WoT – Tankfest 2018 Q&A

Source: Rykoszet

This time, Maksim Chuvalov is getting questioned.

Q: Why was Frontline an event, and not a permanent mode?
A: We wanted to try it out at all. Long have we checked how this idea will be received, eg. on the sandbox. It turned out the mode is worth trying out, and it made the recipients curious. The next step was implementing new mechanics, (9 sq. kilometers, like 9 normal maps), and checking if both the client and server will manage. The tech side was complicated, and we didn’t have time to tune the meta of this kind of gameplay, nor to balance it enough to implement it permanently. This was a very good trial for us, and gave us a lot of valuable feedback and data necessary to fine-tune the mode.

Q: So it’s 100% sure it  will return?
A: Yes, it’s decided. Frontline will make a return, hopefully this year, although we can’t be sure. We want it to be an alternative, but not as something readily available, but maybe in seasons, once a month, or more… Everything is still to be discussed, and we’re sure the concept has a lot of potential. We know about balance (A-D line) or optimization problems, and we’ll focus on those.

Q: Why do you think this event gathers more attention than the others?
A: It’s totally different. We have a lot of players and enormous maps. Creating such a big map is one helluva problem from a gameplay quality perspective. Besides the maps have to be optimized for all the things that happen on them. We also introduced a lot of new mechanics, like repairs, respawns, progression system, battle skills, skill enhancements… It’s probably the most new elements we introduced at the same time, and it worked!

We know what we must fix, and definitely improve the clarity of the rules. It’s good if the players won’t suffer a lot in case of a loss, take revenge on those who destroyed them. This is what kept people in this mode.

Q: Second topic – Polish tanks. What can you tell us about them?
A: The biggest problem were the top tier tanks. That’s why it took us so long to form the final tree. We had a lot of candidates for the low and medium tiers, but the highest were super hard to find, because we didn’t want another clone tree, like part of the Chinese ones.

The tree was supposed to be unique, with memorable gameplay, unlike others. Nevertheless, we’re close to implementing it. It will appear late summer, and have 10 tanks to research in three classes. The tree is logical, and gives an idea of what will await you at later tiers. The meds won’t be super fast, but they will have good alpha damage and armor, which is something the top tiers also have.

Q: Who would you recommend the Polish tanks to (outside of course the interested Poles)?
A: The end of the line will be something like a compact, dynamic superheavy. The small size will help hide from arty, blind fire, or poor aimed shots. The hull will be small, and the turret well armored. It will be possible to hulldown and depress the gun well. It will give a lot of pleasure to players who know how to use the environment. Hills, walls, and ledges will be a help. And of course people who like a high alpha damage will like it. You can’t keep a high DPM all the time, but people with a good timing will love the gun.

Q: You said you didn’t want to introduce clones, like the T-54. Can you tell how you dug out these tanks.  A part of the community thinks it’s important to know.
A: We had a lot of candidates for tiers I to IV. There were a lot of mass produced tanks. It would be the most logical thing to pick the FT-17 for tier I, since it was popular in Poland, but we decided to avoid clones, and thus we began the tree with original Polish tanks. Finding the first four was easy. Medium tanks didn’t enter mass production, there were a few units, or prototypes. The top three tiers are engineering projects of young, talented people, which didn’t even have prototypes or models, not exiting the planning phase. Our historians had to work hard on expeditions to Warsaw and other places in Poland to find the projects and a method to put them together into a gameplay uniform line.

Q: So despite not being built, they are still grounded in reality?
A: Yes, definitely. They are base on real plans and technological prowess of the Polish designers of that time. There are a lot of throwbacks to USSR and German technology, but characteristics that would give advantage in Polish environment were sought after.

Q: How does a tank appear in game?
A: The process is very complex, and depends on what information we have about a tank. In regards to whole nations, our historians are working all the time behind the scenes, and communicate with other historians, museums, and archives all over the world. They have a database of hundreds of tanks of all tiers and nations. Then they try to combine those into a proper tech tree, or at least one branch, or even just single premium/reward tank candidates. Creating a final, playable tree is however a lot more work.

Sometimes we have a tree, but we lack some tanks, just like with the Poles, so we start searching. We make a plan, we contact even more places, look for any sources. At the same time the developers start modeling the first tanks, and the balance dept. gets on with their work, both teams working in sync. After that we get the first tanks models, just plain shapes without textures, but with a working armor and modules. We test their behavior in-game. After that we check their characteristics and start internal test, afterwards giving them out to supertesters. Next the tank goes through the hands of the CCs, who give their opinions. Finally, a tank goes into the public test, and after some final fixes, it gets implemented in the next update.

Q: So are the Polish tanks on the last straight?
A: Yes, the tanks are ready more or less, we’re still finetuning them, so maybe in a month or so they can be introduced on the test server. We also hope that we can make them playable for Gamescom.

Q: Can we make it so that if someone can’t pronounce the name of the tank, it can’t be shot at?
A: That would be completely OP (laughs). But yes, the Polish tank names are long and hard to pronounce. We have the Markowski, Tyszkiewicz, and Lewandowski tanks.

Q: Do you speak Polish?
A: No, I’m from Belarus, but our languages are really similar.

Q: Do new maps often get released with new tech trees?
A: We have a lot of plans for the second half of the year. Yes, we’re working on a new map, thinking about the layout and name. Soon it should appear for tests. It was inspired by the Battle of Studzianki, although we didn’t work with photos and didn’t try to recreate the battlefield due to gameplay balance. The map will be open, lights and meds will feel well there.

It will play somewhat like Prokhorovka, but there will be more building to hide heavy tanks, so arty won’t be able to punish them too hard. The Polish tanks will of course will be able to use their strong points.

Q: What else do you have in plans, besides Polish tanks and maps?
A: Even more maps, some upgraded to HD quality, some completely new. One is known to the people who are interested in the Chinese server. It’s name is Empire’s Border and is for now a CN server exclusive. As it will be upgraded to HD quality on their server, it will be introduced to others. It’s very similar to other maps from that “climate” like Dragon’s Ridge. We want to check if such a map type will work better than in the past.

We’re also ending our work on another map  of which we’re proud – Minsk. After 9 years of work on WoT, we’re finally introducing the map. It’s heavily influenced by the city, but not an exact copy from satellite images. We made that error with Kharkov and Stalingrad, which in turned made them play bad. Nevertheless, the map contains some iconic spots, like the Gorky Park, or the circus.

Q:  I asked about tanks, what about map creation?
A: Maps are even harder than tanks. We got two directions. One is upgrading the visuals, because some were abandoned at patch 1.0 or earlier, and the second one is introducing new ones. With the new engine, making a new map took a lot of time, even up to nine months per map. But with time, we started getting better and better, and we made more complicated maps with less time put into them.

After making a map, a lot of tests need to be done, and a lot of map iterations to be put out. Even a public test won’t show all the bugs, like with the new Fiords version. Some people went there for fun, some for the views, and some just to hose others with gold ammo. Only the public server gave us enough data to fix the map balance wise.

Q: Is it easier to make a new map or redo an older one?
A: It actually takes about the same amount of time. Besides redoing the graphics, a map needs to be adjusted to the new reality. So the old maps are basically redone from scratch. Besides, everything is redone anyway, because the new tech is incompatible with the old. The maps aren’t in any way upgraded automatically, each is done by hand.

Not only the map, but also all the objects on it need to be redone. The gameplay was changed dramatically just on a few maps, but the rest stayed more or less the same. We spent a lot of time so the favorite location would be more similar in gameplay to the old ones. Everything needed to be created and hand checked by the devs.

Q: The Polish map will appear around Gamescom, and the rest?
A: Berlin will appear mid to late fall. We’re working on redoing Pilsen, Kharkov, Highway, we’re making a map based on Stettin, we’re trying to revive Ghost Town, and more mirrored maps. We’re also improving Province and thinking about limiting the available tiers. We hope for all of that to appear later this year.

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27 thoughts on “WoT – Tankfest 2018 Q&A

  1. When I read anything from the Q&A from someone important or a Developer

    after a few questions down just want to HURL into the nearest sick bucket …
    why oh why cannot they ever give a STRAIGHT honest answer? without buckets loads of snake oil political crap

    why cannot they just do what the PLAYERS really want i.e.:- Frontline as a normal part of the game mode
    – we know why don’t we +-0 MM that’s why WG will only do it as 2 or 3 times a year for 10 days only

    after a few questions I seriously just wanted to Urinate down the back of his WG corporate leg

    none of the other online games I play REMOTLY makes me feel like this?
    wonder why

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These questions.. so generic and yearbook, my god. They definitely had the questions before the interview.

    The only question should be: How do you plan on balancing this game going forward because:

    1. Artillery still overpowered as fuck and just too annoying on most maps (especially with xvm focus cancer). On many maps theres literally no cover from arty so unless youre sitting in the back in a bush fapping you just die to them and theres nothing you can do. Stun duration and accuracy needs a major nerf.

    2. Tons of tanks are useless, at basically every tier (Leopard 1, IS4, Pz7, and tons of premium tanks too)

    3. Basically all the old prem tanks are terrible and just totally not competitive at all, even if they have pref mm.

    4. HE mechanic still broken, does way too much damage considering you dont even have to aim.

    5. Still too much RNG on damage and pen, should be +/- 10% not 25%. Shit if theyre afraid of it changing the game just reduce it to 20% and see what happens.

    I’m glad some of the maps are being improved but province should’ve never been re-added, its so bad. Mines still needs work and shouldnt even be possible above tier 8.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. Just nope
      2. tons of *non-Russian tanks* are useless, nothing RU is useless
      3. Yep
      4. Yep, esp arty, I directly hit and did 0 splash damage a t95 and a balanced/non-op/unbaised 907 MEDIUM
      5. Yep, again for non-russian tanks. full bloom ru nigger heavies can snap at 500 m b/c #legit

      Like

  3. Fast heavily armored tanks with high alpha and good gun depression? Guess everyone is going to be playing Polish tanks now.

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  4. Why do you think Frontline gathered so much attention? Could it possibly be because it bypassed the ebola known as 3/5/7?

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      1. As long as you MOVED, arty was not a big issue in FL, but ARTY should never have been allowed in FL since it already had arty and air strikes.

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  5. So. I get that we want balance, but lets look at it from WGs perspective. They need to make money. And in order to do so they have to sell a) prem time, b) credits/ammo, or c) new tanks.

    Prem Tanks are the big moneymaker and if they buffed all the old prems you wouldn’t have to buy a new one!

    We also need to stop calling it Gold Ammo. its not. you can only buy it for credits. So thats another lost revenue stream. People who shoot prem ammo give up profit. Most games have a similar mechanic.

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    1. GOLD ammo is the slang name, U MORON. Yes, WG needs to make money, but old PREMS should not be unplayable. The CDC is unplayable. All WG needs to do is buff the armor so it’s not an auto-pen for HE and buff the gun a bit and it is playable. That won’t stop people buying the Lorraine 40T which is OP as hell. Tanks like the IS4 are UNPLAYABLE. Just buff the upper front plate a bit and it is now playable. I don’t know if WG is incompetent or stupid to not make these little changes so you don’t research a tank like the IS4 or E100 and then can’t play it because it is unplayable.

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  6. Aw well, more or less the same as the stuff they blabbered about in the Q&A session they had on YouTube.
    Let’s hope that they’ll keep their promise of at least mentioning the plans of 3/5/7 “in the coming week” (according to the devs) or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. WG should just wake up, again, like in the Rubicon fiasco.

    They have a gold eggs laying goose in the tank game, money flows in but spent mostly on diversification attempts, all the other projects, all in early money hungry stages or complete failure.

    Cash should be diverted back into the tank game, it will be hard to bring back players but all is possible if the game gets better.

    Devs are not playing the game, supertesters are not doing their job, new tanks are often imbalanced, maps just getting worse, players feel their priced (overpriced!) premium tanks becoing useless. Arty? Silver-Gold ammo? 3-5-7? All the problems have rather simple solutions that evade the WG people, or just being ignored.

    Wake up now before the last hardcore players are gone. My sanction for WG behavior #walletclosed.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. YOU are CLUELESS. GOLD ammo is not a major problem in the game and neither is XVM or powercreep.

        The major problems are 3/5/7 MM, ARTY and MAPS. If WG goes to 5/5/5, nerfs arty and fixes the maps the game would be fucking PERFECT. As it is now, it is still fun and playable, but the maps are frustrating as is MM.

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  8. Wow a great many complainers here.

    Frontline was good. It was difficult to make and they made it sufficiently well that the majority of players (me included) enjoyed it.

    New Polish tanks, each new iteration of new tanks has a degree of power creep. It encourages players to expend money on using free exp. Power creep in games is how companies make money and the servers stay running. Blizzard and World of Warcraft laid the template for this, and WG is doing a fairly straightforward job of following that playbook.

    The last few paragraphs about maps are by far the most interesting. Pilsen and Kharkov were bad maps so I am less interested in them. Highway was decent so having it back will be good.

    As Prokhorovka is in my opinion by far the best map in the game I am pleased to hear that the new map Battle of Studzianki is going to be similar.

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  9. How is it yrs on these stupid russian monkeys can’t create a random map generator? Random map generators were available on Windows 95-based games…….

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  10. oh cmon…what about Prem Ammo changes?? Whats next???
    THATS something what worth be asked near MM, Balance…etc…not how they make maps..-,-

    Like

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