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Hax In Pokemon Battles

Discussion in 'Smogon's Greatest Hits' started by X-Act, Mar 12, 2009.

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  1. Lemmiwinks MkII

    Lemmiwinks MkII

    Jun 14, 2007
    To be honest, I can't begin to understand how ANY of those factors have been assumed to be correlated or inverse correlated with quantity of hax. No explanation was given whatsoever.



    Again, why? Where is any of this coming from? As far as I'm concerned, Pokemon has way too many variables to make such oversimplifications. As for the win probability, I don't see how it is fair to apply a variable based on long-term probability to a formula that has an absolute fixed threshold with a discrete outcome, thus disadvantaging the lesser player in EVERY match, even those that they win on merit. Not to mention giving the better player a consistent advantage, despite being equally likely to have hax in their favor.

    Even though I'm currently against this idea by its very nature, I'm still open to persuasion if someone could convincing argue in favor of such a formula and explain convincingly why each variable can justifiably be related to hax. So far I've seen nothing of the sort.
  2. reachzero

    reachzero the pastor of disaster
    is a CAP Contributoris a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Oct 18, 2008
    A few events occurred yesterday that forced me to seriously re-evaluate my position on this formula. The first is that I laddered on the Suspect Ladder, and had a particularly frustrating match. Two of my Pokemon were paralyzed in the endgame of a match, just as I was about to clinch the battle. I only need to make on more move to put the game away. As it turned out, my two Pokemon full-paralyzed eight consecutive turns, and I lost the match. I'm not so good with statistics, but I understand that the probability of that happening is pretty astronomical. However, with 216,000 battles on the Standard ladder in a given month, we have an awful lot of monkeys working on an awful lot of typewriters, so it's hardly surprising if we get an occasional Shakespeare of hax. However, this reminded me of the Shaymin-S voting thread, where people expressed such sentiments as this:
    What were these battlers reacting to? Not to ordinary examples of everyday "hax", but to extraordinary examples of completely ridiculous hax. Shaymin-S is only an exaggerated example; who hasn't lost because Fire Blast missed four or five times, or had Magnezone killed by Iron Heads from Scarf Jirachi? Ordinary, statistically probably hax is acceptable, "part of the game, no sense in complaining". But why should we accept ridiculous hax as representative in normal game play when calculating something like rating, which is designed to reflect the comparative skill of players? Why should we accept the 2% of matches that do not reflect the normal competitive metagame? If in a given battle a 60% accuracy move like Hypnosis is used 15 times and hits all 15, then it gives an inaccurate picture of the risk involved in using Hypnosis. It is not reflective of the actual value of Hypnosis. Why should we reward the user of Hypnosis for playing as if Hypnosis always hits? Now, as a matter of the obvious, we don't want our formula to affect the vast majority of matches that are not decided by extraordinary hax, only the absolutely ridiculous examples of hax. I suggest that instead of arguing over whether or not we should draw a line regarding acceptable levels of hax that we instead talk about where that line should be drawn. As a bonus, players would no longer need to worry about facing "very haxy" Pokemon such as Jirachi or Shaymin-S, since they know that they will be limited to acceptable statistical levels of luck. The sooner we perfect this formula and actually implement it, the better and more enjoyable the competitive battling experience will be, in my opinion.
  3. Stallion

    Stallion 20% of the time, it works every time
    is a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion

    Jun 11, 2006
    I have thought about this idea a little more in-depth now, having been approached by those who both agree and disagree with this notion and I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a strong advocate for it. In my opinion, it enriches our metagame both through minimizing luck and increasing the variety present. For example, with the new hax formula, stall is a much more viable style of play. I have had massive troubles in the past where I have thoroughly outplayed my opponent only to have been done in by a lucky critical hit. Conversely, I’ve been thoroughly outplayed by people running a stall team only for my MixMence’s Draco Meteor to critical hit his Skarmory and faint it, undeservedly opening his team up to a sweep for another member of my own, even though his team is structurally more sounds then mine. I am sick of a metagame that is so centered around revenge killing and “checks” rather then the good old fashion way of being an “100 percent counter” to something, and this formula would encourage more solid team structure as well as promote the use of a relatively rare playstyle.

    Similarly, bulky stat-uppers that use moves such as Bulk Up and Calm Mind aren’t used in lieu of their more offensive cousins in Tail Glow, Swords Dance, Dragon Dance and Nasty Plot. Moves like Calm Mind and Bulk Up are much better to sweep with (except for possibly Dragon Dance, due to the extra speed.) due to padding your defenses as well as your offenses. Stuff like Calm Mind Jirachi, Celebi and Suicune as well as Bulk Up Machamp and Gallade are personal favourites of mine, as they are very hard to OHKO as it is, and with even + 1 or + 2 in a stat, it becomes nigh impossible. However, when bullshit like an Infernape’s Grass Knot scoring a Critical Hit on my + 6 Suicune happens when all he has left is a Heatran and Scizor, I have been deterred from them. This new hax formula will give this stagnant metagame much needed diversity in terms of a whole new set of stat uppers becoming competitively viable as well as the almost dead art of stall.

    This and the fact that it takes the rating of the players in question involved to help determine the winner means that the stronger players are much less likely to be undone by hax. Of course there will be a few matches where the lesser player outplays the more highly ranked player, and if there is no hax involved then this is a perfectly acceptable outcome, but more often then not the lesser player needs lucky critical hits or side effects to beat their superior counterpart.

    For all those opposing the implementation of the formula, isn’t minimizing luck to give the more skilled players the best chance of winning what Smogon has been striving to do all these years? We don’t play pokemon competitively to hope to get a lucky crit, we play so that we can beat our opponents through the skill of our tactics. Just something to think about for everyone.
  4. Lemmiwinks MkII

    Lemmiwinks MkII

    Jun 14, 2007
    I found this part to be quite interesting, particularly the application of hax evaluation to the rating system. The only way I can see this being in anyway acceptable, though, is if we didn't allow the hax factor to affect the 'official' outcome of the match (i.e. who wins), but to take into account the relative degree of hax on both sides (compared to the expected amount) when calculating how much each player's rating changes after said match.

    Maybe I didn't explain that too well, so allow me to put it into some kind of context. Let's say one player uses a total of 32 attacks (for simplicity) against the opponent, all with a regular crit rate and in the complete absence of hax-dependent or hax-preventing abilities (Super Luck, Battle Armor etc). Now the most probable outcome here (I'm assuming?) is that 2 of these moves would critical hit in this match, so if this turns out to be the case no alteration would be made to the base rating change. But if more or less than this value occurs, an alteration would be made proportional to how great the statistical discrepancy is (some complicated formula that X-Act or someone else mathematically inclined can come up with).

    This would be a fairly small change for say 0-4 crits as they would be reasonable statistical fluctuations, but for more than that the discrepancy would start to increase greatly, and this would be taken into account in the rating system. This same procedure could be applied for all factors (added move effects, sleep/freeze duration, hit/miss rate for moves etc), and at the end of the battle there would be an overall 'hax evaluation' for both players showing the overall discrepancy from the most statistically probable outcome. If a player wins but their 'hax evaluation' (HE) is positive (i.e. hax has gone more in their favor than against), then their rating increase would be smaller by an amount proportional to this value. However, if their HE is negative, their rating increase would be greater as they have won despite hax going against them for the most part. The same would apply for the loser; their ranking would go down less if negative HE, more if positive HE.

    I can see that this has the potential to be very complicated, what with all the variables to be taken into account. Furthermore, my explanation is rather crude and oversimplified as it doesn't take into account other important factors such as 'necessary or unnecessary' hax. That is the obvious added factor off the top of my head, but there are probably more. This therefore will make the formula even more complex, perhaps to the point that it is unworkable. Nevertheless, I hope that you contemplate my idea seriously, and evaluate its positive and negative points in a constructive way, even if it may turn out to be completely unfeasible and/or unworkable.
  5. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio Over9000
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    Aug 16, 2007
    From what I see, (though correct me if I am wrong here) Prob_win, an important factor in calculating hax here, seems to be completely determined from the players respective ratings. In my opinion, this seems unfair as "probability of win based on merit" should not be determined solely by current ratings, as changes in team, day-to-day emotions or simple awareness of the ever changing metagame can cause big shifts in the "real merit-based strength" of a given player.
  6. RBG

    RBG Trying to get my Smods back D:
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    Jan 27, 2008
    Please note, though, that the formula presented is a preliminary idea, which is why X-Act put it out here to look at. I believe it has some merit and with some tweaking, such as not using ratings or maybe making it so no one gets win/loss credit for hax battles, then I believe that this will have potential. I believe that this is actually a good step forward in ratings, since it would only count true victories where luck is more balanced on each side then the battles where one side gets a crit every hit and wins every speed tie.
  7. Kristoph


    Jun 10, 2005
    After a lot of thinking and a gigantic conversation with another member on the subject, I think I'm much more well-equipped to explain a number of reasons why I really dislike this concept as a whole.

    First of all, I don't really understand what we're trying to accomplish here. No matter what, none of this will actually make a difference in terms of who is ranked where, as long as you're looking at the long term and ignore things like alt accounts, or emotionally unstable people who quit the game because of hax. Even if luck were ridiculously dominant in this game, playing enough matches would result in everyone getting the ranking they deserve, eventually.

    So right now I'm literally searching for a reason to implement this, and the best I can come up with is "better players will be separated further from worse players, in terms of their rating numbers." I'm going to say straight up that I think that's a terrible reason to go through the time and effort that it will most definitely take to make this work to any reasonable extent, because the long-term effect this would have on player hierarchy is virtually if not literally nonexistant; okay, player A is now 800 points higher than player B when he used to only be 700 points higher under the previous ranking... what actual, practical difference does this make?

    Then again, I'm not even sure if "oh great I'm another 50 points higher than iloveluxray2.0 than I used to be!" is a possible "benefit" in the first place. I think everyone has established that using player rating to help determine who "wins" is absolutely unacceptable; ok, so if that's no longer going to be a factor, what happens when a good player beats a bad player "with hax?" The assumption up until this point has been that "players with higher ranking have a greater likelihood of winning based on merit," and as far as I can tell that assumption is necessary for this concept to make any impact, any impact at all, in the long run. The way I see it, we're either looking at giving players an advantage before the match even begins (highly, highly objectionable for obvious reasons), or we're just redistributing victories with no net effect whatsoever, except a ton of wasted time. Someone please explain to me how this is somehow an avoidable scenario, because even if we merely use this formula to throw matches away (as opposed to punishing winners), that doesn't change the fact that we'd be judging the outcomes of certain matches as "invalid" in the face of statistics that would suggest otherwise.

    There's also another hurdle to consider. Are we throwing out/reversing any match with too much hax, or just the ones where the "victim" loses? The latter is problematic because we're rewarding players who miss an attack that they actually benefited from missing, or punishing players who get a critical hit that actually costs them the match. In other words, there will be some edge cases in which this formula will do the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do, and I don't know how we'd go about handling that at all.

    If the former (throwing out all "haxy" matches), we are no longer rewarding players for winning in spite of hax. This is unacceptable because if Player A gets haxed in 100 matches but wins 10 of them, and Player B gets haxed in 100 matches but wins 50 of them, Player B will no longer be recognized as the better player. Again, this is the exact opposite of what our "goal" here seems to be, as it actually makes rankings more ambiguous in the case of two players of similar, but unequal skill. Once again, it's difficult to foresee a scenario in which we won't end up being forced into "accepting" one of these two options; if there's some possible middle ground, I can't imagine it being an easy one to determine.

    I'd also like to bring up that all of these issues will probably be somewhat compounded if, in addition to just throwing out matches with "extreme hax," we altered every match's reward in proportion with the "amount of hax." I'm not sure how popular a consideration that is to the supporters of this concept, but all of the same problems would probably only apply in many more instances if we were to take this route.

    Finally, I think what Amazing Ampharos said regarding "political implications" is especially important. Obviously I agree with him that blatantly punishing new players for getting lucky would be one of the worst ideas in history, which is probably why some users are suggesting that we only apply the formula to ladder ratings without directly altering the win condition, in effect keeping things "hidden." What I'm more concerned about is the simple nature of a luck-based game like Pokemon, where short-term success/failure is supposed to mean relatively little in the long run. This is a significant part of the appeal of Pokemon to new players: "anyone can win." We all know how untrue that is in reality-- there are players consistent enough to rack up win streaks or reach the leaderboard with multiple accounts, and even tournament results are respectably predictable given that single elimination is the standard-- but the newbie's perception that "anybody can be as good as anybody" is sustained by the fact that even a terrible player can get a few lucky wins with enough persistence. I could directly relate this to another argument regarding "First Person Shooters versus Fighting games," where the FPS genre's huge popularity could very well be directly related to the fact that, because of the team-based nature of competitive play, it is simply more psychologically forgiving to newer players. If you win, you get the glory, and if you lose, it's "because your team sucked," or in the case of Pokemon, "because he froze my Vaporeon." I just feel that it's deeply irresponsible and selfish to try and remove an aspect of the game that might very well be a huge contributor to its overall success, whether or not we happen to be overt when we tell our players "you didn't really win that match." In my opinion, people need to man up and understand that this game's competitiveness is not harmed in any meaningful way by luck factors, or they need to somehow bring forth an argument that suggests otherwise. This completely blind anti-luck mentality has been steadily grating on my nerves and it is becoming increasingly clear to me that a certain portion of this community doesn't really want to be playing "Pokemon" at all, not because they believe it to be legitimately noncompetitive, but because their preferences never should have lead them to this "genre" in the first place. These people probably shouldn't even have anything to do with this community, but are still content to propose gigantic changes to the game itself with, in my opinion, extremely little understanding as to any of their implications. I don't know how harsh, accusatory or close-minded I may seem when I say any of this; these are just my exact feelings on the matter so "there you go," take this paragraph for what you will.

    Finally, there's one last thing I feel the need to address because as far as my understanding goes it is quite a bit out of line with everyone else's perception of this concept, though I haven't read every post in the thread so I could be wrong.

    I'm not seeing how "how well you win" can be quantified fairly, I'm not seeing how it's necessary given any formula that simply "works over the long term," and I'm not seeing how it's even fair to do something like this in the first place. Starting with that last one, if player A can beat everyone on the leaderboard consistently, but "only barely," but player B absolutely manhandles every player on the leaderboard except player A, who is the best player? I'd argue Player A without a doubt, unless many of his matches happen to be "lucky wins," which, as stated before, balances out on its own anyway. So assuming that you're not necessarily talking about luck, I still don't see merit to this. Again, you're essentially changing the win condition from what it's always been, "defeat all of your opponent's pokemon," and while the new condition would certainly be more "complex" than the old one, I don't think that'd make this game any better as far as being a determinant of skill (which sort of leads back to my first and second issues). In the end, I view this as a more complicated version of the "should we consider number of remaining pokemon in tournament results?" issue that was brought up a number of months ago, in which a similar conclusion was drawn in the end, but maybe that's not accurate so please elaborate if you think so.

    Basically, there is no getting around the fact that this would be enormously difficult to implement from pretty much any angle; I'm even having a hard time seeing it as possible, given that there are a number of significant obstacles that could very well prove insurmountable without at least stepping over a line or two. Most importantly though, I really just can't wrap my head around "why." There is no "best case scenario" that makes me think "it'll all be worth it in the end," and I'm legitimately confused as to why this discussion exists when it all seems so utterly futile to me, at best. But oh well, maybe I'm missing something huge here; if so, someone please please please fill me in.
  8. Jimbo

    Jimbo take me anywhere
    is a Tutor Alumnusis a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Sep 30, 2007
    I support this formula. This formula could definitely curtail blowups of the more hot-headed players who explode when they get haxxed and lose when they should've rightfully won.

    A lot of people who've played me (and got haxxed by me) know that I'm not opposed to leaving the room when I'm about to win through hax. I'm glad I won't have to do this anymore because the formula will decide if I got too much hax for me!
  9. Ancien Régime

    Ancien Régime capitalism delenda est
    is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Jul 21, 2007
    Do you look at ladder rankings? The difference between the top 10 and the top 50-11 is usually around 50-75 points.

    Why should we give a shit about "political implications?"

    It's not the experienced players who have proven themselves to be good at the game who need to, in your words, "man up"; it's the newbies. Why should we cater to the sensibilities of some 14 year old who has not put in the time and energy to become good at pokemon? If they can't win without getting lucky, they should either get better or get out of the game.

    I am all for punishing players for getting lucky - because all competitive games are supposed to be based on skill to their furthest possible extent. Period. The purpose of competing in anything is to find out who is better; not who got more breaks.
    If the referees in the Super Bowl were blatantly biased in their officiating towards one side, and thus cost the other team the game, are you going to argue that the game was "competitive"? The existence of the biased officiating at least implies that the outcome of the game was not based on the relative skill of the teams/players/coaches, but on an outside external factor unrelated to skill. After all, no matter how good your offensive linemen are, if they get called for holding on every third down completion for a 1st down, the offense is going to suck.

    You cannot have it both ways. Either the game should be competitive, and thus, all efforts to reduce the influence of the RNG on the determination of skill are perfectly valid, or it shouldn't have to be, and then luck doesn't matter.

    Luck factors have absolutely nothing to do with skill, except in cases where the luck is directly manipulated by the player (using hax items, high CH moves, Super Luck, etc), and even then, this control is only marginal, compared to other games (for example, a game called Ragnarok Online makes it possible to land a CH nearly every hit with some classes, and in Fire Emblem, one can reach 100% CH rates in some cases).

    First, stop defining what "Pokemon" is or isn't. By your logic, we should use BT rules, or at the very least, NoA tierings. Celebi and Jirachi banned let's go! Your argument is completely devoid of substance - we all know what "Pokemon" is, and taking luck out of it will not change it.

    Also, when you argue that "we shouldn't take individual games seriously", I have to wonder if you play Pokemon or just talk about it? Competition is a very emotional thing to those who care, and to just suggest willy-nilly that "over the long term it'll even out" suggests you are completely blind to the mindset of competitive players. At the very least, I'd rather appeal to the sensibilities of skilled competitive players who care about the game rather than newbies who may quit in a month either way.
  10. Kristoph


    Jun 10, 2005
    I'm not sure what this has to do with anything.

    Under the circumstances, those are the people we should care about catering to. This is not a matter of the game's competitiveness being "threatened," or "for 'their' own good," as we arguably are when we make decisions to ban certain pokemon or implement Sleep Clause. This suggestion exists because certain members are fed up that they can't win with perfect consistency in a game that is designed to work that way, and benefits from it as well. In the end, why shouldn't we consider the laundry list of adverse effects this idea could have, when our "best case scenario" is that we're, what? "Changing the game?" Certainly not objectively improving it, at least to anyone who actually knows what game they've been playing for months or years on end. So yes, we should definitely consider the random 14-year-olds, as many of them stick around and become legitimate contributors to the community. That you somehow have a problem with that is a little disappointing.

    And because of luck, they are arguably more likely to stick around so they can improve in the first place. I don't know why you somehow feel the need to punish new players in the short run, when the net effect to you in the long run is nonexistant either way.

    Again, in the long run, Pokemon does this very well. Please try to actually address this because I don't think I've heard any "short term/long term" discussion out of you, or many people at all in this thread, when that alone pretty much makes the difference between this being a somewhat reasonable, and a completely awful idea.

    So far you have not addressed how this is relevant over the long term. The Super Bowl analogy is flawed for that reason, in addition to the fact that "bad officiating" has nothing to do with random chance.

    I'm also worried about what you mean by "all efforts to reduce the influence of the RNG on the determination of skill are perfectly valid." Why aren't you championing all sorts of restrictions on luck, ones that probably have an even more direct impact on the game's fundamentals than changing the win condition? Where/why are you drawing the line here?

    Battle Tower rules and Nintendo tiers have absolutely nothing to do with making a conscious effort to restrict or remove a fundamental aspect of the game. They simply are not comparable, especially when one goes so far as to say that we should change the win condition to achieve this, just because you don't view Pokemon as the long-term game that it, and other games like it, has been forever. Jimbo is totally correct when he says that this is an issue of certain players blowing up about a couple of individual matches, because they apparently think they're playing Chess or kickball or something. I don't have any more sympathy for these people than you do for the kids who are just beginning to actually learn the rules of the game (how dare they), but I think I'm much more justified in holding people to higher standards while you're just being ruthless.

    I'm going to just assume that you're not actually trying to make this "personal," so: "yes, I play."

    Actually, it doesn't; as you can see above, I do in fact play this game. In fact, I literally join every tournament I possibly can because I enjoy the "one big match that matters" feeling, despite the fact that single elimination tournaments are absolutely terrible for a game like Pokemon and it's extremely easy for a legitimately stinging loss to occur through no/little fault of my own. Being a man, I suck it up and move on.

    Again, this game is friendlier to most new players because of luck, which means that they'll be sticking around longer than if running into an experienced player meant the automatic loss you apparently desire. And do go on about these "sensibilities," considering that I've probably put 1500+ words into explaining exactly why I believe this idea won't help anyone. Otherwise, I'm pretty much forced to assume that this is just some way for people to help heal their bruised egos-- isn't that all that you've given me?
  11. david stone

    david stone Fast-moving, smart, sexy and alarming.
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    Aug 3, 2005
    A bunch of people have been linking me to this thread, asking me what I think about it. I'm not really sure how good of an idea it would be to use this to determine who wins just yet, however, I do have some ideas on how to make it better. Note that I haven't read any of the responses yet; I'll get around to looking over those later maybe.

    One of my favorite games of all time is Lords of Magic. You build up armies and fight other armies. To fight, you have two options; you can enter the battle and micromanage your armies, or you can press "Auto calc". Auto calc compares the relative strength of the two armies and determines which side wins (it also determines the damage done to the survivors). Perhaps we could do something similar to that here?

    I'm thinking of running through each turn several times to see just what the "expected" outcome is. Of course, it would be too computationally intensive to simulate the full battle, but you can do some short cuts that don't make sense in any given turn, but in the aggregate approximate averaging out thousands of battles.

    Some people claim that making a "Pokemon AI" like this would be too hard, but that's only true if the bot has limited information. The combinatorial explosion of Pokemon turns actually results from random numbers and imperfect information. In any given turn, there are actually only 81 possible moves max (usually less), multiplied by the effects of luck. If we can find a way to "normalize" this luck, that could be used as part of a larger scheme to simplify the calculations to make this sort of predictive algorithm effective.

    What I'm thinking is using this to find the expected outcome of a few turns, determining who is in the advantage those turns ahead, and combining that with their relative rating to find out who "should" win. The amount that this differs from what actually happened determines the effect luck has had on the game.

    This all depends on how efficient of an AI algorithm we can make, of course.
  12. the_artic_one


    Jul 31, 2007
    RE Obi:
    I've never played Lords of magic but I have played Lords of the Realm 2 which, I believe is from the same series (great game btw). The problem with the auto calc in that game was that it was grossly inaccurate to how the battle would actually turn out. There were many situations where auto calc would deem that half of my units would die in a battle that I could have won while only losing two or three had I played it manually. It essentially simulated the two armies rushing each other in a blind rage on an open field. It completely ignored unit placement and proper use of the terrain.

    It rewarded only strategy, not tactics. Because pokemon is a game that requires equal parts tactics and strategy, I don't think it would work out well for determining win chance.

    RE X-Act's current method:
    Since you based the amount of hax on the difference between the two players ratings, doesn't it kind of invalidate Glicko-2 which increases a player's rating based off how much better rating his opponent has? It just seems flawed to me.

    Think of this situation, I'm the #1 player on the ladder (people who have fought me can go ahead and laugh at this premise) I make an alt and for my first fight on the ladder, I'm up against the guy who's #5 on the ladder and I completely slaughter him without any particularly haxy things happening. Wouldn't this system be likely to give the win to my opponent even though I won completely on skill?

    Prob_Win is only really accurate with respect to players who's ratings are well established and even then will be inaccurate if a player gains a large amount of skill in a short amount of time without using the account.

    Re using any such method:
    If we truly want to eliminate the effect of hax on competitive battling wouldn't be easier just to remove critical hits and other "haxy" effects than doing a bunch of math? (as much as X-act would like to do the math)

    There's a reason we don't, it's because the more you change a game, the more it becomes a different game. Pokemon is not a 100% skill based game, but that does not mean that it is not a competitive game. Poker is also not 100% skill based but it is still considered very competitive.

    Our goal here is to play competitive pokemon meaning that we should change it only the minimum amount required to keep it competitive. Our goal should not be to make the most competitive version of pokemon possible, that already exists, it's called Kongai, it was developed by George Sirlin. Sirlin based Kongai off of pokemon (specifically off netbattle) to be a simplified more competitive version of pokemon. And guess what, even he left in some small elements of hax (I believe some attacks have additional effects).

    In the end, changing who wins based off who got more hax is the same as taking out hax which is changing shoddy to have rules that cannot be enforced on the cartridges. The second smogon's rules cannot be played with an actual pokemon game (stadium games count if you're going to bring up freeze clause), smogon is no longer playing pokemon (or at least not "standard pokemon").
  13. Kristoph


    Jun 10, 2005
    Actually, the sort of arguments that are being made in this thread have been almost directly mirrored in some discussion regarding Kongai (and recently, at that). The notion of "unnecessary hax" is particularly relevant because hit rates in Kongai generally range from 90% to 100% (as in, there are some attacks with a 1 or 2 percent chance of missing) which can have a huge effect on the game in the short run despite the fact that actually anticipating it is essentially impossible. The general consensus seems to be that the hit rates are either fine as they are, or should be changed to multiples of 5 because it "looks nicer" or is easier to calculate, or something usually unrelated to the balance of the game itself. This is because the realization that Kongai is designed to show skill most effectively over the long term has set in for the majority of players who were attracted to the game in the first place; I have only seen argument otherwise from players who literally believe that the game is something it was never designed to be, and are willing to sacrifice its long-term depth (make all 95%+ hit rates 100%!) so they can feel better in a relative handful of instances.

    So as far as luck elements, Kongai seemingly has less of the elements players can account for (though those move effects you talked about might fit into that category), but it arguably has about the same in terms of the "extreme hax" that people find most objectionable in Pokemon. But considering that both games will have players who consistently dominate almost everyone else regardless, I don't think it makes all that much of a difference anyway.
  14. Caelum

    Caelum qibz official stalker
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    Apr 5, 2008
    I think this has a great deal of potential for success. We all want this to be a skill-oriented game and with our current system, that's just impossible! However, the formula just does not seem complete yet.

    Firstly, we must absolutely introduce a variable to account for the overall number of turns where attacks were used. Most moves have a secondary effect and almost every player considers the secondary effects and critical hits to be "hax", so as the number of turns increases the probability of some hax occuring increases. Thus, the formula needs a new variable O

    O = Overall Numbers of turns where Attacks were used.

    So, amending the formula to account for this

    k = (L * p * O) / a

    However, let's not forget your opponent could get hax against you. So, we should be looking at the ratio of your potential hax O1 to your opponents O2.

    k= (L*p*O1)/(a*O2)

    If you move an equal number of turns, O1=O2, you receive (on average) equal hax. If you move more often, O1>O2, you have a higher chance of hax so "hax" goes up. Vice versa for O2>O1 obviously, your "hax" would go down and there is a greater likelihood your win was on merit alone.

    O1 and O2 can also be influenced by individual modifiers based on their individual moves secondary effects and/or high critical hit ratios which I'll have to get with Doug to figure out the logistics of and run some simulations to determine the appropriate modifiers for individual moves in question. For example, a simulation could discover the appropriate modifier for Iron Head to account for a flinch in terms of the formula would be 1.2 so instead of 1 move added for an Iron Head, you would add 1.2. This is just an example of the modifier and the finer points would have to be worked out based on empirical results and simulation to determine ideal values. In essence, some turns "count" for more than others in terms of measuring "turns of potential hax".

    Now, note this doesn't account for Serene Grace / Super Luck or similar abilities. Which was a concern of Lemmiwinks. I'm currently working out a way to incorporate those abilities in a new term "s" (Serene Grace, Super luck get it ??).
  15. Ancien Régime

    Ancien Régime capitalism delenda est
    is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Jul 21, 2007
    On what authority do you make this statement?

    Please show me where GameFreak states that the game was designed to work that way. Or for that matter, where they state that the game was designed for a competitive metagame in any shape, fashion or form. We created the metagame, not GameFreak.

    Why do you feel it is so necessary to baby newbies? And how does winning by luck help them? It's probably better for a new player to lose every time, so they know exactly *why* they're losing - their own skill, not any other factors.

    Again, on what authority do you state that Pokemon is designed for long-term success? GameFreak did not state this. Nintendo/NoA didn't.

    First, I wouldn't even change the win condition - I would simply allow ratings to account for luck.

    Who says, other than you? Really. You keep saying it's a "long-term" game but you have offered absolutely zero evidence or justification for this claim other than your own viewpoint. Your argument only holds water if one accepts the "long-term" premise. There is nothing that says "Pokemon is short-term" or "Pokemon is long-term" other than one's analysis of how it operates. It is the community/metagame that say that.

    Hey, ask an NFL player if an individual loss is unimportant in the long term. I guarantee you a player with that attitude would be out of the league quickly. Competition is competition, whether it's the first preseason game, or the championship game. Competitors want to win. Competitors hate losing. Competitors really hate losing to factors outside their control. Thus, why not reduce the influence of those factors? For the sake of equalizing the game for inferior players (considering luck automatically affects better players more, seeing that they need less of it to win).

    We can take this as far as you want. Let's force higher-ranked players to start with less pokemon. Let's increase the CH chance for lower-ranked players, etc, etc. If you're so insistent on being more forgiving to newer players, there are plenty of ways to do that.

  16. darkie

    darkie just remember no caps when you spell the mans name
    is a Site Staff Alumnusis a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Dec 25, 2005
    Honestly, I think that people are looking at this the wrong way.

    This is simply a way to go about determining who played better. The best way to do that is, imo, to remove hax from the equation. I've seen some people say "but what about unnecessary crits" (paraphrasing). I'm pretty sure Doug has the ability to view 'unstrict' damage in his logs, thereby being able to differentiate between the necessary and unnecessary crits. There may be battles where the first 6 turns, all 6 of an opponent's pokemon are OHKOed due to critical hits. We can alter the formula to disregard these types of battles and simply name them 'ties' or 'stalemates' or whatever.

    There is, obviously, some potential for hax in a battle. If Flamethrower burn once in ten uses, I wouldn't call that hax. If it burns four times in the same amount of uses, I would call that hax.

    I really think if we tweak this formula to perfection, we can use it to not punish whoever gets more hax, but instead reward who played better.
  17. LonelyNess

    LonelyNess Makin' PK Love
    is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Mar 23, 2007
    The two are synonymous... just one sounds nicer.

    Another point that I think is being missed is what about if the side that wins through luck isn't playing badly? Why is it automatically assumed that because you got lucky, you must be an inferior player to the unlucky opponent. Does this mean that if IPL gets a string of crits against x_RandomUser_x that he must be shittier than that user? Just because you've gotten luck on your side, doesn't mean that you're a worse player than your opponent, and it doesn't even mean that you wouldn't have won otherwise.

    I've been told a million times "well if you hadn't gotten that critical I would have been able to do X" but the simple fact is that if I hadn't gotten the critical hit, I wouldn't have played the same as I did. Maybe I wouldn't have kept my Pokemon in to get killed and I would have switched out to something else that could have set up on your switchin.

    What this formula is trying to do, is essentially simulate the battle's outcome without the luck involved, which is bullshit. You can't accurately determine what will happen in any given battle because no battle follows a set string of events. There are too many variables that go in to deciding a player's move.

    Not to mention this punishes a player for something through which he has no control over. I can't tell my Pokemon to not freeze with Ice Beam, or paralyze with Thunderbolt. Why should I be punished for it? It's like telling someone in Super Smash Brothers Brawl that they didn't really win because their opponent tripped 50 times in the match. They have no control over this, so they shouldn't be punished for it.

    I honestly can't believe that this is even being proposed... much less gathering support. The day that this is implimented is the day that Pokemon is ruined, and the day that I quit.
  18. Kristoph


    Jun 10, 2005
    It was designed, and it worked that way based on that design. You are essentially asking me "why shouldn't we alter Poker? Nobody said I have to accept the fact that short-term victory/failure is less meaningful over the long term!!" Okay, sure, but changing the game in that respect is turning it into something else entirely, which should not be/is not one of our goals, plain and simple.

    Since when did I say it was "necessary"? I'm simply asserting that this game's popularity is improved by the fact that the game is generally more lenient on new players, because of luck.

    I have a better question: how did you end up in this community in the first place? Pokemon has punished players with your mindset for a long, long time. How have you managed to cope for so long? Why not play chess or something, or just invent your own Pokemon-esque game?

    well "good" I guess.

    I'm not sure how you managed to tangle up "cause and effect" so horribly. Yes, the game decides whether or not it is suitable for long-term or short-term competitive play. Individual Pokemon matches are still generally decided by skill, but not enough so that one could easily, accurately determine who the better player is based on one match alone, except in extreme situations (and of course even without luck this can sometimes be the case). There is nothing inherently wrong with that; since we want to know "who the best players are" (or we wouldn't have a ladder, and we wouldn't have tournaments), it only logically follows that a clear hierarchy of players be determined over the long term (and the fact that pokemon matches end relatively quickly is helpful to this end). So yes, the community also decides whether the game is long-term or not-- in this case, we automatically picked "long-term" as soon as we decided what game we were going to simulate.

    So are we still operating under the assumption that blame game doesn't play pokemon, and doesn't understand what it feels like to lose/win, or anything else regarding your relatively straightforward mindset? You really think this is all lost upon me, and/or that I'm just not considering it?

    Please realize that it is very easy to understand where you're coming from, and in my opinion, where you're coming from probably should have never pointed you towards this community in the first place.

    Because it's changing the game, for no net positive gain. For the record, even if there were some sort of meaningful incentive, I'd definitely be against this idea, but as it stands I'm literally failing to comprehend why it's even a consideration.

    It doesn't equalize anything in the long run.

    Why do you keep pretending that I'm the one trying to push more unneeded content/restrictions on the game? I'm here to keep Pokemon the way it is; your argument should be that I'm doing that "to a fault" or something similarly cliche'd, but instead you're bringing up crazily inappropriate comparisons like these (as if "benefiting new players" is my only reason for opposing this idea) without explaining any real merits to this concept whatsoever. Yes AR, altering the game in order to directly punish good players would be highly objectionable to me. Again, if you refuse to recognize the huge difference between what you're proposing and what I'm proposing, this argument really won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

    and thumbs up to LN's post.
  19. august

    august ill take you out though im hardly worth your time
    is a Tutor Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnuswon the 5th Official Smogon Tournamentis a defending World Cup of Pokemon champion

    Nov 25, 2007
    In midst of all this arguing I thought I'd drop in and give me two cents.

    I agree with this formula 100%, I've been wanting a formula to be implemented like this for a while. Now i'm not going to say I never get hax, but there are times where I can clinch the game and hax goes off its own way and my plan is baffled, an example of this being my Scarf Magnezone being flinched to death by Choice Scarf Jirachi, while only mustering 1 hit against the aforementioned Choice Scarf Jirachi.

    I also believe the formula needs a little bit of tweaking, but i am no math genius, so I will leave that to X Act and Caelum. I will edit my post on another night this week when i do not have a head cold and go a little more in depth on my point of view.
  20. jrrrrrrr

    jrrrrrrr wubwubwub
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    May 23, 2006
    Ok, this is my first post in a really long time so cut me some slack....

    As much as we all love to bitch about hax (especially me), it is an essential part of the game. Pokemon is a game that revolves around stacking the odds in your favor and then rolling the dice. Literally every turn of every battle has elements of luck, from using the right move to guessing your opponents move to crits and FPs, EVERY part of the match is determined by luck. The "more skilled" players stack the odds higher in their favor and obviously win more in the long run because of it.

    I'm going to make an analogy to poker, since I feel that it is similar to pokemon in this aspect. In poker, with the exception of the royal flush obviously, no matter how good your hand is, you always know that there is a chance your opponent could still win, just like there is in pokemon with crits etc. You use that knowledge, and it impacts how you play the game. Are you really that confident in your two pairs? Your opponent could be bluffing, or they could have a straight, etc. All of those outside factors (namely, their luck) have an impact on what you do, yet it would be hard to call getting a good hand "skill". Luck in Pokemon is similar, since you could make a logical move and still lose there too...no matter how much skill or experience you have.

    You can't just "take the luck out of Pokemon" because Pokemon IS luck. Without luck, pokemon is just a random guessing game...and I'd rather just play "flip the coin" if I wanted to do that. Using a formula like this would completely change the way the game is played. If I know I'm not going to get punished if my opponent gets lucky, then I'm going to leave my paralyzed Celebi in to attack that Bronzong and rack up FPs so that even if I lose, I can still "win" in the end.

    Also, this formula punishes people for things that are completely out of their control. It's not my fault if I crit you. Why should I have my victory compromised because of something that is random? In a way, this formula would place MORE emphasis on luck because instead of hoping for luck, you would be pissed if you got lucky!

    I'm also going to place the obvious "there is no way that one formula could account for all of the luck in Pokemon" argument.

    So, even though this formula has only good intentions and it would certainly be interesting to see, I really don't think that it would be beneficial or fair to use as a rating system.
  21. maddog

    maddog is a master debater
    is a Contributor Alumnus

    May 28, 2007
    I'll go ahead and throw my two cents in.

    I think the formula, if made correctly, could be very benefitial to the competitive nature of Pokemon. jrrrrrrrrrrrrr offered an analogy to poker, so I will go ahead and give my own analogy to this formula.

    As a high school student, I've had to take the AP exams. In the history and english sections that I took last year, our teachers promised us that the College Board would "reward us for what we do well". An AP grader would notice for example that you organized your essay well, had a clear thesis statement that was well supported, and focus on that, instead of getting the incorrect date on that start of the war in Vietnam, or had some spelling errors.

    I would be upset if this process didn't happen, and I wasn't rewarded for writing a good essay, instead of for example, focusing on all I did wrong. This in essence, is what the Win Formula focuses on. We all have had our games where we played well and controled the game, and ended up losing due to missing with Megahorn twice when the opponent got a CH and paralysis on you to stop your sweep. Instead of being punished for being unlucky, the formula would reward you for your good play and not focus on the bs haxs your opponent got to win the game. In one game, I have had 3 Waterfall flinches, 2 paralysises caused by Thunderbolt and 2 CHs against me. This formula would help against the most insane amount of haxs. LN and others have mentioned "I have no control whether Ice Beam freezes" but fail to realize that this small occurance would not cause them to lose. Since this formual only deals with greater occurances of haxs, rewards good play, I support it (although I'm sure it can be improved a little bit more). Since we can't take our all instances of luck out of the game, I believe that this is the best way to allow haxs to not have as big of an impact as it currently does.
  22. jrrrrrrr

    jrrrrrrr wubwubwub
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    May 23, 2006
    I understand your analogy completely maddog, I'm just not sure that you're looking at it the right way. I thought the same thing at first, but then I realized that the things we have already do this for us...

    When you switch your Zapdos into Heracross, you are taking a ~70.2% chance that he doesn't use Pursuit on your current Pokemon, a ~15.7% chance that it isn't using Stone Edge, and an ~87.5% chance that it doesn't crit. You know these things before you make the decision on that turn. For some reason, people like to think that an ~87.5% chance is a 100% chance that they will win, and they are outraged that they "should have won". Even though it is likely that you would have won, you KNEW that there was a very real possibility of losing on that turn. Every turn of every battle involves tons of risks that people usually dont even notice, every one of them comes into account randomly for every player. Wouldn't making a ratings system that devalues "luck losses" also have to devalue "luck wins"? If the luck loss wasn't really a loss, then the luck win wouldn't be much of a win either. This just punishes people for getting lucky, even though both players are taking a relatively similar amount of risk over the course of a battle.

    Also, I don't see how this proposed ratings system "rewards good play". I would bet that everybody that has access to this forum has used some kind of Jirachi, Togekiss, Machamp or Skymin set over something else specifically because of "the luck factor". Pokemon is a game that is played by stacking the odds in your favor on every turn. Sure, sometimes people get screwed over by luck, but EVERYBODY gets screwed over by luck (except Earthworm). This ratings system is biased against people with higher ratings, since they will obviously be saved the most by this. This is especially true if the ratings system does not devalue the luck wins. People with higher ratings do not get affected by a higher percentage of hax, yet their ratings would fall much less when they are affected. The ratings don't only take skill into account, but also the amount of matches played and the timespan....etc etc

    Basically, I think that this idea is not really in the spirit of the game we play. If you don't want to have at least a 6.25% chance of getting luckfucked on every turn, you are playing the wrong game.
  23. Lemmiwinks MkII

    Lemmiwinks MkII

    Jun 14, 2007
    I agree with all of your sentiments, j7r. The main reason I suggested the idea of considering degrees of hax with respect to the rating system was to provide a possible solution to instances where short-term fluctuations in hax really counts.

    Obviously ratings are a long-term measure of your performance, and hax tends to even out in the long run, so any such implementation would have very little if any effect on a player's overall rating in the long run, and therefore the player's overall skill level. But there are times when, for example, you are playing for a certain rating in order to get voting privileges, at which point a short run of bad luck close to the deadline, where you get mercilessly haxed by several lower-ranked players, can really screw you over. All I'm saying is that a system similar to the one that I proposed would ensure that such erratic fluctuations beyond the player's control would be minimized without interfering directly with the way the game is played.

    As for those that agree with this formula in its current form, I have to say that I disagree with you 100%. Now I have the upmost respect for X-Act and his invaluable contributions to Smogon, and I've been too polite to say this before, but here goes: that formula is absolute bullshit. I mean that in the nicest way possible, and I'm sure that X-Act himself will agree once he re-examines it from a rational standpoint.

    For starters, like I've said before, none of those factors appear to have any direct correlation to 'hax' at all, or at least the correlation is tentative at best. But even if we created a formula that did accurately reflect the overall hax in a battle, there's no denying that this would introduce an element to competitive battling that really shouldn't be present in any shape or form. Meddling with something as fundamental as the win condition is going to have huge implications. Instead of just focusing on trying to faint the opponent's six Pokemon first, players would now be trying to keep track of their's and the opponent's k constant, and working out whether it's more beneficial to keep trying to beat the opponent at any cost, play cautiously to keep your Pokemon or health intact, or just throw the game for an easy win.

    Using the current formula, let's say for argument's sake that you're playing a low-ranked opponent with Prob_Win of 0.2. You would know that, as long as the opponent's team satisfies k > 0.4, you will win by losing. Well the easiest way to get that up would be to force the opponent to reveal all of his Pokemon, so that p=1 (Sleep Talk Aero? lol). After that, all you would need to do is to create a situation where all your Pokemon faint whilst keeping your opponent's L/a value above 0.4. Crazy shit like randomly using Healing Wish / Lunar Dance / Memento etc, using Explosion on a Ghost/Steel/Rock type, or other stuff like reckless Belly Drums suddenly become viable situational strategies.

    That's just an extreme example to highlight the absurdity of the formula, and I'm sure that with alterations it wouldn't be quite so insane. But even so, under the basic principle of this formula (changing the win condition to account for hax), such scenarios are difficult to avoid. Which begs the question: would that be in the spirit of the game?
  24. Syberia

    Syberia [custom user title]
    is a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Jun 22, 2005
    In addition to what Lemiwinks said, regardless of the way the formula is written, it changes what's required to win. As such, it creates situations in which a player can win by doing something other than fainting all six of their opponent's pokemon, or at the very least causes a player to consider other factors that do not figure into "the game of pokemon" in its actual form. For example, I do not see how any variation of the formula will do anything except make stall a much more viable playstyle than anything else, simply for virtue of being able to produce extremely long battles. Get too much luck early on? No matter, one can just make the battle last longer and hope it balances out. Try and do that with any other type of team (offense especially), and you'll lose if you don't take down your opponent as quickly as possible.

    For a community that is all about being "true to the game" with its simulations (evidenced by its full support for IV restrictions in Shoddy, which alter the game little to none from a competitive standpoint), it's hard to see where the support for this is coming from, considering it has the chance to fundamentally alter the way people play pokemon.
  25. Tangerine

    Tangerine Where the Lights Are
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    May 4, 2007
    I honestly can't believe that I have to make this kind of post to get my point across, but considering what I've been reading in this thread so far, I feel like I have to.

    First, to anyone who claims that hax evens out in the long run is obviously wrong. In fact, I'm surprised no one bothered to correct such a ridiculous fallacy that's been proclaimed in the forums for the longest time now and I'm more disturbed that so called "intelligent" members of the community have accepted this. Consider Pokemon without hax, with Player 1 and Player 2. Player 1 is a better player, in fact, will beat Player 2 80% of the time. Consider the game with "luck", which obviously applies to both sides. Let's fix this rate at some arbitrary number, 10%, meaning that you will win 10 % of your game because of luck. Then Player 1 will win because of luck 2% of the time, Player 2 will win 8% of the time. Evens out in the long run? Please - then again this isn't the only thing regarding statistics that you guys are completely oblivious of.

    To anyone who claims that "this is impossible" - please shut up unless you guys are able to give a convincing reasoning why such a concept is "impossible" - just because you guys cannot see it doesn't mean that it is impossible. If you think it's flawed, then it is your job to point it out and improve upon the concept (you guys are in PR after all) or else you guys all might as well get blogs and start bitching about policy there with no suggestions to improvement or with waterdowned reasoning. My words are harsh, but that's because I'm thoroughly disappointed with the posts within this thread.

    To anyone against this concept - we're not changing Pokemon. We're changing how we, as a competitive community should look upon games and how they matter to ranking. Wouldn't you like to know how "good" you are to measure yourself against the others? It's obvious that our current system is flawed - obviously because we have just adopted a ranking system that's designed for some other game without even considering "will this rating system accurately measure skill in Pokemon". It's like saying the adoptation of Rating systems to Chess have changed the game of chess - give me a fucking break - adding a rating system and a way to measure "hax" isn't going to change pokemon no more than we have already done. And to anyone who don't feel that this is necessary because "pokemon is a game of probability management" reason that I have pointed out so many times - please, it is because pokemon is a game of probability management that we need to take into consideration probability into the ranking system. To complain against such a system you guys will have to complain against ranking players as a whole - your arguments are pathetic and really it's just a "OMG THIS IS NEW I DONT WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT" nonsense - because your arguments can be applied to ANY RANKING SYSTEM - any ranking system changes the weight of wins. Are we changing pokemon now?

    I'm really, really glad Nintendo did us a favor and standarized the 'banning pokemon' shit because really, if they didn't do it, I would be more than willing to bet that people here would be whining and bitching about the concept of banning pokemon - hell there are people who are just against the idea of banning moves to balance a game. Please do us a favor, shut up unless you have a good argument against it other than your little purist opinion that "OMG POKEMON SHOULD BE THIS WAY" - it is that kind of mentality that is stopping competitive pokemon from ever being taken seriously because of your stubborn mindsets that can't really even grasp the idea of progress.

    PS: Kudos to you Lemmiwinks, the only person to make decent points in this thread. I'll address them when I get time.
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