Friday, May 12, 2017

ITS: Breaking Down the Past Three Years

The Infinity Tournament System. The pinnacle of tournament play within the Infinity community. It's interesting to see what's hot and what's not, as well as the impact certain products had on the community as a whole. It's also just interesting to see how the amount of players playing each faction during Infinity tournaments (the ones that are recorded anyway), so let's back down the stats and see what we can cook up!

Before we do that though. I'd like to thank two people for their help with this article. 'HellLois', the master of ITS himself, for all of the data he puts into the articles that were used for this piece (this one, this one, and this one).  Also, for helping me track down those articles. Second, I'd like to thank fellow blogger, Freddie of Under Bourak's Sun, for his work on doing the prevalence measurements (here's the statistics that he cooked up, for reference).


It's interesting to note that this was the year that Operation: Icestorm came out and we also see a surge in the amount of Nomad and PanO players, which you can see in the stats. You can also see that factions that haven't received a lot of resculpts were sorely lacking in popularity. Ariadna and CA, which didn't receive many up to and during 2014, were the least popular Vanilla factions. Also, since late 2014 this was the time that N3 came out, many of the Vanilla factions were considered more powerful and they were played more often than their sectorial counterparts. While this wouldn't exactly affect the ITS numbers for 2014, it does somewhat help explain the shifts we see that I'll cover in the 2015 section.

Image result for infinity operation icestorm

Also, a lot of the sectorials that were considered "best of the best" aren't even that prevalent. While the forums and players might have considered some factions (like Tohaa, Steel Phalanx, and QK) to be really good before N3 and HSN3, they're still fairly unrepresented in ITS or about average. This season also helps to give a good picture of how things were in N2 before all of the N3 changes and after all of the expansions, like Human Sphere and Campaign Paradiso.


With N3 fresh out of the oven, USARF releasing in the middle of the year and with HSN3 coming in early 2016, Vanilla faction players skyrocketed in popularity and almost all sectorials had fewer players. In fact, the only sectorial that gained popularity was Steel Phalanx, while the rest lost it. N3 did a lot to improve the Vanilla factions, but without touching much of the sectorials or rules, they were kind of left behind in favor of the new hotness.

Image result for infinity spetsnaz
You know I couldn't refuse to put in a Spetsnaz picture in another article

Vanilla Ariadna is big at time, thanks to their much needed updates and probably the addition of that sweet, sweet Spetsnaz and other great Kazak resculpts coming out. Vanilla Nomads and PanO are still the highest, as they ride the coattails of Icestorm until 2016 and 2017.


While I do not have explicit data on 2016, I'd wager that sectorials saw a boon in popularity as  HSN3 came out and Haqq plus Yu Jing probably saw some rises too thanks to Red Veil and a lot of the really stellar resculpts they received. The 2017 data will explain some of 2016 better.


This data actually encompasses data from late August of 2016, after the Interplanetary and up to March of 2017, so it's not exactly the "2017" set, but you get the point.

With HSN3 and N3 out, everything is now updated (well, almost. FRRM, Shas, and a few profiles here and there, like Halqa or Securitates), this is one of the first seasons in a while where things stayed somewhat constant. Sure, TAGline did spice things up a bit, but not many folks will change their preferred faction because of it.

Image result for infinity human sphere n3

Vanilla factions decrease in representation as some sectorials increase. Sectorials with newer models or recent resculpts boon, while sectorials that haven't received much attention lately marginally increased or stayed the same. USARF, for example, received sculpts for almost all of their models at this point and they increased in representation by nearly 4%. The only Vanilla factions to increase were Yu Jing and Haqq (lots of recent resculpts and Red Veil probably helped with this) and Tohaa (drastic power increase from HSN3). PanO and Nomads dropped by significant amounts, probably as the large influx from Icestorm trailed off (might have switched to other factions or sectorials for their factions, since they increased). The largest group of players are PanO, lumping all of the sectorials and Vanilla together. They make up almost 16% of all players during this time.

A lot of the previous powerhouse sectorials saw a dip in players (Corregidor, Steel Phalanx, QK, etc.), as many considered them to be 'nerfed' once they were updated to the new edition. The newer sectorials saw almost 5% of players representing them a piece, once the 2017 data was cooked up.


It seems that most ITS players follow two trends: pick the faction with the hottest, newest models, or follow the power curve and pick what's 'more competitive'. It seems that new models are really what draw players to a particular faction and then their relative position in competitiveness is a small determinant, but one none the less.

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