We've collected end of season feedback and ignored most of it as we prepare for the next season. Season six will feature several notable format changes compared to previous LD2L seasons:
The biggest change this season is the introduction of pod racing. Signups will be assigned to one of four player pods, each run by a pod moderator (poderator) with the goal of creating role and MMR balanced player pools. These pods will play against each other in a "meet style" event each weekend where the poderator will create and rank teams to play against their corresponding teams from the opposing pod in a best-of-2 series. For example, with 40 signups, each pod would have ten players. These ten players would then be organized into two teams, numbered 1 and 2 by MMR or perceived skill, and then play against the matching 1 and 2 teams from another pod in two simultaneous best-of-2s. The pods will score points equal to the total number of games won.
The pod racing will continue for six weeks, so each pairing of pods will play twice, and the final winning pod (PodChamp) will be the one that has the most points over the entire season. The pods will form as many teams each week as they have available players (+1 team for each 5 players that join). When the pods do not have enough players to form another full team, the leftovers will form a built-in standin pool for their pod and are expected to show up on Sunday. These players are encouraged to play inhouses, cast games, or do something else during game time to get to know one another and the rest of the league..
The goal of the pod season is to create an opportunity for new players to meet and get to know each other and veterans alike before the player draft, while alleviating some of the common complaints about inhouses. Consistent pod attendance shows that a player is dedicated to playing at the standard game time on Sunday, and the replacement of the vouching system streamlines the new player experience, as we will focus on removing bad players rather than whitelisting good players.
A Swiss pairing system for 16 teams can determine the top overall seed in only 4 weeks, rather than the 7 weeks that we have played in the past. With pod racing taking more time, we are reducing the length of the normal season to just 4 weeks to determine the playoff seeds, and the top 8 teams in each division will advance to a three week, single elimination playoff bracket as usual.
Currently we're planning on keeping the same MMR cap and division structure as in season 5 for the regular season portion (only the MMR cap affects pods, which will remain at 4k), but we're still working out the precise details for division separation and the draft.
Signups for the pod season, which is required to participate in the regular season, will open in the coming days. The final schedule will be posted at the same time, but the season is expected to run roughly from September 1st through mid December.