A Q&A was held on the 22nd of May for the Asian server, during which the questions from the players were answered by Maxim Chuvalov (WoT Publishing Director) and Andrey Bilteskiy (WoT Creative Director)
A summary of the most important news:
Halftracks? No, we don’t have any such plans, as they were mostly infantry support vehicles. We think that they would be too weak, and the gameplay would be painful. They aren’t as fast as LTs, nor well-armed. Maybe they’ll have their niche in future PvE modes.
Will more wheelies get added, any plans? We are researching wheeled vehicles for different nations, eg. the UK. We have plans to add new ones, but not this year. We are turning our attention to British wheelies, because the Brits, among few, have tried to put heavy armament on such a platform. The French ones are aggressive spotters, but this time we’ll try something different.
Each year we have plans to add a lot of new machines, but we aren’t physically capable to do so, thus some go to the “storage”. From time to time we peek inside and pull out something.
Permanent PvE modes? No, we don’t have such plans. We’re still learning and gaining experience in PvP modes, but not PvE. Before we add something permanently, we want to make it good.
Will the experience in improving AI for PvE modes be used for developing bots on the latino and aussie servers? PvE bots are simplified PvP bots, which we do use. PvE bots are more rigid, they use predetermined actions, and PvP bots try to analyze their environment and adjust to the current situation, eg. by taking cover when in danger. In general, our IT department is getting better, thus our PvP bots are too.
Will historical battles return? We tried it, and it was a disaster. Road to Berlin is the mode into which it’ll evolve. The main reason for the failure of historical battles was that nobody wanted to play with a Pz. III when they could use a Tiger, or a BT-7 when an IS was available.
Will Japanese TDs be added into the game? Yes, they are currently in development, but there’s nothing to look forward to this year. We are looking through the archives, but there’s not much. We are conscious that the community wants them. When there is some info, we will share it.
Will smoke grenades and machine guns get added? Machine guns – no. We did have a prototype, in which machine guns penetrated the armor, or destroyed tracks, but they didn’t go into internal testing. This doesn’t mean however that we won’t reconsider. Regarding smoke grenades, we already have them in Frontlines. They’re not the tank launchers, and they aren’t that popular, but we are considering introducing them into random battles, either to most of the tanks, or only to chosen ones. Special modes also mean that both might appear at once.
We have a lot of maps with water – amphibious vehicles? Most of the maps don’t have that much water, and thus, the special trait of such vehicles wouldn’t get utilized properly. So no, no amphibious vehicles for now.
More modern tanks, like those from the Vietnam War, or Cold War in general? Actually yes, the M60 for example was used in Vietnam. A tank in WoT shouldn’t have a smoothbore gun (it’s less accurate but way more powerful), shouldn’t use composite armor, or any form of active protection. If we add something that doesn’t have weakspots, or can just pen anything, we will ruin the core experience.
Closing the client to watch a replay is uncomfortable, any plans for in-game functionality? We understand that this system is outdated. We want to fix that, but it’s a complicated system, and needs a lot of work. Sadly, it’s not our priority.
Night battles, weather fx? We have night battles on consoles, and personally, I don’t like them. We have tank outlines, which ruin immersion. We are working on an event which you’ll see this year. Weather affecting tank stats is not a good idea, because the battlefield is filled with people with different goals, like some want to spot, and adding additional randomness isn’t good.
Restricting arty numbers? Limiting the amount of SPG to three per side resulted in more battles in which arty wasn’t present, or is in lesser number of battles, like one or two per side. If we restrict the number to two, it will increase the amount of battles with arty present. Yes, there will be less per battle, but 95% of the battles will be with them. We fear that if we drastically reduce the number of arty per battle, in the long run it could cause a situation like in ranked, where teams group in one spot and the battle is over hard.
Implementing artillery restrictions we analyzed mathematical situations and three is a sweet spot of sorts, more or less would cause the gameplay to suffer.
The EBR? Yes, that question is becoming just as popular as RNG and SPG. We plan to change the stats, we showed it already.
Limiting the number of special ammo per battle? No, everything comes down to math – only 15% of the ammo used is special ammo. Limiting it would be very drastic, and could lead to situations where a lower tier tank wouldn’t have enough shots to take care of a tough tank of a higher tier.
On average the players shoot 33% of their ammo, and 15% of that is special ammo. We want to incentivize the players to use normal ammo more often, rather than use hard limits.
More random battle modes like CTF or S&D? Lately we are introducing more modes/events. Some players might have noticed mechanics from other modes, like destroying cannons in Frontline. Those all are tests of some mechanics.
New personalization options like custom, simple shapes? We try to improve this aspect, and we plan to add styles which one can modify. We’re also working on something really good, but we won’t spoil it yet. We will increase customization to the point where we hit a physical hurdle (like HD models which eat a lot of resources). When we hit such a limit, we’ll need to rebuild the game again.
About 80% of all players didn’t stylize their tanks manually, only using premade styles.
The devs contemplated adding more options, but then they were confronted with reality – almost nobody would use them, and something ready-made like the Black Widow was a smash hit.
We are aware of the current limitations of the personalization system and we are thinking about expanding it, but not now.
Frontline has a very cool and precise minimap, why not add it to randoms? Yes, more, better, and soon. We won’t go into details, but we already tested a prototype.
We want to add a better comms system, inspired by Apex Legends.
Tank parts falling off, dents, etc.? Yes, there’s a chance for that, and we will look at it closer, but it’s not an immediate matter. Again, there are some hindrances which we can’t go past.
Region exclusive events? Yes, for sure.
A Japan style map? We don’t have one planned for this year, but maybe in 2021, although not for sure. We currently are focused on event maps, which takes time, and renovating older maps is also a thing in the queue.
Will specific regions have ways to customize events, like CW? Yes, you have this now – specific regions have rules adjusted to their needs. If you have some suggestions, pass them on to us.
There are however some limits, like in CW it’s not just the global map, but also elements in the game client. Different CW versions mean different client data, and that means more tests and resources used.
Will global chat or horns make a comeback? Maybe, we are gauging player reactions. Some are satisfied, some are not.
Horn volume increase? It should all work now, a micropatch was issued recently.
Plans to expand small trees, like Italians or Poles? Yes, definitely, this year. Italian HTs which will double the tree size, also Polish and Czechoslovak machines, which we will tell you about later.
Adding a mechanic which would encourage counter-arty? It would give birth to situations where one or all arty focus on each other, instead of supporting the team, which would be bad.
Adding mechanics to help lift an upside-down tank? Yes definitely. We don’t want magic tricks like pushing a button and we want something to match the universe of the game, including improved communication with allies.
Would you want to add something? Direct communication with the players in the form of streams is something good, we would like to do it more often.
Are there some museums that shaped the game, or helped to make it? At least three – Kubinka in Russia, Bovington in UK, and Saumur in France. The Stalin Line near Minsk also was sort of an inspiration.
We also cooperate with other museums, and private collectors, who helped us with things like recording sounds.
We had a lot of trouble making the Japanese tree, since a lot of the archives are in the hands of the royal family, which thankfully allowed us to copy them and use them for game purposes.
How long have you worked for WG? Andrei six years, and Maxim over ten.