World of Warships: A Statistical Analysis of Win Rate and Aggression Attributes – Questioning the Current Meta

In the last 6 months or so Wargaming has tried to push more aggressive tactics and play into World of Warships with its multiple changes and additions to the game. Included in these changes has been the addition of radar and hydroacoustic search, the introduction of the brawling German Battleships, and most recently, and certainly one of the more contentious changes, the elimination of stealth firing. In theory, these changes would force players to push into smoked up destroyers or push into capture points, force the use of guns and maneuverability and create a necessity for the use of secondary guns. In fact, what has been observed by myself, and confirmed by others, at least on the North American server, is quite the opposite. The removal of stealth fire has required many of the destroyers to sit in their own smoke, as opposed to using it for teammates, and shoot high explosive at the enemy. It has also forced the cruisers that were capable of stealth fire to maintain range and use their mobility to deal damage with shells and fire while reducing their own damage. This in turn removes them from the battle, certainly on an aggression stance.

Before the introduction of the German battleships, battleships would sit at range, bow in, and the one with the better RNG or team would win the day. Now, with their turtleback armor scheme and devastating secondaries, German battleships can go broadside-to-broadside with another battleship and come out on top as they have to worry very little about being citadeled. Though this is thought to promote more aggression their size and high susceptibility to fire and armor piercing damage keeps them at range – they just get whittled down by fire damage and the far more devastating torpedoes from both ships and aircraft.

The above noted changes have forced players to become more passive, as was very evident by the smoke Meta of the 6th season of Ranked. This is not to say that aggression does not win battles because it certainly can, particularly at end game moments. However, play as a whole has become a more “sit in smoke or at range and farm damage” style as opposed to the more fun (at least for me) and aggressive push forward and get the objectives. Wargaming has forced our hand as players, certainly at higher tiers where the economy is more towards risk vs. reward and costly, to play passively to deal as much damage as possible and take as little damage as possible. Though that might seem like the ultimate goal anyways, what this is also forcing is players to play for themselves; benefitting only them, as opposed to playing for the team and for the win. I could certainly give more examples but if you’ve read this far and are familiar with high tier play, you’re probably well aware of them by now.

Defining Aggression

At this point in this article the thought of “What defines aggression?” has crossed your mind at least once. The list is actually quite long and includes such factors as distance traveled, secondary shots fired, main battery accuracy, torpedo accuracy, capture points taken, capture points reduced and ships spotted, to name a few. The problem with some of these is how universally can they be applied and how? To answer the second part of the question, the how, is quite simple. How far you travel on average, per battle or your total main battery shots divided by the total that actually hit the target. The first part can be as explained as follows, where an example might be for distance. A battleship who travels far per battle might be very passive, sailing along at their max range taking shots at whatever is spotted, where one that has relatively little might push in aggressively near a capture point and tank damage for the team. Conversely though, that low mileage battleship could sit at spawn and shoot at range, while the mobile one stays mobile closer to the action where their guns are more effective.

This may sound contradictory, and it is, but therein lays the universally applied problem. Others, such as main battery accuracy can be applied across more ships equally as the closer you are to a target, thus more aggressive – in theory – the more accurate you are likely to be; similarly with torpedoes. Secondaries on the other hand, just the fact that they are being fired means you are close to enemy ships, thus being more aggressive. However, these are all partial factors and necessitate other metrics to be truly useful. An example of this would be with accuracy, where if you are a bad shot, regardless of range, your overall accuracy will be poor. They work together to produce a more sound metric to define passiveness.

Aggression vs. Passiveness – Semantics?

As aggression and passiveness are opposites, quantifying between the two, for our purposes is a matter of semantics. The measures that we use to define one, in turn define the other, it’s how we want to interpret the data. Ultimately, we all like to see higher numbers for everything, so it would only make sense that we would like to measure and define something based on higher values, thus the use of Aggression as the definition of a measure as opposed to Passiveness. Please note though, a low score or values well below know average scores can be defined as passive.

 

The Data Set

All the data was obtained from WoWreplays.com which is using the Wargaming API to collect data on every player in every ship on both the North American (NA) and European (EU) servers. A statistical program called SPSS was used to download that data from WoWreplays.com and randomly selected 5% of the download data. This equated to over 3,250,000 cases of over 308,000 Players by 223 Ships[1], meaning for every player ID as many as 223 individual ship stats may be included, in the case of Testers and Community Contributors.

The Analysis

In an attempt to understand and further prove my own hypothesis that your win rate is tied to your aggression – the more aggressive you are, the more you can do to contribute to a win; data was obtained through WoWReplays.com to be analyzed. The simplest way to analyze this data was through the use of correlations.[2] What was seen was that, on average, as a player’s win rate increased so did their measures of aggression. As seen in Fig. 2, correlations with the included variables shows that across the player sample from both the EU and NA servers, higher win rates could be expected the higher the Survival Percentage, overall average accuracy, overall shots fired and average ships spotted. For overall averages see Fig. 1.

What this data shows, and further proves is more aggressive tactics help attribute to the team’s ability to win. That is, a players ability to play aggressively aides in their teams ability to secure the win. It is worthy to note however, for the more astute of you, though the correlation values are not close to one, they are considered statistically significant.[3] This especially holds true for ships spotted, torpedoes shot and accuracy, and Secondary shots fired. This could be a result of over aggression playing a role those ships getting too close and getting sunk.

Conclusion

The current passive Meta in the game does not support winning, certainly during an entire battle. Sitting in your smoke cloud and sniping from max range, even while doing damage, does not do as much to help your team as performing the intended role of your ship. However, calculated aggression, under the right circumstances can swing the tide of a battle quite quickly. Being too aggressive, or a miscalculation when to be aggressive, can lead to being sunk too early and if you are a key vessel in that current fleet will certainly aide the enemy team in winning. More skilled players have learned when to make calculated risks and how to push the envelope in situations where it is required. Much like baseball, where a good batter can hit the ball, but a great batter knows when to swing, so too can be said for the good players and the great players. In both cases, consistency is the key and that comes with time. Everyone is capable of ‘learning’ when to make the important play, but the hardest part is figuring it out. The above analysis shows that aggression does indeed payoff and further, more advanced analysis (Fig. 3), showed that when we removed a players skill from the equation, damage done ultimately becomes null, but survival is still very important.[4] This again, highlights the point of knowing when to make the right plays and not be too aggressive. Your death is the enemy’s win.

Figure 1.
Descriptives

Figure 2. (click for larger view)
Correlations

Figure 3. (click for larger view)
Correlations exclude skill


[1] It is worth noting that included in these 223 ships are the soon to be released (as of the writing of this article) French cruisers.

[2] Correlations are a statistical measure used to determine relationships between averages (means) of at least two variables. They are displayed as values of being between -1 and 1. The closer the value is to either the positive or negative 1, the stronger a relationship with a value of zero indicating no relationship at all. A positive integer indicates how well one variable increases while the other increases. A score of 1 would indicate a perfect and predictable relationship. A negative integer indicates how well one variable increases while the other decreases. A score of -1 would indicate a perfect and predictable relationship.

[3] A statistically significant value, often displayed as a value below .05, indicates that the metric that is shown has less than a 5% chance of occurring by accident. Thus, as shown in Fig. 1 where the Sig. (2-tailed) value is displayed as .000, the Pearson Correlation value is indicated to have a less than .05% chance of occurring due to error.

[4] Figure 3. Our measure of player skill within a particular ship was excluded from the correlation analysis.

Author: SnipeySnipes

A technical and analytic writer for the WoWReplays.com blog - I focus on nuances and details that are often ignored or over looked by other World of Warships community contributors. With a background in the social sciences and statistics I aim to answer questions about the game and player population as a whole, backing my findings with numbers as proof. I play World of Warships as often as I can but by no means am a "professional." Though I would say I perform better then the average player, I still screw up and die often! You can find me in game or hanging about the WoWReplays Discord server. Hit me up for questions, comments or suggestions. Snide remarks or toxic comments will be forwarded to my complaints department for disposal.

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