The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

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The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Giant Killer General » 18 Aug 2015, 03:07

This post is in response the entire Myth community's over-reliance on Myth statistics to gauge individual skill and/or contribution to team wins/losses. We have known for a long time that damage ratios are like porn for some mythers. They get off on those big numbers, but no one has ever done a detailed analysis of whether Myth statistics are really that relevant after all.

Until now.

The idea of the article was triggered by the discussion with Dantski / Switch's mention of myth statistics from the thread linked below:

http://forum.gateofstorms.net/viewtopic.php?f=89&t=2901&start=10

The post became a lengthy article as I wanted to go through the subject once in thorough detail, so I felt it deserved its own thread here to start its own separate discussion. Enjoy the read.

---

This might be a good time to bring up a larger discussion about myth statistics. The fact that Switch posted a video about statistics being used in sports I think is a perfect demonstration of the flawed impression so many mythers have of the relevance of myth statistics. We see them used in sports and so we assume they can be just as powerful in myth. Except traditional team sports are very very different games when compared to myth.

There are at least 3 major reasons why statistics in myth are so much less meaningful than they are in sports:

1) They aren't designed to measure the mechanic that decides games won or lost
2) They don't even measure the one thing that they are designed to measure all that well
3) The levels of complexity, abstraction, and sophistication of statistics is very different

Here is the expansion on each of those reasons, one by one:

1) They aren't designed to measure the mechanic that decides games won or lost

Sports have only one "gametype", which is points scored on the scoreboard via the one or few specific methods that define the scoring system. This is the one and only mechanic that decides a game won or lost. At least some of the statistics from each sport measure the contribution to this one gametype very well, either directly as points scored or a ratio of successfully scored / overall attempts, or some other strong contributing factor. Baseball has on-base percentages or hitting percentages, and basketball has field goal percentages, etc. All of these things have direct consequence and high correlation to points scored, and thus games won/lost. No set of statistics is a perfect indicator, but in this case these statistics measure individual contribution to team score very well.

Myth instead has multiple gametypes, and none of the statistics we have are designed to measure any of them all that well. Myth statistics are body count (BC) oriented only, but never has body count been a viable game type. Yes BC is an indirect consequence to the actual gametype being played, but it is a much lower correlation which is fuzzy at best. The relevance of these BC-focused stats also vary considerably from game to game. Sometimes they mean a lot, and sometimes they mean almost nothing at all depending on the map and gametype being played. Territories and lmoth for example are gametypes that are very relevant to body count. Flag rally, and king of the map much less so. The terrain and unit sets matter a lot here too. Sometimes a great play is made where no damage is done, but a key piece of terrain is gained, or a flag is taken, etc. Or else a player made an "assist" by forcing the opponent into a bad position for their teammate to get the easy damage. Yet we have no way to calculate an "assist" in myth, and it is difficult to say how this could be done hypothetically even.

2) They don't even measure the one thing that they are designed to measure all that well

Though myth only has a few statistics designed to measure BC, they don't actually measure BC all that well in the first place. First there is the kill ratio, the most absolutely pointless statistic ever when 1 trow costs 24 points but 1 thrall is 1 point, yet both count as 1 loss or 1 kill. People who bring up kill ratios as if they matter are completely clueless.

Okay but most of us know that kill ratio is useless, so what about damage ratio? We treat damage ratio like its the definitive answer of skill.

While damage ratio is weighted according to trading points there are still some flawed premises that are accepted by this statistic, created by its reliance on trading point values for units:
-That trading point values are perfect representations of each unit's relative value
-That each unit's relative value is the same in every game (values do not change from game to game)
-That each unit's relative value remains the same throughout the game (values do not change in the middle of a game)

Yet we know each of those 3 premises are false:
-Some trading point values are skewed for some unit types making them either undervalued or overvalued. This means some unit types in every trade are almost always maxed (trow, fetch, herons, myrk), and some are almost always eliminated (bre'unor, brigands).
-The actual value of unit types can fluctuate depending on the map, gametype, or other available unit types. Yet the trading values never change. This is proven by the fact that if you took the value of one specific unit type, and isolate all other factors but just change the map, or just the gametype, or just the other available unit types in the trade, the amount you would want to trade for that unit type would likely change.
-If you are down to only 1 arty unit, and you are going against a melee rush, the value of that arty unit has increased. Units in the right place at the right time have more value than those that are in the wrong place at the wrong time during the game. Also some unit types counter others so the opponents trade, or their available units throughout the game matters. Let's say a map has souls and trow, and souls happen to work well as a counter to trow on this particular map/game, but not much else. As soon as the trow that is countered is dead, the value of the souls is diminished. Though they clearly did their job, killing them after the trow is dead matters a lot less than killing them before the trow was dead. Likewise if the opponent did not get the counter to a unit type that was counterable, then the value of those units are increased. Lastly, if you rack up a bunch of damage at the end of the game mopping up an already won battle, that matters a lot less than those who won the key fights at the start or middle of the game.

These flawed premises exist in myth and not in traditional team sports due to the different dynamics of gameplay for Myth. Myth is a complex combat system where you start at full strength and forces dwindle over time as units are lost depending on the efficiency of those battles fought. In sports, the amount of players on each side almost always stays the same. Players are not permanently removed from the field of play (i.e. "killed) giving the opposing team a player (i.e. unit) advantage (except temporarily such as for penalties in hockey). Sports also have the different dynamics of an "offense" trying to score (when a team has the ball/puck, etc.) and a "defense" guarding their goal (when they don't have the ball/puck/etc.) and those roles reversing from each team throughout the game.

Myth is instead more comparable to a tug-of-war. Except it isn't just one tug of war game. Since Myth has several dimensions to its combat system, it is more like several tug-of-war games happening at once with the ropes between each getting entangled and interwoven with one another. And there is a mechanic to make players weaker pulling on the rope (damaged units in myth), or even remove players from tugging on the rope entirely (i.e. killing units).

3) The levels of complexity, abstraction, and sophistication of statistics is very different

Myth is a far more complex and abstract game than any traditional sport. There are a variety of scoring systems (game types), fields to play on (maps), and very different players to use (units). Though our current set of myth statistics are not very relevant measures of contributions to wins, it is hard to imagine how they could be improved upon. Even just trying to measure the BC part of it well would be difficult, the values of the units change so much, even during each game. Even if you wanted to analyze the shit out of a single game and try to give the best values possible encompassing their fluctuation during the game, it still just becomes highly subjective.

Myth is also a tiny old computer game, and sports are big business. Statisticians can make great careers in sports. There has been so much more time, effort, and money thrown behind the statistical science of sports compared to myth. Sports statistics are way more detailed and in-depth, capturing a wide variety of dimensions. They have dozens, perhaps hundreds of different statistics recorded and calculated with massive databases.

We have kill ratios, and damage ratios, that's it.

In conclusion, myth stats do have some correlation but as I said it is fuzzy at best. You can do great, making game-winning plays and still have horrible stats, or have the best dmg ratio and still be the worst player on a team.

Please do not use Myth stats as primary supporting evidence for statements of who did well, or poorly, etc. Instead do more to understand the films when you watch them and use your observation as the primary supporting evidence. Yes it is more subjective, but the trained eye is just a far superior method to measure individual contribution to a team's win or loss than the 1 or 2 meager and flawed stats that we have for this highly abstract game.

Thank you.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby switch » 18 Aug 2015, 03:21

GKG wrote:Players are not permanently removed from the field of play (i.e. "killed) giving the opposing team a player (i.e. unit) advantage (except temporarily such as for penalties in hockey).


fucking, what?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scrPCtJa-g0[/youtube]

I liked this metaphor:

GKG wrote:Myth is instead more comparable to a tug-of-war. Except it isn't just one tug of war game. Since Myth has several dimensions to its combat system, it is more like several tug-of-war games happening at once with the ropes between each getting entangled and interwoven with one another. And there is a mechanic to make players weaker pulling on the rope (damaged units in myth), or even remove players from tugging on the rope entirely (i.e. killing units).


Thank you, Clausewitz:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hur6LcyuTuU[/youtube]

This is a really interesting thing for GKG to say:

GKG wrote:Though our current set of myth statistics are not very relevant measures of contributions to wins, it is hard to imagine how they could be improved upon. Even just trying to measure the BC part of it well would be difficult, the values of the units change so much, even during each game. Even if you wanted to analyze the shit out of a single game and try to give the best values possible encompassing their fluctuation during the game, it still just becomes highly subjective.


I disagree, although individual preference here may be subjective, it's clearly possible to arrive at inter-subjective agreement on things like MVP or "best strat"-- although this is surprising to hear you say, since you are on record stating that there is really only "one best strat" for a map/gametype, which suggests an objective solution, at least as far as the captain is concerned.

GKG wrote:Myth is also a tiny old computer game, and sports are big business. Statisticians can make great careers in sports. There has been so much more time, effort, and money thrown behind the statistical science of sports compared to myth. Sports statistics are way more detailed and in-depth, capturing a wide variety of dimensions. They have dozens, perhaps hundreds of different statistics recorded and calculated with massive databases.

We have kill ratios, and damage ratios, that's it.


Couldn't agree more here. Of course, there are other stats that could be tapped by the game and tracked, such as, time on flag (this is tracked on some game types), best unit vs which unit type (tracked in single player), flag captures (should be tracked), BC in terms of points vs raw dmg/kills etc.

GKG wrote:Please do not use Myth stats as primary supporting evidence for statements of who did well, or poorly, etc. Instead do more to understand the films when you watch them and use your observation as the primary supporting evidence. Yes it is more subjective, but the trained eye is just a far superior method to measure individual contribution to a team's win or loss than the 1 or 2 meager and flawed stats that we have for this highly abstract game.


Does anyone's model use only multiplayer game conclusion stats? (I think these are best for a quick, BC overview- useful in its own way). You sure did ignore the stats tracking done by this server (GOS), for example, let alone private player models.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Lord---Scary Owl » 18 Aug 2015, 03:28

when do you find the time to type this?

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Giant Killer General » 18 Aug 2015, 05:01

I don't know anything about soccer, but in any case, penalties in sports are still not anything that is directly imposed on one team by the intentional actions of the opposing team, which is still different from "killing" units in myth. So the point is still moot.

Yes we could do a much better job with myth stats with the proper resources. I for one would be interested in a breakdown of damage dealt to, from, or received by specific unit types. I asked punkuser about this years ago when he first did GoS, however obviously there are limitations with the engine that made it relatively difficult or impossible to do. I would be a big proponent of of much much much better myth stats, but we simply don't have them. But even then, I still would not rely on them as much as sports.

The fundamental question here though is by what logic could you use to define and quantify an "assist" in myth? In basketball it is the last person that passed the ball to the person who just scored, that counts as one assist. In myth, you pressure an opponent taking most of the damage and not dealing much so your teammate can follow up and get most of the damage without receiving much. Or someone assisted their teammate to capture the flag, get time, etc.

How do you write an algorithm for a program to not only define when an assist occurs or not, but also to quantify the value of that "assist"? I simply do not see how it can be done.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby wwo » 18 Aug 2015, 05:56

Stats are misused in sports reporting because fans are stupid and want obvious reasons why their team lost (or won), or why their favorite player is the best. However, there are still strong correlations sometimes. One is turnover margin (or ratio) in football. There may not be a stronger relationship between a stat and win % than this.

Would you say Myth has any stat that is comparable? It's likely not possible for the engine to track it, if so, but someone watching a game could.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Giant Killer General » 18 Aug 2015, 06:05

The best possible thing I could think of wwo, specifically for large 2t situations, is if there was someway for the game engine to track when mismatches in the number of players fighting occurs. So when there are 2v1, 3v2, etc. match ups between players. This is often when big plays are made for the team with the player advantage. It could probably be mostly measured by by what players do damage within a certain radius and within a period of time

I was trying to think about positioning as well (when players are in or out of the fight), but I think it is just impossible to track that in any meaningful way. It is just way too complex and abstract, depending on each unique situation.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Chohan » 18 Aug 2015, 06:21

Turnover's in football are also a misleading stat wwo. Teams behind in score throw more often, teams that throw more often have more turnovers by nature. So the team already behind is opening themselves to more turnovers, thus compounding the issue.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby wwo » 18 Aug 2015, 06:49

Can be, but you can set a cutoff delta of X points (say, 10) and it still holds true. I think the most misleading stat is rushing vs passing yards, for pretty much the same reason you stated for turnovers. Teams with a lead tend to run more; teams behind pass more (and take more chances, so turnovers). So at the end of the season, a good team looks like they ran the ball a lot, and people hype up how important it is to be able to run the ball.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Asmodian » 18 Aug 2015, 07:55

I don't think there would be any way to make stats for myth 2 that would be really good at telling an individuals performance on the game/teams success. The best way to determine how well someone did is just by the 'eye test' (watching films).

There are so many important things that happen in a myth game that can't be tracked well even if there were more advanced statistics. Two examples of this are 1. The assist (which GKG already touched on) and 2. Communication

1. EW and I have very good in-game chemistry on myth and when we rush together and rape day the other teams flank that we rush many times one of us ends with very average or bad stats while the other ends with amazing stats. The reasoning for this is one of us usually takes the majority of the puss while the other rusher is able to clean up and get the kills/damage. So in reality both of us did our jobs and played very well, but looking at stats alone there would be no way to tell this. Is there a way an assist stat could be added to track stuff like this effectively? I don't think so.

2. Many times communication alone wins game without your units even doing anything.

example1: I have those units shadowed in our back field
example2: I can get their flag in 1 min if you can just stall
example3: If you wait 30 seconds to rush I will have a puss behind them to take out their dwarf.

Giving effective information allows your allies to comfortably play their role and make smarter decisions, which leads to wins. How could effective communication be measured? "effective communication" in its self is very subjective.


These two example are stats that aren't even being tracked effectively in professional sports when there is millions of dollars being invested each year into trying to determine how you can predict an individuals worth to a team. The closest thing for example 1 would be the 'hockey assist' (which is still very flawed) and for example 2 there is really nothing.

The only professional sport I can think of where stats can do a solid job of predicting an individuals impact on a team is baseball and that's because it's unique compared to other team sports. Most team sports are free flowing like basketball,soccer & myth(for purposes of the argument) which adds in more variables. Baseball is mostly just a pitcher vs a hitter (yes I understand there is more variables than just those 2 if you're a baseball fan, but nothing like free flowing sports).

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby par73 » 18 Aug 2015, 10:03

in baseball you have a statistic called the "batting average"

the actual batting average statistic in baseball is called on base percentage

just another example of how statistics can be misleading

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Honkey » 18 Aug 2015, 13:42

Ratios only mean anything if you have a power unit or you are fighting evenly against an opponent in a certain area of the map and win the fight.

Even a power unit is questionable as I have seen players with trow get amazing ratios via cherry picking and lose the game.

Sometimes dying is important.

Example: you have a big rush going an ass ton of melle and thrall etc... you could take serious losses and not kill 1 thing yet win the fight because others who were part of the rush didnt take all the artillery blasts like you did despite perfect execution.

A ghol pack could hold an entire flank down and have minimal ratios but 25 tags on top of slowing down enemy flanks.

Ratios can tend to measure individual skill over that players life time (to some degree) but rarely tell the story of a single game.

Off the top of my head I can think of one game in some tournament where GK went apeshit with a dwarf and had god ratios.... that performance won the game solo.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Lord---Scary Owl » 18 Aug 2015, 15:40

Giant Killer General wrote:I don't know anything about soccer, but in any case, penalties in sports are still not anything that is directly imposed on one team by the intentional actions of the opposing team, which is still different from "killing" units in myth. So the point is still moot.


In soccer a red card means you are out for the game and some of the season. It also means your team plays with 10 men instead of 11 putting you at a disadvantage, with 10 players the opposing team can pressure your defense harder with more spots open forcing you to pull an extra man back to defense. Once a defensive rush is lost that extra man will then have to go back to offense and rush there extremely tiring him out. The 1 man out in soccer is important.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby dac » 18 Aug 2015, 17:13

Sometimes you random and get lord scary owl on your team, so in essence you are down a player already. This is similar to myth's version of a red card, except people aren't faggots and will actually give units so you're down a player and whatever % said player gets. You can see this playing out in several of the games this weekend with multiple players. I think it was handled best in the Lichen match between team Paris and team Limp though.

Limp pressed f7 and noticed he had TSG on his team. This is the draft equivalent of a red card, so how do you mitigate damage? You give this player a smaller role and hopefully smaller percentage. Flag defense is a bit important, so what did limp do? He gave TSG a lone dwarf. Brilliant capping move, I stand by my rankings.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Lord---Scary Owl » 18 Aug 2015, 18:40

dac wrote:Sometimes you random and get lord scary owl on your team, so in essence you are down a player already. This is similar to myth's version of a red card, except people aren't faggots and will actually give units so you're down a player and whatever % said player gets. You can see this playing out in several of the games this weekend with multiple players. I think it was handled best in the Lichen match between team Paris and team Limp though.

Limp pressed f7 and noticed he had TSG on his team. This is the draft equivalent of a red card, so how do you mitigate damage? You give this player a smaller role and hopefully smaller percentage. Flag defense is a bit important, so what did limp do? He gave TSG a lone dwarf. Brilliant capping move, I stand by my rankings.


My only screwups where when i received soulless on hver & cruelty. At the time i didn't know what to do, if i knew i probably wouldn't have suicided.
My performance on Lichen was ok. I managed to eliminate slate then, chron came in chasing what was left of shadow and stole the flag that i left open.
On calm before the storm i did ok. I took out nitro's melee before i got pussed. Then i defended the center and tagged some of the west side and initially helped my team. (Shoutout to crun he took on the whole east side by himself when it took 3 of us to take west).
On Milj i helped adrenaline push slate back until we reached the flag, at that point we looked outnumbered so i held back while adrenaline was rushed and killed. (i didnt see his "help me noob" chat).
I think i can perform way better than tsg and me being on a team doesn't hinder them. I am more proficient on light maps.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby par73 » 19 Aug 2015, 10:13

the bigger issue here is how limp traded for warlocks on milja, let's not go there however.

the only player who effectively communicated with tsg following pregame was dantski, and unfortunately this was after the blunder but it's interesting to think dantski maybe have recognized this weakness and sought to help alleviate further issues. a true team player's contribution

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby sharkdrivingabus » 19 Aug 2015, 14:16

Change can be scary. I've had a lot of scary changes in my life - becoming a parent in college, moving from Oregon to DC, getting divorced- just to name a few. I'm glad to know that some things never change and no matter what's going on in my life, I can always count on visiting a myth forum and seeing adrenaline in an argument about myth skills.

Thanks for being my rock and my anchor, Adren.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby par73 » 19 Aug 2015, 14:44

as long as tb is here to stay we don't really need grim anymore

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Lizard King » 21 Aug 2015, 18:42

How much fucking time do you fools have on your hands? Seriously, get a job, go outside, do something.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Chohan » 21 Aug 2015, 19:41

Lizard King wrote:How much fucking time do you fools have on your hands? Seriously, get a job, go outside, do something.


I HOPE YOU HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THIS SUNDAY AT 1PM LOL K™ CYA THERE. OR BE SQUARE.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Lizard King » 22 Aug 2015, 02:01

My internet is trash, wouldn't be of any help even if i did show!

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby adrenaline » 22 Aug 2015, 02:52

you are most welcome, tb.

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby par73 » 22 Aug 2015, 04:22

lets start a kickstarter for kilg's internet

verminix or enigman can be the poster child

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Lizard King » 22 Aug 2015, 16:43

par73 wrote:lets start a kickstarter for kilg's internet

verminix or enigman can be the poster child


Lol

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby punkUser » 26 Aug 2015, 16:32

Btw do you want this thread moved to the articles section for future reference?

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Re: The Relevance of Statistics in Myth

Postby Giant Killer General » 26 Aug 2015, 17:03

Sure, doesn't hurt to archive it.


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