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What Does "Stats Don't Matter" Really Mean?


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Somnus #1 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:03

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I've been hanging around the forum now for more than a year, and the ongoing argument over whether or not stats matter has always been and bitter and divisive one. It's carried out on here on a daily basis, with much acrimony thrown about on both sides. I have noticed, though, that people on both sides seem to talk past each other a lot, and often get downright insulting in the course of responding to arguments that the other party never even made.

Part of that issue, I think, is that the phrase "stats don't matter," actually seems to carry several different meanings, some of which are more valid than others, and it's not always clear exactly which meaning a given poster is ascribing to it. And so it will often be the case that you see someone responding to one use of the phrase with arguments that actually address a wholly different meaning. So let's look at what the different things people mean when they say "Stats don't matter."

1: "Stats are not important to me personally, and I don't let them affect my enjoyment of the game."

This, I think, is one of the more valid meanings. These people are basically taking the attitude that it's just a game, they have fun playing it, and whether their stats are good or bad in the game is not going to affect the quality of their lives.And really... that's OK. It really IS just a game, and if a player in pugs doesn't want to stress over it, then that's their right. I don't demand that other players be good, just that when they're actually in the game they actually try. I have far more respect for a casual player who gives a match a real effort, even if they're not very good, than I have for the most skilled player who suicides out in a fit of pique.

The thing is, "what matters" in the philosophical sense is purely subjective. The problem comes in when the players to whom stats do matter insist that they have to matter to everyone else, or when they people to whom they don't matter insist that they have to not matter to everyone else. Sorry, but you don't get to set other people's life priorities.

2: "Stats don't say anything meaningful about how good a player is."

Usually, the subtext of this is "... so no matter how bad my stats are, I'm actually really good." IMO, this is the least valid use of the term. Good players do better in the game. The point of a match is to do damage, kill tanks, accumulate cap points, prevent the enemy from doing the same, and above all win. All of those goals have measurable stats associated with them. If you think you're really good at the game in spite of not being good at any or all of those clearly measurable things, I don't know what about the game it is that you think you're good at (and before you think I'm putting you down - I'm not good at the game either).

Yes, stats can be gamed to look better than your actual ability. Yes, you can be carried by platooning with really good players. Yes, it's possible that a player is really good now but have so many bad games in their past that it weighs them down. But the fact is that really good players do exist, and their stats will reflect their ability (particularly if you make use of tools like WoTLabs which display your recent stats independent of their past baggage).

In the sense of measuring ability, stats do matter.

3: "My stats aren't good; stop hassling me."

To me, a perfectly reasonable request. Berating people for bad stats isn't going to help them much, it's not going to help you much. It doesn't motivate people to get better so much as make them defensive and angry.



The biggest "talking past each other" situation I see is when a "stat denier" clearly means 1 or 3, and gets answered as if they were arguing 2. But others happen as well, and it leads to more frustration than is necessary.

So I guess this is all a long-winded appeal to people to please pay attention to what participants are actually saying and meaning in these arguments.

Edited by Somnus, Jan 08 2013 - 01:08.


hotshot75 #2 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:06

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i belive stats dont matter, its a game that i play for fun. not a game i play to impress people with how good i am. AKA i follow number 1.

UnknownChemistry #3 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:08

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Would it be possible that I play the game for fun AND care about stats?

Razstrelnikov #4 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:09

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I think I've seen this exact thread before... :Smile-hiding:

Somnus #5 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:12

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View PostKnightmare93, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:08, said:

Would it be possible that I play the game for fun AND care about stats?

Absolutely. I know I do. It's kind of silly to assume that just because someone cares about how well they do at something, that somehow means they don't enjoy doing it.

Teh_Melon_Lord #6 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:14

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I suck at this game, terribly. I keep an eye on my stats for personal achievement, not to boast. Whenever someone tries to bully me about my stats, I am just reassured that my bad stats mean that I don't waste my hours on a video game "getting good" when I got friends to talk to and family to eat with.

PTwr #7 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:16

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View PostSomnus, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:03, said:

1: "Stats are not important to me personally, and I don't let them affect my enjoyment of the game."
Yup, they have not much meaning to them. As long as I have fun, I do not care. If someone puts statistics over fun, then it is addiction and should be treated as one.
This does not mean I deny existence of statistics and they validity.

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2: "Stats don't say anything meaningful about how good a player is."
Statistics are not easy to read properly. There is plenty of factor that clouds the view. However monitoring on the fly with information about background ( tank, tier, platoon etc. ) can present information about play style, from which one can extract areas that could use improvement. ( For me it is: I am overly active, hence I do stupid things when I am bored by slow battle ).

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3: "My stats aren't good; stop hassling me."
Exactly! Be happy that you have chance to have me in enemy team as easy kill instead of some unicum.
"Bads" get out of caverns for x5 weekend? Go out and kill them all. If you are "good" then you can overcome "bad" team, if you can not do so, then maybe you are not as good as you believed to be.



View PostKnightmare93, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:08, said:

Would it be possible that I play the game for fun AND care about stats?
By all means: Yes.
As long as you do not put stats over fun, which would be addiction.

Edited by PTwr, Jan 08 2013 - 01:16.


lugzan #8 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:17

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4. a bait for the stat lovers (add dude its a game or i play for fun if is neccesary)

CloakRogue #9 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:18

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Great post. I personally have tons of fun trying to increase my stats. I'm a competitive player, so I always try to do better than I did the last battle.

wyatt022298 #10 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:20

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Most people who care about stats enough to complain about losing etc are overly competitive and annoying. Especially win rate QQers. Unless you do exceptionally well, you normally have a fairly small influence on the battle.

Somnus #11 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:21

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View Postsquibbon, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:14, said:

I suck at this game, terribly. I keep an eye on my stats for personal achievement, not to boast. Whenever someone tries to bully me about my stats, I am just reassured that my bad stats mean that I don't waste my hours on a video game "getting good" when I got friends to talk to and family to eat with.

Sorry, but being worse than someone else at a video game does not make you a better person than them. No more than them being good at the game makes them a better person than you.

It's a hobby. Some people have a natural talent for it, and some work harder at it than others. That's their choice and their right. Knowing nothing more about them than their in-game performance, it is quite arrogant and judgmental to assume you somehow plac greater value on "the important things" in life.

donkeyhotay #12 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:29

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Some people really like to deny the predictive power of statistics for some reason while others can't stop talking about how great they are. Which group is more offputting? Hard to say.

JerseyBouncer #13 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:35

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I don't "care" about my stats in as much as I don't worry over every loss or obsess over all the minutae of the numbers. I play each game one at a time and try to do my best. They matter only as a barometer of how well I am playing. I check them maybe once a day, usually when I log off for the night. I don't use them to define anything about myself beyond how well I play. I don't care what anyone else may think about them, nor do I particularly care about anyone else's . I'm only looking to impress myself. They are mine, the result of my performance, nothing else.

Rosebud #14 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:38

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I will say this on the subject and I am talking strictly for myself in this matter. If a player posts who has a better then 50% win rate, then I tend to feel their posts are more (depending on their points) legitimately knowledgeable. This is not to say that players with a less than stellar win rates do not make excellent points, I’m just saying that a good win rate adds more water to their arguments.  

Edited by Rosebud, Jan 08 2013 - 01:41.


goff #15 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:42

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Only baddies say 'Stats Don't Matter' average/good players would still check their stats to see how well they are doing.

JerseyBouncer #16 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:42

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View Postsquibbon, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:14, said:

I suck at this game, terribly. I keep an eye on my stats for personal achievement, not to boast. Whenever someone tries to bully me about my stats, I am just reassured that my bad stats mean that I don't waste my hours on a video game "getting good" when I got friends to talk to and family to eat with.
This is a tired old generalization. Not all good players are abnormally dedicated to the game. A lot of the best players here are adults, with jobs and mortgages and kids. They just have the knack for the gam or have been playing much longer. People are good at different things. It's not a crime not to excel at something, as long as you try and make an effort and enjoy it. Don't let the bullies get to you.

JDASprawler #17 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:45

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"Stats don't matter, let me talk a lot about them exactly like an atheist won't shut up about religion"

Social/Religious/Political. Warning issued.
~SgtGrunt

Edited by SgtGrunt, Jan 11 2013 - 06:49.


Vladamir_Inhaler #18 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:49

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View PostKnightmare93, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:08, said:

Would it be possible that I play the game for fun AND care about stats?

Absolutely! I find the game to be fun in and of itself, but I also find the challenge in knuckling down and improving my stats to be a fun and worthwhile exercise as well.

SHISHKABOB #19 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:50

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View Postsquibbon, on Jan 08 2013 - 01:14, said:

I suck at this game, terribly. I keep an eye on my stats for personal achievement, not to boast. Whenever someone tries to bully me about my stats, I am just reassured that my bad stats mean that I don't waste my hours on a video game "getting good" when I got friends to talk to and family to eat with.

You've played 1600 more games than I have in the same amount of time, and I'm a demonstrably better player than you. Looks like you're reassured by nonsense.

Vladamir_Inhaler #20 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 01:51

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Do stats matter? That is in the sight of the beholder - they only matter if YOU think they matter.

Any debate over whether stats are meaningful, accurate and a true reflection of performance/ability/etc is indeed a separate discussion - though many confuse the two.