PR, or Personal Rating, is still the standard metric by which many players assess another player’s skill. While I did an article on Analysis and Deconstruction of PR a few years back, I wanted to readdress what this metric is and how it has changed, more specifically, its relevance.
Since I first talked about Personal Rating, the player base has changed considerably, as has the game. In terms of the latter, WarGaming has added several new ship lines, a few new nations, completely overhauled CV’s, has added some very grindy missions for high tier premium ships, started the first phases of submarine testing (the vessel type they said would never be in the game) and revamped their recruiting methods with the Recruiting Station. This has brought not only a lot of new and inexperienced players into the game, but also brought a lot of dormant – and inexperienced players – back into the game. So what does this have to do with PR? Averages.
Personal Rating is a calculation of, in basic terms, the players performance in a ship or overall based on Kills, Damage and Win Rate compared to the server average. This means that if 1.5 years ago, the server average for lets say the Stalingrad, released with update 0.7.81, for Kills was 2, Win rate was 60% and damage was 150,000 (I don’t know this to be true but it was very exclusive at the time to some of the best players) then a player would have to have an average of 2 kills, 60% winrate and 150,000 average damage to have a PR of 1,150 – average. However, what has happened in the last 1.5 years is more players have gotten this ship, making it less exclusive and the numbers have dropped. Those average values for NA are 56.97% winrate, 1.04 frags/kills and 94,074 damage. That average player 1.5 years ago, if they did nothing with that ship, is now considered Unicum with a ~2,178 PR.
So if a persons PR can change so drastically for no reason of their own, is PR still useful? My answer to this is sort of. PR still takes into account 2 of the of the major contributing metrics for determining skill; damage and win rate. However, without a decent understanding of how statistics work, in particular the the PR formula, making a proper assessment of a players ‘skill’ becomes moot. This is even more true now when players that were once considered average could now be considered Good or even Very Good as a result of the excess players bringing the stats of a ship down, therefore inflating the stats of other players. For the ‘average Joe,’ PR is useful at a glance but for those with a better understanding of the game, it’s evolving meta, and statistics, it’s almost worthless.
To give credit where credit is due however, the creator of PR, Wiochi from the EU server, most likely put a lot of work into creating this metric and still does a lot to maintain both it and the site that allows players to get this information. It has served the community well and continues to do so but, like the evolution of the game, this metric too needs to evolve to meet the changes. The formula needs something to help counter the effects of inflation and emphasize other metrics that highlight skill better, i.e. not kills (unless he makes kills part of the damage metric which is unlikely with the data he is probably using).
There may be one other metric out there that encompasses other base metrics for Warships, I just can’t remember what it is, sorry. In lieu of that, the two best base metrics to consider are Win Rate and Damage. As frags can be ‘stolen,’ particularly when you have missions that basically encourage as much, the metric itself gets devalued even more. It is worth mentioning though that both Damage and Win Rate should be considered a ‘function’ or battles played. An example could be if a player is doing 100k average with a 75% win rate in their Colorado, but only have 4 games, I wouldn’t make a judgement on their skill just yet. Though, average 100k in a Colorado after 4 games is still noteworthy for that ship. Both wows-numbers.com and Matchmaking Monitor color code these values to indicate their status on the ‘unicum’ scale. What I like to see here, is both numbers in roughly the same scale bracket and the player have over 25 battles. If I see a discrepancy, usually a higher damage value compared to win rate, I consider the ship. This is common to see in ships like the Smolensk, Conqueror, Harugumo, and Des Moines – basically any ship that loves flinging HE where damage is done (through fires) that is not truly representative of skill. While these are 3 separate things to look at, they offer, in my opinion, the best alternative to assessing a player’s skill over PR alone.
Finally, while I have done my own work in the past on a new player skill metric, that never got a chance to get off the ground. This is why I appreciate the creator of PR and what they have done to keep it active – it is a lot of work and can be costly. With that said, I still actively use PR via both the site and Matchmaking Monitor. I look at it as part of the whole data set that is presented though, never as its own assessment value and I tend to look at the values in this order; PR, Winrate, damage, experience, ship and battles, at least on Matchmaking Monitor. This gives me the whole picture, or as close to the whole picture as I can get. If I see something that seems out of place, such as low winrate but high damage in say, the Montana, I’ll check their full profile. Maybe that ship just doesn’t work for them or they’re a weekend warrior as of late and can’t buy a win. Who knows?
As always, I’m always up for questions and comments here, or on Facebook or the Warship News Discord so feel free to let me know what you think.