NOTE: I created a sequel to this post that focuses on mechanics more than mindset.
When you get done with this, please follow the link to Improving Win Rate, Part Deux!
Regardless, I have been wanting to do this for awhile - namely, go through and reorganize this monster and see what I could do to improve its readability and layout. Again, if you can think of something that will help, please let me know. Otherwise, all comments and opinions are mine and mine alone. I now have over 8,000 battles (which some people inexplicably seem to think is still n00bish) and I have seen all sorts of things in battles - valor, smart play, whimsy, douchebaggery, bots, n00bs, total pros, total asshattery, gentlemanly behavior, and douchebaggery... yes, I said that twice. There's lots of that.
What follows are some things I have noticed as helping me in my personal attempt to win. This does not make me a slave to stats. It's just that I enjoy winning games and I do not like it when I lose. Therefore, what will get me the win? It is different every time. Before I get into the meat of it, I also want to point out that this guide has nothing to do with specific in-game strategy and tactics. There are dozens of threads out there about those subjects (Many of them awful). PLEASE restrict your comments to the subject here.
We have all seen the swinging ePeens in the forum and in chat: "That sounds great - what with your XX% win rate..."
If you get grumpy when you lose, when you see that someone else has a higher win rate, and when you see your win rate drop or your loss rate go up, take heart! Just by coming to the forums, it shows you want to get better.
There are other topics that have covered the meaning of the Win Rate, Interpretations of Win Rate in-game, Win Rate Distribution (and off-forum HERE), and how to play better and more effectively (And don't forget to check under the nationality/vehicle type directories). I particularly like Garbad's thread, What correlates with win rates?(didn't say I agree with him on everything... ). However, I have yet to see someone put into concrete terms exactly what 1% means in this game.
And, yes, while this is a TEAM game, a team is made of individuals. If you have a great pitcher and hitters, what happens if the infield keeps committing errors? If your garage band sounds really good, but the drummer keeps speeding up and the bass player forgets the chord changes, what do you do? These individuals practice and improve or they make the team fail. If the individual improves, the team improves.
The key here is that the skill of the individual can swing the battle. I would bet that, no matter your ability, you can point to an act you took, on purpose, that positively affected the battle.
- You pulled back from the main thrust to bolster the flank and ended up as the sole survivor on that flank, having finished the last enemy there.
- You sacrificed yourself to block a bridge or narrow, provide a benchrest for an ally, reset a cap, or just held up an enemy for the 5-10 seconds your team needed.
- Saw a scout retreating from one lane so you displaced to the alternate and popped him before he got to your arty.
Why do I feel it is important enough to make a thread about this?
The reason I wrote this short guide was that I was average. I was right at 48-49% - center of mass for the American server. I wanted to get above 50% overall (higher would be nice, but is now statistically problematic with my near 4000 battles). I am there.
I used to show a bunch of old screen caps from different stat tracking apps. I think this works better.
Battles W/L% KDR Dam XP 4353 50.0 0.89 426 273 5448 51.0 1.01 515 333 6896 51.5 1.05 575 377 8065 51.9 1.10 620 408 9114 51.7 1.13 649 557 <--- Post 8.2 doldrums... between that patch and the Holiday x5, there were some CRAZY WEIRD teams...And I am not sure what is up with the XP... that's what I get for trusting online apps based on a separate database. 10000 52.0 1.16 674 442
If you look, you will see the improvement in my stats. Part of this improvement (Damage and Experience Rate) is a result of more games played at higher tiers. KDR, I feel, is irrelevant to tier. I think this has been improving as a direct result of trying to cause more effective damage and making sure that I kill targets (whether being the lucky shot in sequence on a focus fire or someone I knock out on my own). The win rate speaks for itself. It went higher.
So, What will it take to increase my win rate?
Part One: Starting Out
Have a Goal
Tank Tracker - accesses your WoT profile Tank-Tracker is still there, but having issues with accessing the WoT database, apparently Tanks of Science- er... WoTLabs - Seemingly a good replacement for Tank-Tracker - line graphs and everything. (at the end of November 2012, ToS went down but made the code available to others)
- My Wot Stats - The latest stat tracker/signature maker. And as an aside, this is getting tiring... Someone please put some Google Ads on their page so they can keep their page in business...
- WoT Dossier Tool - upload your cache file
- Stats Performance and Analyzer page - upload your cache file
- WoT Logger 2 - produces a battle report following each battle
- WoTStats for Greasemonkey - Greasemonkey is a script-running add-on for Firefox.
- WoT-News Extended Player Statistics
- PlanetWoT has introduced a stat tracker as part of their site.
The tool at WoT-News tells you much of the same information available elsewhere, but it also tells you where you rank on the server by percentile. It also has this stat compared to the top players on the server. Unfortunately, it does not tell you what the criteria is for the "Server TOP" sample size. For example, as of this update, I have more battles than 98.1% of those on the server, but only 27.8% of those in the "Server TOP".
Now that you have started to look at where you sit, find something that you don't like (other than W/L) and want to improve. I saw an apparent correlation between my hit percentage and my win rate, so I started working on that. In each battle, I tried to shoot better instead of shooting faster. As I did that, my hit rate increased. There was a cascade effect. As hit rate went up, so did damage caused, XP earned, time in battle, and, yes, Win Rate.
This isn't just when I am top tank (I am RARELY top tank). I have started to notice now that when I get lazy and start snapping shots, I tend to lose.
And now, I am finding myself greatly influenced by Garbad's research into correlations of win rates. Cause Damage and get Kills. I have looked at my charts on the Performance Analyzer and I see that there is a correlation between my Kills and Damage caused and the Win Rate. So... on to my next climb in the numbers game.
Cause. More. Damage. Get. More. Kills.
How Average am I? Am I better or worse than Average?
Stat in Question: Server Numbers (for the period ending 11/9/2012) [where I am now-11/16/2012][Last 30 Days]:
Win Rate for 5000+ battles: 51.23% [51.89%][53.17%]
Win/Loss/Draw for EVERYONE: 49.39%/49.37%/1.24% [51.89%/46.24%/1.87%][53.17%/46.23%/0.06%]
Average XP: 439.66 [406.05][595.28]
Average Highest XP: 1653.10 
Average Kill Ratio: 0.77 [0.78][0.90]
Average Damage Per Battle: 932.59 [620.3][911.18]
Average Survival: 26.24% [29.00%][29.96%]
Average Base Cap: 1.62 [1.35][1.85]
Average Defense: 0.79 [0.99][0.91]
Global Rating: 114.71  - The calculation for this is a WG secret. Mine has been going up quite a bit lately. Based on my experience and what I have researched online, it seems to be played on how often you play (It goes down if you take a sabbatical), Average XP, what tiers you play, whether you play in platoons/companies/clan wars, and which phase the moon is in.
I don't include Average Hit Ratio as it is virtually meaningless given all of us who play arty.
As you can see, I have somewhere to go in more than a few areas. I'll blame a lot of this on my time spent in Tier IV/V and doing crap damage (= crap XP). I will blame my Efficiency on that as well (hard to earn efficiency in a low tier SPG, TD, or Medium).
Practice. Lots and lots of practice.
You have to be practicing while being consciously aware of what you are doing and WHY you are doing it. If you pick up a guitar and just start thrashing through some chords or playing scale just because you had to (without getting the best tone, accurate fingering, etc.), did you get better? no. If you go to the driving range for a bucket of "grip it and rip it", do you get better? no. Why do you think that hitting "Battle" and heading toward a choke point with no intent other than to blow up stuff will help you?
Part Two: Take it Up a Notch
Learn Your Tank
How often have you gone into a battle and seen someone type a screed about how they hate the tank they are in, the map they are on, etc.? My question: "Why are you in that tank, then? (or playing the game)" I understand the need to drive crap tanks to grind out a tier (two words: AMX 40). It may not be the best experience in-game, but it can be a learning experience for you.
Before taking out any tank, ask what makes it a fun tank for you. Is it the penetration on the gun? Is it the stealth attacks? Is it the Pew-Pew Raider aspect of the track? Is it because you get to pwn n00bs? I won't judge. If you can't figure this out, learn the tank and figure out what it does best. It may require a change in game style, though.
Many people HATE the M3 Lee. Personally, I loved it - WHEN I learned the idiosyncrasies of the track (it really was a crap tank, IRL). As a TD, it works. It has decent speed, a fast rate of turn, and the front armor is crazy bouncy. The winning aspect of it? People (especially the enemy) have no expectations of it being effective. That means that you have surprise on your side. Play it well and you can make folks seriously QQ your play when you annihilate Tier Vs through sound tactics and recognition of the vehicle limitations. I picked up my first Top Gun and Steel Wall in my Lee in a Tier V battle. THAT is when the enjoyment kicks in. http://forum.worldoftanks.com/public/style_emoticons/default/cool.png
When I moved from the Hetzer to the StuG III, I played the StuG like a Hetzer. and failed. bad. I had a 54.7% in the Hetzer over 128 battles. In the StuG? 36% This was in about 128 battles. Yes. I slogged that long playing that badly. I sold the StuG.
3 Months later, I repurchased it. I started playing it like a StuG - not a Hetzer. Now? at 268 battles, I have a 47.4%. This is still below average overall, but in the period since I repurchased it, I have an effective win rate of 57.9%. THAT is when the enjoyment kicks in. http://forum.worldoftanks.com/public/style_emoticons/default/cool.png
Touch Up Your Game
Check some of the pinned threads in The Game Guides and Tutorials forum, look for information on your tank in the appropriate area of the nation/type articles, and ride along with others in post-mortem mode (if you never ride in postmortem mode, you are missing out on watching others succeed/fail).
If you are just starting out in WoT, read this list of 20 things to do to NOT look like a Noob. About half are basics of battle. The other half are general behavior. I'm not sure which is more important to mindset.
Some other tips to help you survive/win:
- Use the minimap - See the little square thing in the corner? no? hit 'm'. OK, there it is. Your team is the green, the enemy is the red. Don't get so tunnel-visioned on your individual fight that you miss that the main enemy thrust is on the other side of the map. And along with this...
- Know when to charge and know when to run - If your main thrust sees the top tank and a couple of second/third tier vehicles supporting it while your scout ran into a Lemming Brigade on the other side of the map, recognize you have two options:
- Blast through as fast as you can, knowing that most of the enemy is out of position. (my preference)
- Split your force - defend your side while sending others to stop the Lemmings.
- Blast through as fast as you can, knowing that most of the enemy is out of position. (my preference)
- You can go backwards and you can go slow - tapping 'r' three times and pointing your track at the enemy is not how you win. It is how you become the first casualty. Becoming the first casualty does not help your team win. And along with this...
- Don't get too far ahead of the line of advance - Sure someone has to be the point of the spear, but not if you are two tiers below everyone else. Even if you are top tank, there is always someone out there who will be able to flank you and blow you back to the scrapheap.
- Use cover and concealment - Concealment stops vision. Cover stops bullets. Don't stop in the open when you can stop behind a bush. Don't stop behind a bush when you can stop behind a rock. Don't stop behind a rock when you can stop behind a building. And along with this...
Find what works for you and go with it
What I also have found is that some of us are naturally pretty good with certain tanks. For me, they are the M18 (59% - rounding %), the e8 Sherman (62%), the SU-85 (62%), The IS (57%) and the KV-1S (57%). I am leaving out the T82, the Marder II, and other high-percentage/low-tier tanks as either I have played those to blow off steam or the sample size is too small to be an effective example. I could also include the Hummel (56%), but I no longer play it.
These are tanks that I play regularly. Why? They are consistent winners for me and they are all-around good performers. I'll be the first to acknowledge I am not the world-champion InterWebz T4nK5 Champion of the World!!! (see what I did there?) I am a guy who wants to win. I am also a guy who likes and understands the relationships of numbers.
The e8, Hellcat, and M41 are 4, 5, and 6 in my average XP earners. Three have an average efficiency of 1200 or more (the M41 is at 997 right now). My KDR is 1.1 or more for all of them (2.1 for the M41). KPB is .9 or more. They have decent accuracy, decent damage casued (whether average or ratio). I play them well (knowing some others play them better). Again, I didn't get an invite to the Wargaming Invitational - and for good reason - but I am better than most. (Stats viewable in my Dossier)
I have other tanks I platoon with and some I am grinding. These are my go-tos. They help me pad my stats without 'padding my stats', so to speak. I play these in Pubs, mostly, as the platoons I get into tend to run Tier VII or VIII or I need to run my Tier VI arty. These are the tanks I get to use to stretch a tight battle into an upset or, better yet, turn a defeat into a save!
Oh, and the wins means I make MORE XP and spend less (usually) on repairs. What does this mean? More money.
Part Three: Win ONE Battle
If you win one more game per hundred MORE than you are winning now, your W/L will go up. If you win 47/100 right now, winning one more per hundred will get you a 48/100. Unfortunately, this is regressive. If you have 1000 battles under your belt, this is 10 games IN ADDITION to the 1 game you need to win. So, you now need to win 11 extra battles in the next hundred. Figure that if you are really successful in turning around your game, this will likely be 13 extra wins over the next 300. To make it easier to see:
Battles Wins %/100 %/total Extra Ws 1000 490 49.00% 49.00% - - 1100 543 53.00% 49.36% 4 1200 596 53.00% 49.67% 4 1300 650 54.00% 50.00% 5
Unfortunately, this represents itself as the following when you get to 8000 battles - that extra 5 wins/100 battles above 50% moves you up only 0.11% overall:
Battles Wins %/100 %/total Extra Ws 8000 4151 51.89% 51.89% - - 8100 4206 55.00% 51.93% 5 8200 4261 55.00% 51.96% 5 8300 4316 55.00% 52.00% 5The really bad news - if you want to go up that 1% over 300 battles, you have to play at an 80% W/L... have fun with that.
If you look closely at either chart, any improvement overall requires you to play at a MUCH higher leve. This is one of the reasons why I like
Ways to pick up that extra game (or games) per 100 -
knaT_sdrawkcaB's list of Simple Things Experienced Players Do to "help you win an extra 3 games out of every 100"
Part Four: The Icing for your Cake
Step back from the Computer and no one gets hurt...
Finally, I sat down, took a break, and a deep breath. I paused between battles instead of slamming 'Battle' upon exiting. I would play the battle, look at the depot and store, maybe look at something online, take a few minutes.
And this happened:
So, when your numbers take a dive (and they will at some point), stop. Step back. Then come back when it is no longer on your mind. I have seen some folks say they go out for awhile, some go around the block, some play another game for awhile. Find what you need to clear your mind.
Now that I have been winning some more...
Seriously. Do it. By now, I am guessing that you have been platooning or taking part in company battles. You know some folks. You have found some like-minded individuals who appreciate your abilities despite your annoying personal quirks. If they are clanned up, see if they could use another.
A decent clan (even those that do not participate in Clan Wars) will be able to help you out greatly. I'm not just talking about pulling off a streak of 10-20 battles in company or platoons. I'm talking about folks who can show you little tips and tricks on each map, learn which trees you may want to pursue, or a better way to build a Maus trap. You WILL learn something you did not know (even what not to do). This knowledge (when applied) will help get even more wins.
This won't be a guarantee. Some clans are dead awful. Look around. Most are on or just ahead of the bubble - 48-54%. Some are mostly 60% players. Some are 43-47%. I have seen it. it isn't pretty. If you want to get better, get in a decent clan that does what you want to do. It doesn't have to be Clan Wars. It can be company battles. It can be platooning. It can be someone to share quiet drives in the practice room with... OK... I actually don't want to know about that last one.
Get XVM - Then ignore it:
But now that you have seen the number at the top of the screen, forget it. It is usually correct, but that is beside the point. The future is not set. Making the right choices and hitting the right targets can swing an assured loss into a win - and vice versa.
The most important element of XVM is the information you receive on each player. Knowing the Win Rate, Efficiency, and number of games played is as important a weapon in the battle as having upgraded equipment. You can quickly identify the better players on both squads. A quick guide to what I see when I look at the numbers:
- Low Win Rate (<46%), Low Efficiency (<750), Low Battles (<3K): Starting player, learning the ropes - Easy Target
- Low Win Rate, Low Efficiency, High Battles (>6K): Park and Ride. Either never left Tier IV or afraid to scratch paint, incurring repair costs that aren't covered by damaging a T-50. Easy Target
- Low Win Rate, High Efficiency (>1300), Low Battles: Lots of time in Tiers 2-3, suicide scouting, or high tier premiums causing lots of damage while not aiding in wins (shooting the wrong targets, not preventing cap, etc.)
- Low Win Rate, High Efficiency, High Battles: I drive big tanks - make things go boom - stoopid n00b teammates don't back me up when I charge field
- High Win Rate (>53%), Low Efficiency, Low Battles: Starting player that has been lucky or maybe a second account for an established player.
- High Win Rate, High Efficiency, Low Battles: Starting player that has been VERY lucky (idiot savant?) or most likely a second account for an established player.
- High Win Rate, High Efficiency, High Battles: Knows where to go, what to do, where to shoot. Likely a decent player in all styles of tanks - This should be your first target.
The utility of my generalizations benefits me in determining target priority (I'll shoot the good near-top tank before the meh top tank), forecasting tactics (Is their BatChat 45% or 55%?, will their arty move after shooting?), and figuring how careful do I have to be (can I go crazy in my T-50-2 or do I have to play it safe?).
Seeing an enemy team that is mostly red lets me know that they have mostly not learned the right things to do and have a track record shown by their W/L and Efficiency. When you tie this in to their games played, you can establish how long they have played like this. If I see a KV-5 with a 42% and a 400 Efficiency (they are out there...), I look at games played. If they have <3K battles, they may still be new and haven't learned. If they have 15K battles (I've seen them as well) and the same stats, there are MANY other issues in their gameplay and they are a boat anchor to their team.
Now. There is no reason to call out individuals for their W/L and Efficiency. Ever. This is trolling and being a general D%#K. Don't holler out, "Oh crap! we're gonna loooooose! XVM says we have a 25%... /ragequit" On the contrary, if you see someone with awesome stats, mention it. point out high priority targets on the other team. BE PRODUCTIVE! The team will appreciate you more and will maybe want to fight a little harder FTW!
Part The Last: Quotes on Mindset and wanting to change: (some edited)
I know what the enemy has, and though I may not know where red team is exactly - it is always my fault if the enemy hits me.
I will even go so far as to say I have a choice in which enemy hits me based on my actions up to that point. Your choices and only yours lead to your death or survival in this game.
New players may blame hacks.
Bad players blame their team.
Average players appreciate their learning curve and challenges.
Good players pick how they will survive and contribute and when to sacrifice.
Excellent players pick how they will exploit weakness and amplify advantages to help the team win.
[[Removed description of awesome performance in battle due to mindset and despite doomsayers]]
I type this in response to the pessimists as well as to posts asking about “surrender buttons.” Nothing is ever final until you are looking at your burning tank. Surrender in real life is for people who can no longer fight and who can hope for another tomorrow. This is a game, no one really dies and there are no tomorrows. When the match is over, it is over. Why not fight with that in mind. Don't get infected by the quitters virus and play to lose.
This is one of the most difficult, yet most important rules to follow. It affects not only your playing ability, but also others respond to you, both in chat and teamwork. Know that there are games that you are going to lose no matter how well you play. Know that other people not only get lucky with those DAMN ammo racks (grrr....), but might actually be better than you. ... Conclusion: WoT is a team effort. Play nice early and thousands of games later, you'll probably have better than average stats and a couple of pages full of friends.
Wishes to remain nameless said:
Your advice is sound. Concentrate, cut-down on the stupid mistakes, make all movements decisive and deliberate.
I think with "dailies" and the need to grind out creds to get my T32 and M26 (and others), it's easy to get quick and careless.
Some thoughts and (copied later in this thread) examples of good play by one person in order to get the win.
I think good players have more matches where they are not just a difference but - THE - difference in the game. Average players have some. Bad players have few if any.
I know I still have all too many games where I die without getting more than 1 penetrating hit, and sometimes even less (:C)
However, if I'm going to call myself good I want to actually BE good. So 47-48% might be the actual average, but at 49% I'm going to KEEP calling myself average until I get better. I will say that I do see a lot of BELOW AVERAGE players in pubs, however.
In a thread complaining about a supposed Match Maker Fail - If you can keep YOURSELF from failing, you can benefit.
Fail to counter
fail to read mini map.
fail to support.
fail to shoot scout
Fail to deploy to cover flank.
fail to adjust to situation.
Game is strange this way.
You can lose 15-5..or even 15-0 and have perfect MM.
Just jump in a T14 or a Churchill to test this ..
Then you can be DEAD LAST bottom tier six medium with six tier ten heavies at top on both sides and tier nine mediums plus Amx90. ..Yet you win and grab 40k credits for damage you did being a pest.
You never know what team you will get in any tier.
Who is on your team is WAY more important than what.
And Garbad, just to piss some folks off...
Remember that win rate has nothing to do with losses. Win rate is the total number of wins divided by the total number of battles. This means draws will hurt your win rate as much as losses will. So - No Camping. the belief that draws are better than losses has no basis in reality. (As an aside - all rates are rounded. If you have a win rate of 49.5000000000001, congrats, the game calls it a 50%)
I hope this helps you to improve your game and to understand that you can't improve your game by just going out and blasting targets. Focus on how to improve and work on it.
Now, if your brain has yet to explode, please follow the link to Improving Win Rate, Part Deux!
Edited by montanakennedy, Mar 12 2013 - 20:25.