Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

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STEVE F

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 12:45 am

I took the time to write to support and got an answer that satisfied me. I posted it here. If it doesn't satisfy you, write them yourself. I don't give a damn one way or the other.
As for profitable business model, are you familiar with the history of this company? I've been playing this game for over 50 years. I'm not saying they don't want to make a profit, but they are a small, family company so I'd guess that their business model might be a bit different than a larger, "max profit at all costs" type of company.
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Backfire

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 1:00 am

Palmtana wrote:Steve F, thanks for your initiative.

Backfire, Steve F is bona fide. Scratch the validity of his reply from SOM concerning normalization (or statistical accuracy as djmacb quoted from the help file) off of your worry list.

Maxpower, given the topic I probably won't have to sticky this thread. But if it drops down the page I will do so.
I have no bone in the debate but, given SOM's statement, it would be interesting to hear from some of those who believe that normalization is turned on. If I'm not mistaken.....nevdully....salty....egvrich....


Are you saying the email is real? If so, I would like to see it. It is a very important piece of the puzzle considering the serious nature of the topic. We pay money for this game to be executed as advertised. You can also have someone respond to my emails which have thus bar been ignored and one of them was sent prior to his email, for the record.

To state it clearly for the thread: I strongly suspect the game is not rolling the dice and following the rules of the game 100% of the time. I believe tweaks are being made and more specifically, weaker players are being given unfair advantages to keep them as customers. This makes perfect business sense.

I too would like to see nevdully's, salty, egvrich, and anyone else that has suspicions post here. This affects my enjoyment of the game and I watch all my play by plays, I can intuitively know what is going to happen in many cases. For example, I just got swept by one of the weaker teams in the league and missed playoffs due to a wildcard tiebreaker. I expected this to happen and I was right. This can be easily dismissed as superstition, paranoia, etc but perhaps, perhaps some of us have followed this enough that we have developed a keen eye for pecularities.

STEVE F wrote:I took the time to write to support and got an answer that satisfied me. I posted it here. If it doesn't satisfy you, write them yourself. I don't give a damn one way or the other.


You posted a few sentences with no proof whatsoever of it actually being from a real email. We're on the internet in 2022 and you cannot even find a way to post a picture? You're right, it doesn't satisfy me.

EDIT: I just saw your edit so I am adding on here. I don't believe this is a massive super-evil company, or anything like that, I just know that it is very common for players in the modern day to quickly become disheartened and quit extremely challenging competitive games. Most people do not enjoy starting at the bottom, coming in, and having their hearts ripped out by legends of the game. In most games these days the best players are separated and play among themselves, not with the new players.

With that said, player salaries exist as a balancing point so one could argue that as long as you're at or close to having all your money spent and have made semi-logical team construction you can expect to get your fair share of wins in any season. But personally, I see a lot of very tough managers playing and I believe their win rates are much lower than they should be.
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djmacb

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 1:14 am

Well OK, this has gone exactly the way Steve F predicted. Why am I not surprised? The lesson, as usual, is don’t feed the troll.
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MaxPower

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 1:23 am

Backfire wrote:I hope it is real

Do you though? Kinda seems like you don't. Kinda seems like you're weirdly invested in the idea that normalization exists and don't want to hear otherwise. Like, this man just posted a definitive answer to the "question" you supposedly were posing and somehow you're mad at him for it. He's just trying to give you good news my man, you should be grateful! We gotta take it where we can get it in this world.
Backfire wrote:By the way you're talking here it seems that the notion of using a financially beneficial business model is a fairy tale to you.

1. implement normalization
2. lie about it
3. ...
4. profit???
Backfire wrote:pattern recognition is a skill

Humans are absolute shit at pattern recognition and are always seeing patterns where none exist. You know who thinks they're really good at pattern recognition? Gamblers. Yet somehow the house always wins. Perceiving and tolerating chaos is the more valuable skill to cultivate.
Backfire wrote:I believe tweaks are being made and more specifically, weaker players are being given unfair advantages to keep them as customers. This makes perfect business sense.

You have identified a potential profit motive for Strat intervening in the game results, what you (nor anyone else) have not done is explain how "normalization" - the topic of your original post - would favor new players.
Backfire wrote:I can intuitively know what is going to happen in many cases. For example, I just got swept by one of the weaker teams in the league and missed playoffs due to a wildcard tiebreaker. I expected this to happen and I was right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
Palmtana wrote:it would be interesting to hear from some of those who believe that normalization is turned on

Seems like we're already hearing from one of them...
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STEVE F

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 1:30 am

MaxPower wrote:Humans are absolute shit at pattern recognition and are always seeing patterns where none exist. You know who thinks they're really good at pattern recognition? Gamblers. Yet somehow the house always wins. Perceiving and tolerating chaos is the more valuable skill to cultivate.

Amen!
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Backfire

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 1:45 am

djmacb wrote:Well OK, this has gone exactly the way Steve F predicted. Why am I not surprised? The lesson, as usual, is don’t feed the troll.


Yes, I'm the troll and not him. I post and he calls me a conspiracy theorist in as rude of a manner as he can but you're on his side?

MaxPower wrote:
Backfire wrote:I hope it is real

Do you though? Kinda seems like you don't. Kinda seems like you're weirdly invested in the idea that normalization exists and don't want to hear otherwise. Like, this man just posted a definitive answer to the "question" you supposedly were posing and somehow you're mad at him for it. He's just trying to give you good news my man, you should be grateful! We gotta take it where we can get it in this world.
Backfire wrote:By the way you're talking here it seems that the notion of using a financially beneficial business model is a fairy tale to you.

1. implement normalization
2. lie about it
3. ...
4. profit???
Backfire wrote:pattern recognition is a skill

Humans are absolute shit at pattern recognition and are always seeing patterns where none exist. You know who thinks they're really good at pattern recognition? Gamblers. Yet somehow the house always wins. Perceiving and tolerating chaos is the more valuable skill to cultivate.
Backfire wrote:I believe tweaks are being made and more specifically, weaker players are being given unfair advantages to keep them as customers. This makes perfect business sense.

You have identified a potential profit motive for Strat intervening in the game results, what you (nor anyone else) have not done is explain how "normalization" - the topic of your original post - would favor new players.
Backfire wrote:I can intuitively know what is going to happen in many cases. For example, I just got swept by one of the weaker teams in the league and missed playoffs due to a wildcard tiebreaker. I expected this to happen and I was right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
Palmtana wrote:it would be interesting to hear from some of those who believe that normalization is turned on

Seems like we're already hearing from one of them...


I want to know the rules of the game I'm playing. Simple as that. So far I have seen proof that in the past there has been unknown factors at play and that there are those that believe such things may still be ongoing. I see abnormalities in the results constantly, it's hard to ignore. I also work with video game code so I know it is very easy for errors to be made and there can be a massive amount of problems which can arise. A lot of the time these are unintentional and the company is not aware of their existence. Not saying that is the case here, just pointing it out.

The best case scenario would be to find proof that the game is legit and then we can all be happy. Of course, I don't want to be right, I would love to be wrong on this, but the uncertainty is driving me nuts!

Oddly enough, your comment about gamblers and pattern recognition is surprisingly suitable. I spent about 13 years as a professional poker player (not playing against the house mind you), and I did very well. I was rewarded greatly for my pattern recognition skills as that is a vital element of the game. You're quite right, the majority of players are terrible at pattern recognition and I'm sure I have been guilty at it myself on numerous occasions. However, I would consider my pattern recognition to be very strong, I notice things others miss constantly. A lot of the time these are completely useless details with absolutely no relevance, just interesting discoveries. I am seeing a lot of strange things happening and I have no way to prove anything or convince you, you can choose to believe me or not.

You asked me for proof that normalization exists, can't I ask you to prove that it doesn't? I don't claim to know anything about the game code to speak with confidence about what is going on in this context. All I can say is that myself and others, typically more serious players (not saying good), seem to constantly take issue with this.

Some things I can say, although I don't feel they will contribute anything to the discussion, nor will you believe them,

1. Poorly built teams seem to always, or almost always, get at least 50 wins. I doubt this is a hard rule but it seems to be happening far more than it should IMO. This is a game of small and large edges and one would think that if he stacks enough of these edges it would make for an extremely powerful team, while the opposite would also be true. Answer me this: Do you feel the game is so random that basically any team with whatever settings, lineups, etc the manager chooses should have an extremely high probability of getting 50 wins? I really don't think so but maybe you know something I don't.

2. Backup players seem to perform better than expected, especially the first time or two after filling a position.

3. Heavy HR players seem to drop off later in the season when they're doing well. This is definitely not always the case but it seems common.

4. New players seem to make playoffs more often than I would expect.

5. Teams with strong records seem to eventually get a lot of injuries. Again, not always the case.

6. Here is the big one: Teams that are absolutely crushing a league seem to inevitably go through a very rough period and end up with way less wins than their manager expects. This is of course, easily explainable in many instances but the frequency in which it happens is shocking.

7. Bad teams often sweep the stronger teams in the league deeper in the season.

Take from that what you will. Again, I have no proof of anything, nor do I have any way to get enough data to have a proper sample size. But when you have some of the top players of all time that played thousands of teams state their suspicions I would think that would be enough to convince a person there may be something strange going on.
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MaxPower

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 2:09 am

Backfire wrote:So far I have seen proof that in the past there has been unknown factors at play and that there are those that believe such things may still be ongoing.

Right so this is a great example of confirmation bias. In this thread you've had one guy tell you that normalization existed in the past, just reciting that without providing any evidence. Also in this thread you've had a guy tell you that he emailed Strat and they replied that normalization is not turned on. The first guy's comment you consider "proof" that normalization existed in the past. The other guy's comment you ask for further evidence and quite conspicuously do NOT consider it "proof" of no present-day normalization. The only difference in the two posts is that one fits your priors. In terms of evidentiary value they are essentially identical. Now take this dynamic and apply it to the entire list of "strange things" you've been noticing, and ask yourself how many times the opposite thing happened and you immediately discard/forget it because it doesn't fit your priors.
Backfire wrote:You asked me for proof that normalization exists

I don't believe I did, I asked how normalization would benefit new players, still haven't heard that one spelled out.
Backfire wrote:Poorly built teams seem to always, or almost always, get at least 50 wins. I doubt this is a hard rule but it seems to be happening far more than it should IMO. This is a game of small and large edges and one would think that if he stacks enough of these edges it would make for an extremely powerful team, while the opposite would also be true. Answer me this: Do you feel the game is so random that basically any team with whatever settings, lineups, etc the manager chooses should have an extremely high probability of getting 50 wins? I really don't think so but maybe you know something I don't.

MLB has no salary cap, yet teams rarely finish with fewer than 50 wins. Why then would we expect a different outcome in a game based on MLB but with a salary cap that enforces parity? Interestingly, 48 wins is replacement level in MLB. Ever hear the saying "every team wins 30% of their games and loses 30% of their games, it's what they do with the other 40% that matters"? Even before people understood the math behind replacement level, they understood the concept intuitively.
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Backfire

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 4:25 am

MaxPower wrote:
Backfire wrote:So far I have seen proof that in the past there has been unknown factors at play and that there are those that believe such things may still be ongoing.

Right so this is a great example of confirmation bias. In this thread you've had one guy tell you that normalization existed in the past, just reciting that without providing any evidence. Also in this thread you've had a guy tell you that he emailed Strat and they replied that normalization is not turned on. The first guy's comment you consider "proof" that normalization existed in the past. The other guy's comment you ask for further evidence and quite conspicuously do NOT consider it "proof" of no present-day normalization. The only difference in the two posts is that one fits your priors. In terms of evidentiary value they are essentially identical. Now take this dynamic and apply it to the entire list of "strange things" you've been noticing, and ask yourself how many times the opposite thing happened and you immediately discard/forget it because it doesn't fit your priors.
Backfire wrote:You asked me for proof that normalization exists

I don't believe I did, I asked how normalization would benefit new players, still haven't heard that one spelled out.
Backfire wrote:Poorly built teams seem to always, or almost always, get at least 50 wins. I doubt this is a hard rule but it seems to be happening far more than it should IMO. This is a game of small and large edges and one would think that if he stacks enough of these edges it would make for an extremely powerful team, while the opposite would also be true. Answer me this: Do you feel the game is so random that basically any team with whatever settings, lineups, etc the manager chooses should have an extremely high probability of getting 50 wins? I really don't think so but maybe you know something I don't.

MLB has no salary cap, yet teams rarely finish with fewer than 50 wins. Why then would we expect a different outcome in a game based on MLB but with a salary cap that enforces parity? Interestingly, 48 wins is replacement level in MLB. Ever hear the saying "every team wins 30% of their games and loses 30% of their games, it's what they do with the other 40% that matters"? Even before people understood the math behind replacement level, they understood the concept intuitively.


Well, this is an interesting reply and more along the lines of what I was hoping to find here. Thank you. I did not ask for proof because I knew of what he was speaking of, the extreme HR hitter/bad pitcher experimental league which saw a sharp decline in HR output in the second half of the season. So this is in fact not confirmation bias though I am aware of the existence of it and do keep it in mind. This is also why I quit the game years ago.

The reason I asked for proof is because a simple screenshot should have been easily provided and would have been very interesting to see. I do not know anyone here but that person in particular immediately ridiculed me, do you not see why I might be skeptical? Furthermore, others have informed me that Start-O-Matic does not respond to emails so that made me wonder if the email actually existed, especially when my emails were not responded to despite being sent first.

You underestimate me be a considerable degree and are making assumptions. I am aware of and do take notice when players fail to achieve my expectations. As I have stated in several of my examples, it is not always the case. You have disregarded that. There do not seem to be any absolutes, just patterns, and I believe there is more going on than we are privy to as players. Many others feel the same way, many of which have likely quit the game long ago. I've noticed the player pool seems to be much smaller these days.

Moving on, you asked how normalization would benefit new players. I thought I had explained it but here it is: It benefits new players by creating a fun experience, making them think they're good at the game, and then they would hopefully buy more credits. I do feel very strongly that their teams get extra wins beyond what they deserve, likely by a complex combination of many factors, ultimately boiling down to either increased card performance, decreased opponent card performance, or a combination of the two. There are many ways to achieve this due to the large breadth of options (caught stealing, HR's, pitcher fatigue, etc). Again, I am a video game developer: I have firsthand knowledge and experience with how game companies do things behind the scenes that players would never dream of, yet these things are necessary (or we think so) to create the best possible product. Despite this, as a player I hate not knowing, especially in a game like this.

Regarding your point about real baseball, I don't think it holds any relevance as this is a board game. The creator(s) of the game may have strived to achieve realistic balance but the fact is that these are baseball players in statistical form, not real people. There are many overpriced players in the game, the ones you likely dismissed years ago, the ones that do poorly in Diamond Dope or any other tools. These players may look great to a new/casual player, or they may simply be a fan. Their team could be full of such players. It could be terrible. It may not be cohesive, it may not suit the ballpark, the manager settings could be poorly chosen, and there are countless ways to screw up a team. So do you really think that in a purely rolled game when the worst teams made seem to win anyway is not abnormal? I am very surprised to see you would hold that opinion, if you do.
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FrankieT

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 8:57 am

Backfire,

Welcome back as it seems you returned from a hiatus. I took a break from ATG V-VII so I get it. But in your posts a few things stand out that may be worth considering and have broad applicability to many discussions here.

Use of the term "Normalization".
As djmacb pointed out, the initial assertion that SOM admitted to something was taken out of context. Normalization is not what you (and others in this forum BTW) describe. It has a specific meaning that makes your logic hard to follow because it is not related. In general, normalizing data is about putting disparate data sets onto a "level playing field" for comparison or synthesis, if we are using bad puns. It is not related to what you assert, although maybe you are just using it nominatively. But in that case, choose a different name for clarity.

Selective anecdotes.
For instance, another common point of view that is used as evidence of something nefarious is when players have something like a "sharp decline" in HR output. But we never hear about players who have a sharp increase in HR output--though I know it occurs--we all experience it. And HR could be anything--hits, walks, etc. It is a selective anecdote that leaves out the rest of the story, which invalidates the extreme extrapolation from a point-in-time anecdote to a massive corporate intention. It is quite an unsupported leap statistically and logically.

Subjective expectations of card behavior.
This last one is also common. A misunderstanding of statistics while claiming to use statistical bases for assertions. Player cards not conforming to someone's expectations has many underlying assumptions that are not typically true in the cases on this forum.
It assumes that the long term expected statistical outcomes are proven or disproven by short term non-valid sample results, or subjective assessment. Think of it this way.
If you run a league and have a team, maybe you win 85 games.
If you run that same scenario another 1000 times, you may have an instance of winning only 70 games, and maybe an instance of winning 90. Maybe your 85 wins was a low probability outcome and it over-achieved. That is, a result that is in the tail of distributed outcomes. It does not mean that your team would be expected to win 85 games every time it was used--but that might be your expectation and source of frustration when that team wins 70, which may even be closer to expectation.
The same applies to an individual card. Which BTW--the best way to gauge expectation is to look at the actual results of a card under the same conditions multiple times. There is simply no other way to do it because of the varying factors of the playing environment such as opponents, salary cap, stadia, etc.

Overall, are there differences in the online version from cards and dice? Yes.
Are there differences between the online game and PC/Home version? Yes.
Are those differences posted? Yes. See the wiki (is it 100% updated? I don't know, but that's a different debate).
Are there some legitimate calls for increased transparency of results, that are NOT related to nefarious intent by SOM? Sure. But to conflate a call for display of all PbP results and lookups etc (as I would advocate for) as being equivalent to SOM purposefully altering results to favor new players? This is not supported by any facts. Zero. Especially the most vexing one which is that new players generally do poorly.

Just a few thoughts. Welcome back.
Last edited by FrankieT on Thu Aug 18, 2022 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Dr. Biocide

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Re: Normalization: A Humble Request to Strat-O-Matic

PostThu Aug 18, 2022 8:59 am

This discussion has gotten very very deep, and it's starting to slide away from the real point a bit. In short Backfire, who is a close personal friend I might add, is trying to get full discloser. How is this wrong? All we are asking for is the rules by which we are playing. We enjoy building teams in this wonderful game. Just please give us clarity. For example, what does conservative actually mean in terms of what Hal will do, or not do, when stealing bases? These are not unreasonable requests. We are not asking for the 11 secret herbs and spices from KFC here, or are we? If we are and Strat wants to keep secret their product, at least stand up and say so. Please.
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