Part 1 : The supposed fixes
From what I’ve been hearing, the “Unity Ruleset” is supposed to fix three issues (maybe its supposed to do more but I haven’t really found like a design doc so) : bring a unified ruleset to bridge gaps before intercontinental LANs, get rid of garbage time and remove or at least reduce stalemates.
The unity thing is admittedly a little funny as an idea originally from NA considering RGL still plays (afaik), 1 map a game with freaking half-time when every other league in the world plays windiff 5 and timelimit 30 and didn’t really pressure for unity. But im just being a salty euro, I can’t deny that a unified ruleset would be a good thing for any intercontinental event.
The only issue I have with it is simply that continuous overtime (the part that makes all games golden caps, not the one that makes golden caps start without a new midfight) is simply something I see impossible to use at LAN without putting a hard timelimit, which kinda defeats the point imo. People have flights to catch, go eat and forget the time, have issues with getting the config to work on their rentals, adding unlimited overtime on top of it sounds unnecessary. One LAN finals being cut short was enough for me.
About garbage time, I can’t deny that its effectively gone, ya got me there. What I will deny is the importance of it. I think garbage time is mainly a spectator issue, and more of an annoyance than a problem. I consider garbage time to be >8 minutes at most (= a team down 4 rounds can’t come back assuming 2 minutes per round, not always true but works often enough) and to be usually close to more or less 5 minutes. If you don’t want to watch it cause you find it boring, sure but I don’t think that should be factored in balancing decisions. As for playing through it, odds are you’ll want to close out strong, to prepare for the next map (or if you’re a big nerd, to get a better tiebreaker score). And if you get annoyed of garbage time when you’re losing we had the !concede plugin for those situations, not sure why it got removed, should be brought back imo.
Onto stalemates, the focus point of this ruleset based on how many people talked to me about it. There are a few layers to this one. First off, old Se7en style stalemates, where a team is winning and just doesn’t push are just not something ive seen in the last 2 years. Like, at all, and I watch Prem pretty religiously. I think generally teams are better at pushing off small picks and making plays because I’d say (numbers pulled out my ass) that the time between two caps was already below 3 minutes 90% of the time and below 5 minutes for like 98% of the time. You could tell because when watching the LAN or the cup, most of the footage didn’t really feel different, like I didn’t feel anything changed until people started feeding in or the round suddenly reset sometimes.
There are still stalemates of course, although I’d say most of them consist of a little bit more than trading single soldiers and don’t last a lot more than 5 minutes. Those stalemates usually happen on lasts, and for me are more about maps than time. A team can be holed up on Gully or Process last with a full setup, but the attacking team still has many options due to the amount of doors available on both maps and unique map traits like water on Gully or the need for the defenders to fight for lobby control on Process. Those options vanish on other maps, and when you add in fast respawn timers for the attackers and a second point complex to push into (Sunshine is for me the worst offender on both those aspects, but Snake and Metalworks aren’t ideal either), you end up with almost an involuntary stalemate, where both teams are encouraged to play slow by the map design. Tweaking those maps or simply playing new ones is what we should be focusing on instead to solve the stalemate issue.
To conclude part 1, I’d say that while its impossible to deny that the ruleset had an impact, I think it impacts parts of the game that didn’t really need to be impacted. And by it’s creation, the ruleset might also creates problems that we did not have before.