For those who might actually care about the Grand Prix event itself, Valve has now rigged the event in a manner that may guarantee that Team Corgi will be dead last. This isn’t entirely a meaningless contest; Valve gives free games to people randomly selected from the top three teams each day, and the overall top three teams at the end of the event. This change locks Team Corgi out of even the chance of winning said games.
The problem started, as always, with Valve. Valve didn’t place any restrictions on joining teams, letting people pick freely. At first, people picked Corgis because they like Corgis. Team Corgi took an immediate early lead on the first day. At that point, Corgi snowballed, as people wanting to win would pick the winning team. Corgi quickly established an insurmountable lead, taking an uncontested 1st on the first and second days. Due to the extent of Corgi’s lead, common believe was that the majority of people participating had joined Team Corgi.
People on the other teams of course complained. Some on Team Corgi pointed out that Corgi was the worst place to be to have a chance of winning a free game; the same majority of people that gave Corgi an easy 1st place win also meant that the odds for any one member to get a free game were substantially lower than the odds for a person on the 2nd or even 3rd place team. Indeed, even accounting for two teams winning nothing at all, you had better odds of winning a free game by not being a Team Corgi player. In that regard, the event was either self-balancing or unfair against Corgi, not unfair in favor of Corgi.
But Valve listened to the complaints and apparently decided it looked bad for Corgi to take 1st every day, so they instituted changes to nerf Team Corgi. Valve didn’t say what specific changes they made, but they added a new attack option that let players steal speed from another team, with the amount of speed being stolen being proportional to the speed itself. The third day of the event saw Team Corgi struggle, but Corgi pulled out a last minute win anyway.
Then Day 4 happened. Things looked weird from the start. The Grand Prix page explains that the team speeds displayed are after all boosts and attacks are applied. Team Corgi was consistently showing the highest speed of the five teams, but the other four teams were gradually pulling ahead of Corgi on distance. After a few hours, Corgi was dead last and falling further behind even though its displayed speed was more than double the second fastest opponent. (At this point, a couple of hours from the end, Corgi is solidly dead last despite showing four times the speed of the second fastest team.)
Then people started mining for explanations. Someone found that Valve had applied secret modifiers to each team based on team size. While other teams had a multiplier of 0.025 to 0.012, Team Corgi has a 0.0014 multiplier. Team Corgi had to put in nearly 20 times the effort to match the smallest team.
From this, people worked out the team size rough percentages. Around 75% of people participating are in Team Corgi. The second largest team is Tortoise with 9% of players, while the smallest is Pig with 4.5% of players.
You might think this is fair. In theory Valve is only requiring everyone on a team work equally together. If everyone on Team Corgi pulled together, they could win, right?
But this goes back to the free games part of the event… The odds were already worse for Team Corgi even when Corgi was guaranteed to always take 1st place. Now Valve has taken away even that.