That is an interesting subject, and one I thought a lot about, although in a different context.
For me, after the last US Champs in CO, I decided to never again race at altitude. My statistical analysis of a lifetime of my results indicated I performed significantly worse there, holding everything else constant. And, I simply did not enjoy it. Moreover, many times the terrain was just not that interesting. Having said that, if Wyoming was located at sea level, and everything else was the same, I am fairly sure I would be back all the time. One of my favorite places to orienteer is at Valley Forge, and I have had good results there, on terrain that, from a technical and running perspective, is quite similar.
So, am I gaming the system? Well, I guess so, but I don't care. I actually don't care that much about my own ranking. If I did, I think I could do a better job by not racing or dropping down when injured or sick, but why bother? I have never expected to make a WOC team, and every time I have, it was a thrill and surprise.
The first two times (I think) that I made the WOC team, I did it in spite of my ranking (in other words, my TT days contributed to my score, but the ranking didn't.) This year, however, I saw that a goodish ranking could be helpful, as I came into the TT well less than 100% physically or mentally. The ranking did make a difference.
Having said all that, I will confess to now gaming the DVOA rankings, something I care about, quixotically, more than the US Team. DVOA uses the same ranking system, and therefore has similar issues. I can't exaggerate how frustrated I have been to have a near perfect race (such as this one: http://www.dvoa.org/events/results/ev_show.php?eve...
) and gotten ~27% less points than I would have expected. I don't think anyone could have run that course in ~4 minutes per k, but they would have needed to to score 100 points. And on the DVOA scale, someone like Hubmann, who might be able to get that kind of time, should score like 130 points on average in DVOA-world, so obviously there is a distortion in places.
But, conceptually, examples like this are quite illustrative. Orienteering is an activity where excellence is predicated on running and navigating. The result function, if you will, is some sort of combination (linear?) of running and navigating. At an event like I cited, and some sprints, you are effectively eliminating (or setting to 0) the navigational component, and solving for the running one.
Anyway, as an upshot of all this, I've decide to focus on the gnarliest DVOA races. At local club races, in harder terrain, the spread seems even greater than nationally, and the payoff to having a good race at a tough venue is high. (Although conversely, that may explain why having a good race at an easy venue generates a poor score.)