Reviewing Community Feedback — Clarity League Season 1

Going over changes we’re making for Season 2

Clarity League
17 min readAug 9, 2021


With two seasons now under our belts, we’ve had more time to try things out and get a feel for what works well. However, we’re still in the early days of Clarity League, and we remain committed to making incremental improvements. Our intent is to test things and having a dialogue with the community about these changes.

To accomplish this, we track issues that surface during seasons, discuss potential solutions, and present the options we arrive at to the community. As such, a lot of the issues we prompted the community on with this survey are ones that we wish to address and improve.

Before getting started, we’d like to thank everyone who responded to the feedback form — community participation is absolutely crucial for us. We don’t want to rush into making big changes without consulting the community, which is why a good turnout on the surveys is important to us.

As a final disclaimer: please note that the “Free Comments” sections may not include all comments written by participants in the survey; we’re looking to highlight comments which add new angles to an issue, or ones that we felt the need to respond to publicly for other reasons.

Overall, we garnered 46 responses to the feedback form. They were generally split between members who played either Season 1 or both seasons. However, some of these were clearly joke responses — while those won’t weigh on decisions made, we’d still ask that everyone resist the urge to do this. It not only skews results, but can reduce the impact of genuine responses.

Registration & Accounts Feedback | Questions

The important bit: During registration, you now input your 6-month peak MMR, even if the different from your current is less than 500. You may private your Dota profile, but must publicize it, and re-parse your missing match data, before registering, being drafted, or playing a match — and we will be much more strict on punishing those who don’t. You now have to instantly declare any newly created or newly active alternate accounts.

To start, we asked if we should change the current peak MMR ruling (which asks a participant to enter their peak only if it is more than 500 MMR different from their current rating). The idea here is straightforward — it reduces (if only slightly) the tedium of the registration process.

Given the vast majority are split between Yes and No Preference, we’ll be implementing this change for future seasons (and rules will be updated accordingly). All this change means is that now (during registration) you just need to input your 6-month peak MMR, even if it’s less than a 500 MMR difference. There may be some players who are caught out by this, so we’ll try and be a tad more lenient for S2 in case of accidental rule breaks.

Following on from peak MMR, we start talking about alternate accounts. The first question is around match data being private:

Grouping the votes for public profiles at draft (shown in red) together with the votes for parsing profiles 48 hours before a Clarity match (shown in blue), we land at about 41% of votes, which is quite similar to the proportion of votes in favor of permanently public profiles (~46%).

This is a tough one to decide on, as either decision is likely to upset a significant number of people — as such, we’ve decided that we’ll go with the option that accounts must be:

  1. Made fully public on signup;
  2. Made fully public, with missing match data parsed, 48 hours before the player draft;
  3. Made fully public, with missing match data parsed, 48 hours before any official Clarity League match.

Considering how close this vote was, we feel it’s important to elaborate on why we came to this specific decision in the end.

The most notable thing to talk about is that forcing permanently public accounts is likely to effectively punish some of the higher MMR players in Clarity, for whom permanently public profiles would mean being unable to avoid tools like Overwolf. We don’t want to stifle players’ individual Dota experiences as a trade-off for playing Clarity — but we also don’t want to make scouting more difficult. We felt that this solution, while not perfect, strikes the best possible balance between the two.

That being said, it’s important to note that failing to adhere to the above (even if by accident or ignorance) will be punished much more harshly than we have before.

Continuing on the subject of alternate accounts, we asked:

This was an overwhelming yes, so this change will also be implemented into the rules (and be much more strict in punishments for it). While this is perhaps not an extremely common scenario (as we more often have situations where a player failed to disclose an already existing and active account), it’s nonetheless one that we wanted to be prepared for in the future.

Registration & Accounts Feedback | Free Comments

“Smurfing is a bannable offence in Dota2, I don’t understand why we would be anything other than harsh about any fuckery here”

“When someone is using an undeclared smurf, should be punished more harshly… not very sportsmanlike”

“Harsher punishment for smurf hiders…”

As mentioned above, we’ll be looking to crack down much harder on smurf usage (where undeclared).

We do agree that we’ve been perhaps a bit lenient thus far, but we were willing to accept that it’s hard to keep track of the rules in a new league and know exactly what you’re supposed to do; at this point, however, we’ve had multiple issues with this, and are intent on being harsher when it comes to undeclared alts.

“if overwolf dota+ gets axed (possible(maybe)) accounts should be made public for entire season”

The presence of Overwolf is essentially the biggest reason why there’s even a discussion on account status. If it does end up being removed, we’ll review the ruling.

“It is very important for a captain to know the effort a player will put in the event (scrims, active participation to team chat/strategy/draft, overall activity)”

This is what the Yes/No questions at the end of the registration process are intended to aid with (alongside access to Dotabuff and similar to check activity). Being any more thorough than that is difficult, as the responses to most questions will always be somewhat subjective (as an example, the options for the “Willingness to Scrim” question may be perceived by different players to mean different things). At the end of the day, talking to players that they’re interested in is unavoidable for captains who want all the details.

“… having a seperate metric that is easy to look up on dotabuff to go along with the current system e.g. ranked matches played in the last 3 months. Means people can make their own judgements on how accurately someones mmr reflects their current skill level.”

Between all the major profile tracking websites, there’s a nigh endless amount of metrics and measures that one could argue might have a spot on the sheet; however, the more you add, the more involved it becomes to effectively use the sheet. We’ve chosen to prioritize what we deem as the most important information to have available at a glance; details on things like hero pools or recent activity are somewhat hard to show concisely and in an instantly useful manner, so we’re not looking to add much to the draft sheet — at least for now.

“I prefer option one for both of these questions but I wonder how tough and/or realistic it will be to enforce it, making me hesitant that it is the preferred option.”

When we create these surveys, the options offered are ones we’ve discussed and considered and feel are viable. Let us worry about implementing and enforcing rules — all we need from you is help deciding.

Game & Series Ruling Feedback | Questions

The important bit: Series wins remain the main scoring metric, but match wins will now be used as the initial tiebreaker. The lateness penalties will remain the same, as will the coinflip. A server crash will now by default lead to a redraft, though if the teams agree to replay with the same drafts, they’re free to do so.

We started with a question around the scoring of games/matches:

This was very evenly split, but majorly with the point that matches should count towards scoring in some way. There’s no clear favorite specific way in which that should happen — so we’ll be looking to try out the different options across seasons. For Season 2, we will implement the option that effectively changes things the least: series wins will remain the main scoring metric, but we’ll be looking to match wins to resolve ties.

We then asked about changing around the times of draft penalties:

This was very evenly split between Yes/No/No Preference, due to which we’re not inclined to change the times at which the penalties happen. However, we feel that having a “default start time” and a “deadline” time is essentially just a remnant from previous experiences which only serves to complicate things — so we’ll be removing mentions of this for ease of understanding. All penalties still kick in at the same time as they have for the past two seasons.

We then had an interesting question around server crashes, mostly led by the recent DPC season:

We’ve decided to go with the slight majority here and force redrafts — with the caveat that teams may play the same draft if they both agree to it.

The final question was around the Coin Flip™:

Most people didn’t mind either way, so we’ll stick to the coin flip for the time being.

Game & Series Ruling Feedback | Free Comments

“For the love of god I’m sure there are better metrics than pure random, even game time is better and that’s dogshit”

The problem with using any game metric (rather than coinflip) to break ties is that all of them encourage a particular style of play (lowest game time encourages grouping up early, for example). We’d rather let the games of dota unfold as naturally as possible without interference.

“… I don’t like this idea, as I feel like it would more frequently lead to cases where … a dominant team trolls a game, because it doesn’t matter to them … but could have impact on teams on the verge of being eliminated”

This comment (in response to using match wins only to break ties) is definitely worth keeping in mind, but in practice we doubt this’ll happen. Most scoring options present some scenarios in which one team can “choose” to impact the others, but in our experience, very few people pay attention to these things and are instead mostly focused on doing their best and winning as much as they can.

That being said, as previously mentioned, we’ll be looking to test out different approaches to this across a couple of seasons, gather feedback, and hopefully come to a finalized decision when we’ve given each system a try.

“My first serie was ruined by a disconnection caused by hard lag after 10 seconds. Opponents agreed to restart with a standin, but admins enforced the loss.”

While this issue has been discussed privately with the involved parties, we feel that there’s value in responding to this publicly.

The major issue with allowing the remake of a forfeited match — even if the opposing team agrees (for the record, they did not in this case) — is that it creates an exception to the rules, and therefore, a precedent. Rule 7.12 states that a remake must be agreed to at latest during the Item Purchase screen; if this one team was allowed to replay a match after, it essentially allows every team in the same scenario in the future to pressure opposing teams to also “agree” into a remake for a match they’ve already won. While we do put the onus on captains and players to make certain decisions, the outcome of matches is not one of them — and we don’t want anyone to be in the situation of being pressured to agree to something they might not want.

Standins & Coaches Feedback | Questions

The important bit: By default, standins will now be allowed to play only the role they were approved for (unless agreed otherwise). For players lower than 2000/3000 MMR (in the auction-draft and linear-draft formats, respectively), you may now acquire standins with up to 1000 MMR more, up to the 2000/3000 MMR hardcap. Your team coaches may still be present in voice during the draft, but this must be declared to the opposing team.

We start with questions around standin roles and MMR:

In general, both of these seem quite clear cut — as a result, we’ll be loosening standin requirements for low MMR players, whilst also (unless agreed otherwise by team captains) role-locking standins.

To elaborate on these changes:

  • Most community members are likely familiar with just how difficult it can be to find appropriate standins for lower MMR players. Having a codified ruling on how to resolve this makes things a lot easier for both captains and staff, and while this might lead to slight potential “upgrades”, most will easily agree that is an acceptable trade-off for actually being able to play. With this change, if you have a player lower than 2000/3000 MMR (for auction and linear draft formats, respectively), you are allowed to get a standin up to 1000 MMR higher than your player (up to the 2000/3000 MMR cap). Note: These numbers may be tweaked additionally before the start of the season.
  • Standin role issues are as old as Dota leagues are. Locking a standin’s role by default alleviates the uncertainty of playing against standins and is likely to expand the pool of standins captains may deem acceptable. Many captains around the league would be okay with a slightly higher MMR standin if they were locked into playing off-role, but without having that guarantee might be uneasy about the potential for role swaps. We believe that these are notable advantages, which make the decreased overall flexibility of standins a more than worthwhile trade-off.

We additionally asked about coaches:

There was a slight majority for coaches being allowed to be present but also disclosed — as such, we shall update the corresponding ruling for next season.

Standins & Coaches Feedback | Free Comments

“they can propose a higher MMR player (within a decent MMR range) and it should be approved by the opposing team captain”

This can already be done!

“… if you make coaches available you have to make it so that every team has access to (the) same pool of coaches or in my opinion it creates an advantage for players that have been in the league/leagues for longer”

“If both teams have coaches they could be allowed to be present during draft, but if only 1 team does it is unfair”

We did create a coach role for this purpose, but never really pushed/promoted it as there tended to be higher priority issues — however, we do have plans for expanding on this further. The intent for this was always to make sure that every team who’d like to have a coach can find one, no matter how long they’ve been in the community — and we’ll be looking to make sure of that.

“Stand-in requirements being loosened for low MMR players should be a thing in a division-less system. However with divisions it will have a huge impact and I’m less in favour of the team that can’t field their players should get that kind of advantage.”

While we do agree that loosening the requirements is a bit more problematic in a division-based format, we hope that having separate caps for different formats will alleviate this enough. We’ll be keeping an eye on the specific numbers used and tweak them if need be.

Other Feedback | Questions

The important bit: The main format will stay at 1 playday per week. Casters may now cast from lobby with no delay, but only if both teams explicitly agree.

Having now tried both formats, we wanted to check on the current feelings about the number of playdays, and the results were generally in favor of the Season 1 system:

With this, we are staying at 1 matchday per week for the main format of Clarity League (ie, the division-based format with an auction-style player draft).

We also asked around casting delay:

This was very clearcut, so we’ll be amending the ruling allowing assigned casters (i.e., those who have claimed a series) to cast without delay if both captains agree to it.

Other Feedback | Free Comments

“Add a single pool division like WED in RD2L”

Way ahead of you. You may have seen announcements recently around this, but if you missed them there’ll be more soon, so stay tuned!

“When drafting players there should be a bit more concrete rulings on roles. E.g. if someone has marked 2 roles as being least preference, they should not be forced or allowed to play that role”

This is something that’s been talked about a fair bit recently, and it’s a topic that we’re keenly aware of. However, we didn’t feel like it was the right time to tackle this; that being said, it’s almost guaranteed to be a topic we’ll want to talk about for next season.

“It would be very interesting if in the future a community like CLEU can favour any person to go PRO, on the same formate that INTO THE BREACH is doing. They found a community they make tournament, maybe the team winning the league or the best player of the community can have a chance to qualify for some PRO tournament, this could be a huge step for the future.”

While ambition is one thing the CL staff doesn’t lack in the slightest, this isn’t something we’re really considering. Our focus is on making CLEU the best amateur league one can experience; venturing past that takes an enormous amount of work and effort that a group of volunteers can’t really undertake.

Staff Review | Questions

Generally, staff performance was rated fairly positively:

Once again (mirroring last season), we performed worst in proactivity & implementation of features.

This may, in part, be due to the fact that we have been leaning towards delaying major changes to the off-season (this feedback form being a major part of this) and focusing instead on making sure the day-to-day runs smoothly during a season.

From Season 2 onwards, however, we’ll be looking to achieve a more consistent schedule, and work on the features and ideas that perhaps haven’t received that much attention thus far. We have a lot of plans — more and better content, learning and coaching opportunities, quality of life features — but we’ve generally had issues that required our attention much more urgently.

Keep in mind that Clarity League is still more or less new; 6 months is not a lot in the grand scheme of things. We’ll get to the fun stuff once we stabilize.

Staff decisions were received acceptably too:

By far the worst-performing segment was around draft penalties/rulebreaking, with most comments indicating that we should be much harsher. As has been mentioned higher up, this is something we are determined to be going forward.

Staff Review | Free Comments

“… players should be able to make formal and anonymous (if they wish) complaints about players who they think are toxic in some way…”

This is something that was planned fairly early on but seemingly got lost in the process. Thanks for the reminder — we’ll be implementing this.

That being said, we do want to say that you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a staff member if you have concerns — we can promise you that your anonymity will be respected as the issue is taken in for discussions.

“What killed the in-house what can be done to keep it more active and could more penalise be given to draft dodgers no matter the excuse”

This is probably more of a question for the community / inhouse committee (which is generally a bit separate from the main running of the league). However, most veterans will tell you the same thing — inhouse activity ebbs and flows. We’re 100% certain that it’ll become active sooner rather than later — and will subsequently experience another lull. It’s just the way things work.

“… for players to be adjusted you need a very strong read on the player. If they are a certain mmr and haven’t played ranked for years you shouldn’t just bump them up or down without having very good justifications about why”

We generally try to have good justifications about why we do/don’t bump people up/down. This isn’t to say that we don’t get this wrong, it’s just very hard to get right (particularly for those that don’t play ranked often). That being said, we see this as a learning process. We’re bound to make mistakes, but are focused on learning from them and trying to do better each subsequent season. The issue is that these kinds of things inevitably tend to end up favoring one participant and disadvantaging another; it’s thus important to not overreact to potential mistakes and overcorrect because of these biases.

What one item would you take with you if you were to be stuck on a desert island?

Quite importantly, whilst some people decided that the most important thing was to get off the island many people decided that it was either worth bringing someone else with them ̶s̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶d̶i̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶o̶ or bringing something recreational ̶s̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶s̶p̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶l̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶f̶e̶w̶ ̶h̶o̶u̶r̶s̶ ̶s̶m̶i̶l̶i̶n̶g̶. It’s nice to have such a balanced mix of players in the league!

Closing Thoughts

Before we let you go, we’d like to talk about the current state of Clarity League and what’ll happen going forward.

As you’re likely aware, as we get closer to Season 2, we’ll be going public with what we’re calling a “silent launch”. This means that we’re not looking to go out and advertise Clarity League and double the size of the community. The main goal for this period will be to allow our community to finally get their friends in. With that, there’s a couple of things to say.

Over the course of the last two seasons, we’ve received a lot of messages from community members asking to invite their friends. It was honestly pretty hard to say no as many times as we did, but we do believe that our decision to hand-pick our initial community did help Clarity. We could always trust that the community would be patient and understanding as we got things going, and your feedback has helped us immensely thus far. It’s important to us to emphasize that most of the time, the reason someone you’d go on to suggest wasn’t already here was that we simply didn’t know them, or their name didn’t come up in our vouching process. Nothing more, nothing less.

On the other hand, there are a handful of members from other communities that we actively chose not to vouch. Most often this was due to a belief that they would not be able to adhere to the vision of Clarity League and fit into the kind of community we were trying to foster. This will be no different as we go public — there will be certain members who will be permanently banned from joining Clarity based on their past actions and behaviors. Going public doesn’t mean we’re giving up on the values Clarity was built upon, and the banned individuals are purely those that we don’t believe will ever be able to adhere to those values and continue to make Clarity the place it is.

In any case, we thank you for reading and participating in the survey. We hope you’re satisfied with the changes outlined here, and we hope to see you playing in Season 2!

Your Clarity League Admin Team



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