See, I'm trying to put the "i" in TEAM. That's today's subject. iTEAM just sounds like a bad Apple product. Yet I'm not sure that the current mechanics which provide a pardon to the loss of a star when you're top experience of a losing team is a good product for Ranked Battles either -- especially when it was purchased so dearly. In previous seasons of Ranked Battles, any loss resulted in a universal loss of a star across every single losing player. The only exceptions were when you were at an irrevocable Rank, which in this season is Rank 12. Simply put, if you didn't want to lose a star, you had to play to win. But this season opens up with a new mechanic that makes my skin crawl.
It was designed to compensate players that gave it their all, that really did everything humanly possible to try and effect a win but couldn't manage it. This, in turn, was supposed to make losing not feel quite so awful when you ended up with a bad team. You might not progress forward with the losing match, but you weren't losing ground either. I think that this is a wonderful idea, but the automated system (based solely upon experience earned) opens up an area that can be exploited.
The exploit is this: If you think your team isn't going to win, play for yourself. Stop supporting your team. Let them get killed. Just keep yourself alive long enough to farm some damages or ninja a cap. If you've already got a cap under your belt, secure a kill or two and you're good to go. The sooner your team dies, the better for you because this gives them less opportunity to farm damage or kills that might compete with your current score. This is much more easily accomplished in a destroyer, particularly one that assisted with or accomplished a cap in the opening minutes of a game.
Now, I'm not Doomsaying here. I'm not saying there's some grand conspiracy out there where there are scores of Ranked Battle players that are doing this. But you would be a fool not to keep this mechanic in mind because you can count on others potentially doing this when:
They don't like the composition of their team roster. Maybe they're the only side with a lower-tiered vessel. Maybe someone brought an Atlanta. Maybe there's someone on their team they don't like.
Something goes wrong early. It could be anything. Maybe they lose a ship first. Maybe the enemy team caps first. Maybe two friendly ships collide.
Their team loses the initiative. They go from a controlling lead to a loss of momentum and the enemy team starts clawing back the advantage.
Whatever the reason, instead of redoubling their effort, you can count on encountering someone that begins playing especially selfishly. They've written off the match and they're only looking out for number one. What could be a nail-biting finish instead becomes an exercise in toxic behaviour.
Now I still like this idea of Wargaming's. I think that there should be a way to award an MVP on the losing team to keep them from being penalized. However, I don't feel the system should be automated. I would much prefer it was generated as a vote. This vote should come up on the Team Results page after a battle with a simple majority guaranteeing that said player doesn't lose a star. No one should be able to vote for themselves. Players have the option of abstaining. Ties will be decided by experience earned. See? Simple!
Or, y'know, they could reinstate the automatic star when you reach a higher rank for Ranks 10 through 2 again.
I really hope I don't hear a flood of anecdotes about selfish behaviours in Ranked Battles because of this mechanic. I've already seen it happen in two of my own games. It dropped my jaw. I was on the losing team one time and on the winning team the other and I could only shake my head. I have resolved not to play this way. I'm always going to try and go for the win. By happy coincidence this should provide me with enough caps, damage and kill totals to bump me up the boards, but I'm not about to step over my team to do it.
Because there is an "i" in TEAM.
Don't be an A-Hole, guys. Good luck this weekend in your Ranked Battles!