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Thoughts on Matchmaking and Win Rate

Win Rate Matchmaking random universe

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Mere_Anarchy #1 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:17 PM

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TL;DR - matchmaking hates you, just take solace in the fact that it hates everyone equally and as capriciously as it does you. You are the single biggest contributor to your own success or failure in this game.

 

At the risk of adding yet more hot air to the seemingly endless round of conversations about matchmaking and fluctuations in win rate I thought I would offer my own personal observations on win rate trends and matchmaking based on a long-term view of my stats.  

 

Like virtually everyone else on this forum, I have experienced the euphoria of amazing winning streaks alternated with what seem like endless strings of low tier potato-laden games that induce great bouts of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

 

I am the same player playing the same tanks in the same way. Why can’t I stay on top? Surely something external is causing these swings.

 

Is it just random variation? Sunspots?  The NSA?  Stalin’s vengeful ghost?  Fracking? Moon phases?  Quality control problems at the fennel powder factory?  Wargaming’s nefarious matchmaking algorithm?

 

I too, in the depths of my despair, have at times (secretly) donned a tin foil cap and cursed matchmaking for clearly seeking to maliciously ruin my dream of a higher win rate.  But idle speculation and baseless ranting gets me no closer to my goal, nor does it help shore up my addled brain’s already tenuous grip on lucidity.

 

Before I start there are two things worth noting - the first is Wargaming’s official post on how matchmaking works.  The second is my own previous analysis of matchmaking, win rate, and team composition.  Both of these imply that the matchmaking process is random with respect to all factors except tier and tank type.

 

So, doing what I know best, I decided to empirically consider this variability over a long time span.  The following is a graph resulting from this data collection that shows both my overall and 7-day win rate recorded at weekly intervals since January:

 

Win Rate Graph

 

There are two primary takeaways from this:

 

  1. My 7-day Win Rate yo-yo’s around so much it hurts my neck to look at it.   What goes up always goes back down and vice versa (tin foil hat donned)
  2. The overall (linear) 30-week trend line for my 7-day WR is a flat 66%  (wait, what?)

 

The swings in 7-Day WR were not a surprise when I first saw them.  In fact, as the unofficial stat keeper for the Triarii I can tell you that virtually everyone experiences these to some extent.  The big surprise to me was the flat trendline:  since January my avg WR is 65.7% The first 15 weeks?  65.8%.   The most recent 15 weeks?  65.9%.  I have clearly found my ceiling for win rate - and unless I can find some way of improving my play (like dying less often and doing more damage) this is where I will (happily) remain.

 

In a nutshell: I AM the same player, playing the same tanks, in the same way - WHEN VIEWED OVER A LONG ENOUGH TIME FRAME.  Matchmaking is random, but that randomness only appears when viewed from the right perspective.

 

There are clearly forces at work larger than myself that I cannot control.  As a tanker who is much wiser than me has pointed out - finding the nirvana in win rate and match making is about acceptance.

 

Whatever these particular forces are that cause my weekly win rate to vary so much, I have learned to take solace in the acceptance of this variability.  Although I still do what I can to mitigate the impact of the lows, and to hold on to the highs as long as possible, they are simply a part of my WoTBlitz experience.  I no longer expect to win 65% of my battles every tanking session, or even every week.

 

Looking at this data and attempting to understand my own progression as a player has led me to some general observations that you may find helpful (many of which have already been previously stated at some point on the forums).

 

  • Your win rate will fluctuate in the short term - it is inevitable. Sometimes matchmaking will love you, other times, not so much. The sooner you accept this fact, the better your mental state.
  • Focus on the long term - don’t stress about day-to-day fluctuations and set long term goals.  I find my sanity is improved by focusing on the week.  If I drop WR points in the middle of the week, I know that I have time to make it up later on.  And, I know that it always will improve given enough time.  Some weeks when I reach a particular target WR I put down my iPad and stop playing until Monday.
  • Try to find effective strategies to flatten out the valleys (many of which have been discussed multiple times on the forums already).
    • For God’s sake, take the advice of countless others - if you experience a string of defeats (2,3,4.. or whatever)  STOP PLAYING AND TAKE A BREAK!!  
    • Platooning - this can work, but is not a panacea.  I have had times where platooning has worked great to get me back on the winning track.  In others, I have seemingly infected my platoon mate with my raging case of potato blight.  
    • Mix up your play. Struggling in your heavy?  Switch to a medium or TD.  Play a favorite tank for a while.  I typically pick up one of my top WR tanks (Matilda toon anyone?).
  • Trust me, if I can improve so can you. But, if your win rate is not where you would like it, you need to look squarely in the mirror.  If you can’t be reflective about your own play and constantly seek to find excuses and reasons outside of yourself, you will never improve.
  • Alternately - ignore your stats altogether and just have fun (it is just a game after all).


So, does MM hate you?  Of course it does - but it hates everyone equally, just like a parent.  Which of my kids do I like best today?  Depends on who has pissed me off the least.  Rest assured however, that whichever of my progeny is on my good side today he or she will do something to annoy the heck out of me tomorrow and will move to the top of my grudge list.  However, over the long term, odds are I will end up loving/hating them equally over the course of my life.  And, I have no doubt that they will put me in a second-rate retirement home the first chance they get.  Such is life.


Edited by vanpeenen, 30 September 2015 - 07:56 PM.

 

 


Squib919 #2 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:26 PM

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Best post ever about MM. You even used "data," instead of your "beliefs." Kudos! 


ahredstealth #3 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:28 PM

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Your posts are always well thought out, informative, and useful.  Of course I am already out of +1's.

 

Will you adopt me?  I will work hardest at becoming the favorite son.  


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SkiFletch #4 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:41 PM

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Block Quote

  Quality control problems at thefennel powder factory?

 

+1 for this comment alone.

 

But seriously, great display of how MM hates everyone equally.  Frankly, it looks just like what I would have expected such an analysis to look like.  Wish I had the discipline to do it myself :)



L1LBunnyFooFoo_ #5 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:44 PM

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best post I've ever read

 

 


CrimsonMG #6 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:45 PM

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Let's hope this ends the unfair MM threads, I remember Skittles posting a similar thread.

_TheBull_ #7 Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:46 PM

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Great post.... +1.  I'm a definite short term stressor.

 

-1 for the kids though.... Is it really a matter of like / hate?  Where's the LOVE?



HillbillyRockstar02 #8 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:04 PM

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I dont like MM at all, and i think it doesnt like me a little more.. good post tho!

__Crusader6__ #9 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:08 PM

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Good post - thanks for taking the time to type it out.

 

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Mere_Anarchy #10 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:09 PM

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View PostSquib919, on 27 July 2015 - 12:26 PM, said:

Best post ever about MM. You even used "data," instead of your "beliefs." Kudos! 

 

High praise - although I'm not sure entirely warranted.  All the same I'll take it.  Thanks!

 

View Postahredstealth, on 27 July 2015 - 12:28 PM, said:

Your posts are always well thought out, informative, and useful.  Of course I am already out of +1's.

 

Will you adopt me?  I will work hardest at becoming the favorite son.  

 

thanks for the kind words (they're worth more than the +1 anyway).

 

Lol - adoption.  I'm flattered but I can hardly manage the beings I am currently responsible for (2 and 4-legged).  Hell, I can hardly take care of myself most days...

 

 

View PostSkiFletch, on 27 July 2015 - 12:41 PM, said:

 

+1 for this comment alone.

 

But seriously, great display of how MM hates everyone equally.  Frankly, it looks just like what I would have expected such an analysis to look like.  Wish I had the discipline to do it myself :)

 

Thought there would be a few who would like that one.  Still one of those threads that brings a smile to my face everytime I think of it.  Had to find some way to work it into one of my posts..

 

And, thanks much for the kind words.

 

View Postkrownski, on 27 July 2015 - 12:44 PM, said:

best post I've ever read

 

Thanks!  Guess I've got nowhere but down to go from here...  (jk - appreciate the kind words).

 

View PostCrimsonMG, on 27 July 2015 - 12:45 PM, said:

Let's hope this ends the unfair MM threads, I remember Skittles posting a similar thread.

 

I would like to think so, but highly doubt it.  Even if this post could convince everyone at this point in time (highly doubtful) there will undoubtedly be a fresh batch of doubters arrive to the forums in a couple of months well after this thread is dead and gone.

 

View Post_TheBull_, on 27 July 2015 - 12:46 PM, said:

Great post.... +1.  I'm a definite short term stressor.

 

-1 for the kids though.... Is it really a matter of like / hate?  Where's the LOVE?

 

Thanks!  I still stress some short term, but have gotten better about it.  And - post edited to take into account your comments - I am all about the love.


 

 


TheLupus #11 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:11 PM

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Thank god. Praise rngesus. I came here thinking I had to shut down another post about some noob whining about MM. Instead, I'm pleasantly surprised and very impressed with your data. Great job mate. Send me a in game friend request and I will show you how to win at the 80 percents. Great post.

dimzzy #12 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:28 PM

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Do you realize that you've just ruined lives of so many players? They thought that MM is AI secretly lurking on WG servers and had personal relationships with it even...and now it's gone )))

Mere_Anarchy #13 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:36 PM

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View PostHillbillyRockstar02, on 27 July 2015 - 01:04 PM, said:

I dont like MM at all, and i think it doesnt like me a little more.. good post tho!

 

You're not a middle child are you?  (jk!)  Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to read such a long post!  

 

View Post__Crusader6__, on 27 July 2015 - 01:08 PM, said:

Good post - thanks for taking the time to type it out.

 

Thanks - was fun to do.  Beats the hell out of working, right?

 

View PostExcaliburSaber, on 27 July 2015 - 01:11 PM, said:

Thank god. Praise rngesus. I came here thinking I had to shut down another post about some noob whining about MM. Instead, I'm pleasantly surprised and very impressed with your data. Great job mate. Send me a in game friend request and I will show you how to win at the 80 percents. Great post.

 

Well, in my defense I AM a whiny noob...  

 

Lol - thanks for the compliments - much appreciated.  I've seen you in battle, and when I'm on the other side I have not enjoyed it one bit.  Very impressive.  I'll definitely take you up on your offer, but I'm not sure you have much to work with.  I'm afraid I may have reached the limits of my natural abilities. I'm ok with that.

 

View Postdimzzy, on 27 July 2015 - 01:28 PM, said:

Do you realize that you've just ruined lives of so many players? They thought that MM is AI secretly lurking on WG servers and had personal relationships with it even...and now it's gone )))

 

Lol - I guess that was the thought. I figured since I've already ruined my kids' lives I should cast a wider net...  But, somehow I suspect that this thread is largely preaching to the choir.  Who knows, though?


 

 


mershongraphix #14 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:40 PM

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Great post.

But I swear I have upset a dev and they clicked the "match with top potatos" box somewhere on their end lol.


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Viper8757NC #15 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:42 PM

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Fantastic post, VP.  Well-researched, supported and presented conclusions--conclusions with which I agree wholeheartedly.


Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still rant in-game about unbalanced MM, but I understand that over the long term it "all comes out in the wash."


Again, great work.



Asiaticus #16 Posted 27 July 2015 - 07:58 PM

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Another wise and well reasoned post, Vanpeenen. As someone who recently had three bad weeks followed by an excellent week, I'd say that all of your perspective and advice fits my own experience. It is so very easy to develop superstitious beliefs about MM because the human mind is hardwired to find patterns no matter what. There is even a technical name for this: apophenia—the human tendency to find patterns in random or meaningless information.

 

I see a lot of apophenia in reading posts on this forum.



TheLupus #17 Posted 27 July 2015 - 08:16 PM

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Van, the moment you've told me you want to take me up, you've already taken steps to become a better player. What's important that noobs (not you, of course) learn their noobs and seek help. Il be on.

CptCheez #18 Posted 27 July 2015 - 08:20 PM

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I've been doing similar tracking of my own 7-Day vs. Overall WR, and posted something on the Triarii forums about it a few weeks ago.  What I was looking for was the commonly-thrown-around "Platooning = stat padding higher WR!" correlation.  Here's mine, with a Platoon Victory % green line thrown in (and Survival % because I was curious about that too):

 

WR / Platoon graph

 

You can see that the amount I platoon varies rather wildly from week to week.  Some weeks it's ~30%, others it's been as high as 90%.  But what you can also see is that on the weeks I platoon more, I do not necessarily win more.  And with this data, I came to the realization that this is why I have argued so vehemently in the past about various rating systems using Platooning as a penalty: Because that "truth" does not personally apply to me.  Personally, there are weeks where I've platooned far less and won more often.  And vice versa.  If the "Platooning = higher WR" rhetoric were a universal truth, you'd see that red line and green line in my graph going up and down together.  But they don't.  I realize that this "fact" (in quotes because it's merely a correlation without any causal data behind it) may be true for some people, but it is most definitely not true for everyone.

 

I initially had Hit Ratio and Damage Ratio in there too, but the graph was looking way too cluttered.  Both of those have been steadily increasing as well.

 

I am quite happy to notice several things about this graph:

 

1) My Survival rate is on a steady climb upward, which, IMO, has a lot to do with my WR.  The longer I survive, the more damage I can do, and the more I can help my team win.

2) My 7-day WR trend line is steadily increasing, at almost exactly the same rate as my Overall WR.  This says to me that I have not yet plateaued in my Blitzing abilities and am continuing to get better from week-to-week.

3) I didn't include this in the final chart, because again it was looking too cluttered, but while my 7-day WR and Overall WR are on the rise, my Platooning trend line actually slopes downward over these last 8 months.

 

TL/DR - (This space intentionally left blank.  VP said it all already)


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BR1XT0N #19 Posted 27 July 2015 - 08:25 PM

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Great post, van.

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tinmanic #20 Posted 27 July 2015 - 09:16 PM

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+1 great insight!   There's a nuance in one of your statements that resonated with me:  that we potentially have a "WR ceiling" unique to our playing style. So that suggests we can raise our ceiling if we change things that we can control (for the better) - like dying less often and doing more damage, increasing hit rate, etc., as long as MM doesn't change. I don't have enough battles or tanks to know what my ceiling will be, but I've discovered that habits (aka styles) are very hard to identify and break. Thanks for this


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