I'm going to subtly add to this new page that I'm still hoping for people to volunteer to be fillers in Div I this season... :D
I share his pain, having gone up against 1700TV dark elves and 1500TV undead with my rookie underworld. This season I have 1600TV chaos dwarves and 1500TV undead.
Tier 3 is ridiculous.
Yeah, the tier 3 situation has been exacerbated by the loss of tier 4 for the first time this season. Our attrition rate has been running a little higher which makes it much tougher for new teams and the shallow structure we now have hits people much sooner. Whilst some people like being the underdog and getting inducements (and everyone loves turning over a team 500+ TV above them!!), there's some good players here who will make good use of the advantages of the more skilled teams. Plus cyanide don't have all the star players etc. which would let you have more fun as the underdog (virtually everyone should have a cheap chainsaw star player, for one, what better way to punish that 200TV star player ;-)).
I'm coming around to the idea of a persistent 'feeder' league, run like the challenge league (possibly a replacement?) for all of us to play in, and then you can apply whenever you like (at whatever TV you like? Maybe capped to highest TV in the bottom tier?) to get into the divisions. The only restriction is you have to join the feeder league with a fresh team. Whaddya think?
I agree it is a problem with the current setup and offputting for new players, but I feel the size of the divisions as they are now is a good size to keep - 3 games/1 month is not a terrible commitment. Increasing the size of the divisions will increase the commitment which may put off new players in another way.
We should also see less errant demotions of high TV teams to the lowest tier if we have smaller and more tiers.The DoD originally had two divs per tier, so how about three?
I see; my chaos dwarfs didn't see any massive TV differences when they started (which I was a bit disappointed about because I wanted to get some inducements to play with) but I guess it's a consequence of the (clearly inferior!) 4 divs per tier system we're on now. (I can't see how larger divs would make any difference; if anything you'd be more likely to start in the same div as a high TV team.)
That said... I do feel like TV differences are a part of Blood Bowl and should be embraced, not avoided. My absurdly bloated chaos in the open had a good few matches with 1000+ TV of inducements against them so a few hundred TV is nothing! ;-)
They'd still kinda be DoD teams, as they would have to be new to the feeder league, but it would also give people here a sandbox to play and build up a second team if they were thinking of switching, as well as an outlet for more casual play that still has a possible end-point (the DoD). You could still join as a 1000TV new team if you wished to. I dunno really, we can move the whole thing back to 2 divisions per tier (as times of old) as we've whittled away a few players and that largely fixes it, I was just wondering if there's a need for something else as well...
I can stick in a horribly broken flower elf team as a filler for shards, if you like? It's been in the challenge league for a while, only has about 4 players but a couple of those are hardcore vets.
Oh gods, those bleedin' flower elves! That wardancer has minced me before :D
As for a feeder league, I like the idea of having a legitimate place to train up secondary teams. It is important to keep the original entry point for its clarity, though. However if we keep both, wouldn't adding these fed teams into the bottom of the ladder just cause more TV differences?
Maybe we should have a feeder league for each tier below Tier 1 - divided based either on TV or inter-feeder promotions/demotions each season. When a team retires from the DoD, it goes into the feeder for its tier. This would give us a structured way of introducing returning teams and new feeder teams in the right place, where they will not overwhelm new players (although when there isn't a hole for them to fit into, priority versus promotions needs to be addressed).
Multiple feeder leagues fixes a fair few problems, but might be spreading the players too thin. Although with no limits on teams per player, the challenge structure, and promotions based only on activity during each season and limited to one per player, it might not be too quiet in there.
The important thing is to note there'll be no championship feeder or Tier 1 feeder. Just tiers 4/3/2 that sort of (or could explicitly) correspond beginner/middle/advanced feeder teams. That could be further reduced to beginner/not, although at that point if we have multiple advanced DoD tiers the process gets a bit more opaque (but also more flexible).
The OCC has feeder leagues and has just abandoned them for existing coaches. What happened was that people used to "farm" them with multiple teams, waiting for a team with the best stat ups and crazy skill rolls to bring into the league. It was a lot of extra work to administer and unbalanced things for people who wanted to bring in genuinely new teams.