The Direction of WoT and a letter to the Devs

Originally made by The13Disciple. I decided to share it in order for some of you to see why Foch’s arguments were spot on.

„Hello All!
Let’s have a talk. (It’s a long post TL;DR is at the bottom)
With so much drama unfolding, I’m afraid we might lose sight of why this all happened in the first place. I’m going to try to summarize my thoughts on the game as it is right now, and why I believe the community is upset at what’s happening. Preface: I love this game (for now).

Wargaming monetizes this free to play game in 3 ways (skip if you already know these)
Premium Time – This allows you to progress faster in the game. It provides 50% more credits and experience (combat and crew) per battle.
Premium Tanks – 50% additional crew exp per battle, additional combat experience per battle, more credits per battle, and the ability to move a crew of the same nation/vehicle type, in and out without needing to retrain them.
Gold – In Game currency used to ease your progress along the tech tree. Generally used to reach your desired goals faster. Used to purchase some in game premium tanks (see above), purchase premium time (see above), purchase premium consumables/shells, retrain crews to 100%, Convert free exp (earned on elite or premium tanks) to usable free exp, convert to credits. It can also be used to purchase camo, demount equipment, get emblems, get inscriptions, garage slots, barracks, create clans, and change your nickname.

I’ve spent a lot of money on this game. And I don’t regret it. It’s not bad to spend money on a game/hobby that entertains you and you enjoy. What does spending real money on the game really buy you? For the most part this accelerates your grind to the top of a tech tree. If you don’t spend a dime on the game, you may find yourself low on garage slots, or barracks. Both of which can occasionally be earned through completing monthly missions. In fact you can even earn premium tanks with monthly missions. The point is these players can still buy premium consumables, rent camo, inscriptions, and emblems all with credits. Up to this point a free to play account can have all the same advantages in game – albeit with more time spent grinding exp and credits. THIS IS GOOD. Fair and balanced play should be a fundamental feature. It is not fun for ANYONE when those with more expendable income have an advantage over poorer players.

Why are so many players and some community contributors pointing fingers saying the game is becoming pay to win? Let’s take a look at some of the recent changes to some tier 10 heavies.
Type 5 – First take a look at the frontal profile of this behemoth post buff. Looking straight on this tanks weakest spot is the cupola at 210mm. Take into account angle of the shot and effectively you’ll need more than 265mm of pen to reliably damage this tank frontally. (I’m not even going to bring up the derp gun)

MausLook at the frontal profile of this monster post buff. The lower plate is the weakest spot at 200mm. Take into account angle of a shot straight on and you’ll need more than 255mm of pen to do damage reliably. A good player will hide that lower plate or at minimum angle the tank forcing you to shoot the next weakest spot – the turret cheek which requires around 265mm of penetration to damage reliably and is only un-angled when that person is shooting back. (the buff also improved the gun and took the Maus to a 55% win rate since the changes)

Why is this a problem? If we look at all tier 10 heavies, the penetration for non premium rounds, the lowest is 246mm (Maus/E100) the highest is 259mm (FV215B), with a majority of tier 10 heavies at 258mm. This means if you are brawling either of these heavies in the SAME tier you’ll need to use premium rounds to damage them. Any bottom tier vehicle will struggle to damage these tanks even with premium ammo. Fighting these tanks is not fun. You don’t get rewarded for knowing weak spots, or getting a good accurate shot. All you can do is load premium ammo and attempt to out trade them (a challenge in itself). If lower tier the only play is to avoid these vehicles altogether. The necessity to load premium rounds changes the economy of the game.

Essentially this increases the amount of credits needed to play tier ten. At this point it’s only 2 tanks, but the trend has started. With some exceptions up until now players were rewarded with knowledge of weakspots. If you knew a good weak spot and could position yourself to hit it, you can use regular ammo to do your damage, and are rewarded with fewer credits spent at the end of a match.

If you still aren’t seeing the pay2win aspect, it’s this. In order to play top tier tanks competitively you are required to use more premium ammo which means you spend more credits. How do you earn credits? Premium time and premium tanks. This change in economy is why /u/SirFoch brought the Maus into his second video. He was alluding to this. By forcing the player base to use more premium ammo, you create a need for credits. This need creates more demand for premium time and premium tanks.

Let’s turn our attention to premium tanks. We can all agree that fundamentally the game is only fun when it’s balanced. It’s extremely important that any premium tank regardless of tier fundamentally CANNOT be better than it’s tech tree equivalent. Being of equal capability can start to be damaging as well. This means some players can simply spend money to have a competitive tank. But in my opinion as long as it isn’t better – at least a free account can still contest that person. If any premium tank is better, then the game IS pay2win. WG has pushed the limit with the most recent premium tanks, but I’ll explain why I think they haven’t quite broken the game yet. I do agree that an argument can be made that each one is just as good tier for tier as their tech tree equivalents.

T26E5 – Still has the same lower glacis weak spot that the T32 has. Also the turret is weaker with certain spots that can be penned even when the tank is hull down without premium ammo. Take a look at the T26E5 and T32 live models and rotate them you’ll see the E5 can be penned in the turret with relative ease. The E5 has better pen and slightly higher DPM than the T32 with the 90mm.

AMX M4 49 – most same tier tanks can probably pen the cupola with HE rounds. It only has 60mm of armor and it’s TALL. if the tank is angled even a little bit, high pen non-premium rounds can pen the shoulders of the hull at around 200mm.

Skorpion G – high alpha and high pen gun on a very mobile platform – but it’s a paper tank, and it has a huge profile. Once you spot the tank, it’s easy to hit, and if you hit it, you stand a high chance of doing damage. I do think that 490 alpha is a little high for tier 8, and is especially annoying for tier 6 tanks, but same tier TD’s enjoy similar alpha. Again strong, but tech tree tanks can be equally good. The Borsig is less mobile but has better cammo.

Defender – high alpha, strong armor heavy brawler. Admittedly my favorite of the most recent releases. Debatable better than the IS-3, but the cupolas can be penned easily with only 150mm of armor, the challenge is hitting them. The lower glacis can be a tempting target, but with un angled straight on shot effective armor of 210mm it’s not always easy to pen. The defender has well angled armor throughout the hull and even to the rear. It can pull off some weirdly troll ricochets – and with 440 alpha it can pretty much out trade any heavy tier for tier. IMO this is the closest to pay to win. This tank can easily out trade it’s tech tree equivalent.

Honorable mention – Lorraine 40t – 300 alpha with a 4 round mag can be very punishing. But I don’t believe it to be game breaking. The tank has paper armor, and a 30 second clip reload. A good money maker but by no means better than other tier 8 mediums.

That said let’s talk about the metaphorical elephant in the room and the premium that broke the camel’s back. The Chrysler K GF. Why does SirFoch hate it so much? Well because it combines all the issues we just looked at and puts them all wrapped up into one single tank. Frontally the tank doesn’t really have a weak spot. When angled appropriately an attacker will need more than 230mm of penetration to reliably go through the front of the tank. Ironically a majority of the recent premium tanks released can do this without premium ammo. This means most tech tree tier 8 heavies will need premium ammo to reliably penetrate this tank. There are no machine gun ports or cupolas you can shoot in order to avoid this. If the tank is un-angled the lower glacis can be reliably penned by around 200mm, which many tier 8 heavies have, but a decent player will always angle this tank appropriately. If we take a look at the gun we find that it has low pen standard ammo at 198, and high pen premium ammo at 260. Which means you’ll likely need to fire a lot of premium ammo when playing this tank.

Quintessentially this tank represents the sad direction the game is headed.

Looking ahead to the upcoming bonds economy it starts to concern the player base. Bonds are earned faster by skilled players that compete in the ranked battles. Bonds are used to purchase improved equipment which can be used in random play on non tier 10 tanks. This means a veteran player that will have an advantage over anybody who just picked up the game.

So in the future not only will the game give advantages to players who buy premium time and premium tanks, it also gives advantages to players who are veterans. The barrier to entry will go up in both experience and money required. The game we love, I love, is in a tailspin. The bonds with improved equipment will build walls around the game discouraging new players from joining, while the requirement of premium ammo and premium tanks to stay competitive drive veterans out. I’m afraid WoT will begin to lose it’s player base if they don’t start moving things in a new direction.

TL;DR: tier 10 tanks with no weak spots are forcing same tier players to use premium ammo to damage them. This creates a deficit of credits. The need for credits creates demand for both premium time and premium tanks. The Chrysler K GF is the worst of both worlds no weak spots forces same tier tanks to shoot premium to damage them, while also having low regular ammo pen forces the person with the Chrysler K GF to shoot a lot of premium ammo. However all the recent premium tank releases have 225-232 regular ammo pen, meaning they won’t need premium to pen most Chrysler K GFs. Combine this with the incoming bonds economy (only tier 10 owners can play ranked battles, which gives bonds, that can purchase improved equipment for lower tier tanks) and you create a wall preventing new players from joining, and the necessity of premium time and premium tanks (P2W) drives out veteran players essentially killing the entire user base.

~ 13Disciple

I’m worried for you Wargaming. Read the writing on this wall (of text) and change the outcome before you kill the game.”