1. Mission Statement
The vision of the Natural Selection League (NSL) is to gather Natural Selection 2 players for international organized play. At its very core, we would simply like games to be played, in the hopes that this fosters tangible and meaningful relationships among its participants. We realize that its participants span the range of commitment, skill, and time zones and will do everything possible to cater to everyone’s needs and create the most enjoyable experience.
2. General Rules
(a) All players are expected to read and understand the rules, Ignorance of the rules is not a valid justification for breaking them.
(b) The guidelines outlined in this document are to be used as the league standard, overriding all previous rulesets. Contests outside of normal seasonal play may have their own ruleset.
(c) If at any point during the season, a situation arises where a rule or format of play revision is needed, the NSL staff, represented by the League Admin, reserves the right to do so. There will be a strong attempt to keep this to a minimum as to not interfere with the current season’s play.
(d) If a rule amendment that greatly affects gameplay is deemed necessary, it will be posted on the front page of the NSL website as a news post. Minor revisions will be posted in the NSL forums.
(e) If a team attempts to manipulate or exploit an NSL rule in any way other than for its intended use, NSL staff reserves the right to make a final decision and interpretation of the rule in question for the given match and/or dispute.
(f) An admin's interpretation of the rules is considered final unless appealed to a higher hierarchy.
(g) No revised rule will have retroactive power.
3. Code of Conduct
(a) All participants of the NSL are required to uphold and observe a universal level of fairness and sportsmanship. Any unsportsmanlike action which can include, but is not limited to racism, profanity, rude or vulgar acts, abusive remarks, and disrespect of an official will not be tolerated.
(b) Teams and/or players who engage in unsportsmanlike conduct are subject to suspension, match forfeits, or any other punishment that the NSL deems necessary. Multiple and persistent infractions will be faced with stiffer consequences.
(c) Any accusations of unsportsmanlike conduct or cheating should be submitted to the League or Head Admin and will be investigated by the NSL staff. Any deviation will result in consequences.
(a) Signing up for a season or contest means declaring your intention of playing a weekly match during the course of the season, and every match during a contest.
(b) The season will be scheduled based on the assumption that teams can play roughly 75% of the weekends, and every match that's not played by the end of the Season will be forfeited based on the forfeit rules (8e).
(c) By the time of the deadline for signing up for any season, ALL teams must have a minimum of six (6) registered users.
(d) After the season begins, all division teams must maintain a roster of at least five (5) registered users.
(e) There is no maximum to the number of players rostered onto one team.
(f) Teams may add and remove as many players to and from their roster throughout the course of a season until rosters are locked.
(g) Rosters will be locked and changes are no longer permitted one (1) week before the conclusion of the regular season for each respective division.
(h) Disbanded teams will automatically forfeit all matches. The forfeit score will be given to the enemy team, or none if both teams of a match disbanded.
(i) If a team disbands, it must notify the League or Head Admin and/or post on the match pages that they have disbanded.
(j) Team names and logos containing, but not limited to, any of the following will not be tolerated: profanity, racism, sexism, or general vulgarity.
Teams found with offensive names may be contacted by an admin and asked to change their name to something more appropriate.
(a) Each player must be a registered user with a valid SteamID on the NSL website at www.ensl.org
(b) A player can only use one (1) account and may not register multiple accounts on the NSL website.
(c) Players who are having trouble accessing their NSL account should contact an admin for assistance before creating a new account.
(d) A player can only be rostered on one (1) active team per season or contest, regardless of division.
(e) After the season begins, a player who joins or switches teams will be ineligible to play for that team as a member for seven (7) days. That player is eligible to play [only] as a substitute during (this seven day cooldown/waiting period/etc.).
(f) Names containing, but not limited to, any of the following will not be tolerated: profanity, racism, sexism, or general vulgarity. Players found with offensive names may be contacted by an admin and asked to change their name to something more appropriate.
(g) Players from teams that have disbanded in higher divisions and players that have not been playing in the current season will be ineligible to play in lower division teams, if it is believed that the player may disrupt play (i.e. they’re too good for that division). A final determination will be made by the League Admin or the admin hierarchy above them.
6. Substitutions / Mercs
The intention of substitute players is to allow teams, that cannot field 6 players, the ability to play their matches. It is NOT to be used to bolster the skill of a team’s roster.
(a) Substitute players must follow the player guidelines in Section 5.
(b) Teams may substitute up to two (2) players that are not on their roster for use during a round.
(c) The player(s) must be of equivalent or lower skill than the rest of the team. A quick parameter to determine a substitute’s skill may be the division they played in, their ELO Score, etc.
A referee or admin can determine a player’s suitability.
In case of a dispute the suitability of the player can be determined with the following hierarchy Referee of the match<<League Admin<<NA/EU Admin<<Head Admin.
(d )In the case of a complaint (with no referee present) from the enemy team, the team in need of the substitute/merc must show that they were given approval with the mercsok command by the enemy team. (Screenshot/Video of the approval or referee approval with screenshot/video)
(e) Substitutes can not be denied in an attempt to force a forfeit.
(f) Substitutes may only be denied on the basis of perceived higher skill compared to the average skill of rest of the team.
(g) Teams may substitute any number of players from their roster or substitute between rounds during a match, so long as they adhere to the previous substitution guidelines.
(h) If a Referee or a member of the NSL staff sees an abuse of the substitutions rules, they may deny a substitute. Such reasons may include, but are not limited to::
(i) Players effectively playing on two teams
(ii) Teams boosting their lineup by regular use of substitutes
7. Maps / Spawn restrictions
(a) The maps in the current season’s regular rotation will be:
(iii) ns2_jambi (Mod ID: 7b986f5)
(vii) ns2_nexus (Mod ID: 17B0E28C)
(viii) ns2_mineral (Mod ID: d873977)
(b) Spawns restrictions are:
(i) ns2_tram (Alien North spawn, both rounds)
(ii) ns2_summit (Randomize BUT NO Alien North)
(iii) ns2_descent (Randomize between south and north spawn)
(iv) All other maps have no restrictions. (no close spawns)
8. Match Procedures
(a) Group Phase Match / What is a Match?
(i) A match during the regular season will consist of two (2) maps that are determined by the match page.
(ii) Teams will play one (1) round of marine and alien side on each map. Matches will be listed as “Team A vs Team B”. Team A will start as marines on both maps during normal seasonal play.
(iii) One (1) point will be awarded for each round won. A maximum of four (4) may be awarded during each regular season match.
(iv) A match during the playoff portion of the season will follow a best of five (5) or seven (7) format with 1 point per round
If the match page has a choice between Bo5_or_Bo7, Bo7 will only be played if both teams agree to it. In case of any dispute, the match will automatically fallback to Bo5.
To decide on sides, maps and servers, the following steps ((v)-(vii)) are performed in sequence:
(v) At the beginning of the match the higher-seeded team is determined by:
* the overall collection of points during regular season
* if tied: the collection of points against the other team during the regular season
* if tied: the number of matches won during the regular season
* if tied: by coin flip.
(vi) The higher seeded team chooses one of the following, the non-chosen goes to the lower seeded team:
* To play Aliens or Marines in the first round (called "side-picker")
* To choose the map for the first round (called "map-picker")
(on intercontinental play map-picker also picks a Server for first map)
The side-picker decides on sides for the first round.
(vii) The lower seeded team reduces the map-pool by one map. Then, the higher seeded team reduces the map-pool by one map, again. In a best of five (5) format this step is performed 2 times, leaving 4 maps. In a best of seven (7), this process is done once, leaving 6 maps.
(viii) The map-picker chooses the first map to be played and if necessary the third map. The side-picker chooses the second map to be played and if necessary the fourth map. A map cannot be chosen twice.
(ix) Teams switch sides (Marines/Aliens) after each round.
(x) The first team to win three (3) rounds in a best of five (5) format or four (4) rounds in a best of seven (7) format, wins the match.
(c) Scheduling a Match
(i) There are default times for matches that should be considered if possible.
(ii) Because of the nature of international play, teams need to be sensitive to their opponents time zones and reach a compromise for the best play time. Match time suggestions:
Saturdays or Sundays
EU vs NA (6 to 9 hours difference) - 11AM PDT / 2PM EDT / 2000 CET
EU vs AUS/Pacific Region (~10 hours difference) - 1400 CET / 9PM AEST
NA vs AUS/Pacific Region (13 to 16 hours difference) - 5PM PST / 8PM EST / 12PM AEST
(iii) Teams may use any means possible to contact one another to schedule a match.
(iv) Once a time is agreed upon, both teams need to confirm that time by leaving a comment on the match page, or confirm the proposal from the Match page. Admins will refer to the match page comments and proposals if a scheduling conflict arises.
(v) All matches are to be played till the end of the season.
(So check and answer Match date purposes at least every week)
(vi) Teams may play matches before the date posted on the NSL website to accommodate their schedules.
(d) Rescheduling a Match
(i) If a team is unable to field enough players for a confirmed match time within two (2) hours before the match, they must notify their opponent and ask to reschedule. If an agreement to reschedule cannot be reached, they may receive a forfeit loss
(i) If a match is not played, the match comments and the date+time match proposals on the NSL website will be used to determine a team’s attempt at scheduling the match.
(ii) Group Phase: A “all points : no points” score forfeit will be given against a team at the end of the season in the following cases: when there is
1) much more effort from one team then the other to schedule
2) many more missed answers on date+time proposals then the other Team without answering to still-open proposals.
(ii) If such a determination is not easily made at the end of the season, no points will be awarded for the match and will result in a score of 0-0.
(iii) Playoffs: If similar (or no) scheduling efforts have been made on the match page and match proposal system by the end of the playoff phase, the higher-seeded team wins
(iv) Matches cannot be rescheduled to a date after the season without admin approval.
(i) The NSL reserves the right to observe any NSL match without notification or approval.
(ii) The only spectators that will be allowed to spectate a match are those authorized by the NSL.
(iii) Extra members of the teams involved in a match are not allowed to spectate or idle in the ready room.
(iv) Teams reserve the right to deny a referee or caster if the team believes the official may be biased.
If a team wishes to do so, they must contact the League Admin or the admin hierarchy above the League Admin
(one who is not involved in the match as a Ref or Caster) to make a final determination here.
(v) If a game is being casted (live-streamed), teams must not to ready-up until the administrators and casters indicate that they are ready.
(vi) Anyone streaming the match must do so with at least three (3) minute delay. (in their owns team interest)
(i) Although the NSL provides servers on multiple continents, it is up to the teams to procure a suitable server with the fairest possible ping for both teams (nobody should have super-low or super high-ping especially not 2 maps in a row). Community and private servers are acceptable, as long as they adhere to the server guidelines.
(ii) Servers must run the live build of Natural Selection 2 on Steam at the time of a match.
For maps, see above at: 7. Maps / Spawn restrictions
(iii) Servers must have the following mods installed:
(i) NSL Mod (ModID: a2ddae8) by Dragon
(ii) Server consistency is hard coded into the NSL Mod.
(iii) NS2+ (Mod ID: 334982d2) by UWE
(iv) NSL Competitive Mod Season 13 (Mod ID: 2adc73ed) by Steelcap
(v) FrozenBuild322 (ModID: 542fd351) by Steelcap
(vi) Prevent UWE Extension (ModID: 4839F8A3) by Steelcap
(iv) Optional Helpful mods
(i) Shine Admin (Mod ID: 706d242)
(ii) [Shine] Epsilon (ModID: c6fbbb0)
(iii) Badges+ (ModID: b7149f9)
(iv) NSL Team Badges (ModID: 40E9F8C8)
(v) [Shine] Wonitor (ModID: 235ee3a6)
(v) Servers will be chosen so that teams have the fairest possible ping. Please apply common sense and sportsmanship when deciding servers. Suggested locations:
EU vs NA - London & Central/East US Servers
EU vs AUS/Pacific Region - Las Vegas/West US Servers
NA vs AUS/Pacific Region - West US & EU Servers
(vi) If teams wish to use two (2) servers in a match, one (1) map will be played on the first server before moving to another server to play the second map.
(vii) In the playoffs the team, that picks a map also gets to decide on which of the possibly two servers will be played first,
(in case of the picked Server being used you play on the second server with the second map first) (if that server is used as well chose a new first server for the first map.)
(viii) Servers should use default rates to even out the international playing field.
(i) Bandwidth should not be set below vanilla default
(ii) Tickrate should stay default
(iii) Moverate, interp and sendrate can only be changed in non-international matches and are subject to server manual guidelines for stability configuration.
(ix) Servers can be denied due to ignoring above configuration guidelines.
(i) Teams are expected to be on the server and ready to play with six (6) players at the agreed upon time. Any team that fails to be present with six (6) players and ready to play on a server fifteen (15) minutes after the match start time may result in forfeiture of the match.
(i) Starting a Match - Live/Not Live
(i) A round will commence when when both teams “ready” and the round started.
(ii) If, within the first (30) second of a round a Team may use “ready” and the round will restart, but is only allowed per team to use “ready” (3) times then they will forfeit the round.
(iii) If the round gets restarted. Use the same spawns before you typed ready..
(j) Pause Function
(i) The NSL mod has a pause function that will pause the state of the entire game, which includes stopping all movement and timers. A pause can be initiated by typing “pause” in chat.
(ii) Each team is allotted two (2) pauses to use during a match.
(v) An individual pause will last a maximum of five (5) minutes.
(vi) if a player can't play, their team may substitute that player with a member from their roster or another substitute, as long as it does not violate the substitution rule.
(k) Ending a Round & GG Calls
(i) A “gg” or “GG” call does not signify the end of a round.
(ii) If a team calls “gg” or “GG”, players from that team must immediately exit to the ready room.
(iii) If a “gg” or “GG” is called and a team does not exit, they will receive a warning. If this persists as unsportsmanlike conduct, the round in question may be forfeited.
(iv) The round is officially complete when the winning or losing banner appears on your screen.
(l) Reporting Match Results
(i) At the conclusion of a match, if a referee is not present, both teams must leave a comment on the match page detailing the results (screenshots/streams etc).
(ii) If neither team reports a result on the match page, the score from a referee will be entered as the result.
(iii) If a referee does not have the result within 72 hours, the match will result in
(a) Cheating in any form is considered a violation of the rules and will result in an immediate punishment to be determined by the NSL.
(b) Cheating is considered any manipulation of server configurations, client configurations, models, skins, weapons, graphics settings, or sounds to gain an unfair advantage in game. This can also include, but is not limited to, the use of any third party program not deemed legal by the NSL.
(c) It is illegal to intentionally utilize any game exploits including any exploits that are not explicitly covered in the rules. The NSL staff have discretion to determine the intention and extent of any exploit used in game. Players found intentionally utilizing game exploits to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents may face suspension and/or forfeiture of rounds.
(d) It is illegal to use a map exploit in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage that was not in the original intent of the game or mapmaker. Players found in violation of these rules will be penalized at the discretion of the NSL staff.
(e) In the event that a player or team is found in violation of any rule, unless otherwise noted by the specific rule or term violated, the member or team in question may be warned, suspended, or immediately disqualified from any or all NSL events.
(f) Any team found with a cheating player during the season will have any matches the player in question participated forfeited. Any team found with a cheating player during any playoff or tournament will be immediately disqualified and removed from the event.
(a) Players may not:
(i) Intentionally place structures in places where it is reasonably clear that the structure is out of the bounds of normal play on a map (For example, on top of wall geometry). Inside of immobile structures is considered out of the bounds of normal play.
(ii) Place structures on infestation originating from a cyst, gorge tunnels, or contamination on another side of a wall.
(iii) Cyst places in such a way that infestation through a wall damages marine structures.
-Marine structures that are built on already-present infestation through a wall are not covered by this rule.
Alien comms will be told by refs to destroy the cyst in question, failure to do so within a reasonable amount of time may result in a forfeited round.
(iv) Use any macros, scripts, or other tools outside NS2 that confer unfair advantage.
11. Game Modifications
(a) No player may at any time use mods of any kind, to modify Natural Selection 2
lua script or otherwise, except:
(i) Custom crosshair
(ii) Transparent maps
(iii) Custom map colors
(v) Other mods that do not change game shaders, textures, models, game play logic, aim-assistance or otherwise grant unfair advantage
(vi) Custom alien visions that are not included in NS2+ is expressly prohibited.
(b) DLC skinned marines/aliens are forbidden. (If forcing standard models via NSL mod doesn't work)
(c) Any option in approved mods used by the NSL is also permissible.
(a) Teams may dispute a match result after the conclusion of the match by contacting an admin before reporting match results. The dispute should as fully as possible explain the facts of the situation, and the reasoning behind the dispute.
(b) You may dispute regarding the conduct of other players, teams, casters, or admins as well as any suspicious play.
(c) All disputes should include supporting evidence that may include screenshots, videos, chat logs, server logs, demos, emails, or any other information relevant to the dispute.
(d) No team or player may refuse a request for evidence from an admin if it is within their power to provide that evidence.
(e) If there is suspected cheating within the league, you are required to notify an admin. Taking matters into your own hands will result in severe punishment.
13. League Organizational Structure
The structure of the admin team shall consist of one Head Admin, 1 EU Admin and 1 NA Admin right below him and a Comp Mod Admin, Comms Admin, Gather Admin and League Admin, that rule over the specific departments of interest.
Admins are appointed by the head admin , and approved by a majority vote of the admins.
Admins reserve the right to call a vote of no confidence to remove and replace the head admin by a majority vote.
Comp Mod will be managed by a Comp Mod admin that will coordinate with the developer, assemble a balance council, discuss issues with the council, and present the council’s findings to the head admin, who will have final say on the implementation of a proposed change.
There shall never be secret admin. Everyone who has authority will be publicly known, and publicly accountable.