WCO Improvements and personal thoughts

In one of the previous articles I wrote about about the history of the WCO. In this article I will discuss some of the improvements (especially on the organizational part) based on our experiences, aswell as sharing some personal thoughts.

During the first WCO, we used a word document which looked like
the red text is variable, per match. This means we had to look up all the data from the Excel file and replace it. Very prone to error and very time consuming. I would say this was the most annoying thing about the WCO #1.

In order to make things easier for the WCO team, and generally better for the participants (less errors, country flag, etc) I decided to make a small webapplication which with a database behind it. The database contains the following information of a player:

- Accountname
- Nationality
- Skype Address ( not anymore )

A table with rounds (start date, end date) was created too. With this tool we can generate match PMs with ease. From a drop-down menu player A is selected, then B, then the round, resulting in a copy-paste ready match PM.
Ideally it would include a link like http://forum.stratego.com/index.php?app=members&module=messaging&section=send&do=form?entered_name=Morx (this will send a PM to Morx) , automatically filling all recipients. After many tries together with Morx, we did not manage to fill in "other recipients" and eventually gave up on the idea, can't have it all unfortunately.

About one week prior to the second WCO's start, the webhost I hosted this application on decided to upgrade their PHP version, which caused the application to no longer work, lots of fun (not). This meant there were three options:

1. We don't use the tool (not really an option)
2. I try to update the application so that it works with the newest PHP version
3. Find another webhost which does support the old(er) version of PHP

Initially I went for #2, but me not exactly being a PHP expert, after an hour or two of frustrations, I gave up on the idea, and instead looked for a different webhost, which ultimately was found.

For the WCO Wizard we noticed that keeping track of the standings and answers is a painful task. To solve this I made an Excel which can quite easily do this. Computers are supposed to do the tedious work for us after all 😊.

Based on the feedback received from WCO #1 and WCO # 2, we made a few changes to the rules. As Skype was not a requirement for WCO # 3 (unlike WCO # 2, where it eventually got removed), some of the articles were no longer required. We were also unhappy with some of the wording. Fixing all things was too time consuming, instead the rules were written again from scratch, using the gathered feedback and old rules as starting point. The WCO team is always interested in player's (whether participating or not) opinions on how we can improve the WCO. Should you have any ideas, feel free to PM us, or / and share your ideas when the new feedback survey is available.

As some may or may not have seen, for WCO # 3, interviews (very time consuming, but fun!) were conducted with some players. Initially I wanted to do some interviews during WCO # 2, but never got to it, also due to slight disappointment with the low turn-out of participants. The goal of the interviews is to give people some insight of the person behind the nickname, so far I think this has been successful and hopefully good reads for you guys.

You can find a preview of the 6th WCO round here. I hope many players enjoy these kind of posts, but they are not as frequent as I'd like them to be, simply due to time constraints.

Less pleasant things during WCO
Each tournament / event has its fun and to say the least, less fun things. Things that aren't fun at all is having to disqualify players, especially those who were removed from the WCO due to inactivity or those not capable of following simple instructions regarding match arrangements. At the end, the WCO team chooses to remove those players, while causing inconvenience for the direct opponent, due to removal said player(s) will no longer be able to cause unpleasant experiences with unplayed games for others. If you take a look at this post you can see one of the players in question realizes the inconvenience and apologizes for this. I have 100 times more respect for those kind of players than the ones who sign up and "forget" to play.

Site issues were a true pain, resulting in something I never imagined to happen, the WCO team having to extend the duration of a round. With lots of unplayed games this was ultimately the only choice, but a painful one, especially considering prior to the decision, some players really tried hard to play the game, going through a frustrating game with slowness, disconnects and such. Looking back, we definitely should have decided to announce (and decide upon) the extension earlier, despite having good hopes that the issues would be resolved in time. Reading things such as "The WCO is the only tournament I care about" makes you think twice whether the initial refusal of an extension was wise.

Fun things
Luckily there are plenty of fun things, as mentioned before, the wizard, interviews, close games, and also players recognizing the fact they've met each other during the live WC for example. We notice that (partly due to swiss system) a lot of fun games are being played, which ultimately is one of the main goals of a tournament.

And last but not least, disagreeing on nearly everything with Greg 😁, but in the end he always realizes I am right. Right, Greg? 😄


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