Good day everybody,
Here is a transcription of the latest developer Q&A on WarGaming’s Twitch channel covering World of Tanks Console. Trimmed to questions related to content and the direction of the game (as I don’t think anybody really wants to hear about people wanting Doritos ads during the loading screens):
With the introduction of the Sherman Grizzly (being the first tank WG Chicago built from scratch) can we finally see the introduction of truly Console Exclusive lines?
Yes. So with the Grizzly not existing on PC it was our first attempt at creating a tank from scratch. Bringing it all the way through the game, creating all the files for it, testing it out etc. It was about an 8 or 9 week process for a relatively simple tank. So now we have the know-how for making tanks. So expect some console exclusives in the future… We have more suggestions than I know what to deal with.
Will we see implementation of Personal Missions or other long-term operations that would allow skilled players to earn tanks that will never be on sale?
We started doing longer ops, for example the month long ops where you could earn points and cash them in for any tank or premium from there, in the chart there was 10 level of prizes. We realized that players time is constrained, they’re not always able to play on weekends or get the ops done on weekdays, so we have been extending them out to be longer. We have another really cool one coming up in August. As far as having tanks that are exclusive to only people that complete the op: I’m not planning on having tanks exclusive to those things. I don’t see a reason to keep players who can’t complete the op or don’t have as much time to play from owning tanks. If they want to buy them go right ahead, or maybe earn them later. I don’t like the idea of taking content that is expensive for us to make and making it exclusive to a small number of people. I don’t feel like that’s fair to the playerbase.
Why was the removal of maps not in the patchnotes for 3.8 or 3.9, and when will those maps return?
I didn’t think anybody would miss them. We regularly rotate maps for balance or performance reasons, or art updates. We just overlooked putting them into the build notes. They get slotted into the production schedule along with new maps that are being done, so they get their time with the artists or get layout changes with the designer. I don’t have exact dates for them yet.
There’s also always the issue of the size on disk and the size on downloads for players. So with the last release we used a new compression to keep the download smaller, we also had a cap that we wanted to hit that was one of our goals from other groups, so removing some of those maps helped us fit in that footprint. Helps give us room to add new maps… We’ll try to make sure we announce those in the future, those were just an oversite.
Regarding content (maps) being removed on PlayStation 4 do to issues with other hardware, such as the Xbox 360:
[Content parity] Makes life so much easier. It’s one build that that deploys to all platforms and we have scripts that go to the different clusters. Any sort of difference between platforms is a chance for a mistake to happen, there’s a lot of things to track so we keep parity between everything for simplification. For example, a certain map crashing on the 360 in the past. I think some really old 360s had some problems streaming everything off the harddrive and crashing. Because we test 30 players here on 360 and we don’t get the crash, so we’ve had to pull them, but we always reintroduce them when we reduce the memory they take.
Will we ever get crew voices that are English speaking, but with national accents? (Australian, Canadian etc)
Now that we have the technology for that, yes, that’s definitely on the hope for crew customization going forward. I can tell you the first two things we’re doing, I just approved the recording for Czech languages. That was a stupid oversight on our part, I don’t know how we missed it. We were never localized in Czech before, so we didn’t just have those files on hand. So that got approved. And I have artists on hand to get more crew portraits, so there will be more for customization. Then we’ll move on to other VO recordings.
How is feedback from Supertest taken into account or considered?
Technically they have forums that they put their feedback in, and that are read, then our Supertest manager compiles that into a report that goes out to a lot of people, he does surveys as well, so we get survey results. He also does tickets for each of the feedback issues, then its our call if we make changes or whatever the case may be.
Any ideas when tournaments will start?
I do have kind of an idea that a PR marketing thing, so I can’t give away their date on when thats going to happen. We just tested the first implementation of Arena with Microsoft and ESL and we got that into our supertest and then into the limited preview program on retail. All together we weren’t too happy with the end result for the user, so we went back to the drawing board, and now we’ve made a lot of progress. Even then it was only single elimination tournaments and no team tournaments, no user generated tournaments. So I’m happy that we’ll be able to have all that when we do launch tournaments in the future, so it’s going to be a much for robust feature and with a much better player experience. So it was worth the wait.
Will we ever see buffs to the Type 4 & 5 Japanese heavies and the German Maus? Maybe not to the same degree as on PC, but they certainly need some love.
We have been buffing tanks when we go back and revisit them for whatever reason, balance, PC changes, and we’ve been making changes to some of the older tanks, so we can get those on the pipeline.
Can you guys make a 5th Premium camouflage category that can be applied to select tanks only?
So it’s certainly been discussed. In that particular case it was the Bogyter (KV-220-2 variant). The way camo works in the game it’s these little 64×64 patterns that are just repeated over the tank, then you have the base layer that had all the details and scratches and all the accessories, thats the base layer. In the case of the Bogyter and some of the other Hero tanks its that base layer thats the paint, so all that detail is in there with the color from the paint. So that camo isn’t something we can just apply, its actually the color of the tank, not a skin we can apply. We don’t use skin meshes on our tanks like what you’d do in more character driven games for customization, we’d have to hand do each one.
When will we get additional inscriptions and emblems?
If anybody has inscription ideas, send them in because those are fairly easy to ad. As far as emblems I know we’ve had quite a few flags added in based on player requests. I think we finally got the Chicago flag added in, you’d think that’d be the first.
Have you looked at the recent matchmaking changes on PC? I think that might reduce the amount of salt from players before the match even begins.
We’re well aware of what PC has done, even from before they even announced it, and we’ve run simulations on it and it simply won’t work with the pool of players we have at lower population times. You just get straight out failures. That said, one, we’re still evaluating how it’s working out in the PC world, because they churn through way more data than we could. So we’re seeing how it works out for them in different regions at different population times, and see what we could do to get that to our game. Also to get that we need to upgrade to that version of the server, which is still a couple versions away. So hopefully by the time we upgrade we can have enough data to have a plan to bring that over.
How much do you watch what PC is doing?
We watch everything that PC is doing. Its just we started off a couple of years worth of server versions behind them, and we’ve caught up to where we’re only a few server versions behind, and the game has grown diverse enough to where server merges are really, really complicated, and takes months to do. So it’s not like they can release their latest version and we can update it two weeks. It takes about four months to update server versions. That team is giant and they’re making changes with every version, plus we’re working on our changes and when we have to merge that server code it’s quite complex to do.
Any development plans for Italian tanks?
The Italian line. PC was actually looking into doing an Italian line, and the historians couldn’t come up with enough tanks., and so couldn’t actually make it an Italy only line. So kinda the same thing with the Poland line, they’ll probably be together in their own line, or populating other nations trees.
Clan competitions and other features?
Right, as I was kind of going on about earlier, the way the tournament feature works is that players will be able to set up their own clan matches if they want to do so, and we’ll be able to set up clan specific or group specific things in Microsoft Arena speak for tournaments. So getting tournaments will be the first big step.
What about gifting?
Well that’s a difficult one to handle do to different regions and different laws, and fraud and all those types of things. We are working on that feature now, I’ve wanted that for a few years now, and it’s going to be a portal feature first because there is a lot more security we can put around that… Fingers crossed its out before the holiday season.
When can we expect new maps, such as Berlin or Stalingrad?
I know we have a couple of city maps in the works, one of them is pretty darn close to release.
Will we get new maps added to the Proving Grounds modes?
There’s not a lot in there right now because that designer is working on a secret… secret… new feature that involves maps and AI. Maybe we’ll be able to get back to that, but thats what he’s been working on.
When can we expect new gun sounds like WoT PC?
So part of our changing to a whole new sound system is now we’re starting everything from scratch, so now we have the same sound system as PC has. So now we can bring their sounds over to the game. Right now the audio engineer is fixing all the bugs from the new sound system, he’s almost done with those, then he’ll move on to adding things.
Whats the status on the replay system?
We’re working with another group on that, the Big World group that’s in Australia. They’re working hard on getting it into the game, and as we learn what they’re getting into we’re working on the interface for it. I can see it every day, and use it every day, and I can tell you right now it’s another bad user experience to start that we’re making better…. It should be going into supertest in a few weeks and we’ll see where we stand there in terms of bugs.
Can we start earning Gold?
Not at this time. It’s a contract thing, we’re just not allowed to do that, gold is purchased from a first party, that’s why you have to do it from a first party interface.
Any changes expected regarding how players earned points in Ranked Battles?
Absolutely, you’ll see changes to Ranked Battles this July (so this month), the support articles have been written and we’ve done simulations and test, those should be on the portal in the next few days. That’ll detail the new scoring system, personal contribution will be capped, and hopefully not have such wild swings and losses.
When can we expect Polish tanks?
I’m not in front of my PC at the moment so I can’t look it up, but I do know there is a Polish tank up the pipeline.
When will we see the Skorpion G?
Within the next two months.
What kind of feedback did you get from the Crew Customization, was there anything you’d have liked to change?
Well, I told you we’re adding Czech, because we missed it, and we’re adding crew portraits and diversity. The feature was controversial because we added features into it, such as switching out voices, not just to the national voice but any voice you want in the hopes to add more in the future. Some players felt that because National Crew voices on PC were free, just an option, that we shouldn’t be charging for it. I understand their point, but that was put into PC a long time ago and in a different way than we hope this feature will expand and grow. Some people asked why we couldn’t just change the default voices to their national voices, but there’s TCRs that kept us from doing that.
Can we expect to see tanks like the Grizzly, and other “Hero” premium tanks, without their current permanent paint jobs?
Yes. Yes, there was a failure in communication there, the plan was always that the non-painted version of the tanks would come out 30-45 days after the painted version, but the planning just got off that schedule. So they’re trying to get caught up on that. I think you’re going to see a bunch of those in August. I don’t know when the non-painted Grizzly comes out but I know that’s on the schedule. They will get better at that, I promise you.
More Girls und Panzer tanks?
I saw that Blitz added a couple of them. I don’t know the status for us because that has to do with licensing and the Bus. Dev team… If they were licensed just for Blitz we have to go and acquire the license, but if it was for WarGaming in general I don’t see any reason we couldn’t bring them. (Same with the follow up question regarding GuP crew voices).
When are the Swedish tanks coming?
This year. I promise this year. Swedish tanks, because of their siege mode, that requires a server update to get that code from PC. Thats the upgrade we’re working on, so when that’s complete we’ll be able to release Swedish tanks.
When can we get exact armor thickness and a armor thickness calculator in the garage viewer?
I know that was hotly debated for a while about what was displayed and how it was displayed. If enough players are asking for that then that needs to be looked into again.
When we can expect regular balance updates?
We’re regularly going through and doing changes to tanks as part of bringing over a new server version, looking at what PC did… I can tell you that our tank designer, as he’s going through all of these XMLs there’s a ticket that keeps track of every change. When that version comes out, expect pages of changes.