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Hey there.  1

 

I haven't been following the forums too closely, but I see we're not really up to date with races, also not doing some that were here the previous years (Canadian races).

 

I'm worried. Is the game dying?

 

Anyone got any actual info on what's going on? Dave?

18 comments

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Aragonite [269 posts] 3 years ago
2 likes

Think we would all appreciate an answer to this question. Not too sure Dave bothers reading any threads on this forum though.

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Stumps [3493 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Its my last season, i haven't even bothered with the Vuelta and hoyed a last minute team in for the ToB which i haven't looked at since.

The general impression people seem to have is that we pay or money but are getting very little back for it and the likes of TER are getting the backlash when things go tits up when they have no control over things.

Even the news articles are all aimed towards the blame game. Sad indeed as when i first started it was a great set up but has generally gone downhill since.

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CheetahPonyBot [11 posts] 3 years ago
4 likes

Thank you for your replies. Sad news. I would really love for this to survive, since it's, in my opinion, the best (and most accessible) non-betting fantasy cycling league online.

 

Not sure if anyone will come here to read this thread further, but here's my 2 cents then.

 

Personally I never regretted having to pay to play premium. As a gamer, I realise that a sub is sometimes required to keep a game running and was okay with it. I didn't feel I was getting too little out of it, not in the past at least. Especially considering there were actually prizes for some races. Yes, I know a site that does reviews can secure promotional stuff, may not have to pay for it, but it was still nice of them to even offer some prizes on top of running the game as they did.

If things stayed as they were, say, last season, that'd be great. Maybe add a few more races per season. Make sure that all the WT ones are in. But that's about it. I'd feel I'm getting my money's worth.

But I get why people are unhappy right now. At least I think I do. It's like the game is on life support. I hope it doesn't die. I'd love to stay and play. But I guess some things would have to be fixed / considered in order to do so.

  • A subscription is fine - but the game being run by a volunteer without access to a backup computer if their laptop fails? Not okay for a sub-based game. At least a backup person / PC should be somewhere out there, for the paying subscribers' sake.
  • A HC (Tour of Britain) but no Canadian WT races - this is not a question of technical failure any more, this is just sloppy. I know this is a British site and considers ToB very relevant, and that's perfectly okay, but the WT calendar is known quite a bit in advance, those races should be there, at least with a provisional start list.
  • I see the site running articles such as "Topless cyclist takes a tumble" which are, excuse me, trash. Now, it's okay to have some clickbait, it's okay to have trash. You need them views, them clicks. But putting work time on absolutely meaningless trash when said time could be put into a simple, interface based start list update for paying users? That's just wrong.
  • I see the site giving away stuff randomly. That's a bit of a waste since you're running a game people pay for. Instead of random prize draws, make it game prizes, attract more players, get more paying subs. More subs, more money, hopefully more incentive to put time into the game. What if people want free stuff and not play the game? Sucks for them but it's nothing new. Everyone wants free stuff all the time. Should they get it just because they want it for free?  10
  • Last but not least, or perhaps the most important point of all - you're running a solid site here, fantasy cycling or not, so ask yourself - does road.cc even want to run this game? If not, why force it. Give the players a partial refund and shut it down. Now. Forcing it all the way to the end of the season in the way it's being done now will just make people mad. It feels as if it's just an attempt to avoid refund requests. And that's all kinds of shitty.

I know, it's probably all been said before. But the way things are and from what I've read here, the game should either be fixed or terminated asap. When people start feeling they're being screwed over for money, any serious company needs to step in and fix things.

If anyone makes it to the end of this - kudos to you. I felt like I owed the site a proper post since I've been having fun with the game for a couple of years now.

 

P.S.

Sorry if my English is weird. Not a native speaker. You'll live. <3

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Aragonite [269 posts] 3 years ago
2 likes

All points covered imo, and very well written. Let's hope it draws the response it deserves.

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jollygoodvelo [1879 posts] 3 years ago
3 likes

Agree that it feels like it's being allowed to wither.

 

"you're running a solid site here, fantasy cycling or not, so ask yourself - does road.cc even want to run this game? If not, why force it. ...shut it down. "

 

Exactly.  I've been playing the fantasy game for at least four seasons but if it isn't driving enough traffic to justify having a workie in the office updating the scores in between making coffee, just kill it (at the end of the season).  Don't waste everyone's time.  A commercial enterprise - of any size - should not be relying on volunteers to run its marketing.

 

(Note: this is said with genuine thanks for the efforts of the volunteers and with sadness that a really good game might come to an end.)

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Sniffer [684 posts] 3 years ago
5 likes

I agree with much that has been written, but I would rather we didn't push the game towards closure.  I don't actually think there is much needed to fix the running of the game and I have really enjoyed it and would miss it.  It is still the best value £10 I have spent this year.

We should recognise a couple of things.  There were more than 2,700 teams entered in the TdF standard competion.  I recognise that most of those don't play all the competions, but that is still a lot of interest for a game that has not been heavily promoted this year.  It won't be a major revenue stream in itself for Road cc, but it does draw me (and I suspect others) to the site more when there is a competion running though.

To keep most people happy we need only a couple of things.

  • Scheduled games are run and open on time.  Which race is probably less important than delivering the ones advertised. 
  • More cover to update scores.  Burden falls on very few people and if they are volunteers they may get too much flak when it goes wrong.

I am not too bothered about prizes.  I recognise the revenues won't run to much.  I pay my £10 for the entertainment of competing not to win stuff.  Don't get me wrong, I like the chance of winning free stuff as much as the next player, but that doesn't drive my participation.

So I suppose my hope is that next year we have a little more energy in supporting an excellent game rather than we encourage the owners to give up on it as it provides more bad press than positive traffic to the site.

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CheetahPonyBot [11 posts] 3 years ago
2 likes

Thank you all for your thoughts and contributions to this thread.  1

 

I hope they reach those who make decisions, and I hope that in a way, no matter how tiny, we contributed to a solution to the current state of the game and dilemma road.cc face.

 

P.S.

Another idea I've had, though it's been busy here and couldn't work on it properly, is to suggest road.cc outsources the game further. Even to some of us who've been playing for a while. They are already using volunteers as it is. Putting together an outside team with a few of the keenest players should be possible. Every additional pair of hands, after all, means the hours required to keep the game running are fewer per person. Perhaps worth a thought.  1

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fxceltic [66 posts] 3 years ago
3 likes

i strongly suspect that the site no longer gets many click throughs from the fantasy sub site to the main site.

 

On that basis there is little for Dave to be too bothered about, I guess he will be well aware of the analytics.

 

A couple of probable reasons

1 - the main site content is partly made up of click bait shite these days, full of road rage type videos etc

2 - the fantasy site is way better than the main site, why leave it to go to the main site at all, when all of us have limited browsing time to some degree, especially in context of point 1

 

I do believe, though, that many of us would pay more for better service, eg £20 a season, which may actually make the owners more bothered as it becomes a decent little earner.

As for prizes, Im not that arsed, but it has to be said that in the first couple of years the road.cc team seemed to have worked hard to get sponsors to chuck in prizes, that could be done again. GT races used to have a bike worth thousands as the main prize!

 

I will be gutted if it goes, it is the best format out there, but hey ho, what can you do? Many of us have been moaning for a couple of years now and it is still getting worse.

Again, usual caveat that this isnt directed at the vollys who do their best etc

 

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STEVESPRO 79 [551 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Well said fxceltic.....

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dave atkinson [6530 posts] 3 years ago
2 likes

This is all good stuff, so thanks for all the thoughts. i'll try and respond as fully as i can.

first some background. i haven't been on the site as much for the last year, because i've been launching http://ebiketips.co.uk and i'm now acting as the editor of that site. that means i've not really been involved in the day-to-day running of road.cc and as a result i don't interact with it as much. at the same time, i was the one that built the fantasy cycling game and out of the full-time staff here i'm the only one that's really involved with it. so yes, my attentions have been elsewhere and i've not been giving it as much of my time. generally I've been setting up the competitions and TER has been running the scoring. we have been a bit thin on the ground this year. Enrique was desperate to help and we gave him access to help with startlists, but he's been a bit quiet since his initial enthusiasm.

Is the game dying? no, not really, although it has been getting smaller. the amount of players has been steadily decreasing since 2013, which was the biggest year in terms of traffic on the fantasy site. Partly that's due to it becoming more separated from the main road.cc site, in the sense that there's less coverage of the fantasy game on there. partly it's because the game is reasonably complicated and involving, and the people that play it every year are the dedicated ones.

here's a couple of specific responses:

Prizes

If you're asking why we give away prizes on the main site and not on the fantasy site, then the answer is basically twofold:

1) that's where the people giving us the prizes want them to go

2) the same people always win the prizes on FC

that's oversimplifying it a bit. But if someone wants to give away a bike on road.cc we might get 10,000 entries. there's a tenth of that playing the fantasy game on a regular basis, TdF excepted. Mostly it's a numbers game for the prize sponsor. and no, it's not *always* the same people winning the prizes. but it's a very small subsection of the game's participants that are ever likely to win anything, and plenty of people would be winning a number of times each year. we also had issues with that fact that it's a global game and getting prizes to everyone was becoming increasingly expensive. the lure of a prize attracts casual players but it doesn't really affect the core number of players, those that play every competition.

Main site/clickbait/etc

There's never been very much interaction between the fantasy site and the main site, ever. This forum is really the only link and has been for a couple of years. the editorial direction of the main site doesn't really have much bearing on the amount of traffic the fantasy site gets, the only exception being that we've more or less stopped doing road.cc content specifically pointing people there, that we did in the past.

So people don't go to and fro much. if they visit the main site as well as the fantasy site, it's for different reasons. road.cc has never been very focused on racing news; there are plenty of other places to get that. is there too much video/sensational stuff? maybe, there is for me. i'm not really responsible for the editorial direction of the site. you'll find less clickbait on ebiketips  1

Killing the game

That's not really something we're looking to do, and I'd rather we moved towards a more distributed model for running it. the code is fairly stable now although it does need a few tweaks, so getting it ready for next year shouldn't be too much of a problem. it's likely i'll be able to commit less of my time to setting up the competitions next year so it'll be good to have a plan in place.

Ideally, for me, the game wouldn't be volunteer-run exactly but instead we'd have a micro-payment system so that if you put in time doing stuff you're rewarded for that.

I'll be starting another thread, or possibly two threads, on the forum in repsonse.

 

 

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CheetahPonyBot [11 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Hi Dave! Thank you very much for the detailed reply!

Glad to hear you want to keep the game alive and that you're open to thoughts and ideas from the players. Never expected this thread to take off or get much attention, I was super happy some of the players pitched in, and your reply totally made my day. I'm excited about the next season and hey, prizes or not, I promise to draft teams with my brain more than my heart and give the elite a run for their money. Rawr! >:3

Anyway, great news, I'll make sure to share my ideas in the appropriate threads. I hope other players get in on that as well. Optimistic for 2017 now!

 

Thank you again!  1

 

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alotronic [638 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

There is a sailing game called sailonline.org that has a very devoted following (it's really intense and difficult to win, trust me!) and it has evolved from a single deveoted person thing to a community thing really well with the community setting up races, running website, fundraising, designing tools for it and so on. The main guy died tragically young and was a sailor and developer, then a whole bunch of people just kind of took it over.

Essentially it's gone open source and is run off a forum by a handful of the devoted for the devoted.

Here is their about page, shows you how many people required to make something like this possible on a viunteer basis: http://sailonline.org/wiki/show/AboutSailonline/

 

 

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1wrangler [119 posts] 3 years ago
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First, regarding an earlier suggestion, 20 Euros is too high. A price hike would definitely spell the end for me. 10 is my limit, particularly since prizes are gone, scoring is not updated regularly, WT races are skipped, startlists are almost always incomplete, and questions/concerns are rarely addressed in a timely manner.

I don't blame those of you who are working hard to keep it going, but rather the obvious lack of time and resources available. (e.g. three times since before the Eneco Tour began, the question has been posed on the forum about how the Golden Kilometer sprints will be scored, and to date, no adequate response has been given).

Do you need volunteers? I have time to volunteer, and would be happy to, but I don't know what's needed, or what skills would be required. Maybe we should open a thread asking for more volunteers to keep this game going that so many of us have grown attached to.

Is the game for sale? I may be interested.

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TERatcliffe26 [4782 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

I  appreciate your concerns and accept criticisms of which im guilty of many of the things above (as Dave as highlighted as to why in many situations), however scores not being updated regularly i cannot agree with. 90% of the time scores have been updated as soon as the full results have been available (or at least within an hour or so of this as I dont sit there refreshing the results after the race). As Ive been the only one doing the scoring the majority of the time this season, if you think I can be expected to be sat at my computer every race day that has to be scored at the time the race finishes, when sometimes results are not available straight away, then thats up to you, but I don't think that is fair criticism when they have been done the majority of the time. I think it would be unfair to expect that from any one single person regardless of pay with the amount of stages that have needed to be scored.

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TERatcliffe26 [4782 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Again regarding the current tour I don't currently have the time to read the forum, first time ive been on in probably over a week, therefore would not have seen questions, however this information can be put in the scoring notes for the race and I guess the way Dave goes with running next season, it will be made that this sort of info is available in those notes 

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1wrangler [119 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

TER:

Thank you for responding. I am sorry that this pressure has fallen on you. I do empathize with your situation, and hold no resentment towards you nor your game management style. The simple fact is that it is obviously too much for one person to handle.

90% effectiveness in scoring may sound impressive, but for a paid service, it is simply not sufficient. 100% is necessary. I have played dozens of online cycling fantasy games, and this is the only single one that does not update scores in a timely manner. Several times this year we had to wait until the following day to see our scores. Many many times I have to do transfers before the scores are in. I look at results online and wait hours for them to appear on this game. Again, not a direct indictment of your personal commitment or ability, but simply demonstrating that it seems too much for one person to handle.

I would love a response on the question about offering more volunteers.

Also, again, almost every startlist this year has included riders who did not start the race, and excluded riders who did. That would require many last-minute updates, I understand, but should that be too much to ask? Maybe so, I'm not sure.

Since scoring changes from race to race, I would expect questions to arise often (and they do), as to how scoring will be done. Especially considering that you play in the game, don't you think you should make a point of checking the forum before each race to address scoring questions?

It must be clear to everyone who reads this forum that there have been many increasing complaints from paying members, so I know I am not alone. The fact is we wouldn't give it this attention if we didn't love the game. Please help us make the game as good and fun as it can be! Thanks for listening.

 

 

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dave atkinson [6530 posts] 3 years ago
2 likes

1wrangler wrote:

Do you need volunteers? I have time to volunteer, and would be happy to, but I don't know what's needed, or what skills would be required. Maybe we should open a thread asking for more volunteers to keep this game going that so many of us have grown attached to.

see this thread: http://road.cc/content/forum/205259-fantasy-cycling-2017-game-management

yes, more people involved in 2017, in a more structured way. we've struggled a bit this year, clearly. so we want to improve for next year

 

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paddyirish [56 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I'd pay extra for prizes.  Prize value doesn't need to be much.  Extra entry money could be ringfenced for gear out of road.cc shop  e.g.ROAD.cc jersey and/or bibshorts for GTs, pair of socks for minor races.  Bikes would be nice, but would not be a deal breaker as I understand the reasons outlined above.

Agree the scope should be WT(expanded this year, but Spring Classics game would absorb a lot of new events), WCh  + maybe TOB  and defined clearly in advance.

Maybe "best efforts" start lists would be good enough a week before the game.  Users can show all riders to include a late entry.  After being burned by a late withdrawal once, I normally check at least one other medium to verify that my riders are due to start.  I'm prepared to do that extra and don't feel that should be responsibility of game organisers.

Thanks to everyone involved  I love the game (better than every competitor) and would be very sad to see it go.