So what's all this talk about that ARR thing that everyone says is great? Well, it goes like this...
It was a Black(box) and stormy night. More precisely: every night. Privateers roam the high seas, their war chests overflowing with more wealth than they will ever use. Bands of thugs are all too eager to hoist black sails and slaughter women and children and halflings and halfling women and halfling... but I digress. The point is: the Blackbox has orphans. When you look back at the least played races in the box by total number of games played (“Pre Scheduler Fix”) since the creation of the box there are eight races that only measure that number in thousands rather than tens of thousands. Those races are: Slann, High Elf, Underworld, Vampire, Elf, Goblin, Ogre and Halfling.
But there is hope! One year ago this month the great and powerful Black Box Scheduler was changed, and the champions of those orphan races emerged! With the goal of increasing the match diversity in the box, the Abandoned Races Race was launched! ARR!
One year ago, here’s how things looked: crappy. More specifically: very crappy! The top three most played races were played 9 times more often than the least played three races, and Chaos had 14 times as many games to their name than did Halflings. The top eight races were played 1.8 times as often as the middle eight and 4.8 times as often as the bottom eight races. Looking only at games from teams 1500 TV and below these drop to top three teams being played 5.8 times as often as bottom three teams, and a 3.7 fold difference between top eight most played and bottom eight least played races.
Today, things are markedly less crappy from a diversity point of view! The top three most played races are played 6.3 times as often as the bottom three, and Chaos are “only” played 9 times as frequently as Halflings. The top eight are played 2 times as often as the middle eight, and 4.3 times as often as the bottom eight. Limiting to teams under 1500 TV we see that the top three are played 4.6 times more often than the bottom three, and the top eight are played 3.3 times more often than the bottom eight.
A few things are worth noting. Amazons went from middle eight to bottom 8, and High Elves are now middle eight, just behind Wood Elves. This surely has everything to do with the scheduler change and little to do with ARR. If we calculate “ARR teams” instead of middle 8 then the ARR stats look a little better, but I don’t think that’s as useful to compare to pre/post scheduler change.
So what can we take away from this? Well, depending on your point of view, this could be depressing news because the box is still not very diverse! However, I still think it’s encouraging because after a year full of games we are playing in a box is more diverse than it used to be. It’s hard to say what impact ARR has had on these numbers, but I think that we can claim a share of the credit for bringing the bottom three more in line with the top three. There will always be a gap between the good or popular teams and the, erm, challenging teams but at lower TV that gap has shrunk quite a bit at the extremes. Now I better get off this soap box before I digress into some talk of ways to reduce the top end in addition to what we are trying to do to bring the bottom end up.
Note: Stats were done by crude averaging, but they should be in the ballpark of meaningful. I do not claim that they were done in a scientifically significant manner, as anyone who knows about stats can tell just by reading what I wrote. ;)