“Lies, damn lies and statistics.” Unknown.
I play games because I want to have fun. It’s a hobby that’s why you do them to get a reward, of some description. But you want to improve and get better at your hobby it could be ballroom dancing, mountain biking, sports coaching anything even computer gaming. In ballroom dancing you might get feedback from your tutor or you might start entering competitive events. With mountain biking you read guides and start trying harder routes or you might be less exhausted after your regular route. In computer games your ‘score’ is an indication of how well you are doing. As a sports coach I am used to guiding people to improvement but also self analysing both my actual performance and also my ability to improve other people. It is easier to guide people towards improvement because you can oversee their actions and tweak their ‘stance’ and knowledge set them little trials to put knowledge into practice. Hopefully especially newer participants in the sport they will see a big improvement in their skills. When your evaluating your own performance you can if your lucky be mentored by a person with more skill in that field. I love both ends of the equation been a mentor and been mentored. When you first become a sports coach it’s far to easy to fall into the trap of talking too much! I was guilty of this crime and was eventually able to drop that habit. Over the years I have done the same to new coaches, developed the less is more mantra. When you mentor new coaches it’s not just about improving their coaching but you also can learn how other people attack the problems with interacting and overcoming different types of situations that the environment and clients can present. It allows you to self analyse how would you have dealt with the situation, would your method have been better, could you tweak your/their method for a better outcome. When your been mentored they can bring a vast amount of experience to the table or a new way of thinking. Often knowledge in a different discipline can be used to improve your performance. My three main coaching disciplines Canoeing, Kayaking and White Water Rafting all eventually melded together bringing all my skills up. I was often called to do presentations or seminars on white water safety it became my ‘specialist’ subject so to speak. I learnt most of these skills from the rafting side, but leading Canoe trips on moving water and participating/assisting in Kayak trips built on the rafting foundation.
In gaming unless you are an ‘eSports’ person you are unlikely to have a mentor. You might be lucky and have a clan that wants to develop you as a player for example Eve university in Eve or Havoc clan in World of tanks. So generally we have to rely on other tools to gauge any improvements. So First Person Shooters it’s a very popular genre of game and fairly new as well as real-time strategy both genres have a basic concept which is built upon with each generation of titles. There is a correlation of skills learnt in either Doom or Unreal Tournament that can be applied to BF4 or CoD the same with early RTS like Dune to more modern iterations. So if you learn skills in one FPS they will be transferable to other games in the same genre. So that equates to my coaching analogy of Canoe, kayak and rafting. But self-analysis is just as difficult as in real coaching. You will not be popular if you start ‘mentoring’ your mate as you’re sat on the sofa next to him. So we have to rely on in-game statistics or external tools to improve our gaming. A major metric often citied by shall I say the CoD player is k/d ratio or Kill to Death Ratio. In CoD with small maps and in your face game play it makes sense. But this simple metric can fall apart in other games for example if you only play a sniper in BF2/3 you are more likely to have a higher k/d than a person playing an assault class. Or in WoT your favourite tank is a high rate of fire tank with low alpha, or maybe you prefer to play light or scouting mediums. Where your contribution can be attrition and not out right kills. Maybe another metric to look at would be your gaming success in general your Win rating. My Win ratio hit 54% as I finished the British Medium tank line and I was completely stoked. But over the last few months it has dropped to just over 53% have I become inept since christmas. My quick rebuttal is no, so what is happening is that I am working my way up through a number of lines. For example working up both American tank destroyer lines german heavy, medium and light lines and also had a dabble with some Russian Tanks. Actually I hated the Russian line that much I have stopped progressing. Over the last month my Win ratio has dropped by 1% I think that’s a fair evaluation dealing with new tanks, unskilled crew and new styles of play. Talking of unskilled crew the american T25 TD didn’t get my old hellcat crew I accidentally put a brand new crew in with no camo/sixth sense it’s really annoying the hell out of me. Where as my hellcat has a lovely skilled crew!!! So Win ratio gives an overall view of how a person can play WoT, but this metric can also be skewed. For example looking at a WoT player with 20k games under their belt saying they are an average player there Win Ratio will be higher. The reason I say this is because after 20k games they will not be, and I hate to use this term ‘grinding’ through lame tanks for example the French AMX 40 aka ‘The Duck Tank’ (actually I did see a player driving the AMX 40 that had camo on it, shiver.) They will have settled into and found their niche(s) they will have a higher proportion of games played with skilled crews which can make a huge difference. Believe me playing a tier VII SPG with no camouflage skill and no sixth sense is a nightmare when its armour seems to be wet paper mache. So gamers extolling their skill of 60% Win ratio understand the next question is “Wow! How many games have you played?” I’m not saying they are not skilled but context of statistics is important to derive a useful meaning. By looking at the win ratio’s of individual tanks with the number of games played in that tank. I have one tank with a 100% win ratio but I’ve played less than 5 games so that is really an anomaly but which also means I can ignore the 28% win ratio I have on a Russian tank that I don’t like. By looking at all my tanks and the numbers of games in each tank you can understand where my gaming niche is at this point in time. It breaks down into fast-moving German lights, English mediums, heavies and tank destroyers and American tank destroyers both fixed and turreted. Tanks lines I don’t like (all) Russians, light French and Japanese these are my bellow average win ratio lines. So by looking at the combined statistics of Win ratio’s and games played I now know what style of tanks I prefer but more importantly where I need to look to improve. For example German Mediums overall I’m a bit average with them but I want to continue working on them to unlock the Tiger P and Tiger etc. Because it will introduce me to a different play style. The British heavy tank is not happy side scrapping in a city where as the german heavies and designed for these close quarter knife fights. Both the Carnarvon and Conqueror are far happier on the back of a ridge using their excellent gun depression just like the Centurion I and 7/1.
“…we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender…” PM Winston Churchill.
Another statistic to look at is survival, my present survival is 32.5%, oops. This is a stat that I really need to work on. It’s partly to do with my mentality, If at the end of a battle I very rarely go and hide and let the timer run out. I would rather go down swinging. Very often my conscience wont let me retreat and leave a heavy tank to die alone, either if I have a chance for example if I’m in my Knight or my chance to retreat was never there for example in a British fixed gun TD. I’ve been in the situation where a team-mate has left me and fled just to be shot in the back. Where as if you stay there is a chance for a few more exchange’s of fire and maybe extra experience points. Maybe slowing the enemy’s advance giving your team the chance to mop up. I don’t base camp unless the map is designed that way for example ‘The Abbey.’ I also don’t shy away from holding a flank on my own, I will defend that line. Where I can improve is my American TD’s, Hellcat drivers get a hell of a bad rep for driving too fast into the enemy and been the first tank to die. With all the American turreted TD’s I find that I get sucked into more a close support range than long distance sniping. Also I always carry bino’s on my tank and I want to be able to see the enemy and I’ve noticed a lot of mediums dont rig for view range probably just gun laying drive, rammer and vents for their own personal gain. Which is something I’ve noticed in my Conqueror, I feel blind because I’m not spotting the enemy and often neither are any supporting mediums or lights!! I also am willing to sacrifice my tank to try to win than play for the Loss/Draw.
Game statistics are not the end of the journey, they as such don’t tell the whole story about how good or bad a player is. Statistics can be twisted and misused, but they can be used together drawing in the many available stats to sketch a picture of where your gameplay lays at the present and can give you the opportunity to expose your weakness’. Then importantly a metric to work with to show if you are improving in a certain field. You are now doing self analyse it’s not an easy route to take but it will improve your gameplay and you still get to play your games and there’s no paperwork involved unlike sports coach mentoring in the real world!
See you on the other side…