MECH*SPECTRUM is delighted to welcome this piece by Minski, and look forward to more great insight into War Robots!
“I came about 2 seconds from uninstalling this effing game last night – it’s getting ridiculous!”
…posted one of my long-suffering clan mates. Now, if a tactically astute, espresso-supping, Champion-league player is that unbearably frustrated by the game, then what feasible hope can the rest of us mere mortals harbour?
I started talking to pilots across different league levels, clans, and geographies, trying to nail down what loony rules the match-maker (MM) loosely followed. Urban myths included:
- I heard that MM is based on the lowest league rank in the squad…
- There is no MM in WR. Level 10-13-15 players are MM with level 25-28-30 players…
- Pix wrote in code to inhibit constant success, to keep you down, and level the field a bit…
- Activity cups also affect MM…
- Change your weapon setups and bots and you will be matched with similar players…
- If a player in Diamond league has weapons at level 10 and above it brings in Masters and/or another player with high level weapons in Expert…
So, I decided to run my own test to see how perceptions compared with practice. My aim was to see how blue and red team league levels contrasted, how this was affected by squad or solo play, and also how ‘fair’ I thought the matches were. Granted, when measuring ‘fairness’, this blunt comparison doesn’t account for factors such as hanger strength or tankers (players consciously losing games to drop leagues and face easier competition), but hey, it’s still an indication.
100 battles were played on iOS, with none relating to the Leavers Queue. Using information available from the end-game summary screen, three things were noted: the league level of each pilot on both sides, if they were in a sub-squad, and whether the battle ‘seemed’ a ‘fair’ match-up.
Each league level between Bronze 1 and Champion was assigned a score, from 2 up to 20. The ‘league score’ total was added up for the blue team and also the red team. The difference between the two scores indicated the gap in individual pilot league levels between teams.
Health warning: whilst these tests are not statistically divine, the aim was to provide a ROUGH INDICATION as to ‘what in the holy mother of Kang Dae is going on’ with match maker. So I’d urge the reader to accept the findings in the spirit in which they were intended.
Blue versus red ‘league levels’
In 63% of games, the difference between the blue and red team ‘league score’ totals was +/- 6. Six league levels across 6 pilots, is on average, one league level between teams. So, in nearly two thirds of games, on average, that is like a full Diamond 2 blue team playing a full Diamond 1, or full Diamond 3 red team. Pretty good match-making in most games then.
In 11% of games, blue team were, on average, 1-3 leagues higher ranked than the reds. This is like your full Diamond 2 blue team, on average, playing red teams ranked Diamond 3 down to Gold 2. A bit of a gap but not too crazy-crazy.
In 26% of games, blue team were 1.5-9 leagues per pilot lower ranked than red team. This is like a full Gold 1 blue team, playing red teams, on average, anywhere from Diamond 2 up to Champion league. Granted, in reality, blue squads probably had, or were assigned, an individual who was far higher than the rest of the team, which pulled in higher league opposition. Nevertheless, in a quarter of games, on average, you probably have next to no hope of winning the battle.
The Squadding Effect
63 of these 100 battles involved a blue squad.
In 56% of blue squad battles, the red team had a higher ‘league score’. Slightly unbalanced, which still seems acceptable. But how large was the imbalance, and how did this alter by blue team squad size?
The larger the blue team squad, the wider the ‘league score’ average difference between teams (in red’s favour). Solo (1%) and two pilot blue squads (1.3%) were fairly evenly matched with red. However, red superiority increased the larger the blue squad became: 3 (11%), 4 (14%), 5 (17%). The exception to the trend was 6-pilot squads (7.5%), perhaps because the match-maker couldn’t insert a far higher league pilot who would attract higher league opposition. It is of course true that squads can operate as a more cohesive team by using common tactics, voice communication, and reducing the number of random players with different agendas.
This tells us is that you have more chance of playing a well matched team if you solo, or play in either a 2 or 6-pilot squad. The more competitive teams out there may want to pay more attention to the benefit that each additional squad-mate brings against the extra heat that larger squads attract.
‘Fairly’ matched battles
Each battle was subjectively marked as a ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ battle, by how easy or challenging it felt to damage or be damaged by the red team.
66% of battles were marked as a ‘fair’ fight. This happened to be where the difference between teams was up to +/-10 points or, on average, 1.6 league levels per player. This is like, on average, a Diamond 2 blue team playing anything down to a very weak Diamond 3, or up to a very strong Diamond 1 team. This tells me that I’m actually more comfortable with the level of the opposition than I often feel. Of course, the other 33%, or third, of battles are a different matter entirely!
Myth: MM linked to bot / weapon levels / activity cups / pilot level who starts the game.
Pixonic: MM is only based on the highest pilot league level in the team.
Test: Pixonic’s response aligns with the results from the ‘squadding effect’ test which showed that unless the squad was all the same level, the highest level squad member would pull in higher level opposition. This could be you, one of your squad, or a random player assigned to your blue team. The bigger your squad, potentially, the more likely it is to be imbalanced, and the tougher the opposition.
Two thirds of battles are well matched, in terms of team league levels.
In a quarter of battles you have next to no hope of winning.
When squadding, red has a slightly greater chance of being a higher average league level. Best match-making occurs when solo or in 2 or 6-pilot squads, but not in 3-5 pilot squads.
Two thirds of battles seemed ‘fairly’ matched. This mirrors the squad-level test above.
Try to squad with players your exact league level for best match-making. This may be unlikely when just choosing from just your own clan, so reach out on Facebook, Discord and Line communities to expand your Facebook friend network, and in-game pool of pilots to squad with.
And finally, to my friend who destroyed his iPad by throwing it at a wall in the most extreme frustration – I hope this saves you money on your insurance bills.