Armored Warfare: What Went Wrong

Author: Gatortribe (AW Dev)

Preface

As a select few of you may already know, I’ve been a design consultant for Obsidian Entertainment/My.com since the beginning of Early Access (was around for the alpha tests too). Needless to say, I’ve been invested in this game more than just monetarily. I met a lot of wonderful people along the way– my clan mates (KEVIN started out as a group of us design consultants, with Obeyrist, Kilo, and Illusionalsgcty – my officers – helping just as much if not more), those I met later on (XDMR, Urallfish, other EU friends), and of course the Obsidian/My.com guys (Thank you Rich, Josh, and Michael for all you did- your passion for the game was just incredible, and I truly believe that we could have had an amazingly successful game without MailRU being in the way). I hope to keep my ties with most of them, and for those who are without a job, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

So, why am I writing this?

I’m writing this because I think everyone who stuck around, everyone who held out waiting for the game to be popular, deserves to know what happened. I’m not an actual developer, so I will be missing a few things. I’ve had more than enough people from both Obsidian and My.com vent to me their grievances about nearly everything development-wise. I also don’t care about the NDA I never actually signed (I don’t think anyone was aware of that), I know my AW account will likely be nuked and the only thing that makes me said is the history that will go away with it.

Who To Blame

I’ve read a lot of misinformation that I couldn’t respond to over who was to blame for the game dying. The reality is everyone: MailRU, My.com, and Obsidian, some (MRG) more than others.

Obsidian (OEI): Obsidian failed to grab MailRU by the balls early on and say something along the lines of “We’re the developers, we’ve been in this industry longer than you could ever hope to be.” Now, I’m not saying that that’s what they should have done. MailRU pays good, Obsidian needed money badly. Standing up to them could have meant their contract was pulled early on. With Felix (Nakoomba) joining Obsidian, he was actually able to do that. It was, however, too late.

My.com (My): Despite what people think, My.com had very little to do with the failure of the game because they really didn’t have any control over the game. In fact, all you can really blame them for is shitty events and server crashes. I suppose they could have advertised a broken game and gotten us nowhere.

MailRU Group (MRG): Ah, here it is. The big one. How did I not see this coming, I played ArcheAge– I knew what they were capable of, and Obey reminded me numerous times of it. The rest of this post will be about how they ran this game into the ground because they simply lack the vision to see past the Russian market. They thrive on incomplete features and shitty knock off mechanics.

What Went Wrong

In order to understand everything that’s happened, we need a history of Armored Warfare’s development. It all started out with MailRU submitting bids to multiple companies to see who would be able to develop a tank game for them. Obsidian, short on cash and in need of a new challenge, took them up on it. They developed this magnificent plan for Armored Warfare– what could have been is not at all what we have today. In fact, I’m not even sure if you would have been able to call it a World of Tanks competitor as the games only had tanks in common.

So, what happened to that? It’s simple. MailRU said they wanted none of that, and they tasked Obsidian with making a “World of Tanks clone.” Yes, it was supposed to be as close to World of Tanks as they could get with modern tanks and without getting their asses sued off by Wargaming. Just look at the “Limited Technical Alpha” they had. It was clear to everyone that it was a World of Tanks clone and the backlash from it convinced MailRU that being basically a Chinese knock-off wasn’t going to cut it. So, they let Obsidian have a little more freedom- not much, it still had to feel like World of Tanks, but it didn’t have to be World of Tanks. This, right here, is where you can say Armored Warfare died. The day MailRU made it clear (privately clear, this was never public knowledge) that they only wanted a cut of the massive amounts of money Wargaming was raking in with World of Tanks.

It was more than that, however. MailRU never seemed to realize that they should have tailored the game towards the NA/EU markets. Going the WoT route when their NA population was already really poor was never going to work out, and given how much money the NA market spends you’d think that developing for them (and, by extension, EU) would be the priority. They weren’t, and MailRU chose Russia as the only market they cared about, to no ones surprise. This meant that instead of taking the time to have polished, well thought out features we got rushed, half baked features. Why? The Russians loved it. The terrible, terrible base system that was envisioned to be so much more was because MailRU was fine with the preview version that was introduced in Early Access, and decided it would be the final version.

My group and I wrote up 60 page documents (5 in total I believe) on this game detailing every little thing that needed tweaked, removed, or added. From our feedback documents alone we could have practically made our own tank game. We began feeling ignored as much of our feedback wasn’t bearing fruit in game, and that was when Obsidian finally cracked- they let us know that MailRU didn’t want it, they were happy with the shit state the game was in. In fact, MailRU wasn’t even aware of our existence (and they weren’t very happy about it afterwards- we aren’t Russian, after all).

Where We Are Now

I’ll clarify briefly since I’ve seen a lot of confusion- MailRU canceled Obsidian’s contract, Obsidian didn’t quit. They wanted to continue developing the game as far as I can tell.

At the beginning of the month, there were massive layoffs at My.com– one of which being Josh Morris (Jinxx71), the only person I would say was truly sane there (aside from the CMs, of course– you’ve been amazing, Freitag). He shared the same vision as Obsidian and in the end was let go for disagreeing with MailRU one too many times (note: I don’t know if this is the actual reason, I just know that he had made a lot of enemies at MailRU over time). They were replaced by people from MailRU itself. What we have come to know My.com as is no longer My.com, but rather a puppet of MailRU headed by Yuri Maslikov, the person quoted in the news post.

MailRU had already had a much larger development team than Obsidian was willing to admit (or even knew about). In fact, this whole time they have been working on Armored Warfare for Xbox One and PS4 (I’m going to get a lot of shit for mentioning its existence). I imagine that will be their main focus, and they might even release the game on Steam (the Steamworks framework has been in place for quite some time now, Obsidian has wanted very badly to put the game on Steam since the early access days). Ultimately, I don’t see the game going anywhere. MailRU is very shortsighted and their world view ends at the CIS regions borders.

Conclusion

My interest in this game from the very start was due to Obsidian. The first time I heard of it, I thought it was just a Chinese knockoff. When I heard Obsidian Entertainment was developing it, I signed up for the alpha immediately. With Obsidian out of the picture, I see no future for this game. My only hope is that Wargaming can learn from the many good things that this game got right and also see the many things this game got wrong. I’ll be waiting to see what game Wargaming Seattle announces in the future (hint: It’s not WoT 2.0 anymore).

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45 thoughts on “Armored Warfare: What Went Wrong

    1. I would like to know if Obsidian signed any contract forbiding them from developing their own game after their contract ended
      sure they might want to go back to their origins but if they could gather those released from My.com, maybe create an office with people from the russian speaking community to publish the game in the russian speaking countries, and go ahead with their original vision for the game they could have a chance
      I’m sure at least the NA and EU communities, the ones who spend more, would definitly hope for that than submiting to the threat of the game eventualy suffering from russian bias

      even if they are still in need of money we all know that right now there are other options to get funds for projects such as these, of course all of it is only possible if there’s no contract stopping them from making their own independent game, and unlike AW it wouldn’t be an incomplete copy of WoT

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Damn wasn´t aware there was that much shit going on.
    Funny thing is that they can survive (as a company) while being that shortsighted and learning resistant…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Called it from day 1 of AW’s public existence.

    mail.ru was going to shit out some wot clone for the RU market, and it would suck, unless OE managed to get their word in.

    By the way, I think this article should mention one KEY element:
    Armored Warfare has a different name in Russian.
    It’s called “Project Armata” , as in the same of the new Russian tank, the tierX in AW.

    That’s one of the reasons OE had to shit out tier9 and 10 tanks while the rest of the game was still an unbalanced mess: pressure to release the Armata on the game while the memory of the first public appearance of the Armata at the Moscow parade was still fresh.

    It’s shocking to see how Russian companies can have so little business insight, and still be successful.
    It says a LOT about the Russian market, and the uber-nationalism associated with it.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It’s not because they are lacking foresight, but project leaders have performance evaluation periodically in order to receive rewards and/or promotion. Thus many of them care less about the project compare to their career.

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  3. Played the game once in it’s early stages but I didn’t get hooked on it. I think AW had/has potential but from what I can gather is that stubbornness and different viewpoints on how the game should be taken forward has been it’s downfall. But as players we are not surprised by this are we? Same with Wot (sandbox features/strongholds) and possibly any other game you can think off that could have been (more) succesfull. ‘It could of have been different if only they did this and that bla blaa…’

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  4. Exactly like i said yesterday.

    But,that was unnecessary and ugly. We already know all this. We know My.com rushed them, it was obvious right from the start, we have talked about it several times here and in AW forums (some of us got banned for it after moderation started). We know they asked for a WoT clone and that was also VERY obvious right from the start.

    So what the heck is the point of this?Is he trying to make us sympathize and say “ohhh fuck the bad Russian publisher etc etc it’s all their fault etc etc”. I won’t. I can’t.

    The publisher asked for a WoT clone, what OE delivered was a BAD WoT clone and this has been stated by a LOT of players, especially the early access ones. Low poly models with bad textures.Lots and lots of technical issues.Lots and lots of game imbalances that were never solved. The dev team is responsible for all these, why should i blame the publisher?

    The publisher wants a product and within a certain deadline. If you can’t deliver because you either don’t have the experience or the team is too small to pull off at least something decent then simply say “i’m sorry,we can’t do it,hire someone else”.

    They took the job,he says, because they needed the money. Well, it was a very shitty thing to do. It’s like going to a company that’s hiring for a specific job, and saying all kinds of bullshit and lies just to get hired, because you need the money.
    As soon as the company figures out that you’re not even remotely qualified for the job they will fire your ass. You have no right to complain in that case, and that is the case with OE.

    It took several years for WG to get WoT to a decent and playable state, and OE would make a better game in less than half the time and probably with lower budget? Come on….lets be serious.

    What i see here is a great display of immaturity and unprofessionalism, which confirms everything i say. OE is the one to blame for the most part, not My.com.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. While you have good points, it apparently didn’t go the way you described it.

      Mail.ru shopped around for a dev team that could make a tank game.
      OE made a gameplan for their vision of AW, Mail.ru accepted, then had all the plans gutted to make a wot clone for the russian market.

      And while this hasn’t been OE’s best work, that studio has always made great (but buggy) products under strict deadlines.

      Their failure on AW should also be attributed to the producer, who pushed their misguided and idiotic marketing decisions on the game.
      I’ll refer you to a comment I made a bit higher in the comment section.

      “Armored Warfare has a different name in Russian.
      It’s called “Project Armata” , as in the same of the new Russian tank, the tierX in AW.”
      A name chosen by Mail.ru retroactively.

      Mail.ru had OE put aside everything just to push the release of tierX vehicles, just to have the game’s namesake tank, the Armata in the game ASAP, to cash in on the tank’s release to public eye.

      At the same time, it’s been mail.ru’s idea to release the same copy-paste reskinned tanks as “new” premiums 3 or 4 times, I lost count.

      Mail.ru’s involvment reeks of a producer cashing on a game in early access, stealing as much money as possible with promises they don’t intend on keeping before killing the game.

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      1. The monetary policy has NOTHING to do with it. The game didn’t reach this point because of this.

        Do you see WoT failing because of WGs policy on emptying your wallet with bullshit? No sir. Yes it was often caused some rage in the community but even those who rage about it, simply keep playing. Why? Because the players actually like the game. Why do the players like the game?Because the developers did a good job.

        It all comes down to the game itself and the developer who’s making it.

        Yes the timeframe was TIGHT, but OE knowing their capabilities as a small dev team, shouldn’t have been involved in the first place. Like you said, their work was always problematic when they took on big projects with a tight schedule.

        Copying WoT might sound easy but like i said, it took WG YEARS to solve certain problems and make the game decent, with a larger budget and an unrestricted timeframe.
        Imagine how hard would be for a completely inexperienced (in that kind of game) and small dev team to make a decent copy + stuff they wanted to include to make it stand out, AND on a platform that’s notoriously hard to optimize and made to run without issues. Obviously OE didn’t do their homework.

        And of course this “OE made a gameplan for their vision of AW, Mail.ru accepted, then had all the plans gutted to make a wot clone for the russian market.” is absurd. It’s bullshit. Why? Because the dude says the company wanted originally for the game to be a direct WoT clone, and it was THEM who convinced them to make it stand out.
        Personally, I would prefer a direct WoT clone with modern vehicles than the mess we end up with, so i will support Mail.ru on that. It’s OEs fault.

        You can’t call your boss names because he’s asking from you to complete a task within a tight timeframe. It’s your job to do just that and if you can’t it’s your fault.
        Also, you can’t call your boss names for not letting your do things your own way unless of course he tells you to do it. I highly doubt that they first told OE “do whatever you want” and then changed their minds.

        They knew perfectly well what the publisher wanted. There was no urgency over the Armata. Like you said, the damn thing was the main feature of the game originally so it couldn’t have been a “surprise”. What happened is that they missed their deadlines because of all the useless features and mechanics and then they had to “rush” the top tier vehicles into the game, ignoring everything else.

        Imagine your boss telling you to do X by Y time. You convince him that you want to do X but adding some stuff you think will make it better, and that you will still have it ready until Y.
        Then you miss the deadline and your boss comes to you and says “stop doing everything else and finish X because we’re falling back and losing money”.
        Who has the wrong here? Your boss who simply asked you to do X or you who wanted to do your own thing?

        To me it’s as clear as glass.

        The EVIL publisher hired the DECENT OE to make a copy of WoT in a modern setting. They did that to a certain degree, but they wanted to do other stuff to make it “stand out” so that it’s not a “chinese copy” of WoT as this dude says….(like they cared)… because of the “backlash”.

        What backlash is he talking about i have no idea. Most agreed back then that if it was exactly the same as WoT it would better than being “unique” like War Thunder. Everyone agreed to this. I didn’t see anyone complaining about it being too similar to WoT, except for artillery.
        He says they convinced them to do it differently, which was probably done,again…by lying to them about being able to be on schedule. I’m 100% sure of that.

        Then they started wasting time on those useless features and RPG elements they wanted to implement (because apparently they’re good at it hmmhmmm….) and completely missed the deadlines on the important things like
        all the problems that needed to be solved,
        all the mechanics that needed to be improved,
        all the vehicles the publisher originally wanted them to bring.

        The result? A complete mess which had a direct effect on the playerbase and on the development of the game. And that’s exactly why the company ordered them for example to get rid of the Base feature. It was from the start a pure waste of time and resources.

        That’s all,there’s nothing more to it.

        OE
        Lied about being able to make the game,the man admits it.He says that they needed the money and that for (excuses excuses excuses) they couldn’t “stand up” to their employer. LEL! Seriously….how immature is this guy?,
        Then they lied about being able to add extra features to make it stand out and being on schedule.
        Then they messes up everything and got fired.

        This is why i believe from now on the game will improve.If it survives Balance 2.0 that is.

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      2. “At the same time, it’s been mail.ru’s idea to release the same copy-paste reskinned tanks as “new” premiums 3 or 4 times, I lost count.” <—- this is the stupid, ignorant, greedy shit that made me stop caring about AW. WOLF, MERC, ICE….whate else?? same stupid tanks, in another after another after another "new skin" and sold in huge $$$ bundles because OMGNEW OMG NEW!!

        what a freakin joke

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    2. OE doesn’t get how WG makes WoT, they made lame mechanics/system at the start, but flood dozens of vehicles to gain anyone’s interest, then they fix&improve the system. OE did exactly the opposite, try their best to fix the system without sufficient players for supertest or public test, wasted their year of open beta to act as a public test. Since they wasted resources to do changes on the system, not enough resources to bring in proper new vehicles, so they bring those shitty reskin bundles that got WG into the current t8 powercreep prems. And the saddest part is OE continues to do this until mail.ru steps in and take back AW.

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        1. And the reason of that is the lack of content. I’m not bias to blame OE and forget my.com/mail.ru, but OE is responsible to get new contents in

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  5. u r really STUPID. I played around 100 games in AW and quit because the game SUCKED. First the graphics were SHIT. The game looked MUCH worse than WOTs. Secondly, the struture of the game with no nation trees was really stupid and confusing. Next, the UI and upgrades was cumbersome and hard to use. Most of all, it played horribly. There was no FEEL to the game. You could not feel the tank moving like in WOTs. Anfield summed it up when he said the game felt and looked like it was designed to he played on a cell phone. AW made a WOT clone on a modern engine that was worse in every way than WOTs. There is NOTHING AW did better than WOTs.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is a sad thing when you think about the people who are going to be unemployed. But business is business. The fact is that WOT and WT are well developed games and their business models are well managed (with some problems, we know). And when you have a business like AW, with a lot of problems, and that competes with giants like WG, the end is predictable. WOT and WT live, AW dies. It’s sad, but it’s the business world.

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  7. If this means we’re getting SS back to work for WG, great news!!! In other perspective, it’s so funny to read critics about stupid Russians building a stupid game for stupid CIS market :) :) :)

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  8. So MailRu effed up, wanted russian kids addicted to their shit, effed up further and then everyone died.
    I’m glad there was at least this one guy who was ‘brave’ but rather reckless enough to speak up against the russians. Also, it’s rather funny how they forgot to make him sign the NDA.

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  9. Haha! I am just glad that I participated in the 2500 gold for world of tanks event if you would reach tier VI.I made 3 accounts and they have us 10 euros per account instead! If I would have know I would have made like 10 of them.. Idiot russians..

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  10. AW is a joke and so is silentstalker, who jerks off to ritardgamer but she doesnt want hym she feck old guys in her littel pussey ahahaha!

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  11. I tried AW when it first came out. I tried again later and I would frequently come back hoping it would turn into a game as enjoyable for me as WoT. It never did and the players stayed away in droves. When it got to the point of 4 – 5 minute game queues I just took AW off my PC and never went back. The details of why the game was so poor are a little interesting but the bottom line was that the game was never good enough to gain marketplace traction.

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  12. The game had potential. They gave it a good try (at least at first). Just bc it failed doesnt mean it was all bad, and a lot of pieces of it (esp early on) deserve credit.

    I could list off 100 things i didnt like about it but they are all personal preference things – this game was not designed for my style of play. I didnt quit bc of my.com or mailru, so i genuinely wish that the game was going to keep going on, as it sucks it was killed by management and not obsidian (in effect).

    there was room in the market for both, so i dont take any pleasure in it dying.

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  13. Why are you all reacting like AW is dead? It’s not dead,the development simply passed directly to the publisher. We will see soon enough if it was a good or bad decision. You think AW is dead because that idiot says so? AW is nearly dead because of him.

    Tell me something, if OE did everything right, why did they get fired?When did a dev team did well and got fired because of it? Never. Dev teams usually don’t get fired even if they do bad. So that makes me think that OE did…worse than bad.

    And please don’t tell me you actually believe this guy. You believe someone who’s obviously immature and completely unprofessional? Doesn’t everything he says sound like a cop out?

    To me it sounds like this:
    “OE did everything right and made an awesome game, much better than what they wanted to. Then because the evil Russian publisher wanted to make it only for the evil Russian players, they stopped us from making it awesome and forced us to make it bad. The evil Russians care only about their country and not the rest of the free world”

    Of course the damn publisher would care more about the Russian market if the NA and EU server have 100 players online,at best…(playing PvE)…because you fucked up the core of the game which is PvP! And of course they would argue with you all the time, you didn’t do what they asked you idiot!

    They focused way too much on things that were not needed.That’s a fact!

    There was absolutely no need for PvE, at least not so early. Does WoT have PvE? No! Are the players leaving? No!Does it need one? Maybe…certainly not as a priority.

    The time and resources they wasted on developing PvE and all the various RPG elements and other features that were not needed…. could have been used on improving PvP and balance and technical issues….and keeping the main playerbase from running away.

    They completely ignored those who were screaming in the forums that PvP is dying because of all the attention they were giving to PvE. They simply didn’t care about PvP. We told them over and over and over that PvE was and ok idea but it was too early for such thing, especially when the playerbase is shrinking.

    The publisher asked them to make a modern WoT clone and they were wasting time and resources trying to create something entirely different. Base…factions….background stories….HEAL ffs…retrofits (how did they come up with that??). So much wasted time.The more they added, the worse it got.

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  14. I fucking love Armored Warfare, not because it’s a good game but because news like these and their forums full of salt. It’s like watching a trainwreck unfold in slow motion and I love every second.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What went wrong? They added everything the players wanted without consideration, because they wanted to milk the angry WOT players by “listening”. Sadly all those things either back fired one by one, and the forum turned around rather quickly from “praise” to “whine”. Having everything WOT made money on for free did not help either. As they quickly had to turn around to bundle and copy cat tanks to make due. Turning around everything SS said the first month. Now maybe he understands the people he attacked in his old blog, and understands why you don’t listen to everything, and why they sold what they sold.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Interesting to see Silentstalkes real name the first time – Frantisek Rozkot.
    Even if you do a very good job – he is the first i remember talking about WOT News.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. How surprising, an inexperienced party completely fucking over a game……Happens when accountants start calling the shots in game development instead of the actual fucking game developers.

    Also see, last 3 years of World of Tanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Two things.
    1) it ALL the same problems as WOT – but far less established
    2) (And the reason I actually uninstalled the game) That STUPID social media overlay that I HAD to run in order to actually play the game.

    Liked by 1 person

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