Issue#5: The dual Conference structure

Briefings of the Present, #2

I’ve already explained how the “multiple Teams problem” was dealt with by having every Team pay their fee, and how is a Conference structured, however these solutions don’t consider the possibility of running a freemium game: they assume that every Team will have to pay.

However, I support the “try before you buy” model: if that’s possible, you should somehow allow your Users to try parts of your game before paying you.

There are several ways to accomplish such a thing: in this article I’m going to explain what we are doing now in Ork Manager: Coal & Top hats, and how this evolved gradually during the old OMFB.

The Dual Conference Structure

We have two Conferences: the Screaming Saltire is the “Pro Conference”, while the Grass of Water is the “Trial Conference”.

Pro or Free?

Conference selection screen

Screaming Saltire

In the Pro Conference the game “actually happens as it’s intended to be”: every Team has to pay its subscription fee every season, gains supporters, Shiny Gold, and its Brawlers gain XP.

There are no limits at all to the amount of Teams any user may sign in.

Grass of Water

In the Trial Conference Teams sign for free, but the Shiny Gold gains are extremely low, new supporters are almost unheard of, and the Brawlers earn negligible amounts of XP.

You cannot sign in a new Team if you already have a Team in the Feeder.

Dodging the problems

There are many potential problems related to the Trial Conference configuration, which have been averted by very specific design choices.


Farming Gold and Supporters can’t be done: the amount you gain is so low that it cannot be worth any effort.

Not only farming Brawler XP is impossible for the same reason, it’s actually harmful! That’s because Brawlers can still get injuries, and those add up normally. Basically you’d spend your Brawlers limited time for no reason.


Ok it’s free, so you can create multiple accounts to sign more Teams in, right?

Yeah, well… you can… but it’s pointless. Because there’s no reward to be gained. So, again, a lot of effort for no gain at all.

This is also the reason why we can limit the Teams per User in the Feeder: you can work around that limitation, but you have no reason to do so.

Issue #2 explains this concept in more detail.


While OMCT was born this way, this is the result of a long evolution during the course of OMFB.

There has been three main eras: the first and the last one has been mostly stable, while the middle one has undergone several transformations (so much that we can split it in two sub-eras).

The Custom League Labyrinth

The first phase lasted for 7 seasons, and we have already talked about it in the previous issue.

It was free to sign up, and there’s not much else to say: the problems were there, but I wasn’t making any effort to solve them: the Game was in its early stages and there were other priorities.

Furthermore, it wasn’t really easy to notice these problems in the first place.

The First Conference, early period

The Conference system was introduced; while it was a huge improvement, the issues mentioned above were all still there: signing in was free, and there were all incentives to do that with as many Teams as possible.

Season 0 to 3 were organised in the standard diamond‑shaped structure. The main difference compared to what we have now is that there was only a single League just above the Feeder, while now we can have two.

Season 4 experimented with a single League in division II. The aim was to ensure that the Teams promoted to Iα were stronger and better prepared to face it. Below that, the diamond shape continued as usual.

Season 5 to 9 witnessed the introduction of a split division II structure: Iα and IIα were reserved to “primary Teams”, while IIβ was reserved to “secondary Teams”. Thus, no Team was promoted from IIβ to Iα, while relegations worked as normal. III and below had no restriction, and featured mixed Teams. This was the first attempt to segregate primary and secondary Teams, but actually encouraged Users to create fake accounts in order to have more primary Teams.

What’s a “primary” Team? It’s the “best ranked” among a User’s Teams. All of its other Teams are called “secondary”.

The Mess

From now on the things got more chaotic, and not terribly interesting. You may wish to skip this paragraph.

Meanwhile, Season 7 increased the number of Teams per League from 10 to 12.

Season 10 sported a very slight modification: from IIα to Iα there would have been only a single promotion, instead of two. This, again, was to prevent weaker Teams to be promoted to the fierce Iα and be wasted immediately. It didn’t really work, and lasted only 2 seasons.

Season 11, however, changed something: the Teams per League increased from 12 to 8. With a lower number of Teams it made slightly more sense to have less promotions.

Season 12 tried to go back to 2 promotions, but with 14 Teams per League… and finally Season 13 resumed the 1‑promotion‑only setting, but with 10 Teams per League.

A lot of experimentation to frantically solve some problems, accidentally creating others.

Something drastic needed to be done.

Enter the Dual Conference

This was the final phase of OMFB, and it lasted 5 seasons only. Chaos dissolved: the structure stayed the same for its whole (albeit short) duration.

The old Conference was closed down, primary Teams were allowed to sign in the new Primary Conference for a fee (sort‑of), while secondary Teams could sign in the (also new) Secondary Conference for free.

There was no season 0: Teams were ranked according to their final rank in the old First Conference, and the diamond‑shape was formed from season 1.

The Pro Conference had 6 Teams per League, while the Trial had 12. In order to sync them a little bit, the Pro Conference Teams played two matches against each other, instead of just one.


There are two main differences between the OMFB Dual Conference system, and OMCT’s updated one.

The fee

In the old system, the fee was not “per Team”, it was “per User”: Users paid a subscription, and then their primary Team could sign in the Primary Conference…

While this technically encouraged Users to create multiple accounts, it was now much more acceptable, on the principle that they would all have to pay their subscription fee.

Still, this was largely improved in OMCT by paying “per Team”, and allowing Users to sign as many Teams as they want, as long as they all pay.

The limitations

The huge flaw of the old structure is that the Secondary Conference didn’t had all the severe limitations that have been imposed in the Grass of Water, so it could still be quite profitable to run multiple accounts, including free accounts… which is quite bad.

That’s pretty much it

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you want to play Ork Manager you are very welcome to do so – you can register straight away – and if you already do… here’s the usual LG code! 1679-7020-9246

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