We recently had a stream featuring a developer QnA here. Please find below the English translated transcript with all the info brought up and enjoy the read!:
Key Notes from Big Stream with Devs & Bloggers
We wanted to give players a taste of this “classic” game for quite a while.
The client is beyond old (~9 years), it’s not optimized and doesn’t support modern technology. Not surprisingly, it went down some 30 minutes after we launched an event. The team spent an entire day reanimating it. We added extra server capacity and it should be all good now. Everyone should be able to enjoy the “classic” tanks: being one shot from arty, burning tanks, etc.
We’re excited to hear your thoughts on Classic. We didn’t launch it purely as a fun April Fool’s Day prank. It’s an experiment and a testing ground for us to check several ideas (e.g., limiting the amount of Gold) and we want to hear what you like and don’t like to decide on our next steps here.
What’s next for artillery? During the previous stream, you told that should changes prove inefficient you would reverse arty to its previous stage. It’s believed to fail in fulfilling the role you designed for it and became even more toxic and damaging because of stun mechanics.
We aren’t going to remove stun mechanics altogether. It would lower its damage per battle, while also increasing damage per shot. Having it with stun in-game keeps players from grouping into packs and being inactive. It forces them to spread, change positions. Essentially, it makes the overall experience livelier due to its psychologically discouraging effect, stun and damage. That’s how it fulfils its design purpose. It needs to be toxic, the question is “how toxic is too toxic.” That’s what we’re working on atm.
Instead of removing stun, we’re working on improving it. The 3-step stun revision plan has been revealed already and will soon get tested: https://worldoftanks.eu/en/news/general-news/SPG-rebalance/ .
The first step is lowering the effect of stun on vehicles that are already stunned: any further stun for them is going to be reduced by ½. Simultaneously, we plan to change minimum stun duration and the distribution of damage from the splash depending on the distance from the tank to the centre of the explosion. Should this first step work, we’ll proceed to the second one and then there’s the third and most drastic step that involves returning AP shells. The latter, however, will work differently than regular AP. The plan is to give players choice between damage that’s lower, covers a larger area and has splash effect enabling damaging several targets or an AP damage that is likely to send an enemy back in the Garage but also has higher risks of missing the target.
Timeline for revision: Step 1 is coming to an end atm. If all goes well, we’ll delay steps 2 and 3 until further changes are necessary for the balance of artillery.
The only issue that’s particularly toxic about stun is the ability to continuously stun an opponent and thus make them useless for their team for an entire battle. That’s what we plan to fix with the upcoming revision.
When we introduced stun, we lowered the single-shell damage for arty. The thing is that now stun stops a vehicle thus increasing a chance to get another stun, which in turn leads to artillery inflicting the same amount of damage per battle as before the introduction of stun. The difference is the inability to one shot a vehicle. This total damage per battle needs to be lowered for arty. The inability to keep an opponent continuously stunned should help with this.
Will you revise personal battle missions simultaneously with arty rebalance?
It’s impossible to do those two things simultaneously. First, we need to collect stats on rebalanced artillery for at least four weeks of stats and a further week of analysis and then some additional time to change mission conditions (not much here). So, the overall turnaround is one update in the positive scenario and two in negative.
Will you reduce the number of artillery per battle?
No, we won’t reduce the number of SPGs per battle. Statistically, 10% of battles are played without arty at all, around 30% have one SPG, another 30% with two SPGs, and another 30%– with three SPGs. Let’s say we limit SPGs to two per battle, then there will be zero battles with no arty, around 10% with one artillery and the rest with two artillery. It would be worse than what we have right now: an average of less than 2 artillery per battle.
We’re also looking closely at Ranked Battles and there is usually two artillery per battle there. The mode is slower and more fit for arty, so we’re fine with it. However, it led to changes in hit maps and battle “choreography.” If you look at how a Random and a Ranked battle unfolds on the very same maps, the difference is drastic.
Are plans to tackle team damage issues, both involving arty and in general?
We tried it disabling team damage in Frontline and now plan larger testing. If it works out, chances are high that team damage will be disabled for good in the 2nd half of 2019.
Gold shell and ammo prices. You promised to change a year ago, yet nothing happened.
Within around two months, we’ll test Gold shell rebalances in Sandbox. We’ll start with their technical parameters and then revise its pricing. If core gameplay with revised parameters satisfies players and us (i.e., +/-2 battles are comfortable), we’ll continue with pricing.
The ammo rebalance will lead to battle setup changes. How will you regulate it?
First, we need to see how they’ll change. That’s what we’ll do in Sandbox. The testing, as we see it now, will feature either across all tiers or IV-X. We liked the results from Supertest, which is why we’re proceeding with a bigger testing phase now.
However, from experience, Supertest results aren’t always representative. Testers don’t have time to digest changes. The very same people playing in very same conditions for a longer period of time often have different, sometimes completely opposite judgements on changes. So, let’s wait for bigger testing and get back to this topic after it.
What will you do with tanks who become insufficient when played without Gold shells?
When rebalance occurs, it’s likely to involve all shells, not just Gold ones, as well as armour, ammo group, and economics. It’s going to be a set of comprehensive changes. We’ll offer players a setup we have in mind on Sandbox or during an event, like Classic, and listen to the reaction to the change.
Maps Blacklist and returning old maps.
Blacklist is in the finishing development stage atm. With blacklisting, you’ll be able to choose one map that you don’t want to play on. This way you won’t get it. If you’re playing in Platoon and your Commander blacklisted a map, you won’t get it as well.
We see how positive players are about Frontline. It needs more new maps. That’s why we’re focused on adding new rather than reworking old. The only exception is Kharkov.
- We’re reworking map collision models to fix the bug when a player can damage an enemy tank by literally shooting in the air.
- “Jumpy aim” bug – when targeting a hill that has nothing behind it, your aim would go upwards or remain where it should be, yet a shell would go upwards. There is work towards fixing this.
Map blacklist can’t happen with the current mm setup. So first we need to revise matchmaking, which is already happening (tests in EU and Asia). The global mm revision is scheduled for April 3rd. It’s going to be a seamless switch, no patches or extra downloads for players.
The revised matchmaker should improve the experience for Premium tanks with preferential matchmaking and mid-tiers (VI and VII), provide for more even team setups, and more.
Mods & Anonymizer
The mod that allows players to see your nickname and stats – We have a concept for fixing it. One variant here is similar to the Fog of War on the Global Map. However, we need to study the aftermath of the case when all players choose to anonymize their name and stats. We’ll be working on it and release a certain version of the solution this year. We can’t confirm that it’s going to be final.
We aren’t planning to block XVM.
Commander’s Camera, collision model, force multiplier factor and deflection shift for sniper aim – are all in backlog. Small improvements require just as much time and effort as big ones, especially in terms of QA. Every improvement has several interdependencies and can have a domino effect. So, we need to make sure we aren’t breaking something bigger with a small fix to something else.
Prohibited mods: Ban waves will continue. Yes, we view them as an efficient method to reduce the number of cheaters. We’re also considering a comprehensive program solution to make using mods technically impossible. For example, signing for mods, inability to install mods without an approval, closing battle interface. We’ll be testing these, whether publicly or in silent mode.
The current client architecture doesn’t allow to fully close it.
Voice chat in-game
We didn’t work on it in the last few years, because of two things: 1. A lot of third-party solutions came to be so there’s a choice. 2, we have fully outsourced this service to a provider: Vivox.
The old eSports format simply didn’t work. World of Tanks gameplay isn’t fit for eSports, and it can only exist through huge investments that don’t pay off. We limited competitive to regional 3×3 and 7×7 tournaments and Clan Skirmishes. If we see that this regional tournament ecosystem is booming and creating the necessary foundation to re-establish a pro league, we’ll work on it.
When we started working on eSports, we chose to do it ourselves: organize events, manage contacts, etc. We simply didn’t know how to work with big eSports companies. Eventually, we started working with the likes of ESL and StarLadder. We watched the performance for quite some time and realized that it’s not growing natively and would only exist through investment, providing niche entertainment.
We accepted that we chose the wrong way initially and made a difficult decision to close eSports division, re-channelling recourses and money into improving core gameplay.
We are looking into an option of solo eSports within player personal achievements. Here we worked with Rostelekom, launched Tank Aces, Blogger Battle. We see potential in such an approach and will continue working in this direction.
eSports broadcasts that don’t have paid traffic and marketing can’t compete with Random Battles streams from key streamers.
Tournament functionality remains and is being worked on together with key steamers. We received feedback in August. The technical task was prepared and handed over to developers. Currently in backlog, we haven’t started on it yet because there are higher priority improvements.
Wheeled vehicles in Random Battles & Frontline
We’re working to adjust Frontline to wheeled vehicles and swift Light Tanks. Changes will be rolled out to a separate cluster for testing. Should they work out, we’ll introduce them for all other clusters.
For Random Battles, there are not enough stats for top-tier wheeled tanks yet. We’ll continue gathering them and watch closely how the battle duration and wheeled vehicles ratio in battles change. The SPG rebalances in 9.18 taught us to accurately measure the response of different audience segments (in-game behaviour and stats) and approach each change iteratively. Now we have a sound monitoring system that allows us to track how wheeled vehicles perform in-game and how they affect gameplay overall. Should there be an imbalance, we’ll step in to fix it.
Wheeled vehicles won’t get nerfed until we gather enough stats to prove it’s necessary. The charge mechanics will not be brought back.
Rebalances of Type 4 Heavy, the Type 5 Heavy, and the FV4005
Both Japanese heavies will have the stats of their top guns (14-cm and 15-cm) tweaked:
- Rounds will increase in armour penetration (from 249 mm to 252 mm for the standard shell and from 282 mm to 290 mm for the special shell).
- The damage of the 15-cm cannon basic HE round will decrease from 1,100 to 900 points, and the special round will change from HE to HESH
- Armour penetration will increase to 192 mm and damage will decrease from 1,400 to 750 points.
- The top Japanese heavy will become more mobile, gaining 4 km/h in the top forward speed, 3 km/h in top reverse speed, and 3 degrees in hull traverse rate.
- Its specific power will grow, and gun dispersion on the move and while turning will decrease.
These stat adjustments are to lessen the HE damage share in the overall output of the top Japanese heavies, without revising these vehicles’ basic concept. The changes will make the 15-cm gun less efficient, especially against high-tier adversaries. At the same time, the alternate gun will fare better, in part because of the general changes to the parameters of the Tier X tank, and players will have a more substantial choice between the two playstyles
- The top forward speed will decrease (from 35 km/h to 32 km/h), and the top reverse will drop from 12 km/h to 8 km/h.
- The same will happen to the engine power (down to 850 hp from 950 hp) and the hull traverse rate (down to 26 degrees from 30 degrees).
- The gun itself will have less accuracy (with dispersion upped from 0.38 to 0.42) and will take longer to aim (3.7 seconds vs 3 seconds).
With these adjustments implemented, the FV 4005 will retain its key feature—HESH shells with high armour penetration allowing for colossal alpha—with the overall effectiveness of the vehicle decreasing only slightly. The FV 4005 will continue to be a mighty combatant able to take out an enemy with a single strike, yet it will need more time to prepare that shot.
- Rebalance of perks that grew outdated and/or never were really popular will involve either replacing them with other perks or changing how a perk works.
- Granting six sense to all tank commanders by default
- Ability to store and pass over Crew experience
- Redesign of Crew UI
- Most likely, removal of Barracks, if it proves possible
We’re leaning towards leaving just one Commander for a tank who’ll represent an entire crew. However, it’s just a concept as of now. Right now, we don’t have an answer on how to rework and reimburse players who poured money and time into training Crew members.
This was designed to avoid storing all data on player’s crews and tanks, which is pricy and won’t be in high demand.
High-level content. What to do when you finished the game? (researched and unlocked and upgraded every tank to top modifications)
Within two years, we’ll present something that would satisfy those who’ve “finished” the game.
At the same time, we’re working on evolving Clan Wars metagame (added Alliances). We have a “Game of Thrones”-ish idea for it that is in the works, too.
The reworked Ranked Battles will become a regular event mode:
- A new system of ranks
- Experience will be calculated differently (and if this new system for experience works it’ll make its way to Random Battles)
- New rewards for most efficient players
- More opportunities to spend bonds
Following the next backend Shop update, players will be able to buy tanks with Bonds. There will be no sales for Bonds consumables. There are plans for alternative ways to earn Bonds.
What tanks are going to get nerfed? What buffed?
We need to test ammo rebalances first. All vehicle changes depend on this test.
Historical Battles; will their return?
Soon we’ll launch a historical event built around WWII. It’ll feature PvE.
“Challenges” – Chain mission events.
Current missions within “Challenge” events offer near perfect balance:
- Highly skilled players succeed in missions and get a new premium tank for free
- Average players make certain progress in missions and buy a premium at a lower price
- Those who want to buy it, buy it right away at full price
- “Mastery meter” – There’ll be a visual “mastery meter” that a player could have on their vehicle. Not in 2019
- Training Room for one person – No, as it adds just as much load on the server as a regular battle.
- Testing a Premium tank before purchasing it – no such plans
- Server replays – not in the nearest future, they’re in development but the progress is non-existent. Server-side issue: Every server update efficiently wipes all replays, and we need to figure out what to do with it. Client-side issue: To replay a past battle, vehicles and map geometry should be exactly the same as they were when the battle occurred, otherwise they’ll be odd bugs.
- Mechanic to restore vehicles that get stuck or turn over – Not a massive issue; will return to it after resolving the issue with friendly fire. We’ll consider making an indicator to inform teammates in the team list.
- No voice chat in Random Battles
- Why fun modes aren’t fun? – We were learning to make PvE. The two Halloween modes helped us with it. We didn’t intend to make it grindy, we are just making steps towards making solid PvE.
- We’re working on Battle Royale mode.
- 3D customization – It’s pricy and time-consuming, but we’ll continue to add new sets.
- Rebalances for Tiers VI–VIII – Ammo rebalances first, then we proceed with these. The revised mm should improve the experience for Tiers VI-VIII: they won’t be matched to the bottom of the list so often.
- Battle of Bloggers – It’ll return again but in a slightly different format
- No changes to chat and friend lists in 2019
- Will +/-25% get removed? – No.