The process is SUPER secret. Just kidding, to some extent. They try to keep from placing teams from the same organization in the same division as well as try, I think, to spread out the teams from a particular state/country among the divisions. For example, last year there were 8 Wisconsin HS teams at Worlds, there was at least one WI team in each division but no more than 2 in a given division. Other wise it is fairly random.
Yes the practice fields are open during the competition.
The anti-static spray is used to dampen static electricity buildup on the fields which if left unchecked can possibly effect your robots electronics. How do you prepare for it? Well, the field might be slightly stickier than it would be without the spray, so you might need to run your autonomous at a slightly higher power or for a slightly longer time, maybe.
They sort teams by number, then put the first, seventh, thirteenth, etc. (1+6x) in the first division. They then put the second, eighth, fourteenth, etc. (2+6x) in the second division, and do the same thing for each division. Unofficial division lists can be generated as soon as we know who is going to worlds, but they are generally wrong, because it is common for some teams to leave, which changes the division of everyone with a higher number than them.
Practice fields are open, but you usually have to line up for them (at least in High school). People are allowed to use them in (I think) 10 minute shifts.
@536Mentor answered this. I would add that it is probably a good idea to buy some anti static spray (it’s sold in a lot of drugstores) to practice for worlds. They generally put on a ton, so it can affect field dynamics a lot.
This is no longer correct. Until last year they had always created the divisions this way, but I know for a fact that this was not how they did it last year. I can only assume that it is completely random now, possibly with some stipulations preventing teams from the same organizations or regions from being in the same division.
Let me tell yall the anti-static is a pain. Last year at worlds my team competed with and X-Drive with a chain and sprocket set for speed. When we went and competed the robot would not even move. the spray created so much friction. we eventually had to change our sprocket system to a 1:1 ratio making us one of the slowest teams in our division.
Do you best to prepare for the anti static.
Well, you’ll only be scouting within your division, so that narrows your field down to like 100 or so teams. You do not need to scout teams outside your division, of course. There are a variety of ways to scout. One team I know from 2016 Worlds (9364) had a notebook where every team interested in an alliance with said team could write down their robot information, and they’d use that in scouting. You have to have at least an impressive robot for this method to work effectively though.
Perhaps the most straightforward is to designate someone on your team (or add to your team) to be a scouter, and that person can go around the pits talking to teams within the same division as you. He or she can keep a journal listing teams and details about their robots.
Remember, as you scout, other teams are scouting you, so matches that you participate in are very valuable information for scouters. You could have someone sit on the benches during your matches and observe your alliance partner and opponents during the match and note their performances. Observation is perhaps the most valuable piece of information you can use in scouting, as you get to see the robot in its prime during the matches, and over several matches you can pick out particular details about your robot and others that may be of interest to you when alliance selection comes. Only 24 teams get to go on to elimination matches, so the competition will be very cutthroat and you need to be on you A-game in order to have a chance at elimination matches.
There’s also a tool that scouters use, and it’s called vexdb.io. It gives a variety of statistics for every team at Worlds, but perhaps the most valuable is called OPR (Offensive Power Ranking). It attempts to isolate the variable of the alliance partner to find on average how high-performing you are. Don’t rely solely on this though, as there are a lot of particular details that go into the robot that affects its OPR. For example, OPR won’t tell you how fast or slow a robot is at driving.
I’m pretty sure other members on this forum will also have important tips about scouting to share with you.