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Handicapping competitive games

Overwatch is a hero shooter where every player has a different role and different abilities. As an experiment maybe a year ago, I once asked the best monkey player I knew at the time (4200 elo on a 0-5000 scale) to 1v1 the worst Bastion player I knew (under 1000 elo). In the neutral, the Bastion player consistently won despite the yawning chasm between their ratings. This is because monkey is a tank designed to take space and counter snipers and isolate squishy targets from their healers, and is not a character designed to 1v1 a Bastion. If you are missing three people from your team, you are missing three of the six key roles. The best player of all time playing Reinhardt could still probably lose a 1v1 to a bronze Pharah.

Running 2-3 higher-skill players versus 4-6 lower-skill players in variety PUGs, I've generally found that the lower-skill players very consistently win unless we give the 3 higher-skilled players an additional advantage like extra HP or damage. But that's with a ton of obvious confounding factors - my higher rated players might be more inclined to just play for fun, plus the lower-skill players in my community are still reasonably strategic from exposure to team environments.

The first result of my YouTube search is which, as you predict, goes in favour of the GMs. But I think there's very easy tweaks (such as to team composition) that would allow the bronze players to do better. You can see that the first round actually goes to overtime for quite a while, so on paper it's pretty close. Not really analysing this in depth as it's 8am.

Handicapping competitive games

Changing the number of players is a pretty popular option in Overwatch custom games and content; people love "can six bronze players beat three grandmasters?" videos.

We easily have the option to change many aspects of the game - for instance, we can let the weaker team deal 150% damage or give the stronger team longer cooldowns - but in my experience it isn't popular. People learn split-second gut-level reactions and habits for certain things, and part of being a "good player" is knowing instinctively whether you can tank a certain shot when you peek it or knowing when your ability will come off cooldown. Handicapping people by changing those learned values messes with their instincts, and it doesn't feel good to be handicapped that way; people enjoy making the challenge more difficult much more than they enjoy changes that negate their pre-existing skill and nullify their hard work.

Jimrandomh's Shortform

You may find this source interesting:

I remember reading that some hunter-gatherers have diet breadth entirely set by the calorie per hour return rate: take the calories and time expended to acquire the food (eg effort to chase prey) against the calorie density of the food to get the caloric return rate, and compare that to the average expected calories per hour of continuing to look for some other food. Humans will include every food in their diet for which making an effort to go after that food has a higher expected return than continuing to search for something else, ie they'll maximise variety in order to get calories faster. I can't find the citation for it right now though. (Also I apologise if that explanation was garbled, it's 2am)

The Apprentice Thread

Thanks! I've spent a couple years working as an investor, so I'm reasonably happy with my basic knowledge - but I'll skim this and see if there's anything for me.

The Apprentice Thread

[APPRENTICE]: I am a brand new startup founder with, like, 'a few thousand' in funding. (This achieves a surprising amount in the esports industry but is not remotely enough for what I want to do.)

I am 23 and do not know remotely enough about the world to build a successful business. I am interested in fixing this. I will generally be very grateful to people who teach me things that turn out to be relevant. 

Burst work or steady work?

I think this depends a very great deal on what your personal definition of a 'short burst' is. I know some people who will overwork themselves for weeks, then burn out and be unable to leave bed for weeks; this seems bad. 

On the other hand, when I hyperfocus on something for several hours and then take the rest of the day off, I know I get significantly more and better work done than when I sort of idle away for sixteen hours, half-working and half-scrolling-Twitter.

I'm not sure why cycles on the scale of weeks seem much worse to me than cycles on the scale of hours, but one hypothesis I have is that it's about avoiding the lows going below a certain threshold. If I work very hard and am tired and hungry afterwards, that's fine; I'll rest and recover. If I ever reach a state where I'm too tired and hungry to be able to cook a good meal and go through some bedtime rituals, then I'll stop eating/sleeping properly. Once you hit a local minimum, you can be trapped there in a vicious cycle where you don't have the energy to take care of yourself properly, and you don't have any energy because you aren't taking care of yourself properly. Big highs & big lows are fine so long as you can recover from the big low and get another big high, but above a certain threshold you can't dig yourself out of certain holes without help. 

If longer stretches of peak productivity produce worse burnout, then perhaps the key is keeping those stretches short enough that the burnout doesn't cross that threshold?

Leaky Delegation: You are not a Commodity

What does this reasoning look like in cases where all of the above strongly favours doing it yourself, but there's ~no societal norm/support?

The obvious example is phones. I want several features of a flagship phone - I like fast 4G, fingerprint scanners, good cameras, and tapping my phone to pay for things. I also like several features of older phones - I like small phones that work in my small hands, ugly models that don't tempt thieves, plastic materials that don't shatter, and headphone jacks. And I don't need the ability to play motorbike racer games at 60fps! Yet it's very difficult to get a phone which doesn't bundle all of the "high end" features into one package - some of which (nice camera) I want, some of which (shiny glass back) I actively don't want - without getting a low end phone and forgoing all of them. This is for something I use for hours every day!

It's not really feasible for me to design/build my own phone, where I only pay for the high-end features I want and don't pay for what I don't want. But presumably this is a feature of the modern economic landscape, where phones aren't really sold in modular kits and it's much easier to get training in building cars than building phones. Or is it? Is there any possible way to insource things like this? (Building my own computer was very easy!) Can I get together with other people and start a Kickstarter for high end phones that don't have unwanted feature x?