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Old 12-06-2001, 02:20 AM   #1
Steve Kuffrey
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Post Aussie Mark's Playing in an Online League FAQ

Aussie Mark's
PLAYING IN AN ONLINE LEAGUE

Contents

1. Introduction
2. How do I join a league?
3. How is an online league different to solo play?
4. How do online leagues work?
5. Downloading the league file and exporting your team file
6. Communicating with other owners
7. Scouts and coaches in an online league
8. Spring training
9. Trading
10. Rookie draft
11. Contract negotiations
12. Free Agent bidding period
13. General tips
1. Introduction

Some people purchase OOTP solely for playing in an online league, while others find that joining a league provides additional challenges compared to solo play. The interaction with other owners and the fact
that trading, rookie drafts and free agent bidding are controlled by humans instead of the game AI are other appealing aspects of online leagues.

2. How Do I Join A League?

Generally, there are two ways to join an online OTTP league. One way is to keep an eye out on the Leagues forum at the OOTP Website, where the people who run online leagues (known as a Commissioner, or
"Commish" for short) regularly post messages announcing the formation of new leagues or soliciting owners to fill vacancies.

The second way to join an existing online league is to visit league websites and see if there are any vacancies. Usually, the league has an "Owners" or "League Directory" page that lists current owners and indicates if any teams are open or vacant. Sometimes the league website will have an email address or notice board that is used as a
waiting list for prospective new owners.

The most comprehensive listings of online OOTP leagues are at Statbasedbaseball .... <a href="http://www.sportplanet.com/sbb" target="_blank">http://www.sportplanet.com/sbb</a> and
Historically OOTP .... <a href="http://www.sportplanet.com/sbb/hootp" target="_blank">http://www.sportplanet.com/sbb/hootp</a>

As the name implies, Historically OOTP focuses mainly on historical leagues, and the site has a very useful centralised waiting list to put your name down for upcoming league vacancies in the historical era/s that you prefer.

3. How Is An Online League Different to Solo Play?

Well, for a start, you won't be playing any games yourself, as online leagues are based on simming games. You become your ballclub's General Manager, with all in-game moves determined by the game engine (and your
managerial preferences). As mentioned in the introduction, all trade negotiations, free agent bidding and rookie draft selections are conducted by humans, so you can't rip off the computer in an online
league (but you can try to gain an edge on other owners if you are smart enough !).

4. How Do Online Leagues Work?

The league Commish sims all games on his/her computer (a "sim" is usually one week or two weeks worth of games at a time, with the actual number and the frequency of sims stipulated in the league rules), and
uploads the HTML reports to the league website at the completion of each sim. If the league doesn't require owners to have a copy of the game, owners can view box scores, stats, injury reports etc on the
website and then submit roster moves and lineup changes to the Commish who will update these prior to running the next sim.

For owners who have a copy of OOTP, the Commish will also upload the latest copy of the league file for owners to download so that they can submit an export file that contains their roster moves and lineups.
(see details below).

The Commish, in some cases assisted by League Presidents or a Committee, will oversee the running of the league, including
maintaining the league rules/constitution, editing rookie draft ratings (in the case of historical leagues), policing rule breaches, collusion or cheating. Other tasks involved in online leagues can include maintaining the website, writing a newspaper, moderating a message board, researching historical statistics. Sometimes these type of tasks are delegated to other league owners in order to share the workload around.

5. Downloading the league file and exporting your team file

OK, so you've joined an online league and the Commish needs your lineups for the next sim. Here's what you need to do ....

* Ensure that your copy of OOTP is patched with the latest update (if your version is different to the Commish, your lineup exports may not work)
* Download the latest league file
* Create a folder for your new league in your main OOTP directory. You can call it whatever you like, but remember that the folder must have the .lg extension (eg. 2001.lg or OnlineLeague.lg)
* Under this folder, create folders called "news", "box" and "expimp"
* Unzip the downloaded league file into the .lg folder you created
* Open OOTP and load the league
* Make your roster moves, promote/demote minor leaguers, set your lineups and pitching roles, setup your depth charts, adjust your managerial tendencies etc
* Go to the team setup screen and "export" your team file. Note the name of the file (eg. team20.exp).
* Before the lineup deadline for the next sim, send your export file to your league Commish as an email attachment.

The Commish will import your team file into his version of OOTP and your roster moves and lineups etc will then be used for the next sim. You must download the LATEST league file after each sim if you want to
submit any roster moves or lineup changes.

Important note: Any player cuts or trades must be made by the Commish. If you try to release a player or otherwise adjust your roster to bring in players you've acquired in a trade, your export file will not work.
This is because it won't match the Commish's version of the file. Similarly, if you edit any player ratings or try to change your
financial data or ticket price, your export file will not work.

6. Communicating with other owners

There are no hard and fast rules on how you should communicate with other owners. It's basically horses for courses, as some owners spend a lot of time on ICQ or AIM, while others tend to do their negotiating via email. Most leagues have a notice board/forum for general
discussions, trade talk, league announcements etc, however the degree of utilisation of these boards varies greatly from league to league.

In many leagues, the Commish will email all owners immediately after each sim to let everyone know that the sim has been completed and the league website updated, while in other leagues you will need to check
the website yourself to see when that day's scheduled sim has been completed and uploaded. Some leagues do all of their communication via a message board. Generally, leagues have a set sim schedule, so owners know when their lineups are required to be submitted.

No matter what method of communicating works in your league, or whatever method you prefer to use, the main things to remember are -

* Be polite. We're not talking over the top Ms.Manners here, just common courtesy. If you receive a trade offer that you don't like, don't reply with something like "Your offer sucks". It would be better to say something along the lines of "I'm looking for someone with more power" or "I'm interested in someone younger", or make a counter offer that explains why you're not interested eg. "I'm not interested in
player X, but I would be keen to discuss player y and x if they are available, as I need pitching help"
* Treat other owners like you would expect them to treat you. If you plan on staying in an online league for awhile, you'll learn that what goes around comes around. The owner that you diss today could turn out
to be the same owner who is looking to trade his top 5 draft pick next season. Think about it.
* Reply to any trade offers as soon as possible. If you can't check and respond to your email at least every second day, you probably shouldn't join an online league.

7. Scouts and coaches in an online league

Some online leagues don't bother with scouts and coaches, so have them set to "average". If your online leagues uses scouts and coaches, you will notice that the ratings of players on the HTML reports at the league website will vary somewhat, depending on which screen you are looking at. It's much the same as how scouts affect ratings within the game. Keep this in mind when looking at player ratings at the league website. This degree of uncertainly about the real ratings adds an extra challenge to trade talks and drafting rookies.

8. Spring Training

If your league has scouts and coaches enabled, you will be given the opportunity to run spring training before each season starts. The steps to do this are as follows ...

* Download and unzip the latest league file
* Open your league in OOTP
* Go to the league setup screen and click on "init spring training"
* Go to your team page and allocate spring training points to your players
* From the pulldown menu, select "export spring training file" and note the name (eg. team20.st)
* Email this file to the Commish, who will import the file and run spring training for all teams on his computer

9. Trading

Trade discussions are basically a free for all in online leagues. This is probably the most interesting aspect of online leagues, and is the main thing that sets online play apart from solo play. There are three
general types of trade situations -

* Sending a mass email to all owners or posting a message on the league notice board that you are shopping certain players or are looking to fill certain positions
* Scouting opposing ballclub rosters to find someone who interests you, and contacting that owner directly to initiate discussion or make an offer
* Sit back and wait for offers or see what is offered on the notice board or in mass emails

From an administrative viewpoint, leagues handle trades using one or more of the following three methods -

* The Commish receives, considers and approves all trades
* A nominated Trade Panel or Trade Officer received, considers and approves all trades
* Completed trades are announced by both owners on the league notice board/forum

So, generally, once you and another owner have reached agreement on a trade, it's a matter of emailing or posting the trade with a comment along the lines of "Team A sends Player X to Team B for Player Y and
Player Z. Team B to confirm".

Once the trade is approved, the Commish will make the moves using his copy of the game, and the traded players will be available the next time the updated league file is posted at the league website.

If you receive a trade offer, please try to reply swiftly, and remember to be polite, even if the offer doesn't interest you. There's nothing worse than not receiving any reply at all to a trade offer, or receiving a rude response that doesn't give any insight as to why the offer was rejected. Try to give a reason, no matter how brief eg.
"Sorry, he's too expensive" or "My guy is worth more than that", so that the owner who made the offer can have the opportunity to
restructure his offer to something that might be more possible.

10. Rookie Draft

The annual Rookie Draft is handled by one or more of the following methods -

* Live online draft - in a chat room, ICQ chat or similar (difficult to coordinate due to work/school commitments, different time zones etc)
* Message board draft - works well for early picks when interest is high
* Draft lists - often used in conjunction with the other two methods. If you are picking 16th, and the draft is 3 rounds, your list will need to have enough names to cover 2 full rounds of picks plus a further 16 names. Most leagues let the computer handle the 4th and 5th rounds

11. Contract negotiations

There are 2 main methods for handling contract negotiations for your
potential free agents -

* Owners conduct contract negotiations using their copy of OOTP (and the latest league file) and send a list of players they want to extend, with offers eg. "Player A $2.5m x 4 years, Player B $4.1m x 2 years". The Commish will punch in your offers using his copy of OOTP, and players who accept your offers will have their contracts extended.
* Owners post their offers on the league notice board and the Commish processes the offers using his copy of OOTP.

Some leagues have additional rules in place covering Free Agency, that attempt to make the contract negotiation process more realistic and less predictable.

12. Free Agent Bidding Period

Leagues approach the free agent bidding period in various ways -

* Open bidding - bids for each round are placed on the league notice board until a closing date/time. Owners can see what other teams have offered, and can make counter bids etc. The Commish then enters the offers in his copy of the game to see which free agents sign with which
team.
* Closed bidding - all bids for each round are emailed to the Commish for entering in the game. ie. there are no counter bids

13. General tips

Participation is what makes online leagues enjoyable. For this reason, please ensure that you reply to emails from the Commish and other owners as promptly as you can. If you are going to be away from your computer or otherwise out of action for more than a week, let the Commish (and the other owners) know in advance, so he knows not to expect lineups from you during this period.

Many online leagues have league newsletters, polls and league awards. Make the most of your league by participating in these activities as much as you can. A league is only as good as owners make it.

Don't expect the Commish to do everything. It's a big job, and if you are able to offer some assistance, even in what seems to be a minor way, it will be much appreciated by your hardworking Commish. Writing articles for the league newspaper or taking on a specific task related to running the league such as helping with website design, editing
rookie ratings, recruiting new owners, or keeping the rules page up to date are examples of ways in which you can participate in the league and help share the workload.

Don't take things too seriously. After all it's just a game, and the aim is to have fun !

Boston Pilgrims -
Boys Of Summer League
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