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What the VHL and SHL can learn from each other (Part 1)

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What the VHL and SHL can learn from each other (Part 1)


Hello VHL! I’m back with my first 2000 word article in this league ever so if you aren’t in the mood for a long read, you better skip this and leave now, I won’t blame ya! This is gonna be another article that takes a look at this league and its general structure and tries to look for things that we might wanna improve - but also for things that other leagues could learn from the VHL!


Some people might have a bit of a negative opinion of me from the past because back when I was last here in 2017, I was quite critical of some aspects of this league and very vocal about these criticisms. I ultimately left because quite frankly, I found this league to be not as enjoyable and in many aspects inferior to others like the SHL or even the now defunct GOMHL. 


Luckily a lot of things have changed since then and I am looking forward to experiencing the new VHL now. I also don’t nearly have the full picture of all the new aspects of this site yet so it’s gonna be interesting to learn about all of them over the coming season. But for now I think I have already identified a few key points where I think the VHL does extremely well compared to other leagues and particularly the SHL - and also the other way around! I wanna look at a few of these things now and who knows, maybe both leagues can take a little bit of inspiration from this to learn from each other....


What the SHL can learn from the VHL: The Portal


This is a super obvious one but we just have to start it because it is such a gigantic difference maker: The Portal and all the automatisation and quality of life improvements that came with it to make things is easier for pretty much everyone involved. Players, updaters and I assume even simmers are benefitting from it massively and it especially makes things easier for newer members who might not have sim league experience yet and for whom the weird updating system us veterans have gotten used to over the years were always a big turnoff.


You probably can’t emphasize enough how crucial of a factor the portal has been for the success and reinvigoration the VHL has experienced over the last few years. What is a bit tougher though is to determine how the SHL could learn and benefit from that as well. Obviously it would be great for them to get their own sort of portal system and I can’t imagine there being much resistance to it if it was a possibility (I doubt there in the VHL either when it was first proposed?). But as I understand it such a system is a massive undertaking so how would that work? As someone who wasn’t here at the time I have no idea how many ressources the VHL had to spend on getting that portal, both in terms of man hours and actual money (let me know in the comments if you do).


Would it be worth it for the SHL to invest considerable amounts of resources into such a system or would be a way to get help from the VHL to use their system and adjust it to the SHL’s needs, maybe even through a licensing model? This is where things get real messy because we are talking about actual monetary investments here which can be problematic for a non-commercial project like hours. Also, while it would help another league tremendously, would the VHL even be interested in sharing something that right now is one of their strongest USPs that has helped them grow by setting them apart from other leagues? I don’t know and am certainly interested in hearing people's thoughts on that.




What the VHL can learn from the SHL: More help for new players


I just talked about how the portal makes a lot of things easier for new members in the VHL compared to the SHL but as a matter of fact, a lot of things are done better the other way around as well. I would even go as far as arguing that the VHL might be a bit complacent in this regard because their Portal gives them such a big initial boost when it comes to drawing in new players. 


The SHL is more complicated to get into and more complex in general, so they were basically forced to set up a system of guides, introduction posts and mentors to have a chance to retain new members that might otherwise struggle to understand everything. As a result the SHL now has a whole infrastructure in place to both help new members get started and drive engagement and cohesion among them even after the initial struggles. A new member in the SHL will receive helpful guides via PM that are both written and include tutorial videos. They will be contacted by a mentor shortly after being recruited and will be invited into a draft class Discord where they get to hang out with and get to know all the other members of their draft class, be it newbies or recreates, as well as get additional help from the Mentors and some experienced members who might be there as GMs. These Draft Discords often tend to remain a thing even after people have settled in and moved on to their various teams, being a source of cohesion and camaraderie even years into peoples careers sometimes.


The VHL has none of that, it basically just has the Portal. There are no mentors, no rookie discord and the guides that do exist are scattered around the boards, not standardized and often outdated. The Portal helps people settle in initially for sure but it also feels like it might be a bit of a source of complacency. The SHL is forced to give their new members a lot of help if they want to retain them so they do, the VHL isn’t so they don’t.


I’m also speaking a bit from personal experience of course. I must say that I have enjoyed the VHL so far since my return, but both the amount of interactions in general and the help I have received as a “new” player have been pretty lackluster. The person who recruited me helped me get settled in again and answered a lot of my questions and I knew some other people from the past who I could also reach out to, that combined with the fact that I have a bunch of STHS experience already helped me get settled in pretty easily.


But a completely new member, who is new to this league or even sim leagues in general, has none of those things and, in my opinion, has a pretty high chance of feeling lost even with the Portal being a big help at the start. And even if they do understand everything, the start still doesn’t feel super engaging. I for one really didn’t have a whole lot of interactions with the “relevant” people so far. I joined at a time where it wasn’t possible for me to get game action right away which is fine and something you can’t really do anything about so I’m not complaining about that. Maybe it’s also because I'm a Veteran so fewer people reached out to me either because they don’t think I need help or because they don’t like me.


Take yesterday's VHLM Dispersal Draft as an example which was tough to even find out about in the first place since there wasn’t an official announcement until very late and draft threads like the ones from the past aren’t a thing anymore. There is no channel of communication with and towards the members of a draft class and no system to reach out to the people who create a new player. I had only talked to like two or three VHLM GM’s over my first few weeks here and still barely know anyone from my draft class. I mean, I know their names of course but there is no place I could really get together with some of them and get to know them.


Plus the fact that VHLM Dispersal Drafts throw new members together with ones that have been here for almost a full season and have triple the TPE available can make you feel a dime a dozen with all the attention both in the media and from GM’s going to more developed players. Although that’s a separate issue and it’s not like there aren’t legitimate reasons for why it is done the way it’s done.


So yeah I think it would be a good course of action for the VHL to work on their rookie retention and mentoring infrastructure. From what I have seen so far the league is doing very well in terms of recruitment and it has the Portal as a huge helping factor early on - but don’t get complacent because of those things. Actively reach out to new members, engage with them and provide channels where they can engage with each other.




What the SHL can learn from the VHL: TPE Adjustments for late starters


Okay so that “What the VHL could learn from the SHL” part got a bit long so to balance that out I’m gonna throw in a second aspect where I think the VHL does a better job than the SHL. In fact this is something that is so obvious (and not exactly new as far as I know) that I’m wondering why the SHL hasn’t adopted it already. I’m quite tempted to go over there right now and suggest this to the people in charge of the junior league. I am talking of course about the TPE-adjustments for late joiners.


It has been an age-old problem in sim leagues that there are times where it’s objectively better to join than at others. In leagues where TPE are largely paid out weekly and where there has to be a cut-off between draft classes it is usually better to join as early as possible after a new class has started if you want to maximize the amount of TPE available to you.


This leads to recreates usually making their players right around the deadline and recruitment drives being very early in a class's life cycle. Joining a few weeks after that cut-off isn’t that bad, in fact it might even be better for some people as you might lose out on a few TPE, but it also minimizes the amount time you have to wait for the draft and to be put on a team, so there is less downtime. But the later you join, the fewer TPE you will ultimately end up with to the point where people who joined right towards the end of their draft class’ life cycle potentially miss out on dozens if not a hundred or more TPE.


The SHL doesn’t really do very much to rectify that. If you join late you have fewer TPE, you will have missed out on the fun experience that is the junior draft and your SHL draft stock will likely have plummeted, all that through no fault of the player himself. Even worse in a junior league that has been quite crowded recently, it will be tough for such a player to even get considerable playing time, not just in this season but possibly also the next and your chances at ever breaking the leagues TPE-records are basically ruined from the get-go.


The VHL handles this much better through the system of TPE-adjustments, or should I say bonuses, for late joiners. Basically for every week after the cut-off that a player joins, he will receive half of the TPE that he missed out on for free. It’s a system that is quite simple but effective. It significantly reduces the TPE-disadvantage that late-joiners find themselves in, leading to them being in a better spot to perform well in the sim and be useful for the teams that pick them up, while also cushioning the feeling of having missed out on stuff a bit.


At the same time however this doesn’t de-value the work of the people who have been here from since the start of their class and who have consistently contributed. They will still have more TPE than those later joiners and will have had time to build connections around the league and gain chemistry with their linemates - as long as they have put in the work. In my opinion this is a great balanced system that supports members in unfortunate situations without taking anything away from the rest. Right now I don’t see a reason why the SHL wouldn’t want to implement something like that as well. Their TPE-payouts are a bit more volatile from week to week so it would require some calculating beforehand, but ultimately I don’t see coming up with the right number as too big of an obstacle. But as I said before, if I’m missing something here feel free to point it out in the comments!


Words: 2000+

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2 hours ago, RomanesEuntDomus said:

As someone who wasn’t here at the time I have no idea how many ressources the VHL had to spend on getting that portal, both in terms of man hours and actual money

Money wise I don’t believe it was much, if any. Just a tiny bit of extra hosting and another domain. Man power was also very limited, basically just Will after my initial mock-up design. Man hours would be the biggie. @Will can attest to how many hours they original portal took him to code but I’m guessing it’s a lot. Mind you he was also self taught so that probably made things take a bit more.

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1 hour ago, Beketov said:

Money wise I don’t believe it was much, if any. Just a tiny bit of extra hosting and another domain. Man power was also very limited, basically just Will after my initial mock-up design. Man hours would be the biggie. @Will can attest to how many hours they original portal took him to code but I’m guessing it’s a lot. Mind you he was also self taught so that probably made things take a bit more.

Yeah I mean I didn’t keep track but...many many many hours, continuing to this day ? even putting aside the initial learning curve.


The team management side of things in particular was a pretty huge undertaking that I likely would have had difficulty doing if i wasn’t unemployed for a month or so while I waited for my job to start. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heyo over there Mr.Galante Nilsson, its me your friendly old AGM in Philly ? Just wanted to let you know that @DMaximus is the reason your'e a Reaper . my Mentor and my Icon, The most Famous man in Scranton, maybe all of Philladelphia Dmax does his due diligence and looking at the Draft Board i can be honest with you ANY GM (including myself) may have wondered why you went where you did (Some may think too low, Others too high ?) However guys like Dmax put in the work and the research and with the VHLforum site saving all of your contributions and posts proving your historic success and conistent activity in the past and that you had only gone inactive and there was a high possibility leaning towards your return to full action, Dmax puts in WORK ? This man deserves so much more Recognition and so do you !! Dmax hypothesis was right that other GMs may let you slip based on your TPE alone , The Reapers wont let a player of your caliber slip through our fingers, We truly see you as a key member of this seasons roster and a Potential #1 guy next year and a heavy left shoulder with a C on it  ? Ive never heard of the SHL , I love the VHL and it was love at first sight , Send me a PM and i would love if you could give me a little more info on when the best time to create a player would be and a link to the site ! Overall great article , good structure and very noble at remaining unbias throughout the article. Giving each site there pros and cons and its great to see what you think and hopefully this article is seen by many of the "Big Shots" ;) in the VHL or SHL (VHL BoG youre all perfect to me ❤️ , dont stop being you) but in all seriousness great way to put some great and game changing factors into the spotlight that could be without question experience changing moves, Rating 10/10 .... 

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Review: This is a really good article! Lots of content, well-written and good points made on both sides. There's not much here to complain about; my only tiny nitpick is the font colour makes it tough to read on the forums' dark mode (seems it's black instead of automatic?). Good ideas here for both leagues I think! Rating: 9.75/10

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So I just started VHL about a 5-6 weeks ago and I've loved it. So much so that I've gotten into a few other sim leagues also. I'm in PBE (the baseball sim) and I really wanna get into a baseball simulation league, but they have no portal and it's such a pain in the ass to track your tasks and update your player. In my mind, the VHL Portal really does put us ahead of all the other sims out there. The EFL's portal system is half decent, but I think overall ours is the best.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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