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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 04:06   #1
Haer
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Judging the quality of stats

One of the most frequent complaints I see on the forums/IRC is that a particular round has 'bad' stats'. To some extent such judgements will be based on personal taste, but it has lead me to wonder - is there some set of objective criteria by which we can say a set of stats are better/worse than another set? Personally, I think if we could find some kind of criteria like this it would help us to be a lot more certain about which rounds really had good stats and which didn't, and in the end lead to better stats for future rounds.

To get things started, I'd like to propose a few things which could be looked at. I will begin by saying that I am in general sceptical of the ability of people to judge a set of stats just by looking at them; it may be possible, but I suspect it's just too complex a problem to accurately judge in all but the most obvious of cases. I would be interested in any ideas people have about such a method.

Moving onto specific criteria, I think there are two things a good set of stats should have; balance and variation.

People often throw around the word balance without really defining what it means. In my mind, there are actually two separate things which need to be balanced - races and attack/defence.

Race balance means that each race has a roughly equal chance of doing well. People often look at the distribution of races in the top100, and I think this is a fairly good measure, although you should probably look at the top10/50/200 as well, and perhaps normalise by the total number of each race.

For attack/defence balance, this means roughly how easy it is to land/stop an attack. This can be a little harder to measure, but something that could be looked at is the number of launched attacks which land and the number of launched attacks which cap. If further data was available, you could look at for each withdrawn attack, what ratio of defending value to attacking value was necessary on average.

For variance, there are again a few different things you could look at. I think you could break this down into per race ship strat and overall strategy.

For each individual race, you'd ideally want a least 2 feasible ship strategies and maybe more. If data was available about the total distribution of ships in the universe, you could try to do some kind of clustering and then count the numbers.

For an overall strategy, you could look at doing something similar within statistics like # of attacks launched, # of def fleets launched, # of FCs/MCs/Dists, Gov. choice, etc. Again, you could try a similar kind of analysis - perform clustering and count the number of clusters.

While figuring this sort of stuff out isn't trivial, I dont think it would take a massive amount of work either; much of this can be calculated using standard software libraries. The main obstacle as I see it is lack of data; We already get some random stats about the universe, it'd be really nice if we could see this sort of information included for future rounds.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 05:59   #2
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
Race balance means that each race has a roughly equal chance of doing well. People often look at the distribution of races in the top100, and I think this is a fairly good measure, although you should probably look at the top10/50/200 as well, and perhaps normalise by the total number of each race.
Just addressing this point at the moment: CT's Kia has top10/50/100/200 per race which provides a good overview.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 12:37   #3
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
One of the most frequent complaints I see on the forums/IRC is that a particular round has 'bad' stats'. To some extent such judgements will be based on personal taste, but it has lead me to wonder - is there some set of objective criteria by which we can say a set of stats are better/worse than another set?
No. End of thread.

...OK, fine. My point stands, but take into account that the remainder of this post is probably not objective holy truth but just my best attempt at such.

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
Personally, I think if we could find some kind of criteria like this it would help us to be a lot more certain about which rounds really had good stats and which didn't, and in the end lead to better stats for future rounds.
Unfortunately, we don't have that, not even in the most fundamental sense. Hell, I'm not even sure why it appears that there's a correlation between the average number of targets ships have and the defensiveness of the stats. A higher number of targets probably overly benefits defense. But how?

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
Race balance means that each race has a roughly equal chance of doing well. People often look at the distribution of races in the top100, and I think this is a fairly good measure, although you should probably look at the top10/50/200 as well, and perhaps normalise by the total number of each race.
Realize that some people will think of 'all races should be the same' when they hear the word 'balance', even if that's the wrong way to look at it. This leads to pointless arguments whenever the word 'balance' is used in a positive sense, because that will inevitably lead to responses along the lines of "how can you possibly want all races to be identical!?".

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
For attack/defence balance, this means roughly how easy it is to land/stop an attack. This can be a little harder to measure, but something that could be looked at is the number of launched attacks which land and the number of launched attacks which cap. If further data was available, you could look at for each withdrawn attack, what ratio of defending value to attacking value was necessary on average.
This is an important aspect to take into account when making and judging stats, but I think the word 'balance' is misleading. We're not necessarily looking to balance the two. We're trying to craft a game that is fun and rewarding. Hypothetically(!), If that required attacks to be impossible to stop, then so be it. That said, having seen both very defensive stats (r51, you're welcome) and very offensive ones (r59, blame Tia) in recent history, it has become clear (to me, at least) that the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle, probably somewhat (but not overly) favoring offense.

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For each individual race, you'd ideally want a least 2 feasible ship strategies and maybe more. If data was available about the total distribution of ships in the universe, you could try to do some kind of clustering and then count the numbers.
Agreed. A pre-round choice (made before you necessarily even understand what 'good' is) should not fix you or your alliance in place for the next 1177 ticks.

I think you've identified the three main points: balance between races, correct relation between attack and defense, and a variety of ship strategies for each race.

I'd like to see a wider range of possibilities on that last point, though this is not possible in the current framework for ship stats:

What I would like to make possible is a true evolution of ship strategies as the round progresses. Right now, almost all ships are available on the first night out of protection, and all of them are on the second night. You can pick a ship strategy at tick 0 and stick with it for the remainder of the round. That's pretty static (that's a euphemism for 'boring'). We could delay the research on certain ship classes until much later in the round. Release FR/DE at tick ~400 and CR/BS at tick ~700, making each advance significantly stronger than the previous classes. You can either save up resources, crippling your early round growth, then get a growth spurt near the end of the round to make up for it, or spend on Fr/De, grow slowly and steadily throughout the round, or go for Fi/Co, sprint to the front of the pack early on, then work the rest of the round to maintain your lead.

That's not the only way in which such evolution is possible. You could provide the ability to upgrade existing ships through research. I'd assign different limits to upgradability to each ship class. Make some classes strong with few upgrades, some weak with many upgrades, and some in between. Like the above, this allows you to choose a longer term strategy than is currently possible. This does lead to an explosion in the number of 'ships' (each base ship and each of its upgraded forms could be considered a ship in itself), and that the number of ships is already too high. Fortunately, there is no real reason why each race needs its own set of ships. We could combine them all into one big pool of, say, 18 combat ships (each with 1-3 upgrades), 6 pods and 2-3 SKs, instead of 40-50 combat ships, 10-15 pods and 5 SKs, split into 5 mutually exclusive sets.

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While figuring this sort of stuff out isn't trivial, I dont think it would take a massive amount of work either; much of this can be calculated using standard software libraries. The main obstacle as I see it is lack of data; We already get some random stats about the universe, it'd be really nice if we could see this sort of information included for future rounds.
As far as I know, the entire (tick-by-tick) database for every round since 14 has been saved, so in principle, this data could still be calculated for past rounds.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 14:38   #4
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Patrikc View Post
Just addressing this point at the moment: CT's Kia has top10/50/100/200 per race which provides a good overview.
That depends on the race choices the biggest allie goes for no?
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 15:10   #5
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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That depends on the race choices the biggest allie goes for no?
Yes, and that is quite an important point. To some extent you can negate the problem for the planet distribution by normalising by race choice (so for example a lot of ppl went Xan this round, so you would expect more xans in the t10/100/200).

However, any analysis like this in general will always be impacted upon by the politics of the universe - if Alliance X goes ship strat A and loses heavily to alliance Y with ship strat B, does that mean B is necessarily better than A? Probably not. If there is a surplus of BS fleets at the moment, is that because BS are overpowered, or because they are so underpowered, nobody built any anti-bs?

Regardless of that, my feeling is that by averaging over the whole round you'll still get enough useful data out to improve the current situation. It won't solve the problem of designing a good set of stats completely, and you'll probably still need to apply some intuition, but it will be an improvement over the current situation where people mostly apply guesswork.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 15:53   #6
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
No. End of thread.

...OK, fine. My point stands, but take into account that the remainder of this post is probably not objective holy truth but just my best attempt at such

Unfortunately, we don't have that, not even in the most fundamental sense. Hell, I'm not even sure why it appears that there's a correlation between the average number of targets ships have and the defensiveness of the stats. A higher number of targets probably overly benefits defense. But how?

Realize that some people will think of 'all races should be the same' when they hear the word 'balance', even if that's the wrong way to look at it. This leads to pointless arguments whenever the word 'balance' is used in a positive sense, because that will inevitably lead to responses along the lines of "how can you possibly want all races to be identical!?".

This is an important aspect to take into account when making and judging stats, but I think the word 'balance' is misleading. We're not necessarily looking to balance the two. We're trying to craft a game that is fun and rewarding. Hypothetically(!), If that required attacks to be impossible to stop, then so be it. That said, having seen both very defensive stats (r51, you're welcome) and very offensive ones (r59, blame Tia) in recent history, it has become clear (to me, at least) that the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle, probably somewhat (but not overly) favoring offense.


As far as I know, the entire (tick-by-tick) database for every round since 14 has been saved, so in principle, this data could still be calculated for past rounds.
I completely agree that the goal is to create a fun, interesting game and that it is frustrating the number of people who complain about the 'balance' without really understanding this. However, I dont want this to become a discussion about the meaning of various words in the context of PA. I'm more interested in thinking about mostly mathematical quantities - calling them balance / variance is really just to aid understanding. My plan for the annoying people you mentioned was to pretty much just ignore them.

I also understand that any final judgement about the stats will necessarily be subjective - even if we have a whole host of well defined quantitative measures, there will be personal preferences which determine how you go from say attack success rate to good/bad.

Nonetheless, I still think such measures are useful. The issue you mentioned - why do multiple target rounds feel more defensive - is the sort of thing this kind of analysis may give us some insight into. The main way these measures give us this insight is by allowing proper comparisons between stats. While these comparisons wont be 100% accurate, they will be better than the current system of guesswork and public opinion (I think).

It's interesting that you said the databases for prior rounds have been saved - any idea if/how the community could get access to them?
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 15:58   #7
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

These stats are pretty balance EOD or are we still complaining Xans are OP?
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 16:14   #8
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
No. End of thread.
I'd like to see a wider range of possibilities on that last point, though this is not possible in the current framework for ship stats:

What I would like to make possible is a true evolution of ship strategies as the round progresses. Right now, almost all ships are available on the first night out of protection, and all of them are on the second night. You can pick a ship strategy at tick 0 and stick with it for the remainder of the round. That's pretty static (that's a euphemism for 'boring'). We could delay the research on certain ship classes until much later in the round. Release FR/DE at tick ~400 and CR/BS at tick ~700, making each advance significantly stronger than the previous classes. You can either save up resources, crippling your early round growth, then get a growth spurt near the end of the round to make up for it, or spend on Fr/De, grow slowly and steadily throughout the round, or go for Fi/Co, sprint to the front of the pack early on, then work the rest of the round to maintain your lead.

That's not the only way in which such evolution is possible. You could provide the ability to upgrade existing ships through research. I'd assign different limits to upgradability to each ship class. Make some classes strong with few upgrades, some weak with many upgrades, and some in between. Like the above, this allows you to choose a longer term strategy than is currently possible. This does lead to an explosion in the number of 'ships' (each base ship and each of its upgraded forms could be considered a ship in itself), and that the number of ships is already too high. Fortunately, there is no real reason why each race needs its own set of ships. We could combine them all into one big pool of, say, 18 combat ships (each with 1-3 upgrades), 6 pods and 2-3 SKs, instead of 40-50 combat ships, 10-15 pods and 5 SKs, split into 5 mutually exclusive sets.
I have considered something like this before; I think you can make quite a good analogy between games like SC2, which have quite clear early/mid/late games and what I think you would be trying to achieve.

To some extent, I would argue PA has something like this naturally. Rather than being driven by ship stats, it is driven the the popular opinion about the ship stats. This round for example, I started off with quite a lot of Fr and was unsure whether I would get many BS or not. Pretty soon it became evident that Fr was not particularly effective and I switched pretty hard into a BS attack fleet. Now the round has reached the midway point, BS are becoming much harder to land, so I'm moving into Co class.

Nonetheless, I would agree that strengthening this aspect is probably a good thing; you would of course have to be careful to manage the complexity of such a system, and you'd also need to be careful not to make the early/mid game too limited for late game players. Not many people will sit through 850 ticks of being useless in my opinion.

I'm not sure I can get behind the specific plan you mention though. There's nothing wrong with it in principle, but I'm not sure the will/ability to make the required changes to the code exist. I think an easier to implement change which may lead to a similar effect is to expand both the tech tree and range of construction options. At the moment, most planets will finish the majority of the tech tree, and certainly finish all the 'must-have' techs. If the tech tree was expanded such that no planet could finish more than 70% of it, then people would have to make strategic choices about where to invest their research.

I haven't given much thought to what such a tech tree would look like, but you could for example extend the hull research branch beyond cruisers. If we allow branching, we could have research that improves the armor/damage/emp-efficiency of all ships. If each of these branches had 2-3 levels and each required say 14000 RP, people have serious choices to make and the landscape of the game would change as the universe finishes each branch at roughly the same time.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 16:15   #9
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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These stats are pretty balance EOD or are we still complaining Xans are OP?
Nothing in this thread is about the current stats, beyond using them as examples to clarify a few points.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 17:28   #10
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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These stats are pretty balance EOD or are we still complaining Xans are OP?
Etd looks really good.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 18:38   #11
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
Nonetheless, I still think such measures are useful. The issue you mentioned - why do multiple target rounds feel more defensive - is the sort of thing this kind of analysis may give us some insight into. The main way these measures give us this insight is by allowing proper comparisons between stats. While these comparisons wont be 100% accurate, they will be better than the current system of guesswork and public opinion (I think).
I agree. But I wouldn't have the slightest clue where to start.

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It's interesting that you said the databases for prior rounds have been saved - any idea if/how the community could get access to them?
They have been used to create the history site. The data itself is not publicly accessible, but if you ask Appocomaster real nicely, maybe he'll put it up somewhere.

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I have considered something like this before; I think you can make quite a good analogy between games like SC2, which have quite clear early/mid/late games and what I think you would be trying to achieve.
PA was originally inspired by StarCraft, actually. You can still see some of the remnants of that inspiration, but not much of it.

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Nonetheless, I would agree that strengthening this aspect is probably a good thing; you would of course have to be careful to manage the complexity of such a system, and you'd also need to be careful not to make the early/mid game too limited for late game players. Not many people will sit through 850 ticks of being useless in my opinion.
It was intentionally a radical sketch. Players and alliances already naturally change their fleet composition throughout the round, and introducing an artificial mechanism merely to replace something that has already evolved naturally is a waste of time. See also alliance relations. Supplementing it is fine, though, see the alliance rankings. An actual implementation would be subtle. We would be talking upgrades that improve ships in sub-10% increments.

Because you're right; unlike in StarCraft games, PA rounds take ages. You may want to be willing to wait for Ultralisk tech to finish before destroying your opponent, but no sane person would twiddle their thumbs for weeks before something interesting happens. Making the upgrades fairly low key ensures that even choosing a fleet that's relatively weak to start with does not immediately disqualify you from playing the first half of the round, and that choosing a fleet that has a relatively shallow pool of upgrades does not stop you from enjoying the second half of the round.

In any case, those are just the two extremes. Maybe fleets could upgrade in distinct steps: Cr gets its upgrades around tick 50, 300 and 700, while Fr gets its upgrades around tick 100, 400 and 600. Or maybe if you went Cat, you could get your Cr upgrades at tick 650 instead of 700, preventing Fr from smacking you in the face for too long. The possibilities are endless.

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I'm not sure I can get behind the specific plan you mention though. There's nothing wrong with it in principle, but I'm not sure the will/ability to make the required changes to the code exist.
Oh, definitely. This is pure fantasy. It should be implicitly assumed that any suggestion on these forums is purely a theoretical exercise, not a proposal that's expected to be implemented (or even seriously looked at) by the powers that be. So it goes. In that light...

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I think an easier to implement change which may lead to a similar effect is to expand both the tech tree and range of construction options. At the moment, most planets will finish the majority of the tech tree, and certainly finish all the 'must-have' techs. If the tech tree was expanded such that no planet could finish more than 70% of it, then people would have to make strategic choices about where to invest their research.

I haven't given much thought to what such a tech tree would look like, but you could for example extend the hull research branch beyond cruisers. If we allow branching, we could have research that improves the armor/damage/emp-efficiency of all ships. If each of these branches had 2-3 levels and each required say 14000 RP, people have serious choices to make and the landscape of the game would change as the universe finishes each branch at roughly the same time.
I like your idea to make the tech tree essentially unfinishable. That could work either by introducing hard branches (choose one branch and get excluded from the other) or just by providing too much research to finish in one round, even as Cat/Demo.

I don't think your approach is much simpler to implement than mine, though. You still have to add the research for a bunch of upgrades, some means of presenting the different versions of the ships in some sane way, the combat engine should take them into account... all of those things are hardcoded, so it's far from a small addition. Unfortunately, both of our ideas venture so far outside of the realm of practical possibilities (given the lack of developer time) that it's nearly pointless even taking cost into account.


In any case, while this is all fascinating, none of it has anything to do with your original question. Sorry for derailing you.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 18:52   #12
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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P.S. Sorry for hijacking your stats threads with my ridiculous ideas. :P
No such thing as ridiculous ideas my friend.

Back on topic; without trying to re-invent the "wheel" that is PA, I don't see any issues with reusing previous stats (with some tweaks) if it makes sense to do so. Constantly starting from scratch each round has proved to be problematic.

Look at other games, and how their "updates" are handled...it certainly doesn't involve such drastic changes to things in-between (insert "patches", "updates" here). Might be apples and oranges, but I think the point remains.

PA has painted itself into a corner, and there's no easy way out. Keep tweaking stats each round. Shift from MT to ST stats. Limp slowly on.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 19:24   #13
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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One of the most frequent complaints I see on the forums/IRC is that a particular round has 'bad' stats'.
every round has bad stats for someone who made the wrong choice or who isnt enjoying the round. This round had pretty balanced stats, everyone can roid everyone, XP early game, Value mid game, can XP hold out and keep roiding to stay on top? XP naturally going to Xan who can fake.


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To some extent such judgements will be based on personal taste, but it has lead me to wonder - is there some set of objective criteria by which we can say a set of stats are better/worse than another set? Personally, I think if we could find some kind of criteria like this it would help us to be a lot more certain about which rounds really had good stats and which didn't, and in the end lead to better stats for future rounds.
There are no criteria and will never be, stats can be awesome and they can be bad but they only play a part in a bigger picture of a round. Alliance politics and strategy carry more weight than stats to do to determine a round, someone made the assumption this round that Xan pwned even though they struggled to keep roids and now we got complaints that the stats suck as they cant hold roids.

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To get things started, I'd like to propose a few things which could be looked at. I will begin by saying that I am in general sceptical of the ability of people to judge a set of stats just by looking at them; it may be possible, but I suspect it's just too complex a problem to accurately judge in all but the most obvious of cases. I would be interested in any ideas people have about such a method.
Its possible to work out which races pwn which races, and which individual strat in each race pwns another. Then you look at the race distribution on the universe page to see where everyone else is thinking pre-round and try to gain as much information on other alliance politics and determine if the race/strat which counters the majority is good enough to gift you a nice advantage to hold roids and get roids, or if its better to just conform.

To judge stats based on this will be a good round or bad round is impossible as they only play a small part in the round. However, when the stats are highly defensive and you can clearly see you can hold roids, they are the worst set of stats impossible as it limits solo play, makes blocking stronger and lets the better players just sail off into the distance.

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People often throw around the word balance without really defining what it means. In my mind, there are actually two separate things which need to be balanced - races and attack/defence.

Race balance means that each race has a roughly equal chance of doing well. People often look at the distribution of races in the top100, and I think this is a fairly good measure, although you should probably look at the top10/50/200 as well, and perhaps normalise by the total number of each race.

For attack/defence balance, this means roughly how easy it is to land/stop an attack. This can be a little harder to measure, but something that could be looked at is the number of launched attacks which land and the number of launched attacks which cap. If further data was available, you could look at for each withdrawn attack, what ratio of defending value to attacking value was necessary on average.
For race balance, you need to look at the top200. The decent players will do well regardless of wither there race/strat sucks as they're actually decent. You check balance by looking how well the casual players do, if casuals are pwning as Xan but struggling with everything else (and race distribution is equal) then its quiet clear Xan was too strong but even that isnt right as alliance politics plays into more.

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For variance, there are again a few different things you could look at. I think you could break this down into per race ship strat and overall strategy.

For each individual race, you'd ideally want a least 2 feasible ship strategies and maybe more. If data was available about the total distribution of ships in the universe, you could try to do some kind of clustering and then count the numbers.

For an overall strategy, you could look at doing something similar within statistics like # of attacks launched, # of def fleets launched, # of FCs/MCs/Dists, Gov. choice, etc. Again, you could try a similar kind of analysis - perform clustering and count the number of clusters.
Doesn't work, alliances pick there strats pre-round. It doesnt matter how much balanced the stats are and how many different strats there are available, its pure luck wither all alliances will pick the same strat or completly different ones. Stats generally has very little to do with alliance decision as most suck at reading them.. it usually goes:

Is Fi/co strong? if Yes/Average, go Xan Fi/Co with whatever other races is ok, usually cath.





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While figuring this sort of stuff out isn't trivial, I dont think it would take a massive amount of work either; much of this can be calculated using standard software libraries. The main obstacle as I see it is lack of data; We already get some random stats about the universe, it'd be really nice if we could see this sort of information included for future rounds.

Heres the problem as well, say we work out and get a definitive list on round stats:

R59: Good
R58: Bad
R57: Best stats ever
R56: ok

and we use this data and select R57 as the next stats to use, It makes very little effect on wither the round will be awesome or bad as alliance politics will come into play and the round will end up different.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 19:31   #14
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
What I would like to make possible is a true evolution of ship strategies as the round progresses. Right now, almost all ships are available on the first night out of protection, and all of them are on the second night. You can pick a ship strategy at tick 0 and stick with it for the remainder of the round. That's pretty static (that's a euphemism for 'boring'). We could delay the research on certain ship classes until much later in the round. Release FR/DE at tick ~400 and CR/BS at tick ~700, making each advance significantly stronger than the previous classes. You can either save up resources, crippling your early round growth, then get a growth spurt near the end of the round to make up for it, or spend on Fr/De, grow slowly and steadily throughout the round, or go for Fi/Co, sprint to the front of the pack early on, then work the rest of the round to maintain your lead.

That's not the only way in which such evolution is possible. You could provide the ability to upgrade existing ships through research. I'd assign different limits to upgradability to each ship class. Make some classes strong with few upgrades, some weak with many upgrades, and some in between. Like the above, this allows you to choose a longer term strategy than is currently possible. This does lead to an explosion in the number of 'ships' (each base ship and each of its upgraded forms could be considered a ship in itself), and that the number of ships is already too high. Fortunately, there is no real reason why each race needs its own set of ships. We could combine them all into one big pool of, say, 18 combat ships (each with 1-3 upgrades), 6 pods and 2-3 SKs, instead of 40-50 combat ships, 10-15 pods and 5 SKs, split into 5 mutually exclusive sets.


As far as I know, the entire (tick-by-tick) database for every round since 14 has been saved, so in principle, this data could still be calculated for past rounds.
In my design doc i went with splitting fi/co/fr/de/cr/bs into there own sub category so Ship Research 1 only unlocks Fi for example.

Everyone starts with Fi ships unlocked (Why force research onto something everyone needs), then as the round goes on, each set of ships is slightly stronger than the previous. However, each race has certain ships which pwn in each category. Traveltime for everything is set at CR/BS pace, no more different travel times and allows for proper shipstats where you can try anything.

Some races may only need to go De, while some might want BS as its awesome and wtfpwns everything.

Problem is, PA has no coders so on it ticks with 0 changes.
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Unread 11 Nov 2014, 21:26   #15
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Light View Post
These stats are pretty balance EOD or are we still complaining Xans are OP?
Which shows that balance isn't everything.
(To be fair, you did go on to expand on that in your later posts).
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 09:17   #16
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by ArcChas View Post
Which shows that balance isn't everything.
(To be fair, you did go on to expand on that in your later posts).
Genuinely dont want to hijack this thread but as was said before in another thread you cannot have unbalaunbalanced/bad/unfair stats. This is because stats are not unique to each player. Everyone starts in the same place with the same chance of winning. Only ability and knowledge affect this.

I think that the point of this thread is redundant because it's trying to solve a problem that doesn't exsist, just one that people who screwed up their choices think does.

Defensive/offensive is just a strategy and play style choice it isn't hardcoded into the game. Alliances decide how attacking and defence minded a round is.....
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 13:39   #17
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
Genuinely dont want to hijack this thread but as was said before in another thread you cannot have unbalaunbalanced/bad/unfair stats. This is because stats are not unique to each player. Everyone starts in the same place with the same chance of winning. Only ability and knowledge affect this.
If you don't think stats can be bad, why so angry?

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Defensive/offensive is just a strategy and play style choice it isn't hardcoded into the game. Alliances decide how attacking and defence minded a round is.....
In theory, players and alliances can choose to play defensively or offensively without taking into account the stats at all. But the stats influence how the game is played. Here's two obviously examples that demonstrate the stats do matter:

* If the ship stats only had pods in a single class, then they'd encourage offensive strategies, because all forms of defense are objectively impossible, even red defense: no one would prelaunch (so scans are useless), and no one would need to tell others about when and where they're attacking (so spies are useless).
* If, besides those pods, every race also had a 0 loss defense ship that fired at the one roiding class, then they encourage defensive strategies, because every landing will hurt the attacker.

This demonstrates that in their most extreme forms, the stats can make certain strategies flat out impossible. In milder forms, they merely make certain strategies less profitable than others. Stats influence how the round is played because players and alliances will naturally gravitate towards the strongest strategies (even if those are not necessarily the most entertaining or the best for the long term viability of the game).

The function of the stats is to encourage forms of play that are both fun and long term sustainable. Stats that encourage overly defensive strategies are boring because they turn PA into an initing game. Stats that encourage overly offensive strategies are bad because they corrode the bonds of community.

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I think that the point of this thread is redundant because it's trying to solve a problem that doesn't exsist, just one that people who screwed up their choices think does.
You're reading into this thread what you want to. This is not a whiny "I don't like these stats" thread. The fact of life is that we get a new set of stats at least every couple of rounds. It is important to consider which factors make stats fun and which do not.

Since you're not actually arguing against Haer's points. Do you agree or disagree that the stats are better if the races are roughly equally strong? Do you agree or disagree that the stats are better if they're not overly offensive or overly defensive? Do you agree or disagree that the stats are better if each race has more than 1 ship strategy available? If you're not willing to answer any of those points, you're just polluting this thread, and I would ask you to kindly get out.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 17:12   #18
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by mz
Since you're not actually arguing against Haer's points. Do you agree or disagree that the stats are better if the races are roughly equally strong? Do you agree or disagree that the stats are better if they're not overly offensive or overly defensive? Do you agree or disagree that the stats are better if each race has more than 1 ship strategy available? If you're not willing to answer any of those points, you're just polluting this thread, and I would ask you to kindly get out.
I disagree with all of them because there is too many other variables that determine a round to be able to label a set of stats as good or bad. Alliance size, the number of competitive alliances, POLITICS, playerbase, game changes ie. MCs, current player apathy levels, the size of galaxies, the amount of late starters all have a huge bearing on how each round plays out. You cannot stand there and say a set of stats was bad or good because no round plays out exactly the same twice. For all we know the fabled rd30 stats could be awful now after the recent changes to XP and the higher apathy now present in the game.

This is the point I was trying to make about the post being redundant.

If you were to ask me how to 'balance' the stats, and by balance I mean make equal amounts of players play each race then the primary solution has to be the removal of ETD. Having to correct the targetting to give an even spread with 5 races has proved a big stepping stone to a lot of stat makers and is normally why we end up with 1 race being over picked compared to the rest.

As a final point tho having a set of stats where 50% of the playerbase goes 1 race and 1 class in that race doesn't make those stats bad. It just makes that round weighted towards that races play style. As long as that race is weak or strong against itself then everyone is in the same boat and that is OK.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 17:46   #19
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
I disagree with all of them because there is too many other variables that determine a round to be able to label a set of stats as good or bad. Alliance size, the number of competitive alliances, POLITICS, playerbase, game changes ie. MCs, current player apathy levels, the size of galaxies, the amount of late starters all have a huge bearing on how each round plays out. You cannot stand there and say a set of stats was bad or good because no round plays out exactly the same twice. For all we know the fabled rd30 stats could be awful now after the recent changes to XP and the higher apathy now present in the game.
I think this is fundamentally wrong. If we are judging a single set of stats then yes, we will struggle to get past these problems. However, by looking at multiple rounds, we will marginalise the variations caused by most of these things.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 18:40   #20
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Haer View Post
I think this is fundamentally wrong. If we are judging a single set of stats then yes, we will struggle to get past these problems. However, by looking at multiple rounds, we will marginalise the variations caused by most of these things.
No you can't because one of those things can have a huge effect on a round and then no effect on the next one. Plus an area like politics is not something that is A constant. It has many different parts and complexities which can drastically alter the playing during a few days let alone over a whole round. So you cannot leave it as a 'variable' in whatever equation you wish to make to evaluate stats.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 18:41   #21
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
I disagree with all of them because there is too many other variables that determine a round to be able to label a set of stats as good or bad. Alliance size, the number of competitive alliances, POLITICS, playerbase, game changes ie. MCs, current player apathy levels, the size of galaxies, the amount of late starters all have a huge bearing on how each round plays out. You cannot stand there and say a set of stats was bad or good because no round plays out exactly the same twice. For all we know the fabled rd30 stats could be awful now after the recent changes to XP and the higher apathy now present in the game.

This is the point I was trying to make about the post being redundant.
Neither of these factors matters when it comes to the ship stats being good or bad. Ship stats speaks for itself, and nothing influence it. It influences the alliances, galaxies etc.. but not the other way around.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 18:49   #22
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
Genuinely dont want to hijack this thread but as was said before in another thread you cannot have unbalaunbalanced/bad/unfair stats. This is because stats are not unique to each player. Everyone starts in the same place with the same chance of winning. Only ability and knowledge affect this.
Knowledge and ability of what? There are several factors that comes in to play through the entire round. Like how deep you can understand the stats, and how you set up your planet, what order you plan to do certain techs in, how much incs you get, how much incs you get fended off, how good your target selecting skills are.
I can go on, but i think this might lit a bulb or two.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 18:49   #23
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
No you can't because one of those things can have a huge effect on a round and then no effect on the next one. Plus an area like politics is not something that is A constant. It has many different parts and complexities which can drastically alter the playing during a few days let alone over a whole round. So you cannot leave it as a 'variable' in whatever equation you wish to make to evaluate stats.
I'm not leaving it as a variable, i'm considering it noise in the data which will be averaged away by considering multiple rounds of stats. Poltics,etc will change, but not to the chaotic extent that would be necessary to make an analysis like this meaningless.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 18:56   #24
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Light View Post
every round has bad stats for someone who made the wrong choice or who isnt enjoying the round. This round had pretty balanced stats, everyone can roid everyone, XP early game, Value mid game, can XP hold out and keep roiding to stay on top? XP naturally going to Xan who can fake.

Its possible to work out which races pwn which races, and which individual strat in each race pwns another. Then you look at the race distribution on the universe page to see where everyone else is thinking pre-round and try to gain as much information on other alliance politics and determine if the race/strat which counters the majority is good enough to gift you a nice advantage to hold roids and get roids, or if its better to just conform.
I think you are confusing two different things here. There is the judgement of stats from the perspective of "I am an alliance HC and want to determine the optimal method of play". Contrast this with the judgement "I am designing a game which I want to be fun and interesting".

I am interested in the judging the stats from the perspective of the second question. Your proposed method works for the first point of view, but doesnt tell us much about the second.
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 18:56   #25
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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I disagree with all of them because there is too many other variables that determine a round to be able to label a set of stats as good or bad.
You appear to have cause and effect mixed up. The round is not what causes stats to be good or bad. The ship stats are one of the causes of the round being good or bad. Alliance size, alliance quality, politics, the player base, other game changes are all also factors that determine if the quality of a given round. And those factors can combine in surprising ways. Transplanting the r30 stats into r51 was clearly the wrong move because of how it turned out to interact with all the other factors that influence how enjoyable a round is.

But knowing the game in an abstract sense should be enough to create a set of stats that has a good chance of influencing the round in a positive way. If you don't think that's possible, then why shouldn't we just generate the stats completely randomly?
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Unread 12 Nov 2014, 19:55   #26
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
You appear to have cause and effect mixed up. The round is not what causes stats to be good or bad. The ship stats are one of the causes of the round being good or bad. Alliance size, alliance quality, politics, the player base, other game changes are all also factors that determine if the quality of a given round. And those factors can combine in surprising ways. Transplanting the r30 stats into r51 was clearly the wrong move because of how it turned out to interact with all the other factors that influence how enjoyable a round is.

But knowing the game in an abstract sense should be enough to create a set of stats that has a good chance of influencing the round in a positive way. If you don't think that's possible, then why shouldn't we just generate the stats completely randomly?
Sorry but the whole point of Haers post was to create a 'formula' to tell if a set was good or bad. I am just replying that its not doable for the above stated reasons. The fact that Haer has replied to claimed that politics is 'noise' that can be removed from the equation just shows what an ill thought idea it actually was.

You talk of cause and effect and reckon that stats influence the rest rather than the rest influencing stats (or atleast how the stat set plays out), that is completely false. The whole matter of an alliance picking its strategy based on its political intel of what other alliances are doing and basing its race choices and class choices based on what others are doing means that stats are always open to political influence from even before tick 1. There has been rounds in the past where a race considered OP has faltered because it did not fit into the political plans of alliances in that current round. Who is to say if that set of stats was re run 5 rounds later that the OP race wouldnt be picked by 50% of the playerbase as the layout of the universe changed and drastically change how those stats play out as the distribution is different. MCs have changed the playstye of a lot of players and some alliances drastically in the last 3 rounds let alone the last 10 with all the other small changes PA Team has introduced (look at how underplayed Zik is now salvage has been smashed around repeatedly).

I actually like the idea of RNG stats. I think it would be a breath of fresh air to the game as their would be no influencing of the stat maker by a select few and no fiddling of stats which end up changing a creators original idea into some horrid mess.

I would actually go one step further for balance and cap the amount of each race that can be picked by the playerbase. 20% of each, there is 2 weeks of pure downtime inbetween rounds so there is no excuses for missing signups. Intial cap at 100 (low end expected turnout of players) rising by 20 after 400 planets have signed and again every 100 etc.

Taking all the human influence away from the stats would finally remove the flaming/trolling/whining i believe. Blame the machine, the machine doesnt care....
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Unread 13 Nov 2014, 09:02   #27
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
Sorry but the whole point of Haers post was to create a 'formula' to tell if a set was good or bad. I am just replying that its not doable for the above stated reasons. The fact that Haer has replied to claimed that politics is 'noise' that can be removed from the equation just shows what an ill thought idea it actually was.
You have made statements. I am not convinced they are correct.

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
You talk of cause and effect and reckon that stats influence the rest rather than the rest influencing stats (or atleast how the stat set plays out), that is completely false.
Stats influence alliance strategies, alliance strategies influence how stats play out, and together (with a bunch of other mutually influencing factors that I've listed above) they determine how good the round is.

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
The whole matter of an alliance picking its strategy based on its political intel of what other alliances are doing and basing its race choices and class choices based on what others are doing means that stats are always open to political influence from even before tick 1.
I don't think I've ever seen an alliance discuss its race strategy for the upcoming round in any terms other than the cold hard numbers of the actual ship stats, and the way the characteristics of the races fit into an alliance's preferred way of play for that particular round, be that fort play, trolling or just faffing about. I do not remember ever hearing anyone say "well, CT is going X, so we should go Y", and such a statement carrying any weight.

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
There has been rounds in the past where a race considered OP has faltered because it did not fit into the political plans of alliances in that current round. Who is to say if that set of stats was re run 5 rounds later that the OP race wouldnt be picked by 50% of the playerbase as the layout of the universe changed and drastically change how those stats play out as the distribution is different.
Give me 3 examples of stats in which a race was played by less than, say, a sixth of the active universe ('not fitting in the political plans'), and taking up more than a quarter of the top 100 ('considered OP').

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
MCs have changed the playstye of a lot of players and some alliances drastically in the last 3 rounds let alone the last 10 with all the other small changes PA Team has introduced (look at how underplayed Zik is now salvage has been smashed around repeatedly).
What's with all the ****ing straw men, dude. Once again: I'm not arguing that the stats are a self contained unit that can be argued about while ignoring everything else. I'm [i]explicitly saying[i/] that we're dealing with an interwoven system of influences that together determine the round. If it wasn't, then the r30 stats would have worked just as well in r51 as they did in r30.

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
I actually like the idea of RNG stats. I think it would be a breath of fresh air to the game as their would be no influencing of the stat maker by a select few and no fiddling of stats which end up changing a creators original idea into some horrid mess.
If the stats don't matter, then 'influences of the stats maker by a select few' do not matter. If randomness creates acceptable stats, then stats don't become 'horrid messes' when they're fiddled with. And if randomness creates acceptable stats, then the 'original idea of stats makers' is not important.

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Originally Posted by Kaiba View Post
I would actually go one step further for balance and cap the amount of each race that can be picked by the playerbase. 20% of each, there is 2 weeks of pure downtime inbetween rounds so there is no excuses for missing signups. Intial cap at 100 (low end expected turnout of players) rising by 20 after 400 planets have signed and again every 100 etc.
I don't even know where to begin.
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Unread 13 Nov 2014, 11:27   #28
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
We could delay the research on certain ship classes until much later in the round. Release FR/DE at tick ~400 and CR/BS at tick ~700, making each advance significantly stronger than the previous classes. You can either save up resources, crippling your early round growth, then get a growth spurt near the end of the round to make up for it, or spend on Fr/De, grow slowly and steadily throughout the round, or go for Fi/Co, sprint to the front of the pack early on, then work the rest of the round to maintain your lead.
I like this idea, particularly as it sounds like it should not be difficult to do in its simplest form. It cant be that difficult to have Frigate class hulls and Siege weapons unlock later in the round. All that it then needs is for some stats to be done on the assumption that this is going to happen. Could a thread on this be put on the suggestions forum?
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Unread 13 Nov 2014, 15:47   #29
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Re: Judging the quality of stats

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
I don't think I've ever seen an alliance discuss its race strategy for the upcoming round in any terms other than the cold hard numbers of the actual ship stats, and the way the characteristics of the races fit into an alliance's preferred way of play for that particular round, be that fort play, trolling or just faffing about. I do not remember ever hearing anyone say "well, CT is going X, so we should go Y", and such a statement carrying any weight.
It's something I've definitely considered before deciding what strategy to go. Obviously the stats themselves have to be fitting as well, but if 3 competing alliances would be rumoured to go Fi/Co and the other competitor Cr/Bs, we definitely take into account the option of countering Fi/Co and attempting to establish friendly relations with the Cr/Bs alliance.

Otherwise I agree with your points, and am especially interested in not having everything available with the first 3-4 days.
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