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My final summary of "ranked battles"


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HundeWurst #1 Posted 25 June 2017 - 01:26 PM

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I finally got the time to waste on this so here we go. I dont think much will change till the beta season is over so here are my final thoughts about the ranked mode. I am going to divide the text into various chapters to make it not a major wall of text. You might even be able to only read some paragraphs, so you dont have to read it all.

Before I start with this I would like you to think about what do you associate with the word "ranked (battles)". Tell me, or dont... But at least make up your mind about this. As a good example I will start: For me ranked battles are an opportunity to constantly play with (and against) equally skilled opponents, competing with each other on something like a ladder.


 

So now to the point. What are ranked battles in reality:

  1. The name, "ranked battles", has nothing to do with what I though it might be, and from what I have read most expected something different.
  2. It is the manifestation of hidden pay2win.
  3. And finally I highlights a lot of the things which are broken, unenjoyable and bad in this game in a nice way, things which should have been taken care of ages ago.

Now I will explain myself in greater detail. How did I come to these conclusions. Especially the third "claim" needs further explanations as it features various topics. The order of these paragraphs are unspecific and I decided to talk about the pay2win aspect first. However I will return to that later on again, when we talk about balance.
 

The manifestation of pay2win

Now we can divide this further into 2 different aspects: The mode itself and the outcome (rewards of this mode). I would like to talk about the mode itself.

Now ranked battles are only played in tier 10 vehicles. A free to play user will not only have a hard time to break even in tier 10 vehicles in the random battles, no he most likely will lose credits there. However ranked battles are an even more hostile environment compared to randoms. The fact that you will exclusively meet tier 10 tanks will decrease the overall damage output, lowering your earnings. Expenses skyrocket as well: As it is supposed to be a competition the need to use the best things at hand is increased. Premium consumables and ammo will be used more often.

This all leads to one thing. Free2play users are basically excluded from the mode to begin with. I dont remember the exact numbers but if I am not entirely mistaken roughly 25% of the player base is paying Wargaming money to play (By the way that is an fantastic number for such a game, most other games are happy about 10 percent). As this mode requires excessive amounts of credits which are more or less impossible to grind as a free2play user, a day just has so many hours, Wargaming managed to basically exclude 75 percent of the players base from the very start. Only paying customers are realistically able to play this game mode in a quantity needed to be competitive.

Now we should ask ourselfs. Is that by any means a good way to introduce a "new" game mode while already excluding 75 percent of the player base before you even started? Your call.

The second part of the pay2win argument are the rewards we are able to obtain by playing the mode: Improved equipment and directives. Since the free to play users cannot compete for these new items, due to the entire design of the system and mode, these better options are the very definition of pay2win. Only players who at least invested money in the past will have a realistic chance getting these improved options. As they are better than anything a free2play user might be able to obtain, playing players gain an advantage over free2play users - pay2win in its purest form.

 

Ranked battles” - or not!?

As I said in the beginning. First of all you should have answered that question yourself, as I did. So are ranked battles the ultimate measurement of skill. Is this the ultimate form for competition?

NO! The entirely implemented system is not only lackluster but plain bad.

Ranked is nothing but a grinding festival. What ranked would mean is that if there would be two equally skilled players A and B, they would end up very close to each other on the leaderboards regardless of how much time both invest (OK both have to play a certain minimum of battles, but that is about it). This “ranked mode” is a bit different: If player B has twice the amount of time compared to player A he will finish miles ahead of player A on the leaderboards. That has nothing to do with ranked. Now I am neither really able not willing to tell Wargaming what they should do but I only will mention one phrase here: A proper ELO-system.

Lets go further. A good “ranked system” would not have any impact on the gameplay itself, then to make everyone trying to achieve the supreme goal, in this case winning the battle. This system is just a disaster. It influences the playstyle of the player, even so far, that they are starting to actively work against achieving the supreme goal. If that is not a horrible implementation, then I dont know what is. Whatever you do, Wargaming, the “ranked system” cannot ever reward players for not working for the one and only supreme goal.

The broken aspects of the game

This is going to include various topics, all highlighting what kind of a job Wargaming did in the past.

Maps

To start this one of with a slight positive statement: At the least you had the decency not to include the last 10 maps you released, all horribly designed, having major flaws, I have not yet meet a single person who likes the “new mapdesign”.

However you still managed to include a wide variety of extremely bad maps. While these might be “OK” from randoms, their extreme shortcomings and glaring weaknesses are displayed in ranked with a spotlight. How did maps like Live Oaks (heavily biased towards one spawn), Arctic Region (takes bad map design to a whole new level), Abbey and Mountain Pass (mindless frontal brawling) and other bad maps end up in the ranked map pool?

While a bit offtopic I would like to talk about “climbing” here as well, as it has an amplified negative impact on ranked battles:

A billion dollar company with some basic quality control would have taken care of that problem asap and would have continuously dealt with the problem. If you want me to buy a 40 Euro premium tank I expect maintenance in return.

Reworking maps into HD is not an excuse to completely ignore this problem for over a freaking year. These spots should have been removed the second they became public. I am talking about all the spots which break the map balance beyond repair. But no it is Wargaming, as long as there is no money to be gained, they aint gonna do anything.

Matchmaking

Introducing a skill based mode while not mirroring the classes is a programmed failure. Keep in mind, that there is no balance and maps are often favoring certain vehicle classes.

Here I would also like to talk about the excessive amount of arty in the ranked mode. How can you allow this class to even be available in ranked battles? Who came up with that idea? The class designed to be as skillless as even possible found its way to ranked battles. They should not even be allowed in there. The only compromise I could see is to limit their number to one piece per battle. Not two but one!

(If you wondered… The game becomes quit unplayable with 3 or 2 arties around.)

Try again Wargaming, try again.

Yet again a bit offtopic but still I wanted to talk about this here as well: Matchmaking in randoms, “even” after the rework is as bad as before. Yet again problems were not solved but just changed.

This game needs +/- 1 matchmaking. Many and more problems could be solved by doing so. The only reason why WoT does not have that right now is that Wargaming makes more money with the current MM. There is not a single good argument for +/- 2. Not a single. Yet we still have it since Wargaming does not care for quality but for making money only.

Balance

Balance, or the non existence of it is indeed a pretty big problem when we talk about a skill based mode. One fundamental feature of a skill based mode would be proper balance. Not to be seen anywhere, not to be seen.

Yet again once could argue that the current balance is still manageable in random, but even there it is more than poor. Taking that cowdung into ranked just seals the deal. Object 907, Maus, Type 5 and broken arty everywhere. Well done Wargaming, well done….

At this point I would like to talk about balancing in WoT in general a bit more. To start this I would like to highlight to features of the most recent balancing adjustments:

So here we go. The Type 5 is getting a “nerf”. We now get these super great “weakspots” of 270mm effective armor. On the other hand the standard round penetration value of the AMX 30b gets nerfed by 12 mm down to 248, the premium penetration value stays the same.

Now first of all these tiny “additional weakspots” on the Type 5 will do change anything. These adjustments are as useful as a mans nipple. Second we now have to set both done adjustment in perspective. The 30b has no hopes any more to penetrate the Type 5 frontally with standard ammo any more. With premium, sure no problem. So what do we learn from this?

Wargaming does not use balancing adjustments to achieve what this word is made for: balance (having multiple competitive and diverse tank choices), but only and only to improve their monetisation by making all the pay2win mechanics more important in a passive way.

They do not care about balance. They do not make adjustments to achieve balance. They make adjustments to make more money. That is it, whether you like it or not. Look back in time. All the changes they have done during the last year or half a year are directed towards the grand goal of making more money via hidden pay2win aspects.

Gamemechanics

Two things can be said about this: Gold ammo and arty:

Well yet again gold ammo in its current from is only and only in the game because it makes Wargaming plenty of money. It is bad for the gameplay, but WG does not care. As long as the Dollars are coming in they will never do anything about it.

Arty, well yet again what can be said here what has not been said a million times already. The so called “rework” does only work for randoms because the number of arty players significantly dropped. If it would be on the same level like before that patch the game most likely would be even less playable. Arty did not get a rework solving its problems. No the problems stayed very much, they just look a bit different these days.

Conclusions

  1. All of this is one of the most perverted ways to hidden pay2win. And I would like to stress the word hidden, even malicious pay2win. All recent changes, recent equals roughly the time frame of 1 year, are not done to make the game better but add more hidden pay2win content. It is perverted as it looks good when only looking at it for a short amount of time, however the longer you think about it, the more you will realize how Wargaming is treating their customers.

  2. This mode is designed only around the rewards. Wargaming introduced yet another mode, which is extremely unenjoyable for the majority (as it seems) while offering rewards, "forcing" everyone to play the mode. A mode designed only for the rewards and not the fun playing it is a mode designed to fail. Hello "Ramapage mode" all over again.

  3. Calling a game mode which basically only evolves around grinding “ranked” is false advertising. Wargaming played with the wish of a good chunk of the player base for such a mode, however did not delivered the wanted product but some “different” serving a different purpose: Making players invest money into the game.
    Whatever you want to do in the future, Wargaming, if this is supposed to be a good game mode about skill you need to add a proper ELO-system. Make players first priority to try to achieve the number one goal of this game: Winning the match.

  4. Many and more gamemechanics would need adjustments people ask for ages are now and are dearly needed to make it (more) enjoyable.

  5. My personal conclusions: I will play even during the last week to get one single piece of improved equipment, after that I will never touch this mode again as long as not major adjustments have been taken place.
    The game is now pay2win, and one of the worst forms, well hidden pay2win. Yes Wargaming, whether you like it or not, your game is pay2win.
    I will not ever spend a single dime on the game any more as long as Wargaming keeps on doing what they currently do. Only when they start caring for their customers and not screwing them over and again over I might consider spending money again.


 


Edited by WunderWurst, 29 June 2017 - 04:34 PM.


lord_chipmonk #2 Posted 25 June 2017 - 01:45 PM

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Hats off to you for putting in the time to write such a detailed review. 

CmdPrompt #3 Posted 25 June 2017 - 01:59 PM

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You forgot to mention that "opportunity to constantly play with (and against) equally skilled opponents" is not really what happens at rank 5, since the maus has enough hp to trade for 2.5k damage(which is what you typically need to get a chevron even losing). As soon as the first tank dies, everybody that wasn't camping hard, goes and camps hard(harder).

Jigabachi #4 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:05 PM

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I would probably end up with the same conclusions if I was able to play/test that gamemode.

Zhongze_Li #5 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:06 PM

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Agree with every single point you said. This competitive mode only serves to expose flaws in game mechanisms and WG's greed for money. Surely they must have realised that creating new game modes and contents is of no use if they do not address some fundamental problems, it only expose flaws in the game and make them believe that those mode could not succeed when in fact they are not.

douglarse #6 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:12 PM

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Lot of thought went into this and that makes a change for this forum in general so well done.

 

I myself gave up on ranked battles. One thing I would change is how people get chevrons. 

 

Basically I would give them to the top 10 in the winning side and none at all to the losing side. This mode should be about  encouraging you to win, not redline snipe to try and farm damage because your team lost the initial contact so you might get into the top 3.

 

Thing is I have noticed this style of play creeping into random battles as well.

 


Edited by douglarse, 25 June 2017 - 03:19 PM.


BonjiOrongji #7 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:20 PM

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well said ... sadly WG doesnt care at all

TankkiPoju #8 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

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Well written stuff.

 

But I would like to add vehicle balance doesn't really exist anywhere else either - how many tier 10 vehicles are really viable in clanwars for example. People always go for min maxing in these situations, and the fact is there is no escaping that.

 

And tier 10 will never be really balanced unless every tank is a Russian tier 10 medium. The tanks are just too different. Sure, WG could do a lot better job at it though, the current situation is getting just worse. Why cant they just make small changes instead of massive nerfs or buffs.

 

But the only way this game to be "good" for me is I play it far less than before. I have played WoT for 6 years on and off, and that's a looong time. Probably too long. WG can never "fix" that for me.



Unkel_Dolan #9 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:32 PM

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-pay2win

yeah, I farm ~1 million credits in the afternoon in my tier 8 premiums and premium account and credit reserves so that I can shoot tons of gold in ranked in the evening

 

-maps

yeah, it's same as in tournaments. in randoms you don't notice too much, but in "competitive" the imbalance becomes obvious. worst offender is probably live oaks, south spawn is autowin unless the team is braindead

 

-MM

yeah, 5-6 superheavies in one team on abbey pushing down the 1 corridor vs enemy team that has 0 superheavy

 

-game mechanics

I love being permastunned as soon as I poke a ridge

 

-This mode is designed only around the rewards

yep, everything else about it is trash. nobody would play this past the first few days if not for these rewards. 

 

and "ranked" is a joke name, it's more about time spent than skill. I have probably one of the worst chevron ratio of all ranked players but I'm in league 1 currently, because I play 6 hours every day, so eventually a get a lucky streak of games to get an extra point

 

WG froze clan wars and removed the usual summer campaign for this garbage, sad



Laatikkomafia #10 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:38 PM

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Ranked battles should be played with tier 9s.

 

Most problems solved.



Hedgehog1963 #11 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:50 PM

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Free to play players aren't excluded.  it would help them to have a bnig pool of credits piled up if they intend to take part.

 

I'm not bothered about grinding.  Ranking can be about commitment as well as just slicing through the opposition.



Y_O_L_0 #12 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:50 PM

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This is by far my favorite game mode. There just one thing that bothers me, the name of the mode. It should be renamed to"Arty Battles". Screw it, they should increase the maximum number of arties to 15 per team, so we can play 15 arties vs 15 arties. Screw it, they should just rename this game to World of Arties and remove every tank class and leave only arties.

Nokkeli #13 Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:51 PM

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Sums up my experience pretty well. I did bring up these issues with Thaine Lyman when i saw him at an game developer event and he did agree that the mode needs fixing, he did not tell me how he intended to fix it however. Remains to be seen i guess.

NiemandXL #14 Posted 25 June 2017 - 03:07 PM

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View PostWunderWurst, on 25 June 2017 - 02:26 PM, said:

Maps

To start this one of with a slight positive statement: At the least you had the decency not to include the last 10 maps you released, all horribly designed, having major flaws, I have not yet meet a single person who likes the “new mapdesign”.

However you still managed to include a wide variety of extremely bad maps. While these might be “OK” from randoms, their extreme shortcomings and glaring weaknesses are displayed in ranked with a spotlight. How did maps like Live Oaks (heavily biased towards one spawn), Arctic Region (takes bad map design to a whole new level), Abbey and Mountain Pass (mindless frontal brawling) and other bad maps end up in the ranked map pool?

 

To be fair, if they removed all the bad maps, how many would be left? 5 or 6 maybe? Proverovka, Malinovka, Sand River, Steppes, and maybe Himmelsdorf are almost the only maps we would be left with after removing all the bad and poorly balanced maps.



HundeWurst #15 Posted 25 June 2017 - 03:13 PM

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View PostBonjiOrongji, on 25 June 2017 - 02:20 PM, said:

well said ... sadly WG doesnt care at all

 

Well thats not even designed for Wrgaming. They might read it, more likely they wont or jsut ignnore it. Its for the people visting the forums. Nothing else. Some kind of information where WG is or at least might be headed towards.



Long_Range_Sniper #16 Posted 25 June 2017 - 03:14 PM

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Well written WunderWurst. If WG do read the forums they should read this as the fixes are easy, and could be done before they thrown the whole thing in the bin because it went too far.

 

1. Increase the rank levels and leave the mode open for longer. Don't reset after a week.

 

2. Losing side should NEVER gain a chevron. I'm OK with the top three not losing one, but this encourages playing to lose.

 

3. I've argued for a while that artillery adds a big amount of the overall RNG element to randoms. It helps players keep within certain win/loss parameters along with other things like MM and the other RNG aspects. Ranked battles however is meant to be about solely about"skill", it's not about grinding your next equipment/tank. It should therefore minimise RNG as far as possible. In this mode you don't want the best players getting their wings clipped. So why not make it only playable by tanks. The balance is all to pot anyway as it's all tier X tanks, so in this regard artillery provides a very, very minimal function compared to randoms. I can't really see the logic for having it in ranked battles, unless WG want the few players who only have tier X arty to play......and I don't think that's true. I think it's more likely that they want the RNG impact on outcomes in ranked battles, just like they get in randoms.

 

All of which made me conclude at a very early stage was that ranked battles is actually tier X only random battles, with some expensive rewards that will cost you far more to achieve than they're worth for the average player.

 

Handy hint WG.....don't treat your players as Edited......we may play like it, but that doesn't mean we can't see through how you've designed ranked battles.


Edited by Asklepi0s, 27 June 2017 - 10:16 AM.
This post has been edited by the moderation team due to inappropriate remarks


8126Jakobsson #17 Posted 25 June 2017 - 03:16 PM

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Good read, Wunde'. I decided when it got announced not to participate and I have not read or seen (streams and brothers playing) anything that have made me feel that I was wrong in my first assumptions against it. It's a Edited credit sink mode with Edited prizes. Looks like a CW campaign but solo and no cool tank at the end to play for (which you end up regretting putting all that time, effort and mental sanity for anyway), so what's the point really. 

Edited by Asklepi0s, 27 June 2017 - 10:17 AM.
This post has been edited by the moderation team due to inappropriate remarks


_Anarchistic_ #18 Posted 25 June 2017 - 03:19 PM

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interesting

 

I actually quite like the mode

but

 

1 thing the mode does show is how imbalanced the tank classes are, once you get to tier4+ I hardly ever a any british,tanks, onlr batchats for French (pre upcoming nerf to oblivion) very rarely see any Russian heavy tanks or any nations tds or light tanks

 

Kranvagns, Maus, type 5, 907 dominate



Stevie_Ray_Vaughan #19 Posted 25 June 2017 - 03:32 PM

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Well said sir, fully agree.

Gkirmathal #20 Posted 25 June 2017 - 04:41 PM

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Well written WunderWurst, +1!

 

As someone who has stopped playing, but who was still around when this new mode was being tested. The feedback/review you just wrote is almost the same as the critiques Ranked got and the worries that folks shared about probable failure points in this new mode when it was still being tested.

 

Thanks for the insight, was a good read!






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