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Wargaming Matchmaking Mechanics And How They Affect Your Game

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So I've been skimming through Wargaming's patents that deal with the functioning of the MM (as you do). We've had a conversation with a clanmate a few weeks back regarding how winrates factor into the matchmaking one sees in the game.

I'd seen the patents regarding this before so I wanted to refresh my memory, but this time I've seen a couple other interesting factors as well. So I wanted to share them with you.

1. Algorithms that determine winrate:

Quote

According to another aspect, the matchmaking server may store a win/loss percentage for each user (or vehicle) at a given battle level. As the player's win/loss ratio decreases, the player becomes more likely to be placed in battles having battle levels at the lower end of the allowable range, whereas as the player's win/loss ration increases, the player becomes more likely to be placed in battles having battle levels at the upper end of the allowable range. Thus, when a player has been repeatedly put into too many difficult battles, the balancing is done in favor of easier battle sessions, thereby encouraging the player by providing an easier game environment. Similarly, when the player has been repeatedly put into too many easy battles, the balancing is done in favor of harder battle sessions, thereby keeping the player challenged instead of letting the player become bored with easy games. A first possible algorithm is to divide the permissible battle levels evenly across a range from zero (0) to two (2), and place the vehicle into the battle level corresponding to the win/loss ratio, where any ratio greater than two (2) automatically results in the vehicle being placed in the highest possible battle level. Another possible algorithm is to increase the battle level by one (within the permissible range) for a vehicle each time a player wins a battle with that vehicle, and decrease the battle level by one (within the permissible range) each time a player loses a battle with that vehicle. If the battle level is already at the upper end of the range and the player wins the battle, the battle level may remain constant. Similarly, if the battle level is already at the lower end of the range and the player loses the battle, the battle level may remain constant.

This confirms what some people already suspect about the MM; that it tries to keep you around 50% WR. There have been mentions in the past that WG doesn't actually use this algorithm in their games; this doesn't strike me as plausible:
A. Because it doesn't make sense not to use it.
B. There are some gambling-psychology-mind tricks that others can tell you more about.
C. Because WG actually provides a justification for their reasoning at the start of the patent application:

Quote

Because online multiplayer games have become increasingly common, there is substantial competition between the offered games regarding obtaining and retaining consumers. Repetitive play can often lead to players becoming bored with a particular game. In addition, if a player finds a game too hard or too easy, the player may become frustrated or bored, and cease playing prematurely.


There are ways to defeat the algorithm of course. Divisinioning with players of similar or better performance than yours is one of the best ways to consistently beat it. Another is only playing at times with the least player count to limit the matchmaking pool, though this can easily backfire. Another is simply to be too good and carry every game to win.
Or, you can simply play Premium ships more... I'll get to that later.

2. MM goes easy on you when you first purchase a ship:

Quote

By putting players into battles of varying level, the players experience a variety of game play while experiencing both wins and losses. According to one aspect, a player may be placed randomly or sequentially in any suitable battle level. However, according to another aspect, players who have just acquired a new higher tier vehicle are encouraged by being placed into battle sessions near the lower boundary of that vehicle's accessibility range, which allows the player feel more comfortable in the game. With time, the balancing system starts putting them into higher levels battle sessions, which creates a challenge of playing with more upgraded opponent vehicles. Details regarding how this aspect is performed are provided below, based on the use of the variable N in table 801.


I found this interesting and helpful in understanding why a newly purchased ship tends to get better results early on.

3. Premium ships get more than just better gimmicks:

Quote

Premium vehicles typically have advanced capabilities compared to other vehicles of similar tiers, and may be allowed only into a lower range of battle levels than standard vehicles of a similar tier level, thereby encouraging users to obtain premium vehicles. For example, in one embodiment, Tier 8 standard Heavy vehicles are allowed in battle levels from 9 to 12, while Tier 8 Heavy premium vehicles get into levels 9-10 and 9-11, thereby avoiding battle level 12. As a result, players are more likely to feel superior, and have a better chance of success in game using premium vehicles because they will never play against as difficult opponents as standard vehicles may face.


If still in effect, this easily explains the undeniable supremacy of premium ships in stats. They almost always get better winrates within their tiers.
On the other hand, if there was anyhing that would support the "Pay-To-Win" argument, it would be this one. It is already admitted that Premium ships "have advanced capabilities compared to other vehicles of similar tiers", they shouldn't also be getting easier matchmaking.

Edit: After some stats diving, this doesn't seem to be in effect in WoWs. The discrepancy between Premium and standard ship winrates is more consistently explained by the latter's significantly higher volume of registered battle counts. The more a ship is played, the more its winrate tends to drift to the mean. Which actually supports the 50% winrate argument, though not necessarily how they achieve it.

---------------------------------------------------------------

So there it is. I don't know if this will be of help to anyone. I just wanted to share it because I found it interesting. See you guys around.

P.S: For those interested, here's the patent.

Edited by yacskn
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Yeah... they have stated several times they don't use the first one, they just patented it.  I, and most people, tend to believe that.  The other two apply to World of Tanks, not Ships.

Edited by AspiringCodger

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They seem to have reversed the 'new tier' patent.

Instead of giving you easy missions, you are beaten to a pulp..  in CO-OP, yes Co-Op  you will score a < 50% win rate when you make your first games in a new high tier ship.

So burn that bad RNG off in Co-Op.

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26 minutes ago, yacskn said:


This easily explains the undeniable supremacy of premium ships in stats. They almost always get better winrates within their tiers.

I'm not denying at least some of the premium ships are superior, but you have a flaw in your assumptions.  Consider these two battleships, both of which have been played by users over a million times:

PREMIUM SHIP: 53.19% Win Rate, 39,988 average damage, 1.5 K/D Ratio, 24% Main Battery Hit Rate

STANDARD SHIP: 49.81% Win Rate, 33,333 average damage, 1.2 K/D Ratio, 21% Main Battery Hit Rate


So... clearly the premium ship is superior, right?  Nope!  The premium ship is ARP Kongo, and the standard ship is Kongo.  They are identical in everything but cosmetics.  

Players willing to pay money (or do mission chains) to unlock premium ships are going to be more invested in the game than the average player, and thus are more likely to be better players.  Premium ships are therefore going to tend to have better win rates and stats for that reason alone, before even taking into consideration whether the ship is better or worse than non-premiums.

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The problem is, the patent is just trying to influence your gaming experience, not the results.

As it stands, the patent would be counter-productive if it was trying to influence the end result. Sticking a bad player in a top-tier ship is going to give him easier gameplay, but makes a win less likely.

The part about the premium vehicles simply encourages one to buy them by giving easier matches. It doesn't mean anything to match results, as the other team could easily have a matching vehicle.

Also, the whole, "They wouldn't patent things they aren't using" argument.

Right there in the patent, it details preferred MM for premiums. We don't have that, so clearly some aspects of the patent aren't used.

The patent is all about manipulating your gameplay experience to be easier or more challenging. Winning and losing is irrelevant in that context.

Why would WG cares who wins or loses? As our own Kconvey likes to say, 50% of the players in any battle have to lose. Therefore, why gain goodwill by "helping" a player win, when you just lose it from the player on the other team you "helped" to lose the match?

Edited by Skpstr
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People see the patent..people read the patent..the patent says what it says...."They have it but don't use it"......yeah, and there's a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

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2 minutes ago, Brhinosaurus said:

I'm not denying at least some of the premium ships are superior, but you have a flaw in your assumptions.  Consider these two battleships, both of which have been played by users over a million times:

PREMIUM SHIP: 53.19% Win Rate, 39,988 average damage, 1.5 K/D Ratio, 24% Main Battery Hit Rate

STANDARD SHIP: 49.81% Win Rate, 33,333 average damage, 1.2 K/D Ratio, 21% Main Battery Hit Rate


So... clearly the premium ship is superior, right?  Nope!  The premium ship is ARP Kongo, and the standard ship is Kongo.  They are identical in everything but cosmetics.  

Players willing to pay money (or do mission chains) to unlock premium ships are going to be more invested in the game than the average player, and thus are more likely to be better players.  Premium ships are therefore going to tend to have better win rates and stats for that reason alone, before even taking into consideration whether the ship is better or worse than non-premiums.

Standard Kongo needs to grind through the lower hulls and modules.

ARP Kongo is top-hull and everything, but no camo.

Folks usually don't waste money on camo at tier 5 anyway.

....

Another fallacy id Omaha 'B' Hull versus Marblehead ('C' Hull).  Those who did studies a couple years back show the B Hull is far better due to the availability of twice as many torpedo tubes.

They requested the Marblehead in the 'B' hull -- declined.

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2 minutes ago, KalishniKat said:

People see the patent..people read the patent..the patent says what it says...."They have it but don't use it"......yeah, and there's a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

I have an exercise bike but don't use it...  Seriously though, something ridiculous like 95% of patents are never actually licenced or commercialized.

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I've been compiling data, my own matches, since Christmas and thus far the data points to this being accurate, especially about premium ships. I have noticed a direct UPTICK every time I utilize Premiums for a long stretch. To say simply that the MM is totally random is incorrect. It's not 100% rigged, but there's definitely some thumbing of the scale. Also, I was wondering when someone was going to bring up their Patents. Every time I mention them I get retorted with, "Well just cause they PATENTED them doesn't mean they use them," which, as an Engineer, is laughable, given the pain it is to GET a patent (I have 2 so I understand this first hand) and the costs associated. I mean just read the claims section of their patents and you get a clear picture they HAVE to be using these already.

Also, for what it's worth, while I'm not a patent attorney, I did do my MBA on IP management and that is a GOOD awful Claims section. *WAY* too specific and doesn't grant them much protections. Should not have expressly stated the equation nor used the word 'vehicle' as I could just as easily use their system with a character, and place that character in the vehicle, but as long as it it's tied to the CHARACTER I'm not violating their claim. They should have labeled it 'Rate object' or 'rated variable.'

Edited by _RC1138
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3 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

I've been compiling data, my own matches, since Christmas and thus far the data points to this being accurate, especially about premium ships. 

The bit mentioned about premiums is only addressing the tier spread they get.  Nothing else.  That is something that used to happen with some tanks in WoT (well, still does last I heard, but no new premiums don't get it), but has never happened in Ships to my knowledge.

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23 minutes ago, Brhinosaurus said:

I'm not denying at least some of the premium ships are superior, but you have a flaw in your assumptions.  Consider these two battleships, both of which have been played by users over a million times:

PREMIUM SHIP: 53.19% Win Rate, 39,988 average damage, 1.5 K/D Ratio, 24% Main Battery Hit Rate

STANDARD SHIP: 49.81% Win Rate, 33,333 average damage, 1.2 K/D Ratio, 21% Main Battery Hit Rate


So... clearly the premium ship is superior, right?  Nope!  The premium ship is ARP Kongo, and the standard ship is Kongo.  They are identical in everything but cosmetics.  

Players willing to pay money (or do mission chains) to unlock premium ships are going to be more invested in the game than the average player, and thus are more likely to be better players.  Premium ships are therefore going to tend to have better win rates and stats for that reason alone, before even taking into consideration whether the ship is better or worse than non-premiums.

Because the standard Kongo gets uptiered more than the ARP Kongo. It's right there in the patent..premium ships faces preferential MM, so ARP ship faces more T4 than regular Kongo.

Edited by KalishniKat
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2 minutes ago, AspiringCodger said:

The bit mentioned about premiums is only addressing the tier spread they get.  Nothing else.  That is something that used to happen with some tanks in WoT (well, still does last I heard, but no new premiums don't get it), but has never happened in Ships to my knowledge.

Yes but as the theory would following; being placed at a lower tier means, consistently, you have a tech advantage over your competitors, meaning you are more likely to win versus singular opponents over and over, which contribute to overall outcomes of a match, which means you win more. it's indirect, but you can see logically how it would FAR increase the likelihood of you winning to consistently play a -2/+1 MM spread.

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buying new ship and getting into nice MM tiers...yup, happens all the time, very rarely do I have a new ship and find myself up tiered...happens, but very rarely.  So thats something to enjoy...right?

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6 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

 Also, I was wondering when someone was going to bring up their Patents. Every time I mention them I get retorted with, "Well just cause they PATENTED them doesn't mean they use them," which, as an Engineer, is laughable, given the pain it is to GET a patent (I have 2 so I understand this first hand) and the costs associated.

 

7 minutes ago, AspiringCodger said:

I have an exercise bike but don't use it...  Seriously though, something ridiculous like 95% of patents are never actually licenced or commercialized.

As far as I can tell, AspiringCodger's statistic is accurate.  Counterpoint to your acedote: the company I work for holds two patents, neither of which has been successfully utilized.  The big question is always investment.  If you can't get investment you can't commercialize the technology, but nobody will invest in your technology if you don't hold a patent on it.  So you have to patent first and hope the ability to utilize will follow.  It doesn't always.

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12 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

I've been compiling data, my own matches, since Christmas and thus far the data points to this being accurate, especially about premium ships. I have noticed a direct UPTICK every time I utilize Premiums for a long stretch. To say simply that the MM is totally random is incorrect. It's not 100% rigged, but there's definitely some thumbing of the scale.

Do you have your data in a format that could be uploaded or shared?  I'd love to see it.  So many people making claims, and almost nobody is actually logging the data to prove it out.  This concept that premiums get preferential matchmaking would be the easiest one of all to check.

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WG isn't here for our enjoyment, they exist to make money, so why wouldn't they have a pay to win philosophy? Why wouldn't they give their premium ships an advantage?  Why not keep low spending players limited so that they are prompted to spend to get better? 

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1 minute ago, _RC1138 said:

Yes but as the theory would following; being placed at a lower tier means, consistently, you have a tech advantage over your competitors, meaning you are more likely to win versus singular opponents over and over, which contribute to overall outcomes of a match, which means you win more. it's indirect, but you can see logically how it would FAR increase the likelihood of you winning to consistently play a -2/+1 MM spread.

I was just expanding on my original comment when I saw you responded lol.  I was going to add that in WoT it was an advertised benefit to a premium.  Like the IS-6 was a tier 8 that only saw 6-9, never 10.  I have several premium ships, high tier and low, and can say with 100% confidence that I don't even see a hint of any variation of this is happening here (aside from low tier MM, of course).  I can't even remember the last time I wasn't at the bottom of a two tier spread in my Atlanta, Atago or Gremy. 

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1 hour ago, yacskn said:

Premium vehicles typically have advanced capabilities compared to other vehicles of similar tiers, and may be allowed only into a lower range of battle levels than standard vehicles of a similar tier level, thereby encouraging users to obtain premium vehicles. For example, in one embodiment, Tier 8 standard Heavy vehicles are allowed in battle levels from 9 to 12, while Tier 8 Heavy premium vehicles get into levels 9-10 and 9-11, thereby avoiding battle level 12. As a result, players are more likely to feel superior, and have a better chance of success in game using premium vehicles because they will never play against as difficult opponents as standard vehicles may face.

You don't have to compile data..it says it right here, plain as day, easy to read. "as a result players are more likely to FEEL SUPERIOR and have a better chance of success in game using premium vehicles because they will never play against as difficult opponents as standard vehicles may face".....what part of that isn't clear to y'all?? And are we to believe that the same rules don't apply to "premium" time???

Edited by KalishniKat

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9 minutes ago, Brhinosaurus said:

 

As far as I can tell, AspiringCodger's statistic is accurate.  Counterpoint to your acedote: the company I work for holds two patents, neither of which has been successfully utilized.  The big question is always investment.  If you can't get investment you can't commercialize the technology, but nobody will invest in your technology if you don't hold a patent on it.  So you have to patent first and hope the ability to utilize will follow.  It doesn't always.

You're mixing up Patents on *products* and patents on *processes.* This would be classified as a process. Process patents are *very* important as they give you a distinct edge over competition as, more often than not, the *end* result of that process is common: making a cookie, building a ship, separating gas from oil, ect. But if I have a new process of getting gas out of oil that is 5% better than any know variation out there, then, assuming I go the patent route as opposed to trade secret, I have a *huge* advantage in the market for ~20 years or so.

This, would hold true as well. This is a process, a process utilized by MANY other competitors in the games market, ESPECIALLY with 'Games as a Service' becoming increasingly the name of the game. As such, this gives WGing a huge advantage and would be unheard of to not use it.

Yes, most patents go unused. There are bird helmets in the patent office. What most people who don't follow IP Law/Management realize is that anyone can file a patent, and something like 60% get approved. But just because a patent is APPROVED does not mean it is *valid.* The patent office does a crapjob of prior art searches, and a REALLY terrible job checking if a patent is 'novel' enough. You don't hire a patent attorney (like I did) to help you *get* a patent, you hire one to make sure once it's filed and approved you get to KEEP it. As such, your wholly owned patent can be challenged in court and the patent resigned if a prior art can be found or it's found that a prior existing patent is 'close' enough. The reason that doesn't apply *here* is that this is not a bird helmet, where there is not a 'market' for it, nor a competitive market for it, nor a demand to maintain prior patent rights; this is in one of the most competitive industries in the world, and one that is rapidly changing. You don't patent something like this unless you are *trying* to nose out competition, to make it so the EA's and Activisions CANNOT use this same technology without owing you money. You do this to block them, and gain a market advantage by using it yourself.

Wargaming is USING this stuff, and anyone who thinks otherwise is at best naive, at worst, an apologist.

Edited by _RC1138
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28 minutes ago, AVR_Project said:

Standard Kongo needs to grind through the lower hulls and modules.

ARP Kongo is top-hull and everything, but no camo.

Folks usually don't waste money on camo at tier 5 anyway.

....

Another fallacy id Omaha 'B' Hull versus Marblehead ('C' Hull).  Those who did studies a couple years back show the B Hull is far better due to the availability of twice as many torpedo tubes.

They requested the Marblehead in the 'B' hull -- declined.

i1g1LS0.png

 

How about applying that logic to 4 identical ships, all earned via mission chains?

 

Particularly interesting is Haruna and Kirishima, who came in the same month and have very similar battle totals, but different performance numbers.

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4 minutes ago, KalishniKat said:

You don't have to compile data..it says it right here, plain as day, easy to read. "as a result players are more likely to FEEL SUPERIOR and have a better chance of success in game using premium vehicles because they will never play against as difficult opponents as standard vehicles may face".....what part of that isn't clear to y'all?? And are we to believe that the same rules don't apply to "premium" time???

Again, proof that Wargaming has filed a patent that CAN apply to any of their games does not provide proof that it DOES apply to this one.  

And saying you don't need data is utterly ignorant.  Data is what proves you right or wrong.  _RC1138 says he has some, which would be awesome.  You have nothing.

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6 minutes ago, Brhinosaurus said:

Data is what proves you right or wrong

Quality of Data is important. Warshipstoday is terrible data. Using it to justify *anything* automatically renders one's argument moot. Too many players are missing from the data set (anyone hiding their stats or anyone who has never been searched before), and too often offical words from on high have contradicted the data present on Warshipstoday. Either Wargaming is lying or warshipstoday is wrong, and while I wouldn't say Wargaming is trustworthy, in this regard, given the *known* issues with Warshipstoday, I would err on the side of the company lines that it cannot be used as a valid statistical source. It wouldn't fit any level of scientific scruitney that's for damn sure.

That aside, some basic, real world logic, experience, and rationale need apply: you don't patent a process in a highly competitive field, and just sit on it: you either sell it or use it, as otherwise you are just deliberately making less money with no upside. Put another way, why *wouldn't* wargaming use this process?

Edited by _RC1138

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18 minutes ago, KalishniKat said:

You don't have to compile data..it says it right here, plain as day, easy to read. "as a result players are more likely to FEEL SUPERIOR and have a better chance of success in game using premium vehicles because they will never play against as difficult opponents as standard vehicles may face".....what part of that isn't clear to y'all?? And are we to believe that the same rules don't apply to "premium" time???

It's funny that you capitalized 'feel superior' because that's all it does.   What they're referring to is the fact some tanks as an advertised rule only see one tier above instead of two.  It doesn't mean the tank is any better (in a lot of cases they are actually worse than their tech tree counterpart) it just means they'll never see tiers that non-premiums will sometimes see.  There's literally zero disadvantage to any of the other players in the match.

As far as getting some kind of advantage other than more XP and credits from having premium time, please refer to RipNuN2's last post.

Edited by AspiringCodger

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50 minutes ago, Brhinosaurus said:

I'm not denying at least some of the premium ships are superior, but you have a flaw in your assumptions.  Consider these two battleships, both of which have been played by users over a million times:

PREMIUM SHIP: 53.19% Win Rate, 39,988 average damage, 1.5 K/D Ratio, 24% Main Battery Hit Rate

STANDARD SHIP: 49.81% Win Rate, 33,333 average damage, 1.2 K/D Ratio, 21% Main Battery Hit Rate


So... clearly the premium ship is superior, right?  Nope!  The premium ship is ARP Kongo, and the standard ship is Kongo.  They are identical in everything but cosmetics.  

Players willing to pay money (or do mission chains) to unlock premium ships are going to be more invested in the game than the average player, and thus are more likely to be better players.  Premium ships are therefore going to tend to have better win rates and stats for that reason alone, before even taking into consideration whether the ship is better or worse than non-premiums.

I'm sorry but the flaw is not in my assumptions (I haven't made any), it is in your understanding of the post.

The discrepancy between winrates between standard and Premium ships is not due to one being superior to the other, it's due to one getting easier matchmaking than the other with the specific goal of encouraging people to buy more Premium ships.

Given that the MM puts you in the top tier level allowable to make the game more challenging for the player after a series of wins, Premium ship players get another direct benefit since the highest tier game MM is willing to put you in for most cases is one tier above, instead of two the standard ships get. Padding the winrate for those a bit more.

Edited by yacskn

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