WG Developer Stream, Part 1

Good day everyone,

Here’s Part 1 of a more complete transcription of the WarGaming developer stream a couple of days ago, with Anton Pankov, Murazor, and a few others. Part 2 will be up tomorrow. Big thanks to Rita for assisting.

On Sandbox & SPGs

– Rebalancing of artillery is gradually coming to an end. We have introduced a new mechanics, rebalanced damage,  and made it so many could test this, I can finally say that we have taken action as a whole that has led to what we wanted originally.

– The stun mechanics were invented in order to compensate for the refining of artillery, we redesigned arty to become a support class, so less damage, penetration, it can not destroy with 1 shot, but all we wanted to keep the influence of arty in battle. Without the camp she could not stop the advance of enemy tanks, it would simply not be afraid. We do not want the death of class. We came to the conclusion that the rebalance artillery as such purely balanced performance characteristics is impossible. To adjust its effectiveness needed a new mechanics that will preserve its influence, but not through inflicting 1500 damage a shot and so on. We turned it into the so-called “area control unit”, there is such a thing, it is typical for MMORPG.

– Toxicity of artillery – when we talk about this figure going off things such as average damage or winrate doesn’t help, because when you’re removed or heavily damaged by a random shot, you are dead now, not being able to do anything in battle and that’s a huge pain and this was a problem that we are trying to solve.

– Then starts statistics. The fact that an event is unlikely (such as one-shots) does not mean that it will not happen. It will happen in the future. The problem lies in the fact that just a single event can be built up through videos or word of mouth. There is a very important psychological effect. Even when we talk about the toxicity, we affect that perception. When such events continue to happen you will not change that perception.

– When talking about the stun everybody forgets about the new consumables with a cooldown, which instantly negate the effect of the stun and that they recharge.

– We do not aim at entering reusable consumables to take advantage of the amount of credits that are spent by players.

– There were a few things with arty that we internally tested, but didn’t roll out to the public. Some things were so obvious that there was no point.

– For the arty, we still have a couple of things that we can implement over time – it is a matter of tuning and customization. Marking targets and things from Battle Assistant are already in, however we have some questions regarding the latter.

– We had an idea to make artillery localization, a large caliber shot – backlighting on the minimap with divergent circles and we even prototyped it, but eventually scrapped it. Why? – The counter battery fight begins, it’s good, but it gives a very big advantage to the players against the arty.

– It turned out that the artillery was committed to trying to kill the enemy arty for roughly half the battle. So you had 3 tanks useless in combat, who are only trying to kill each other.

– Now arty have to think, whom to support right now, and not just to farm damage.

– Arty will gain experience from stunning. Stun damage is similar to tracked target damage or spotting assist damage.

– Personal missions for artillery in the next version will also be reviewed under the current mechanics.

– We will ensure that the experience of arty and light tanks isn’t sunk, it’s all numbers and figures.

– So far, according to the evaluation that we got from the Sandbox (preliminary of course) but it looks good, so the economy will not go anywhere.

– Stun will be introduced after the general test, it will be tuned, and you must understand that we can adjust everything from feedback and statistics and so on. Stun as an entity can be adjusted according to many criteria: influence in battle and its duration it’s not a constant values. What you see on the Sandbox, that’s not necessarily going to remain unchanged for 2 years – nothing like that, all specifications are subject to change in one direction or another.

– If the stun mechanic does not take root then I fear that we have to remove arty from the game, entirely. So far no other solutions have been found that we can bring within a reasonable time, and that handles things as well as the stun … We tried other options, the problem is that they do not work. Stun came from the results of a long test and with various other solutions, we finally came to the conclusion that this is the best with what we can do to artillery as a class within a reasonable time and works with our other changes (new LT + new matchmaker).

– We don’t invent tanks and everyone knows it.

– Arty oneshots happen more often than ammunition explosions.

– We still thinking on the account of platoons of 3 self-propelled guns, 50 to 50% so far.

– Settings for arty will continue on the general test.


On the Expansion of Light Tank Lines

– New light tanks are needed for the new matchmaker to operate. Initially, when we rolled them in the first time there was an extraordinary reaction. There is the opinion that light tanks were not really relevant as a class, and it’s true at the moment, and many write that they would have never play them, if not for personal missions. At the moment their primary purpose is not relevant and it is a reality, if you keep them that, then this will just be a dead end.

– We are very careful reading the reviews on the Sandbox, because of this the guns returned to the LTs (M41’s autoloader and T49’s derp gun), initially there were no such guns either, we planned to clean them up.

– Regarding premium light tanks, after much deliberation, the current characteristics of the premium lights will not be touched at all. They have reduced the level of fighting and they still have the performance characteristics that have now. After the release of version 9.18 we’ll see how they behave in the hands of their owners. The last thing that you want or need to do is rebalance and nerf premium equipment.

– Decision on the experience of Tier 8s was not easy, for a long time we have discussed it and finally decided to look at the statistics. Only 10% of current players in the Russian play Tier 8. It is in the range of 100k to 200k. We decided if a person has a Tier 8, for example an AMX 13 90, we are now moving it to Tier 9, making it an elite with all modules, we retrain crew, fully transplanted to Tier 9, but the accumulated experience remains at Tier 8. There is, for example, the situation when from 13 90 leads to the AMX 30 and this transition will continue. I want people to reach Tier 9 properly. It was a difficult decision. This is the official position, which will be respected.

– Now the psychology of the LT will change: it will be a full-fledged tank, with a full-fledged role on the battlefield, and good opportunities. People will need to get used to it. This is how to bring the lines to Tier 10, change the thinking and make them into capable fighting units.

– Personal missions for light tanks will remain the same as it is, we realize that they will perform better, but we decided to leave them as they are now.

– We tried to rebalance all classes on the first Sandbox, but LT had a TOP priority, the test itself was ambiguous, and the reaction was extremely negative. The players said that they do not want to see such a strong dependence on the tanks, which can meet for the first time 30 seconds into combat.

– We are now about the reviews we are hacking inside ourselves just space (within the company of the comment WOT Express) today two hours talking about reviews and how they affect the game and what to do about it. Here is a story that, probably, it is necessary to act step by step. I want to do everything at the same time, but it’s very difficult. After light tanks, when everything is stabilized, and we understand that we can move on to the next stage. Here, the number of tasks exceeds our capacity. The biggest conclusion we reached (at the end of our prototype) – was the players are not ready to the fact that they are not ready for the whole game to be broken down. They want incremental changes, and time to adapt. At the same time accumulated weight of changes is pressure on us, we have to move fast and we are trying to somehow balance it.

– Now we’re looking back and seeing what we’ve done on earlier versions. Sandbox certainly will continue.

– There are several ideas for new prem LT, but only after the overall change. They’re Tier 8: there are 2 good options for the Americans. The Germans had problems. With the Soviet Union it’s very hard, with the Chinese even harder. We’ll look through the archives.

– Tier 9 premiums, not in the plans.

– T-50-2 as a premium – no.


On the New Matchmaker

– Refusal of the old and writing a completely new one – so a new balancer appeared. We had very long discussions about the demands put forward on it, some were adopted, some were dropped. We’ve long talked about the limitations of platoons. In general, it all started with the idea of a pyramid of levels 3-5-7.

-The new balancer is very functional, the problems with the old one were well known. At the same time, we are faced with the situation that, firstly, we have quite a specific distribution of tanks playing at different levels – it grows to Tier 8, then there is a reduction at Tier 9 and then again an expansion at Tier 10. Like a booze bottle. Boiler glass is so specific, I had to go to a lot of various tricks and approvals.

-There will be single tier battles once there’s a very large accumulation of one tier queued up.

-The lower the number of online players, the worse the quality of the battles. Therefore, dear players, we want you to play more and invite your friends to help out with the matchmaker.

– One of those things which are worth considering in the future, this view setup that will produce a super fast match ups and under what conditions. Then look for any anomalies and add new requirements later.

– In my opinion, we have delayed the balancer long enough, a year has passed and that’s a long time. I want to bring this innovation to the players now.

– It would be weird to not at least dream about being able to ban maps from rotation.

– We got a lot of options and ideas on the table such as allowing Premium accounts to delete 1-3 maps from rotation, although that would overload the MM, but we can’t say this could never happen.

– Nothing has been changed in the matchmaker, in terms of the speed of assembling players and getting them into a map.

– Skill based matchmaking in Random battles will not be coming.

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