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Hello everyone,

not so long ago, an interview with Armored Warfare producer, Joshua Morris , was published on the F2P site. If you haven’t seen it yet, go read it, it is… educational (so far, I like what Armored Warfare presents), but that’s not the point from this post. There are several points in that interview I would like to address, or rather – features, that would be great in World of Tanks. Whether Wargaming is capable of implementing them properly, well, that’s another matter.

Specifically:

– computer AI opponents: bots are currently in development for World of Tanks, so that’s good. Both games will eventually feature PvE modes – of course, how well can Wargaming do it, that’s another matter, but actually, thinking about it, having a “raid-style” PvE mode the way it was recently leaked, that’s a good idea. When I saw it first, I was like “oh, this is like WoW raiding” – I am sure the concept is familiar to MMORPG players. I really hope WG does this right.

– Sixth Sense for everybody, the delay between being spotted and the light bulb appearing being dependent on tank commander and class type: that’s actually not a bad idea. Why not have light bulb appear sooner for – say – scouts than heavies? Just a thought.

– wheeled vehicles: this is something where I have to wonder… would it be good for World of Tanks? In modern warfare (AW setting), it’s naturally useful (Stryker, of which a video was recently released being prime example). Now, I know what you are thinking: “armored cars were crap, who the hell needs that kind of thing” – well, yes and no. First of all, some armored cars were pretty nasty. I am sure many of you remember the Puma, but what if I told you that France is fully capable of having an entire armored car branch? Probably the only nation capable of having that (along with Britain anyway), but imagine – that would give France back its unique character it lost when other nations started recieving tanks with autoloaders. As for the movement model – Storm said it’s possible to have wheeled vehicles now and I know there were some internal tests conducted into it. So, who knows?

– more customization: this is something I think Wargaming should really allow: War Thunder has visual customization and AW will have it as well. Of course, there will always be idiots abusing the customization mechanism to paint swastikas or write obscenities on their tanks, but that can be solved both by filter (when it comes to inscriptions) or simply quick review (the same way bad player names are reviewed now).

– volumetric camouflage: simply put, while the AW camo/spotting system is admitted to be copied from WoT, AW developers are aware of the worst issues WoT spotting has: invisible TD’s and tanks “magically disappearing” in the middle of a field. Whether they will deal with them better than Wargaming did remains to be seen, but the concept of volumetric camouflage is clearly a step in the right direction. WoT cover system is binary: either you have it or you don’t. Volumetric camouflage means that the vehicle has at least partial bonus, if it is partially covered. Storm said in the past that World of Tanks would have such a thing as well, but that was like half a year ago and no such option is in sight or announced for upcoming patches, so I hope WG is doing something in this as well.

– artillery: notice how AW developers opted to have artillery as well, despite being aware of the WoT forum whine. It’s an important gameplay element and luckily for most of us, Wargaming doesn’t buckle under the pressure of a couple of short-sighted but vocal individuals, who feel personally offended that someone half a map away blasted them away. There is however a difference in the AW concept, they seem to have opted for the damage over large area at the cost of alpha. Whether this is the right way to go remains to be seen, but then, unless the HE model is identical in AW, artillery the module destroyer and chain detracker might not be a problem in AW in general.

To summarize: No matter how you take it, 2014 was not a good year for Wargaming.

– They said they would like to have the HD models finished this year – and we have like how many? Thirty?
– They wanted to have Havok in 9.0 and now it’s not even sure a first part of it will appear in 9.5 (and that’s late December).
– They wanted historical battles, that ended as a failure.
– Confrontation mode – failure.
– Alternative hulls – postponed indefinitely.
– New tanks? We recently had new light tanks, but previously, last new branch was introduced in 2013, a YEAR ago.
– Multicore support? Nope.
– New grass or tree or landscape render? Not really.

Sure, some things got improved, that’s true. The fact that War Thunder Ground Forces was not exactly the WoT killer everyone was looking for also helped. On the other hand, there is one more important factor in it all: World of Tanks playerbase stopped growing, even in Russia. That’s not just a guess, I have that from several sources, including a developer. They will not admit it of course, but even if you don’t believe me writing that – the signs are all there. Do you think we will ever see EU3 with the current online numbers? Combine it with the fact that Russian shop prices are tied to USD, which means that as a result of the anti-Russian sanctions (because of the events in Ukraine), as the ruble exchange rate falls, things will get more and more expensive for Russian players, which obviously means less and less profit for Wargaming. Then add the super-expensive exclusive stuff aimed at “whales” (120 bucks for a lowtier Soviet LT + accessories?), breaking some of the barriers, that was not possible before (Russian gift-exclusive tanks on sale on another server) plus the new referral program (for the first time ever, WG takes such active measures in recruiting new players besides the usual invite codes) and the picture becomes clearer.

And there is one more element to the equation. Consider this: World of Tanks was a stunning success, but World of Warplanes was a failure (even developers know that, even though noone will say it openly). Sure, they always talk about fixing it and all that, but one thing is clear: World of Tanks (including Blitz) is Wargaming’s main source of income. I am not really sure how well Blitz is doing financially, we’ll see in time I guess, but do NOT expect World of Warships to be the same stunning success WoT was. It’s impossible – the creation of WoT filled one particular niche of the market that many players (including me) desired – an easy-to-access slow paced military game, that has tanks in it (very, very important for Russia). Russia is obsessed with tanks – and that’s not a bad thing, that simply is a fact. Also, this is not from my head – this was told to me by a Russian friend of mine and it’s true – Russians are proud of their history and of their tank industry. But… how many people are into ships the way Russians are into tanks? Few. Perhaps even fewer that are into flying.

Make no mistake, I am not a doomsayer, nor do I think that “WoT” is dying or whatever, I just think that next year, some things will (or, rather, will have to) shift with more focus on the European market. That is why I think we will see the European tree in 2015 and perhaps more in that direction. I do wish Wargaming luck in this and hope this all ends up well for everybody.

But… I’ll try AW nonetheless, if I get into their beta :)

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