Monday, January 30, 2012

They are making fools of us all

6th edition hanging out with his best pal Bigfoot.  He's no longer on speaking terms with the Lock Ness Monster.

It was going to be Tau with super suits.
Then it was Black Templars with eternal warrior killers
Then 6th edition was epic.
Then it wasn't
Now its Dark Angels with fancy white dwarf bindings. (I'm not going to link to any rumors.  They'll get no site traffic from me.)

At first I was going to write about how 40k should just be renamed Space Marine, but then I decided to not give a flying {redacted}  about rumors anymore.  The online 40k community is getting really hungry for upcoming release information, and I think people are taking advantage of that fact.  Either for site traffic, wishful thinking, or just for the fun of fooling people. 

As far as rumor accuracy goes, I think the happy time is over.  With the exception of plastic Thunderhawks and Summer of Flyers, the rumors for the last few years have more or less panned out.  For some reason that's no longer the case.  I think that a good chunk of the current online 40k community was generated by rumor mongering.  In my personal experience I looked to the 40k online communities for two things; to improve my game, and to find out what was coming out next.   With 5th edition being a mature product, there isn't much new strategy to discuss anymore.  In absence of any good ePersonality drama, there isn't much alse for the online community to churn over except for rumors.    

Basically we're all craving something new, and the blogs and forums are doing their best to supply it.  Unfortunately accuracy is not being supplied in equal amounts.  It's a situation that we all helped create.  Supply is being generated to meet our demand.  It's about time that we all voluntarily stopped caring about rumors.  Join me in forming the rumor Inquisition!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bad arguments for the 6th ed. "leak"

Time for more logical fallacies.  This one pertaining to the 6th ed. rules "leak".

The primary argument I've heard for the leaked rule book being real follows:

A real 40K rule book takea a lot of effort to write.
This leaked rule book took a lot of effort to write.
Therefor This leaked rule book is a real rule book.

Or abstractly:

All A is a B
C is a B
Therefore C is an A

To make it clear, lets Venn it out

Just because something takes effort does not mean that it is real, only that it could be.  Yet, this is a common argument in support of it,

Another fallacy I see in relation to the leak is wishful thinking.  Since the leak matches what people want the next edition to be like, they are more inclined to believe it.  

Then there's this gem from a guy by the name of Stucarius:
“The work that has gone into this set of rules is legion. There are not that many designers in this community who could do it and I cannot imagine anyone who would and then not take credit.” 

To be honest there is absolutely no evidence I have seen so far that points to this not being a leaked copy or a near final draft of the rules. Very much the opposite actually. All the circumstantial and logical evidence, not to mention history (see the leak of 5th ed) point to this being the rules.
Since there is no evidence that is is not true, it must be true.  That does not logically follow.  This is what is known as an argument from ignorance(not trying to be mean, that's really the name of the fallacy).  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

There's also a false dilemma.  It presents the choice that its real or its being done by someone who would intentionally not take credit for it.  This is denying the possibility of other reasonable assumptions, like the author is unavailable to take credit or doesn't want to be sued by GW.  The whole argument right now is being presented as a false dilemma.  Either it's real or a hoax.  It's denying the very real possibility that it is someones pet project; not something done to intentionally deceive.

There's some correlation is not causation action going on too.  Just because the 5th edition leak turned out to be real, does not mean that the 6th edition leak will turn out to be real.

The leak could very well be true.  Tearing apart the arguments, does not change the truth of the matter.  But if the arguments for the potion are bad, and the evidence for the position is bad, it is most likely that the position should not be affirmed.  The evidence against the hoax is just about as bad as the evidence for.  To me that's a push.  I'll wait and see what happens.

I do think it's interesting that with equaly poor evidence for and against most people seam to believe the leak is real.  I think that's because most people want to believe what they are reading is really 6th edition.  Unfortunately wanting something cannot change reality.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Indy GW store opening on the 21st

Check it out.

I plan on checking it out.

Cognitive Dissonance, Dunning and Kruger, and probably some other things

Time for another psudo-apologist post about GW with a sprinkling of cognitive bias.  I'm fascinated by biases and trying to understand the reasons why we believe things.  Have you ever noticed how no mater what the topic is people tend to act in the same way when their opinions and beliefs are challenged?  Whether you have a Mac and a Windows guy, a Privateer and a GW guy, or a Democrat and a Republican, its always the same tired back and forth arguments.  It goes way beyond just the standard sloppy logical fallacies.  You can be dead right and still make a logical fallacy in your argument.  I'm talking about the way people think they are dead right when in reality they are dead wrong.

It's not rational behavior in any sense.  There are psychology studies that show that when you give people good evidence contradictory to their beliefs it only makes their original beliefs stronger.   A current theory behind this is that the person experiences cognitive dissonance.  The two competing ideas bounce around inside the person's head causing stress, so the person has to alter their perceptions to alleviate the source of that stress.  We also tend to value our own experiences over those of others, so we will often rationalize away any contradictory evidence instead of altering our understanding of our own feelings on a subject.  Other times people will just ignore the contradictions completely and not realize they exists ("Keep government away from my medicare", anyone?).  

Psychology is a soft science.  It's hard to do the controlled studies it takes to really examine cause and effect relationships in peoples' behavior without raising batches of clones in bubbles.  There are many compelling experiments that do describe the behavior I'm talking about as best as can be done.  You can read about the studies themselves by jumping off the reference links in the articles already mentioned.

"So how does this all relate to apologizing for GW?", you may ask.  Well, I think people have a few contradictory ideas about games workshop bouncing around in their head.  Often I see people concurrently assign super-competence and incompetence to GW simultaneously.   For instance take this comment that appeared recently on TheBack40K:
You'll never SEE a good competative game of 40K 'by the book'...because there is little profit in it. For example: Why make halberds +2 to Init and not +1? Because this makes Init 5 furious charge types too competative and along with things like GK termies getting frag grenades to one-up other termies...not harping on GK, just looking at how every codex does not MARGINALLY overshadow msot of the previous armie's books....if there's not much edge to playing and buying all those new models, who's going to lay out the cash?

The same goes with a unit's effectivness on the battlefield being some indication to GW pricing....for example, the Ogre Magi figure from Reaper looks better than the Obliterator from GW...yet you can buy two for the price one oblit. Why are wraithguard $15 a pieece, when their metal content is no better than a assault marine? 

GW KNOWS people love 40k Tourneys yet refuse to say 40k is a competative game. Why in Krist's name does it take years to get codex out? I believe they think a smaller consistant company with a captured audience is better than one that targets more folks with faster turn around on their game books. There's no reason new updated codex shouldn't come out every 3 years, period, and updated minor rules yearly. If they did a large Codex official rules update book for 4+ armies every year, a lot of the gamer tested balance issues would be fixed.
So GW is devious enough to know that they can leverage codex creep and unit effectiveness to dollar cost to maximize profit, but is not smart enough to release product in a reasonable amount of time.   Well of course not, they are too busy being capital 'E' evil.  The characterization may be a bit of a stretch here, but I think it's a common sentiment.  People tend to insist that GW is incapable of releasing a balanced game, but still can find creative ways of ripping you off.  You could argue that the marketing is smarter than the design team, but
a smart management would know that it's much easier to sell a good product than a bad one.

Sometimes I think that GW could do things better, but I also know that I am none of the following things:

  • A miniature sculptor
  • A miniature manufacturer
  • A professional game designer
  • A CEO of a company with an international sales and distribution network.
  • Responsible for the jobs of hundreds of people
  • Responsible to hundreds of shareholders
There is another neat little cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Basically, you have a hard time understanding fields that you have limited knowledge off.  So much so, in fact, that you tend to overestimate your skills in areas you are not proficient in.  In other words, you don't know how dumb you are.

We as amateurs and the uninitiated can look at the actions of GW and declare what they should obviously do.  Of course, we are only speaking from our own ignorance of the situation.  That doesn't mean I or anyone else couldn't provide good ideas to GW if asked.  It also doesn't mean that GW is infallible.  It does mean that, from our arm chairs, most of us don't have the skills and knowledge to make the right call.

Basically we all arguing about our feelings.  Projecting imaginary motives on others' actions and making false dichotomies.  It doesn't really accomplish anything.  I don't think it's possible to convince someone of anything by arguing.  Our self image and group status are much more important to us than facts we can't understand. I'm guilty of that as much as anyone else is.  I've often blamed game balance and dice instead of accurately measuring my own skill to protect my ego. The best thing that could possibly happen is you can try to get someone to look at the rationalizations behind their opinions.  Hopefully people will work things out on their own.