Overwatch

Why stats/10 is

I'm a console player rated in low-mid gold on both support and tank. I say this to emphasize that I am not an pro at Overwatch — however, I do have a graduate degree in applied statistics and came here to say that I think Overwatch has a statistics problem.

Most of us who use LFG to find teammates have found ourselves in an awkward position:

  1. Join group
  2. Group leader checks stats
  3. Group leader becomes statistician
  4. Group leader then gives you backhanded compliments and explains why you can't play with their precious group.
  5. Small back-and-fourth debate, mild toxicity
  6. You get kicked from group or or leave out of frustration.

The biggest problem I see in this scenario, and it goes both ways, is that stats/10 is not a good metric to base arguments of how good or bad a player is. Here is my reasoning, and please someone correct me and help me understand where I'm wrong:

Every game is different. I won't explain in detail, but we should be able to agree that your heals/10 as a Mercy might look different across games where you were asked to pocket vs. main heal (generally less heals given in a pocket-heavy game). This game-to-game difference is called variance and it's almost entirely neglected in our Overwatch calculus. Instead, we focus on the averages of in-game stats.

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Just because I get 10k heals/10 doesn't mean I'll deliver anything close to that in the next game. I might be at 6k but contribute 2k damage boosting and give a ton of Rez's on cooldown.

OW is a complicated game, and to try and boil down in-game performance to just 1 metric seems unfair. It would be like if the NFL only used the 40-yard dash as a metric of a player's ability on the field. It says nothing about their strength, technique or game IQ. Similarly, we are missing a lot of other information by focusing solely on stats/10.

I won't give a whole stats lesson here, but I just wanted to bring to light a common issue I see in LFG cues. To reiterate, stats/10 isn't the worst metric, but it doesn't tell the full story and might actually be doing more harm than good, especially when coupled with the misunderstanding of what averages actually tell us vs. what they don't tell us.

I suggest 2 things to help alleviate this: 1) The OW community needs to layoff using stats/10 as a tell-all metric. It's OK at best and just statistically ignorant at worst. 2) Blizzard should supplement the stats/10 metric with variance from your average. This will give other players a better idea of your game-to-game consistency while also helping the OW community become more sophisticated in statistics like many other major sports.

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TL;DR: stats/10 doesn't take into consider variance and without variance then your interpretation of in-game performance suffers. Blizzard should help us out by installing a variance metric to help propel the sport into the world of analytics. Meanwhile, OW players need to be nicer and not kick people for not having their made-up gold standard of what "good" is — because truthfully, your gold standard is a flawed one.

Thoughts?

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