Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
 
Failure is always an option

My apologies to the Mythbusters for borrowing their motto as title of this post. After over 1,000 battles in World of Tanks I have a win:loss ratio of very close to 50:50, with over 500 battles each won and lost, and less than 50 ending in a draw. And everybody else I've talked to has similar numbers, World of Tanks has a very balanced matchmaking system. While players tend to complain about any matchmaking algorithm that doesn't let them win all the time, I do think that a 50:50 win:loss ratio is ideal. Not only for reasons of fairness, which are debatable, but also because I believe that if you have a 50:50 chance of winning or losing, your personal contribution to the outcome is most pronounced. In assured victories or losses it matters not so much how you play.

Moving from World of Tanks to World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs, I have to observe that 50:50 chances in MMORPGs are rare in PvE, and not always given in PvP. Furthermore in PvE there is a bizarre switch in win:loss ratio when you reach raiding: While leveling up your chance to die in combat is very close to zero. On a raid night your chance to die in combat is very close to 100 percent. And even if you define winning and losing differently, a typical progression raid on a new boss is far from a 50:50 chance of succeeding. It isn't unusual for a guild to have certain bosses "on farm", with a high chance to win a combat against that boss, followed by the current "obstacle" boss on which the guild tends to wipe a lot.

Personally I find 50:50 chances to be more fun. In World of Tanks you never know what you will get when you press the Battle button. And even once you are inside a match and see what you are paired against, it isn't all that obvious to predict the outcome of a match. Sure, part of that unpredictability is based on luck. In one battle you decide to sneak around the left side and manage to destroy the enemies' artillery to great success, in the next battle the same tactic ends with you running into three enemy tanks guarding that flank and obliterating you. And there is always luck involved in how competent the other 29 players on the battlefield are. Nevertheless World of Tanks very much gives me the impression that my decisions matter for the outcome of the battle. If I observe what the rest of my team is doing, and what I can see from the enemy, I can make an intelligent tactical decision about what to do, and influence the outcome of the battle. That wouldn't be the case if victory or defeat was assured from the start, like it is in so many PvE fights in MMORPGs.

I do believe that MMORPGs would be a lot more exciting if most combat had a 50:50 win:loss ratio. That is obviously harder to implement in PvE than in PvP. In PvP you just need to pair people of similar abilities and strength against each other, while PvE suffers from the pervasive idea that the challenge has to be the same for everybody; that ends you up with the problem of people having different degrees of skill, so a perfectly balanced 50:50 win:loss PvE mob in fact has the skilled players still win all of the time, and the less skilled lose all of the time. But I think that problem could be overcome by giving people a better choice against what difficulty level of mobs to fight, and getting the incentives right for opting for the greater challenge instead of the easy farming. Too bad I haven't seen that in a MMORPG yet.
Comments:
PvP matchmaking enforces a stable equilibrium from both ends: If you lose a lot, it'll pair you with easier opponents. If you win a lot, you'll get harder opponents.

PvE without matchmaking only does the latter part: If you defeat an enemy, you can progress to the harder enemies. But if you lose, that same enemy is still going to be there the next time. Worse, the game might even enforce an unstable equilibrium; You get thrown back to the entrance or a checkpoint, your equipment suffers from the damage, you might run out of buffs or even get hit by a respawn wave. If you get really hardcore, you'll lose experience, items, levels or even your character.
 
This kind feature is partially implemented in the PQ/Rift system, as long as those scale dynamicly with the nr of players.

In my experience if find these the most fun of my current MMO of the month (Rift)

This could be the basis for a good scaling PvE system, where the better you play the more rewards/xp/etc you get (even just fluff) and the more complex and difficult the mobs get.

Limiting the difficulty level by not letting you accept quest of a higher level, of artificially making mobs unhittable at higher level tends to oppose this...
I never liked that kind of imposed difficuly.

But taking the Basis of a encounter which scales in difficulty, untill the players cant manage it anymore would be intresting a a basis for a MMO.

Gr,
Lathain
 
Win-Loss-ratio can't be the issue. 50:50 win:loss could mean that half the time you one-shot the other guy while the other half of the time you are the one who gets one-shot. That doesn't sound very fun to me.
 
And this is exactly why i quit Rift PvP. There's zero matchmaking going on there. When you hit lvl 50 as a Rank 0 PvP'er, guess what you will be slogging it out against a combination of Premades or Rank 6 -instant kill- opponents.

Irony is, these Rank 6 players actually defend this kind of "farming" PvP system , because a 50:50 win ratio will not only stop their favor/gear farming exercise dead in its tracks, but the games themselves would be much much longer. We're talking about a 15 minute match actually taking 15 minutes of meaningful play.
 
I respectfully disagree on your assessment of the 50:50 ratio (I'm at 47/52 right now, after being at 52/47 some time ago). For me it means that my presence is irrelevant: if somehow I were the reason of failure, I would be 40/60, if I were the best, I'd be at 60/40.

I'm also disliking more and more that the game is designed to push you towards heavy tanks, i.e. the ones which require gold. In higher tier battles, light tanks are unplayable: they should remove auto-aim and make hitting engines/tracks less likely. Right now, in 95% of the cases you are one-shotted ("track hit" counting as one-shot because it turns you into a sitting duck).

I'm still playing, but my playtime has been going down steadly. One more month and I'll dump it or relegate it to a "one game per week" level (the same fate of WoW BGs).
 
It's a bit of an apples and oranges comparison - PvE isn't like a contested sporting match (where you expect a 50:50 ratio all things being equal), it's more like career progression at work. I don't expect 50% of my projects to fail - I expect to complete all of them and as my level of competence increases, I take on harder challenges that make full use of my expanded abilities.

Agreed that World of Tanks has a much more satisfying experience than typical battleground games though. And I'm not sure it's just down to not having "PuGs vs premade". It's a different style of game, much less gear-dependent (yes, some tanks outclass others, but an idiot in the best tank in the game is still dead in very short order) and because you don't have respawns even the losers are spared the indignity of being "farmed" repeatedly.
 
For Pve, you wouldn't need an 50:50 ratio, for PvE it's important that have a fight which you can 'just/barely' win.
Same as in a PnP RPG, fights are tailored to the exact limitations of a player.

Now this would be near impossible to implement in a MMO, but the same effect can be achieved by making encounters scale.
There are pitfall in that system, see WAR, which had a kill 100 minons grindon their PQs, and so the ratio between grind and difficult fights is off.
But it can be done right.

That basis could be done for group content also, not a win:lose concept , but a sliding concept of performance : gain

How to exactly reward players is another discussion, but this would give people fight they could just barely win....
ending in a timeout, or in death...
 
City of Heroes has that slider for years now. It is very easy to move from 100/0 content to 0/100 content and everything in between. Our team is usually playing at around 75/25. We die quite a bit but eventually we do overcome the hordes of villains. It has a game of tactics and not button smashing. It is not the most efficient way to make xp, but that has never been the reason to play an MMO for me.
 
A complete random/arbitrary matchmaking will still end up with a 50:50 distribution. Maybe not as fast. But then again 30:30 converges quite fast. Faster then 2:2.

Actually, the 50:50 was something I never liked much about PvP. I know that it is the optimum in PvP, because if I have 51:49, somebody else has 49:51, but I still don't like it.
For example in WoW arena, I was often complaining that I won't start to win more often if I get better. Instead, an abstract number will start to increase and my win:lose will stay at roughly 50:50.
 
PvE win:loss 50:50 ratio is indeed very hard to achieve, and one and only way to do this is to offer players various levels of difficulty, with higher levels of difficulty being gated by the lower ones, so you have to go through easy, normal and hard to get to epic difficulty. This way all players learn those PvE encounters, and get stopped by higher level which is too hard for them. In the end everyone does the hardest possible version he is capable of completing. This system actually works in DDO, and it works great. Once you try it, you can see how enjoyable it is.
 
One thing that works pretty well in chess is the ELO system for rating players and I wonder if it could be adapted somewhat for MMOs. The idea might be that *both* dungeons and player teams have a rating; a player team rating being some weighted average of the player ratings. Player teams would be rewarded on the basis of how their team ELO compares with the dungeon ELO. So if a weak team beats a strong dungeon then the player team ratings are adjusted upwards *and* the dungeon's rating would be adjusted downwards. A big advantage of this kind of system in chess is that the titles and bragging rights for increasing your elo are often of more importantance to people than monetary rewards - consequently gear progression would become less important, although it could be easily be factored in by having a base ELO ranking and a gear modified one.
 
the game is designed to push you towards heavy tanks, i.e. the ones which require gold

The former statement is debatable, the latter is just plain false: There are a lot of heavy tanks that do not require any gold. With gold you can only buy a level VIII stock tank, which will be beaten not only by level IX and X tanks you have to play for, but also by fully equipped level VIII tanks you played for.

Yes, buying a level VIII tank for gold allows you to play with heavy tanks long before you could get one by playing, but you will always be limited to a somewhat sub-standard tank whose main use is to farm credits, because his repair cost is low.
 
It's worth noting that 50:50 win/loss ratio in PvP is based on a normal distribution curve for skill (Elo model).

There will be players out there that win nearly every match. There will be players that lose every match.

@Nils

As you get better at arena, you will initially win more matches, until you eventually find your rating level, where most people should reach 50:50 equilibrium.

Why would you expect to win more than half of matches against someone your skill level?
 
Why would you expect to win more than half of matches against someone your skill level?

I wouldn't. I want to start win more matches as I get better as that is more immersive than raising a number. IMHO it is also more gameplay fun, btw.
 
@Nils - the result you want would be achieved with purely random matchmaking. However, if you're winning most of YOUR games, somebody on the other side of the bell curve is losing most of THEIRS. At this point, what Scott Jennings called the "Mordred effect" kicks in - the guys who keep losing quit, which means a smaller pool of players with a higher average skill level. Some of those now find themselves on the receiving end of a beating and get discouraged, and the process continues with an ever-smaller pool of players.
 
@Nils

As Tremayneslaw points out, PvP enjoyment seems to largely correlate to winning. Your comment supports this hypothesis.

That being the case, 'fun' is a zero sum equation with the most fun being had if everyone reaches a level of 50/50 win/loss.
 
The one point I can really disagree with is what people object to about the WoT matchmaking algorithm. I don't think it is people wanting to win every game, I just think that, some tanks especially, can be put into games where they have little to no chance of actually inflicting reasonable damage, or of surviving more than one hit.

For scouts this is okay, but for some mediums and lower-tier heavies, where you are often slower than your much more powerful allies and enemies, it just leads to an entirely unpleasant game.
 
Someone mentioned ELO here which is a reasonable system, but not for all kinds of games. It works for chess, which it has been designed for. For other game types though, something that works better is Glicko (as it takes into account uncertainty and variation as well).
 
@Tobold: The former statement is debatable, the latter is just plain false: There are a lot of heavy tanks that do not require any gold. With gold you can only buy a level VIII stock tank, which will be beaten not only by level IX and X tanks you have to play for, but also by fully equipped level VIII tanks you played for.

You've completely missed the point.

The forums are full of people complaining that high-level heavy tanks are money losers, i.e. you cannot limit yourself to playing them, you need some "silver-farming" tank to play to keep up with the costs (or, more simply, just pay). This is officially reported to be a design decision, to avoid everyone playing in their higher-tier heavy tank. I think this is complete bullshit and the design decision is:
- make low-level tanks easily upgradable so that you can be competitive in the t1-t3 battles.
- as soon as you move into tier 4-5 you find yourself in the field with heavy tanks, which, simply put are impossible to manage in a lower class tank. Maybe with gold ammo which has high penetration you can do some damage, but overall, you just die.
- This pushes you to buy gold (experience transfer and credits) to access higher tiers heavies, and all this to have a tank which will need to be fueled by credits in order to run. Result: buy your credits or go back to your one-shottable lower tier tanks.

Sorry, it's a fun little game and I understand you're defending it. But the game design smells of "forcing you to buy, like it or not" from a distance of miles. Exactly like any other grind-based MMO. And I'm not a fan of this kind of cash shop.
 
Actually, the 50:50 was something I never liked much about PvP. I know that it is the optimum in PvP, because if I have 51:49, somebody else has 49:51, but I still don't like it.


50/50 means every fight has meaning. Fun is pvp is having challenging competitive fights .Its fun to roflstomp , not so much being the one stomped

WoT system is not perfect.It pairs your randomly so on average ,average player has 50% win ratio.

But it doesnt match people by skill, so sometimes you end up on the teams of total noobs so that you cant win no matter that you get 10 kills all by yourself

Regardless win ratio in WoT is over 55% for good players and over 60% for really good ones. That discounting certain anomalies ( like hotchkiss tank) and certain matchmaking unlucky tanks (where you have little influence on overall outcome of a match).
 
Sorry, it's a fun little game and I understand you're defending it. But the game design smells of "forcing you to buy, like it or not" from a distance of miles. Exactly like any other grind-based MMO. And I'm not a fan of this kind of cash shop.


Its not "forcing you". I know players with tier9s who do not have premium or spent any gold. Regardless anyone can have fun in tier 1-6 without ever feeling need to spend a dime.

Cash will shorten the grind, it will not give you imba tank.

IF you play higher tier you might as well spent some money to support game or invest more of your time , your choice and no one is forcing you.

In fact you have many options - you can pay $30 and never have any problem with credits in this game ever (lowe tank). You can pay $14 and have a month of premium during which you can get the tier and credits you want for future ( after you get your tank of choice you dont really need premium account)

OR you can be a cheapass and grind without paying a dime. Just dont whine about it - be grateful you get great game for free
 
Not only for reasons of fairness, which are debatable, but also because I believe that if you have a 50:50 chance of winning or losing, your personal contribution to the outcome is most pronounced. In assured victories or losses it matters not so much how you play.

Disagree. You have it exactly opposite of reality -- your presence has virtually no influence on the outcome. Because the matchmaking is completely random, the random team that you end up on has much more of an influence. Otherwise we would see a lot of 40/60 or 60/40 people, and we don't.

I've got a few tanks that I've got better than 50/50 on (and a few that are worse.) On the ones that I have better on, they are tanks that I primarily played in a platoon that worked together. I think that in that three man group we were influential. I think alone you generally aren't. Even games where you end up with Top Gun, it means more that the other team was bad than that you are good.
 
Nevertheless World of Tanks very much gives me the impression that my decisions matter for the outcome of the battle. If I observe what the rest of my team is doing, and what I can see from the enemy, I can make an intelligent tactical decision about what to do, and influence the outcome of the battle. That wouldn't be the case if victory or defeat was assured from the start, like it is in so many PvE fights in MMORPGs.

Maybe it's my outlook, but I see it the opposite way. I expect the three tanks to be guarding that flank. I expect people to pay attention to the overall flow (especially near the end of the match when it's 3v5 or 4v7). When everyone does that, the outcome is generally pretty random. When people fail to do that, they get crushed by the ones who do. I consider the skilled response to be normal.

Frankly, I would see a much bigger improvement by not being on bad teams than I would from being on good teams.
 
In PvP a 50-50 can still result in unhappy players, since of course we are all above average. There are a few ways to deal with this. NPCs or bots can feed kills, helping to boost players about 50-50 for kill/death without dramatically changing the win/loss. TF2 has this, along with the assist system which allows for a kill+assist count that is much higher than just kills.

As for PvE, I'm not sure it would work. While it might be more interesting to have slightly easier/faster first kills and non-trivial farm bosses, I think in practice players wouldn't like losing their farm night relaxation. Alternatively, if farm bosses weren't so much easier than progression, maybe that would help with the problem of players vanishing on progression nights.
 
I'm long past the day when I need a "close fight" to have fun. I like MMOs for some of the same reasons I like filing and doing housework, tasks which MMO gameplay strongly resembles. Simple, repetitive tasks at the conclusion of which something has been achieved that gives lasting satisfaction.

I don't believe adding a higher chance of failure to complete simple, repetitive tasks in an MMO would add value. Get it done right first time is always best.

Now if you mean I should have to think tactically and plan ahead before embarking on a given task (or fight, in MMO terms) then yes, that would be enjoyable. But having thought, considered, and planned, unless my execution is sloppy I would then like to succeed. A 50% failure rate would be deeply unenjoyable and I'd soon find better things to spend my time on.
 
Now if you mean I should have to think tactically and plan ahead before embarking on a given task (or fight, in MMO terms) then yes, that would be enjoyable. But having thought, considered, and planned, unless my execution is sloppy I would then like to succeed. A 50% failure rate would be deeply unenjoyable and I'd soon find better things to spend my time on.

That's actually my main frustration with the matchmaker on WoT right now. I would much rather have a 50/50 record because I'm being matched up against teams that perform well, and out-think me half the time, rather than having a 50/50 record because half the time, I realize two minutes into the game before there is any contact that I'm on the Failsquad.
 
I like filing and doing housework, tasks which MMO gameplay strongly resembles. Simple, repetitive tasks at the conclusion of which something has been achieved that gives lasting satisfaction.


I think crafter/builder style gameplay would be much better for players like you . Something like tending to your own farm, lumbermill, forge. Assembling components, creating new recipes ,arranging goods

Combat by its nature is involved competition. And there is no competition without defeats and failures. Otherwise is just dummy bashing .
 
I really think two difficulties (and the second being essentially repeat content ) is lacking. There is no way you can have one level of non-heroic raid difficulty without making millions of the 13m customers unhappy.

I see no reason not to make the raids self-tuning, market driven. You have three levels of mechanics; the bosses start out as unbeatable. Then each week they are nerfed non-linearly, until you get to x % success rate.

For me, the least satisfying win ratio in PvE is about 85%. If you win you don't feel good and you lose a significant number of times and feel badly because you "always win." (And even if you don't feel badly, there is usually someone along to make sure you do. )
 
@Tobold: Hmm, I view PVE in general quite different from PVP. PVE to me is the process of learning something. You start at 0:100, and you fail and fail and fail again, until you learn it and it becomes 100:0. It's just the learning process.

I do wonder about this statement though:
Nevertheless World of Tanks very much gives me the impression that my decisions matter for the outcome of the battle. If I observe what the rest of my team is doing, and what I can see from the enemy, I can make an intelligent tactical decision about what to do, and influence the outcome of the battle. That wouldn't be the case if victory or defeat was assured from the start, like it is in so many PvE fights in MMORPGs.

I would certainly argue that tactical spurts of enlightenment can happen even when the odds seem so heavily stacked against you. Maybe you'll still fail, but what you did may still have bumped up your odds a bit.
 
Disagree. You have it exactly opposite of reality -- your presence has virtually no influence on the outcome. Because the matchmaking is completely random, the random team that you end up on has much more of an influence. Otherwise we would see a lot of 40/60 or 60/40 people, and we don't.

Exactly. This is why I rarely like to PUG teambased-type games, or when I do, my own performance is more important than the teams. When the matchup is basically made to ruin my team of PUGs chances, I could hardly be arsed to care about the outcome of my team. More often than not, whatever I do is irrelevant in the face of noobs and asshattery dragging the team down.

I mean, take the most simple example of helping out the team: giving the team simple but good advice. But because people are simply less experienced than myself, or couldn't care less about listening to advice because they'd rather just enjoy the game and not care too much about performance, it drags my morale down and I dumb down myself as well.
 
@Helistar: You're actually wrong on more than just the 'requirement to buy gold is the design'; auto-aim puts you at a solid disadvantage as it only really tracks the center mass of the tank. If you're looking for tank/turret/weakpoint shots consistently, you'll need to manually aim. Autoaim is only worthwhile if you're looking for consistent damage against vehicles you can easily penetrate and destroy in 1-2 shots. As for your complaint about being required to buy gold, the purchaseable tanks are slightly better than a non-upgraded tank of equivalent tier and in nearly all cases worse than a fully upgraded tank of equivalent tier. At best, purchasing any given tank with gold will net you some advantages with accompanying disadvantages. The T2 light for example is exceptionally fast for it's tier, but lightly armored and with a less than fantastic main gun. But ultimately, if you have the game so much, do yourself the favor and uninstall it. It's my answer to a game when I find myself in your shoes; no sense in torturing yourself over it.

On WoT matchmaking, I'll have to check my win:loss, but I'm fairly certain I'm still on the plus side, although I doubt I have a truly significant number of battles under my belt; Probably no more than a hundred or so. But with that said, I, like many have issue with the way matchmaking works. First and foremost, I feel that the tiers could be better segregated; there's little worse feeling than being in a T1/2 TD and finding yourself in a battle with 4-6 TVII+ heavy tanks and artillery, but only 1-2 low tier tanks per side. Second, when it comes to victories, they tend to be very overwhelming more often than not. Very rarely have I been in a match that has been a back and forth slog with each side taking advantage of minute mistakes by their opponents. Generally, it's groups of 3-4 tanks picking off stragglers who don't stay grouped up with others, preferring to rush the opposing lines. It's a very solid game otherwise, and I definitely find it highly enjoyable.
 
@Max: Nils wrote it a lot better than I could do: http://nilsmmoblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/evil-in-f2p-games.html

But of course, you don't "need" to buy. :)
 
I could hardly be arsed to care about the outcome of my team. More often than not, whatever I do is irrelevant in the face of noobs and asshattery dragging the team down.

As you generally hate everybody you play with, I don't think that team-based games are a good choice for you.
 
I mean, take the most simple example of helping out the team: giving the team simple but good advice. But because people are simply less experienced than myself, or couldn't care less about listening to advice because they'd rather just enjoy the game and not care too much about performance, it drags my morale down and I dumb down myself as well.

Yup. Two examples from yesterday. First, we're in Campinovka. I'm with three other heavies defending. The group that went up the hill meets pretty much their entire team, 10+ tanks. As soon as I see this, I send out, along with three other people, "RUSH MIDDLE". I start out across, see that others are moving, and die in a spectacular, proper manner for a heavy, having done serious damage on the move along the way. (Yeah, if I get blown up in my heavy, it doesn't bother me as long as I know I was bricking for others and did some damage on the way.)

There's three tanks defending. One of them gets me, gets traded in the process, and then... it's two on two. The OPFOR two are behind the swell (north side)... and we have an IS-3 sitting back at the base, unable to hit them. Had the IS-3 listened to everyone else, we would have won. Instead, he dies pointlessly to the group that finally makes it down the hill, through the very good rear guard that our outnumbered teammates put up. (For ultimately no reason.) One Failsquad member who wanted to play tank destroyer in his heavy cost us the match. The two left who did rush the middle died, with the lone defender sitting at about 10%. Had it been three on two, we would have certainly had two left, maybe three. (Tier 8, like the IS-3, was top tier in the match. I was in a T29, tier 7.)

The other was Prokhorovka. I went right. When I got there, there was one other tank with me. There were 10 going left side. I said, "too many left, need some right." They said, "all go left." I said, "that's a terrible plan." They called me a nub.

The two of use hit about six tanks on the right. I tell them, "six over here, you need to push HARD, we can't hold them long." Radio silence. We hold. And hold. And hold. And die after bleeding five minutes off the clock.

And the left side is still sitting back in the corner. They haven't pushed an inch. The left side OPFOR moves through, sweeps across, and rolls them up. And I'm the nub.

Those are the situations that frustrate me.
 
As you generally hate everybody you play with, I don't think that team-based games are a good choice for you.

That's not really true though. I am an avid player of team-based games when I have teammates that I can trust. This includes DoTA/HoN/LoL/L4D. And I am an avid raider. When I'm playing one of those games with people I know and trust, I give it my all, since I know that my teammates are giving their 100% as well. But I can't expect the same from PUGs, so I don't.
 
@Pzychotix - have you considered that possibly a lot of those "terrible" players in PuGs aren't actually clueless, they're other players like you not making the effort? That you and a bunch of others have gotten into a vicious circle of not giving 100% because you "know" that the others on your team won't either?
 
Even if I don't play at 100% though, basic gut reactions and skills are enough to distinguish most people away from clueless PUGs though. Barring players that are completely just fucking around and teamkilling to troll, you don't need a player to be doing extreme stuff to realize that he's a solid reliable person.

When I'm on COD playing Headquarters (sort of a team based King of the Hill), you can still tell that a person who doesn't complete the objective but is good at the game still has a 2:1 KD ratio, while the newbies are still sitting at the bottom of barrel with a 0:1 KD ratio.

Plus, good players love it when the other players on their team are good as well. When the whole team is comprised of good players, the whole team knows it, and the likelihood of everyone just dicking around and not caring is very slim.
 
I disagree with Tobold I think 50% win chance only means "No need to even try" which is true for WoT and I will explain.

Say I am a very skilled player. No matter what I do I will always have a 50% to win. Same if I was the most horrible player ever, I still have a 50% chance to win. This is not StarCraft 2, there's no ladder. There are Tiers. If there's a ladder the 50% win make sense because you're always matched against stronger opponents if you keep winning and if you keep losing you get matched with weaker one. This is not the case in WoT.

In WoT you get matched to win 50%. Whether you go AFK or play your best. I know many who AFK-Farm XP and get 50% wins. Specially when you end up with a bad tank and must grind to get the good one (the Pre KV farm).

I think good players should have a 60%+ win ratio and bad player should have 40% win ratio. Otherwise it's not fair because if everyone will eventually end up with 50% might as well just go AFK and farm XP. Remember this is not a Ladder system but a Tier system in WoT.
 
"Someone mentioned ELO here which is a reasonable system, but not for all kinds of games. It works for chess, which it has been designed for. For other game types though, something that works better is Glicko (as it takes into account uncertainty and variation as well)."

It was me who mentioned ELO. What I really meant though was a system similar to ELO/Glicko since it would have to be heavily adjusted to work with groups and dungeon content.

Whilst it would be reasonably challenging to implement this kind of system for MMOs it certainly shouldn't be beyond the resources of a game company and I think has the potential to transform the play expereience by making it possible to play at all skill levels.
 
In case anyone is interested in how a rating system similar to ELO/Glicko might work (!?) It would probably be a bit like this:

Players have a base rating that reflects their past performance in the game (or a low starting rating until they have completed some rated content) and this is adjusted by their current gear rating. When players group together, the whole team gets a rating that is some kind of average of the gear adjusted ratings of the individual players.

On the other hand the dungeons themselves are also rated. When a group of players beats a dungeon the ratings of the players are adjusted upwards according to how difficult the dungeon was *and* the rating of the dungeon is adjusted downwards since it's been beaten. So for example, If the group rating is much less than the dungeon rating, the dungeon will decline in rating quite a lot and the group will gain a lot of rating points.

This kind of system would allow players of different abilities to play together and still have a roughly 50/50 chance of success when tackling a dungeon at the same rating level as the group's rating level. Further, highly geared players might be tempted to remove some layers of their armour when tackling the easier content, since by doing so they would be able to lower the overall rating of the group and thus garner more points on a victory. All this encourages players across all different standards of play to group together harmoniously.

This idea of rating *the content* as well as the players has been implemented in the area of chess problems on the internet, for instance on Richard Jones's awesome Chess Tempo site: http://chesstempo.com/. Richard was kind enough to explain to me the many difficulties he encountered in adjusting the Glicko system to work in this way, but the end result is excellent.
 
I agree with Tremayneslaw on the PvE vs. PvP comparision. In PvE, you usually try the encounter multiple times until you finally succeed, sometimes even after you have succeeded to either help someone with less experience or farm it. On the other hand, in battlegrounds/arena/WoT battles you only try each encounter once and then move on whether you won or lost. I've seen PvP which followed the "try until you succeed/fail" model, e. g. Ragnarok Online's War of Emperium, I haven't seen PvE which followed the "try once" model though. The 50/50 rule only works with the "try once" model as in the latter, the final success/failure can only be avoided by stopping to play.


Regarding matchmaking:
I think people complain about the matchmaking system but they don't do so because of the win ratio - at least not most of them. Usually the complaints are about high tier spread which seems to cause the low tier players in the match to be able to contribute little.
 
You actually can somewhat influence battle results as an individual with 14 random group members. I have a 52% victories 46% defeats (2% draws) with over 1400 battles. I am not all that great but I try real hard in every battle. About half my clan has better records than I do. We have one member ranked in the top 100 in global rating and his record is 64% victories and 33% defeats with over 2500 battles.

I never platoon but most of the high percent victory people in my clan do 3 man platoons. This helps them influence battles more. I personally find if my side has 3 or more platoons in it I have only about a 15% victory margin. In general I find platoons make players play bad. You have to have a lot of patience to do well with many of the maps. I think platoons make people less patience. The other factor is I can’t influence platoons. Mob mentality takes over and the platoons do their own thing and will not listen to good strategy and advice. Lastly I think many might use out of game voice chat and do not bother to read chat at all while the solo players do read chat more often.

The random group members can be very frustrating. I have the same problems Phelps talked about. I really wish Company Battles had range of tiers. To really take advantage of good strategies you need a team that sticks together through matches.
 
Having a 50/50 win/lose rate would force people (particularly in PvE) to actually adapt strategies. First off, a game doesn't maintain a 50/50 win rate by some random factor that simply beats you every other time. A game maintains that by adapting, throwing in a few random elements, and most importantly, by adapting to the most relevant tactics and abilities used by players. I for one hate the fact that most end-game raids have things that happen at a specific time, every time.
 
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