The SPF Guide to Hosting Your Own Tournament [by Sint Nikolaas]


Well-known member
Mar 19, 2020
Note: This is a repost of Sint Nikolaas' "The SPF Guide to Hosting Your Own Tournament" from the old SPF, created May 28, 2006.

The SPF Guide to Hosting your own Tournament.


- Introduction
- What does a tournament need
- Shake down
- Credits

PAQ (Presumably Asked Questions).

1. Who are you?

I’m known as Sint Nikolaas, or Sint for short. I’ve been around the SPF for some time and one of the best parts of the SPF is in my opinion the community. One of the things that is a serious pillar in this community is the tournaments hosted on the forum.

2. There you start again on the tournaments.. what are they?
The SPF is proud to have a lot of tournaments. We all play Single Player Diablo II (expansion) with various Blizzard released patches, some with mods and some with self proclaimed rules. It’s these last group that has quite some interesting features.. namely we like to play according to other peoples rules too, to keep the game interesting.

3. Why would I want to play by rules other people set up?
Because it’s fun. We all know the game is about 10 years old and people are losing interest all the time. Hosting tournament makes the game more interesting and gives people an angle they could be looking for to keep the game playable. Besides that it’s just fun to try to outmatch people with ridiculous characters or other odd stuff.

4. So.. what kind of tournaments are there?
Quite a few, in the main lines most tournaments come down to this though. You either play through the game trying to reach hell Baal with a character that’s 'interesting’, you try to reach a goal while playing like finding as many items as possible or finding something specific, some tournaments require you to make screenshots, others will be just random trivia tournaments. There are various, but most people just like the playing tournaments where you start a character and try to get him trough the game with some set rules.

5. Alright it seems you’re right about the tournaments.. but I don’t like any of the tournaments.. what do I do?
You could do two things. 1. Nothing, wait around until there comes a tournament along that you do like. 2. You host your own tournament.

6. Okay, I’ll host my own thanks. Bye. (~time~ ... ~taps desk with fingers~) What do I do?
Read trough this guide. Seriously, most people seem to want a tournament lately because it is of course quite amusing, but rush into it. Take your time and read trough this. Make sure you’ve got your *** covered and make sure people will have fun. No one likes it when you have to change the rules halfway trough the tournament or keep making additions.

7. Help.


Welcome to the Guide to Hosting your own Tournament. I’ve picked up on writing this guide because lately the SPF seems to be hosting a lot of tournaments. Now while that’s a good thing I also seem to see a few tournaments that aren’t that well organised or that could be a bit better. Now I’m not making you believe that everything I write down here should be tournament standard or that my tournaments are perfect, because that’s not true. I keep making mistakes and whatever I write down here is just a guide line. You will have to make your own decisions and put your own touch to it, I’m just here to help you start off.

Now, this will be one of my first attempts to write a guide but I think it’ll look decent enough to help people out. If you have suggestions or additions PLEASE give them or state them underneath so I and others can learn. You’re never old enough to learn. Apparently I'm not old enough too.. It seems you're never too old to learn. (edit)

Alright, let’s go host a tournament.
What does a tournament need?

Here I’ll tell shortly what I think there should be in your tournament. I got these by head and by looking through various tournaments. Everything listed below is entirely optional. I’ll list 13 things, but obviously you can get by with only a set of rules. Personal preference will tell you what you want to pick or add.

- A name.
- A format.
- An introduction.
- A description.
- Time.
- Rules.
- Rule explanation.
- A winner.
- A winning.
- Sign up specifics.
- A score sheet.
- Links.
- A good luck wish.

There you have it. I think that covered the basics. I’ll go deeper into them step by step. I’ll be quite short though.. 13 steps takes a while to read.

My tournament needs a name.
Very true, it’s even one of the most important things. To get attention to your tournament you’ll want to draw people with the first thing they’ll read, your thread title. It’s not about drawing the attention as much as giving a good message about what you want though. You can do two things, either you name your threat after your tournament or you think of something you want to say and put the word tournament in it. I suggest that everyone hosting a tournament should give out their intentions clearly my putting the word tournament in the thread title. You can do that by naming your tournament something like ‘MI: Magic Impossible Tournament.’ or by something like ’MI: Magic Impossible (tournament).’ either way people will know what’s up. I’ve also introduced an idea there how to come up with a good name for your tournament, think of a nice name, make sure it strokes with the content of the tournament and make a nice abbreviation for it.
Here are some examples: SPUMF = Single Pass Untwinked Magic Find, MGFM = Mean Green Fighting Machine (I’m sure it was longer...), TWD = Three Way Dance.

My tournament needs a format.
Yes and no. Most people do this on purpose, some people do it automatically, most people don’t even think about it. What do I mean with a format? The way you write your tournament. The eye wants something too, if you open a thread and all you see is a big chunk of text you’re most likely to skip it all together while if you see a neatly organised story even with some colours in it you’re most likely to read it... that is before even thinking of joining a tournament. Sadly enough we can’t do colours any more on the forum with one exception: the highlight. Highlighting text normally pops up when you use the search tool to indicate the words you’ve searched, but you can also highlight your own text on purpose, thus turning it yellow instead of the normal white. Highlighting is easy enough. [.highlight] will open it (without the dot) and [./highlight] will close it (without the dot).
[highlight]Like this.[/highlight] ( [.highlight]Like this.[./highlight] )
So we got a way to draw attention, make sure you only use it once or twice.
Now make sure you organise everything you want to tell neatly, use proper English (or try to do your best, I know quite a few are not native English speakers, like me) and use punctuation.

My tournament needs an introduction.
This can be one of the most amusing parts of the tournament you write. It’s also totally unnecessary. However with a nice introduction to your tournament you will give some insight on how you came to think of it and maybe inspire people to try the same. In an introduction you normally just write down how you came to think of the tournament, maybe write a little story in it. It will answer the Why question.
This has a nice story line as an introduction, it’s short and basically tells you what you’ll be doing in the tournament without giving the specifics. Besides the story your introduction can also include a little FAQ or other reasons why you got inspired into hosting the tournament (maybe just because you’ve got a week off and want to host something). Make sure you answer the Why question here.

My tournament needs a description.
Another short one. If you haven’t done so in the introduction here’s the place to tell everyone what’s going on in your tournament land. You tell what the goal is everyone needs to achieve and the way to get there. Yes that sounds a lot like giving out the rules, but it’s not the same.
Mostly you can keep the tournament description short and clear, you don’t want to go confusing people.

My tournament needs time.
Obviously. Without time no one would be able to play. Seriously though there are quite a few points into using the time in your tournament.
First off you should have time yourself. Make sure you actually can host a tournament. If you’re off only on the weekends but tend to host a tournament that goes on for months it may be plausible to get some more free time or shift the tournament so that you only have to update during the weekends. You are the one in control, you should then also be the one that are ‘always’ there. People then to have questions or problems and since you’re hosting you are the one they’re turning to. Not too great if you don’t have the time.
Secondly, people need time. It won’t be too well if you host a tournament where you can only play on Tuesday mornings or where you only get an hour to get to hell difficulty. We’re at a forum here so people need time to read your posts, this means you’ll need to cover about two days before making sure enough people read the posts you’re posting. Next a forum is a slow medium, instant to you but only finding the way to a few people at the time. They need time to read, make a decision and to respond. Let them have it... time that is. Also people need time to play, no one really likes to be rushed (except if that’s the point of the tournament).
Thirdly, in close relation to the first to points you will have to make a decision if your tournament has a time limit or not. Most tournaments have a time limit to reach a certain goal within a couple of months. Others tend to give more room and let the tournament roll until it dies out, or do the opposite and give only a few days or a week max. Think about the goals you’re setting in your tournament and make sure you adjust the time appropriately.
Also quite important are time zones. Remember these when you set time limits. 8 PM on your half of the world means 8 AM on the other half. We’re dealing with people from all over the planet here so make sure you’re not driving some mad by making them play at night.

My tournament needs rules.
Yes, we come onto the most important part of the tournament. Without rules you don’t have a tournament. There are a lot of different tournament and a lot of different rules. I’ll just give various guidelines to what you could be thinking of when setting your rules. I’ll try to keep it as general as possible and not to forget anything in the progress... bare bears with me.

Hardcore or Softcore.
This is quite normal, do you want people to have a one-shot-only chance at your tournament or doesn’t it matter. Remember what your tournament is about, if it’s about taking screenshot then it’s not that important, if it’s about surviving longest it obviously is.

Diablo version.
Most people nowadays play either version 1.10 or 1.11. Clearly state if you allow all the versions of diablo in your tournament. Also clearly state if you allow mods like Red Rune Mod or the Runeword Mod which are also used quite often.

Do you want people to play Assassins? Does it matter that Necromancers are skinny? Think about the character selection, of course you will take some more important stuff in consideration then looks (I will discuss it), but maybe you just want an all Druid tournament.

How much strength do you want people to use? Can people use stat points at all? Should the have a minimum of 100 points in Energy? You’ll have to think about the usage of the stat points given to the character by levelling up and the quest rewards, but also about the stat points given to the character by items.

Various stats.
This is closely related to the normal stats. However not only the stat points are important, you also have to think about life, mana, attack rating etc. Just take a look at your character screen and decide if you want to do something with it. Resists fall in this category too.

One of the most seen tabs in a rule list. Decide which skills a character can use. Are skills forbidden, can you only use two skill trees or are the skill points you receive limited? Also think on what the skills do for the characters involved. Making a tournament without any stats is nice but a Necromancer with an army of skeletons will have a far easier time then a Barbarian. Skills are often limited, restricted or forbidden.
On a side note here when restricting skills you also must think of the staff mods on Paladin scepters, Necromancer heads etc.

Stat and/or skill affecting items.
To all of the above, keep in mind items that affect stats and or skills periodically like shrines, wells, potions etc. This includes drinking health or mana potions, prebuffing with staff mods, drinking 10 antidote potions etc.

Some tournaments (like PvP) will require multi player, most don’t however. You should mention it if you don’t want people helping each other out.

Some tournaments require a lot of action running around towns, gambling, buying etc. Other just tell you to steer clear of the town as much as possible. If you want not talking to Decard Cain you should note it. Most town action restrictions are often along the lines of either no healing, no repairing or no identifying. Also keep in mind that if you prohibit talking to certain townsfolk you won’t be able to complete some quests. Also keep in minds that your stash is in town as well as the entrance to the sewers (act 2), the entrance to Nihlathak’s temple and of course the passage to the next act (except for act 3 and 5).

Character gameplay.
Here’s the place to insert things like ‘no running’. Think about what you want the people in your tournament to do with their characters and set the rules accordingly. Chase a chicken to the underground passage? Squash bugs in Duriel’s chamber? Do you have to start a new character or can you use an existing one? Or do you even need multiple characters?
Very often used: can you rerun area’s or can you only pass them once? Do you have to kill every single monster in the game or can you skip them like there’s no tomorrow? Consider collecting way points and completing quests. This is one of the important reasons some tournaments take longer or are very short. Making the players kill all the monsters on player setting 8 will require a far greater time then just running around looking for a teleport staff. My spelling check doesn’t recognise teleport.

One of the most often used rules. You can make people wear only blue items, go without headgear or even with only gloves and boots. Think carefully about the equipment choices you make, disallowing white items will make act 1 very hard, while disallowing anything beyond magic items will make nightmare hard. Think about the staff mods on certain specific items if you’re (dis-)allowing them. Also make sure that the equipment strokes with the skills or characters you want in your tournament.

Using equipment.
Not only do you have to decide what kind of items people can use, you also have to decide when people can wear them or when they have to switch it out. Maybe they must keep the items they find or switch them out as soon as they find a replacement. Maybe they have to cube everything they come across.

Storage and stash use.
Well, this seems obvious. Can people use charms, can they keep everything they find or do they have to ditch it? Also in this little headline: the use of the cube. Remember that you have to use the cube to complete quests and that people can use the cube to store items.

Other items.
Can you socket that perfect ruby in that helmet? Can you use scrolls of town portal? Think what people will come across venturing out in the world of Diablo and make sure you haven’t forgotten something that suddenly makes the goal you’re setting a lot easier then expected.

Yes, Atma has shown us the can carry a load. Is she allowed to carry your items or can’t she have any? Most tournament allow you to mule off any items you find with your tournament character (in case you find that Cranium Basher), but do not allow you to mule anything on giving wealthy people an unfair advantage. This is important though: you must think about the consequences if you allow or even state that people can mule items of off a dead Hardcore character. Some people will bluntly state you’re cut out of the trading pools, but just be careful with it. Keeping separate stashes always seem to work and the person can decide later on if he keeps the items or delete them.

My tournament needs rule explanation.
Well, if you have set your rules you might have to explain some of them. Of course they are obvious (to you) and anyone could understand, but you still have to consider that one person who didn’t read it carefully enough.... right, just explain it. A good way to do this is to give an example of how it works.

My tournament needs a winner.
Yes, that would be nice. The only thing to do here is to tell when someone has won. If he reaches hell Baal for example. A good way to get a winner is to give out points when people have accomplished something. Most people tend to play differently, have their own style. This also means that they differ from your point of view, so if you set a score system you will most likely get people to score very different scores. For example if I tell people they will score points based on their character level some will rush trough the game getting to the higher reasons of experience faster, others will play more slowly making sure they get all the experience they can. Thus scoring differently.

My tournament needs a winning.
This is why some people play tournaments. So they can win. It’s also a nice drive behind the people who haven’t been playing single player that long or just don’t care about MF’ing alot to give them a chance at getting (often) quite nice items. There are different ways of rewarding someone who wins. A prize stash is one, others include a trophy, honour, a banner, nothing or something with a follow up (like a next tournament). Normally people at the SPF are generous and kind so most often it’s worth it to win a tournament. I would also like to point out here that if you plan on giving away items you must tell everyone what mods you are using or have used in the past, if you’re clean, maybe readouts of items. This is because some people won’t like to trade with other s who use mods like RRM or RWM. Just make sure you say it from the start, it’s not great to disappoint someone who just won a tournament.
I would also like to point out that sometimes people will not accept a winning even if they are clearly a winner. They won’t always tell you from the start. This is often not to be rude or because they don’t trust the person who hosted the tournament, it’s most likely because they play for fun and honour and not for a prize stash. Or just because they have all the items they need.

My tournament needs sign up specifics.
Make sure that you know who joins your tournament. This can be in various ways. One of the most reliable ways is to have them contact you trough your Privet Message box or e-mail account. This way you ‘have proof’. This also is somewhat of a hustle though. The most common way is to let the people sign up right there in the thread you started. If your tournament requires specific data like knowing what level everyone is you need to tell them up front what they need to write down to enter or to update. I will point again at the skill-less tournament I’ve just pointed you at, they show a nice little format with name’s, class, level, place and score.

My tournament needs a score sheet.
A score sheet is a very nice way to keep the scores up to date. If you know how to work it, it’s actually quite easy and useful.

My tournament needs links.
Sometimes you want people to show you screenshots, to contact you by mail or to look things up. Quite often this works well, but not everyone knows how to work the magic, so make sure that if you want people to show you screenshots you find them a place where they can (easily and free) host them. Imageshack is often used.. I prefer Silentwhisper. Give out links to all the things you need but be careful. You can’t link everything you want, we’re still at a forum here so you will have to abide by the rules of the SPF before you can rule in your tournament. So no linking to competing forums in example.

My tournament needs a good luck wish.
Good luck.

Seriously though, one of the key ingredients to keep people playing around these forums is the attitude of most. If you’re polite during your tournament people will welcome you back in theirs too. Wish them good luck and maybe they’ll actually have it.

Shake down.

Well, there you have it. All the basic ingredients to make your average tournament. Basic ingredients and average tournament. Yes, in order to make is a great tournament you will have to add some ingredients of your own. Writing this didn’t took too long, however the amount of paper needed was more then expected. I would just like to blame that on the SPF and the devoted people who stop by there every day.


Without consulting any of them, I need to give credits where borrowed. I hope none minds I used their idea’s as examples.. (it’s really a good thing you know...)
In order of appearance:
- Cattleya
- Skunkbelly
- Quickdeath
- Docturnal
- Thyiad
- The other tournaments I’ve skimmed trough. I’ve looked at many and will not name them. Thanks goes out to anyone who has hosted them. You now who you are.

Thanks to those who read. Your word is who you are.
- Sint
- Chris
Diablo 4 Interactive Map
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