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Battle Ratings Black Holes: How Grinders and Premium Planes Tilt The Balance Of The Game.


UnknownDistance@psn
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The Situation

 

How many times has this happened to you in the last 6 months? You queue up a 5.3 aircraft, click "join battle" and within 30 seconds you queue into a game that is a full up-tier into a 6 vs 6 game with 4 bombers and an attacker on one side and mostly fighters on the other team?

If you attempt to play Germany, especially at later hours on weekdays...this is an all too common experience for you. You end up in a small lobby, on a large map, and you are the only fighter plane on your team in an up-tier. At best...you might get another fighter on your team to help reduce some of the burden...but there is a greater than 50% chance that your 2nd fighter is going to be a Do-335 variant that will full commit to a head on and die.

If you play USA, you have probably ended up on the opposite end of this line-up with varying mixes of fighters, attackers, and bombers...but probably with a bias towards teams predominantly made of F2G players.

 

Why is it this way?

 

The basic problem is multi-faceted,

The most viable way for a lot of players to grind through a tech tree and earn silver lions is to load up a Ju-288 and bomb bases in Air RB.

 

The fact that the Ju-288 is basically the easiest bomber to make a net positive is just due to the fact that where it currently sits in battle rating makes it virtually impossible to intercept before it drops it's bomb load. The only skill set required to grind RP and SL in the Ju-288 is to fly straight at a base, and press the bomb release button when the bombsight crosses a marker, and then make a 180 degree turn towards your base to get more bombs.

 

The skill floor is actually so low that it can be automated with a script. That is exactly what happened with automated T-18 accounts that were grinding Sweden's tech trees to claim the golden eagle referral bonus.

The matchmaker prioritizes finding games quickly, and Ju-288 spam has a disproportionate effect on the number of lobbies that are created.

 

Here's how the matchmaker basically works,

It takes all of the players in the queue and tries to put them into matches as quickly as possible. Over the past year the parameters for what is considered a viable match-up have been relaxed to the point where it's a potpourri of seemingly random nations facing each other. The other thing that Gaijin has done to the matchmaker is enable 6 v 6 matches if a full sized match cannot be found quickly.

 

There is also a hard limit on the number of bombers on a team, which is capped at 4. Due to the fact that the 6.0 range has a disproportionately high number of Ju-288s, it means that often times the quickest way to find a match for them is to create a bunch of small lobbies. For every 4 Ju-288s in queue at any one time...that is another lobby that the game has to create to minimize the amount of time they spend in queue.

And when the game creates all of these smaller lobbies, it is searching for everything else in queue to make a game that confines to the BR limit. However the BR limit only considers the upper and lower ranges, and is extremely loose. 

 

The BR limit mainly limits the number of planes that you can have at the maximum battle rating for that particular match-up, but that balance doesn't have to be symmetrical in any way. But at any one time there will not be any more than 4 planes at the maximum battle rating.

This means that in a 5.0 - 6.0 match the Ju-288s on your team are occupying the top end of your match, and if you have 4 of them...it means your team cannot have any Ta-152Hs. Also due to the fact that the matchmaker looks at everything below 6.0 as being the same...it means that your team can be nothing but 5.0 planes in the worst case scenario and nothing but 5.7 planes in the best case.

 

Remember how I just said that the max BR doesn't have to be symmetrical? Just because the enemy team has a 4 planes at max BR does not mean that your team will also have the same number of planes at max BR.

This problem can become especially prevalent in 5.3 - 6.3 games where you have the possibility of being dragged into a game where your team composition is primarily Ju-288s facing off against a team of only 6.3 - 6.0s.

 

What problems does this create?

 

The most obvious problem this creates is that an entire battle rating range just tends to be non-competitive without a dedicated team. It ruins the game for both sides as well because typically these smaller games will result in one side being stomped due to a simple numbers game.

And the propensity for one side to be on the receiving end of a stomping means that players will leave that bracket. Small 6 v 6 games are not fun for either side...but the ultimate result is a dwindling population which further exacerbates the problem. Less people to fill up full games means that the matchmaker creates smaller games more often.

 

These smaller games that suck fighters into up-tiers also has the negative effect of reducing battle ratings for planes that are normally viable when they are primarily fighting with a roughly equal proportions of up-tiers and down-tiers, and planes that are more viable in full games. In the last 3 months we have seen every single Do.335 variant fall in BR in spite of flight model changes that were drastically positive.

The only puzzling exception is the rise in battle rating of the Bf.109 G-10...but this might be due to the fact that it is a foldered plane so there might be a tendency for more experienced players to play it, or people that primarily play while squadded will skew the statistics.

 

Similar Problems Across BR Ranges

 

The tendency of grinders to effect the matchmaker and balance of the game is not solely just Ju-288 spam, but it is the most prevalent example of it it.

 

Any place in the matchmaker where there is a popular vehicle that is spammed by lower skilled players, or players that are basically not playing competitively is bad for the game.

 

Planes that were previously balanced like the Spitfire Mk.22 and Mk.24 are moving up in battle rating partially due to the ease of stomping premium F2G players on one side, and Ju-288 bases teams on the other. While the F2G has moved down 2 BR increments since it's introduction, and I doubt anyone will hardly be surprised when if it moves down to 5.7 BR.

 

It is not limited to prop planes or bombers either. We can see in the latest balancing decisions. Planes like the A4E are going to be below their technologically inferior and less capable counter-parts because they are spammed out in Air RB by players trying to bomb a base as fast as possible, or making minimal reactions to fighters around them.


And the imbalance that planes like the A4E creates means that the rest of the team has to try harder to win. This means that US teams around 8.7 BRs have to try harder relative their opposition to get the same results. We also saw the exact same consequences with the introduction of the F4F-Early that completely tanked whatever team it tended to end up on once a bunch of players got it.

 

Part of the reason, and part of the coordinated push to get the Cl-13 Mk.4 from 8.7 to 9.0 hinges on squadding up in a combination of planes that is more likely to face AFK grinders and lower skilled players in that range by guaranteeing a queue against USA players. What is eventually going to happen is that the Italian A-5 Sabre will be 2 full battle rating steps above the American A-5 Sabre.

 

And as the A4E moves down to 8.7, it's going to be an easy frag for Ki-200s and Me-163B-0's...not because it's a worse plane...but only because it's primary opposition is going to be pilots that are basically AFK or might as well be AFK.

 

Thanks for attending my TED Talk.

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i feel like giving the nation that will face this spammer nation for most of the time, the same type of spammable vehicle at the same br would unironically work (it's alo a very gaijin thing to do). i mean, you're not going to solve the low-skill player issue, might as well make it fair for both sides

 

i wonder if the 264s would go down in BR too, with all of the spam and how they're basically another 288 at 5.0 during the event

Edited by piscessoedroen
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The ME 264 spam is real, especially with the event prioritizing time in game as opposed to performance. I was in a P47M, and had to climb to 9k+ meters just to engage it. There have been several matches where the timer for the match runs out because of a me264 is just in space, and to get the win, I have had to go back to base, put bombs on, and go ground striking because there is just no possible way to get to them. I bet they have been performing well because to be honest, I can't be bothered to chase them down, so they get a base, then survive the entire match.

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Gaijin should first off limit the number of bombers in a 6 v 6 even more. Limit them to 2 or 3. 

 

Most importantly though is that when Gaijin creates a premium or event vehicle, there should be another premium or even vehicle of similar capability on the opposite team. This way both teams suffer or benefit.

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Can you name a skill level, any skill level required to play a bomber in whatever mode in this game? All you do is try make it to the target then if you do, and the odds are against you, you will definitely get shot down straight after that. Maybe 1 in ten games for some reason enemy planes ignore you or cant be bothered climbing, though I think that's a visibility glitch in the game tbh, not intended game play. Let bombers bomb, it's the only skill they have, (and it can be fun to annihilate ground forces) unless you count getting shot down a skill. Another idea might be to make it that fighters are obliged to protect bombers and that the side with most bombers at the end (or some suitable metric) has extra win points?

 

Quite a few Realistic Battles Ive played one side hasnt brought any bombers

Edited by ArchangeL9
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If the bomber bomb loads, BR ratings and Reward/Repair costs were more balanced across nations then the number of bombers per team would be more equal. For instance, how many Lancasters or Lincolns do you see compared with 264s and 288s?

Edited by druidh58

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8 hours ago, ArchangeL9 said:

Can you name a skill level, any skill level required to play a bomber in whatever mode in this game? All you do is try make it to the target then if you do, and the odds are against you, you will definitely get shot down straight after that. Maybe 1 in ten games for some reason enemy planes ignore you or cant be bothered climbing, though I think that's a visibility glitch in the game tbh, not intended game play. Let bombers bomb, it's the only skill they have, (and it can be fun to annihilate ground forces) unless you count getting shot down a skill. Another idea might be to make it that fighters are obliged to protect bombers and that the side with most bombers at the end (or some suitable metric) has extra win points?

 

Quite a few Realistic Battles Ive played one side hasnt brought any bombers

being able to easily take out targets that otherwise be hard for fighters to destroy is one of the benefits for fighters to defend bombers. it' just that many bombers wanted to be the first one to bomb so they race eachother and ends up dying to enemy airspawns. 264s being able to drag out matches shows the ability a bomber can do if they just sideclimb before bombing.

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18 hours ago, piscessoedroen said:

being able to easily take out targets that otherwise be hard for fighters to destroy is one of the benefits for fighters to defend bombers. it' just that many bombers wanted to be the first one to bomb so they race eachother and ends up dying to enemy airspawns. 264s being able to drag out matches shows the ability a bomber can do if they just sideclimb before bombing.

When I bomber, I race to the target because I know I have to beat the opposing fighters there or I am definitely cactus. Bombers are able to take out many hard targets that fighters cannot, true but that's just not enough incentive to play bomber, (unless you can ME 264 it and bomb at your leisure but there could be left field solutions to that built into the game mode I'm sure).

Giving an incentive for fighters to defend their bombers (win points) would make the game more interesting and definitely encourage team play, tht is lacking now because no incentive whatsoever. Fighters play selfishly, it's just how the game is set out, not their fault or anything. You need incentive. Historically bombers were protected by fighters and opposing fighters fought them to get to the bombers. Now each 'wing' (bomber and fighter) is too separate. Encouraging teamwork to win could really make things interesting. imho. 

Edited by ArchangeL9
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31 minutes ago, ArchangeL9 said:

 

Giving an incentive for fighters to defend their bombers (win points) would make the game more interesting and definitely encourage team play, tht is lacking now because no incentive whatsoever.

Gaijin would need to give fighters air starts to do that, since fighters can't usually reach the allied bombers to help out.

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There are so many threads about this issue constantly but Gaijin never acknowledges that it's a problem nor do they care. The more ju288c/F2G they sell is what they care about. 

Edited by SlowHandClap

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My preferred solution would just to be able to have the option to opt out of small 6 vs 6 matches. No matter what side of that match you are on...It's incredibly boring.

 

Or at least limit the number of useless planes you can be stuck with on a team.

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1 hour ago, UnknownDistance@psn said:

My preferred solution would just to be able to have the option to opt out of small 6 vs 6 matches. No matter what side of that match you are on...It's incredibly boring.

same but the opposite for 9.0+ matches especially 10.0+ as you can't even catch a break with all the missiles flinging evey direction

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22 hours ago, Loofah said:

Excellent topic, I agree with basically every point, would read again. 

I strongly disagree.

22 hours ago, inktomi said:

Gaijin would need to give fighters air starts to do that, since fighters can't usually reach the allied bombers to help out.

Maybe, or a certain random number of fighters from within fighter group. Or maybe just forget the whole thing

Edited by ArchangeL9
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I'd prefer to be shot down by ballpark historically accurate planes with realistic BRs, that don't obliterate game balance (and interest) in a number of ways, but I understand, Premium OPs are just business.

 

 

 

Edited by Blau1941
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7 hours ago, UnknownDistance@psn said:

My preferred solution would just to be able to have the option to opt out of small 6 vs 6 matches. No matter what side of that match you are on...It's incredibly boring.

 

Or at least limit the number of useless planes you can be stuck with on a team.

This would be my preference too. Bombers shouldn't make up more than 25% of the team if Gaijin is going to insist that they continue to be fundamentally useless. 

 

I also wish that there was some reward or incentive for fighter pilots who escort their friendly bombers. Anything that encourages more team play would be beneficial imo. 

 

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On 02/10/2021 at 02:04, SlowHandClap said:

I also wish that there was some reward or incentive for fighter pilots who escort their friendly bombers. Anything that encourages more team play would be beneficial imo. 

 

The problem is that the mechanism that practically guarantees a silver lion and research point gain also guarantees that it is impossible for fighters to escort their bombers.

 

In order for fighters to escort the bombers they actually need to be able to get in front of them and with the current spawn system...the best case scenario is that airspawned fighters barely catch up as the enemy fighter screen merges into the bombers and attackers.

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, UnknownDistance@psn said:

 

The problem is that the mechanism that practically guarantees a silver lion and research point gain also guarantees that it is impossible for fighters to escort their bombers.

 

In order for fighters to escort the bombers they actually need to be able to get in front of them and with the current spawn system...the best case scenario is that airspawned fighters barely catch up as the enemy fighter screen merges into the bombers and attackers.

 

 

 

This is something in general I've never understood. The air spawns for strike aircraft and bombers are ahead of everyone else, as if they are encouraging those players to rush head first into the middle of the battle to get their ordnance off before the enemy fighters have a chance to intercept them.

For me it would make more sense if bombers spawned in close formation at altitude but well behind the airfield. I don't think there is any real good reason for strike aircraft to spawn in the air, especially given the fact that many of them are more than capable at air to air combat. 

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43 minutes ago, SlowHandClap said:

This is something in general I've never understood. The air spawns for strike aircraft and bombers are ahead of everyone else, as if they are encouraging those players to rush head first into the middle of the battle to get their ordnance off before the enemy fighters have a chance to intercept them.

For me it would make more sense if bombers spawned in close formation at altitude but well behind the airfield. I don't think there is any real good reason for strike aircraft to spawn in the air, especially given the fact that many of them are more than capable at air to air combat. 

 

The easy answer is that it's always been this way and this is what the player-base responds to. And it creates an almost artificial cap on how the average earnings that bombers and attackers can make because they will mostly die early game.

 

And then the fighters that focused on them will also likely die as well.

 

It is basically that the gameplay is catered to the lowest common denominator.

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7 hours ago, SlowHandClap said:

I don't think there is any real good reason for strike aircraft to spawn in the air, especially given the fact that many of them are more than capable at air to air combat. 

It really depends on the strike aircraft. Some of them have performance equivalent to same-BR fighters (the A-36 is an example; it is an early P-51 with air brakes and an extra pair of machineguns) and those should definitely start from the ground.

 

Others have the performance of a lower BR fighter. They could work with a ground start if they had their BR reduced, but that might cause problems with tank RB since they often have insane weapon packages.

 

Finally, many strike planes are just really slow to get off the ground and to climb when loaded.

 

I don't think there would be any problem with giving the strike planes that perform like same-BR fighters a ground start. They tend to get used as fighters anyway, and many of the jets have good enough power to still climb to altitude or get to bases ahead of the enemy team. The strike planes that have much-reduced climb, acceleration, or turn rate compared to fighters should probably still get an air start, since they still generally can't be used to actively hunt other planes (even if they might be able to maul enemies who approach them). 

 

It would also really, really, really help if ground and air RB had separate BRs. Much of the problem is because even if a 10.0 striker has the performance of an 8.7 fighter, the striker probably has an insane weapon load that would be totally overpowered at the lower BR. It would be much less of an issue giving attackers a ground start if they could be put at BRs that are appropriate to their performance. There is no reason on earth for ground and air to share the same BR.

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14 minutes ago, inktomi said:

It really depends on the strike aircraft. Some of them have performance equivalent to same-BR fighters (the A-36 is an example; it is an early P-51 with air brakes and an extra pair of machineguns) and those should definitely start from the ground.

 

Others have the performance of a lower BR fighter. They could work with a ground start if they had their BR reduced, but that might cause problems with tank RB since they often have insane weapon packages.

 

Finally, many strike planes are just really slow to get off the ground and to climb when loaded.

 

I don't think there would be any problem with giving the strike planes that perform like same-BR fighters a ground start. They tend to get used as fighters anyway, and many of the jets have good enough power to still climb to altitude or get to bases ahead of the enemy team. The strike planes that have much-reduced climb, acceleration, or turn rate compared to fighters should probably still get an air start, since they still generally can't be used to actively hunt other planes (even if they might be able to maul enemies who approach them). 

 

It would also really, really, really help if ground and air RB had separate BRs. Much of the problem is because even if a 10.0 striker has the performance of an 8.7 fighter, the striker probably has an insane weapon load that would be totally overpowered at the lower BR. It would be much less of an issue giving attackers a ground start if they could be put at BRs that are appropriate to their performance. There is no reason on earth for ground and air to share the same BR.

Agree with most of this, but I do like the idea of a FOB start (The dirt runway closer to the ground targets) where possible. It still gives the attackers some advantage, because they are usually worse climbing, as you said, but something like the AU-1 or Tis Ma isn't going to be able to get to twice the height of 109s by just climbing straight into the match. (As fun as it is to do)

 

Also - I feel like the "what if a plane with 8.7 performance has 10.0 weaponry" should come with a big neon sign that says " NOT YOU IL-10" because that thing would be broken at anything lower than 4.3, despite what it's useless secondaries may tell you.

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The MM should just make the matches 6 ju288's vs 6 F2G's, then the rest of us can get back to some decent games.

Edited by DocProfit
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4 hours ago, inktomi said:

It really depends on the strike aircraft. Some of them have performance equivalent to same-BR fighters (the A-36 is an example; it is an early P-51 with air brakes and an extra pair of machineguns) and those should definitely start from the ground.

 

Others have the performance of a lower BR fighter. They could work with a ground start if they had their BR reduced, but that might cause problems with tank RB since they often have insane weapon packages.

 

Finally, many strike planes are just really slow to get off the ground and to climb when loaded.

 

I don't think there would be any problem with giving the strike planes that perform like same-BR fighters a ground start. They tend to get used as fighters anyway, and many of the jets have good enough power to still climb to altitude or get to bases ahead of the enemy team. The strike planes that have much-reduced climb, acceleration, or turn rate compared to fighters should probably still get an air start, since they still generally can't be used to actively hunt other planes (even if they might be able to maul enemies who approach them). 

 

It would also really, really, really help if ground and air RB had separate BRs. Much of the problem is because even if a 10.0 striker has the performance of an 8.7 fighter, the striker probably has an insane weapon load that would be totally overpowered at the lower BR. It would be much less of an issue giving attackers a ground start if they could be put at BRs that are appropriate to their performance. There is no reason on earth for ground and air to share the same BR.

 

The thing is - strike aircraft have much better survivability when they arrive at the frontline after their fighters have engaged enemy fighters. It requires patience, but if you only start ground pounding after the enemy fighters are distracted you will be able to get much more done in my experience. 

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4 hours ago, DocProfit said:

The MM should just make the games 6 ju288's vs 6 F2G's, then the rest of us can get back to some decent games.

 

Exactly.

 

What I feel most people don't think about is that if 288s would magically disappear... The MM would still pit 109s and 190s against P51H, F4U-4B and F2G.

 

I keep reading threads, game chats and the like, people just complaining about having their 109K4 having to face 6 superprops alone. Whilst in my experience they rarely have to take on all six of them at the same time. Most times, in fact, I found myself being the only F2G at altitude having to deal with the two german fighter in the enemy team. Same with the K4, it is usually a series of 1v1. That one would most likely lose in the end because of simple attrition, or because US fighters at that BR just outperform anything Germany has to offer. Which brings to my initial point.

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