- Jul 21, 2009
- Guess Who
- Avatar Name
- Xavier Jr Riquelme
An idea for discussion on the rarity and distribution of large loots in EU
by Xavier Riquelme
translated by Growlz
by Xavier Riquelme
translated by Growlz
There are two commonly held theories that explain loot distribution in Entropia Universe.
The first states that a 90% long term rate of return of TT value can be obtained by any player recycling a critical mass of PED.
The second states that absolute turnover has a simple and direct relationship to the chance of hitting a big loot.
It is not the object of this discussion to descend into whining about unfairness. It shall be assumed that with careful and intelligent play it's possible to "profit" in the game either in money or skills or both, as 52% of players asserted on two separate occasions (2008 y 2009). See polls here
Nevertheless, what can we learn from the two extremes of avatars that seem all too numerous, or at least visible, in the game: One set apparently able to hit big loots almost consecutively; by contrast the other set apparently jinxed by bad luck and unable ever to get a decent prize?
Perhaps the answer lies not in a "theory" but rather in a more real and practical direction. It may be observed that changes implemented by Mindark generally contain errors. For this reason we often see patches upon patches after a VU and the appearance of new bugs as a consequence of attempts to fix previous bugs.
There exists a possibility therefore that these "dubious" cases of extreme luck can be explained by poor programming in the internal algorithms that affect avatars' "luck".
I will first list some cases of remarkable and extreme luck and later put forward some ideas as to how poor game mechanics might be the explanation.
Examples of common "luck" anomalies in Entropia Universe:
Cases of extreme "good luck":
Xander Zan Catman - This player looted two atrox this week of 20k and 18k PED at the same spot three days apart.
Mamie Tooty Ricici - This player got two uberloots from different mobs at different spots on the same day.
Patrik Stormer Deluxe - This player of the Deluxe Clan (according to some voices the Deluxe Clan are Mindark people) has hit four ATHs in his lifetime.
Pham Pham Newen : One / Two - This player got two ATHs on the same day from unconnected activities.
Paris Dub Hilton - This player with the odd name Paris Hilton got the only Rugaritz ATH ever seen in the game with a MU value of 700k PED, that's 70k US dollars. By any standard it's remarkable for this to happen with the rarest ore which at that point had a MU of 3,500%. A one-off stroke of luck or an inevitable product of the algorithm?
Jenna Star Mercury - - Info - Star claims never to have deposited but did previously have an earlier avatar that deposed 45 USD. The player has been in game for five years, is a PED millionaire and withdraws monthly. Star is one of the most powerful ubers in game with over 520k skills and all this without deposing a penny.
Ridge RB Batty - - Info - This is not an old player. Let's include him to discount the idea that it's only possible to make money without depositing if one started in the distant past. He's been playing some two years now but his "luck" allows him to earn 700 USD each month. According to the player himself he deposited just 300 PED at the very beginning. From that he got a 1k Daikiba and then an 8k Drone. He subsequently got uberloots from mining and crafting including a find of 20k. This player is relatively new at two years but it would appear that Lady Luck shines on him in every profession he turns to.
Cases of extreme "bad luck":
Naomi Polder the Uber - - Info - Clearly the majority of players are not blessed with the extraordinary "good luck" listed above. However, to disprove the notion that bad luck is linked to low depositing, lack of skills, low PED turnover or newness in game, let's include some facts about an Uber who is a contemporary of Star with high PED turnover and that has deposited. This avatar fulfils all the criteria for success but her results are far lower than might be expected. According to Naomi herself she has never won a single ATH or uberloot despite large amounts of money deposited and hunting the most powerful mobs.
OK. It appears that success can come to or elude an avatar regardless of: Amount of PED recycled; amount deposited; belonging to the old guard of over five years play; being a new player of under two years play. "Luck" is distributed strangely. How can this be explained?
Let's begin by stating the following. It is clear that logical rules exist in the game for loot distribution. Falkao's research demonstrates the 90% long-term return rule. It is also apparent that loot is affected by spending but not necessarily by depositing as an avatar that got given 1000 PED by another went on to amass a large fortune (this is obviously dependent on skilful play and clever trading). The 90% rule and the tacit contract with the company owning the game also dictate that a large monthly PED turnover of say, 200k, will lead to any prolonged period of losses being rewarded by an ATH to compensate.
Despite this there are cases of players that never lose overall but actually increase their holdings.
It is commonly believed that somewhere in the corporate structure there is a department in charge of maintaining not only the balance of loot but the balance of the entire system. It would appear however that the priorities of this department are not those of promoting general encouragement or democracy.
To illustrate this point let's consider the following graphic showing Falkao's percentiles. It demonstrates that even if theoretical overall rates of return are met it is still possible to get individual cases of consistent bad luck and consistent good luck:
It is not the same for one player firstly to lose a great deal of money and then for the balance rules to adjust his return to 90%; and for another player to win a lot at the start and the rules subsequently attempt to correct this. In the second case, the newly rich player can elect to withdraw his winnings. The House is then unable to redistribute those winnings to the general community. Given this, the way in which randomness or "luck" is simulated has a great bearing on results.
Falkao talks of a table of returns ranges according to turnover. However, how is it determined whether our returns are at the higher or the lower limit of the range? The answer lies in randomness. If we have a range with limits A and B in the following way: [A,B] where A<B, a random variable between 0 and 1 could help to determine the results for different avatars in the following way:
If the variable is 0, result will be A
If the variable is 1, result will be B
If the variable is X, where 0<X<1, result will be A+(B-A)*X
So how is variable X determined or simulated?
In real life randomness is easy to simulate by throwing a pair of dice and we can generate fractions from 1/6 to 1 by chance. For example, if I throw a pair of dice I will get the following values from the sum of the two dice: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Assuming the dice are not crooked but perfect, if I make several throws it is probable that the series will not be repeated. Examples of series being: 2, 2, 4, 5, 12, 3, 7, 9, 5, 6 / 12, 3, 2, 7, 5, 6, 6, 10, 11 / etc. If I divide these values by 12 (being the maximum value 6+6) I have a series of possible values for that variable X.
In a computer however, simulating randomness is very different. A computer is a machine based on logic. The only way to simulate randomness with a computer is by mathematical formulae and not by throwing dice. An explanation of computer-generated random numbers can be seen here. Java and C languages use function SRand(<seed>).
It can be seen that a mathematical formula is required which generates a pseudo random series in function of a seed which is introduced or calculated internally. The same seed will always give rise to the same sequence of numbers. It is not possible therefore to reproduce with one sole seed the multiplicity of series available from one pair of dice.
If only one formula exists (this being the embedded algorithm in the programming code) then different players will need to have different seeds to display different "random" series.
Assuming we know that for an amount of recycled PEDs your range of rates of return can fall between 66.1% and 154.3%. According to Falkao's table, for 1k PED of turnover, a table of 1000 different results would be generated in function of one seed. In this way you would have 1000 different values pre calculated for your rates of return within the range. Something along these lines:
1-67%, 2-74%, 3-68%, ......., 999-71%, 1000-83%.
Then when value 1000 is reached the computer would start again at the beginning of the table for your next result. You would never be aware of the mathematical formula which is generating your randomness.
Consumption of internal computing resources is not an issue in this model, as the entire pre-calculated table need not be stored in memory. Only two fields are kept, the seed from the avatar and the last term used. The following term in the series is computed when needed from the seed and the common formula.
However, and here comes the point... It is highly likely that the game designers decided not to use the same seed in any given formula for every avatar to avoid this trick "randomness" being easily revealed. Players would record and compare results and soon realise that there is no true randomness.
The most commonly used seed by Srand() is a date or a time but it's unlikely that this is the one that is used as it would be shared by too many players. There is nothing to prevent any number of players sharing the same date or time.
Let us imagine that each avatar has a unique seed. This could be the product of certain variables during avatar creation: Name, date, country etc. We know there are measures to prevent any two avatars having the same name. Names are drawn from a hugely diverse universe of ideas and would be a truly unique seed for each player.
Now, imagine the unique seed belonging to Juan Perez will generate this sequence for his rates of return:
The seed belonging to John Smith however will generate another sequence:
Both sequences are within the range determined by Falkao and therefore comply with the theory of 90% long-term return. The difference is that Juan Perez's table will favour him in an earlier accumulation of money than John Smith, giving him the opportunity to exploit the advantage of recycling PEDs according to the mechanics of the game (the more you spend, the more you win). On the other hand John Smith is more likely to be discouraged, lose interest and leave the game without realising his potential winnings.
Are these notions all too far fetched?... mmm... As further proof that these algorithms are the playthings of Mindark's designers let's take the case of enhancers. Two otherwise identical items created in the same crafting run by one crafter can have widely different tier increase rates. The result is that their "luck" will be very different.
Two GeoTrek LP485 Apis crafted by our friend Leonis in one crafting run could have Tier Increase Rates:
LP485 Apis (1)
LP485 Apis (2)
(more examples here)
These increase rates were assigned by a "random" algorithm at the moment of their creation (and apparently they use an algorithm which generates a sequence of ten numbers from different seeds). Are these two items identical? NO. The first Apis came into being with "good luck" for its lifetime. It will achieve tier increases faster and at less TT expense than the second. Moreover the MU value will always ALWAYS be greater. These two items were the product of an identical creation process but have very different paths marked out for them in the course of the game.
All of this complies with the premise stated by Mindark, some time ago in the words of Marco Berhmann: "We can assure you that all avatars are created equal at the moment of being born in Entropia Universe". Certainly, both items were created equal by the same process using the same mathematical formulae and algorithms. As we know however, the results they can expect during the course of the game are very different!
In another vein, the player behind the avatar Leeloo Faith once put in a support ticket along these lines: If she was the victim of a kill-steal had her loot been stolen? The answer from Support was that this could not happen because loot is not carried in the mob, it is generated at the time of looting it. Marco Berhmann of Mindark confirmed this in a forum by stating that loot is generated by the avatar at the time of looting, not dependent on skills but on other factors. Again this serves to corroborate the ideas in this thread. The main variables belonging to any avatar that are not dependent on skills are defined at the moment of creation, by the player which owns the avatar.
Yes, indeed. there are many better ways to generate seeds for random generators. Unfortunately, Mindark developers do not always seem to use the best choices. The set of strange data, sustained over time by some people, seem not to give support to what should have been used.
Come on, We can also play with mathematics to demonstrate that there are odds for a player to get two ATHs in a day, or in two days very closely. But let's be honest, which is easier to produce? something whose probability is between 10 ^ (-5) to 10 ^ (-7), or that our friends have not paid enough attention to some part of its program code.?
Therefore it is my opinion that the matter of "strangeness of luck" in Entropia Universe owes little to any "conspiracy theory". More likely it's the result of patent shortcomings. We have countless examples of Mindark's defining characteristic - a proclivity to produce program bugs.
This hypothesis goes some way to explain those cases in the game of extreme "good luck" and extreme "disadvantage".
So, what's your opinion?