Monday, September 23, 2013

The good, the bad, And tyhe ugly lists

We gamers plove to argue about statistics. Typically it Godwins down to a discussion of " X is numerically superior to Y. It should cost more resources than Y" vs "Y has proven to be a sincere problem in the past and consistently beats my X".

If only these two statements had any relation. There is a perennial discussion about how warmachine is so very unbalanced.  I'm not in the camp to believe Warmachine is inherently unbalanced but I understand most of the reasoning.

Peel away the subtle nuances of movement and obstacles like buildings,hills, bushes and the like and all we have are quantifiable values.  These sort of things are very difficult to dispute effectively until we invoke the unquantifiable value of things like Stealth, Flank. Take Up... Suddenly things have gotten murky.

Cygnar long gunners for example:
Have a fairly average accuracy, reasonable range and pow, up to two shots and light armor. The general consensus amongst Cygnar players is that they're an also-ran to other units like gunmages.  I disagree because there's a qualia to certain units.

It seems bizarre to hear a person who is pushing for more tournament attempt to discuss anything but quantifiable examples and statistics. Of the group of us I'm probably be least likely to run any statistics or theorymachine.  I focus on function and synergy rather than the numbers. 

Because of this I support certain units generally accepted as bad... well over shadowed by other units. Long gunners, sword knights, zealots, deliverers, and several Cryx jacks.  Heck I even like some of the light artillery!

I think it's the difference between qualitative and quantitative that really makes is people up in this game. "P,Q and R All really work well together. Why not Q,V and J? The numbers...."
Bile thralls,  for example are simply atrocious according to their statistics. Everything about them says that these models need to be left out of a list... except that awesome and completely subjective special attack they have. How do you quantify the value of this particular attack?  How do you quantify two combined ranged attacks but only some of the time?

Its variables like these that make most tournament players very uncomfortable with some units. For the most part its seen as gambling and inconsistency is inherently bad in that environment. I disagree. I find these units particularly valuable because opponents don't expect consistent behavior or they expect significant investments in resources to bring these units in line with other "superior" units.

Units may come and go. Their popularity me shifts with changes to tier list or unit attachments. casters may trigger off units that seemed substandard.  Give them a couple of tries and you might find yourself a new and interesting tool.


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