Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Please don't hack accounts, use a bot or speculate instead!

Nosy Gamer reported how Albion Online is in trouble because of gold sellers. In short: they use stolen credit card and paypal data to buy gold from the company and then sell the gold on third party sites. The company gets a chargeback of course and bans the buyers and sellers. There is also a DDOS attack on the server because of the bans - at least by the claims of the company, can be just ordinary lag and bad server code.

However it's not the reason I'm gloating here. The reason is that one of the screenshots of Nosy (no link provided) is more than interesting:

Yep, the lead dev spells it out: you only get banned if you do credit card fraud. If you just "trade", you are fine. Ergo, botters, sweatshop-goldfarmers and market manipulators are free to sell their wares, they won't care, mostly because they are doing it too.

As I've said, it's not just a gloating page how I was right again. It's about an important lesson why companies should take corruption seriously: because there is no such thing as safe back door. The employees set up easy ways to trade gold so they can use it with their buddies ... only to let a bunch of credit card thieves march through it! If the game wouldn't be intentionally supportive with trading gold, it wouldn't be so easy to make money at the expense of the company with a stolen credit card. Think about WoW instead: if I steal your credit card and buy a WoW account and a bunch of WoW tokens, I won't be able to cash it out easily, because gold transfer isn't trivial. Guess what, they don't have such bad problems. Lesson learned maybe (besides "if Gevlon says the game is rigged, you better avoid it")?

Monday, August 21, 2017

How to get to the top 0.5% in PUBG without being any good

So you are sitting around #10K and wonder how much more "skillz" you need to get higher? Do you believe that the top 10 have super-human reflexes dishing out headshots on the run? Do you watch streams hoping to learn tricks? Well, dude, you'll be greatly disappointed!

This was me a few days ago when I finished my experiment with a "l33t strat":
I'm still top 0.5%, despite now I'm down to #750 testing another method and that needs some polishing. What is that monster strategy that got me to the edge of top 100?!

I went to houses and collected medicine, bandage, first aid and medkits.

No, there is no next step, that's all. I was running around in some irrelevant corner collecting healing stuff. When I lost HP due to blue zone, I used medicine. When it wasn't enough, I used bandages. When that wasn't enough because after the 5th circle the blue hit hard, I used first aid kit or medkit. When I ran out of them, I died... as top 10, every single time. So game after game I finished in the top 10, gaining rating.

Why I couldn't get to the top of the leaderboards with this strat then? Because at 2200 rating I was facing other 2200 rated players who did the same damn thing. Zharki became a death-trap with players fighting over the loot every game. I died in Primorsk when the 4th circle was over Stalber. I killed a guy there the next game with no circle around, this was my first kill with shotgun. I'm bad with my 0.12 K:D, but he was much worse. Yet, we were both at 2200 rating because of medkids.

He is currently #2 in EU Solo. Check out those heals! He uses 30 healing items per game on average! Sure, he also have a few kills (1.5/game), so he isn't only doing medkit-collection, but I'm sure it's the main workhorse of his play.

So if you are not in the top 0.5% already, all you have to do is driving to a city far from the circle and pick up medicine and after a dozen games or so, you'll be in the top 500 and can tell bullshit stories to your internet friends about how awesome you are, like the top players do. This is the most important thing to take away from this: those at the top aren't better than you, they just know some trick that you don't. If you learn it, you can be just where they are.

I wonder if Bluehole changes blue mechanics if everyone ignores fighting and just collect healing items, but if they do, it will be no time before the "l33t" figures out the next way how to climb the rating without risking PvP.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Weekend minipost: PUBG miniproject complete

If you check my stats you see them in free-fall. The reason is that I finished testing a very unusual playstyle that involved killing absolutely nobody. Post will come on Monday. Now I'm trying a much more aggressive strategy and playing aggressively against 2000+ rated players is a bit different from jumping to the School at 1200.

I fully expect my rank to drop to EU 1000 (from 120), but then, toplist, here I come.

Now, I expected my abandoned strategy to go all the way to the toplist, but it didn't, simply because half of the players in the top rated games play that. The dirty little punks preach about "mad skillz", but in reality they use the cheapest of tactics. Unlike them, I don't preach "mad skillz", I tell you exactly how can you walk to the top 0.5% without being any good. I mean literally your mum could walk to top 0.5% with this stat.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Unintentional newbie bashing in PUBG

Newbie bashing is a problem in every PvP game. It means that skilled players purposefully play against new or hopelessly bad players and slaughter them. This is also known as twinking or sealclubbing. This is very hurtful at the game as new players are facing those who are much better than them and have the only purpose of killing them. They usually die without having a clue what they did wrong.

The usual solution to newbie bashing is rating system: good players elevate on the ladder and are matched other good players while receive the rating as progression. A League of Legends platinum player won't be facing Bronze 5 baddies. This can be gamed by those who want to massacre newbies by running alts. I suspect that most streamers and celebrities in PUBG are guilty of purposeful newbie bashing. They intentionally thrash their ratings when not streaming, so when they do, they are facing 1200 rated newbies who helplessly line up for those glorious 10-kills streaks. If they would always play like they show it, they would quickly rise to the very top of the leaderboards and they are not there.

But PUBG faces a bigger problem: large scale unintentional newbie bashing. To understand what's the problem, we must understand the rating system. It's not easy because it's not officially published. However we can extrapolate from the point rewards. There is little reason to give lots of points to an activity that isn't considered hard, therefore gives rating. We can assume that the point you get at the end of the game is the same that is used to calculate your rating. I wrote down the points I got at the end of the games and plotted them vs my final position:
The average position point is 96. A killing blow gives 20 points, damaging full HP gives another 20. If we assume that 95 people die to other people and they lose 150% HP (damaged, healed, killed), the average kill points are 45. Which means that position has twice the weight of kills. It also means that if half of the team gets rating increase and the bottom half loses rating, you get to reach 130 points to go up. Which is #19 position without a kill or #24 and one kill or #70 and two kills.

Now the problem: if someone follows the dumb "git gud" mantra, he tries to get into action as soon as possible to "learn to PvP", which means that he dies often after either scoring a few kills or not. Since his position is low, he must score consistently 2+ kills to gain rating. Until he does, he sits with the newbies. If lots of people do it, scoring 2 kills consistently is impossible. I mean if newbies jump out randomly and "gid gud" players land on the hotspots only, they are facing equal "gid gud" players which means 1:1 K/D, which means 1 kill per game. Sure the survivors of the hotspot then go and massacre newbies, but most of the "git gud" ones are forever stuck in low rating. This means that at low rating genuine new (or hopelessly bad) players are facing mechanically good players who will not leave low rating until they get significantly above the other "git gud" ones. So newbies are massacred by people who do not intend to massacre newbies, simply follow the bad advice of "git gud".

This of course has a positive effect. The "git gud" players either die early and get back into action or - if they survive the initial hotspot massacre - they roflstomp the newbies with "omg 10 kills + win" memories. But the negatives obviously outweight it: newbies have very hard time progressing, practically the only way for them is to hide and reach 1500 rating where the average mechanical skill is lower to get kills. Also, many good players forever gets stuck in low rating, denying themselves the chance to face challenging opponents.

What would be the solution?
The numbers would be maximum possible kills. It means that if you are low rated and killed 2 people, your weapons would be taken and a message appear "you can't kill more people in this rating, please improve your rating by surviving as long as possible". This would take away the goal of intentional newbie bashing, no one could do massacre. I guess most streamers would be pretty upset if they would have to fight 1600+ rated people instead of clueless newbies. But the main goal would be forcing unintentional newbie bashers to focus on learning surviving instead of killing until they reach higher rating.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New MMO mechanic that puts no-lifers and casuals competitive without time restrictions

PUBG update, I can't complain:

The "hardcore vs casual" debate is the oldest in MMOs, because it's the biggest unsolved problem. Namely, in a game with no losses, time spent strongly correlates with results. Even a horrible player with 8+ hours a day will get better gear in WoW than a member of a top raiding guild who can only touch his character for 3 hours a week and doesn't have a top raid lined up for that 3 hours. This then used as an excuse for horrible players to explain them standing in the fire and having horrible spell rotation on "having life".

My earlier tackles were simply limiting playing time by servers being online for only X hours a day, or characters can log in for only Y hours a week. The problem is that the first would reward players with proper time scheduling (those who are always available when servers are up), while the second would only lead to using multiple accounts to play more and get advantage.

Now I have a new idea:
  • The basic unit of the game world is the guild, not the individual player.
  • Each guild has X character slots.
  • The characters are always online, either doing stuff or resting.
  • Players log in and take control of the characters. I mean you log in, you see the list of idle characters and jump into one. If you are a guild officer, you can usurp a lower member and take the character control. When you log off, the character becomes idle and some other guildmember can take it.
  • Of course there would be a rights management system to what various levels of members can do. If we consider WoW character management, simple player can do quest to improve the character, but can't pick talents and especially can't delete gear, only officers can do that.
  • From the perspective of the Game World, it doesn't matter if 1 player controls a character for 8 hours or 8 for 1-1 hours.
  • Characters need resting, if they are tired, they get nasty debuffs, but they have generous sleep schedules. So while they need 1 hour resting after every hour activity, they can work 48 hours straight without getting tired and then rest it all out in 48 hours. This helps with peak time - off time, all characters are in use when everyone logs in and they rest while people log off - without allowing nolifers make them active 24/7.
This way a casual guild of 100 players can play just as much as a hardcore guild of 10 players and assuming skill is equal (it's not) an outside observer couldn't tell the difference if the same people run a 12 hours long raid, or 100 people jump in and out, each making an hour or two.

As characters are guild assets, individual players can't take them with them when they quit the guild. What they have is their statistics, they can show that they added X XP, killed Z boss M times and did Y dungeon N times with wizard or warrior. With these stats they can apply to a good guild where they instantly get control of geared characters.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Morons and slackers behave badly with women, go figure!

This is a very interesting study, no wonder it's referred by Washington Post and TIME.

The researchers wanted to know if misogyny (hostility towards women) is a social construct like the feminists say or something stemming from evolutionary biology. According to the feminists, men in general behave in a sexist manner towards women to remove them from a male-dominated area. On the other hand evolutionary theory thus predicts that only lower-status males will be hostile towards females who want to restore their status via violence. It also predicts that higher-status males will be more friendly to females.

To the study they used Halo 3, because it had clear status measurement by rank system (points 1-50) and because it has no sexualized content, the player avatars are mechanical suits. The researchers played the game while using pre-recorded chats to always present themselves the same way. They said neutral, in-game things like "I like this map" either in male or female voice. They played 163 games and recorded them. 189 players spoke up, all males, 147 of them were teammates. 82 of them talked when the researcher talked in female voice, 65 when in a male voice. They transcribed the speeches and coded them for positive and negative statements.

They've found that players behave worse when they were bad, and this effect was especially strong towards a female. It was true both about overall skill rating and performance in the game where the comments were made:
It is crucial to point out that out of the 82 players who commented on a female teammate (mostly negatively), only 11 used sexist phrases.

They conclude that increased female-directed hostility of low status men aims to decrease a female’s confidence and perception of her self-worth (which makes sense because women usually don't mate below their status) while simultaneously increasing the perception of him being a dominant mate. Higher-skilled males do not behave in this manner as there is no need for them to reinforce their dominance to maintain their attractiveness.

I don't buy into this, because in the next sentence they say that "there is no direct evidence in the literature that negative behavior towards females increases a male’s mating opportunity", which is the central goal of all evolutionary behaviors.

My explanation is simpler: show me a bad player and I show you a bad person. Someone who cannot learn a silly video game that he chooses to play is either a moron (unable to figure out problems due to low IQ and/or low education) or a slacker (not motivated to stuff well, alcohol/drugs can be present). From there the "bad people behave badly" is an obvious conclusion. Them being especially negative towards women can be explained by ineptitude and inexperience dealing with women.

However whether I'm right or they are, the solution in both cases is my decade old demand for video game companies to strongly stratify their games and keep bad players away from good ones on different servers based on skill. "Accessible gaming" and "playing with friends" is a dead-end, as low skill players are also toxic players. By allowing them to play with skilled players, developers turn their play experience horrible leading to customer loss. The sooner they realize it, the sooner they make money. Bad players should be placed in social isolation, into solo and automatic group content with no way to communicate with other players. For example in WoW there should be
  • Leveling servers where you become eligible for transfer when you reached lvl 110 and gathered X ilvl by completing some basic solo content. There should be no group content available on this server as grouping with these players is surely a negative experience. No guilds, just friend list but no way to chat with other players who are not friends, so you can only get into someone's friend list by knowing him outside of the game.
  • LFR + LFD server, you can leave it by gathering Y ilvl. Still no guilds, all groups are formed by the random group feature. Automatic DPS/HPS measures and auto-kicking low performers to prevent them reaching Y ilvl by being carried.
  • Normal + Heroic raid, Mythic dungeon server. This is the first with guilds and open chat since those who reached here can be trusted to function above the level of baboons. You can transfer away after reaching Z ilvl.
  • Mythic raid server.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

PUBG rating system and the folly of "git gud"

At the moment of writing this post, I'm #265 in total ranking with 2078 rating (and #125 in winrate). You can see the at-the-moment ranking here.

The rating system isn't just a cosmetic reward. Matchmaking is affected by it, good players are matched against other good ones, so I have to wait until my games fill up, even in prime time. I didn't experience that when I started playing, because it's easy to fill up an 1200 rating match. I also realized how dramatically my opponents changed, which is the point of the post.

According to any "git gud" moron, the way to improve in this game (or any other) is to fight a lot, improve one's mechanics, hand-eye-coordination and map awareness. I didn't do any of it as my 0.13 K:D ratio proves. I'm supposed to be at the bottom of this game if it was what the "git gud" morons think it is. But it's a survival game and I'm getting better and better in survival as my ranking proves. Actually, I'm glad I didn't "git gud", because it would hold me back now.

The top players play very differently than the average ones. By practicing against baddies, you only pick up bad habits. The more you practice, the more rigid these bad habits will be. I did pick up bad habits during my only week-long stay among the baddies and it's a pain to get rid of them. No matter how much I try to not do them, when I have to make decisions in split-seconds, I still make the old bad decisions and then yell "stupid, stupid, stupid" at myself watching the "you are dead" screen. I have no doubt that I'll be in top 100 and I find it quite possible to be in top 10 in a month.

For example my old strategy for mid-game (from third circle to last 10) was to pick an easy to defend building and occupy it, killing anyone who wants to take it from me. The problem isn't that top players can take it from me by being able to throw grenades and by dealing headshots on the run. This could be solved by "git gud". The problem is that these buildings are already occupied when I get in and another players arrive to occupy it soon after. Why are we doing this? Because back in 1200-1600, this was a winning strategy. Idiots were running around killing each other or sitting under a tree with a sniper rifle wanting to score kills while smart players were safely sitting in these buildings. But the idiots are still at 1200 and we are all by ourselves now fighting for the buildings! The new strategy I'm working now for mid-game is a specialty of hiding in the bushes and in tiny buildings where no one looks and it seems to work.

The crucial point is that the new strategy implies that there are no snipers in the woods and on top of tall buildings screening the bushes for easy kills, which is given in a 1800+ game, since such kill-hunters rarely get this high. If I'd try the same thing in 1200, I'd be dead in no time. In that ecosystem, the optimal move was taking the empty buildings. Not like anyone else wanted them, as being in a building is "no fun", the only reason anyone came there is to kill me.

Want to hear something funny? I used to hide on the open sea where the circle was there in a boat. This way I was safe until the circle was all on land and even then I could surprise everyone as no one expects players from the shore. Today I had a game like that and four boats were on the sea, when 22 were alive. The next game I just drove to the shore to hide. I died before I could dismount my car due to several boats and campers on shore. Sea, the sure safety of low ranked games is a death trap on 2000+.

You should use all the "dirty and unfun" strategies to get out of the lowbie-ghetto as fast as possible and then learn how the other good players play and defeat them. The reason why I'm now close to the very top is that I'm actively fighting my old habits that worked against morons. The other good players, no matter how skilled they are - unless do the same - will forever be hostages of the habits they got during "git gud" and when it stops working, they make the wrong conclusion of they have to get more good. But the solution to the "4 people want the same building" is not "be the best and kill all 3", but "avoid the damn building".

Don't "git good", play to win! Do whatever improves your rating most. If it's lying by the haystack or hiding under the staircase while 3 others are fighting in the upper room, do that.

The PUBG guide with details and explanations of everything will come when I finally plateau out, hopefully only in top 10. I will get in