Fans of Nintendo’s Splatoon series have much to be excited for when it comes time for Splatfests. Honestly, what’s there not to get excited about? Pick a side based on the theme of the challenge, then battle it out for glory! The more popular a certain choice, the more likely it is to win, right? Except no, not really. Thanks to how Splatfests work, the underdog will most likely take home the gold. Now, why is that?
Splatfests: An Underdog Story
Splatfest winners are decided by three factors: Popularity, Team Wins, and Solo Wins. Now ideally, people pick based on the topics debated. The teams neatly divide themselves into even factions, Inklings battle it out, winner takes all. Obviously, that does not happen. The way things work is a little more complicated.
Compared to the even battles between the squid sisters, Splatoon 2‘s Off the Hook co-stars have a clear division in fanbases. Marina’s cute appearance, shy personality, and overall adorable appeal has lead to an army of Inklings ready to fight in her name. The problem lies in that devotion. Her popularity tends to work against her when it comes down to win rate. In North America, Marina has lost every Splatfest except for three. With the amount of support she gets, Marina should be winning more often, right? Consider this though: More people means more total losses.
The Popular Loser
Marina’s extreme popularity often leads to lopsided teams during Splatfests. When the matchmaking cannot find a team of the opposing side, it pits members of the same team together in a match. The rewards of such matches are lessened from a team contribution to a personal contribution. This leads to Marina fans often battling among themselves, giving less contribution for each match as a result. Conversely, Pearl fans always battle with opposing teams, leading to a full team and personal contribution to the winning percentage.
Another factor affected by the disproportionate amount of fans involves the win/loss rate. If 100 people at a time fight, and out of those 100, 75 win their games, then the win rate is 75%. Great! Now if 30 people fight, and of those 30 people, 25 win their games, the win rate is 85%. Even though the other team had more wins, the smaller team had a higher win percentage. This formula applies to Splatfests. Marina’s popularity means more people on her team, which means more wins overall. However, combined with the teams often fighting each other thanks to a lack of opposition, her win rate pales in comparison to Pearl’s. The end result? Marina wins the popularity contest but loses the solo and team win portion, thus losing the overall Splatfest.
The key to winning a Splatfest is simple: Don’t pick Marina. Okay, that is not entirely true. The key to winning is to choose the less popular choice. Unless the popular choice happens to be the one you support. Honestly, a simple solution doesn’t exist. People who think about it strategically choose the less popular choice. This allows for a player to have all their contributions to go towards the team score, as opposed to only going towards their personal score. Another option is for people to pick based on their actual preference, rather than on which Off the Hook character they prefer. It all boils down to what kind of player you are. With the new Valentine’s Day Weekend Splatfest going on, we’ll see if Marina’s popularity will allow love to win out.
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