Hey Tamers! It’s now been over a month since the TemCS ended, and we’re here to walk through how it’s been for us, review its performance, and talk about its future. Since the TemCS and the Showdown Standalone client had a lot of common ground, we’ll be talking about the future for the Standalone version as well, plus some other tidbits here and there you might want to know about. Be warned that this is a very long post!
TemCS Postmortem review, from our Tournament Organizer Yahlunna
A year in recap – Issues
What a year 2023 was, right? We started the first season of the TemCS in January aiming for a World Championship closure in September, but after a bunch of bugs and issues, we just crowned aarrggnn as your Temtem World Championship last December. It took a bit of extra time, but we got there!
Despite the bumps in the road, we feel like the TemCS was a very enjoyable event. Of course, there’s a lot of stuff we would change regarding the format of the event, rulings, etc. Hindsight is 20/20 however, so while it’s tempting to think about ideal “what if” scenarios, let’s stick to what we did, what went well and what did not, and what we can learn from those facts.
While there is a lot of stuff to be addressed, I think the main two big elephants in the room are the TemCS website not working properly, and the mid-tournament bugs (hello there, Tyranak!). These are the most unfortunate ones, so let’s take a look at these first to get them out of the way:
The TemCS website swiss seeding bug:
A Swiss seeding system works by randomly setting player matchups behind the scenes. Tournament organizers do not have access to how this seeding works, nor can modify it. This is for several good reasons, like avoiding messing with the algorithm or eliminating the chance of a third party controlling matchups in their favor. However, if there is an algorithm error mid-tournament, all that a TO can do at that point is to shrug in frustration.
While the swiss seeding module we were using was used and tested in the past for other games and events, it was flawed for our case and had a bias to grant byes and down matches to specific players. It took a long time and a worst case scenario (a player getting two byes in the same tournament) to be able to report these issues to the provider of the module, as we hadn’t been able to reproduce the issue internally in test tournaments to check if there was an actual bias or it was just a monumentally unlucky situation.
After reporting the issue with all the data and the bye bug, the providers of the system confirmed that there was indeed a mistake in the seeding. However, there were also good news: a new, updated and bug free swiss module was around the corner and would solve the issue. We only needed to wait for it to finish.
Sadly, the swiss module never quite took off, so after delaying the TemCS for a month, we decided to migrate the tournaments to battlefy. This was quite paining for us, and something we wanted to avoid at all costs, as everything else at the TemCS website was working properly and helped make the work behind the scenes way more streamlined. This is not to say the TemCS website was perfect, of course (the team lock field implementation was kind of rough, and we had some issues with tournaments being region-locked at the beginning), but it worked properly and gathered all the relevant information and tools in the same place. Needless to say, this is meaningless if the seeding system is not working, or not being fair, so at the end of the day, it was a really unfortunate situation that required the use of an external platform, much as we wanted to use the one we had invested time and resources into.
Around the end of the TemCS, we started sorting PvP-related bugs in two categories:
- Minor: Something was branded minor if it was not working properly, but knowing about it did not impact the overall flow of the game. Think things like an attack dealing a bit more or less damage than intended, or stuff not triggering in a specific situation. While it wasn’t ideal, we made players aware of the bug and expected them to play around it.
- Major: Anything that would either make the game heavily unbalanced (Iridescence Koish) or break the game with soft-locks or worse. We would ban the Temtem/Traits/Gears/etc. that could trigger these from all the TemCS tournaments.
And then there is Tyranak: Tyranak not triggering the third turn of Intimidator. Frightening Tyranak disabling traits if they’re disabling Gears. Tyranak not totally disabling one time use Traits, or OX Traits, etc. Tyranak’s interactions fall over the minor issues area, but there were so many of them that a lot of players pointed out that perhaps Tyranak should be banned. We ultimately made the call not to ban Tyranak, as we considered its impact on the meta was high, and banning it would cause more bad than good.
During the development of the TemCS, the accumulation of bugs and issues made it inevitable to eventually build more communication bridges between QA and the TemCS, which culminated in the current ban list, which is based on all the currently tracked and know bugs that may affect a PvP match. It wasn’t strange for the PvP community to be aware of unintended behavior that QA is unaware of or unable to reproduce, and vice-versa. Thus, the competitive scene has been a strong driving force behind improving communication between both sides, for us to figure out some of those bugs that didn’t make it to the official channels for one reason or another, or those that got buried behind an avalanche of new ones during a patch update, and for the community to be able to act well prepared and make decisions knowingly.
Unfortunately, since these bridges took some time to build, and there were some bugs that didn’t make the known bug list, some of these still found their way into the tournaments. While in general they had minor impact, there where some particular situations where they made a mess of things and were a huge pain in the a** to deal with, specially those that could have been prevented had we taken action sooner (looking at the savanalion – logane match during the LCQ Open Stage, which hurts double as it was a preventable bug that was paired with a rushed and suboptimal ruling to solve the issue).
We apologize sincerely for these issues, and the impact they had on the TemCS games.
A year in recap – System overview
There are less gloomy topics to talk about, though! Let’s talk about the systems that were created and put in place for the TemCS.
The TemCS format:
Originally, we really didn’t have any idea of how big the TemCS was going to be. This was our first time creating an official competitive circuit, so we didn’t really know how many players it would attract or retain, how much of an impact it would have, or how numbers would fluctuate during the development of the circuit. Going in partially blind, we had to design a system that allowed us to handle both a huge influx of players and a very small core audience. This is one of the reasons why the TRP and the Region System came into life.
The biggest issue designing the TemCS was time. To avoid swingy results we wanted to stick with best-of-3 sets of matches. This would ensure that rounds could last up to 90 mins (each game can last up to 30 minutes between timer rounds, animations, etc.), to cover for the possible differences in match length. If you make a big double elimination bracket, you fall into the risk of having sides of the bracket advancing faster while others move slowly, breaking the pacing of the event. But you can’t make a swiss stage with a lot of rounds with such time commitment in each round.
We eventually went with the standard, the tried and true 2 stage system (swiss into knockout) tournaments. That way we could get rid of the swiss stage if not required, and keep small knockout stages! It also synced very well with the way in which we eventually decided to approach the TRP system.
The main criticism of this was that sometimes the amount of swiss rounds played was too small to define a more solid top cut, specially in stacked tournaments. In any case, the system has served its purpose of keeping tournaments inside a reasonable time frame, and while some alternatives have been thrown around with their pros and cons, we are happy with the system chosen. There have been some proposals that have caught our eyes, like increasing swiss rounds and keep them Bo1, or playing a single double elimination with pool schedules. These could be interesting options to experiment with in community events first, or for fun!
Tamer Rating Points were a simple way to evaluate how players performed over time, regardless of how many players joined the fray. By pairing them with direct access to the different qualifications to the World Championship, we could keep a healthy balance between rewarding top performing players throughout the year while granting newcomers chances to compete for a World Championship slot in the big tournament.
By linking TRP to matches won instead of arbitrary ratings inside a tournament, I think we made TRP feel better than most standard rating point systems. We did so by avoiding situations where players wouldn’t get TRP by finishing below a rating due to OWR, or counteracting that bitter aftertaste of nailing a swiss 7-0, having a bad day 2, and finishing with the same points as a 5-2 player after 0-2 in knockouts.
And while not everyone was happy about TRP as ranked rewards, I think they did a great job of keeping the ladder a bit more worthwhile and meaningful to grind!
Of course, the TRP system had its own flaws, but these are mostly due to a slight lack of fine-tuning sometimes (some tournaments should have granted a few more/less points per win, etc.) or issues related with the region system (interregional events and the lack of limitations to join them), and not much with the TRP system itself. In retrospect, I feel that TRPs worked pretty well on their own and I’m quite happy with them!
A year in recap – The Invitational and the Temtem World Championship
We can confirm that it is now a Temtem tradition to start a tournament with a match spectator bug!
Jokes aside, we’re very happy with how these two went. While we had some momentary problems during broadcast from time to time, most of the broadcasts went smoothly, there weren’t any big issues to worry about, and they were super cool to watch! (Especially Worlds. Seriously, the World Championship was amazing, some of these matches were crazy good! Watch Worlds if you didn’t already).
There is little we would change about both events. The Invitational should definitely have been a 16 players event, and perhaps we should have granted more TRP and DQ slots for Worlds and tune down the amount of players qualified via the Last Chance Qualifier. Other than that, it is hard to make a tournament unentertaining when the best of the best are playing. And of course, thanks to our fantastic community casters to spice the whole thing!
Final thoughts and a postscript:
This was an exciting year for the Temtem competitive scene, and while there were a lot of things to consider and reflect on, we are happy with how this circuit unfolded despite some unfortunate bumps in the road we had to evade. We have a World Champion now!
The TemCS was important, of course, but there are other community events and tournaments going on covering what we couldn’t offer, and a lot of work behind the scene in these too. Go keep an eye on them!
With this being said… We hope a few Tamers got hooked in the fun of the competitive Temtem taming, and don’t shy out and give competitive playing a try. It may be dauting at first, but there is a exciting and fun world behind these doors, and anyone can jump on it and have a blast.
I think I started making Temtem “tournaments” around early 2019. Back then we didn’t have any fancy stuff like Showdown, team lock codes or Spectator mode, and organizing anything was a way more messy endeavor. I had some experience making for-fun tournaments in other games in the past, but nothing even came close to a professional tournament. You can kick a rock and find a dozen of more experienced TOs than me! If you were to tell me back then that I was going to work on making the Temtem World Championship a reality, I would have assumed you were crazy! But here we are. Time flies, huh.
I learned a lot doing the TemCS. In retrospect, there is a lot of stuff I would have changed and tweaked, from the tournament format up to a few rulings made to solve issues in the middle of some tournaments. Since I can’t can change the past, I can only add these to my repertoire to avoid similar issues in the future.
TO’ing is weird, as making good calls and decisions always translates into preventing issues, and it’s hard to be proud of not having issues happen in the first place. On the other hand, every single mistake hurts a lot, because you’re ruining the fun of a bunch of people when they happen. But when you get tournaments going on smoothly, and get to watch people enjoying them, everything is well worth the effort. It’s more of a “the final result is what counts” sort of situation. And while I feel there is a ton of stuff I could have done to improve the TemCS, I’m also a bit proud of the current final result. Watching people emoting in the stands watching a Worlds match felt so god damn cool to me. I really hope you enjoyed playing/watching the TemCS as much as I enjoyed working on it!
Similarly to when I was doing community events, there is no way I could have done this alone. I want to thank Crema for giving me the chance to be their official TO during this adventure, as well as all the casters who helped us during the official broadcasted events, and those who broadcasted the big events in different languages, and those who streamed the smaller events to give everyone a glance on the PvP scene! Special mention to the GGTech streaming crew who did a great job during Worlds and the Invitational.
And of course, special thanks to everyone who played and/or followed the TemCS! Like in any other competitive scene, you are the soul and fuel that makes this happen! Hope you enjoyed the event as much as I did!
So, with everything said, lets go ahead, and…
The future of the TemCS
With this, we’re sadly coming to the end of an era: there won’t be a second TemCS circuit. Our goals with the TemCS were to bring attention to the strong competitive scene of Temtem, and to become a household name, and while it pulled in most of our existing competitive players, it failed to bring in the new players and attention we were hoping for. We’ve loved seeing it come to completion and we don’t regret trying to create our own circuit tournament, but it also didn’t yield enough results to warrant the resources invested into doing it a second time.
We apologize to those of you who were looking forward to a second TemCS, and hope you can understand our position regarding this matter. The TemCS will always stay in our hearts, memories, and YouTube channel.
Showdown: Standalone client
Now, onto the other big thing affected by this. With the decision not to move forward with a second Temtem Championship Series circuit, we’ve also decided to discontinue the Showdown standalone Steam client. Please stay assured this will not affect the Showdown inside the Temtem main game; it is only about the standalone Steam client.
We understand that this may be disappointing to those of you who actively played and enjoyed the Standalone client. Please know that this was not a decision that we made lightly, and that we’re equally disappointed to share this news with you today.
When we launched Temtem: Showdown, we wanted to empower the TemCS by making access to the competitive world of Temtem free, fast and streamlined. We failed to venture how daunting getting into PvP play would be for newbies, or how tough the competition was by the time we launched the Standalone client. Prompted by those reasons and many others, it has seen little traction, even amongst the current PvP community.
Due to the poor performance of the standalone client, and considering that there will not be a TemCS this year, we’ve decided to stop investing work into it. As a separate program on Steam, the Standalone client requires patching, testing and bug fixing individually from the main Temtem game. All of this requires lots of time and hard work from the development team, and we’d rather focus those efforts into Temtem and our future projects.
Like Yahlunna said, hindsight is 20/20, and of course, there’s a million things we would’ve done differently knowing what we now know. This is a tough decision to make, but one we believe is necessary for our team, resources, and games.
Thank you so much to everyone in our community who tried out the standalone version of Showdown. If you enjoyed what you experienced there, we’d like to invite you to try out the main game so that you can experience everything Temtem has to offer.
We intend to make this change effective with the launch of 1.6, on January 29th. You can continue using the standalone client until then, and you will still keep the client in your Steam library after this date, but it will not be playable from January 29th onwards.
What about everything else?
To those concerned about balance for the main Temtem game, be not afraid: balance will not be affected by any of this, and it will continue as usual. These changes will not affect the Temtem game for worse in any way. If anything, it’ll allow us to focus all of our bug finding and bug fixing energy into Temtem.
Patch 1.6. is around the corner, scheduled for January 29th, and we hope you’re excited for the new features, the new Season, the balance changes, the QoL improvements, and more! A little spoiler for the wait, maybe?