some time ago, I opened up a poll with the question, whether you want skill MM in random battles or not. To explain, the thing generally referred to as “skill MM” is a principle where battles are put together not only with players with suitable tanks, but also with players of the same skill level. The result was as follows:
42 percent of people do not want this at all, 58 percent do. Of the 58 percent, 41 percent of players wants to have this based on your personal rating and only 17 percent wants it based on winrate.
So much for the poll (7954 votes cast). Well… it was a bit pointless poll, because the cold hard truth is that it is almost certain skill MM will not appear in random battles (and by almost certain I mean 99,9 percent chance). Both Storm and SerB were clear about this matter and as far as we know, their position has not changed even a little. Personally, I was always against skill MM and I there are numerous reasons for that (for example, mixing noobs with noobs does not make anyone learn anything), but the thing that occured to me a day ago when I was watching my own stats is: how exactly do you define a good player?
There are cases of obviously good or obviously bad player. A person with 38 percent overall winrate is a bad player (or a troll, but that’s another matter). A person with 65 percent overall winrate – well, here we can safely assume it’s a good player. Or… can we?
I’ll use myself as an example. I think we all can agree that I am not an excellent player, but I am also not too bad, XVM shows me as “green” and I guess that’s fine. Ever since the Christmas event started, I was using the KV-1S to slowly grind the 100k XP for 3 days of free premium. In my battles with it, I reached an overall winrate of 64,74 percent (156 battles). So, uhhhh, does that mean I am a really, really good player?
No. It means the tank is just broken. I am not a bad player, but my overall winrate is around 53 percent (only like 50 battles of which were played in a platoon and like 20 in a company, so no, I didn’t get carried). But if I wanted however to APPEAR as a good player, I could always do this:
- make a new account
- buy gold, credits, premium account time
- buy a premium tank I am good at, free-exp over the Soviet line using this tank to the KV-1S
- start driving around with the KV-1S
Premium tank I am good with? No problem: my Dicker Max has 60,93 percent winrate after 190 battles, my T-25 has 68,37 percent after 98 battles. Pick one. Again, this does NOT mean I am a great player, it means I found a vehicle that sits with me really well (just as there are tanks I am absolutely hopeless with).
This is called “statpadding”. Using broken, overpowered or simply only well-fitting tanks, you appear much better than you really are. However, this would also probably mean that using skill MM in random battles, these players would appear in high-skill battles, obviously ruining them for players who are REALLY skilled. I mean – sure, you can train hard and become better and better, but really good players (or “true unicums” if you like, who didn’t participate in statpadding) have something you can’t learn: this killer instinct. It’s the same with any skill really, you can become a good violin player, but without that “something”, you will never be truly great. Game skills work like that – players like Quickybaby are simply great, they adapt, they react, a lot of it lies in training and effort, but there is also that instinct that tells you what to do and that’s something I for example will never have, no matter how hard I train.
What I am basically saying, right now, people who are skilled are swearing at tomatoes (please note that there are 48 percent winrate scrubbies who actually think they are good and blame their teams for their performance, I am not talking about those), but if really good people recieved what they wanted (skill MM), “statpadder” would be the new “tomato”.
Another issue with this is the amount of unhappy people it would create. You see, I know I am not a great player and I realize it. But there are TONS of people out there who think they are good for whatever reason. These people, who think of themselves more than they are would end up playing with other noobs and they wouldn’t be happy. What do you think would be their reaction?
“Damn, I got kicked into the noob league, I have to get better”
“FUCKING WG OMG WHY PUT ME WITH NOOBS I AM A GOOD PLAYER NOOBS BRING ME DOWN FFS FFFFUUUU IQUIT I GO WAR THUNDER!!!1111″
I think we all know which one would that be. This is yet another issue by the way, changing such a fundamental rule two years into the game would only create confusion and unhappy feelings (“I’m playing for two years now, why am I playing with noobs?”). Make no mistake: there are a LOT of people with delusions about their skill level. That’s simply human nature: when confronted with obstacles, rather than accept the fact it was our fault, we look for reasons elsewhere. Some people get over this actually and realize it, but a lot of people don’t and skill MM would make this entire crowd very, very unhappy.
Personally, I partially blame XVM for the current situation. Lately I’ve seen yet again several cases where players go “OMG tomato team I quit” – strangely enough, it’s usually not even unicums or good players saying that, but people around 48-50 percent winrate. If you see the “skill” of your players in advance, it can either boost your confidence, or it can demoralize you, and even that would be fine, IF the system was set right.
A lot of players complain lately that their teams are full of red players – as in, red is bad. Well, if the majority of the teams consist of red players, it doesn’t mean all the red players are brainless idiots. It means the system, that decides whether a player recieves color “red” or “orange” doesn’t work properly. If red is bad, how come the majority of the players are red, when (out of definition), the majority of the players is AVERAGE? Part of the answer probably lies in the fact that it wasn’t most likely an average player, who felt the need to write that part of the XVM mod.
This color issue actually influences our behavior on a subconscious level. I believe it’s a form of the Halo effect. Our “first impression” is not based on that player’s performance, but on what color was he assigned to by a mod. In this sense, the same action of one player can be judged differently based only on that color: a “red” tank hides behind a building? He must be a dumb noob, camping here! a “purple” player hides behind a building? Ah, he’s waiting in ambush, surely because he expects the enemy, smart! – and so on.
Personally, I think two (mutually exclusive) things should be done with XVM:
- rework the coloring scheme to actually reflect the average winrate and display it as “average” in a different color than red or orange. Both colors mean “warning” on most basic level and players subconsciously associate them with negative feelings even if the average player is performing fairly well in that battle. Please note that the average winrate in WoT is 49 percent, not 50 or 52. Some dark green would be nice, with red reserved only for truly bad noobs.
- ban that part of XVM mod altogether
Anyway, this is just my personal line of thought. As long as there will be ratings and winrates, there will be statpadding. It just is like that. I am sure all this was written before, but I just felt like writing it again, to sort out my own thoughts too.