The short version: The event is a substantially rewarding mode, easy to understand and play, but with a set of flaws that made it worse than last year's event in terms of how fun it was to play. I don't believe it's beyond saving though, in fact I think just a few small simple changes would've significantly improved it.
The long version:
I will be comparing this to the original version of WTE110, as I see it as the gold standard for WoT events. I won't touch much on monetisation as I am F2P.
My F2P experience:
According to my medals, As harriers I have 114 wins against WT, 6 WTE220, 62 BT, 1BTE220. As Träger I have 15 wins as the WT, 9 BT. My average performance in BT was well over 50% of my matches as top on damage. From this event I completed all collections and won from crates: Approximately 60 days of premium time, 3 garage slots, 2 3D styles, a 2D style and an LT-432.
Importantly this year has no re-roll mechanic, to compensate the collection pieces became guaranteed drops, but it does mean drops that a player might not want, can't be rerolled away. Meaning that last year I could spend credits to throw away 10K credits worth of consumables to try and get a slot or prem days.
Unlike last year, the rare prem tank giving box was available for F2P, (not counting E220) at 9 entries of 2.4%, essentially giving out a tier 8 prem tank to every 1 in 5 people is insanely generous given WG's reputation for greed.
The standard lootbox was weighted differently compared to last year, while last year I gathered up around 10 garage slots and 24 prem days, this year I gained 3 slots but 60 days. Depending on your scenario this can be seen as better or worse, I personally would've preferred slots, to each their own.
Finally being given the %s … I'd say is nice, but they should have always been there.
Neither side wins for standard crates, but BT giving chances of prems wins them a point – WT:0, BT:1
Very similar to last years, a hefty 3K bonds is equivalent to an entire battlepass season's worth, a notable difference is instead of crew skins, this year we got actual crew, however given their bizarre limitations of being sixth sense nation locked crew they must be commanders or waste the skill. So the crew are iffy to work with, but the bonds and styles are still welcome. Also the long-awaited voiceover from von krieger.
The jank nature of the crew makes me want to rate it neutrally, but I do love the Krieger VO. WT:0, BT:2
The resistor, similar to the original T-55 and arguably the single best tank for the mode (My damage record in the game was with the resistor at 26.5K) The rail shot allows for a good chance of causing fires on engine shots, while the steady DPM can work in any scenario. From noobs to pros, this tank can do work.
The Thunderbolt, trades mobility and DPM for health, armour and alpha. The siege rate of fire ability let's it play catch up to resistors while the armour is enough to facehug the BT semi-reliably, buying time for your team to lay in the DPM, thanks to it's substantial health it can even get away with taking a hit. A bit harder to work with, and it's siege mode activated at the wrong time can cost you time or even a life. Such as the classic, running away, mash the boost button but hamfist hit the siege mode and slow right down for the BT.
The foudre, to me this is the classic noob trap tank, it's DPM being burst based means you have to be able to read the map far better in order to be able to apply it efficiently, a Foudre played well can rival resistors for top damage, but a foudre played poorly does VERY poorly. The shield is also rarely useful, given it's very short duration and start-up time, it can activate just as you're hit then be worn off by the time the BT's interclip has reloaded. An instant clip reload ability such as Mirny had would've served it far better (but possibly made it too damaging) I feel the more skill based tanks like foudre, should have been gated in some manner, as I frequently witnessed them as the main offenders for bad players. (And no, not the awful pay to unlock mirny-13 drama)
The träger this time around gained a teleporter to offset the need for more movement, still very fun to play, ramming is hilarious fun and unlike last year, came with no requirement to win, ie, less pressure (a friend was terrified of losing as WT last year to the point of putting it off for a week)
Now weighing this section is complicated, because variety is good to reduce boredom, but the original achieved this by having you play the WT fairly frequently. The BT, for reasons I'll state later, does not encourage itself to be played past a certain point, so you had to play as the harriers more. The original T-55 Thunderbolt while classic can't beat 3:1 odds – WT: 0, BT:3
Harrier missions rewarded the better players but allowed even the worst players to eventually earn the harrier collection, good system, just like last years.
Engineer missions this time around, were rewarding in the new crate, but once you completed them, there was no reason to play it, I finished the event with 11 keys. The engineer sorely lacked a basic little mission, that would've thrown you a harrier starter. WT:1, BT:3
The above engineer's lack of mission, caused the queue, from start to finish, having a minute or more long queue time for harriers. Then there was the "Free E110" runs the queue sometimes offered. To alleviate the strain of a large harrier queue is a sensible system to have. But with no reward for playing it, this eventually caused the queue to be mostly people that don't want to play the BT, causing the queue time to stay constant despite the amount of players in the queue dropping from 1000 in the first week down to 100 by the end. WT:2, BT:3
The above queue time problem had a knock on effect. While last year I was able to semi-reliably snipe into E220 matches, for the 3 or so streams with clocks, because this time around the queue was so long, even perfectly getting the timing down wasn't going to cut it. It was by pure RNG magic that I got a BTE220 match this year and that they played poorly enough for my team to win. WT:3, BT:3
Like last year the twitch drop incentive was boosted with the E220 chances, but likely due to some oversight, this year's twitch drops gave gold to players that had the old decals and styles instead of adding to the quantity, while some might debate the value, I think majority preferred the gold. WT:3, BT:4
The big one – Gameplay:
You've probably been thinking "I don't think these points should all be worth 1" but I've been misleading you to think the BT might win, because the single most important part of an event is the gameplay!
Point 1 for balance – BT and WT were balanced – if the teams were perfectly equal, but WoT will always be known for dumb randoms that don't or even can't read, WT scaled MUCH better in this aspect, I actually lost as the WT a fair amount of times, my BT record is undefeated, not because I'm a great BT player, but because there was 2 or 3 bad players massively dragging down the harriers each time and the others couldn't make up for it. WT:4, BT:4
Point 1 for maps – WT and BT had 3 maps each, WT's maps gave the impression of advantage, neutral, disadvantage, while BT's maps all gave the impression of BT advantage. WT:5, BT:4
Point 1 for spawn RNG – WT could gain a sizable advantage if it got 2 camps close together, but it was usually still possible. If BT got 2 generators close together, the only way you were delivering it was with an exceptionally rare double push on both at the same time, or the BT outright gave it to you. WT:6, BT:4
Point 1 for enemies – In the original WT, it was exceptionally common and even encouraged to ram kill the weak first camps, great fun, then they kept growing as your team's power did, it was a great experience. Honourable mention to the luchs protectors. Meanwhile BT's camps seemed to randomly decide if they wanted a weak VK or powerhouse E100, (Ik it was scaled with how well the team was doing but that was not remotely obvious) the BT minions were very annoying to deal with, as they'd do back and forth jostling to protect weak spots and actively run away, or charge in if you're weak, I even had one pick up speed on a ramp and ram kill me. The amount of times I saw an idiot ram a Tiger II at full speed wiping their full health tank in BT was insane. Old WT minions could be baited into firing at your angled side-scraping tank, the BT minions will not do that. WT:7, BT:4
Point 1 for objectives – WT was simple, kill camps, collect energy, get strong enough to beat the WT. BT was kill camps, collect energy, deliver it to a generator, harass BT for a minute then back to step 1. The WT's sheer simplicity lends itself well to the dumb randoms, because even they can comprehend go there, kill, go there, kill. BT has several flaws here, the short minute of vulnerability is hard for most players to work with, if everybody hard focuses the BT right up to the last second, the camps will be full health and a fair few harriers will have died, but if you entirely focus the camps you gain energy to better kill the next camp and give health back to your team. Also if you synced killing a camp at 10 seconds of shield cooldown left, that could be delivered in time, with the generator cooldown system. Do you see how needlessly complicated BT is yet? WT:8, BT:4.
Bonus point for objective incentive – BT has a glaring flaw in that doing the objective of delivering the plasma, ends up with you lower on the scoreboard, the 2500 damage from overloading a generator should have been credited to the generator overloaders, there are so many times when people had plasma but went for damage because the game punishes you for doing the objective. WT:9, BT:4
Point 1 for teamwork requirement – Now this one's a bit iffy, but bear with me. WT's teamwork at most was working together to draw attention, either getting the WT focused on dancing around a building or simply drawing bot fire away from a low health teammate. BT however requires the person that gets the plasma, to understand the map and deliver it, no one else can change what they do. This lead to so many cases of: "Oh the BT is sitting on that generator, but it's the closest one so I'll run at it." Or the less stupid "I'm running to this generator, I'm halfway there, oh the BT is teleporting, oh well I guess I'll keep going instead of taking an abrupt turn to the other generator." With WT it was fully possible to compensate for bad players by carrying a bit harder, minion camps could even be soloed without any damage to yourself. In BT the bad players can take the plasma and deliver it to krieger, the bots are smart enough that fighting them alone is dangerous and will always result in taking damage. WT:10, BT:4
There's a saying for the M4 sherman, "It might not be the best tank, but it was the best tank for America." And I feel that same sentiment, can be applied to WTE110. "It might not be the best event, but it was the best event for WoT." Now what do I mean by that? If WoT was a paid entry, higher skill game, BT would probably be considered the better event. But WoT is a F2P game with a lot of really bad players in it, and unless you weed them out with matchmaking, they're going to be everywhere and you must account for them. WT was simple and the impact of bad players was limited by no one player having too much responsibility, leading to less frustration with your teammates.
How to improve:
With that in mind, If I could make just one change I could make to make it better suited to WoT? Never give one player too much responsibility – instead of one player delivering the plasma, give it to everyone, but make the cap take longer (and reduce the damage bonus). With that one simple change the bad players impact is reduced dramatically, the ability to deliver under bad spawns becomes easier. Now obviously it'd need play testing to see if that's too much for the BT to handle, but it'd be a giant step in the right direction.
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