All right because I am a good guy I will put the most important thing first: SUBMARINES!!!
Submarines – were they ever considered, and if so, why did you decide against them?
They were considered at one point. However, after careful thought they just did not fit into our aforementioned “triangle”. Balance is very important to us, and trying to force submarines into the equation was just not fun or feasible.
Do you think the game will see the introduction of submarines in the future?
It’s a balancing issue – but we’ll be considering adding new classes of vessels.
What aspects are you currently not happy about with the game? What do you want to improve still, and what do you plan to add next?
I wouldn’t go as far to say “not happy”, but you’re always striving to improve the game and make it the best experience possible for the players. We always listen to player feedback, see what they like and loathe, and we’re looking into what resonates with users in different regions. It’s a lot different than a stand-alone title because there is the expectation of evolution, which is what we like. As I mentioned, Soviet destroyers, including the legendary Tashkent, and German cruisers, such as the Admiral Hipper, are coming October 19.
Hey Ivan, where are you right now and what have you been working on today?
Ivan Moroz: Even though the game’s been released, there’s still a lot to do. The team and I have been busy finalizing roadmaps and development plans and heading out to launch events across the world. Today, like most days, I’m making sure that everything’s going well and we’re heading in the right direction.
Tell us where the idea for World of Warships came about. How long after World of Tanks was it conceptualized, or was this always going to be Wargaming’s next big play?
World of Warships was a natural course in the ‘World of’ series of games that Wargaming has created. First we had tanks, then warplanes, so it was a pretty obvious direction. It was important for us not to try to clone previous successes, but make something that would stand – or float – on its own.
How many people have been working on the game, for how long, and what state is it currently in? It’s out, sure, but what does that mean, since the game was in Beta for some time.
A great part of watching and working on World of Warships is how we’ve gone from a relatively small studio of around 30 people to one big family of around 180 people. We’ve been working on the game for several years, and it’s gone through a lot of great changes and tweaks to take it where it is today. We’re very pleased with the state that World of Warships was in when we launched globally.
Release, for us, means that the game client has been thoroughly tested, stabilized and is officially ready to set sail, so to say. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to remain as it is: we are going to improve the overall experience, introducing new features, tweaking the existing ones based on the community’s feedback and enhancing the game’s core mechanics and visuals. Coming up this month are Soviet destroyers, like the Izyaslav, and German cruisers, such as the Dresden – there’s plenty more on the way.
What did you set out to do differently with this one, even though it’s still a team game?
From the start, World of Warships was always going to be different than World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. We weren’t trying to emulate anything – just to make a great game. I think we tried something that wouldn’t just appeal to the World of Tanks players, but to anyone, like a good game should.
We wanted to extract the elements of naval warfare: epic landscapes, massive vehicles with their own twists, a solid balance in vessels and a tactical approach to gameplay. For World of Warships, our idea was to convey that sense of scale to the player, which differs from other titles in the ‘World of’ series.
What will surprise World of Tanks veterans about gameplay in World of Warships? Is it a faster game, a slower one? How would you describe it?
I think there are several things that will surprise World of Tanks veterans. Players need to stay one step ahead of the competition and plan their next actions. Your warship doesn’t move like a tank or warplane: it has its course and you need to anticipate your direction, that of your team-mates and, of course, the enemy. There are lots of different places to strike and weapons at your disposal. You’ll be punished if you think you can act slowly – it builds a constant sense of nervousness.
How does it compare to World of Warplanes?
It’s a matter of scale and of the craft involved. Obviously, planes zip through the air pretty quickly and there are things like altitude to think about. The controls and dynamics of gameplay have been refined and streamlined, making for a more accessible, medium-paced strategy angle to gameplay.
In World of Warships, you’re cruising through the oceans, stalking your prey. The pace is more methodical, strongly team-based. You have to plan and anticipate. It’s also the only ‘World of’ game that has RTS style gameplay in it, which is a really cool addition.
Has anything in the production of World of Warships surprised you? For instance, was there anything in the process or the game which worked well for World of Tanks, but doesn’t here?
I think the style of more medium-paced combat wouldn’t have worked well for tanks, because of the size and nature of the vehicles involved. We did a lot of testing in the preliminary stages to nail down our game design foundations. When you take into account ships, landscapes, the extra things like camouflage and commanders, we knew we were veering in a unique direction.
Historical accuracy is always important in your studio’s games. How do the team go about recreating these ships, many of which have presumably been scrapped long ago?
The great thing about [Wargaming’s] Lesta Studio is that we’re located in St Petersburg in Russia, which is rich in naval history. All of us spend a lot of time searching through archive materials, collaborating with historical consultants, and modelling vehicles to ensure there is the right balance of gameplay and authenticity. We also combine both paper and real vessels. It bolsters the ranks, lets people take vessels that only existed on paper for a ride, and lets us use our knowledge and expertise to become warship engineers – at least in our minds.
We have our own historical consultants at the studio, which are key to bridging the gap from the blueprints to wireframe models. For example, when working on the US national line, we visited close to 10 warship museums across the US and took several thousand photos. We’ve also packed our bags and headed to Japan and China.
Our understanding is that there have actually been very few even-sided battleship contests in history. If this is the case, how do you go about working out how these would take place?
Like with every Wargaming title, we’re always working hard to balance historical accuracy and gameplay. If we leaned too heavily on historical accuracy, then it just wouldn’t have been a fun game. We kept to the natural and chronological progression of ships in the game, extending to their improvements and developments. This meant that sometimes we had to tweak vessels to increase or decrease their parameters to fit the ten-tier concept. But the spirit of the ship still remains.
One of the key factors in the game balance is the rock-paper-scissors gameplay we have. It’s like a triangle of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. We have aircraft carriers in the centre, because they can be effective against vessels, with a more RTS feel to them. Figuring out how these battles will play out is not so much up to us as it is to the player. Battleships can deal a lot of damage, but if you don’t use them properly then you’ll get sunk by any craft. However, the matchmaking will look at the level of the player and the diversity of craft to make for interesting games. Players shouldn’t find themselves at ridiculous odds. A dinky cruiser from the US could beat [Japanese battleship] Yamato in the right hands. Skill wins out at the end of the day.