Compiled by TollhouseFrank
CM = CabbageMechanic
TL = TragicLoss
Domo = DomoSapien
MHM = MeatHeadMilitia
What do you wish players could understand about game development?
CM: Probably a typical answer, but I think it’s impossible to truly understand the scope and complexity of software development until you try to do it/support it being done professionally with a deadline. On more specific topics, I think a lot of players in all games, myself included, mistakenly view problems that crop up in areas like Balance and Matchmaking as simple in nature and solution. From the design side, having to project how the implications of a change will affect the entire ecosystem of the game is incredibly complicated, and that’s before you even get down to building the technical solution. I now have a lot of respect for game developers working on these problems in any game.
Ratbat: Not specific to WG but with all folks who have ever worked in dev (including me) is that we would love nothing more than to share how the sausage is made. Anyone who has ever worked in design cannot do their job properly without feedback. Development is a process and often times we enter a very “dark” place where a great idea enters a very scary place where things are broken and not working. At these junctures you either abandon the work or push through because you believe in the vision. This is usually the make-or-break part of the dev process and it usually takes someone who has weathered multiple moments of disillusionment to survive it.
TL: For any consistent update game that is played (PUBG, Overwatch, WoW, and Hearthstone) the game evolves constantly. Game development is never swaths of changes in terms of adjustments to playable characteristics (i.e. hero changes) – nothing is definitive in how it will affect the overall game play, whether negative or positive. Some changes only create short time spans of imbalance due to the saturation of this mechanic in the environment, these eventually balance out over time.
Every time there is a Question and Answer on any of the servers, the complaints come out that questions were ‘dodged’ or that WG is refusing to answer. Can you explain why there might be difficulties in answering some questions?
CM: In the immortal words of Bted quoting Kenny Rogers – “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away.” I will try to offer a decent answer for any question I am asked (even when it gets me in trouble), but I think questions that get “dodged” generally have to do with controversial and sensitive subjects, or long term possibilities that have no immediate path to implementation. In these cases, people either legitimately don’t have an answer because the path forward has not been decided yet, or they cannot share what they do know because the path is not solid enough to walk on – too many things could change at that point to share any information publicly.
What is the relationship between WGNA and the development team like?
CM: Many other NA team members and myself have just returned from a workshop in Minsk. We are building relationships and channels of communication between HQ and the new team and so far I think successfully. In addition, both HQ and NA regionally have taken steps over the last several months to improve the quality and frequency of feedback reporting, I have never felt better about NA players having their voices heard by the development team.
Do you sometimes wish there was an in-house developer who still worked with the main developers, but could by virtue of position, provide a unique NA perspective?
CM: We are fortunate to have Paul Barnett as a Game Director now offering a Western voice and perspective to the development process. He is English, but I won’t hold that against him. He definitely understands the NA player perspective quite well.
What’s on your personal wish list of tanks to be added to the game?
CM: Like many NA players, I would like to see a tech tree M60 variant, a Sheridan with the non-boxy rear end, and cool later era vehicles with recoiless rifles like the M50 Ontos.
Ratbat: I was the producer on WOT Blitz. You don’t want me to answer this question. (-cough- DRACULA -cough-)
Are you truly happy with the game as it is right now?
CM: I try to view complacency as a mortal enemy, so I’m never really truly happy with anything. That said, I think right now World of Tanks is a great game with some significant flaws, but I do believe that we are making the proper course corrections to recognize and address them.
TL: I am a large proponent of evolving with games. Personally, I’m pretty satisfied overall with the game in the current state, but I understand the pain points and frustrations. I’ve seen changes made over the last 5 years of the game and generally being on the dev side of things I am excited to see what’s to come of the future of Tanks.
What is your favorite Toy Story Movie?
CM: I want to say the original, but right now it’s probably Toy Story 3. I’m at the stage in my life right now where concepts like letting the past go and making efforts to create magic for younger people speak more to me.
TL: I mean I really enjoyed the third one. I almost felt like the first two didn’t age well. The most recent definitely hits the growing up through Pixar movies.
Domo: They were all great but Toy Story 3, hands-down. I may have shed some manly tears the first time I watched it… and every time after that.
How well do you enjoy the Foch B compared to the other Tier 10 TD’s?
TL: I think it’s an interesting TD. I don’t see it much anymore, but it can for sure pack a 1 (or 6) hit KO on a lot of tanks. It’s a great assassin as well as a fantastic death-blow tank. It’s a bit limited by the Wall-e coupola on the left side, but in general is decently armored and mobile outside of that.
Domo: Well I can tell you I do much better in the Foch B than the Foch 155. Having basically the same gun as the AMX 50B with six shots gives you the potential to occasionally burn down an enemy tank’s entire health bar. It can be pretty situational due to the limited gun traverse and awkward hitbox but play it smart and you can get some pretty devastating results.
Some of us think that your parent company – Wargaming – does not care about the game or the player base. What is your opinion on this?
CM: I understand many of the common frustrations with the game and shared some of them as a player, but I believe the product team truly cares about the game and its long-term future in NA; I would not have moved to Texas if I felt otherwise.
Ratbat: First off we are Wargaming. I don’t like to create distinctions between regional and HQ because what ultimately unites all of us are the games we work on. Now, our job is to make sure the NA voice is heard and that our feedback is part of the larger dataset that the teams working on our games have to consider. We’re working on more efficient and effective ways to share this feedback to the devs.
Is WG working on anything to help renew the NA servers?
CM: Specifically right now on the Community end – getting the return of Tournaments to a place where we are happy, revitalizing the Community Contributor program, and trying to create spaces for people to learn about and discuss all the complexities of the game without too much background noise. Generally and longer term, anything, everything, and we’re taking suggestions.
Ratbat: This is pretty much the core mission of the team. I’m personally coming at this as an outsider given I have the least amount of battles on tanks compared to the rest of the team. I have a lot of “why” questions that I’m noting on the way to my first 1000 battles. Like why do we do this or that, things that folks who have thousands and thousands of battles may be overlooking. The success of any game is its ability to attract new players, keep the current ones engaged, and bring back those who have stopped playing. Each one requires a different set of strategies. We work with the dev team on long term features to address all three but we will also come up with things on the publishing side with the tools we can bring to bear and I want to community to be part of this. I want to see if there’s something the NA team can partner with the community on and build from the ground up. I had the pleasure of doing this with the Blitz community where we tried to support the player-driven clan wars initiative. There were folks who built web tools, we got them information from the dev team, we supported the event with prizing and promotion through our channels. If you’ve got fun stuff you’d like to partner up with us on let us know and we’ll see if we can make it happen together.
For those that live in/near the Austin area and want to apply to work for WGNA, how do we do so?
CM: You can find any job listings we have currently at https://wargaming.com/en/careers/
Do you lock horns with the main office regarding their public relations skills?
CM: In this area I would say that we as a global company are working to improve our processes communally and are taking the appropriate steps to do so.
After all the shuffle of the move from California to Texas, what has been the most rewarding part of your new position, CabbageMechanic, and what has been the most difficult part that you have had to deal with?
CM: The most rewarding part is always the players who recognize me in game and have something nice to say, the most difficult part is getting arty focused by the ones who recognize me on the other team. In all seriousness though, I am fortunate to work with a great group of folks in Gnomon, Domosapien, KRZYBoop, 1984BigBrother, TragicLoss, Jambijon, and our Social Media team, and the most rewarding part is watching and helping the newer staff members grow in skillset and confidence.
Has anyone dared to challenge Meathead’s beard?
MHM: I’m an equal beard opportunist. If you’re growing the scruff or have a beard down to your belly, you’re cool in my book…those smooth skins though…you need to assess them a little longer before figuring out if they are good or bad.
Who cut your hair, TragicLoss?
TL: Raven’s Row Salon. Great Place to get your hair done in Austin! Getting it colored on the 28th
Can you provide for us numbers (in percents) of premium rounds shot at each tier? If this is not possible, can you explain why?
CM: We do not have current numbers, but I believe we could file a request for that information. I’d have to see about getting something like that done, but for an immediate answer the ability to purchase Premium Ammunition for Gold was removed with the ultimate goal of making it possible to change – so this is a feature that is already under a lot of internal scrutiny.
NOTE: I (Private_Public) have officially put in a request with WGNA to do what they need to do in order to get these numbers if there is any way to get them.
Instead of the usual tank sales for Canada Day, we were given the British Sherman. Is there any way to get the Grizzly (Canadian Sherman) in this game for Canadians?
CM: The Firefly was issued to Canadian units (and some were built from Grizzlys in Canada), but I certainly understand the Canadian desire to get a real Grizzly in the game. I think we have a standing ask on that, but not everyone is as excited about more Sherman variants as the NA server. TL;DR: Yes it can happen, but I can’t confirm if or when it will at this time (but we will make your case).
How is it possible to get the ISU-130?
CM: The ISU-130 on NA is (currently) reserved for players who have made a spectacular contribution to the community or otherwise deserve something extraordinary. I am only personally aware of two (though I think there are more) – Lert, who wrote several truly excellent guides in the good ol’ days, and another long time community member who through no fault of his own, but at least two hurricanes worth, was unable to attend a Let’s Battle Tour event last year despite paying for trips in advance. This could change in the future, and we will definitely keep an eye out for deserving candidates.
Is there a possibility that we can get Frontline as a permanent game mode with rotating tiers every month or few weeks?
CM: The exact future of Frontline is not determined, but I can say with confidence that the Development Team fully appreciates how well-received the mode was (especially on NA), and that it will return with better optimization (initially most likely as a rotating mode).
Once Soccer mode came out, Sheriff accounts were broken – when trying to find a battle, they could not join a battle. Will Sheriff accounts get fixed? Also, will we have more Sheriff accounts on the server for the kill-a-Sheriff mission for 250g?
CM: Yes, yes, and yes. Once we have confirmed they are fixed we will move forward with plans to rebuild the program and have regular or semi-regular periods where Sheriff accounts are playing at specific times and tiers to be hunted by players. Right now we are aiming to do such an event over the 20th WG Anniversary in August.
When will we see WG League again?
CM: At this moment it seems unlikely that E-Sports will return in its previous form in the foreseeable future. That said, we are trying to explore new opportunities for endgame competitive play via tournaments and cross-regional play like the recent FAME vs. MAHOU showmatch.
Are there any plans by WGNA to help re-invigorate the clan scene?
1984BB: Yes, the first thing we (WOTNA) did was FAME vs MAHOU and we are currently planning a “Clan Playoff” after Season 9 and more fun stuff to come.
Are there any plans to bring back low-mid tier clan content to help smaller clans?
1984BB: Yes, I don’t have anything to announce yet, but we are looking at ways to give smaller/more casual clans more things to do and benefit from.
Domo: Jambijon and I are also working to start running more monthly Clan Tournaments that will be segmented by clan rating to give small clans a better shot at winning and participating in endgame content.
What are the current plans on pref-MM mechanics and vehicles?
CM: The article on this should be published by the time these answers go out, but in short: We heard you (the Community) loud and clear, we apologize for the previous announcement. Preferential Matchmaking is not going anywhere for now. Starting with the KV-5, it is likely the under-performing Pref MM vehicles will receive buffs, but not to the same level as what was previously planned.
Is the KV-5 rebalance still going through?
CM: See Pref MM answer above, but basically it won’t lose Pref MM, but it also likely won’t be buffed to the same level as previously proposed.
Are there any plans to modify the matchmaking at all ?
CM: Yes, Matchmaker development is ongoing. No details or timeline at this time because nothing is solidified yet – but the Tier 8 experience is a priority.
Is WG planning on anything to help fix map ping spamming?
CM: We are issuing sanctions for this so please submit replays in a ticket if you come across it and would like us to take action. As far as a feature solution, not in the immediate future.
Can we expect anything special for Black Friday this year?
CM: It’s a bit far away for details, but I’m confident that we’ll have something going.
Could you lend the community any insight on what the future holds for TankRewards.com?
CM: We’ve run into more technical hurdles than we initially thought we would, but we are still actively working to bring Tank Rewards back.
Will there be a return of Scavenger Hunt contests like we had in the past?
CM: It’s a cool idea, if we find the right opportunity I think so.
Will we get more marathons for premiums like the Progetto 46?
Why does the dog not bark anymore on the Rudy?
CM: This is the question to lead with if you want to start a fight in the WG CS department. This is something of an infamous piece of World of Tanks lore, and one that our previous WoT Support Specialist Saffr0n spent a lot of time trying to unravel. Every time a patch comes out Support gets flooded with tickets saying the dog barking is broken, this always occurs in the period before most major modpacks update, and as best as we can determine the dog has never barked outside of the garage without mods. To this day many players will swear that it did work for Sixth Sense without mods once upon a time but was broken at some point. Maybe our devs can answer this question once and for all, but I have yet to see definitive proof that the barking for Sixth Sense occurred without a modded client at any point, even though it is a commonly held belief (even among WG employees). If you have such proof, send it!
Compiled by TollhouseFrank