Welcome to the third issue of the Developer Digest series. In this issue, Senior NA Producer Joshua Morris answers some of the most commonly asked questions by the community!
What are your plans for reviving the community?
Thanks for starting out with the easy question =)
There is no silver bullet that fixes the current situation and will require many steps to revitalize the community. As NA producer I am painfully aware that many of the the player on our server can not get viable PvP matches during many hours of the day.
The correct solution involves 5 things:
- Fix outstanding bugs and balance issues in the game
- Add a competitive mode to the game to give players longer term goals
- Provide in game incentives through events, to provide motivation to current and past players
- Provide a recruitment program to reward players for bring friends/clan mates to the game
1) Number #1 is being handled over the next upcoming patches, for example we have dedicated resources to kill the "shot delay bug" and will be testing these changes soon. We will also be putting resources on other long standing bugs and you should see changes as these bear fruit. As for balance changes we now have all 10 tiers in the game so we can work to find an overall balance between tiers. We have several issues we would like to tackle: Class Balance (Not about nerfing MBT's, but bring other classes in line), Time to kill, AC and ATGM balance and balance issues. (there are more but those are the highlights)
2) Our first competitive mode will also be making a debut within a next few updates, giving players an incentive to to participate and earn unique rewards for competition. More information on this mode will be shared in the near future, and testing will ensue.
3) We have ran many events thus far and have data on what has worked and what you like. We have giving away premium tanks, gold, Premium time, and credits for just playing the game. Some events have been more popular than others and we will work to balance these events so the rewards equal the time invested (I'm looking at you May Marathon!)
4) A recruitment program has been something that has been in the works for a while, and we would like to time it to correspond to the above improvements, so that players we bring in will stay and play for a very long time.
5) Like the recruitment program, its important that time this with other improvements and programs so that the players we gain continue to play past these promotions. The more success we have with the other areas the more that can be spent in this area.
I just want to confirm we are aware of the large task at hand and that it will take time to implement everything that is needed. That being said we have many of the core systems in place and can now work towards filling out and polishing the systems throughout the year, while continuing to add more content to the game.
Now that SIMM has been removed from the game and you've had the chance to observe the results, are you confident that it will be gone for good?
We will need more time with the current system before coming to any conclusion. I think there are still areas to improvement MM regardless of "skill" and we can look into those tweaks first.
As a producer, what do you consider to be the biggest challenge AW is currently facing and how do you plan to address that challenge?
Resources. Even on a large product like this there is never enough time in the day to do everything you want. The important thing is now that we have all tiers of vehicles in place we know what our "high end" is, and we can now balance everything with this in place. It’s most important that our future updates move the game in a positive direction.
Re-skinned Premium Tanks are bad!
I'm not sure I can agree with that statement as players have no need to buy any vehicle they don't want to; in some ways these are the most "fair" premium vehicles as anyone is able to buy the core vehicle within the game. You just decide if the vehicle skin and premium bonus is something that aligns with a vehicle you would like to own. That being said, more Collectors’ Edition tanks will be created, exploring some unique limited production and prototype vehicles.
The huge gap between Tier 9 and Tier 10 is like day and night. Are you guys considering doing something or is the current power jump intended?
This goes to my point before; we now have all the tiers in the game and can look at gaps and power progressions between them.
What do you think the problems are about high tier gameplay?
- Main Battle Tanks versus other classes balance/role (improving all classes while not gimping MBT's fun)
- "Time to kill"
- ATGM/Autocannon weapons balance
- Map design
Do you believe the current time to kill is too short or too long?
Definitely too short for some classes at higher tiers.
What kind of measures will be implemented to increase quality of the patches and hotfixes?
We now have access to a test server in NA/EU that will allow staff to check updates before they go to any PTS. This will hopefully lead to catching many issues before they go live. This will also allow us to test larger features further in the future to ensure maximum "fun".
Are you happy with class balance in PvE?
No. PvE needs to be viable for all classes; the HP and Armor of MBT's make them very efficient in PvE. I think over the long term creating more and different types of missions that caters to all classes, while improving the capabilities of non MBT classes will lead to better balance in both PvE and PvP.
What about making the maps bigger?
There are two directions to take. One is to open up maps going forward and the 2nd is the rework some existing maps. We need to figure out which gives us the most bang for our buck while still keeping the game fresh!
Any news on a French MBT line?
Yes, can’t tell you when yet.
How are you planning to fight player toxicity?
I think we have a pretty good record of resolving player issues like this when support tickets are created, and it should be much easier to report now that our tool are working and you have the ability to send in replays as proof. Give it a try; you might be surprised with the result.
Do you plan on improving your in house 'tools' to allow migration between servers / shared progress?
The game wasn’t designed in this way, and cross server play or accounts isn't an "easy" fix.
Tell us more about high-tier competitive content.
First of all, competitive content doesn't have to happen only at tier 10. Our first game mode will in fact let players much lower compete without having to reach tier 10. "End game" can be a poor word to use overall, I think its most important to give multiple ways of progression, that could be through friendly PvE matches, pick up PvP, or a more competitive mode. Overall I think players do want a way to compare their performance to others and utilize the vehicles they have unlocks to show that skill.
The producers and developers should focus on what’s going to bring back your average player base and ensure them battles they can enjoy!
Agreed. Every battle from tier 1-10 needs to be fun, everything else is just icing.
Don’t you feel the patches are a bit rushed?
Well, there are updates and hot fixes. Honestly, if anything the pace may be a bit too rapid, leading to more hotfixes than needed. The a balance between there being too much time between updates and the updates not having enough polished content to be interesting. The community thoughts on pacing would be great.
What’s up with the long artillery reload times in Update 0.15?
This was not an intended effect; artillery will be adjusted separately to take this change into consideration.
Aren’t you concerned the Tier 4 Zhalo-S is a bit too powerful? Experienced players use it to hunt down newbies.
This is an issue of trying to make premium vehicles good and worth it to buy, we have long take a stance that we will balance any tank as needed. As for tier 4 specifically, any skilled player in many tanks, premium or otherwise can dominate, let’s make sure it’s about the tank and not the inherent skill before jumping to any conclusions.AW is very skill dependent, and this can lead to frustration while this learning curve is overcome. I like that we have PvE in our game as it give players a place to learn the ropes and this skill benefits other players on the team.
How long does it take to get to tier 10 from new account?
Armored Warfare is super skill dependent, so it varies from way less than the equivalent of World of Tanks grind, to a bit more if the player is really unskilled. I won't be able to share the actual numbers but that should give you a good indication.
That's it for today. See you in the next issue!