Now I know why Warships players believe in the star saver conspiracy

As an introduction: World of Warships has a ranked mode where 7 v 7 battle takes place and winners get a “star”, while losers lose it. Get enough stars and you get a rank. Players compete for ranks, hoping to reach the ultimate rank (1). To prevent teams giving up fast, the developer rewards the best player of the losing team with not losing his star. According to a very popular conspiracy theory, there are players who purposefully play in a way that decreases team win chance, but increases their chance to be the star saver.

I made elaborate statistics to disprove this. The Warship redditors got buttmad over it and banned me from their subreddit. I posted totally made-up statistics then under a throwaway account and got celebrated by their crazed cult.

However crazed cults come from somewhere and this somewhere is the 2-5 ranked bracket. Playing there is absolutely different from playing 6-10. My winrate is abysmal, though it’s not seen in the stats because if I lose, I fall back to the 6-10 bracket where I have 80%+ winrate, so I get back almost instantly. I have to remake my strategies, because these players are absolutely not “play like 6-10, just better”.

Every single one of them “is” a star saver. This statement of course makes no sense, a group of star savers would always lose and 6/7 of them wouldn’t even save their star. If everyone plays with the intention of saving stars, playing to win is the winning strategy. Star saving could only work if a tiny minority does it. Also, I know enough of social psychology to don’t assume such selfishness concentration. They are not conscious star savers. They are just horribly fearful. None of them do anything on his own initiative, all of them hide behind islands, half of the cruisers has smoke instead of radar (radar is the most powerful offensive ability, smoke is a weak defensive), nobody pushes, even if the enemy is visibly far away.

They all wait for someone else to make a mistake, preferably in the other group. Their goal is not to win but to not lose, which is the goal of the theoretical star saver.

Playing with them is annoying. They don’t do anything productive and they flame a lot. Probably not watching chat at all helps. Them doing nothing can be utilized: if we are ahead in points, I will not do anything either to not risk changing the status quo. If we are losing, I’ll push. The ironic thing is that my previous strategy wasn’t aggressive at all, but it’s still too aggressive for the 2-5 players. Probably sailing anywhere in line of sight is too aggressive for them.

We’ll see how this will work out.


PS: late night update: I’ll manage:
Rank 5, 2 stars.

Author: Gevlon

My blog:

13 thoughts on “Now I know why Warships players believe in the star saver conspiracy”

  1. So, can I assume that in that range, defense trumps offense for some reason? What is the reason?

    So if one or two people attack, the defense of a same number of ships will defeat them? As such, spreading out and running away is a sound defense. Just let random luck decide the “winning team”, huh?

    The devs probably assumed people would form stable teams by that level. I guess not.


  2. @Smokeman: there is no such thing in clan wars, where the teams are the (considered) the most skilled. There is huge overlap between high ranked clan membership and high individual rank. So it seems that the same people who attack boldly as clan are hiding behind islands as individuals.

    I think the main reason is social. They have zero trust in teammates, so they don’t do anything that implies the help of teammates. Which is a devil’s circle:
    – I assume that they will hide behind islands
    – I can’t attack alone
    – so I hide behind an island (+1 island hider)


  3. @Hanura: no I didn’t and I wouldn’t see much into it. What matters for players is not who owns the company, but who runs it on the low level. While their performance with BDO is impressive, I wouldn’t start throwing fireworks until we see significant changes in EVE.

    To consider EVE again, we would have to see Falcon go, and the nullsec resource production nerfed to force competition.


  4. Gevlon:

    That was assumed. My question was WHY is defense suddenly favored? It doesn’t matter if team play (clan wars) favors offense because they’re teams unless the “clan wars” are only available after rank 6. “Teams” (Defined as a coherent, stable group that plays to support the group) will always crush “sides” (defined as ad hoc groups with no trusted leader.)

    Of COURSE they have zero trust in random sides. Only a complete idiot would have trust in randoms. But why did that suddenly switch when the rank dropped below 6?


  5. To add:

    My assumption (I suppose I could research this better, buy why? That’s why I have you!) is that there are just very few stable clans, and they jet right to the top. So there is a hard line at whatever rank level marks the border between the fast rising clans and the slowly rising randoms.

    The starkness of this barrier (80% win to < 50% win for you.) is literally preventing you from progressing in rank as a random. It is also logical that this will just get worse if you manage to crack into rank 4, where it is assumed the teams are even better.

    Then, clan members can't play as a team 24/7… so players in clans that suck play random games for fun, riding the "50% win rate of 100% defensive play." Clans that want to win, of course… will prevent this as it damages the win rate of the team members.

    So, is the CLAN's aggregate rank what determine's it's placement? If so, then some scrub at rank 5 who's on a rank 1 team can only hurt the team by losing in rank 5.


  6. @Smokeman: yes, at rank 6 the switch is huge. Before that, the players “played”, bad or good. After, everyone camps.

    Ranked play is always solo, no clan members can join together. Rank 4 is the same as 5, because all players at rank 5 and below are in the same matchmaking.


  7. “Ranked play is always solo, no clan members can join together. Rank 4 is the same as 5, because all players at rank 5 and below are in the same matchmaking.”

    That tells me that defense was always favored by the system.

    At rank 6, you had an 80% win rate. Logically, a rank 1 would also have a commensurately high win rate over a rank 5. Unless rank advantage stops at rank 5. If that’s the case, then whichever meta is innately superior (offense or defense) will prevail.

    What you are telling me is that defense innately prevails, but offense + rank bonus over compensates. Figuring out why this is is what you should be posting about. It must be about whatever bonuses rank gives.

    Something about being rank 5 to 1 gives a huge advantage over rank 6.


  8. Camping is the winning strategy on all levels of gameplay. In top ranks everybody camps simply because they are better players.
    Matches in WoWs are hardly ever won. They are usually lost. The side with more idiots loses. Even if their better players are great. In a 7v7 match, a single bad player will lose you the game, easily. It was painfully obvious in the clan battles, where a single mistake created an opening for the enemies and let them steamroll.

    The reason is the influence of angles in artillery hits calculations, mostly. A well-positioned ship is very hard to kill, no matter how good his opponents. A badly positioned ship is very easy to kill, including in single salvo and even if the opponents aren’t all that good.

    The biggest mistake a player can make is to attack in the wrong place or time. This usually happens when a player assumes his team can and will help him in a push. His teammates may not realize an advantageous opening and fail to help which leaves the player alone versus multiple opponents. Or maybe his teammates are better than him and realize the likely suicidal outcome.

    Attacking is bad on multiple levels. First, it precludes “going dark”, which is holding artillery fire and disappearing from enemy vision. Cruisers usually have visibility ranges in the region of 10-12km, if they get closer to the enemy they cannot disappear. If the shit hits the fan they die very quickly.
    Second, the closer you are to the enemy the larger the angles against them. Think about triangles with the same base but different height. The taller triangle has sharper angles than the shorter one. In WoWs, sharper angles mean less damage received from artillery (to the point of near invincibility) while the right angle usually means an instant death.
    Third, many ships rely on island cover to shoot over them unspotted. There aren’t that many spots on any map that allows this kind of advantage and the playstyle is by necessity very static. You can’t shoot over an island while attacking for the simple reason that the island is stationary. The ships most suited for this kind of play style are USN cruisers, which are very popular. Worcester, a T10 USN CL, can shoot over islands with devastating DPM but is extremely vulnerable in open waters. Des Moines, another USN CL, is very similar and is famed for just camping in one spot for the entirety of the game. DM is so extremely good in defence that attacking her 1v1 is suicide and 2v1 usually a big mistake.
    Fourth, the abovementioned USN cruisers create no-go zones for enemy DDs with their radars. This means they can’t spot and without spotting, there is no point in pushing forward. It’s suicide.
    Fifth, points are very predictable. If you have 1 point more than the opponents and the same number of caps, you are winning. There is no reason to push. Just sit back and pick the best defensive spots. Now that you are set up for defence, the enemies have it very hard to push, even if they have to do it to overcome the point disadvantage.
    Sixth, the best player saving the star ruins the game. The first player to attack will be focused by the enemies and destroyed. If you have an advantage then attacking is pointless. If the enemies have an advantage and the chances of winning look slim, then not dying and farming XP while some sucker pushes first and tanks for you is even more important. There is a reason that the real-life military executes their own people for cowardice and disobeying orders. You might die in the first line of the battle, but you will certainly die when your own shoot you for cowardice. No such thing in WoWs. Actually, the opposite happens and a cowardly player is rewarded with a star.

    However, bad players are bad. They don’t know how to camp. They have no clue about any of the above. Strategy in this game is extremely complex. Combat in WoWs is to combat in Eve like chess is to tic tac toe.
    The bad players just hide in a random place. They can’t shoot from there and they usually forget about some enemy or exposed angle and die anyway. Then they look at the final score of people who can camp effectively and conclude that their teammates must have been cheating. After all, they (the bad players) were doing the same thing (camping) yet they got only half the XP. So, they think, “the next game I will do the same”. And they go even deeper behind the islands (or farther back towards their spawn) and have even worse results.

    This creates the myth of star savers while in reality, they are just bad. Everybody is a star saver to some extent but good players can do it without losing their win chances. After all, XP is awarded mostly for damage and doing damage is a good thing.


  9. @Smokeman: there is no such thing as “rank bonus”. The Rank 6-10 players are matchmade together. The rank 2-5 players are matchmade together.

    Defense is not rewarded by the system. Organized clans (who play against organized clans) don’t play static defense. Defense becomes optimal strategy if everyone else defends too. It’s a self-defeating cycle. If no one else help me push, I must not push.

    @Stawek: all true, but for some reason 6-10 wasn’t like that. It’s like the 6-10 players are used to teamplay and this is why they can’t break in 5-2.


  10. Being “used to teamplay” is simply being bad. They are taking unnecessary risks on the hope that their teammates can help them. It’s a bad idea.
    There is a massive skill difference between brackets. A couple seasons ago I bounced back into R11 after some time has passed (pro tip: don’t drink and drive ships) and ended up with 3 games of 150k+ damage and multiple kills in Martel on the way back.


  11. @Gevlon
    I find it interesting actually, in an earlier post you pointed out that this game would be complete without CVs. To play the devil’s advocate, I would like to point out that as it stands right now, there are no viable counters to island campers in randoms or ranked battles. In a match with CVs, sitting stationary isn’t just a bad idea, it’s suicidal.
    I believe the criticism most people levy against CVs is true – that they punish aggressive plays – but that may be worthwhile trade-off for completely disincentivizing stationary camping.


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