How To Read Stats For Noobs
I did a lot of Social Science at university, and this whole “Critical Thinking” deal is basically just not automatically accepting things at face value, and asking yourself what things really mean.
So when people say stuff like “play to the strengths of your vehicle” or “mitigate incoming damage”, that’s my first thought: What do they mean by that?
Of course, this is also the first question of anyone who doesn’t quite hear, or completely fails to understand what someone else is saying, so that’s modern education for you.
But being a self-imposed tank philosopher, I care about these things; explaining what stuff means, I mean. I think being able to explain something to someone is a prerequisite for really knowing it, and as a bonus; when you explain something to others, you are also making it clear to yourself.
Not having access to knowledge is a great hindrance for understanding. But it doesn’t matter how much is being revealed to you if you don’t know what to do with it all. Like staring at your own global stats at your favourite Blitz stats website.
Stats for Noobs
I don’t care about stats. That’s Elitist posturing. But it’s also true. The more I play, the less impressed I am with stats, both my own and others. You’ve seen enough to realise they don’t tell the whole story. You know how to stet ped and denoob, but more importantly, you come to the profound realisation that stats are temporal, dynamic; they are a process that is always going on, always changing, and in the end, you are only as good as your last battle.
Once I hit 50% I pretty much stopped caring. About the actual number, I mean. In fact, I think it’s kind of funny the way some people get triggered by “getting beaten by a noob”. As if it wasn’t possible without something being wrong. As if it was somehow unfair.
But I never stopped periodically checking my stats, because I still care about my own performance, and statistics give me relevant clues about it. I can track my own progression. I can compare myself to myself.
And this is advice often given to new players: monitor your stats so you can track your performance. But when you go look at your stats, all you see is a bunch of numbers, and it’s not always easy to understand what it is they are trying to tell you.
There are any number of sources for stats; Blitz assistant, in game spread, different websites. It doesn’t really matter which one you use, but make sure you keep using the same one. Me, I’m a Blitzstars fanboy all the way, I always have been, and I can’t imagine I’ll switch at this point. Let us all praise Sockrobber for the enormous debt we owe him for his tireless work.
But yeah, find one you like and stick to it. And start by checking just a few things so you don’t get overwhelmed by the wealth of information.
I thought I’d take you through a typical rundown of my stats, to illustrate some things you can learn about your playstyle and performance from yours. And then all you need to do is to “play to the strengths of your vehicle” and you should be carrying harder in no time.
For clarity, I will be using the Blitzstars format in my examples.
First things first
So yeah, winrate. That’s first. But there are several winrates you might be interested in.
There is your “career” or “global” winrate. That’s the actual one. Then there is your recent winrate, which is usually the last 30 days of playing. The relationship between these two can tell you several things.
First off, if your 30 day winrate is higher than your career winrate, then you are doing better; you are learning, you are progressing. But there could also be other explanations; maybe you have been driving a lot of lower tiers, or rolling an OP tank, or platooning a lot?
Then there is the winrate on each and every tank you own. That’s pretty self explanatory, but again, there could be different reasons for it. If you want to find out of you are really doing well, you need to look at other tank statistics in relation to the winrate, and here is where things tend towards information overload.
This will tell you your level of familiarity with the vehicle. Is this a new tank for you, or have you had it a long time? If you have thousands of games in a tank but the winrate is still low then chances are you may be doing something wrong with it, or that it was one of your first noob projects.
Conversely, you should be less reliant on stats in vehicles with a low battle count. This, by the way, is how you spot a reroller: they will have suspiciously high stats without having played a lot of battles.
More importantly, if you have a high winrate in a vehicle, but a low battle count, and the overall stats are low, then it could be you’ve just had a lucky winning streak. It could of course also be because the tank caps bases like a boss.
As a rule, 100 games are required to get into top ten or top 100 lists, so that’s a good benchmark for familiarity.
This one is called DPB on Blitzstars; “damage per battle” and also “average damage”, because that’s what it is; the average damage output over all the games played.
Again this is given both as a global stat and for each tank, and I don’t really follow my global damage output, because it’s across all tiers and everything.
For many players, though, average damage is the only stat that counts, and it is generally considered to be the best indicator of how hard you carry.
And it’s common sense, really. By taking away more of your opponents hitpoints, you will get more XP, more credits, clear more missions, and ultimately win more games.
So: a low damage output should also mean a low winrate. If you have a high winrate but low damage output, then either you are contributong to the team in other ways such as spotting, tracking and capping bases, or you are simply being carried. If you have a high damage output but a low winrate, then either WG hates you, there is something wrong with the game, you keep getting the noob team, or you are doing most of your damage after the game has already practically been lost.
That means you camp too much.
But there could be other explanations. Maybe you aren’t good at finishing people off; you do damage, but don’t get any kills. Maybe your tank is slow,a nd you have trouble getting to effective poritions. And again, look at the battle count to see what level of confidence you should have in the numbers.
Spots per Battle
This is simple the average number of tanks you spot each battle, and it tells you your level of aggression.
In faster vehicles, you should expect the spot rate to be higher, if it’s not then you may be using them wrong. Slower tanks will often fire at already spotted targets and so the spot rate will likely be lower.
If you don’t have a high spot rate in a faster tank, and your damage output and winrate are also low, then it may well be you are staying too far back and not taking full advantage of your mobility.
You will note I haven’t given examples of actual numbers. That’s because you should be comparing your stats to themselves over time. I find it’s more productive to think in therms of more or less and of general improvement than a set target number, at least until you feel you understand what that number tells you.
This is the final thing I usually check, and it’s the percentage of shots you fire that actually hit their target.
There will be some variation of possibility here. Gun stats aside, an autocannon will have a lower hitrate than an accurate sniping weapon because of their different playstyles. Your own personal style of play also has an impact; do you often take snapshots, blind shots and speculators?
Either way, a low hit rate may indicate a problem. If it’s a problem with the tank, you can’t change that, but you can change the way you use it. HIgh hit rate but low damage output and low winrate? Maybe you are playing too close to the action. Can’t seemt o hit the shots? Spend more time aiming, or simply move closer.
All in all, that’s five stats I check and compare, and I feel I understand what they can tell me about my gameplay.
Trying to make sense of your stats may seem overwhelming at first, but just concentrate on a few of them, and follow them over time. Once you have a basic understanding of how they work you can start adding more, just ask yourself if the information they provide is really helpful to you in terms of self improvement, or if they are mere curiosities.
Also, please remember to try and not throw peoples stats in their face. It’s not considered comme il faut in polite society.
Further notes on winrate:
The thing about using winrate as your main point of reference is, sooner or later you are going to plateau or decline, ad the closer you get to 100%, the harder it gets to maintain your performance.
If you follow other stats, you will still be able to work on improving your gameplay and identify potential problems. I was well on my way to becoming a 60% player a while back, but that was mostly because I was playing a lot of lower tier vehicles. When I moved up the tiers again, it was more like 50%. But my global winrate has been showing a small but steady increase over the same periods, so overall I still felt like I was improving. Following my damage output, I could see that I was being more effective, although my hitrate at the same time was dropping, from 90% to around 80%.
Stats don’t tell the whole story. But they do tell you something. I know I am plateauing, and my global winrate at the moment I think is pretty accurate. I also know if I really cared, I could go work on any number of de-noob projects and I would be on the rise again, but I don’t. I want to play my new high tier vehicles, I want to experiment and learn new things. And I know that once I get more comfortable with the things I am trying to learn, my stats will be improving again.