ESOC Guide to Scheduling (with Pictures)!
Hello everyone! I'm Cometk, and with the Autumn 2018 Second Chance tournament opening up this weekend, I figured now is a good time to make this guide. Having been a tournament administrator for the past few months, it's apparent that some players have some rather... innovative methods of scheduling their tournament matches. Seeing how an activity loss tragically affects some players who were betrayed by their own less-than-stellar scheduling abilities, I've decided to share my recipe for success with the masses. Follow this simple guide and you, too, will never take an activity loss again!
The Golden Rule: Do it in Public
Remember, scheduling is a game with two goals. Goal 1 is to schedule with your opponent, but Goal 2—which may actually be more important!—is to make sure that the tournament admins know you're on top of scheduling with your opponent. A tournament admin has two consistent sources of information: user profiles and scheduling threads. Anything they need to know should be accessible from one of these two mediums. Scheduling with your opponent in a private conversation may seem like a good idea at the time, but if you don't save the logs of the chat and disaster strikes where you and your opponent don't actually play, you have no proof that you deserve the activity win. Oh no!
The Ideal Scheduling Conversation
The Ideal Scheduling Conversation is roughly four messages long, and proceeds like this:
1) Player 1 lists his times of comfortable availability (in GMT) in the scheduling thread.
2) Player 2 lists his comfortable times, and which of Player 1's availabilities are convenient for him as well.
3) Player 1 replies with an exact time picked from their mutual availabilities.
4) Player 2 confirms the appointment. This step may not seem important, but it is! If I tell you that we should meet at McDonald's at 3 PM and you never respond, there's no expectation for me to show up. Same thing with Age of Empires!
So there you have it, that's exactly what every scheduling conversation would look like in a perfect world. Here's a picture that takes some of what's mentioned above and puts it into good practice:
When Things Go Wrong
Of course, things don't always go according to plan. Here are some common mishaps that occur during scheduling and how to deal with them!
I can't make any of my opponent's times!
So both you and your opponent have each posted your times of comfortable availability. One slight problem: None of them work! Maybe you have a shitty timezone difference, or you might just have opposing schedules.
From here, the conversation can diverge in a few ways.
1) The best outcome is that both of you can compromise and actually meet, just at a slightly suboptimal time. If this happens, then continue to schedule as normal, following the above steps. Congratulations, you resolved your scheduling conflict!
2) If the above doesn't happen, it's time to think about an extension. Typically a tournament admin is willing to give you a small extension after the round deadline as long as you confirm that the match WILL get played and that you're able to schedule with next round's opponent within the proper deadline. So, if you can't meet in the allotted time during the round, try scheduling with your opponent into the extension window like so:
If this works, fantastic! There may even be no need to actually request an extension if an admin can see that you have scheduled for a time after the deadline; he'll use his noodle and realize you need one on his own. That being said, it can't hurt to be safe and ask. Afterall, at this point, a tournament admin is well within his right to simply decide the winner without the match having been played.
3) If you can't make any time work at all, not even with an extension, I'm sorry buddy, but you're just shit outta luck. If this is the case, the match will require an admin decision to see who moves to the next round. The criteria an admin uses to decide a winner primarily consists of the efforts made in the scheduling thread and any additional evidence provided there.
I missed the scheduled time!
It's okay, don't worry. Everyone's had unexpected things come up that stop them from making scheduled times once in a while. Just follow these steps and you'll be good to go.
1) As soon as you know you won't make it, contact your opponent to let them know. Everyone has a smartphone these days and this takes less than a minute to do. There's really no excuse not to do this. If you don't do this, you'll be making your opponent wait as you no-show, which will make you a goober. Here is how you follow this step:
2) Contact them to arrange another time. Apologize again for missing the scheduled match. If you failed to follow Step 1, apologize for that as well, and explain why, or else you will remain a goober. Hopefully you both followed the model of the Ideal Scheduling Conversation so you already know what times work well for both of you, and you can just pick another one. If no remaining times in the week work for both of you, jump to the subheader "I can't make any of my opponent's times!" and work from there.
My opponent missed the scheduled time!
So you've been sitting on ESO, waiting for your opponent to show up so you can battle, but the clock keeps ticking and they're nowhere to be found. What do you do?
1) Give them some wiggle room. Make sure to check the scheduling thread to see if they've left a message letting you know that they'll be late. Standard wait time is 15 minutes; If your opponent isn't on ESO and it's been 15 minutes since the scheduled time, and they haven't given you any notification in the scheduling thread, their status has officially shifted from "a bit late" to "no-show." If they show up before then, call them a good-for-nothing sluggard and play your match; if not, do the following:
3) Make a post in your scheduling thread confirming that you were present and that your opponent missed the arranged time. Bonus points if you can make an insulting pun out of their name. (Note: Only make an insulting pun out of their name if they failed to follow step 1 of the previous section).
The ball is now in your opponent's court. If they fail to contact you to reschedule, collect your free activity win!
My opponent won't respond in the scheduling thread!
Try to find them by other means. Add them on ESO and play the match when you see them online. Ask on the ESOC Discord who his friends are or if anybody knows when he'll next be online. Be understanding; they probably saw scheduling thread notification but then they were too busy to answer and forgot about it. If they haven't responded in the scheduling thread for a few days, make another post to remind them.
Scheduling via other means than Tournament Thread
Sometimes, you'll feel the urge to schedule in places other than in your allotted scheduling thread, such as ESO private message, discord private message, or FaceBook, or something. That's okay, as long as you follow these steps:
1) Follow the model of the Ideal Scheduling Conversation in spirit, if not in practice. You should still make known both of your availabilities and decide upon a specific time. That's just good scheduling, regardless of if it's in the scheduling thread or not.
2) Take screenshots of the conversation and post them in the tournament scheduling thread. That way the admins knows this conversation happened, and can use it to make activity decisions. If you don't do this, you have broken the Golden Rule of Scheduling, which makes you a ding-dong.
If you read all this, congratulations, you're now a Scheduling Master! Now use the lessons you learned from this post to make my life as a tournament admin way easier, and stop scheduling for "weekend sometime" because I swear to god if I get one more case of each opponent saying the other missed time when they never narrowed it down beyond a 10 hour window I'm going to choke-slam both of them.