WOTBB 48 – Winter Manoeuvres

Original date of blog: December 27th, 2015

I thought about preparing this blog and posting about it tomorrow, but I don’t want whatever I hear tomorrow to distort my opinion and thoughts about the whole thing, so you’re getting it now instead.

I doubt any of the big clans can have missed it, but on November 30th, 10pm CET, the first official clan-competition by Wargaming started. The thing lasted until 10pm on December 13th. Nearly two weeks. The objective; do as much damage as a clan as you can. As soon as I heard about it, I figured Phoenix stood a chance. We’re one of the most active clans, and we have a bunch of true game addicts. So maybe we could actually win this.

I was pretty hyped about that from the beginning. But for me, that didn’t go far beyond ‘omg omg omg so cool sugoi!’, while Dimi had a much more business mind about it, and set to work on moving our most active recruits into the main clan as well, so any damage they did would count for the Clan. And with them, came a few Spartans. Sparta had decided not to compete themselves – the Clan being too small for that – but they had a few who were more than happy to help us. Sparta and Phoenix have been two peas in a pod for a while now, and it was lovely to see our cooperation grow like that.

I asked Filip to play a much as humanly possible during the competition, and even promised not to nag at him about getting enough sleep and taking care of himself like I usually do. The latter proved to be quite impossible, but I did nag a lot less, at least >.> Filip was all too happy to be given the all clear to give it his all, and understood my ulterior motives for asking him to do this.

To boost clan-activity for this contest, we decided to hand out some prizes to the top contributors of the clan. This meant that the one that did the most for the clan, would get a Type 59 from me. And truth be told, I had been wanting to get one for Filip either way, but I like having a good excuse to do so, rather than just giving away something that cost that much (though there was some discussion about how much it would cost in the end). If it was the original price, it would mean I wouldn’t be able to get one myself, because it’d probably just be too much to get two of the things. So, in addition to doing as much damage as possible, Filip would also be working to get a Type 59. And I promised Sten a cake if we won and he got to be in the top three contributors of our clan.

For me, I didn’t play the first night the competition started. The problem was that I had the final round of the indoor archery competition that Thursday, so I couldn’t give it my all from the beginning. And I felt guilty about that, so I got up at 4am on Wednesday and quickly found out that that wasn’t something I’d be able to keep up. I was pretty much dead by the time I started work. So I took the afternoon off to tank more, and did my best to catch an early night. The archery round went just fine, by the way – I got very near my personal record, so very pleased about that.

But anyway, that first week, I felt like I could do very little. I hated that. I asked Mikake to make a tool to calculate how much damage had been done by a number of clans. It could only start recording that from the moment the tool was build, so we’d be missing out on some data, but it’d at least give a good indication of what everyone was doing. And asking that, and looking at that data, the data Dave collected and the data found in a blitz stats app, made me feel like I was at least doing -something- to help, of sorts. The numbers showed the Legion to be very active, along with ourselves, and ClanTurk.

Now, that last clan is something to name separately. Pretty soon after the contest started, rumours and stories sprouted about that clan. And not just any stories, stories of them rigging matches. They would do countdowns, kill those not belonging to their clan (sometimes actively blocking those in their team to help that along), and then shoot each other down to very little health before killing each other off – thus gaining the maximum amount of damage possible in a battle. And those reports didn’t come from just anyone, but from members I know and respect from other clans and other forumers. And if they already noticed that plentiful, imagine how many of the regular noobs must have witnessed it. With that, ClanTurk quickly lost all respect and credibility they had. I get that they want to win, of course they do, so do we, but why not go about that in a fair manner and just try your hardest, like every other clan?

At some point, I was a witness to it too. I don’t remember who I was platooning with at the time. We were playing tier X, because you can do the most damage there, and we met two platoons of ClanTurk, both tier VIII. And the dynamic of the battle was off. The enemy platoon seemed to know exactly where we were, where we were looking and everything. And likewise, our ClanTurk platoon also moved with expert precision. It made them overconfident though, and they died about midway through the battle. Straight after, the dynamic of the battle became normal again. It’s nothing that can be proven in any way, but it was there all the same.

The numbers showed we had fairly quickly overtaken the Legion and that basically the race for gold was to be run between ClanTurk and Phoenix. We avoided any sort of countdowns, and went for each other’s throats the moment we came across each other, to avoid any rumours whatsoever regarding the rigging of matches. This didn’t stop Emma (now called Bunchie16 btw, he changed his name) from happening, but still, we were very cautious with that.

During the second week of the competition, I could play more. Despite not being allowed to take off any time in December, I managed to get my colleagues to agree to give me two afternoons off, and I played every evening as much as I was able. I started to noob in platoons, so I went solo instead. I lost more games that way, and my winrate went down a full 0.24% during this contest, but I did a heck lot more damage. And that’s basically all I focused on. Damage.

In the clan, we had taken to calling it Dimi-Damage, because as much as we did it for the clan and to get a badge in the game, we also did it for Dimi. The one person I did toon up with a lot was Filip. Together, we had only very few bad games, and we usually got 7k or 8k damage per match between us, so we did really good together. We spend a lot of time together during this contest, a lot more than we’ve been able to the last couple of months, so that was really nice. And to be honest, as happy as I am that frigging contest is over, I do miss that.

But as the contest continued, I got a little obsessed over it. Well, not a little. I got a lot obsessed over it. I didn’t understand the people that wouldn’t play tier VIII, IX, or X to get top damage, but played tier V instead. Even if you do a lot of matches there, you need a lot more of them to get the same damage you’d be able to get in the higher tiers. And in the meantime, ClanTurk was doing more damage than we did, which made it especially frustrating.

And while we talked about clan effort on the forum, I let slip that if we got second place now, it’d feel like losing gold instead of winning silver. Which ticked Dimi off. And I can’t fault him for that. It’s not very Phoenix of me to think that way, as he pointed out, and he didn’t like me disregarding all the effort we’ve made by thinking that way. I know I’m not the only one that felt that way, and I know it’s also partly a Dutch mentality. We’ve never been good at enjoying second place. But Dimi had a point, and as usual when he says something like that, I start to re-evaluate. Myself, my actions, the works.

And with doing that, I came to realise that whether we get first or second place doesn’t matter that much, for the most part. The amount of messages I got during the second week of the competition, especially the last weekend, from people from other clans, telling me they’re rooting for us to win was countless. And I wasn’t the only one getting them. With ClanTurk cheating, in the eyes of the community, we were the winner to begin with. It was a lovely realisation, and it made me appreciate the things we managed to do a lot more. The clan pulled together for this competition, together with our recruits, and with Sparta. The amount of damage we’ve been able to do is insane. And it’s something to admire.

By the start of the second week, just about every big clan had their own way of keeping track of the data needed to see who was winning. By the looks of it, Valiant had overtaken the Legion, and were now pretty solid in third position. Loca, who I had thought would be a serious threat, wasn’t even anywhere near the top 5, and it remains to be seen if they even managed to stay top 10. And we couldn’t be -that- far behind ClanTurk. However, with members being switched around, the data was heavily contaminated, and the numbers really couldn’t be trusted anymore.

Oddly enough, this made me feel more relaxed about it. Without being able to look at the numbers, the only thing to do was to just play as much as I can and try my hardest to deal maximum Dimi-Damage. The last weekend of the competition, I had absolutely no life. I slept a total of 14 hours in three nights, and aside from tanking and taking a little break for food here and there, I did nothing else. I even skipped going to my grandma in order to play. And when 10pm came around that Sunday, I was so entirely done. I was tooning with Filip at the time, and we did a few rounds of Kenny to wind down, just to relax.

In the end, I played nearly a thousand games during the contest period. That’s about the same amount in two weeks that I usually do in three months or so. I did a crapload of Dimi-Damage. That last effort that last weekend made me feel better, about my own efforts at least. And I think that one of the reasons I also felt frustrated about possibly not winning, was the fact that I wasn’t able to give it my all myself. But with that last weekend, I know I couldn’t have done anything more than I did, so that made me feel better about both the competition and about my own role in it.

But that’s not where the story ends. We still don’t have the results for the EU. Why? Because in the end, Wargaming decided to finally take the reports seriously and is officially investigating whether or not clans have cheated in the contest. This means a lot of battles and data had to be looked at though, and they had help from the Russian staff to help them with that. Hopefully, they will be able to find proof of the cheating in the data, but we don’t know what they’ll be able to find and if it will be enough. We’re getting the official results tomorrow.

At the moment, we’re in a Schrödinger’s cat situation. We’re neither first, or second. But in the end, whatever they announce tomorrow, we win. We played fairly, we did a heck lot, way more than we thought possible, we gave it our all, and in the eyes of the community, we’re already the winners. Sten has his cake, Filip has his tank. We’ve put ourselves out there, and proved that even without a clan filled with unicorns, you can definitely fart rainbows.

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