Official WoWS Q&A – 8th June 2016

From Tuccy, WG Staff
Recently a few people from the Community and Support departments from all over the world had an opportunity to visit the World of Warships development studio in St. Petersburg. Among other parts of the rather busy program we all had an opportunity to run a quick Q+A panel discussion, combining questions from all regions to get some answers – and the time has come to share them!
Game Mechanics
•    How does the Preventative Maintenance skill work?
The skill affects all modules. It decreases the chance that a module will receive a critical hit by 50% – However the chance of critical hits depends on the module’s health; the lower the health of the module the higher the chance of critical damage.
•    What is planned with regards to the unbalanced matchmaking and „Fail Divisions“ – dragging low tier ships into high tier battles?
While fail divisions are annoying, they are not that common – though of course when they happen, they do hurt. However the priority for matchmaking is getting rid of matches unbalanced for other reasons than this. In one of the updates following 0.5.7 we plan on introducing an improved matchmaker that would make sure that top tiers in each category are well balanced, to avoid situations such as 3 Tier X battleships on one side, one on the other. This is however still in development and we will inform you about details when they get closer. Once this is up and running, the devs will have a look at other annoying things including the fail divisions.
•    Smoke screens and Situational Awareness
Currently smoke does not look that great and it is very unclear for player where it is and if you are in smoke or outside. We are working both on reworking the smoke and on implementing in game clear indicator of smoke extent. 

As for situational awareness, as most people here probably noticed, there was a major Forum storm after 0.5.5 that unveiled a so far unknown property of the Situational Awareness skill. The team repeatedly checked the skill to see if there are any other issues connected, but the skill itself is working without change since early Alpha. Now that this was shown to be an issue, though, the entire SA system will be reworked to more accurately reflect when you are spotted and when you aren’t – and to get more intuitive (and most of all, with proper descriptions).
Note: We have forwarded the devs your findings about the smoke generation intervals/rules – we are currently waiting for reply.

•    Why do Secondaries have such terrible accuracy?
We feel that they are very powerful as is and if they are too effective then we aren’t encouraging skillful play
•    Anti-aliasing. Currently it does not look too appealing, any plans to improve it?
We are working on improving it at the moment. It’s not actually a change to video tech, but actual changes in model. We are thinking on how we can do this quickly and with high quality. 0.5.8 there will two ships with these improvements – and if they work well, more will follow.
•    Will we be able to compare ships in port?
Not soon, but thinking about it. First we plan to show more details in port – some cool changes will hopefully come within next updates, among others  things we plan to let you see better how your ship(s armor works. We cannot tell yet when exactly, as the tool is still in development, but for sure it will come this year.
•    Could we see a rework of the Captain Skills or Upgrades?
Captain skills: Currently we are not too satisfied with them. Many players are using lower tier skills and not really the more expensive ones – we will work on making the skills overall more accessible and more useful, so that all have their uses. One of the goals will be getting rid of “must have” setups and introduce more choice and tradeoffs.
Upgrades: There is a similar situation here – you can check changes to upgrade system in public test of 0.5.7 and obviously the development will continue.    

•    More ship customization?
We are working on it. More ships are getting permanent camouflages, we are introducing new commemorative flags and special event camos (note: For us it is for example the MGT-20 events camouflage and flag for our large offline events this year). We know that many players would love to hoist more than one commemorative flag on their ship – we are thinking about system, that would allow just that.
Ships and Nations
•    What was the weirdest thing you encountered in ship design?
Emden’s fake smoke stack, initially everyone thought it was wooden, then they found it was more like cocertina top hat – folding, canvas on skeleton. Note: While at some time in the future we will see Admiral Graf Spee in game, she will most likely not have a fake turret – at least not initially. After all, unlike Emden, this disguise was rather short-lived.
•    Pan European tree – will we see it any time soon?
Not in plans in the short run – we first want to introduce bigger navies.
•    Will we see ARP Takao?
While we want to do as many ARP ships as possible and we have Takao model (after all, her sistership Atago is in game already), we would like to introduce the historical Takao first. (Seb: the Kancolle one of course)
•    For Mikasa Appreciation Society: Are there any changes planned for the Mikasa and will we see more classic era battleships or armored cruisers for her to play with? Why not simply improve her secondaries?
Currently we have no plans to change Mikasa. She was an experiment and her play style does not really suit our game. The system does not allow currently things like manual control of secondaries and simply improving the secondary battery would make her overpowered and, worse, an ideal tool for botting. This is also why we do not plan to introduce any more ships of this kind for now.
•    What is the situation of Royal Navy?
Resources are collected, now we are working on models of the first branch to come – should happen this year.
What will be their „thing“? Depends on how the development and balancing goes, but for sure they will be beautiful.

•    And what will be the leitmotif of German battleships, to come this summer?
Think Tirpitz, but without torpedoes – relatively smaller guns, with flat trajectory, pretty decent armor and speed.
•    What are the plans to address carrier gameplay, especially various loadout and US carriers?
There are no ground-shattering plans for now, but one of the main things in the close future is making the support carriers – fighter/dive bomber loadouts – more useful to the team, giving fighters other things to do than just shooting down planes.
As for US carriers, the lines are not intended to be equal, so the game style will always be different. For now the US are less affected by defensive fire, for the future see above. Once fighters will have more things to do, US support loadouts may be far more interesting than now.

•    Some older ships in game have relatively simple armor models – while in reality they were more complex. When will they be upgraded?
Soon. We are currently working on a comprehensive reworking of armor models. First examples are the new top hulls for German cruisers introduced in previous updates, in 0.5.7 we bring all destroyers to the new standard and more ship classes will come in the following updates – the goal is to make all armor models as accurate, as possible. Overall more complex shapes of newer models tend to slightly improve overall effects of the armor.
•    Are there any plans to do more with PvE modes?
Answer: Yes, there definitely are. PvE allows getting away with unbalanced battles and focus on interesting ships. We cannot share much more, but currently we are working on adding PvE elements to maps (such as coastal guns) – and we will expand on it.
•    What does it take to add a ship into game?
All in all roughly half a year of work. The process works like this:
o    Decision to include ship and how/where has to be taken (devs/publishing)
o    Archive digging – the more plans the better – British archives usually have 5 basic plans of ships, often with less details, German plans are usually very detailed – in some cases plans do not agree with each other etc.
o    Main model is built – including small technical details; these can be shared among ships (boats, guns…)
o    Textures – first the technical part, then the art part
o    Engine – Magic happens in the Game Design department; Armor models, balance, weapon stats…
o    QA – internal tests, Supertest; Public test / live balancing
o    Ship is ready to sail!
•    Bonus: Same with maps:
Currently it takes us 6 weeks to build a map – first comes the gameplay design (plan), then the basic modeling (creating everything out of few basic shapes), then details and atmosphere, including weather and skybox – the designers try to go for interesting real life details. On map inspired by Hawaii there are several interesting vintage cars; one of upcoming maps will have a well known landmark from French coast :B

•    Clans – what is the future?
Working on them, likely to come this year but we do not want to disclose more details until they are settled – we are gathering experience from clan system on all our platforms. We will also work on clan-related “end game” content for them.
•    Weather – when will it come to more maps, what about physics effects of waves?
The cyclone is currently in stock for more maps – again, this happens already in 0.5.7. More changes will come this year.
Waves are hard to do;
o    It means adding 3rd dimension movement along all axis (pitch, roll, yaw);
o    It also makes mess of minimal ranges of guns – harder to get used to it, might make hitting ships at close range harder;
o    It also means making mess of armor – with ship rolling, armor penetration would get less predictable as there would always be more random factors involved. It would work both ways.

•    How does the community influence a decision? 
A lot. However – the development team has a core design and they want to stick with it. That does not mean feedback is ignored – but player’s feedback often focuses only on one aspect of a complex thing. We are gathering feedback from all our languages on a weekly basis – as well as detailed feedback coming with every new patch. In this, EU region shares the challenge of gathering a lot of different language’s feedback with the South East Asia region. The development team is interested in both these forms of feedback a lot – there is no “Russian bias” here and reports from all regions are appreciated and useful.
The developers themselves also read the forums (mostly RU and EN – both in EU, NA and SEA).
One thing players are really good at is finding obscure bugs.As mentioned above, the Situational Awareness discussion was started on EU forums and seems to be mostly EU player thing – feedback gathered on this occasion did lead us to start a discussion about the entire mechanic – what role does the skill serve, how it should work, why does it exist, why the 3s delay… And it will result in significant improvements during this year.
Note: Feedback gathering was also one of the major topics of the meetings – so for myself, here is appeal to the players: Please provide as much feedback on Public Test as possible, and as early as possible 😉

•    Sound – recently there is a lot of complaints about the citadel damage sound – are any changes planned?
As the citadel hit sound (and some others) is rather unpopular and could cause issues to people, reworking. Generally following feedback very closely.
•    Can you share any silly or fun moments from the game development?
None. Game development is Hell and serious business!
Note: Not entirely true. For example the explanation how new matchmaking queue will work with bits of paper representing ships/divisions was awesome. And apparently it is forbidden to feed game design team – see the picture.

•    Will it be possible to look around from the crow’s nest?
A new camera system is planned for a future update that will allow the player to look around freely. First steps – new post-mortem observer mode in 0.5.7!
That’s about it for now – unfortunately we could not ask all the questions that run around our forums in this one session, as there was not enough time – but we are trying to get more info now through mails and so on. Feel free to hop in here and ask us anything more