IFLS is an intended result of Science

LAX: What is that supposed to mean
REZ: whats what supposed to mean
LAX: “objectivity is a big fucking meme, just like science”
REZ: it’s the same group of people and same mentality
REZ: IFLS is effectively a religion
REZ: or if you’re a bit more highbrow, the Rationality Community e.g. Less Wrong, Slate Star Codex et. all
LAX: Are you saying you’re opposed to science?
LAX: Science and being objective are appropriate in certain situations
REZ: I am opposed to both science and IFLSers, though they’re two slightly different topics
REZ: well, i suppose it could be seen as two slightly different ways of being the same thing
LAX: How can you be opposed to science yet use a computer?
REZ: my using a computer has nothing to do with science
LAX: It’s a byproduct of science
REZ: i will give you 5 more arguments until i stop this line because it’s base as fuck and wastes my time
LAX: I get being opposed to the IFLS shitlords
REZ: it’s a byproduct of a bunch of things which aren’t science too; doesn’t mean anything
REZ: it’s like saying haha aren’t communists funny they complain about capitalism but they still buy things
REZ: communists are idiots but that’s not a legitimate argument to level against them
REZ: they have about as much choice to not buy things as they do to evade taxes or not drive cars or not speak english
REZ: there’s one great thing that everyone touts about science and it’s that it’s self correcting
REZ: which is completely nonunique since every way of thinking has methods of self correcting
REZ: religions have priests who interpret their holy books, science has scientists who interpret their experimental results
REZ: i forget the number but something came out recently showing that something like 1/2 or 2/3 of scientific papers in recent years have experiments which aren’t reproducible
REZ: in english that means “most of recent science is effectively made up shit and not science”
LAX: I know of this
REZ: science isn’t so great that i have to acknowledge tribute to it by using something i have to use in order to live
REZ: science sticks its name in a bunch of things just because it’s only ever so marginally related
REZ: like a college claiming “oh yeah that famous guy? he went here.”
REZ: whereas the vast majority of people who’ve actually been to college can tell you, it really isn’t that special.
REZ: except for the partying.
REZ: when colleges start saying “oh yeah that famous guy? he partied here. and that’s why he’s famous” instead of pretending it’s some great knowledge or insight he gained through hard work and education, i’ll take another look.
REZ: same with science.
REZ: but if they do that, then their credibility goes out the window, so i won’t have to.
LAX: So you’re not actually opposed to the scientific method, just the way people use science to “seem smart”?
LAX: like people using science to publish a paper that’s just total bullshit?
REZ: why would the difference between what something is and how it manifests matter to me?
REZ: we had this conversation like yesterday
REZ: my brother COULD be something that ISNT a complete literal retard
REZ: but unless it’s demonstrated who cares?
REZ: science COULD be the greatest thing ever but if the big people who are so much smarter and so much more productive than me are 1/2~2/3 LYING about their SHIT then why do i care?
REZ: i don’t have any personal investment in the word or ideology of “science”
REZ: i see its leaders being shit, as far as i’m concerned, it’s shit
REZ: if i remember high school science and youtube atheism from pre-2010 correctly this is the scientific response too
REZ: god COULD exist
REZ: but if we can’t detect him then he’s not in this universe, i.e. he doesn’t exist
REZ: that’s the big problem
REZ: the other problem which is somewhat related is science is one of the mainstream religions
REZ: anything which is NOT “proven by science” is “pseudoscience”
REZ: things which have long existed before science are deemed “immoral” or “wrong”, even if they are accurate predictions and have demonstrable effects, up until the moment some “scientist” records it in an experiment and presents his conclusions to a “scientific community”
REZ: at which point it becomes truth, oh look we were wrong this whole time, isn’t it great we have science to correct our ways?
REZ: like literally go fuck yourself
REZ: the point, anywhere in any field of human activity, is to be “correct” or to get a job “done”
REZ: whether it’s “scientific” or not is secondary
REZ: and the more i see and hear about science it’s the modern day equivalent of religion in the sense that they’re the gatekeepers of knowledge
REZ: just like media
REZ: “if we say its true its true, if we say its false its false”
REZ: media has eroded a bit thanks to internet and smartphone video but people just keep lapping up whatever they hear when they also hear the word “science” or whatever
REZ: it’s all related
REZ: IFLS is not a mistake, it’s an intended consequence of how science is portrayed and how their people work in our system
LAX: Okay I’m with you now
REZ: good
REZ: laxeris was not an idiot today
LAX: I don’t know about not an idiot.
LAX: But I wasn’t totally retarded
LAX: :3
REZ: yes, which is why i said “today”.
LAX: Sometimes I forget the way you view things and it makes it really hard to comprehend how you come to conclusions
LAX: Like how you put science and science people in the same category. Which makes sense, but not the way I do it.
REZ: people like to recite that one line from v for vendetta, ‘you can’t kill an idea’
REZ: but you can kill people, and you can censor books, and if there are no people to espouse an idea and no one to hear the tree fall in the forest, it doesn’t make a sound
LAX: I dislike that line, it’s pretty stupid
REZ: in obverse: an idea is only as much as its people
REZ: i could take the conventional stance, “those guys weren’t real scientists, how horrible they abused our system!”
REZ: but why would i do that?
REZ: people generally don’t reach that question because they just accept that science is correct
REZ: which it might or might not be
REZ: if we’re to believe the great message of science, that we’re always learning and 90% of what we knew 100 years is wrong today and 90% of what we know today will be wrong 100 years from now
REZ: it’s pretty plausible what we think of as “the scientific method” today will look fucking stupid in 100 years
REZ: in which case the only thing retained is the name
REZ: the brand
REZ: the marketing.
REZ: the religion.
REZ: and i don’t care about marketing that brand for free.
REZ: i’m gonna need to get paid.
LAX: I think it’s fair to assume that science is correct a decent amount of the time. But to place one’s entire faith into the results of science and accept it as fact, I completely disagree with too
REZ: i’m not going to assume science is correct even a decent amount of the time
LAX: I think the baseline of what science would change into (should) still remain the same
LAX: To compare them to computers, in 100 years our computers will be slow and basically useless
REZ: first of all stuff we actually operate on day to day doesnt rely on science
REZ: science today is string theory or other nonsense
LAX: But at their cores they’d still be the same fundamental idea
REZ: yes… a same fundamental brand.
REZ: an idea in your head and not related to anything that’s actually done.
LAX: The methods used to “extract data” would still remain fairly the same
REZ: you say this without any knowledge of how university researchers do things today or how university researchers did thing in the enlightenment.
LAX: I don’t need to know the tiny details of how they find things, like what equation they use, or what material etc
LAX: Those things will obviously change
LAX: The core of having an idea, then testing the idea, then retesting the idea should remain the same
LAX: Which is the core of what science is built on
LAX: If that were to change, and it still remained “science” that would be a problem
LAX: But if the catalyst in which science is preformed is changed that doesn’t really affect anything.
REZ: clearly it doesn’t exist anymore then, because 300 years ago a majority of experiments were actually done to retest other people’s ideas, these days everyone’s trying to do their own because that’s what gets published
REZ: which is why you hear about all these studies being done on some really specific super obscure shit that doesn’t matter
REZ: it’s “still science”
REZ: just like how people living in california can “still own a gun”
REZ: have fun marketing pointless research no one’s interested in for grant money and not being able to buy a rifle with a detachable magazine in the current year
LAX: Plenty of people still test old ideas with new variables to see if it still holds ups
LAX: Obiviously not a lot of people though
REZ: undergrads in chem 02a and that’s it.
REZ: you’re right though
REZ: chem 02a is mandatory, so “plenty of people” is an accurate statement.
LAX: Until someone finds a new variable to test the old things with, what would be the point of testing them with the same variables?
LAX: Thus people look for new variables and have to go through the bullshit procedure of getting funding
REZ: “what would be the point of testing them with the same variables”
REZ: well lets see
REZ: lets see if i cant find some textbook-like description of the pillars of science
REZ: actually i dont have to
REZ: you already conceded that the 1/2~2/3 story was true
LAX: Mhm
REZ: the only reason why that story matters is because reproducibility matters
REZ: if i do an experiment and you can’t reproduce it, that means, in science world, that something is wrong
REZ: whether you can’t won’t or don’t is irrelevant
REZ: that it isn’t means science either is dying or isn’t happening

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Marketing, ideas, and sorting

I wonder how much can actually be paraded due to a combination of lack of expertise and trust in authority on the side of the audience and social shaming tactics on the side of the deliverer.

Seeing through solar roadways needs some understanding of engineering. Seeing through hyper-realistic portraits needs some understanding of drawing. Seeing through No Man’s Sky needed some understanding of programming or video game design.

Mass Effect Andromeda claims to not be able to make white characters because of the “textures” they used. The new Scorpio console says it’ll be better than the best PCs at the cost of one top-of-the-line PC component. Trump’s Syria attack is defended on the grounds that the president has more “intel”.

No one can be an expert on everything, but neither can one not trust in anything nor not care about others’ opinions. “Fuck haters” and “Question everything” are worse-than-nothing statements because the questions should be directed towards critical points.

I think analyzing people’s backgrounds, connections, and objectives bypasses these problems to a reasonable extent. These should be the baseline, with the “facts and evidence” on the “actual” issues as secondary, because the “actual facts” are more easily fabricated by quite a few orders of magnitude. There are people that lie about their work history, but at some point they leave a trail, and people even in the age of their internet for one reason or another generally don’t change names. Generally speaking peoples’ history of actions are hidden or missing rather than fabricated – the opposite of “actual facts”.

The people most worth looking into demonstrate this principle. Executives are the most powerful and their backgrounds generally aren’t in any “field” – Sooner will an executive of groceries become an executive of pharmaceuticals than a pharmacist, even though their degree might’ve been in partying sociology, or maybe never had a degree at all. Arguing a pharmaceutical executive’s, whether a CEO’s or a politician’s, decisions primarily on basis of biology or chemistry or medicine – or worse, morals – is the discussion level of peons.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Any person can expound about ideas. Even when talking about celebrity gossip and keeping up with the Joneses they’re basically talking about ideas. We even have a grammatically correct form of the word for personification: idols.

Expounding on people though is different. Beyond saying she likes cake or he goes weightlifting, can just any person accurately and effortlessly predict what some other person is going to do or say? They can’t. They can’t even fathom where to begin. Of course not, they can’t even understand the people they’ve spent years with!

“I thought you were going to do X.”
“Why in the hell would I do X? That never even occurred to me.”
“I dunno. Maybe you might’ve.”

But he sure does know what’s moral and what’s not or what’s the right thing to do in a certain situation of a field he only heard about two days ago! Just look at all these links and quotes from reputable sources he found on Google.

If only Google could predict what his friends were going to do too, then he could be just as confident and correct with people as he was with ideas. Such a lookup exists, it’s just not available at http://www.google.com, and is only available to advertisers, politicians running for head of state, and other big dollarydoo clients.

But it’s okay, because only small minds discuss people anyways.

Hit Detection

I stopped drawing to masturbate. I opened up Honey Select cause that’s what I wanted.

I proceeded to spend the next half a day in HS… not masturbating.

The “half day” part isn’t particularly important, even if I had paid closer attention to the time I probably still would’ve spent 30~60 minutes in HS before realizing I wasn’t doing what I stopped drawing for. Or to put it another way, I could’ve continued drawing for 30~60 more minutes, stopped, go instead to my porn folder, masturbated, then have the rest of the day to do whatever and it would’ve been more productive. I did learn some things in HS, but it’s not how I intended to spend my day[1].

What’s important is that I intended to do one thing and did something else instead. Today it was HS and masturbation. Past couple of months it’s been WOT and having fun. Past two decades it’s been school and happiness in life. In several memorable instances, it’s been humiliating acts and social acceptance.

If the effects of something couldn’t have been predicted it’s one thing, but I think this applies quite frequently to stuff that could have been known too.

I wanted to see what a certain gym was like once, and they did this hour-long spiel-plus-tour and revealed the rates and the existence of both a safety and an advance deposit almost after-the-fact, buried in a sea of text. And I signed it! Even if I couldn’t predict what sales tactics they’d use, I’d been to a different gym before which, within 10 seconds of me walking in the door and asking the front desk what the rates were, was shown a laminated single sheet with big numbers how much it’d cost if paid per 1mo, 3mo, 6mo, 1yr. No fancy ~lifestyle~ names about what this plan is called or that plan’s benefits are; this is the table of costs for a membership, if you want yoga classes it’s a separate charge. Unfortunately that gym is also basically bankrupt, even though it’s cheaper and in a better location. I don’t doubt the addition of predatory sales tactics and red-orange-green marketing strategies would up their numbers; in any case this sample size of 2 tells me that the majority of people go to a gym for reasons other than actually getting fit[2].

How can these occurrences be countered?

The more I revisit this the more things seem to come down to awareness and reactivity.

“Reactivity” is a word I made up which happens to exist; what I mean is to have decided on things beforehand and not budging from it after the decision. There is never a time where there is something to be gained from pondering new material in the moment – there’s no shame in losing, but if it happens, you are “at a loss”, and you should strive to avoid it in the future. An expectation should be set concretely, and results checked within a matter of minutes or seconds. If things have deviated from expectations, react strongly and reject any “alternatives”. Your expectation should have included them if they were reasonable, and if you were wrong, then better you learn later than be taken advantage of in the moment.

I walked into that gym thinking “it’d be nice” if they had a simple sheet like the other gym. I did ask what the prices were, but they asked me to sit down until they could have some [associate?] “walk me through” “the process”. Different companies have different naming conventions and slightly different ways of doing things… which is fine, so long as that “different” is still within the range of “stuff I’m okay with”, which should’ve stopped when the first thing the [associate?] gave me wasn’t a price table. At that point I should’ve interrupted him, stood up, literally why should I give a fuck about what they think of me it’s not like they’ll call my mother, they fail for one reason or another to present me the thing I want so the relationship is over. But no, because “I didn’t want to be a dick”[3], so I let him go on his spiel… wasting an hour of my life.

Opened HS thinking I’d get my dick wet then get back to work; didn’t have a day left when I was done. In this instance no one was there to exploit the weak point, so it probably could’ve gone a whole lot worse[4], but it still could’ve gone a whole lot better.

“Awareness”, other than the usual meaning, can primarily be augmented with some amount of other priorities. If you only have one thing to do and you’re actively trying to do something else that’s “temporary”, something not a major task and therefore lacks an “importance” value to it, “temporary” can become dangerously long. It’s clearer how important one thing is when there’s a handful (but not an overwhelming amount) of other things to serve as contrast. More rigidly, this means a schedule. Nothing is truly “scheduled” if there’s only one thing to do, but if multiple things have to be done within a certain timeframe then any “break” from one of them affects all of them.

In terms of training these two things videogames are probably terrible. Videogames will always automatically and without fail tell you whether something has or hasn’t happened. If you fire a bullet at an enemy you know if you did damage within a fraction of a second; if you fire a resume at an application you won’t know when you’ll know if it’s ever seen by human eyeballs again. Physics has instant hit detection but with people and ideas it exists sporadically. People even actively attempt to make it disappear by training themselves with ritual magic they call “politeness” and “professionalism”. Their actions generally reveal their intentions, but it can be difficult to see them if their words are marching the other way. In the end you have to decide where the cutoffs are, then follow your own instructions “blindly” until the event has passed. “Can’t bluff someone who isn’t paying attention”.

Upon browsing my old posts, it looks like I’ve written about this before on multiple occasions. At least the “decide for yourself beforehand” part. As for the other part, I have an ancient draft with a bunch of different ideas titled “What’s In A Name?”. Recently and unrelatedly, I’ve also collected in a txt a bunch of ideas under “what’s in a word”.

 

The mechanics of verbal deception is evidently my enduring topic.

 


[4] This “weak point” is probably how a lot of Free To Play games make their money.

[3] Read a bunch of ‘horror stories’ about commissioning amateur artists recently; this phrase was surprisingly common on a lot of them. One of them had an expected turnaround of about three months and let the thing go on for five years. This wasn’t some ten-dollar throwaway sketch either, it was a deposit of two grand USD.

I ended up getting my shit refunded from the gym the next morning. The internet has thankfully trained me to be pretty nitpicky stringent, but there are some really simple tricks I’ve noticed which completely undo my tendencies. Things which can be trained against but probably will always retain some power. Having to interact with people face-to-face is one. Lots of paperwork is another…

[2] I don’t have the numbers, but assuming what’s said about gyms right after New Year’s is true, I think it’s safe to say most people don’t actually get fitter after starting to go to the gym. Which is what you’d expect from people who aren’t going to the gym to get fit.

[1] For the curious, HS is a game which allows you to pose characters into sex positions.

But what will the idiots think?

The ability to sustain a disagreement is one of the qualities of power.

If you cede power to idiots, you will be ruled by idiots. Since idiots in power don’t exist: If you cede power to people determined to hold their opinion over yours, you will be ruled by people determined to hold their opinion over yours.

The idiots are just a convenient excuse which exploit the easiest chokepoint of human psychology. Oh no, we can’t offend nice little Billy Bob down the street! What will he think of us? What will he say to his friends? Until you say “fuck Billy Bob” you’re stuck whatever Billy Bob thinks. “Thinks” is generous; you really think Billy Bob thinks? He votes one way one year and the other way the next! Of course he has reputable sources. Of course he has arguments. But you get what you pay for, and reputable sources with analysis and evidence these days comes pretty cheap. Is that all it takes?

How cheap is it to stop you?

Why does the West feel the need to filter the fuck out of Japanese games before introducing them to the market?

Because they fear an uninformed consumer ,like a soccer mom or whatever, getting the game for themselves or possibly some kiddo like their child or whatever. And then if something objectionable, saucy, or even edgy that offends or bothers them they would shit up a dumb ignorant storm. So they get what they deemed is the worst and easiest things that would offend the uninformed dumb consumer soccer mom type person.

so dumb people essentially the remove/censor shit cause of dumb people and to avoid a stink that the dumbest of people tend to cause all to often.

World of Tanks, rigging, and its defenders

In early February I returned to play World of Tanks. I had quit sometime late 2014 or early 2015 after playing hours on end for 6 months because I needed something to show for in my life. I had read at a later point a convincing argument that the game was rigged, which stopped me from coming back at various times, but this time I thought, if I don’t care about winning or stats, then it shouldn’t matter. I knew the itch I needed to scratch was being able to play around with pretty things in a pretty environment – but out of all the games available to me, it’d “be nice” to be “doing something” at the same time.

Pretty quickly I recognized that I wasn’t able to / it was impossible to simply disregard winning and losing and that the game really was rigged. My brow was permanently furrowed for about a week after I started playing at all hours of the day. I looked it up again and came across a different analysis as well as an actual patent for rigging, and thought I might as well collect some of my own data and make my own while I’m still playing the game. It was obviously frustrating, obviously rigged, but maybe it’d be a bit of a fun project to collect data and then play around in Excel a bit – something, anything to keep me in game so it could scratch that itch. I was collecting data, arguments, and some responses too – my plan was to write my own “Don’t Play World of Tanks!” with my own approach.

Then I played NieR:Automata[1] and I realized there was no point in bothering.

I won’t say there was never a dull moment, but N:A in light of everything else was a wild ride from beginning to end. A masterfully crafted story and experience. So much that on /v/ the contrarians marketers couldn’t help but reveal themselves by saying verifiably false things, revealing their position and intent all along. Things that anyone who actually played the game, regardless of whether they liked it or not, would know where wrong. For people who hadn’t played the game though it wouldn’t be so clear. Who’s telling the truth? Which opinions are the reliable ones? At a glance rather than an overwhelmingly positive response it’d instead look like the response to the game was “controversial”, when it’s nothing but. Both the experience of playing and of reading the feedback to N:A convinced me that it was a waste of my time to gather data and construct an analysis[2].

First of all my approach was completely wrong. All the detailed complicated list of numbers is miniscule stuff, the best arguments should always play the biggest moves first. The first question is whether or not a game is fun / worth playing. In this sense it’s obviously not unless you have a tank fetish. If you’re in WOT just for something to play in, it’s a game where you have to play for tens to hundreds of hours being nothing more than a punching bag, and then maybe you get to punch back. Maybe[3]. These things are neither up for debate nor contested at all; people actually argue that many higher tier tanks are balanced because there’s a bunch of shit tanks that come before them. But why would anyone do that when they can play N:A or any number of other games where it’s all fun all the time? Do you have tens or hundreds of hours that are not only at your disposal, but hours with which you have nothing better to do with your life? I’d get more out of scrolling down Facebook. This is even more clear for premium tanks, which cost 50+ USD. For about the same amount I’ve gotten mediocre full titles which I had 30~50 hours of fun. 30 hours in WOT is about 250 games, and there isn’t anyone whose honeymoon with a premium has lasted that long. Not unless they have a tank fetish. For everyone else the game is suffering; if you ask /wotg/ whether or not you should play this game, you will get a resounding “no”, if you ask why they still play it, they’ll say something to the effect of “stockholm syndrome”.

I don’t know what textbook stocholm syndrome looks like, but I imagine it’s pretty close to what WOT players exhibit. Most supporting evidence for the argument that WOT is rigged is not only not contested, it’s fully agreed upon, and is “funny”. German tanks with their small shells and long barrels have high accuracy, but isn’t it funny that big Soviet shells with short barrels can smack people from across the map? No, that doesn’t signify that there are hidden stats, it’s just an effect of RNG! An RNG that consistently swings one way and never contradicts the experiences of thousands of people who are all saying it works one and only one direction. Nevermind that historically people actually complained and believed in hidden stats, that WOT’s devs denied they existed, and then eventually somebody found the numbers for them and then they admitted its existence. Stats which are to this day not available in official materials and can only be found in third party sites.

The T110E5 is listed as having 203.2mm frontal turret armor. A third party 3D model inspector shows that 203.2 is true for about half the turret – and that’s if you only count how thick the armor is, rather than how effective it is, which is what really matters. The CDC is listed as having 35.29 horsepower per ton. You would think it’d run twice as fast as the FCM, which has ~18hp/t, but it doesn’t because of hidden stats dealing with how a tank’s tracks interact with different ground types. It basically goes as fast and accelerates about equally with a tank whose official stats say it should be twice as slow. There is no 3D model inspector in-game. There are no terrain resistance stats available in-game.

Since these third-party sites are known to most people the people who play and are vocal though, it’s okay. It’s okay that stats were hidden before because they are known now, it’s not like it means there’s more stats that are also still hidden, you can’t show they exist, so how can you say they do? Sure that tank is OP, but you could just get it and be OP yourself, I don’t see the problem here???

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This is not an employee of the company that makes this game.

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It couldn’t possibly have any sensical meaning to it, it’s a contradiction!
Who cares if it’s a contradiction, it’s funny! There’s no deeper meaning to it, NERD.

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“2” is the standard hotkey assigned to premium ammunition, which almost always has strictly better listed performance.

My favorite WOT player is known for being critical, calling out things the things he sees wrong, and being both generally correct in what he calls out and not missing in what he doesn’t. Doesn’t fit any traditional definition of “shill”. But in the end he streams the game for a living, and thus, can’t say anything actually bad about it. He can ramble and rant all he wants about how this decision is bad or that decision is bad, but he can’t say – or rather, frame – something in such a way that will make people want to stop playing. The closest he gets is saying that a new premium tank shouldn’t be bought because it and the past several premiums have been powercreep, which means that the next yet-to-be-released premium tank is probably also going to be powercreep, and thus not worth your money. He will never conclude “you should stop playing this game”. And neither will anyone else who plays this. Or, in obverse: so long as you don’t explicitly conclude that the game is rigged and people should stop playing it, you can continue to provide evidence that it is rigged.

The moment you do conclude it’s rigged, they throw a riot.

All the usual stuff is said – git gud, mad cuz bad, looooserrrr, you’re just paranoid – which isn’t so big a deal and also makes sense why it’s so common among certain types of people if you remember reasoning is basically always ad hoc. Yes my reasoning is ad-hoc too, I believed the game was rigged first before I went looking for the evidence, no I don’t see a problem with that[4] because I am right and they are wrong. Whether I’m bad or good has nothing to do with whether the game is or isn’t rigged. Certainly it would be better in every sense if I was the best player ever or a billionaire or whatever, but I can’t really fix that. It also doesn’t matter if it’s true that it’s possible for me to improve my performance. I have improved in the past so I know it’s possible, but that doesn’t change that the game is rigged – that is to say, it runs by rules other than the ones which are explicitly stated. It doesn’t matter that it also runs by rules that are explicitly stated, it matters that it doesn’t only run by that set.

It is possible to show, but not demonstrate, that the game is rigged without any detailed stats.

The most dreaded time for a WOT player are 3x/5x bonus exp weekends. At these times, the “tomatoes”, referring to the red color of these players’ ratings on a third party site, come crawling out of the woodwork, the “weekend warriors”, the “casuals”. Suddenly all the games are stupid and hard to win, damn these tomatoes giving me a loss streak. During every other moment though it’s approximately the same sentiment, just towards “potatoes” instead, about how the playerbase in this game is so stupid they don’t know that they shouldn’t do this or should do that, even at tier 10 (remember, tens to hundreds of hours!), haha look at all this free damage I’m farming oh my god my teammates are so stupid. You would think with all this haughtiness that they win basically every game they play, except those really bad ones you hear about?

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The top 1% players win 56%~59% of their games. This is from the most reputable third-party source, so reputable it’s first party in all but name. It’s a little more difficult to say where the 99th percentile is but let’s just say it’s 46%.

This means, in other words, absolute gods at this game perform better than absolute imbeciles at a staggering rate of 1 out of 10 games.

If you ran 100m’s against cripples you’d expect to win every time, but people lose 4 out of 10 games against cripples in WOT and posture around like they’re world class. Sure, by definition they’re world class, but by that definition Bioshock Infinite is the best game ever because it got 10/10, and no one’s about to defend that[5]. Keep in mind the official claim for the matchmaking is that it only takes into account tier and type of tank – the player is not in consideration, i.e. it’s not like Chess where you play people of higher skill the better you get. In WOT you are always going to face the same people. If it is true that there’s a bunch of idiots running around, then every game should be an absolute slaughter with a few people doing basically all of the damage and taking all of the kills. Which is what you do actually see:

I saved the results of 60 battles and found that:

Why then is the distribution of player winrate a bell curve around 50%[6]? Every dog has its day, and they get that day every other day? I thought the only common factor throughout all a person’s games was their skill and their skill alone?

I once was a tomato at 47% winrate, and I honestly didn’t think much about the game at all. If a tank appeared I shot, if not I continued driving. Essentially a bot. Then I learned about the basic game mechanics of angling armor and detection/camouflage, and the mental skills of keeping watch on the minimap so I could go to where I was needed, playing tanks which would theoretically have higher game impact in ways which would give them higher impact, and now I’m at… 52%. What kind of game is it where someone who doesn’t get the game at all only wins 3% less than a coin flip? What does it mean when someone who does have a basic grasp of all those things only wins 2% more than a coin flip? Then we take actual bots into account, bots which don’t do anything but turn their turrets this and that way or various other non-contributing actions that only exist so the AFK detection doesn’t tag them, and they have winrates of… 38~45%. You can win 4 out of 10 games by doing nothing! Learning how the game works gets you 1 out of 10 more. Getting to world class 0.1% gets you another 1 out of 10 more.

How many 100m’s do you think you’d win against someone sitting still?

As for detailed stats, the two analyses I linked earlier from Lightquick and Greedy Goblin should be more than sufficient to convince anyone who hasn’t played WOT that it’s rigged. They were the first two links in this post; please read each of them fully if you have the time.

There are some speculations as to how the rigging works. We know it is rigged thanks to the existence of the patent, but which ones are used at any given time is not something we can show for sure because unlike real life where crime scenes and actions leave physical evidence, we can’t access server code. Other than manipulation of teammates – giving you lots of teammates with historically poor winrates and giving the other team people lots of historically high winrates has a conclusion which I hope I don’t need to spell out[7] – the other obvious routes are accuracy, module damage, penetration, and regular damage. People find it “funny” when their low-accuracy high-damage gun, when firing on the move (accuracy lowered) and turning their turret (accuracy lowered), is able to hit someone across the map. Officially the aiming circle is a normal distribution with some sigma value of where your shot is going to land: “usually near the center, but always inside the circle“. Even every bit of your circle is filled with an enemy tank, where you hit is of tantamount importance. If you hit their tracks but not their hull, you do no damage. If you hit their front or rear wheels, you do damage and they lose the ability to move. If you hit their ammorack, it can be a 1HKO.

How often does this happen? Enough that there’s a whole developer series on it.

Note that in more recent iterations, they no longer show the player’s point of view, and thus, we don’t know how big the aim circle is at time of firing.

Penetration is a value on shells to determine whether or not a shot will do damage, and both pen and damage are +/-25%. If you have 100 pen you could roll 75, 100 damage you could roll 125. This discrepancy grows as you go higher in tier because both pen and damage on higher tanks is larger. Suffice to say that this means a tank could be 125/75=66% more of a tank for one player than another… or for one game than another.

“But that doesn’t happen” then how do people go on loss streaks where they only win 25~30% of their games? Or worse? Remember, 40% is the “sit and do nothing” score, and you can’t kill your teammates every game either, and the game stops you from playing if you do that.

As for people who have played WOT and don’t believe that it’s rigged, there’s nothing to say to them. In the end, it comes down to a stranger’s word versus their experience. I’ve collected about 400 games’ worth of data, but that wouldn’t be enough for anyone. 1000 wouldn’t be enough, even 10,000 would likely not cut it, because most people who are vocal who still play this game have played it for 20,000+ battles, and if they don’t believe that there’s some funny shit going on after 2000+ hours, no one’s word short of maybe their mother’s can contradict what they’ve seen firsthand.

bsyajcaNot even their own.

uxf6otn

“Seal clubbing” is a phrase about experienced players who play low tiers to play against new players, and therefore raising their winrates. It is generally true that low tiers have newer players, newer players generally don’t know the game’s mechanics, and that it’s easier to get a higher winrate than in other tiers. Now if all this is true… how is it possible for low tiers to also be “extremely variable”? If it’s “extremely variable”, how does one “seal club” there? I have to presume it’s called “seal clubbing” and not “coin flipping” for a reason.

Even supposing it’s “extremely variable”, who cares? Isn’t the argument that the only common factor throughout all a person’s games was their skill and their skill alone?  IF it’s balanced and IF it’s totally random who gets put on whose team and IF this guy REALLY IS “seal clubbing” then he knows what he is doing and he’s up against people who don’t. How does he go from winning at a rate equal to the top 0.1% over hundreds of games to a rate equal to the bottom 1%? Note here that there’s no argument that Lightquick deliberately sabotaged himself. They don’t bring that up, and won’t ever bring that up, even though to anyone who hasn’t played WOT it’s the most obvious solution.

Why? Because they’ve had it happen to them too. It’s a dirty little secret. The reason why 3x/5x weekends are such a big deal is because they know it isn’t fair. If they actually believed what they said, that bonus weekends bring all the “shitter casuals” out, then it should be something to enjoy. It’s time to sealclub and statpad on tanks that they actually like, without the social stigma that it’s sealclubbing or statpadding! But instead they dread it because it doesn’t pad their stats. It does the opposite. They lose on bonus weekends. They can’t seem to stop losing. Shots don’t hit, if they hit they don’t pen, and oh boy they just got instagibbed by a low-accuracy tank while driving at full speed. They simultaneously believe that this will be the case, that it’s a near certainty, but the moment you confirm it explicitly and say “yeah it’s rigged”, they’ll just say it was bad RNG. They will never believe they were meant to lose.

There’s more doublespeak going on here; there’s more every time you look at any game which is obviously garbage but has vocal defenders anyways. I could explain how they’re wrong but this post is getting a little long so I won’t this time. Fortunately for me, Greedy Goblin’s analyses were written several years ago, and these commenters in particular have continued to play in the four years since they’ve made their point that “if the system was rigged like you say, i should be dropping to a 50% winrate!”. At the time of posting, Tiger313 had 22840 battles and Freshmeatiest had about 4500. They’ve played about 16,000 and 14,000 battles respectively since then, or approximately 1750 hours each. What do their winrates look like now?

Looks like they’ve been busy losing their faculties.

____________________________________

Bonus round! This game has been out since 2010~2011, the below videos are from ~2015.

Let’s not consider rigging or all the other complicated stuff.

Simplified: Would you play this game?

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[7] You win!

[6] It’s 48% due to ties, not important; important is that it’s bell curved and not right-skewed, which is what the kill and damage data would suggest, as well as the general understanding that in PvP games it’s generally a few players that dominate the rest.

[5] Videogame journalists ranted and raved about it back then, but these days they wouldn’t. Isn’t that funny? Isn’t it funny how they’re giving Mass Effect Andromeda 7/10 now and defending how it’s a fair score? Everyone knew that 8/10 meant “garbage” and 10/10 was “meh” but now “7/10” is game of the year, and isn’t it great that we’re returning to a balance where 5/10 is the true average? Oh but Zelda still gets 10/10 no matter what. Isn’t that funny. Wait, “funny”? Hmm….

[4] Because at some point I believed it wasn’t rigged. Due to events and experience which don’t count as evidence under scientific definitions, I therefore magically and irrationally transformed from “unbiased” into “biased”.

[3] 1) You don’t know if it’s actually good or not. There’s a lot of stats about tanks on this game, but you don’t actually know what “250 penetration at tier 10 with x.xx reload, x.xx damage, x.xx accuracy” means until you play it. German tanks have better accuracy stats almost across the board; you won’t find anyone who agrees they mean anything significant. 2) It could be completely different by the time you play it, thanks to “balance patches” and “updates”. 3) Rigging.

[2] Yes I had my conclusion in mind beforehand. No I didn’t approach it with an unbiased mind, no this isn’t “scientific”, no I don’t care. Do you really think any “science” is done without significant confidence in results beforehand? Do you really believe they don’t skew results for their benefit i.e. prestige, employment, and grant (literally: Free) money? Even priests are associated with sin; somehow scientists aren’t?

[1] I’ll get to writing it. I had planned this one for a while though so I needed to get it out of the way first.

Trust, and the nature of reviews

I’ve spent every waking hour the past four days with NieR:Automata and was thinking about how it impacted me and how I’d review and talk about it. I remember hearing somewhere once that everything in the end comes down to “word of mouth”, that all the shiny and flashy marketing campaigns in the world are all just attempts at recreating the same effect with a different structure, so in my mind the least I could do was write about it – for my own memories, and for anyone who reads me or will read me in some other time.

The problem was, going into N:A myself, I didn’t know much anything. I knew

  1. The player character, “2B”, had a phenomenal ass.
  2. It’s made by Platinum, who made another game I enjoyed (MGR)
  3. A short clip of one robot rocking a cradle saying “child. child. child.” and a pair of others, one laying on the ground, the other ramming into it repeatedly, saying “i love you. i love you. i love you.”

I didn’t read the store page on Steam, I might’ve seen a bit of the trailer video and I’ve definitely heard of the weird ball mask guy before, but none of it registered. I went in expecting a corridor-arena action game with stage ratings, literally a MGR with ass and titties.

This expectation directly contributed to my enjoyment of the game and its story.

I had ignored this detail up until this point because it didn’t seem relevant. Yoshimune Kouki’s writing in Muv-Luv Alternative worked in such a way that spoilers didn’t really matter – the tells for things came a mile off, you’d know it was coming, and still it overpowers you – and it’s my favorite story of all time[1]. I’d also seen a lot of my favorite reviewers simply state straight off that the review had spoilers so I copied it and thought nothing more other than trying to not talk about too much. Yoko Taro’s writing though is entirely different and I have to concede. I can’t write or talk about what’s in it with someone who hasn’t played it without directly subtracting from their future enjoyment.

It also made me reconsider just how big a contradiction reviews are. If you are talking about what’s in a game, or anything really, by category it is “spoiling” it.

Without judgment: Attempting to learn about something without getting spoiled is attempting to obtain information without obtaining information.

“Spoil” comes from”spoiled food”, a feeling which is transferred over to hearing about reveals or twists in a game (or anything really, but I’ll be saying “game”) to a person who hasn’t yet had the chance to experience it themselves. It’s a judgment, something that only works in one direction: the other side theoretically could exist but doesn’t, there are few or no complaints against “febrezing” or “microwaving”. The problem is that it doesn’t. Marketing departments everywhere are probably quite glad with this state of affairs, because this means they can sprinkle in as much MSG as they want; people easily understand the difference between eating spoiled food and fresh food, but they easily forget the difference the other way, e.g. between eating fresh food normally and eating fresh food when they’re starving. Since neither the other judgment nor the category have names, I will simply use “spoil” as the name for the category as well, the category of “obtaining information prior to experience“.

I feel this both avoids any fuzzy debates and broadens the concept to greater applicability to a greater number of parties. This means that “this game runs on PC at these certain specs” is also a spoiler. Seemingly pointless, “of course i need to know whether or not i can even play the damn thing”, but it’s not like those specs always make sense. More recently the listed specs for many games have been higher than actually required because it saves the publisher trouble and criticism[2] so it’s possible that people have been turned away when they didn’t have to. The other side, when the listed specs aren’t able to play the game, are generally high profile affairs and result in people trying to play the game when they shouldn’t have.  In both cases, it can be said that those peoples’ experiences have been “spoiled”. These exceptions prove the rule.

The rule means that some “spoiling” is necessary. “Spoil” as a negative judgment refers to the state of the food; “Spoil” as a category refers to the information gathering about the food. Since I don’t have a PS4, I was “spoiled” when I heard that N:A was coming to PC. But it made me want the game, and in turn buy it and play it. Same with 2B’s booty. Same with Platinum. Same with the clip about the machines. The first I probably heard about thanks to Square Enix’s marketing department, the second I don’t remember how it got to me, the last I saw thanks to /v/. Reviews are in the same category. It’s information about the game.

I think the primary problem is people forget why they’re looking for reviews, and some of them why they even play games. There’s a Schaffer Paragraph equivalent that all the average reviewers follow: graphics get a rating, music gets a rating, story gets a rating, gameplay gets a rating, etc. etc. – there’s even one YouTuber’s claim to fame is that he reviews options menus – but I don’t think most people actually care too much about these things. Great looking game with fluid animations for example is certainly better there than not, but most people have had fun or fond memories of games with neither.

The fundamental question is “should I play this game”, the operative word being “play”, a short form for “spend time on”. Reviews generally say the word “get” or “buy” instead and treat it as synonymous with “play”, but they’re not the same[3][4].

The answer is “yes” or “no”.

Taking spoilers the category into account, this means the ideal review is binary.

All the things I said I knew about N:A were great motivators for me going into the game, but it would’ve been even better if I didn’t know about it. Spoilers are necessary to sell the game, but they also necessarily dampen playing it. I already knew 2B had a great butt and had a bunch of lewds on her, so I wasn’t as amazed when I actually saw it in-game. I wasn’t as appreciative of the input fluidity because I knew it was Platinum. The machine scene had negligible impact on me because the overall writing style of the game wasn’t like MLA. I did appreciate some things more because I expected basically a reskin of MGR, but if I had to choose knowing what I knew and knowing nothing, I would choose to know nothing.

Nothing except the “yes”.

All the other stuff talked about in a review are just supporting material for the one bit of info which says “yes” or “no”, and the one meta-bit: whether or not they in particular can be trusted, whether their opinion makes sense. I bought Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun off of a reviewer who gave it a thumbs-down because I read his reasoning: ‘it doesn’t have levelling/experience or customizable skill trees and you can’t choose who to play for each level’. To me this spelled out that the game developers must have had great confidence in their level design, and I was not disappointed. I wish I got his name so I could look him up; I’d take him again any day over wading through more “my score for this game’s graphics is x/10” garbage. If it were possible somehow for him to have exactly the opposite opinion on exactly everything, all I’d need to do is look for things he thumbs-down and I’d have a good time.

The dream setup would be if someone took care of everything for me and made sure it worked on my computer beforehand[5]. If I didn’t know who made it, hadn’t seen any trailers or even any cover art, if all I needed to do was buy and wait to download what I was told to, it’d be the ideal case[6]. Or, less fluorished: be able to select with no prior information a game that is worth the time. Even less fluorished: Remove the necessity of selection skill.

Most of these things really are just a dream and won’t ever happen due to some fundamentally unchangeable logistics, but I think some things could be massively improved and we could get pretty close. From the topics discussed in this post, I can think of two:

– The more positive a review, the less information it contains.

If it’s a bad game, people will want to know why to avoid it. If it’s a good game, people will want to experience it for themselves, so beyond the “yes” it should basically be praises of tiny things, or rebuttals/clarifications of misconceptions.

I think there should be a new, separate “analysis” category (or some other word which people inherently understand “includes spoilers”) which currently barely exists and are usually called “reviews”, probably for SEO purposes. I’m certainly interested in why a game feels phenomenal, but it’s not something I want to think about at all before I’ve tried it out for myself. I do want to know why a game is absolute shit though, if it’s shit. Alternatively,”reviews” should be called “previews” instead, because that’s what they generally are to the intended audience.

– The review starts with the conclusion.

If a person already trusts you, they don’t need to be spoiled with 30+ minutes of gameplay footage and some guy talking, or be bothered to scroll to the bottom to find the score. If they don’t already trust you, why do you think they’d trudge through your review to find out what you thought of it?

Why would they even look at it? Because you have a flashy thumbnail or title? Wouldn’t a score go even better with it, so they get tempted to find out wh-???

…oh. They’ve probably run the numbers and found out they get fewer clicks if the score is revealed upfront haven’t they. And if a review contains fewer words then our friendly neighborhood gaming journalism advocate gets fewer dollarydoos…

Well I don’t run on that system, at least not for reviews, so I’m not going to worry about it.

____________________________________

[6] in terms of the playing experience. i do enjoy ‘shopping around’ reviewers and various materials, and hype is fun too, but i don’t think they’ve ever actually increased my enjoyment of the game. at best, some increased my enjoyment of buying.

[5] i expected to be able to do 1080/medium because that’s what i was able to do with The Witcher 3, which looks significantly better, but in the end i had to settle for 900/low. not a big deal, but i can’t say i had zero negative feelings. yes, they are below the listed “minimum specs”. no, i don’t care.

[4] i think this with the “keeping up with the joneses” effect is a large contributor to all the games people buy and don’t play. which is perfectly fine for the publishers. i wouldn’t be surprised if some major reviewer first used the word because they were bought to.

[3] also one of the ways politics snuck in. “I can’t enjoy this because it’s fast paced but also limited in framerate” is different from “If you buy this game, then you support shitty developers who make shitty graphics”. now, if you’re interested in politics then this is valuable information about the game. but if you’re interested in politics, you want more spoilers at all costs. perhaps there are more people interested in politics than i’d like to believe, and that’s the actual reason for all these shitty reviewers.

[2] paralleled in engineering, there’s always a Safety Factor (SF) in everything that gets built. if you buy a shelf that says maximum load is 100 pounds, you can bet that it’ll hold 120 no problem – just don’t expect to get past warranty with that argument. for reference, aerospace standard SF is ~1.5, civil/structure SF ~2.0.

[1] except maybe N:A, but I’ll have to think about it.

Most rigging is invisible

I don’t think the average person actually has any mental tells for when something is rigged. They just assume everything’s gaussian or uniform distribution until… someone they trust tells them otherwise.

Or in other words – everything they are told is gaussian or uniform, they will defend as such, until the moment they are told otherwise.

Some of them may know of statistics and the “correct” way to determine what a distribution is, but even if they use it, which they generally won’t, I don’t think they will believe it.

Test: Suppose you give the average person a loaded die and they lack access to complicated equipment to measure directly, the only way they can test it is by rolling it. Suppose one face is loaded to 1/4 instead of the true 1/6, meaning that it’s almost a 10% chance more likely roll than it should be – significant if you think about it, but not completely noticeable if you don’t. How many times does the average person need to roll it before they believe that it is loaded?

Test: Additionally supposing you were trustworthy or otherwise held authority with them, what is the chance that the number of required rolls is infinite?