Liberty75

The Case Against The 3/5/7 Match Maker (READY)

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The Case Against The 3/5/7 Match Maker (updated with a 400 game sample size in each MM)

A few months ago I studied the changes to the match maker (MM) implemented in patch 9.18 and noted that it pushed players into more matches as a low tier vehicle, as would logically happen with a template that is built like a pyramid with more tanks at the bottom than the top. Initially I was neutral about this change and was only curious about how it would affect the game in general and more specifically me as a player.

After a few months of playing and studying the effects of this new system I find it to be an overall negative to the game in general and a frustrating bore to me as a player. I wanted to make my viewpoint about this issue clear from the start so that the player reading this who is invested in defending Wargaming's new system can take a moment to pause and consciously listen to my arguments with an open mind instead of becoming defensive as you read. This is difficult for most of us to accomplish, including myself, as our egos are involved, but I am hopeful that some readers will overcome this hurdle.

My arguments for removing the 3/5/7 template system are straightforward and backed up with numbers. My main points are that the system failed to achieve its stated goal and that the tradeoffs we surrendered to get this system were not worth giving up for what we received in exchange for them. We lost some obvious and some not so obvious aspects of the game when WG implemented this policy.

As a side note, I will use "3/5/7 template" to describe the new system even though it also has other variations (such as 5/10 and all the same tier matches) since that is the name WG has given it and since most matches are in the 3/5/7 format during game play.

As I said above, I was open minded about the new template when it arrived in 9.18. It was bundled with a lot of large changes if you remember. In the same patch we also received tier 10 light tanks, reusable consumables and vast artillery changes (stun effect, limited to 3 per side, and removal of artillery from platoons). WG didn't exactly sneak the 3/5/7 template into the game since it was a featured change in their communications to the player base, but since it was part of a larger bundle of changes, I think the player base noticed it less than the other changes and they simply believed the company line that the new template would bring more balance to matches by ensuring an abundance of bottom tier tanks. How would a higher amount of bottom tier tanks in a match create more balanced games? To quote WG in their 9.18 Update video, they said "this will guarantee that you find your target," and this is the only reasoning they gave to us in North America (as far as I know) on how flooding the bottom tiers of a match would balance teams and make more competitive games when this change came out. People have since claimed that they made the change to help weaker players by giving them more targets to shoot at. While this may or may not be true, the original stated purpose of this system to create more competitive matches has not materialized to any significant degree. By their own standards, this template was a failure and that alone should be enough to reverse their decision, but don't hold your breath.

In an article titled "Matchmaking in 9.19.1 and the Road Ahead" published on WG's North America website on June 28, 2017, they have doubled down on the 3/5/7 template and have stated that it is successful. How did they come to this conclusion? They arrived at it by reading forum comments about how much happier players are with the new MM. After reading this statement, I had two issues with it. First, only a small minority of players actually post on the forums and the players that consistently post on the forums generally tow the company line on most issues for whatever reason. And second, the weaker players that post seem to be happier because they supposedly have more targets to shoot at in matches. It is the side effect of the 3/5/7 template that players are happy with and not the main objective that was stated by WG.

In that same article mentioned above, WG is now pushing the 3/5/7 template more on allowing players to contribute rather than on balancing games as they did back in April. They have shifted their emphasis. They write, "remember the less-than-desirable scenario of playing Tier VIII and getting matched against Tier X? Now think how it feels in the game as it stands today. Having a few top-tiers on the other camp no longer makes you question the point of battling." (Apparently they have missed or ignored the angry complaints on the forums about the new system and being bottom tier all the time in tier 8 matches). So WG has changed their stance from balancing teams to allowing players to contribute more as a bottom tier tank. This shift in emphasis is rather peculiar, but in their defense, they are trying to sell us an idea in this case and a product in general and they will do it however they can.

Now if we look at the unintended (or intended?) side effect of this 3/5/7 template change, that of helping weaker players as a bottom tier tank by giving them more targets than they had before 9.18, it could still be a good change and not a total failure. The perception that many have now is that players always have targets to shoot at and players feel that they can always make a difference in this new system. That is what WG told us and that is what they believe. But is it true that these weaker players are now better off or does it even matter if they are better off if the overall gaming experience is being ruined for the greater population?

Let's take a closer look at what happened when they implemented the 3/5/7 template.

The biggest and most obvious change was the frequencies of being selected top tier, middle tier, or bottom tier in a match. To get information for this I used WoT Replay Analyzer to inspect 400 games from tier 5 to 8 before and after the 9.18 update. I excluded light tanks and tanks what get special tiering. Otherwise, I selected the matches in four separate 100 game periods from before 9.18 to collect that part of the data set. I took an old sample of 100 games that I had under the 9.18 update and added another 300 games from under the 9.19 update to also give some diversity to that sample. Due to the new system having 6 likely breakdowns instead of the old 3, I combined those 6 into 3 to match the old system.* For top tier, I combined 3/5/7 and 5/10 matches as a top tier. For middle tier, I combined middle tier (3/5/7) and all the same tier matches since they were closest to each other in dynamics. For bottom tier, I combined bottom tier games in the 3/5/7 and 5/10 formats. Here is the breakdown of what I found: top, middle, and low tier in the old system were 36.0%, 35.5%, and 28.5% respectively and in the 3/5/7 template system they were 7.0%, 36.0%, and 57.0% respectively.

01 General Comparison between Old and New MM.jpg

Before I gathered the data I guessed that the old system would break down into about a 1/3 for each tier. This perception was wrong on my part. The middle tier games were slightly greater at about 36% and my memory of being top and bottom tier were also off by a little. I was shocked that bottom tier only occurred 28.5% of the time. I thought it would have been a little more than that. This shows how faulty our memories can sometimes be.

As regards the 3/5/7 template, I already had a good idea of what those numbers would be since I had studied them already and posted them here a few months ago. My greatest curiosity was in gathering the second set of 3/5/7 numbers (another 300 games) and whether or not they would still mirror the old numbers. They generally did, except that there were more overall bottom tier matches, but mainly in the 5/10 set.

Those numbers essentially speak for themselves in what we had to give up to get this 3/5/7 system. The general player lost almost 30 points of top tier matches and gained about 30 points in bottom tier matches. If the general player base was better off with these changes, then maybe it would be a good tradeoff to have this 3/5/7 template, which leads us to the question: is the general player base better off being a bottom tier tank 57% of the time now as compensation for more bottom tier targets in those matches, and are the weaker players, the real supposed beneficiaries of this policy, even better off now (keeping in mind that being bottom tier was their struggle in the first place)?

The general understanding of this issue by weak players can be summed up in a recent quote I have from a response I received on the official game forums. It was written by Pipinghot and he said, "players have been complaining for years that they don't like being bottom tier when there are only 2 or 3 tanks on each team that are bottom tier. Lots of people have been saying for a long time that bottom tier would be more fun if there were more tanks on both teams that are bottom tier, and this would allow all of the bottom tier players to be more relevant to their battles, and be able to contribute more to their teams."

I think he did a good job of summarizing the concerns of weak players. While he is correct in understanding why a player would struggle as a group of 2 or 3 bottom tier tanks, he is misguided in thinking that the old system had a great frequency of matches like that and also that the current system is better for weak players. It is at this point that you may say, "now hold on Liberty! Bottom tier players are guaranteed at least 7 tanks and that is much better than being in a pathetic group of 2 or 3. Of course the new system is better for these players!"

If those are your thoughts, Pipinghot would support you as he added to his post saying, " Many (many, many) people hated the old system that limited your ability to help your team when you were bottom tier, that problem has been significantly improved now that there are more middle and bottom tier tanks."

Let's see if this perception that weak players or players in general are better off now or has WG pulled the wool over our eyes.

When I analyzed those 400 pre-9.18 games for information, I also recorded the team breakdowns and my positional tier. This took some time, but I think it was worth it. I wasn't sure what I was going to find either. Perhaps players were getting crushed as bottom tiers before this 3/5/7 template and I was all wrong about this.

What did I find in those 400 games taken from tier 5-8 tanks I was in? Well, first I should define what I was looking for. I sought out battles that had 5 or more top tier tanks and 3 or less bottom tier tanks, as defined by Pipinghot. I chose 5 or more top tier tanks since 3 is apparently the current magic number and I figured that 1 more wouldn't be much of a change from 3. With those parameters, out of 400 matches, I found 102 instances of these horrible match ups. 102 out of 400 is an alarming number too, but before we faint, we need to remember our rough frequency breakdown of 35% top, 35% middle, and 30% bottom. Out of that 102 we would probably see only 30% of those matches as a bottom tier. After taking that 30% into account, we get 13 matches. So out of 400 matches, players would get horrible matches about 31 times, which equates to 8% of our matches. Although, after getting these numbers, I realized that the more high tier tanks in a match, the less likely it would be to get stuck as a bottom tier tank. That 30% of bottom tier matches is the wrong percent to use to find out the frequency of horrible match-ups. So now I instead individually counted the actual matches that I was bottom tier in that set of 102. To my own shock, I came up with 6 matches that I was bottom tier out of that 102. So out of 400 games, I was put in a horrible match 6 times (that is 1.5%). Even if I were lucky, the likelihood of someone getting a horrible match would probably still be very low, probably no more than 5% with the worst luck.

If you think the criteria I used is too extreme and I should have broaden the numbers, I did. I looked at matches that had 5 or more top tier tanks and now 5 or less bottom tier tanks. This criteria gave me 185 matches out of the 400 and I was bottom tier a total of 29 times in these matches, only slightly over 7% of the time.

In general, if I look at the frequency of matches that had 3 or less top tier tanks, it came to 18.5 %. Matches with 4 or 5 top tier tanks was 37.0%. Added together, 55.5% of the old matches had 5 or less top tier tanks, a decent majority. Matches with 6 or 7 top tier tanks had a frequency of 30.75% and matches with 8 or 9 top tier tanks was 10.25%. Matches with 10 or more top tier tanks was at 3.5% (and of that 3.5%, 4 matches, more than a 1/4 of them didn't contain any bottom tier tanks).

03 Frequency of Top Tier Tanks in a Match.jpg

Now I ask again, are we helping players by making them bottom tier tanks significantly more of the time because they had bad experiences about 2% of the time in the past (or even 7% of the time!)? We must remember when addressing this question that most of the bottom tier matches in the old MM had a good mix of tanks already without a 3/5/7 template. It was only a tiny amount of matches, as defined by Pipinghot, that players struggled with. And if weak players struggled with 4 or 5 top tier tanks in the old system then what difference would the new system make for them? They will actually be struggling more because they see bottom tier matches 57% of the time now instead of about 30%. These weak players and the player base in general would be better off having 35% top tier matches instead of 7% as they can control their fate more in those matches. In top tier matches players have more armor, hit points, firepower, etc. over their opponents. When we strip them of these top tier matches, they are not better off, but worse off.

While being bottom tier 57% of the time is bad enough, we also sacrificed some other more subtle characteristics of the game when we moved to this new MM. These tradeoffs may concern players that otherwise don't care about this issue on a top or bottom tier perspective. These other issues are more about aesthetics, but still affect our interaction with the game greatly.

One new trend is that the current system becomes tedious after a while. We are constantly thrown into the same match-ups game after game. We get either 3/5/7, 5/10, or all the same tier. I have seen other variations than these only 3 times in over 1000 games, so these 3 are basically all that is expected. In a game that is repetitive already, we don't need mechanics that make it worse. This system encourages a boring environment. The old MM, with its flaws, was able to create over 130 different team lineups in a 3 tier pool of tanks (tier 8, 7, and 6 for example). When I did my research on pre-9.18 games, I identified 114 unique team lineups out of that 200 games. There was a certain beauty in seeing that mosaic of different teams listed across my Excel spreadsheet. There were matches that were 1/8/6, 2/10/2, 5/3/7, 8/1/6, 12/3/0, and everything in-between. After 9.18, in those 400 games, I saw 3 different team lineups over and over. Maybe it is just me, but I find this to be on the lame side. They took a dynamic way of making teams and made it strictly uniform now with no chances of an exciting or odd lineup of tanks. Flat out, this is boring.

07 Unique Matches.jpg

On top of being dull, the new 3/5/7 template takes an element of chance out of the game too. I find that as much as I dislike random number generation (RNG) consciously, humans have a subconscious affinity for games of chance and keep coming back to them. There is an element of excitement when you get what you want, whether it be a top tier match or you high roll a Skorpion G with an HE round. It keeps us coming back for more despite the disappointments in-between our triumphs as long as the odds aren't that bad. That aspect of the MM is now unfortunately gone.

Another issue that we have is also connected with the new monotonous format that we went over above. WG is "dumbing down" the game. In the article on the MM mentioned earlier, there is a line that caught my eye on this topic. They wrote, "It’s much easier now to analyze the power balance and the situation before the countdown is over, meaning there’s time to think over the enemies’ moves and plan your own." I'm not sure about every player out there, but this was not an issue for players that cared about doing better. I never had a big problem with this skill in the past once I consciously tried to master it. I recall watching the old DeathsArrow video series called "WoT I'm Thinking" and listening to him go over the team lineup and that in turn prompted me to do the same thing and improve as a player. When a player decides that they want to get better, they will figure it out without the help of WG. Also, WG should have higher expectations for its customers than what they wrote there. They make it seem like players weren't capable of doing this in the past. And the players that didn't analyze the teams in the past will doubtfully all of a sudden start to do it now. The most helpful tool they could give, and did give to the player base was the list of tank classes at the top of the screen which is not dependent on a 3/5/7 template.

These issues in the new system, being mundane, taking away an element of chance from the game, and dumbing it down, are secondary to my main concern about tiering and how that affects the player base, but they are still serious concerns. Many of us have enjoyed playing this game for years and I would hate for us to be pushed away from it because it became boring due to a failed MM change.

The new 3/5/7 template isn't helping the vast majority of players in the game and it is leading to frustration and creating a dull playing environment. Many players seem to have been given a false impression by WG and the player base is falling prey to the myths created that support the company line. WG wants the players to think that this new system is a runaway success. Perceptually to some players it is, but in reality It isn't. This system hasn't fixed the problem of team balance that it was stated to have been created for and it also doesn't help bottom tier players. The old system usually had a good spread of tanks in each battle and the few battles that didn't should have been bearable compared with the current 57% of bottom tier matches we now have.

The old MM certainly needed to be altered. The old MM needed to be tweaked to make sure that there were the same amount of top, middle, and bottom tier tanks on each side, and also to make sure that each side had a similar amount of tank types (TD, Arty, etc.) per tier, with a +1/-1 differential for variety and to cut down on MM queue time. It also needed a cap on top tier tanks in tier 1 and 2 battles to help protect the new players a little, but beyond that it was pretty good and dynamic compared to what we have now. These changes are simple and would please most of the player base, if not all of it.

To conclude, I will leave you with two quotes that are related to this topic. One is from a  great player, LemmingRush. He recently stated in one of his videos after he was destroyed at the end of a difficult match, "so when you're bottom tier like this, it's very difficult to actually come out on top, but you just have to understand that, you have to go in into battle with the expectation that you are not going to win and still understand that and be okay with it. Because when you're bottom tier, you know, you're bottom tier."

The other quote is from, well, a lesser great player, Claus Kellerman (who essentially represents the average Joe World of Tanker). He said recently when ranting about the old preferential matchmaking premium tanks (IS-6, KV-5, etc) that are getting into too many bottom tier or same tier matches and only seeing tier 8 and 9 tanks now, "shouldn't you be able to make some credits with your IS-6 or KV-5 without being frustrated as f**k, just getting owned by every f**king tank in the game now and having guns that can't do s**t and facing tier 9s and 8s. Like what happened to the preferential matchmaking? What happened to playing against tier 8s and 7s and 6s? I don't know."

Constantly being bottom tier is becoming frustrating for many old players and especially our new players. Let's get it back down to 30% bottom tier matches and bring top tier matches back up to 35% so more players can enjoy the game again.

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* The complete numbers for the 3/5/7 template broke down as follows: Top Tier 3/5/7: 4.25%; Top Tier 5/10: 2.75; Middle Tier: 18.5%; Same Tier: 17.5%; Bottom Tier 5/10: 12.25%; and Bottom Tier 3/5/7: 44.75%.

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Appendix: Other charts I later created with the data

 

A more specific chart of player position frequency.

02 Player Position Frequency between Old and New MM.jpg

 

Frequency of top tier tanks in a match, but with a players percent of games in those matches from their total matches.

04 Frequency Top Tier Tanks and bottom tiers in those matches.jpg

 

These next two are the amount of games in the 400 game sample that the
players were bottom tier in a select number group of bottom tier tanks in the match.
One chart is the exact number, and the second chart is that percent out of all of a players games.

05 Number Bottom Tier Matches.jpg

06 Percent Bottom Tier.jpg

Finis

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Nice work. Claus is very correct. My Type for example is totally useless now. Not a year ago it was the most coveted Tank in the game. WG could have sold them by the bucket loads but instead they decided to make new Premiums.

An interesting issue that I am exploiting is the tier 3 joke. With the new MM tier 3s will never see a tier 5. If you drive tier 10s you have a prety good chance of seeing mostly tier 8s.

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Not saying I don't think a lot of you points are valid. But I suspect if you separated your tier 8 numbers from you tier 5,6, and 7  figures you'd get quite different results. An unexpected consequence of the new MM is that tiers 6 and 7 are no longer pure Ebola to play. In fact they're fun again. But tier 8 gives you all kinds of diseases, at least on SEA.

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I tried playing my 112 the other day to train up a crew and make some silver for the new Chinese heavy tank. It was a nightmare. I made hardly any money and it was a struggle to get that gun to work with its poor pen and accuracy. And just as Claus said, I saw tier 9s 75% of the time and the other matches were all tier 8s. I only saw tier 7 tanks one game with the 9s. It was pretty pathetic.

3 minutes ago, sohojacques said:

Not saying I don't think a lot of you points are valid. But I suspect if you separated your tier 8 numbers from you tier 5,6, and 7  figures you'd get quite different results. An unexpected consequence of the new MM is that tiers 6 and 7 are no longer pure Ebola to play. In fact they're fun again. But tier 8 gives you all kinds of diseases, at least on SEA.

My first set of 3/5/7 numbers focused on a tier 6 tank. The other 100 was more tier 7s and 8s. There were more 5/10 bottom tier battles in that set so I suspect that you are right about those tiers, but even if they are better than the 8s, they are still not better than the previous system overall according to my information.

I have a friend, Scrimshaw3, that is going to transfer me his replay folder. He said he hasn't deleted his replays in a long time. If I do get it from him, I will post those numbers here to see if they reflect my experience.

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1 hour ago, Liberty75 said:

In an article titled "Matchmaking in 9.19.1 and the Road Ahead" published on WG's North America website on June 28, 2017, they have doubled down on the 3/5/7 template and have stated that it is successful. How did they come to this conclusion? They arrived at it by reading forum comments about how much happier players are with the new MM. After reading this statement, I had two issues with it. First, only a small minority of players actually post on the forums and the players that consistently post on the forums generally tow the company line on most issues for whatever reason. And second, the weaker players that post seem to be happier because they supposedly have more targets to shoot at in matches. It is the side effect of the 3/5/7 template that players are happy with and not the main objective that was stated by WG.

Goodness the NA official forums must be almost diametrically opposite to SEA. Criticisms of WG are pretty much the common theme nowadays. The apologists use a similar defense to the 'forum readers are only a small slice'. To be honest what needs to be demonstrated is that that slice is not representative.

As to the MM - it's one improvement IMO was finally addressing the gross top tier imbalances caused by the MM apparently not being able to count past 5. Beyond that i'm with you on the above - takes many of the nuances out of the game. Dull, repetitive, and yeah, best of luck playing tier 8.

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A huge thing to note as well is that assault games have completely disappeared in tier 10 on EU. 

Compared to the pretty standard assault game every 6-7 games pre-patch it's at an alarming 30-40 games before an assault game surfaces at all. In 700 games I can count the amount of assault games I've had on my fingers and toes

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I haven't played too much tier 8; however, what I have played has led to (primarily) enjoyable experiences.

I've played 187 tier 8 games (mainly prem tanks - M41 GF/Lowe/Lorraine 40t/KV-5/T34/IS-3/IS-6/Defender/Skorpion/UDES) in my past 1k and I haven't felt like I was gimped harder than you suggest. There will inevitably be some games where you feel completely gimped due to the powercreep from recent premiums (Chrysler/T26E5/AMX MLE 49/Defender) and non-premium superheavies (O-HO/VK 10001p) due to a lack of penetration on tanks. For example, the IS-6 was the one tank I hated because of the inability to pen most tanks even with gold.

I believe that 3/5/7 is not bad. The issue is bad overall tank balancing with WarGaming. Whether or not you have fun will be dependent on whether you have sufficient penetration to penetrate the new tanks. As long as you aren't in the situation of something like an IS-6, then you should be doing fine regardless of whether or not you are in bottom tier. The lower/mid tiers (i.e. 5-7) do not feel bat at all either.

I would argue that barring the issue of penetration, it has become very easy to perform well at virtually all tiers with win rates that used to be limited by whether or not you platooned for most players.

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Personally, I really liked the 3/5/7 system for non-pref tier 8s, due to solopubbing on NA west during offpeak times. In the old matchmaking, I am in tier 10 matches more than 90% times. (231/250 games had tier 10s in them when I tracked 250 solopub games in a row while 3marking a bunch of tier 8s.). With this new matchmaking, I'm no longer fighting a sea of 10s constantly.

Conversely, I feel bad when I play tier 10s oftentimes in this new matchmaking. So many poor tier 8s that obviously stand no fightning chance.

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Anyone else noticed a larger number of TDs arty and LTs being placed as the top 3 top tiers of a large number of these 8-10 matches?

 

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2 hours ago, Hally said:

Personally, I really liked the 3/5/7 system for non-pref tier 8s, due to solopubbing on NA west during offpeak times. In the old matchmaking, I am in tier 10 matches more than 90% times. (231/250 games had tier 10s in them when I tracked 250 solopub games in a row while 3marking a bunch of tier 8s.). With this new matchmaking, I'm no longer fighting a sea of 10s constantly.

Ouch. If I had to go through that, I would have welcomed this change too. Are you sure you didn't make someone at WG upset and they flipped their magic screw-you-over switch on you?

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Part of the problem is that the between tier imbalance is absolutely insane. For 3/5/7 to even stand a chance of working, tanks 2 tiers down must at least be able to damage you. With the powercreep in tier 8(premiums) and 10s, its just amplifying the issue even further. 

The reasoning can make sense so you have more opportunities to do damage as a bottom tier, but WG's map design and balance department meant that the 3/5/7 format never stood a chance of actually succeeding (not WG succeeding).

 

also if you get bored, ASIA forums has a spreadsheet of player contributed data from 9.18 to now. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13Mp9T3vvJCTxYuRQ2fiuYRFWsG4WNMuVNr9iDSNBaXo/edit#gid=0

Matches up with your data pretty much, except i think single tier games are under 'top tier' instead of 'middle tier'.

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I dont understand how WGNA can come even close to claiming 3/5/7 is a success. I mean, all they would have to do to prove its not is click battle in a tier 10 tank and 5 minutes later when they get kicked out of queue they'd be agreeing that yeah, this is actually a terrible system. 

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I liked the old MM better tbh. Less chance of bottom tier, and you could actually platoon tier x with your friends and not have 100% tier x games for the whole night. Now I solo tier x instead and its boring, but atleast I get to use AP in 50B instead of having to spam full JPE at Maus/Type 5/JPE/e4/e3 that all the pubbies like to use.

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6 hours ago, Spartan96 said:

Anyone else noticed a larger number of TDs arty and LTs being placed as the top 3 top tiers of a large number of these 8-10 matches?

 

Anecdotally, yes, I notice that it can be quite common for the 3 top tier tanks in a 3-5-7 game to be all TDs, Light tanks and Arty or a combination thereof. I suppose this is an artifact of high numbers of 10s in the queue but not quite enough lining up to create a pure tier 10 match. Given the MM now matches these classes as a higher priority, this probably is a 'quicker' option.

As for the new MM itself, I don't mind it. Personally I don't mind being bottom tier so much when there are only 3 top tier tanks. Better than being the 'token bottom tier tank' thrown into a horrific match. I wouldn't say that the changes have resulted in any noticeable difference to my performance or enjoyment of the game.

I think the new MM really only creates noticeable differences to certain cohorts of players: those that platoon (because of the 3-tank limit for a top tier battle, if you're platooned, you have to be matched against another platoon of the same tier - it will be far easier for MM to do this when you are bottom tier (only 3 of 7) as opposed to top tier (3 of 3); and those that play at odd hours where server population becomes an issue (biggest issue I have with the new MM is at the times I play, I often have incomplete rosters, lots of 13 v13 or 14 v 14 games).

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4 hours ago, Balthazars said:

Personally I don't mind being bottom tier so much when there are only 3 top tier tanks. Better than being the 'token bottom tier tank' thrown into a horrific match. I wouldn't say that the changes have resulted in any noticeable difference to my performance or enjoyment of the game.

I find this sentiment a great deal on the NA forums and I don't know why. Those horrific matches happened so rarely, that they don't justify being a bottom tier tank, 2 tanks down, about 40% of the time in the current MM (50% of the time if you include bottom tier in a +1/-1 matches). We remember those matches more because they are horrific. They stand out in our memory and skew it. I think WG is taking advantage of this memory trait in their public relations campaign to support the change too.

6 hours ago, MagicalFlyingFox said:

Part of the problem is that the between tier imbalance is absolutely insane. For 3/5/7 to even stand a chance of working, tanks 2 tiers down must at least be able to damage you. With the powercreep in tier 8(premiums) and 10s, its just amplifying the issue even further. 

The reasoning can make sense so you have more opportunities to do damage as a bottom tier, but WG's map design and balance department meant that the 3/5/7 format never stood a chance of actually succeeding (not WG succeeding).

 

also if you get bored, ASIA forums has a spreadsheet of player contributed data from 9.18 to now. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13Mp9T3vvJCTxYuRQ2fiuYRFWsG4WNMuVNr9iDSNBaXo/edit#gid=0

Matches up with your data pretty much, except i think single tier games are under 'top tier' instead of 'middle tier'.

Thanks a lot for this. I will check it out!

Edit: That is some pretty good stuff there.

And the reason I placed same tier with middle tier is because players are essentially fighting the same pool of HP and the difficulty level is roughly the same. When players are middle tier they are both at an advantage over some tanks and at a disadvantage over others, but overall their vehicle is about the average tank (hp, armor, etc.) in the match. When players are the same tier, they have no great advantage or disadvantage over the tanks around them, and again, they are the average. Also, the difficulty level between middle and same tier matches is also roughly the the same as players will need to have a certain degree of respect for the enemy tanks around them. When players are top tier, there are tanks below them and they have a clear advantage in the match that is not present in the same tier matches. As a top tier tank, there will be vehicles that players have less respect for and they can "bully" them. Same tier fits into the middle tank category more than the top tier category from this perspective.

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First off, congrats on the actually readable wall of text, upvoted.  I think that some of your arguments were a bit subjective and confirmation biased:

14 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

My main points are that the system failed to achieve its stated goal and that the tradeoffs we surrendered to get this system were not worth giving up for what we received in exchange for them

I'm not going to quote all of your opinions about the new MM being 'boring', 'tedious', 'lame' etc but your opinion seems to come through a lot in the essay.

A few points I'll add.  

- Every match making system is going to fail part of the population in every game and every player has a different expectation when they push the battle button.  As much as you dislike the new MM, I love it.  It has cured my of playing lower tiers and gotten me to grind tanks again.  I bought an OP Tier 8 premium so I can still grind credits and be successful even when bottom tier.

- The pubby forums are a pretty skewed place to derive an accurate impression of player opinion

- Tiers are a closed system and the top tier (X) is seen as an 'end game' condition - in conjunction with WG decision to make the tier 8 the cap for purchasable premium tanks, the overall tier balance is very skewed.  While its not the same as a 'gamblers ruin' condition, Tier X is a limiting boundary and the closer you get to tier X (and to a lessor extent tier 1) the more your MM outcome is going to be skewed by that proximity.  I'd be curious to see how your data would break down if you ran the numbers only on tiers 4-7.  I suspect it would show a much more normalized curve.

MM is always going to be an easy straw man to beat on when we are displeased with our gaming outcome and in the case of the new MM, its often an accurate argument.  Tier 8 is now pretty cancerous and if you like to play 8's, the 3-5-7 is certainly bad for you.  On the other hand, if you play tier 10 a lot then its been a feast.  Thats probably not an accident on WG part, getting you to play tier X is pretty important to their bottom line.

The new MM is not perfect, but no MM ever will be.  I'm satisfied with it, so they will probably change it again pretty soon anyway.

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I didn’t play a lot games since patch, maybe 100-200, but from what I’ve experienced, you have more potential now. If you are bottom feeder you can fuck more of bottom players, and when you are on top you just steamroll. 

I don’t see the point of IS-6 and KV-5, they are obsolete either way because of new fuck you premiums (252U, BlackDoge, Skorpion, Patriot, Lorr40t) and overbuffing super HTs. 

Also MM is more balanced in terms of classes, so that’s a nice bonus too. 

TL;DR: I would rather shoot 7 clueless guys than try to pen too many overbuffed T8 in my T6 scrub. Either way I can’t overturn game by large margin, at least i can farm some DMG in new MM.

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12 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

Ouch. If I had to go through that, I would have welcomed this change too. Are you sure you didn't make someone at WG upset and they flipped their magic screw-you-over switch on you?

Nah, it's just the time of day I play. There are so many tier 10s in the que and not many lower tiers, that any lone tier 8/9 were extremely likely to be drafted into a tier 10 match. But it's ok.. it made farming 3 marks on tanks that can chai snipe with lol pen like ISU a trivial 3 mark xD

If I actually play during peak hours, where far more t8s are in the que, I did not get that nonstop bottom tier matchmaking.

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Liberty75

Thanks for a good well documented analysis (upvoted).  Much like Archaic_One, I suspect there are few gaps and dont' necessarily agree with all your conclusions.   

15 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

My main points are that the system failed to achieve its stated goal and that the tradeoffs we surrendered to get this system were not worth giving up for what we received in exchange for them.

What were the stated goals?  As Archaic_One states "Every match making system is going to fail part of the population in every game and every player has a different expectation when they push the battle button."   Frankly, I think that part is irrelevant to the current discussion about players being "happy" with pre or post 9.18 MM as it will always be a subjective assessment.

The largest discussion point is arguably in game Pre-9.18 Bottom Tier/Mid Tier is NOT the same as Post-9.18 Bottom Tier/Mid due to the hard cap limits.  However, almost all players continue to "feel" and treat them as equals.

 

15 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

To get information for this I used WoT Replay Analyzer to inspect 200 games from tier 5 to 8 before and after the 9.18 update.

This is a great start but as you know it is a small sample size.  Tier and tank selection matter.  SPGs, TDs, and LTs are now balanced and the removal of scout MM for instance where Pre-9.18 light tanks saw a much higher proportion of bottom tier matches as a onesy/twosy change perceptions.  Anecdotally, we already know that the 3/5/7 works better for some tiers and types and that the amount, tier, and type, of tanks queued can play a major factor.  I analyzed three data sets of 100, 100, and 150 games respectively (from reddit posts I believe) and the results were quite divergent and inconclusive due to the number of variables to account for.  If we choose any of the three data sets in isolation we would make vastly different conclusions, thus why 200 is a little light.  You should be able to find the data here.

16 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

Here is the breakdown of what I found: top, middle, and low tier in the old system were 30.5%, 40.5%, and 29% respectively and in the 3/5/7 template system they were 9.5%, 41%, and 49.5% respectively.

Frankly, I suggest you redo this analysis and look at 0 MM, -1 MM, and -2 MM.   IMHO same tier in Pre-9.18 would have counted as top tier there so there is no reason to reassign it as middle tier in Post-9.18.  There is a valid argument to count bottom-tier in 5/10 matches as mid tier because it matches the much more prevalent mid tier 3/5/7 weighting.  Thus my paradigm is to look at it from the 0, -1, -2 perspective.   But on our haste to pile on the MM is broken I am so bottom tier bandwagon we cast the data in the light of our confirmation bias.

 

16 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

One new trend is that the current system becomes tedious after a while. We are constantly thrown into the same match-ups game after game. We get either 3/5/7, 5/10, or all the same tier.

This is an unfortunate byproduct (unintended consequence) of the tank class matching.  I concur that reading the lineups is a critical skill and this takes format lessens the importance of that skill.  Further, there are a sub-section of players who are still calling for Medium/Heavy tank matching.  Through a thought experiment that brings us through to a logical conclusion of NASCAR lineups.  Players don't appreciate how much the RNG line-up, the RNG map selection, and the RNG player composition provides them a varied gaming experience.  Although, I would not classify the current Post-9.18 situation as overly tedious/boring.

 

16 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

Now I ask again, are we helping players by making them bottom tier tanks significantly more of the time because they had bad experiences about 2% of the time in the past (or even 6% of the time!)?

I would frame the question (and analysis) as; Do players on average face more +2 Tanks/+1 Tanks in the pre and post 9.18 MM eras?"  My arguably limited anecdotal analysis says overall even though you are so called bottom tier more often post-9.18 you face less +2 tanks overall (and the T8 Anomaly affects meds/heavies more due to tank matching). 

16 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

Many players seem to have been given a false impression by WG and the player base is falling prey to the myths created that support the company line. WG wants the players to think that this new system is a runaway success. Perceptually to some players it is, but in reality It isn't. This system hasn't fixed the problem of team balance that it was stated to have been created for and it also doesn't help bottom tier players. The old system usually had a good spread of tanks in each battle and the few battles that didn't should have been bearable compared with the current 50% of bottom tier matches we now have.

"Every match making system is going to fail part of the population in every game and every player has a different expectation when they push the battle button."  Less face it the long suffering players complaints are "they are tired of facing 10 plus +2/+3 tier tanks that they cant pen (or cant pen with gold) on funnel maps" and " They don't get to abuse lower tier tanks enough".   At lest in the former case the 3/5/7 model mitigates that issue to a reasonable degree and the latter case is unreasonable and can never be solved to wot players satisfaction.    

17 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

Constantly being bottom tier is becoming frustrating for many old players and especially our new players. Let's get it back down to 30% bottom tier matches and bring top tier matches back up to 30% so more players can enjoy the game again.

Unfortunately, this is just perception.  Old MM weighting and experience does not equate to the new MM experience.  If you could have preferential MM 60% of the time in non-pref tanks would that be good enough?  Cause that's pretty much what we have now...

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13 hours ago, Spartan96 said:

Anyone else noticed a larger number of TDs arty and LTs being placed as the top 3 top tiers of a large number of these 8-10 matches?

 

It been my observation that as the post-9.18 MM matches SPG, LTs, and TDs and then throws in mediums and heavies to finish the line up that, SPGs, TDs, and LTs benefit from this as you get a better balance of MMs that reflect (I presume) the way the 3/5/7 "should" or was desired to work.  Of course T8 meds and heavies (and platoons) still seem to be continuously relegated to T10 likely due to how teams are constructed and how long the tank ques are.

Perhaps one extra MM layer for when there is a big disparity in Tier 8/9/10 queue totals it can throw out more 5/10 and 15 matches... 

 

15 hours ago, Kolni said:

A huge thing to note as well is that assault games have completely disappeared in tier 10 on EU. 

Compared to the pretty standard assault game every 6-7 games pre-patch it's at an alarming 30-40 games before an assault game surfaces at all. In 700 games I can count the amount of assault games I've had on my fingers and toes

I am with you here, Kolni I have not seen Karailia Assault in weeks it seems.

The "new map rotation" introduced in 9.18 borked the assault and encounter map rotations as well as upped the occurrence of three of my Pre-9.18 least favourite maps Stalingrad, Kharkov, and Paris.  It appeared they micro-patched the old map rotation back in shortly thereafter for a week or two however its painfully obvious that they micro-patched the borked map rotation back in.   

I will say with the introduction of the post-9.18 3/5/7 MM that I find those three funnel maps much less annoying to play on...

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3 hours ago, Liberty75 said:

And the reason I placed same tier with middle tier is because players are essentially fighting the same pool of HP and the difficulty level is roughly the same. When players are middle tier they are both at an advantage over some tanks and at a disadvantage over others, but overall their vehicle is about the average tank (hp, armor, etc.) in the match. When players are the same tier, they have no great advantage or disadvantage over the tanks around them, and again, they are the average. Also, the difficulty level between middle and same tier matches is also roughly the the same as players will need to have a certain degree of respect for the enemy tanks around them. When players are top tier, there are tanks below them and they have a clear advantage in the match that is not present in the same tier matches. As a top tier tank, there will be vehicles that players have less respect for and they can "bully" them. Same tier fits into the middle tank category more than the top tier category from this perspective.

 

Not to belabour the point but this is part of the the perception problem.  Every player has a different definition and different limits.  I am not sure applying a "meta game" layer to your decision/classification matrix helps to clarify or support your analysis here.

Thus why I am in favour of the 0, -1, -2 MM reporting approach, because  how often and how many +2 tanks we have to struggle against should be the critical issue for most players and 3/5/7, 5/10, and 15 MM addresses that for the most part.

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3-5-7 means:

  • 3/15 = 20% top tier
  • 5/15 = 33% middle tier
  • 7/15 = 47% bottom tier

If there are not enough tanks to make you top tier / too many tank who need bottom tiers, then you will get ``shafted``, but the whole purpose of mm changes was to reduce the games where your the lone tier 8 in a game with nothing but tier 9 and 10, when you are now ``bottom``, half the tanks you face is equal to you, at worst....

the only real ``flaws`` of new mm are:

  • due to 5 top tier max (for tier 8 ) platooning means bottom tier a lot, since both teams need atleast 1 platoon, more ppl platoon top as low tiers, so you get screwed side ways here, i mean, how often you see both teams have a top tier platoon? (yeah, never, regardless of tier)
  • it needs enough ppl in the queue, playing the ``correct tiers`` to work
  • boring games, many games tend to be a bit the same, due to lack of RNG....

ps: and WG buffing tier 10 and adding strong tier 8 tanks also screw it over, they should not buff top tiers, but nerf them, to reduce the gap between tiers...

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Honestly,  in my opinion it is not the tier system that is at fault, but moreover a failure on WG's part to properly weight tanks based on battlefield impact. the 3/5/7 MM system itself is not perfect but problems get exacerbated when the 3 tier 10s are superheavies whereas the other team gets lights and mediums. WG needs to add a MM heirarchy based off of the ability of a tank class to impact a battle, something like Lights>Arty>TDs>Meds>Heavies>Superheavies.  

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When this new mm first came out I enjoyed it because when I was bottom tier in tanks such as the mod. 1 I still had a few tanks I could shoot without having to fire gold and not gain as many credits. This mm is nicer for when you are bottom tier, but is terrible because you are almost always bottom tier. I prefer the old mm because I'd rather have more games being top tier even if it means being nearly useless at bottom tier, than hardly ever being top tier and being bottom tier all the time, being sort of useful. 

Another problem I have with the new mm is the queue time for platooning(Maybe just tier 10?? Or tier 10 tanks of the same class?). My friend and I both finished grinding tier 9 LT's and got tier 10 LTs yesterday while platooning, got kicked out of queue after the 5 min, and then took another 3 min to get into a game. I don't think we had any problems when playing the tier 9 LT's. We eventually chose to just count down to hit the battle button at the same time, which drastically reduced queue time to under a minute at worst, 1 sec and best, and we usually ended up in the same games. It's dumb that if you want to play with a friend you have to wait for ridiculous amounts of time to get a game.

TL;DR: The old mm has it's problems, but was more enjoyable for me personally than the new mm.

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3 hours ago, 1n_Soviet_Russia said:

Honestly,  in my opinion it is not the tier system that is at fault, but moreover a failure on WG's part to properly weight tanks based on battlefield impact. the 3/5/7 MM system itself is not perfect but problems get exacerbated when the 3 tier 10s are superheavies whereas the other team gets lights and mediums. WG needs to add a MM heirarchy based off of the ability of a tank class to impact a battle, something like Lights>Arty>TDs>Meds>Heavies>Superheavies.  

 

True, but that is also part of the appeal of the RNG MM system, on small city maps that balance goes in favour of the super heavies, on open maps to the balance of vision and stand off manouverable meds and lights... and its our job as players to figure out a solution.  I don't think approaching NASCAR lineups with equal and opposing tanks is the way either (not suggesting that is your proposal)...

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