Author Topic: Strategy Assessment and Competitive Development  (Read 797 times)

Icy

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Strategy Assessment and Competitive Development
« on: October 25, 2018, 09:40:58 pm »
In the world of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark with so many levels, and so much depth to each of those levels, it can be difficult to decide on what style you should play to reach your goals, or how to better grow as a player. This thread is for a variety of topics pertaining to these concepts, targeted more for an intermediate to lower level player, but also to put some words into ideas for top players. As players have all kinds of different goals, this focuses on the most common goal players have, which is to achieve the best point ranking, so for those more focused on strictly UWRs, or being a part of the N/A crew, their playstyles are considered suboptimal in this case. Grav is far worse ranked in points because of this, and Ace and Marc who are generally regarded as the #1 and #2 players don't end up being ranked #1 and #2. That said, most of this thread is applicable to anyone, but is less focused on the absolute top level of play.

When you're comparing two players together, you have to analyze all of the relevant differences in what is making one player perform better than the other. What are all the skills involved that result in one player having a better time? The main bulk of skill comes from your movement abilities, your OCB, but there's more involved that lead to newer players have Surface 2 WRs, Grav having a 4 second untied on Runway, and Ogran being a god at Streets. The ability to use R-leans, master 2.X, have deep knowledge for the game, or simply grind out for insane luck are also involved in differentiating players, rather than just OCB.

Because of these different skillsets you can develop and because different levels require different skills, you have multiple avenues in giving yourself a competitive advantage against other players. With Grav who can R-lean better than anyone else, he has a currently untouchable record of 0:28 on Runway 00A, as well as both Surface 2 records. With Wodahs and Gus who are masters of 2.X, they give themselves up to .35s time saved on most levels, which opens up new untied potential and makes lesser times easier. With these abilities and others, they can set themselves apart from everyone else who must also adapt or otherwise fall behind.

Knowledge is also worth developing as with having a clearer vision of how the game functions and having more important details known to you, you can handle a wider variety of levels and situations. Knowledge comes in both the form of deep, mechanical knowledge of how the game's coding works, and also applied knowledge with knowing what to do in any situation for a complex level, like Silo or Jungle. Some examples of this at play is Boss able to achieve untieds in Perfect Dark that few other players even understand what's going on, Ogran able to sweep Streets with very intricate knowledge of every minute detail in the level, and Clemens who knows the solution to clutching out almost any situation. Part of developing knowledge comes from experience with the game and obsessing over absorbing as much as you can, but also to be actively thinking about what there is to learn and what the limitations of you and the game are.

Luck is not a skill, but it is a factor of every run, and the only way to get the ideal luck you want is to play out as many runs as you can. Simply put, if something is a 1 in 10 chance and you play 10 runs, you on average get 1 run with the ideal outcome, but if you do 100, you on average get 10 such ideal runs. If you have monk-like patience and a strong mental fortitude to not get bothered by bad luck, you open up some opportunities for yourself on levels like Frigate, Statue, and Aztec, where others may falter and get too frustrated, or otherwise resort to safer, slower strats. See: Bozon's DLTK untieds. Naturally with luck, sometimes you'll get exceptionally lucky and sometimes exceptionally unlucky. You might be pacing 1:05-1:10 on Frigate 00A and end up completing a 1:10, resulting in a worse PR than someone who has worse skill and fluked a completion of 1:09. The only way to overcome bad luck is to keep trying, and hopefully you can develop a stronger mentality in the process.

With all of this in mind, you should focus on what you want to develop for yourself and how you want to take advantage. Do you want to spend time learning everything about the game and applying all that you know in ways others will not? Do you want to replace 1.2 with 2.X to gain a nice timesave on nearly every level? Are you willing to endlessly play the same level until you get the luck that others won't be willing to grind for? There are lots of ways to put yourself ahead of others and develop an advantage against them.

When developing your skill, it's also worth focusing on your variance. Are you more focused on raising your skill ceiling or your skill floor? With the former, you'll be able to achieve great times with streaks of brilliance, but struggling poorly on other levels. With the latter, you'll be far more well-rounded and difficult to bop by lesser players, but anyone generally better will likely be close to if not actually sweeping you with their greater potentials. Both of course are important, but you should decide in what way you're defining improvement. Is it better maximum potential or better consistency? Does your times page reflect that?

For the strategy of getting the best points rank possible, you of course will need good times on every level, and depending on exactly how far up the ranks you want to go will dictate how you play. If you only play 5 hours a week, you will never become champion and should play more in a manner that allows you to reach top 100 or so. If you do not have the technical ability to improve your OCB to top levels, you shouldn't spend as much time grinding for difficult WRs strictly for points (though you perhaps should in order to raise your OCB as much as possible). You should reflect on what you're spending your time on, as well as your rate of improvement.

For making goals on each level, looking at just the raw value of points isn't very sophisticated and requires more thought to maintain your points in the long-term. You also don't want to spend 100s of hours for just a few points at the risk of strategy obsoletion and diminishing returns. For example on Caverns Agent, 1:03 is currently worth 33 points, should only take a competent player 1-2 hours to achieve, but is not resistant to point losses. 1:02 is currently worth 86 points, which is a significant amount more, and is less likely to lose much value, but may take several more hours than just 1:03. 1:01 of course requires superb play and many, many hours, but gives you the maximum point value available, never loses points, and in turn, you're taking 1 away from a huge cast of great players, and 1 more point for anyone else who matches 1:01. 1:01 is likely safe to grind for as new level-breaking strats probably won't be found to significantly change how it's played, but you never know. Evaluate all these factors for every goal time that you set, and whether you're happy with a PR when you get it. Is putting in a few more hours to get just a few more points worth it in exchange for a more bop-resistant time, or do you have more to gain by playing a different level?

When you don't immediately go for a WR or other strong time though, there is the question of when you should, and if you'll be as good as you were when you return. Do you find that continuous play of a level is what develops your skill the most, or just the cumulative hours no matter how they're spread out? If you find it easy to jump back to revisit a level you've played before, you can rotate more with ease, but if you get rusty and forget everything easily, it's in your best interest to not stop playing a level until you get a good, long-term time. Perhaps also, your development as a player in other levels will give you better results after returning, and at a faster rate too.

Deciding on what strategy to use is also important for every level that you play. On Cradle SA/00A, you have (roughly estimated) a 1 in 25 chance to get A to complete per Trev kill using the newest strategy. Ask yourself if you can get your desired goal within 25 Trev kills with the original drone strat and if not, perhaps you should use the newest strategy. Would it take you more than an average of 25 Trev kills to get 0:33 with the old strat? Definitely. 0:34? That's dependent on your OCB. 0:35? Surely, you don't need 25 Trev kills to just get that, so you should be using the older strategy. Perhaps you have the OCB for 0:34, but prefer the luck/skill trade-off and choose to use the new strategy instead. Apply this reasoning to other levels. Do you use the glass or stairs route on Control SA/00A? What Aztec glass strategy will you use? What route will you use in the mainframe room on Depot SA/00A? 1.2 or 2.X for Archives 0:16? Always figure out what is in your best interest.

If you're looking to exceed high into the ranks, you need to be playing ahead of your time in the given era you're playing in. In the old days, it was very much revolved around executing strategies and risking survival. Nowadays this is standard play and the future is more of excellence in every form. Perhaps the one way that's still mostly unexplored and not standardized is heavy usage of 2.X. Much like 1.2 back in the day, most people used the natural feeling, disadvantaged 1.1 and were held back to getting better times. Perhaps it could even be argued to be one of the biggest factors in Boss triumphing over Wouter. In theory, 2.X can save time on just about every level, and it's been demonstrated to be humanly possible on most of them. If you're looking to become a future top 10 player, you should focus on developing your 2.X skills for the competitive advantage against others. If you're intending to rely on just OCB and grinding, you will need to outdo the OCB and grinding of players like Karl, Swiss, Goose, and Jimbo, which is a very difficult task to accomplish. Haydos is a good example of a player who is taking all that's available and playing Egypt years ahead of his time, combining the door warp, 2.X, charging on the pillar, and having great OCB in general, and it will be a long time before Egypt 0:44 sweep becomes something that lesser players of the level achieve. If you can perform in this manner on everything, your competition will be at your mercy. See also: Karl's streak of untieds.

When you look at the time pages of top level players, you still see many huge holes, as there is no player who is a master of every challenge the game and competition has to offer. Total game mastery is likely what playing into the future looks like in this present day, and you should be doing just that if you wish to become a top level player yourself. Untieds often get argued as having little to no incentive to go for as far as point rankings are concerned, but this is only because of said huge holes on the time pages. If you have two players who have 40-45 WRs or so each and are close in total points, a 3 point swing is a huge buffer. Consider the recent example of Clemens achieving Jungle 00A 0:53, which compared to 0:54, gained him no additional points, but he removed 3 points off of all of Ace, Wodahs, and Luke, as well as reducing the point value of 0:54 for other future competition who may achieve that time. On top, if Karl matches 0:53, Clemens now has a 5 point lead on the game's podium. This will continually put pressure on everyone to keep up with each other, or otherwise fall far behind. Untieds for knocking off 3 points of several players is a great advantage in point ranks, but not if players still have ways to gain 20+ points on a single level. Consider these types of point gains and advantages among the upper and middle areas of the rankings as well.

I hope that this post gives you some insight and some concepts to reflect on for improving more as a player, and helps establish more concrete ideas on how to actually do so. Learn what you're good at, what you want to be good at, and how you will become better.

Blue Khakis

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Re: Strategy Assessment and Competitive Development
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2018, 11:02:39 am »
These posts for new players are an absolute godsend and make starting so much less intimidating. Big thanks for this!