Tuesday 8 November 2022

Re:classic Tetris

Classic Tetris has been developing so quickly especially since covid in 2020, and it evolves in the speed that no one anticipated at the beginning. Since CTWC2022 is now ongoing (you should definitely check out the livestreams!), it is a good time to give a brief review now.

I had a roadmap for those players for the coming year -- for hypertappers, consistency is something they almost perfected, so the next step is to study how to hypertap properly in post-29 scenario like distribution on stamina or aggressiveness etc. For rollers, consistency is the issue so they should think about different approach for pre-29 like a hybrid, or just drill for consistency after all.

The roadmap was based on my afterthoughts after watching CTWC21' as well as some masters' at that time. Remember what happened last year in CTWC? Hypertappers still had an edge over rollers with their consistency before and post-29 to overcome the huge advantage of rollers after-29. Well, not anymore.

The classic tetris community overwhelmingly overachieved. It is now apparent that rollers have cashed their potential to the point that hypertappers are sidelined in tournaments. They can now play at least properly (in hypertapping standard) pre-29 and they usually last very long post-29. They don't need loads of post-29 Tetrises -- singles and doubles will do the job if you can reach level 34, 39 and beyond.

There are countless evidences showing that these shifts are apparent. Among those are the dropping proportion of hypertappers in the monthly event (oh and DAS players were gone) and jaw dropping records on high scores, lines counts as well as match duration. It is the best to look at aGameScout's video for more details.

CTWC this year is of no difference. The field is clearly dominated by rollers with their advantage increasing over the rounds. Rollers besides world's top few are still inconsistent and often ends the game with five-digits scores, but just by the fact that they entered elimination suffices to show that they can be unstoppable when the pieces aren't too bad or when they are in their zone. Top rollers just steamrolled those less proficient rollers with their consistency. You stand no chance if they clear pre-29 almost like a top hypertappers then survives many levels after that. We have had many 3-0s just in that way already this year.

The top players are capable of playing so long that CTWC hosts decided to add a level 49 cap. Although just as aGameScout's video pointed out, such measure does not help much as (1) players do not reach lv 49 that often and even if they do the score difference is quite large for turnover to be rare (2) there are clearly more options to shorten the game like starting from level 19 speed. Of course this is a good starting point for us to investigate the possible restructuring of this game in competitive mode.

The fundamental problem I afraid is a much bigger one -- what is the future of the game and the tournament?  

One thing about these kind of tournament is to admire the progress of the game and gamers, to admire how they evolved in the past year. This is clear for CTWC where we evolved from DAS to hypertapping to rolling with the champion going from Jonas to Joseph to Andy to whoever rolling. Even during the pre-explosion early days of the tourney the players are getting better with qualification score getting higher year over year. This is what we would like to see.

With the ever higher consistency from the top players, what might happen in the future is that they only top out to tail events i.e. pieces lineup that is bad to their respective placement logic (note that this may not be equivalent to the universally bad pieces lineup like consecutive S and Z pieces). Since survival proved to be much more valuable than just a few Tetrises, optimized placement logic would eventually converge. Eventually what we would see is two players playing is more or less the same style and the result is heavily luck based. Is that...something we want? 

Yeah of course it's always thrilling to yell "BOOM TETRIS" or to observe Tetrises exchanged back and forth, but statistically this is getting boring. I don't think the popularity of the monthly events would be a good measure for that, but we will see what's with CTWC this year. Some of the all time highlights, if I were to pick, would be 2020's Dog v Koryan, 2018's Joseph v Jonas or 2016's Jeff v Jonas. Are there any eye catching moments from last year's CTWC? Not really if you check the view count. 

It is always nice to have all those monthly events as popularity explodes with lockdown, but with more frequent matchups things evolved and get optimized at a hyped exponential rate -- then at a point suddenly things become less attractive to look at.

This is the unfortunate thing that always happen. Just look at all the commercial sports: basketball (that basically physicality dominates), baseball (the "magic ball"), football (that's why we need blue lock)...that have lost their mystical cover and transformed into just another game of numbers.

Should we expect hype from the tournament this year? I'd wish so...

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