Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What is "rigged"?

I got a very strange response for my stat analysis showing that newbie invasion in Silver league was unnatural and certain league/LP combinations are much more likely than others, showing meddling with people's league/LP. The response is that such manipulation is acceptable and not "rigging".

This is a "true Scottsman" play with words to avoid the conclusion "Riot rigs its e-sport for purposes". Let's be clear: "Rigged" means when the outcome depends on other factor than player performance. Any manipulation of players on ladders is rigging. I understand that some kinds of rigging don't bother you. If you are a Challenger, you can't care less what happens in Silver league. However this thinking wrongfully assumes that if rigging Silver is fine with them, for some reason they won't rig Challenger.

The other argument is that they manipulate for the "common good", just to prevent players fall down the ladder and ragequit. This is wrong because ladder itself is a social construct. Bronze isn't bad per se. Bronze is bad because the "cool kids" are not in Bronze. If 90% of the players would be unranked and just to get ranked would need 7/10 wins in a ranking series against other unranked, then being in Bronze would be a prestigious thing. By unfairly keeping someone in Silver, not letting him fall to Bronze, Riot further decreases the prestige of Bronze, punishing those players who are in it. This is very unfair to top-of-Bronze players who are better than the bottom-of-Silver players who are artificially kept there.

Finally they claim that manipulation is not "selfish", they don't manipulate according to payment. On the one hand, I didn't - and probably never will be able to - prove that Riot gives unfair advantage to paying players. However it's not a long shot that if they give unfair advantage to some players, they will pick those who pay their bills.

However I understand that simply pointing at a graph and pointing at obviously artificial patterns will convince only theorycrafting purists. I will do what I did with World of Tanks: I will prove how you can abuse the rigging for your own good. Socials are very sensitive to "bad selfish people abusing the system".

PS: after trying out everything else, Goons are doing what I told them exactly a year ago. I love the irony.


Smokeman said...

"However this thinking wrongfully assumes that if rigging Silver is fine with them, for some reason they won't rig Challenger."

Silver and below is the people scrambling for position, they can subtly rig that for profit and few people will notice or care. They gotta eat, yo. And their business model IS selling champions and skins.

But if they start rigging Challenger and above? That would be suicidal. Why would they do such a thing? This is equivalent to reason 2 of my "How to tell if it's not rigged" list in the previous blog post. The list was:

How to tell if a thing is not rigged:

Question 1: Is it completely transparent?
Question 2: would rigging this be a felony?

Certainly, rigging Challenger and above wouldn't technically be a felony, per se... but it would be economic suicide if it was exposed. And they appear to have no reason whatsoever to risk that.

So, what you need to do is exactly what you ARE doing. Figure out how to make the rigging work in your favor. Ride that coattail, yo!

HotS player said...

Can someone explain the LoL ranking system to me?

Is this not just a product of the fact that new players need to start somewhere and Riot has decided that they should start between Silver 5 and gold 1? So almost every player who has a low number of games played will be in these ranks?

And how is Riot keeping players in from de-ranking into Bronze?

To be clear are you saying that the matchmaking system is rigged? So that people who would be relegated to bronze from silver get given a deliberately easier matchup so they don't derank?

maxim said...

Top-Bronze have a very fair, direct and powerful way to deal with "unfairness". They simply have to get good enough to blow past the almost nonexistant competition.

I understand you yourself are a top-bronze who is struggling with bronze-silver barrier, so accepting the notion that you are stuck there simply because you are not good might be hard for you. That, however, is the truth.

The assumption that people who chose to rig Silver won't rig Challenger rests on some very good arguments and also on presumption of innocence. You are accusing Riot of the videogame fairness equivalent of murder, arson and jaywalking, and so far you have only somewhat proven jaywalking.

Finally, the thing you seem to be continiously missing is that game companies are getting PAID to make their games fun, even if that means rigging the outcome to depend on things other than player performance. Any possible space for fair competition can be created only if the only players in that space are those, whose fun is predicated on the notion of fair play. One way to separate these players from the rest is to have them get good and get up to Challenger league, while everyone else plays down in silver/gold.

The rigging you uncovered is only a problem if it prevents people who are actually good from getting high, as was the case in WoT.

Anonymous said...

abuse the rigging system?
Like you will play a season and see where you get,
Next season you pay like 100$ and see your rank?
And then the season after that you pay a total of lets say 1000$ and see your rank again?

Or you will queue with a friend who has already invested in some money?

Gevlon said...

@maxim: are you the same maxim who was commenting on the blog for years? Because that guy would have checked my profile and would know that I'm in Silver 3.

The point you are continuously (and not "continiously") missing is that League of Legends is a PvP game so the only way to rig it to give someone "fun" is to also give someone else "not fun".

Challenger league is top 1%. What is your reasoning behind "top 1% must be given fairness, second 1% can be f.-ed and pushed into bronze"?

Anonymous said...

How are you planning to show rigging?

Ideally you could observe two groups one paying and another not paying and to see if we see a discrepancy. But you can't do that because we there is no way to know if players paying or not.

Suppose even that you do find a group of players that show discrepancy. How you going to show its malicious and not a bug?

maxim said...

I am the same Maxim, it just happens that i'm not all that familiar with where to go to check LoL's stats. My consideration that you are a player stuck in gold-silver transition is fueled entirely by your own blogposts where you detail getting dropped back down after a ladder reset.

Either way, if LoL's rating is anything like Starcraft 2, everything below Platinum is simply not worth mentioning in any serious context. In Starcraft 2, you can get to high Platinum just simply by not screwing up the basic mechanics.

The reason most players don't reach even Platinum is because they get caught in metagaming. The experience of playing the underdog against the OP strategy of the month is that much more exciting for most people than figuring out, planning and executing a correct counter.

Your claim that the only way to have fun PvP is to give someone else un-fun PvP is flat out wrong. You seem to equate fun with winning, which is simply a way reductionist understanding of fun. Plenty of fun games out there, built in a way that makes people lose repeatedly.

Finally, yes i do think that only 1% of the playerbase need and want the kind of total fairness you seem to be championing. However, that does not mean that the rest don't get any fairness at all. There are degrees of fairness and degrees to which it can be compromised. The % of population that absolutely must have utterly uncomprimising fairness above all else is indeed very low and can indeed be accomodated entirely in the Challenger league. The rest can and do enjoy various levels of compromise.

Anonymous said...

Method for rigging test:

Same player group with 2 different lvl30 accounts. One paying and one not paying account.
Playing the same champs and with same group.

Dont know much about LoL but seems hard to make this happen.

Gevlon said...

@maxim: the main thing you miss here is that in Starcraft most games are 1v1 or 2v2 at best. While "serious" LoL is 5v5. Ergo, even in a completely fair setting, 80% cases you'll lose because someone else is a feeder (and in 80% cases you win carried). Since player control is already limited, ANY unfairness can undo it. Even if you are a top player, if the matchmaker give you one more clueless noob every game than it gives to the enemy, you will never leave bronze.

vv said...

Players who play on bronze may leave if they don't feel good. That means less potential paying customers. And we don't know where the most "whales" play. Top 1% most likely won't leave and they can detect rigging on that level pretty easily. So all reasons to rig low levels and don't rig top. Most players just don't care about it and those who care usually are good players.

Anonymous said...

Current system in LoL, meaning divisions bronze,silver, etc are purely cosmetic and that is public information, to my knowledge Riot never claimed otherwise. They are not too loud about it true, but that goes against their interest so who can blame them. Yes people are artificially kept in divisions 5 across the board. So it is not just silver 5, it is gold 5, plat5 and even diamond 5. This works as intended because DIVISIONS ARE MEANINGLESS SHIT. Your true elo is hidden and correlation between your true elo and your rank is much lower than it should be if you wanted divisions to be accurate representation of your skill. This is not the plan and it never was. You don't have to datamine inaccurate sites like Lolking to tell you that just look at how promotion works, with one free win if you are trying it again. System is there to make people who are fooled by shiny borders and useless words feel good about themselves.

maxim said...

Sounds like the matchmaker is out to get you specifically. How do you know the other guys are not getting clueless noobs just as often? And if they do, wouldn't your personal proficiency give you an advantage?
Also Scarcraft has random 2v2 and 3v3 ladders. They are not the main mode of play, but the situation there is not much different from 1v1

Gevlon said...

@Anon: summary of your post "yes, it's a big lie".

@Maxim: they are out to help the paying players. As I'm not, I'm drafted into the losing team most of the time.