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Monday, August 31, 2015

Quantity vs. Quality — Good vs. Evil

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Is there truly a trade-off between quality and quantity?

KoopaTV has a huge pro-Decepticon bias the slant of which has never been seen before since YoshiRider123 (aka "Chrom") forced Fire Emblem: Awakening to become the winner of KoopaTV's Game of THAT Year 2013. (By the way, I've actually started playing it as of the weekend, so I've done my 2015 New Years Resolution.) That's because, as we published on Thursday, we have an actual Decepticon on-staff.

Because of that, yours truly was a proud Decepticon in Saturday's Splatfest. I got a lot of my awesome Wii U friends to join Team Decepticon as well, and we all rejoiced. Look how fresh I was!

Splatoon Inkling Team Decepticon Power Mask shirt boots robot fresh Dynamo Roller
(Nevermind that I'm terrible with the Dynamo Roller, but it looks a lot more intimidating than the Splattershot Jr. for the photo-op.)

And as a result of my amazing efforts and teamwork, Team Decepticons destroyed Team Autobots. Vortexica is pleased and won't do a KoopaTV staffer mutiny. Thank G-d!

Splatoon Splatfest Autobots Decepticons results Marie
And with that, I'm 2-2.

The score was 42% of the population was on Team Decepticons with 58% on Team Autobots, but Team Decepticons had 56% of the individual Turf War wins to bring them the overall victory.

So let's think about that — the clearly evil team had more skilled members, but were outnumbered overall. And they still won.

How does that circumstance compare to other circumstances in the classic battle of good vs. evil and quantity vs. quality? Let's dig deeper.

The situation of the evil side having more competent folks but less of 'em isn't new to me. It's my daily life in the war between Koopa Kingdom and our public enemy #1, that red-hatted plumber they call Mario. He has some friends too, like his brother and his dinosaur pets. Unfortunately for us, the average jerk on their end is more competent than our beloved Troopas, however hard they work and self-sacrifice. Obviously Koopa Kingdom is quite populated (though it'd be even more so if there wasn't a mustachioed perpetrator of genocide — and I don't mean Hitler) and we got legions of patriotic shelled pals ready to do their duty. A lot more than they got.

So yeah, it's my natural expectation that the bad guys got less members than the good guys but are more skilled, on average. It's to my understanding that the situation is easily flipped in other places, such as Hyrule.

The whole concept of Hyrule Warriors is that the enemy minions pretty much do nothing but stand there and wait for you to destroy them. It gets to the point where even Tingle looks like a super-competent guy on the good guys' side.

Tingle bomb balloon special Hyrule Warriors
Assuming you think Tingle is a good guy.

So you can see there are a zillion enemies there, but they go down faster than a pizza in front of Chris Christie. So what exactly should your strategy be if all you have is quantity? ...Well, what you should do is precisely NOT just throw an endless supply of troops towards your enemy. You need to invest in actually trying to train your minions! Give your workers the capital they need to succeed!

Throwing your troops at the enemy like a callous jerk can sometimes make said enemies more stronger if they benefit from positive feedback loops and gaining experience. If your good guy enemy is building up some sort of power metre, then leave your minions alive and with their families and just go kill him off yourself before they power-up! I mean, if you're a big bad, then surely you're competent, right?

And if you're not, then you can use non-minion means. In the three years after the Mad King's War in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Lady Micaiah found herself having to use Daein's small and crappy army to push back an invading Crimea-Gallia-Begnion force lead by General Ike. On multiple occasions. 

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn The Price Micaiah Daein tactics oil rocks chapter 3-12
The enemy has quantity! And if it's not easy mode, you bet they're stronger too.

She prevailed through surprising and unconventional means, such as dropping rocks from the top of a cliff and trying to dump oil on the enemies below and light it on fire. If not for these tactics she and the Daein army would've been totally obliterated.

And on the other hand, sometimes the bad guy has superior skill and lesser numbers as usual... until they have to later fight another foe that just outclasses them in everything. For example, ISIS dominates the Iraqi Army in skill — the Iraqi Army literally just deserts the battle if they see ISIS Jihadi warriors. But compared to the United States army? ISIS is nothing. (So why haven't they eliminated ISIS yet?) So it can be really relative. There doesn't have to be a trade-off with quantity and quality if you structure your forces correctly, as evidenced by the Rock vs. Pop European Splatfest where more people were on Rock AND they were better.

You can always reduce their quantity by just winning with quality. It's hard for all that quantity to actually approach you all at once since they'll step over one another — so quality can be on top by forcing a series of 1 on 1s or something. Again, you can win through sheer quantity only if there is some strategy backing that up besides throwing people at your foe. And if you're better at everything in every aspect, you still need to be vigilant. Even though your army is better, if you're doing terrible tactics and don't look out for the wiliness of your opponent, you can be taken by surprise. Speaking of wiliness...

Vortexica tells me that there are many Autobots out there, much more than there are Decepticons. However, the Autobots weren't built to be for combat, while the Decepticons were. So the quantity/quality differential makes sense and stays true to reality. It's pretty much also the situation with Dr. Light's robots vs. Dr. Wily's, though Dr. Wily is apparently terrible at programming AI. So his robots are many and powerful in theory, but their programmed tactics from their strategiser (Dr. Wily) are terrible so they lose anyway.

Though apparently, there are accusations out there that in the Splatfest, tactics were used to intentionally sabotage the enemy's teams. No doubt the work of Team Decepticon. Again, you can do anything despite whatever quantity/quality makeup you have of your army relative to your opponent's if you have powerful tactics! (Not that I personally participated in that kind of multi-ID sabotage.)

In reality, evil always manages a way to lose, at least eventually. That's how the world works. And that's why Koopa Kingdom will persevere to eliminate our own evil, that bastard named Mario. Eventually, we will prevail! And how will we do it? Well...

If you've been paying attention to the lessons throughout this article, you can guess what Koopa Kingdom would have to do to rid itself of its evil numerically-inferior enemies. Ludwig just needs to get that understood by his King, which can be difficult. In the meantime, you can join Ludwig's Splatoon matches by friending him at NNID PrinceOfKoopas!

If you're a minion looking to please your Big Bad boss, look here for KoopaTV's top three traits for good minions and where to get them!
Quality continues to be much better for Splatfests.
Quantity and quality are important factors in design, too, especially with lasting consequences.
Ludwig is still working on improving the quality of Koopa Kingdom's Koopas with individualism.


  1. So how does the Roller Coasters vs Water Slides, North Pole vs South Pole and Singing vs Dancing results fit into this?

    1. Hey, I'm not going to write articles for EVERY Splatfest!

      I diiiiiiiiiiiiiid mean to write one for Eating vs. Sleeping. And I still will. Y'know, it's just the timing didn't work out. :p

      No one really knows how Singing absolutely wrecked Dancing in terms of win %.

      Vortex theorises that the players can't dance and play at the same time so they got distracted. Meanwhile, you can sing while playing.

      North Pole and South Pole were pretty even though.

      Wait, I did write about Roller Coasters vs. Water Slides. Just before it happened.

    2. I picked Roller Coasters because I am aquaphobic in real life. Yay for my phobia contributing to something.

      Picked Marshmallows because hot dogs are not kind to my digestive tracts.

      Picked Cats because I only had cats but I do hope one day to get a dog.

    3. I'm the same way...
      ...But I'm scared of rollercoasters even more. :o

      But yeah, Cat → Water Slide → Marshmallow → Decepticon

      Marshmallow because they're... cuter.


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