Hello and a late Happy New Year to everyone!
We are approaching a new year of TrackMania and therefore another year of TrackMania Open (Our 4th year already, how time flies!)
I’d like to use this to talk about our plans for 2020, new stuff, some major changes and the reasons behind them.
2019 was a fun year if we talk about our activities in TrackMania and probably for TrackMania in general. It feels like there has never been more optimism and even hype about the game since the financial crisis in 2008/2009 and it will be a big task for the entire community to fill these hopes with life. The TrackMania Grand League could become the biggest eSport project since TMN ESWC and we should not just sit there and wait for pull-effects to make things better for everyone. Ever until the end of 2018, changes in the competitive environment happened incrementally. Now things got speed up with the re-entrance of Nadeo. I don’t think we can understand the long-term impact on community-driven tournaments yet but that should just motivate us to contribute towards shaping the future of this game.
Of course we did not see the “Death of Tech” in 2019 but when the dust settles, we might come to the conclusion that Tech became just one competitive discipline among others again. Nevertheless – those classic disciplines will still matter in the future and thats how we enter 2020. Tech. Dirt. FullSpeed.
When we founded TrackMania Open in 2017 our intention was to bring a Tech Team Tournament that could some day compensate for the loss of STC. We tried to fill a gap that appeared back then and we obviously met a demand by that.
In 2018 we put our eyes on Fullspeed (which was a pretty personal thing for me as I grew up with that style) and hosted a solo competition (A team competition felt rather pointless in the circumstances). Of course we did not revive the Fullspeed scene by that but I feel like we were able to contribute a tiny bit towards a positive development in the recent time which really makes me happy.
After we had tech and fullspeed covered, dirt was kind of a “Why not?” thing for us even if we had no personal link to it. We made some experiences already, we had the resources and while I don’t think that Dirt needed us, I now feel like we needed Dirt to find our own identity as a hoster.
Covering Tech, Dirt and FullSpeed in 2019 was a really cool experience. I’ve never met so many different people from various corners of the community and it’s something we want to build upon.
However, it still feels like theres something missing. We have solo competitions for Dirt and Fullspeed and we think it’s time to finally have a Tech Solo Competition as well which is the first big new thing for 2020. We currently plan to have it after Dirt and FullSpeed in Q3 of this year.
What does this mean for the Tech Team Competition? A lot.
As I already mentioned earlier, I think Tech will go back to where it was in the early years of this game, being one competitive discipline among others and following that, it feels like the right thing to treat our 3 disciplines equally. By providing a Tech Solo Competition along with Dirt and FullSpeed, we can create some kind of equilibrium for ourselves which is something I personally aspire.
As a result, our 3rd tech team competition was also our last.
However, its not the end of TrackMania Open Team Competitions. I stated my issues with tech team competitions in different places over the last year but I’ll give you a quick tl;dr here which is from a Discord message I posted during the TC:
TrackMania as a game has a pretty high skillgap due to how long it is around and how long people stick with it. With how the game itself and tournaments in particular work, this effect gets even stronger: Cars don’t interact, there is no tactical aspects and matches usually have a high number of iterations of the same situation over and over again, which automatically causes a high regression towards the mean making competitions a rather predeterministic situation, where the skill of a player together with its amount of training can usually tell the outcome of an encounter. This is totally fine and not a problem at all, it belongs to TrackMania such as airbreaking does. It allows people like f.e. bergie, YoYo or tween to build such a legacy, being among the worlds best for over a decade. Now coming towards team tournaments: Team Tournaments in TrackMania suffer the same absence of tactics and interactions in matches. But the issue gets even stronger for teams. A team is not more than the sum of its members, you don’t usually have to care about synergies, positions, individual strengths and weaknesses etc beside somer interpersonal ones. As a result, already rare fluctuations get balanced. This circumstance, which I hope is agreed on by everyone, and the completely natural tendency of players to aspire to be on the best team possible for their skill level leads us to the problem of Team Tournaments being extremely predictable.
To me this a huge problem. I feel like investing time and effort into creating and squeezing in a tech team competition just to have the exact outcome as in all of the numerous previous competitions with which we even have to literally fight for calendar slots is a waste of time and energy as I think we don’t really add value towards the competitive calender by that and just give you something to keep you busy. I think we can use our limited resources in a more beneficial way for the community.
Everyone is of course open to disagree and I’m not expecting everyone to be happy with it but on the other hand I’m asking for some understanding. We aren’t earning anything from what we do, we do not seek fame, recognition or maniastars but in the end we invest time and money in hosting TrackMania Tournaments for you and we’ll only do so if we are satisfied with what we do.
We still want to host team competitions but we want to do it in a slightly different way. As we want to treat our 3 disciplines equally, it only feels natural to transform our team cup into a multi-style team competition featuring Dirt, FullSpeed and Tech. The new TMO Team Cup will happen at the end of the year after the 3 solo competitions and we’ll give you full details when the time is due.
However here’s what shall be the basic concept:
As written earlier, team composition should matter again and thats our approach for the Team Cup. It will feature 3v3’s in each of the 3 disciplines. We don’t want you to form “God-Teams” though, and thats why the player limit will probably be 5-6 (The tournament will be designed in a way that it can easily be played with 5-6 people). By that no one will be able to form full specialist line-ups (like Germany or France in Nation Cups) and we want to force you to make decisions and compromises when building your lineups so that every team actually develops strengths and weaknesses and matchups matter.
We believe in a more integrated future of TrackMania and we want to contribute towards that. It’s also our take on bringing more diversity in team competitions and we hope that you, as players, give it a chance.
To sum it up, heres what TMO 2020 will bring you:
TrackMania Open Dirt Solo Cup
TrackMania Open FullSpeed Solo Cup
TrackMania Open Tech Solo Cup
TrackMania Open Team Cup (Multi-Style)
Beside that we’ll try to have another TMO Classics Edition this year and we can’t rule out the option of having smaller fun events but time will tell. Furthermore we want to increase our efforts in finding sponsors (Probably focussing on Product Prizes for now as those seem to be the most promising) as well as improving TMO as a structure itself. We will publish some recruitment notes in the upcoming days and we are always happy for people that want to contribute!
We hope to have you with us on our journey in 2020!
All the best
Maik & TMO Staff