It looks like there's lots of interest in "The Win Formula" as an April Fool's joke. And since I seem to be ringleading this particular idea, I might as well do it right. This joke needs a lot of setup, otherwise it will probably fail horribly. This needs an organized approach. I'm going to treat this like a performance -- an "April Fools Play", if you will. And like any good performance, we need a script and we need a cast. For those of you who hate tl;dr and don't really want to get too deep into this -- just skim the script and cast, you'll get the gist of it. Here's the general outline of the script: Introduction (~March 10th) X-Act makes a new thread in Policy Review. The OP follows this general outline: Smogon has had a long-standing dislike of hax, and has used clauses and bans to curb luck's influence over battle outcomes He has an idea for a mathematical formula that could be used to ensure battle outcomes are more fair The formula would be calculated at the end of a normal battle, and would be used to declare the winner. "Fainting your opponent's team will end the battle -- but it will not necessarily mean you won the match." The formula will determine the winner. List general variables and assumptions for the formula Ask for input and help Do not make any assumptions about the formula being implemented on the battle server. Just get the conversation started. Act 1 (March 10-15) Badgeholders comment on X-Act's proposal. Since this is so controversial, almost everyone needs to express initial hesitance about this idea. But two things should be the foundation for optimism: A total hatred of hax Confidence in X-Act and others that the problem can be solved The early discussion should focus on the primal question, "Is hax an inherent part of competitive pokemon?". This question is debated from time to time anyway, so I don't think you guys will have much trouble putting on a good show here. Later in the week, we need to introduce some of our "Heroes". Early on, heroes will not get emotional in the debate, but will focus on wanting to help develop the formula. Heroes need to have a history of contributing in detailed Smogon projects We need to make sure not to post too much in the early going. It needs to be realistic. If X-Act really posted something like this, many of you would probably ignore it or pass it off as stupid math mumbo-jumbo. So that's exactly what we are going to do here. Things will start heating up in Act 2. Act 2 (March 16-22) This is where we start talking about implementing some form of win formula on the Smogon University server. I'll make a post that I've been thinking about something like this for a long time, and X-Act's formula has piqued my interest. I'll say that I'd love to implement it, if we can make a workable formula. As soon as I "jump the gun" and start talking about implementing it, that's where we introduce our "Villains". These people may have commented in the previous act, but preferably not. They are going to be vehemently opposed to the idea. They've ignored the idea because it's dumb. But now that it's getting serious, they have to speak up. Comments should not get too nasty at this point, since nothing has been committed The Heroes will continue to develop the formula -- introducing new variables, and working out the specific mechanics of the equation. By the end of Act 2, the formula should have the appearance of being quite thorough and robust. The regular "Hax vs No-hax" debate should continue normally. People with a history of playing quote-reply ping pong in PR debates, should do so here. It helps spam up the thread sufficiently to make it difficult for the general public to really get any good grasp of what the hell is going on. For the casual, uninterested Smogoner, the thread should look like some "boring theorymon debate in PR". Act 3 (March 23-31) Here's where the setup really gets some momentum. The Admins (preferably Jumpman and Aeolus) decide that this idea has enough community interest to warrant testing. It will be inserted in the order of operations. It will be mentioned that it would not impact any current suspect testing, so it could take place in parallel on the Suspect ladder. To really light the afterburner on this, The Admins decide to implement the Win Formula on the Suspect ladder after the close of monthly stats. People need to be careful to avoid specific mention of the date "April 1st" -- it's too much of a reminder about April Fools Day. Instead, use phrases like "beginning next month", "when the new ladder opens", etc. The Villains kick into high gear in the latter parts of Act 3. As it becomes imminent that this is really going to happen, the Villains need to turn up the drama. Near the end of Act 3, The Admins will announce how long the test will take place, and it will be very short. The short timeframe and the assumption of community support should piss off the silent majority to no end. A strategically-placed thread should be opened in Stark Mountain by someone without PR access who opposes the idea -- if it doesn't happen naturally. Let the thread get a couple of posts and then lock it, with some heavy-handed comment by a moderator. At this point, we should dust off a few "Wise Old Veterans". They will lament about the historical impact of hax on the metagame. They will reassure the community that this formula is simply the latest step in a long line of measures Smogon has taken over the years to ensure that skill is the primary deciding factor in competitive play. Phrases like "Even though I don't play Pokemon any more..." and "I remember back in GSC..." -- will probably be used liberally. Closing Act (April 1st) As an April Fools red herring, the Smogon front page will be translated into Portuguese. Jumpman will make an official discussion thread in Stark Mountain titled "np: Anti-Hax Clause". This will be the thread for the general public to discuss the new "Win Formula". The OP of the thread will contain the first mention of a "unpublished variable" in the formula. A new clause will be implemented on the Suspect Ladder. Some people in IS have been confused about the clause that will be implemented, so let me be clear -- we WILL NOT implement any fancy formula in Shoddy battle. We WILL tell the community that we have implemented the elaborate formula on the server. What we will REALLY implement is a very simple formula that does the following: If the battle ends 2-0 or 1-0, the system will randomly choose the winner - each player has a 50-50 chance. That's it. No complicated math, no logic whatsoever. The first time a player "loses" a match where they fainted the opponents team -- they will go ballistic. The "winner" will likely defend the "quality of their play", and accuse the other side of "getting too much hax". Others will investigate the details of the formula and call the formula designers idiots. Other people will accuse the system of being glitched. Hilarity ensues. Finale The play ends with the arrival of the "White Knight". The White Knight will reveal the "hidden variable" in the formula. They will also publish the formula for a win in simplified form, so even the layman can understand it. They will assemble pieces of information from the formula thread and other discussions, but will keep it very straightforward as they present each key variable in the formula. Something like this: The End. (roll credits) --------------------------- So that's the general script. What we need now is a cast. Since this isn't really a play, the roles are very vague. We're all "playing ourselves". But, I think it would help if we have an idea of the general roles we need fulfilled to pull this off. I envision the following roles listed below, but there may be more. Feel free to post ideas, if you think something is missing. Like everything else, I'm sure we'll make it up as we go along. In general, there are two classes of characters in the play: Heroes - People in favor of the formula, and working to get it implemented. Villains - People opposed to the formula. Here are some of the roles that need to be played. With the exception of the White Knight, each role can (and should) have more than one actor. Some people will play multiple roles. "Action Hero" - They help out and work to implement change in the community. They move the story along by causing things to happen. Action heroes probably need to be members of forum staff. "Mad Scientist" - Technical types that are fascinated with the formula, implementation, and theory. Should have a certain detached aloofness as it pertains to the real impact on battlers and the metagame. "Melodrama Hero" & "Melodrama Villain" - They add drama by getting emotional with their arguments, and/or personal with their attacks. We can't have too many of these, or it will look contrived. "Theorymon Hero" & "Theorymon Villain" - Characters with little current battle experience that support/oppose the formula based on theory. They use hypothetical situations and not-always-current battle strategies to support their arguments. "Battling Hero" & "Battling Villain" - People that battle actively and support/oppose the formula based on their assumptions of how the formula will impact their actual teams and battles. They refer to the latest-and-greatest battle strategies to support their arguments. "Drive-By Hero" & "Drive-By Villain" - Periodically make very short, unsubstantiated posts to support/oppose the formula. "Wise Old Veteran" - Lends sage advice and historical perspective "Grumpy Old Veteran" - Opposes change. Wishes we could go back to the way things were. Crotchety assholes. "Pedantic Ping-Pong Poster" - People who spam up discussion threads by quote-replying to their opponent repeatedly. At least two are required for a game of ping-pong. They endlessly argue over near-irrelevant nuances of words and arguments. "Extras" - General discussion posters who amplify high points of the story by posting "on cue". Whenever something impactful is posted by the main actors, we may need to have some "filler" posted by the Extras, in support or opposition to the key post. "White Knight" - The deus ex machina of our play. -------------------------------- So, that's the plan. I'm totally open to suggestions, and I'm sure we'll change this up as we go. I don't want to be a drill sergeant, since this is meant to be fun. For those of you interested in playing a part, post in this thread. The post immediately below this one will list the specific members of the cast, so we'll know who is who. Be aware that we need more heroes than villains, since the basic premise of this joke is that we are actually supporting this ridiculous idea. Also, when asking for a role, try to make a realistic assessment of your general public profile. If you are traditionally "logical" on Smogon, you can't play a "Melodrama Villain". If you are a newcomer to Smogon, you can't play a "Wise Old Veteran". If you haven't been active in Policy Review or the Smogon battling community, then don't think you can suddenly spring up and be a key actor here. Be realistic. Feel free to suggest people that you think would be good for certain roles. Lastly, please don't reveal this to anyone. Keeping a secret like this for an entire month will be quite difficult. But, if the secret gets out that it is a prank, then it will all be for naught. Hopefully, everyone reading this will keep this discussion STRICTLY in indiescoop. As directors like to say, "Quiet on set!"