CAP 4 (Aurumoth) Post-mortem: Which competitive step did we screw up on the most?

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A point of order is I don't think it's really possible to go wrong competitively at the concept itself. Ever since we made concepts more concrete in asking for questions and descriptions, I think all of our concepts have been up to snuff.

I think we were on track when we selected Weak Armor, but ironically since that wasn't one of BMB's favorites, at that point he lost all appetite for guiding it because it wouldn't end up with whatever he wanted. I still think the concept assessment was where it went wrong because we ended up with nothing concrete we could use to hold BMB accountable, but I don't think the concept itself was necessarily the error.
Look, the concept of risk is universal regardless of how much luck a game is perceived to have. There is luck that you cannot control at all: the hand you get in poker, your starting position in StarCraft, the kind of turnip that Peach will pull out in Super Smash Bros., whether Focus Blast will hit or not in Pokemon. On the other hand, there is skill in the ability to make smart decisions. Sure, there still is luck involved whenever you make a decision. Why did that guy raise? Is my opponent going to go standard build against me or try some ballsy play like Dark Templar rush? Will Fox recover high or low? Notice that there is luck involved even in these "skill-based" situations, such that sometimes the end comes down entirely to the equivalent of a rock-paper-scissors throw. But surely you see the difference between luck as something that no one controls, and luck as a psychological factor?

Sure, there are things about my concept submission that I felt could have been clearer. For example, I kind of regret mentioning prediction at all, even though my submission was meant to be an improvement on similar submissions that had been made in the past. So I understand the two or three people who have come up and asked for clarification on what I meant by risk without luck. I was happy to explain it to them. Yet, it puzzles me that someone would so fervently deny the very existence of a concept that is universal in games of strategy, including something as simple as iterated rock-paper-scissors or iterated prisoner's dilemma.

I'm not suggesting that my concept was the best concept that could have been chosen. I'm saying that blaming the concept in post-mortem sets what I think is a dangerous precedent. If a concept is along the lines of what people want to explore, but it's not clear to some or many people, I'd still consider that a good concept worth pursuing. The whole point of concept assessment is to set a clear initial direction. To me, blaming the concept for being unclear (and it's difficult to be completely clear to everyone) is tantamount to saying that concept assessment is a pointless stage and that concepts themselves should be severely limited to exploring things that are already clear to us. That, to me, would be just kind of fun at best, and a counterproductive circlejerk at worst. I'm not saying that doing what we already know is bad, just that doing what we already know all the time is pointless.

What I don't get is when people go along the lines of, "This concept is pointless without factoring in luck. Isn't risk all about luck? In high-level play, both players are aware of the potential consequences of..." Wait! IN HIGH-LEVEL PLAY! Why didn't this come up during the project? Ever? Why did we not have a legitimate discussion on how high-level play works? Didn't people see that this is what concepts like momentum and risk aim to achieve?


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I suppose you could blame the concept, for being unclear, or the assessment, for failing to make it clear. They're the same thing really. However, having thought about it a little bit, the concept assessment would be the easier place to fix the issue.

The problem with the concept assessment is that, to actually find out the conclusions, the clarified concept, it seems that you have to read an enormous wall of text (aside from those actually posting in the thread, I'm sure I read more than most). One should not have to delve into such a long thread to find clear definitions of the words used in the concept.

Perhaps if a short summary of the concept assessment could appear in the OP of each thread, along with the initial submission? Because at the moment, I'm sure most people are interpreting the concept based merely on the post initially submitted by capefeather.


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I suppose you could blame the concept, for being unclear, or the assessment, for failing to make it clear. They're the same thing really.
I would just like to emphasize that there was absolutely nothing wrong with capefeather's concept. And to suggest that those two ideas are equivalent is patently false. We have taken less clear concepts (see Momentum and Tomohawk) and done fantastically. We also have taken very specific concepts (see Sketch Artist and Necturna) and done fantastically. The success of a project has to do with clear assessment of concept and an at least somewhat sense of unity behind a general path to take.

There is no need to stick to plain, obvious, straightforward concepts when we are a community about learning and pushing boundaries. We should be capable of doing better when taking that route than we did in the case of Aurumoth. I will not argue that point. But the issue has absolute zero relevance to the concept itself.

What took over Aurumoth was a vague and nearly useless concept assessment stage that basically enabled the TL to continue to push an agenda, since no clear path had crystallized with which to oppose him.
Back when Aurumoth was just a concept and some numbers, I was a bit naively optimistic. I wasn't sure how it could be anything other than risky with a Bug/Psychic typing. I thought No Guard would be the most viable and popular ability. I voted for the absurd movepool it ended up with. It wasn't until I dove into the new post-CAP4 playtest meta and started battling against it that I realized what Aurumoth was.

I remember there was sort of a new concept floating around during the movepool stage, that Aurumoth should have no hard counter but plenty of situational checks. That is much closer to what Aurumoth ended up being than the original concept, and I believe this divergence is what harmed it the most. Facing Aurumoth forces me to play extra safe until it is eliminated, and that alone mitigates risk somewhat for the Aurumoth user throughout much of the battle whether they realize it or not. The sheer number of possible sets makes hard prediction (and thus, hard counter) all but impossible. When used smartly, Aurumoth has consistently guaranteed at least one KO against my team, and I suspect it does the same against many other teams/battlers. I've rarely found it to be devastating but I see very little "risky business" in using it the way most players do.

However, I think Aurumoth being so versatile allows for a lot of creative set and team building, and several Aurumoth users have gotten a "that's pretty clever!" out of me. I don't see Aurumoth as a complete failure competitively and I don't think its boosting moves are the worst part of its movepool. I also don't find it to be anywhere near as annoying as Krillowhatthefuckthisthingneverdies, so I guess that's something.

EDIT: There's something else I forgot to mention. I think the rule about the number of total moves and very good moves allowed was unhelpful. Rather than a large, suitable movepool that fit the flavor and didn't necessarily have all that many amazing options, Aurumoth's movepool ended up getting stuffed with nothing but the very best. I did attempt to create a movepool for it but found the limits to be restrictive. I know I said the boosting moves weren't the worst part, but consider this: Swords dance, agility, calm mind, nasty plot, and cosmic power are all VGMs and none of them are as good as what Aurumoth ended up with. It would have required much more thought and consideration to use Aurumoth effectively if it had gotten all of those instead of just the big three. These kinds of changes from top to bottom would have been beneficial. Submission, Reversal, and Superpower instead of CC, Flame Charge instead of Overheat, Aqua Tail and Water Pulse instead of Surf, Grass Knot, Charge Beam, Ancientpower, Signal Beam, and so on.
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