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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Are the Maps of World of Warships Fair?

I see it from time to time while I'm playing World of Warships. Okay, I see it almost every gaming session. Someone complains about how unbalanced the game is. Those statements are more than a little whiny considering this is an open beta game, not the final release. To my way of thinking, you fight the ship you have, not the ship you want. It's that simple. In real naval battle you don't get a choice. If you feel otherwise perhaps you should find a different game.

But there are other things to wonder about than ship balance. Even though I feel any ship, if handled properly, can be a winner, I have wondered is the maps are inherently equal. I discussed the concept of angle in my last post, and how important it is. As part of that, I was wondering if the maps themselves might give on starting position an advantage over the other.

From that musing, I also began to wonder what fleet strategies work on which maps. It would be impossible to get this information from the tactical view from the deck of your ship. What we need is a fleet map. And that is precisely what the mini-map is. There is also the question of whether some maps show up more frequently than others. There's probably a lot of anecdotal evidence on that score, and perhaps even some official developer comments on it. But I like empirical evidence. So I've compiled some.

I have recorded most of my game play sessions. From those recordings, I have isolated the mini-map for every PvP victory into a 270 by 270 pixel animated GIF. Before creating the GIF I sped up the playback speed 500 percent. A battle that took 15 real minutes can now be seen played out in three. Fleet movements become obvious.

Here is what I've discovered so far about the maps of World of Warships. Some of them I've not played often as they are for higher tiered ships. I'll start our with general statistics, and then a gallery of animated GIFs for each map.

Map Statistics

For the sake of generalization, I have combined the starting locations into two positions: right/top and left/bottom. There are always two sides and you will be on one of them. Right is of course east, top is north, left is west and bottom is south. It doesn't matter which is pared with which so long as I am consistent. To that end I have decided on the following orientations for the various maps.

  • Big Race is an east/west map.

  • Fault Line is a north/south map.

  • Islands is an east/west map.

  • New Dawn is an east/west map.

  • North is a north/south map.

  • Two Brothers is a north/south map.

I have had one victory on the map named Hotspot, which has four starting positions: NW, NE, SW, and SE. It is not included in my graph. As for the other maps, here is how the victories parceled according to starting position.

Victories by Map Starting Position

From what I see in the data above, not that it's statistically valid, is that New Dawn is exceedingly well-balanced. After 14 battles our victories are evenly split between the two starting positions. The map I've battled on most is Fault Line. With 18 victories, it does appear the north starting position has a slight edge over south. The other map which concerns me, though it has a very small statistical sample (tongue in cheek as they are all small statistical samples,) is Islands. When we started on the east, my team was victorious four times more often than when we started in the west. Of course, with such a relatively small representative sample for each map, I am not going to say outright that any map is unbalanced. I am only giving you what I have so far. However, there is one more tool we can look at: the mini-map GIFs. By analyzing those it might be possible to discern if one starting position is more advantageous than another. We will certainly be able to see the winning strategy.

Here is an example of what I have created. I've only recorded one battle on this map so it is well suited as an example.

Hot Spot

[caption id="attachment_5583" align="aligncenter" width="270"]Hotspot Northwest Victory - Cleveland 3 Hotspot Northwest Victory - Cleveland 3[/caption]

If you'd like to see the other 54 guaranteed-to-crash-your-browser-session animated mini-map GIF images, just click one of these links:

I'm not kidding about the crashing your browser session. Word Press can't seem to handle that many GIFs on a page. I've had a hard time getting it to handle just the one above. I have separated the GIFs into individual pages by map. That will hopefully mitigate some of the issues. You may want to right-click and open them in a new Window.

And that's what I have on World of Warships maps. There is only one thing that bugs me about the GIFs, other than the browser crashing. It seems that on the last game update they reduced the size of the mini-map. They start filling the entire GIF area, but post update they don't (see above.) :| For display reasons I kept them the same size. I hope you find them useful. Battle on!


  1. Islands depends a lot more on the players in it than any other because it's the nooblet map. Tiers 1-3 only and when people go seal clubbing it's very easy to have a run on that map where one side or the other goes crazy. Fault line definitely is uneven, same with two brothers, but figuring out balance in this game will take a while due to the nature of the ships themselves.

  2. It's a lot harder to talk about balance. The matchmaking system does very strange things sometimes. Like my last carrier game, where our side had 2 Hoshos (t4) versus 2 Langleys (t4 also). The Langleys are clearly superior in the air making the Hoshos' life a hell. None of us were in divisions, so the best mm soultion would be to mix them and have both sides 1+1 of each. Same, when one side gets 4 dessies, the other only 1. But these are issues, which are present from WoT day 1, so almost no chance for a decent outcome.
    On another note, I would not compare only my victories but the defeats too. Might come up situations where for example you win the same amount on both sides, but lose twice as much or more on one side than on the other.

  3. AS you get into higher tiers, there are two more maps: Ocean and Polar.
    Ocean is no land masses, just open ocean. Polar is in the high north with lots of icebergs and some islands and a big open middle.

  4. OH, you can resize the mini map with the number pad + and - keys!

  5. That's what happened! Thank you. I saw the +/- there but thought it would open the big map. I didn't even try it. Derp.


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