“I wish that people would be more understanding of how much went into the final result” — Interview with Sabre

Since people loved the first round of these interviews for Balcy’s Palace, I want to continue the series! Game plan is to release an article once a week as it is super low effort and can be a cool way to hear from more players, TO’s, content creators, etc.

When I can, I want it to relate to upcoming events, drama, or news. Just last week we got to see a new PM tier list released by the PM Backroom, which you can check out here. Below, you get a chance to hear from one of the guys behind the project, about what exactly the PM Backroom is, the process to making this list, and Sabre’s thoughts on the community’s reaction.

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What is the PM Backroom? How did you come to join it?

The PM Backroom is a group of top players and community leaders who are responsible for projects like regular tier lists and the PMRank. I originally joined for the PMRank last winter, and greatly enjoyed being a part of something that felt like it was really meaningful to the community. I actually never expected to be accepted as a ranking panelist, since I wasn’t even a known content creator at the time and I was on a hiatus as a player, but apparently Scraket in his application recommended me to represent Norcal and they gave me a chance, so shoutouts to Scrak for everything that’s happened since. Anyways, everyone who was accepted specifically for the ranking panel were asked to leave the server after the rankings released so that Reslived could re-organize the Backroom and eventually re-open applications, and when they asked for applications again this summer I jumped at the chance.

What was the discussion like for creating the tier list?

It was definitely pretty contentious at times. You had 21 people with very different experiences and opinions on what a tier list should entail, and getting that many people to agree on anything of note can be difficult. Having said that, in general I think we did a good job listening to the specific perspectives that panelists brought to the table and a lot of people changed their minds over the course of discussion, which was awesome to see.

Any memorable moments or debates?

The most memorable was probably when we got to Zard and before voting where he should move on the list we just voted to ban him, which I still stand behind. The most important debate was definitely at the beginning about the role of results in a tier list compared to a character’s theoretical strength, since what we discussed there played a huge role in how the list itself came out.

How do you feel about the final, public tier list that was released?

I don’t think it’s perfect, but I think it was good enough and that there was no list all 21 of us would’ve agreed 100% on. Personally I felt that a couple characters like Falco and Marth were noticeably lower than they deserved to be, but I also understand why the consensus placed them there. At the end of the day, the list itself is massively more accurate to today’s meta than last year’s, so that’s a good start if nothing else.

How did you feel about the community’s response to the tier list?

I mostly expected it, since something like a tier list is very easy to criticize and everyone will have their own opinions, but I’d be lying if I said that I was happy about it. I’ll do a longer video about this when I get time, but I think that generally speaking a tier list needs to have both results and theory behind it, and while we may not have found the right mix this time a list without one of those considerations would be less accurate and helpful to new players than what we ended up with. I do kind of wish that people would be more understanding of how much went into the final result, since I know some of the panelists took the backlash to the list more personally than I did, but I also fully understand that the community prioritizes the result they got over the process and the people behind it.

What importance do you think the tier list has for the community?

Honestly, I think the most important thing about it is how much debate it’s sparked. The fact that people can have such varying opinions about what a tier list should look like demonstrates how much closer the top and bottom tiers in PM are compared to other smash games. I don’t expect people to conform their opinions to the list we released, nor would I want them to, but I hope that it’s a valuable discussion point and a decent base for new players to look at if they’re trying to understand how good characters are in PM.

What does the future of the PM Backroom look like?

I think it looks promising. I don’t want to say a ton because we’ve discussed a few future projects but none in large detail, but I think a lot of the issues with putting together a group like this have been ironed out through the tier list process, and we’ll be in a much better place starting any projects for the future. The one thing that you can for sure look forward is PM Rank 2017, which we’ll start working on as the year comes to a close.

Shout Out to one homie who is on the team?

I’m gonna cheat here, cause picking one is hard, and say both Pikmon and Fuzz. Pikmon’s the other member from Norcal, and just a great guy who makes the whole process a lot more fun. There’s definitely a lot of talking and messing around in DMs between while discussion is really active in the Backroom server, and I’m glad he’s a part of this with me. Fuzz is just a really good friend of mine who understands the way I think super well, and is one of the people I most value having met in this community.

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If you have people you’d to hear from or topics you want covered, consider emailing “teambalconysmash@gmail.com”. Thanks for reading through and have a lovely day.

- Zesty

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