Tobold's Blog
Monday, February 18, 2019
What is winning?

In case you have never played World of Tanks yourself, and the discussion of "Pay2Win" gave you a wrong impression, I have to state that this is one of the most skill-based games I know. Money can buy you an advantage, but that advantage is small compared to the difference in skill between even a bad and a medium player, and even more so between a medium player and a good player. I would consider myself a medium player, which is to say that if I multiply my own WN8 rating by 15 it comes out in the games I play below tier 10 to be about the sum of the WN8 ratings of the whole team.

Part of that is experience. I have "only" 7k battles played, 6k of which were many years ago. People who played a lot more, and more intensively, know the weak spots of every tank, know every bush on every map, and know where the other tanks are likely to go. So while I have an ambition to in general become better at playing World of Tanks, I am pretty sure that I will never get to Unicum level. I only play a bit on evenings and weekends, and I'll probably get bored by the game long before I master it.

But when we talk about ambition, we need to ask the question what "winning" in World of Tanks actually means. If you are a bottom tier tank (and Wargaming just realized that due to the way their matchmaker works with a 3/5/7 template, people are bottom tier far more often than they are top tier), chances are that whether your team wins or loses wasn't up to you. So if I played well and my team lost, did I "win" or did I "lose"? If I went too far ahead early in the game, turned around a corner and was instantly killed by the 3 tanks waiting there, but my team went on winning the game, did I "win" or did I "lose"?

When I started World of Tanks again after last Christmas, I was fixated on improving my win rate. That turned out to be a very bad idea. My win rate remains unchanged at between 48% and 48.5%, with ups and downs due to lucky or unlucky streaks. So now I am looking more at my WN8 rating per battle. That also is neither very good, nor very consistent, but at least I feel it gives me a better answer of whether I have just "won" or "lost" a game, by telling me how well I did individually. I does happen that I "carry" a game when I am top tier, but that then also is reflected by an excellent WN8 rating for that battle. The only flaw of WN8 in my eyes is that it doesn't work for spotting damage, and thus pretends I am not doing well when I play light tanks as passive scouts.

The advantage of looking at WN8 per battle is that you can decide for yourself the level of your ambition. I'm happy enough if I finish a game at "yellow" level, which is probably way below the ambitions of the really good players.


Well its important to set goals thats true: I know win8 is considered "the" metric by the community. I think its flaws though. Its base too much on damage dealt. How many times have you been 5 tanks for 3 and you COULD have capped the base for the win? except all yr team ran 1v1 into the enemy top tier heavy with 4 kills already and fed him a great "carry"? So many times on reddit I have had unicums call me names, been screamed at in game (literally) for capping out in games I considered dicey. I'm not talking about ok theres one guy with 15 hit points left and 6 guys chasin him. Ofc I wont cap then. Let them take the kill. In fact theres been times I DELIBERATELY didnt shhot at a red: cos a teamy has 5+ kills and letting him get that kill will give him a medal.

Yet I play to win. stats be damed, my personnal damage rating be dammed. I want to WIN. sometimes that means I gotta go hold a flank 2 v5 and I get wrecked. but thats 3 mins I held it? if it gives my lemming train on the other end the time they need to kick in the door, over run the enemy arty and tds? well its worth it.

This is the EXACT opposite of what every unicum will tell you to do though. Why? its bad for your personnal damage ratings. Not for your win ratings: for your damage stats. So set your goals. What do you want? Im happy to be a green with a 54% win ratio (my current stats).
Hey you asked about vids some posts ago. I watched this tonight and thought about you, as your the only guy I know blogging about this atm.

I hope its of some use to you.
I love these times when the holding the flank helps to get the win. But then I always get demotivated when the lemming train parks in the most remote corner and just farms damage before finally loosing ...which happens quite a lot in T8 matches.
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