This article explains the present workings of the tenacity mechanic on the Planets.Nu website. Included are some “quick fix” solutions to a poor tenacity score and the big question: how low does your rating have to be to make recovery impracticable?
The metric is a new one and subject to constant review; we’ll try to document any changes as they happen. Thanks to ECV, Emork and the estimable Tom Graves for helping me review these numbers. All the mistakes are mine.
NOTE: This documents the old system. The present system is undergoing a rebuild and simplification process, and most of the below information will be completely invalid in a short time.
I’ve copied some of the documentation from the website on how this rating is supposed to work. We’ll take a look at each aspect in some detail and see what we get — whether it functions as advertised and what the terms actually mean to us.
- Raw Tenacity — Your ability to survive in games to the end.
- Daily Grind — Your ability to complete turns consistently and quickly.
- Rescue Factor — Bonus tenacity is given if you play as a replacement commander and do well.
Tenacity Rating = RawTenacity * DailyGrind * RescueFactor
or, abbreviated: TR = RT * DG * RF
Each term in this equation is based on a 100% ideal model. If, for instance, your RT is at 90%, your DG at 105%, and your RF bonus is 0 (which is a default of 100%), your equation is: TR = 0,9 * 1,05 * 1,00 = 0,945, or 94,5%. With me so far?
So let’s take a look at the individual terms, starting with
According to the site, you start at 100%; then, for each game where you quit or are defeated before the end, you lose 10%. This number is to be based on the last ten completed standard games, which means that you can never drop below 0%. And, for this calculation, a resignation counts precisely as much as a complete annihilation. Pretty straightforward so far, right?
For the sake of this calculation, standard games are those that are launched automatically by the site. Included are all 11-player classic and campaign games (regardless of the difficulty rating) and the 12-player team games. Specifically not included are melee or beginner games, but as of the most recent alteration, “rescue” games count. There is no tenacity penalty for leaving a game before completing any turns.
Private games seem to be a special case. Some qualify; some don’t. This takes place at the discretion of the website manager, and it follows the basic rule that any private game that qualifies for the achievement ladder also qualifies for tenacity. In particular, each of the DIE HARD games seems to count for this, which is just plain common sense.*
However, the actual number from this score doesn’t follow the documentation in the following manner: it is calculated based on the ten completed games in one’s history that have the highest game numbers. These are not always the games most recently completed; instead, they are those completed games that were most recently started. Given the delays common in game startup, this is a very important difference, and it most frequently impacts those games with the most difficult conditions. Likewise, all things being equal, a team game should both launch and finish faster than the others; any game that does this will have a great persistence in determining your tenacity score.
This may seem a minor divergence from the documentation, but it is a vital one when considering those questions that demand precise data.
NOTE: All drops prior to 01 August 2013 are no longer counted against tenacity scores.
This starts at 100%; the percentage of turns you’ve missed over time is deducted from that base score. For this calculation, the use of holiday mode to mark a turn finished on your behalf counts as half of a missed turn. On the other hand, each turn that you complete early (less than halfway to host time) counts as 1,25 turns. This number is based (more or less) on your last 300 turns.
Given such a complex calculation and considering the difficulty of tracking the individual variations of personal score from day to day, I am forced to admit that I cannot empirically determine precisely how correct this is. I can tell you that this number is determined using all turns played in games with durable results; computer blitz or “training” games do not count, but melee games seem to, as do all standard-qualified private games.
The primary known exception here is that neither early completion nor holiday mode tracking was initiated until this system came online; since it has only been in effect for a few months as of this writing, several people will be affected by this difference for a fair amount of time. Some degree of error has also been reported, but evidence is difficult to collect without deliberate experimentation. There are very few people that would be willing to undertake this; outside of some basic numbers tracking and reconstruction, I’m not one of them.
It should be noted, however, that in most cases this calculation seems to give results that are at least very close to what the documentation states they ought to be.
Joining a game as a replacement for someone that has dropped can earn you a bonus multiplier of up to 125%. In order to qualify, you need to play for a substantial number of turns (currently 20) and either maintain or improve your race’s ranking by the time the game ends. The amount earned is 2,5% per qualifying game, and it’s limited to the last ten replacement games completed. The total bonus is added to 100% and then multiplied by one’s base score.
This works, for the most part, as documented. However, the same method of determining “most recent games completed” is used here that is used for base tenacity: it’s easy to calculate but is not, strictly speaking, in line with the documentation. It’s also worthy of mention that this statistic has been modified now three times since the original documentation was formulated; we may be in the final iteration of the metric now but there’s hardly a guarantee.
Tenacity rating has 2 main effects:
- Some games will have a minimum tenacity rating to join.
- Campaign resources and leaderboard achievement will be multiplied by your tenacity rating. If you have a low tenacity score you will earn proportionally fewer achievement points and campaign resources; if you have higher tenacity you will earn more.
The intent of this second effect was clearly stated: “It is now impossible to move to the top of the leaderboard or earn many campaign resources if you drop out of games.” This seems to be functioning as intended.
The first aspect, however, requires a bit of explanation. At present, then, the requirements to join a new game — one that is in the process of starting — are as follows:
- Beginner: There is no tenacity requirement for a beginner’s game. The maximum rank is Lieutenant.**
- Classic: There is no tenacity or rank restriction in this game.
- Classic Slow: 70% tenacity is required to join. You also need to have at least a Lieutenant’s rank.
- Senior Officer: 60% tenacity is required to join. You also need to have at least a Commander’s rank.
- Campaign: 50% tenacity is required to join.
- 2- or 3-player Team: 70% tenacity is required to join.
- Melee: There is no tenacity requirement for any variety of melee game.
- Custom: The tenacity required to begin a custom game is variable, and often is left at 0% by the hosting player. Most custom games do not impact tenacity score.
Recovering Lost Tenacity
A player with low tenacity will gain campaign and achievement rewards at a proportionally decreased rate. As such, any serious player will find it necessary to maintain a high tenacity score. However, there will be times when a game position becomes untenable or perhaps even onerous, at which point resignation is an honorable choice. As well, Real Life occasionally makes it advisable or even necessary to resign.
Some basic math tells us that any player who drops ten consecutive games will be ineligible to be a starting player in anything but a beginner’s, non-slow classic or custom game; many will find that their rank prohibits them from starting as a beginner.** As well, some will doubtless object to the high drop rate one might find in an unfiltered classic format. On the other hand, with the recent changes to the Raw Tenacity calculation, replacement (or “rescue”) games will count extra toward higher tenacity.***
If you’re new at the game, you might be tempted to quit entirely and start a new account. Admittedly, you’ll have to play beginner games for a while and your hard-bought campaign abilities will be lost, but on the other hand, just think of all the dumb things you’ve posted in the forum that will no longer be traceable to you. This cuts two ways, though: an established player will want to avoid losing their hard-won reputation.
Another effective option is to join an approved custom game. At present, both the DIE HARD and “Old School” series of games are rated for both campaign resources and tenacity points, and I’m told that the webmasters are quite approachable. Since these won’t be listed in the website’s lists of new or open games, you’ll want to hunt through the Forums and (of course) the special section in Planets Magazine devoted to them.
That’s a path for serious players, people with an eye toward long-term methods to score metric improvement. It will take time and patience — and a lot of hard work. So if you’re just here to play and drop, my advice is this: Don’t bother. There are a zillion other games you could be playing; this has now become the wrong one for you.
* It has been frequently observed that “common sense” is, in reality, quite uncommon. This is especially true when it comes to computers; they are often sufficiently complex as to behave in a way that seems chaotic, and even basic logic seems not to apply at times. Bearing that in mind, it’s actually rather impressive that this sort of thing is allowed.
** Beginner games will occasionally allow starting players with a higher rank; as of this writing, the present Emperor is engaged in a beginner game, a circumstance that I personally find ludicrous. The way it works is, if you have an officer in a different race two ranks higher than the max rank, you can’t join. On the other hand, for minimum-rank games, as long as you have an officer at least two ranks higher in another race you can join regardless of the requirement.
*** As one player recently observed in the Forum, it is now more advantageous to rescue than to play through from the beginning — a fact that will doubtless tempt some more foolish players to deliberately begin and quit games from a second account. Be warned: This behavior will attract attention and may be subject to punishment under site rules.12