Hattrick Mythbusters

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Hattrick.png This is an official Hattrick Editorial
originally published 2008-05-05 10:00:00 by HT-Tjecken

A couple of weeks ago we ran a project inspired by the TV show Mythbusters in the Global forum. We asked the community to submit Hattrick myths they wanted to have checked, and from those we picked four. A full report is found inside, here is a short summary:

To improve our communication with you we will from time to time run weekly projects in the Global (English) forum. The subjects of the projects will vary; from pretty narrow subjects (as defining a particular game mechanism) to broader ones (as an "Ask an HT"-project). Each project will last for about a week and the overall aim is that both you and we should get something, knowledge and understanding in particular, back in return.

The first project we kicked off was Mythbusters, inspired by the TV show with the same name. As Hattrick is pretty full of myths we thought it could be fun and useful to see if the myths actually made some sense or that we can claim them to be busted. Unlike the real mythbusters on TV we couldn’t use any explosives and we didn't have any use of a crash test dummy either, so our tests could unfortunately not be as entertaining. Moreover, as we are in an intense period of rewriting all web pages' code (see the dotnetification editorial for more info) we didn’t have the time for big test simulations either. We had to settle for something smaller, a Mythbusters light: Things we could verify by pretty fast checks in the code – which also affected what kind of myths we could pick. Anyway, we asked the community to submit myths and from those we picked three. We then also added a fourth one as a bonus. These are the results of the mythbusting:

Myth: Clowns raise team spirit – Busted!

The myth of the myths turned out to be false, despite the fact that even the rules claimed the opposite. It was said the player with the highest leadership affected the team spirit with his agreeability, so the better agreeability that player had the better team spirit you got according to the myth. As it was believed that this player just had to be in the squad, people bought any player looking like that − which often meant they were useless on the pitch and nothing but a "clown".

Anyway, we found no code which had the slightest theoretical possibility to confirm the existence of clowns. This myth is definitely busted. Clowns don't exist and the rule section about this has been removed. I don’t really know how it ended up in the rules in the first place, but as the myth is very old (dating back to when Hattrick had only a few thousands users in Sweden and the developers developed the game on their spare time) it could have been a planned implementation which hit the rules but was never realized. Something like this could not happen today though. It’s a totally different working environment today. We are currently also rewriting the rules to make them easier to read and understand, and while doing that we will naturally also make sure the content is correct.

Myth: Physiotherapists don't have an impact – Busted!

It was said that physiotherapists didn't reduce the risk for injuries. But when we checked this one up we found out pretty fast that the myth was nothing but a myth. It was clear that the physiotherapists have an impact, and the desired impact. Physios reduce the risk of injuries, but they do not (and should not) have an impact on injury times once you got an injury.

Myth: Team attitude has an impact on the probability to score once an action has been obtained – Busted!

According to the myth team attitude (play it cool etc) not only affects the midfield (the possibility to obtain a scoring opportunity) but also the probability to score a goal once an action has been obtained. In order for it to be true team attitude needed to be taken into calculation in the "attack vs defense" calculation, but it wasn't and hence we could bust this myth too.

Myth: Confidence has a larger impact than what is visible in the match ratings – Confirmed!

We added this bonus myth as there had been some community talk and studies around this prior to the mythbusting project, and we felt it would be good to clear it out. The myth said that self confidence affects the attack outcome a lot more than what is reflected in the ratings. For it to be true, it has to be used in the attack calculation - but (also) outside the rating calculation. And this was indeed the case, self confidence is used in the attack calculation, but it's used twice - once in the rating calculation and then once again outside ratings. This means self confidence has a hidden effect, and a larger effect than what is visible in the match ratings.

We are currently thinking about how to deal with self confidence in future, and there are some different solutions to consider. What is clear though is that we want to make self confidence more visible than what it is.

Some final words...

Let me put this straight; it was a lot of fun to bust a few myths even without explosives (and from the community reaction in the forum threads we weren't the only ones who thought it was fun). Someone mentioned that myths make everything (even a game) more exciting, and perhaps that's true. But even so we will probably never be able to check all myths, so I'm confident that there will be another mythbusting project. Hopefully we will be able to run some proper simulations too, to really show you that our test methods do the trick.

But it will have to wait. Weekly projects shouldn't only be about mythbusting, so next time we will do something else. Hope to see you then!