Oh so very lumpy

September 9, 2015

Remember when we (Az) were doing a breakdown of that oddball grouping of Destiny and Hearthstone? Trying to figure out what percentage of the pie was Destiny and what crumbs HS contributed?


Giving HS credit for crumbs was grossly overestimating things.

But hey, recycling existing art assets at the expense of your brand is still profitable, so that’s nice.

CoC: More fun with numbers! Also spots open in our clan

September 8, 2015

(Writeup and stats by Delpez. Also our clan, “Supreme Cream!” has a few open spots due to recent roster cleanup. Please mention the blog when applying).

Supreme Cream Performance

During a previous CoC blog post, a comment was made that we should start tracking individual war performance. That sounded like great fun to me – another opportunity to gather and play with large amounts of data! I also didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, because a while ago we played against JTJU, and they already tracked lots of metrics which I took as a starting point. I only used their output sheet to get the metrics – the raw data capturing is manual (takes about 30 minutes per war) and the rest is calculated by a new Excel macro. So a big hats off to JTJU for saving me the trouble of finding metrics by myself. They also have a really cool website and YouTube channel where all kinds of strategies are discussed. We might consider joining their affiliate program – you get a clan advertisement on their site, and also access to various war tools. The most useful seems to be the ‘one tree’ – a decision tree to help decide what attack to use and a checklist on how to execute the attack. If nothing else it’s a decent place to recruit (via the clan add), since players from a site like that usually have an interest in wars and improving their game.

But on to the performance tracker. Here’s a link to a picture of the final output file:


If you want to have a look at the Excel files behind these numbers, just drop your email in the comments or chat and I’ll send it along. The VBA macro and formats don’t seem to play well with Google Drive. I would appreciate any comments, spot checks or troubleshooting; it’s a ton of data, and although I’ve checked as much as I can, it’s quite possible that errors have crept in. So view this as an early beta version.

So what’s the use of this? I don’t think it should become a measuring stick to punish people – as far as I’m concerned, players only need to execute proper attacks (no barcher!) and try to improve. However, this should give you something to measure your performance against. Obviously you can’t compare an early TH8 with a late TH9, so I think it’s best if you compare with your peers. Look at the performance of players with similar experience and TH levels, and see how you match up – or pat yourself on the back if you are already the best! Currently the numbers are organized by TH level, but I may split it into experience level at a later stage. Also, JTJU have seasons and careers stats – I’m thinking of letting a season last for 10 wars, after which the seasonal tracker resets. On to an explanation of the metrics:

Wars: The number of wars a player participated in.

Attacked: Was the player attacked or not in a war? This is a yes or no trigger (1 or 0).

Bleeds: How many times a player was attacked over and above the first. So if you are attacked three times in a war, you score two bleeds. This is an indication of how many attacks are wasted on your base. There are big differences between high and low level bases here, because typically a clan will keep attacking TH8’s until they get 3-stars (or run out of attacks), but usually won’t bleed much against a high level base with some stars against it.

Holds: How many stars did the player manage to hold onto – if your base is 2-starred at the end of a war you score one hold. If you were not attacked you don’t get any holds, but you’re also not penalized in the normalized numbers. Holds are the opposite of bleeds, in that high level bases usually score high holds and low bleeds, whereas low level bases score low holds and high bleeds.

Overall Closer: The first player to score the highest number of stars against a base will get the closer stars for that base. For example, if player A scores a 2-star and later in the war player B scores a 3-star, B will get three closer stars and A none. However, if B also scored a 2-star, A will get two closer stars (he was first) and B none. Overall Closer just means that all attacks are considered, whether the player attacked up, down or sideways.

Overall All Stars: This just adds all the stars a player scored – doesn’t matter if it’s closer, up, down or sideways.

Overall 3 Stars: The total number of 3-stars achieved, irrespective of up, down or sideways.

>= Same Level Closer, All Stars and 3-stars: This tracks exactly the same metrics as before, but you don’t get credit for attacking down.

MIA: Missing in action – the number of attacks a player has missed in wars he participated in. Sometimes a player will miss attacks when opted in by Syncaine to make up numbers. I don’t have a way to track it here, but it is recorded in a separate activity sheet.

In the second half of the spreadsheet these numbers are normalized by using the attacked trigger (for defensive stats) and war participation (for offensive stats). These normalized numbers should be analyzed for any performance based comparison or discussions.

In the context of wars, Overall Closer is an indication of how much a player contributed to the overall war result, while Overall All Stars show how well a player attacks in general, irrespective of the effect it had on wars. If Overall and Same Level attacks look similar, it means the player attacks mostly sideways and up, whereas a significant difference means the player is attacking down a lot. As mentioned before, you should compare yourself with your peers and keep in mind the type of attacks you’re doing. We need players to take out same level bases, but we also need players who hit down and clean up. Issues with players hitting too low should be picked up during wars and addressed in chat – these numbers don’t give enough context to make assumptions regarding the suitability of an attack.

Finally, I really don’t want to mention names (for fear of leaving someone out!), but I do like to point out some numbers as an example of what to look out for. I’ve been tracking performance for the past four wars (last one was Kosarmaniacs), and three of those were non-events. Thus, the values are skewed by players hitting for loot or practicing new attacks. Having said that, Mikrakov’s attack numbers at TH9 is really impressive, and they were all done against same or higher level bases. At TH8 Zelazny is averaging 5.5 closer stars per war, and all against same level bases. Alistair is average 6 closer stars per war – a perfect record! The difference between his Overall and Same Level stats means that some of those attacks were clean-up against TH7’s, but as a low TH8 that’s part of the job. On defense people seem to like Caldazar’s base, even though they struggle to crack it – he has recorded 12 bleeds! Not many bleeds at TH9, but Adam and Saate have both managed to hold onto 8 stars in four wars.

Lots of other interesting stuff, but I’ll let this run for a couple more wars before commenting further. Any thoughts or suggestions?

ARK – Taming a Diodicurous

September 2, 2015

The ARK obsession continues! Today is the story of my Diodicurous (Diod) tame, and all of the game design aspects that factored in and made it an all-around good time.

The Diod is one of the newer dinos added to the game, and its specialty is rock collecting. This is a very big deal because rocks are one of the most frequently used resources, and prior to this dino there were no great methods of gathering lots of rocks quickly. Once you have one, collecting 1000 stones goes from ‘ugh, need to run up and down a mountain with my ‘E-spam’ macro running’ to ‘lets go smash a few rocks Diod, I need 1k stone!’.

Very recently I kibble-tamed a level 112 Diod, who ended up at level 166 with very solid stats, meaning once he is maxed-out on XP, he will be just over level 200. Even now, at around 170ish, he is a rock-collecting machine, and the fact that he isn’t a huge dino means he gets around on a mountain very well, and is able to keep up when following you between rocks and trees (huge dinos are a major pain, as they get stuck on EVERYTHING).

So how did this tame happen, and what went into it? For that we need to go back a few days/weeks. Diod kibble (special taming food) requires Dilo eggs, some berries, some meat, a bit of oil, and water in a lit cook pot. The two somewhat difficult resources are the eggs and oil.

Oil you get from the ocean, where smaller amounts can be gotten without special gear, but for larger (100+) amounts you really need scuba gear and a tamed dolphin (story for another day). I initially got my first bit of oil the manual way, then traded for a bit more, and currently have scuba gear and a tamed dolphin that I use to gather ocean resources (oil, pearls).

Dilo eggs come from the Dilophosaur, a small carnivore that isn’t too difficult to tame. The best method to get a steady supply of Dilo eggs is to tame a bunch of Dilos, put them in a pen, and collect the eggs. Building the pen wasn’t too difficult, as it’s a simple 4×4 stone structure with a roof, although its rather important that the pen doesn’t have a floor as eggs have a bad habit of dropping through or into a placed structure. Once built, it does take a bit of time to find, tame, and bring back the dinos, and then more time to collect eggs and keep the dinos fed. Oh and hopefully an alpha dino doesn’t come along and murder the whole pen, which is very possible if the pen isn’t constructed well.

Once you have your kibble cooked up, you then need to find the right dino. Levels can range from 4 to 120, and using kibble on a dino below 100 is generally seen as a waste. Finding a level 100+ dino, and especially a ‘perfect tame’ 120, can take some time, or you might get lucky and find one quickly. Also the further from base you go looking, the harder it’s going to be to get the dino back either prior to the tame, or after.

In my case a tribe-mate found the 112 somewhat nearby, and as I have a flying dino, I was able to get my supplies and find him and the dino quickly. Once at the location, I took it down with tranq arrows, sat around for about two hours to get it nice and hungry (a tranq’ed dino is defenseless, so you can’t be too far or they might get eaten by another dino), and finally fed it the 50+ kibble to complete the tame. After that it was just the matter of getting the new Diod, along with my bird, back to base.

The Diod represents a huge investment in time and planning, but ultimately rewards you with greatly improved stone-gathering efficiency. It’s a great risk/reward mechanic, along with a solid progression milestone. It’s also not ‘one and done’ content, as the dino can be killed or lost and require replacing.

Overall I think ARK does a good job of providing both types of progression; you have permanent progression like your character level and your basic game knowledge, and then you have repeatable stuff like building a base or taming dinos. Now time to get back to smashing rocks, in preparation for the next goal.

GW2: The new F2P champion has arived

August 31, 2015

I feel like I should post about GW2 going F2P, only I can’t call it a ‘downgrade to the minor leagues’ because the game wasn’t a sub MMO to begin with. Side-grade I guess? Which, thinking more about it, is right in line with everything GW2; it’s not outright bad, just some middle level of meh.

The business model change, along with what the expansion is bringing (raiding, and basically other ‘end-game’ stuff), is of note however. Out of all of the game’s many flaws, the biggest one IMO is the lack of long-term interest/progression. At the start, Anet wanted it both ways. They wanted the business model to be like a single-player, one-off purchase, but to support the game like an MMO with frequent updates and players sticking around long-term, without actually designing the game to support long-term playing. This change confirms that wasn’t working out, even after the in-game cash-shop was greatly expanded after release.

The root problem circles back to why the sub model is really the only model for successful MMOs; in order to support your game like an MMO, you need a constant source of revenue, which is what the sub model provides. A cash shop is great at hooking whales, and if you hook enough of them you can get a huge, though most often temporary, boost in cash (that you will likely make a big PR release about only to go silence after). But long-term the model simply doesn’t work in the US/EU (Asia is very different) for MMOs. Either you let sales diminish, or you try to keep them up by escalating the cash shop. Either way, things will eventually come crashing down.

MMOs aren’t League of Legends with its 100+ million active players. MMOs aren’t LoL where selling skins fits perfectly with the game, and where creating skins has zero impact on gameplay and the drive of the other developers to improve things. MMOs have a very difficult time not slipping into Pay4Power with their cash shop, even if the intended goal is just to sell ‘convenience’. MMOs also have a hard time convincing people that selling ‘convenience’ isn’t driven by making the free part of the game cripplingly terrible if you don’t pay. There are no hotbars to sell in LoL.

GW2 is likely, almost by default, the best F2P MMO out, and it’s fitting that the ‘best’ F2P MMO is one that most try, find decent, but ultimately don’t honestly care all that much about. That ‘achievement’ is the ceiling for F2P; you made something people don’t hate. Huge congrats. Now make something people actually like, and that $15 a month will start rolling in, consistently, for years to come.

Fantasy Football – Need one more team!

August 29, 2015

Our Fantasy Football league (NFL, not the kickball and pretend your injured activity) needs one more team. Post a comment here with your email (email can be in your profile, not in the comment Guess WP changed that, leave email in comments or email me directly at the email found in the top right) and I’ll send you an invite. Our live draft is tomorrow at 1pm EST, so this will get rolling quickly.

One new player will make it a ten player league, but it can go to twelve if three people express interest.

CoC – Activity tracker link

August 28, 2015

Here is the link to our activity tracker that Delpez put together. Bookmark it!

I’ll be using this to remove inactives to free up spots for others, and to keep the clan as active as possible for wars.

Also, our clan currently has a few open spots, so if you are interested in joining up just find “Supreme Cream!” and mention the blog in your app.

ARK is free this weekend, come see why its awesome

August 27, 2015

As the title states, ARK is free to play this weekend via Steam. It’s a very fun game to play with a solid group, so if you have been on the fence, or are worried about buying an Early Access title, I highly, highly recommend giving it a shot while its free.

If there is enough interest here at the blog, maybe we can get a Tribe (guild/clan) going. Even with just 4-5 people playing somewhat actively the Tribe can achieve big things.

Please post in the comments here if you are up for a tribe, just so I can get an early indicator of interest.


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