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Researchers break strategy game competition down to a science

Researchers at North Carolina State University claim to have devised a precise technique that can greatly increase player chances of winning in online team-based strategy games.
Researchers at North Carolina State University claim to have devised a precise technique that can greatly increase player chances of winning in online team-based strategy games -- and this research could be used to improve gameplay experiences. The team says that through various analytics tools, it has managed to evaluate logs of player actions in games like Dota, Warcraft III and Starcraft II, to develop a specific set of rules that govern team gameplay strategies. By looking at the way in which player attributes and stats change over time, the research team was able to pinpoint the optimal timing for upgrades and improvements, in order to raise the likelihood of team success. The research papers contain extremely specific scenarios as examples, such as the claim that if a team in a game of Dota has amassed 59.7 more damage points than the opposing team by the second quarter of a game, the first team has more than an 80 percent chance of winning. And in another example, the researchers found that if a Starcraft II team is made up of Terrans and Zerg, its chances of winning the game are more than 70 percent from the get-go if the Zerg population has a high growth rate, and the Terran population has a low one. Using this data, the research team has devised optimal gameplay approaches that greatly raise a team's chances of winning. Dr. David Roberts, co-author on the papers, says that this research could potentially help game developers to fine-tune their strategy titles. "We're currently working to use these findings to develop visualization tools that let players know how they are doing in real-time, relative to the strategies we know are predictive of success," Roberts adds. Of course, if the techniques discussed in these papers prove as watertight as they are described, this research could have notable implications for the various strategy game eSports currently available. The two papers can be found below.

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