Many of my regular blog readers may not be aware, but in my off-hours I am a Gamer. Specifically a PC Gamer. I love RPG (role playing game) and MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) style games (World of Warcraft, Aion, Diablo III), and simulation games (The Sims, SimCity). Lately I’ve also really been enjoying the mobile reboot of Dungeon Keeper.
In many of these games (especially the RPG style games), there are a lot of different stats/data to keep track of, and in Dungeon Keeper besides stats, there’s also your dungeon layout to consider. I’ve come to realize that I can optimize my gameplay by using my background in analytics.
Using spreadsheets to keep track of my WoW characters stats, I can devise how to optimize the amount of DPS (damage per second) my character does during a fight. At the same time, I also need to balance how much damage the character can handle and make sure that more damage is dealt, than is taken during a given fight. If that isn’t an optimization problem, I don’t know what is!
Here is an example of a spreadsheet I created for my Death Knight character in World of Warcraft, where I was trying to figure out the best gear set to maximize my three highest priority stats for the character at the time (Armor, Stamina and Resilience):
As you can see, each armor piece had a certain value assigned to each stat that I needed for my character, to both increase the character’s damage output (primarily through resilience), while reducing how much damage would be inflicted with (primarily through armor and stamina). Now this particular optimization I was working on was the best gear for PvP (player vs. player) combat. I had to do a similar analysis for PvE (player vs. environment) combat, which required different stats and had different stat priorities (and therefore required a completely different gear set in order to ensure success).
Along a different vein, I have used Excel to visualize my dungeon in Dungeon Keeper, and tried to come up with a stronger, more defensible dungeon with an emphasis on protecting the “Dungeon Heart” as that has proven to be my most vulnerable point.
I have not yet tried to use optimization in SimCity as I have more fun letting my cities grow organically over time, based on the population wants/needs, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t, and I may consider doing so sometime in the future.
At the end of the day, the most successful gamers in these genres, whether they realize it or not, are tackling optimization problems, by analyzing many different pieces of data in order to come up with the best solution for the specific situation.
So I’m curious – are you a gamer? How much have you used analytics to optimize your gaming, or do you just have fun and ignore the stats?