I posted this on the forum in response to Wayne regarding the soccer analogy ... I still have the same thoughts on it:
I can appreciate the analogy to soccer . . . let me tell you where our comparisons differ, and some of the challenges we have to deal with that soccer doesn't. (Sorry I'm American so you'll have to bear with SOCCER being written a bunch)
You compare a game of soccer to a game of pinball.
You compare a league season worth of games played to what determines the 'best team' (i.e. ranking).
Here's my comparison:
I compared a game of soccer played to a tournament/event played.
I then compare a season worth of soccer league play to determine who is the 'best team', to the resume of events that a player has making up their WPPR ranking (their best 20).
Here's the biggest reason why . . . in soccer you're able to assume one constant, and that's the fact that a soccer game is 90 minutes, between 2 teams, every time a game is played. There's no need to measure the 'volatility' or the strength of what that game played means with respect to the teams playing it.
Now, take those two teams you mentioned, and instead of playing a 90 minute game to determine the 'result', what if you did the following alternatives:
- See which team could kick the ball the furthest given 10 kicks from the goal line
- Instead of playing a full 90 minute game, just go directly to a Golden Goal format where first team to score wins
- Have the game consist entirely of penalty kicks
- Instead of playing 11 men per side (is that right? lol), each team puts ONE MAN on the field for those 90 minutes.
- Allow teams the opportunity to have 3 players per side the ability to touch the ball with their hands instead of just the goalie.
Instead of us trying to keep the 'game played' a constant, our rankings system tries to incorporate all of these various formats into acceptable ways to judge the skillful play of competitive pinball players.
The biggest reason is that if all pinball tournaments were '90 minute games between two players', that would do far more to hurt the promotion of getting people to create and organize events, and to get players to participate in them. Part of the lure of competitive pinball is that we're able to offer a ton of flexibility to organizers of what they can run, which other sports don't have the luxury of doing (or can't because of the challenges they would face comparing teams to one another based on variable game rules/conditions).
Soooo . . . we're left with trying to take this constant that other sports have - ONE GAME PLAYED. In Soccer it's 90 minutes. In American football it's 60 minutes. There's enough time in the game for the more skillful team to have the advantage at coming out victorious. Yes there's a level of volatility in that game played, but it's less volatile compared to running that same game for a shorter amount of time, or pick one of the formats I randomly listed above and then try debating which formats are more/less volatile (that was always the challenge we had getting WPPR v5.0 launched - we had to try and find a unit of measurement from that random list of formats above as the unit used to judge that level of volatility in a given result.
Our "90 minute game" played of soccer is now defined by being equivalent in the pinball world to "25 meaningful games played". In soccer that 90 minute game is worth 100% value for the team that wins the match. No value is given to anything less than that, because professional soccer doesn't accept any of the random formats I listed above. In pinball, 25 meaningful games played are worth 100% value for the player that wins the tournament. Instead of saying no value is given for anything less, we work out a percentage basis as to the value of that 'win' being based on how close to a 'full game' worth of games did they play.
Organizers are welcome to run events anywhere along the spectrum. Most of the time decisions are made based on the interest of the player base participating. Most of the time the decisions for a format are based on the time available to play (i.e. you can't play a 90 minute game of soccer if you only have 30 minutes to run your tournament). What we've tried to do is put the opportunities out there for organizers to meet that "90 minute soccer game" equivalent, and it's up to the organizer and players if they want to follow that checklist to ensure it happens. People may not agree with that checklist, but we think it's as fair of a list that we can have at this moment in time.
Hopefully our slight differences in the analogy you mentioned gives you a little more perspective where I'm coming from with all these attempts to manage the continued growing popularity of people wanting to start tournaments (that range from the smallest quickest most casual events, to the largest most prestigious events around the world).
Now for someone like yourself that stated our current system is "in shambles", I don't expect you to agree with any of my points . . . but simply to try and respect the thought process that has gone through that has taken us to where we are today.