Jump to content
Yerts

Applying Deliberate Practice to WoT

Recommended Posts

Introduction
 
I believe that playing this game is rather easy. I also believe that playing this game well is not easy at all. A very large number of variables affect the outcome of both a single player's performance and the ultimate outcome of a match. Yes, RNG plays a part, but like life, in WoT we can both mitigate and capitalize on luck (or bad luck) to varying degrees.
 
It's a given at this point that improvement of skills plays a key role. I won't debate that here.
 
I apologize if this sounds harsh, but I see more than a couple of my fellow scrubs coming to this forum looking for the 'magic pill' or 'unicum fairy dust'. Improving skills takes work. A lot of work. Not just mindless 'click the battle button again' work or get the 'super insightful unicum analysis of stats or replays' work.
 
Improving skills in WoT is much like anything else where performance is reflective of skills. It takes what psychologists refer to as 'deliberate practice'. 
 
What is Deliberate Practice?
 
Others have done a much better job of describing what this is, so I wil provide some links. In short, it's my understanding that deliberate practice is adding strong structure and methodology to one's learning process of a skill. Focus, feedback, experimentation, record keeping, and time efficiency all play a part.
 
 
 
Also google for the paper titled "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance" by K. Anders Ericsson. It's easy to find.
 
Geoff Colvin also wrote a excellent book on the subject: http://www.geoffcolvin.com/books/talent-is-overrated-by-geoff-colvin/
 
Here's a good applied example of deliberate practice - a guy named Dan undertook what he calls the "Dan Plan" to prove that deliberate practice can work. (Some devotees of deliberate practice also argue very strongly in the non-existence of natural talent.) Dan is trying to prove that someone starting with no golf skills can become a professional golfer by applying deliberate practice - he's doing very well. Read about him here: http://thedanplan.com/about/
 
What about Tanks?
 
What does this have to do with world of tanks? Deliberate practice is much harder than simple repetitive unstructured practice. I believe there is no lazy way to become a unicum. Many times in the forums, a new player will hear a lot advice describing *how* a unicum plays and not how they practice. Reading that good players *have* excellent situational awareness is not that same as reading how good players developed that situational awareness.
 
Deus has dug into this topic somewhat, but here's a quick shot at how to apply deliberate practice to WoT. I'll try to collect some of his posts on this subject and add them here later.
 
- Keep a record of all battles. An self-analysis of the replay of every loss is helpful. Where/why/how was damage taken? Was initial map location bad? Was lack of arty awareness a problem?
 
- Focus learning around specific types and tiers of tanks. When Dan started learning to play golf, he only putted for quite along time before moving on to his short game before finally picking up a driver.
 
- Find a mentor if possible for platooning and replay analysis. Don't use them as a crutch. Write down their feedback. Work on asking non-stupid questions.
 
I'm sure there are folks on this forum with better suggestions than these.
 
 
 
Full disclosure: I don't currently do much of this. The most I do is a post loss analysis with my regular platoon mate (wife). But I know that improving my stats at a faster rate than before will mean doing more than just mindlessly clicking the battle button over and over again.
 
 
TL;DR: Getting better at tanks takes more than just playing tanks and hanging out in forums.
 
 
Link to post
Share on other sites

TL;DR: Getting better at tanks takes more than just playing tanks and hanging out in forums.

But it is a good place to start, and there is no better place than here to find said mentor. :D One key part I think you missed about practicing this game is establishing a network of support. Finding a mentor is one thing, but if you can find a group of peers that are all trying to get better and learn the same as you, ala a workout group, that will help out immensely.

To take myself as an example, I'm a soloist. Outside of a few very brief stints, I've never platooned with people of equal or greater skill than myself. I've never done TCs or CW. I have not done any of these things. I have not had any sort of guide or mentor or teacher besides myself. Thais said, I'm still knocking on the door to a 60-day 1500 WN7 rating. Now, I feel I have some talent, but just think how much further I could go if I had a mentor and a similarly skilled partner to learn and compete with?

I agree that deliberate practice works, but by no means is it a solo ordeal in the context of Tanks.

So taking Dan and the Golf example, what would an example breakdown of this deliberate practice be? If I'm to go on this "Unicum@Tanks" plan, where would I start?

And on somewhat of an off-topic aside, if some curious player came to me for tips, looking for that "magical unicum fairy dust" I'd test them on the basic mechanics like vision abuse, angling, and stuff like that. If they can't get those basic mechanics and concepts drilled into their head to the point of second-nature, there is no hope of them getting past green.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree. I managed to get to where I am today through endless stumbling around in the dark.

longoldstats.png

To get to +50%, all I had to do was copy what the good players were doing; Knowing 'why' was irrelevant.

To get to +55%, I just adapted what I was copying to better suit what I 'wanted' to do rather than just a perfect replica.

It's only to get to +60% that you really need to actually know uninteresting stuff like shell mechanics and the such.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I became a unicum without realizing it.

 

I basically just played and played, and one day, I was purple, then I played some more, and people told me I was purple. 

 

#naturallytalented@tanks

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This would be me...

I managed to get to where I am today through endless stumbling around in the dark.

 

 

But trying more of this:

To get to +50%, all I had to do was copy what the good players were doing; Knowing 'why' was irrelevant.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only been a 'true' (read: don't abuse any kind of platoon/tank dynamic to achieve anything) unicum for like the past 2000 games. Before that, I was probably too aggressive/yolo/didn't care to really be considered elite.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

(Some devotees of deliberate practice also argue very strongly in the non-existence of natural talent.) Dan is trying to prove that someone starting with no golf skills can become a professional golfer by applying deliberate practice - he's doing very well.

 
TL;DR: Getting better at tanks takes more than just playing tanks and hanging out in forums.

 

 

For the first point, I have to call bullshit in several cases.  Simple physics.  No amount of training will let a midget run faster than an equally trained person of average height.  World class female athletes have never run the 100 meter dash, but several men have. 

 

Of course, those world class women would run circles around any man who didn't have a similar level of training.  People are born with different levels of physical or mental potential.  Though, the limits of that potential are far beyond what most of us will ever approach.  I think there are similarities in tanks as well.

 

I think that, with a degree of work, anyone can be a 60+ solopubber.  Some of us will be able to achieve that mark more easily than others.  Possibly due to a history of competitive gaming, or an understanding of tactics, or honed reactions.  If, however, we want to push the outer limits of what is achievable, I feel that many players would fall short. 

 

So, there is a difference between a person's potential, and what amount of that potential they've achieved.  I also believe that we don't advance through our potential linearly.  If you're at the bottom level of your potential, progress may be slow, as you have no foundation to work from.  The mid levels should be gained fairly quickly, and is often represented by that point in a player's career where they "get it."  The heights, however, are difficult to attain.  Not only do you have to do your basic and intermediate tasks perfectly, you have to perform advanced techniques.  These advanced techniques only offer tiny gains.  In WoT terms, it might be difficult for a 40%er to move to 49%.  He doesn't have any idea how to play the game.  But the average player, who already knows some of the basics, could advance to the mid 50s quickly, should they choose to work on it.  Gaining the heights, however, is difficult.  Most of us plateau at some point.  That's the point where we have to put the real work in.  That's when we visit WoTLabs, or start making notes about each game.  We come up with a dozen new things to try... and reap a WR gain of a point or three. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I did't see this thread until now. With my summer holidays coming up this idea of a methodical approach to improvement had been bubbling away on the back burner for a while. It's how I learnt to ride motorcycles with extreme enthusiasm without dying. Keith Code is a loon but his processes work and his courses are great if you're a nerd.

 

In the context of tanks I need to identify what is causing my failures.

What errors am I making in the driving and shooting of my tank?

What information am I failing to take in that then goes on to corrupt my decision making process? Such as it is.

What features of the map and my tank can I use to gain an advantage? 

 

I would like to see if I can prove Deus right, that an old fart can get his win rate up to mid 50's and beyond by just working at it systematically.

 

Wish me luck :)

 

Gibbon

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I would like to see if I can prove Deus right, that an old fart can get his win rate up to mid 50's and beyond by just working at it systematically.

 

Wish me luck :)

 

 

 

I find that most people settle into a "comfort zone" win rate.  A spot where they feel they are playing well enough.  They get a sufficient level of enjoyment out of the game, and feel no need to do better.  Maybe it's a bit like health.  We manage to get to a "comfortable" weight.  Maybe we wish we were healthier, but we don't have the time/energy/motivation to go to the gym.  In both situations, we'd likely be happier if we put in the extra effort to improve, but we have to get over that motivational roadblock. 

 

So, good luck with your new year's tanking resolution. 

 

If you need some statistical analysis or replay review, so  you have some items to focus on, you're in the right place.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I basically just played and played, and one day, I was purple, then I played some more, and people told me I was purple. 

 

I wish I could finish my master's degree like this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find that most people settle into a "comfort zone" win rate.  A spot where they feel they are playing well enough.  They get a sufficient level of enjoyment out of the game, and feel no need to do better.  Maybe it's a bit like health.  We manage to get to a "comfortable" weight.  Maybe we wish we were healthier, but we don't have the time/energy/motivation to go to the gym.  In both situations, we'd likely be happier if we put in the extra effort to improve, but we have to get over that motivational roadblock. 

 

So, good luck with your new year's tanking resolution. 

 

If you need some statistical analysis or replay review, so  you have some items to focus on, you're in the right place.

 

I think this is really true. In my case it applies well. 

 

I have a very tiring job, during the week, I just want some relaxing fun out of the game before I go to bed. I don't put a lot of thought into the games and usually play low tier and lights. 

 

On the weekends I document my battles and think about what I did wrong post battle etc. I do much better on weekends. 

 

One thing I always have to balance though, when a game starts feeling like work I tend to lose interest, so I keep the side paperwork to a minimum. =P

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find that most people settle into a "comfort zone" win rate.  A spot where they feel they are playing well enough.  They get a sufficient level of enjoyment out of the game, and feel no need to do better.  Maybe it's a bit like health.  We manage to get to a "comfortable" weight.  Maybe we wish we were healthier, but we don't have the time/energy/motivation to go to the gym.  In both situations, we'd likely be happier if we put in the extra effort to improve, but we have to get over that motivational roadblock. 

 

So, good luck with your new year's tanking resolution. 

 

If you need some statistical analysis or replay review, so  you have some items to focus on, you're in the right place.

But this is a game, sir. Even if we assume that +60% is indeed achievable by anyone who spends the time and dedication, the group would still be a minority because it'd take an obscene amount of work to achieve. Unless, of course, you enjoy working after work, for the sake of work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

But this is a game, sir. Even if we assume that +60% is indeed achievable by anyone who spends the time and dedication, the group would still be a minority because it'd take an obscene amount of work to achieve. Unless, of course, you enjoy working after work, for the sake of work.

 

 

Of course.  But the game is different things to different people.  Perhaps the worst of the "play for fun" crowd are completely satisfied by sucking in game after game.  An average player may enjoy putting in just enough effort to not be a burden.  For others, enjoyment comes in the form of total domination.  For some, the level of play required for 60+ win rates falls within their comfort zone.  Many people take their hobbies very seriously.  I've known people who spend two hours per day at the gym, even while having regular jobs.  People who spend their entire weekends fixing old cars.  People who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on fishing equipment. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well after 37 games from stock in my IS this weekend, playing 2, watching replays and noting what went well or why I died/failed I have noticed a difference.

 

My survival rate averages 25%, even on recent tanks. My IS is running nearly 46%. All other stats are up by a large margin compared to other tanks and global rates.

 

My win rate for the last seven days is 66%. look me up on this site and check the uptick on the win rate graph.

 

Just noting and thinking and recording my dumb mistakes has helped soo much.

 

I now aim, it would seem I did not actually do that.

 

This is quite fun.

 

Gibbon

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Introduction
 
I believe that playing this game is rather easy. I also believe that playing this game well is not easy at all. A very large number of variables affect the outcome of both a single player's performance and the ultimate outcome of a match. Yes, RNG plays a part, but like life, in WoT we can both mitigate and capitalize on luck (or bad luck) to varying degrees.
 
It's a given at this point that improvement of skills plays a key role. I won't debate that here.
 
I apologize if this sounds harsh, but I see more than a couple of my fellow scrubs coming to this forum looking for the 'magic pill' or 'unicum fairy dust'. Improving skills takes work. A lot of work. Not just mindless 'click the battle button again' work or get the 'super insightful unicum analysis of stats or replays' work.
 
Improving skills in WoT is much like anything else where performance is reflective of skills. It takes what psychologists refer to as 'deliberate practice'. 
 
What is Deliberate Practice?
 
Others have done a much better job of describing what this is, so I wil provide some links. In short, it's my understanding that deliberate practice is adding strong structure and methodology to one's learning process of a skill. Focus, feedback, experimentation, record keeping, and time efficiency all play a part.
 
 
 
Also google for the paper titled "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance" by K. Anders Ericsson. It's easy to find.
 
Geoff Colvin also wrote a excellent book on the subject: http://www.geoffcolvin.com/books/talent-is-overrated-by-geoff-colvin/
 
Here's a good applied example of deliberate practice - a guy named Dan undertook what he calls the "Dan Plan" to prove that deliberate practice can work. (Some devotees of deliberate practice also argue very strongly in the non-existence of natural talent.) Dan is trying to prove that someone starting with no golf skills can become a professional golfer by applying deliberate practice - he's doing very well. Read about him here: http://thedanplan.com/about/
 
What about Tanks?
 
What does this have to do with world of tanks? Deliberate practice is much harder than simple repetitive unstructured practice. I believe there is no lazy way to become a unicum. Many times in the forums, a new player will hear a lot advice describing *how* a unicum plays and not how they practice. Reading that good players *have* excellent situational awareness is not that same as reading how good players developed that situational awareness.
 
Deus has dug into this topic somewhat, but here's a quick shot at how to apply deliberate practice to WoT. I'll try to collect some of his posts on this subject and add them here later.
 
- Keep a record of all battles. An self-analysis of the replay of every loss is helpful. Where/why/how was damage taken? Was initial map location bad? Was lack of arty awareness a problem?
 
- Focus learning around specific types and tiers of tanks. When Dan started learning to play golf, he only putted for quite along time before moving on to his short game before finally picking up a driver.
 
- Find a mentor if possible for platooning and replay analysis. Don't use them as a crutch. Write down their feedback. Work on asking non-stupid questions.
 
I'm sure there are folks on this forum with better suggestions than these.
 
 
 
Full disclosure: I don't currently do much of this. The most I do is a post loss analysis with my regular platoon mate (wife). But I know that improving my stats at a faster rate than before will mean doing more than just mindlessly clicking the battle button over and over again.
 
 
TL;DR: Getting better at tanks takes more than just playing tanks and hanging out in forums.

 

I much prefer my 0 effort method.

 

Some people do not have situational awareness. Some people do not have tactical or strategic awareness. Some people just suck at games. It's not just gaming either, the same people will be bad at sports, driving etc. They seem to ALL play tanks though.

 

Lets face it, tanks is an easy game, if you are bad at it you are probably bad at a lot of games but they just don't provide you with stats. I'm just happy tanks is an "MMO" and not dedicated servers that bitch admins suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect ban me from.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the core point here is simply that practise is not repetition. Of course you need to practise some things many times to learn it and in some physical excercises repetition is how you build muscle memory. A kickboxer for example can learn and practise to do a defensive block reflexively. Normal reflex when you are punched is to close your eyes and move your head away. But with muscle memory you can learn to react differently. Someone tries to punch you and you go for a counter move automatically.

 

But apart from that pure repetition in itself does not work. Period. I'm not denying natural skill. But simply doing lots of battles in itself may not teach you anything at all. Of course that doesn't mean you don't learn anything by doing so. You just don't learn anything that improves your results. For example you may learn the terrain of a map but you don't learn how the map works. You may learn that shooting at tanks does damage but you may never learn weakspots.

 

 I'd claim that natural talent is a lot about being a natural fast learner. You notice how things work, you see cause and effect where others see stuff happening or don't see anything at all. You learn and adjust automatically while for less "gifted" players the process has to be more conscious one. They don't adjust naturally and miss things that are obvious for someone else.

 

Of course other things come into play as well when we talk about wot for example. Gaming history is important. If wot is your first team based competitive online game then there are some basics you need to learn that are more or less common between games. If you have never played game with keyboard and mouse then you need to learn that as well. And in these basic things you can learn to be better. You can aim and hit targets with skill in 3rd person view by doing things better for example.

 

In the end the biggest problem for learning is to play without thinking. I do that a lot. I used to play some quake and unreal tournament at times when I was younger. I played against bots and never online. What I did most of the time was to just run around the maps going after the first opponent I spot. I was playing bad and I wasn't learning anything except the most basic things. Where powerups appeared and where are the elevators and basic stuff like that. It was just mindless repetition. Then years later I saw some online stream or some other video about competitive quake 3 1vs1 tournament. It was a huge revelation. Just HUGE! Suddenly I understood that there are tactics and skills in 1st person shooters. It is not just reflexes and luck. Not getting hit is not just about having the reflexes to jump out of the way at the last second and hitting others is not just good mouse hand.

 

I think many people who play wot see it just like I did saw quakes at that time. Something in which you are either naturally good at or not. That is not correct. While there is natural skills and psychological traits that will help you be better at the same time there is a lot to learn. That learning just isn't about reading guides, reading tutorials, watching how good players do it but simply playing the game and learning while you do it.

 

It is also important to not see these natural skills as excuses. I'm not unicum because I don't have the brain power to do so. I'm just no playing well enough. If I practised hard and better I will improve and get there. I'm not practising as hard and as well to be there. Not because of lack f natural ability but simply because I haven't done enough deleberate practise. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick disclaimer: I am far from an expert at this game! I am, however, what I would describe as "useful". To use an English football analogy, I'm a decent Championship side!

 

I agree very much with the premise in the OP. This is the primary reason that tracking my own stats is important to me. Like anything else in life, I have tried to be as good at this game as I possibly can be. I'll never be the best, or even among the best, but I can be better than I currently am, and I can do that by analysing what I do well and, more importantly, what I don't do well.

 

Over the time that I've been playing I have tended to focus on one or two specific stats at any given time, and sought to improve those specific values. Because of my tendency to play recklessly at times, the key ones for me were (and still are) DPB and survival percentage (which are, of course, quite closely linked). Over time, gradually, this self analysis has led to a slow, steady improvement in my performance, and tbh its only my constant striving for improvement that keeps me playing after all this time- its the over-arching goal that gives the game purpose for me.

 

Generally speaking, I think the key is to be able to recognise what we are doing wrong, and how we might correct it; too many players are quick to blame things outside of their control for their failings. I don't know if this is a self-esteem thing or what, but a lot of people seem unable to acknowledge that areas of their own game may be weak, and because of that they don't change what needs to be changed in order to improve.

 

So my big piece of advice- learn to be self-aware (Which is actually a much trickier skill than you might think) and be prepared to be critical of yourself in a constructive way. See what you are doing wrong, and try to develop ways to stop doing it!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I deliberately padded practiced myself into reasonably good results in this game. 

 

See a post I made 8 months ago on the subject http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/187811-a-methodology-for-improving-your-gameplay/

 

 

 

Here is a set of things that I have done in the past, and will do again to improve my performance. I am by no means the most successful player posting guides on these forums, and the information found in those guides is wholly invaluable. But there came for me a certain point (around 3800 games?) where I was stuck, and needed to get un-stuck on my learning progression. It was suggested to me to join a clan and ask lots of questions, and I did that, but that wasn't quite enough to get me where I wanted to be. And anyone who knows me can attest...I ask more questions than anyone can really tolerate. 

Knowing that a key to improvement was to play less games, but more mindfully (a lesson from any other attempt at skill acquisition) I created a strategy to slow myself down and consciously learn.


First, I made a spreadsheet: Game #, Map, Tank, W/L, Comments

The Game # is just useful for seeing where you are historically. Map Tank and W/L are useful for filtering. Comments is the most important field.

I would pause gameplay, instead of just hitting Battle! again like the rat that I am and log the game in the spreadsheet. Then go through my short term re-collection of the game, noting mistakes I made, either tactically or strategically, opportunities I had missed, etc. 

THEN I would watch the replay of my own gameplay, and see if my recollection matched the actual games. As I watched, I would look for opportunities to have made a better shot/position/minimap read, etc. It was very useful to contrast the recollection vs the replay, which can be paused, rewound and slowed down. As anyone familiar with psychology should know, your eyewitness account of your own game is NOT reliable. A replay is however reliable. You will see things you didn't see before, and you will be on the LOOK OUT for them, especially if a pattern arises. You will also see all kinds of information that you filtered out during the heat of battle. Both of these aspects will help you improve your information processing capacity during the actual battles. 


I would try to stick to 1 or 2 tanks while doing this, so as to be practicing consistently. After logging 20-30 games, you will begin to see patterns of the mistakes you've made or problems you are having "too aggressive early" "left fire support area" "thought I was hull down but was not" etc. If you are having issues with a particular map (as I noted in the comment "i have no idea where to go in this tank on this map") then go download a replay or five of a better player in that same tank and see what he/she did. Steal their ideas and experiment with them. Then try to apply them to other maps and similar terrain that you come across. 

If all this is too much work...well maybe you are a savant and you'll get a 60% WR based on playing games and nothing else. I know there are other methods, and some people can just learn from their pub experiences without this in-depth analysis. You don't need to watch EVERY replay after a while, but it can be useful to sample from them randomly later on, and reference with the spreadsheet. If you wanted to go a step further, then put a Replay Comments column in your log and write down the lessons from the replay. 

If all this is too much work and you CBA and play for fun...fine...but don't ask for tips from unicums, say "fail team" after doing 300 dmg in your 8/9/10s, or whine about the MM being fixed. I personally enjoy skill acquisition and do not mind the "work" associated with these methods. If i did it more, I'd probably even be successful instead of just above average, but we can't all have Kewei's discipline can we?

 

Note that I even cite KiKi in that post. 

 

I became a unicum without realizing it.

 

I basically just played and played, and one day, I was purple, then I played some more, and people told me I was purple. 

 

#naturallytalented@tanks

 

 

I am fairly sure, based on your own words, that everything you do in most of your life is deliberate. Natural talents exist for visual perception, ability to process lots of information, risk analysis...but for tanks itself...too specific. 

 

#naturallydeliberate@everything

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I play for fun. 

 

winning=fun

more wins=more fun,

 

so therefore, I play to win to have fun..... 

 

In all seriousness though, I do analyze (not very deeply) what I do wrong, and what I do right, and try to keep doing the right thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find that most people settle into a "comfort zone" win rate.

 

 

For others, enjoyment comes in the form of total domination.

This is me.  Not that I don't enjoy a good nail biting win, but you should see me grin when my team has completely rolled the enemy and I've finished with the highest damage and kills.  There is nothing more satisfying than sitting atop the list showing I did more than anyone in undisputed fashion that I did more than anyone else to ensure the win.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...