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In which I ruin enjoyable gameplay with statistics

Last night I did two things in World of Warcraft: I installed and tweaked the GW2 UI, and I went and ran some random battlegrounds. Both of them had their ups and downs.

I like the GW2 UI -- when I'm playing GW2. I thought I'd give it a go. What I should be doing is finely tuning an ElvUI setup, but I really can't be bothered. There's so much I don't like about ElvUI's defaults, I feel like I have to tweak every single thing, and then before you know it I haven't actually played any, but my UI has been adjusted by a handful of pixels. It looks like the GW2 UI offers a nice middle group. It helps get things out of the way, looks very nice, and it's nicely modular so I can turn off some of the more egregious stuff. I'll play with it for the next week or so and hang out in their Discord, and see how it goes.

The random battlegrounds are kind of a new thing for me; the last time I did any real amount of PvP was back in Burning Crusade. But I think I'm going to try and do more in Battle for Azeroth, it seems thematically appropriate for the expansion. So I queued up for some battlegrounds, in restoration druid spec. It went badly. I had enough time to run four battles, and we lost all of them. People say there's faction imbalance, that the Alliance are terrible at PvP, and maybe there's something to that, but I'm too much of a scientist at heart to believe that my extremely small sample size of four RBGs is suitable data. Truely, the thing to do is produce a spreadsheet, right? Broken down by season, by battleground, and so on. And then, once it's suitably populated, only then will I be able to say if there's an imbalance.

The other thing to do is re-read this fantastic post by Cynwise, On Faction Imbalance in Random Battleground Populations, and marvel at how well he had this stuff covered, back in 2014, and that it's still a thought floating around today.

Maybe all I'll be able to say is that I'm terrible at PvP. How much influence can one person have on the potential victory or defeat of their group in a random battleground? You'd hope that the law of averages would mean that over a large enough sample, there would be enough clueless idiots on both sides to even things out; but if the rumors of Horde PvP domination hold true that may not be the case.

Let's look at some maths for a moment, because why not. Let's assume -- and this is a big assumption -- that the two factions are supposed to be equal, and so each should win 50% of their battlegrounds. If we assign victory a score of 1, and defeat 0, the sum of all the battlegrounds played should have a standard deviation of (sqrt(n) / 2); thus after 100 battles, the standard deviation would be 5. Any number within 2 standard deviations (10) of what we expect (50) wouldn't look too suspicious. This means that after 100 battles, each side should have a score of between 40 - 60.

Stray too far from there, and some imbalance is suggested. The more battles run, the more accurate the prediction, and there's more complex math that can help ferret out the details, but let's not get into binomial confidence intervals just yet... it is only a game, after all.

Oh, but graphs! I do love a graph. I'm going to enjoy this little project.