I believe I’ve found the reason for it. In random battles, all good players are “star savers”. Look at this screenshot, posted on reddit:
It’s not surprising or new, we see it all the time. And I’m not judging, I’m a proud 20km Shima / TRB Yugumo / TRB Kagero player who sold his Akatsuki for a TRB Shira and never looked back. I keep torping from max range and avoid cap circles in the first 10 minutes like they were Keep Families Together rallies.
There is little reason to try to win in a random game where 90% of the players are between 48% and 52% winrate and the reward is mere +50% XP. Increasing your winrate from 50% to 60% only increases your reward by (1 + 0.6*0.5)/(1 + 0.5*0.5) – 1 = 4% I get more XP growth by living a bit longer by staying away from risk and throwing torp waves after torp waves. I can’t wait for the legendary upgrade that will further increase my DPS by 15%.
So in random battles people see nothing but hiding sniping ships getting the top positions of the XP list and assume that it works in ranked battles too. Not really. The reason is likely that there are less players in ranked, so you can’t always find spotted targets. If you hide behind an island and spam HE, you probably won’t save your star, but you throw the game. In random, throwing isn’t a big problem because the matchmaker keeps you near 50% and even atrocious bad play can’t get you below 33%. I guarantee you that a suicide or AFK player in ranked would have one digit winrate.