The Direction of WoT Console & the State of the Community

Good day everyone,

As most of you know by now, I’m primarily a Console player (or peasant, I have a good sense of humor about it) and have done what I can to post the latest goings on with the Console side of the WoT community, though circumstance has led to that coverage mostly being me regurgitating the game’s update news, with some brief opinions added in. I believe this may have lead to a bit of a skewed perception of both the console game and community. Very little of the console community’s voice reaches through here, as we’re not only much smaller than PC, but even fewer of them read a blog famous for covering PC.

I’m hoping I can change that by giving some insight into the console community, hopefully balancing some of WG Chicago-Baltimore’s “marketing”. Not only that, but I also hope gather the opinions of not only console players, but also our comrades from PC. Now note, this is largely an opinion piece, and that is the opinion of a player of three years (from the second day after launch on the Xbox 360) and enough battles to seriously threaten my Vitamin D intake. So with that, let’s get started.

While there had always been some disagreements about the direction of the game, and its content, it was in June 2016 that we really began to see WG take a new direction with the console game with the Motherland earnable tank event. It was pretty simple, grind a certain amount of XP in Soviet tanks and you earned a T-54 mod.1 with a permanent camo scheme (and not a terrible one at that). It was quite well received, though criticised somewhat for being a bit too easy, easily allowing inexperienced players access to high tier battles they’d have no chance of doing well in. Other than that though, it was seen as a nice gesture. Then it was repeated in July with the AMX CDC. Then in August with a clone of the tech tree Tiger 1. Then in September with the “Centennial”, a reskinned T95/Chieftain. October saw three tech tree reskins with premium versions of the T71, O-I, and Panther, as well as a reskinned KV-5.

Before I start getting repetitive, every premium tank introduced on console (barring the CDC, and T-54 Mod.1 that went on sale in November) has been a reskin of an existing PC or tech tree tank (even that “Captured” German KV-1 ended up just being a tech tree KV-1 with a 57mm and some Balkenkreuz). WG’s response to the playerbase growing tired of these events during a developer livestream amounted to “Well, you don’t have to earn a FREE tank” (something I’ll return to in a bit).

These tensions reached a bit of a head last week with the Defenders of the Fatherland Operation. Another earn op, but this time XP and damage requirements had been replaced by what amounted to a lottery: Do 500 damage in a Soviet tank, and you earn a dice roll that will give you anything from 1,000-2,000 silver, Crew XP, or a ‘’Fatherland Medal”, five of those medals would grant you the tank.

The Console community has still not fully settled from this one. Player skill and commitment was tossed aside, instead allowing RNG to decide who got a prize. Some got the tank in 30 battles, some played hundreds without even seeing one medal. It didn’t take long for players to express frustration, as they saw their effort go unrewarded while gameplay dissolved into players yoloing (more than usual) to quickly cycle through battles, and thus more dice rolls.

WG Console’s Creative Director, TJ Wagner, posted a response to this. The whole thread can be viewed here, but I’ll be quoting a few bits:

“I’m sure it is not lost on all of you why we’re giving away tanks.  The main purpose is to attract people to the game and give them reasons to play more often.  The more a player plays the game the more likely they are to learn, master and enjoy it.  Free to play games depend on having lots of players playing all the time (especially with the WoTC matchmaker).

So just a few important goals for this Tank Earn Op this time around:
-Achievable to all players regardless of skill (without allowing AFK’rs to earn it) which is why we picked a really low damage amount to be dealt
-Short duration, no Stages
-Accessible to all players, even if they don’t read news, forums, portal, social posts or the Ops tab
-Get a lot of players playing, even if for “just one more” when they have time…”

“How can we improve on that?
Charge nothing to participate and win, that’s right you don’t pay to play the Op, heck you don’t even pay for the game!!!…”

“If it’s not your thing, that’s cool, lots of other things going on during the promotion.  Lots of Soviet Tanks to kill if that’s your thing.  Please keep in mind random is random for each time you complete the Op…”

“It’s a game after all, play, win, lose, have fun, repeat.  Most of all it’s free and giving away free things today (through Tuesday) and celebrating a really cool holiday where men and women defended that which they held most dear.”

(I do suggest looking through the thread if you have the time.)

There are quite a few questions that reading that brings to the long time WoT Console player. For starters, why would you rely on the same type of event for nearly 7 consecutive months if the point is to bring players in? What happened to Tech Tree Focus events (what PC calls Top of the Tree), or even the ×3 XP events?

Why overstate what else is going on for the rest of the player base? Despite the claim that there would be other things going on during the event for those opting out of the Op, there’s nothing else going on (unless a discount on Soviet tech tree tanks counts).

Why hand out high tier premiums to everyone regardless of skill or even paying attention to what’s going on in-game? That may come off as a bit “elitist”, but I’m sure those familiar with PC’s Premium rental events can understand the frustration, and even barring that, why reward such behavior? Was the point of the op not to “encourage players to learn, master, and enjoy the game”? Would better tutorials or rewards for playing well not accomplish that?

What I really wish to draw attention to though, is the emphasis on “free”. This isn’t the first time it’s been used to defend an earn op (as I pointed out earlier) and I’m not particularly sure if WG got this from their own staunch defenders or vice versa, but it raises a very important question:

Is “free” a valid defence from criticism?

It’s probably a question that could be covered in a whole other article, but I’d still love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments.

Nonetheless, it seems to be WG Chicago-Baltimore’s new mantra, as I look at the news tab to see yet another earn op for another set of reskinned tanks. Granted a slight improvement in that they’re at least inspired by existing historical camo patterns, but why not just offer the regular version? Perhaps to take advantage of the console base’s overall ignorance of the PC version? So they could charge full price for the same content twice (as happened with the T-54 Mod.1 and the FV201, which was previously locked behind a black reskin and a $150 bundle on Black Friday, which you can read about here).

WG has even stretched the truth (or blatantly lied) about this practice one of their brief monthly Q&As:

The current trend with Premium releases is introducing a reskinned variant with permacamo. Some of these look good (Tiger 131) while others are gaudy (Legion 59/Patton). Will this trend continue?

Hey! We think the Legion looks awesome! Plus, we release non-camo versions of tanks like these so players have a choice*.

* 4-5 months after the fact is a very odd way to offer players a choice.

Now none of this would be much concern if such events and content was interspersed with regular content (that doesn’t come with a price tag) and balance updates. That’s not really the case though. The introduction of the Czech line saw its fourth camo category, console’s “urban” category, being exactly the same as the Soviets. Not even a fictional work, as the artist were likely too busy working on premiums to notice. Balance updates can sometimes be spaced out by as much as 6 months, and tech trees have been the same ones we’ve seen on PC. We’re so dependant on PC content in fact that our devs couldn’t even remove the ability to flip the player’s tank when we received the 9.15 physics update, despite our devs quite vocally hating the idea, instead tacking on a righting mechanic that instantly rights the tank. No animation, and regardless of whether it’s taking damage, just instantly pops back up.

So as PC begins slowing down their content, what will console do? Will they finally tap into player suggested content, such as tech tree add ons (as I’m sure exists in the PC community as well) or premium tanks never before seen in any version of WoT? Or are they going to continue the trend of painting existing tanks and charging full price (Tiger Hammer, Tiger 131, Captured KV-1 etc.) or digging up tanks long buried in PCs game files for the sole purpose of showing how much “better” we are than other versions (a blatant example being the Chieftain Mk.6).

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot I and many others still enjoy about the game, and I’d love nothing more than to see it succeed and expand. However the recent trends from the development staff has myself and many others concerned about the direction the game is taking, and whether that is the right direction in as unforgiving a market as Console, with a myriad of triple-A titles chipping away at an already small player base (there are about 17,500 players online across all Xbox servers as I type this).

And more importantly, can the criticism for slapping a new coat of paint on something that already existed just be waved away by a simple “Hey, its free”?

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The Direction of WoT Console & the State of the Community

31 thoughts on “The Direction of WoT Console & the State of the Community

  1. banjoman150 says:

    Maybe WG realised that console population has reached its peak and is behind their original expectations and if what you say is correct and that the population is actually getting smaller over time i wouldnt be at all surprised if they decided to milk their remaining customers to death and then drop the game

  2. Frustrated tanker says:

    As a super tester for the console version I can say I’m not always happy with the stupid things we are made to test or the developments we see. I want the tanks to stay flipped, I want them to THINK before changing control schemes about everyone not just those who say they can’t play because they click the hand brake, then us who liked that scheme just being told to change and F off basically. I don’t mind the actually NEW tanks being special (Skoda, fatherland, Motherland, Centenial) but I don’t really care for the existing takes getting a new paint job. I love being a super tester, I understand some of the ways balancing happens (they look at the stats of the tanks and see if they are over or under performing, apperently Deathstar was under performing that’s why it got a buff) but at the same time I don’t understand the ways they thing with the community and even with the things we say.

    1. I was a supertester as well.. I was in the 1st group WAYYY back and it was stupid back then. They didnt listen to suggestions.. had us testing stupid stuff.. we wasted hours on hours doing pointless crap. WG constantly says that they are gamers who play the game they make ect ect.. they must be some dim gamers if thats true.

  3. disconnected says:

    They tested the waters with the Black Friday tanks, they sold many bundles. They continue. Maybe they are trying to get as much money as possible before announcing that WoT console will drop. I just hope they offer you guys a way to transfer your garages on PC. Knowing WG how they do their shady business, I highly doubt it.

  4. cosmic carrie says:

    yup. don’t wanna sound like one of those but yes, interest is dwindling. E3 is being released as a premium, I should be excited, but I’m not, not buying it and oh yeah…I haven’t even played for 4-5 days now

  5. I think wot console it’s stucked with all the repainted tanks. Both Pc and Console should look to their little brother BLITZ, it brings 2 or 3 events per year with new brand tanks even fictional tanks(Dracula, Hellsing, 0-47 just for mention some), yeah hated by some people but at the end is new content which bring diversity and gives a new flavor to the game with every event, they don’t fill BLITZ with 3 or 4 color verions of the same tank, as Blitz is also played on mobile, app size is always taking in consideration so they just bring the content that is relevant and in case we want a new look for our favorite tank they also release seasonal legendary camouflages, Blitz has taken the best from hes predecessors and improved it, has taken risks keeping the app fresh with new content that personally I love.

  6. I think wot console it’s stucked with all the repainted tanks. Both Pc and Console should look to their little brother BLITZ, it brings 2 or 3 events per year with brand new tanks, even fictional tanks(Dracula, Hellsing, 0-47 just for mention some), yeah hated by some people but at the end is new content which bring diversity and gives the game a new flavor with every event, they don’t fill BLITZ with 3 or 4 color versions of the same tank, as Blitz is also played on mobile, app size is always taking in consideration so they just bring the content that is relevant and in case we want a new look to our favorite tanks they also release seasonal legendary camouflages, Blitz has taken the best from hes predecessors and improved it, has taken risks with good results, keeping the app fresh with new content that personally I love.

  7. I can’t really disagree with most of what you’ve said, though I can point out a couple of things:
    1. You do make the tank flipping sound more silly than it actually is, remember there is a 10second timer before you self right, quite enough time for an enemy to get a shot into you (though yes the lack of animation is amusing).
    2. Also, a minor point – but all of the Urban camos are WG fiction lol, the only real one is a Brit one and it’s not even correct.
    3. Don’t forget the Sokda T40 only being available in flag tank form, and not being on the tech tree (but then the CDC isn’t yet either).
    4. Also don’t forget Pain’s refusal to nerf or remove the Waffle, despite the fact that the 4202 and Aufpanther both got removed from the trees (and then re-sold for real money, though at least owners got it free which was good). It must be his favourite pub stomping tank.

      1. Also if you hadn’t notice there’s only one summer camo for the Czechs. One! I can find more Czech (and modern Czech/Slovakian) camo with a wikipedia search lol.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ops like this make me not play the game when they’re on they’re that bad, and what they do to the game play is shocking.

    PAIN has said that personal missions are a no go because the player base doesn’t like long OP’s, but as usual he doesn’t understand the player base. What the player base doesn’t like are the time limited OP’s, personal missions are open ended so you can do them as quick as you want. They’d just have to make the missions gameplay friendly, it may even improve the game play.

  9. Anonymous says:

    They need to give more tech trees in order to keep the game going u must create more tanks to unlock that’s what it boils down to I don’t play as much because the tanks I’ve wanted I own but I’m not gonna go and unlock tanks to styles witch I don’t enjoy .

  10. Avv. says:

    You are under the impression WG Chicago is allowed to introduce original tanks. Last time I checked the AMX chafee is the only exception which is a copy-paste of 2 tanks

  11. When the devs say things like “we have to do these types of ops to bring new players into the game” it makes me want to line them all up and smack them in the head with a baseball bat. How about making the current game BETTER so the LOYAL players who have been around a long time STOP LEAVING ?? It’s like a company who loses money in a quarter then to make up for it they get the bring idea “well to stop losing money we have to raise prices” then the outcome of that is LESS people come because the prices went up, so they lose MORE money.. then the bright idiots say the same thing.. “well we lost money so I guess we have to charge more to make up for it” and yet again.. they drive away more loyal customers. It is a stupid cycle that big company’s to all over the world and WG is not smart enough to realize that if it kept its LOYAL playerbase happy we would STAY and SPEND more money. No they are always thinking “how many more suckers can we draw in and get to spend money” all the while at the expense of the quality players who eventually wont come back. It is plum dumb.

  12. Ruthless4u says:

    I feel the constant free tank ops are a sign of desperation to maintain console population. If AW actually manages to get on PS4 then that’s 2 direct competitors wargaming faces on one of its console platforms.

    Despite what the die hards say, I think wargaming console is hurting.

  13. RAD FROOD 25 says:

    Of all the Free Premium tanks that have been available, I’ve only bothered with the Boilermaker, only because it looks the best by a long way, and out of all the tanks to come to the console version from the PC, there is only a couple that I’d like to have, The AMX 13 57 and the Sentinel AC4 Experimental. I don’t mind the hero tanks with the flags as camo. I think 2 earnable free tanks a year is a better way to go, just don’t make them all tier bloody 8s. Obviously the Devs don’t listen to the players but which company that makes games does?

  14. Hi DecoNoir, beautiful article, not a console player but it’s good to catch up with how they are doing for better or worse. Looks like whatever statistics wargaming console is getting back is positive or at least the investment into gambling on a change is outweighed by the current income. The concept of printing out tier 8 premium reskins is certainly a distasteful idea for any platform.

    I do have a terrifying hypothesis as to what wargaming’s intent might be in moving the player base to tier 8. First off, higher tiers do push players to learn and increase the skill average. Not every premium tank is for every player. But mostly, tier 10 and 9 players need a lot, and I do mean a lot of lower tiers to kill down at tier 8 so that playing top tier tanks feels rewarding and happens frequently enough that being murdered by an elite player or going too long without a fun carry game can go amiss. This is a bit of a crazy idea and I’d hate to give wargaming credit for planning ahead but it might be the darker turn of things. Wargaming has repeatedly said and shown in testing that tier 10 is the endgame/final product of world of tanks and their main focus especially for long term/paying players.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Great read! Personally I started as a console peasant too, and played it during the first months of its release. However I made the switch to PC and haven’t looked back since. Although I do miss the graphics, sounds, and now weather and maps of the console. I sure hope the WoT devs of both console and PC put more effort and attention to their games even though they have a monopoly over the niche market (in PC at least). I still have hope

  16. ODST_Conway says:

    I think it would be a good idea and also this will make a huge step in the WoT format and make people rethink their moves on the battle field. Instead of rushing in take a slower more careful approach towards the enemy.

  17. Blakehawk54 says:

    Way too much crying about this event on console. I thought it was a pretty good op. Of course I wanted the free tank and it was a little bit frustrating that it took 145 games to get 5 medals when others were able to earn it a lot sooner.

    I guess I just tried to look at the big picture in the fact that it allowed me to buy 3 tech tree tanks at a 20% discount. Train 3 separate crews at a much higher rate and allowed me to wrap up a couple grinds.

    The loot drops outside of the 1000 and 2000 silver were actually pretty nice. So what if a few hundred inexperienced players received the tank without “skill”. In the end if it brings more people to the game and encourages people to play I am all for it.

  18. Cookaburra says:

    As a supertester myself, im disapointed sometimes too.
    The fact that we are often not listened to when we make suggestions is just so damned frustrating.
    Also, when secret things are added, like the black tanks which the testers didnt even see, really sucks.
    The testers would have told them it was a bad idea. But im pretty sure that wouldhave fallen on deaf ears too.

    I am concerned about the direction the game is going too, the lack of population on the servers is disapointing, and the severe lack of skill at high tiers is sickening. (Not a super skilled player myself, but i get by).
    Im tired if seeing top tier russian heavies camping base and ridge.
    Tired of seeing teams just sitting in the open and getting reamed.

    On the point of personal missions, i would love to see that introduced into the game, it would probably bring a lot of the guys who have left back into the game.
    And whats wrong with following pc’s direction anyway?
    It seems to work, players seem to be happy, more players joining, so why the hell not?

    On the balance issues, deathstar, E3 need severely hit with the nerf bat.
    Id like to see lights actually able to play their role without being outspotted by almost every other class.
    And arty, especially the 53/55 needs reworking.
    The arty changes being tested on pc seem like a good way to go, although there will be naysayers about that too.

    On the whole, i think deco is right, has pretty much hit the nail on the head.
    I wonder if WGA read these blogs?
    They might get a better idea of how the playerbase is thinking/feeling.
    Anyway, just my thoughts.

  19. wolvenworks says:

    i dinnae bout you, but i’ve always thought that WoT Console only exists so that WG can milk all those Xbox money as hard as them COD games. so far, i’m still roughly correct, a least

  20. Greyweasel says:

    Very nice article, being a 3+ year peasant it pretty much sums it up to the staff’s desperation & blatant deniability that they follow the PC’s progress, choosing instead to rely upon the excuse that ‘we’re a different game’ to maintain a poor state of balance, and lack of desire to change anything. I get that good things have come out of the game being a branch off but to me a sense of complacency to experiment with old issues is traceable, all because that would rock the profitability of shoving paywall bundles into the store at every opportunity.

    And they just can’t help themselves, even with Tiger 131 they stuck a perk on it to bump up the gold count.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Way too much crying in this article.

    Pain is right man: You don’t have to buy free tanks. You don’t even have to earn them. Just continue playing the game as if the ops weren’t there if you do not like them. And WGy does release nomal premium tanks versions later (as seen with the FV 201/A45 and others). It’s not a problem if these normal versions are released 4 months later. There are several hundred tanks in the game to choose from. You shouldn’t get bored.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Great wright up on console.
    The constant earn-a-tanks and redskin sales are getting stale and turning some long time players off.

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