Sub_Octavian Reddi Q&A started two days ago and there is quite a lot of interesting information there. Allied_Winter was kind enough compile the best questions and share it on the Official EU Forum.
Meta and Related
Question: He mentioned that the way Overwatch balances is by looking at three aspects, players, stats, and internal feedback but rarely these things are aligned so they have to make compromises. How does StPB balance ships? Have you ever had to make compromises regarding a line? It it purely following stats or is it more a feel thing? (In regards to a QnA given by the director of Overwatch)
Answer: Yes, we had such cases. The director of Overwatch (unsurprisingly, as Blizzard are almost gods of balance, I think) put it absolutely right. These three aspects are always involved, and they often contradict. We, however, have additional issue – our game is based on IRL naval warfare. And despite of numerous conventions and “gameplay first” principle, we cannot act however we wish in balancing. We cannot make BBs purely tanks, cruisers purely support and DDs purely damage dealers, for example. While that would probably make balancing the game much easier, at the same time, that would greatly harm the immersion and historical accuracy, which is quite important for our core audience.
Question: He later went on to mention that their PT isn’t accurate for data gathering because players only stick around for one or two matches, does the same thing happen with World of Warships or does the fact that you get live server rewards help people to test more?
Answer: Again, this is right (although, I wouldn’t say that our players do only 2 matches – there are different levels of involvement across the board). PT stats are helpful, but they are not good enough for fine-tuning. The best two things about PT are players feedback (perception of changes) and version polishing (in terms of quality). Rewarding players for PT participation is good practice, I think, but more for adequate player quantity. Engaged and interested players are hardly motivated by the rewards – they want to be ahead of things and care about the project, that’s why they participate.
Question: Maps. In World of Tanks, players have the option to select/deselect which battle modes they want to engage in – why can’t Warships implement this same system. Many players dislike the Epicenter and Bastion game modes you’ve experimented with and would prefer to just play Domination. When can we expect a similar option, such as in World of Tanks, to opt out of crappy game modes.
Answer: Such option is not planned for any future updates. We remove the stuff that is not enjoyable, like Bastion, but not going to split match making
Carriers and Rework
Question: are tier V CV’s getting protected MM where they won’t see tier VI CV’s ?
Answer: No. In any case T-V CV can meet T-VI CV in battle, it will be accompanied by additional friendly T-VI CV and countered by additional T-V enemy CV. While this will indeed increase the difference between T-V and T-VI CVs, such situation will hardly make noticeable impact. But we are aware of this concern, so we will be paying much attention to it.
Follow-UP-Question: At the same time you assume that the now hamstrung CV players will not suffer greatly at the hands of those who set up their sealclubbing shop on T6 now?
Answer: Your argument is made from experienced player POV. Which I respect, but unfortunately, cannot agree with. Sorry, but novice progress in learning the game does not work like that. Yes, we strongly believe that 0.6.3 low tier CV state is better than 0.6.2 low tier CV state.
Question: It has been said by you and others, that this year will be the year of the CV rework. How do you think will the less of manual dropping impact the CV population? Especially if you think about new players that get little to no hint once they progress past T5, that they now have a new tool available (manual drop). Are there any tutorials planned in regards to manual dropping?
Answer 1: The 0.6.3 CV changes are absolutely not everything we want to do, and it may even not reflect the whole concept we are working on. These changes are done to improve current CV balance. However, we are working on several prototypes that have complete “rework” feel – in terms of AA mechanics, drop mechanics, etc. As any rework is quite stressful for players, we are taking our time to do these prototypes properly, and then they will be tested. So, right now, we don’t know for 100% how CVs will change in 2017 – we have several solid ideas that need to be polished and presented to you – the players – for trying. But we are definitly going to work on this class, as we promised.
Answer 2: Manual drop removal is done mainly to improve low-tier balance and reduce seal-clubbing.
Answer 3: Tutorials are planned, my team is working on quite an interesting project of tutorials via personal offers, that will even have some flexibility to match player skill level. Right now we’re onto some very basic stuff for T-I – III ships, but if we launch it, and it feels good, we will definitely go on with dedicated CV tutorial.
Question: On top of the previous question: I assume if a T5 and a T6 CV are in the same battle (so 2 CVs per team), then the T5 CV can’t use manual dropping, while the T6 CV can. Is this assumption correct?
Answer: Already answered.
Question: Considering the proposed changes to CVs (tier 4/5) and the removal of strafe and manual drops from these tiers, why don’t we just move to a +1/-1 matchmaking across the board, rather than a +1/-1 for tiers 1-4 and +2/-2 for tiers 5-10?
Answer: Because current MM settings work best.
Question: Is there a vision/strategy/grand design for CV balancing? My biggest gripes currently are imbalanced earnings (really hard to get to top XP even with a great game), and poor loadouts of USN CVs compared to IJN CVs.
Answer: I partly answered here. Loadouts can also be re-evaluated, including USN CVs. As for economy, due to players feedback and stats analysis, we concluded that their earnings were too averaged. We are fixing this in 0.6.3, so epic wins will be bringing larger numbers.
Question: Regarding the removal of alt-fire for CVs at T4/5. I can see why such a decision would be taken – the gap in performance between CV players able to utilise alt-fire and those who aren’t is enormous, and given the small amount of AA and lack of Defensive Fire makes manually-dropped torpedoes devastating. Still, learning manual drop is an essential mechanic for CV players, especially at higher tiers, and forcing new CV players to learn it at T6 where they might meet AA monstrosities such as the Cleveland and the Atlanta seems harsh. So, instead of removing such a mechanic from the game, have the devs considered implementing a proper tutorial (as it is right now, the only way players will even find out about alt-fire is through guides or asking on the forums) and increasing T4/5 AA, perhaps giving cruisers Defensive Fire, to make manual drops less devastating? It would teach players better teamplay early on, too.
Answer: We considered different options. The problem is that you are looking from experienced player perspective. For a novice, the choice between “learn manual drop at T6, when you already learned other CV aspects” or “learn everything at once, with kind CV seal-clubbers to help you around and to delete you” is much..less clear. And you are absolutely right about the need to introdcue much more tutorial aspects to the game. We are working on it.
Question: What are goals of the CV rework as a whole? Gameplay improvements, playerbase improvements, or even encouragement/discouragement of certain roles such as damagedealing, air cover, etc?
Question: On that note, how did AS loadouts (and air combat involving CV fighters) fare in these last few patches?
Clans and Related
Question: Clan system. When will we see an expansion of the clan system? Limiting clans to only 30 roster slots seems like a money grab, as we’ve seen several clans now implement successive clan tags. There has been literally zero progress made on the clan system in Warships.
Answer: I think I mentioned this, but it won’t hurt to repeat: clan system will be expanded for sure. Our plan was “socialization – causal clan gameplay – competitive clan gameplay – meta-clan gameplay”. The plan is still in action, and we are working on step 2 right now. As for limitation of 30, we are aware that this limit does not accommodate some big established clans, and we are working on solution as well. No money grab intended – that would be quite pointless even from pure business perspective.
Question: Clan battles. Currently, other clans are sponsoring, organizing and running clan competitions and clan battles, because the game does not yet support this feature. When will we see clan battles? Will clan battles follow a similar system as in World of Tanks (that is, tiers 6, 8, and 10) or will Warships have a different tier system?
Answer: I cannot go into details, but according to our plan I described in the first point, the stuff you are talking about is step 3 and partly 4.
0.6.3 – Stealth Firing
Question: Do you agree that the suggested fix for stealth firing will disproportionately affects the ships, DDs specifically, that have long gun range and/or are specialized into increasing the range? The scenario I am describing is: Say you are in a DD and fighting another DD at close range. Your gun range is 15km because you took all the skills and modules for range. His support BBs are at 14km. With current mechanics, the BB at 14km will not be spotting you and relying on the DD you are fighting. With new mechanics, the BB will also be spotting you, so if the enemy DD was to smoke up or die… you are still spotted. If you didnt have AFT, you would no longer be spotted.
Answer: No. I fully understand the scenario you are talking about, but I find it very situational and overestimated. Your after-firing 20s penalty will be cut off if no enemies are in direct LOS – and on most maps, there’s lots of terrain around the caps. You also will have smokes available. We’ll be monitoring this scenario on PTS to be sure everything works as intended. If you want my personal opinion, as a player, I’m not going to change anything in my builds. My USN, KM and IJN DDs (but for Akizuki) are doing without AFT/range mod, and VMF leaders are built for provoking fire, so they are going with it and rudder shift. Not sure about VMF 2nd branch and whether I can free up 4 points by removing AFT from Akizuki, remembering about her big range buff..we’ll see. (Adendum) Sorry, I put it wrong: the penalty itself stays, but if no one sees you in LOS, you won’t be detected through terrain or smokes.
Question: Wargaming seems to have a long standing (unwritten) rule of not engaging in massive nerfs to premium vehicles (ships/tanks) – and yet the discussed changes to “stealth firing” will do exactly that to several premium ships in the game (Gremy/Blyskawica/Kutuzov, etc). How will Wargaming provide compensation for these drastic changes, as the ships will no longer be what was advertised when we purchased, in accordance with the EU Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices.
Answer: There will be no compensation upon 0.6.3 changes. All battle specs remain the same, it is the game mechanics that is changed, and making it influence only researchable ships would be absolutely unfair. Additionally, I don’t remember any premium shop description that involves stealth firing (although I am not checking them all on all regions). And finally, I don’t recomment going this way, because we always care for premiums so they are competitive and buff them directly when it is needed. Without sticking to this “you bought exactly what you bought” idea. If we revert all positive changes to all premium ships, I guess, many of them will become much less enjoyable, with formal “we did not change a thing” being true. Stealth firing is an option which is utilized with certain commander skills and modernizations. For this part, free respecs/demounts will be introduced in 0.6.3. P.S. If any ship, including premium, will become unplayable in 0.6.3, it will be tuned in 0.6.4. Having lots of good ships in game is the mutual interest of players and developers.
Question: If the stealth firing change goes through in its current form, are there any plans to introduce modules or skills that lower your gun range?
Answer: Sorry, I put it wrong: the penalty itself stays, but if no one sees you in LOS, you won’t be detected through terrain or smokes.
Question: In your opinion, doesn’t the decision to get rid of stealth firing contradict WG’s official we don’t nerf premiums stance? If the answer is no, then why? Stealthfiring was definitely a major selling point for some premium ships.
- We don’t have such official stance. Officially, we have EULA, but I’m not doing legal service, I’m more into game design and community interaction. And here, we always work so that all players spendings do not lose their value. This is why premium ships are buffed just like regular ones when needed, but on the other hand are not nerfed.
- Stealthfiring cannot be major selling point, because we never ever balanced any ship around it. That would be stupid to balance the ship around quite unfun and marginal tactics (sorry, stealth-firing-guys).
- 0.6.3 changes are not individual nerfs/buffs, but mechanics rework.
- The answer is no.
- If any ship will become unplayable because of changes (which is really, really low chance – there’s whole world of opportunities to play without open-water invisible firing), it will be tweaked and buffed ASAP. Because the idea of SF removal is to “buff” the whole game, not to ruin things and to bring down the sky
Question: Removal of stealth fire. It’s safe to say that this is a decision that has been very hotly contested, and I will try not to repeat any points that (to my knowledge) have already been answered. To my mind, stealth fire in general was troubling only in very specific situations and most ships had to make tradeoffs for this ability. IJN DDs (barring Akizuki) have awful DPM, not making their stealth firing too much of a problem. USN DDs have it slightly better, but at the ranges they can stealth fire at, their low shell velocity leads to enormous lead times, making hitting anything but the largest and slowest battleships consistently near-impossible. Russian destroyers had their post-fire detection bloom nerfed specifically to make stealth-firing more difficult (excepting Gremyashchy) and the German destroyers infamously had such a change made to them pre-emptively. So, that leaves the number of the worst abusers of stealth fire at 4, unless I missed some: Zao, Blyskawica, Gremyashchy, Akizuki. What was the thought behind removing stealth fire globally rather than nerfing these specific ships?
Answer: Because we were not going to nerf a specific ship, rather to exclude the mechanics, which in our opinion, is bad for the game in general. P.S. There were also some very hotly contested topics before, like RPF, bad skill tree, UK cruisers and German BBs being bad, etc. Sometimes, players concerns prove to be justified, sometimes – not. Not everything we say is always right. Not everything Redditors/hardcore players say is always right. However, the decision and, what’s important, the responsibility, will be ours.
Question: Regarding the “compensation” buffs we are getting in 0.6.3 in return for the removal of stealth fire, which near-exclusively seem to be firing range buffs. Have Wargaming considered that with the way the new system is projected to work (detection range after firing = maximum firing range), increasing a ship’s maximum firing range is actually something of a nerf, especially for the reliant-on-stealth IJN destroyers?
Answer: No, we don’t consider this to be a nerf. To call it a nerf is very close to fact-twisting.
Question: What’s the status of cruisers? Recently my random battles are finally 90% of the time with 5 BBs on each side, going as low as 1 cruiser per team. This is really bad for the game, and the recent removal of stealthfire mostly benefited BBs.
Answer: The removal of SF should benefit the whole game, not BBs. As for the actual effect, I don’t think you are time traveller (neither am I) so I guess we should not jump to such conclusions. BBs are popular, sometimes too much, and there are other things in class balance/popularity we are changing slowly, but there is no cruiser extinction.
Question: Specifically about Akizuki and Gremyashchy, who will be hit hard by the stealth fire nerfs. About Akizuki, have the devs considered that with no longer being able to stealth fire, her weaknesses will likely cause her performance to plummet like a rock? She is slow (she can be outpaced by some battleships in her matchmaking spread!), fat (leading to horrifyingly large penetrations from high-calibre guns) and turns like a brick (making her less able to dodge incoming fire, compounding the above problems). Has buffing her agility instead of “buffing” her firing range been considered in light of the stealth fire changes? As for Gremyashchy, with no longer being able to stealth fire and thus the removal of its most infamous strength, will it be made available for purchase again? I greatly enjoyed her sister, the Gnevny, when I was grinding her at T5 and would love having a Gremy in my port as a player who only fairly recently started playing.
Answer: If Akizuki, Gremy, or any other ships performance will “plummet like a rock” (which may also NOT happen, because, you know, we are not nerfing them to oblivion, as some players think), we will surely fix them ASAP. Again, the change of mechanics is designed to improve the gameplay overall, not to destroy particular ship. So, any bad side effect will be fixed. We love and play Akizuki, too
French and other Cruisers
Question: I am concerned about Henri IV, the TX French cruiser, because of the leaked stats. I know you can’t confirm or deny and don’t want to discuss leaks, but is there anything you can say so we are not worried so much?
Answer: Viva la France! (<–BEST ANSWER SO FAR)
Question: What was the reason for giving French cruisers faster reverse/deceleration? Even before this announcement, the forums were already ripe with bad jokes about the French retreating/reversing/hissing the white flag. I’m quite surprised that WG is now further fuelling this bad stereotype by making it part of the national flavour.
Answer: Uh-oh, I guess people often see what they want to see Sorry, but no jokes intended. French cruiser are going to be quite fast, but they won’t have fast rudder shift. Extra power to reverse will give them more chance to park off an unfortunate island or any other collision. This is it.
Question: Will high tier IJN CAs get some special consumable? Right now, they are pretty bland and don’t offer any thing to the team. RN has smoke+sonar, USN/VMF has radar, KM has uber sonar. Their lack of capability to push smoke effectively makes them to stay at the back and not utilise their stealth better and play the objective. I am not saying Zao needs a buff but it is nice to have comsumables to help you when you want to push an objective.
Answer: “Consumable flavour” is a nice and obviously efficient thing, but it is not the only way of influencing game process. IJN CAs are notorious for their uber-HE shells, and they have situational, but powerful torpedoes. And quite well-protected layout. They really don’t need to sit back and can be played with risk.
Right now we don’t see any argumented need to add IJN-cruiser-specific consumable.
Question: how did the latest USN CA ROF buffs turn out in your view? Was it enough to get them on par with the other nations? (I liked them, but they performed subpar in the past).
Answer: Quite enough. Nice to see the stats and positive attitude towards these ships growing. Maybe we will do more a bit later; now we keep looking at their performance.
DDs – State of IJN
Question: What’s the status of IJN DDs? I know you’re looking into them, but I am also worried since you introduced a “well deserved buff” in 0.6.3 to Yugumo and Shima, which isn’t really a 100% buff considering the new concealment mechanics, so I am just hoping you’re not done with them.
Answer: The status is that we will keep researching them with 0.6.3 changes. I cannot confirm that range upgrade is not 100% buff. It stacks well with their low profile, good arcs and HEs, low comfort in CQC and long torpedoes. Whether further buffs are needed is to be determined.
Question: Why does Gearing get 16.5 km torps? Why are Fletcher and gearing torps so much better than Shimas-resulting in similar torp damage (because Gearing and Fletcher torps are so much more likely to hit) despite Shima having so much more torp capacity and dmg.
Answer: Gearing torps are really good, especially with torpedo acceleration skill, but I don’t support the opinion that IJN torpedoes are worse. We may stare at their specs and discuss them, but in the end, IJN DDs do more damage with their torps. Their alpha, speed and flooding chance compensate their higher detectability. And while Gearing shreds things in CQC with her RoF, high tier IJN DD who knows about her guns (which many IJN DD players forget, unfortunately), shreds things from range due to powerful HE and nice arcs. I’m not saying everything is perfect, and no buffs are considered after 0.6.3, but for now, we need to see how things change.
Question: Hi! Is there any news about IJN DDs? Few months ago you said they get overview but nothing new since then. They seriously need some fixing, a better turret turn speed or decrease their torpedo detection ranges. Fletcher and Gearing being a better torpedoboat then a torpedo focused line while they also having superior guns is seriously not right. Average players learnt how to dodge torps, especally IJN torps with terrible detection range, they also struggle to fight back with guns because even with skill and equipment their turrets turn too slow. If you dodge shells, can’t fire back because of slow turrets, if don’t dodge but fire back the enemy just wrecks you.
- There was flooding damage buff, that increases their damage output against large ships.
- There is firing range buff for most of them coming in 0.6.3.
- Other tweaks may be introduced later.
- Sorry to ruin it, but Gearing and Fletcher are not better torpedo boats. They are definitely good, though.
IJN DDs have pros and cons. Right now, we see that if played to their pros, they are showing very good results – I don’t mean IMO here, I mean server stats. However, we would be happy to meet the community concerns and make these ships more enjoyable without over-buffing them. So we keep working.
Question: simply question IJN DDs sub branch, it continue or stop? if continue then how long?
Answer: We would definitely like it to continue, ideally, with the ships/projects similar to Akizuki. No ETA yet, unfortunately.
Question: will the Shinonome also get a firing range update like many other IJN? I didn’t see it in the 0.6.3 notes.
Answer: We are considering it.
Miscellaneous (WG EU, standard battle, ranked progression,…)
Question: [… Foul language …] For example the christmas convoy missions which we wouldn’t have gotten, repeating missions where in EU you have to get 2 Krakens and a separate double strike to complete the final stage of a mission? If the community wouldn’t be actice we would get [edited]all compared to the NA server where WG staff seem to actually care about their community.
Answer: Hi. I suggest you don’t use that kind of language in Q&As. I am not trying to tell you what to do, but really, that won’t contribute to communication. Unfortunately, I cannot answer this question, as events & missions are completely out of my area of work. I will try to find someone who can talk about it, and summon here. Cheers!
Question: Is there anything in the works regarding changes to the way progression occurs in ranked battles to make ranking out less frustrating? Some of my thoughts include awarding stars to top 7 players of both teams and losing a star requires 2 consecutive losses. What are your thought on adding cyclones to ranked games? Will you be reintroducing the old rewards for future seasons of ranked?
Answer: We are planning big research upon current season end. So right now, I’m more interested in asking right questions and analyzing the data, then giving answers. It is too early to speak about RB in detail. If you receive the survey, be sure to complete it. Thanks!
Question: Is there any plan to either remove or modify how standard battles work, as at the moment, especially at high tiers, they promote base camping and very passive/selfish gameplay, whereas a domination game is much better, as it encourages and rewards teamwork and more aggressive gameplay. Also, the xp rewards for a standard battle are much lower on average than domination games, is this by design, has this been noticed?
Answer: I personally can agree with your point. I love Domination so much more than SB. However, LOTS of players have different opinion, and removing this mode would upset them significantly. I’m speaking with confidence, because the matter was researched specifically This is why we lowered the presense of this mode but did not remove it.
Question: Lastly, I believe Wargaming have stated that the battleship overpopulation (40% and rising) is a problem. Yet, why does seemingly every recent change, barring two minor ones (reduction of catapult fighter uptime, Bismarck hydro nerf – but only specifically Bismarck) seem to run counter to this goal? AA buffs, the new skill tree in general, Radio Location specifically, and now the removal of stealth fire… the dev team’s actions seem to run counter to their stated goal, and that may be why many people are upset.
Answer: Have you seen many BBs with RPF? Because we don’t see them at all. Why have you excluded flooding damage buff, which now causes BBs to melt with unrepaired leak? Sorry, but I don’t see any objective approach here, so the question itself is not correct. Thus, I am not sure I can answer it.
Question: Since you are lowering the citadel of Iowa, will Izumo going to get some love as well?
Answer: We are not lowering Iowa citadel. We’re lowering (most likely, if testing goes good) Alabama citadel in 0.6.2.2 and testing the same change for Iowa/Missouri/Montana for 0.6.4. There are no buff plans for Izumo currently. Sorry.