Hello everyone, this is a sort of followup on the corridors post, but it will involve skill MM topic as well, so bear with me, because it’s going to be a bit longer. The corridor post certainly raised some discussion about good and bad maps and I’ve read some of the feedback in the comments (the one not beginning with OMG U SUX and such anyway) and I still have the feeling that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the underlying principles, that made World of Tanks successful in the first place. I also have the feeling that a LOT of (even otherwise very skilled) players fail to see the “big picture” so to say – a feeling, that is shared by the developers according to the developer discussion on the matter (the earlier “skill MM” post). There are some extremely basic principles, that noone really usually bothers to take into consideration when talking about such fundamental changes as “skill MM” or overall map design. One of them is what I call “sometimes up, sometimes down“. When you say it like that, most people imagine something along the lines of “sometimes you get lucky (team, map), sometimes you don’t” – and that is certainly true, but this principle is one of the fundamental “fun-makers” of the game as well and is there intentionally. Let’s have a look at it – and again, just try to be open minded and imagine this all (if you can) from a perspective of an average player, not someone who takes World of Tanks “really seriously”. When are you having fun? Is it because you win? Well, yes, certainly, but that is only a part of that. It’s when odds are stacked in your favour that a lot (most) players actually have fun. The most elemental expression of this principle is the way matchmaker spread works. Sometimes, you end up at the bottom of the team and you hate it, but sometimes, you end up on top and you just pwn. But this goes further than that, like that awesome moment when you get to your favourite position with a vehicle, that has a certain advantage on that particular map (we’ll get to that) and you know this is just great, because first enemies are starting to appear right before the barrel of your gun. In that particular game, you have the advantage. What I am trying to say: this game has a set of maps and a set of vehicle classes. Some maps intentionally (!) are advantageous to certain classes, some maps to other classes. Heavies aren’t that awesome on Steppes, light tanks aren’t that awesome on Mountain Pass. This is intentional – it’s a part of the odds stacking basic principle and this is also the reason why I personally don’t mind having some maps not as “class friendly” to some classes as the other ones. Sure, you might be pissed you end up on Mountain Pass with a light tank, but in the next battle, you’ll end up on Steppes. Yes, you’ll remember the bad experience more, since that’s how human mind works, but on average, it’s balanced (not considering the “bad streaks” of bad maps, but that is another matter). Please note that this does NOT mean that there aren’t maps, that are simply BAD. The question of course is, how subjective is that. Some people hate Malinovka, I love it (it’s probably my favourite map). Some people love Ruinberg, I don’t like it – not sure why, it just doesn’t sit with me. Does that mean Ruinberg is a bad map? No. Just doesn’t suit my playstyle I guess. In any case, the corridors are simply a method of making the map more inexperienced user friendly, as I explained in the previous post. The fact that some map has corridors however does NOT mean lighter classes (LT, MT) are completely useless on that map. One of the often mentioned maps, that is allegedly “bad”, is the North-West. And yet, only yesterday, I was in a battle where the opposing team had a T37 with a player from Odem Mortis. That guy absolutely dominated (it was really great gameplay, IIRC 6 kills and top damage of his team) and it was only because the rest of his team folded that we brought him down in the end. It’s completely possible to play well on such a map – IF you are good enough. Currently, I do not believe there is any map in the game where any class of vehicles would be absolutely useless (and again, keep in mind, I am talking in absolutes now, sure – arty on Himmelsdorf sucks for example, but it doesn’t suck as to not being able to do a single point of damage). By the way, about this “sometimes up, sometimes down” principle… that’s not just a figment of my imagination, the fact it works like that was confirmed numerous times by developers. So, how does this tie in with the skill MM? Well, simple. Just like the maps, the quality of the team is an odds stacking element as well. Skill MM (ladder system) would completely negate that – I am sure I don’t have to explain, see the “developer post” for the arguments. One aspect of “skill MM” would however also be the “both teams of equal skill” version – not a ladder, just having both teams have same amount of equally skilled players. Personally, I think this is just as bad as the “ladder/league” system – here’s why: imagine being a single unicum in the battle. Now, the first thing you know is that the other team has exactly one unicum as well (let’s go with the 1:1 skill MM model for the sake of conversation). This itself alters the gameplay – in vanilla World of Tanks, there is no way of viewing player skill rating within the battle, so if you don’t have XVM or something (and noone on your team does as well) while the other team does have it, they will know you are the unicum while you don’t know who the most dangerous opponent is. So, you can guess who will be the primary target of their team – that’s right, yours truly. It already works like that (“kill their KV-85 he’s the only skilled player they have” – just today), skill MM would only reinforce this. But let’s get back to the “odds stacking” principle. Introducing skill MM would mean that victories with strong players on your side and tomatoes on the other would not happen, simply because both teams would always be roughly equal in skill. And Continue reading →

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