50% winrate myth

UPDATE. To get the whole story, please read the Capped winrate also!

World Of Tanks player community seems to think that manipulating and rigging serves the purpose to make everybody “equal” so that low-skilled players could win more than they should if the game was not rigged. That is the typical explanation of the fact that the game seems to be rigged against the “good players”. “Game tries to force everybody to 50% winrate” is a typical comment in WOT forums. I think that in this particular case the community gets it wrong. WOT is not trying to please their low-skilled players or playerbase in general. Don’t get me wrong – WOT is no more guilty here than lot of other big businesses out there but the fact is that costumer pleasing may not always be the best way to make money. If you think about it, you’ll see that there’s something there. Why is the games matchmaker broken and rigging so transparent? Why won’t they fix things? Well, it could well be that it is because the game actually is “working as intended”. Pleasing and pleasant things get bland quickly. Think about it, why do you keep returning to the game? Yes, it is a good game but there’s something more. You have not BEAT THE GAME yet. That’s why we keep playing it. It challenges us, rigged or not. WOT is not trying to please it’s players, it tries to frustrate them. Thats more effective tool for departing us from our money than pleasing. Not equality but inequality: the game does not force 50% winrate – it is much more likely that the game tries to spread out the winrate scale instead of compressing it. In reality skill spread of the playerbase may be narrower than the current winrate spread of the game – game spreads the playerbase wider on the skill scale than it really is.
If in unmanipulated system an imaginary player A would have 49,5% winrate and player B would have 50,5% winrate then in artificially spread out system player A will have, say, 47,5% winrate and player B 52,5%. Player A will keep on playing from sheer frustration and from the need to prove himself, he will also constantly try to find “the ultimate tank” (during that endless process he needs to grind lots of tanks and will eventually spend some real money). Player B on the other hand will feel real good about himself, and as he his already pro in his own mind, will spend some money too. Instead of two indifferent gamers we now have two dedicated players, so it would actually make sense to spread the playerbase wide on the skill-scale. Also, it would actually explain why the games matchmaker does create so unequal teams (see Unbalanced teams).