R5: Pro OC V2 - Pro OC Cup introduction
As announced in the main R5 thread, we are planning to update the Pro OC League as it exists today and switch to an F1OC-style of competition featuring a 3 month competition. In short: If users indicate that they are Pro OC, they are allowed to create a Pro Cup team and join the Pro OC Cup. Each competition team will have their own profile page listing the Pro OC achievements and participants.
The Cup will consists of 5/6 stages with predefined benchmark and hardware and will mainly focus on the newest generation of hardware. For example: Ivy Bridge, GTX680, Trinity, Piledriver and 4xCF 7970.
Alongside of the Pro OC Cup, we'll run the Team cup which will have a similar layout as the pro oc, but with older hardware instead of the latest greatest. Note that the Overclockers League, Enthusiast League and Hardware Masters will not be affected by this change.
The plans for this competition was discussed before with complete outsiders of the hardcore OC circle as well as within the staff section. I want to share some of this information to give a broader idea of the plan. The "why" and "how", basically.
I'm apoligising for the immense amount of text below - just copied parts of the conversations we had already.
First of all, let's recall what the purpose of the Pro OC League is.
- Separate the normal overclockers from those with good industry contacts.
- Serve as 'front' for the overclocking community: as the most important ranking, it should attract people to overclocking both as spectator and as participant.
- The Pro OC League should be engaging existing overclockers to be motivated to try to compete with the best and 'move up' a league.
- For those who want to compete at the highest level, the Pro OC League should serve as a platform which they can refer to and justify sponsorships.
- Since this is the 'top league' it should be the most difficult one to compete at, both in terms of require resources (high-end = expensive) as well as require skill (nitrogen, multi-pot, etc)
In general, the Pro OC League is the highest ranking and first thing the mainstream audience should watch. It's designed to run the latest-greatest hardware at the highest possible frequencies and set the highest possible scores.
Now, the Pro OC League has been active since Rev4 (-insert date-), but it has not completed all the goals. Actually, aside from the first point, the League has sort of missed its point: no one really competes in it, no one really follows it, no one really bothers talking about it ... or, in other words, no one really cares about it. That's a problem, because we're wasting resources and energy on something that is not getting result.
So, why is the Pro OC League so uninteresting? Let's consider the following key points of the pro league: hardware, participants, results.
1) "More of the same"
When looking at the hardware used in the Pro OC League, we see that it's pretty much always the same hardware that is being used. Even though it's very interesting to watch as a hardcore enthusiast (more mhz = interesting), for most people seeing a 6.65GHz 3770K or a 6.68GHz 3770K is pretty much the same. In its current form, the Pro OC League is very limited in range of hardware.
Also, remember that whereas in the past (2005-2008) the term "world record" still had meaning, nowadays that word has very little meaning. This because of two main reasons: saturation and education. Not only is the term "world record" used by every vendor for pretty much every achievement (saturation), the mainstream audience has learned (education) that a world record is a matter of finding the right components and running the benchmark. The time that people were impressed by records is pretty much over (with exception of the cpu-z frequency records).
2) "Restricted participants"
The people that are participating in the Pro OC League are either very reserved in the way they compete or not very active at all. Pretty much no one will go out on a limb and say "now I will try for #1" or "... top-5". Most of the participants will also say that the league is not important at all, following what both the audience is saying as well as their sponsors probably.
In general, no one is putting any value to the Pro OC League. This is probably because, after people started getting sponsorships, overclocking became less and less 'real' competitive and everyone sort of started to promote their results in their own way so everyone feels happy about the exposure (even if completely meaningless).
3)"More of the same - part2"
In addition to the already boring set up of the league and boring participants in the league, there's also the problem of very few new people trying to compete in the Pro league. Those that don't have the resources say they just can't compete and those who do are usually always in the top. In general, there are never more than 5 people actively competing for a top spot in the competition. So, even for those who are following the competition, nothing really new happens. It's not exciting to follow.
So, how to make the Pro OC more interesting for everyone? Make it more dynamic. 3 solutions.
1) "Start and end"
One of the biggest problems of the league is that it has no start and end date, but is a continuous ranking. For someone with limited resources it's therefore very difficult to find the motivation to continue competing: at no point will he see a reward for his performance. No one remembers who was #8 three months ago, even though that could have been an excellent result for someone with really limited resources.
A start and end date basically makes it a "overclocking season". That concept of competition is far more understandable for people who don't really follow the overclocking world closely. Comprehension is vital: if a sponsor (doesn't need to be hardware) doesn't understand why you need support for overclocking, you usually won't get the support you want.
An end date also allows for people to start from scratch at a certain point. When being frustrated about not finding the right hardware to compete at the top, nowadays you just need to spend more money on finding one, but when you can start from scratch, you can forget all the misery from the previous season and start motivated again.
2) "Diverse platforms"
Diverse platforms allows for us to promote overclocking in a better way to the mainstream audience because we can shape the competition in greater detail than we can now. So, instead of always having the same hardware, we can decide to make it more challenging ("must do 4way") or more related to mainstream ("IGP overclocking"). We can overcome the current "too boring" overclocking competition where if you don't have a good 3770K, it's nearly impossible to get close to the top.
Diversity also gives more value to the #1 in the league: this user (or team in R5) does not just own the highest scores for a certain platform, but can reach high overclocking results on a lot of platforms.
Diversity is also good for attracting sponsors for the participants. Because you're focusing on various platforms, there's more possibility to do marketing on various platforms. Eg: if the focus of one competition stage is Trinity, then there is a lot of focus on the overclocking capability of those products. Lots of focus = lots of interest = more companies that are interested in getting a good result/marketing from it => find overclockers to bench it.
Nowadays (and historically speaking), most people are still benching alone. But because of the amount of resources needed to compete at the top, more and more people are starting to team up in smaller teams. For example: OCLab, Team.AU, Benchbros and The Overclocking Knights. This evolution is something I predicted some years ago: overclocking went from individual to huge teams first and then huge teams break up into small teams again.
This is a good evolution, I think, because it makes resource sharing acceptable by the "hardware sharing"-fearing community. Also, hardware is not the only resource that is a problem; time is a resource too. Having multiple members in a small team allows you to distribute the work that needs to be done to win.
Ideally, the Pro OC would because a competition between the top teams representing the larger communities out there. For example, Team XS would be a subset of the Xtremesystems team, Team HOT for greece etc. Teams are usually easier to relate to than individuals.
A typical Pro OC Cup
In order to understand the idea, let's give an example of how a typical Pro OC Cup would look like.
- Team.AU: uncle_fester, dinos22, youngpro
- Team EVGA: kingpin, tin
- OCLab.ru: slamms, 12, smoke
- HKEPC: CherV, mad222
- Team Brazil: Rbuass, Cleiton_schenkel, joe90br
- "3DMark11": no hardware restrictions
- "IGP 3DMark Vantage": igp platforms only
- "1155 BCLK validation": 1155 only
- "2-core Wprime": dual core cpus only
- "sub-$50 SuperPI": only cpus that cost less than $50 are allowed
Or, we could make it much more specific in terms of platforms:
- Ivy Bridge SuperPI 32M
- Trinity 3DMark Vantage
- Sandy Bridge-E 3DMark11
- Piledriver CPU-Z
- Single GPU Heaven DX11
- start: January 1
- end: March 31
- Elimination: March 14 (top-10), march 21 (top-5), march 28 (top-3)
4) Extra notes:
- only hardware that was available on Jan 1 in stores can be used in the competition (approval on individual basis)
So, the end goals of changing from League to Cup/Season are:
- Make Pro OC more interesting to follow for spectator.
- Draw more interest from sponsors, both IT and non-IT, that can pump funds in overclocking (not really hwbot, but in general).
- Give more value to be #1, #5 or #10 by having participants to show their skill on multiple platforms and by creating a 'real' competition (look up sociological definition).
- Engage more people in trying to compete on a professional level
Now, to answer some of the specific questions posted here:
First of all, since overclocking is a technical activity, whoever has the best resources will have the best shot at the top ranking. If Andre would care enough, he'd be #1 for always. Old-style or new-style (actually: any-style) ... that doesn't change.
You will reduce pro league to Andre, cookie, nick and maybe Vince if there's no amd/ati
Guys like myself won't have the resources and will need to drop back
What will then happen to people that get support but no where near enough support to compete in a format like that?
Ideally, the amount of support would go up in absolute terms, so you'd be more capable of competing. But ask yourself the question: how capable of 'competing' are you right now? Will it be more capable with R5 or less?
No, it only affects the Pro OC ranking, not the points itself.
Does this Pro V2 thingy affect the points rewarded in some way? And if so, how?
So, users are still allowed to indicate whether they are pro oc or xoc. If a user selects 'pro oc', it gives him the right to start a competition team and competite in the Pro OC Cup. If he doesn't want to compete, he will just not be in a ranking, but of course his submissions will still show up in the database. Just not part of a league. For someone who is now in Pro OC, but wants to go back to the XOC, that's also possible.
- What happens to the users who currently attend the Pro-OC but don't want to be part of these competitions? Will their profile just show up in the OC-League? Didn't realy understand that point. Would be strange if you just completely remove that league and the submissions because this would also affect the rankings for the rest or?
I mainly look at the Pro OC League as sort of the "billboard" for overclocking: the best, most-skilled overclockers competing on the latest(/greatest) and attracting attention to the passion that we all share - overclocking. When we are talking about how to get more people into OC - growing the community - I'm convinced the Pro OC is the place for people to get familiar with the most extreme and the other leagues are for getting involved and doing it yourself.
Now, with that idea in mind, I don't think the Pro OC League is that interesting at this point (for reasons mentioned in the previous post). It's not interesting for overclockers (how many people are actively competing?), not interesting for spectators/followers (how many are discussing the league?) and not interesting for the industry (how many are promoting the league?). No matter how the inner circle of overclocking appreciates the amount of effort it takes to become top five, top three or even number one, outside of the (small) inner circle seem to just not care at all. And that's a problem not only for the people that like to see overclocking grow - it's also a problem for the people that are actually competing in the league. Nothing is more frustrating that putting long hours and huge effort in something that is very much underappreciated by the large majority out there. Mind you, I'm not saying that getting top ranks shouldn't be appreciated, I'm just trying to point out that the lack of people caring is a sad/bad thing for everyone that likes overclocking.
So, how to improve? If the song's not catching on, do you change song or instrument?
The "song" in this case would be the typical record-hunting that you're talking about - trying the get the highest score 'ever' in a benchmark. I honestly believe that this song is over in the majority of the cases for reasons I also mentioned in my previous post: education and saturation. No matter how much we smile when seeing 600K Aquamark, the smiling only happens within the inner circle. Maybe a press release, but a highly ineffective one as people who write the PR don't really know what's going on and people who read the PR say it's an ancient benchmark. Record-hunting is, nowadays, only relevant for the latest 3DMark (read: most popular) benchmark and frequency records. Anything that is single-threaded or non-latest DirectX is considered unimportant. And, again, this is not my personal opinion but a harsh reality.
When you write "There is a great change it will destroy the popularity of HWBOT", I honestly, honestly believe sticking to the "record-hunting"-style of overclocking would lead us to a demise faster than a new format for 'Pro OC'. The format is not new, by the way, it's been tested in the HWBOT OC Challenges, Country Cups and F1OC - competition are fun and easier to get people's attention with.
The power of Pro OC 'Cups' is that the community can say what they want to see the top overclockers compete with. Community, in that last sentence, is again not just the inner circle of overclocking but also those who enjoying seeing extreme overclocking but don't actively take part in it - like news portals, like IT managers and perhaps even friends and family. There's a possibility to make it more relevant and, very important, more understandible by putting the focus from benchmarks to hardware and competition. To explain myself - overclocking nowadays has the focus on benchmarks because, practically, you need to run one/two systems through a set of various benchmarks to score points in a endless competition. With a Cup, you use a (wider) variety of setups and have to put them through specific benchmarks within a limited timeframe.
Fyi - the idea is not at all to only run mainstream hardware. Also, the mainstream hardware is not a goal in itself, but a mean to get people's attention to what the Pro can do. You can always spin it in a way that it still is a bit about 'record-hunting', by the way. Trinity IGP benching can easily be about "the fastest IGP ever". Benching SuperPI 32M with an i3 3225 is about "highest BCLK" and "strongest memory". But these are just examples of things you can do, not what defines the competition.
Eventually, if properly configured, I see the Cup get more teams involved than there are currently people involved in the Pro OC League. It should be more easy to give 'sponsors' (in any form) a justification on why they need to help the competition team to take part in the competition.
//edit: maybe I should put all my thoughts in an editorial - the Cup (also Team Cup) is pretty much the practical outcome of some underlying ideas.
Getting people "into" overclocking is not per definition having them to actually overclock competitively or join HWBOT. What overclocking needs is a group of people that follow overclocking on a regular basis without actively participating in it; spectators if you will. No matter how much people you can get to actively overclock, that alone will never be enough to be more significant than we are nowadays.
Think about the events you have done: Assembly and Campus Party. The potential group of spectators - the people that come and check out the booth and stick around for a couple of minutes - is far larger than the potential group of new overclockers. When the spectators ask why you do it, you now have to give answers like "to break records" or "for fun", which is something people usually don't relate to. But if you can tell them that you're doing it for a competition, people can relate. Even F1OC, before it got ruined, was pretty good at getting more spectators in the beginning.
I had a similar experience with the Tones shop. Before the Country Cup, it was difficult to get them to understand overclocking, but when I showed how we did in the Country Cup they got interested and excited about overclocking. They started asking "how can we get a Belgium team higher on the rankings" - indicating they were interested in the competition. None of the guys over there overclock or actually comprehend what goes on exactly, but because of the understanding of the concept of competition, they could relate and got interested.
Putting more focus on XOC won't help much - that is just changing the instrument. It's the same type of league with the same inherent problems that the Pro OC League has, but only with more people involved. From a "billboard" point of view, the league is actually even more uninteresting as a large part of the competition revolves around overclocking old hardware.
I think this should be the flow for competitive overclocking:
- Spectators: "get interested" -> "follow on regular basis" -> "become fanboy and spam on facebook/forums"
- Participants: "get interested" -> "join enthusiast league" -> "join forum/team to learn more" -> "get involved in competitions ~ TeamCup/HOC" -> "join xoc league" -> "join more hardcore competitions ~ gbt/msi comps" -> "move up to higher regions xoc" -> "start pro oc competition team"
Actually the end goal would to improve the situation, not worsen it. Getting more people into Pro OC would be the result of an increase of sponsors getting into overclocking. For example: local corporations backing up local guys to compete in the Pro OC. The idea is to create an environment that benefits more people
That's the point I'm not realy happy about. Back in the days you invented the Pro-OC to keep the Vendor-Benchers like Vince and Hicookie away from the normal overclockers. Now it looks to me that we go back where we were :/ But I can kinda understand it as I don't see any other good solution.
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