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Monday, January 18, 2021

It's Math: There Was No Steal of the Clout-Based Splatfest Super Star Vote

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's no steal to stop.

We got some highly unfortunate results from last weekend's Super Mushroom versus Super Star Splatfest in Splatoon 2, in which I told you to support Team Super Star:

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Super Mushroom versus Super Star results votes clout
Landslide results. Look how successful KoopaTV was in persuading you: 68.20% of participants voted for Team Super Star!
(Unfortunately, they didn't actually win.)

While my own personal results were mostly fantastic (10 wins and 4 losses—and one of those losses was inevitable—versus Team Super Mushroom in Splatfest Battle Normal... and a 13 win/8 loss record against other Team Super Stars), the 53.41%–46.59% and 54.12%–45.88% clout split represents the widest margin since the clout-based system was implemented. That article I just hyperlinked explains the clout system fairly well, and it also states that it's pretty much fair.

However, many of my Team Super Star colleagues are out on social media and promoting conspiracy theories that the Splatfest was rigged and stolen. And while I wouldn't put it past the forces of the Mushroom Kingdom to do underhanded, illegitimate tactics (for example, Team Super Mushroom members could make fake Octolings to join Team Super Star and lose on purpose), the actual reasons I've seen for why the Splatfest was unfair is due to the number of mirror matches that Team Super Star had to deal with. (Here are a few examples.) In other words, since KoopaTV was too successful in convincing the population that you should prefer having Super Stars over Super Mushrooms, most of a Team Super Star member's Splatfest experience was facing other Super Stars, as you can see in my 14-game non-mirror match to 21-game mirror match experience in the paragraph above.

This article will explain why population-size/mirror match-related reasons aren't valid complaints as it relates to clout results.

First of all, understand that clout is just a weird proxy for wins. If you win any given match, you'll contribute more clout to your team (Super Star) than the loser will contribute to their team (Super Mushroom). This is true for both Splatfest Battle Normal and Splatfest Battle Pro, though Splatfest Battle Normal has some additional multipliers for having cohesive team aesthetics, and both sides will gain clout—it's just the loser won't get as much.

To this day, I don't know why the clout system exists and it's not just measured by direct wins. Still, let's assume that each side has an equal likelihood to have cohesive team aesthetics, and there wouldn't be a statistically significant difference in the weapon choices, brand preferences, or genders between Super Mushrooms and Super Stars. (Though maybe you could say Super Mushroom people should be using load-outs with the Ink Armor special weapon? ...But both teams could make an argument about how the Ink Armor represents their power-up.)

Let's also assume that, at every point during the 48 hours, Team Super Star made up 68.20% of the player base, and Team Super Mushroom made up 31.80%, and this was distributed evenly for Splatfest Battle Normal and Pro. This assumption isn't how reality works, but this assumption is just for simplicity, not because the math depends on it. Let's also assume there are no mirror matches if you're on Team Super Mushroom. (I don't understand why you'd ever get one of those when there are more than enough Team Super Stars out there.)

Let's say those 31.80% of the total player base of Team Super Mushroom players are doing their Splatfest battle. Because teams always have to be of four people each, for every four Team Super Mushroom players looking for a match, there have to be four Team Super Star players assigned to fight them. This means 63.60% of the player base is engaged in a match that has clout consequences (31.80% Super Mushroom and 31.80% Super Star). This leaves the other 36.40% of the player base (or about 53% of Team Super Star), all being Team Super Star players, that are stuck doing mirror matches with no clout consequence when they search for a match. (If you didn't have mirror matches, you would be in the search queue for a LOT longer, and you'd never reach Super Star King/Super Star Queen, which are personal rankings you can get even if you mirror match the whole time.)

If you assume the teams are equally skilled (which the match-making tries to accomplish), then the 63.60% of the user base engaging in a clout-consequential match has a 50% chance of granting more clout to Team Super Star, and a 50% chance of granting more clout to Team Super Mushroom. The 36.40% of the player base doing mirror matches has a 0% chance of Team Super Mushroom getting more clout, and a 0% chance of Team Super Star getting more clout.

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Team Super Mushroom Authentic Bentatek SuperForce Kelp
I said the algorithm TRIES to accomplish fair matches,
but apparently there wasn't a super-good Team Super Star team available when this 20-win-streak Team Super Mushroom team was searching for a match.
(But across all the games that'd happen over a Splatfest, there should theoretically be an equal number of these circumstances happening for both teams if they're both equally skilled.)
(One skill factor is that I can confirm the Mushrooms here were coordinated and are all friends. The Stars don't know one another. But are Mushrooms overall more likely to be friends with one another?)

Whatever the scenario, each side has equal chances, assuming the sides are of equal skill. That's fair. It would be unfair if Team Super Star could get a net clout increase just from mirror matches without having to face Team Super Mushroom, because Team Super Mushroom wouldn't have a fair (or any) shot at getting clout from those.

The match-making algorithm may fall apart if Team Super Star players are sandbagging one another during their mirror matches. Because the algorithm will consider wins against Team Super Mushroom and Team Super Star to be of equal value when determining one's win streak (and it'll try to match players/teams of similar win streaks together), if a Team Super Mushroom team gets five wins in a row off hard-fought battles against Team Super Star, while their next Super Star opponent has a five-win streak off happening to prevail via placing marginally more ink during five matches of Squid Parties at The Bouncey Twins Shifty Station (that's my example because I did actually have a mirror match Squid Partying there on the Bounce Pads), then Team Super Mushroom will have a much better chance of winning that match because the Super Star opponent's win streak is fraudulent and they're actually weak. But that's Team Super Star's fault if they didn't take their matches seriously and make sure only players who deserve a win streak got the win streak.

The obvious conclusion here is that the sides were not of equal skill, and if you have the philosophy that competitions should be skill-based, then Team Super Mushroom's victory is logically consistent. Why lesser-skilled players would pick Team Super Star (or better-skilled players would pick Team Super Mushroom) is a separate discussion, and an interesting one. You'd think that there would be a correlation between Turf War skill and having intelligent reasoning skills (you're either smarter because you picked Team Super Star because it's the correct choice, or you're smart enough to just pick whatever KoopaTV endorses), but I guess not. There have also been multiple instances where the more popular team was also the most skilled—most notably Team Salsa, which had 57.12% of the vote, and also 52.47% and 54.00% of the clout for Splatfest Battles Normal and Pro. Keep that in mind if you still think it's rigged.

If you have any evidence that there was Splatfest fraud and clout was stolen, please present it in the comments section. Otherwise, Ludwig doesn't want to hear it. He's not gracious in defeat, but he's not going to deny it, either.

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