Good day everyone,
Massive Q&A from various members of the development team and WG NA staff. A few questions not related to the game or otherwise superfluous have been taken out, but for those interested in the original Reddit threads, you can see Part 1 here:
CM = CabbageMechanic, TL = TragicLoss, Domo = DomoSapien, MHM = MeatHeadMilitia, AB = Andrey Biletsky, RB = RatBat, TC = The Chieftan
What do you wish players could understand about game development?
CM: Probably a typical answer, but I think it’s impossible to truly understand the scope and complexity of software development until you try to do it/support it being done professionally with a deadline. On more specific topics, I think a lot of players in all games, myself included, mistakenly view problems that crop up in areas like Balance and Matchmaking as simple in nature and solution. From the design side, having to project how the implications of a change will affect the entire ecosystem of the game is incredibly complicated, and that’s before you even get down to building the technical solution. I now have a lot of respect for game developers working on these problems in any game.
Ratbat: Not specific to WG but with all folks who have ever worked in dev (including me) is that we would love nothing more than to share how the sausage is made. Anyone who has ever worked in design cannot do their job properly without feedback. Development is a process and often times we enter a very “dark” place where a great idea enters a very scary place where things are broken and not working. At these junctures you either abandon the work or push through because you believe in the vision. This is usually the make-or-break part of the dev process and it usually takes someone who has weathered multiple moments of disillusionment to survive it.
TL: For any consistent update game that is played (PUBG, Overwatch, WoW, and Hearthstone) the game evolves constantly. Game development is never swaths of changes in terms of adjustments to playable characteristics (i.e. hero changes) – nothing is definitive in how it will affect the overall game play, whether negative or positive. Some changes only create short time spans of imbalance due to the saturation of this mechanic in the environment, these eventually balance out over time.
Every time there is a Question and Answer on any of the servers, the complaints come out that questions were ‘dodged’ or that WG is refusing to answer. Can you explain why there might be difficulties in answering some questions?
CM: In the immortal words of Bted quoting Kenny Rogers – “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away.” I will try to offer a decent answer for any question I am asked (even when it gets me in trouble), but I think questions that get “dodged” generally have to do with controversial and sensitive subjects, or long term possibilities that have no immediate path to implementation. In these cases, people either legitimately don’t have an answer because the path forward has not been decided yet, or they cannot share what they do know because the path is not solid enough to walk on – too many things could change at that point to share any information publicly.
What is the relationship between WGNA and the development team like?
CM: Many other NA team members and myself have just returned from a workshop in Minsk. We are building relationships and channels of communication between HQ and the new team and so far I think successfully. In addition, both HQ and NA regionally have taken steps over the last several months to improve the quality and frequency of feedback reporting, I have never felt better about NA players having their voices heard by the development team.
Do you sometimes wish there was an in-house developer who still worked with the main developers, but could by virtue of position, provide a unique NA perspective?
CM: We are fortunate to have Paul Barnett as a Game Director now offering a Western voice and perspective to the development process. He is English, but I won’t hold that against him. He definitely understands the NA player perspective quite well.
What’s on your personal wish list of tanks to be added to the game?
CM: Like many NA players, I would like to see a tech tree M60 variant, a Sheridan with the non-boxy rear end, and cool later era vehicles with recoiless rifles like the M50 Ontos.
Ratbat: I was the producer on WOT Blitz. You don’t want me to answer this question. (-cough- DRACULA -cough-)
Are you truly happy with the game as it is right now?
CM: I try to view complacency as a mortal enemy, so I’m never really truly happy with anything. That said, I think right now World of Tanks is a great game with some significant flaws, but I do believe that we are making the proper course corrections to recognize and address them.
TL: I am a large proponent of evolving with games. Personally, I’m pretty satisfied overall with the game in the current state, but I understand the pain points and frustrations. I’ve seen changes made over the last 5 years of the game and generally being on the dev side of things I am excited to see what’s to come of the future of Tanks.
How well do you enjoy the Foch B compared to the other Tier 10 TD’s?
TL: I think it’s an interesting TD. I don’t see it much anymore, but it can for sure pack a 1 (or 6) hit KO on a lot of tanks. It’s a great assassin as well as a fantastic death-blow tank. It’s a bit limited by the Wall-e coupola on the left side, but in general is decently armored and mobile outside of that.
Domo: Well I can tell you I do much better in the Foch B than the Foch 155. Having basically the same gun as the AMX 50B with six shots gives you the potential to occasionally burn down an enemy tank’s entire health bar. It can be pretty situational due to the limited gun traverse and awkward hitbox but play it smart and you can get some pretty devastating results.
Some of us think that your parent company – Wargaming – does not care about the game or the player base. What is your opinion on this?
CM: I understand many of the common frustrations with the game and shared some of them as a player, but I believe the product team truly cares about the game and its long-term future in NA; I would not have moved to Texas if I felt otherwise.
Ratbat: First off we are Wargaming. I don’t like to create distinctions between regional and HQ because what ultimately unites all of us are the games we work on. Now, our job is to make sure the NA voice is heard and that our feedback is part of the larger dataset that the teams working on our games have to consider. We’re working on more efficient and effective ways to share this feedback to the devs.
Is WG working on anything to help renew the NA servers?
CM: Specifically right now on the Community end – getting the return of Tournaments to a place where we are happy, revitalizing the Community Contributor program, and trying to create spaces for people to learn about and discuss all the complexities of the game without too much background noise. Generally and longer term, anything, everything, and we’re taking suggestions.
Ratbat: This is pretty much the core mission of the team. I’m personally coming at this as an outsider given I have the least amount of battles on tanks compared to the rest of the team. I have a lot of “why” questions that I’m noting on the way to my first 1000 battles. Like why do we do this or that, things that folks who have thousands and thousands of battles may be overlooking. The success of any game is its ability to attract new players, keep the current ones engaged, and bring back those who have stopped playing. Each one requires a different set of strategies. We work with the dev team on long term features to address all three but we will also come up with things on the publishing side with the tools we can bring to bear and I want to community to be part of this. I want to see if there’s something the NA team can partner with the community on and build from the ground up. I had the pleasure of doing this with the Blitz community where we tried to support the player-driven clan wars initiative. There were folks who built web tools, we got them information from the dev team, we supported the event with prizing and promotion through our channels. If you’ve got fun stuff you’d like to partner up with us on let us know and we’ll see if we can make it happen together.
For those that live in/near the Austin area and want to apply to work for WGNA, how do we do so?
CM: You can find any job listings we have currently at https://wargaming.com/en/careers/
Do you lock horns with the main office regarding their public relations skills?
CM: In this area I would say that we as a global company are working to improve our processes communally and are taking the appropriate steps to do so.
After all the shuffle of the move from California to Texas, what has been the most rewarding part of your new position, CabbageMechanic, and what has been the most difficult part that you have had to deal with?
CM: The most rewarding part is always the players who recognize me in game and have something nice to say, the most difficult part is getting arty focused by the ones who recognize me on the other team. In all seriousness though, I am fortunate to work with a great group of folks in Gnomon, Domosapien, KRZYBoop, 1984BigBrother, TragicLoss, Jambijon, and our Social Media team, and the most rewarding part is watching and helping the newer staff members grow in skillset and confidence.
Can you provide for us numbers (in percents) of premium rounds shot at each tier? If this is not possible, can you explain why?
CM: We do not have current numbers, but I believe we could file a request for that information. I’d have to see about getting something like that done, but for an immediate answer the ability to purchase Premium Ammunition for Gold was removed with the ultimate goal of making it possible to change – so this is a feature that is already under a lot of internal scrutiny.
NOTE: I (Private_Public) have officially put in a request with WGNA to do what they need to do in order to get these numbers if there is any way to get them.
Instead of the usual tank sales for Canada Day, we were given the British Sherman. Is there any way to get the Grizzly (Canadian Sherman) in this game for Canadians?
CM: The Firefly was issued to Canadian units (and some were built from Grizzlys in Canada), but I certainly understand the Canadian desire to get a real Grizzly in the game. I think we have a standing ask on that, but not everyone is as excited about more Sherman variants as the NA server. TL;DR: Yes it can happen, but I can’t confirm if or when it will at this time (but we will make your case).
How is it possible to get the ISU-130?
CM: The ISU-130 on NA is (currently) reserved for players who have made a spectacular contribution to the community or otherwise deserve something extraordinary. I am only personally aware of two (though I think there are more) – Lert, who wrote several truly excellent guides in the good ol’ days, and another long time community member who through no fault of his own, but at least two hurricanes worth, was unable to attend a Let’s Battle Tour event last year despite paying for trips in advance. This could change in the future, and we will definitely keep an eye out for deserving candidates.
Is there a possibility that we can get Frontline as a permanent game mode with rotating tiers every month or few weeks?
CM: The exact future of Frontline is not determined, but I can say with confidence that the Development Team fully appreciates how well-received the mode was (especially on NA), and that it will return with better optimization (initially most likely as a rotating mode).
Once Soccer mode came out, Sheriff accounts were broken – when trying to find a battle, they could not join a battle. Will Sheriff accounts get fixed? Also, will we have more Sheriff accounts on the server for the kill-a-Sheriff mission for 250g?
CM: Yes, yes, and yes. Once we have confirmed they are fixed we will move forward with plans to rebuild the program and have regular or semi-regular periods where Sheriff accounts are playing at specific times and tiers to be hunted by players. Right now we are aiming to do such an event over the 20th WG Anniversary in August.
When will we see WG League again?
CM: At this moment it seems unlikely that E-Sports will return in its previous form in the foreseeable future. That said, we are trying to explore new opportunities for endgame competitive play via tournaments and cross-regional play like the recent FAME vs. MAHOU showmatch.
Are there any plans by WGNA to help re-invigorate the clan scene?
1984BB: Yes, the first thing we (WOTNA) did was FAME vs MAHOU and we are currently planning a “Clan Playoff” after Season 9 and more fun stuff to come.
Are there any plans to bring back low-mid tier clan content to help smaller clans?
1984BB: Yes, I don’t have anything to announce yet, but we are looking at ways to give smaller/more casual clans more things to do and benefit from.
Domo: Jambijon and I are also working to start running more monthly Clan Tournaments that will be segmented by clan rating to give small clans a better shot at winning and participating in endgame content.
What are the current plans on pref-MM mechanics and vehicles?
CM: The article on this should be published by the time these answers go out, but in short: We heard you (the Community) loud and clear, we apologize for the previous announcement. Preferential Matchmaking is not going anywhere for now. Starting with the KV-5, it is likely the under-performing Pref MM vehicles will receive buffs, but not to the same level as what was previously planned.
Is the KV-5 rebalance still going through?
CM: See Pref MM answer above, but basically it won’t lose Pref MM, but it also likely won’t be buffed to the same level as previously proposed.
Are there any plans to modify the matchmaking at all ?
CM: Yes, Matchmaker development is ongoing. No details or timeline at this time because nothing is solidified yet – but the Tier 8 experience is a priority.
Is WG planning on anything to help fix map ping spamming?
CM: We are issuing sanctions for this so please submit replays in a ticket if you come across it and would like us to take action. As far as a feature solution, not in the immediate future.
Can we expect anything special for Black Friday this year?
CM: It’s a bit far away for details, but I’m confident that we’ll have something going.
Could you lend the community any insight on what the future holds for TankRewards.com?
CM: We’ve run into more technical hurdles than we initially thought we would, but we are still actively working to bring Tank Rewards back.
Will there be a return of Scavenger Hunt contests like we had in the past?
CM: It’s a cool idea, if we find the right opportunity I think so.
Will we get more marathons for premiums like the Progetto 46?
Why does the dog not bark anymore on the Rudy?
CM: This is the question to lead with if you want to start a fight in the WG CS department. This is something of an infamous piece of World of Tanks lore, and one that our previous WoT Support Specialist Saffr0n spent a lot of time trying to unravel. Every time a patch comes out Support gets flooded with tickets saying the dog barking is broken, this always occurs in the period before most major modpacks update, and as best as we can determine the dog has never barked outside of the garage without mods. To this day many players will swear that it did work for Sixth Sense without mods once upon a time but was broken at some point. Maybe our devs can answer this question once and for all, but I have yet to see definitive proof that the barking for Sixth Sense occurred without a modded client at any point, even though it is a commonly held belief (even among WG employees). If you have such proof, send it!
How does one go about becoming a Community Contributor? As a followup, do you have an updated list of NA CC’s?
TL: Generally, we are always on the prowl for hard working content creators on all platforms (YouTube, Twitch, and Forums etc.). We don’t have a formal application process, but we do check up on many active Creators. If you support a creator, I highly recommend supporting them in any way you can visibility wise. The streamers that we currently work with are SOFILEIN, Trobsmonkey, AirG, JunkersHiryu, OminousFyxen, Mountain_Man, and Goshism. I believe CM can expand on that list in terms of all the CCs we currently have.
CM: The CC program is currently invite only, but there are some great creators who are not currently part of the program that we are looking to add in the near future (and some others who may take a little longer). I am personally extremely invested in vetting our additions, and what I am looking for is regular content of a high quality that is constructive for our players and our community. As far as current CC’s, OverlordPrime, Unknown0ne, and XanderP in addition to Tragic’s list.
MHM: When it comes to content creators, I look for these things, but not all are required. Do they explain things in a way I can understand them? (I’m an idiot) Do they cover topics that range across all skill levels? How do they treat their community? Do they have fun doing what they are doing? I personally love constructive critism, so I look for folks who know how to channel their dislike for something and turn it into a conversation. I also personally like jumping into people’s streams or watching videos of people who don’t have a huge following, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not there yet. We’re always looking.
Will there be updates or changes to how map rotation is handled, so that we do not see the same maps or similar style maps over and over in a row?
CM: This issue was brought up at the TankFest Contributor Q&A and I do think it has been recognized and will be considered as part of some longer-term updates to Matchmaker. In the short term, this issue should be improved by the inclusion of more HD Maps, of which several more will be arriving before the end of the year.
The game is popular among veterans, so can tanks that they served on be added such as the M60A1, M60A2, and a proper Sheridan model?
CM: I read this after my earlier comment in Part 1 about what vehicles I want to see in the game, but suffice to say I want them as well. I think the long-term outlook is good on this front.
TC: I don’t see how M60A2 would really fit. A 152mm derp on a medium at Tier X?
Is there any chance that there are more US tanks in the pipeline?
CM: Yes. More if the Chieftain and I can help it.
RB: The research team in Austin put together a solid list of premium US TD candidates for consideration. The suggestions range from tanks that should feel at home in WOT to some that are definitely unique. The list has been handed off to the team in Minsk and we’ll be following up to get an idea of what’s possible.
MHM: Man, I hope so. I need a new American anything. I believe it’s my most owned line haha
TC: I am advocating…
Will we be getting larger maps in the future, and as a followup, will current small-sized maps be MM limited so high tiers do not see them?
CM: Both of these things are possible and being discussed, I think in the short term the focus is on increasing the amount of HD maps available and fixing the serious issues present in some of the ones that are out.
Are there currently any plans to remove player names and/or clan tags while in match/the loading screen? As a followup, are there any plans to ban XVM from showing personal stats while in match?
CM: Not at this time.
MHM: I wish. Personally I’m not a fan of the way stats are or can be displayed in game. I’m there with you on this one. But as CM said, not at this time.
Do you know when we will be getting the Chieftan Tank?
CM: Sadly, no.
MHM: Though Console has it, the stats of the vehicle were drastically reduced. I personally wouldn’t want the tank put into PC as nerfed as it was, but at the same time, it is most certainly OP for the tanks in the game.
TC: I, too, would like to know this.
What are the plans for the Caernarvon Action X? Will it be part of the 2nd set of Campaign missions, or will it be sold as a premium tank?
CM: It will not be part of the 2nd set of Campaign Missions, it will be a Premium Tank, more details to come.
When will we get British Light Tanks to tier 10?
CM: No information at this time.
MHM: Powered by tea and pudding? I would love this as well. Even though I’m absolutely bollocks in lights. I need more to play.
When will we see more premium arty?
CM: No information at this time.
MHM: If someone gave me a Tier 8 US Premium SPG I would be over the moon and I don’t even have the SPG line for America…yet…I do have 6 Million Free XP to kill. But I digress.
TC: I want the 105mm HMC T88. We even had a 3D model of it, once…. Who knows?
Does WG plan to release more French Tanks in the future such as from this link: http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/580987-suggestions-new-french-tanks-to-add/ ?
CM: No information at this time, but I appreciate the effort and there are some cool vehicles in that post.
What are the plans for the Grille 15 in the future?
CM: Balance is a never-ending process and vehicle performance is always being looked at, but at this time there are no immediate plans to make changes to the Grille 15 that I am aware of.
Will we see a shift towards selling things like preset camo and other visual-only premium content, and as a followup, would such sales possibly allow premium tank prices to go down?
CM: I can’t speak to the long-term pricing structure or monetization model, but I think the team does see cosmetic items and customization as an exciting opportunity to put some really cool content into the game that we have just begun to really explore.
Are we getting a new personal campaign season before 2019? If so, do you know when?
CM: Yes, the new campaigns will launch with Patch 1.1 coming in the near future.
Are there any plans to change Template preferences from 3/5/7 to another preference?
CM: Changes to the template preferences are possible as part of the ongoing work on the Matchmaker, we will have more details on what that entails closer to their release.
Is it possible that people who are mass muted by the players in in-game chat will become auto-muted in random games by the auto-moderator?
CM: It’s an interesting idea, we are always looking at improved ways to deal with toxicity.
MHM: I like the idea, powered by the community, but an idea like that leaves the door wide open for griefing issues. Especially if 100 people clans decide they don’t like one player for whatever reason. It’s a tough nut to crack, but I like the idea.
If WG’s main office is correct and pref MM tanks are causing issues with MM, then why are they still being put on sale?
CM: I think we are responsible for this perception given the related article, but to clear the air – at no point did the development team think that Preferred Matchmaking vehicles were the singular issue causing discontent with Matchmaking. The primary motivator for addressing this issue was because of a perceived problem with the Pref. MM Tier VIII’s, in which they saw Tier IX matches at a higher rate than before the new Matchmaker rules. As for selling them, I think you make a reasonable point and will share it with the team.
RB: Just to add to the discussion around pref MM. Once the original announcement went live all regions gathered and shared what was very much unanimous feedback; pref MM was a key feature of these tanks. The team explored what else they could do if this feature would remain but we couldn’t share that we were keeping pref MM until we had some additional info on what else is being considered.
What is being done to help make Tier 8 less painful and more enjoyable to play again?
CM: The Tier 8 experience is a primary point of concern for the upcoming MM changes, but I do not have any details at this time.
Is the dev team working on or at least aware of the incorrect rock/terrain hitboxes introduced with the 1.0 map remodels?
CM: Yes, please keep reporting bugs and sending in replays but the team is aware of issues on some of the released 1.0 maps both technically and structurally and is working on them.
What was the thinking by WG that lead to them giving SPG’s the Stun mechanic?
CM: I think this was laid out pretty well in the articles around 9.18 ( https://worldoftanks.com/en/news/general-news/918-spg-revision/ ), but tl;dr: Alpha striking artillery wasn’t very fun to play against and the Stun mechanic is seen as a way to move SPGs into more of a fire support role (more area control/debuffs in exchange for damage).
During Frontline Mode, team damage was removed. Are there plans to remove team damage in the future in regular matches?
CM: It’s a topic that comes up, especially surrounding how to deal with people who do damage intentionally. There are several views on this subject, but for the time being I don’t believe there are any plans to remove it from Random Battles.
RB: My controversial take on this. WOT needs a permanent “fun” mode where there is no team damage. Lower risk would mean lower reward.
Will the bug where you get hit but there is no sound be fixed?
CM: It should be fixed in the upcoming 1.1 Patch.
What is the status of the crew skills overhaul?
CM: Crew overhaul is still happening, no details or timeline to share at this time. It will be a larger change than just re-working some skills.
Is there any chance we get the “@” functionality added to the forums?
RB: Forum development is handled by a different team within WG so we don’t have as much visibility on their roadmap. Is or are there particular use-cases for the @ function you’re looking for?
Is WGNA aware of the issues that a portion of the playerbase is having with Level3, and is there any way for WGNA to apply pressure on Level3 to fix the issues?
CM: Reach out to me at email@example.com and I will follow up with our team on the issue.
Will NA get access to Supertest by having Supertesters again?
CM: Not in the immediate future, but it is a goal of mine.
Why is it that several accounts – whose only function is to bash WG and WoT who often lie or play loose with the truth and constantly violate the rule about posting to create trouble – have not been banned yet?
CM: We don’t administrate the subreddit, if you are speaking about the forums, PM KRZYBoop with the results of your investigation.
Is it possible to get a clearer breakdown on how XP is figured out?
RB: I’ll see what we can get from the team and hopefully have an answer when we share it with the rest of the DEV questions. If there’s something specific you’d like more clarity on that could help focus the question unless you are looking more ar general calculations.
What is WG doing to make fun game modes for player who prefer to play solo?
CM: I hope that you find one or any of Frontlines, Ranked Mode, and the return of 1v1 tournaments fun, if you have something else in mind we would be happy to take your feedback.
RB: By solo do you mean PvE or is it solo player with AI? I wasn’t part of the team when last year’s Halloween mode was launched but that came about through a partnership with Certain Affinity. A frequent request is Chaffee Races and we reiterated that with the team in Minsk.
For those of you on the ‘away team’, what is that like? What are some of the challenges?
MHM: Working on the away team is new to me. You need to stay motivated and self driven, more than normal…and try not to eat all the snacks in the house. For one, putting on pants in the morning is up in the air, unless I’m streaming that day, then I put on pants for the sake of not making everyone throw up. Challenges are simple, it’s quiet, too quiet. Even playing light background music while you’re working doesn’t help that there aren’t people running around, making copies, getting coffee, throwing ideas at each other, stopping by a desk to say hello, etc.
TC: The trick is knowing when to turn off the computer, stop working, and go back to the family. When you’re in an office, if you look up and you see the place is deserted, it’s a good giveaway your time is up. Very easy to overrun when working remotely. The other challenge is that this is a small family house with little room, so I work in what is basically an unheated, uninsulated, un-air-conditioned shed.
Catch all Question for General Comments on 1.0
CM: We have a lot of questions on these topics that are interrelated and require a more complex answer. We hear player commentary on 1.0 and one of the common criticisms is that we focused on making the game prettier at the expense of the underlying game. I can appreciate this perspective, but upgrading the rendering was an essential task from a technical standpoint due to evolving hardware and software concerns. If you must upgrade the renderer, you might as well do it right and make sure the majority of your audience can enjoy it. I am incredibly proud of how good looking the final product the team delivered is (shell tracers and water physics especially for me personally), and while there is still some work being done I think 1.0 is a great step forward.
Catch all Question for General Comments on Map Content
CM: There is a belief among some members of the community that maps were “removed” as a part of the switch to 1.0. While we all want more cool map content and the return of some old favorites, transitioning the maps to the new renderer is not a simple cut and paste job. The new maps must be rebuilt from the ground up and that adds a considerable amount of labor. Our map team is still hard at work at delivering new map content (including some coming in the very near future), rebuilding pre-1.0 maps to the new standard, and reworking the new iterations of some of the 1.0 release maps that need it. We hear you – more (and better) maps on the way.
Catch all Question for General Comments on the alleged death of the NA Server
CM: Another thing we see is something along the lines of “soon the NA server will be shut down and merged with EU.” While there is no doubt NA is a smaller region, and that our population is not as large as it was, reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. The World of Tanks team is committed to the long term future of the game, releases like 1.0 and Frontlines are just the first steps. We look forward to sharing it with you in the years to come.
RB: I wouldn’t have relocated to Texas and joined the WOT team if I didn’t think I could make a positive contribution. WOT has a challenge called “”product market fit”” and NA is the land of consoles and FPS. Is the solution to turn WOT into Fortnite? Hell No! As the new guy on WOT i’m working to better understand our current playerbase and see where our opportunities are for retention and growth. I’ve got some ideas that are more longer-term in nature but i’m betting it will work out, not similar numbers to EU and RU but numbers that are appropriate for this game based on the NA gamer.
What is the reason only console WoT (Console) gets special single player modes? Is there a plan for these modes to come to PC?
AB: Yes, there are. We started experiments with cooperative PVE the last year with the newcomer’s Bootcamp and Halloween special event, and we are planning some more PVE-oriented activities soon. Ultimately, our goal is to build a technical base for WOT PC, like high performance server side systemic AI solution, and prove it before taking further steps into a permanent single player or cooperative experiences.
Can spectator mode be added for Strongholds and Clan Wars so that clan mates can watch and learn?
AB: A few months ago we tested elements of a new spectator solution during our Frontline event. Once done, we will consider this application. For me this idea sounds worth trying.
How exactly is it decided by WG that a tank is overperforming or underperforming? Why is it that it can seem to take a year or more to make this determination whenever the player base is calling for action sooner?
AB: We try to make our decisions based on hard data, rather than on feelings. I mean, that it seems very easy to judge a vehicle from a subjective point of view. But, it easily can become a rushed, wrong judgement. Once a new vehicle is added, it’s quickly adopted by the most active, and often the most skilled of our players. Plus, others have a very limited knowledge on how to combat this new enemy – what are its weaknesses, where to shoot and so on. So, for the first several months any statistics related to it are distorted because of who is playing it, and how people play against it. After a while, usually in about half a year give or take, stats stabilize and we can separate the human factor from vehicle power to draw any conclusion on how the vehicle actually performs.
Would it be possible to bring all chat back with Alive/Dead players kept in separate channels?
AB: For now, we are not planning to do anything with cross-team chat.
With regards to the maps, will there be any effort put forward into making maps more ‘fluid’ for matches?
A.B: Not sure what this question is about. Match fluidity is a combination of multiple factors, including the layout, tier the match is being played, the combination of vehicles in both teams and their exact composition, its breakdown, players’ personalities, individual tactical preferences and multiple other factors. Maps that are designed to reduce the variety of these factors are generally unpopular, and sooner or later are called off for the redesign. Unfortunately, not every design, or redesign, is equally successful.
Would it be possible for us to get more detailed feedback from the validation team at WGMods, as well as an understanding of how exactly they test the mods we upload?
Anton B.:Yes, they do. There are two stages of testing. 1. Every new mod of new version of existing mods do not become available for download instantly after uploaded. First it’s premoderated by a special team (currently it is volunteers who are good with mods and have a lot of experience working with them) – they run basic smoke tests and make sure there’s no inappropriate content in the mod. As soon as the mod is checked, it becomes available to players. 2. (Optional step) Upon achieving a certain number of downloads, a mod undergoes more thorough stability and performance testing by our QA team. If any issues arise, it’s sent back to its creator for improvement. There’s a hidden feature in the backend to mark some of the mods as ‘trusted’. These mods will skip the usual testing procedure and become available instantly. We use this feature for our official mods and super-trusted mod makers whose mods are checked by our QA team prior to WoT updates anyway.
Are Devs looking at RNG and possible changes to it?
AB: There are multiple RNG elements in the game. Generally, when players speak about RNG, they mean damage and penetration distribution. These rules are in the game to represent armor and shell quality variance and other variables too complex to calculate in real time. For example, many cast turrets had varied armor thickness due to their complex shape, and even hundreds of armor groups won’t reflect it with any grade of accuracy. So instead we use randomization to emulate the influence of such factors on an individual shot, and we are quite happy with how these two work. However there is one RNG element we are looking into right now. It is a random function governing how shots are spread within the reticle. I can’t share any specific info on what are we planning yet, but we aim on making it more predictable and better reflecting what a particular gun is good (or bad) at.
What about +1/-1? Wouldn’t that be an easy solution to Matchmaker?
AB: Henry Louis Mencken once said, that for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong 🙂 Speaking seriously, the current MM supports two-tier battles and we have no indication people are enjoying them more than three-tier ones. The issues with MM we are facing now (for example, with preferential MM vehicles or with adding extra strict matching by roles) are related to its code architecture and to the servers’ cores utilization, not with the principal matchmaking rules. After receiving really strong community feedback on our approach to preferential vehicles changes, we are now looking into rebuilding matchmaker’s core. Once done, it will naturally lead us to reviewing every MM rule once again to ensure none of the decisions for a new architecture are dictated by the old tech requirements. I promise we will take another look into +X/-X rule as well.
Why has there been a focus on map changes that seem to discourage ranged play?
AB: We don’t have such focus. Some of our new maps, like Glacier or upcoming Studzianki offer plenty of long-range gameplay. Also, I’ve heard complains that we have too much bush sniping in our game, y’know… 😉
Will there be updates or changes to how map rotation is handled, so that we do not see the same maps or similar style maps over and over in a row?
AB: Last year, we modified map pulling rules to lower the chance for each player to see the same map twice in a row or just too often, and based on players feedback and our data we have succeeded – with current maps selection the chances to play the same map twice in set of 7 matches are less than 1%. However, that solution does not cover “styles” of maps it pulls. First off, there are people who want style variety, and there are people who don’t, and by satisfying one group we’ll alienate the other; so leaving it to RNG looks like overall better idea. Then, the way servers handle arenas require us to maintain a certain quantity of maps for variance pulling to work. Thus to support style-based pulling in addition to the current one we will need LOTS of maps, many times more we have now.
When will we get British Light Tanks to tier 10?
A.B: Unfortunately, not this year. We are about to start discussing the production plans for 2019 and I definitely will bring this question to the table.
Do you know when we will be getting the Chieftain Tank?
A.B: That depends on what Chieftain you do mean. Right now we are considering adding a Chieftain and US T95 hybrid, known as Chieftain/T95 – the product of standardization and parts interchangeability projects initiated by the UK, United States and Canada in 1957 – 1959 when both the Chieftain and T95 were still in development; but it is unlikely we will add the Chieftain Mk I any time soon.
Will we see a shift towards selling things like preset camo and other visual-only premium content, and as a follow up, would such sales possibly allow premium tank prices to go down?
A.B: Over the last Christmas, we offered the first out of four planned Visual Customization updates, one more is in production right now and we plan to have it live really soon. So, we indeed wish to offer to you guys better decorations for your favorite vehicles. At the moment, I can’t foresee how it will impact the pricing of the other premium options. Mainly we aim to have lots of customization pieces becoming achievements based rewards.
Was the account roaming idea completely scrapped? And if so, are other options considered to facilitate playing with friends from other servers?
A.B: It wasn’t completely scrapped, but as it affects very few of our players, we decided not to look into it this year in favor of other features. I’m sorry about that.
When it comes to in-game physics, are there any current plans to revisit physics to deal with some of the weird behavior regarding rocks, buildings, and how tanks flip?
A.B: Yes, both for particular vehicles physics tweaking and map objects collision shapes changes. Still, I want to stress that it is often a question of compromise as often tweaks that are addressing one weird behavior are also creating a new issue, or few issues, due to the almost endless amount of various situations a player can find himself at. So, sometimes we just have to stop when it is “good enough” not to make it worse.
Will an easier method of righting a flipped vehicle come to the game to replace simply pushing the allied tank?
A.B: To the best of my knowledge, no.
Is it possible to change rocks back to the way they used to be pre 1.0?
A.B: If you mean glitches with some objects collision, than yes and we are constantly working on it; I’m really sorry it is taking longer than we all wish for. If you mean changing the rocks models back to what they were before (or re-making them with new engine so they will match vertice-to-vertice of the old models), then I’m afraid my answer is no.
Are there any more regular branches in the works for existing nations? It feels like we’ve been too spoiled lately with new nations and premiums.
A.B: Yes, but I won’t spoil.
What is the current status of armored cars, alternate hulls, multiple guns/turrets, and server roaming? I’m not looking for an ETA or anything, but I’m curious if these ideas are just shelved for time being or if they’ve been cancelled entirely.
A.B: Tricky one, but I’ll try to answer without too many leaks. We do not have any plans for now to introduce alternate hulls, and we are not working on server roaming at the moment. We are seriously considering at least one tank with two guns, namely ST-II, but we are not completely happy with multi-turret tests we made during the last Halloween event, and will not release anything unless we have a better controls for several weapons (in essence, two fully synchronized turrets are very similar to two guns on one turret, at least from input / controls perspective).
What are the developers’ opinions on recoilless rifles, high-tier autocannons, and low-caliber (50-75mm or so) smoothbore guns?
A.B: These things do not fit into current World of Tanks paradigm. But who knows what the future holds? 😉
Is there any intent on doing a balance sweep back through old tanks that haven’t been updated since patch 9, give or take? And, to help provide insight to the development balancing, what is the team’s cadence on reviewing performance and balance on tanks? If you can speak to it, what is your +/- % performance gap (10%, 15%, etc.)?
A.B: Yes, we are working on the rebalancing of mid and low-tiers right now. This is huge task as we are talking about making changes for up to several hundred vehicles in total. So we are starting with one nation only, to verify our design logic first. As for balancing cadence, we have a special team that is in charge of keeping everything in check, and they are working on it full time. Every change we are making, every new vehicle we are shipping is causing ripples through the whole ecosystem, changing over time what people are playing and how, what they are leveling and so on, so you can’t control it just with periodic checks.
There are automated tools that are running all the time and signaling when something is starting to get too far away from where it was intended to be. We also have a few predictive tools (not precise, to be honest), as well as all kinds of dashboards for periodic manual reviews. The main challenge for us is to withstand the pressure from our regions (sorry guys!) for as long as it is needed to collect enough good data to isolate human factors from vehicle power in the battle statistics. 😉
As for the performance gap, it is somewhat more complicated than a simple number. Making it really simple, if one would imagine that a “”balanced”” vehicle played by a perfectly average player should be at 49% of wins and 2% of draws, than a gap in performance we are fine with would be around +/- 3%. But this is too synthetic to actually use for balancing.
What are the plans to help moderate in-game toxicity, and are there plans to help moderate it more heavily?
CM: We have implemented a monitored system that detects and punishes players who use inappropriate language (obscenity, hate speech etc.), and we still ban players regularly who are reported via the in-game reporting system. I understand that using the in-game report system is unsatisfying, and that is something that should be improved, but it really does work. The threshold to punish someone has to be set at a level where it is difficult to use maliciously, but each report stacks and if the behavior continues they will see escalating chat bans. If you have an extraordinary example of toxicity (threats etc.), please submit a ticket.
Why continue to revamp old maps over and over instead of make new maps? Why does it take so long to produce a new map? Why do new maps seem so low in priority for development?
TL: There are actually several new maps currently in development right now. Originally, reworking all of the old maps into 1.0 was a pretty huge priority over trying to test and balance completely new maps as this would have taken longer. Once completing the old maps currently being converted to HD, we hope to be reintroducing removed maps (cross your fingers for Dragon Ridge) and new maps should appear as time goes.
Is there any indication from WG if they are leaning towards keeping arty or removing arty?
CM: There are no plans to remove SPGs.
Is there any consideration to remove Stun Mechanics from SPG’s?
CM: Not that I am aware of.
Can we have more legionnaires in Tier 8 Strongholds similar to the EU server?
CM: Yes. (I believe this has been done as of now, thanks for bringing it up).
Would there be consideration for a 7/5/3 MM variant to allow you to be top tier more often than current 3/5/7?
CM: It’s an interesting idea, seems like it would be an exponentially worse experience for the bottom 8.
Will MM be changed away from +2/-2?
CM: It’s not in any immediate plans.
Last year, gold was ‘flowing freely’. This year, that has dried up and been replaced by bonds, boosters, and premium time. Why has this changed?
TL: In general we are trying to bring back different ways of earning different kinds of rewards overall. IE bringing back things like TankRewards.com and Tournaments should help revive some Gold income for folks.
Are there any plans to merge Gold, Free XP, or both with World of Warships for a true ‘Unified Account’?
CM: No information at this time.
Will we be able to purchase tanks for bonds in the future (outside of Clan Wars)?
CM: No information at this time.
Will the SU-85i or the SU76i ever be on sale again?
CM: Possible, but no plans at this time.
Why was information release day about weekend events/missions/etc. moved from Thursday to Friday? Is it possible to have it on Thursday again?
CM: Generally this will be covered ahead of time in the monthly previews on the news portal.
Are there any plans for more ‘side’ events like Soccer, Chaffee Races, etc.? When can we expect them?
CM: Yes I think so, but unfortunately no timelines to share. I will say that I hear about Chaffee Races more than anything else and I want them as well, so keep showing your support on that front 🙂
Are there any plans to introduce tiers beyond Tier 10 (for more modern tanks)?
CM: No information at this time.
Is there any news on a potential ammo rework?
CM: None yet – it’s in the cards though.
TL: To bring it back to QnA pt 1 just for spreading awareness sake, the removal of premium ammo purchasing via GOLD was done to ease the viability of reworking them in the future.
When will we get a crew retraining special again?
CM: This has come up a few times recently, hope you took advantage of it last weekend!
TL: We just ran one! This was suggested a few weeks ago and we had one in for you guys!