You're right, there is no perfect number: you can't please all the people all the time. And you argue for going for the "most popular one" when "most popular one" is how it was set in the first place and that's apparently not right! What's to suggest "most popular one" will be right this time?
To be fair Dode, as you have said before, people decided 3 minutes was the right time in blood bowl 1 when the 15 second timers and all of that wasn't in the game. So to some extent that decision is maybe not obsolete but it certainly needs to be revisited and it isn't just a 1 to 1 comparison.
Voodoo Mike with the most pointless circular argument anyone can make which is the "why not 1 minute or 30 seconds" strawman which then always is countered with the well why not 4 minutes or 5 minutes or no time limit. None of these times are relevant. What is relevant is 2 minutes vs 3 minutes, that is the discussion at hand and if you don't agree with something I said then make an argument why its wrong and 3 minutes is better not this fantasy "okay then lets just play 1 second turns" garbage walking off pretending you've made some sick counter point.
Obviously without even needing to say it to anyone who has basic common sense there is such a thing as too little time, there is such a thing as a point where skill cap actually gets mushed together and deteriorates. I don't consider 2 minutes that point, especially not in this game riddled with 15 second timers and animations that prolong everything.
As for the "nothing at all" data in favor of the change there is plenty of data showing that max times do go down and you cannot play CCL without accounting for max times. CCL is a ladder where you get banned for quitting more than 5 games a season, additionally every loss is very impactful on your record in relation to the standings and chance to qualify. You cannot queue for CCL based on the average game time, you have to queue based on the worst case scenarios. Going to 2 minutes beyond a shadow of a doubt and provable within all of the data shows that the worst case scenarios are improved by 2 minute turns. Meaning 1 you can queue safely in more scenarios and 2 you are less likely to be held hostage for a long duration in a terrible unfun situation when you queue in ccl.
I'm in favor of switching to 2 minute turns and i'll give a few reasons.
1st. Obviously game time is a factor. What people will argue is that it only has a small effect on average game time. CCL is a ladder that actively bans you for not finishing your games and competitively any loss on your record is incredibly negative if you want to qualify, you cant PLAN around being able to play CCLs average or slightly over average game time, you have to plan to be able to play the max game time and 2 minute turns lowers the max game time undeniably.
Additionally the comparisons used to say it wont lower average game time are flawed to begin with. Its comparing the same players times on PC vs PS4. That already makes it flawed data as different turn times aren't the ONLY factor, platform being changed is an additional factor we can't account for. On top of that most of the players averages compared aren't terrible to begin with... only a couple are. A lot of ps4 players are simply used to playing under 2 and if they come to pc there is no reason a player already adapted to 2 minutes will suddenly start using three over and over. Its the guys who only play under three and are used to using that time available who will need to adapt and see their average game time change.
2nd. A common point is that 2 minutes is BAD for new players. I think this is actually just outright false. 2 minutes is bad based on the image experienced players have in their head of a new player, NOT an actual new player. An experienced player thinks "Blood bowl is hard, new players are new, how could they possibly make good plays quickly"... New players themselves don't yet have a concept of all these complex good plays, they just play the game and when you don't even understand a chainpush or whatever yet turns don't take that long to pull off.
A great many of us LEARNED blood bowl on 2 minute turns and are still here. This is what blood bowl 2 launched with. I saw tons of players lose patience and leave the game when the primary way to play became 3 minute turns, it is just too long to be locked in a match over and over in random matchmaking, 3 minutes is fine for private leagues where you play once a week, but its terrible for repeated random matchmaking. Furthermore what I consider actual proof that this isn't some massive new player issue is just going to look on goblinspy and sort matches by duration, look at all the longest matches in ccl, what you are going to find is primarily experienced veteran coaches. it is undeniably the experienced veteran coaches of ccl that are the ones dragging these games out and obsessed with staring and hoping a better play appears to them.
3rd. I believe 2 minutes makes the game more competitive. A lot of people will argue the opposite that you lose strategy or 2 minutes is more casual. Consider this. In sports how would the NBA look if you took away the shot clock, NFL there was no longer any delay of game, Chess without the clock is just casual chess. Etc etc etc. To extrapolate on one of the examples, in NBA you'd no longer see players forced to take the best shot they can find in their very limited time, they'd just keep the ball until a perfect shot appeared over and over again, how stale would that be? That isn't competitive that is something people do for an exhibition to show off and a lot of people outside the NBA could do well at it with little issue because it lowers the ceiling. Pressure allows better players to rise to the top and use their skill sets to distinguish themselves more during that pressure
At its core every turn of blood bowl is a puzzle. If you give anyone enough time with a puzzle most can eventually find the solution. As you pressure people more only then will you see who the better puzzle solvers are. 2 minute blood bowl isn't more casual, its more competitive, it widens the potential skill gaps between players and you can see better players distinguish themselves more frequently.
4th and last. People think you can't play certain races with less time. Prior to CCL(aka 3 minutes) my most common team was elves. Post CCL my most common teams are bash. The reason is very simple, elves benefit off ANY positional error. On top of that elves benefit off putting pressure on and forcing their opponent to solve difficult situations. With 3 minutes it just became too easy for even mediocre coaches to figure out ways to generally keep their ball safer and to better solve those difficult pressure puzzles you throw at them. At that point it just became easier to just play bash and focus on consistently out positioning people over giving them those difficult pressure puzzles that elf ball is more centered around. Kislev and Vamps already barely get played, even then they both similarly benefit from players making positional errors and being able to suddenly and decisively put their opponent in a difficult situation.
In closing, I just think 2 minute turns makes for a better ladder environment. You can play more games, you can squeeze games into more situations i.e. times when you only have a bit over an hour instead of needing 2 hours+ cleared up. Conceding is limited and so people will be imprisoned in terrible unfun games for less grueling durations which will result in less frequent and serious blood bowl burnout. It is simply a more healthy and competitive way to play blood bowl in the random matchmaking environment. If you want to sit down and have a 2 or 3 hour game on tabletop while chatting with someone face to face or in a private league in a more friendly environment, by all means, that is incredible. But it isn't the best for us HERE in this environment.
There are several reasons why I think this would be a bad change. Of course I can see there are some positives, but overall I dislike this idea.
Issue 1: The obvious potential for a player to finish well and get screwed over even more often(of course it can always happen but the current system at least provides the best safety net while still keeping race variety). For instance finish 2nd place on the overall ladder and not qualify because 1st place was their same race and that race wasn't randomly chosen for that season. That seems like a huge injustice for someone to achieve that accomplishment and not get a shot at the money. If wildcards are not protecting that guy, I kinda am just left wondering, why have wildcards at all? If not to protect someone who spent 6 weeks grinding and did better than almost everybody else on the ladder by finishing in the top 8 2nd place finishers, why have em at all? May as well remove them if we're abandoning that goal.
Issue 2: The quality of the playoffs. I'm not sure how many people here watch or care about the actual playoffs? It even screws things up for the participants. From a viewer perspective putting in statistically worse performing teams can only make the viewer experience worse and have more easily predictable and unexciting games. An exciting playoff atmosphere with great competitive games can only be a positive and encourage more people to try champs when they see those games and get invested. From a participants perspective it leads to even more instances of someone getting a free run through the first couple rounds against random stunty team and random tier 2 team while someone else spends their first couple rounds randomly matched against Nurgle and Chorfs. Again, yes these things all exist as possibilities in the current format, but that doesn't make multiplying those possibilities to an even greater extent a good thing. That is still a negative being more present than before.
Issue 3: I don't believe this change actually accomplishes anything. Giving underworld or vampires or halfings or any weaker team a slot doesn't encourage more people to try to qualify with them. People will just choose the lizards or chaos or whatever strong races get that seasons extra qualifier. It will tunnel people into an even more isolated grouping of the strong teams while not moving anyone into the weak teams. This is of course my opinion. But I think the proof is in the fact that the weaker races are already LESS contested and therefore easier to qualify with because you have less competition for them, yet people still aren't going crazy to snatch them up. For many players in a competitive ladder they are gonna wanna spend their 6 weeks playing something they can win and compete on more consistently, not ogres. No incentive is going to change that, at least certainly not one extra wildcard for said race as the incentive. If you want people to not play tons of chaos or chorfs or whatever compared to other races, the only way to achieve that is balance unfortunately. Rez is one form of balance, race changes are another, but ultimately as long as we're in this format with this balance they are going to be a popular because people can enjoy them more easily on a game to game basis without getting dumpstered.
I think the most "fair" system would be a split between these where say 4 or 6 are the top 2nd place teams, and then 4/2 are chosen races. But this doesn't work because the timespan to cycle through the races would be enormous, so we're left having to choose. Which, I believe if we're left having to choose between one or the other, the wildcard selection that protects the players putting out the very best efforts and the one that also protects the largest group linked to champion playoffs, the spectators.