Formal Response from the Genesis 4 Organizers - by Bear & Dr. Z
This is Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh, I'm the Smash 4 Event Organizer for Genesis 4. After a long week & weekend of ups and downs I wanted to take some time and think about Genesis 4 as a whole, and the things we can do in the future to make these events better for everyone. It broke my heart to make the calls I had to make especially knowing that in times like these there is no clear right answer, so let me start this out simple: I'm sorry. I love the Smash Bros community. I have dedicated my life to these games, but this weekend I was brought to tears over some tough calls and the real effect they had on my friends. I always put in 100% to make sure everything to run smoothly, with no incident. Sadly, this weekend, that was not the case.
First I want to address the issue with the Genesis brackets and the conflicting information between the paper and online version. Phase 2 Pools were affected when manual adjustments had to be made after Round 1. The way I understand it, G4 brackets were generated outside of smashgg and imported through a separate flow. In reimporting the updated brackets, the paper versions used by pool captains were incorrect, since they were not printed directly from smashgg admin. Though it only occurred in Wii U Singles brackets I203, I205, and I207, this issue is important, and caused multiple matches to be disrupted. Communication is vital for an operation of this size to run smoothly, and as soon as that broke down we saw a series of players confused and upset. In the end, we had to make some tough calls. I halted all pools during that time to ensure we had the most accurate information, though some players had played well into their next rounds and felt slighted by the changes. We did our best, but sometimes that’s not enough. For the hand-full of players this affected, I am truly sorry. In a perfect world we would have fixed the problem before it started, but with conflicting codes sent into smashgg, sometimes the only solution is a reactive one.
A new issue occurred during this tournament that I don’t think any of us were ready to handle. I hope that our decisions are understood by the community, though I understand emotions ran high on either side. When it was discovered that the damage ratio was adjusted from 1.0x to 0.9x, we reacted as quickly and as fairly as we could. Both D. Disciple and I are certain we checked the settings on the stream setup before the start of Top 8 began. When I stated I was “100% sure” that both D Disciple and I checked it, I meant it. But I must admit there is no way of knowing for sure that it wasn’t changed after I checked it, and it seems like from what people pointed it it may not have been on 1.0x from the beginning of Top 8. I’m truly sorry I misled people because that was not my intention at all. In high production events like these, it’s difficult to have an eye on everything going on. I know the importance of this issue and do everything in my power to create a fair and competitive environment. After checking the setup, I moved on to production duties. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no way to lock the setup to ensure that no accidental changes are made. We all want the same thing, a fun and fair match, and in the end we tried to make reasonable calls.
As soon as the issue came to light we brought it up with all the staff and the players in question. I needed to ensure the final call was decided by the head organizers of Genesis, and not in the heat of the moment. I deferred to Boback and Sheridan to help consult the next move with Komorikiri, who contested the 3-1 result. The final ruling was that the players would replay Game 4 on the same stage. We do everything we can to ensure a fair game, and when something like this happens it reminds me how fragile the setups are, and how easily that fairness can be compromised. I stand by the decisions made and will work tirelessly to make sure this never happens again in any future events.
After some scrutiny, Sheridan stated that “once you start the next game you are accepting the result of the previous & can't contest it.” https://twitter.com/sheridactyls/status/823296620573790208 That was the simplest, clearest solution at the time. That’s why the matches between Dabuz and ZeRo were not replayed on stream or off stream. At the time, I was worried that the Wii U was faulty so I made sure between every set we checked that the ratio was at 1.0x before the match began. I do NOT want this to ever happen again, whether in Round 1 Pools, Round 2 Pools, Top 32, and especially Top 8. As hard as we try to do make everything run smoothly, TOs are not infallible and there are sometimes an overwhelming number of variables to check. So I’d like to propose a new rule: Settings Check. Similar to how the players do Button Checks, I think it's important that the players themselves take a brief moment to open the settings menu and make sure everything is okay so when they start the match they acknowledge that the settings are correct for their match. That way there is no more issues where someone can change a setting before the players sit down, because nobody can interfere after they check it themselves. Depending on community response, this Settings Check will be something I’d like to include in my tournaments moving forward so nothing like this can EVER happen again.
We understand that this doesn’t fix things for Dabuz and Komorikiri. No one can go back in time and fix the ratio. To help soften the blow the Genesis staff is finalizing compensation for hardships. In addition, I will compensate entry of any major of their choice in 2017, including CEO, Big House or Shine. I’m truly sorry this happened to these players. These guys are my friends and I would do anything for them. Sadly, in the moment, under the circumstances, I was unable to be their friend and had to be their TO with the staff. Believe me when I say you two are my heroes. I want you to succeed and enjoy competing.
After big tournaments like this I reflect on where this all started and why I chose this life for myself. From my early days in the back of an arcade to events of thousands in an arena or theatre, I am so grateful to have found this passion and all these people to share it with. We may never be perfect, but every event we get better. Everyone involved at Genesis is passionate and wants the best for our players and community. Thank you to those who volunteered this weekend and all the support staff for Genesis 4.
There will be a more encompassing post mortem piece for the event as a whole as the core staff of Genesis reviews all issues & feedback. Thank you for reading this. I really appreciate being part of the community & give my all to each event I work.
With all my love,
Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh
Smash 4 Event Organizer of Genesis Gaming
Hello Smash fans,
This is Sheridan Zalewski AKA Dr. Z, the person who issued the ruling about the 0.9 situation. First I want to personally apologize to everyone who was disappointed in us for the ruling and, more importantly, that there even needed to be a ruling in the first place. I work on Genesis because I love everything that Smash has done for my life (I can honestly say that Smash has given me my job, my girlfriend of ~5 years, and most of my friends) and for the lives of so many others, and hopefully that I’ll be able to, in some small way, help others to be able to say the same in the future. I have a place in the Smash community because the community trusts me and the Genesis team to represent them and give them the events that they deserve, and in order to keep that trust I must be accountable to the community and I owe you an explanation of my thought process and of what we’ll be doing in the future as a result.
There are mistakes that can be fixed and mistakes that can't. With mistakes that can't, you have to accept that you cannot go back, that there aren't any 'good' solutions, and that you can only try to minimize the harm going forward from that point and to find some way to make it up to the people affected by the mistakes. What happened with the 0.9 damage was a mistake that cannot be fixed.
Having had a bit of time to digest everything that's happened, my current opinion is that the validity of the 2 sets played under incorrect conditions were permanently and irreversibly compromised and unfair to both players, and that making people replay matches does not solve the problem in whole or in part. The players will have been under a lot of mental stress and will have had the opportunity to adapt and respond to things they learned about their opponent in the invalid set, which to me invalidates everything that happens afterwards, and that it's futile to try to correct it with a replay.
Looking back at what was going on in my mind at the time, my ruling about only replaying the last game was an attempt to find "fairness," to find a middle ground, and to draw upon analogs in other games about challenging results. I tend to think of tennis first as an analog to Smash, and in tennis, when a mistake in executing rules has been discovered, all previous play (with some exceptions) stands. However I thought it made some sense that Komo's discovery was something akin to 'challenging' the call/result of the previous 'play.' It was a rushed decision and it was a snap call based on those factors and ideas that came into my head. Initially in fact the call was to replay the whole set, but that was made without my consultation and that added some frustration into the mix. It's possible the ruling would have been more acceptable if it were not a set-deciding game since a lot of the emotional impact would not have been what it was. However, I believe that replaying the whole set was right out and a worse option still than my ruling.
This is something I don't believe should be left up to the players to agree on what to do either. Smashers are a very competitive group, but most of us are all still friends with one another too, and giving the players the responsibility to decide whether the match should be replayed is not a fair burden to them and their relationships. TOs should just do their job and take the heat for when things like this go wrong. As with anything else though, even this is not black and white. In the future I hope to have a full discussion about this topic where we explore the principles at work and discuss possible specific examples in the future.
About a couple tweets I made after the incident:
My initial tweet could be read as implying that it's the players' responsibility to check the rules and settings for every game. It's not, and I never meant to imply that. They have the right to expect, especially in top 8 but really at every part of the bracket, that the setup has been prepared for them by TOs or pool captains at the beginning of the bracket. Their only responsibility is to make sure that IF they go into the settings, that they don't alter anything themselves. It's a -good idea- for them to check the settings, but it is not their responsibility. However, the results of incorrectly played matches, no matter whose fault it is, at some point must be considered to stand; and that point is the primary idea I wished to convey.
I used poor wording in saying this was a 'standard gaming rule.' While analogs for these situations do exist in other games and some are similar to the ruling I made (as I mentioned, I thought the tennis analog was a reasonable place to look), each game's community has its own set of values and tournament/game structures, and they are really too varied to imply that any 'standard' (to the extent that any exist) would be easily transferrable to Smash, which is the implication of the tweet. Basically it was a useless statement that I have to retract as not really meaning anything. I am not sure what the exact variation of the rule we should use is, however generally speaking I am against replaying anything more than one game under most circumstances and in some circumstances none should be replayed.
I later tweeted that Genesis will be taking full responsibility for the mistake. This means compensating the affected players for their travel expenses to Genesis 4. I began speaking to Dabuz shortly after the incident and to Vayseth who was talking to Komo about how to do so fairly. No amount of money or favors can undo the players' frustration, but I hope this demonstrates that we understand they feel we wasted their trip to our event and want to make it up to them as much as we can.
I understand if this has soured anyone on the experience of viewing/attending another Genesis, but I hope you’ll give us a chance to prove to you it’s worth it, and that this comes across as an honest attempt to hold myself to the standard we should hold people in power to. I am unendingly grateful to everyone who has believed in us and Smash, who has built up this community to the point where our whole lives are enriched by it, and for the opportunity to do my part to take Smash to the places it deserves, and I hope to continue to win your trust in doing so.
With all my love,
Sheridan Zalewski, co-owner of Genesis Gaming