Dispelling MULE myth #2: Income Screenshots

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This thread will be regarding people that post screenshots with the income tab from replays which show the ridiculous income MULEs provide. I will show in this thread that they are wrong and that the screenshots do not show the correct income.

We know that a MULE gathers 270 minerals in its 90 second lifetime, which gives us a mining rate of 180 minerals/min. However, the income tab will never display this. Why is that?

First let’s talk about how Blizzard computes the average income rate displayed in the replay tab under income. This is based on a 15 second moving window. That means that the total minerals gathered in the last 15 seconds are multiplied by 4 and voilla, your average income/minute is established. This system works pretty well with regular workers (scvs, probes, drones) since they deliver a small amount of minerals (5) in frequent doses. On the other hand, this system will not display the MULE income properly.

Let me give you an example as to why. In order to make it easier, I’ll divide the total minerals gathered window in 15 discrete units, each representing 1 second.

Say you are not mining any minerals – your income is zero.
(0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0) X 4 = 0
Your mining window, which is bolded, shows the minerals you have mined every second, for the last 15 seconds. This gets multiplied by 4 to show you the income displayed in the income tab.

Then you drop a mule on the minerals. The mule starts mining, you income is still zero. Then the mule delivers the minerals to the OC, and your income jumps to 120. This is what happened to the mining window:
(30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0) X 4 = 120
After a second the mining window becomes:
(0+30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0) X 4 = 120
So your income still shows 120, no change. The income window will stay the same (at 120) until the mule delivers his second batch of minerals, 9 seconds later:
(30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+30+0+0+0+0+0) X 4 = 240
So the income tab jumps to 240.

For the next 4 seconds, the income tab will remain at 240
(0+30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+30+0+0+0) X 4 = 240
(0+0+30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+30+0+0) X 4 = 240
(0+0+0+30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+30+0) X 4 = 240
(0+0+0+0+30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+30) X 4 = 240

In the next second, the mining window moves past the first set of minerals the mule brought to the OC, and we’re back at an income of 120:
(0+0+0+0+0+30+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0) X 4 = 120

Then 4 seconds later, the mule brings a new batch of minerals and the income tab jumps back to 240.

Long story short, the income tab will fluctuate between 120 and 240 at 5 second intervals. So the income tab will never show 180 minerals/min for a MULE because it will only get updated in increments of 120.

This is also why the income tab shows 40-60 minerals/min per worker mining a patch by itself. The income of a regular worker gets incremented only in multiples of 20.

So what happens when you drop 4 mules at almost the same time and they start mining. Well, the income will fluctuate in increments of 120. And at some points in time, you will get the income tab displaying 960 minerals/min, and at some time intervals you will get it displaying 480 minerals/min.
Now if you take a screenshot when the income tab is high (960minerals/min), that is obviously overestimating the actual income by 240 minerals/min.

If you are looking at a replay, and then you take a screenshot when the displayed income is highest, you most likely have a screenshot where the total terran income is overestimated by 60 X n, where n is the number of MULEs mining.

This is why threads like “Somebody Remind Me Why MULES are balanced” is so full of fail. Here’s a link to that thread - http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/3961516375
In it, our dear bnet poster Yaksha is outraged by the high income terran displays, and claims that the MULE is actually averaging the income of 6 workers.

I hope this explains why he, and so many other screenshot crusaders are wrong.

You’re welcome.
I've long suspected this to be true. Given that MULEs mine at a rate of 4 workers for 90 seconds, some of the "income tab" numbers just don't make sense all the time.
This is an excellent post, but I don't believe it will do much to end the massive amount of MULE QQ; nothing will.

Nevertheless, I applaud your efforts. Post upvoted.


You put in a lot of work for a tiny/nonexistent return.

Must be a labor of loooove
+1 on the post too

Very technical, but very interesting.

You put in a lot of work for a tiny/nonexistent return.

Must be a labor of loooove

Haha, thanks, but I can't take credit for too much labor. It took me very little time to put this thread up.
Good post man! keep it up nerf the QQers with sound logic and reasoning!
02/02/2012 05:00 PMPosted by Conan
Good post man! keep it up nerf the QQers with sound logic and reasoning!


Don't worry.. qqers doesn't work with logic and reasoning.. there will be some issue :s
while correct, mules are still crazy overpowered.

play a few games and don't get an orbital. go see
while correct, mules are still crazy overpowered.

play a few games and don't get an orbital. go see


That's silly logic.

Just because you play way worse without a certain upgrade, unit, or ability doesn't mean something is "overpowered."

That's like saying "go play a few games and don't get queens. SEE? QUEENS OVERPOWERED!"

while correct, mules are still crazy overpowered.

play a few games and don't get an orbital. go see


I agree, Probes, SCVs and Drones are OP as hell.
http://www.twitch.tv/MLG_Live <---- live now. 60 SCVs vs 11 SCVs. It's been a tie game for 15mins now.
while correct, mules are still crazy overpowered.

play a few games and don't get an orbital. go see


That's silly logic.

Just because you play way worse without a certain upgrade, unit, or ability doesn't mean something is "overpowered."

That's like saying "go play a few games and don't get queens. SEE? QUEENS OVERPOWERED!"


i like how you missed the point completely


That's silly logic.

Just because you play way worse without a certain upgrade, unit, or ability doesn't mean something is "overpowered."

That's like saying "go play a few games and don't get queens. SEE? QUEENS OVERPOWERED!"


i like how you missed the point completely


MULEs are not what is keeping you in Silver.
while correct, mules are still crazy overpowered.

play a few games and don't get an orbital. go see



I'd probably win if the opponent didnt spawn larvae either

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