31 December 2011


"desire 18 Nov 2011.txt"

it's funny when the world doesn't work as expected, or

it's funny when the world works as expected.

the best way to get close to people is to make yourself seem less than you are, or

the best way to get close to people is to make yourself seem more than you are.


no 'ifs'

what you want can't depend on what other people want without constant reinforcement, it must exist unconditionally until changed


the general problem caused when a given signal is not recognized, and external feedback disappears... evaluation of risks and overcompensating..? (moon photo)

"hidden value" if known only by multiple metrics means that capability and risk known only to those aware of progress

external metric allows feedback on risk levels, avoids compoundment of errors when risk is tied to progress metric predicting optimal risk

reason for forgetting all this: perceived cost of information and value of simplicity goes up as info increases
"correct vs successful"

"when eliminating small problems at size of comprehension decreases perception of larger problems? local flatness" (being happy & change)

^ 12 June 2011

4 Aug 2011

based on intent
necessity of similar understandings of signalling schemes, depth
communication based on resistance to poking, and result of lack of feedback
nominal and specific benefits as the foundation for understanding of wants, so conflict is more likely to be based on conflicting benefit than wants for the two strategies of resolution priorities

7 Aug 2011

looking for something and expecting to see it, usual assumptions about interacting with the world... in normal circumstances things with a presence in the future also have a detectable influence in the present. when this isn't true, usually a reason that can itself be observed in the present. these expectations of reality do not include situations where an object is hidden, and the reason that it can't be observed is also hidden, when this reason is internal and not recorded in any external aspect of reality.wanting something to happen, based on a presumption of benefit with no observable confirmation, leading to reactions based on the perception of this want and removal of evidence for it, or against it


"forgetful 17 Aug 2011.txt"

awake - activity (note sleep)
shine - counter (metrics)
picture, essence (graph)

^ 17 Aug 2011

19 Aug 2011
attractors, stability

21 Aug 2011
large events are more difficult to handle than smaller events and can be more destructive. when a system does not direct the outcome of smaller events to maintain stability, a large event may occur from interaction with the environment. size and frequency can be seen as related either to resistance to change from small events or weakness to same, depending on whether there is interaction with other objects depending on the result of smaller outcomes.


is the purpose of economic innovation to improve the ratio of utility to price, or instead to improve the ratio of price to effort and profit margin?

22 Aug 2011

attitude toward conflict, honesty - not only benefit to society, but also informational aspect for other people. iterated games and lack of reliable system record mean that conflict arises from switching strategies even if any given game is played cooperatively due to unknown value of information in future interactions.

allows control over predictions of future choices based on available information on current strategy, even if strategy is not always openly stated

'i spend too many thought cycles trying to predict what i'll do' but actually, trying to answer the emotion questions based on past events to determine strategy... cost of switching leads to different priorities and timing

prince, formless, essence

27 Aug 2011

expectations as a differential encoding of the understanding of society's values, which is subject to change as a result of interaction within society and life experiences that influence the prediction of the average strategy and values

relationships - 'hidden' value roughly equal, and implications when agreed and personal measurements of value change unexpectedly in separation distance

29 Aug 2011

[morning] The third strategy - effectiveness. avoids stating any preference for conflict, preventing any contradiction from occurring or any requirement for such a preference to be confirmed or validated for third parties. Intended to be a temporary state when entered and lasting until critical information is obtained relating to an open question.

a dangerous state to be in and not often entered willingly, due to what can otherwise and normally be accomplished with a proper understanding of conflict and local quality variation


[evening] butterfly - eternity - ?
a pure heart


(and controlling thoughts, topic on strategy.. level at which event occurs)

values, motive, potential - see above

31 Aug 2011

mind games - ways to justify change of strategy or current goals. primary motive is attitude toward conflict, with regard to signals and deviation from expectations, and complication arises from the attempt to accomplish a goal without conflict. however, the divergence or disagreement in expecations results from the values inherent in a situation, and all complexity can be reduced to the identification of these values, both relative and absolute.

the choice is one of whether to compromise by changing strategy to the one optimal in the local circumstances or to adhere to one's own understanding of absolute potential regardless of any change in apparent success or lack of confirmation of the size gap between agreed and hidden value.

part of topic of risk


[evening] benefit means a promise to adhere to the same strategy despite unknown circumstances. void is to prevent phase changes in strategies of others from linked promise by withholding information, not just one's own benefit


"hikari 8 Sep 2011.txt"

8 Sep 2011

capabilities determine adherence to common standards
willingness to handle additional complexity of differing from expectations based on whether limits have been reached or currently being tested, exceeding limits leads to fundamentally different approach than not having discovered limits.

strategy change and social interaction, or cessation of

knowing which patterns to break, and which to adhere to is itself a form of skill that can demonstrate competence

being correct, vs being optimal within a set of constraints that may prevent ideal behavior (verifying a solution, given the quality variation but also the perception of accuracy of standardized quality measurements on that quality variation)

10 Sept 2011
be very clear what you are bad at, and what the costs are of improving any specific area at a certain point in time. minimizing the overall effect of a weakness is as important as improving one's strengths in pursuit of an objective

origins of lack of confidence..? what defines the recognition of a 'weakness'

12 Sep 2011

"level 0" = determination to anticipate future events, which allows strategies toward conflict as a distinct element for others to react with

confidence in abilities obtained from practice, meaning self predisposition in conflict is a natural assumption from the gain in capabilities that results

"level 1" = deference to others in conflict, based on observed intentions of other entities and the potentials that result in the local space

conflict results from the search for the optimum global strategy and the attempt to eliminate local factors from the decision-making process without regard to inter-region movement and overall quality level, which might be assumed to be constant. The idea of expected relocation determines the regions to be placed under consideration, due to prior and future agreements on social values and likely results from residence in a certain space

elimination of conflict reduces degrees of freedom as the complexity of the situation increases, meaning that higher initial degrees of freedom or obtaining new capabilities will increase the set of possible outcomes

"reality interpretation" essential for understanding the decision layer above the values layer in the activity process, common pattern of mistakes and omissions from aggregate opinion and relation to goal completion and system design. signal evaluation, but also conflict strategies and correlation with quality variation in a population

part of understanding, anticipating, or preventing future change. ("level 0")

18 Sep 2011

aversion to showing 'nice', torrent creation
but also cost of learning and confidence..?

29 Sep 2011

attraction: 'unaware of signal quality' matches absolute value, 'aware of variation in signal quality' follows different strategy of matching hidden value. implications for sheng nu, ladder theory of attraction, etc.

02 Oct 2011

relationship, able to accept selfish behavior and knowledge cost of transition from selfless to selfish. conflict often manifested between individual benefit and social norms, but is not expected to occur between connected individuals meaning that actions which imply a strategy that welcomes conflict should not be met with resistance

deception/ambiguity as described in art of war is the essence of the adaption to poor signal evaluation in a population, as a way to influence the thoughts of other people to avoid potential conflict between one's self and society. The need for ambiguity is not obvious in any single local context, and so its manifestation can be an indication of knowledge of local variability in signal quality as a result of average incidence of critical evaluation in the general population.

The strategies toward conflict used under the cloak of ambiguity may depend on one's estimation of relative ability and the feasibility of the adoption by the general population of strategies to cope with signal quality variation, as well as other goals and unshared knowledge.

(unshared knowledge is the basis of unpredictability of goals, for all cases where the cost of learning exceeds the expected benefit to society)

3 Oct 2011

signalling: behavior that is consistent with both strategies toward conflict. most difficult pattern to adhere to which consequently demonstrates understanding of the world and future obstacles, more so than simply avoiding conflict in pursuit of goals at cost to self

demonstrates objective "minimum competence" or lack of having reached limits of ability


"mind 27 Oct 2011.txt"

"if everyone you had any obligation to were to, one day, forget everything you had ever said or done, what would you then do"

If everyone you knew were able to convince you that they had forgotten everything you had ever said or done, what would you do

a distinction between goals that are defined in terms of change to the outside world, and goals that exist only in one's thoughts in order to influence one's future behavior in reaction to situations that one might encounter. The value of statements that cannot be verified by the outside world to a degree that everyone can agree upon


"unknown.txt" last modified 07 May 2011

does having done a thing give more confidence in being able to do it?


"progress 22 May 2011.txt"

22 May 2011
absolute strengths, relative values. objective increase always has greater long-term benefit than progress in personal value. due to memory and complexity, greater personal ability allows more freedom to avoid branches of reinforcement in personal value, bounded by confidence in the extent of one's capabilities.

absolute strength = capabilities, nonlinear growth due to prior dependencies

part of the topic of estimating risk

limit as ability increases, contrast to experience of reaching that limit.

technique: failure of large goal by pursuit of a smaller one, by avoiding knowledge of the larger goal's failure until a decisive point
usable when the knowledge of a goal's feasibility is more important than its outcome
can be useful when a negative outcome may have harmful effects, technique should only be used when willing and prepared to accept those consequences

5 Jun 2011
if conflict between self and others, which takes priority? prior commitment to avoiding such conflict can only be upheld by negating personal goals.

putting priority on self is less risky, but leads to different results and the lower prediction of potential leads to different goals for the self and different perception of value by others. with entropy causing conflict of benefit, arguments for absolute value mean that mixing types benefits neither party.

if conflict is seen as reducing efficiency, the most efficient framework is one which encourages accurate prediction of overall variation of quality by observation of a small part of it. this homogeneity can only result from stability due to awareness of and constant effort to correct drift in an environment where change accelerates and locally spreads.


random unrelated video

26 December 2011


from somewhere in dreams, unknown
(something to do with school lunches, selecting someone from a crowd to start off or announce something, buying food to maximize quantity, renewing an item, returning an item from distant past when someone else female was principal or teacher, sister remarking on being late, sister saying that something works better now and can have actual conversations, door, ... )
hiding in blankets to avoid getting sick from cold while sleeping

1) the ability to perceive signals, values, and norms held by people, including those arising from hidden information and complex situations

2) the ability to evaluate signals and perceive the optimal course of action regardless of the opinions of others, including when the complexity of a situation leads to an incorrect conclusion on the best way to accomplish a goal

24 December 2011


A very wise dwarf once said on the WoW forums, "Items are not content. Items are the reward for completing content." This is a very important distinction, because it means that content should be fun but should not be easy to complete, even if it's easy to begin attempting it.

Blizzard's misunderstanding of this basic principle is very evident in a recent post by one of the CMs on the topic of daily quests:

[quote="37908288004"][quote="37893499209"]Given that Blizzard posters have made exceedingly similar statements about every major daily hub from IQD onwards, and that these have all turned out to have the same basic failings, you'll forgive me if I take that note with a pinch of salt.[/quote]
No one likes being the guy on the assembly line putting the left index finger on the doll 250 times a day, 5 days a week. They might not mind it as much though if they're paid $100k a year. Right?[/quote]
Items are not an excuse for the available options after logging in to be boring or mindless! If it is, that suggests huge problems with the game if people feel they need to do something which isn't fun instead of finding something else to do entirely that doesn't require any character progression at all.

(A real-life analogy, which hopefully won't get this thread deleted, is Foxconn workers in China making iPods. By the standards of factories in China they are paid and treated well, but... "Each employee would sign a 'voluntary overtime affidavit,' in order to waive the 36-hour legal limit on your monthly overtime hours. This isn't a bad thing, though, as many workers think that only factories that offer more overtime are 'good factories,' because 'without overtime, you can hardly make a living.' For the workers desperate for making money, overtime is like 'a pain that can breathe:' without it, the days without money make them 'suffocate'..." —without any choices it lead to a string of suicides from loss of hope or enjoyment with life. Just goes to show that the 'rewards' aren't everything. End of interruption.)

Someone in a previous thread I made suggested that it's pointless to post about problems without also offering a solution. In that case, here is the problem and the solution. Blizzard has been vacillating for the past several expansions between "challenging" and "accessible", without ever having the fortitude to do what's necessary to offer BOTH.

This means different things for PvP and PvE. For PvE, most importantly content should not become obsolete as soon as the next major patch arrives. In Cataclysm this can clearly be seen with Firelands, which many people would still like to see but almost no organized groups are still going to.

This did not happen in, dare I say it, vanilla and early TBC, and the clear difference is JP/VP allowing everyone access to the latest gear with what's basically soloable progression. There are many stories of encountering people in the LFR who are literally afk during much of the instance, and the 4.3 Heroics were basically easier than the troll ones which is part of why the troll Heroics were recently nerfed in hotfixes. The difficulty of early Cataclysm in 5-person content is no where to be found.

This tuning in itself doesn't reflect poorly on Blizzard. The 'casual' content of 4.3 is designed so new players can be carried by the rest of the group, because the alternative with the state of the community is that new players are insulted and kicked for holding back the group and preventing it from completing the instance.

This happens because people want to complete 4.3 content before it becomes obsolete. Blizzard must realize the relationship between the JP/VP gear reset model and community attitudes if it wants to provide challenging content that's still accessible even to the most inexperienced players.

So this is a very long and complicated explanation of the interaction between different parts of the game. That's unfortunate and I should apologize for such a lengthy post.

Free Gear and the Burning Crusade

The current system of buying PvP and PvE gear from vendors with points that take more time than skill to acquire started in TBC, and the justifications for its existence remain the same now as they were then. It went like this:

1) Blizzard wanted to offer a 'skill-based' way for PvPers to obtain gear so they could compete against PvE epics, without the huge time requirement of the vanilla honor system. Getting the best PvP rewards in vanilla could potentially require 18 hours a day of farming BGs in a group for weeks on end; arenas could be done with just 10 games per week.

2) After a while, it became obvious that casual guilds were not having enough success in raiding beyond 10-person Karazhan. People who wanted to see more content were forced to abandon their old guild to join the 'hardcore' raiding scene of 25-person raids, and even the original ZA didn't fix this. This was one of the major failures of design of TBC that Blizzard has tried to address with 10-person raids for every instance since then.

3) To address the simultaneous problems of hardcore guilds feeling forced to run old content that most people in the raid didn't benefit from, casual guilds stuck on the 10/25 transition having their members stolen, and arena weapons being used for PvE, Blizzard removed attunements for raids and introduced new vendor rewards equivalent to BT/Hyjal loot in the first example of the gear reset that's been a standard of every major patch since.

Since this post is about "solutions" and not just "problems", it's necessary to point out what Blizzard could have, and can do differently. Blizzard does not need to give free PvP gear (which people feel they must grind before they can even start PvPing) if PvP is fun even in low-quality gear. If casual guilds can progress beyond the initial raid content of an expansion and there's enough of a healthy and active raid culture on each server so that both small and large raid guilds can fill replacements in their raiding roster and everyone is accustomed to not basing loot on promises to remain in the guild, then it won't hurt a server community for someone to naturally progress to the point of being able to do recent raid content even if it means associating with other guilds and less progressed raid groups along the way. If everyone accepts that a game should be not only rewarding but also fun, then it won't matter if a guild has a disadvantage in a PvE 'race' when some of their members haven't fully upgraded all their gear, because even if they can't complete raid content within an arbitrary time limit they will still feel like they are personally rewarded within the game by doing something they enjoy.

That above paragraph is probably the most important in this post as it sums up everything that's needed to make the game about content, instead of about the in-game rewards for content, even if it's much too short to describe how these several goals can be accomplished. Anyone who thinks items are enough to keep people in the game, ask yourself whether this very vague description of a game without free gear would be something you'd enjoy.

Infinite dynamic content

Switching randomly back to the topic of PvP, the most important difference between world PvP now and in vanilla is that in vanilla, other people wanted to PvP. "But Blizzard can't control what people want to do!" Right... that's why the game has titles, mounts, items, and pets. The danger with offering 'rewards' in PvP is that other players can become no more than a bump on a progress bar, but this is the reason for only giving rewards that no one should feel they need to have. "That doesn't make sense!" you might reply, but talents and other character customization work in a very similar way—the difference in this case is that instead of giving up another ability you aren't sure you'd use when making your choice, you would be giving up a different way of declaring what it means to win.

It may sound complicated, but it really isn't. Right now for the most basic form of PvP, two players encountering each other in 1v1, it's well accepted the winner is the one that's still alive at the end. Now imagine that it's possible to say that the winner is not the player that's still alive, but rather the one who died? This can easily be done by introducing a system that measures performance and can cause positive or negative effects on a character, that doesn't pretend like both players had an equal chance to win.

It's possible that Blizzard is already working on something like this for MoP and if so this post is unnecessary, but still might have some good discussion. Anyway. This would mathematically be different from arenas in that it's meant to make the game more fun so the numbers would be set up in a way to encourage this (for example in arenas rating changes are based only on relative ratings, not absolute), and it avoids the idea of a precise measure of skill from the start because in world PvP and BGs you can always zerg a single powerful player. So to continue on the topic of solutions...

By PvPing, you would gain rank. This is similar to the rank in the old honor system, but since the way of limiting the number of higher ranks would be different, it wouldn't only be calculated at the end of each week (although this still could be done!). The more PvP you did, the more attractive a target you would become as you would be worth more points. Someone who doesn't like PvP could avoid it simply by never doing it, since there's a chance you're actually a very skilled player who just doesn't enjoy that aspect of the game and anyone who attacked you would have a high chance to lose. Furthermore, for someone who does PvP you would also begin to lose points as you become worth more to the opposite faction.

The PvP difficulty of any enemy would be indicated by their rank, just like in the old honor system. The ranks might be different since the old ranks are now used in rated BGs, maybe they would be based on some other attribute like race or class, but you would have a rough idea beforehand of what your chances to win are in a fight, or how disappointed to feel if you just lost. This is very important in establishing an estimate of whether it was reasonable for you to win or lose a fight, so you can feel ecstatic after fighting off someone who should have been able to destroy you and know how to react when you notice several high-ranked names materialize at the limits of your vision while doing a repeatable quest.

Group size can be important, and if it's necessary Blizzard could account for this while calculating point loss and gain. It might not be strictly necessary when the system is done correctly, with no way for an experienced PvPer to 'erase' their history and be treated like a PvP newcomer with no penalty for dying, but if people want it the server could easily calculate this with only a small resource cost. By comparing damage and healing sources between two opposing groups in active combat, the 'attention' being paid by and to each character can be derived and used to calculate a single number for each character of how dangerous their situation is while taking damage. Any given character would be assumed as paying 100% 'attention' to any other at the instantaneous calculation of damage, but the effect this has on the coefficient for the actual level of danger would depend on the interactions between the groups within a specific timeframe to derive relevant actions; so if someone stopped attacking or being attacked for say, 5 seconds, then the server could do a single re-calculation for each character on both sides with which that person had been directly interacting as that person is no longer considered an active part of the fight. The cumulative effect of this means that the number participants in a fight would be important not just at the moment a character dies. But no point in being more specific since probably no one's reading this.

It might help if there's a way to discourage ganking lower levels. If people feel like they're properly rewarded for taking on challenge in PvP this might not be a problem at all, but if it is then the best way is with a "PvP solution" that assists the low-level player by encouraging people on their faction to hunt down whoever's attacking people weaker than them. There are more possibilities for this if items are squished, since then a low-level player can enjoy PvP more when they don't die by being looked at and they might be able to participate in the fight after high-level help arrives, and consequently it would be more acceptable if the 'penalty' for ganking (more PvP) was not purely negative or punitive but instead provided an alternative way of looking at things.

One of the last changes that should be made in PvP is balancing BGs for gear. Not everyone on both teams needs to have the same quality of gear or anything like that. Much more simply, the system should estimate the 'power' of a player based on their items, which is not proportional to the iLevel (even ignoring that iLevel to stats is exponential these days) since an increase isn't just to AP or Spellpower but also to health and combat ratings like crit and resilience. While adding players to each team the gap in power is calculated with each step, and whether to add the next player in the queue is based on if it would increase the gap or decrease it. Team size might even have the possibility of being larger than now, like if the system lets you queue as 10 people all in the best gear then it might match you against as many as 15 people in average gear to balance the teams, or you might have to queue in a smaller group if you want a reasonable wait time if the team sizes have the current restrictions. Coordination and skill can be valid reasons for winning a BG, but having better gear should not be. Dying less than your undergeared teammates should be its own reward. And point losses and gains that affect rank would be halved while in a raid group like a BG so people have a reason to venture out into the world for PvP without the constant action and instant rezzing of BGs.

(None of these suggestions are actually original)

Raiding with friends

Of the reasons for not raiding with friends, "neither I nor my friends enjoy punishing raid mechanics" is one of the most common among people who don't raid. Some others are loot drama, the fact that raid content quickly becomes obsolete and can eventually be soloed, and the difficulty of maintaining a steady group of people who can meet at regular times or are willing to raid at irregular times. All of these problems can be solved, but the challenges facing implementation of the solution in each case are different for each situation.

The first complaint, that raid mechanics are too difficult, may sound extremely subjective. But whether a difficult mechanic is fun is something that can be analyzed by components, which (among others I'm sure) include the timing leading up to an event and its degree of predictability which influence the dramatic tension experienced during the encounter, and the potential for mitigating a mistake by someone in the raid and even completely negating it by turning a downward-trending situation into a positive one.

For this second, a simple example would be if the main tank of a raid lost aggro and the boss aggroed onto a kitty druid. If the druid immediately switches to bear form and uses a defensive cooldown and as a result the healers spend less mana than if the previous tank had maintained aggro for those several seconds, then this turned out to be an awesome way for the kitty druid to show how willing they are to adapt to the situation as their class is meant to.

However, if the kitty druid switches to bear and uses a defensive cooldown and still take twice as much damage as the tank, there's really just no way for the raid to 'win' in that situation and the encounter is much more dull than it could have been. When all answers are the wrong one, it's not very fun so it would help for the mechanics to cause at least one of the available options to players in a raid when things go 'wrong' to be the right one. I won't go into more detail on this as it would be a very significant change to raiding that would deserve its own discussion.

Loot drama is one of the main complaints with this early version of LFR in 4.3, but it's also important for casual raiding. Very frequently the number of people who want to raid in a guild won't match the size of a raid instance, so either people will be left out or the raid will be short on members and this can vary especially if people can't keep a regular schedule from week to week. With the raid lock changes of Cataclysm, the only things preventing many guilds in this situation from raiding is making up the difference to the next marginal raid group size and a way to fairly distribute loot to raid members who aren't part of the guild.

As an example, pretend LFR was actually difficult and a guild with 19 members online decides to fill in the rest of the raid group with PUGers from the same realm. So they clear the first boss with 6 out-of-guild PUGers, and an item drops meant for healing priests. One priest in the guild has a 359 epic in that slot, another has a 378 epic, and one of the PUGers has a 378 epic. (Yes three priests, maybe one of them is shadow or something) The guild member with the 378 epic decides to be nice and pass so the 359 priest can roll on it, without knowing who wants the item outside of the guild.

Then the 378 PUGer outrolls the 359 guild member and wins the item. There were only 6 PUGers in the raid, but the guild had a 50% chance to lose the item which would have significantly helped on future progression. Was this fair? Is the guild likely to continue in the same way, or will they get all upset and feel justified in 'defending' their nice 359 priest by insulting the PUGer and everyone rolling on all future drops in the same instance?

This loot drama can be avoided with a system that fairly rewards everyone in the raid, whether or not they win the item or have any gold to bid. GDKP has a reputation for being used by 'greedy' people and devaluing the meaning of epics if someone can't win an item due to being poor, but these problems can be addressed by only allowing a single bid and letting everyone roll to pay the highest bid, with a bonus for accurately stating the value of an item with a high bid. The entire raid would then be split the proceeds of each item, allowing each player to afford to pay items with what they earn from the raid and rewarding groups in proportion to their contribution to raid slots, not on how many items they end up winning (and paying for). Using the same example as above,

1) Item drops for priests.
2) The 378 guild priest passes after discussing in private with the 359 guild priest.
3) The 359 guild priest makes a hidden bid of 500g.
4) The 378 PUGer makes a hidden bid of 350g.
5) The highest bid of 500g is announced, and the 378 PUGer gets an option to match this bid but has an RNG penalty to winning the roll.
6) Due to the RNG penalty, the 359 guild priest wins the roll and 500g is automatically split with the entire raid, with the 6 puggers receiving a total of 120g (20g each) and the guild receiving the remaining 380g.

This is explained in greater theoretical detail at http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3754955563 .

The remaining reasons for not raiding would be solved if JP/VP were removed (since they discourage seeing older content), if LFR was improved, etc. (post limit)

12 December 2011


Including lower-geared characters in raids, basis for.

clearly lowers chance for group to succeed. Requires philosophical shift away from the idea that "it's fine for wiping to not be fun, because it encourages better play to defeat an encounter". If raiding is fun even when wiping may mean the next attempt will happen an undetermined time in the future due to schedules and life priorities, then it becomes acceptable to bring 'undergeared' characters even on difficult progression fights.

...really just a restatement of 'skill cap' argument.

"that which is not forbidden is required"

since 2.1 with epic buffs
smart players realized this, and either quit or adjusted their expectations, for the game and for the relevance of resulting community ideas of achievement, accordingly.

general problem is lack of tolerance for less 'progressed' characters or less experienced players, solution is change in evaluation standards so goals of being accepted can be accomplished without progression, leading to choice


result of "oh this problem is unavoidable" leading to acceptance of chain of problems that result. definitely not an A+ standard of design, even if most other competitors in the realm of complex (not able to isolate a single element with a 'focus group') systems of competitive evaluation and achievement that appeal to unstated motivations are scoring a D-

25 November 2011

Inefficient Use of Time

"conflict in wow" Sun 18 Feb 2007 01:05:38 PM PST

The basis for conflict in WoW

"The solution to warfare is simple in essence:

When fear is removed from conflict, conflict becomes choice.

Just as when a person's mind is in a state of conflict, it can cause sickness, powerlessness, and depression.

When a person's mind is in a state of choice, it can cause health, clarity, power, and joy.

When a conflict in a person's mind is transmuted into choice, it becomes the basis of self-expression.

What does this mean for the ultimate fate of world PvP in WoW?


On my mage, I don't gank. I never did. I thought maybe this had something to do with the fact that I'm in the military IRL; casually killing people isn't something you want to get into the habit of, even if it "isn't real". I never even went to the battlegrounds, because they were and still are such a cheap and adulterated imitation of true PvP.

I stopped playing my mage on live. On the PTR for 2.0, I finally was able to play in and understand the meanings of the various BGs, and discovered that some of them weren't that bad, as long as you weren't PvPing just to farm gear. As we found out in December, when the only reason people play in BGs is to farm gear, the BGs suck horribly.

But I still had questions about why me and everyone else did what they did in terms of PvP. Why do some people gank, and others don't? Why are half the servers in this game "PvE" servers that avoid world PvP almost entirely? What is the "bloodlust" that causes people to say, Red = dead, and kill anyone and everyone of the opposite faction they encounter without provocation? This is an essential element of world PvP, but why does it exist, and why didn't I feel that way myself?


I think I found the answer. Why do we gank? "Because otherwise they'll kill me instead." "Because if I don't prove myself against them, why am I playing this game?" "Because everyone expects me to, and I'll look like a carebear if I don't at least try."

The basis for conflict, both in the world and inside one's mind, is lack of choice, which results from fear. Is it possible for world PvP to exist in WoW without fear? I say it is.

25 Nov 2011

1) increase in society's ability to measure things, simultaneously with decrease in obvious problems that cause a unifying sense of purpose and common goal (historical/cultural)

2) differing ability to perceive remaining problems and 'residual' variation in measurement accuracy lead to separation in priorities and 'countersignalling', or growth of hidden value, by entities with higher intelligence and unusual circumstances

3) encoding hidden value based on understanding of ideal measures of achievement, not on a flawed sample of values existing in a population

4) prediction of low error rate in accomplishing goals means that changes in hidden value have negligible cost, and inaccurate values in population do not need to be corrected immediately without an identifiable negative result

5) timing error: situation where communication does not convey adequate range of information. frequency of occurrence in population is unknown

6) unexpected change in importance of errors in value of a population that seems to indicate misplaced priorities and incorrect evaluation of benefit from countersignalling, due to unexpected conflict with truth value due to situation that results from previous assumptions.

7) search for solution in immediate environment leads to inconclusive results, which causes contradictions with any previous understanding of designed systems working as expected and the feasibility of common goals in society. prediction of importance of goal accomplishment in similar situation has broad significance for both the possible existence of solutions in the non-local scope and also for the accuracy and verifiability of possible local solutions, both for the individual and for the general population

8) promotion of values and strategies that are perceived to lead to avoidance of the problem in the optimal case and goal accomplishment when the problem cannot be avoided. awareness of problem in population is unknown; conclusions on optimal local or global strategies are also unknown, but directly affects understanding and prediction of ideal values in society.

Resulting values can include "It is important to avoid countersignalling", "Dishonesty is acceptable if it does not lead to an identifiable victim", "People cannot be trusted", "The true incidence of 'avoidance of conflict' strategy is low enough to assume any given sample of opinions is not biased based on benefit to society", with the actual rate of occurrence of these values in the general population subject to large deviations from what is predicted due to the complexity of the situations from which predictions of incidence rate are derived.

19 November 2011

Method of Distributing Items Between Several Groups

each group has an 'item fund'. the amount available for each purchase is a set proportion of the total current funds, which can be changed. the history of contributions and deductions can be accessed. payments are made to groups. a group can consist of a single individual.

1) a member of a group (problem, inflation due to lack of defined exit of cash from bidding circulation regardless of whether bids can be lowered or contribution varies on item type)

1) make cost equal to benefit, so net change is zero for everyone, then decide winner

single bid
announce highest, no name
option to match
lower initial bids have smaller chance to win RNG
distribute costs to group?

depends on how groups are viewed, complexity costs, ...

method of determining value of an item. number of bidders, size of bids, all might not be accurate. largest problem is advantage of late response. should be a way for an individual to 'win' regardless of collaboration by a majority of participants on most items. if value is accurately determined for usable items, lack of accurate measure of value for other items is not a problem. standard bidding process does not equally distribute risk to all participants in case of collaboration, since value is not properly measured unless a non-collaborator accepts risk by revealing their own value for an item.

consequently, there is a decrease in benefit from collaboration by including a penalty for underestimating value, in all cases where the top bid is lower than the true value for a collaborating player.


16 November 2011


. . . Which leads to the second conclusion:
2) If items are squished, raiding needs to be made more fun and less elitist.

This is not about casual players being unskilled n00bs. A lot of players who COULD perform well in current content do not want to, for reasons that go beyond real-life scheduling priorities. While the content itself may be enjoyable, as seen by the number of players protesting the possible removal of the ability to solo old raids, the social environment often is not. A lot of this has to do with the fact that most raiding guilds are focused on completing content instead of having fun. This sounds completely natural at first glance, but the reality is that raiding is this way because the game does not allow people to agree on what, exactly, is fun other than achieving the end goal of being able to loot the body of a raid boss.

What began as a simple inquiry, of how to squish items without upsetting people who enjoy soloing old raid content, leads to an examination of the very foundation of raiding itself.

This has a lot to do with the overall complexity of an encounter, and whether the actions the group must take can be easily understood and announced by a single entity (the raid leader, or a Deadly Boss Mods 3rd-party addon) or whether a raid group will perform best when most people are willing to take actions on their own initiative without needing directions from higher up. Another very important consideration is what are the consequences of being given the opportunity of a challenging situation but failing to succeed at it: does it wipe the raid group, or does it offer other players a further opportunity to recover from that mistake and even benefit? In real life, it's not always easy to identify what would have been the correct action in a scenario, because the consequences depend on being able to adapt to both good and bad situations and turn them to your advantage. You might normally try to avoid risk, but when the amount of risk you face suddenly increases it is just as important to know how to handle it. Unexpected levels of risk should not by themselves constitute a failure for the raid group.

In general, the connection to an easily recognized, larger group goal is very significant for the community values that will tend to evolve and stabilize. The most healthy situation will always be one where the goals of the group that someone directly interacts with has a clear relation to a larger group, of which the group one works with is a subset. The standards and defined benefit of the larger group form a way of evaluating the progress and goals of the immediate group and provide an outside, stable way of justifying any lack of progress or complications that may arise for the immediate group.

The scale of the larger group is not, itself, particularly important, as long as interaction with members of the larger group by the individual is completely optional in clear contrast with the accepted closer connection to the immediate group. The larger group must be neutral in relation to the smaller group with which the individual is associated, meaning that the smaller group's influence is strictly limited by the legitimate goals of other entities within the larger group at a level where no conflict has a priority high enough to require immediate action by any involved subsets of the larger group.

When benefit to the larger group becomes unclear, motivations have the potential to become distorted within the smaller group. For WoW in particular, faction PvP rivalry once defined a benefit to the faction from the acquisition of PvE rewards by the group, in the absence of any other clear benefit to the faction or other larger groups to which an individual belongs. (guild, roleplaying origin, faction, playerbase, national origin, etc.) In many cases the potential benefit would be of a specific accurate standard of achievement or the discouragement of inaccurate evaluation of achievements in general through the promotion of complex goals, but the actions of much of the playerbase indicate that in their experience, 'hardcore' raiding does not provide either of these two results.

Consequently, there exists a clear benefit from ensuring that raiding goals in WoW are harmonious ("river crab") to the commonly recognized goals of a larger group with which the individual has no direct connection, whether by influencing the goals of the group or by changing the recognition of how that larger group will benefit.


higher wages for overtime, lower cutoff point = unambiguous increase of profits for firms from tendency to want to work less, leading to permitting high amounts of overtime due to marginal benefits to supervisory structure and low utility of money for the firm. high variance/skewing of total income encourages production of goods with low utility per cost and further income inequality.

lower wages for higher amounts of work = increase of profits for firm depends on job responsibilities and elimination of inefficient work practices. any tendency to want to work less does not naturally result in higher profits for all firms, leading to resolution of conflict only when firm competitiveness is high enough for profitability prior to work reduction. contrast between worker outcomes based on firm profitability leads to congruence between the firm's goals and benefit to workers and society, compared to overtime system where variation in firm profitability with low overtime cutoff would lead to adverse outcomes for same.

a profitable firm should cause benefit to workers and society. with overtime system, both are harmed instead of benefiting.

22 October 2011

no objective

"complexity 21 Oct 2011.txt"

21 Oct 2011
instructive: changes to Ubuntu UI for 11.10 version.

tablet UI vs mouse input, icons vs sorted list, 'special snowflake'

value of countering expectations, but also usability of a system at minimal initial cost of setup. verifiable benefit from correct design and the misunderstandings of consumer preference which prevent correct design from being adopted or retained. complexity of use and initial learning curve, but also significant consumer pressure for a design which can serve as a signal and interaction with, or compensation for, necessary psychological elements ("progress/competence" and "options") that are missing from other elements of life.

22 Oct 2011 a.m.
(unrelated... >.>)
explain importance of "measuring progress" in the context of respect for enemies and valuing a situation that may lead to defeat.

lack of knowledge of minimum extent of abilities can cause adherence to metrics when the goal was simple and judged to have been obtainable, with the same failure combined with complex goals can lead to separation from metrics and 'hidden' value. however, lack of knowledge of maximum extent of abilities causes completely different pattern of errors for both approaches to conflict; apples and death note

large variations in competence by themselves not seen as harmful. however, the large increase in complexity that arises from psychological anticipation and the local variability as a result of disagreements on goal priorities and attainability lead to a 'singularity' where individual conformance to a conflict-avoiding strategy is not seen as leading to a greater expected contribution to the perceived goals of society than a strategy of winning conflicts despite lack of knowledge of the specific goals of entities involved in a situation.

ultimately the result of unbounded complexity and unresolved system failures in the rest of the world which indicate limits reached by other entities interacting with the system.

...snowflake partly result of pattern of winning conflict strategy incidence & trust in others, conflict between snowflake as stable achievement measure and society's progress only as far as individual effort and mental health can be maintained without snowflake...net gain for society requires being able to achieve economic goals without accumulating reputation capital

18 October 2011


18 Oct 2011

final element: benefit to group, regardless of proper redistribution. Assumption that no one is working more than they wish, and taxation is natural consequence.

[Argument that bureaucratic processes will naturally introduce inefficiency that decreases real value from total time spent working by all persons.]

Assuming optimal efficiency from bureaucracy, the option to work less would still help the group because of reduction of natural inefficiencies during normal work. Cite work efficiency studies when variables were changed, such as reducing total time spent working did not lead to an immediate change in total production, and returning hours to previous lead to an increase in total production due to higher time efficiency from previous step in the experiment.

Unwillingness to point this out but natural consequence of lack of success in previous arguments (distribution failures) and aversion to taxation, leading to further complexity in arguments and deconstruction of assumptions on the lack of need to make distinctions in quality in a population.

14 September 2011

自慢 // "flame"

What's with the frequent name changes!

I just checked the forums, and it looks like quotes are still broken. The last time I tested it, first-level quotes would not correctly link to the previous author's post unless it included a valid, second-level quote in the quoted text. If the first-level quote does make a valid reference to a previous post, the first-level quote will correctly link (with #URL and character name) but the (valid) second-level quote will show up without a #URL or name; this means that if the post is edited, the first-level quote will no longer show up since the forum software returns the formatted post when editing which does not include the second-level reference. On the other hand, if the first-level quote does not include a reference, the second-level quote(s) will show up with #URL and name. This was likely the result of an intended fix to the problem of third-level quotes and clean conversations, but it seems that the problem has somehow still not been identified. It's possible that the double-space bug also exists, where the forum software attempts to match to a post with double spaces (such as many people will enter after a full stop) but a browser will only display, and therefore paste for quoting a highlighted section of text, a single space.

That was just a FYI.

Now, then. I feel sorry for other regions, because while there might be some degree of communication with the developers with the Q&A format, probably only the US-EN blog comments are being read by them. Expect this comment to be complicated.

The most prominent short-term danger to the health of WoW is likely "a lack of challenge". This can be seen, for example, in comments to the news item announcing a reduction in difficulty for normal and Heroic modes of current raid content.

The most prominent long-term danger to the health of WoW has been, and will continue to be, a lack of "broad awareness of the varying reliability of primary signals", in the sense of a quality that communicates information, in the playerbase that prevents WoW's developers from anticipating which changes are likely to lead to a game that people will want to continue to subscribe to. To be more specific, while there are plenty of people who anticipate what they would or would not enjoy in a game, there is substantial correlation between an accurate prediction of what would improve the game and a lack of action to do anything about it.

This is due both to the predominance of inaccurate predictions in the overall subscription base, but also competing goals outside of WoW that prevent people from being able to decisively state that effort spend on improving WoW will lead to positive changes in the world as a whole, due to both the opportunity cost of these efforts and also of the game itself. This manifests as a lack of desire to contradict the expressed wishes of the rest of the playerbase, no matter how inaccurate those predictions of enjoyment might be; meaning that while constructive efforts to improve the game might be made, the particular incidence of doing so drops sharply when it leads to conflict with any part of the playerbase leading to a significant divergence in the aggregate opinion that the developers will find themselves exposed to.

This bias can be understood, allowing the developers to accurately evolve the game in a positive direction, but the underlying causes that contribute to this problem in the game's community have their basis in the rest of society. In other words, there are two situations that will result in WoW's developers obtaining a more accurate signal in the community's feedback. The first is for WoW's developers to improve the overall incidence of accurate judgements in the game's playerbase through game changes that would encourage this critical approach. The second is through the resolution of problems in broader society that prevent higher competence individuals from feeling justified in contributing to improvements to WoW, removing the inherent bias in the accuracy of the community's feedback as a result of conflict.

To provide a bit more explanation on said bias and correlation, more intelligent individuals are more likely to attempt to anticipate future changes in their own situation and direct their own actions and thoughts in an active way. The most common strategy that results is to maintain the capability to anticipate conflicts and cause them to resolve in one's own favour. However, once someone has sufficient confidence in their ability to do this, they may begin to avoid conflicts and allow the ones that do occur to resolve in favour of other entities, due to the significantly different options this leads to in voluntary interactions with other individuals; the ability to complete goals without conflict is in some sense even more difficult than winning a battle, and this is part of the reason for the correlation with accurate judgement even as it leads to increased difficulty in the verification of capabilities and demand for situations which provide this confirmation.

As one of the issues in society that lead to the correlation in feedback incidence and skewing of WoW's developers' perception of player desires (note that the conflict in this case is not actually between an intelligent player and the player that does not accurately predict what changes would be good for the game, but rather between the desires of the intelligent player and the demands society places on them due to their capabilities and their own knowledge of the existence of system failures), the reason global economic problems such as unemployment and economic inequality have not previously been addressed, and what people can do to contribute to a solution, is described here:

(it may or may not be worth pointing out that the reason prices do not somehow stabilize to reduce unemployment can also be analyzed by looking at the demand curve for a single firm, as distinctly opposed to aggregate demand or demand for a specific product type, as shown here:

Failure to understand this is part of why traditional economics did not correctly identify the problems with previous modeling of recessions and unemployment or the solution.)

The other situation which would lead to more accurate feedback from the game's community, as mentioned above, is to deliberately introduce more ambiguity in the measures of progress used by the community to make judgements, leading to a more critical evaluation both of one's own accomplishments and the capabilities of other participants in the game. Shallow, inaccurate judgements are at the core of the biased player feedback that influences WoW's developers' perceptions of player desires, leading to an inaccurate model of motivation and development work that does not produce the expected reception when it is released.

The basic antagonistic principles which can lead to an improvement of this situation are described at the end of the following text, although it does not pertain directly to WoW:

Adopting counterbalancing arrangements of achievement measurements in this fashion has a direct influence on their use as estimations of competence or as goals, and can therefore prevent inaccurate feedback on changes to these measurements that leads to inefficient allocation of development resources or the perception by parts of the playerbase of nonconstructive change as described in this blog post.

However, as mentioned previously, the greatest short-term danger to the health of WoW is likely to be the lack of challenge for much of the content available to most players. While this is a sensitive topic in the WoW community, the implications of insufficient challenge at the individual level, and consequently the importance of providing opportunities to test one's capabilities in a constructive direction, are described here:

It's worth mentioning that there is a distinct difference between reacting to problems that appear in the game, such as balancing issues in the viability of different character classes in a particular content area, and designing a game such that these problems avoid arising in the first place. I think it would be fair to say that WoW's developers do not have a precise theoretical understanding of how to minimize the number of balance changes that are necessary in character classes; low-level character performance could probably be seen as a great example of this deficiency, with no consistency over time in the difficulty a character is expected to face in leveling up. WoW's developers have mentioned that it was originally estimated during the early design process that combat with an equal-level NPC would take about one minute to complete; it is unlikely that the current developers have any particular goal of what this time frame should be.

[exceeding the 'post this today' length... oh well]

*yes finally remembered after 5 minutes... WoW wasn't originally intended to have lots of quests. They were only added in from feedback from testers who really enjoyed the questing aspect. The reason WoW became popular was not collecting magic items, or the optimization of character performance to complete content before it is reduced in difficulty, and if WoW's developers do not understand why quests made WoW popular they should consider how accurate their understanding is of player motivations in the game's current state. 'Travel' quests, in particular, did not lead to complaints even if they took a large amount of time to complete if done as the sole purpose of a journey, and were often deferred for a significant amount of time if the character had no other reason to visit the area of the quest's destination. The complexity of interacting goals, with reaching the level cap often actually having a low priority, did not lend itself to a single-variable evaluation of a character's progress, and consequently there was no community pressure on development to make a given progression baseline easier to attain. A return to the social environment of early WoW—which some might say was more refined—is possible, but it depends on the ability for WoW's developers to understand the basis for community evaluation of metrics and the reasons that people subscribe to the game.

[it's so fun watching undo history repeat itself... then realizing that the last four minutes since saving were spent on a single sentence]

>On the other extreme, too much change can produce what we often call the “roller coaster effect,” where the game design feels unstable and players, particularly those who play the game more sporadically, can’t keep up.

If the developers make a game change because a certain spec's numbers are not the right size, does this mean players should feel obligated to respec if it will improve their character's numerical performance? If the numbers of one of several possible primary specialties were not important enough to base changes to one's character on, would the game's developers still react to a perceived or theoretical imbalance? The playerbase takes cues from the changes to the game, and this forms one component of the community expectations for character customization. Or as one the above links states,

"[A situation] which involve[s] conflicting goals, where progress in one direction causes a reduction of expected progress in another direction, promotes the self-measurement of a hidden competence metric and is therefore more useful than a single variable measurement for individuals who are not accustomed to attempting to keep track of progress outside of what is measured by the previously developed system, even if a single variable can accurately measure competence within a constrained set of assumptions"

If players feel they need to change specs to justify their participation in group content, perhaps WoW's developers should look at increasing the 'fun' of that group content and the potential to test individual player competence instead of merely treating it as a goal to be completed, as described in another of the above links. I have been told that WoW's raiding has never really been hard at the individual level, only in the difficulty of gathering enough competent players with stable connections that can meet at the same time.

>We call these server changes hotfixes, because often times we are able to deploy them even while you are playing. If we hotfixed Mortal Strike’s damage, you might suddenly do more or less damage in the middle of a fight.

If Mortal Strike's damage were not fixed, most players would not care. The need to change its damage at all is not immediately apparent in the situation leading to an analysis of class imbalance.

>I mention all of that just to explain that one reason you see so many hotfixes these days is because we have the technical ability to do so. That doesn’t mean that the game has more bugs, more boneheaded design decisions, or more class balance problems than previously.

Does a class balance problem that no one notices exist? Time between patch 1.2 and 1.3, 11 weeks. Class balance changes intended to address performance issues in raids: 0.

>If your hunter is topping meters by a small fraction, you might ask: what’s the rush? And many players do. But you have to consider that other players are miffed that their raid leader might sit a warlock in the interest of bringing a third hunter (since their damage is so awesome) or might be really frustrated that they are so likely to lose to your hunter in PvP.

Why does the warlock have no other groups to raid with? Is this not the fault of WoW's developers, regardless of balance issues, for not providing the tools and mechanics necessary to be able to expect the warlock can join another group? What is the timescale over which the hunter has gained this advantage in performance? It is unrealistic to expect that no raid group can gain an advantage by selective substitution based on content unless all classes have the exact same mechanics and identical abilities in their specialization roles. Designing a game that is resilient to adverse effects on player choice from leadership whims or raid group optimization should be seen as superior to the discontent that arises from the endless attempt to improve balance without really accomplishing anything at all.

>We have to balance the goal of providing fixes when we think they are warranted with the whiplash or fatigue that can come from players feeling like they constantly have to relearn how the game works. We debate constantly whether a change needs to be made immediately or whether we can sit on a problem for an extended period of time.

There are many analogies that could apply to this situation. One might be a leaky boat.

>Ideally, we want players who like Fire to be able to play Fire without feeling like they are holding back their friends.

Are their friends having fun?

Oh and is this before or after the content is reduced in difficulty? The reason for this rhetorical question should be obvious...

...but in case it isn't, if content is not fun to do, then it would likely improve WoW's subscription numbers to improve game mechanics to make content more challenging for the individual player instead of making it trivial to complete. The reason there is no coordinated feedback that content should be made more challenging is described in the above links, but also due to the concern that WoW's developers will add mechanics that are challenging but have no social relevance. WoW once had 'login challenge' and 'avoid death from loot lag challenge' but overcoming these personal challenges had no positive effects on other players, and therefore limited relevance once competence in those areas was reached.

>A lot of the fun of World of Warcraft is problem solving.

Then a lot of gameplay in World of Warcraft must not be very fun due to the lack of problems requiring solving.

>It’s time for us to step in when the lines flatten out and no new players are beating the content.

Are the ones who haven't beaten it having fun?

>It’s a bit easier for the five-player dungeons because we want players to prevail almost all the time. Nobody wants to go back to Throne of the Tides week after week until they finally beat Lady Naz’jar.

Has it always been this way..?

Is the desire for players in the most talented guilds to have content that challenges the competence of their guild and competing guilds at odds with the desire of casual players to have fun playing the game? If content is intended to be reduced in difficulty, does it benefit the game to offer it at a higher difficulty at all? At either difficulty for the group, does it challenge the individual player enough for them to enjoy the game?

>Players would typically rather we buff everyone but their spec rather than nerf their spec, even if the outcome is the same.

Are they having fun? This is getting repetitive.

>It’s fun for you to top meters. It’s not fun for when you feel like you have no hope of competing with the guy topping meters.

Is it fun to top meters on an encounter that is not difficult?

> (Remember, that if we buffed everyone up to the DPS of the outlier, that we might very well have to buff creatures as well to keep you from trivializing content, which adds a lot more overhead to the change.)

The content is already destined to be trivialized if it isn't challenging for the individual player. The player feedback that asks for increases in character performance is the same feedback that leads to content nerfs. Instead of conceding defeat when players say content isn't fun, understand why they feel that way and how to change game mechanics to make content more difficult for the individual, not how to make it easier for the group with class buffs and content nerfs.

>We hear from players who say “My dude hasn’t fundamentally changed in years,” and they want something, anything, that makes them look at their character in a new light.

It's been a while since people treated WoW as a roleplaying game..

>Stuff like this is why I say game design is an art and not a science.

Art is a science. Sadly, Aion has not delivered as a good PvP game either... the inability of the playerbase to anticipate their benefit due to poor signal evaluation, and the ignorance of the developers on how to address flawed character interactions based on these signals, are common elements of both games. The changes made to a game and their frequency are not as important as the motivations for and goals of those changes.

WoW's developers should have enough ideas on how to progress the game in a positive direction and improve the community and its quality of feedback. If they do not act to improve the attractiveness of the product for potential users, there would seem to be nothing anyone can do to remedy this situation.


09 September 2011



pizza rolls 700 kcal/dollar; turkey frank w/ cheese, pepper, onion, ketchup, pickle relish on 8¢ bun; hotdog w/ cheese, pepper, onion, ketchup, pickle relish on 8¢ bun


16 March 2011

Paper Tigers and

"A harder challenge can be relevant to society."


15 March 2011


"There are times when, due to a previous history of events, one is unable to benefit from the present. In this case, the optimal course of action is not determined purely by the set of potentials and values that make up the current situation, but rather by the conditions at an earlier point in time.

Knowing that someone is happy may lead to benefit, by previously mentioned mechanisms regarding situational complexity

"Physical exercise and a change in mental focus." There are many ways to influence one's own thoughts, but excess mental activity is as much a problem at the physical level of thought as it is a psychological one.

28 February 2011

Skill cap and MMOs

Specifically grouped content.

When the skill cap is low, one logical conclusion once someone has reached their individual potential is that they would spend their time doing other fun things. However, if the goal is to complete group content, the difficulty of assessing that the skill cap has been reached manifests as effort to contribute to the group's success by progress in areas that do not require skill.

In this sense, offering non-skill increases in effectiveness, either permanent or temporary, are only harmful to enjoyment if goals are set which cannot be accomplished solely by increase of skill. From a competitive standpoint, if every individual player eventually reaches a personal skill cap, then any interaction has the potential to demonstrate incremental improvement without the need for a long-term goal.

By increasing the perceived skill cap and significance of each isolated victory, there can be greater 'depth' of non-skill progress offered (either permanent, or temporary) without the feeling of those elements being required to participate in group content.

This, in turn, requires not only the possibility of discerning whether an increase in skill has taken place, but also that the individual can benefit from this progression, which is not measured by the game. The easiest way to do this is, as mentioned before, congruence of individual goals with group benefit.

The second implication of the skill cap is social patterns of voluntary grouping. A higher skill cap, meaning greater variance in performance, implies easier completion by a group that's better than normal. However, there are two possibilities that may prevent extreme divergence of group performance in the population that would complicate content difficulty tuning: a higher skill cap means less reason to avoid the situation of the previously-mentioned non-skill progression elements feeling required in a group that is not progressing, since instead of "farming more potions" someone can just play better at the moment an encounter takes place, if the reason for playing a game is for challenge instead of in-game rewards; and also when rest of the game has sufficient justification to improve even for those who do not have challenge as the primary goal, decreasing the variation in performance in the population by increasing average competence as time goes on.

17 February 2011


Systems are designed to have certain modes of interaction. The assumption by the user is that the observable controls will have the intended result. The reason this is possible is the prior analysis of the entire system and removal of variation of performance from actions which are not intended to have an effect. Sometimes it's necessary to question to what extent this planning was done effectively, but in many cases without prior experience with similar situations the available modes of interaction must be taken as presented.

In a 'living' environment characterized by energy input and systematic replication, there are a greater number of ways to produce results and more ways to make mistakes. It helps to have experience with both designed systems, and natural environments.

12 February 2011

How2fix Income Disparity in Capitalist Economy

First X hours gives higher compensation. Rate, and size of X depends on development of economy. Legislative reduction of X also increases salary/wages so that total income from working X hours remains constant, with same multiplier for work done after X hours, so that changes in X have a balanced effect on an economy that can support it.

Explanation/tl;dr: {Those who feel they have 'sufficient' income will not agree to employment under terms that require them to work more than X hours, for high income occupations. Those who do not feel they have sufficient income will work longer than X, and either not accept jobs or will lobby for pay increases in occupations where the marginal compensation for working beyond X hours is not 'fair'. Even when the multiplier is no where near the size of income disparity, the contraction would affect all levels of the economy where choices are made to forgo expensive goods in favor of cheap goods of the same benefit regardless of the income or wealth of the purchaser.

Cannot be done instantly from the inverse of working hour limitations and overtime that addressed the working conditions during the time of the industrial revolution, because spending habits, item price leveling, wage normalization, and creation of new production and employment niches can only happen from market forces that need time to take effect.}

No pressure for this to happen until world resource depletion lowers 'standard of living' in developed countries, since currently survival and comfort is easily possible at less than 1/10th of per-capita income.


Protip from Amazon: silk or satin pillowcases prevent 'bed hair' for people with long hair.

28 January 2011


"A story begins when something unexpected happens. Sometimes this is a mistake, but it can be other things."

I hate it when I can't fall asleep! 70th post in this weblog, not counting deleted posts.

20 January 2011

It's hard to give imaginative titles when...

. . . you're not being exposed to new stories or anything interesting. 'LFD queues' sounds boring, 'dungeon queues' even worse, 'Waiting' is just vague and boring !

It's difficult to find average expectations for performance in a population, but given enough interactions it will be found. The problem is that when any kind of learning is needed within a group without any expectation of past or future social interactions, benefit depends on a prediction of the amount of effort to reach the goal but obtaining the information to accurately make that prediction takes its own effort, which may turn out to be a lost investment.

Someone may be presented with two possible cases: 'competence', or 'lack of competence'. In the second case due exactly to the factors leading to lack of competence, advice for improving mistakes may not be instantly accepted. At the same time, the system must be designed on the assumption that improvement will happen.

. . .

Meuh, fine, this entry is about WoW now—

It's important to separate players making honest mistakes from lack of experience from those who blame their mistakes on others and are unwilling to improve.

If the playerbase cannot assist those of the first category, Blizzard will nerf the game, making all of the current encounters much easier exactly like you imply you dislike. The second category is not important, but the only way for a group to distinguish between them is iteration; it can't be done instantly the way groups would like.

For accepting risk to become a popular decision, one of the possible results of taking greater risk must actually be seen as rewarding.

16 January 2011

That which cannot be seen

When the system does not provide enough information to preserve justice, it's up to other individuals to ensure fair treatment. Few will admit this as a motive even to themselves when it would be more personally rewarding to let mistakes or ignorance slip by, but it is the basis of many actions.

edit: was trying to preserve an original thought, not restate something else encountered before ._. The loss of information obtained from the current situation (unable to be communicated within the current system in a useful way), and the effect of this potential information loss on decision making due to the uncertainty of future benefit and cost of remembering are the salient points of the thought. This is related to the manipulation of values, and priorities of action, when the source of those values is not known or understood.

Note that it isn't mentioned whose mistakes or ignorance, the definition of rewarding or whether that reward assumes a constancy in factors that might have other influences.

Zero tolerance

Hackers have a wide interest in many things. This is why I'm trying to make myself read an article about how to make it in prison published in the most famous hacker magazine, /sigh. It went like this, 1) mention security vulnerabilities in software 2) re-read articles about the commercialized fraud industry 3) browse blog discussing security issues including 'jihadist publications' (it's hard to criticize someone for not knowing a language when, well~) 4) skim articles for current magazine issue 5) profit!

Wait missing a step there.

"X is too expensive. Y is missing features. Z just doesn't interest me." At some point, one allows oneself less and less freedom to choose an acceptable option until combined with overlap of uncertainty of multiple factors the size of the range of options that one allows oneself to approve of becomes negative, but I don't remember why this is. Probably something to do with being simple, or some other communication-based concern.

(17 Jan 2011 11:09 pm) oh, I remember: "A feeling of control of the environment", or rather when the amount of control is the amount desired. Ultimately arising from feedback on perceptions of and abilities of the self, due to the lack of real information flow when actions neither affect, nor are affected by the 'outside world' and the mental model of the world's current state and direction of change, in other words disassociation from a perceived reality. Related to population trends after the second world war.

14 January 2011

Special snowflake

If there are multiple options available, is one of them more attractive because it's your idea? Obviously in some aspects of life this isn't true, as people hire interior decorators so they don't have to think about which colours match, or whether a dragon could fit its tail between the couch and a wall. But in other cases, people seem to display a distinct preference for originating any changes to an arrangement instead of adopting them from an outside source.

The logic seems to be that there are a number of potential solutions towards a goal; however, there is no way to distinguish between them. The only way to find the most beneficial solution is by experimentation, meaning that the knowledge about effectiveness is an 'experience good' or 'credence good' in Wikipedia economics terminology. The benefit of a solution therefore has an important reflection on the source of that idea, as it provides the sole means of evaluating the likely correctness of future analysis in related topics.

It's possible there are things for which an analysis of value or correctness cannot be agreed upon, yet specific sources of opinion or creation have high correlation with economic success or popular appeal. This description would probably apply to many of the fine arts. Yet for the same reason, these things are criticized when something seen as having low value becomes popular due to marketing efforts or being promoted by certain economic products associated with an artistic work, due to the emphasis on convenience of purchase by consumers and lack of interest in comparing the quality of a complex product.

Of a game which is mentioned three times on the first page of search results for "$100 million failed MMO", the pages for job recruitment at the developing company are no longer available due to the failure of the company and archive.org doesn't have them either lol, but a discussion that linked to one of them quotes the following from the previous text on that page:

"If you’re looking for your first job in games, it’s worth thinking very carefully about your future employer. Do you want to work on jaded, derivative titles that receive scathing reviews and go straight to the bargain bin? Do you want to work large amounts of unpaid overtime because your project is underfunded and poorly managed? Do you want to work on codebases that are messy and poorly-designed because there’s never time to do things properly? Do you want to live in fear of your company’s financial security?

It’s sad that these and other games industry horror stories are more frequent than they should be, but it’s not like that here."

(quote continued from a different source)

. . . "And while making games is great fun, we take our work seriously. We pride ourselves on our unusually sensible, sustainable and professional development practices, resulting in smoothly-run projects and far less overtime than is normal for many game developers. We’re passionate about engineering and crafting our games to the highest of standards. We cultivate an open working environment where ideas are valued on their own merits, no matter whose they are."

While being 'original' seems to be one element of success, it should be questioned how much of this is due to the motivational aspect of doing something you like to do, without a real increase in quality compared to others with the same level of motivation.

A textbook for Japanese language lists the following as important for making hiring decisions, based on a survey of 501 companies :-
  • Enthusiasm/desire - 86.7%
  • Personality/cooperation - 57.3%
  • Creativity - 40.7%
  • Specialist knowledge/contents of research - 34.9%
  • Individuality - 31.0%
  • Amount of effort put forth during education - 16.7%
  • Practical knowledge/existing ability for work - 11.3%
  • Grades from education - 6.5%
  • School graduated from - 5.0%
  • Other - 2.8%

Enthusiasm, or perception of personal benefit from a field of work independent of salary is seen as being twice as important to hiring decisions as the propensity for expressing unique ideas.

Is there any point in quoting this? Lol. It doesn't seem efficient to say the same thing in multiple places. But then again, I'm


For many people in NA, the approach to a problem such as the ganking that occurs in Aion is to modify just the situations of the particular individuals involved in a specific scenario - there is the casual player who has just been ganked; and there is the ganker. The 'solution' is one that changes the relationship between these two.

This pattern of asking questions ignores interactions outside the immediate - by penalizing the ganker, it is understood that their ability to PvP against players other than the casual player who was ganked will also be affected, and solutions attempt to minimize this effect while accepting it. In other words, the assumption is any modifications of the interaction of the ganker with other players, other than the casual player who was ganked, are due to changes to the situation of the ganker, and that these distant players will not, or even that they should not be directly affected by any 'solution' that resolves the options and emotions of the casual player who was ganked.

Casual player

- - - (irrelevant) - - - Another well-geared player
 Another well-geared player

This is why suggestions to fix PvP consistently omit that all players that PvP frequently should award more AP, and lose more AP than casual players who do not PvP. The 'option' of whether someone is interested in PvP can be expressed, and communicated to other players simply by avoiding participation in it.

12 January 2011

Turtle and the rabbit

It's possible that it's often said that it helps a writer to diversify and have experience with many different types of stories. A mystery, then:

There is a mechanism which may result in the death of a cat without any possibility of prediction. However, the cat is not present at the moment. The only way to ascertain whether the cat is living is to examine traces in the environment where the cat has been.

Some of the traces, an incidental result of movement here or a scratched couch there, are not conclusive. The best analysis is unable to conclude they are of recent origin, but even in the case they are several weeks old they only prove the cat existed at the time, and an event to change that may or may not have occurred since then.

But there is also a different kind of evidence, marking unusual behavior for a cat. The question is whether this evidence, left by a cat that seems to be no longer visible, is more likely to have been done by a cat that is currently alive elsewhere, or a cat that is dead..?

Suppose that the motivation for an action is not to prevent someone else from hating something, but to prevent yourself from hating—it, or something else..?

11 January 2011

Frozen trees

Warm light on white snow
Shadows open to the sky
The night does not end

The price of future contracts for commodities with low storage cost is remarkably flat and close to spot price. The possibility of buying the commodity now to sell as a future means that the contract price cannot be too high, but also means that spot price cannot be too low and the predictions of the most risky positions by specialists have already influenced the spot market.

However, for goods with significant storage costs especially this only provides a maximum for future contracts price, which not always be at the contango value predicted by the difference between the short-term cost of money and benefit of lending the commodity. When the cost of carry exceeds the investment benefit of the good, the optimal time to invest will be delayed until the inflection point with the rest of the market realizing the coming rise in price, resulting in decreasing purchase volume as prices rise until the market price stabilizes and begins to fall.

But the current popular gold futures exchange requires $5000 USD on margin for a 100 troy ounce contract (~$140k, yay) to even enter, which by itself would not provide nearly enough safety to cope with artificial fluctuations whether or not working the less competitive supply side of contracts is also possible so meh ._. without $20~30k or so not going to happen

10 January 2011

bubbly rice

Learning how to invest in gold is annoying. As always, the expectation that people will do things in an efficient way is a useless hope.

The preferences of a market expressed by aggregate choices are not homogeneous. Try to understand the correctness of a certain sector, in the form of the average intelligence of people interested in that choice. Often, even telling people that an investment or activity would benefit them will not let them understand that it would, so the people choosing it will tend to be smarter than average and demand, and consequently average price level will be artificially low, or alternatively supply is low and profits are high. Avoid the unwise choices with a low amount of aggregate intelligence. Since price will only change over time due to a change in conditions, the limited capital and risk acceptance of individuals intelligent enough to make that choice means that additional investments do not affect the profit of other investors, only the profit of industries that depend on the consumption demand at a specific price.

However, it seems that most companies that sell gold to private investors are selling gold as a physical object to feel assurance from and profit from the difference between supply and demand for a long-term investment with physical shipping, in the form of a price premium on sales and/or purchases resulting from the uncertainty about the value of the good and the lack of liquidity.

It would be just as 'efficient' in the short term for the gold to never require shipping at all with no increase in uncertainty about the value of the good, and just store the gold as a number in the accounts of the selling company. The gross revenue then being used to further invest in gold coins purchased from other companies. However, since companies can be destroyed and constantly increasing physical storage requirements is not seen as the natural result of a business that sells things, this is not the service that these companies are selling to people interested in long-term investment in gold as a form of assurance against currency inflation. Similarly, while investment for individual retirement accounts is another common goal which is facilitated by a broker, taxes and income are a primary consideration and the liquidity of a smaller short-term investment in gold is not.

So it seems the only way to invest in gold on a short-term scale while retaining liquidity is an exchange traded fund for gold, where the service being sold is knowledge about the expected future changes in the price of gold. Investments are not a purchase, but an expression of agreement about the current market trends and a current profitable choice.

However one has to wonder if it's worth the effort

edit 7 minutes later http://www.bullionvault.com/ can has pretty website??

edit 11:20 pm 10 Jan 2011 . . . normally investment is limited by capital, in derivatives like futures exchange it's only limited by risk one is willing to take and the restriction of the negative consequences that stupidity can have by laws limiting risk. If only one person could invest with margin leveraging their capital, then any expectation of a rise in prices would be cause for a high-risk position if the rest of the market is intelligent. But when specialists in the market have access to the same leverage, the price difference between a futures contract and spot price already reflects the expected maximum profit from a high-risk position.

Since the greatest risks are consistently taken by those with the most confidence of success, futures prices should predict the actual future spot price to some degree after taking into account the depreciation over time with respect to a currency bearing interest※. But when short-term motivations are removed and simply finding the balance between leveraged risk and long-term profit becomes the goal, then there is no reason to expect a futures market to provide substantially greater profit than a normal long investment, without specific understanding of events or trends influencing the short-term market to the contrary. This is why gold exchange-traded funds have such high investment by major players like banks, since it doesn't make sense to depend on specific individuals with 'skill' for risky investments in a futures exchange. Those skilled enough to do so are already able to profit on their own while reaching the same limit with attention span and market opportunities, not investment capital, restricting their gains that they would have making decisions for a bank.

When leverage of risk is selectable, profit requires not only understanding of the proper price but also the proper amount of risk at that price, and many people will guess wrong without realizing why.

※In a stable economy with no change in economic output or the size of the money supply from credit and other promises, this means that gold would not be a profitable investment, because it would not be helping an intelligent person to do something they otherwise couldn't do without loans or outside capital investment, which are themselves a judgement of quality and take effort.

. . . actually I think 'contango' has nothing to do with the cost of borrowing money (the good doesn't even need to exist when the contract is sold) and everything to do with supply-side uncertainty, /sigh. when the cost of a commodity varies by up to 10% per year there's little point in worrying about people not knowing why they lost 0.6% of principle to renew a futures contract anyway. Maybe the sellers of gold futures contracts do have to put up some kind of guarantee that prevents them from earning interest on money they have, it's all quite confusing lol. Right now I can't even remember if short vs long is the same as seller vs buyer. too late? lol. I'm so productive. 2:43 am

09 January 2011


Proper social interactions require knowing the values placed in things by others. This includes the significance of the loss of those things, but manipulation of the possible outcomes of a situation is often without an understanding of the reasons for the relative size of the value of each thing.

For an individual or entity to hold the same values for things, is it necessary to understand the reasons for those values? For humans specifically, does lacking the reason make the value harder to remember? In which cases should it decrease confidence in the result?

08 January 2011


On the other hand, dreams can be quite stereotypical sometimes, almost as if they are a derivative work.

Overanalyzing a dream is when the same scene is replayed multiple times, to see what works. One example is when large or sharp objects are being tossed or moved at high speed, since the natural reaction is to flinch or blink which makes it hard to see what's happening.

As a story progresses, its beginning becomes more and more shrouded in time. However, a conflict; the group of raiding outlaws are persuaded to return on their previous path. Wolves may be prominent. At the same time they do, tracking them without being seen is not an easy task, the dips and turns in the mountain path strangely visible despite the general sense of darkness and steepness on either side that is usually found when mountains are used in stories.

After crossing the magical bridge of stone, the hostile group continues in their retreat but must follow them before the magical bridge of stone disappears. Closer to the opposite end, and closer... time is running up. Preparing to leap as the bridge disappears or falls away. The bridge remains solid and the opposite side is reached next to the shrouded individual standing to one side, turning to look the magical bridge of stone is still solid but after a few seconds does disappear. It is invoked one more time for the individual to cross and depart in the direction of the original objective of the hostile group, and perhaps remains for a second traveler to cross and likewise depart.

Arriving from a distance at the confrontation between the hostile group and their leader. Of course the leader is being challenged; but how to exploit the opportunity? Taking cover behind a metal dumpster (used for a different purpose of course) as large objects of similar size to the dumpster are exchanged between the largest and most aggressive of the marauders, who is unattractive, and the leader at the base camp.

"How not to get squished" obviously requires the proper choreography of large objects being thrown, camera locations, etc. Anyway to skip forward, sort of fighting against the leader. A nearby subordinate is slain, to provide offense and defense against the leader. After a few clashes with the leader who is hovering with an altitude advantage, they are surprised that their weapon has been broken. The next attack is fatal to them.

One of the large metal dumpster-sized objects is nearby, with the weapon of the large marauder who had been fighting embedded in it. The ends are clean and the construction is solid. It is picked up and hefted by the female protagonist, twirling it quietly in the silence to get a measure of its balance.

The next scene presents confusing images, but it turns out to be a sort of knighting or other ceremony (not a hanging). One of the previous marauders, or maybe they are a peasant receives what may be the weapon handled in the previous scene.


Is this in opposition to literary works such as A Clockwork Orange? From the most superficial glance, it might appear so.