Good day everybody,
This will be another sort of ‘state of the community’ piece for World of Tanks Console, specifically regarding the latest update, 3.9, and the justifications behind the differences between the different platforms World of Tanks is supported on. Most of this is opinion, as always, but opinion based on observation and several interactions with WG staff over the past couple of days
With World of Tanks Console Editions latest update WarGaming Chicago-Baltimore finally introduced a long awaited (3 years) feature to the game: National Crew Voices. After years of teasing and reasons that they couldn’t be implemented we would finally be able to have our German and Russian crews stop sounding like an American action movie hero:
As long as you pay for it.
What was a free Audio Option check box on PC has now been monetized behind the general Crew Customization interface. At the time of this writing those options are fairly limited as well: as Czech voices are non-existent, and several nations options have their “customized” voices switch back to the player’s native language even after they have spent the Customization Voucher to change it, and some would argue that since players have received various amounts of free vouchers that this is ok, though with the amount of bugs, or missing options, it’s possible these were put in to allow a ‘test’ on the live server without players putting in money for them.
And frankly, those that are available and work don’t sound any better than what is available on PC, or in some cases horribly muffled.
Under different circumstances this may have been something that we could shrug our shoulders over and continue playing. However this is the latest in a long trend of trying to get every penny out of a dwindling playerbase. From charging extra gold on premium tanks for camouflage the player might not want, and can’t change (and flat out lying about when ‘standard’ options will be available), to bringing in a fourth camouflage pattern without adjusting pricing in any way (and which largely consists of repeated patterns with slight color changes, or copy/pasted across several nations). In short, console players have already been paying more for fewer options for several years now.
So how exactly does does this customization interface work? It’s essentially the same process as tank customization, and where you can alter the Commander portrait (for PC players, we don’t have a full crew), name, and voice (which can go beyond the default or national voice). All of this for 250 gold (or 100,000 silver during the promotion). PC players might find it funny that we have to pay 250 gold for what is essentially ONE crew member when the same price can allow you to customize five crew members, portraits and names. While players have received 10 vouchers (with an additional 10 for year played) this isn’t really much consolation for players who have been playing the longest and have amassed huge amounts of tanks and crews, and when those vouchers can easily be wasted on non-functioning voice changes and later corrections (one voucher covers each time you exit and save a change, so if you are to make an error in a name change, you will have to spend a new voucher to correct it).
Hopefully in the future the ridiculous cost can be mitigated with them being as rewards for operations, though WG admits they have no clue how this would really be implemented at the moment.
But none of this really addresses the key issue: Why was a free Audio Option on PC changed to monetized customization on Console?
Frankly I have no answer. Despite repeated requests in relevant forum threads and through PMs to the relevant WG staff I have yet to receive any answers beyond “it was an intentional design choice” and “it’s more versatile than PC’s option” as the only justification for monetizing what is essentially a free option on PC.
Many players have tried to justify this by saying WarGaming needs the money. Though as some have pointed out, if that was the case then why would they give out high tier premiums for nearly a year straight, with operations so easy that most players can accomplish them? Seems that if they were really strapped for cash they wouldn’t be so eager to practically give away one of their key money-makers. In addition to that and as I have already mentioned, we already pay more for customization than our PC counterparts (and in some cases pay more to NOT be able to customize). With WG hinting at further customization options in the future (such as tarps and bed rolls, “wiggly bits” as WG Chicago has dubbed them) there will be further sources of income in terms of actual customization in the future.
Some have argued that it may be a case of the console platform makers (Sony and Microsoft) imposing the monetization on all “customization” options. I honestly wanted to believe this and enquired about it several times to the available channels. The only response I received was
Your question has already been answered a couple of times. If you have a question about something else, feel free to ask.”
The answer I had received previously was the aforementioned “intentional design choice”, and even after further enquiry specifically asking about Sony or Microsoft involvement I have received no further answers.
So where exactly does that leave WoT Console? It’s hard to say. When the developers put a long requested feature behind a paywall, and after years of charging more money for fewer options than our PC counterparts, it truly does come off as greed on WarGaming Chicago’s part. If there is some other motive or reason other than that behind the decision, they aren’t bringing it up as of the time of this writing, instead preferring to let their most staunch supporters defend the decision behind suppositions, or vague allusions.
If anything new comes out in that regard, I’ll be quick to update, as I really had been hoping that this was the result of some factor beyond WG Chicago’s control, and even stalling writing in the hope that something would come up. For the time being though, it’ll appear as blatant disrespect to long time players, and those aware of how other WarGaming titles operate. After a year of questionable balance decisions, price hikes for “cool” looking premiums, and the moves towards pay-to-win premium tanks (and not even those brought over from PC), in addition to month long sound engine bugs and some unresolved log-in issues for PS4 players, it seems there is very little to get excited about as WarGaming continues to put profit over player relations and crafting a good and functioning title.
As always, I’m eager to hear your opinions regarding the matter, through polls and the comments sections, and regardless of platform you play on, as the decisions of one dev team inform those for others. What do you guys think? Should WG (Console specifically) be more transparent about their decision making? And was the move to monetize a free feature on PC a good one?
And one for the PC players: