World of Tanks

Wot blitz has a serious problem.

Content of the article: "Wot blitz has a serious problem."

disclaimer: this might just be me rage quitting from all the premiums that spawn but I think that it points to a much more systemic problem behind the transitioning development philosophy of the game.

*This is really long because I enumerate what appears to me the gradual descent of wot into an unsustainable cash grab, much like those gacha games that they keep remaking. I don’t know if it’s just that wot has found its expiration date or they really fucked it up.

I started playing wot blitz about 5-7yrs ago. And about 5-7yrs ago, I wasn’t a good player but I played consistently and I’ll tell you why. The incentives for players back then relied on personal progress and their ability to perform better than their shittier matches. It was fun and gratifying grinding for a tank you think you could perform better in and having a personal collection of tanks you took pride in using. Sounds cheesy but it’s true for me, and I’d like to think that it also holds the same weight for other players back then.

I felt comfortable to pick up my device and open wot was because I knew the game developers were actively trying to balance and iron out cavities in balancing. It was a new game and there were problems but regular updates and corresponding user feedback kept the developers in check. They weren’t driven by cash, they wanted to excite and attract a larger user base to fuel their game. One in the same for a cash making company but from a newly developing game, user base is key to the long term sustainability and survival of an mmo. To ensure that, wot focused on the stability and the regular content updates to improve their game gameplay wise. And I absolutely adored and enjoyed that. I was sporting a stock t21 and grinding it though 300+ battles to just get it to move faster than a heavy. Never mind that, though, all those oldies got wiped.

It was great, they were freebies along with very transparent models of monetization and revenue streams that made it apparent the developers sort of cared about the larger population of wot players, free players. Free players had equal access to fairly balanced and novelty premium tanks. You knew that as a player who didn’t pay a dime, you were somewhat protected from the premium model that wot offered. There was very little distinction made from what is an active premium player and what wasn’t. Hell, I have an su100y to attest to that And I’m pretty sure most old wot players do too.

but that all changed about 2-3 yrs ago.

About 4 yrs ago, watching ad for gold was introduced. I wasn’t a very bright player so I didnt bother investigating why such an apparently desperate feature was introduced. Till now, I have no clue why a transition to blatantly visible revenue ports was introduced. I should have known it was the genesis of a new era of wot. It started a trend, a slow gradual transition from a free game to a freemium game. it started with bits and pieces that didn’t noticeably affect user experience and arguably made the game more interesting, the aesthetics of a tanks were introduced, a new look in the premium garage against the free one, new “event plans” that subtlety distinguish a single new camouflage if you were a premium player, new bedazzling glowing ui entities. And I get it, Wot blitz has to dileneate and reward a premium model of gameplay if it wanted to cash in its hard developmental stage and free to play model. I didn’t mind that some guy was driving up in a spaceship themed kv1s, I was ok with it and had my fair share of aesthetic shenanigans.

But the trend didn’t stop And it slowly intruded into user experience.

The garage UI was suddenly flooded with blantant advertising of the premium model. The first garage slot became an advertisement for that hot new defender or smth. On the left side, there is a hot new premium deal for this hot new tank that’s gonna expire in like who gives a fuck. Before you can reach the menu in opening wot, here’s an ad popping out in your face to show you the new boy in town who’s gonna kick your ass. Here’s a handy button suspiciously placed right beside the usual button to spend GOLD instead of xp, you know, just in those super duper uber frequent cases, you feel like researching with gold rather than xp. All the buttons had pop-ups to indicate that there was something new premium that we all had to know about. Here are some new goals that premium players can achieve to easily get that weekly/monthly reward from spending an unhealthy amount of time gaming. And then we’ll make it so that for free players, you have to contribute to the rating battles or smth to promote and populate these features to get that same weekly reward. But don’t fret, you’ve achieved the premium goals and it will be highlighted in that large icon for you to inadvertently click and discover it wasn't a rewardable unless you had premium. Check it out, all these new features come at a price of “I didn’t come here to spend that much“ amount of money to play.

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*Apologies if this is turning to a rant, its just the passion and frustration I’ve had with the issue. Stick with me and I swear all this has a genuine point and not just some other non-sensensical rant About this new funky feature.

But then again, I quite simply ignored it. I switched my passive instincts and habits from pressing vaguely on that area into the active calculated and meticulous precision of pressing to avoid having to view an ad. I scrolled more often to view the tanks that mattered to me rather than that hot new guy. I checked where the buttons are arranged in this regularly updated UI so that I don’t make a mistake of spending all the freebie gold on something I clearly could have spent xp for. As a free player, you compromise in dealing with these in order to enjoy free access to a great game.

But then weirder things started to happen simultaneously. Now the freebie system was on diet. A part of 1 day premium deal? A part of gold? A part of this hot new tank? What the fuck is a part of a certificate of gold actually mean? Crates with a fraction of percentage values for rewards? Just a fraction? A time stamped discount for premium tanks? These brilliant vaults to give imaginary gold when you play but pay for after? these weird new event tokens that sort of stay there reminding you of what could have been had you just decided to shut in? (And then they stay cus you know, you can still get the remaining if you pay 😉 ). The freebie system that supplied limited premium access to devoted free players was diminished into rudimentary daily login bonuses for credit and if you’re lucky, some free xp in exchange for populating your servers. Then a “freebie” premium reward system emerged to free players alike. the worst part is those partitioned rewards and plans seamlessly integrated into the freebie system. And weirdly enough, I was naive enough to not even notice such deceptive methodology when it came to cutting on freebies. Don‘t get me wrong, there are some new inventions like birthdays of tanks but these feel almost tokenistic compared to the changes made. It’s a fucking participation prize.

Yet, despite all this, I kept playing, I had three tier six tanks on the verge of going seven and I wasn’t going to drop all that grind for nothing. I’ve actively spent a small portion of my life grinding in anticipation of a better tank that I feel gratified for grinding. I wasn’t going to give in cus I wasn’t getting anymore Free premium tanks.

But I wasn’t the only one keen on staying on track. The trend kept going.
Suddenly, premium tanks weren’t just historically novel tanks, like the Matilda, lowe, is5, is6, sentinel, su100y. Things like the scavenger, blaze, dracula, and whatever were introduced along with weird cheap spinoffs of normal tanks, like the chi nu ninja, smasher, is2(1945), t34 rudy. Note, some of these were still relatively accessible through some serious grind in the early days. The freebie tanks don’t happen anymore. Percentage drops went subzero to near non-existent. (And in case wot developers are reading this, it worked, you fooled a 15 yr old me into thinking that a subzero chance of A lottery win merited years of grinding. yay for u.)

but it became even more discriminating and disconcerting. An entirely new line of rewards that have a percentage increase above the free model along with premium exclusive tanks such as oldies that ,you knowingly robbed from us to turn into exclusive tanks, was introduced. Most events obviously inform you of the extensive divide between what is premium and what is not. And it is a pain to see how bold wot marketing has gotten in the past years.

But here’s the tipping point of the extension of that marketing strategy. The point where you weaponized and mobilized gameplay balance as an instrument for marketing.

Premium tanks noticeably had significantly higher performance that placed an irrefutable tactical advantage over normal ones, i.e. higher base health, higher dps, higher alpha damages, higher armor values, along with suspiciously deceptive play on armor design that doesn’t reflect on armor analysis. I don’t get why I can’t see the weak spot on the front of a gravedigger. I can penn on a red zone? What? ( I’m Talking about aesthetics placed above weak spots or aesthetics made to look like weak spots or part of hitbox). Tsk tsk tsk. Sneaky sneaky sneaky.

Notice, that premium tanks before weren’t miles ahead of a normal one. They were patterned after normal tanks and deviated from them in regular meta gameplays or slight changes in values, they weren’t the product of a 10 yr old imaginary recreation or conception of a tank. They had flaws because they were based of real historical tanks. A kv1 flat front plate wasn’t invented because it was a weak spot for the Germans to hit, it was so that a Soviet gunner could shoot out of it. These flaws defined these tanks and permeated perfectly into the balance of gameplay in wot. Hence, it still took a damn good player to excel in a sentinel but in these new reimagined versions of tanks, these flaws were thrown out the window.

Nowadays, these new premium tanks don’t have that. And I get it, why would anyone buy a tank that has a shitty lower plate? I would want one that wrecks. Hence, the design process behind these new premium tanks wasn’t in balance, it was nitpicking at features you could tweak unnoticed to market an invulnerable tank while still making it appear balanced. In fact, they don’t even bother hiding it’s unbalanced nature right now. Now, any idiot with a new premium that faces front at a slight angle or embankment can hold off seven players easily and still outdps more than one of them in any confrontation. Collectively, with these higher stats and unintuitive armor design, the effective match survival time for these new premiums is ridiculous and so obviously skewed. Like seriously, vk45.02 Is just a vk45.01a brought a tier down with even better slope on the armor. It’s not even hidden.

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and slight side note, let’s not forget that wot pretends that these values were an oversight of balancing. I call bullshit. Sure, a small percentage increase or some significantly radical gameplay justifies the title for premium tanks before. But 10 years after a dedicated player base kept playing, there has to be some bare minimum expectation of the balancing of a new tank. 10 years and you still don’t have enough data or process design to properly design a balanced tank? You’ve cashed it in, hire a specialist in data science who can do it. Either you’re incompetent and stupid or it’s a deliberate attempt at cashgrab. Unfortunately, I find the former highly unlikely.

But let’s get back on point, that is, the current working scheme that I claim is unsustainable and something wot has conveniently advertised. Premium tanks. Through your aggressive marketing tactics, obvious tilting of balance, you’ve done it. You’ve successfully convinced and cornered thousands of players to go all in into this new premium tank model of gameplay. Parents around the globe will be wondering where their budget for education went, young adults will wonder how they can’t afford a vacation plan for themselves And you will be smiling.

but now, everyone has a premium tank. now what?

A premium is a premium only when it provides a clear cut advantage over all the rest especially with the balance tilting. It‘s a relative idea, it can’t happen when everyone has that same great tank right?

It seems that your current way of overcoming that problem would be to stratify the performance of a premium tank based on their effective sell by date. What I mean is simply, as soon as a tank stops selling or a slight dip in user activity in a tier appears (i.e. You really fucked up balancing) you balance it out and throw it out the back and then market a new one. A strategy I will call pitch, ditch and repeat. Catchy right? And when your team doesn’t have a product to pitch, just recycle relatively relevant premiums. here are some examples of those that had been ditched: t44mod 1, chieftain, is2, sentinel, Matilda, etc. Here are some examples of those that had been repeatedly pitched: smasher, gravedigger, glacial, blaze(altoh nerfed already)

Notice, a strategy like that results in some, if not many problems. Here are the three that I think will be the demise of wot as they tear into sustainability.

One being the overflow of increases in percentage advantage. If each new batch of premiums have set increases in percentages above their past set of already balanced ancestral premiums, then won’t the latest ones always have ridiculously high values? TADA, they already do and I suspect this is why. Hence, we have at our grasp, the creation of incredibly high health pool tanks with ridiculous reloads and unobtanium armor. The way I see it, the current hierarchy of statistics go up from normal tanks, balanced premium tanks, and that hot new guy premium tank, i.e. the latest from theirs truly. These three categories define the sample space of possible performance. Unfortunately, the free player only has access to one.

Note that in their current operating model, they also stratify premium players based on how much they invest. A cheap premium player can access those balanced out premiums but the real winner is the one that spends the most and gets access to the latest premiums. Irregardless, the advantages are stratified accordingly based on their corresponding amount invested and it accumulates at the top bracket with stupid values.

Second, the saturation of players with limited budgets. This strategy isn’t particularly new or old but new enough to still deceive old players but old enough to be clear enough to anyone who bought into this scheme some time ago. Let’s face it, what you’re really effectively paying for isn’t a lifetime worth of advantage, you’re only really paying for a limited time experience of stupid overpowered advantages that wot permits in their “oversight“ in balancing in the early introduction. People buy it and realize that. For irresponsible players, it’s wot‘s cash cow. For new players, a one time hookup. For free players, another annoying ad on their screen. For thrifty players or players on a budget, thats an uncertainty they’re not willing to invest on. At some point, people will catch on to this lucrative marketing scheme and avoid buying these tanks. I THINK. If not, then shit, worlds a much more stupid place than I thought.

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Three, and I think what will eventually break not only wot‘s revenue stream but also, the game itself, the disenfranchisement of free players. See, with all the shenanigans wot is pulling off, free players are increasingly disenfranchised from the game they once thought was good. I’m one of them. Ads are acceptable to some degree, and a slight advantage is fine but to the degree at which wot is taking it, I don’t think so. There is a noticeable falloff of free players every time a stunt is performed. And when u play with gameplay balance in a competitive game, you’re really poking the egg off the wall.

Herein, a free player has to think. Come three to four years down the line, will there just be only premium tanks playing in a battle? Unfortunately, its not even an uncommon sight anymore to see more than 3 premiums in a battle right now. And with the aggressive marketing and sales strategy wot has adopted, it doesnt seem like a far fetched reality in the next five years. That fear and frustration drives a man insane especially one who has invested too much time in this game that belittled the trust and investment he supplied to the developer. Because it appears that old veteran free players only serve to populate and feed premium players in a visibly rigged and deliberately unbalanced system that overwhelms any incentive other than to relive wot as they recollect. It’s a cash grab, a systematic ploy to collect players and find a way to milk the most gullible one. It‘s not the same wot I joined and it certainly is not the same wot I enjoyed.

Remember, the lifeblood of an mmo is it’s playerbase. If that goes, it’s not mmo, it’s a sad desolate menu with some lonely people. If the free playerbase disappears, then the premium model doesn’t exist.

I’m not saying the game in its current state is unplayable, I’m saying it will be if wot keeps this up. The number of premiums don’t go down, they only go up. but the free player playerbase isn’t catching up to the increase in premiums in recent times. the value of premium goes down when theres not enough people to bully. Looking at it from this trend, wot has to either find new players to offer as sacrifice to supply the insatiable thirst of money spenders despite the rigged system or add bots to discount the money these money spenders spent altogether.

That or they actually balance the fucking game HAHAHAHAHA funny.

so here are some few parting words from me,

to new and young players, stop now while you can, go study or smth like legit. Don’t lose your shit over something that isn’t real, much less something that isn’t worth your time.

to veteran and old players, sad shit but get over it, I miss the old wot with og tanks but they aint coming back without a bit of kaching kaching.

to wot, I’m not asking for a tokenistic response that could be easily reversed. Fuck, we’re well past that already. I’m telling you this because I’m pissed. Congratulations, you cashed it in but just like how you’ve backed free players into a corner of inevitable defeat, you backed yourself into a corner of mistrust and unsustained development. Good luck on trying to turn around the tide, but you’re fucked cus either way you go, you’ve betrayed players and their respective investments in whatever the fuck it is you think is a profitable scheme. Now the question is who are u gonna fuck to fix this? The paying premium players or the dwindling free players? I’m soooooooooooooooooo damn curious to see.

ill still be playing wot for the silhouette of what a great game it once was. But anytime, I see an unbalanced premium, Expect afk. and in fact, go do the same -GONENUTZ from NUT clan.

Source: reddit.com

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