Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Brief Note on Comparative Analysis

Nothing long today, but I did want to point out a fallacy that I'm seeing everywhere.  First, I'm 100% guilty of doing this too, so allow this to serve as my formal mea culpa.  

A lot of people are saying "Unit A is more effective in 6th than it was in 5th, so you'll see it in more armies."  Feel free to change Unit A for a weapon or type of unit or tactic etc.  

This is wrong.  

Units are not to be evaluated in an isolated vacuum, they exist in relation to every other unit in the game and just because they became more useful in general does not mean necessarily that they will be played more.

Example:  Plasma guns are more useful in 6th.  This is a fact.  Their anti-light mech capability greatly increase, and being AP2 they are useful at doing damage to some of the more powerful infantry in the game.  So in isolation, they got a huge buff and the general internet consensus is that we will see more Plasma in 6th.

Possibly.  Or not.  Let's say we rated Plasma 3/10 in 5th edition.  Meltagun being 8/10.  In 6th, we rate Plasma 6/10.  Meltagun slightly less useful 7/10.  Guess what: if these ratings are accurate, melta is still better despite plasma being better.  I just made up these ratings and I don't claim they are true, it's just an example.

So take this away, 'better' means 'better.'  It does not necessarily mean 'optimal' or 'competitive' or 'good.'  It could turn out to be those things too, but don't read too much into 'better.'


  1. Well said.

    Jump packs got better but that doesn't mean I'm going to toss my vanilla Assault Marines at Death Company either. It's all about perspective.

  2. I think your ratings are off for plasma and melta

  3. Well, he did state he made them up and didn't claim they were accurate; it was just an example.

  4. You see the reverse in action too: "Mech is comparatively worse, so it's unplayable"

    1. And just now I'm reading about how worse Sanguinary Priests are compared to 5th. Sure, they're worse, but they're still good.

      Granted, the post is from TKE so I shouldn't expect anything but complaining