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AO Mathematics And You

Think about it. How many times in your years (or even just months) of playing MMO's has someone in your life mocked you for wasting your time/money/brain or any combination thereof? Probably a lot of times unless your parents or significant other are logged on to the computer in the other room helping you on a Pande raid and cussing you out for not pulling your weight.

Any way you look at it, the stereotypes of MMO players are almost entirely negative and range from being socially inept loners that can't interact with others in a real world setting to an idea that all MMO players are complete morons who are able to contribute nothing to society due to their lack of intellect and therefor lack of anything but a menial job.

With Anarchy Online we have a nice little way to fire back at these people. When asked what you did last night, don't regale them with stories of Inferno missions or AXP grinding, but instead tell them that you were working on a problem using evolutionary multimodal optimization math theory and see how quickly they shut up. The great part is that you're telling the truth 100%.

Here is the Wiki definition of said theory:
In applied mathematics, multimodal optimization deals with Optimization (mathematics) tasks that involve finding all or most of the multiple solutions (as opposed to a single best solution). Knowledge of multiple solutions to an optimization task is especially helpful in engineering, when due to physical (and/or cost) constraints, the best results may not always be realizable. In such a scenario, if multiple solutions (local and global) are known, the implementation can be quickly switched to another solution and still obtain a optimal system performance. Multiple solutions could also be analyzed to discover hidden properties (or relationships), which makes them high-performing.


Does that sound at all familiar? Could it really be that mathematics used in genetics, engineering, architecture, and many other respected fields is something that many of us use on a day to day basis for the task of making implants? Even as the players doing these equations and figures on scratch pads and calculators we don't realize that what we are doing with AO's unique implant system is something you are supposed to go to school for years to learn.

Now, sure... not all of us go to the extent that some players do with their twinking through the use of implants, but even basic twinking requires a knowledge of how to get a skill from one amount to another using as few or as many buffing items as you need. Sometimes this can be a very extensive process that requires multiple perk resets, laddering in implants over and over, and getting the right series of buffs, armors, and weapons all with varied allotments of time in which to complete the process you're trying to achieve.

Like the description of the theory mentions, it requires finding multiple solutions to a problem so that changes can be made on the fly and with the side effect of being able to reach multiple goals at once in the most efficient way possible. I don't think any other game out there requires so much thought towards a mechanic that ultimately effects every aspect of how you play.

So the next time someone questions your intelligence based on the fact that you play an MMO, just keep in mind that one phrase and the subject should easily be changed. If not, challenge the person to start a Froob account and see just how smart they think they are.

--Silvana Stone
AOU Columnist

Last updated on 03.16.2012 by Silvana
Article written by Silvana
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