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Kongo_Pride posted a topic in General Game DiscussionHello Captains, On 18 January 2019, @njroc proposed a few questions that he believed had not been addressed on the boards before. His first question was to determine if a mediocre captain with a 19-point commander could play with similar results as a unicum player with a 0-point captain. He seemed curious to learn at what point does the actual human skill take over in the game and what really is the driving factor for playing well. Based on that initial information, I went out and recruited a “mediocre” captain to assist me in an experiment that I felt would sufficiently be able to meet the criteria of a mediocre captain. Unfortunately, I my requested criteria was too refined and or potential candidates who expressed interest never got back into contact with me. However, @dbw86 accepted my offer and brought on board, and I want to thank him for all his hard work, dedication, and support in getting this information together. So, what were my findings? Well, I would argue, based on the play and results, that a skilled player with a 0-point captain will consistently outperform a mediocre player with 19-point captain assigned to their ships. Furthermore, I assess with high confidence that a skilled player will adapt better to the handicap so to speak and still be able to carry matches, that otherwise mediocre players simply cannot accomplish. Below is a breakdown of the experiment, supporting data/analysis and evidence to show how I came to this conclusion. For starters, I let the mediocre player choose which ship and tier we were going to use as the test ship. In other words, DBW86 got home field advantage. He choose the Des Moines, a cruiser to which I am not overly great at. Granted, I had a decent win rate in the ship at 63+ percent, but my average damage, PR, and other areas were not near the level of unicum. So, simply starting out, I was at a disadvantage as far as ships that I as the skilled player felt comfortable with. However, upon further review, I noticed that my counterpart, while having an overall 42+ percent win rate in the game, could only muster a 26 percent win rate in the Des Moines with an average damage in the “bad” category of wows numbers NA. I fell into the “Great” category. So, in some way, we were both uncomfortable with the ship when compared to where we normally perform overall. For this, I asked him to email me his starting ship package, which included camo, signals, flags, premium consumables, and modules used as well as his assigned 19 point commander and selected commander picks. I told him, I would be selecting my own and not mirroring him. I wanted this to be understood up front because I often find skilled players make more selective, overall useful choices in specing their ships than others. Example, ever see a battleship at tier X with Survivability Expert as a captain perk? Loadout: Dbw86 chose to do the following with his Des Moines; Captain – Priority Target, Preventative Maintenance, Jack of All Trades, Expert Marksman, Adrenaline Rush, Superintendent, Advanced Firing Training, and Concealment Expert; Modules – Main Armaments Modification 1, Damage Control Systems Modification 1, Main Battery Modification, Steering Gears Modification 2, Concealment System Modification 1, Enhanced Propulsion (Legendary Mod); he selected all premium consumables with the following choices – damage control, hydroacoustic search, radar, and heal; Camo – He selected the premium camo, which can be purchased for 5,000 doubloons and offers the following -- -3%/+4%/-50% post repair cost/+20% credits/+100% experience; Signals – None; and Flags – Military Month Contributor +5% (which is a nice bonus as well). While he possesses a premium account, we derived statistics from battles, specifically, economic from a basic account found in the tables of the battle results screen. Analysis: There could certainly have been some better choices. In my opinion a lot of opportunities for synergy were missed, and when you do this, you are already setting yourself behind the power curve, and in many ways letting me, the skilled player opportunities to be on the same playing level, despite not having a captain of similar skill. Example, Advanced Firing coupled with Hydro, just didn’t seem to pair well together. I fondly recall in one match, DBW86 saying that he didn’t really use hydro, because it just doesn’t help him enough. (Note: He is an older player and reaction times are just harder to repeat.) So, the torpedo alarm is often wasted, if hydro is even used. In this instance, I would go with the sure thing, and just choose DFAA. I play to win, so another area of concern is in the Signals area. This doesn’t mean you need to run all eight slots, but if you have 300 India X-Rays, throw some on, have fun with your ships. Absolutely no signals seem to be a bit off, as you are playing tier X, and given the way coal can be farmed, these should not have been excluded. Even just economic flags could have saved you a lot of lost credits farther down the road. Loadout: For me, I chose the following; Captain – 0 points, rip me; Modules – Main Armaments Modification 1, Surveillance Radar Modification 1, Aiming Systems Modification 1, Steering Gears Modification 2, Concealment Systems Modification 1, and Main Battery Modification 3; premium consumables – damage control, DFAA, Radar, and heal; Camo – New Year Streamer -3/+4% and more focused on farming free xp/commander xp (done to see how much captain xp I could earn with it over 30 battles); Signals – November Echo Setteseven, India X-ray, Victor Lima, Juliet Charlie, India Delta, Sierra Mike, November Foxtrot, and India Yankee; and Flag – Military Month Contributor. Analysis: I thought I had picked some very solid picks and wanted to focus on damage as much as possible, I expected to be rather useless, but wanted to hurt the enemies as much as possible before I succumbed. I also tried to pair as much as I could for synergy, maximizing strengths such as radar, while minimizing weaknesses, weak citadel from AP bombs. I also invested heavily into signals, I assumed my counterpart would do similar, but found later, he conserves specifically for Clan Battles only. This helped to keep my ship alive longer as I had better speed, and in some ways, better output on damage. The Des Moines has a great DPM, and I figured if I can get close with an island, I can certainly take advantage of the DPM. There is one area I made a glaring oversight and it was very painful. I am very used to having the benefits of Expert Marksman. My turrets often failed me in knife fights, which was rather embarrassing a time or two when engaging just about anyone close range. The other area was my 12.1km concealment. Oof!!! RIP!!! This was frustrating to deal with, but with careful maneuvering, I was able to help limit the handicap. The Experiment Requirements: So, the experiment itself was done with 15 games solo play by each player in random PvP. Then, we got together and divisioned together so that there could be no argument of, “you did better than me because your team was all unicums or mine were all AFK, etc.” I am well aware that 30 games by each player (45 total) is a rather small sample size, but I think, it will be more than enough for the most hardened players on here to reach the same conclusions I did regarding the questions of njroc. The experiment was conducted over a four day period going from 23 to 26 January 2019. Here is the data: Please note, for reasons of space on this server, I have withheld the final results screenshots, but anyone wishing to see them, I will more than gladly send them to you (plus replays as requested) as I have them all on file. I understand, some out there can be skeptical of integrity, but I assure you they are accurate. Pre-Experiment: (Kongo) (DBW86) Independent Play: (Kongo) (DBW86) Division Play: (Kongo) (DBW86) Post-Experiment: (Kongo) (DBW86) Note: A few of the final screenshots were not entirely available and the fiscal results from those screenshots are estimated. This happens, and I would say that those estimates are within 95 percent of the actual number they are placeholding. Data Analysis: There is a lot of information to be gleaned from these snippets of data. Overall, the main point I would like to make is that neither player saw significant improvement or a deterioration in gameplay. However, it is interesting that my skills did little to carry us more often in Division play, which kind of surprised me. Although, there were several games, I came close. AFKs...are still hard to overcome. Surprisingly, I exceeded my own expectations of performance, in fact, members of my clan were noting that I should just run a zero point captain in the future as it seems to suit me better. DBW86 improved his own win rate in the Des Moines, and while many might scoff at a 4 percent increase in one's win rate, his overall for the experiment did reach closer to his actual win rate, which is good to see. Solo, I had a really good win rate, however in division play, we got rocked. Now, it was the weekend when we divisioned, and these games were clearly marked for the weekend results, where we had some rough team makeup. However, that said, there were some other major conclusions, despite a higher survival rate/time alive in battle, I was significantly more capable of impacting and or carrying games as necessary. More importantly, I was able to do more damage, sink more ships, and in matches with CVs, I was a tad-bit more effective because of my DFAA, despite a 5km AA bubble. DBW86 averaged a final finish of over 7, while I was around 2.5 between the two experiments. Again, this is probably one of the most telling categories as it shows where I was able to finish, despite my handicap. With more wins and higher finishes it also lends credibility to the fact that I carried numerous matches. Base experience was also another glaring consideration, the difference is very clear between both wins and losses and even in division play. It is important to note that I was not always ahead of DBW86 in base experience, but when I wasn't it always resulted in a loss for the team overall, again, an indicator that a skilled player can still carry while a mediocre player with a high skill captain still struggles to repeat/replicate that level of play. Surprisingly, both of us had a solid understanding of how to use and switch Des Moines ammunition, I was just better able to see it become effective in battles. Gratitude: I was able to provide a lot of tips, but invariably, one's own state of mind and health are serious factors of consideration, and I think @dbw86 knows what I am saying when I make that comment. I hope folks here can read between the lines on that comment, and understand that I only hope to be doing what he can when I reach such a stage in life. His passion for this game is commendable, and I really want to say, it was an HONOR, to play with you. Conclusions: I think the real question njroc was posing was at what point is player skill more indicative of play than the ship. Many "OP" ships exist and many "UP" also exist. Yet, a mediocre players struggle in OP ships, while skilled players can take the UP ships, such as Krasny Krym and find new and creative ways to make them work, even if it requires a lot of hard work to do so. I must admit, due to the CV rework, I almost decided to completely scrap this project, but the better in me realized this is still relevant data that is good information for the community to consume and use to help them realize that when a ship is underperforming, it is not the assigned captain, but the player. If a few people get something from this, then this will have been a win, an easy win. Recommendations: I think, and will post a topical idea for a proposal from WG about the formation of a think-tank. Essentially, a small group of skilled WOWS players who can convene and look more introspective of the game itself and at what is presently available, while fielding questions such as these from the forums. The reality is, almost everyone who is contributing to this game seems bent on the future, instead of looking at what is really going on internally and addressing these kind of player concerns with a focused granularity that it needs. People like @Lert and @LittleWhiteMouse have done similar looks at things like turning radius of ships in the past, but in large part, CCs, Supertesters, Clantesters, and WOWS/WG staff seem focused on the next line or next change or even the next ship coming to the game. They are busy looking at the future and we oft forget the subtleties of changes in the game and whether a ship is still sustainable, and in this case, what really makes the biggest difference in performance. Final: If you have an in-game request, please post it in the forums and @Kongo_Prideand I will do my best to address this. Thoughts and feedback from the community greatly appreciated.