20/07/2019

Is PvP More Balanced Now?

While I've always been better with words than with numbers, I have a soft spot for statistics. I mentioned recently that I put together some stats about warzones twice before: once in 2013 and once in 2015. Both times they seemed to confirm the common refrain that Republic sucks at PvP: my win rate was only 35% the first time around and 38% the second. (Though mind you, I didn't run a comparison on Imp side to verify whether this was really faction-related or if it was just me dragging my team down.)

I was curious to find out whether this had changed after last year's "Summer of PvP" tore down the faction barriers and took measures to improve matchmaking. The short answer is: maybe a little? This time around I finished my 100 recorded matches with a 42% win rate, which is certainly an improvement but still not as good as it should be in my opinion.

I also recorded once again whether it seemed like any given match had been fair or unfair (I used the latter label when it felt like the losing team never really stood a chance, regardless of which side I was on), and about half of all my games (48) felt like they had been seriously unbalanced. (Though again, this is slightly better than it was in both 2013 and 2015, when 53 of my 100 matches had felt like bad match-ups.)

One thing that's worth noting as different this time around is that I didn't just restrict myself to playing three healing characters on Republic side. Since faction shouldn't matter anymore I played characters on both sides (in fact, as it happens two thirds of my games were played on Imperial side this time around) and I also rotated through my entire stable of alts, playing characters of pretty much all classes and specs. I actually would have expected that to depress my win rate a bit as I'm pretty horrible at PvPing e.g. as Gunslinger or Sentinel, but if it did it wasn't enough to bring the numbers down to the level of the previous two experiments.

One thing that does seem to support the idea that class/role matters is that I came closest to reaching win/loss parity on my healers (20 wins vs. 24 losses, or a 45% win rate), and if you only count matches on my Commandos or Mercenaries (my main class), I did in fact win more often than I lost (12 vs. 8). Gunslingers/Snipers technically also won more than they lost (2 vs. 1) but that total is so low anyhow that I simply consider it a fluke. Sentinel/Marauder is certainly closer to what I'd expect from me on that class, racking up only 2 wins vs. 8 losses.

Of the old faction lines there was no evidence anymore, as my Republic characters had an average win rate of 45% vs. only 40% on my Imps.

Another thing that's interesting to look at is the distribution of the numbers among the different types of warzones. I noted in the past that my odds of winning were generally better in the node-capping game modes (Civil War, Novare Coast) and at their worst in Huttball. The former still seems to be true (mostly) as the two game types in which I could actually record more wins than losses were Novare Coast and the Proving Grounds, while Civil War was a perfect 50-50 split. Huttball wasn't as bad this time around though, as my 41% win rate in it was very close to the average.

This time the warzones that caused me the most losses were Yavin Ruins (only won 1 out of 5, but again that's a pretty small total), Voidstar (3 out of 10) and Hypergates (3 out of 9). So this is an area where the faction mingling definitely seems to have helped, as I still remember the pain of playing unranked Huttball as a Republic player back in the day very well. As for Novare Coast and Proving Grounds, I can't help but wonder if me really loving those warzones doesn't play into it a bit, as I would assume that it makes me play a lot better, therefore increasing my team's chances of winning.

Anyway, while win/loss ratio among different warzones has improved, Huttball still has balancing issues as it was the warzone that felt by far the most unfair, with nearly two thirds of matches having felt like the losing team never even stood a chance. I think that may just be the nature of the map though, as any amount of co-ordination just makes such a huge difference. Funnily enough the most "fair" game mode by that measure turned out to be Hypergates, at least during my experiment. Out of 9 matches played, only a single one felt like the outcome had been a foregone conclusion.

Finally, one more thing that I kept track of this time around and that I hadn't paid great attention to previously was the day of the week on which I played. This was interesting as there was a clear trend towards Thursday to Saturday being the best days to play, providing an almost perfectly balanced win-loss ratio, while Monday to Wednesday were the worst, as I had to put up with two losses per win or worse on those days. I'm not sure how to explain this. Theoretically a larger number of players participating in PvP should help with the matchmaking, but from my experience Thursday and Friday night aren't exactly prime time for PvP - then again, I might be wrong about that. Tuesday is also the time of the weekly reset, I wonder if that plays into it somehow?

tl;dr: Yes, your chances of winning as a Republic player seem to be somewhat better now than they used to be, though on average the change is not that drastic. The biggest and most noticeable change has occurred in Huttball, where your odds are much better now, though it remains somewhat unbalanced in general, with only a third of games actually feeling like good match-ups that result in a fair fight.

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