(Seb: it’s actually something that needs rework, so I invite you to discuss in the comments your opinions about it; I found this rant very well thought out so I decided to share it)
Now that the finals are over, I thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the problems with WoT eSports.
- The Format
The Wargaming league originally started using the 7/42 format, which was 5 tier 8 and two tier 1 tanks. I played in the gold league when it was this format under Simplistic, and it was both boring to play and boring to watch. Over the next few seasons they would increase the points to allow more tanks and higher tiers until it settled on the current format of 7/68, 6 tier 10s and a tier 8. This format is superior in my opinion because it showcases the endgame content of tier X tanks, and allows a much greater variance of tanks used. Even with all of these changes the format is still terrible for an eSport because its foreign to the average player. When you look at other eSports such as CS:GO, Overwatch, Halo, Dota and Smite the game format the pros play is the EXACT same game that anyone can play, tanks is the only one that is different. The gameplay being so different means that players who watch it actually gain very little from the streams. A viewer will never need to know strats on how to push 5 batchats on cliff or perform a north cap on himmels. Going further, the gametype of attack defend is not a part of the random battles. These map layouts and conditions are never seen by the average player outside of the streams. Wargaming did add “team battles” into the game, but it was implemented poorly and left to die.
This may come as a shock to some people but I think RNG should stay in the game, as most games have some sort of RNG. Even DOTA, one of the most popular eSports in the world, has some RNG. The problem with WoT is that everything in the core gameplay is based heavily on RNG in contrast to many other games use it for specific reasons / features (such as crit hits or bullet spreads). One big gripe of mine is ammo racking tanks. This mechanic has no place in a competitive eSport environment. During this season against AM60, Get Flanked ammo racked an enemy batchat from full health to dead instantly. That wasn’t skill, that was bullshit luck. Suddenly they enemy team was down a tank and we crushed them. The only thing to to protect from the chance of getting ammo racked is not get shot.
- Boosts are another problem.
We had to spend hours learning how to master these stupid little map boosts. Some people claim to love them because they are a “skill” thing to do, but really for me these boosts break the maps. This just makes league play another step away from what the public actually plays. Normal players will never really be able to use these boosts in pub battles, and they seem to get patched / changed every few releases. Steppes in particular has become very annoying to play with the boosts. I think WG should just cut these out all together as it will force the players to play the maps like everyone else, making it more enjoyable for the average viewer.
So how can the league format be fixed? Wargaming is dumping tons of money into the WG league over the past few years, but its failed to really take off. Viewership across all regions is very low compared to other eSports. The way I see it there are a few ways that WG should go about changing this…
- Change Format to 14/140.
Changing the format to be 14/140 (leaving the last spot for an observer) would be one quick change to breath life into the Wargaming League. While I am sure the logistics of having a 20 man team (14 starters and 6 backups) would be a nightmare, it would be the better for the league. They should also get rid of the attack and defend gametype and instead use the same format as clan wars with a 10 minute timer to speed things up. Two bases so both teams can win by cap but one team is designated the “defender” and wins in the case of a draw just like in clan wars. They would then switch sides and play the map again with the other team “defending”. This will prevent camping and stagnation that they saw in the original 7/42 gametype. This would be huge for viewers as it will allow them to go and learn strategies that they can take directly to strongholds and clan wars (which they will need to fix but that’s another issue). So think of this new league format as “clan wars & strongholds pro”. The endgame content is already there, and this will just tie the eSport format directly to it. This will also allow WG to market it as the biggest eSport in history. I am sure they would love to use that.
- Competitive/Ranked Playlist
However, I think adding “Ranked” matchmaking battles into World of Tanks is also a good option. The team battle system was clunky and not easy to use. These battles should be just as easy and quick to get into as standard random battles. This ranked format should match what the pros are playing, and if WG wants to keep teams small a 7/70 attack/defend format could work really well. This gametype could have reduced RNG, removal of ammo racking tanks, and maybe a few other tweaks. Teams should vote on maps, and the game would be first to three wins. Teams to would then choose tanks before the start of each round. Basically faceit but actually built into the game and supported by Wargaming. The system could even have separate ladders like in starcraft or overwatch with prizes given out at the end of a season. I guarantee that if the game mode was giving out free gold, credits, premium tanks or camo, people would play it. You could have have the have a ladder system that gives prizes out at the end of the season, here is an example I came up with:
- Ace: Credits, Gold, Camo, Tier 10&8 Premium
- Master: Credits, Gold, Camo, Tier 8 Premium
- Lieutenant: Credits, Gold, Camo
- Sergeant: Credits and Gold
- Recruit: Credits
This would give new players incentive to enter the ranked battles and get to bronze ranking. These players will then watch the Wargaming league to learn the new meta to improve their own ranks. The premium tanks would be exclusive to ladder winners until the next season when they are added to the rewards of clan wars which helps drive the endgame ecosystem. Right now the only “competitive” game mode is clan wars, which leaves much to be desired. Having a ranked / competitive mode will help keep players invested into the game.
- Lack of Fantasy
This was one of the main reasons people watched at all. To see if there favourite player did well that day or not. They killed all the prizing and made it more of a bragging rights thing rather than a event to get people to look into the pro leauge.
- Advertisement/ Fan Gear
Wargaming’s, in my opinions biggest failing was they dont allow to you buy your favourite teams camo for you tank, or emblems to show off who you root for. This was one of the main things in other games like Cs:go that make the game more enjoyable for the players and for the teams. It is a huge mistake to not even look into this type of catering to the fan base.
Secondly, WG almost never posted about matches on the official page. If they wanted the leauge to be something special they would have done more to let the average player know about the games pro scene.