For the Record: Are WoT Developers Confused as to What To Do Now?
Hello everyone, I posted a shorter version of this text on the EU forums yesterday and even though I didn’t intend to before, I decided to repost that here with some changes and corrections. Disclaimer: It’s a personal opinion, not a fact post (some people recently whined that FTR gets “too many personal opinions” – well yea, it’s a blog, I run it from the start that way and it won’t change). It’s also quite long, sorry. I will also try to be constructive, so bear with me. Okay, here’s a feeling I’ve been having for quite a while now. Usually, for all my criticism of WG EU and whatnot, I was always quite content with the way the game development was proceeding. I mean – when the game was released, the concept was very clear. Tanks fighting other tanks on a battlefield. Simple, clean, easy to understand but difficult to master, which is exactly what I like in games. Sure, there were issues such as the infamous tank disappearing, spaced armor eating shells etc. – but it was very playable and it turned the game into one of the best free to play games ever created. Years passed (literally! just think about how long some of you are around here) and a lot has changed. We got new physics, we got an improved render and pretty much everything was fine and I was still happy. The development proceeded in the direction of “more tanks” and “more maps” without putting too much emphasis on the graphics (well, until relatively recently anyway), which might not have been good for the owners of top notch rigs, who want to play a game that looks like Crysis 3 or whatever passes for graphics benchmark these days, but it was good for the wide group of players with weak computers, that still had something that could enjoy and run. Of course, time doesn’t stop for anybody and eventually, something just HAD to be done with the graphics (especially with the first War Thunder HD screenshots) and so they did – or at least attempted to (the HD model program). And here we find ourselves in the aftermath of patch 9.0, considered (even internally by Wargaming) to be one of the worst and most bugged patches in World of Tanks history (four hotfixes ever since the release do speak volumes – although at least they actually are trying to fix things instead of hiding their head in sand). What I have to wonder now is: what is the direction they are heading? Consider this example: Since cca 2-3 months ago (perhaps even earlier), Storm started openly stating that there might be a problem with the client size. With the rework of all the models into HD standard, it might reach dozens of gigabytes (I’ve read various estimates for a full HD client, ranging from 40 up to 70 GB). Naturally, not everyone will download HD textures (their download is supposed to be optional from 9.2 on) but the size of the client is considered a problem – a problem enough for Storm to openly admit that this might affect the introduction of new branches and in extreme case their reduction to one or two per year. Considering how much there is still to implement, this would be a major disappointment to a lot of people (French tanks? Yea maybe 2016, maybe…). Worse still, other branches, ignored by some, but eagerly awaited by others (EU tree) are in danger of being completely axed (as far as I know it will be decided around this year’s autumn). Italian tanks? More French, British? Sorry, the client would get too big. And yet – at the same time – Storm confirmed that the alternative hulls are still planned. To refresh your memory: alternative hulls were mentioned as early as last year’s autumn/winter, perhaps even earlier. Basically, tanks, that had such an option historically, would be able to change their hulls as modules along with their suspension. In other words, each tank with an “alternative hull” would have to have TWO hull models, which is like 50 percent of the model. In other words yet: the file size of such a vehicle would increase by 25-40 percent. You might think – alternative hulls, but that’s not bad, perhaps even useful. After all, it would be nice for the suspension to actually have its graphical effect on the tank. Nothing could be further from the truth. As it was presented, this option is utterly pointless. First and foremost, most changes would be just cosmetic – for example, two different suspensions for JagdTiger: Porsche and Henschel. Both had the same performance (Porsche suspension was cheaper and faster to produce), in-game difference would be negligible. Another case would be alternative hulls, that do in fact have some sort of use (for example, early T-54 hull had 120mm frontal armor, late one had 100mm). It’s logical that more armor means more weight and less mobility, but in this case, the additional armor belonged to an EARLY model, that could for example mount only the stock turret and the LB-1 gun, not the D-10T2S. So in effect, you don’t have two really alternative (comparable) hulls (each with its advantage and disadvantage), what you have is a stock hull and a better elite hull and that’s it. In this case, the elite hull has less armor, in other cases, the elite hull would have even more armor (Panzer III, IV and their late hulls with schurzen/additional frontal plates). To sum it up: for the 50 percent increase in model hard drive size (everything in HD, so it’s a SUBSTANTIAL increase in absolute numbers), you will get absolutely pointless cosmetic changes or a stock/elite hull, noone will play the stock one more than they have to and you are right where you started. So on one hand, WG thinks the client might get too big, on the other hand, they invent a pointless way to bloat it even more. Personally, I think that in the end, cool heads will prevail and the alternative hull idea will be scrapped, because – if you want to talk profit, there are literally hundreds of thousands of Polish and Czech players (two out of three biggest EU communities), who don’t have their own tanks yet and judging from various threads and questions in both sections, they do want them. Or Italian tanks. Or Swedish tanks. Another recent case of “we are not exactly sure what we are doing” would be the historical battles. I mean… the idea was good, but it has one tiny small flaw. Nobody is playing them. Storm recently Continue reading →