The Case for Preserving Farm-to-Farm Transfers

In case you are not aware, the MML Board is currently Considering a Proposal to ban Farm-to-Farm transfers, starting with the next time the Transfer Market opens before Season 7. So far, I am the only Board Member who has voiced his opposition to this Proposal. I write this to make everyone aware of what I see its ramifications to be, as well as to encourage all of you who oppose this Proposal to make it known to the other members of the Board through our Discord chat, your own post on our website, or even down below in the comments.

Purpose of the Farm

In February 2016, the MML introduced “The Farm as a place to develop teams and players for upcoming Pro Seasonal play.” See http://www.mmlpro.com/news/buying-the-farm. In its purest sense, then, one would imagine that coaches would spend hours playing on the Farm to develop teams, or individual players from their teams, that they could later take into the Challenge or Pro League.

3 Major Types of Sellers

However, some coaches choose to sell the contracts of their Farm players to other coaches. Why would someone willingly give up a good player, the fruit of numerous hours of Farming, to another coach? Moreover, why would an MML coach assist another coach in obtaining a star player that will make them a bigger threat to everyone else, including the team coached by the same coach making the sale? 3 general camps of sellers come to mind: (1) Traders: “You sell me the player I want and I’ll sell you the player you want”; (2) Gold Diggers: these guys are strapped for cash or really want that stadium upgrade, and they are willing to part ways with a player for gold; and (3) Daddies: these guys just really enjoy the pleasure of spreading their seeds across the MML Pro & Challenge Leagues, rooting for those players, and proudly declaring to anyone that will listen that the League’s leading rusher used to be on their Farm team.

I have no problem with Traders or Gold Diggers. They are making another MML Pro or Challenge team stronger, but they are receiving something in return. They are tangibly benefiting from this exchange. But watching the Daddies sell off stat freaks at base price to whatever team wants to take them Pro or CL annoys me in the way that I get annoyed when someone on a losing team in fantasy football trades Antonio Brown to a playoff contender for a kicker. The team trading away the great player isn’t doing so to improve their position, yet it is impacting the rest of the league and giving the receiving player a star that they didn’t work for or have the fortune to develop. Ironically, though, the current Proposal, which will be Considered and voted upon in the next Board meeting, will not affect the Daddies’ ability to keep fattening up the Pros and CL with developed players, but instead it will significantly impact the ability of Traders to make trades.

The Importance of Farm-to-Farm Transfers in Trades Involving Farm-to-Pro Players

The smoothest way to execute trades, of course, is when both sides have desirable players of each other’s races in the Farm, and each player is sold to the other coach’s Pro team. Unfortunately, many occasions exist in which a coach wants to trade for a player on another coach’s Farm team, but the other coach doesn’t have the money in his Pro team to purchase a player in return, or the former coach doesn’t have a desirable player of the same race as the latter coach’s Pro team, etc. In those cases, Farm-to-Farm transfers become integral parts of the deal. Take, for instance, my deal with Gerdleah, in which I didn’t have any dark elves to sell him (his current Pro team is dark elf), but I was able to offer him Kevin HAART, a storm vermin for his skaven Farm team, which incentivized him to sell me Ham Shank for the Greendale Human Beings. Gerd expressed serious interest in potentially replacing his dark elves with his skaven team in the future, and the prospect of trading me a good player for my immediate Pro use in exchange for a better player that he might be able to use in the future was too much for him to turn down. If I just simply promised him that I would trade him Kevin in a future season, anything could happen to Kevin in that time (or I would be forced to shelf the entire team for one or more seasons without Farming with them), and the offer would be much less attractive.

Without these bargaining chips, trading in the Transfer Market would be substantially disincentivized. Yet, the Proposal to be voted on by the Board in its next meeting would still allow Daddys to give away players for base price.

The “Money Loop” Argument

The MML has a TV cap, as well as a rule restricting each Returning Team in the Pros or Challenge League to just 1 player contract purchase per season, so the danger of coaches “stockpiling” players on their Farm teams through Farm-to-Farm transfers is neutralized by their inability to get too many of these players to their Pro teams in an unbalanced manner. However, the most often-heard argument for banning Farm-to-Farm transfers is the hypothetical threat of a “money loop.”

Proponents of banning Farm-to-Farm transfers contend that, if left unchecked, 2 coaches could enter the Transfer Market with new teams and engage in shenanigans that would artificially give one of those teams a bunch of money, without that team ever having had to “work” for it. Here’s an example: Team A is the team that Coach A wants to take Pro. He brings that team into the Transfer Market as a new team, with barely any money. Coach B also enters the Market with a new team, but he has hired 0 players yet, so he has 1 million in gold (alternatively, Coach B enters Market with new team then fires all of his players, for which he gets 1 million because you get a full refund as long as you haven’t played a match yet). Then Coach B buys a Level 1 lineman from Coach A for 1 million in gold. All of a sudden, Team A has a fully upgraded stadium with inducements and a full bank.

I agree that the above situation is undesirable. In fact, one could reasonably argue that the current rules already prohibit such conduct. Section 8, “MARTKETPLACE” [sic], states, “Any coach caught circumventing or taking advantage of the marketplace for gain outside what the League and its collective coaches would consider fair market is prohibited.”

Killing an Ant with a Bazooka

The dispute lies in what measures are necessary to prohibit this conduct. The Board Members who favor the pending Proposal to ban Farm-to-Farm transfers are going with the “scorch the earth” technique. Banning Farm-to-Farm transfers eliminates the money loop, since the team buying the player would always be a Pro or CL team, so they wouldn’t have a bunch of money to overpay, nor would their coach be inclined to participate in shenanigans at great cost to that team. However, the Board Members in favor of this solution also have no interest in trading. In fact, they don’t believe that there is a significant amount of Traders out there. That’s why it is important, if you are a person that likes to use the Transfer Market to make trades, rather than just sell, you need to let the Board know that you prefer that Farm-to-Farm transfers continue to be permitted. If you don’t, the other Board Members will continue to claim that I am in a very small minority of the MML who trades, rather than just giving players away.

Alternatives to Banning Farm-to-Farm Transfers

Moreover, there are less intrusive ways to bolster prevention of the money loop. First, you could outright make a rule that prohibits that specific conduct; while our Transfer market czar may not be able to police every single Transfer Market transaction, he and/or other Board Members could spot check transactions, with harsh penalties for those who violate them. By and large, I don’t think MML members set out to cheat. At worst, I think MML members are more likely to skirt grey areas of undefined rules rather than purposefully cheat by violating a specifically prohibited transaction.

Also, we could just ban new teams from coming into the Transfer Market. Every team that enters the Market in the future would need to have played at least 1 match, so that they would have had to use their initial money to build at least an 11-man roster, and then they wouldn’t be able to sell players’ contracts back to get spending money. To me, this is the easiest and least intrusive way to accomplish the goal of preventing the money loop. Trading would not be impacted, and More_Shots would not need to concern himself with Farm-to-Farm transfers other than to issue the initial Transfer Market tickets and make sure that the teams requesting such tickets have played at least one match. In fact, a second Board Member could take on the responsibility of issuing Market tickets for Farm-to-Farm transactions, allowing Shots to concentrate on the Pro transfers.

The Bottom Line

In sum, please let everyone, especially Board Members, know that you support keeping Farm-to-Farm transfers alive in the MML. Either post your support below in the comments, or post in Discord, or even write your own article.

10 comments

  1. As clarification. The board has not yet decided on this proposal and no votes have been made. The vote and further discussion have been postponed in the last meeting in order to check with the coaches how they feel about it.

    We do want people to speak up and tell us their preference in this issue. Please contact your closest board member if you have a strong feeling against or in favor for the banning of farm to farm transfers.

  2. Here are a few points as to why farm-to-farm transfers are in question.

    1) On being a Daddy. Some players have free enough time to run a few farm teams, play a dozen farm matches every week, and perfectly mold new players. For instance, if you have enough free time, you can throw away your ogre every time it makes level 2 and doesn’t roll doubles, thereby guaranteeing a block ogre for your future farm team. And then there are players that can only manage 3 or less farm matches per week and cannot put forth the amount of time it takes to develope players over and over again.

    2) The Money Loop: The money loop has been shown as a two coaches entering the transfer market with teams and performing shenanigans. But there is something darker in that depths. The same person, with 2 or more accounts, performing these same shenanigans on his own. This is the reason that Blood Bowl 2 does not allow trades between a coach’s own teams.

    3) Closing the farm to open the transfer market means there is no farming for about 2 weeks. Yuck! …so instead we open a side league with a transfer market. The way it works is our head of transfers sends a ticket to the teams making the transfer. Then they make their transfer. And then they are supposed to return to the farm right away. …but what happens if they don’t return to the farm right away? What happens if they go to another league and transfer another player from outside, without anyone noticing, and then return to the farm with illegal players that were leveled up outside the MML, perhaps even in matches with friends that allowed them to farm SPP?

    So as you consider the idea of ending farm-to-farm transfers, make sure to consider it from more than just one angle. The real question is, do we enjoy having these channels enough that we don’t mind the darker side of them, or do we close these channels to prevent the cheaters from cheating.

  3. Well, I for one am against transfers period. Yes, I used it for the first time this season, but it is a situation where I am playing keep up with all the teams that made transfers from farm-to-farm as well as farm-to-pro. I personally feel like the team I have should be the team that I develop, not someone else. I cringe when I read about the 3 ST5 Sauri on the same team, or the AG5 ST4 Wardancer that is purchased by a pro team. Every single player on the Kru was developed in the pro level by me, with the exception of our new Black Orc, which was developed in the farm by me. We are creating “super teams” by allowing these transfers, and I personally feel like it is disingenuous for a team to win an MML Pro title with players that were not developed by that coach, i.e. buying a title.

    However, regardless of the decision, it will not affect me either way, since I really don’t use the market. I am sure there are probably firm stances for each side, but truthfully, I could live without the market even existing.

    Just my two cents. I know the corrupt coaches board will ignore what I have to say either way! hahahahaha

  4. What is the impact of F2F over pro? Almost none! Farm teams with infinite gold? To do what with it? To make super teams than will never enter pro nor play in the farm because a too high tv? To breed infinite super players that no pro can buy because of the tv Cap? And even if someone could buy a super player what is the problem? It’s not fair? So if I only roll normal skills and someone rolls only stats up is it fair? This game is already luck based enough for me! On the other side no F2F will greatly reduce the farm games played and other leagues died soon after “their farm” went empty…

  5. Wow. Everyone please take a look at the last sentence of Sestonn’s paragraph (3) in his comment above. I don’t believe this point was made at the Board meeting, and if it had, it might have changed my mind. As I wrote in my article above, I am not so concerned with the money loop, nor “stockpiling” players, that I would be willing to sacrifice FTF transfers, the danger of someone taking their team out of the MML and transferring players from another market before reinserting in Farm has me very concerned…maybe enough to change my mind and vote for banning FTF. Any thoughts on that?

  6. Caven I’m in full agreement with you. I too used the transfer market this season for the first time to “keep up” with the purchases of teams around me ( yes my 3 st5 saurus were completely LL product ). I stated this from the first time transfers were brought up and its no secret 😉

  7. Yeah, I didn’t know if they were farmed or developed by you, just used as an example of what could happen with transfer market. I just like to play the cards I am dealt (other than overtime bugs!) with this game. It is more of a challenge for me to develop my players, than buy one that fits what I want to do.

  8. I agree with Caven and Don; I don’t really like like transfers at all. I don’t think “super players” should be made more common by allowing them to be concentrated from infinite farm teams into league teams. That said, the low Farm-to-Pro TV cap and cost in gold to purchase a “super player” mitigate the potential problem, so I’m not too hung up about it one way or another!

  9. Well…. I will be honest. One of the factors that influenced my decision about joining the MML in the first place, after playing extensively, in the official Cabalvision league, was the thought that I could engage in tranfers etc. (I think I am really sad and just wanted the market achievement. – I still need the golden goose one and then I will have all the BB2 trophies I think!) – But seriously I actually think the transfer market enhances BB2. I think I have pretty much used it every season I could. I don’t think I have transferred amazing players. The odd block skink here or suchlike, but it is fun and brings something to the league.

    Obviously abuses should be closed down. Obviously people shouldn’t cheat or be allowed to cheat. – Maybe we should limit F2F transfers in some way, such as 1 transfer per farm team? – I just don’t think we should shut it down. I was quite convinced by Sestonn’s 3rd point, because that is a serious loophole which could cause massive issues and should be mitigated against, but I think it would benefit the league substantially by having a vibrant transfer market and opportunities for players to use it. (Within strict rules.)

  10. My thoughts on the transfer market.

    The transfer market is a feature within the game we play so should form part of the MML. To remove it entirely as some have mentioned would reduce the interaction between the coaches and the interest of coaches in the post season (those not participating in the playoffs). The transfer market shouldn’t be overly burdensome in its administration so anything that we can do to reduce this while not affecting the possible interaction and excitement generated by working on players in the post season, would be good.

    I could write a whole lot more but my suggestion would be as follows:-

    1. Remove unlimited gold loop by applying the minimum 1 game played before being allowed to enter the transfer market.
    2. Restrict farm to farm activity so that each coach is allowed to buy 1 player for a farm team (from another farm team) and sell 1 player to a farm team.
    3. Farm to pro remains unchanged.

    Now there is no easily feasible way to eliminate players outside the MML coming into the league/farm. Shutting down the market would eliminate most of the threat but admins would still have their ability to approve teams into the farm at any point in the season.
    We all trust the admins to act honestly and not abuse their position. So we should trust all our coaches not to abuse the market by trying to bring in players developed outwith the MML.

Join the Conversation