Could you explain the rational behind reducing the size of the Fantasy and Warmahordes events but not the 40k one?
Looking at the leagues for 2014 Warmahordes has had the most events by far (we need to get Good Games involved with GW lol!), variable numbers but with several events reaching 20 players, 54 players on the league ladder, and it looks like Sanctify will be the single biggest event of the three systems this year. Fantasy has had far fewer events but has had its best attendance in years, and the strongest attendance overall of the three systems in 2014 (with all the events this year being over 20 players) and having 61 players on the ladder. 40K events by contrast haven’t reached 20 players at all this year, have 55 players on the ladder, and the fewest events of the three systems.
I'm not trying to cause problems or anything, but would love to know what we as a community can do to be deemed worthy of getting the larger event back, everyone loves larger events.
It was a very tough call. Ultimately it's not my preference to reduce the number of ANY of the 3 system events. This is for the obvious reasons of reducing player satisfaction for those who miss out on attendance as a result, as well as the reduced revenue from tickets creating pressure on my end to keep costs in check. I hope people appreciate that the decision was not made lightly, and was done to preserve the integrity of the event in bigger ways. It was also a decision that was locked in a couple of months ago, so it wasn't informed by some of the recent spikes in event attendance we're seeing. That said - the Ultimates qualifying numbers for this year are now set and will not be changing again.
As a qualifying event designed to attract and recognise the top gamers & hobbyists of the state each year, it's important that we have a sufficient "depth of field" to draw the invitees from. Determining this comes from a combination of different things. The total number of events run during the year, the size of each in terms of player cap and actual attendance, the total number of individual players competing throughout the year and the average number of events that each attend are just some of the things that I look at constantly. I've been tracking tournament stats and trends in WA since the early 2000s, with as complete a set of data on it as you're ever likely to see. This makes it much easier to get a feel for what's going on based on both current and historial trends, which partly informs this kind of decision making as well.
The move to reduce Ultimate Warhammer back to a 12 spot event a couple of years back was a relatively obvious one resulting from the slump we saw in local activity following directly on from the 8th Edition game release. We got to a point there where there were a mere 3 events on the annual calendar (with minimal attendance at that), so there was no way we were going to have a "best of WA" approach to issuing invitations if we'd kept it at 16.
40K is going through a similar change at the moment and we're seeing a bit of player attrition, but it isn't as severe. Traditionally it's been a very resilient system in WA with the ability to bounce back harder within a shorter time when it comes to a temporary slump. Having 2 edition reboots in as many years will put that to the test, but I'm still confident that what we're seeing right now won't last too long and will see things on the rise again soon. We now have events back on the calendar and the interest/buzz is gradually returning. While I could have looked at reducing the numbers for Ultimate 40K this year, based on both this and the more diverse range of players appearing on event attendance lists compared to other systems, I elected not to.
Warmachine/Hordes is a totally different beast to the other two in terms of events and the local scene - with frequent events being run for a while now. One significant difference it has in terms of the tournament scene though - is a trend towards much smaller events (often limited by an organiser imposed cap), and a much less diverse range of frequent attendees at the majority of those events. While it's true that there are a good number of total individual people being tracked across the year from event attendance, the truth is that the bulk of each event's attendees are made up of the same players every time. The impact of this in terms of the way the Ultimates draws qualifiers is that we just end up inviting the same people that are attending every event during the year, rather than a more accurate representation of the top players. This was partly evident last year at the tournament from player feedback received as well. It's primarily for these reasons that the available spots for Ultimate Warmachine have been reduced to 12 this year, but as the size of local events and the variety of players attending them continues to increase - I expect that it may be a one time reduction.
Looking to the future, I think that if things continue more in line with the recent surge we've seen with an event like Sanctify! - then I see no reason why 2015 won't have us back to the 16 qualifying spots for Ultimate Warmachine. Warhammer is also experiencing steady growth in WA over the last 12 months or so, giving it a pretty good shot of returning to 16 spots next year as well if this keeps up. 40K is in a heavy state of flux right now, so I'll be keeping a close eye on the numbers to see if any change is needed there, but I hope not.
So I hope that clears things up a bit. The process and thinking behind all of the above is far from simple, and while it's partly research and data - it's fair to say that there's a significant part of subjective judgement involved on my part as well. For this reason I won't be going into more discussion about the process to dissect it further. Regardless of the slight change in numbers this year, all 3 systems have a great year ahead of them and we'll be running the most challenging and enjoyable event come November that we can manage. I hope to see many of you there!