Hallow-Xmas 2: The Tournament Returns

Hallow-Xmas, Eyewire, citizen science, Halloween, Xmas, holiday

‘Twas our first Hallow-Xmas. The year: twenty-twenty,
When certain misfortune had kept us home plenty,
Yet also we entered the Outer Realms cells,
Which welcomed us all with both broomsticks and bells.

These neurons, it seemed, had a mashup of seasons
For admittedly rather mysterious reasons,
But whatever the cause, we enjoyed it ourselves
To trace cubes with goblins, then trace cubes with elves!

If you wish for more details, the story is here,
Yet it seems Hallow-Xmas has come back this year;
For based on your feedback, the first was a hit,
And in light of this fact, we don’t think we should quit!

The tournament starts in a week from today,
And we certainly hope that you’ll all want to play.
So hearken, dear friends, to this call from HQ—
It’s time for a grand Hallow-Xmas: Part Two!

This second edition of Hallow-Xmas will once again run from the end of October through the middle of December! All the action starts October 26th.

halloween, xmas, holiday, Nurro, Eyewire, citizen science

As a reminder from last year: rounds will start and end at 11 AM on their respective days; points and badges will be awarded in between each round at 1:30 PM on the designated “award day,” and each award ceremony will be followed by a Happy Hour at 2 PM. Exceptions only apply for the Final VS. All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST), except for during the qualifiers, when HQ is still on Daylight Savings. The “?” icon in the lower right of your Eyewire tab will always tell you HQ’s local time, if you’re in any doubt! Further schedule details are available later in this post.

Please note the following situations on Eyewire while Hallow-Xmas 2 takes place:

  • Once the bracket rounds start, we are suspending events like routine Happy Hours, 48-hour VS matchups, Accuracy Happy Hours, and Marathons. The only Happy Hours will be those scheduled on award days; regular HH scheduling will resume on Christmas Eve, and other competition types will resume in January.
  • Open promotions will still take place on their own schedule in October, November, and December.
  • As usual, cells will not be taken down during a VS, so Scythe Complete bonuses will not factor into team scoring. But to assist in taking cells down between bracket rounds, SC bonuses will be doubled on all cells until Hallow-Xmas 2 is over.

To further prepare, please check out this breakdown of bracket rounds and bonuses!

Overview

Hallow-Xmas consists of 5 rounds of competition. The length of each round varies between 5 and 10 calendar days. Teams are created after the Qualifiers, and will then move through 4 elimination rounds, starting with a Round of 16. The top 8 teams from the Round of 16 will move on to the Quarterfinals; the top 4 teams from the Quarterfinals will move on the Semifinals; and the top 2 teams from the Semifinals will face off in the Final.

In each bracket round, teams will have a Starting Lineup, just as we do for monthly VS competitions. The Starting Lineup consists of the top scorers on every team at the end of the round (see later sections for exact details on the Starting Lineup breakdown for each round). The Starting Lineup will be weighted at 2x the rest of the team in each round (so each point they earn is worth 2 points towards the team’s total score). As a reminder, we give more weight to these players because this way, if the teams are uneven, each team will have a fairer chance at winning their match. It encourages even team sizes because there’s an incentive to join a smaller team and have a greater chance to gain a bonus from being one of the top players on the team. The Starting Lineup members also earn personal bonuses in each round which are unrelated to their weight and do not affect the team’s score.

Besides the Starting Lineup, we will also be recognizing two other special statuses throughout these bracket rounds. The MVP (Most Valuable Player) is the #1 player on a given team at the end of the round. MVPs earn an additional bonus on top of their Starting Lineup bonus. Meanwhile, the Team Captain is the player who “creates” a team after the Qualifiers. Team Captains get to choose their team’s name, and they keep their captain status throughout the entire competition, regardless of whether they score highest on their team for any given round.

Special Swag:

As with our past bracket competitions, most of the swag for Hallow-Xmas 2 will be awarded for the Final VS: a special personalized prize for everyone on the winning team, as well as for the MVP of the other team. But we will also offer a prize for Trivia, in the form of a neuron clock! (Thank you again to our departed @susi for her swag sponsorship!)

Special Badges:

Throughout this competition, there are various badges you can win, some of which are only available during a bracket VS.

  • Hallow-Xmas 2 Player – Play during any event in Hallow-Xmas 2 to earn this badge.
  • Gold, Silver, or Bronze in Hallow-Xmas – Gold and Silver will go respectively to members of the winning and losing teams in the Final. If you play in the Semifinal but do not play in the Final, you will earn the Bronze.
  • Original Team Member – If you were on the same team from Round of 16 to the Final, and your team wins the Final, you get this badge!
  • Team Captain – This badge is awarded to every team captain.
  • Starting Lineup – Win this badge for reaching the Starting Lineup rank during any round.
  • MVP – Win this badge for achieving MVP status during any round.
  • Best Team Name — Players will vote on their favorite team name. The Team Captain who came up with it wins this badge (not required to be in the final round to win). Any names chosen by HQ will not qualify for this badge.

Notifications

While we will be providing certain updates and reminders on the blog, in-game notifications will be the fastest and most detailed way to find information about Hallow-Xmas 2 while it’s underway. You’ll find the current round’s leaderboard in your notifications, and this is also where you’ll sign up for a team. If you wish to participate in Hallow-Xmas 2, please check your notifications regularly.

Qualifiers

Begin at 11:00 AM on Monday 10/25
End at 11:00 AM on Friday 10/29
Awarded at 1:30 PM on Monday 11/1

During this period of 5 calendar days, there are no teams, you just play for yourself! Check the leaderboard to see your current standing. At the end of the Qualifiers, the top 16 players will become Team Captains. Each Team Captain will then choose a name for their new team.

*Because there is a limited amount of time between when the Qualifiers end and the next round begins, we will ask all players to choose a team name before the Qualifiers are over. A notification will be sent out during the Qualifiers with a link to a form to submit your name. Your team name will be used if you end up being one of the top 16. If you do not choose a team name, HQ will assign one to your team.

Bonuses:

  • The top 16 players earn a bonus equal to 75% of their base score + 20,000 points.
  • All other players earn a bonus equal to 50% of their score.

Round of 16

Begin at 11:00 AM on Wednesday 11/3
End at 11:00 AM on Friday 11/12
Awarded at 1:30 PM on Monday 11/15

After the Qualifiers end, there will be 16 teams playing simultaneously over the course of 10 calendar days. If you are not a Team Captain, you will choose one of these teams to play on. You can join at any time before the last 24 hours of the Round of 16, but remember that your points will only count starting from the time that you join. You must also play at least 50 cubes to earn bonus points. The bottom 8 teams will be eliminated after this round.

Bonuses:

  • The Starting Lineup will consist of the 2 best players on each team.
  • The Starting Lineup on each team will earn a bonus equal to 100% of their base score.
  • All other players on each team will earn a bonus equal to 50% of their base score.
  • The MVP on each team will earn an additional 20,000 points.

Quarterfinals

Begin at 11:00 AM on Wednesday 11/17
End at 11:00 AM on Tuesday 11/23
Awarded at 1:30 PM on Wednesday 11/24

After the Round of 16 ends, there will be 8 teams playing simultaneously over the course of 7 calendar days. If your team did not make the Quarterfinals, you can join a new team; if your team did advance, you stay on the same team. You can join at any time before the last 24 hours of the Quarterfinals, but remember that your points will only count starting from the time that you join. You must also play at least 50 cubes to earn bonus points. The bottom 4 teams will be eliminated after this round.

Bonuses:

  • The Starting Lineup will consist of the 4 best players on each team.
  • The Starting Lineup on each team will earn a bonus equal to 125% of their base score.
  • All other players on each team will earn a bonus equal to 50% of their base score.
  • The MVP on each team will earn an additional 30,000 points.

Semifinals

Begin at 11:00 AM on Monday 11/29
End at 11:00 AM on Sunday 12/5
Awarded at 1:30 PM on Monday 12/6

After the Quarterfinals end, we take a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, and after that we come back with 4 teams playing simultaneously over the course of 7 calendar days. If your team did not make the Semifinals, you can join a new team; if your team did advance, you stay on the same team. You can join at any time before the last 24 hours of the Semifinals, but remember that your points will only count starting from the time that you join. You must also play at least 50 cubes to earn bonus points. The bottom 2 teams will be eliminated after this round.

Bonuses:

  • The Starting Lineup will consist of the 8 best players on each team.
  • The Starting Lineup on each team will earn a bonus equal to 150% of their base score.
  • All other players on each team will earn a bonus equal to 50% of their base score.
  • The MVP on each team will earn an additional 40,000 points.

Trivia

Begins at 11:00 AM on Tuesday 12/7
Continues until 11:00 AM on Thursday 12/9
Finishes with Power Hour from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Thursday 12/9

Most of our standard challenge week events are not part of Hallow-Xmas, but while the hype builds for our Final VS, the inquizitor bot will throw you a boatload of questions about both autumn and winter holidays, plus questions about neuroscience and other science topics! This will be your chance to show off your knowledge in addition to your tracing skills.

Bonuses:
For every question —
1st to answer – 300 points
2nd to answer – 200 points
3rd to answer – 100 points

Final

Begin at 11:00 AM on Friday 12/10
End at 11:00 AM on Thursday 12/16
Awarded at 4:00 PM on Friday 12/17 (see closing ceremony info below)

After the break for Trivia, the bracket will conclude with 2 teams facing off over the course of 7 calendar days. If your team did not make the Final, you can join a new team; if your team did advance, you stay on the same team. You can join at any time before the last 24 hours of the Final, but remember that your points will only count starting from the time that you join. You must also play at least 50 cubes to earn bonus points. The top team officially wins the Hallow-Xmas event!

Bonuses:

  • The Starting Lineup will consist of the 8 best players on each team.
  • The Starting Lineup on each team will earn a bonus equal to 200% of their base score.
  • All other players on each team will earn a bonus equal to 50% of their base score.
  • All members of the winning team who played at least 100 cubes will earn 100,000 points!!!
  • The MVP on each team will earn an additional 50,000 points.

Hallow-Xmas Closing Ceremony

Begins at 4:00 PM on Friday 12/17

Come celebrate the end of this competition, where admins will recognize everyone’s achievements. This event will include not only bonuses and badges for the final round and trivia, but also the remaining awards for the whole competition. And yes, you should expect our overlord Grim to personally conduct the ceremony.

Artwork by Amy Sterling