March 18, 2009
While we’re waiting for patch 3.1, I’ve gone back to my pet project from a month or so ago – looking for ways to extract information on x9 battleground twinks from the armoury. Building BG twinks seems to be something that a lot of people have thought about doing at one time or another, but have run into difficulties finding good information on how to go about it.
There are a couple of good sites for twink guides, and a few individuals who have created guides for individual classes at specific levels (like this one for 19 warlock twinks). But there seems to me to be a lot of gaps in our knowledge of what people are doing at the various x9 levels. Let’s see if we can improve the situation.
The fundamental problem is that there is no IsTwink() function in the armoury. We have to identify twinked characters from amongst the general population. To do that, two other issues have to be addressed.
The first problem is simply one of getting enough characters into the database. Only about 15% of leveling characters do any BGs at all. The vast majority of those try only a few games. A sizeable majority of the rest are… well… suboptimal… PVPers, so it isn’t likely that they’re twinked.
In other words, the characters we are after represent a tiny fraction of the total number of toons in the armoury. There is no way that an armoury crawler is going to find all of them in any reasonable time frame. I’ve really only got a partial solution to this one. I’ve modified my armoury crawler so that it switches over to extracting just characters in the x9 levels after it has built up a reasonable sample of characters from every level.
I spent a bit of time today watching the algorithm run (via a debugging dump) and it is clear what is happening – the crawler spends a lot of time rejecting characters that are not at an x9 level, but then finds a big guild list of those who are. Clearly there are some sizeable BG PvP guilds out there, or a lot of guilds that have little BG-ing armies inside them. This keeps the fetch queues surprisingly full, on average, which means the crawler is mining characters at a not-too-bad rate.
Problem number two is to identify indicators of twinkyness so I can write some database queries to find the little buggers. Of course you might say, well, why not just use gear. After all, a twink by definition has better gear than would be expected for a toon of that level.
Yes, we might come to that. But the idea I want to try first is to use the new character achievements and statistics data to identify the most effective battleground toons. Of course the most powerful level 19 WSG player might have got there by skill alone, equipped with nothing other than normal whites and questing greens. But, somehow, I doubt it…
The hypothesis is that the most effective characters in the BGs will turn out to be the twinks.
So which character stats do we look at? For example, the armoury tells us the number of BGs that the character won – we can find out that a toon has played, say, 80 WSG BGs and won 75. That character has won 94% of their games. Does that make them likely to be a twink?
Well maybe… That’s the point I’m up to at the moment. I’m looking at the spread of these stats across the population base. Then running various queries based on the available data to see how selective they really are. My guess is that stats like the number of BGs won are less likely to be selective for what we want than stats related to the individual performance of the character.
After all, whether you win depends on the quality of the characters around you – a cr@p team on your side or a fully twinked pre-made on t’other can make all the difference to victory or defeat. What interests me are stats like the number of killing blows landed or the number of deaths, since these are indicators of personal survivability – which is the real hallmark of the twink. If you have the health, the mana and the armour, your death rate will be lower and your time-on-target higher.
But that’s enough for one post. Stand by for some serious chart porn on battleground character stats…