I posted this in another thread but because I got pretty off-topic from the central discussion I thought I'd make a separate post. I'll just quote my two comments from that thread with some small tweaks:
I know fan voting is a part of NationWars that they and most people seem to like it, but I would significantly prefer teams to be decided by a play-in. If you want to represent your country, then beat the other players from your country to earn your spot. It would be completely impractical with so many countries and having to set up all of these mini-tournaments to get a top 3 would require a ton of effort, but in an ideal world that's what I'd like. Upon further reflection though it'd mostly be pretty pointless as most countries don't have that many strong players anyway, and I don't think it's worth it. Instead the WCS points option is probably better.
Another option would be to do it by WCS points. You could just straight give it to the top 3 (some countries don't even have 3 players with WCS points though), or only give the #1 player from each country an auto-entry and have the others compete for it (a combination of issues from both methods). Nothing is perfect and I'm just spit-balling atm but god I hate fan votes so much.
The "qualifier" round that Nation Wars this time was rather underwhelming – there were 16 matches and 8 of them were 4-0; only one match went to a game 7. Then in the Ro24 the only Invited nation that didn't win its group was Mexico – the other seven all won handily, none of them even being pushed to a single game 7. Some individual matches may have been good, but they came at the cost of sitting through a lot of boring bops. Sure, if we give low ranked players enough tries at top ranked players eventually we'll get an upset or two, but on the whole that doesn't make for a great set of games and the matches are still mostly lopsided. We did get three game 7s in the Ro24 though in some of the better groups which were great.
Tentatively, these are my thoughts:
There are many different ways to decide participation, a couple I thought of were: 1. Limited to countries with 3 (or 4 if we include the sub) participating players who, cumulatively, have >X number of WCS points. The issue here is the cutoff would be rather arbitrary, and the number of eligible countries would be inconsistent. 2. Each country gets assigned a ranking based on the cumulative WCS points of its top 3 (or 4 if we include the sub) participating players – the top X number of countries get in. Countries who have fewer than 3 players with WCS points obviously can only count the WCS points of 1 or 2 players (ex. Finland = 10,200 + 0 + 0).
I prefer the second way, because it gives some additional importance to WCS points, it makes all players' WCS points matter for something, and it can be used to easily determine which players qualify for their country. Yes, I still prefer the play-in method for each country, but I acknowledge the impracticality of it. A limited play-in could maybe be done. Or maybe we keep a small element of the fan vote, wherein either the top 1, 2 or 3 players are given spots by WCS points and the rest of the spots and the sub are voted in.
NOTE: To determine the qualification WCS points of players, Nation Wars can use a rolling calendar. What this means is that Nation Wars isn't limited to taking place at the end of each calendar year, but can take place anytime they want and each player's WCS points are a total of their points accrued over the last 12 months. It's essentially the same system that tennis uses.
I would like to set the X number of countries at 24 as the cutoff, with an addition – the top 4 countries from the last Nation Wars get a bye into the Ro16. This makes for a total of 28 countries. On the face of it looking back this may seem a bit odd given that the teams that would have been seeded under this system would be: Finland, South Korea, Mexico and Netherlands; the latter two didn't even win their Ro24 group. But I think that if you perform exceptionally well, and making top 4 in Nation Wars is very hard, then there is no issue with rewarding that performance with a small bye. And I don't think it's going to lead to some landed gentry of top nations anymore than we already have with the skill levels of the various countries.
What this accomplishes is that it gets rid of the qualifier round they had this year altogether, retains the Ro24 but changes it to 6 GSL-style groups of 4 that put through 12 countries, and gives each Ro16 group a seeded country. This system compared to the current one would take the total number of matches before the Ro16 from 40 down to 30, and the total number of nations from 40 to 28. South Korea would have to be taken into account given that they players don't get WCS points (though even if you only counted their IEM points as WCS points they'd be a seeded country lol), but they being practical and realistic they can be entered as follows: if they finish top 4, they get seeded into the Ro16 next year. If they finish outside the top 4, they get seeded into the qualifier for next year.
I think reducing the number of matches is a good thing because we're only dropping the least interesting, least impactful, and lowest quality matches while streamlining the qualification process and getting to good matches quicker. I think reducing the number of countries is also good because quite frankly some of them just aren't up to the level of competing – the following 13 teams have 0 WCS points between all three of their participating players: Argentina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey. For these 13 teams: 6 didn't get a single map win, in total they had 12 wins between them, and none of them made it to the Ro24. No offense to them, but I don't think losing these countries is all that bad. Switzerland got to a game 7 against Hong Kong which was great, and I acknowledge we'd never have gotten that match under my system, but I think losing the occasional close match between two low-ranking teams (neither of which made the Ro16) is an acceptable cost. I also don't think that, in effect, requiring at least one player to have at least one WCS point is too much to ask. I understand it's a blow to these countries and it's great to be able to compete in a tournament like this, but I think this sets an appropriate bar to compete.
Now I realize that my system would have, this year, basically just eliminated all countries who have 0 WCS points and left us a country short. Prior to researching this I was genuinely not expecting it to be an issue to get 28 countries with at least some WCS points. The odd country is Austria, where HateMe got 175 WCS points and would have rounded out the 28, but maybe they don't have two other eligible players, which leads me to player eligibility. What are we to do about countries with fewer than 3 players with WCS points – how do we determine the extra spots? The simplest way is probably to do it by MMR on each players' officially declared account on each countries' home server. I understand we've had issues with win-trading and account-sharing in the past though, so if anyone has an alternate solution my ears are open.
None of this is set in stone and I'm open to discussion. I think overall this would improve the Nation Wars experience for the audience and deliver more good matches and potential rivalries.
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