The Ponyball League has survived 6 seasons now. We have come a long way from the humble beginnings with 6 teams in 2013. With 15 teams, season 6 was the second most popular among ponies and measured by the total attendees per event it was by far the most successful so far.
Over the past seasons, we made some adjustments to the rules and structure as we gained more experience and, over all, the whole season went pretty smoothly. Unfortunately with age and success, there also comes raised expectations and a feeling of entitlement. We are not perfect, the referees are not perfect and the hosting stables are not perfect, but we all spend time, energy and money to provide the ponyball events as a service to the community. There have been occasions this season where the organisers and I felt that this was not properly acknowledged. We already have pretty clear rules about the behavior expected by both ponies and spectators toward the referees, but from now on we will start to enforce them actively. And we will probably adjust the rules to also require respectful behaviour towards opposing teams and the hosting stables.
The most common complaint this season was about, unsurprisingly, lag. We received a couple of suggestions as to how we could probably reduce the lag. These included allowing only the best performing sims to host events and to not allow spectators and provide only the live stream. These are great ideas IF you only look at the ponyball league as a competitive sport and lag was the sole concern, but that is not the case. The events are also social, community events. At no other time and place do so many people interested in ponyplay gather together. Some of them are not even interested in competitive ponyball. If we excluded stables from hosting or spectators from attending, we would also limit our potential to interest new ponies to play in future seasons. While we are determined to continue to provide live streams for those that cannot attend, we will still allow and encourage everybody to come to the events. We will also continue to let all stables host events that fulfill the minimum requirements. We might introduce limits to Draw Weight and scripts for both participants and spectators to help mitigate lag issues, but there are still some details to iron out first.
This season we went with fewer but longer events. While this experiment did not lead to any actual complaints, it also did not bring back those who stated that the long seasons were their main reason for being unable to continue to participate in the league. As some active players have voiced their preference for a longer season, we will return to our old ways where events (with the notable exception of the midseason tournament) are limited to a 2 hour duration and the length of the season will be determined by that fact.
Other rule changes to be introduced in season 7 is the introduction of a cap to the goal difference. When it is reached, the team that is behind has the option to concede or to continue playing. For the purpose of the league, the score will be frozen at that point either way. This will also form the basis of the scoreline for forfeiting a match.
Thank you fall for your continued support, we look forward to seeing you at the events of the upcoming season.