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What WG spreadsheets, Smolensk, CVs and Pavlovs dogs have in common

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First of all, this is in no way defense of what WG thinks is good game design, even though it might sound like it in some parts.

 

Every time WG releases one of their 'more balanced' ships, a huge controversy breaks out. We players are quick to point out how unfair the ships are to play against, how strong they are in good players hands, and how helpless they feel against them. Wargaming however doesn't give a crap about our feelies, because they have the FACTS of the holy spreadsheet. Statistics, as long as you look at them correctly, surely can't lie - and oh boy is WG good at looking at statistics the correct way.

 

Smolensk, for example, averages at 50.8% winrate, only 0.8% above the average, and 86k damage, around 10-15k above the average T10 cruiser. Mostly in healable fire damage and mostly on tanky BBs. Midway, Hakuryu and Audacious sit at around 80k average damage and a 50% win rate (which is mostly forced by the 1v1 matchup). The average T10 BB also has around 50% winrate and 85k average. Noone complains about BBs being too powerful. Everything looks good spreadsheetwise, everything is fair and balanced. Which is pretty impressive considering how many ships there are and how different they function. The power of the spreadsheet is real.

 

The truth is of course, that players don't interact with this weird concept called 'the average player' in game, but with the whole distribution of what the playerbase has to offer. This includes the superunicum that completly destroys you without counterplay in his CV, as well as the Midway that somehow manages to miss every single bomb drop on your fat BB. It includes the Smolensk that farms you out of radar range from smoke as well as the one that thinks he can drive his light cruiser into the middle of the cap at the start, then gets radared and deleted instantly.

 

On average, everything is fine here. Your frustration from getting farmed that one time should disappear when you oneshot that other smolensk the next time. T10 ships with a citadel and small HP pool are propably the best thing you can shoot at in a BB rewardwise. Bad smolensks should make you happy in a BB, and there are a lot of them out there. However, this is not what happens. When we see a triple smolensk division in the enemy team as a BB, we dont think about all the bad smolensk players we have seen, and that there is a good chance non of these 3 has a clue how to play the ship properly. We dont think about all the potential citadels we might get on them, and how a single citadel on a smolensk will reward us with the equivalent xp as 50k damage on a yamato. All we see is the mental image of endless HE spam from permasmoke, because that is the only interaction we have with them if they are good. Why is that?

 

Our brain reacts much harder to the bad experience of playing against good players than to the good experience vs bad players. We learn to associate smolensk, CVs, etc with no counterplay, and heavy HP loss, and we associate these things even if only the stimulus is there (enemy smolensk) without the punishment (he is a bad player). Game after game our brains are conditioned this way every time we face a good player, until the sheer presence of the ship makes us salviate in expectation of punishment.

 

What can we as players learn from this (Implying players can learn, but T10 J-line BBs think otherwise)? We can at least try and be more rational about what is happening. Try to actually feel good and rewarded when you citadel one of these, take notice of all the games where the smolensk just dies early doing nothing, and take notice how much impact these ships have on your game on average. Smolensk, CVs, are all here to stay and are part of the game experience, and we are partly responsible how we let this experience affect us. And it can't be in our interest that these ships have a bad effect on our mood before the game even starts.

 

What can WG learn from this (Implying WG can learn, but Belfast/Kutuzov... think otherwise)? Spreadsheets can tell you more than players in some cases, that is true. They tell you how things truly affect the game, without the emotional views the playerbase has over things. But you know what else is just as real? Conditioning, a mild form of fear conditioning in this case. Otherwise neutral ships in your spreadsheets can be learned to be extremly unpleasant experiences for the player. Otherwise there might be the very real effect of more players leaving the game.

 

Sources:

Smolensk and other ships stats: https://wows-numbers.com/de/ship/3655251408,Smolensk/

Classical Conditioning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning

Fear conditiong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_conditioning

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26 minutes ago, Duke_of_Lauenburg said:

 

 

Smolensk, CVs, are all here to stay and are part of the game experience, and we are partly responsible how we let this experience affect us. And it can't be in our interest that these ships have a bad effect on our mood before the game even starts.

 

 

So you're saying it's all on us, WG can do whatever they want and we should take it like the good little pay pigs that we are?

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7 minutes ago, CrniVrag said:

So you're saying it's all on us, WG can do whatever they want and we should take it like the good like pay pigs that we are?

Yes.

25 minutes ago, Duke_of_Lauenburg said:

First of all, this is in no way defense of what WG thinks is good game design, even though it might sound like it in some parts.

 

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There is an interesting conclusion that kinda jumps my eye in your text.

 

If I roll that from the other side, Id ask: how must a ship look like, to show its clearly OP in the spreadsheet? Id say a ship with size and concealment of Kamikaze, speed of Mogador, Armor and health of Kremlin, guns of Yamato with reload of Gearing and Torps of Benham. And then the WR would prolly still be close to 50%, since, as you pointed out, such a ship would be so popular, that soon there would be battles 12v12 with only them. Actually, that would also balance out all the other stats. We would again have the same distribution of good players getting good results and, well, noobs beeing deep in the red. One might almost say: spreadsheet useless? ^^

 

And here is what I think is the problem and what you describe on the Smolensk-example: skill gap, skill floor, skill ceiling and effectivness. CV rework is another prime example. We now have Midways beeing absolutly useless, hardly everaging 10k damage (even after 100+ battles) while the other end of the skill scale stops from one damage record to the next with insane high WR. Yea, you can guess what the spreadsheet is saying: all is fine, since average numbers dont paint the whole picture.

Sources here:

https://wows-numbers.com/ship/4179605488,Midway/?order=average_damage_dealt__desc&p=26

https://wows-numbers.com/ship/4179605488,Midway/?order=average_damage_dealt__desc&p=1

 

Funny thing: the stats even paint a picture, that Audacious is the best T10 CV. Do we have any objections? @El2aZeR ^^

 

image.thumb.png.f6eb47b327d56aa76a5522b4a29ebbf2.png

 

My conclusion is: this sort of min-maxing or creating glass cannons works only to a certain degree. If you overstretch it, you create ships, that are absolutly useless in the hands of someone, that doesnt know how to play it, while the strongest players turn those ships into absolute abominations. Sadly, this seems to be a trend in the recent ships, eventhough WG claimed, they are trying to lower skill gap (they said so with CV rework). Harugumo, Kléber and Friesland fit this description of min-maxing aswell, just to name a few others.

 

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6 minutes ago, Duke_of_Lauenburg said:

Yes.

 

Um no... 

The second I had enough I'm gone and I won't even write an obligatory "after xy years of playing I had enough" thread. There are other things to do and throw money at, like strippers or whatever else the hell some of us like. Writing forum posts in defense or critique of WG is a pointless exercise...

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The other part isn't even what they've recieved from a good player, but what happens to the psychologically.

 

Having several fires set on their BB makes most players panic, evwn if the rational logic is that all that damage can simply be healed in 20 sec time.

 

Same with a stream of low caliber shells - they might all be shattering, but just the fact they're being shot makes lots of players turn tail and run.

 

You get the same with mid tier CV - I watched my entire team of BB hide in a cluster because of a ranger's torp bombers. Meanwhile I sailed around not caring if I ate an airdropped torp or 2, since they only do 3k once the belt has reduced their damage.

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19 minutes ago, CrniVrag said:

So you're saying it's all on us, WG can do whatever they want and we should take it like the good little pay pigs that we are?

Given its literally WG stance since early WoT days... I guess so:Smile_smile:

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10 minutes ago, ForlornSailor said:

And then the WR would prolly still be close to 50%, since, as you pointed out, such a ship would be so popular, that soon there would be battles 12v12 with only them

This is true, but I don't think the effect is huge for smolensk right now, but defnitly true for CVs.

 

11 minutes ago, ForlornSailor said:

this sort of min-maxing or creating glass cannons works only to a certain degree

Absolutly true.

10 minutes ago, CrniVrag said:

The second I had enough I'm gone and I won't even write an obligatory "after xy years of playing I had enough" thread. There are other things to do and throw money at, like strippers or whatever else the hell some of us like. Writing forum posts in defense or critique of WG is a pointless exercise...

Some people enjoy writing, others don't, and thats fine. My motivation came from all the 'smolensk'-threads and the old CV threads (one of those is from me). There are clearly a lot of people who want to play the game but don't enjoy it, mainly because of design decisions like these. This article is meant to give some explanations and tips on how to deal with the BS WG unleashes upon us.

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32 minutes ago, Duke_of_Lauenburg said:

Some people enjoy writing, others don't, and thats fine. My motivation came from all the 'smolensk'-threads and the old CV threads (one of those is from me). There are clearly a lot of people who want to play the game but don't enjoy it, mainly because of design decisions like these. This article is meant to give some explanations and tips on how to deal with the BS WG unleashes upon us.

Yes, do whatever you enjoy, but your thread didn't bring anything new into the discussion on the Smolensk or the CV's. The whole thread boils down to just "the playerbase is emotional, the spread sheet is holy, long live Sergei and Viktor, distract yourself from your misery with something while playing and paying..."

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23 minutes ago, Duke_of_Lauenburg said:

Some people enjoy writing, others don't, and thats fine. My motivation came from all the 'smolensk'-threads and the old CV threads (one of those is from me). There are clearly a lot of people who want to play the game but don't enjoy it, mainly because of design decisions like these. This article is meant to give some explanations and tips on how to deal with the BS WG unleashes upon us.

Some points of criticism about ships are valid, some are not. I agree it's important not to look past ones own conditioning, but there's a point when you have to conclude things based on stats, past experiences and current experience. Thinking that the stats are fine, that Smolensk is fine based on those stats and the bad experience is purely psychological is an easy and convenient conclusion. It takes more than this to make a balanced ship that doesn't break the meta. I understand the spreadsheet route that WG base the balance on, but if they played the game a bit, they'd know that Smolensk is broken and needs fixing. It just takes too long for them to read enough data.

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1 hour ago, Duke_of_Lauenburg said:

On average, everything is fine here. Your frustration from getting farmed that one time should disappear when you oneshot that other smolensk the next time. T10 ships with a citadel and small HP pool are propably the best thing you can shoot at in a BB rewardwise. Bad smolensks should make you happy in a BB, and there are a lot of them out there. However, this is not what happens. When we see a triple smolensk division in the enemy team as a BB, we dont think about all the bad smolensk players we have seen, and that there is a good chance non of these 3 has a clue how to play the ship properly. We dont think about all the potential citadels we might get on them, and how a single citadel on a smolensk will reward us with the equivalent xp as 50k damage on a yamato. All we see is the mental image of endless HE spam from permasmoke, because that is the only interaction we have with them if they are good. Why is that? 

 

Our brain reacts much harder to the bad experience of playing against good players than to the good experience vs bad players. We learn to associate smolensk, CVs, etc with no counterplay, and heavy HP loss, and we associate these things even if only the stimulus is there (enemy smolensk) without the punishment (he is a bad player). Game after game our brains are conditioned this way every time we face a good player, until the sheer presence of the ship makes us salviate in expectation of punishment.

So, what should I take away from this? The reassurance that the ships are fine, because the spreadsheet says so, and the whole 'that ship is OP!' hysteria is all in my head?

 

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. The fact is that those ships are OP and act like a skill multiplier. A bad player will potato in any ship, but an average player will get above average results and an unicum will get superunicum results. Coordination in a division via Discord/Skype/TS also acts as a force multiplier of sorts. What you say is "don't worry be happy" and that we should see that 3 Smolensk division as a potential reservoir of citadel hits and Devastating Strikes, but probably there will be permasmoke HE spamming, focus fire and they'll top the board on their team. While winning and countering them is not impossible, it takes a lot of effort and a level of coordination that a bunch of random guys seldom achieve. And in the meantime there are another 9 'reds' sailing around, shooting and capping objectives.

 

Sometimes they're that good that they don't even get spotted! 

 

And while we're on the subject of phycological conditions, let's talk about the effects of having 4-5 defeats in a row in tier10 games against such divisions or against superunicum Midway players, finishing in the middle of the teamlist (hey, we're not all unicums, right?) and losing over 100k/battle. 

 

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2 hours ago, ForlornSailor said:

And here is what I think is the problem and what you describe on the Smolensk-example: skill gap, skill floor, skill ceiling and effectivness. CV rework is another prime example. We now have Midways beeing absolutly useless, hardly everaging 10k damage (even after 100+ battles) while the other end of the skill scale stops from one damage record to the next with insane high WR. Yea, you can guess what the spreadsheet is saying: all is fine, since average numbers dont paint the whole picture.

Sources here:

https://wows-numbers.com/ship/4179605488,Midway/?order=average_damage_dealt__desc&p=26

https://wows-numbers.com/ship/4179605488,Midway/?order=average_damage_dealt__desc&p=1

 

Funny thing: the stats even paint a picture, that Audacious is the best T10 CV. Do we have any objections? @El2aZeR ^^

 

Agree 100% this is the core of the troubles of high tier gameplay. Min-maxing causes gameplay to become increasingly volatile.

Also those low skill floor (easy to play) ships like Smolensk force wg to add low skill floor counters (Kremlin, says hi!). Insane HE spam vs Insane armor and tankiness. None of them with any counterplay for the opponent unless he sails an equally "balanced" ship or are much more skille to begin with. And in the middle is the supposed "spotter" ships who are the first to get rekt if spotted. Is it any wonder we have a passive meta at tier X?

Contrast it with lower tiers, where "deadliness" of making a mistake i lower due to both lower ranges, lower dispersion and much lower DPM and ships often live to get into brawling range (without the intervention of a cyclone).

 

As to CVs, I'll continue to argue the RTS skillgap was even larger. 10k damage would take a special miracle for some of the wonderboys who got themselves deplaned and went afk after a few minutes.

 

The reworked tier X CV stats paint a very interesting picture if one takes a closer look.

Audacious is best if you look at ALL players. True. But if you look at top 25% or above, Hakuruy is top dog in ALL stats as you no doubt expected =)

Clear evidence of a difference in skill floor and cieling?:Smile_coin:

WG actually came out and said Haku with the x4 stealth torps would be (paraphrase) too much of a universal CV, before they removed them

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14 minutes ago, Danucu_Tigger said:

So, what should I take away from this? The reassurance that the ships are fine, because the spreadsheet says so, and the whole 'that ship is OP!' hysteria is all in my head?

No, this isn't at all what you should take away. These ships are NOT fine AT ALL. I just didn't provide another list of all the things wrong with them because you can find that literally anywhere else on the forum. My recommandation to WG explicitly (at least in my head) states that they should stop looking at their goddman spreadsheets as they don't tell the whole story of what is happening.

But that is only something WG can fix. As a player, you can only do 3 things: Stop playing, play and hate it, or play and try to enjoy it. I recommend the latter if you don't want to do the former.

 

And again, since a lot of people here seem to miss what I am talking about: Smolensk is OP, it is unfair to play against and it should NOT be in the game.

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1 hour ago, GulvkluderGuld said:

As to CVs, I'll continue to argue the RTS skillgap was even larger. 10k damage would take a special miracle for some of the wonderboys who got themselves deplaned and went afk after a few minutes.

 

If we check the leaderboards of T8+ RTS CVs on wows-numbers we can easily see that in the ~3 years of RTS we've had 4 players that have managed an average damage below 10k.

In rework CVs meanwhile we have dozens, a good chunk of which are below 5k along with one particularly speshul individual even below 1k.

 

Quite frankly potato CVs are even more useless in the rework than they ever were in RTS.

 

Also it was pretty much impossible to deplane a T7+ RTS CV in the opening minutes due to the service time penalty.

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43 minutes ago, El2aZeR said:

 

Quite frankly potato CVs are even more useless in the rework than they ever were in RTS.

It was pretty much imossible to be completely useless in the RTS version, because as long as you could remember to left click on a large ship like a BB, and as long as the opposing CV didnt understand strafe then you could achieve something with autodrop.

 

With the rework CV, IGNORING the continuous AA, and ignoring flak clouds, its still possible to totally balls up the drop by clicking too late and flying over the target.

 

Which means its possible for a complete potato to make a hash of attacks even against targets with zero AA and aren't dodging

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1 hour ago, El2aZeR said:

.....Quite frankly potato CVs are even more useless in the rework than they ever were in RTS.

 

Also it was pretty much impossible to deplane a T7+ RTS CV in the opening minutes due to the service time penalty.

Point about the damage.  

 

I guess the question is, what is worse, doing 10k dmg before running out of planes - or doing nothing while flying around spotting stuff....

 

And true you cant deplane tier 7+ CVs in one go, but untill tier X it doesnt take many "full wipes" (like attacking an entire fleet of AA).

34 minutes ago, Xevious_Red said:

It was pretty much imossible to be completely useless in the RTS version...

See above.

 

Often RTS CVS below tier 7 managed to lose all planes before 10 minutes. I'm sure they did at least a little damage as E2azer was kind enough to point out. 

At least the new ones can play and spot for more than 10 minutes. 

 

I dont know which is worse :Smile_coin:

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45 minutes ago, GulvkluderGuld said:

I guess the question is, what is worse, doing 10k dmg before running out of planes - or doing nothing while flying around spotting stuff....

 

Neither will do a lot of spotting because potatoes do not understand the value of it.

As such the value of potato CVs is measured purely in damage numbers I'd say.

 

And quite frankly I found even potato RTS CVs to be much more willing to spot if asked for it in chat than potato reworked CVs.

 

45 minutes ago, GulvkluderGuld said:

Often RTS CVS below tier 7 managed to lose all planes before 10 minutes. I'm sure they did at least a little damage as E2azer was kind enough to point out.

 

Comparing past records on maplesyrup shows that low tier RTS CVs generally did more spotting than reworked ones, albeit marginally (24k vs 21k).

Reworked T6 CVs e.g. also have so many more players below 10k damage in comparison it isn't even funny, with a good chunk even below 5k.

It gets even worse when looking at T4 CVs. Despite having a combined ~153k players listed T4 RTS CVs has comparatively few players below 5k avg dmg.

 

So yeah, even in low tiers potatoes fail even harder than before.

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1 hour ago, El2aZeR said:

And quite frankly I found even potato RTS CVs to be much more willing to spot if asked for it in chat than potato reworked CVs.

 

Not surprising. Because back then it was dedicating one of several squads with one or a few clicks, while you could still attack with the other squads. Now, you have to totaly dedicate yourself and do nothing else then spot. A couple of days ago I was so surprised to see a CV completely stop his attacks and find + spot the 2 enemy DDs raging wild on our team (ofc our DDs were long gone by the 4 minute mark). More surprising was the fact, that he obviously wasnt skilled enough to attack the DDs himself, yet he understood, that its cruicial for the team, if we want to win, that he needs to spot them. Gladly complimented him and we actually won because of his spotting.

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Well, first compliments to the OP for the well written post. 

 

On the subject, I honestly disagree with the argument that the smol is utterly unbalanced and OP. In fact if it was so even the potatoes would be carrying games in it or even making a huge impact In game, which and I think that by reading all the posts so far we can all agree is not the case. In fact the only thing I would change in the smol would be the retarded AA as it requires no skill and is way to powerfull for a passive skill... And even that would be a small change. 

Ships with the smol characteristics are OP in the eyes of the player base by nature and when properly played  by a division can make a game look imbalanced, but if you take a division of minotaur with a cv or even a Worcester with a cv.... Same thing happens. Belfast was considered OP, kutuzov was deemed OP.... And well... Here we go again. 

 

In all honesty I believe the problem still lies in the player base and not in the ships themselfs. I don't think a player with an avrg damage of 20k and a 30% wr in a kurfurst has a place in random batles at tier 10. Now if you consider that there are whole teams of 30 ish wr and 40k avrg dmg being thrown in game with you in the middle, frustration can take over quickly and we tend to blame the ships instead of the brainless players. 

 

Wargamming should have made 2 more co op modes a long time ago. Those 2 additional co op modes should be increasingly harder being that the last one would have similar rewards to random. Only after achieving a certain WR and avrg dmg would new players be allowed to go onto tier 9 and 10. 

 

This would however hurt the business plan a little as it would probably trim down the population of high tiers but would certainly help improve gameplay and most certainly empty the high tier bots. 

 

So in the end I think that is not as much a ship problem as I think it is a match making problem and a players skill problem. 

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19 hours ago, CrniVrag said:

Um no... 

The second I had enough I'm gone and I won't even write an obligatory "after xy years of playing I had enough" thread. There are other things to do and throw money at, like strippers or whatever else the hell some of us like. Writing forum posts in defense or critique of WG is a pointless exercise...

"The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time" fits a lot of people here on the forums, let the special snowflakes be 😁

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4 hours ago, Black0rchid said:

In fact the only thing I would change in the smol would be the retarded AA as it requires no skill and is way to powerfull for a passive skill...

 

Smolensk AA is meh at best.

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Vor 13 Minuten, El2aZeR sagte:

 

Smolensk AA is meh at best.

Isn't smolensk AA like Zao? It all feels the same tbh

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1 hour ago, Yoshanai said:

Isn't smolensk AA like Zao? It all feels the same tbh

 

Almost the same, yeah.

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