Friday, June 21, 2013
Whoaah! Frakkin' Zeno's Paradox!
Zeno was a Greek philosopher who lived around 2500 years ago who came up with a bunch of paradoxes that seemed to show that movement was actually an illusion and nothing could ever move. One of the paradoxes essentially took the stance that if you tried to move from point A to point B you'd never actually reach point B. The reason is that halfway between A and B will always be a point C that takes some finite amount of time to reach. But once you reach C there's going to be a new halfway point between C and B that will take some finite amount of time to reach. Because you can keep dividing this path in half you're going to have an infinite number of points to cross before you reach C, and they all take some finite amount of time.
Now, I've taken a walk before, and I tend to actually reach my destination. I don't know the actual refutation but it probably has something to do with the fact that in one step I actually reach a pretty large number of points all at the same time so once the halfway point gets close enough to the end point I'll hit them both at the same time.
This works great for walking, but it turns out it doesn't work so well for getting promoted out of the Silver I division in League of Legends. I complained earlier about how games used to be worth 20+ points with more points for a win than a loss. The swing near the top of Silver I is more like 3-5 points either way. This meant that without going on a pretty big winning or losing streak I wouldn't be able to see a real change in my position. People kept saying that doesn't matter and I just need to keep playing and winning, either to improve my hidden matchmaker rating or just to grind out small numbers of points over a long enough period of time to get up to the 100 I need for a promotion series. Ok, fine, whatever. Play some games, go on a streak, sure.
Earlier this week I went on such a streak and, winning 4 points at a time, got my way all the way up to 96 points from the 76ish I had. Got into my next game and won it too. Yes! Promotion series, here I come. Nope. Turns out a win at 96 points was actually only worth 2, not 4, so I only went up to 98. Ok, fine, whatever. One more game, which I lost. I lost 3 in a row, in fact, and tumbled back down to 87 points.
Play some more the next day, win more than I lose, get back up to 96. Win again. A gain of 2 points, to 98. Ok, fine, whatever. I was sorta expecting that. One more win and I should be good, right? Wrong. I won my next game, for +1 point. Whooah, I'm halfway there. 99 points. There's no more spots between me and 100 so the next win is golden, right? Wrong. I won my next game too, for +0 points. Movement, it would seem, actually is an illusion. I will never get to the end point because I can't get from 99 to 100 without passing through a middle point which doesn't exist and can't be reached.
Maybe one more win would be enough? I don't know because my next game was a disaster and I lost 3 points back down to 96. One loss undid three wins worth of points. (Though one of those wins was worth nothing so can you really say it got undone?)
I no longer feel like just play a bunch of games and win more than I lose is good enough. I've won significantly more than I've lost in recent days but will need to maintain a 75% win rate just to tread water. Not even the pros win that much against equal competition. So the idea that I need to win that much to stay still in Silver I is ludicrous. Either I'm significantly better than my competition and deserve to be promoted or I'm in the right spot and my point gains should maintain parity at a 50% win rate. The way things are now is illogical to me, which makes it very frustrating, and makes me want to stop playing.
I understand how rating systems work in general. The old system made sense. If I went on a winning streak I could expect to see my number go up. If I lost a bunch it would go down. I played a bunch near the end of season 2, went on a winning streak, and grinded my number up to the point where I was gold status. The similar winning streak now has me making no progress at all and wanting to break something.
Even worse, there's a website that shows you where the players in your games sit divisionwise. I've been checking out all of my games and pretty consistently now I'll be on a team with people in the gold divisions. You can also tell who has the higher hidden matchmaker rating because you pick champions in rating order. I know my rating is higher than some of these gold people as a result. Probably not by much, but it does show that it isn't unreasonable for me to get promoted. The arbitrary barrier where I simply can't get more than 99 points doesn't make sense to me when other people, with worse ratings, are gold themselves.
And really, even if I didn't deserve to be gold, what does it hurt to make it possible to get promoted anyway? Will the world collapse if I'm Gold V instead of Silver I? It really feels like giving me something to play for has to be worth the risk that an unworthy person gets into Gold V. Especially since some people are already there! If I'm not worthy why are the people with worse ratings than me worthy? The answer is Riot changed the rules after some people got promoted and I'm caught in the backlash because I played Blood Bowl when season 3 started instead of League of Legends. If I can't see that number go up maybe I should just go play more Blood Bowl now...