No man is an island – so does your random battleground win/loss ratio reflect on you

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

John Donne

When I run out of blogs to read and twitter is quiet, I run off to the Battlenet PvP forums looking for excitement. It’s a bit like eating squeezy cheese straight from the tube, you know it’s wrong but it feels so right, so many prospective irate PvPers to troll (not that I do of course) and sometimes hidden amongst the dross, you find fascinating threads. Now I was flicking through the usual standard topics, “nerf this and that”, “remove AV/IoC/SotA all together” and “ban healers from PvP” when I spotted a thread entitled “Bad win/lose ratio = bad player?” My immediate gut reaction before I even started reading the thread was no, of course not. As John Donne wrote all those years ago, “No man is an island”. In WSG/Gilneas/Twin Peaks you are 1 / 10th of the team, moving up to 1 /40th in AV/IoC. Your level of play can’t make or break the game, can it?

Well, if the answer doesn’t lie in our own personal contribution to the game, what other factors could influence the ratio?

  • Class balance. There are a plethora of threads complaining about the lack of healers in random battlegrounds, attributing loss after loss to not having any. Do you have a flag carrier in WSG/Twin Peaks. Now having carried plenty of flags myself as well as healed a wide variety of non-tank classes to successful flag caps, I admit to not being convinced about this one.
  • Average item level of both teams. If one team is full of resilience and the other is wearing quest greens, it should be obvious who is going to win.
  • The number of afkers/botters.
  • Are there are any premade groups within either team? For example quite often I’ve seen multiple groups of two or three within the same AB/EotS team.
Is it possible then, that across a sample of 500 plus battlegrounds, you could get unlucky with your  team 70 percent of the time? The cynic in me thinks no, it’s not possible. I know it’s easy to talk as fairly well geared Disc Priest with around 4600 resilience, after all my groups always have at least one healer but then I’ve won plenty of games in which on paper at least we had the weaker team. Less healers, a lower item level, no tank class to carry the flag and yet because we were objective focused, we won.

I’ve been playing a lot of Isle of Conquest this weekend, primarily to avoid Twin Peaks which seems to be my random battleground’s default setting. It’s certainly been an eye opening experience. Every game there has been a vocal minority yelling that the Alliance always lose IoC and so I decided to keep an eye them. What exactly were they bringing to the game? Well in the case of most of them, absolutely nothing. They’d go docks sure but as soon as it was tagged, they would ride off to sit outside the Horde Keep. They wouldn’t help defend the glaives, they wouldn’t go and tag the Refinery and they didn’t use the catapults to enter the Keep. They just sat there on their mounts calling the rest of us names.

Now compare that to what Mr Harpy does in IoC. First of all he runs off to the Workshop because slowing down their tagging is essential. The Workshop is the closest node to the bases and so the longer it takes the Horde to tag it, the better. It’s amazing how long a small rogue can survive spamming fan of knives at the flag. Then on ressing in our base, he heads out to slow and kill the demolishers underneath our Keep guns. Yes, he dies a lot more than the “Alliance suck, I’m going Horde” brigade sitting outside the Horde Keep doing nothing but he also has an excellent win ratio.

On my latest Priest, who has something in the realm of 630 games played, I have a 74 ish percent win/loss ratio. That’s from either queuing solo or with Mr Harpy, certainly no proper premades involved. Now, I’d to like to say that’s just because I’m awesome but I can’t really, at least not with a straight face. I am however obsessed with objectives. I defend nodes, solo if necessary. I try and keep the flag carrier alive even if they are a resilience-less mage with 115k health. I communicate, giving locations and numbers of the opposing team. That’s partly why I love the Lumber Mill in Arathi Basin so much, not only do I have a cliff to throw people off but I also have a bird’s eye view of most of the map. The only flag I don’t have direct sight on is the Gold Mine but the aid of mindvision that’s not insurmountable either.

So, in conclusion, I’m still not convinced it’s as black and white as many of the posters in that thread would have you believe. Outside factors do play a part, there are some games that no matter how positive you try and be, you know it’s odds on a loss within a few minutes. No one has a 100 percent win record and everyone at some time or another gets stuck with the 99k health deathknights, the bot mages and the three rogues who never unstealth during the entire game. However, if your win/loss ratio is below 45 percent across a large enough sample of games (let’s say 300 plus), ask yourself the following questions and think hard about your answers.

  1. Are you one of the masses falling over themselves to leave a node, desperate to ensure they won’t be left in defence?
  2. If by some unfortunate accident, you find yourself defending, do you ask for help before the node gets tagged, after or not at all?
  3. Are you willing to die repeatedly to interrupt flagging?
  4. If flag games do you try and return your flag, defend your flag carrier or have a nice one v one with the bot in a shady corner of the map?
  5. Other than to call your team-mates names, do you converse in battleground chat?

If your answers come out something like this:

1. yes, 2. not at all, 3. no, 4. one v one all the way mate. 5. talk to people… in an MMORPG.. why would I do that?

Then yes, your win/loss ratio is quite possibly at least 60 percent your fault. It doesn’t take many objective focused people to win games but equally it doesn’t take many afk zergers to lose them.

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6 Responses

  1. Really, I do try to be conscientious in BGs – not fighting in middle, defending FC, defending bases with others – but sometimes I lose my nerve when left alone at a flag/node and run off to find a larger group to fight with rather than stay and delay on my own. Guess I should be braver (more selfless?) and give myself up to gain some time for my fellows. It’s certainly something to aim for! Good post :)

    • Ty.

      If I’m left alone, I tend to try asking for help defending. More often than not some random dpser will get all excited at the thought of a personal healer and come running.

  2. I haven’t done BGs in some time. But I was one of those insane people who will try to keep defending, even if I’m a healer and won’t kill anything.. then I will eventually die, try to run back asap to prevent them from recapping their base.. probably dying again.. but hoping to gain enough time for reinforcements to arrive *lol*

    Sadly reinforcements doesn’t always arrive, but if I play with a friend or two I usually tell them to come back and we’ve managed to hold our ground like this quite a few times.

    It’s an interesting post you’ve written – and I think I agree with pretty much all of it. A lot of people complain about how bad their team is, while they quite often don’t seem to do the proper tactics/strategies themselves. Sure, I’ve seen the odd game where moving from base to base works and we’ll win, but the majority of the time it will fail without defense. I guess a lot of people don’t want to defend cause they want their killing blow/killed ratio to be good. Me… I rather just win and have 0 killing blows.

    You make me wanna PvP again ;)

    • I hate dying a lot too, but I hate losing even more :P
      Had a fun game recently in which three of us stopped eight of them from tagging the farm for about five minutes, long enough for us to drag out enough of a lead to win the game.

      As for
      “You make me wanna PvP again”
      Go for it, it’s good for the soul (or something).

  3. What a great topic! Never considered BG wins much. I pvp in spurts though. :/

    74% ain’t too shabby!!

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