Anton Pankov, World of Tanks Product Director interview, April 27th. Translated from Russian and corrected from https://www.championat.com/cybersport/article-4025253-anton-pankov-world-of-tanks-budet-zhit-ochen-dolgo-primerno-10-let.html Remember, sharing is caring, dev Q&As don’t happen very often!
- The game has a lot of vehicles. But are tanks of new nations planned in 2020? What nations were left without attention? Or are all tank-wielding countries already represented in the game?
– Large, medium and close to their size military powers in the game are already represented, after all, tanks in the Second World War were a kind of luxury, and not just a means of transportation. All that we could collect – signature, famous and not quite famous tanks we have already implemented. There are many other nations – Swedish (?), Hungarian, Spanish. Therefore, we are looking towards the multinational trees – Pan-Asian, European. But there are no specific plans for this year. New tanks will be released, but within the framework of existing nations.
Why did you launch the 12th server in the Russian cluster of World of Tanks ?
– To handle the load. In addition, we had certain test goals. We can periodically include it depending on the total load on the cluster.
The game has a lot of turbo battles that end in 3-4 minutes. Why is that? Don’t you think that there were much fewer such battles before World of Tanks 1.0?
It doesn’t seem like that. This is not related to 1.0. The increase or decrease in the number of turbos is associated with the meta of the game, that is, with the advent, relatively speaking, of better tanks. And in absolute terms it cannot be said that there are a lot of them. It’s just that such battles are much more memorable, like arty one shots or something else, therefore it seems that this is a directly widespread phenomenon. In fact, we never had such a problem en masse, if you look at the statistics. We understand that in the eyes of a player, turbo battles are very off-putting. It’s difficult to deal with turbos, because they are committed by players, this is part of their behavior, and until we figured out how to do it.
Most players prefer to play at 8th, or at best at 9th tier. Why did tier 10s become less popular among players?
– This is the concept of the game. These are unprofitable credit-wise tanks. That is, in order to play them, you need a lot of spare credits. The last tier of premiums that is used to farm silver reliably is tier 8. Therefore, players tend to concentrate at this tier.
What is missing in the game right now?
– At the moment, the game has enough. We have modes for any group of audiences, entertainment of any format for every taste. The game is technically stable, but we are not going to stop there: we constantly have new ideas, new stories are born, various battle modes, new tanks, etc. over the past three years, we have added a lot of things functionally, so you can’t say that something is missing. You always want to have more, but in general the game is now self-sufficient.
Why won’t you simply remove damage RNG? Supposedly, if a tank says that its weapon deals 400 damage, then 400 damage will always come out, and not 320, 350 …
– Because we think that the game should have a certain random effect, normalization or scatter effect damage. +-25, so that’s why it was initially implemented. Over the past years, we have been convinced that this is the absolutely correct position. We are not Counter-Strike, so there is a certain share of probability. This adds a twist to the game.
Will there ever be servers without artillery in the game? Or a server where only heavy and medium tanks will play?
– To date, we have no plans for anything like this. Perhaps they will appear in the future. Maybe there will be experiments on this topic. However, so far we are not working on anything like this.
How will you handle the 10th anniversary? What will players get for their loyalty to the tanks?
– Our game marks 10 years this year. Are there many games in the world that can boast such a respectable age and which at the same time remain cool and popular with players?
On our anniversary we will try to make many pleasant surprises for the “tankers”. They will take part in a large-scale event and recall the most vivid and interesting moments in the World of Tanks over a ten-year history, as well as receive pleasant prizes and gifts for this.
From April to September, we will hold in the game a global event called “Decades”. It, in turn, will consist of a series of in-game events – only five stages, each of which will cover a two-year period of the game’s history and will be filled with its surprises and unique artifacts.
The first stage has already started on April 22. Its feature is that the legendary general chat has returned to the game for a week. Right now you can go wish the enemy success in battle!
Then there will be a lot of interesting things – along with completely new features of the “tankers” are waiting for the so-called gaming comebacks. And all this, of course, will be accompanied by gifts – not only in the game, but also beyond.
Players complain about wheeled tanks, they say, they fly on the map and do not allow to play calmly. What will happen to them in the future? Don’t you think they make WoT unbalanced?
– We are going to nerf wheeled tanks and make corrections. We plan to show the changes either within the framework of the Sandbox, or during the general test – immediately, as soon as everything is ready.
The game has a lot of irrelevant tanks, which few people ever play. Can you name the tanks that are not popular among players? And why is this happening – today the tank is popular, and the day after tomorrow it is already gathering dust in the garage?
– For people who are familiar with e-sports and, in principle, with today’s competitive games, there is such a thing as a meta: these are the characters, tanks, abilities, weapons that are popular with players. Naturally, over time, this set changes because new weapons appear, new tanks, they change the balance – after all, the tanks just introduced into the game are always more interesting, because they are less predictable, their strengths and weaknesses are still poorly understood, etc. So there have always been more or less popular tanks – it lasts from the moment the game arose.
Will there be an opportunity in the game to communicate with allies through voice communication? And how do you plan to implement the function?
– For 15 people, we do not plan to introduce anything in terms of voice communications, primarily because there will be a mess. We do not believe that 15 players in random battles are able to communicate normally with each other.
What is the probability that the Tanker’s Day will be cancelled?
– We are preparing for this event. But if the situation is unfavorable, then we will not jeopardize either employees or visitors. And besides, we are conducting it together with the city authorities, the Minsk administration in the first place. We are constantly in touch with them. Closer to the date will be seen. We consider different formats of holding.
You said that few players use the anonymizer. Why do you think so?
– Because it is a very narrow-minded, narrowly focused thing – because the player’s nickname, his game statistics and achievements are unique, not everyone wants to hide them, this is firstly. Secondly, there is a banal reason: we do not have the best settings interface – maybe just not everyone can find this function. However, in fact, so many videos have been released about the anonymizer, and so many times it has been said about it that finding it in principle is quite easy. There was a request – done. Well-known tank bloggers are very grateful to us for this option.
Was there any thought to reduce the amount of artillery in battle? At least two? And then the players complain: they say that they do not receive damage from tanks, only arty.
– We answered this question during a big stream with developers, I will quote the answer. Why are there still three artilleries per game? This is due to the requirements of the matchmaker. In order for the game to meet battles without artillery, either with one or with two, the upper limit must be equal to three vehicles. If the upper limit is reduced, for example, to two, then in the game there will be battles with only two artilleries, there will be no other battles at all. This will lead to a decrease in diversity, as well as a decrease in overall interest in the gameplay.
What is the point of players exhausting themselves in ranked battles?
– This is the main competent mode. Firstly, you can play for awards, secondly, to show how cool you are, and thirdly, at the top ranks there is actually a balance in skill – that is, not directly according to statistics, but it becomes clear: if people get to the top ranks that means they play well.
You abandoned the idea, which was that base shells do more damage than gold ones. So why in the end was this scrapped?
– We did not abandon it: we tested this option, realized that it does not meet the current needs of the game, and put it on the table. We will continue to test.
Why did you need to divide the tanks into collector tanks?
“This is due to putting tank trees in order.” Beginners still come to the game, there are a lot of them. And the trees in the game are very confusing, massive, “branched”, especially Soviet and German. They need to be simplified. In addition, as noted in the question above, the game has a lot of irrelevant tanks, which no one plays. And at the same time, they are owned by a huge number of players, that is, they simply cannot be taken away. Therefore, we decided to cut all these old tanks from trees, call them collectible, make them accessible to everyone, not just for the reason of grinding through them, but just for purchase.
Why are players banned in the game?
– For any violation of our rules. For unsportsmanlike behavior, insults, the use of prohibited modifications, toxicity, teamkills. You can see our rules, there are a lot of things.
Explain clearly and briefly, especially to those who were in the game recently, what will happen with Equipment and Crew Skill Rework.
– Briefly, the update is big. I’ll try to explain.
We want to make the skill system more diverse and varied. This will make it possible on each tank to use several sets of skills for a different style of play, and make their effect on the battle more noticeable. We decided to abandon complex schemes that made interaction with the crew uncomfortable: this includes the skill levels, rate of grinding the crew skills and a different number of tankers in different vehicles.
Now, instead of different crew members with their specialties and skills, a single entity will be attached to the tank – the crew. The crew will have a grinded level, for each level skill points will be awarded, which can be invested in one of 25 skills, divided into 5 specialties. Having invested 30 points in one specialty, it will be possible to unlock a special powerful ability – ultimate.
The Sixth Sense will become an universal skill – accessible to all crews from the first level, but it can be improved.
The crew will be attached to the nation and the class of tanks, of course, you can change which class the crew belongs to, but not the nation. Before going into battle, the crew will need to be “put” on the tank for which it is trained, or on the premium tank of the corresponding nation and class.
All unique crew members will become instructors. These are special crew members that will allow you to get bonus points for certain skills. Up to 4 instructors can be added to each crew, but for this the crew will need to be trained to an appropriate rank.
Having grinded the crew to the maximum, level 75, the player will be able to increase his rank, as well as add an additional instructor to the crew, train the crew on new tanks and receive discounts on various actions with the crew, such as changing the skill set.
All crew members who are in the tanks at the time of conversion will pass on their experience to the crew, which will appear on this machine automatically. Five skills in the old system will be approximately equal to the crew of the 75th level, and experience over the 5th skill will immediately increase the rank of the crew. If at the time of conversion the tankers were trained for 100% specialty or more and were in the barracks, then their experience can be transferred to the crews of the corresponding nation to choose a player.
In addition, we want to add new types of equipment to the game. They will allow the “tankers” to customize their tank to their own style of play, instead of constantly installing standard modules. In addition, we will reduce the cost of modules at low and mid tiers of tanks, so that players can grind branches more comfortably.
New types of equipment that will appear in the game will be aimed at improving the set of characteristics useful for different classes and roles of tanks. All equipment will be divided into 4 types – mobility, firepower, survival and intelligence (recon). Depending on the role of the tank, slots for installing equipment will be assigned to one of these types. If a player installs a certain type of equipment in the advisory slot, he will receive a bonus to the characteristics that this equipment gives. For tanks from tiers 1 to 3, the number of slots for equipment will be reduced to facilitate the beginners mastering the basic game mechanics.
During the conversion, all current equipment will remain installed on tanks or stored in stock. The cost of current equipment will not change, but we will improve the characteristics of some types of equipment.
Why do you change low-tier vehicles – do you raise some in tier, lower the tier or even simply redo tech tree vehicles? What can you say to the players who received these news negatively. They believe that in this way you decided to kill the fun tanks.
– We were told this throughout the entire existence of the game. Raising or lowering the level of performance is part of the balance. In the past, fan-loved tanks from low tiers were reworked, starting from Hotchkiss or Hellcat and ending with FV304 and SU-26 and others. These tanks have stayed in the game, are and will always continue to exist. This is nothing special.
How long do you think your project will live? As they say, nothing lasts forever. But in this case, the game seems unsinkable.
– Tanks is really a very strong game, a phenomenal, whole project genre. It will live happily ever after. I think that about 10 years in the active stage and further, further, further. As long as people play them, they will live.