During last week’s GDC event, Wargaming Chief Executive Office, Victor Kislyi gave an interview to Polygon. A lot of very interesting points where mentioned, but the most important was that Victor Kislyi, accepted blame for what went wrong with World of Tanks, and vowed to renew the focus on World of Tanks.
“We were a little arrogant, let’s say, three years ago,” Kislyi told Polygon. “We were thinking we know everything that our players need without talking intensively to them ourselves. It turned into — I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but we hit the wall at some point.”
The wall was Rubicon, and Victor is right saying they were arrogant, ignoring the community and what players were screaming to get. There was only one mentality at that point, and it was: Wargaming is always right. Rubicon proved Wargaming was actually wrong, it created so many problems to Wargaming, they decided to cancel it and never touch it again.
“We are always open to criticism. What we did in this case, it was I literally reshuffled the whole World of Tanks team. Developer and publisher. Before that it was extremely Belarusian-centric team, which was headquartered in Minsk. They didn’t even speak very good English. What we realized is that probably there are some limitations that old team had, so I brought in new people.”
One of these new people is Thaine Lyman, a former EA and Activision Executive. Thaine was responsible for the franchise development and long term strategy of global AAA computer and console software titles, including Call of Duty and Destiny. Hiring him, back on December 2015 was one, if not the best decision Wargaming did since the company was created.
Thaine brought all his experience and a fresh new vision to World of Tanks and Wargaming.
Now Wargaming never stops adapting and World of Warships and World of Warplanes were given the freedom to make their own course. When Warships launched in 2015, it was considered as one of the best free-to-play games, but that wasn’t enough to make players stay, player retention trailed off is just six months.
Victor blames himself and his top-down creative demands on the game.
“I was pushing all those teams to literally copy World of Tanks,” Kislyi said. “That was wrong.”
Now, each individual teams can dictate how their games evolve and they are allowed to engage with their communities and find a path forward.
All this is good news, not just for World of Tanks, but for World of Warships and World of Warplanes. The latest is now testing new things, so it seems Wargaming has decided to address to elephant in the room and get something done with the game. What do you guys think, are these changes positive for Wargaming, or is it just smoke on the screen?