Why lists are always going to be flawed: a breakdown
Another day, another list that people find flaws in. Perhaps the most consistent aspect of melee lists is the varied nature of rankings - and the disagreement that will always come with it. The most likely scenario, then is not that we merely need to find the right rankings, or assuming that there is a “right” rankings. Instead, it’s that melee lists will always be controversial and flawed for at least 5 reasons:
1. The impact of a frag
2. The intangibles - IQ, teamplay, communication
3. External stressors
4. Technical limitations
5. Lack of statistics beyond KD’s
Frag impact: It is often, but not always the case, that first picks in groupfights are important and impactful frags. It is often the case, too, that getting two kills in a 1v5 but losing the clutch is not an example of useful or impactful frags. As well, fragging fluctuates based upon where you are in the groupfight, who you’re with, and the quality of the opposite team. Importantly, none of these are factored into groupfighting rankings! How much of anyone’s kills are impactful? If that question can’t be answered, then the only quantifiable variable that can be taken into account is itself not even as solid of a measure of rating as it often is taken as.
How do you measure someone’s groupfighting IQ against another person? How do you rank teamplay between players? How important is the quality of communication impactful or measureable? None of these factors are (yet!) measurable, and yet supposedly are taken into account when discussing rating. One of groupfighting’s most important tenants, awareness, is not something that you can measure or statistically analyze in any meaningful way, so to assign a number to someone’s groupfighting skill without being able to assign a number to someone's groupfighting awareness is deeply problematic.
Ever had cold fingers or stress affect gameplay? How about being yelled at by a family member? If the effect on performance in more commonplace activities can’t be accurately measured by scientists, how is it even remotely possible to have any sense on how external stressors affect NW gameplay? It seems like a significant variable to control for, but since it can’t even be calculated, it certainly can’t be controlled for.
There has been many documented cases of increased fps or a better computer having a positive on gameplay, but there has also been cases of players overcoming technical limitation. So, how much does this variable factor into melee rankings? I certainly can’t tell you.
Often people gripe about the possibility of assists being calculated in NW. That highlights an important problem - only two statistics are measured by the game: kills and deaths. Somehow list makers extrapolate many different statistics (usefulness, tactics, etc) from a game that only calculates kills and deaths. Perhaps a reason why lists vary between people is that they all use different criteria, and none of them have an agreed upon statistical footing. Until stats like KAST, RWS or something to that affect are able to calculated in NW, getting a picture of a players impact is going to be purely a personal opinion.
In conclusion, lists are bunk, and we really should stop this charade that lists are realistic in any way.