Is it time for RP Point Bonuses in Elims to make a return?

A thought inspired by discussions about the ranking bonuses this year. Should the point bonuses for RPs return? Last time we had it was 2017 (100 pt bonus for completing all 4 rotors, 20 pt bonus for hitting 40 kPa).

I think for RPs based on point thresholds (2019 endgame, 2020 endgame, 2022 endgame) there shouldn’t be a point bonus, because that would put more scoring into the endgame portion which I disagree with. It feels unfair to me for matches to be decided by the endgame because they’re generally in protected zones and can’t be contested. Same can be said for autonomous and the 2018 switch RP, don’t want things to be decided in auto (imagine playing a match where the opponent had 3-4 scale cubes on you AND got the auto point bonus).

For the teleop RPs, however (ie. 2016 breach, capture; 2017 gears, fuel; 2019 rocket; 2020 stage 3; 2022 cargo RP) I think there’s a discussion to be had. 2019, 2020, and 2022 didn’t have the point bonuses, whereas 2016 and 2017 did.

In 2016, giving breaching a point bonus made it so that lower resource teams could contribute more points to the game, which I think is a good thing. The issue with the capture bonus was that if you had a dead robot there was next to nothing you could do to get the RP or the points bonus. Or, if you were to roll off at the last second, you’ve lost your alliance 25 points.

In 2017, the 4th rotor bonus was HUGE for a match. Matches swung hard when those point bonuses were won. The fuel bonus not so much, but it made the difference at the highest level.

In 2019, the rocket RP was not awarded a point bonus. This led to qualifications and elims having two different metas: in quals, you were playing hard to finish a single rocket, whereas in elims the focus shifted to the lower levels of the rocket and the cargo ship, trying to score as much as you could. With the rocket RP itself, the issue was that the counter strategy was very simple: by sending a defender to shut down the robot focused on the rocket, you’re preventing them from scoring game pieces which is lowering their chances in getting both the rocket RP and the win. It was an inherently difficult task made more difficult by defense. Not sure if I’d want to see two different metas again.

2016, 2020, and 2022 were similar in that those were limits that FIRST could have changed come Worlds if they were seeing it was happening too often. The wheel of fortune was also in play in 2020 so those limits could have been changed as well.

To conclude, I think that giving a point bonus to an RP would increase the correlation between getting the RP and winning matches, which I think would improve the quality of rankings. I’m not sure how Strength of Schedule is determined but I think having point bonuses would mean that your chance of ranking is more dependent on who you play with, not who you play against.

I wonder if this could be tested with the match data from this year (ie. add an arbitrary point bonus for the cargo RP, then change all the scores and rankings accordingly, then see how well the teams are sorted).

5 Likes

I strongly prefer games with consistent scoring dynamics between Quals and Playoffs. I’d take a linear scoring game mechanic with no bonus over a stepped scoring mechanic with bonuses any day of the week and twice on Saturday.

13 Likes

Give the points in quals too

13 Likes

The argument could be made though that giving a point bonus for achieving RPs in elims actually does make the scoring dynamic more consistent. You no longer have the case where strategies that are valuable in quals to make sure you get the RP are now worth less in elims (e.g. low-goal robots this year).

Ideally, the better way to achieve the same goal without giving a direct point bonus would be to move out of a straight best-of-three elims into something that would incorporate the same RPs as quals. But that is a much bigger change that I don’t know if FRC is really ready for.

7 Likes

Wouldn’t mind the return of some bonuses.

2019 seemed severely lacking without any incentive to make a Rocket in playoffs. It seemed like a miss strategically and a miss from the storyline FIRST had promoted as part of their game design.

17 Likes

Please do not bring back the giant lump points awards. Please.

6 Likes

I actually like it when the RP bonus does not equate to points in elims. It helps mid-tier teams do better in elims without disincentivizing difficult tasks altogether. It’s a tradeoff that teams have to make.

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I think this game was good without the rp bonuses. Both shooting and climbing were already strongly incentivized by points, and adding points to the the things that were already incentivized creates non-linear scoring that just punishes teams who aren’t able to make those thresholds. At low level of play, the #1 alliance would destroy everybody else even harder than they already have this year due to events running out of traversal climbs and strong shooters. Alliances that could only score 19 cargo would have no change against an alliance that can score 20 cargo due to the point bonus. As long as the points continue to be an incentive and reward to do game tasks, adding extra points at a single arbritray point

I do think that I’m in the minority in wanting some bonus points for an RP task in playoffs. For instance, a team that can score 20 low goals getting a 10 (or maybe all the way up to 20, but that feels too much) point bonus now suddenly is more useful in playoffs in a way that likely reflects their rank. But if the opposing alliance can also get 20 high goals, then it effectively cancels out. This year the hanging RP worked out OK because for most teams it was the most effective time to points method for scoring anyway, so teams that ranked well through quals by only hanging and no shooting were probably also reasonably useful in playoffs, as long as they could play defense and get two other alliance partners that could score cargo. The bonus to me on that could be smaller, maybe a 5 point bonus or something for the hangar bonus RP.

I don’t know, we definitely saw a few competitions where teams ranked higher than you would expect by being only able to traverse or do several low balls, but then were less useful in playoffs (or not desirable as alliance captains). Maybe that’s not a terrible thing? Maybe a small amount of bonus points helps keep the game more consistent between qual matches and playoffs?

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In qualifications the double RP for accomplishing both tasks is like saying, “Hey, that should have been good enough to win. You have a diverse alliance that can do all tasks pretty darned good. Here’s 2 RP.”

It would be nice if that sort of reward were available in elimination rounds. We already have seen too many matches get decided by a foul (or missed foul). Dominate performance should be rewarded with dominating points. Perhaps each RP task can have a time dependent point addition. Like first alliance to get cargo bonus gets 25 points, second gets 15. Same with hangar.

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Well-balanced RP point bonuses are good (2016). Poorly-balanced RP point bonuses are bad (2017).

In general, I don’t think it’s good for optimal playstyle/strategy to differ much between quals and playoffs, and the bonuses did a good job of keeping them in sync in 2016. I was really disappointed that FIRST seemingly gave up on the concept after not quite getting it right in 2017.

12 Likes

The thing that made the 2016 capture bonus really fun, especially early-season, was that it rewarded low goal robots with a way to win in elims. Get the capture, keep your high goal opponents from getting the capture, and you can win.

FRC games are better when the low goal is a strong option.

8 Likes

And this is exactly where it is for me, with “incentivized”. I would like to see a return to rp bonus points in elims, but in a game like 2022 that doesn’t work. Teams are shooting as much as they can till 40-20 seconds left anyways. All this does is create a larger gap from the alliance that only scores 19. Those were my favorite matches, because then it comes down to how many robots you can fit on the top 2 bars. In a game like 2019, it would’ve worked much better IMO. The problem I believe is the # of strategies. (2019 rocket, 2020 could’ve incentivized color wheel later in the season). I really do hope to see a return to bonuses in 2023, as it allows a non-wfficent strategy to be the best, and thats one of my favorite things to see. However, if the game isn’t meant for that, it makes it worse to force a bonus on it.

1 Like

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