Monday, October 3, 2011

What's in a Stat

It has been said many times that you can manipulate the data to eventually make it say what you want it to say.

PvP stats are no different.

As I ventured into Null with the last alliance, we had an ongoing discussion about PvP stats.  There seemed to be a camp that said "I pay my $15 a month, I make my Isk and if I want to fly x, and do y I will."  For x and y insert Rattlesnake and system defense, Nyx and mining op, Tengu and Ratting, etc etc.

The other camp was more like "We are judged by our Kill Board and if you can't maintain a positive efficiency there is no place for you in this alliance."

Its not hard to figure out who is in each camp, but the discussion (as well as several other events) led to a deep rift in the alliance that never really healed.

Now, my current alliance is facing the same conversation, and the camps are pretty much the same.

The stat everyone focuses on is Efficiency.  So what is Efficiency?  It is simply Isk Destroyed / (Isk Destroyed + Isk Lost).  It is meant to show how good a pilot is in combat, but it is flawed.

Sure in some cases its easy to see how Efficiency accurately reflects the pilot.  A guy that repeatedly gets ganked in High Sec in shiney ships and never kills anything will always be a boat anchor on him, his corp, and his alliance's efficiency.

But pilots can have a great efficiency in a battle and yet the corp and/or alliance can "lose the fight".  Several encounters recently have demonstrated this exact situation.

In one case, I jumped into my trust Cane and warped off to a Gate Camp where we were trying to catch some people jumping in assets for transfer to Null Sec.  We had almost caught a group of them before, but they had slipped the net.

So with much smack talking going on in local, we set up a "better" gate camp, probably 13-15 pilots.  So in jumps a force recon ship (read 150M isk kill), and we all proceed to light him up.  Then the Cyno gets lit and here comes the hot drop.  So we all scatter off the gate like cockroaches when the kitchen light turns on.  But a few of us are bound and determined to take the Force Recon ship down.  I am one of those, figuring my 50M Isk ship is worth losing to kill a 150M ship (75% efficiency for me baby).  Well the issue is a person in a 150M isk ship, a 200M Isk Ship and another 50M isk ship all decided the same thing.  So we lose 4 ships and get 1 kill (well 2 for me as I managed to alpha a stealth bomber on my way down).  End result - Alliance 20% ish Efficiency, Corp about 80% and Personal also about 80%.

So I come away looking "successful" since I maintained the 75% the alliance is looking for.  My corp looks good, but the alliance obviously lost the battle.  Many of the corps fared even better by getting early shots in on the Force Recon before fleeing the field (though without those that stayed behind they would not have).   Obviously some did not, as they lost 200M Isk for 150M destroyed. That is not terrible, but not the 75% we are looking for.

In a second encounter, we were working as a small group attacking a much bigger force in the area. They were not organized and we managed to get into a few skirmishes where we killed a Force Recon, 2 BC's and SB, all while losing only a SB.  Then we made a tactical error and engaged a bait BS on a gate.  Cyno lit, Sabre warps in and bubbles the gate, and we lose a couple Force Recons, BC and couple cruisers.  Since I missed the last encounter, but got in on 3 of the previous kills, I came out with 100%, my corp lost a Cruiser, so again very good 90%+ Efficiency.  But the Alliance came in at around 50% (until an hour or so later we killed 4 more of them with no losses).

So in the end how do we judge an Alliance, a Corp, or a pilot and their "prowess" in combat?  It takes a lot more than simply looking at one stat and saying "they have maintained a 80% combat efficiency, he must be good", and looking more indepth at the kills and loses.

A pilot that only flies in large groups, flies low value ships, gets on a lot of kills, but will never venture into "dangerous" situations might look good on paper, but is he really a good combat pilot?  But you also need to see if the Isk being flown in situations is justified.  Someone who always flies 200-400M isk ships regardless of the situation needs to be looked at too.

So in the end, no one stat is the be all, end all of evaluating PvP, but efficiency might be the best we have currently.

Fly Safe,

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