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> Tetris as E-Sport, Why hasn't it developed?
kastle09
post May 29 2014, 02:13 PM
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I love E-Sports, they are my definite favourite kind of game. Ive seen tetris been sort of going the same way, the same names start popping up in different games, seen a few tournaments, and managed a couple of my own. But it seems we haven't really gotten that far with it which kind of eeks me.
I got a few things as to why:

Internally split community.
Call of Duty 4 modern warfare was a prize game to take over CounterStrike as the tactical game of choice. It was shaping up pretty well but there was a lack of support from the developers and a year later cod 5 was released. And here we can see why some games have lasted and others havent, When new games get released people either migrate to the new game or stay with the old one, splitting the community. Tetris games have a similar problem with people being very fiercely allegiance to there game, on top of that people prefer different formats to the game add to that not all players are multiplayer players. When you segregate a community like that it becomes difficult to develop a scene around that.

Marketing to New Players
Why are we really reluctant to make trailers? even fan made ones? The only trailers I can google are that of the official ones on PSN and XBLA, and couple of people trying to turn tetris into movies.
Its not completely unreasonable to ask for and it is deadly important to get people to play your game even casually even if they may never enter a tournament in there life. They are the viewers who support the game.
Games especially free games rely on players playing the game for it to last long.

Microtransactions
The only thing that stops me from playing tetris friends for any amount of time is the fact I have to pay for controls. I know there are URL tricks and such for Arena mode but, it should never be like that in the first place. Just as an example, lets say someone plays for 1 hours in a day. the average game goes for about 2 - 3mins give or take including loading into the game . that means you can get about 20-30 games in one day not even I play that much. Most plays if you arent tip top has you earning 5 -10 coins for every match,
that means every session you can be earning 100 - 300 coins a session. To buy Initial Rotate System is 20000 coins meaning it takes you up to 200 hours. Just for 1 system. And you can argue "Well stop being a cheapskate, Buy $10 worth of rubies, its way less than you would a normal game." Thats a really bad attitude to try and get new players in. It shouldn't be that you have to force someone to pay up in order to play that game properly, All you feel is a resentment towards the developer and the game. Also I don't want something that is advertised to me as free to play to then have them say "Well its actually not". It would be like if this was an FPS game and Screen comes up to say "Pay $5 to be able to Jump". Your microtransaction enviroment should be one that is enjoyable to spend money in. Think if you have ever backed a kickstarter, or paid for a preorder. You want the player to feel that when they pay for something in your game they get the sense of ownership just for the sake of having it, not a bare essential. Thats why skins work very well in many different games.
And if it sounds like I'm bashing TF there for a bit, I've been wanting to say that for ages and its making me mad because its the most successful multiplayer tetris game there is, Even though it is so flawed for so many reasons this being one of them.

Spectator Modes
If you are a fan of poker and watch it on TV, there is a lot of excitement when you can see the train wreck before it happens to a player. When they brought in the Hole cards camera and the likely percentages, Poker on TV gained massive amounts of popularity afterwords. Other games have made great strides in the way it displays its games to viewers and not spectators. It seems like a really weird thing to say but Designing the game for a person to watch other people play is sometimes MORE important than designing the game for the player to play in esports. Just about every spectator mode won't let you have the score and the players on screen at the same time. That seems incredibly basic. Cultris 2 has great visual fidelity like the speedo and combo meter but I want some other stats that I can popup just for a few seconds. If I'm a commentator its a lot easier to go into depth about these instead of just trying to be in the moment (I got a section on casting in a bit). The don't have to be displayed at all times but they do have to be avalible to me. I want things that the players can't see.

Casting
To be honest Casting is so hard. It is incredible hard to do right and especially in a high level game trying to explain whats going on and I commend people for trying. I'm not sure we have reached the right way to cast. At the moment most people are attempting the MLG type play by play casting, or they do a kind of semi casual cast where they just kind of talk when they want which is fine but nothing really that would be considered professional. If yo want to do the MLG type casting there has to be 2 Casters. 1 Play by play and 1 analytically. For those confused about what that means is Play by play is calling the present action in the game itself. The analytically caster provides indepth analysis obviously usually thrown to in between the games or chimes in when something cool happens (I am oversimplifying this a lot).

Id really like Tetris to get to a more unified state and maybe a tournament that wasn't online. A man can dream right?
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gerdhal
post May 29 2014, 06:05 PM
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nice thoughts man!

I believe greatest problem with casting tetris to masses is that its not so simple to comprehend for new players and things happen soo fast in ffa.. but whatever situation is; seems tetris gets more and more popular day by day.. great stuff. Special thanks to TB headquarters in Hawaii :>

so why not - more flashy tournaments with solid sponsorships goin on in future.. who knows. Would be awesome..
tetris is the game of games afterall^^

for now certain games definately shine most in that regard.. people like flashy stuff Smile.png similar phenomena as Starcraft BW in Korea for instance... the reason it got soo 'cult thingy' was flashy casting and 'easy to comprehend' format even for players who dont know anything about it...

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Blitz
post May 29 2014, 06:13 PM
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I think one of the main reasons Tetris has not evolved into an E-sport is because that idea lacks support from The Tetris Company (TTC).
No support from TTC means we are stuck with the same old outdated game forever, TetrisFriends.

TetrisFriends is sadly the only official multiplayer Tetris game supported by TTC. The one larger issue with TetrisFriends than the ones mentioned by kastle09 is lag. For the casual players, lag is not much of an issue because they have only played TetrisFriends and never enjoyed a lag free Tetris experiece so they don't know better. If they began playing only NullpoMino or Tetris Online Poland for just a week or two and then moved back to TetrisFriends, then playing TetrisFriends would feel like trying to run a race while being chained to a car going the wrong direction. TetrisFriends was probably never designed to be played by players capable of going faster than 3 tetrominos per second. And I doubt anyone ever predicted that would have happened, but it did.
I agree that designing the game for a person to watch other people play is important, but not more important than designing the game for the player to play. Designing a game that does not lag and gives an enjoyable experience for the player is the MOST important. A game hated by the players are not a good game. I am sure TTO would have been hosted on NullpoMino or Tetris Online Poland if the players could have voted. When lag is eliminated, then spectator friendliness becomes more important.

Another important feature in competitive gaming is the ranking system. Currently Tetris does not have such a thing. Or at least not one that reflects the skill level of its players.
The best ranking system I have seen for Multiplayer Tetris is by far the one used in nullpomino league. Which has now died out Frown.png For those unfamiliar with this system Ill simplify it and explain how it works.
All ranked matches are 1 on 1 first to 5 wins.
Regardless if the score is 5-0 or 5-4 the winning player is given one win over the losing player and ELO rating gets calculated based on that player winning 1-0.

Another problem is that people who have never encountered pro Tetris before can watch a game and think something along these lines: “Not possible. That is a bot playing Tetris”. I once wrote this guide meant to deal with this problem. It should be a required read for every newcomer before they are given their license to watch or play Tetris but instead it is hidden away in one of the distant corners of the internet.

Tournaments where people physically meet up at a location are already happening, but only small ones with random people who live nearby.
The problem with hosting a larger tournament featuring the best players from all over the world is that most of them lives normal lives and go to school or work. They play Tetris on their free time and they don’t have money or time to travel to participate in such an event. In other E-sports, players get sponsorships and salaries for playing 10 hours a day every day. That doesn’t happen in Tetris. And even if someone did play Tetris for 10 hours a day, nobody would be there to support them.
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Antifate
post May 29 2014, 07:29 PM
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They tried and no one liked it. Grin.png
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Alexandra
post May 29 2014, 11:56 PM
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QUOTE(Antifate @ May 29 2014, 12:29 PM) *



They tried and no one liked it. Grin.png


why do you think no one liked it?
there was a turn up of more than 20guilds and hundreds of players for the burger king league.
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KILLJEFFREY
post May 30 2014, 03:18 PM
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QUOTE(Antifate @ May 29 2014, 07:29 PM) *



They tried and no one liked it. Grin.png


Ah, that looks great. I would love to see Tetris as an e-sport.


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davyk
post Jun 12 2014, 12:54 PM
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Watching elite players is too intimidating. It is great to know that a game is deep enough for people to become that good, and that would be an attractive quality of a game for many people, but it also needs to be attractive to novices, or even intermediate level players.

For example my best 40 line time is just under 2 mins. For many people here that wouldn't even rate me as intermediate. How can I get involved in competitive Tetris and have an enjoyable time? Quite often when I went online with Tetris Party I would have my ass handed to me even with the rating system enabled. That isn't enjoyable for me and I imagine quite boring for my superior opponent! If there were ways of grading players with methods of moving up the divisions then maybe more people would be attracted.

Many people consider Tetris as a solo game and don't even know about battle mode. I have organised some events in work and people were amazed such a mode existed. I work in IT and you would think more people would know about this - so imagine how little is known about it in other walks of life!

Selecting the mode is important too. I first tried traditional Game A battle in my competitions and this was a bit boring to watch because most people play too slowly. I quickly switched to Game B - first to 25 lines with garbage attacks on (this mode is available in Tetris & Dr. Mario on SNES) and the game was transformed by the race element. It got people playing and after a whiile some started playing Game A informally.

Tetris is a great game for spectators as everything can be seen and understood. Even elite level play can be enjoyed up to a point. My office competitions have been achieved by hooking a SNES up to a projector for big screen play and it really makes for entertaining experiences for players and spectators. Opportunities for local and online gaming need to exist.

Finally it needs the right mix of promotion , marketing and organisation. The support of the Tetris Company would be key in doing this and that would be supplemented by the energy of the tetris community.
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caffeine
post Jun 12 2014, 01:21 PM
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QUOTE(davyk @ Jun 12 2014, 07:54 AM) *
Quite often when I went online with Tetris Party I would have my ass handed to me even with the rating system enabled. That isn't enjoyable for me and I imagine quite boring for my superior opponent! If there were ways of grading players with methods of moving up the divisions then maybe more people would be attracted.

Part 1: This is a game flaw, if you ask me. The system should try to match players up with evenly skilled opponents. In Tetris Party, the rating system wasn't even good at evaluating skill, much less matching people up.

Part 2: In any game that challenges the player to use problem-solving, strategy, spatial reasoning, etc., you're going to get your ass handed to you from time to time. I've been playing hard at it for over a decade, and I still get killed all the time. But that's with any good game: chess, tennis, electronic sports, etc. It happens because an opponent might have a better understanding of the game, has practiced more, has practiced better, and so on. It means the game has unexplored depth, and that's a good thing. There's nothing worse than a game where a) players win 50/50 because every game's a draw or b) player's win 50/50 because the luck element turns the game into a coin flip.
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InkofDeath
post Jun 12 2014, 06:20 PM
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I have a ton of experience with eSports, and have been involved with all ranges of 'eSports' for the last 6 years. There's a lot to it than what has been listed so far.

You have touched on quite a few valid reasons, but none of them have had the impact that the active condemnation of 'competitive gaming' by Nintendo (and TTC) has had. It is not just that TTC/Nintendo were not supporting 'eSports', they were actively against it, and were not just neutral parties.

Take a look at the issues with SSBM and Brawl. Look at the prominence of Nintendo trying to maintain a 'family-safe, sterile, controlled' image of their brand. They market themselves towards 8-16 year olds, majority of the time, and it is the parents who buy these games. Having their image be related to 'sweaty overweight 30 years who have no job, drink mountain dew in basements', is VERY BAD for their sales, and their entire marketing platform.

When the general public thinks of World of Warcraft, they relate it to 'nerds'. When they think of Nintendo they think of fun, light, healthy, and uplifting experiences.

This has been a problem because TTC/Tetris has been under the influence of Nintendo for such a long time. To me, this is the single largest issue with Tetris having not become a proper eSport.

The next issue is the ability for new players to 'jump into the fun'. They either need to be able to compete directly into the game play they have heard about, or they need to be able to watch the game play seamlessly.

Both of these values are a problem with Tetris. Aside from atrocious UIs stuck in the early 00's, it is very hard for new players to find someone who owns a Tetris game, on a Tetris supported console, that is appealing. You don't have very many gamers buying a Wii or WiiU to only play Tetris. It is not 'the' game to play.

And because most Tetris versions 'suck', most players never give the game or version another try after a week of playing it. It gets lost beside Big Game Hunter, and Wii Fun Party Mix 2011, while Call of Duty/GTA get played.

These versions of Tetris suck to play, so why would they be any better to watch or spectate. They're already fighting against a public issue of 'games being fun to spectate', so it is already an uphill fight.

So then you realize the console market potential of Tetris is strictly casual, and very light gaming. You then turn your head to the PC, or maybe mobile gaming.

These versions have been better with UI, and have had millions of users. The problem is yet again retaining them. There is no 'end game' that is replayable for these types of players. Most of these players will play Tetris Battle or Tetris Friends for a week, and have no clue what a T-Spin is, or any of the truly basic components of the game. They just stack and single line clear - because that is what Tetris is to them. This idea has never been changed.

A small issue is that this image of Tetris has been propagated even after having been played by the hoards of FB users, and mobile users. So this is another front to gain ground on that has just exploded in issues.

There's also a ton of fragmentation within the hardcore/competitive community of Tetris. There's like 8 popular non-official clients in all the regions. This is ridiculously hard to follow for even the most dedicated eSports fan.

You also add on that most previews/spectator modes are at half or 1/8th of an update window, and the experience is just choppy, laggy, or serves no entertainment value. TF is the worst of these as an example.

NP SUCKS for new users to get into it. All of these new terms (DAS, AHS, IR, gravity, T-Spin, 4-wide), that are then used as slang (4w, ts...etc), just makes the entry into our community difficult.

There's just so much on the game play and spectator side of things that it will take an actual modern Tetris game that meets recent standards in game development and maturity to break through some of the ugly traditions of the Tetris brand and platform. Until then, Tetris as an eSport is just a very difficult road.


You also need to consider that there has been no consistent competitive side to the community. There is no Tetris tournament each month that everyone gets hyped/prepares for. There are no weekly events/showmatches/discussions going on that people can look forward to or be involved in.

Consistency is required, and not even HardDrop has had the required amount of consistency to start making a shift in the direction of the competitive side of the Tetris community. It takes a lot of work.

Tetris is not that hard of a game to follow along, even without knowing the terms. A spectator only needs to identify who is verse who, and the most fundamental way they are fighting (sending lines back and forth). T-Spins, strategy, finesse, none of that matters to a new spectator. The issue is that most Tetris games SUCK at portraying the basic fundamentals of 1vs1 Tetris.

I hope a sutiable game comes out sometime, so that I can start doing Tetris tournaments of some form or another.
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davyk
post Jun 12 2014, 07:02 PM
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The anti-competition attitude by Nintendo thing is weird. After all they used to organise tournaments themselves.

As the above poster says, maybe they don't want to be associated with tournaments because the best players have to be a bit obsessed with a game and maybe they are uncomfortable with that.

It's a real pity because I believe if Nintendo really decided to back it and make a game suitable for tournament play they would probably do a really good job of it.

Again, as said above, the community needs to unite behind a definitive ruleset & implementation before it has a chance. Some egos will have to take a back seat for that to happen - its the same in any group of people who need to reach agreement on something.

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Rosti_LFC
post Jun 12 2014, 11:12 PM
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QUOTE(kastle09 @ May 29 2014, 02:13 PM) *

Designing the game for a person to watch other people play is sometimes MORE important than designing the game for the player to play in esports.


This is the biggest thing for me - it's why I don't think Tetris will ever get anywhere near the kind of commercial popularity of games like SC2, LoL or DotA2. Also not for the reasons you go onto suggest. Stats are nice, but no amount of stats can transform a sport that isn't great to watch into an amazing spectacle.

The biggest problem Tetris has, in my opinion, is the fact that it doesn't actually produce something that's particularly engaging in the way that sports are engaging. Not in the form that it's currently played in anyway.

What sports need are the ability to hook people's interest. People have to care about the overall result, and they have to be able to follow individual events and potential turning points within the game so that they create suspense and tell a story to the user.

I feel the main problem Tetris has right now is that the competitive community want it to be fast as hell. Speed is good, because speed lets the best players shine. The problem is it completely destroys long-term interest in the spectator unless they can think on the same level of speed. Key game-changing combos and t-spins happen so fast that a casual viewer wouldn't understand what happened unless the commentator mentioned it.

Tetris might pull in the crowd of "oh wow this is really impressive" in the same way that the TGM3 GM video currently has millions of views on YouTube, but that doesn't create a lasting fanbase. When things happen so fast that only pros can really appreciate it, you basically turn spectating Tetris into the equivalent of watching 2D football games or pitch-by-pitch text baseball commentary. The game reduces to you just watching the stack heights go up and down with a vague sense of "the guy with the taller stack is losing" and a lot of the actual interesting nuance and subtlety of the game is completely inaccessible to the viewer without a very strong commentary (and even then, they're experiencing it delayed and second-hand).

And sure, StarCraft 2, LoL and DotA2 have huge learning curves to really understand everything that's happening in a game, and all of the subtle strategy, but in the mean-time those games still paint a colourful, easy-to-follow and most importantly sensibly-paced story for people to follow. Maybe you don't understand what the fuck any of the items do, but you understand the team with 20 kills is probably beating the one with 12, though they didn't do great in the last fight. Et cetera. In Tetris that story is too simplistic and often is over too quickly each game. And I don't need to be a DotA2 pro to understand all that stuff, it just takes a fair bit of watching to pick it all up. But I do need to be a Tetris pro to read the game at the kind of speed the top players can.

At the very least this is what I see the problem to be, as someone who loves both sports and e-sports and used to love Tetris.

It might be possible for someone to create a game based around Tetris that would have mass-appeal for spectators, and I'd be massively interested to see it happen or just what people might have, but I think it'd be closer to King of Fighters than Nullpo 40 Lines.

The first problem that I think is really killer is that the people making official games just don't seem to be prepared to do anything even remotely interesting with the franchise that might lead to that sort of game. With the exception of Tetris DS (which had Catch mode amongst others), there isn't a single official Tetris game recently that does anything unusual or different or actually experiments with the format a bit. There's nothing to suggest that any licensed game would ever have the innovation and game design required to really bring mass-market appeal to watching people play Tetris. Arguably this is made even worse by the existence of the guideline, which pushes out even limted levels of creativity like the kind of stuff seen in the TGM franchise.

The second problem, which compounds this, is that the community of people who would actually create the competitive scene are pretty damn set in their idea of what a "good" competitive Tetris game would be, and this ideal rule-set goes towards speed and towards games that do create great competition, but maybe don't create great spectacles. Which means that community games like Nullpomino, Blockbox, Cultris are all driven into a niche of creating games that are near-impossible for people to follow if they're not trying really fucking hard to get into it. It then also really doesn't help that the community is split between which of these games are the best, and then you get games like Nullpo with a godawful UI and games like Blockbox where the devs go AWOL and it's basically dead by default.

What it actually needs is for someone to step up and make a game with a bit more thought than just "give people fast DAS, a tspin/combo gimmick and find some garbage % change value that's nice". It needs some thought on how to slow things down to actually create a more intriguing experience for the spectator without totally tanking the skill ceiling required to be amazing at the game. And for the community to give it a chance and accept that 'gotta go fast' isn't ever going to bring in spectators and sponsors that bring in big bucks prize money. If the current format of competitive Tetris can't bring in people despite recent rise of e-sports as a thing and the fact everyone has heard of Tetris, maybe it's because the format sucks. It'll stay like chess - something people have heard of, are possible aware is played at a very high-level competitive way, but isn't something many people currently or will ever choose to watch.


There are a lot of other issues which have been raised in this thread and I think a lot of them are valid too, but I think even if we could have them things like stats, better casters and better clients would still be polishing a turd somewhat. There are aspects that will help attract people to a game and stop them immediately getting bored and tuning out, but fundamentally if the core product isn't something that grabs them as something that's fun to watch, no amount of stats or awesome casters or a nice client are going to keep them reeled in.

Right now I would say Tetris is like watching 110m hurdles or something. It can be exciting, and it might attract passing interest (in particular because of the name), but you're never going to get huge numbers of people following the 110m hurdles scene every week. They might watch it as an event within WCS in the same way people watch the Olympics and Athletics Championships, but it needs some pretty ingenious design and thought and maybe making something that's not what most people here would regard as "proper Tetris" to create something that could actually thrive as an e-sport. It won't match sports like football, baseball or motorsport in the same way that other e-sports are looking like they might do.
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Paul676
post Jun 13 2014, 04:17 PM
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I'd be happy if Tetris were as big as chess or the 110m hurdles!


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Blink
post Jun 13 2014, 05:35 PM
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As another E-sports fan I agree with Rosti here. Compared to successful tournament games, Tetris is too difficult to follow for an unskilled spectator. It only offers an initial wow period but doesn't keep people watching for a long period of time.

I think TDS was pretty spectator friendly, its slower speeds and line clear delay put more of an emphasis on strategy, fancy t-spin moves and timing which I enjoyed. Even then though, I don't think people would continue watching it for months.

I don't know what would transform Tetris into a spectator sport, but something tells me characters/heroes to get attached to or root for are important. Not something like Puzzle Fighter though, cause even that's boring to watch. The characters should affect the gameplay somehow. IDK!
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davyk
post Jun 13 2014, 06:44 PM
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If the presentation of the game itself was changed slightly it might help. Imagine the stacks lying flat and pushing the player toward a pit or pool of water for example....


Tetris as an e-sport doesn't need to be massive. If it got the same amount of action as chess I'd be more than happy.
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Rosti_LFC
post Jun 17 2014, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE(Blink @ Jun 13 2014, 05:35 PM) *

I don't know what would transform Tetris into a spectator sport, but something tells me characters/heroes to get attached to or root for are important. Not something like Puzzle Fighter though, cause even that's boring to watch. The characters should affect the gameplay somehow. IDK!


There are some players who have certain styles due to strengths of play. Either crazy t-spin setups, great downstacking, interesting combos etc. I don't think it's infeasible for a Tetris game to exist that allows that sort of environment to exist where different strategies and styles are viable. The problem is that most of the current games don't allow for it - some styles are just objectively the best ones.

Part of the reason that most of the major e-sports have lasting appeal is because of the personalities of the players, which we currently don't have, but an even bigger part is that games don't feel the same. LoL and DotA2 have such huge combinations of heroes that make each game unique (even if pro games tend not to use all of them), and then add onto that teams having aggressive or cautious styles that give an extra dimension.

With e-sports you always have more difficulty attaching fans to teams/players than traditional sports, which is a huge aspect of actually caring about the matches and result. It is possible to follow and enjoy as a neutral, but for Tetris that is made a lot harder by the fact that most games are very similar and there's not a huge amount to distinguish watching a new game and the previous one. If players could at least be allowed to develop their own styles it would go a long way towards helping that.

Items are good, even if traditionally competitive Tetris players have derided them. Balancing downstacking, comboing and t-spins would be good, so that being stronger in one isn't a disadvantage if it's not objectively the best one. Heck, maybe even throw recursive gravity in there as well so you get some of the crazy shit you'd see in Quadra (which I personally found awesome to watch, even if I couldn't do it myself). There are loads of things that would potentially bring a lot more spice and flavour to the game (which makes it more interesting and differentiates each match) without ruining the competitive aspect. Some of these would probably also have a double benefit of allowing the game to be slower without tanking the skill ceiling.

Also on the whole "chess" thing, I'm not saying Tetris will only be as popular as chess/110m hurdles - that'd clearly be a great achievement. What I mean is that in the world of e-sports, Tetris compared to DotA2 and LoL would only be as popular as chess and hurdles are in comparison to sports like football and baseball. It would be a pretty minor slice of a pie that is still unlikely to ever get quite as big as traditional sports.
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