Sunday, 10 January 2016

Cyprus Meeting Resume


the first part of the Cyprus meeting is finally completed, this is a resume of the conversation we had with Markus, Florian and Slava, tomorrow will start working on Viktor Kislyi's aka second part:

-If we stopped introducing content and made 2016 the year of fixes, would this be enough? - No.

-Although there was a lot of content released in 2015, Wargaming admits the regularity of the patch releases could have been more consistent.

-With the meltdown of the Russian market, the Russian team had to come up with ways to reinvent the game to attract RU players back to the game as well as improve retention of existing players and this obviously has a knock-on effect on content released everywhere else.

-The conversation group in consensus asked to bring back fun events (like Karl 8-bit and Chaffee Race) every 6 months (specially during IRL events like World Cup who tend to drain playerbase away) which was WG agreed with and will explore possibilities.

-Wargaming admits that Rampage mode its "not so good, to put it midly".

-Instead of keep on adding games, they want to focus in making the game better (fixes and tweaks of already existing content)

-When Artillery was initially introduced it was meant to stop camping and had Light Tanks and other SPGs as natural enemies but nowadays the biggest issue about it is that Light Tanks are obsolete and unable to spot/kill SPG due to corridor maps.

-"There is no point in playing Light Tanks at the moment unless you are completing Personal Missions"

-The game nowadays is more static because there are no flanking maneuvers giving more power to artillery, instead of preventing camping is causing the oposite desired effect.

-Because of all the equipment/consumables available the tanks are now more precise than they were 5 years ago making Lights Tanks easier to shoot, also, because of New Physics, Light Tanks have a harder time getting one point to another.

-A newER physics will be implemented hopefully by 9.15 (It still needs further testing)

- Although map sizes are the same, they have become smaller. WG experimented with making maps bigger but the idea wasnt viable due to vehicles like T95 and Maus. Currently they are exploring the idea of adding extra map spawns to facilitate slower tanks.

-Corridor maps were a mistake made by their creators, the idea was to increase the survability of tanks like Maus by minimizing flanking options and that destabilized the ecosystem (LTs)

-Light tanks lost their value on these "corridor maps" because they couldn't flank as easily as before so tended to use the same routes as the mediums.  This led to the dominance of TDs hidden at the end of these "corridors" killing whatever the HT/MTs were engaging, without the LTs being able to flush them out.  To combat this, the view range of almost all TDs was reduced, but with mediums and heavies in the front line dropping Vents for Optics and using premium consumables, they were reaching the view range cap and performing the scouting role as well as or better than the LTs.  One option is to reduce the view range of mediums as well as the TDs.  Another possiblw fix is to drop the battle tier spread of Lts, so for example, a tier 6 LT would only see tier 7 and 8 battles instead of 7 to 9.  This, however, brings it's own balancing problems, a Walker Bulldog that only sees tier 8 and 8 battles would be a force to be reckoned with!
Right now there are two out of maybe forty maps where a LT has good spotting opportunities - Prokhorovka and Malinovka.  Even here it depends on which side the LT spawns.
It's possible to address some of the current issues by making changes to the maps once again, but fixing class balance issues by changing maps isn't what WG want to do, they'd rather fix the class issues directly.

-Several options were discussed for making artillery more useful for teams and less frustrating for both artillery players and artillery victims.  Rather than being a simple indirect fire damage class, artillery could have access to specialist ammunition such as smoke shells, illuminations shells (taking a leaf out of Armored Warfares' book) cluster munitions to "debuff" enemy tanks by doing critical damage rather than hit point damage.  Medium tank wolfpack threatening to break through a flank and only one TD in a position to stop them?  Drop a salvo of cluster munitions on them to slow them down by detracking them and temporarily incapacitating their crews, then drop smoke on the TD to keep him hidden as he takes advantage of their sudden vulnerability.

-Also, with the possible inclusion of night maps and maps with realistic weather conditions, the ability of LTs to detect enemy tanks through, smoke, rain, snow, fog and darkness may help bring a battlefield role back to LTs, and specialist artillery ammuntion like illumination shells would give artillery some value to the team other than simply raw damage.

-Another issue is to do with equipment and crew skills.  Right now the choice of equipment to fit to any given class of tank is either right or wrong.  There are no alternative equipment loadouts that give you the option to play that class of tank differently.  It's the same with crew skills.  Camo/repairs to 100%, drop for 6th Sense, camo/repairs to 100% again, drop for Brothers in Arms, then repeat.  What WG want to do is make different equipment loadouts other than vents/rammer/optics a viable choice.  No-one uses Enhanced Torsion Bars, but if (for example) Enhanced Torsion Bars gave you a increased chance to resist the debuff effect of a new artillery cluster munition and / or increased your terrain resistance, it might be worth getting.

-Crew skills also need looking at.  Choosing which crew skill to train next should mean something, making the choice of which skill to train should mean making an actual choice instead of just choosing in which order to get the skills.  The Commander skills in World of Warships are a better way of doing it, but they're still not perfect, at some point your Commander will eventually have every skill, but if choosing one skill in a tier meant that you couldn't choose any others from the same tier, the choice would actually mean something.  The difference between any two given players should be in the choices they made, not in the time they spent accumulating enough points to have every skill.  None of this is final, of course, but it shows you the kind of thought that WG are giving the subject.

-Ideally WG want people to have more choices.  This means making more equipment useful and making the crew skill choices meaningful.  To support these kind of changes it may be possible to have a "lobby" system before you enter battle where you could select the equipment loadout that you want to take into battle with your chosen tank from a range of pre-saved loadouts, for example.  Changes like this, in combination with more useful and varied equipment modules may mean that the way you play any given tank could be completely different depending on what map is in the rotation and the loadout you select for it.

-Looking at crew skills again, right now they're all passive.  You don't have to press a button to make the crew repair the tracks, they just do it.  Don't panic, what WG do NOT want to do is make you press a button to have your crew start doing repairs, or camoflaging the tank etc, but what if crew skills came with an active feature as well as the passive benefit?  What if active Sixth Sense allowed you to see through concealment for a short time as well as the passive benefit?  What if Active Repair skill immediately repaired all damaged modules, the same way a premium repair kit does, except you could use it once every two minutes?

-Regarding premium ammunition, the problem isn't the premium ammunition, it's the "corridor maps" that force mediums to meet heavies face to face and give them no choice but to load premium ammuntion to beat them.  The easy solution is to nerf penetration, but a better solution is to make flanking more viable for mediums and lights.
WG would like to go back to the days when each nation had their own characteristics.  Germans were all about the accuracy, French were mobility and light armour, Soviets had big alpha damage but poor accuracy.  With the introduction of so many new nations, this "flavour" seems to have been lost.  Once you've got more than three or four tech trees you start to run out of options to make each nation unique, but there are still options.  British HESH ammunition doesn't necessarily have to be just HE that has better penetration (and is a waste of time using on anything other than the FV215B 183).  French HEAT ammuntion on the AMX30B combined high penetration with the velocity of APCR, but right now it's just regular HEAT.

-WG would like to see more choices available to players in the same way that Chinese mediums have the choice of taking a big alpha damage gun or a rapid firing lower calibre "medium tank" gun.  Chinese mediums are a good example of giving players a choice.  Soviet mediums like the T-54 are a bad example.  With the T-54s two top 100mm guns players were supposed to make the choice between good gun stats or higher penetration, but what actually happens is players choose the gun with the better gun handling and make up the difference in penetration with premium ammunition.  There's no real choice involved.  WG want to get away from this kind of thinking and make weapon and equipment choices on your tanks something that is more than a good/bad choice.  There should be more than one good choice.

-The buff to the machinegun turret on the T110E5 was unintended and a result of changing the model from SD to HD.  Oops!

-WG want to simplify the way information about the tanks is presented in the game.  Right now you look at a bunch of numbers in the garage, but without experience of playing the game you don't know if those numbers are good or bad.  Is 40mm of turret armour good at tier 4?  Is 0.4 accuracy good for a tier 6 medium?  Rather than showing raw numbers, perhaps a rating system would be better?  If a tank has 5/5 armour rating in it's tier, you immediately know it's a tough tank before you even play it.  Of course, experienced players still want to see the numbers, but we want to see ALL the numbers, including gun depression, terrain resistance, aiming bloom, etc.  Numbers like this might be accessable via drop down menus from the basic tank stats, or on a seperate screen.  Changes like this would prevent people from trying to use AMX40s as scouts because "hey, it's a light tank."

-The one thing that kept coming up over and over was the issue of choice.  WG want to give players more choices and for those choices to be both useful and playable.  There should be less wrong choices in how you set up, equip and train your tanks and more right choices that are more or less right depending on how you like to play.

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