One of the things that I see and hear about a lot – both in game and on the forums among others – is calling players bad or potatoes or unicums. There are certainly ‘definitions’ for these using WTR or PR scores. However, the purpose of this article is to inform those that may be on the fence about a player, things to consider.
Bad to Below Average
Your bad to below average players tend to be your casual players. They play for fun and that’s their focus. They also tend to not play that often and between that and the casual pay style focus very little on the mechanics of the game and getting better. This is not to say that these players don’t or are incapable of improvement, it’s just the speed of their improvement is slower than your Average or Good Players. Other observations that I have made about this group include that it includes player ages that are significantly above or below they ‘reported’ average player age of the game OR the account is frequented by someone of lesser age, such as a father letting his son play on his account. As this game does take more thought versus twitch reflexes due to the slower pace and mechanics, older players tend to perform better (mid-20s to mid 30s vs Teens and early 20s for FPS games).
Concluding the discussion on this group, I will certainly not argue that having these players on your team, certainly at higher tiers, is a bit annoying as you know they tend to be more of a determent than an asset. However, it’s the points above that you should keep in mind and instead of calling them potatoes or other terms, offer to help them improve their game – give them advice along the way. Depending upon your approach, they may actually listen and learn something.
Average to Good Players
This player bracket set the bar for defining the skill level of the rest of us. These players tend to represent your average age group as well, and as a result will likely have full-time jobs as well as family and an active social life. Due to these facts, they will also play casually, similar to the previous group. However, the mean age of this group does allow for more advanced tactical thought and understanding of mechanics. Other things that I have observed about this group is their skill progression does appear to be a bit faster than that of the previous group, even if they were only recently considered a ‘Below Average’ player. This, in my opinion, is a result of the player’s desire to improve and move beyond casual play as well as a result of a better understanding of the game mechanics.
These players, while not entirely an asset at high tiers, are able to do enough damage to targets or spot enough that they are capable of contributing to success. Though they are more likely to make gross error of judgement than the more skilled players, they are just as capable of punishing those that make those errors as well. If you see that these players have around 1,500-2,500 battles, and that there is an upward trend in ‘skill,’ they may be worth taking on into a casual clan and teaching them. Their lack of poor habits can make that process easier and more lucrative for a clan looking to move towards competitive play.
Very Good to Great Players
This group of players have likely mastered the mechanics of the game and have learned the meta. What they tend to lack is consistent good decision making such as when to fire, where to fire, when to disengage, etc. They tend to be capable of ‘unicum’ level play, and you will likely see this in their statistical summary. Similar to the previous groups, they still may play casually but have focused on improvement. The frequency in which they play may also be higher than the previous groups but this is not a guarantee. You may also notice that they will span the mean age range from the 20s up through the 30s. This allows for more critical thinking but can also result in inconsistencies in play due to family and jobs. Tendencies of this group tend to be a steeper learning curve than previous groups which can be very advantageous to a clan or team when under the correct instruction.
Things to consider about the group include their play frequency and tendencies. Like many players, they will have their bad days and that may be reflected in their stats. However, you will likely find several days where they perform at the Unicum or Super Unicum level. This fluctuation is likely due to distractions, playing to unwind or just playing while already frustrated. These of course can lead to poor decisions resulting in short games. Finally, this can be one of the hardest groups to rely on for consistency; not just in the level of play, but their frequency. They can be great assets for competitive matches when you get them.
Unicum to Super Unicum
These are the best of the best in terms of skill and decision making. They tend to be consistent in their abilities to land their payloads on targets, remain afloat for a majority of the battle, and making decisions to maintain those numbers. Though like everyone, they can have “off days” courtesy of RNG, this group knows how to over come and move past them, usually through divisions or compensating with DPM vs alpha strikes. They also tend to have the most predictable gaming schedule making them ideal for competitive clans. This extra practice, coupled with a natural or leaned skill for this type of gaming (will likely have history with RTS or MMORPG games) means they have mastered the ins and outs of World of Warships and if their personality allows, can be great teachers for the less skilled in a clan looking to improve.
The biggest problem I have found with the group is ego. Though it is a small percentage of this population, this small group does have the ability of throwing a match if they feel the rest of their team is too inferior. Further, they can be more caustic to lesser skilled players and very vocal about their short comings, more so in my experience than other groups. IF you are a player who is learning the game and is actively improving, pay no attention to these trolls, no matter how good them might be. Let them gripe and grouse and report them if necessary. Further, this kind of negativity is not usually welcomed in many clans, let alone casual clans that play for fun and camaraderie.
Conclusion (and Disclaimer)
These observations are based on the time I’ve put into the game since closed beta as well as interactions with players within clans that I have been in and other players in-game. Other than mean reported age, these assumptions are not backed by actual ‘research’ but just consistent observation. There could be some confirmation bias that may screw these assumptions as well so that is worth keeping in mind if you decided to draw your own conclusions. Finally, as many of you know, tech tree progression in this game is not skill based but time. Any player of any skill level can grind their way from tier 1 to tier 10. The more skilled player will certainly make that progression faster but so long as a lesser skilled player has money to burn, they can grind to tier 10 relatively quickly as well.
Overall, the World of Warships player base has an expected range of skilled players and I would say, a much less toxic environment for the younger players (or even us older players) to inhabit than say World of Tanks. This does speak well for the community as a whole and makes it easier to play the game, even with players who as significantly better than yourself as there is less fear of harassment for making rookie mistakes. That being said, this narrative was to shine some light on why players might sit at the skill level they are as they’ve progressed through the tech trees. Though it will likely not make those players any more or less frustrating when they are on your team, I do hope it adds some perspective as chances are, you don’t know who is behind the keyboard or why.