Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The rising tide lifts all boats

Yesterday I wrote how most of the scores are concentrated in the hands of a few players, while a huge group has nothing.

The question of today is: what would happen if we would make the game harder or easier. The number of kills would increase/decrease of course, but what would happen with the distribution? The "common" sense would say that if the average kills would double, everyone would get 2x more kills. As always, social thinking is bad and proving it doesn't need a "nerfed" or "buffed" game as there is already an easy and hard mode in World of Tanks. If you are on the winning side, you get it easy. If you are on the losing side, it's hard. The winners have 0.93 kills/battle/player, while the losers only have 0.54.

Now look at the distribution:
That's strange: practically every percentile group increased its income by an equal amount. It isn't that surprising: when things are easy, the result is rather time or effort-limited and not skill-limited. I mean when the enemy tanks zerg on us after they listened to some moron yelling "all rush lololol", the kills are for free to everyone around. I can't reload faster than the guy next to me (OK, I can as I bought rammer), so he can shoot them out just as much. When our tards die the same way, the superior positioning and enemy movement-predicting skill give the good ones kills while only death to the OK-ish (the terribles are already dead).

The same is happening in the real life economy. During booms there is low competition. There is buyer for every papers, jobs for everyone who wants to work, customer for even the most useless crap, so everyone who is ready to do some work will earn some. When things go bad, the competition increases, investors become suspicious, workers are laid off and customers are saving their money, so only the best can get good money.

The above chart shown the absolute distribution of scores, now let's see the relative, where the sum is 100% for both groups:
As you can see the scores are concentrated in the hands of the top ones if the group is in bad conditions. So when the "99%" punks whine that "despite people are starving the top 1% is getting richer and richer", they are no different than the ones who claim "it's not enough that we need to wear raincoats the cars slip too". The bad times cause losers to go impoverished and the top ones to be more rich (relatively, they also lose in the absolute sense).

The lack of difference in absolute income for the 25-30% and 30-35% groups is artificial but not limited to the game. 1 kill is the "minimal wage" of the game, that cannot be decreased, except for zero, unemployment. The amount of minimal wage earners decrease (5 groups for winners, 4 for losers), but the wage is the same for those who can keep their jobs.


Anonymous said...

Based on this report from CEPOS ( in danish. The gini-coefficient were falling from 2007 and forward. The reason were a fall in the value of houses and stock rates which affected the rich more than the not so rich. Low salary income groups are less affected due to a high level of socialservice.

Chaos Engineer said...

This reminds me of a joke:

A smart goblin, a dumb goblin, and a blood elf are sitting a table with a dozen cookies. The smart goblin takes eleven of the cookies, then turns to the dumb goblin and says, "Keep an eye on that M&S. He's going to try to steal your cookie."

Anyway, there are two problems with the economy. Like you said, one of them is the short-term problem of the ongoing recession, and we'll eventually recover from that.

But there's also the long-term problem, which is the shrinkage of the middle class. Basically: Good-paying jobs require skilled labor. Improvements in technology are making it possible to do these jobs more efficiently...which means that fewer workers are needed. The excess workers get laid off and move down into crappy McJobs, and the money saved due to increased efficiency moves upward to management.

We saw the same thing happening starting in the late 1800's, and it led to things like labor unions, socialist parties, minimum wage laws, the welfare state, and Marxist revolutions and near-revolutions in some places that couldn't adapt fast enough. (I'll put in a plug from Upton Sinclair's 1904 novel The's a bit biased, but it's a quick read and gives you a good feel for the social dynamics of the time.)

Just about everybody's forgotten about that now, so it looks like we're going to have to go through the same cycle again. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out this time.

Goodmongo said...

What gets me the most is that terms like rich, poor and middle class are used but no one has the guts to actually define them.

Most of the 99% are willing to tax the rich, but if they find out they are one of the rich their tune changes pretty fast.

And what is poor? Does poor mean anyone without a computer, car, big screen tv etc? Because in the US it pretty much means that. In fact one liberal group listed any family of 4 making under $48K US as poor.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Gevlon, have you considered applying your philosophies to real life business in actual practice? As in, take your savings and instead of storing them in US currency, start a business instead. With a functioning business, you can exploit the weaknesses of socials and the M&S in real life.

I think this would be the ultimate project, much better than any further WoW experiments.