By Espark on Sun 09 May, 2021.

Ai-Mo Times

May 9th, 2021

“The only literate tribe deserves the best in information and entertainment”

Polytopia News

Tiny Tournament Two (TT2)

Over 230 people have registered for TT2 and preparations for the event have increased overall server activity. The day the tournament was announced saw the highest level of activity since Cymanti was released in February. On May 8th, the first FFA matches were assigned. Not everyone who registered has been assigned their games yet. As of publication, about hafl of players have been assigned their first two matches. All initial games are expected to be assigned by May 10th.

The TT2 is expected to last 8-12 weeks with players competing in a total of eight FFA matches. Registration will remain open for at least another week.

VC with Zoy

On May 4, Zoythrus spent over an hour in voice chat. He talked about how he spends lots of time reassuring people that the balance pass was for the best.

Here are some highlights of what the server manager said:

Ai-Mo News:

The Ai-Mo Times celebrated it’s one year anniversary this week. The first edition of the Ai-Mo Times was published May 2, 2020 by 1Chill. The newspaper started as a daily paper and features interviews, fan art, and fan made tribes. Since then it has expanded to include a variety of articles and features include crossword puzzles, quizzes, a mute/ban column, analysis, and an opinion section.

Thanks to all the reporters and editors who have contributed over the last year - 1Chill, ArticFox, Joxteoz, Hspark, Druid, Artemis, Midjiknight, PeacefulPotato, CoolNotFoolGuy, Memeats, Mantis, Hoodwick, Doom, Kahuna, Katane, Tntmast, Tintin, and Dust.

We are looking forward to more great newspaper editions in the future.

Fan Art:

Phantrix by Zoin

WW1 Vengir by Taggart


The following is an excerpt from the Polytopian Interviewer, a weekly podcast with occasional bonus content. You can read the full transcript or listen to the podcast through the RSS feed.

Tntmasta: Welcome to The Polytopian Interviewer, where I interview people on their experiences and views on the Polytopia community. I have Thorin with me today. How are you?

Thorin: Hello. I’m well.

Tntmasta: Do you want to start with how you first got into the Polytopia discord?

Thorin: Sure. I joined about half a year and a half ago, though, I don't really remember how I joined. But based on my first discord messages, I looked up how to report back a hacker and then joined and immediately reported about those guys having calls, which, of course wasn't good at all, because it's totally obvious. And not the first guy to say that at all. I guess that’s why I joined.

Tntmasta: Okay. What are some of your responsibilities of being a director on main?

Thorin: That's kind of hard to say, because the director role is undergoing a change right now. So I'm not too sure what the responsibilities will be afterwards, but I think there won't be too much changing. It's just the directors mainly work on events and tournaments, and not really anything else. So we just get to organize some of the tournaments and we are working on that, but we got to wait with our tournament until the rework is finished or something like that.

Tntmasta: So the Polytopia summer skirmish would be managed by directors and other people?

Thorin: Exactly. That was managed by directors, although I didn't have time when the summer skirmish was taking place, so I didn't help with that.

Tntmasta: How did you become a mod for the Giant’s League?

Thorin: A little bit of a longer story course. So I'm part of the Sparky team and the leader of the Sparkies wanted to make fun for tournaments dedicated to FFA without having heard about the giant league that already existed on Facebook before, and so he got in touch with some Sparkies, including me, and wanted to hear if we were up to creating the server together with him. We said yes, and then THomez joined them, and he told us about the Giant’s League on Facebook. So we at first tried to make pretty much the same because we thought the concept was pretty cool. And so we kind of made part of the copy but they had this Google Sheet going for them, and we didn't really know how to make that. So it was first set up with a batch just like that. And then we got in touch with Zoy, and he told us that the people who run the giant’s league on Facebook also thought about transitioning to Discord. So then we got in touch with those two and told them that we were working on the server, and they said that's cool. We obviously didn't want two servers dedicated to pretty much the same thing, so we decided to just work together on it. And that's how the cooperation between our team and those mods from the Facebook Giant’s League came to be.

Tntmasta: So how closely tied would you say the Giants League and the Facebook league are?

Thorin: I think pretty close, it's just the FFA is without diplomacy, as you might know, and it's only managed by MP and Goulard as far as I know. I and a lot of the other mods don't really have to do anything with that. That's because it's far easier to manage than the discord league, because in Discord there’s a lot of messages we have to look into, because there are certain rules to diplomacy and so on. I guess it's closely tied, because it's two of them are the same mods and it's mainly the same rules except for the diplomacy. But then again, not as closely since there are a lot of mods that are only are there for the Discord.

Tntmasta: Okay. What are some of your responsibilities on the Giant’s League server?

Thorin: For one, the mod team pretty much works together on most decisions. We also always discuss the rules before every season. We don't really like to change them in season. During the season, we only have small suggestions, and then when a new season is about to start, we all come together and kind of discuss which rules we want to change, what we think would cool to become a new thing to be implemented. And with the many changes that are always are to the game, we pretty much always have something to talk about, like the skip function now has given us quite a lot of discussion. Other than that, it's just regularly checking all the messages in the discord and looking if there are any rule breaches or something.

Tntmasta: How many mods are on the team again?

Thorin: Nine mods, but some of them are more active than others. Most of them are actually pretty active. We're also going to recruit a few more helpers because it's just really a lot of messages to look through and we don't have infinite time.

Tntmasta: What? Yeah, I totally understand. It's fun, at least for me, to do the comparison of mod team sizes, ‘cause I run a server called Friendly Polytopia and we just recently went to four mods. We had three mods for the longest time, and it works pretty well. But now that things have expanded a bit and we're about 250 members now. Having a fourth mod, especially since he's online almost all the time, that really helps.

Thorin: It’s also different for what the mods are responsible for. It's like your server, you probably don't have to go through sixty five channels regularly to see there's anything wrong there.

Tntmasta: No. I mean, maybe general, but it's mainly just me going through and adding a bunch of stuff and making sure all the permissions are configured correctly and whatnot.

Thorin: As it's the problem that we need mods from different divisions because when there's something in it’s own division we have established that you yourself don't get to vote on that because you might be biased. Only the most from the other divisions decide about that.

Tntmasta: I take it you enjoy being in a lot of tournaments yourself then? Thorin: Yeah, so what I like about tournaments is that you automatically meet other players that are around about the same strength as you are. And you get to regularly play amount of games depending on how many tournaments and which tournaments of course you join. You get to play an amount of games that so to say never changes, and you don't have to look for those games yourself. And it's just to keep a certain amount of games running, basically.

Tntmasta: Do you want to talk about how you first got into the Sparkies?

Thorin: It's kind of funny. I was only on main for the longest time and I made my way up to veteran pretty quickly. And then I got this invitation to Polychamps and it sounded so competitive that I didn't want to join. Then I still was on main during that time. I don’t know who it was to be honest. So I got to know a lot of people there and then finally someone convinced me to join Polychamps. Several people already knew me from main when I joined Polychamps and I actually got requests from several teams if I wanted to join them. I think the first to ask me were actually Bombers, but they were actually quite bad at the time. They also didn't really I mean, at least not really that I knew of, they didn't have any players I deemed good that I already play a lot with. So next to ask me were the Sparkies. After I talked to Karuin for a bit, he seemed to be a really nice guy, so I joined them. After that I was asked by Vorce if I wanted to join Craw. I guess if she had asked me earlier I might have joined them instead, because Vorce had also taught me quite a few things back on main when I still was in the Yadakk tribe and Vorce was as well, but I'm still happy with my decision to go with the Sparkies. They are a very relaxed and funny team.

Tntmasta: Wanna share any memorable games or moments on the team?

Thorin: It's not really a season game that I remember the most. It's a game that was in the tiny tourney where are you play two v twos on tiny maps. It's a game I always kind of feel bad about mentioning because was a team of pros and juniors and there were some requirements to either or something. And so I played with CallMeSusan, and there was one time I actually was able to recommend Susan a move, and he kind of misunderstood me or something and did something different, and that actually led to us losing the game. We might have won instead. So he always apologizes for that, to me. It was like literally the one time where I could feel better than him. So that's why I remember that game.

Tntmasta: Last question, What's your favorite part of the Polytopia fandom as a whole?

Thorin: That's a tough one. I think my favorite part about the Polytopia community is asking for advice. It makes a big difference in how you play. When I first came to Polytopia, I really wasn't that good a player. I played a lot of one v ones and gradually got better through those. But I didn't really become as good as I am today before I pretty much joined a team on Polychamps and got some very good advice there. So I think that's, for me the best part of the community.

Tntmasta: Yeah, I'm not sure if it's necessarily my favorite part of the community, but I do agree that joining a team and interacting with others and coaching, greatly helps you get better at the game. Alright. That's all I have.

Thorin: Thank you for having me.

Tntmasta: Yeah. Great to have you.

Thorin: Have a nice evening.

Tntmasta: It’s afternoon for me, but yeah.

Thorin: Good bye.

Tntmasta: Bye.

Read or listen to the rest of the interview in the Friendly Polytopia server.


The PolyChamps Draft is Broken

By Edgar Alien Poe

Theoretically, the draft in PolyChamps (PC) is supposed to even out team balance with the top teams getting the last choice of new (Nova) players and weaker teams getting first dibs on top talent. This is not how the current system is working. Currently, players who are already experienced, have friends on PC teams, or otherwise savy to how the system works (so-called SuperNovas) effectively get to choose which team they join. This is because these SuperNovas don’t want to play for bad teams and are accommodated.

Why don’t all Novas get this option?

Sure. Getting drafted by a team you don’t want to join is not fun. Fear of getting drafted by a team you don’t want to join is not fun. Being in a league with lame teams that make no effort to appeal to Novas is not fun (unless maybe you beat them all the time—winning is fun).

To make the draft more fun, why not make it more equitable between Novas and teams. Have a two-step process — no later than 24 hours before the draft, Novas apply to teams. A google form could be used. What teams would you join? Then on draft day, PC teams can only select Novas that applied to them. This would create incentive for Teams to sell themselves to Novas—maybe there could be a channel for PC teams to advertise—describe themselves—have an identity. Less one-on-one recruiting and more tell-your-team’s-story recruiting. If the more desirable teams get the most applications, that’s fine, because the roster sizes are limited, fixed, by the number of games. We’d wind up with a bunch of Novas re-applying next draft and hopefully expanding their applications. I think this process would be more fun for everyone, and it would promote competition at least as well as the current system. Underachieving, low-roster teams would no longer be able to take players against their will & there would be more incentive to develop a fun team identity that appeals to Novas.

To be clear I think the current draft system is fine, with the notable exception of the fact that Novas can get drafted to teams they don’t want to join. That part is just mean and dysfunctional. It stresses out the Novas, discourages new people from joining, and makes the league look even weirder and more cult-y than it really is. You gotta treat people better than this. And build systems that don’t have these bad outcomes.

I struggle to understand why league leadership would operate from the principle that the league is so cool, the novas should be grateful for a chance to play on any team. It’s kind of nuts how out of touch it is. We have “fun” as the league mission and conduct the draft in this cruel way. The fact that exceptions are made all the time to accommodate the more outspoken novas also shows how broken the draft is. If you want to grow the league, treat prospective players well. Again and again the novas tell you that they hate that they could get drafted by a team they don’t want to join. Listen to them.

Publication of Nova choices with collection and study of that data would be super helpful for understanding how Novas perceive the league and how well different teams recruit. It could be there are a few Nova-whisperer recruiters who befriend Novas and inspire them to choose only that Nova’s team. Every team should have such a Recruiter—while it might seem unfair or make people jealous, I don’t think the lifecycle of a Recruiter is that long. It’s hard work. And roster caps can be used to close entry to more popular teams. If certain teams are just not being selected, the league can look into and perhaps mentor recruiting for that team. So in addition to re-making the entry experience for Novas, collection of this data would provide a lot of insight into the reputational & recruiting health of all the teams.

I am waiting for the PolyChamps leaders to admit that we actually have two sets of rules — one for strangers to the league — genuinely new players — and other backchannel practices to accommodate friends of players and the few strangers with the audacity to speak up about how ugly it is. The current rules, as published, aren’t really the rules. Why let only a few favored Novas select the teams that can draft them—and not offer this to everyone? Why not have real rules, the same, for all Novas?

Mute ban column

Disclaimer: Many mute and ban commands are executed on admin only channels. Some fields below will show ‘unavailable’ because the commands were not performed in public channels. In some cases, the data can be inferred from context and will be placed in parenthesis.

Date Staff Perpetrator Punishment Duration Reason
May 2 Bush Nameless tempmute 24 hours Nsfw bruh
May 2 Paxu a HAlf A MiND tempmute 4 hours cringe
May 2 Paxu a HAlf A MiND tempmute 24 hours unspecified
May 2 Paxu Drizzle Paw tempmute 30 seconds unspecified *
May 4 Bush hallwaygoddess tempmute 5 min spamping
May 5 Bush Quester tempmute 15 min in spamming bot commands in #general
May 8 Paxu starlite tempmute 8 hours nsfw

*Member asked to be punished


Thanks to all our contributors - Espark, Dust, EdgarAlienPoe, and Tntmasta. A big thanks to Artemis for setting up a new website for the newspaper. Also, thanks to our faithful readers for encouraging the paper to continue.

If you want to submit a piece to the newspaper -- art, news article, opinion piece, puzzle, etc -- let us know in #article-suggestions.

Keep up Ai-Mo!