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Kongo_Pride

The Stock Win Challenge Results and Analysis Tier VI

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I wanted to provide direct feedback to the community concerning the challenge I accepted from @skillztowin on 11 October 2018.  This challenge really represents the Gilligan’s Island of Warships Gameplay.  For more background, please reference the following link; https://forum.worldofwarships.com/topic/172380-the-stock-win-challenge/?tab=comments#comment-4057153. This was a bit rushed, but I think the overall point and information addressed below will present some interesting discussion for the community, and as always, discussion far outweighs silence.

Task:  Using Tier VI Bayern, Pensacola and Gaede with an 8 point captain
Conditions:  Stock, with no ship upgrades, premium consumables, premium account benefit, signals, or Veteran’s Day benefit flag
Standards:  play the game for 20 battles in each ship on a weekend while maintaining a high level of play, finding enjoyment in the experience, and being able to determine if this will be useable as a tool to determine satisfaction for new players to the game
Environment:  Solo, Player versus Player Random, on a Weekend (11-15 October 2018)

The Data:  

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image.thumb.png.b75b084ff9ebb2a8facab47c63682a89.png

image.thumb.png.ae6bbb7f3ce65790dd66cb14bdd4ac99.png

Before I begin discussing my findings, I want to address the Elephant that is in the room regarding the data and relatively small number of battles in each vessel as compared to the total number of battles played during the week.  Indeed, the small number of battles on a weekend is a contributing factor and talking point for discussion.  I imagine results would be slightly different had the experiment been conducted during weekdays and or consideration been given to the time of day.  Instead, I chose to use the target timeframe of when I believe newer or even casual players would be online and playing; the weekend.  This of course leads me to the next topic of discussion; bias, interpretation, and assumptions that must be made to provide a proper analytical data point.

On Bias:  I started playing this game back in December 2015, have over 16,000 random battles, and have played in numerous competitive leagues to include King of the Seas, Supremacy League, and Clan Battles.  One of my major biases is that I believe that when I joined the game, it was much harder for the new player to advance, to learn, and to have fun.  However, there is an active contention as presented in the logic of some, that because of the high number of skilled and veteran players now, this in fact makes the game harder for anyone new trying to get into the game as they are simply clubbed from tier 1 to tier 10 over and over.  
My bias is founded in facts that have been ever present in my mind since when I first struggled up the ladder of play.  What are these facts that help make my bias?  They are the changes in the game, that now greatly benefit players, especially newer one’s hoping to get a leg up in their struggle to the top.  I know this will sound like someone’s old man walking to school both ways up hill in the snow to get to school cliché, but it is fact.  For example, players today benefits from the following; Community Contributors were essentially non-existent and those who were around were in their infancy and not officially sponsored, changes and updates to the game and readily available information was not nearly as common either and you had to rely off of rumor to often get the ground truth, how it works videos never existed, matchmaker was +3/-3 and ships like the Myogi greatly suffered to those with the Fuso or New Mexico club, clans while a few existed, were not officially sponsored and there was certainly no official benefit to being in a clan like we enjoy today, those perks simply did not exist, if you wanted a premium ship, you had to buy it, there was no other option (although this changed with the Pearl Event and the arrival of the Kamikaze R), those free and wonderful crates players receive every day providing them access to Free Experience, Signals, ships, and other Loot (too include Super Containers) did not exist, community events were very sparse and the daily missions were not nearly as promising in reward as found today, again the Pearl event changed a lot of that, and of course leveling up as a newer player did not realize new rewards either (1-15) and there was no such thing as a campaign to supplement your silver and signal flag earnings.  Needless to say, there were a lot less benefits to help you along the way in the grind.
However, I would be remiss if I did not offer some counter bias backed by fact.  People like me still play mid-tier ships from time to time and curb stomp newer players.  There is a plethora of overpowered ships such as Kamikaze R/Kamikaze/Fujin/Gremy/Gulio Cesare/Belfast/Scharnhorst/Nelson, etc. which clubbers use to exploit the newly minted players in the game, baptizing them in a hail of sudden and quite volatile death.  The combination of powerful ships, favorable tiered matchmaking, and veteran players operating within the mid tiers can be a soul crushing experience for those who are trying to learn their ship, the game, and grow as a player along the way of learning and obtaining new ships (especially the stock ones).

On Assumptions:  For this analysis, we must make some assumptions.  For example, I am assuming that I as a unicum level player I am above that of the average player that will be starting out and learning the game.  To me, a player learning the game and just starting out at the tiers I am interested in exploring (mid-teirs) has between 300 and 2,500 battles under their belt.  Those with over that much, might still be learning, will likely still play a multitude of mid-tier ships, but is assumed they should have learned the game at this point, discovered a mentor or clan, and have perhaps sought self-improvement.  If not, it is assumed they are highly casual and not likely to be a great player.  For example, Skillztowin, I would not place you in the new player category for two reasons, the time at which you started playing and the amount of games you’ve played, which surprised me after I accepted the challenge and looked you up because I would have thought this challenge would have stemmed from a newer player.  Everyone has their own assumptions they must make about the game.  Some assumptions unfortunately just are not true…example…whenever I play a tier VIII ship, I will always be thrown into a Tier X match.  We know this is an exaggeration of the truth and not an assumption based on relevant facts or data.  Much like the assumption…those who pay to play…get easier matchmaking.  As you review the data below, you will likely have to make some assumptions about how many games it really takes to determine if the average tier of play for a certain tier is valid.  All I can provide you is the results for the battles I played.

On Interpretation:  Data is often open to an individual’s interpretation and is subject to an individual’s bias and assumptions placed on the data at hand, which then helps shape that person’s view of what the information really means.  My interpretation is likely going to vary from that of others here on the forums and I welcome the open debate this data presents.  All I am offering is my findings, but leaving the book open to alternate conclusions. 

My Experience in Bayern:  The Bayern performed pretty well, and I maintained a 55 percent win rate despite maintaining the highest average damage (67,000) amongst the three ships tested.  In many ways, I feel this can be attributed to meaningful damage.  While the Bayern is solid at smacking other ships, if it is only chewing on BBs, the win rate will drop because destroyers and cruisers are more crucial targets early in the match.  Unfortunately, with a stock hull, the Bayern’s guns do not have the range to engage early and this often dictated the tone of a match.  Being unable to return fire early subjected me to a more passive playstyle, one I am unaccustomed to.  I managed to tank rather well, but a key observation was that once I was committed to a fight it was usually a done deal of whether I would be able to survive.  The stock Bayern is just too slow and the health pool too limited to effectively survive brawling encounters.  Worse and probably the most glaring to me was the complete lack of anti-air defenses.  A tier VI battleship with an AA rating of 14 has absolutely no chance once a CV recognizes the weakness.  The AA bubble was a pitiful 3.5km from the ship and did almost no damage.  I was subjected to numerous air attacks during my CV matches and it greatly contributed to my poorer performance in several of the battles.  I can only imagine how those who are just learning the game and getting a tier VI BB do not realize how vulnerable they are to tier VI CVs who now have access to manual drop (or worse a Shokaku/Lexington).  Most games that I advertised my AA weakness to allied CVs, my calls for aid went largely unsupported and I suffered greatly.  Newer players will like the guns on Bayern, but the limited health, non-existent AA, and slow speed will make it hard pressed to carry games of any tier and or survive to the late game where they can be a difference maker.

My Experience in Pensacola:  The Pensacola was my strongest performer of the three ships.  Ironically, it is in last place on the NA server for performance amongst other cruisers of the same tier.  I managed a 65 percent win rate over 20 battles and an average damage of over 66,000. The Pensacola as a stock ship is grossly underestimated, but also and most unfortunately often played poorly. Repeatedly, I see Captains take their Pensacola straight towards a cap and within the first three minutes, they are back in port. Players are consistently failing to understand spotting, rate of fire, and survival mechanics with their ships. This clearly illustrates why the Pensacola having monster guns, has the lowest average damage for cruisers at tier VI on the NA server. Guns can be amazing, but if you sink before you ever get to fire them, the only benefactor is the fish sailing around the new man-made coral reef. Players need to realize the Pensacola is a patient punisher. In the 20 games I played with damages ranging from a pathetic 8.6k damage to the new NA server record of 172k, I racked up 59 citadels and 72 fires. The maximums in those games were 11 citadels and 13 fires in single games respectively. The guns on this ship provide a massive payoff when opportunity knocks. However, the ship is a floating citadel with the worst concealment of any tier VI cruiser. Punishment is consistent for those who make the slightest mistakes. High risk, high reward. Unfortunately, for the new player, a stock Pensacola is a nightmare to master. For this, the ship is wrekt, over and over in random battles. The slow turret rotation, poor armor and all too often excitability to bring all guns to bear on a target…usually lead a quick demise. This ship is not a beginner’s friend and I would argue even with concealment expert, proper mods, and ship upgrades, this one is going to be a struggle for new players simply because it eats citadels. 

My Experience in Gaede:  The Gaede was by far, the hardest ship to play in the stock configuration without any benefits or buffs of any kind. Even still, I managed a 65 percent win rate in this ship. It felt like driving and open sea Russian Gunboat…with zero of the Russian gunboat benefits. Some of the challenges posed by playing such a ship revolve around the base concealment. The base concealment of the Gaede is 7.3km. Couple this with having a captain of only eight points; you have created a recipe for disaster. Even more demoralizing for me was the knowledge that the stock Gaede does not receive hydro. Additional complications stem from ship’s basic smoke, which has a slow reload, short duration, and of course only two charges. From the start, I realized the Gaede would be a one trick pony and once in a gun fight and exposed in the open, the game would be over. That said, I still managed to over 40k average damage per a game and well over the 1.0 destruction threshold, I had made as a goal for myself. I learned early that contesting caps was going to be extremely problematic. I also learned that my pathetic AA, much like the Bayern (although somehow better) was pitiful in even contesting Tier V CV aircraft. CVs knocked me out of a couple of the matches this way after posting pitiful scores. That said the 128mm guns could rack up some damage. One of the games I wanted to highlight was the one with a Kraken, the one with 13 citadel hits, and the one where I managed to go over 100k damage. I find all of these games very impressive considering what this ship is not in its stock configuration. I also wanted to highlight some of the low lights, 2k damage sucks…but such is DD life. Overall, the Gaede in stock configuration cannot contend with the high tier play. When the average overall tier match is well over 7.0, newer players are going to struggle greatly with this destroyer. There is an easy mitigation to this, don’t play this ship stock and most importantly, play it with at minimum a 10 point captain and concealment expert. While concealment expert is not always a requirement for tier IV and below, by Tier VI it is mandatory. My low survival rate is a testament to this. According to the warships website, the Gaede was a middle tier performer. I had very few games in the ship and this is why I chose this DD over other underperforming destroyers. This is consistent to my approach of average to subpar ships with minimal playtime by me. I wanted the experience of the ship to be as genuine as possible and experience some of the same issues a new player having just gotten their ship would feel. 

Overall Experience:  Honestly, I would hope my experience would be a great exaggeration of what a player would really do.  By this, they would use credits and experience earned to purchase upgrades as they went through battles.  Furthermore, the absolute restrictions placed on this event are not realistic with how a normal player would likely go about playing the game.  For example, no signals…even as I earned them?  Much of the premise behind this challenge, is at best, in my opinion, a little over the top.  The lack of premium consumables was a noticeable loss with all the ships played.  From longer cooldowns in Damage Control and Heal to only two smoke charges.  There is a lot that can be said about not having enough consumables.  If you cannot afford premium on at least two of your consumables…play lower tiers until you can because otherwise you are just going to make your play experience that much less enjoyable.  I can attest that several battles I died by seconds...and had I had an extra charge or gotten access to a heal a few seconds sooner, no doubt, my survival rate would have been higher.  One area I would like to touch on was the finish on the team.  Despite being what it was with an average tier fight of 7.18 I still managed to finish on average in the top 5 (3, 3, 5) for all the ships played.  I think this is important to note, because I earned solid experience and credit awards for my performance.  Unfortunately, I fondly recall as a new player that a top five finish was rather uncommon.  So, the credits which I garnered in my play would not likely be realized by newer players.   

Conclusions from Tier VI Stock and Basic Play:  I performed rather well in Tier VI Stock ships (surprised even myself).  Despite this austere condition set by the challenge, I managed a win rate of 61.67% overall, an average damage of over 58,000, and had an average ship kill ratio of one ship a game.  Tier VI ships, despite their glaring vulnerabilities can still manage if played correctly, to have a meaningful impact on the game they are in.  However, I fear that the captain of these vessels (especially if new) is playing against a mountain in the aforementioned biases above presented by the trifecta of veteran players, op ships, and unfavorable matchmaking.  A really good player can make a really bad ship look good and I fear this is somewhat what has happened here.  My average win rate in this game is around 62 percent and I managed to finish just under it, which adds a lot of confirmation bias to the thought that no matter what you play you can be amazing in it…or the classic its not the ship…it’s the captain.  I suspect a good majority of the player base would not be able to replicate a similar result using stock ships…and that is really what this is about.  I would estimate that most players would suffer as much as a 5 percent loss to their average win rate and likely other areas of performance while playing a stock ship, especially at the vulnerable tiers of VI and VIII where up tiering is common and the reality is, you are expected to play well above your weight class most of the time.  Can stock ships really work for a new player.  In my opinion, new players will be hard pressed to get stock ships to work for them.  BUT, given all of the new in game incentives, they will quickly develop out of the stock ship and be able to run more upgraded mid-tier ships faster than ever before.  Furthermore, the problem of credit income is largely reduced because players can now use coal to purchase Premium ships and farm credits, without ever paying a penny for them.  Yubari is a great example of this! 

Recommendations:  @Lord_Zath@LittleWhiteMouse@Gneisenau013@NoZoupForYou@Notser   (Just a few of you I figure the rest can spread the word)

I think there is a lack of community awareness regarding Wargaming’s efforts to improve new player experience.  I was wondering if more could be done to talk about stock ships and what to expect while playing them.  Especially ships in the vulnerable areas of VI and VIII (tech tree specific).   I would like to seeing Wargaming or several Community Contributors work together to dig a bit deeper into this and therefore I am pinging you here for visibility.  I am one player…and 60 games is simply not enough data.  Perhaps WG can put out a video highlighting why they chose V, VI, and VIII to be the tiers of death.  Is there enough of an argument to start considering even a +1/-1 matchmaking.  I know I see the comment all the time, but without effective data this argument is usually a waste of breath…again…data is hard to refute…and can make for a solid foundation in argument. Also…and in-depth analysis, study, and explanation may pave the way for improved player retention…identify why some ships are performing so poorly…and improve/balance this game a bit…I like ice cream cones…do you WG?

Game Performance Screenshots/Initial Proof of Stock Screenshots are available on Imgur at the following links:
https://imgur.com/a/dZBZBOI (Gaede) 
https://imgur.com/a/p2BIuNW (Pensacola) 
https://imgur.com/a/hy7E7S3 (Bayern) 

Sources:
https://na.wows-numbers.com/
http://shipcomrade.com/

Note:  If you would like a copy of any of my individual games, please feel free to PM me and I will send you an email with as many as you wish to review.

Edited by Kongo_Pride
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Damn good work!

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Very interesting. One thing that I didn't see you mention was what captain you had. Was it a 19 pointer, no points, or a 10 point? Sorry if I missed where you said it, but curious which one it was.

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4 minutes ago, AJTP89 said:

Very interesting. One thing that I didn't see you mention was what captain you had. Was it a 19 pointer, no points, or a 10 point? Sorry if I missed where you said it, but curious which one it was.

The original contest called for an 8 point captain, which would ensure no possibility of having any level 4 captain skills.  If you open the Imgur links I provided, you can see the specific captain builds I used for each ship I played.

Edited my main post to make that more visible.

Edited by Kongo_Pride

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2 minutes ago, Kongo_Pride said:

The original contest called for an 8 point captain, which would ensure no possibility of having any level 4 captain skills.  If you open the Imgur links I provided, you can see the specific captain builds I used for each ship I played.

OK, thanks. Might want to specify that an 8 pt captain was used at the top of your OP.

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It would be interesting to see how you perform in Premiums at the same tier. 

 

No doubt buying stuff at that tier is encouraged.

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3 minutes ago, Ducati_Black said:

It would be interesting to see how you perform in Premiums at the same tier. 

I imagine it might be a little depressing for the newer players...but if you want to collaborate.

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3 hours ago, Kongo_Pride said:

From longer cooldowns in Damage Control and Heal to only two smoke charges.  There is a lot that can be said about not having enough consumables.  If you cannot afford premium on at least two of your consumablesplay lower tiers until you can because otherwise you are just going to make your play experience that much less enjoyable.  I can attest that several battles I died by seconds...and had I had an extra charge or gotten access to a heal a few seconds sooner, no doubt, my survival rate would have been higher.

I am in awe. Thank you Kongo_Pride. you stepped up and hit many of the key points better than I could ever imagined.  You also successfully showed the captain can control their destiny and overcome the disadvantages of the stock configuration.

Edited by skillztowin
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To me, one of the most meaningful stats here is your relatively low survival rate combined with the very high average tier you found yourself in (averaging 7.1) It doesn't take much to infer that if a unicum player has a reasonably low survival rate in these T6 ships, it is likely that even an average player will have major issues in surviving to do meaningful types of game impact. Let alone having the ability to do so.

And there were some seriously questionable stock ships back in the day - anyone remember the old stock hull Fuso?  And how could you forget the joys of early CV mismatched tiers? :)

You hit on one thing though - when most of us were grinding through the lines and learning the ropes of the game, there weren't people who have 10k games diving and clubbing in the lower tiers. As I am playing all my ships in port once, running Matchmaking Monitor I am amazed how many players have 1k+ games in low tier ships (with purple stats, too). It isn't a rare situation to be in a <T6 game and see multiple people with 1k+ games in their ships and 60% winrates.

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10 hours ago, enderland07 said:

To me, one of the most meaningful stats here is your relatively low survival rate combined with the very high average tier you found yourself in (averaging 7.1) It doesn't take much to infer that if a unicum player has a reasonably low survival rate in these T6 ships, it is likely that even an average player will have major issues in surviving to do meaningful types of game impact. Let alone having the ability to do so.

And there were some seriously questionable stock ships back in the day - anyone remember the old stock hull Fuso?  And how could you forget the joys of early CV mismatched tiers? :)

You hit on one thing though - when most of us were grinding through the lines and learning the ropes of the game, there weren't people who have 10k games diving and clubbing in the lower tiers. As I am playing all my ships in port once, running Matchmaking Monitor I am amazed how many players have 1k+ games in low tier ships (with purple stats, too). It isn't a rare situation to be in a <T6 game and see multiple people with 1k+ games in their ships and 60% winrates.

There is a lot to be gleaned.  I am strongly considering finding a few Unicum div mates and playing tier 7 as a div with similar guidelines (only the exact opposite) and counting the victories dev strikes and other easy awards from curb stomping new players.  Then comparing and contrasting the data.

Edited by Kongo_Pride

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15 hours ago, Kongo_Pride said:

I wanted to provide direct feedback to the community concerning the challenge I accepted from @skillztowin on 11 October 2018.

You did good work, and presented it well. Hats off to you. 

I have submitted a couple of games to Zath of ships that don't get much play or show in YT. Both games are co-op, one in the Mikasa (which is not very expensive, and which new players with an interest in IJN or pre-dreadnoughts or both might be tempted to buy) and another in the Emerald, one of those Tier V bastard stepchildren that everybody loves to hate. The Emerald was fully tricked out rather than stock, but I mention it here to raise the point that too much game play we see on YouTube these days is in the "best" ships with the best captains and the best modules... and a lot of beginning players simply don't have ANY of that. They're in ships like the Karlsruhe, the Emerald and other lower-tier "difficult ships" that people with several years in the game simply free-XP past and brag about it, because it wasn't their first line and they had the FXP and the money to jump past the "trash" straight to the "good" stuff.

The newbs can't, and don't. And they wonder where to turn for advice, because nobody online is playing the ship they're struggling with, or they did their advice vids so long ago that the skill tree or sometimes even the ship's performance no longer reflects reality. So if you're a content creator, even if not a formal WG-CC, consider every now and then taking a stock ship with low-points captain out in a Twitch stream or YT vid, or playing something odd and difficult, just so that the new players have something to identify with.

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5 hours ago, Kongo_Pride said:

There is a lot to be gleaned.  I am strongly considering finding a few Unicum div mates and playing tier 7 as a div with similar guidelines (only the exact opposite) and counting the victories dev strikes and other easy awards from curb stomping new players.  Then comparing and contrasting the data.

I've been thinking about the disproportionate skill levels a lot for several months now. 

 

I'm not at your level but I am absolutely above average in this game and when divisioned with other similar players, have a very disproportionate impact on gameplay. It almost feels unfair in many regards.

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6 hours ago, Kongo_Pride said:

There is a lot to be gleaned.  I am strongly considering finding a few Unicum div mates and playing tier 7 as a div with similar guidelines (only the exact opposite) and counting the victories dev strikes and other easy awards from curb stomping new players.  Then comparing and contrasting the data.

I'm in :) good to see you back on the forum.

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