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The significance of the gold/experience lead graphs (or, their lack thereof)

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  • The significance of the gold/experience lead graphs (or, their lack thereof)

    Hello Dears,

    (This thread is posted in the live spectating subforums, but the exact same issue applies to replays as well.)
    (The experience graph is used in this thread; the exact same issues apply to the gold one as well.)

    You probably know of the experience and gold (dis-)advantage graphs that you can view as a spectator (whether live or replay), which displays a fancy graph like this (see below), intending to show you a potential (dis)advantage of a team.

    Well, TL;DR. The current graph is (next to) useless, because the Valve developers fell to the common /absolutes != relatives/ fallacity, as many do. Absolutes, however, are utterly significant when you do not put them into relation. Currently, the graphs display absolutes, without putting them into relation. Instead, relatives should be displayed. Please see below for details.
    [TL;DR end.]

    There are two types of graphs that you might have seen, each of them telling you something rather insignificant.

    (Fig 2: A ludicrous advantage!)

    (Fig 2a: A not-so-ludicrous advantage.)
    (Fig 2a is a rather poor example, but I couldn`t be arsed to find a better one.)
    These are probably the most common ones, with no nulls. Their significance is binary – one team led throughout the entire game. The graph however does not tell you anything whatsover (at a glance) about the size of the lead (which is much more significant than the binary it`s displaying). It could be a small 1/10 lead, which is essenitally insignificant, to a ludricous lead of one team tripling the experience of the other. Nor does it correctly reflect a comeback (see (Fig 4) below)

    (Fig 3: A contested game?)
    This type of graphs with one, or multiple nulls are a bit more significant – they tell you that the game`s rather contested, with both teams having claimed a lead during different phases of it. They still do not correctly reflect the relative size (absolute sizes are irrelevant without relation) of any given lead, especially the earlier ones as the game progresses (again, see (Fig 4b) and (4c) below).

    Anyways, now that I did outline what`s wrong with them, here`s a few possible solutions:

    (i) Using relatives. Currently, the graph plots the absolute difference of experience (gold) earned between teams, which is of almost-zero significance – you could have a 10.000 experience lead by the tenth minute, which is a ridiculous advantage, and you could have the same 10.000 experience lead by the fourtieth minute, which is probably barely significant. Additionally, an all-positive derivation does not imply (as the graph might suggest) a constantly growing advantage as the total experience earned will constantly increment throughout the game.

    (Fig 4: The Scourge came back.)

    (Fig 4a: Sentinel stomp!)

    (Fig 4b: There and back again.)
    Note that (Fig 4) correctly reflects a (partial) Scourge comback, showing that Sentinel`s relative lead actually peaked earlier and decreased later on. Also note that (Fig 4b) actually shows the amplitude of the swings of a contested game (as in (Fig 3)). These are (depending on the exact situation for (Fig 4)) not reflected at all in the current graph setup (showing a constantly growing graph).

    This is how (4b) would look like using the current, absolute graphs:

    (Fig 4c: Just back, but not there.)

    (ii) Plotting the experience (gold) earned (in absolutes) by both teams, then plot the difference. Its kinda difficult to explain, so hopefully this picture will suffice:

    (Fig 5: Just like (4b) [and (4c)], but different!)
    It does contain more information than the first solution, but at the cost of readability as you`ll have to use your own eye-gouge to determine the exact size of any given lead; the earlygame data will also be near unreadable by the endgame.
    (Yes, I suck at scaling it correctly, but you get the picture.)

    I hope that some developer can address this `till the I4`s main event, because while the basic idea behind these graphs` alright - and they do provide very useful information to spectators – the way they`re realised currently is woefully inadequate and presents the information in a very, very misleading way.

    <3, Sela
    Last edited by Selaya; 07-05-2014, 10:08 PM.
    "There is no shortcut to work done true and well. The Creators learned this to their sorrow, the first time they made the world."
    Githri the Prisoner

  • #2
    Wait a second, why is your TL;DL longer than your supposed post? Why do you not start off with a short synopsis instead of giving a bunch of pictures and not tell us what we are supposed to get out of them? I just dont understand what is being said.


    • #3
      Before i read the rest of it, someone tell me if its a waste of time or not, because it's sounding that way.
      I guard the rear.


      • #4
        Genius, is up to the casters to interpret those graphs.

        It is known that you should take them with a grain of salt. BTS' "Networth bar" is more useful for quickly visualizing the size of an advantage.
        ModDota | My GitHub Profile | My Project's Page


        • #5
          The TL;DR part is actually just the paragraph above the spoiler; I`ll elaborate a bit more on it.
          "There is no shortcut to work done true and well. The Creators learned this to their sorrow, the first time they made the world."
          Githri the Prisoner