoyment rating Lakeside received last season.

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    Steel is surprisingly the 3rd highest rated map out of the Season 9 maps, with a 74% enjoyment rating. This is an 8% increase from last season.

    Some interesting Tidbits

    As you decreased in divisions, new Cascade’s enjoyment rating steadily rose

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    Interestingly, although Invite players have called for Upward and Product’s removal from the map pool, they are still voted very favorably.


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    Players are interested in having a cup focused on whitelist changes. Be on the lookout for a possible poll on which weapons should be tested to be unbanned.

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    Invite players REALLY do not want to move to “LAN” style playoff structure, with all matches being played over 1 weekend.

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    A close vote that resulted in players wanting to keep the current playoff structure.

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    70% of players from IM to Invite are interested in having their division become a paid division and playing for a prize pool. Be on the lookout in 2022 for more info regarding this!

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    Since Challenger was removed it is impossible make it either Round Robin or Swiss, however should it have stuck around it would have been Round Robin like previous seasons.

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    With the removal of Challenger, players voted to have Advanced be a Round Robin format, so why isn’t it? With the survey results in hand, the admin team had a discussion about which format to use. With removing Challenger, we ran into some issues with team placements. Removing Challenger essentially shifts teams down a division and has the potential to create unfair player restrictions and unbalanced divisions.

    Assuming 6 out of the 8 Challenger teams live or are remade to be similar in skill as the dead teams, this would leave 2 spots open for teams from the old Advanced. One of those spots would be taken by the Main winners from last season, and the other possibly taken by the Advanced winners from last season. This would place every team from the 2nd place Advanced team and below into Main. This would lead to one of 2 scenarios: the first being we leave the high Advanced teams unrestricted, breaking our own sandbagging rules, and letting them completely roll the division. The second scenario being we follow our sandbagging rules and place unfair restrictions on them because they are in playing in a lower division not of their own accord. There is a high chance multiple teams would die due these restrictions.

    With Advanced being a 12 team swiss this issue is solved. You take all the would-be Challenger teams and place them into Advanced, and you take the top Advanced teams from last season and keep them in advanced. The lower Advanced teams then get moved down to Main, increasing the skill range of the division.

    Another minor issue that we ran into was the possibly of an invite off class team happening. While we don’t mind invite off class teams happening, they are typically seen as “less serious” than teams with players of the appropriate skill on their mains. With Advanced at 8 teams, this would lead to either a less serious team taking the space of a team that wants to play seriously and improve, or the invite off class team would have been placed in Main, where we typically restrict invite players to only medic.

    During the discussion, the majority rule in favor of a 12 team Advanced. In addition to this, there were admins that felt Round Robin would be better, but with Challenger being removed 12 team Swiss would be the better option.

    Ok, but why is it 14 now?

    As I was out of town with family issues on September 17th when this decision was made, I was unable to provide my input on this situation. I reached out to the Advanced Admin @Joey-Lemons for a comment:

    “Regarding 14 team advanced, there were a few reasons for that being the direction we ended up going in. With the deletion of challenger, it created some obstacles for team placement that we would end up having to make compromises for one way or another. For example, with the division above main being removed or made smaller depending on how you look at it, moving up the main winners became a problem. We want to reward teams for winning their div with a moveup, however this put them in above other teams we would have personally chosen based on skill alone, complicating the placements. Another contributor to this was legacy teams returning in both invite and advanced that belonged in those divs, forcing other teams further down in seeding than they may have been in season 9. So again, there were teams that had solid performances in advanced of season 9 that we had to debate between placing in main or advanced this season. With what we had to work with, we believed the expansion to 14 teams was the cleanest solution to avoid being unfair to teams with achievements from the previous season. In hindsight we are aware that this change still ended up upsetting a good chunk of players and we will absolutely take this into account for our decision making going forward and for next season. We hope this shed some light on why we chose to expand from advanced 12 to 14 teams this season.”

    We hope this sheds some light on the decisions to make Advanced a 14 team Swiss.

    Original article: https://rgl.gg/?r=24&a=1584

  • Replying on mobile so I can’t format super well

    So we remove challenger. Ok. Now rgl has the issue “the advances teams sandbag in main” and “the advanced teams get too heavily restricted in main”.

    Eureka! If we make advanced swiss then we can fit more teams! 12 team swiss means we can take the top half of advanced and put it into new advanced, and take the bottom half of advanced and shove it into main.

    Do you know how you solve this dilemma in a smart way? You don’t fucking remove challenger in the first place. 14 teams are in advanced. You divide by 2 and wow u have 2 sets of 7 teams. If we add in 2 main teams to the mix, you suddenly have 2 perfect 8 team divisions that are both round robin.

    You created the problem and then resolved it in quite possible the worst way possible.

    Also kinda crazy how u reach to joey lemons for an answer on why adv was 14 team swiss when he didnt even want swiss adv in the first place. It genuinely seems like ur just trying to shift the blame away to the dude who actually wanted adv to be RR, even though he didn’t cause the problem in the first place.

    I didn’t think it was possible for me to be so disappointed with the direction of hl that I would genuinely consider rejoining staff if I didn’t have uni.

  • @Micahlele I aren’t read that.

  • @Micahlele I Agree With Micahlele

  • I am just interested in hearing why Challenger was removed.

    @WiLLmaTiC said in Highlander Season 9 Survey Results:

    70% of players from IM to Invite are interested in having their division become a paid division and playing for a prize pool. Be on the lookout in 2022 for more info regarding this!

    This is something I am genuinely excited for.

    It is nice to know that my favorite map poll I did Here aligns really well with the league poll results. It also matches the changes from when I ran it last time as well.

  • @Mothership

    I, too, would like to see a paid structure for highlander! I’m just a little disappointed by the lack of options for that poll in particular. It essentially asked if we’d like all these divisions to be paid or none at all. Personally, I would rather have all divisions with a hard team cap(such as 8 team round-robin divs) have winnings and make the swiss divisions free, but that might just be a hot take

  • @Constantly I don’t know if there is room for something like that. I think just copy pasting the 6’s payment structure is what is best if we want to take HL seriously.

  • @Constantly This wasn’t meant to be a final decision question, but one to gather interest. The earliest we’d consider doing this is 2022, but we’d want to make sure that the community has clear support for it. So it’s absolutely something we’d survey in more detail, as we get closer to figuring out if this is something that can actually be accomplished.

  • in relation to both paid divisions and round-robin

    make all RR divisions paid + prize pool > include a deposit ($15 per main?) in addition to div fee > players lose their deposit if teams die

    enable paid RR divs while also disincentivizing team deaths, 2 birds 1 stone

  • @Mothership said in Highlander Season 9 Survey Results:

    I am just interested in hearing why Challenger was removed.

    I would actually like to know the answer to this if @WiLLmaTiC or @Joey-Lemons would be willing to explain.

  • Seconded since I know Joey wanted challenger and advanced to be RR.

  • @Mothership don’t lay the blame on Joey. He was not even the Advanced admin when the “delete challenger” meeting was held; I was the Advanced admin and joey was the moderator. This was around the end of S9.

    Why was Challenger removed?

    I don’t want to come across as a “whistleblower” and burn massive bridges with RGL. There are good people in RGL and a lot of people work awfully hard to make the league the best it can be (in their opinion) and I have avoided speaking up on the issue because I don’t want to drag the name of RGL through the mud. I already raised my concerns to certain staff members on my way out the door after the meeting (I was already planning on stepping down before the remove challenger meeting anyways) and was told changes would be made.

    Just as a note, my memory isn’t the best in general, but I’ll try my best to give the community info, because I think this information is in the public interest.

    Only a handful of HL staff members were at the meeting and most either didn’t talk or didn’t have particularly strong opinions on the matter. Willmatic and Ire were absolutely for removing Challenger. I don’t know who exactly originated the idea, but I know that Exa and Willmatic before the start of Season 9 had been discussing it already, though nothing came to fruition. The proponents of Challenger were Joey and I, though had Johnny been at the meeting (he had some kind of emergency to deal with I think), the meeting might’ve gone differently.

    I unfortunately don’t remember the arguments too clearly, so I’m sure Ire or Will could expand on them, but they were something along lines of:

    1. It would help limit sandbagging
      They didn’t want Invite players sandbagging in Challenger and maybe they thought that if there were more teams in the “new Advanced” to replace Chal, it would be a less prestigious div and thus they could be more aggressive with class restrictions. The logical counter to this was just to aggressively class restrict sandbaggers in the first place, you don’t need more teams in a div to decide to do that.

    2. It would make invite stronger
      Invite players that wouldn’t be allowed to sandbag would thus be forced to play in Invite if they wanted to play at all. I’m sure they had a better argument than something as lame as that, because I don’t think the reason for Invite being weak in S9 had too much to do with sandbagging, it was mostly just an odd season where quite a few big name players decided to take a break for whatever reason. Even then, would you consider invite players playing anything other than invite sandbagging? I wouldn’t consider these guys sandbaggers, and there were several teams of this nature floating around in S9

    3. Removing Div 1/Div 2 had a positive benefit in 6s
      I don’t know 6s very much, but Ire assured us that removing Div 1 and Div 2 had the above effects in 6s.

    I don’t want to make this even longer than it already is to going to be, but let’s just say it didn’t feel like the four of us had reached a strong agreement on anything by the end of the meeting, other than Challenger in S9 sucked and might need some tweaks/looking at in S10. That was it.

    Though I generally disagree with the reasoning behind removing Chal, I think if the majority of the staff agreed on it, I’d be okay with it as a decision. However, as I stated, the majority of the discussion were just Ire + Will vs. Joey and me. That’s not really good, because Willmatic had a conflict of interest as a player. I suppose you could say that Joey and I both had conflicts of interest too as we were playing HL anyways and removing Challenger could have ripple effects on our upcoming season (even though I knew I wasn’t going to be playing S10 anyways due to a vacation).

    Willmatic’s team had somehow been directly invited to Challenger in S9 rather than having to do a qualifier and did very poorly. I don’t think he did particularly bad, but this was the third season in a row and the fourth season in the past five where his team had either died because they did so poorly or finished towards the bottom of the league table. There was a good chance he’d have trouble finding another Challenger/RR Advanced team, aka one of the 8 teams directly below Invite. If Challenger was deleted and the Advanced that replaced it was swiss system, he would mostly likely not really be “demoted” a div; he’d still get to play against the same players and showcase his skills. This happened pretty much exactly in S10, coincidentally.

    This is NOT to say that Will acted maliciously. But the way conflict of interest works is that you should act to avoid having even the idea enter your brain as a third-party that some outcome could potentially be corrupted. Even if Will acted ethically (which I like to believe he did), it would be absolutely impossible for him to suppress the thought in the back of his head saying “actually it might be better for your career if Challenger is gone” while being involved in the debate on whether or not Challenger should be deleted.

    YET, he was the one leading, actively participating in, suggesting, and scheduling the “remove challenger” meeting! In a universe where RGL avoided conflicts of interest like these (and where Johnny didn’t have an emergency), the meeting would have been Ire vs. Me, Johnny, and Joey, and the HL staff members would have informed Will (who even though he was head admin, he would’ve had 0 involvement in this decision) that Challenger would be staying, or at the very least would only be deleted if there weren’t enough suitable teams at the end of signups.

    Instead, shortly after, we saw a banner up on the site that Challenger was to be removed before signups were even close to done and no one from staff I talked to even saw the results of the survey until they were leaked. I’m sorry Will, I understand we all have irl problems and stuff like that, but you had multiple pages of logs from the end of season 9 until you posted the survey results. You didn’t even need to type a write-up, all you had to do was post a link in the staff discord. If you can log onto to scrim, you can post a link. We wouldn’t have to speculate as to why/if you were hiding the survey results from us if steps were taken to avoid this potential conflict of interest.

    I have already made my feelings about this known to RGL, and I was informed that RGL would take steps to ensure that this level of potential conflict of interest would never happen again, but I feel too dirty being one of the only people in the know about this important issue and not letting the community know.

  • @tua I appreciate the enlightening response, However I am not blaming anyone. I only pinged the two people who would most likely have the best idea on why challenger was removed.

    And upon reading your response, I am even more interested in hearing from anyone from the HL staff who is willing to talk to us.

    I honestly think that the big issue of 14 team advanced which got a lot of people upset is something that a direct and foreseeable issue from removing challenger. And ignoring the reasoning behind the removal of challenger, it begs to ask what the future of that division will be. Everyone agrees that RR is better than swiss, especially in Invite and the div that feeds it. However what are we going to do next season when we have similarly skilled teams to this season? Are we just going to keep advanced as swiss going forward? Are we going to slowly adjust the division back to RR? Or just full on RR next season, number of teams be damned to main?

    I view all of those issues you brought up with challenger as simple growing pains, and if anything just an issue with the naming scheme as people should of realized that challenger was just old advanced, and new advanced was just a split main, but I guess most players did not realize that.

    I digress. These issues and repercussions of removing challenger are things that should of been forseen by anyone, and I am concerned about the plan for next season and what the plan to deal with them will be.

  • @Mothership said in Highlander Season 9 Survey Results:

    @Mothership said in Highlander Season 9 Survey Results:

    I am just interested in hearing why Challenger was removed.

    I would actually like to know the answer to this if @WiLLmaTiC or @Joey-Lemons would be willing to explain.

    @JohhnyFromCali said in Highlander Season 9 Survey Results:

    Seconded since I know Joey wanted challenger and advanced to be RR.

    The answer was actually posted in the s10 announcement article.

    @WiLLmaTiC said in Highlander Season 10 Changes and Map List:


    Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Challenger. As many of you are aware Challenger will not be returning for Season 10. Initially, Challenger was created as an overflow division for low Invite teams that did not make the invite cut to use their roster without restrictions, and for the high advanced teams that could keep up with the low Invite teams. In reality, the low Invite teams decided to play Challenger instead of Invite together for easier matches. Many of these issues were also seen when 6s added its “Div-1” and “Div-2”. After the removal of both divisions, large improvements were seen to the health in Invite in the following seasons.

    With the removal of Challenger, a discussion was had regarding the format of Advanced. The admins concluded that Advanced will be a 12 team Swiss with a Top 6 Single Elimination Playoff Bracket. The Swiss structure over Round Robin was decided as having Advanced Round Robin will both upset Advanced teams that are now either pushed out into Main or having to fight to stay in Advanced. Also, with how often teams die, a team dying in Round Robin has the potential to cause major issues if a team dies early in the season.

  • @Mothership the issue i have with this is not that advanced ended up being 12 teams, but that it was arbitrarily expanded to 14 teams because a certain team involving a man, we will call him billy automation, and some other teams that complained enough (and are now at the bottom of the division) didn’t want to play main because main for whatever reason has this weird stigma attached to it.

    challenger being killed did not make invite better, invite would have gotten better without removing it, it didn’t make advanced better. all it did was fuck up advanced.

    also having to wait almost a month for someone to leak survey results is, for lack of a wetter bird, sub optimal.

  • @cayorne I 100% agree with you despite not knowing anything about the billy guy.

  • Adv this season has had an extreme gap in skill, to the point its even been better to scrim main teams rather than those in my own div. I’m pretty indifferent about challenger existing or not. I’m inclined to remove it for the benefits that was stated, but not for the sacrifice that adv turned into. It really is kinda sus when it takes a month to release survey results. Even if the intentions are pure, it does nothing but cast a shadow of doubt.

    Going forward I don’t care if challenger is returned or if adv is RR and main then becomes a larger div. That might push the problems from adv down into main but its more handled to deal with it in the first place anyway. No matter the decision I’d rather it be upheld rather than last minute changed and then last second expanded again

  • @tua god i love you tua

    also I figured I would make this known that willmatic had half the dates wrong on the s10 announcement article despite me handing the season start and end dates to him in April. I planned out the entire year of HL date wise and somehow it was still screwed up.

    willmatic has fucked up HL so many times in so many different regards that I’d be genuinely surprised if rgl doesn’t do something about it come s11

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