Wargaming CEO accepts blame, vows renewed focus on World of Tanks by Polygon

Main Article by Polygon’s Charlie Hall, link to the article is here

Wargaming’s chief executive office, Victor Kislyi, was in a mood to spill his guts last week. During an interview with Polygon in San Francisco, he was candid about his recent mistakes and vowed a renewed focus on his company’s flagship title, World of Tanks.

“We were a little arrogant, let’s say, three years ago,” Kislyi told Polygon. “We were thinking we know everything that our players need without talking intensively to them ourselves. It turned into — I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but we hit the wall at some point.”

That wall had a name: Rubicon. The update was delivered nearly two years ago, but the ill will from players, especially from WoT’s rabid Russian fanbase, still haunts the game. It was so poorly received, Wargaming couldn’t simply roll it back.

“We are always open to criticism,” Kislyi said. “What we did in this case, it was [my decision]. I literally reshuffled the whole World of Tanks team. Developer and publisher. Before that it was extremely Belarusian-centric team, which was headquartered in Minsk. They didn’t even speak very good English. What we realized is that probably there are some limitations that old team had, so I brought in new people.”

Today, Kislyi said, the core WoT team is more international than it has ever been before, including an American at the top of the organization. That, he said, has made them more able to respond to the needs of their community, more adaptable and better able to listen.

“This took years for us as a company to come to this understanding of this necessity [of this change], and to make it,” Kislyi said.

How does Kislyi know it’s working? Of course, he said, people are playing more. But anecdotally, the community seems more friendly.

“I play every day under my real name,” Kislyi said, “So, this is my temperature check. I play for one hour and I get 20 messages from people. They used to be swearing and complaining. Two years ago. One year ago. Now, they’re mostly thank yous.”

That reorganization, and the change in philosophy that came with it, has paid dividends for other development teams at Wargaming. Properties like World of Warplanes and World of Warships, long the neglected children of the Wargaming family, are being given new freedom to plot their own course.

When Warships launched in 2015 the game got lots of good buzz, including here at Polygon. Our preview called is one of the best free-to-play games we’d ever played. But the community did not stick around to support it after launch. Player retention trailed off, Kislyi said, after six months to a year.

Kislyi blames himself, and his top-down creative demands on the game.

“I was pushing all those teams to literally copy World of Tanks,” Kislyi said. “That was wrong.”

Kislyi said he’s now letting individual teams dictate how their games evolve, and letting each of them engage with their communities on their own to find a path forward.

“What are they going to be making there? I don’t know,” Kislyi said. “That’s for them to decide.”

For Wargaming, 2017 is all about shoring up its keystone franchise, World of Tanks. The plan, Kislyi said, is to completely rebuild the entire graphics engine. The final overhaul is loosely scheduled for August of this year.

“We realize that World of Tanks can last forever,” Kislyi said. “But we have to prepare for a very long winter. The winter is coming, and it will not go away. That’s a good problem to have. So the approach should be that we’re making the game to be built like the pyramids, for centuries or millennia.”

Liked it? Take a second to support Mizutayio on Patreon!
Wargaming CEO accepts blame, vows renewed focus on World of Tanks by Polygon

57 thoughts on “Wargaming CEO accepts blame, vows renewed focus on World of Tanks by Polygon

    1. skivster says:

      Hur dur change hur dur mea culpa
      Meanwhile neutering the bulldog and fucking up with the artillery.
      Oh yea, im SO gonna thank him

      1. A Dude says:

        Nerfing an overpowered tank and attampting to rebalance a broken class? That’s quite a good thing in my books. Especially considering these changes not even fix yet.

    1. A Dude says:

      Have you seen the latest trailer about the new HD maps? I can tell if we only get a fragment of what this video showed us it’s going to get awesome. Historical battles failed anyway, there even national battles were a better approach. And have you taken a look at how they want to improve the matchmaker? They finally don’t promise us things that are way too good and complex (like HAVOK physics) to be true anymore, no, they rather promise us things that actually are sensible and very well doable.

      1. The planned MM is a joke. They seem to think that the problems are either too many heavies, etc on one team or too many top tier. I don’t know how many matches I have been in that MM was fairly even tank make up and tiering wise and yet the match ends with a 15-1, 15-2, etc win/loss. Why is that? Because you have MM quite often throwing more players with less than say 2k battles, players that haven’t learned the basics after 5k battles, or multiple unicorns that are not in a platoon on a team.

        Adding tiering of players to MM based on their personal rating, stats, or something substantial will allow for more competitive matches.

      2. Rawen says:

        As Seth Hill says I also think that the MM’s biggest flaw is the players. With more then 20K battle behind me i can tell that he is right we need a personal rating based player tiers it helps the unicorns to have more balanced and challenging matches (and lower blood pressure because they got matched up with a team composed autistic potatoes who die under 4 minute) And for the majority bald players (because admit it most wot players are either bot or not knowing witch end of the tank is shooting I see a huge amount of nearly incompetent player 🙁 ) can have a more fun game where the hole team ar not going to be decimated by a purple platoon.

  1. Mhh very wired considering the last changes and updates have brought up more problems than they solved. Balance department seems to be doing a worse job than ever before, while quality control seems to be totally cancelled (all the bugs in 9.17.1). Sandbox continuously tested things ppl called terrible (dmg fall of, change of shell distribution and so on).
    Not sure reality really corresponds to his description of what its supposed to be.

    1. Liam says:

      What bugs? I haven’t experienced any issues. Lag is great, games runs solid. I don’t see how so many ppl can have all these issues. I obviously your hardware or software setup. Check your drivers. Stop jumping to conclusions that it’s WG. 99.9% of the time it’s on your end.

      1. Surely that’s the reason WG themselves created a forum news thread admitting the patch was full of bugs… But I guess WG is just fake news in this case, right?

    2. "Light" tank-player says:

      I have had no bugs at all in 9.17.1, it is probably something on your end.

      Sandbox is there specifically to test things out and see how they work, so if they are bad they don’t get put into the game, they saw those pen and accuracy things were bad, and so they will not put them in.

      I don’t get why you complain about them testing it (and rejecting it) as opposed to just putting bad features into the game like they almost did with Rubicon.

      1. "Light" tank-player says:

        My comment above was in reply to “justsaying” ‘s first comment, just to clarify.

  2. Sgarv says:

    The new graphic changes look pretty up to date, the serious effort to do something about MM (we’ll see how that goes). Ill give WG credit for trying. Now stop the pay to win with the Prems please.

    1. jeffrey6046 says:

      yeah and arty changes look promising too only problems i still have that i dont see them working on as i would like is ballance

      type 5 heavy was overbuffed
      maus was overbuffed
      patriot is op
      liberte is op
      252u is op

      just to name the most recent ballancing disasters

      1. Liam says:

        Adapt to the changes. Those top heavies are easy to kill. Stop driving infront of them, lol. Do your homework. They are slow AF!

      2. Infernal969 says:

        I think you are the slow one here.
        The new premiums are completely broken and even if you know how to deal with them, the rest of your team most likely does not and you are left alone against most of the enemy team. Tier 8 is fucking unplayable.

      3. I can handle T26E5 (Lowerplate weakspt)and Amx M4 mel 49 (big commander hatch) even frontal with a tier 7 tank. Only the 252U is broken somtimes, its hard to tell the eff. armor in the battle from each angle.

        To Type 5 and Maus, its totally ok for slow top tier Heavys to have very robust armor even against heat shells to the front. If you playing agile tanks get like Meds, get their side or rear.

        For me, all is balanced except of the 252U.

      4. A Dude says:

        Fools. You all play your pew pew small caliber mediums, yet pen every T10 heavy tank right through the front, if that doesn’t work, you use gold, but now since you can’t do that as easily anymore and have to play the way mediums are SUPPOSED to be played, by flanking/circling/sniping/OR ACTUALLY USING YOUR MOBILITY AS AN ADVANTAGE, you cry that heavy tanks get “OVERBUFFED”.

        But yet you probably were the first ones who yelled “WHAT’S THIS FUCKING WORLD OF MEDIUM TANKS OR WHAT” when you sat in your heavy tanks and got taken apart by pew pew mediums. You goddamn hypocrites.

        The only thing I could agree with is the 252U being OP.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why the hell is he saying hes getting thank yous now? Wot was a lot better 2 years ago? from then till now they have been taking steps backwards

    -The Emils are stupid
    -The WT line was stupid. Still annoying
    -252U spews Ru bias
    -amx m49 and m26E5 are stupidly armored
    -type 5 with a arty gun
    – a maus at tier 8,9
    -fps issues are getting more and more of a problem
    -Foch155 was just disregarded and is sufferingly underpowered
    -Not to mention the no longer trans-team chats

    This is just the tip of the iceberg

  4. SkaerKrow says:

    The game has a long way to go before it will have any shot at recapturing the attention of the people who gave it a go over the past couple of years, realized that it was terrible, and moved on. The amount of work that WoT needs basically means that it will be an entirely different game by the time that they’re finished.

    1. marianr87 says:

      It already is an entirely different game from the one I started with in 2012 so there is a precedent for them doing the right things for the most part. 🙂

    2. A Dude says:

      Your opinion on this would actually be taken serious if you, I don’t know, provided arguments as to why you think this game needs a lot of change. Why not care to enlighten us? What concrete changes do you have in mind?

  5. Infernal969 says:

    Yeah, the game went full pay2win. Such great changes, comrades. Pour yourself one for job well done, the game is unplayable for anyone with half a brain.

    1. SpottableSky says:

      That’s because this game isn’t for and to be played by idiots. Anyone whining about p2w is a crybaby that his mommy wouldn’t buy him a premium tank. Gold can be aquired through tourneys which can be used to buy mostly every thing premium in the game. And PREMIUM ammo can be purchased with in game earned credits (i hate firing it myself personally) grow the fuck up

      1. Infernal969 says:

        I like the stronk projection here.
        Maybe you are fine with asking your parents for a new OP premium every Christmas and to buy you premium account instead of giving you pocket money, but putting so much cash or time into one game could be summed up with one word: idiocy.
        Also, broken balance and game mechanics can’t be fixed with goldspam, but I doubt a braindead WG shill could understand that.

      2. PlayR says:

        This game IS designed for idiots like you. Matchmaking and maybe randomization is tailored for useless retarded kids to keep them in game and spend money and not to get wrecked in first 2 minutes of their pathetic camping.

  6. They’re in the right direction, yes. But they are waaay too slow in some things (NEW MAPS/CHANGES WHERE), and balancing changes are debatable. At least they actually listen now.

    (Not sure about premium being OP. They’re good, yeah, but Defender for example is just a typical blind Soviet HT with bad gun handling + actually pretty slow. It’s just both noob friendly and unforgiving to noobs in the enemy side, but otherwise is pretty easy to counter)

  7. wolvenworks says:

    i’d thank him for being quite frank about the Rubicon Disaster (again), but WoT could really use some refreshers…like removing gold shells. seriously ppl seem to only load that whenever i bring armor. what’s the point of armor then, in that case?

      1. Infernal969 says:

        Yeah, it would be impossible. Before premium ammo was available for credits we all just played with stocks Leichttraktors.
        Here’s an idea – remove gold ammo and make the stock guns not terrible? Crazy, I know.

      2. i support 2 idea for a solution, remove gold ammo complety or gold ammo only deals 2/3 dmg of your base shell dmg. For example, If you have 400 alpha gun and you load a gold shell, then the alpha dropped to 265.

      3. wolvenworks says:

        i mean, i’m grinding tanks without gold shells, and i’m just slightly above average. the trick is to stay off tier 8 and above outside prems and module grinding, and not play like a total fucking wanker.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Really like what they are trying to do with the map graphics updates and MM changes. I agree newer premiums have lost the old philosophy of being “inferior” to the regular counterparts, but honestly most of the changes I see are good. I am still a bit hesitant about arty changes, although I hate the occasional “1 shot” cripples, death and the multi-arty games. After trying the sandbox I feel like the consistent annoyance of more accurate and stun-effect more pesty than what they are right now.

  9. Klausewitz says:

    the game itself is not too bad….ok grafik is too old….AW and WT are much better….
    the badest thing is their p2w-ballistic …. AW and WT are not much
    better at that point.

  10. Klausewitz says:

    i never use goldammo, but omv-modpack shows me that about 1/3 of my shots had left my barrel with goldammo

  11. Dontspill McGinnis says:

    They have made mistakes along the line, sure. For example, they still haven’t made all of my tanks totally impervious to enemy tanks..
    They have shown, however, that they are listening to the player base, and I personally like that they aren’t rushing changes in some knee jerk reaction to complaints but are testing first to make sure they work (and are discarding ones that don’t.)
    Credit where credit is due.
    Even the perennial whiners (you know who you are) have to admit that things do look to be moving in the right direction.
    Oh, and the premium tanks? Sure, they are all OP until you get used to them, then you just deal with them, like you do with any tank.
    Gold Spam? I don’t see it all that much, but I don’t drive heavy armour all that much. When i do see gold spam it tends to be from “better” players no doubt trying to improve their WN8 ratings to meet their clan requirements, or from extremely low pen guns at their tier. Certainly not from tomatoes.
    I don’t begrudge War Gaming an opportunity to make money. If they don’t, World of Tanks ceases to exist, THEN what would you complain about?

    1. Jonny Texas says:

      “They have shown, however, that they are listening to the player base…” Dafuq game do you play? How long have people been asking for arty changes? How long have people been asking for a fix to fail platoons? How long have people been asking for more maps?

      “Sure, they are all OP until you get used to them…” again Dafuq? The 252 is generating 6% over server average W/R on the Russian server because no T6/7 can pen it even using gold frontally and with a few exceptions neither can T8s.

      1. Dontspill McGinnis says:

        I didn’t say they have always listened, but they do seem to be listening now.
        Arty changes are being trialed in the Sandbox and appear to be getting player approval. Fail platoons are being addressed in the next patch. Maps… okay 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.. thing is that they are at least trying now.
        As for the 252, whats wrong with flanking? can’t T6/7 tanks flank almost as well as tier 9 – 10 tanks? Any new tank almost universally is met with cries of “OP! OP!” (look at the Swedes). but people soon get used to them and adjust tactics accordingly.

  12. HVD says:

    Fuck Victor Kislyi. This game would have been so much better if that blind arrogant cunt didn’t ignore biggest problems for years. Majority of player base have been complaining about clickers and imbalanced matchmaking for years, and only now they started working on it.

    When they made that topic in forums, for players to write 3 biggest problems with WoT, at least 80% of posts mentioned clickers. Next was matchmaking and Japanese heavies. And what did Victor do with Japanese heavies? More armor and derp guns, because “Fuck you players, spend more money, da?”

    Only reason why they are working on clickers and matchmaking now is because they’re afraid their cash cow might die, because WoWp and WoWs didn’t turn out as they though they will. So yeah, fuck you Victor Kislyi.

    1. I’d like to see the source for “Japanese Heavies are one of the 3 biggest problems” before the buff. If anything, they are regarded as very weak (unless we are talking about the O-Is, which have been nerfed instaed of buffed)

      1. HVD says:

        Source is that forum topic. Of course complaining in it was about O-I and O-I Exp, but what they did with these changes is bring O-I to tier IX and X.

    2. I don’t get the whining, yes, it took them their sweet ass time to fix stuff, but at least they’re doing it. And If you’d ask me, i’d have waited a bit longer so that whiners like you have left WoT. The constant whining by the community is way more annoying then to get deleted by arty.

      1. HVD says:

        It’s in supertest, so it might take forever or never for them to bring it to the live game. Oh, and please choke in your own shit you edgy teenage turd.

  13. pwnz0rs says:

    Is Victor drunk again? I have rarely red so fkn much bullshit in one single post – is this dude mentally absent? Waht teh fukc is Victor – the “i laik to play hummel” dude – vomitting?
    Did he have P2W too much, or great MM, maybe he got clickered, or maybe he was map rotated?
    WTF is wrong with this guy …….

  14. A little arrogant? Oh please the players have been complaining about the problems in the game that remained unfixed for YEARS. And you told the people who supported you from the beginning to STFU.

    I was an avid supporter of the game and spent countless time and money. Then I decided I finally had enough and quit the game.

    The day I uninstalled World of Tanks was a moment when my life became much better.

Leave a Reply