In the past few months a new tend – or meta as some are calling it – is occurring within the game. This is the Blowout. If you are unfamiliar with this term, this is when one team utterly destroys the other team within a short amount of time and or with very few casualties. While this has always occurred in this game – and in others – it has been happening more frequently and I’m not the only one noticing. So what could be causing this?
The first, and most discussed theory is a ‘rigged’ match maker. While match maker is certainly responsible for assembling teams, the rules in which is follows (and which they [WG] have published) are quite simple – match ship types and ship tiers. So for every destroyer on side A, there is one on side B and if Side A has a Tier VIII destroyer, so too must side B. While there can be exceptions to this based on queue sizes and wait times, this tends to be what players see.1 Sadly, MM does not take into consideration the strength of the specific ship OR even its captain. This can be why you might see one side with a full house of Smolensk and Kremlin, while the other side is just meh. Also worth noting, is MM does not take into consideration the balance of divisions, thus one side could have 3 while the other none. With this information in mind, the match maker theory is debunked – at least in its purest form.
My theory on this matter, the part I assume you have been waiting for if you’ve read up to this point, is the dual even that was the Snowflake and Puerto Rico event (“Ooo, a Tier X I can open my wallet and get with little effort”) brought in a bunch of new players. More importantly, it saturated the queues with players that were ‘rusty’ or just never that experienced to begin with. I now see, more than ever, queues that are over 100 strong, particularly on weekends. Prior to those events, 20-30 was the norm based on my observations. This results in the change of one team having far more skill (usually due to a division) than the other as the skill gap is so much more pronounced. Even just one ‘unicum’ player can make a considerable difference when the majority of the other team consists solely of players that don’t break a 45% winrate. Further, the influx of players that came for the Snowflake event were able to gather lots of resources, particularly coal. This led to the over abundance of coal ships being purchased, the most notable is the Smolensk. To put it in perspective, WG will be removing Smolensk from the Armory in patch 0.9.1 (tomorrow as of this writing) because it is too ‘popular’. It has been in the game since October of 2019 when it was introduced in patch 0.8.7. Whereas the Jean Bart, being removed for the same reason, has been around since November of 2018 when patch 0.7.11 was released. This means that a very powerful ship, that is relatively easy to play (with a good understanding of the game mechanics), is now in the hands of a lot of players. When one side has 2 or even 3 and the other has 1 or none, that can quickly send the game out of balance before the start timer reaches zero. Just as importantly is the side with the fewer Smolensk has an inexperienced captain at her helm, it further gives that team a handicap. It reached the point where the Smolensk as at the meme level of the Zao before the stealth fire nerf – the team with the most Zaos wins; the team with the most Smolensks wins.
While there are stats to backup the observations that there has been an influx of players since the events, I cannot definitively say that this influx is the cause of the Blowout meta, but I can say the correlation is strong with this one. Thankfully though, the Smolensk is being pulled from the Armory, and while there are still many players with the ship, that number will not be increasing anytime soon. As for seeing an end to the over abundance of blowouts, I can only hope that the players that came out of the woodwork for the holiday events will either go back to whence they came or learn the fundamentals of the game. Though I understand this is just a game, many of us do this for fun and relaxation – win or lose. But winning is always more fun and losing 5+ games in a row is not – frankly it’s downright frustrating, carry as you might. Let’s just see what the next month or so brings shall we?