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...


Sightless said...

Its because the entire ranking system is an illusion, thus its not an illusion that your visual progress seems to be an illusion.

This whole new system was stapled wholesale onto the hidden mmr/elo system. They didnt change the original system they just stacked this visual scaffolding of leagues and rewards on top of it.

If you won a game and got 0 points, its because your MMR isnt gold elo quite yet.

Your evidence of there being people in gold with a lower elo/mrr can be explained two ways.

1)They hit gold or were carried to gold and have since plummeted in elo.

2)Your assumption about pick order could be wrong. I haven't really seem many official statements on how pick order is derived but playing with a fixed 5 man team and limited experimentation makes me think it may just be entirely random.

Nick Page said...

I stand by my assertion that the system is ludicrous if I can get up to 99 LP in Silver I and not have the MMR to reach gold. Even if there is some mythical hidden MMR where I absolutely must be prevented from getting gold they have to make the curve smoother. Instead of getting 4 points per win up to 96 it should be 2. Earning no points at all for a win feels so terrible the system has to be built to keep that from happening.

5 man teams and normal games are very different things. A normal game will be completely random pick order (except the game creator gets a 20% chance per person in their group to pick first). 5-man teams have a fixed order (with the game creator going first) and we haven't figured out exactly what fixes that order. All we know is it is fixed.

For solo queue, I know it works the way I think. There may be hiccups when your team has a duo involved because it artificially inflates MMR for the duo but the solo players will be in rating order. This was certainly easier to test back when they showed us Elo but I've heard and seen nothing to indicate it is different now.

Nick Page said...

As for it being explained that people can be gold and below me, that's fine. Losing streaks happen at any point in time, and it could knock 'legitimate' gold players below this imaginary MMR threshold they have. Here's the thing... Why does it matter? What does it hurt for these people (who are no longer 'good enough' to be gold) to stay gold? I don't think it hurts anything for some 'undeserving' people to be gold when they 'shouldn't'. Which is why I think this arbitrary restriction I've run into where I can earn 0 LP in a game is so stupid. It isn't a bad thing for these other people to be gold when they may not deserve to be there, and it wouldn't be a bad thing for me to be gold when I may not deserve to be.

I'm not saying maintaining a 50% win rate in Silver I means I should be gold. I'm saying that being high in Silver I and then going on a large winning streak means I should be gold.