Random game rigging drives players away

A well coding Redditor queried the Wargaming API and made a very depressing chart about World of Warships (click):
retent

They have about 70K new players every month, but can only retain less than half for a week and less than 1/4 (about 17K) for 3 months. Since it’s a free to play game, that doesn’t mean paying customer. They could double the new player count by going to steam at the cost of halving the retention, which more or less means that every new player they got on steam quit.

His second graph holds the key why:
winrate

Notice the logarithmic scale! Such extremely close-to-50% winrates cannot possibly be achieved without the random matchmaker being “rigged”. I use the “”, because setting winrates near 50% is industry standard. What’s not industry standard is that Wargaming doesn’t use ranking system where both your teammates and opponents has the same skill as you, they equalize the skill of the teams. Which means that if you’re good, you get utter morons and literal AFK-ers. If you are bad, you get good teammates to carry you.

Losing because my teammates are idiots isn’t fun. I just had an extremely frustrating game. All 3 enemy destroyers just marched in the middle to our only cap point and took it. I was in the middle. I spotted them. I called them coming 1 minute after the game started (radiolocation gave them out). Only one single cruiser bothered to come back. They didn’t simply ignored the team’s needs, they ignored easy kills. I don’t even get frustrated by lemming trains anymore. Or that if I’m supported by 3 cruisers, the enemy DD has 1, I lose if I don’t run fast enough or even think of shooting back because my “support” will shoot some battleship 15km away. I still have 59% winrate for the last 7 days despite the drooling teammates. Oh, and I’m almost always the smallest. Being only T8 between T9 and T10 ships isn’t fun. Coming out first somewhat compensates for the frustration.

On the other hand winning the game when you’re first dead isn’t much fun either. Unlike World of Tanks which I highly recommended not to play, World of Warships doesn’t reward kamikaze attacks. If you suck, you just die and get miniscule rewards, even if the team wins. So the game is balanced and fair, just horribly unfun.

Why do I played 1200 battles in a game I don’t like? Because I played 42 games in T8 ranked and I enjoyed every second of it. Here the teams are equal tier and equal skill. The teams are also smaller. It’s a completely different game and it’s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. Exciting, strategic and not “whoever clicks faster wins”. I knew that ranked exists before I started playing. I started explicitly to play ranked. I couldn’t play T10 ranked because I didn’t have T10 ship before the season ended. Now I have one and work on getting a ship and a 14+ (preferably 17+) captain for T6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 so I can play ranked regardless what tier will be used. I practice torpedo aiming during randoms without taking them seriously, because that’s a recipe for shouting at the screen.

But a random player won’t play 1000+ games in an unfun game to access a fun mode he doesn’t even heard of. He just quits. I don’t blame him. I remember how horribly frustrating World of Tanks was before I figured out that the matchmaking is rigged. Even worse we got into blaming each other with my girlfriend for losing games in platoon until we started to suspect that the game is rigged and figured out a way to bypass it. Today carrier + AA cruiser platoons do the same. They probably have fun, others not so much.

I’d strongly suggest Wargaming to introduce ranked for all tiers after 3. I mean if I select a T4 ship and play ranked, I get into a 7v7 game with other T4 ships who did the same. The rewards should be much smaller than for the “real” season tier. Also, the off-tiers should be available all the time, with only 1 day between seasons. Players who ranked out on the “real” season tier could also keep playing ranked in the lesser tiers, just to train their ships and captains, never having to set foot to the horrible randoms.

Sure, I understand that Wargaming want people to play against higher tiers to motivate them to buy XP boost. But quitting players can’t be motivated! Also, if I could just buy myself 17+ captains, I wouldn’t play at all, because playing randoms is bad experience. It’s not a good business model when players pay to not play, because most will just not play for free: quit. The wish to play in the “real” ranked tier will be enough motivation for most players to get bigger ships with paid XP boosts. Please, get rid of the horrible random matchmaking and make ranked for every tier!

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Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

4 thoughts on “Random game rigging drives players away”

  1. Biggest selling point of your permanent ‘ranked’ is the single tier MM.
    How can a T7 ship be balanced if it can face both T5 and T9 ships?
    I was trying to get two friends to play WoWs but one has given up quite fast because playing a T5 cruiser with 12 km range is not fun in all the T7 games.

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  2. Teams are 12 players per side. Any single player contributes little enough to keep the win rates flat.

    I don’t think the MM is rigged. A really random pick will give you this kind of results. Sometimes you steamroll, sometimes they steamroll you.

    1/4 retention is really high. Especially for a game that is really hard to learn and most likely requires at least decent IQ to play well.

    As for your 7v7 battles – there will be Clan season soon enough. Find a clan and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @Stawek: then how can AA cruiser + Carrier teams upkeep 90% winrate?

    A random placement would mean much wider winrate spectrum, as a good player could carry a bunch of average ones. He can’t carry lemmings of course

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  4. A good carrier captain can win a match on his own. CVs are incredibly OP. A bad CV player has worse win rate than an afk BB player (there were a few known accounts that were always afk and they had some 35% win rate with zero average damage. CVs often have similar win rates).
    AA cruisers are there to give them an edge versus other good CV players. A Minotaur in the right place can cover the middle of the map with AA to give his CV incredible advantage. His CV can launch strikes across the map and move fighters from one side to the other, the enemy has to route his planes around the map and loses half of their power. Then again, a Minotaur is very, very strong if it can rely on a teammate to properly spot for him.

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