Energy Loss Vs OTR: To Friendly Or Not To Friendly

As season 4 gets underway there will be many new players (and may some older ones) who will be tossing up whether to play friendly / exhibition matches or not. You could be mistaken for thinking this should be an easy decision to make, but the truth is there is a real debate here… which is more important, managing energy loss or gaining OTR.

The Facts & Figures

Before we can begin, we need to take note of some vital facts and figures that will come into play during our calculations. I am going to make a few assumptions with these figures so they are not 100% accurate, but close enough to work for our needs.

  • There are 4 spaces for friendly games per week. I will assume 4 friendlies are played (or not played), so matches such as tournaments, NC, NT etc are not taken into account.
  • Friendly games have the following energy loss: Low (0.02) Normal (0.08) High (0.4)
  • Friendly games give between 0.2 and 0.4 OTR per game (by my teams stats), so are using 0.25 OTR gain for a win/tie in friendly games.
  • I am assuming all friendly games are played on low importance, giving your team only a 0.02 energy loss per game.
  • I am assuming there are 13 weeks of the regular season, giving a total of 52 friendly games over the course of the regular season.

Right, let’s take a look deeper at what the 2 different scenarios give us by the time the playoffs begin.

Breaking Down The Figures

If you played friendly games every week of the regular season, you would play approximately 52 friendly games. By playing those friendly games:

  • You would lose a total of 1.04 in energy loss per player, assuming your players played all 52 games.
  • If you won just 50% of those friendly games, you would gain 6.5 in Overall Team Rating (OTR).

Of course, chances are, if you are picking your friendlies carefully, you would probably win around 75% of your games, giving you almost 10 extra OTR before the playoffs begin. There is also the argument that by playing a match your players will train less, although I myself have found this to be an invalid argument and have regularly had players train better when playing than they do when scratched.

The other side of the coin is the option not to play any friendlies, meaning your team has 4 extra days per week to maintain their energy. Not playing any games on those 4 days would:
  • Give your players an extra 1.04 energy by the time the playoffs begin.
  • NOT give your team any extra OTR bonus.

The figures are actually rather interesting…

Summary

The common argument is that playing friendly matches is detrimental to a teams energy by the time the playoffs begin. As you can wee, while not playing friendlies will allow your players to maintain energy, we’re talking such a small amount it’s not really enough to make a huge dent.

In fact, of the 2 scenarios, there is one clear outcome:

Play friendly matches. You will gain anywhere from 0 to 13 gain in OTR, which will help your team at playoff time, and help you get much better sponsor offers. You will lose 1.04 in energy per player, but the OTR gain is far more valuable to the overall growth of your team!

Best of all, tournaments are considered friendly matches, so you can compete in credit tournaments and earn more credits without losing extra energy!

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Winning At PPM: Why Tactics & Strategy Are Vital

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu (Chinese General & Author, b.500BC)

I wonder how Sun Tzu would play Powerplay Manager if he were alive today. This quote above is dated around 2 and a half thousand years ago, but rings true to everybody playing PPM today. To win you need 3 things. A good solid strategy that you are able to work, tactics that you are able to understand and use, and the knowledge of how to use those 2 at the same time, so they work off each other.

When it comes to PPM tactics are one of the most misunderstood parts of the game, and those who do understand how they work tend to keep the information to themselves. There are people who claim there to be an almost brotherhood like secrecy about who knows what when it comes to that “T” word. The fact is, tactics can play such a huge role in your success that simply revealing the winning formulars publically would in many ways ruin the game. I do apologise if you’re one of those “not in the know”, but I will not be sharing the information publically in this article. That said, there are 2 big parts to tactics and counter-tactics: knowing which tactics are better than others and knowing how to best implement those tactics.

As it’s based on logic, I will share with you that the defensive tactic is the best one to beat the offensive tactic. Most people already assume this anyway, but there it is, a bit of secret brotherhood information for you all 🙂 So you know that if you analyse an upcoming game and see your opponent always plays offensive, you need to play defensive. This is the most basic type of game analysis. What happens however when your opponent changes tactics often and has no set patter to which tactics they play? If you take enough time to analyise your opponent, and that includes looking at their previous 2 or 3 games you might see that they change their tactic to match their opponent. Uh-Oh! All of a sudden you have an opponent who is doing EXACTLY what you’re doing. Obviously, he’s going to see you matching tactics and try and predict what tactic you’ll use, so he can counter it. You’ve not got a game of cat and mouse. What you now need to do is try and anticipate his move, and then counter the move you believe he will make. Sticking with offensive / defensive, lets say for example that you play defensive on a regular basis, and see that he plays offensive often, but line matches more than half the time. You have a choice, leave your current tactic set to defensive and hope he stays with offensive, or assume that he will counter your defensive tactic with the appropriate one, thus giving him the advantage again. If the latter, you can now try and predict which tactic he will use to counter your defensive, and then set a new tactic to counter the possible choice he makes.

Confused? What we’ve just talked about is pure tactic… it’s a great part of the game, but without a proper way to use this with your team, it is, as Sun Tzu called it, just noise. Don’t worry if you’re a little lost, it actually all makes sense once you fully immerse yourselve into PPM.

This brings us to strategy. Using tactics is great, but using tactics wisely is how you win, and that is where strategy comes into play. Some opponents are easy to read, and will be simple to counter-tactic, but others are not so much. If you’re not sure, sometimes you need to take a gamble, and there will be times when you’ll make the wrong choice, and lose. It’s at times like this that you need to ask yourself, why did you lose? Why did your opponent choose the tactics he did. Research is needed both before and after games to give you a better understanding of the way your opponents think. If you could go back and do-over the game, what would you change? Would you keep the same tactic and play on normal importance rather than low?

In fact, the very simple low/normal/high importance setting is an absolutely amazing strategy tool in itself. I believe playing low importance whereever possible is a great idea, and only play normal against teams you really want to beat, or believe you can do so by upping the importance lever. Some play normal at the start of the season to notch a few wins early on, while others believe holding off and using the higher importance settings later in the league. Maybe that opponent mentioned above who is countering your tactics is beatable if you play on normal, but not on low. Do you do it? The energy loss could be worth it if you notch up a win… right?

You’ll notice i ask a lot of questions in this article. That’s because at the end of the day my strategy is not yours, and yours is not the next persons. Everybody has their own preferred way of playing the game.

Before i sign off, I wanted to give you one little tip that can be a great help when choosing tactics early on in the season. As you know at the start of the season there is not enough data to pick a good counter-tactic strategy, so go to your opponents team page, click on their history and find out what league they were in last season. Now go to the league section and then the “results” area. Now, in the drop-down, change to the last round (38) of last season in the league that person played. Once there you can click on the game results link (score) of your opponents game from last season. Do this for the last 3-5 games of last season and see what tactics your opponent played. Chances are, if he played the same tactics every game, he will most probably continue to do that again this season.

Good luck with your strategy and tactics in season 4. As always, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me either here or on PPM (my username is trueblue55 over there).

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MOVED: Five On High: A New Season Strategy

Please Note: This article has been moved to the PPM Hockey Guides section.

You can jump directly to it HERE

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Five On High: A New Season Strategy

Season 4 at PPM is about to begin

Earlier today there was a discussion on the PPM forums about the best way to kick-off the new season at Powerplay Manager. While every manager has their own preferred way to play the game, there are generally 2 camps when it comes to starting a new season well.

The first group believe that the best strategy is to play the games on low importance to keep your teams energy loss down, or more accurately, conserve your teams energy for later in the season when you can better fight for a playoff berth. This strategy is based on sound logic and is the most conservative way to play the game IF you have a team that is strong enough to compete and beat the teams you play in the first few weeks.

The other common strategy is to “hit it hard” and go for 5 wins in the first 5 games, even if this means playing on normal importance. The logic here is to get a few wins and gain the instant OTR, which will help your team going further into the season. The downside of this strategy is the energy loss you can suffer by playing on normal (and/or high) in those first 5 games. This method is also based on a good sense of logic, but has a lot of extra risks, so you need to take this gamble very carefully.

Is one better than the other? To be honest, the answer to this question lies simply in whether you believe one is better than the other; ie. it’s personal preference. In many cases, both strategies will or could work well for your team. Maybe a blend of the 2 is the best strategy, where you play low and/or normal depending on the teams you play.

I’m keen to hear your thoughts, please comment below.

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PPM & OTR: A Flawed System

Back in season 1 of PPM there were a few people who raised the issue of OTR growth relating to teams who were in a position to play in different cups, tournaments, etc. The argument was that over time, their team strength would grow to such an extent that it would be impossible for the average person to compete with them in PPM. At the time, I believe the time frame thrown down was 5 seasons.

3 season in and i’m afraid to say that the gap has become quite the canyon, and right now there are a lot of people, myself included, who are fairly upset at PPM for letting this happen.

You see, higher OTR is directly responsible for sponsorship offers, and as you all know, sponsor dollars are directly related to how quickly you can grow your team via upgrades and market purchases. There are teams who, through playing in CWC, NT etc have such incredibly high OTR compared to the rest of us that their sponsorship offers are pretty much giving them such an unfair boost it has a few of us wondering what the hell we’re even playing the game for.

An example from just the other day is a person on skype mentioned (see: bragged) about their sponsorship dollars this season being around $13.5 MILLION per week. Over a course of the season that would equate to over $170 MILLION dollars. Now i’m in Div 1 in the Other World league, and finished in 12th spot (ok, not too high) and at best can expect to receive about half of what this person is receiving. So over the course of the season I would bring in around $80 Million dollars.

Do the math here.. that’s $90 Million dollars extra that this team, already far stronger than mine is going to get. What can you do with $90Million?


You could order…

  • 3 Single Floor Multi-Functions (increase arena by 2,400 seats)
  • 2 Double Floor Multi-Functions (increase arena by 3,000 seats)
  • 1 Triple Floor Multi-Function (increase arena by 2,500 seats)
  • A Level 6 Scoreboard (increases attendance)


What about facilities?

  • Upgrade up to Level 14 for a single facility
  • Upgrade 5 facilities to Level 10/11


Players?

Right now there are a number of 300+ OR players on the market, who have an average cost of around $11Million each. This guy on skype could literally buy a new player EVERY SINGLE WEEK and build an entire team of 300+ OR players over the course of a season. It would take someone in my position 3 weeks to save up enough to buy one of these players, and even then, i’m competing with people who could have saved up over $30Mil in that same time.

Where is the equality? Where is the fairness in the game?

Do I seem a little angry, maybe even a little @%@#@ off? That’s because I am. I strive to build a strong team that competes and realise that I will never be able to do so under the current system. It is simply impossible to catch these big guys or compete with them.

Which raises the question… what is the point?

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Preparing For Financial Contract Renewals

No matter where you are at in your career as a PPM Manager, the end of season sponsorship renewals are always a fun (and at times stressful) part of the game. These renewals, for general, media, VIP and Sky box sponsors are key to your game, so I suggest a lot of preparation is taken.

Buying a new manager could make a big differnce to your teams financesNaturally, upgrading the Human Resources Department is going to help you get a better sponsorship deal at the end of the season, as will finishing in a good league, a good league position and have a good Overall Team Rank.

What many don’t think about though is a seemingly small tactic that can make a big difference… buying a new Manager. Let me explain.

Managers & Secondary Attributes

The second attribute to your Manager is “Marketing”; the single most important attribute when it comes to you getting good sponsorship deals. Look at your current staff members, specifically your manager(s); how many do you have? What are their 2nd attributes? Many managers have 2 staff members, each one specialising on a particular attribute. This is a great way to run your team, however not when it comes to getting new sponsorship deals. You don’t need attribute 1 on those days, you need attribute 2, and you need as much of it as you can get. Chances are, you don’t have that right now… right?

So how do you fix this? Simple; buy a staff member.

There are 2 ways you can do this.

The Temporary Purchase Method

This is my preferred method, as it allows you much more room to move on the market and often costs you a LOT less. What you need to do is buy a manager with a high attribute 2. Quality is unimportant, as is nationality or OR. With this method, you want to find a manager with high(ish) attribute 2 and hopefully buy them for a low price. Set them as you assistant staff member (if their 2nd attribute is lower than a current staff) and wait for the sponsorship deals. After you sign a new deal, you simply fire the staff member or place them on the market to recoup your purchase price. This method is often quick, costs less and serves as a means to an end. The downside is that you often will never recoup your purchase cost, and you don’t get a long-term staff member.

The Long-Term Purchase Method

This method often requires time and a higher budget. Similar to the previous method, what you want to do is search for a manager on the market. This time however you want to ensure you use the filters to only find high quality staff members. The purpose being that buy buying a high quality manager now, you can keep them employed all season and already be set for the future sponsorship deals. Like above, when you do find one, set them as an assistant or head staff member during the phase of sponsorship negotiations. The downside to this method is you will often need weeks to find a good staff member and will pay a large amount to find a very good one. The upside as mentioned above is you get a good staffer for future seasons.

I personally am a fan of the temporary method, however when i’m searching I will always do a 2nd search to see what high quality staffers are available at the same time. The key here is do your research and find the guy that fills a need on your team.

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