Many teams just “coopertitioned” their way up the ranks into the top 8 in the regionals we attended. We did find them worth a little bit too much in the QS than expected/ hoped for. Sometimes, the not-as-effective robots were in the top 8 not because they were carried by other teams, but because they had teammates who did the coopertition, or they did the coopertition. And coopertition points I believe are worth 2 wins in qualifying score.
I strongly believe that you should read the rules on this…
5.3.3 Qualification Score (QS)
Qualification Points are awarded to each team at the completion of each Qualification Match and are dependant on the final score:
Each team on the winning Alliance will receive two (2) Qualification Points.
Each team on the losing Alliance will receive zero (0) Qualification Points.
In the event of a tied score, all six teams will receive one (1) Qualification Point.
Additional Qualification Points will be awarded to each team on an Alliance equal to any Coopertition Points earned.
The maximum amount of Coopertition points earnable in any given match is 2 points for each alliance per [G41]. Therefore, Coopertition points are worth at most 1 win per match.
Coopertition points can double your effective win total. However, the Coopertition points themselves are worth only one win each time you get them.
Back to the matter at hand:
I’ve seen some of the rankings changing. The coopertition score really boosted some teams quickly–if a team got a run of coop balances and wins at the same time, they could go from low to high in a few matches. I’ve seen that when monitoring Fantasy FIRST points live. However, I have no hard data.
I think that the coopertition bridge is the single biggest contributing factor to the relatively high number of elimination upsets this year. Teams that weren’t doing so well could balance and score and seed high–and then get taken down by teams that were doing well. But in the process, they could sure split up powerhouses. OTOH, the powerhouses realized very quickly that the Coop bridge was extremely important, and someone on their alliance would go for it every match. This shot them to the top of the rankings at many events–but the triple balance could take them out of competition.
The coopertition bridge, IMO, is one of the best strategic elements the GDC has ever put into an FRC game. It forces you to think about ranking strategy, strategy for relating to other teams, and split-second decisions without good communication with the person you’re working with (a real-world challenge). And they got it just about right. Could they have minorly tweaked the point values for either coopertition or winning? Probably. Would it have been nearly as effective? No.
I am not a firm believer in Co-op points as is. Some tweaks need to be done, but I can’t seem to come up with suggestions even after reading about the whole GTR East thread and the events that unfolded prior to our last qualification match 89 at Lone Star. Let’s just say there is a correlation between the team that 359 chose as its second partner and the same team that played in that match.
Speaking purely from anecdotal evidence, Coopertition Points had a huge impact on our rating. We had a pretty average win-loss-tie record, but only once did we ever get a coopertition balance (a combination of us not being able to balance well and our alliances not being able to live up to their promises). As a result, we were ranked really low.
Regardless, I think Coopertition Points are a great element of the game, and I hope FIRST keeps them as important (or nearly as important) as they are now. I think the reason so many teams suffered because of them is that in past years, the endgame has been such a long shot that teams didn’t concentrate on it. That was our mistake, at least. Now that we’ve had the opportunity to learn from that mistake, I hope FIRST will keep a similar system around and teams will give it more credit during the design phase than we did this year.
I feel like FIRST will never truly implement a system where your ranking is determined by your performance and your performance alone. Especially when there is such a huge difference between the best and the worst.
At least it’s better than the system from 2010. That was an awful system.
People quickly jumped onto the CP train once they figured out what it was. Perhaps if you perform numerical calculation, you’ll find the standard deviation in rankings will be high in week 1 regionals, but it will be very low in the later weeks.
I remember performing a slight analysis for the Peachtree Regional and removing the effect of the CP points only caused a slight shuffling between the teams, and really didn’t make a huge difference in the top 8.
2011 you could lose the minibot race to improve your RS.
2010 you could directly score for the opponent.
2009 same as 2010
2008 you could leave the balls on top of the overpass or push them across the finish line if you wanted to.
2007 you could not do anything to affect score.
I don’t feel like going back further, but it’s pretty clear that this is the first year in awhile in which you cannot directly contribute to, or take actions to not reduce your opponent’s score.
If you’re referring to 2012 by this statement, you can score for your opponent. Nowhere is it disallowed. I also recall a Q&A answer to the effect of “It matters that it goes in, not how it goes in.” (The question, IIRC, was something along the lines of “If a ball bounces in off probable object for stuff to bounce off of, does it still count?”, or it might have been a direct “Can we score for our opponents?”)
However, it helps you not one bit in the rankings. The win+coop are the only things that count.
Also, just a minor quibble: I distinctly said “score for your opponent”. I made no reference to failing to score points, or not scoring as many points as you could, which has always been on the table. If you take my words as I said them, then 2007 and 2011 are both cases where you could not legally score for your opponent. If, however, you choose to take “score for your opponent” as “take actions to not reduce your opponent’s score”, then you have to go back to 2001, where you had no opponent but could raise or lower your partner’s score (or your own) with some careful maneuvering, or 1991, when FRC had yet to run a single competition.
Seriously, if you don’t like the idea of being handicapped by a deficient opposing alliance, do something about it. Don’t just gripe about the situation. What can you do, you ask? The answer should be obvious: help your opponents to be good.
This is a bit more complicated than just helping your opponents do well. In previous years, I have helped both partners and opponents with their machines, often doing things as simple as helping them get their drive working (2009 comes to mind) or as complicated as helping them with code/electrical etc. Usually, in previous games, it was just about getting the robot to move and with some sort of degree of control so that the machine could at least positively contribute to the scoring efforts and or strategy in a given match - 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 were easy in regards to this, as long as the machine moved, it could do SOMETHING.
Looking at this year and the bridges, helping every one of your opponents, or lets say a reasonable number of them would be a daunting task. There are many, many teams that built robots that aren’t capable of climbing bridges reliably or even at all, and we’re not talking about easy fixes either. Teams used the wrong wheels, wrong gearing, the frame geometry impedes with the bridge, CoG is too High, etc - fixing any one of those problems is much more than one would expect to do for any single opponent for a single match.
To me, the real problem here is that someone at FIRST still misses the key point:
They keep trying to change the motivations of the teams by changing the Qualifying promotion system to depend on something other than winning matches. This goes back for over a decade and keeps coming in and out of the game design. They seem think this will somehow change who wins. This does indeed serve to change how teams will play the game in qualifying. However, all such attempts fail to change anything in the end because we then proceed to play an ELIMINATION series that is ONLY about winning.
So, FIRST’s attempts at trying to change what we do on the feild really don’t change much after all, since the teams who know how to win invariably end up as the leaders at the end of the tournament anyway. What these attempts do serve to do is:
Make the game more bimodal and more confusing to the spectators, since the robots do different things on the field depending on what part of the competition you are watching.
Make the game less sport-like, since bizarre concepts like this are found no where in any main stream sport.
Drive a lot more ‘noise’ into the qualifing process, since advancing in the rankings can often be most out of an individual team’s control.
Set up a lot of built in upsets in Eliminations, since the teams best equipped for winning the tournment may not be the qualifying leaders.
Cause a lot more frustration in the actual execution of the gameplay
Open the door for attempts to “game” the qualifying system, since the motivations of the opposing alliances may not be the same.
With 3 on 3 alliance play, we already have so many reasons to help and cooperate with other teams that we do not need more deliberately injected into the game design.
I still believe that if we are legitimately trying to make FRC be recognized as a real sport than the GDC must treat it like one. These ‘social engineering experiments’ do not really belong here and they really don’t work anyway. Good atheletes and good sports teams win tournments, and no one seems to have a problem with this. Good Robots should excel at Robotics Competitions.
If FIRST wants to try to level the field, maybe they should create some kind of handicap rankings. This is done in golf and other sports to allow players of different proficiency to play against each other on somewhat equal terms in the same league. I personally do not think this is necessary, but whatever the solution, messing with the Qualifying promotion system has never really worked, and probably never will. The best games are the ones in which the teams with the best execution will rise to the top in both Qualifying AND Eliminations.