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For the first time in the game's history, a new ship has been added to Battle Bay. Seeing as how we're moving from five ships to six, this has the potential to shake the meta in ways we've never seen before.
However, if any such "shake" has occurred yet, it's been relatively suppressed. Over the past few days, the Interceptor's use rate in the Nightmare League has been stabilizing around 4%, which is in 5th place - just above Defender.
That's certainly not bad, given that many players may not yet have had enough of a chance to sufficiently upgrade their Interceptors. But during the Interceptor CTF Event, we saw a peak Interceptor use rate of 12.4%, which means that roughly two-thirds of the players who had unlocked it have since shelved it for regular elimination play. While it's impossible to tell how much of that drop is a direct result of underleveled Interceptors, it's also giving us some sort of a window into the overall "balanced-ness" of the brand-new ship.
In order to maintain relative balance within the realm of ships, 5th place out of 6 is probably the perfect place for the Interceptor to land after its first few weeks of availability. Given the consistent amount of usage that it's currently seeing in Nightmare League, it's clearly a competitively viable ship - and I'll bet that, after a couple more opportunities for players to collect ship pieces, it'll find itself hovering around 2nd or 3rd place.
In terms of weapons, the Interceptor's presence hasn't exactly revolutionized any offensive strategies - rather, it has strengthened the existing Fire-Cannon meta. Explosive Cannon and Blast Cannon remain extremely popular choices for weapons, and are constantly being trailed by Flare Gun. Fire Bomb still stands as the number one choice for a mortar-style weapon by a very large margin. Most notably, Grenade Launcher has found a home as the most popular weapon for Interceptors, bringing it to the impressive position of 2nd-most-popular weapon. Meanwhile, the rest of the mortar family, finding no new targets in Interceptor players, continue to occupy the bottom of the usage charts, alongside the poor Gatling Gun.
What about yellow items? Nitro has seen a healthy boost in usage recently, in part due to the fact that virtually every Interceptor player has chosen to use it for their single yellow slot. It also helps that, with the reinforced presence of fast-moving cannon projectiles and grenades, players are valuing more the ability to quickly jump away from incoming threats.
I have no doubt that more trends and insights will present themselves in the future as the Interceptor is given more time to settle!
Bonus Website Update!
If you've been paying very close attention lately, you'll notice that I've been regularly mentioning usage-over-time charts, and how they'll be on the website soon. You'll also notice that I've been saying that for months now. Don't worry, I promise that we will have historical usage charts within the next week! I've been holding off on releasing this new feature because I want to release it alongside another new feature that I'm excited about - the "Popular Loadouts" page!
Basically, the "Popular Loadouts" page will be a fourth page of stats that list frequently re-occurring combinations of red, yellow, blue, and green items for each of the six ships. For example, in the latest snapshot, 33% of Speeders ran an Explosive Cannon/Flare Gun combo... 64% of Speeders ran a yellow-item set consisting of Nitro + Overboost + Tesla Shield... and 76% of Speeders ran a blue-item set of Big Shield + Turbo + Bandage!
Hello all - I'm just posting to give an update on the status of the website. There haven't been any website updates or blog posts in a while... that's because I've been busy moving into college!
Luckily, things are settling down now, which means I can start cranking out stuff that's been on my todo list for a while... mainly graphs that plot out item usage over time! But first I must adjust the website to align with Rovio's latest game update ("Hitting the rapid!", AKA the "Agility Update"). They've added an item and removed two others, which means that I need to spend some time fixing up the static item dictionaries in the website's code (perhaps I should've thought that one through a little better).
In the meantime, the current dataset will become outdated, as I cannot perform another data scrape until the item dictionaries are all accurate again. Another thing to note is that the current dataset is from the Fire weekend challenge, which means that it isn't totally representative of general item usage even before the update.
Thank you everyone for your patience - I'll be back with another blog post once order has been restored!
This weekend we're seeing the second iteration of the new Capture The Flag gamemode, and with it comes an unfamiliar meta. Every other gamemode we've seen has always had the same core objective: sink the enemy. But a new objective has potential to seriously shake things up.
Shifts in use-rate statistics can help us determine which tactics are being employed among the world's best players. Here are some of the key takeaways so far from the latest database refresh:
Speeders are back with a vengeance. While Speeders generally remain quiet these days on the ladder, they've jumped up over Enforcer in overall usage. They're even giving the Shooter a run for its money for the "Most Used Ship" position, which the Shooter has held uncontested during much, if not all, of Battle Bay's existence. Speeders are considered invaluable as strikers in this version of CTF, where the first capture wins the game, regardless of how much time is left on the clock.
Fixers are being used even less than before, but they are using Duct Tape much more often. This gives support to the viability of the "Selfish Fixer" setup, which focuses on using Duct Tapes to keep itself alive, and possibly to even attempt to capture the flag.
Defenders haven't quite found their role yet. Some players predicted that a Defender could stand as a defensive juggernaut against flag attackers. However, as Defenders sit at a stubborn 5% use rate, it's looking like top players have deemed it inefficient for defense - or for anything, really.
Offensive strategies are largely the same. However, Carronade has risen in usage, while all four mortars have hit rock bottom. With so many Speeders floating about, it only made sense for some players to pick up a Carronade as a response, which can be an extremely effective anti-Speeder tool. Of course, Speeders and Carronades spell certain doom for mortars, which all have a stranglehold on the last-place positions on the item use rate chart. The speed-oriented objective of this gamemode certainly doesn't help; a good offense in this environment is one that can immediately and certainly dish out solid damage.
Luckily, with the new popularity-over-time features that I'm working on, you will soon be able to see shifts in the meta for yourself!
Welcome to BayStats version 1.1! What's new?
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New Use-Rate Model
Prior to this post, overall use rates for items have been calculated by simply dividing the total number of uses by the total number of players. While technically accurate, this actually produced problems where severe differences in ship uses would affect the overall use rates of items that tend to appear on a specific ship - which would in turn muddy the waters as to whether the ship or the item is strong/weak.
Now, overall item use rates are being calculated by averaging its use rates across all five ships (or three ships, in the case of a yellow item... or just one ship, in the case of a green item... etc.) This gives each ship an equal representation in the final item use rate. For example, before using this model, if there was a huge spike in Enforcer usage, we might have also seen a concurrent spike in Blast Cannon usage. With the new model, Enforcer usage will rise, while Blast Cannon's usage sits still. This helps us identify where exactly the cores of balance differences lies.
For the most part, you probably won't notice much of a difference in the item use rates - with the exception of Sniper Cannon, which will drop hard as a result of this change because of its heavy use on Shooters (the most popular ship).
Line graphs of item use rates over time are my highest priority right now. I can't say when exactly they'll be here, but I'm hoping within the next 4-5 days or so.
Today, BayStats is born!
Everything here is brand new, so I encourage you to find any issues in the website, and to notify me about them. All contact info can be found on the Contact page, so don't feel shy to shoot me a message.
This website isn't quite finished yet - I still have a few big features on my to-do list. The major ones include:
With each new feature, I'll make a new Blog post, so make sure to stay tuned.