Final statistics: star saving works, star savers don’t exist

This is my final attempt to try to prove that the star saving myth is just a made-up excuse. According to the myth, they purposefully perform actions that give them XP while not helping the team to win. They don’t care if they lose, because they lost no star. To prove/disprove this, I downloaded (manually) 49 pages of Ninth Season statistics, containing all Rank 1-5 players on the EU server. They are in the final bracket of the ranked battles.

To see them, I separated the 4882 1-5 ranked EU players into 5 equal sized groups by increasing winrate. Then I did the same for increasing XP, creating 5×5 groups. Counted how many players are in the various group combinations and what is their average rank


In the player chart I colored fields blue if they had more than their fair share of players and red if less. As expected, most players are on the diagonal: they are just as good in XP as in winrate. The highest XP & lowest winrate group (the home of the mythical star savers) has the smallest population, exactly 16 players. The opposite (highest winrate, lowest XP) has 87, so it’s more likely that they are just random outliers instead of a purposeful meta group. The “second highest XP, lowest winrate” group has 124 players, but the “second highest winrate, lowest XP” has 159, so it’s also just random noise.

The second chart explains where they myth came from. Rank is more determined by XP than winrate. Being in a high XP group is more important than being in a high winrate group.

How can both statements be true? Because the XP formula is well balanced and anything that gets you XP also gets you wins. So those who do good damage are actually good players who carry their team. 55% winrate is great, but it means 45% loss rate. In these 45% games their teammates might flame them and call them “star savers”, while their only fault is being unable to carry the flamers. Them saving their star is well deserved, they were the best player on the team. The mechanic is a well designed one that saves good players from the consequences of MM giving them bad teammates.

The “high XP low winrate” player do not exist (in statistically significant numbers). So the myth isn’t simply untrue, it’s actually harmful. It places blame on those who did the most to win. It’s not a surprise. In every game the baddies blame “the team” or the good players for their own fails.

Author: Gevlon

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15 thoughts on “Final statistics: star saving works, star savers don’t exist”

  1. I dont play and likely never will but i’d suggest from reading your posts that the mechanic is also well designed in that it discourages “lets just lose this one quick” type play. the best player on a bad team is always encouraged to try.


  2. “This is my final attempt to try to prove that the star saving myth is just a made-up excuse” what? why? why waste your time? Look its clearly apparant (or it OUGHT to be!) that the people reading agree. The people who dont read, cant read, have to blame another, they ain’t gonna read it! You could come down off my Mount Sinai with it engraved on a stone tablet and they aren’t going to pay attention.

    The truth is the star system was a failed attempt at applying loser rewards by WG to RANKED games. The level of incomprehension required to make that mistake is staggering, but a different subject. The problem then occurs that people use “oh they get honour wether they win or lose lol so lets have fun” to justify arathi bridge fighting (to use an example I think most will understand). Now people are taking THAT predjudice into other games with them and when they see loser rewards…

    I’m not saying they are right. I’m just saying you won’t change their minds. I’d rather hear war stories about that new dessie your taking out to play. Can you actually infiltrate with it? or are you stuck playing cap games? If you can come up with a better way to play? I for one am all ears. Those guys blaming others for their problems? they are deaf.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @Nightgerbil: star saving isn’t a reward, as you leave the match with no star change. Only the winners get star. The purpose of star saving is to prevent the losing team give up after the first death. Hell, on randoms I often see “they have 4 radars, we have 3, gg” before the game even started.


  4. Still waiting on “Don’t play WoWS” page here, just holler if you need any more datasets for it to happen.

    Then again, I only played WoWS on its introduction time years ago, found the game even more random (read: more rigged) than WoT, and gave up on it. I’d love to be wrong, but usually ain’t.


  5. @Gevlon: I didn’t mean any nonsense. But it’s Wargayming we’re talking about. I am somewhat expecting you to find how exactly do they cheat us, not related to star saving or something like that. “Rigged to make you pay” was a good start in that direction, though I can’t say I completely understand your point, but that is probably me lacking game context.

    If you want, I can make my crawler extract player statistics from player pages (,GevIon1/) and put it into the table, just tell me which data you need.


  6. @Anon: if I find something nasty, I suggest “do not play”. Just because their other game is crap, that’s not a reason (Adam’s brother being a criminal is no reason to dismiss Adam). I do have an anecdotal evidence that they rig random games if you pay too much to make you keep paying, but that’s not a problem: stop paying for XP consumables and play instead.

    I have exactly that crawled data thank you.


  7. @Gevlon: “Adam’s brother being a criminal is no reason to dismiss Adam” is right, provided that is all you have.
    Unfortunately we have Adam’s father, who is a criminal, who raised Adam’s brother to be a criminal, benefited from his crimes, and does not show any signs of regret, which is a good reason to see Adam as a continuation of his father’s evil plan. And since our Adam is obviously unable (and probably unwilling) to cut ties with his family, that is a good enough “stay away” sign and motivation to go through Adam’s dirty laundry for me, since dealing with Adam means dealing with his family and all their ongoing criminal record.


  8. “The purpose of star saving is to prevent the losing team give up after the first death”
    In theory, that is. In practice, it does exactly the opposite. The moment people decide that the game is likely to end as a loss they give up playing the game and start farming XP. That’s where the myth of star farmers comes from.
    Sometimes as little as having fewer radars was enough for people to refuse to play the game at all and farm XP from the spawn instead.
    Saving the top XP star is creating a perverse incentive for the player to sometimes play against the stated goal of winning the game. It changes your teammates into your enemies. I could go out in a Benson, smoke my team’s Chapayev so he can radar and shoot DDs and stay outside my own smoke to spot the enemies for maximum win chance, or I could smoke myself and use the 30 seconds while Chapayev is being killed to farm a little damage. Depending on the game state sometimes playing towards a win is against my best interest. It’s absurd.


  9. @Stawek: most people are socials who would serve their team anyway. So if you were right, we’d see two distinct groups: one that plays for the team and the other who plays for saving stars. But we don’t.

    My point is that those who “farm XP” are helping the team win. Also, nothing stops the Chapayev to get into the smoke.


  10. You don’t have enough experience in the game to make these judgements. Stats are one thing, interpretation is another. For example, unless I plant a smoke specifically for a cruiser it is almost impossible for it to use it. Survivability of light cruisers is measured in seconds.
    There are “XP farmers” but, obviously, only the good players can do it right. Why would bad players suddenly become good at anything?
    It doesn’t mean forgoing the win for XP, it means playing in the way that will force your teammates to take the risks for you. For example, in 2v2 DD fights, somebody spots and take shots, somebody sits back in smoke and deals the damage. You still play in the way that promotes a win but making sure that you’re not the one at the front. This balance of teamplay versus XP is dynamic and depends on your current estimated chance of winning the match.
    By arguing that “farming XP equals good play” you claim that the XP calculation made by Wargaming is perfectly distributing the points based on the individual players’ contributions to win. Emphasis on “perfect”. If it isn’t perfect, as is almost certainly the case, then there are 2 distinct goals in the match (winning and earning XP) and they are only partially aligned.


  11. @Stawek: writing the “perfect” XP formula isn’t hard if you have the data that the dev has. Simply take the last 100K ranked games and correlate all activities with wins and make the correlation factors the XP.

    Also, the formula don’t have to be perfect to be “perfect”. As there are 7 players in a team, we have 3 “above median”, 1 median and 3 “below median” players by definition. The first 3 carried the team, the middle did his part, the last 3 got carried. If any of the 3 carriers gets his star saved, the formula promotes good play. Maybe not the best play, but still serves its purpose to promote a playstyle that carries.


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