Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Folk consensus

Not surprisingly I did not get any disproving argument to my post defeating the "raiders are no-lifers" post. On the other hand I got lot of "there is not enough data to make claims" comments. I finally figured out what's wrong with these people: they believe I challenge a consensus based on non-complete data.

If I would do that, I would be clearly wrong. For example there is a widespread consensus about all theorycrafters that hit is a worthless star to healers. Every EJ post, every class blogger suggest to gather other stats and clearly consider +hit gear as "spellcaster". If I would come up with the idea to gear for +hit, some random data like "I missed a wind shear on Maloriak and we wiped" would only be enough to get me to the EJ Banhammer forum. If I would gather the data for every Maloriaks by log datamining from all topguilds they might not ban me, but the idea would be defeated as interrupting is usually not a healer job and having one more interrupt-capable DD is easier than getting hitcap for a healer (By the way, if you are a Blizzard developer, WTB Glyph of accurate winds). I would have to collect impossibly huge data to disprove every expert who claims +hit is not for healers.

The big difference between "hit is good for healers" and "progression is not correlated to playtime" is that the latter is not claimed by any expert. While everyone seem to believe it, no one says: "I've tested it and it's true" or "I read a study that says it's true". It's like the Flat Earth idea. No scholar, not even ancient one ever claimed that the Earth is flat. Uneducated peons believed so, without any ground, just because they looked around and saw it's flat. When the first Greek scholars came up with the spherical Earth theory, there was no one to debate it, simply because everyone who believed the alternative did so without reason.

The "Earth is Flat" and "raiders are no-lifers" come from "common sense". If you look around, you see flat plains. If you would raid more, you could kill more bosses. Also, since everyone around them believes so, the sheep-mentality also supports their "theory".

Again, the problem with the "raiders are no-lifers" theory is not that "unworthy" people believe in it. The problem is that they have no data at all and don't even know where the data could be. The pre-Newtonian idea of "force is needed to maintain movement and without force objects stand still" had literature. It was an idea, even if a wrong one. People claimed "I read this study that claimed so". The studies had experience, research behind them. Do you know any study that claims that "raiders in general play more than non-raiders"?

I'm not challenging scientific consensus with my new ideas. I just challenge medieval peons who believe that the Earth is flat. Any research with real data (even if just a few) is enough for that. No, I did not call you a medieval peon. Most "more data" commenters said that they don't believe that raiders are no-lifers but I did not gather enough data to convince the others. Who are the "others"? Do you know any person who claimed "raiders are no lifers" or "raiding needs lot of time"? The answer would be "no one I know but seems lot of people do so". Yes. The modern version of medieval peons.

Please recognize that not only the myth of the no lifer is wrong. The belief in the "theory of no-lifer" is also wrong. There isn't such theory. I am not arguing with anyone as there is not a blogger or prominent forum figure who would stand up and say "raiding needs time and not skill"! I'm educating primitive folks, or more correctly, created a study that you can use to educate them if you ever bump into them on /trade or on their lvl 1 forum alt.


Squishalot said...

I know this post is queued up from last night. But take the time to go through the analysis that I've posted in a reply to yesterday's post. I believe you'll find it most 'disproving', or at least, challenging to your theory.

Raddom said...

It would be completely unreasonable to require statistical data to back up every argument that a person makes. Sometimes argument based on logic is enough. At the same time, people may make arguments based on perception and then claim that it is based on logic, when in fact their argument is completely unfounded to begin with.

Dagni said...

In my experience, people believe what they want to believe, without regard for the evidence. You can try and use evidence to persuade them, but for them, ideology always trumps evidence.

The reason is, ideology gives them an incentive to believe evidence that agrees with the ideology, and to discount or completely ignore evidence that disagrees.

The term "scientific concensus" is a contradiction, because science is about finding evidence, doing experiments and then forming a thesis. Or forming an anti-thesis if your experiments or interpretation of the math disagree with a common view. Scientists don't believe in consensus, they believe in experimentation until they have proof.

The majority of the scientific literature disproves global warming. In fact, I can disprove global warming theory in a single sentence: The IR absorption of CO2 is below that of watervapor. I can do it again with another: In the past, CO2 has been vastly higher than the Global Warming "experts" are warning us about, yet no runaway greenhouse effect occurred, in fact, the contrary happened- we got ice ages.

I've yet to meet a global warming advocate for whome these were pursuasive. Almost all of them were ignorant of the science necessary to even understand why these facts disprove the theory. They all had propaganda sites (from other global warming proponents) with wild claims and links to papers (that usually don't back up the claims.)

But to them, this propaganda is fact, and my "facts" are just nonsense because there's a "scientific concensus."

A great example of this is the constant harping on glaciers. Most proponents believe glaciers are receding. ALL data about glaciers is anecdotal, because humans don't even know how many glaciers there are on the planet, they are always receding or advancing, and it changes over time. Nobody has surveyed glaciers enough to count them, let alone know whether more are receding or advancing.

Yet every time a proponent finds a glacier receding, it is further "proof" in their mind of global warming.

It is ideology, and ideology trumps reason. (Or maybe you can call it a religion.)

I think the path to more happiness to me and less annoyance from morons is to stop wanting to convince them. Those who are intelligent will ask questions because they want to know more. The rest are a waste of time and energy.

Unknown said...

I personally believe that the no-lifer argument is the one used by the so called M&S to throw around in MMO-Champion. Not many people worth their salt actually care a lot about how much other people play.

So, no, I doubt the lack-of-data call out is due to peeps doubting your findings but rather plain knoledge that your data lacks, a lot. The study has its merits but needs to be polished to actually tell something.

Also, in EJ you wouldn't get a ban per se but rather a warning worth 1, 2 or 3 points depending on your wording and amount of whining. Even if you gather the data from every healer to ever play the game at any single encounter: simply because the wind-searer healer scenario is both silly and unnecesary in EJs forums, being the site only focused around end-game, and not random stuff that some dude may enjoy doing. Also, I don't see much point in your glyph idea, care to explain?

Feleane said...

With 4.1 all interrupt abilities will always hit, without concern for hit rating. It is right on top of the 4.1 patchnotes.

Anonymous said...

A strange set of posts from you, Gevlon. How widespread a belief is doesn't change the scientific criteria for proving or disproving it...unless you are a social who cares more about popular opinion than verifiable fact.

Besides, many posters yesterday said they believed your conclusion was probably correct, just that your data and argument didn't support it.

Azuriel said...

Err... wow.

No scholar, not even ancient one ever claimed that the Earth is flat.

Did you even look at the Wiki page that you linked in the sentence prior? You are factually incorrect that no (ancient) scholar claimed the Earth was flat. Secondly:

Disprove this with better data or accept: there is no connection between play time and progression.

The above is what I imagine most people had issue with in your other post, especially when you had the PS saying:

PS to "this is nonsense, if I'd play more I'd kill more bosses, the connection between play time and progress is obvious" trolls: of course. But if everyone would play more, than your 2HM would be 6HM, my 9/12 would be 2 HM, randomguy's 2/12 would be 4/12 and Mr "i haz no time 2 raid i haz life lol" would be revered instead of honored with bloodsail buccaneers.

The data is interesting, but extrapolating one random (to everyone else) EU server to everywhere is too bold a claim, especially when you essentially admit that playing more CAN give you more boss-kills. Does it always? No. But no one can kill bosses they aren't attempting, and even you would have to admit that, all other things being equal, your raid group would probably be 1-2 bosses higher if there was one extra raid day in the week.

Going from "more attempts = more likelihood of success" to the no-lifer is a non-sequitur, and a Straw Man besides. People have an issue with you knocking down the Straw Man with an argument that essentially amounts to "whatever your progress/skill level right now, it will not ever improve if you practice more."

Ephemeron said...

"Besides, many posters yesterday said they believed your conclusion was probably correct, just that your data and argument didn't support it."


Using your 'Flat Earth' analogy, you've stated that the Greek word for "Earth" has the same Kabbalistic value as the Hebrew word for "Sphere", and therefore Earth must be spherical. One does not need to believe that Earth is flat to see a flaw in that logic.

Ypp said...

Rejoice, Gevlon :
* All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Shield Bash, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.
(PTR 4.1 patch notes)

Anonymous said...

If that dude isn't a "no-lifer", then nobody is. When Paragon pushes content, he and most of the rest of the guild does little else but sleep, work and play WoW 5+ days a week.

I don't disagree that it's needed to push content; simply paying attention to what you should be doing and not standing in the bad is more than enough for that. But for those who want a first of some sort, be prepared to make sacrifices.

Riptor said...

I agree with you, most hc Players are not actual no lifers, they just dedicate insane amounts of time to the game they are good at during certain Periods of time. If you for example monitor how many Players of a Top Guild are online on average at 19:00, 20:30 and 22:00 you will find a vast difference during Progress and when the Content in clear. There is a significant drop in online time as soon as they have killed the last progress Boss. Also, when a Raiding Guild is progressing a new Boss over days (sometimes weeks), they do not log any Guild xp. But that is beside the point.

What struck me a bit odd was your base Data. You used your Server which is ok, I just find it strange that you would use this Data without considering any other Realms at least in the EU Region. Because just by Ranking, Agamaggan-EU is a very very casual if not to say M&S Server. I am aware of “young” Servers not being as high up in the Ranking as old ones but why would you use 221/268 as a Reference to the overall Populous? Could you next time at least include more Realms. I am not very good at Math so I would really like to see how your Calculation would hold up for other Servers. I do not disagree with your logic; I would just like to see you include not only the bottom half but also the top.

You can easily compare your Realm with EU-Kazzak. The Horde-Alliance ratio is about the same, they are both PVP Realms in the English EU Region.

Anonymous said...

"Not surprisingly I did not get any disproving argument"

You're using a sample size of 42 from your server (that doesn't have all the time spent anyway) to extrapolate generalisations about all guilds and their players.

You don't include any data from any guild that's of the calibre deemed "no-lifers".

I think to some people that just doesn't warrant a disproving arguement.

If I take a sample of 42 players from my guild/server and then based from that sample use it to make comments like "Everyone who plays wow has 3 level 85 alts, here's the data from 42 people that proves it" I wouldn't expect a coherant counter-arguement. I'd expect to be ridiculed for using poor data and drawing bad conclusions from it.

In fact your data was even worse than that, as you were using it to comment on "no-lifers" without including any "no-lifers" in your data set.

So from my sample of 42 I'll add to it that as well as every wow player has 3 max level alts, everyone with 5 seperate accounts on the same server must have at least 20. What.. no-one in my sample has 5 accounts on one server? Why should that stop me..

You got explanations as to why your data was wrong and why it didn't show what you thought it did.

"Again, the problem with the "raiders are no-lifers" theory is not that "unworthy" people believe in it. The problem is that they have no data at all and don't even know where the data could be"

See (already linked in your comments) .. there's your data indicating "no-lifer" activity. 18:00-02:00 raid on a week night followed by an hour or two farming etc. Leaving work early to get on and play computer games.

8 hours raiding a night, 5-7 days a week not monitored by guild XP followed by maybe an hour or so that might be.

Of course you are going to disprove the myth of the no-lifer if you exclude them from your study.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: your "data" is a joke. Paragon is 0.0022% of the raiding guilds. Generalizing anything they do is obviously flawed. While you claim that my data of 42 guilds is not much better, it contains every guild on a server that has no specialities: no world firsts, not 10 months old, not the oldest, a RANDOM SERVER. You seem to be unable to differentiate a small random sample from a small, obviously pre-selected sample.

Analogously: if you would gather reliable data of 42 RANDOMLY selected players and found that each of them has 3 lvl 85 alts, that would be a really interesting find.

Also your claim that "I couldn't find no lifers because no lifers killed more than 4 HC" is equal to "there are dragons outside of the map". The 4+ HC killers are the top 1000 guilds, top 2% of the raiding guilds, top 0.5% of the players. So even if they would be all no-lifers, all you could say is "there are 0.5% no lifers in WoW" which is irrelevant at best.

Anonymous said...

Just a weird theory that is probably wrong:

What if people dont mean the time investment, if they say, that someone is a no-lifer. They could mean, that someone with huge success in a game takes it more seriously as them, and in turn, thinks more about the game, which leads to him being better. They assume that a person who has a life, cant take a game seriously enough to be good at it. Since he has more important things to ponder about, like the job he has, etc. Someone who thinks alot about a game "obviously" has nothing more important in their life, which, to alot of people, looks weird.
In order, they cannot be good at the game, or their peers will think of them as a no lifer as well. They have to hit a small area of playing the game to be in there with their peers, but not being good enough to alienate them. Luckily, this comes natural to a huge amount of players.

Oh the life of a true social, it has to be hard.

Nathan said...

Actually of you add up paragon's total raid time over a year they probably raid less than you.


Because after they do their 12 hrs a day for a month or two to clear all the progression content they only farm raids for 1 night a week therefore allowing their total hours to amount to the same as a "casual" guild.

Anonymous said...


"If that dude isn't a "no-lifer", then nobody is. When Paragon pushes content, he and most of the rest of the guild does little else but sleep, work and play WoW 5+ days a week."

True, but progress time is relatively short. He is a no-lifer at the beginning of the big patch, but once progress is over he plays a lot less. Paragon has a routine of 1 raid/week then, if I remember correctly they were able to clean ICC in around 1 hour, I imagine they are able to clean 4.0 raids in a single evening.

If you average during the whole life of the patch, I woulnd't be surprised to find out they actually play a lot less than other people.

Jumina said...

Just to support this theory:

Yes there are "no lifers" in guilds like Paragon. But once you skip past first 500 world ranks you can find guilds like the one I am in.
We raid 3 times a week for 4 hours. This is total 12 hours a week. We have 5/13 HC and world rank 671. Gevlon choose good sample of data.

format said...

Arun hit it on the head. The HC players play less than anyone. They log on their character, and raid, log off because they have better things to do.

When they are pushing progression they may play for 6 hours a day for weeks. But for the next ~6 months until the next patch, they are very quick in clearing farm bosses since they don't fuck up time and time again.

I have seen (and been in) pugs that last 6 hours to kill only a few bosses and quit to reconvene another day. These people stay up late and are tired at work the next day even though they didn't even kill Putricide.

The not enough data nitpicks are just that, pedantic arguments against something they know is true anyway.

Sthenno said...

The idea that we should accept a theory without sufficient proof just because there is no proof for the counter argument is just plain wrong. Just because someone disagrees with your data doesn't mean they are asserting that the data supports the opposite. For logically and scientifically minded people, the default position is "I don't know" and it takes real data to move them from that. Going off on ad hominem, "you are just agreeing with the folk consensus" attacks doesn't make your data better - especially not when most of your "detractors" think your conclusion is probably right.

I just don't see how guild xp is a good proxy for time played. That idea needs its own data to back it up.

The fact is that time played will always be positively correlated with boss kills. Zero time played always means zero boss kills, 2 hours a week spread over 4-5 play sessions almost certainly means zero boss kills. The basic argument that boss kills require times played is obviously true.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone really debating skill < time?

Both will help your progression, but the coefficient on skill would be much, much higher if one were to model raid progression.

Try pugging alone in the dark out of trade chat sometime.

It's a one-shot speed kill with skilled group, even if some haven't seen it, it's a cloud popping 1/2 insane wipe-a-thon for pugs for hours on end.

Gevlon said...

@Sthenno: the "folks" claim that there is a strong correlation between success and time, not me. I claim that there is none (after the minimum as you pretty well put on the other post referring to "money can't buy you happiness").

sha said...


You didn't prove or disprove anything. All you proved is that guild xp is not correlated to boss kills which makes sense. You don't count wipe nights in that. If said guild kills 11/12 in one day and wipes on neff the next 6 days playing 20 hours/day, they won't be capping any guild xp.

You can only base no-lifers based off individual achievement points (well really time /played but that isn't available). I think this statement can be taken as a general fact: the more achievement points you have, the more time you have spent in game than someone with fewer. Take the top 30(or whatever number) individuals with highest achievement points for each of those guilds and compare it to boss kills. That would be the better no-lifer counter arguement than guild exp which is fundamentally flawed.

Dzonatan said...

This reminded me of one of Game Overthinker video's about violence in game.

He also used the "no studies prove agiants this myth" but also "no studies to prove it is so".

He also mentioned about thinkers and believers.

What he said back then fits nicely to this situation.

Sthenno said...

My point is that I (and others) didn't disagree with your argument because you are challenging a consensus on incomplete data. I disagreed with it because you are trying to prove something with incomplete data. I actually don't care whether there is a consensus on the matter or not.

Perhaps a consensus matters based on the "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" idea, but whenever you claim to prove anything you always need to provide sufficient evidence. Otherwise the sensible thing to do is simply not accept it as a proof of anything. I do believe that time played has significantly diminishing returns on raid success once you pass a certain threshold - I wouldn't go so far as to say that there is none, since we do know that practice makes people better at things. But I believe that for the same soft reasons I believed it before, and I don't think that your argument in your previous post adds weight to that point of view. The simple reason is, as I said, guild xp is not a proxy for time played, so comparing guild xp to bosses killed tells us very little about how time played compares to boss kills.

Unless there is a strong argument that we can deduce the time people play from the guild xp they earn, I just don't see how your argument works.

Anonymous said...

I bet there's a positive correlation between time spent outside WoW on related sites to boss kills though. Someone actually reading up on wowhead or watching a tankspot video is much more likely to do better than someone who refuses to / doesn't know about these sites. Of course it's likely just ties into some kind of external 'motivation' factor anyways.

Campitor said...

There is only a correlation between success and time when the time is spent in meaniful practice. For example, swinging a golf club willy-nilly and trying to hit a hole in one will never improve your game. But analyzing your swing and posture and practicing to improve both will increase your skill a lot quicker.

Squishalot said...

@ Jumina - do you play outside your guild's play hours?

There was a recent research study published saying that people playing games for more than 19 hours a week are at risk of mental and social problems. It's an arbitrary line that they drew that worked for their dataset, but the implication is that >19 hours = too much gaming.

Yaggle said...

Sometimes after playing a lot of Wow for several months, I start to believe that if I didn't play the game, I would get more important things done or have a better life. After several months of this, I realize I have exactly the same life I had before. I think that whether you raid or you don't, playing the game mostly takes up no more time than the average person used to watch television. My parents and grandparents probably watched 3-5 hours of television per day. The man would come home from work, have dinner, and spend the evening watching television. The wife would also watch soap operas for an hour or two in the afternoon in between doing cleaning and laundry. I don't watch any television except for football on Sundays for 5 months per year. The whole idea that any Wow players are "no-lifers" is completely a myth. People have always needed and found time each day to do something enjoyable but non-productive, some more than others.

Jumina said...


Of course. I have alts and chat with people on mumble.

Do you think watching TV for more than 19 hours a week is a risk of "mental and social problems"? Did you check what this definition means according to the researchers? I remember back in 80th there were the same studies about paper RPG games. The risk about becoming "a hero" and loosing the contact with real world. And how many people know anything about paper RPGs now?

The problem with such "social" studies is their authors are dependent on grants. And to get them they must write about something popular. To say: "this is just a game" does not bring them money.

I read about a study about WoW lately. The researchers were asking player to assign human attributes to their avatars. Whether their are brave, greedy etc. And there was some big statement about how this affects human brain. The problem is after 4,5 years in WoW I never met a single player who would give human attributes to their avatars. So I choose to ignore social studies.

Squishalot said...

@ Jumina - I wasn't trying to imply that 19 hours was the right number. It might be higher or lower. My point is that there is a 'no life' point that exists. And yes, I would argue that people who spend 19 hours a week in front of the television have issues and need to get out more.

This study quotes a subset in their sample group that played 44-82 hours a week:

"The effect of social support derived from World of Warcraft on negative psychological symptoms.
Longman H, O'Connor E, Obst P.

School of Psychology & Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia."

You can choose to blindly ignore research, or you can choose to open your eyes and accept/reject it on the merits of its science (or lack thereof). That you choose to blindly ignore on the basis that your opinion is different speaks volumes about you, not the research.

Jumina said...


The problem is you ignore what other people are saying if it does not support your statement. I don't ignore such studies because of my opinion but because of their easily visible flaws.

This reminds me one cute scene from a movie. Long married couple, both with university degree. The wife is watching some romantic soap opera on TV while ironing. The husband is asking her: "How can you watch this with your university education?". And she answers: "Did you ever do ironing? No. So don't ask".

Sometimes you just have to open your eyes.

Squishalot said...

@ Jumina: Ignore what other people said? Let's break down what you said:

"I read about a study about WoW lately. The researchers were asking player to assign human attributes to their avatars. Whether their are brave, greedy etc. And there was some big statement about how this affects human brain."

You said 'this is the study that they produced, this was their conclusion'.

"The problem is after 4,5 years in WoW I never met a single player who would give human attributes to their avatars. So I choose to ignore social studies."

You said 'their conclusion doesn't match what I've experienced, therefore, I ignore it'.

"I don't ignore such studies because of my opinion but because of their easily visible flaws."

At no point did you provide any evidence for this statement. You pointed out no easily visible flaws. All you said was 'my opinion > their data and analysis'.

As you say, sometimes you just need to open your eyes. Just because 9/10 studies into WoW are flawed doesn't mean that the 10th one is flawed by definition, nor is the 10th flawed simply for disagreeing with your personal experience.