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AaronWilsonCB

June 2017, where do you see the meta?

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2 hours ago, LunarSol said:

I was referring mostly to control effects tied to character plays.  Blind is the classic example, but in general these abilities have a "roll the dice and see what happens" aspect that's generally absent throughout the rest of the system.

This is true to some extent - I was down to last 6 undefeated at UK nationals, when I missed a Lure on Ox on turn 1. That turned what I think would have been a hard to recover from beating from Corsair into a turn 2 Ox Legendary that forced me to play catch up all game, eventually losing 10-12 on an even initiative roll. Arguably that one play's success or failure was the key moment in that whole game, but I quite like a little bit of an X-factor like this that can throw plans off - if everything is too consistent then the math-robots will dominate even more heavily.

To quote a fictional Al Gore "Not every problem can be solved with Chess, Deep Blue. Someday, you'll learn that". 

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The best type of denial is to force your opponent into a position of bad & worst choices.

The best way to do this Guild Ball is to win the race.

I am hoping Season 3 doesn't pigeon hole itself like the past two Seasons, which were to play Blackheart(S1)or Obulus(S2) or lose at the top end.

Obulus really lent to denial, board control players having a decisive advantage over the rest of the field, especially when played by someone who could quickly process and assess the board state.

This was one of the main reasons that I chose not to play in the US Nationals, because to me, no matter who won, Obulus won.

I implored SFG to change him early in S2 just to avoid this scenario, because it makes for a less than interesting tournament scene. People argued with me that he was fine, no worries. So, never playing a single game with him, I pulled him out of my bag, won the Spring Fling, rather easily, and put him back in my bag to stay there until Season 3.

I am hoping in Season 3, we will have balance across the board, with at least 5 or 6 heavily favored Captains. Not taking anything way from Jordan or other S2 Obulus players, because I'm sure they will find their sweet spot with a Captain and will succeed.

I just hope it's not by killing the ball, because that's not a fun play style to play or play against. If that's the predominate play style that is prevalent, I'll go find something else to do that I do find enjoyable.

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On 12/2/2016 at 5:30 PM, Slothrop said:

If you can find two perfectly identical players in skill level and worldview, I would agree with you that their matchup is effectively determined by dice. But no two such players exist. There is always some risk with a dice game, but I disagree that (to just make up random numbers) taking an 80% play is "similarly risky" to taking a 40% play. That kinda just seems like nonsense, man.

I totally agree, though, that we haven't seen the end of risky plays beating safe plays. Part of what I was saying was that we can identify meta trends even if certain individual results go against those trends, which they will.

 
 
1

That depends on the rewards, doesn't it?

Which play would you rate better:

  • An 80% play that puts you into a strong position, but gives your opponent chances to get the game back
  • A 40% play that puts your opponent into a backbreaking position if you win but puts you into an "equal" spot if you lose

There's also short-term tactics versus long term strategy.  I see people making the 'best' turn-to-turn play but it ends up losing them the game.  In Magic terms, the best example I can think of is using Lightning Bolt on a scary creature that wasn't going to win your opponent the game, and a few turns down coming up 3 damage short on a lethal backswing.  I can't really think of a good Guild Ball example, but spending resources to 'efficiently' disable your opponent's resources, when they didn't actually need those resources to get to 12 points.  Like when I'm on Butchers, the score is 8-X and I can make a good play for the ball, and then they spend momentum healing*.

Playing to not lose, versus playing to win.

 

*EDIT or trying to protect/hide the model.  When instead they should shove a sacrifice in the way to make me waste resources and time scoring 2VP that I don't actually need to win.

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On 12/2/2016 at 8:22 AM, Slothrop said:

Hey, so I should maybe make myself more clear about what I'm predicting here, and why.

You're absolutely right about player psychology and it's very hard—practically impossible—to predict the trends of the whole playerbase of something like Guild Ball. Not only are there different preferences for how to play, but most players never get exposure to other players from outside their local or regional metagame. Also, not every player "wants to win" as their main gameplay goal; as you described, you want to play close exciting games, and I think that's a totally legitimate way to view the game. I'm much the same way outside of a tournament setting, but in a tourney I have one very specific goal, to win. That doesn't mean I need to crush everyone I meet or ruin anybody's day (in fact just the opposite—I sincerely hope my opponents have a very good play experience from start to finish), but sometimes crushing your opponent 12-0 is your best route to victory, and in that case I wouldn't hesitate to take that route. Sometimes the best path is to play a tight slow game that ends 12-10, or whatever, and I hope I would identify that and take that route as well. 

So, I can't possibly predict what will be the most played strategy, model, or guild in the game. What I'm really intending to predict in the above post is something like "what strategy will self-select to the top rankings of tournaments most consistently, effectively defining the metagame of successful competitive play." Not quite as sexy as "what will the game look like in 6 months," but more accurate. 

Despite the manner in which Jordan lost to Tim, I actually think that finals game was an excellent illustration of why I think a controlled, ball-killing brawly game will come out on top at major events in 2017. 

To illustrate my point I'm going to take a look at three of the most visible players in Guild Ball: Jordan, Tim, and Trent. I've talked to all three at least a little bit and think I can talk with some authority about their playstyle; if any of them have a problem with my characterization I'm more than happy to adjust it or admit I'm wrong.

  • Jordan is a player who has excellent mathematical skills for both precise calculation and on-the-fly estimation. He also has what I would call great respect for the results of these calculations, in that he uses them to determine the most likely path to victory, and doesn't second guess the calculations even if the dice don't end up going his way. When he takes a 75% shot on goal and misses, he doesn't see that as player error, unless there was a way to get a percent chance above 75.
  • Tim, I think, is also a player with strong mathematical skills, though I get the impression he isn't quite as fast as Jordan. But unlike Jordan, he's not risk-averse. Tim demonstrated that he's more than willing to take lower-chance opportunities for greater rewards; this introduces a great deal more randomness into his playstyle, which someone like Jordan would identify as a weakness of the plan (and Tim might not even disagree!), but the plus side is that the times when these plans do succeed introduce a gamestate where Tim has a far more dramatic advantage than a player like Jordan would achieve. If a player like Tim can capitalize on this type of unlikely scenario (as Tim himself demonstrated he can), then the player at least has a chance to outperform expectations or catch another good player in a spot they aren't prepared for. 
  • Trent is an idiot who has no idea how to play the game. Kidding! Trent is a player who does not rely as heavily on quick probability assessment and instead uses experience and instinct (as well as prepared mathematical assessments he's memorized, like "How likely is Obulus to hit 3 successes on a 4+/1 model") to make efficient individual decisions and transform an abundance of those into an insurmountable advantage. I consider myself a player like Trent, but Trent is a better example cause I scrubbed out and didn't make it to World Champs. The unfortunate reality of Trent's style is that, while it carries him to the top of the mountain very often, this style suffers versus players like Jordan, who are far less likely to make individual mistakes than someone playing like Trent. Trent can make 10 good decisions in a row, but if he misunderstands something about the board state at any moment, that 11th, wrong decision will give an opening that Jordan will immediately capitalize on. Trent is a top-skill example of the way I expect most players of Guild Ball play, and unfortunately the difficulty curve for this playstyle ramps up considerably at the top end. It's not impossible to be the best player in the world like this, but I think it's harder for this playstyle than it is for Jordan or Tim's. 

What does this all mean for the Season 3 ball thing? First, that Jordan, in the face of all these fancy new football players, will self-select to a playstyle that admits the least variance in dice and game outcomes. This would be the denial-heavy, ball-killing playstyle. Second, that Tim will probably end up playing the above-mentioned fancy new footballers, and hope to push Jordan-like players into situations where they can no longer control the gamestate. Third, that players like Trent will play more aggressively, giving up more advantages to Tim-like players but being well-prepared to punish Tim in the case that any of these high-risk, high-reward plays go horribly wrong.

So what I see happening is that most of the top players in each region will end up playing like Jordan in order to avoid crazy, high-speed games where captains like Midas run away with the win before they get a chance to participate. Denial-style players will naturally rise to the top of most tournament brackets since 1. their strategies are more likely to win consistently and we will have a larger sample size, 2. players like Trent may be denying players like Tim the opportunity to even get to the top table, and 3. players like Trent will most likely lose to players like Jordan except in cases of a huge skill disparity. Thus, the ball will be killed by most top players, because that strategy is most likely to self-select to top table, and top table is how we identify top players

If I had to advise someone on who to bet on in the Season 2 World Championship Finals, I would say Jordan. I would say Jordan in a second or third game even after watching the first. This is to take nothing away from Tim's incredible achievement, especially if he is able to play a more controlled style and consciously made the decision to play hyper-aggressive against Jordan, identifying that that is the "best" (even if less-consistent) way to beat a player like Jordan. Adjusting your own playstyle to play against an opponent's is a hallmark of a great player of any game. But Jordan and risk-averse players like him are ones to watch for what happens to the top competitive metagame, even if a player like Tim once again wins a World Championship. 

Without a doubt the most romantic post on these forums, now and forever.

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8 hours ago, angelforge said:

That depends on the rewards, doesn't it?

Which play would you rate better:

  • An 80% play that puts you into a strong position, but gives your opponent chances to get the game back
  • A 40% play that puts your opponent into a backbreaking position if you win but puts you into an "equal" spot if you lose

There's also short-term tactics versus long term strategy.  I see people making the 'best' turn-to-turn play but it ends up losing them the game.  In Magic terms, the best example I can think of is using Lightning Bolt on a scary creature that wasn't going to win your opponent the game, and a few turns down coming up 3 damage short on a lethal backswing.  I can't really think of a good Guild Ball example, but spending resources to 'efficiently' disable your opponent's resources, when they didn't actually need those resources to get to 12 points.  Like when I'm on Butchers, the score is 8-X and I can make a good play for the ball, and then they spend momentum healing*.

Playing to not lose, versus playing to win.

 

*EDIT or trying to protect/hide the model.  When instead they should shove a sacrifice in the way to make me waste resources and time scoring 2VP that I don't actually need to win.

The problem is that you don't know always know what the best strategy is. That scary creature might not kill you this turn but than you don't draw the cards to stop it the next turns and you still need to kill it off with the Lightning Bolt. In the end you are transforming resources into other advantages: do I need that extra momentum to win the initiative for the next turn or to heal one of my players? And even then I could roll crappy or my opponents dice could get hot on the attack against the model I just healed and still take it out. 

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Okay. My weekend is over!

When comparing players of similar playstyles, you must assume equal skill in order to have any conversation about it other than "Well the better player will win." Because of that, when comparing 2 risk averse analytical players, I assumed equal skill as I had something specific to say about a match up like that and saying "When Jordan plays Jordan, the better Jordan will win" is largely useless. Without assuming equal skill, your several hundred words you wrote could just be reduced to "Well whoever is better will win." and I don't think that anyone wants such reductive attitudes when talking about specific things.

On 12/2/2016 at 4:30 PM, Slothrop said:

but I disagree that (to just make up random numbers) taking an 80% play is "similarly risky" to taking a 40% play. That kinda just seems like nonsense, man.

I find it curious that you read my post and concluded that I somehow think 40% and 80% are the same thing (conceding those are random numbers but the point remains)? I was either terrible at explaining it, or you're being reductive in order to disagree. I'll assume the former and try and explain it more clearly.

I think it's important to say, before I get into this, that I there's a stark difference between me and you deep dish boys, in how we fundamentally think. I think you guys tend respect the hard numbers in a way that ignores things that cannot be quantified. I think I err on the other side of the spectrum. Not that I don't respect math, I'm not a monster or a moron, but I consider things like "risk" in guild ball to be relative, not exclusively an expression of likelihood based on percentages. Oh and you guys very clearly hate whimsy.

That being said, what I was talking about when I was claiming that risk aversion and risk taking are similar, it was exclusively in the context of 2 risk averse players playing each other. Which was assuming the premise that I feel was the whole thesis of your original post, that risk averse playing is the right way to play Guild Ball competitively and people will start playing that way in order to win events. If 2 players are making their decisions based on a similar threshold of success, both players are playing risky Guild Ball. Y'know, like, "When everyone is super, no one will be."

The reason I even bring this up isn't actually to make some grand sweeping point about the future of Guild Ball meta in terms of playstyles. It was more to ponder a scenario that I was hoping folks would weigh in on. I am curious what happens when everyone is playing RoboBall and fate is not kind to all of them. They miss one too many 80% shots, their opponents dice never seem to fail and they decide that playing in a way that is assuming a great amount of success makes failure too punishing. I wonder if those people start playing a game by feet instead of inches. Making large, risky decisions that when they work, offer a large advantage over their opponents. I think we saw this in the WCFinals. When Jordan's high percentage play didn't work out, it meant he lost the game. When Tim's lower percentage play didn't work out (his missed Mist goal) he was left with options. Obviously this is one game and I completely understand that. Please understand that my entire foundation of opinion is not based on this one game I watched on the internet. But I feel it still serves to illustrate the point, expectation that a high percentage play is going to work can be dangerous. Expectation that a low percentage play isn't going to work, can also be.

I feel that it is because of this that we have certainly not seen the last of Big Dick Guild Ball at top tables and instances of RoboBall tallying losses from them. It is why I truly don't think it is as cut and dry as your initial post makes it out to be. TL;DR I think good guild ballers will be robots with big dicks.

Edited by Absoclass
Clarity and sexiness.

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28 minutes ago, Absoclass said:

I find it curious that you read my post and concluded that I somehow think 40% and 80% are the same thing? I was either terrible at explaining it, or you're being reductive in order to disagree. I'll assume the former and try and explain it more clearly.

Assuming this was directed at me - No, I wasn't trying to call them the same thing.  I was trying to come up with two plays that you could argue for "equally" - one safe and strong, and one risky but with a big payoff and no major gains/losses on fail.

For the record, I play risky.  When the safe play is the strongest, I take that - No point throwing games because 'oh man it would be sweet if I double wrapped on the charge!"  But when I see two plays I judge to be "equal" - one safe and strong, one riskier with a bigger payoff (and importantly, no major holes my opponent can exploit and turn into a win), I'm going to take the risky play.

Another shot against Roboball - it loses to someone who can Roboball but plays Riskball.  They know your plans because it's the 'right decision', and when the Roboball goes wrong (or Riskball goes right) they're in a much stronger situation to pounce.

EDIT - One last shot against Roboball - 

"It was more to ponder a scenario that I was hoping folks would weigh in on. I am curious what happens when everyone is playing RoboBall and fate is not kind to all of them."

The Robo-ball player is not a robot.  Emotion weighs into everything.  It's a lot easier to get tilted when your 6 dice pass misses if you only take "likely" plays.  Wheras a player used to risk is a lot better at shrugging off 'the dice' when they go wrong.  Once you start the tilt, it's hard to pull it back -and it's *much* harder to evaluate options when you're huffing and puffing over the missed pass.

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9 minutes ago, angelforge said:

Assuming this was directed at me - No, I wasn't trying to call them the same thing.  I was trying to come up with two plays that you could argue for "equally" - one safe and strong, and one risky but with a big payoff and no major gains/losses on fail.

Nah, dog. Not you. I forgot I deleted my quote in there. No need to defend how you play the game, not here to attack anyone. ^_^

Edit: It's worth noting that I never said RoboBall players don't tilt. Not tilting is a skill and so, in the case of my argument, it falls under the "Better player wins every time" category of not being particularly useful to discuss.

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Just now, Absoclass said:

Nah, dog. Not you. I forgot I deleted my quote in there. No need to defend how you play the game, not here to attack anyone. ^_^

Repent, Robo-Ballers!  You machines take all the fun out of rolling dice!  "Muahahaha, rolled exactly as planned! The statistics are on my side, you lucklord heathen!"

I never answered the OP!  This is where I see the meta in June 3017:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfNRXTS55nY

 

Does it make me a robo-baller if I'm on the Engineers hype train?

 

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2 hours ago, angelforge said:

"It was more to ponder a scenario that I was hoping folks would weigh in on. I am curious what happens when everyone is playing RoboBall and fate is not kind to all of them."

Same thing that happens in Chess.  Probability math isn't about the chance of single actions, but aggregate actions.  It's about visualizing the results of every choice pass or fail and trying to see which one has the best chance of succeeding overall.  A good example is what happens when the opponent has 8 points; suddenly, a huge number of options go away, regardless of how probable they are if the next board state allows the opponent to score.  If its 6-8 and you have a 90% chance to score, you're probably better off taking the 60% chance of knocking out the opponent first.

That's a simple example but ultimately what its all about.  You can't look exclusively for the most probable positive outcomes.   At some point you calculate that your "best chance" still loses and realize that a riskier play is actually your best chance.  This is basically the cornered beast point in the game where the player in a dominating position needs to remember that giving the opponent a 20% chance means losing 1 game in 5.  

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2 hours ago, LunarSol said:

Same thing that happens in Chess.  Probability math isn't about the chance of single actions, but aggregate actions.  It's about visualizing the results of every choice pass or fail and trying to see which one has the best chance of succeeding overall.  A good example is what happens when the opponent has 8 points; suddenly, a huge number of options go away, regardless of how probable they are if the next board state allows the opponent to score.  If its 6-8 and you have a 90% chance to score, you're probably better off taking the 60% chance of knocking out the opponent first.

That's a simple example but ultimately what its all about.  You can't look exclusively for the most probable positive outcomes.   At some point you calculate that your "best chance" still loses and realize that a riskier play is actually your best chance.  This is basically the cornered beast point in the game where the player in a dominating position needs to remember that giving the opponent a 20% chance means losing 1 game in 5.  

So this may be where my own lack of understanding hinders my opinions. I'm not particularly familiar with the pro-chess scene or the game theories within it. I think your point is what I was trying to get to, but lacked the knowledge to say it so succinctly. Thanks for taking the time to say in very few words, what I think I was trying to say in... well... more than very few.

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On 12/1/2016 at 11:18 AM, Slothrop said:

In all seriousness, here's my prediction, colored heavily by discussions with our locals.

Steamforged in Season 3 have added a lot of ball-dependent effects to the game—stuff like Ballista and Midas's legendary plays and Blackheart's whole situation—in addition to ones that already exist like Pin Vice's LP. It feels like the intent was to get people playing the ball game more, and push people in the direction of a 2-2 win condition regardless of team. I think this consequence will happen initially, but what it will mean in the long term is actually the opposite: faced with teams that need the ball to do their cool stuff, players will realize that the best way to fight that team is to hide or "kill" the ball. In a few months I predict that your ability to play the game at a high level will be determined by 1. your ability to play well without the ball, 2. your ability to hide the ball, and 3. your ability to retrieve a hidden ball. 

This prediction makes me a bit frustrated with Steamforged's latest designs. It feels like they've considered how a model will be used in isolation ("ah, yes, Ballista will rumble through the scrum until he gets the ball and then smash it into goal from 10" away with his super sweet Legendary") without thinking enough about how these changes will affect how the game is played around them. If my opponent has a big play that I can straight up take out of the game by denying them the ball, I will absolutely do my best to make sure they never get the ball. I think people will play the ball less because the ball has become an even bigger bonus to most teams than it once was, but it hasn't become much easier to track down and take. 

These latest ball-requirement designs are in contrast to a player like Shark, who I consider very well-designed. He really wants the ball to go and score points, but 1. he has a lot of tools to get the ball both himself and in his team with lots of speed, 2" melee, and low tackles and dodges, and 2. only his Kick stat is totally removed from the game if he doesn't have the ball. To me, the true mark of a great striker is retrieving the ball, not scoring. 

This overall design trend plus the Union and Vet Player limits are my least favorite things about Season 3 and I am worried they will have too much of an impact on the meta this year. The plus side is definitely that I think overall model balance is the best its been in the game's short history, and mascots being a bigger part of the game feels both healthier and more fun. I hope I am wrong about the ball and players show me that a high-octane ball-scoring style is the Good Shit. If that's so, I imagine Shark, Midas, and Ballista will dominate the meta. If I/we are right about what the ball means, then VetRage feels like he will be sitting on most top tables this year. His mixed, tricky beatdown game is so crisp. 

I appreciate your viewpoint, but I wonder how much of that perspective is based on the playstyle you guys favor over there in Chi-town. Double dodge guys described it as methodical, which is a good way to reference it. I would also describe it as favoring control/denial. it is certainly one way to be successful at the game, however it's not the only or necessarily the "best" way to play. 

I think if we see a shift in the meta to a strategy of ball denial, that will make the teams that are good at getting the ball better positioned. you bring up ballista as an example; he has a legendary reliant on having the ball. However, he has tools himself (deadbolt, low tackles on playbook) as well as within his team (salvo or colossus for loose balls). I'm not convinced that teams will be able to "kill" the ball while also maintaining control of the board and actively working towards their own victory conditions. Rather, I think you will see the more fighty teams going more for their own aggressive lines of play, including using the ball to get into threat ranges and take out key models, while also threatening the goal. 

I predict we will see a mix of strategies, as the teamstudy that seem to be getting a lot of attention and xcitement are teams such as union, fish, engineers, alchemists that can be flexible and shift between a more controlled, take out focused strategy and an aggressive goal scoring strategy. 

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Well I think at one point or another they stated that a scoring ball game is how it's s'posed to be played and there has been a noticeable shift in that direction with players like Midas, Blackheart and the whole of the Engineers team.. 

As with all tournament dice games though there will be players trying to force the lower risk options and suck the fun out of everything.. 

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I hope we all play more football. I'm biased as a Fish player, but the whole point of the game is to be a game of football, with some violence thrown in for good measure.

In terms of risky plays and such, I'm always looking for the 3-0 win, so I am always taking those sorts of gambles, I'm pretty ok with shrugging them off when they don't work.

The only one that ruins a game for me is the second time in a game when you miss a shot on goal. Once, fine, it happens. Twice - I'm doing the right things, but the dice are just saying no. I can't really be bothered with the game after that point.

This probably makes me a bad loser, but I think it is understandable.

The one time I missed three shots in a game (all of them on 3/4 dice on a 4+), I wanted to flip the damn table.

 

 

Neil

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5 hours ago, Neil Peckett said:

I hope we all play more football. I'm biased as a Fish player, but the whole point of the game is to be a game of football, with some violence thrown in for good measure.

In terms of risky plays and such, I'm always looking for the 3-0 win, so I am always taking those sorts of gambles, I'm pretty ok with shrugging them off when they don't work.

The only one that ruins a game for me is the second time in a game when you miss a shot on goal. Once, fine, it happens. Twice - I'm doing the right things, but the dice are just saying no. I can't really be bothered with the game after that point.

This probably makes me a bad loser, but I think it is understandable.

The one time I missed three shots in a game (all of them on 3/4 dice on a 4+), I wanted to flip the damn table.

 

 

Neil

Yeah, Shark can recover from one missed goal, but 2 is really rough, especially if it's Shark who is doing the missing...

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Damn this thread got crazy fast lol

 

If I had to guess I would say that the Meta will be who can handle the ball aspect of the game better. What I mean is being able to retrieve the ball after a goal, hold it if you cannot make the goal and being able to kill it if necessary. 

 

I think either Alex or Jordan said it best (paraphrasing here) "the resource of the ball has become much more significant so why would you let go of it" . This is basically where the rest of my point comes in, you must be able to score and retrieve the ball very smoothly in between plays.

 

For that reason I made my rankings of the top factions in the order they are. 

 

S tier: Engineers 

A tier: Union, Morticians

B tier: Fisherman, Alchemists, butchers

C tier: Brewers, Masons

Hunter tier: Hunters

 

The best team at being able to retrieve the ball and score or secure it is Engineers. The rest of the factions are placed following that logic and the other techniques that make up this game.

 

You still have to fight and you still have to generate momentum, which makes other factions have to work harder. The differences in the tiers are based on how much work each faction has to employ to achieve victory.

Edited by Makhina
Grammar

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There have been many words, and my post is too general to make it sensible to quote a single post, and there are too many posts to quote them all, so...

 

Calculating (or having a "feel" for) the chance of success of a play is necessary to be consistently successful.  Just knowing the odds isn't enough though, you need to be able to assess the value of the success (an 80% of a goal that leads to a 60% goal chance for your opponent to win is worth less than a 60% chance of a safe 2 points).

The closest analogy I can think of is poker -- that's a game where luck can get you onto the final table of a tournament, but the guys that are there on the final table every week are the ones that can accurately assess probability and expected value (EV).

Generally, you want to make as many +EV plays as possible, and as few -EV plays as possible.  EV is

 

(probability of successful play * benefit of that play) - (probability of unsuccessful play * loss due to that play)

 

Obviously outcomes are branching at each decision point, and the more levels down the decision tree you can "see" and calculate for, the more accurate your assessment will be.

 

MATHS IS FUN!

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