The Identity of WCoP

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Amaranth

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hello. here's a bunch of musings / observations about WCoP that I think are important to share and discuss.

WCoP's identity was never too well defined, conceptually speaking. it started as just "a World Cup", went through a bunch of iterations before settling on a format on its fourth year (2009) and largely keeping it stable from there all the way through to today.
However, the landscape of WCoP has evolved quite a bit in that time, to a point where I think it's important to have a discussion about what WCoP should be, and have principles that we can use for future rulings. and in this sense, there are two opposing viewpoints I've mainly come across in the community. WCoP's current format and rulings are stuck between the two, and I think it would save everyone very many headaches if we agreed on one of the two in an official manner.
I acknowledge people aren't binary and you, the individual reader going through this post, will probably find yourself somewhere inbetween the two viewpoints. That's by design - the viewpoints I describe here are abstract, high concept, ideal.

Viewpoint A: The 16-team Tournament
This is the 'old school' view. The core principle here is that, in the interest of competitiveness, it would be best to have 16 teams as close in strength as possible playing in Main Event. It makes things more exciting, balanced, and trophies more accessible, if everyone is eligible to a team that's at least somewhat competitive, and the main event only features teams with potential to win it all.
In this view, philosophically, we should adapt the following systems. Some of them are still seen as extremely sensible, some less so, but they all, conceptually, serve this view:
1. We split the US teams in 4 for balance
2. We create the main Continental Teams (Latin America, Europe, Asia)
2.b We allow New Zealand + Australia for Oceania, and Africa + Middle East for Afrabs, since those teams are (or at least can be / used to be) significantly more competitive if they are made these allowances. Other regional groupings such as Benelux etc. are also seen as acceptable and even beneficial to the competition.
3. We fill the remaining slots with the strongest countries that can stand alone.
4. Eligibility rules are looser, to allow most if not all top players a chance at starting on a main event quality team.
The result of viewpoint A is a tournament where there's 16 teams at most. Great players from smaller countries simply flood to the continental teams; great players who have beef with their national teams are allowed alternatives through the continental teams; if not for the ridiculous strength of WCoP's best ever dynasties (Oceania 2009-2011 into US East 2013-2017), this format resulted in (theoretically) the most competitive format, with the distance between top and bottom teams not really being much at all.
Sometimes a new team pops up, and they are either Simply Allowed To Join (Afrabs's creation in 2013 simply resulted in a 17-team tournament), or, in more modern editions, made to play through a qualifier against the previous year's bottom finisher(s), but following the principles that this viewpoint proposes, they are made not to interfere with the Main Event teams (this shone through in rulings as recently as 2022, with xavgb/1TL on team Europe).
A small note is that the 16-team tournament favors potential for different formats; the 16 strongest teams on the website can all reasonably cover pretty much any tier you chuck at them. 16-team tournament allows for oldgens, lowtiers, or anything else you want really.

Viewpoint B: FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!!
FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!!, a slogan introduced by Jackal all the way back in 2009 that has been revived in 2020 after other hosts had dropped it, is very emblematic of a more modern attitude. You should, well, fight for your country. Simple as that.
Each team should represent one country. Historical exceptions are at best undesired but necessary allowances, and at worst ought to be erased entirely.
The policy consequences are as follows:
1. The US split in 4 is mostly still accepted as a necessary evil, due to playerbase size disparities, but there are even calls to unify to a single US team within this camp.
2. Continental teams are a necessary evil to ensure everyone can play in the tournament no matter where they're from - but, again, there are calls to take measures against them, from protecting established national teams from them (already codified in current rules), to protecting all national teams from them, to completely removing all grandfathering and forcing players off their continental and to their national team as soon as it exists, to enforcing a "maximum player from the same country" cap, to axing them all in favor of a single "Rest of the World" team, and a few other proposed solutions - you get the idea
3. Main event at 16 is not necessarily seen as problematic by all proposers of this viewpoint, but it likely ought to be expanded or reworked - 16 teams has no strong reason to be there other than tradition, and there's probably 20+ competent national teams currently (Argentina, Chile, China have been on the edge of promotion many years, and this year saw three teams with storied WCoP traditions in Asia, Brazil, and Greece, fall outside of top 16).
4. Eligibility rules are strict - you play for the country you're eligible for. If they won't take you, or if you don't want to take them, tough shit, sit out the tournament until you make up.
The result of this tournament is something that feels more like an authentic "World Cup". It allows for stories like this year's Bangladesh and Belgium to happen. But it arguably cuts away at players from smaller / underrepresented countries, and pretty much denies them any realistic chances at a trophy. It also (currently) doesn't have a clean solution to the Continental Teams issue in general.
It ought to be noted that viewpoint B severely restricts the potential for formats other than full CG. Asking smaller national teams to field players in obscure oldgens/lowtiers is pretty much a non-starter.

---

WCoP's current iteration and ruleset is stuck between two diametrically opposed viewpoints, that are pulling it in different directions.
On issue 1 (the US teams), it seems both viewpoints agree the split is acceptable, at least for now.
On issue 2 (Continental Teams), we currently have a hybrid of the two solutions that ends up being very confusing.
From viewpoint A, we take (1) the existence of continental teams at all, (2) the fact that they hold first rights over players from "non-established" nations, (3) the fact that players who have been on Continental teams for a long time are allowed to stay there pretty much no matter what, (4) Oceania being allowed to continue as Oceania rather than splitting Australia/New Zealand.
From viewpoint B, we take (1) disallowing regional groupings like Benelux or Afrabs to form, (2) poaching protection for all teams big enough to qualify as "established", and not much else - but community feeling has been very much pulling for Viewpoint B to make further progress here, from what I've observed and discussed over the last months
On issue 3 (Main Event size), we currently stick with the traditional 16 team Main Event (viewpoint A), but given that Belgium outplaced US Northeast in the year of our lord 2023, the argument that Qualifier teams are so much worse than the top 16 is kind of tough to make. There are non-insignificant calls to expand and/or rework the entire format to be something more fitting of a "normal" World Cup, or generally something that services a number of teams that's a lot closer to 32 than it is to 16 nowadays (30 teams this year - viewpoint B).
On issue 4 (Eligibility), we are pretty much full-on viewpoint B. Extremely strict, we don't care about any of your nonsense, play for your country or don't play at all. IP records are checked, everything's largely black and white.


WCoP needs to decide what it should be. It has been gradually transitioning from viewpoint A towards viewpoint B, and it is currently in an ugly, hybrid state that truly satisfies neither camp.
It provides an awkward, difficult experience to qualifier teams who have to fight for 3 slots from 17 participants.
It provides an awkward, difficult experience to continental teams (and hosts) who have to wrangle with eligibility rules that change year-to-year.
It provides an awkward, difficult experience to anyone concerned with the tiers played - "small teams" don't know if they'll be able to even live next year, and "big teams" don't know if they should focus their resources on CGOU or if they should worry about oldgens again.
It impedes discussion around Continental Teams as nobody can agree on whether they should be protected or restricted, before even having the opportunity to delve into how to do either of these things.

These are not just philosophical differences. The ugly middle ground creates real, practical issues to a majority of people involved with the tournament.
We should strive to fully embrace ONE of these viewpoints as definitive, whichever one is more favored by the community, and strive to build WCoP2024 around it.



Thank you for reading
 
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Amaranth

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Appendix: My Opinion
OP is my neutral assessment of the situation. This post is my personal biased opinion on what I think should be done.
I get there in a roundabout way, but I get there. Stay with me for a minute.

Point 1: The things 'Viewpoint A' sets out to do are actually achieved by Full CG, and Oldgens are completely unviable

Viewpoint A's guiding principles are striving for a "more competitive", "more balanced" tournament, where "everyone has a fair shot at getting a trophy". Sure.

Let's take a look at some historical data, shall we?

In the stretch between 2014 and 2017 (oldgens included, pre-US borders redrawn, Afrabs allowed) four teams (US West, US East, Germany, Spain) qualified 4 for 4 and placed top four a total of 13 times out of 16 between the four of them. Only Brazil (1st, 2014), Italy (3rd/4th, 2016), and Europe (2nd, 2017) managed to break the utter top four dominance of these four teams in these years.
Want to stretch this out for the full oldgen period, including 2018 and 2019? Okay. Those tournaments were won by US Northeast and US West. Germany and Spain missed playoffs in 2018, but they were both back in 2019. USNE and USW both made playoffs both of these years of course.

I do not believe this to be a case of "four extremely good teams existing at the same time", or a case of "cherrypicked outliers". Like, yes, they were phenomenal, and yes, US East was definitely a ridiculous outlier, but the fact of the matter is that for the oldgen years, four teams dominated. The tournament was not competitive. The teams with the deepest player pools and the most established oldgen players won, hard.
By comparison, in the full CG stretch between 2009 and 2013, only three teams even managed 4 for 5 (Oceania, US West, and US Metro), and in the stretch of full CG since its reintroduction in 2020, only two teams managed 4 for 4 (Germany and US Midwest).

Let's look at competition at the bottom too, for completeness. In the oldgen stretch, precisely only Greece managed to qualify, with India, Benelux, Bangladesh, China, and Austria failing a combined 9 attempts to qualify across all their attempted participations (17-18-19). India, Bangladesh, and China would go on to qualify for top 16 in full CG later, with a subset of Benelux (Belgium) qualifying for top 16 in full CG as well.

Oldgens are not more competitive. Not at the top, not at the bottom. All CG is the only way for this tournament to be balanced. Without it, the same handful of teams will dominate over and over and over, inevitably.
There may be a shift in which teams dominate, given enough time, but the point is these shifts happen a hell of a lot more slowly with oldgens. Every country constantly has a ton of people learning CG OU. Not many countries have a fresh influx of DPPers (or any other oldgen) that they can cycle through until they find a good one, so the teams that do have a stable and reliable oldgen lineup automatically dominate for a long time.

Point 2: Viewpoint B is, by nature, preferrable when feasible

People want the World Cup to feel like one. Viewpoint B makes the World Cup feel like a World Cup a hell of a lot more than Viewpoint A. It is a natural thing to want to root for the representatives of your country. In any situation in which it is possible to root for your nation, you would prefer that, rather than rooting for some arbitrary assembled group of nations.
"Go Team (Rest Of) Europe!" or "Go Team US Midwest!" or "Go Team Indian Subcontinent + Greater Middle East!" - statements dreamed up by the utterly Deranged

There are some people who do not feel particularly patriotic or attached to their national team, and they use that as an argument to say that we should stick with the 'most competitive option' Viewpoint A. To those people I say: ... why the fuck are you in WCoP then? lol. Like, this is a World Cup, yeah? That thing where all nations play against each other to see which one is the best? Why are you here if you don't care about that? Play other tournaments.

I get that this is kind of a circular argument: I'm essentially saying "The format that prioritizes playing for your country is good because playing for your country is good". Luckily I'm not here to impress you with my arguing skills, I'm here to state what I think is idealistically correct.
Not to say that this is only an ideological point - there are inherent practical issues with Continental Teams in any way you conceive them. I could, and maybe should, go over them at a later point, but this is getting too long, so I'll keep this point more on the ideological side than the practical one for now.

Point 3: Full CG allows Viewpoint B to be very, very feasible

Since its reintroduction, full CG has seen four first-time winners and a boatload of underdog stories:
Italy from being a relatively weak team historically to having the most dominant playoffs run of all time in 2020, US South and France winning from relegation, Canada final in 2022 as well, and in 2023 UK making playoffs, India nearly, Belgium and Bangladesh making main event.

I don't think anyone can realistically question the notion that full CG WCoP is highly competitive and, as proven by history, pretty much any team can come out of nowhere and win it all.

Conclusion

The acute logicians among you may already have arrived at the natural conclusion when you put these statements together:
1. Full CG is mandatory
2. Viewpoint B is preferrable when feasible
3. Full CG makes viewpoint B feasible

-> Viewpoint B is preferrable.

I also have many thoughts on how I think Viewpoint B can be best implemented, but I thought, let's try to agree on this first, and we'll move on from there. Hopefully.
 

msnt

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Hello everyone,

First time talking in the tournament policy but as I made Wcop this year with Belgium and was my first official smogon playoffs I'm now really attached to the tour and think some things should change.

I think that Viewpoint B is the best way to see wcup in any sport/esport thing, in my point of view what's the point of fighting for "Asia" "Europe" "Latin America" that doesn't mean much except allowing smaller countries to have a better chance winning the trophy.
But I don't think this is what wcup should aim for, wcup is about having amazing stories from bigger and smaller countries, It's not about winning the whole thing but about making an outstanding performance for your country.

When I see Europe having a majority of Belgian/Dutch players when EVERYBODY know that they can build a team on their own and not just overpowering Europe for no reason (more over Belgium already exists and made playoffs this year this is a complete nonsense having belgian players playing in another team), if those players don't want to play for their countries we are not forcing them but they are not allowed to play for another continental team which is based on nothing solid except of some friendly relations between them.

I'm not fully against keeping continental teams but they should be used for very specific countries (for example Lituania, Estonia, and other european countries which don't have enough players to make a consistent team as much as I know).
 

CrashinBoomBang

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Don't really have a strong opinion on an actual format as far as tiers go (although I agree with Amaranth that it's probably not feasible for smaller teams to provide the old gen talent needed to make them actually competitive), but the eligibility rules, or rather, lengths to which people will go to not play for their countries, have always rubbed me the wrong way. This is obviously my perspective, but as someone who has played for Team Germany since 2013 (with minor breaks, but never for a different team), I think I have a pretty solid opinion on WCOP as a whole.

Grandfathering needs to go. I know this is a touchy subject for some, especially people benefitting from it, but I think that we already, in its entirety, should have abolished grandfathering as well as everything standing in the way of "you playing for your country" last year. We can talk in circles about who should be allowed to be grandfathered and who shouldn't be, what the timeframe is... but I think the only actually good solution is getting rid of it altogether. I truly believe that option B, aka PLAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY, is the only way forward, and we should be enforcing that mindset rigorously, both for old and new players alike. I think grandfathering gives people who have been around for longer an advantage over the people who haven't been, and that's already a bad thing to me, but it goes further than that: It slowly erodes national identity because it lets people form superteams, to this day. I don't wish to take anything away from Team Europe as a team, they obviously put a lot of time and work into this tournament and it showed, but I still think that it was a hodgepodge of nationalities at the end of the day, which really doesn't align with my idea of WCOP. I like the other Germans, we get along reasonably well, but they've never been my truly closest friends on Smogon. Still, I was ready and willing to work with them every year, and I think part of the WCOP experience is working with people you don't usually get to do stuff with. Playing with friends, people you like, all of that can be reserved for SPL and SCL. I think working together with your country towards a common goal should be the aim of WCOP, and Grandfathering, to me, is the big thing standing in the way of that, with national teams getting abandoned for superteams. And, honestly, if given the option, would you not do the same? I don't know if I would, I've always felt some national pride actually playing for Germany, but I think even giving people the option should be revoked. Literally just have people play for their countries, and if they don't want to, then they're free to sit out. Simple as that, in my opinion.

As for the number of US teams, I still think we should have multiple of them, both from a logistical standpoint of letting as many people as possible play, but also because you're more liable to create superteams by reducing the number. Think about it: In a theoretical world where the best US teams all band together to form one team, you're always gonna have the best of the entirety of America playing together because there's only one team. There's ways around this (more US teams and then have All teams duke it out R1 to only let the T16 advance, etc), but so far 4 teams seems like a fine midground in that sense.

Also, don't take this as me wanting to delete continental teams. I think they serve a very important purpose, when not used by people as means to pseudo-bend the rules. I think if there's people from a country who can't rally up enough players to actually form a team, then they should definitely have an avenue to do so... But not when it's shared with a bunch of others who have capable, full national teams to play for.

It's never too late to do what's right. I think we should do what's right for WCOP 2024.
 
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Ruft

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Tournaments are supposed to be competitive, that's why we play tournaments in the first place. Competitiveness should always be the first priority. It astonishes me that people want to sacrifice competitiveness and balance in an official tournament on a website dedicated to competitive play.

I think part of the WCOP experience is working with people you don't usually get to do stuff with. Playing with friends, people you like, all of that can be reserved for SPL and SCL.
Reading this I get the sense that your idea of WCoP is completely backwards. In WCoP you're supposed to play for the same team every year, with the same pool of players. You literally sign up for the team in advance. In SPL and SCL you don't, you're supposed to be down to play for any team that decides to draft you. In these tournaments, you only get to play with the same friends year after year if you're a top player that has connections with the manager duo, i.e., this is only the case for a fraction of the playerbase.

Since the tournament where you're supposed to play with the same pool of players every year is WCoP, surely you should understand that it's a bad idea to pull players away, against their will, from teams that they've been playing for for many years. Yet in this thread it is unironically being suggested that players like Mana and ZoroDark, who have been playing for and bonded with the same team since, respectively, 2017 and 2013, should leave the team and, respectively, form their own team and join one with players they've never met before. The logic is lost on me.
 

Hipmonlee

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Reading this I get the sense that your idea of WCoP is completely backwards. In WCoP you're supposed to play for the same team every year, with the same pool of players. You literally sign up for the team in advance. In SPL and SCL you don't, you're supposed to be down to play for any team that decides to draft you. In these tournaments, you only get to play with the same friends year after year if you're a top player that has connections with the manager duo, i.e., this is only the case for a fraction of the playerbase.

Since the tournament where you're supposed to play with the same pool of players every year is WCoP, surely you should understand that it's a bad idea to pull players away, against their will, from teams that they've been playing for for many years. Yet in this thread it is unironically being suggested that players like Mana and ZoroDark, who have been playing for and bonded with the same team since 2017, should leave the team and, respectively, form their own team and join one with players they've never met before. The logic is lost on me.
This is 100% the point of WCoP in my opinion. It's the only major team tour where it really makes sense to invest in genuine beginner players, because you know they are definitely going to be on your team in future years.

Not only that, there are world cups for every metagame, so you get to play with that same team in lots of tours. The fight for your country thing is incidental, just a convenient hook for assigning people to consistent teams. If there were some other easy way of doing this, we could do that instead.

I also question the assumption in this thread that a closer tournament is inherently a more competitive one? East was a team that was built up from scratch pretty much by the likes of Stone Cold (then it did get merged with Metro, which also helped). A lot of work went into that dynasty...
 
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Dorron

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You are from a country with no national team -> you can play for the continental team
You are from a country with a national team -> you must play for the national team
You are from a country which used to not have a national team, but was made this year and made it to main stage -> next year you must play for the national team

This tournament is to play with your country, and continental teams were made to let people from countries without enough players to have a team to play with. Otherwise you are not only not following the tour's philosophy but also making it even harder for your national team to keep up with the competition. This is not a tour where you choose your team, it is not that hard to understand.

Viewpoint B to make it clear.
 

msnt

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Tournaments are supposed to be competitive, that's why we play tournaments in the first place. Competitiveness should always be the first priority. It astonishes me that people want to sacrifice competitiveness and balance in an official tournament on a website dedicated to competitive play.
Every world cup in any discipline is about being competitive (pools, knockout stages, etc.) but it shouldn't take advantage on what a world cup is supposed to be -> representing your country. Disbanding continental teams wont make the tournament less competitive. Anyway I think only people representing continental teams are pushing to keep them, because these teams are a complete nonsense.
 
I think there's some confusion here regarding the social aspect of WCoP.

I've always believed the biggest strength of this tournament and the thing that makes it special is the ability to play with a (largely) similar team year after year after year. The fact that that group is your country/region is secondary and frankly rather arbitrary - it is just a convenient mechanism to operate a tournament with a cool format. Naturally, when you play with the same group time and time again, most of you will become friends.

Let's just address the elephant in the room RE: continental teams. The recent changes were a half step, and based on the OP and responses in this thread, we need to go all the way. Continental teams should exist to ensure everyone has some team they can play for. They do not exist to guarantee you have a highly competitive team in the tournament. No team exists for that reason.

In short, if a country has enough players to form a team, players from that country should NOT be allowed to play for a continental team. Regardless of how long they've played for that continental team. Regardless of whether the country team is in qualifiers or the main event.

Regarding qualifiers/increasing main event size, I think things become too messy when you try to expand the size of the tournament or try to have every team play in qualifiers. There were already complaints about this last WCoP being too long lol. Still, I think the current system for deciding who qualifies/who gets relegated really sucks, given how close the competition is usually.

I think the solution is expanding the number of spots in the top 16 up for grabs, which means relegating more of the bottom teams. Maybe the bottom 5 or 6 instead of the bottom 3.

I just don't think the solution of a big qualifier event is particularly fair or competitive. This isn't soccer. This game has a shitload of variance. If your team makes playoffs it seems pretty silly to be forced to play qualifiers next year.
 

Ruft

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I've always believed the biggest strength of this tournament and the thing that makes it special is the ability to play with a (largely) similar team year after year after year. The fact that that group is your country/region is secondary and frankly rather arbitrary - it is just a convenient mechanism to operate a tournament with a cool format. Naturally, when you play with the same group time and time again, most of you will become friends.
I completely agree. Players should play for the same team year after year and shouldn't be forced to hop from team to team due to arbitrary ruling. That is the spirit of this tournament.

Let's just address the elephant in the room RE: continental teams. The recent changes were a half step, and based on the OP and responses in this thread, we need to go all the way. Continental teams should exist to ensure everyone has some team they can play for. They do not exist to guarantee you have a highly competitive team in the tournament. No team exists for that reason.

In short, if a country has enough players to form a team, players from that country should NOT be allowed to play for a continental team. Regardless of how long they've played for that continental team. Regardless of whether the country team is in qualifiers or the main event.
How does this not go completely against what you said prior? First you said players should play for the same team year after year and now you say certain players on continental teams should not be allowed to play for the team they've been playing for in prior years due to circumstances they can't control. And the reason behind it is a mechanism that is, in your own words, arbitrary.

Every world cup in any discipline is about being competitive (pools, knockout stages, etc.) but it shouldn't take advantage on what a world cup is supposed to be -> representing your country. Disbanding continental teams wont make the tournament less competitive. Anyway I think only people representing continental teams are pushing to keep them, because these teams are a complete nonsense.
If you don't care about balance between teams and only want teams that are country-based, why is your only gripe continental teams? The US is a single country with four individual teams for the sake of balance. Your vision is not realistic.
 

Lily

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If we're going for viewpoint B, we should remove all of the current US teams and merge them into one. US Midwest and US South aren't countries to be fought for. Accounting for high playerbases isn't a "necessary evil" when plenty of other regions have enough to make multiple teams too - it's just preferential treatment based on old rulings. If the goal is consistency, be consistent.
 

Tuthur

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I completely agree. Players should play for the same team year after year and shouldn't be forced to hop from team to team due to arbitrary ruling. That is the spirit of this tournament.
You managed team Belgium in its first apparition three years ago. Arbitrary ruling are the reason why you were allowed to hop to Europe the next year. Do you think the spirit of the tournament is that if you come from a small country you can hop between it and the super team to your liking?

In my opinion, the place you are from should not make you elligible for multiple teams. While I resonate to viewpoint B, I don't like to phrase it as "Play for your country", as it excludes players who don't have a big enough country to form a team and those will always exist (Feliburn and Storm Zone for instance). The way I understand viewpoint B is "Play with the people from the same place as you". Continental teams shouldn't be an option some players can opt for, but a compromise to let everyone have a team to play for. A huge part of Europe and Latam players don't need these teams to compete in the tournament, as their countries (Belgium, Chile, and Mexico for instance) have been able to form teams for the past two years.

The creation of the established status has already been a step forward; however I don't think it is enough. In an ideal world, I would love the rules to be; you can't play for your continental team if there is already a national team that exists for your country. However, Lily rose on smogtours server an issue with this rule. Let's imagine team Ireland forms next year without Lily being aware of it and she already made plans to play for Europe, I don't think anyone would argue it would be fair for Lily to sit out of the tournament because she wasn't made aware of the existence of team Ireland and players from smaller countries shouldn't have to consistently check if their national team is about to form. My proposal is that if a country forms a team on one year, on the next year, this country can only provide elligibility for its national team. This has some downsides, like with Pakistan players not being able to form a team this year and who wouldn't have been able to play for Asia this year (but would be in 2024), but the benefits outweight the negatives in my opinion. Situations where former Belgium manager plays for Europe and former Venezuela manager plays for Latam are undesirable and would be easily prevented with such system.

The only issue I see with this rule is that teams like Asia and Latam would probably not be able to form without players with national team and something would be needed to let players from very small country signup. A possible solution would be nuking every continental teams (or maybe keep some) and merge them into one super team "rest of the world".

If you don't care about balance between teams and only want teams that are country-based, why is your only gripe continental teams? The US is a single country with four individual teams for the sake of balance. Your vision is not realistic.
If we're going for viewpoint B, we should remove all of the current US teams and merge them into one. US Midwest and US South aren't countries to be fought for. Accounting for high playerbases isn't a "necessary evil" when plenty of other regions have enough to make multiple teams too - it's just preferential treatment based on old rulings. If the goal is consistency, be consistent.
If you read my previous paragraph, you can understand why the US situation isn't necessarly in contradiction with viewpoint B. Splitting US allows for more inclusivity and balance in the tournament. If any other country reaches the same playerbase as US, I don't think we should oppose splitting this country in multiple teams. I am not sure any country has the capacity to split and fill two rosters for the tournament though.
 

Maxouille

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If we're going for viewpoint B, we should remove all of the current US teams and merge them into one. US Midwest and US South aren't countries to be fought for. Accounting for high playerbases isn't a "necessary evil" when plenty of other regions have enough to make multiple teams too - it's just preferential treatment based on old rulings. If the goal is consistency, be consistent.
I completely agree with that since a long time, however we could also split other countries' team too, like, for example as for team France, by splitting Paris and the rest of France instead of banning Redemption le flexman ojama&co each year. It has already been demonstrated that France have more than enough great players among our playerbase for such a bold move. As shown by the past through high level tournaments such as the "tournoi des régions" featuring really good players from many different french regions who didn't had the opportunity to play in Wcop at the time.

And here's come our second point. Splitting some countries would prevent promising players from being left on the sideline thanks to multiple eligibility, while keeping the high level of the tour simply because bad teams would be likely to get eliminated during pools.
Ultimately that solution would also avoid issues we got by the past like with the ojama's friends drama. He has been constantly picking his friends, and lets say the terms, they were quite bad, nerfing team France for years. as a result we had to wait for him to be banned to see team france finally win Wcop.
All things considered I don't think having multiple teams in one country would prevent the "fight for your country idea" however it would astonishly raise the level of the competition.
 
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Welli0u

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Europe is a sketch and should be gone since many years, after the rules became more stringent. I am pretty sure it has benefited from being protected by influence people with influence at that time. Surely this team has no identity at all without Tony.

It should become Rest of Europe, and only European players with no team should be able to join it. Same with Asia, LA, and Africa. Africa could stay Africa for now as I guess there are no African country yet in the tournament.

Qualifiers should be gone too. Every country must have the same chance to win every year. The system just doesnt work with more and more teams created years after years.

The only exception should be USA. I don’t have a problem with it being split in 4 but as other people said, it could easily be the case with other country(ies).
 
I don't think we should jump to early conclusions like "oldgens = viewpoint a; full CG = viewpoint b" & that smaller teams wouldn't be able to slot olgens. Retro Cup of Pokemon still had loads of signups. & p sure any team could find slots for a format which includes some oldgens.

full cg is great, but imo this is a different topic & this discussion it should not be used as a pre-empted justification for full cg
 

Dorron

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Bumping since we also have the other wcop thread.

You are from a country with no national team -> you can play for the continental team
You are from a country with a national team -> you must play for the national team
You are from a country which used to not have a national team, but was made this year and made it to main stage -> next year you must play for the national team

This tournament is to play with your country, and continental teams were made to let people from countries without enough players to have a team to play with. Otherwise you are not only not following the tour's philosophy but also making it even harder for your national team to keep up with the competition. This is not a tour where you choose your team, it is not that hard to understand.

Viewpoint B to make it clear.
These are my thoughts once again. We shouldn't have people playing in continental teams when their country has a team.
 

RoiDadadou

I COULD BE BANNED!
I think that Viewpoint B is the best way to see wcup in any sport/esport thing, in my point of view what's the point of fighting for "Asia" "Europe" "Latin America" that doesn't mean much except allowing smaller countries to have a better chance winning the trophy.
But I don't think this is what wcup should aim for, wcup is about having amazing stories from bigger and smaller countries, It's not about winning the whole thing but about making an outstanding performance for your country.

When I see Europe having a majority of Belgian/Dutch players when EVERYBODY know that they can build a team on their own and not just overpowering Europe for no reason (more over Belgium already exists and made playoffs this year this is a complete nonsense having belgian players playing in another team), if those players don't want to play for their countries we are not forcing them but they are not allowed to play for another continental team which is based on nothing solid except of some friendly relations between them.

I'm not fully against keeping continental teams but they should be used for very specific countries (for example Lituania, Estonia, and other european countries which don't have enough players to make a consistent team as much as I know).
Don't really have a strong opinion on an actual format as far as tiers go (although I agree with Amaranth that it's probably not feasible for smaller teams to provide the old gen talent needed to make them actually competitive), but the eligibility rules, or rather, lengths to which people will go to not play for their countries, have always rubbed me the wrong way. This is obviously my perspective, but as someone who has played for Team Germany since 2013 (with minor breaks, but never for a different team), I think I have a pretty solid opinion on WCOP as a whole.

Grandfathering needs to go. I know this is a touchy subject for some, especially people benefitting from it, but I think that we already, in its entirety, should have abolished grandfathering as well as everything standing in the way of "you playing for your country" last year. We can talk in circles about who should be allowed to be grandfathered and who shouldn't be, what the timeframe is... but I think the only actually good solution is getting rid of it altogether. I truly believe that option B, aka PLAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY, is the only way forward, and we should be enforcing that mindset rigorously, both for old and new players alike. I think grandfathering gives people who have been around for longer an advantage over the people who haven't been, and that's already a bad thing to me, but it goes further than that: It slowly erodes national identity because it lets people form superteams, to this day. I don't wish to take anything away from Team Europe as a team, they obviously put a lot of time and work into this tournament and it showed, but I still think that it was a hodgepodge of nationalities at the end of the day, which really doesn't align with my idea of WCOP. I like the other Germans, we get along reasonably well, but they've never been my truly closest friends on Smogon. Still, I was ready and willing to work with them every year, and I think part of the WCOP experience is working with people you don't usually get to do stuff with. Playing with friends, people you like, all of that can be reserved for SPL and SCL. I think working together with your country towards a common goal should be the aim of WCOP, and Grandfathering, to me, is the big thing standing in the way of that, with national teams getting abandoned for superteams. And, honestly, if given the option, would you not do the same? I don't know if I would, I've always felt some national pride actually playing for Germany, but I think even giving people the option should be revoked. Literally just have people play for their countries, and if they don't want to, then they're free to sit out. Simple as that, in my opinion.

As for the number of US teams, I still think we should have multiple of them, both from a logistical standpoint of letting as many people as possible play, but also because you're more liable to create superteams by reducing the number. Think about it: In a theoretical world where the best US teams all band together to form one team, you're always gonna have the best of the entirety of America playing together because there's only one team. There's ways around this (more US teams and then have All teams duke it out R1 to only let the T16 advance, etc), but so far 4 teams seems like a fine midground in that sense.

Also, don't take this as me wanting to delete continental teams. I think they serve a very important purpose, when not used by people as means to pseudo-bend the rules. I think if there's people from a country who can't rally up enough players to actually form a team, then they should definitely have an avenue to do so... But not when it's shared with a bunch of others who have capable, full national teams to play for.

It's never too late to do what's right. I think we should do what's right for WCOP 2024.
You are from a country with no national team -> you can play for the continental team
You are from a country with a national team -> you must play for the national team
You are from a country which used to not have a national team, but was made this year and made it to main stage -> next year you must play for the national team

This tournament is to play with your country, and continental teams were made to let people from countries without enough players to have a team to play with. Otherwise you are not only not following the tour's philosophy but also making it even harder for your national team to keep up with the competition. This is not a tour where you choose your team, it is not that hard to understand.

Viewpoint B to make it clear.
Europe is a sketch and should be gone since many years, after the rules became more stringent. I am pretty sure it has benefited from being protected by influence people with influence at that time. Surely this team has no identity at all without Tony.

It should become Rest of Europe, and only European players with no team should be able to join it. Same with Asia, LA, and Africa. Africa could stay Africa for now as I guess there are no African country yet in the tournament.

Qualifiers should be gone too. Every country must have the same chance to win every year. The system just doesnt work with more and more teams created years after years.

The only exception should be USA. I don’t have a problem with it being split in 4 but as other people said, it could easily be the case with other country(ies).
Agreeing fully on this viewpoint, and requesting that we advance a bit further in the process.

If you don't have a national team, you go to the continental one. If you do have one, you join it. Nothing fancy needed. If people need 'grandfathering', then let's push the analogy, and call the team 'nursing home', before eventually making them retire.

Apparently it takes three days to assess the needs of a whole array of countries regarding the tiers featured in the tournament, but five months to decide if we're going to end this mascarade.

But as a wise man once said (and in this very thread, mind you):
"It's never too late to do what's right. I think we should do what's right for WCOP 2024."
 
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BigFatMantis

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I saw false's post in the other thread and just wanted to highlight the issue of this thread further by explaining my situation.

I am 100% Venezuelan. Born in Caracas, both parents born in Caracas. Moved to the USA when I was a child, grew up gringo, and currently live in California. By most accounts, I should be able to play a Team Venezuela in these types of global competitions. However, I'm not eligible to play for Venezuela in Smogon WCOP because I don't have Smogon IP presence there. Which, honestly, is fine. I understand the rules, and realize there's no way to corroborate these kinds of things without getting into extremely dangerous dox-worthy territory. So, I am very happy to play for US West on the WCOP teams for lower tiers that I participate, and I have a great time and love all my friends that I have there.

But, if I am not able to "choose" to play for Venezuela, a place where, by actual World Cup rules I'd be eligible to play for if I was footballer, then why is it that other people can choose to play for continental super teams or play for their actual nation? I would love to have the option to play for Venezuela (it would actually allow me to play in the main WCOP since West is stacked and likely doesn't need me), but I don't have the option here. I have friends on Team Venezuela and would love to play with them given the opportunity here - the chance to potentially help them win out in qualifiers to make it to the main stage would be so huge for me. And while it doesn't bother me that I'm not able to do this per the rules, it does bother me that Player XYZ on Continental Team A has a "choice" to play for that team or to play for their national team of Nation B (not going to give specific examples but I'm sure everyone knows a few examples of this), and yet I don't.

I don't know why this is still allowed to exist this way. Maybe it's because the super teams want to be able to keep their overpowered cores, but whether or not they are overpowered doesn't and shouldn't matter. What does matter is that you are giving certain people the choice of where to play, simply because of outdated rules that frankly don't make any sense, but you are not letting other people who are actually from a certain nation choose whether or not to play for the country they were born in if they have long since moved away. I'm not even mentioning the part about how this prevents new national teams from growing since I think others have already covered that and it wasn't the point of my post anyhow.

I fully support Dorron's post in having actual concrete rules that make sense that everyone can follow fairly.
 
This argumentation will be based mainly on the opinions expressed by many of us, including in the thread on the new wcop 2024 format (https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/wcop-format-tiers.3737157/), but also on Amaranth 's thoughts here.

I have the impression that this is a recurring problem, but that for some obscure reason, debates questioning the eligibility of players lead nowhere.
My wish is that a well-considered and fair decision is taken based on our reflections.

As Amaranth said, teams have been created "so everyone is eligible to a team that's at least somewhat competitive":
"1. We split the US teams in 4 for balance
2. We create the main Continental Teams (Latin America, Europe, Asia)
2.b We allow New Zealand + Australia for Oceania, and Africa"


From the outset, it was always intended that continental teams should be accessible only to players without competitive teams.

The problem is that this freedom has been abused :
Countries have found it extremely difficult to create teams (let's forget competitive ones) due to a lack of players, even more so because some eligible players prefer the easy way out and self-interest (whether linked to friendships or an ambition to perform).

I understand that it's not easy to turn down an all-star team, but it seems to me that, by its very nature, a World Cup is supposed to oppose countries.
Otherwise, don't call it a World Cup. As a result, we find ourselves with inequalities in player recruitment between all the teams.

I couldn't find better words than Amaranth on the subject through his "Viewpoint B: FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!!" :
Viewpoint B: FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!!

FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY!!!, a slogan introduced by Jackal all the way back in 2009 that has been revived in 2020 after other hosts had dropped it, is very emblematic of a more modern attitude. You should, well, fight for your country. Simple as that.

Each team should represent one country. Historical exceptions are at best undesired but necessary allowances, and at worst ought to be erased entirely.

The policy consequences are as follows:

The US split in 4 is mostly still accepted as a necessary evil, due to playerbase size disparities, but there are even calls to unify to a single US team within this camp.

Continental teams are a necessary evil to ensure everyone can play in the tournament no matter where they're from - but, again, there are calls to take measures against them, from protecting established national teams from them (already codified in current rules), to protecting all national teams from them, to completely removing all grandfathering and forcing players off their continental and to their national team as soon as it exists, to enforcing a "maximum player from the same country" cap, to axing them all in favor of a single "Rest of the World" team, and a few other proposed solutions - you get the idea

Main event at 16 is not necessarily seen as problematic by all proposers of this viewpoint, but it likely ought to be expanded or reworked - 16 teams has no strong reason to be there other than tradition, and there's probably 20+ competent national teams currently (Argentina, Chile, China have been on the edge of promotion many years, and this year saw three teams with storied WCoP traditions in Asia, Brazil, and Greece, fall outside of top 16).

Eligibility rules are strict - you play for the country you're eligible for. If they won't take you, or if you don't want to take them, tough shit, sit out the tournament until you make up.

The result of this tournament is something that feels more like an authentic "World Cup". It allows for stories like this year's Bangladesh and Belgium to happen. But it arguably cuts away at players from smaller / underrepresented countries, and pretty much denies them any realistic chances at a trophy. It also (currently) doesn't have a clean solution to the Continental Teams issue in general.
Point 2: Viewpoint B is, by nature, preferrable when feasible

People want the World Cup to feel like one. Viewpoint B makes the World Cup feel like a World Cup a hell of a lot more than Viewpoint A. It is a natural thing to want to root for the representatives of your country. In any situation in which it is possible to root for your nation, you would prefer that, rather than rooting for some arbitrary assembled group of nations.

"Go Team (Rest Of) Europe!" or "Go Team US Midwest!" or "Go Team Indian Subcontinent + Greater Middle East!" - statements dreamed up by the utterly Deranged

There are some people who do not feel particularly patriotic or attached to their national team, and they use that as an argument to say that we should stick with the 'most competitive option' Viewpoint A. To those people I say: ... why the fuck are you in WCoP then? lol. Like, this is a World Cup, yeah? That thing where all nations play against each other to see which one is the best? Why are you here if you don't care about that? Play other tournaments.

I get that this is kind of a circular argument: I'm essentially saying "The format that prioritizes playing for your country is good because playing for your country is good". Luckily I'm not here to impress you with my arguing skills, I'm here to state what I think is idealistically correct.

Not to say that this is only an ideological point - there are inherent practical issues with Continental Teams in any way you conceive them. I could, and maybe should, go over them at a later point, but this is getting too long, so I'll keep this point more on the ideological side than the practical one for now.
But there's more to come. And that's where it goes even further. I'll take the example of my country, Belgium, which qualified for the main event after three/four years of efforts. I apologize in advance for targeting Europe, but in this situation, it's easier for me to talk about them to illustrate my point. I don't have any animosity towards the guys, I've already had quite a few discussions with Ruft, whom I like, and I can understand why Mcm might not want to play for us.

Despite our qualification, we still see Belgian players at Europe. Why? As mentioned above, the door to Team Europe was opened to them so that they could play in a competitive team... "Hello, we're here!"
From a logical and purely fair point of view, they no longer have any reason to ignore their country. If they don't want to join the Belgian team, that's not an issue. But what right do they have to stay in Europe? Either they don't play in the WCoP and can invest in other projects, or they join their rightful country.
Allowing them to play for Europe is breaking obvious rules linked to tournaments between nations, and blocking slots for other players who are really looking for a team to play with, not being attached to any competitive country.

Here are the arguments I see being used by European players in response to those allegations from players waiting for fair rules (and my ""answers"" to them):
"In WCoP you're supposed to play for the same team every year, with the same pool of players." Really? I'm learning things... based on what? Each team is developping each year. It's part of this tournament to see how nations grow and expend, with some line ups completely changing every year.
"In these tournaments, you only get to play with the same friends year after year..." Welcome to Friends Cup 2024. Again refer to the answer I just gave.
"Yet in this thread it is unironically being suggested that players like Mana and ZoroDark, who have been playing for and bonded with the same team since, respectively, 2017 and 2013, should leave the team and, respectively, form their own team and join one with players they've never met before. The logic is lost on me." Teams are all born out of meetings of players who don't know each other, so even if you know one or two guys IRL, it's not a generality. You recruit a player searching for a successful line up, or following advices from your own guys. Again, refusing to simply play and meet guys from your country is taking the easy way out. Why should they have the right to do so? (I stress that I'm speaking without rancor, I'm just expressing an unbiased fact, it goes both ways). "I've been playing for Europe for 10 years" is thus not a valid argument. Or bad faith.

A large majority of players agree, but what about change? I think that insofar as the format is changing, this is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and deal with this problem for good.

Dorron said this with more than 70 reactions:
"You are from a country with no national team -> you can play for the continental team
You are from a country with a national team -> you must play for the national team
You are from a country which used to not have a national team, but was made this year and made it to main stage -> next year you must play for the national team
This tournament is to play with your country, and continental teams were made to let people from countries without enough players to have a team to play with. Otherwise you are not only not following the tour's philosophy but also making it even harder for your national team to keep up with the competition. This is not a tour where you choose your team, it is not that hard to understand.
"

Welli0u : "Europe is a sketch and should be gone since many years, after the rules became more stringent. I am pretty sure it has benefited from being protected by influence people with influence at that time."

BigFatMantis: "I don't know why this is still allowed to exist this way. Maybe it's because the super teams want to be able to keep their overpowered cores, but whether or not they are overpowered doesn't and shouldn't matter. What does matter is that you are giving certain people the choice of where to play, simply because of outdated rules that frankly don't make any sense."

msnt : "When I see Europe having a majority of Belgian/Dutch players when EVERYBODY know that they can build a team on their own and not just overpowering Europe for no reason (more over Belgium already exists and made playoffs this year this is a complete nonsense having belgian players playing in another team), if those players don't want to play for their countries we are not forcing them but they are not allowed to play for another continental team which is based on nothing solid except of some friendly relations between them.
I'm not fully against keeping continental teams but they should be used for very specific countries (for example Lituania, Estonia, and other european countries which don't have enough players to make a consistent team as much as I know).
"

CrashinBoomBang : "Grandfathering needs to go. I know this is a touchy subject for some, especially people benefitting from it, but I think that we already, in its entirety, should have abolished grandfathering as well as everything standing in the way of "you playing for your country" last year. We can talk in circles about who should be allowed to be grandfathered and who shouldn't be, what the timeframe is... but I think the only actually good solution is getting rid of it altogether. I truly believe that option B, aka PLAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY, is the only way forward, and we should be enforcing that mindset rigorously, both for old and new players alike. I think grandfathering gives people who have been around for longer an advantage over the people who haven't been, and that's already a bad thing to me, but it goes further than that: It slowly erodes national identity because it lets people form superteams, to this day. I don't wish to take anything away from Team Europe as a team, they obviously put a lot of time and work into this tournament and it showed, but I still think that it was a hodgepodge of nationalities at the end of the day, which really doesn't align with my idea of WCOP. I like the other Germans, we get along reasonably well, but they've never been my truly closest friends on Smogon. Still, I was ready and willing to work with them every year, and I think part of the WCOP experience is working with people you don't usually get to do stuff with. Playing with friends, people you like, all of that can be reserved for SPL and SCL. I think working together with your country towards a common goal should be the aim of WCOP, and Grandfathering, to me, is the big thing standing in the way of that, with national teams getting abandoned for superteams. And, honestly, if given the option, would you not do the same? I don't know if I would, I've always felt some national pride actually playing for Germany, but I think even giving people the option should be revoked. Literally just have people play for their countries, and if they don't want to, then they're free to sit out. Simple as that, in my opinion."

I will end with the words of CBB: "if given the option, would you not do the same?" The real problem is that this option is left to the players.

I therefore suggest the following, but remain open to discussion:

- A player may join a continental team if the country/countries for which he/she is eligible do not have any existing/registered teams this very year.
- If a national team for which the player can play is registered, but he has been part of a continental team in last edition, he can continue for the coming edition with this continental team
(For example, if "national team A" registers in 2023, a player eligible for it playing in "continental team B" in 2022 can still play for this continental team for 2023. This gives the player time to adapt and prevents him from leaving a continental team for an ephemeral one-year project).
- If said national team is re-registered the following year (even for qualifiers), the player must then join his national team. Once he does, he is locked to play for it according to current WCoP rules (Taking back the previous example, if "national team A" registers again in 2024, the player'll have to play for this national team).
- If all national teams a player is eligible for refuse him for any reason (too many players, not in the plans,...), the player doesn't become eligible for any continental team (This point aims at fixing the issue of "slots being taken by players eligible elsewhere" that some players with absolutely no national team could face with the implementation of the three other points).
 
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a fairy

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Without clear direction from the community and internal discussions not resulting in a conclusion, we're going to put this on hold for this tournament, and make no sweeping changes compared to last year's ruleset compared to this topic. That's not to say that we aren't considering changes, but without clear direction and the tournament so close, we'd like to revisit this soon after WCOP concludes.

This goes for any other open WCOP conversations - with our desire to get manager signups out soon (in a matter of days, hopefully), we're going to close the window for major changes affecting this year's WCOP happening through discussion. We'll come back to this and other topics after WCOP concludes, but for now, it's time for things to get underway.
 
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