Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 28, 2008
Does WAR calculate contribution?

There is a nasty rumor floating around about Warhammer Online. It is said that the famous Vegas loot system, in which your reward is calculated as sum of your contribution and a random roll, is a scam. The contribution part isn't really measured, but just another random roll, making who gets a reward at the end of a public quest or keep capture completely random and independant of contribution. I can't confirm that, because I'm not playing WAR any more, but even the allegation is already a public relations desaster.

We all know how players react to reward systems that don't measure contribution: They minmax the fun out of it, by just doing the minimum to qualify for a reward, and then go to have a coffee and let the other players do the hard work. The same guys who were afk in the cave of Alterac Valley now afk in keep captures and public quests in WAR.

Mythic will have to take serious action to either rectify the situation, or prove that contribution is actually taken into account in the Vegas loot system. WAR is already shrinking at an uncomfortable pace, and can't afford this kind of story. MMORPG players are to a huge extent driven by incentives and rewards, and flawed incentive systems can be absolutely deadly for a game.
Well, the evidence I've read in favour of it being random seems pretty concrete.
I haven't seen a sample of data that's big enough to convince me one way or the other. Purely random rolls on keeps would be ok with me, but the roll should not stay the same between keep takes just because you stay in the same zone. That sounds more like a coding bug than a design decision? It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
haha saw this post and then immediatly the headline of your last post made me fall backwards from my chair :)
good one.
where you got information that WAR is sinking ?
That something is wrong with that particular piece of code is evident. When i played Warhammer i noticed strange behavior in the PQ rewards: i sometimes joined at the last minute, put 1 or 2 heals on players and earned no.2 contribution.. I dont think it is as simple as suggested, as in : the contribution isnt calculated at all, but there are some nasty bugs which need to be sorted asap.
As pointed out in the source article, creating such a mechanism isnt easy at all, and my guess is that Mythic didnt succeed in getting it to work properly, be it result or performance wise since every action of a player needs to be weighed, registered and lastly contribution calculated. This will put quite some extra overhead on the procedings, which are stretching the limits of the hard- and software systems already. So i would not be surprised if this piece of code isnt done, isnt functioning properly or functions, but only by taking huge shortcuts. I would be surprised if it was totally random though. Whatever the case, it is bad and a statement from Mythic would be needed i guess, even if its only rumors (somewhat substantiated by 'proof') now.
I dont play WAR, nor do I know anything about Mythic particularly, but I cant believe that in these days of datamining and theorycrafting that a big games company would lie about an important mechanic

Perhaps its bugged, perhaps its not perfect, perhaps some people are exploiting it....these things I can believe, but I simply dont buy the fact that Mythic would decieve players in this way
It may be like WoW DPS meters.

Active DPS / Active Time
Active Healing / Active Time

ie: coming in at the last moment, throwing 1 large heal with a fast cast = awesome HPS = imba healer, compared to the guy casting the slow casting low heals that kept the party alive throughout (low HPS = terribad healer).

I don't think it would be that hard to really do a contribution based thing, since at the simplest level its a:

Sum HPS (normalised to dps scale)
Sum ??? tanks

so longest time + highest dps = huge contribution, its simply tracking a single "contribution" variable for each person based on their role, heck could be for all healing / damage at the same time. It shouldn't be that hard tbh.

Take the sample compare function, move some of the '*'s around, and you have the way the contribution function behaves. People who join a PQ later will tend to, but not always, have contribution records at a higher in-memory address.
I havn't played WAR in months but the PQ loot system didn't seem to be randomly assigning contribution numbers. I'm basing this off my experience where I would often fall around the same contribution percentage depending on the group I was with. For example I would run a PQ 10 times, and those 10 times I basically had the same group, I would always fall in the top 10% of contribution every single time.....later in the day I run a different PQ w/ a different group and I now fall in the 50% contribution tier every single time....thus is seemed consistent to me. I guess it doesn't really matter if it a fraud or not, the game still sucks.
HA! What you are saying above is exactly what people claim to be happening. The roll happens occasionally not at each PQ or siege.

This means that you will be getting the exact same rank regardless of the contribution. As you say it you will always end up with the same contribution.
where you got information that WAR is sinking ?

From the same place where I heard that the WAR contribution algorithm is random: Various WAR blogs. They are reporting servers being merged and similar anecdotal evidence which suggests that WAR isn't growing right now. Note I don't say that WAR is failing, it is still totally possible that a lot of WAR players will be back after having played 6 months of WotLK. But right now, WotLK is making WAR suffer, no doubt about it.
Even if the get the DPS/healing contributions right, they always seem to forget the tank that takes a beating while the DPSers have a field-day. Even wow overlooks this -- there are no stats to show how much damage a player took.
For those people who play WoW, it would be an interesting exercise to work out about what they would think about the game if they only read blogs about it.
I't can't be total random. I know that when we played together I sucked really bad and he won every PQ we did together after T1. I got a feeling the problem is something to do with people being grouped.
I'd have to say that further testing needs to be done before I'm convinced. But, if this indeed turns out to be true, then Mythic has committed a fairly aggregious act and should be held accountable by its playerbase.
What this underscores for me is the far more serious problem of Mythic not hosting their own community site with forums to communicate directly with players. Instead of being able to address something like this immediately, it will fester on blogs and breed discontent whatever its actual truth. If the allegations are true, this only further erodes the trust the player base has in Mythic.
The fact that Mythic is neither confirming nor denying these contribution allegations is pretty fishy imho. This allegation is spreading like wildfire throughout the community, and you'd think they'd want to at least address it in some fashion.
Tobold, you said WAR is sinking, which implies the number of players is shrinking. You back this up giving circumatantial evidence that WAR is not growing. Does sinking=not growing?

As always your logic is impeccable! (LMAO)

We all know you don't care for WAR and prefer WOW, you have stated so quite eloquently. Nothing wrong with that at all. Not quite sure why you feel the need to take every opportunity to slam the games you have chosen not to play, but it does get rather tiresome.
Dear Anonymous,

A) I provided evidence that WAR servers are being merged, which is evidence of shrinking, not just lack of growth. The Order side of Casualties of War, the big WAR blogging community guild, had to move from Averheim, because they were told to better move now, before the server gets shut down. Such evidence is reported on pretty much every WAR fan blog, not some malicious rumor you only read on WoW blogs.
B) How could my evidence possibly anything but circumstantial? Every single MMO company I know has always been proudly trumpeting out their subscription numbers when they are growing, and been very, very silent when they are shrinking. This enables them and their fanbois to live in denial.

Which game I prefer has absolutely nothing to do with that. Go ahead and prove me wrong, show me how WAR is growing and opening up new servers. What evidence do *you* have that WAR is not shrinking? I'm not "slamming" WAR at all, I'm just reporting about it. If the reality isn't pleasant to you, that is your problem.
Sadly ive been on both sides of the failed Vegas system. On my aging pc, im far behind the curve in hardware till xmas, so im MrLagg in keep sieges. With long load times, and horrid frames i managed to nab position 1 in the loot system for 2 keeps in the same zone back to back. At the same time my poor chosen only had a damage output of about 12k in a 15 minute SC. Their is no way one can justify a lowb like myself going into the event, doing next to NOTHING and being tagged MVP back to back.
And to flip the coin, my wife who plays a zelot had to go afk while we were grinding through PQ's. she popped me on follow and went to tend to a child fight in the house. The "ill brb" turned into about 20 minutes. With no input from her at all for the duration of the pq, she placed first. Two people that were lost and spamming in region chat as to where the flight point was at got 3 and 4th due to running through the pq, and the sad tank who did the work alone placed last, with no reward.
Good idea, but it appears to be alot more smoke and mirror that we missed in beta and launch.
It's very difficult to measure, since you might have different people help out at the next keep. I have never experienced getting the same position for 2 keeps in a row in the same zone. For other PQs I've seen people post as little as 10 samples and claiming to see a pattern. I am always reading stories about "tanks never get high conribution" (I almost always am in the top 5 with my tank) or "healers never get contribution" (again I'm always in the top 5 with my healer), etc. All of this "evidence" is anecdotal and thus worthless.

Notice the lack of screenshots. I've seen a handful, the OP of the VN board even refused to post screenshots, saying to just try it yourself. Yeah try posting that on a different board like elitist jerks. Not only that but relying on memory leads to survivor bias. You only remember the times it happened and forget all the other times.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad that this is the level of math and science that our schools are turning out.

A handful of samples, or 2 in a row, is simply not large enough of a sample set to determine anything. You'd need the exact same group of people at both, and for everyone to do the same thing in the next keep except for the person who got #1 the first time. Then repeat this for several zones. It would be best if the other faction also did testing so that the keeps could be flipped back and you can continue testing. And of course screenshot every result.

Does sinking=not growing?
For a new game, yes.
I'm not playing WAR at the moment, but I did level two toon into the 30s and I can tell you that contribution is in fact measured. I know this for a fact because I have done enough PQs to have learned HOW to make it to the top of the contribution chart with any of my characters (consistently). If it were random, there is no way that I could have been consistently at the top. I think it's fair, but then again, I've figured enough of it out to ensure I score well.

So while I think there are a few things that make it confusing to understand how contribution is awarded, I do believe that such a system does exist. Perhaps the most confusing thing to people is that damage dealt, damage taken, and damage healed are all factored. They assume that just because they killed everything, or healed everyone -- that they deserve to be at the top. Well, everyone who gets healed also takes damage. If you want to be ahead of them, you'll need to deal damage as well.

It's also measured at every stage. So if a Tank type took a bunch of damage in two of the three stages, but not in the first stage -- it may be hard for them to score high. Or alternately, a player who completed 50% of stage one by themselves is going to have a quite a bit of contribution.
Part of the argument misses the point. I don't play WAR, probably never will. Thus I only know about it from various MMO blogs I read. But this is a PR nightmare. A game that I can tell is struggling from what I read on the blogs cannot afford to have one of their greatest contributions to the MMO marketplace regarded as a fraud.

Regardless to the full truth of the coding, right now everyone is reading this rumor. This is disatorous for Mythic and they have to come clean that they are working on getting contribution right, or show that it is working as intended (seems unlikely)
I will be honest and say I think it is random. First, I've participated in scenarios several times in a row, done the same actions and worked just as hard every time, and sometimes I come in the top 3 and others I'm placed at the bottom (25th or lower, running with a guild group). I know my personal performance simply doesn't vary that much.

Second, I have now seen three situations like this one: Four players are in a PQ area, grouped together. Three of the players complete the PQ, while the fourth was afk to deal with something. The afk person did no damage, no tanking, no healing, no nothing. The afk person got #1 contribution. We were all very surprised at this, so we tested it and indeed were able to make this repeat. The afk person should always have been fourth, and never was actually fourth but always in some higher spot. I suppose 25% of the time you would think they'd land in fourth but we only tested this with three PQ repeats.

To me, this is as bad as the "female toon dps" infamy that plagued AoC. I canceled my account the day that news broke - I'd already thought about canceling it, because I wasn't enjoying the game much, but I was going to wait to see what more patching might bring. But then when I found out my main toon was a DPS gimp and that it wasn't going to be fixed for a long time because the idiots tied DPS to animations? I canceled immediately.

Hope Mythic can save this one because WAR has potential, but frankly I believe it's true based on my own experience with the "contribution" mechanics.
Anecdotally, it sure feels like the contribution roll doesn't contribute. I did like 5-6 PQ's this week, and kept on losing on the rolls. Similarly, I've won when I wasn't that high on the contribution list.

And also anecdotally, the lower tiers seem to be a bit more empty the past couple of weeks. I thought it would be very busy with the holidays upon us, but I'm not even getting the "special event" scenario popping very often.

And final note - one of the "random" guilds that invited me, recently bumped their tax rate up to 50%. Why do they even allow that sort of ridiculousness? I gquit as soon as I saw it.
tobold, while its true WAR is losing player to WAR, saying that its sinking based of various bloggers's flavor of the month is a bit of a stretch dont you think ? personally i played both WAR and WOTLK and very dissappointed with WOTLK's more-of-the-same stuff, not that im saying WOW is bad but for me it is stale and not fun (burned out after leveling all class to 70). The biggest let down is DK , with more of the same quest and fluff quest, i cannot get my DK to lv56, too boring. Fun is relative though as i see my ex-WOW RL friend quits WAR and enjoyed WOTLK immensely.

call me strange but id rather play WAR pvp/pve than WOTLK now, its $39.99 down the drain for me.
Correction for people saying that PQs seem fine. From what I've read it's the oRVR where people are challenging the contribution method, not PQs. Personally, I've had instances where I was doing massive DPS in a small group and didn't come close to winning anything. Other times, where I meandered in late, stayed with the group thru a few keeps and one something at every single Keep. I actually felt bad - hadn't heard any rumors at the time about contribution being challenged and I couldn't figure out how I kept winning when I spent a lot of the time dead. In fact, I lost two of the bags because I was dead and couldn't get back to loot the chest in time. So just a anecdotal evidence, I'm suspect and would like to hear something directly from Mythic.
saying that its sinking based of various bloggers's flavor of the month is a bit of a stretch dont you think

Are you anonymous guys dyslexic by any chance? Reread my post, I never said WAR was sinking. I said it was shrinking, which is a completely different thing. And if you want more proof, then check out the WAR user stats on XFire.
ah ok tobold, its nice to have an edit button.. and btw everytime you hurl insult to commenter that means you did someting wrong and now you are covering your tracks.
tobold this is just a rumor and with no hard evidence. i wish you stop posting this kind of stuff with no evidence. unless you encounter this 'contribution' debacle yourself.
Lol, you can check the RSS feed if you like, or any other site that would show the original. It was "shrinking" all the time, I never edited it. If you saw "sinking", that is probably more a reflection of your own fears. "Dyslexic" is not an insult, it just means you read the word wrong.

And if everyone stopped to report stories unless they had first-hand evidence, neither the blogosphere nor any news media would exist.

found this little gem via

Oh my... ;-)

"The Inquisition, what a show. The Inquisition, here we go."
So the rumor with no hard evidence turns out to be absolutely true and confirmed by Paul Barnett.
Yup - reported over at Massively, too:
Contribution USED to be based on participation, yup but not anymore!
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