To paraphrase- and butcher- Monty Python, what have War Robots Champions league players ever done for us?
They’ve punished, thundered, scourged and trebucheted us to bits, the bastards! They’ve taken every league point we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers’ fathers. And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers. Yeah. And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers. All right, don’t labour the point!
And what have they ever given us in return?! Clans? Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah. And tactics? Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you clans, and tactics are two things that the Champions have done.
And training? Well, yeah. Obviously, YouTube tutorials and in-game training schools. I mean, they go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the clans, tactics, and training- role models, original beta testers, leadership and motivation? All right, but apart from clans, tactics, training, role models, original beta testers, and leadership, and motivation, what have Champions league players ever done for us?
Tested all possible weapon and bot combinations, across all maps, quicker than new players ever could or would, to help us avoid wasting resources, and steered us towards long-term successful combinations quicker? Oh – do shut up!
And today they’re going to provide us with another service: data and an insight into their success!
Whether you’re a raw recruit, or a grizzled pro, and whether you purchased your hanger by platinum card, or ground out piles of grimy Silver with raw activity, we all share an endorphin rush on seeing the emerald-green winner’s screen.
But, as any fresh-faced Destrier pilot will tell you, there is a smorgasbord of variables that affect our ability to win. These include: teammates you play with, squads you form, maps you run, skills you develop, strategy you use, in-game comms you use, frequency of connection issues, tankers who cheat, and which way the wind blows on any given Tuesday!
So, rather than attempt to decipher tactical mythology or keep up with the shifting sands of game meta, we look at two indicators of success: the top 50 Champions league pilots that form the ‘Legends league’, and also the 100 most active clans. Observations cover activity levels, solo versus clan, clan age, clan size, weapons, and bots.
Health warning: focus here is on Legend league players and most active clans, as information is objective and available. Focus isn’t on the subjective ‘hardest-to-beat’ clans, although they are sure to feature in the above categories anyway. Observations aim to help players make their own choices about how they want to play the game, and are not designed to dictate what to do or how to do it. So, I’d urge the reader to enjoy the observations in the spirit in which they were intended.
The average weekly activity of pilots in the top 100 clans in October 2017 was 724 cups per week (low: 559, high: 1369). If your progression up the leagues is slower than you’d like, or applications to clans aren’t being accepted, perhaps this might be linked to your current activity level? Granted, not everyone wants to reach the zenith of the Legends league, but perhaps this frame of reference will spark ideas around what activity level you need, to accomplish your own league and clan aims.
If your aim is to climb the league ladder, then there is no substitute for playing and gelling with a regular group of pilots to develop your team play and map strategy. This becomes progressively more important the higher you climb and can be achieved with regular individual or clan squad-mates. 4 of 50 (8%) champions in the Legends league fly solo, whilst 46 of 50 (92%) are in a clan. The implication is that achieving and maintaining success is linked to, although not necessarily always caused by, being in a clan.
I recently conducted a War Robots clan-age analysis across multiple player forums by asking players to share their clan IDs and clan start dates. By comparing the two it was possible to spot an approximate clan-age pattern across iOS and Android clans. This quick and dirty view isn’t exact but helps make a point.
Clans with ID numbers of 10,000 – 20,000 started roughly between August 2014 and September 2016. Clan IDs 20,000-40,000 started between October 2016 and March 2017; and IDs of over 40,000 dated from approximately April 2017.
47% of the top 100 clans, by activity, have a clan ID number starting with a ‘1’, so are 1-3 years old (The ‘Old Guard’). Maintaining elevated activity long-term implies stability, the leadership and motivation to retain the most active existing pilots, and the organisation to seek out the most active new pilots. ‘Old Guard’ clans offer experienced hanger help, game-play tips, training, and beta-testing insight into upcoming bots, weapons and upgrade strategies. They also attract the best new pilots with new approaches to help adapt to changes in meta.
Newer clans are less likely to appear in the top 100. ‘Third Generation‘ (clans starting with ‘3’) and ‘New Breed’ (clans starting with ‘4’ or ‘5’) clans started in 2017 and form just 26% of the top 100. This shows just how difficult it is for new clans to break in, whilst retaining their most active pilots. The most active pilots typically bounce between ‘Old Guard’ clans, helping entrench their clan ranking, and attract yet more of the best, active pilots.
A standard clan contains 36 pilot places. The average size of a top 100 clan, by activity, is 39 (high: 41, low: 36). This shows that the most active clans have purchased, on average, 3 additional pilot slots during in-game events. They are on average, 95% populated (e.g. 37/39 pilots) (low: 69%, high: 100%). This frame of reference is helpful for up-and-coming clans wanting to emulate the most active clans, and for pilots when searching for active clans to join.
Now, for the juicy segment. Analysis of the Legends league shows the bots and weapons currently being used by the top 50 most successful pilots in the game:
• 90 bots (36%) are Haechi. Common setups are triple-Orkan (68) and triple-Taran (20)
• 52 bots (21%) are Bulgasari. Common loads are triple-Taran (23) and triple-Orkan (18). The triple-Scourge (9) with 600m range also exists.
• 45 bots (18%) are Griffins, most of which are Orkan/Pinata (23) or Taran/Magnum (12). The Scourge/Gekko is run by a famous YouTuber.
• 31 bots (12%) are Lancelots, most of which are Ancile/Taran (17). Thunder/Orkan (6), Ancile/Orkan (5), and Scourge/Zeus (3) are also used.
• 16 bots (6%) are Kumiho, split between double-Orkan (13) and double-Taran (3).
• 16 other bots included Fury (8), Carnage (3), Galahad (2), Doc (1), Rogatka (1), Rhino (1)
• As in March, there are no Stalkers, Butches, spider-bots, Pattons, or Robo-ducks!
• Also no Hydra, Spiral and just one Gekko. Few use the Tulumbas/Pin combination (4).
So, what has changed in the past six months (MAR-SEP)? Comparison with Lottie-Rose Robinson’s (iOS) March 2017 analysis is startling. The percentage of:
• Lancelot dropped from 37% to 12%. The old tank is less popular but still relevant.
• Galahad plunged from 23% to 0.8%, and is no longer viable at the top level.
• Griffin edged from 20% to 18% and retains popularity due its adaptability across ranges.
• Fury dropped from 10% to 3%. No Butches. Tridents, Trebuchet, and Molot were dropped in favour of Tempest (3). Instead of a long-range bot per pilot, top squads now run 0-3 in total across a 6 pilot team.
• Carnage dropped from 4% to 0.8%, and is no longer viable at the top level.
• Gareth is no longer used, whilst single figure Doc, Rogatka and Rhino remain.
• The number of bot types increased from 8 to 11, with 5 remaining in double figures. Of these, the only survivors from March are Lancelot and Griffin, with Fury, Carnage and Galahad falling by the wayside.
Dash didn’t exist in March 2017, but by September 2017 they accounted for 63% of Legends league bots. Whilst popularity is partially linked to novelty, the main driver has been the damage records they are setting and the game-winning performances linked to the beacon rush format (e.g. Yamantau, where first to middle beacon wins the game).
Previously, the most popular bot/weapon set-ups took 1.5 to 2 months to max. It’s hard not to feel sorry for those players who wasted the summer with some upgrades that became obsolete overnight. It’s also sad to see increasing numbers of disenfranchised players retiring. This observation from an experienced pilot I hold in the utmost regard encapsulates player sentiment well.
“The game meta now is where it doesn’t matter about pilot skill. It’s all about how many Dash Bots you are running. It’s like seal clubbing all over again.”
• Solo or clan: 92% of Legend league pilots are part of a clan. Have you considered both approaches?
• Activity levels: The average weekly activity of the top 100 pilots is 724 cups per week. What activity levels do you need to achieve your own objectives?
• Successful clans: Half of the top 100 active clans are 1-3 years old. ‘Old Guard’ clans have been most successful in retaining and attracting the most active pilots. How can your clan do similar?
• Clan size: The average top 100 active clan has 39 pilots, including 3 additionally purchased places, and is typically 95% full (37/39). How active or populated does your clan need to be to meet your own aims?
• Weapons and bots: Haechi (36%) and Bulgasari (21%) are the overpowered bots of choice in Legend league. Griffin remains popular (18%) due to its versatility. Lancelot is less popular (12%), but still relevant. Galahad, Carnage, Fury, Butch, Gareth, Doc, Rogatka and Rhino are seemingly no longer viable at the top level.
• Range: The game meta has shortened in range. Long range bots and weapons are less popular, with top squads now running 0-3 long bots/weapons, rather than one per pilot.
• Dash now account for 63% of bots in Legend league and require luck or deep pockets to acquire. Unequal barriers to success, irrespective of skill level, tactics or team play have resulted in pilots with an uncommon advantage. This is toxic to variety, competition, community, and enjoyment. The rapid destruction of player trust and goodwill will not be easy to rebuild.
On a lighter note, one common thread that seems to run true is, “if you don’t like something, hang on in there, because in two months time it is sure to have completely and utterly changed!”