World of Tanks

Tankfest 2017: Community Contributor Day

One would expect that after seven years, Tankfest would start to be boring. Anyone who believes that, then they do not love tanks as I do. 2017 is a very special year because it’s my first year at Tankfest as a Wargaming Community Contributor, and we don’t just get here for two days. Oh no! We get an extra day with a lot of different activities.

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Today I was at the Tank Museum with a massive group of Community Contributors, Wargaming Staff and Wargaming Developers: Thaine Lyman, Paul Barnett, Maxim Chuvalov, Anton Pankov, Slava Makarov, Danylo Parashchyn.

But why would all these big Wargaming names come to Tankfest? I can’t disclosure what was talked about in two meetings we had with them, but I can talk about a few things.

I’m still new to the Community Contributor Program, but I’ve talked with a few of these people before, mainly Thaine Lyman at Wargaming Fest. And one of the things I like the most about him, is the fact that is his honest, straight forward and to the point. If you even have the pleasure of talking with him, you will notice he doesn’t give you any bullshit, no. If you ask him something, show what your concerns are, he will genuinely consider your feedback and have an honest discussion with you.

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And today during these two panels we had an honest and open discussion with Wargaming Developers, where we could present them feedback, our concerns and they gave us a ton of information about what their current plan is and what they are trying to achieve. Now, you might ask, did you believed them?

I did. I honestly felt that Wargaming finally has a plan, knows what they need to do to improve communication, gather better feedback and get the game into the right direction.

It might be a little bit difficult for you to understand why I did believe them, without me disclosing information, so I’ll try to point you with a few hints. Wargaming is a massive corporation, they are not a small corner office indie company anymore. Any changes they want to do, or need to do, it can take months for it to happen due to several factors: they need to collect more data, before they can make a decision; they can be already working on the next patch, meaning they need to take some resources out of this so they are able to make these changes, and that sometimes is just not possible.

Wargaming openly admitted they have make several mistakes, that they buffed/nerfed to much some tanks, that they didn’t listen to players feedback, etc.

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But here comes a tricky situation when we talk about feedback: it’s different from region to region. How come? For example, Type 4 and Type 5 current situation is a problem for the European player base, but it’s actually not a problem for the Russian player base. Another example is the Russian heavy tank Object 252, while Europeans think the tank is overpowered, the Russians actually thing it’s a mediocre tank, if not a terrible tank.

Can we say the Russians don’t think Type 4 and 5 are overpowered? No, it’s just that the data in the Russian Region is different, while for example a tank performs well in Russian, it might not in Europe, or North America or Asia. While some regions experience problems with certain tanks, others don’t, and this is due to a single factor: player skill.

I’m not saying there isn’t a single overpowered tank in the game, there are a few cases where they overpowered and others who are underpowered, Wargaming knows about this. So why don’t they fix these issues straight away? Because it takes time to gather data, digest the data, research and make a decision on what it needs to be changed, and then test it again, before it comes out to the Live Server. Currently it takes Wargaming about four months to be able to fix a tank with a problem, and this fix is not guaranteed that while it will fix a particular issue, other issues might arise with a different tank in result of these changes.

As you can see, Wargaming collects a lot of data and it needs to go through everything before they make any changes, and while they are a big corporation they need time to be able to get this right, because believe it not, feedback and data does really change and varies from Supertest up to the point it reaches Live Server, and once in the Live Server it takes at least a couple of months to get solid data.

Where does this leads to?

There will be a global effort to improve communications and there will also be changes to the Community Contributor Program. While I can’t discuss this right now, all I can say is that Wargaming wants to enable us to give more feedback to them, and that enables players to give feedback to Wargaming using us, Community Contributors.

I know I’m not sharing a lot of information here, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about it at the moment. Again, this was my experience today and my opinion about it, as you are all aware, I’m not trying to force an opinion on you.

All I’m asking is, if you do really love World of Tanks, do be a bit patient with Wargaming. While we did have a couple of bad years, there has been a genuine shift towards the right direction when Thaine Lyman came into Wargaming, and now even more with Slava and Paul getting more involved with World of Tanks.

I hope you liked my small digest of the first Tankfest day, let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

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32 comments

    1. Thanks. I just want to share my point of view and not create any major shitstorms. At the same time I want people to understand while it seems hard to believe that WG is changing, because their reputation is not currently the best, they are really trying to improve things. I wish I could share a bit more information about some of the issues WG has and why they are there and why something’s happen the way they do. Maybe later on I’ll be in a position that I can share that and you maybe the full picture will then reveal itself.

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  1. now even more with slava more involved , you mean the man that repetedly said he wants heavys to not have frontal weakness ? or that arty players are retards ?

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  2. I think you brought up a good point. The same tank can behave differently in different server. Things that work for RU might not work for NA. Even different people in different server will have different opinions. There is unlikely a solution that fit everyone. And it kind of is a problem for all games. Especially since those dissatisfied about something will be more vocal about it make gathering unbiased feedback really challenging. I am really interested in how Wargaming is going to deal with it if they can actually deal with it. It’s nice that you keep us up to date with what wargaming is doing, keep up the good work here.

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  3. You’re a good man and you do a lot of work. I appreciate you for that. So don’t get me wrong when I say that it’s funny how words and thoughts can change when somebody gets the CC title. 😉

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    1. My thoughts and words didn’t change, I’ve been critical about WG when I need to be, but I do support them when they are doing something good. One can not be only critical, some people will only focus on the negative others will just rant.

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    2. Agree with you. I feel like I am reading an entirely different blog or the old one has changed owners. Instead of addressing things like WG punishing the criticism or key employees making fun of people with autism we sit here and talk about things we can’t disclose about plans which we can’t say and that WG collects a lot of data.

      To me it seems just diverting the attention from things that matter to things that…well we cannot disclose.

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  4. While I like what I’m hearing I don’t entirely agree on all the data needed to collect for changes.
    If you look at DOTA or warframe (Although that is mainly PvE) they release almost weekly balance changes, yeah sometimes they are not for the better, but that can be fixed in no time. I don’t think WG should rely so incredibly much on data. Look at those, but also the stats of the tank vs its peers (Best example IMO would be patriot vs caern/t32 and them saying low alpha means high DPM on heavy, meanwhile caern has very mediocre DPM)vand sure it might be somewhat annoying to some to get a RoF buff to the maus the one week and a nerf the next week they will get used to it…

    I don’t know what the right way to do it, what I do know is that the current balancing system is WAY too slow, looking at how long it took to fix the E5 and stuff, but I don’t expect a weekly balance patch either, say do a monthly one, that should be very possible Id say., but you know we will see. Sliphantoms recent video pointed it out pretty well, want to play a game like WOT, but not WOT, well you cant.. (even though I’m an avid armored warfare player the game is almost dead)

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    1. The thing with E5 it was before these changes in the WOT Team. WOT has a “new team” in charge and loads of new people in the last 6 moths. The E5 wasn’t fixed sooner because some of these guys weren’t in a position to take the decisions. Look at Type 4/5, took them 4 months to go back and change them again. Means there was a change, they look into these problems sooner and are on it as soon as they can.

      Regarding the data, believe me when I say its complicated. When we were showed how things are done, we understood why they need so much data before they can commit to a change. Different companies do rebalancing in different ways and Wargaming admited that it’s not ideal to take 4 months to fix an issue, but this is the best they can do now. If it changed from 12 months to 4 months, we can believe it will change maybe to 2 months for example… But remember, when Wargaming releases one Update, they are already producing the next one and planning for the next two… So to introduce changes in the middle, takes time and resources that might not be available straight away.

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      1. The american T32 has been underperforming for a long time and became almost useless since the Release of the defender, liberte and patriot. Same with most of the british tanks and they probably have more than enough “data” to do something about it.

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  5. If you know that something is overpowered and/or broken, you don’t need anymore data to be collected. Simple. And if that kind of simple change takes 4 months it simply states that they are incompetent beyond belief. No matter how large a company is, changing few armour values should be worth a week of work, max.

    Also wasn’t Thaine one of the two that spewed all that crap on that facebook vid? It clearly showed that they either have no idea or again are just incompetent at what they do. We know they try to listen, but we also do know they ignore most of it anyway.

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  6. “For example, Type 4 and Type 5 current situation is a problem for the European player base, but it’s actually not a problem for the Russian player base. Another example is the Russian heavy tank Object 252, while Europeans think the tank is overpowered, the Russians actually thing it’s a mediocre tank, if not a terrible tank.

    Can we say the Russians don’t think Type 4 and 5 are overpowered? No, it’s just that the data in the Russian Region is different, while for example a tank performs well in Russian, it might not in Europe, or North America or Asia.”

    What do WG mean by data? Is it statistical data based on tank performance or is it player opinions? Is it both? Is the Object 252 not performing well on the Russian server? Are the Type 4 and 5 not performing well either? Are all servers providing the same amount of data or does one server provide only a small data set?

    If customers on different servers want different things, how about catering for their wishes? Other multi-national corporations, if that’s what WG claims to be now, don’t seem to have a problem tailoring products to suit different markets.
    This sounds like another example of WG talking a lot but saying nothing.

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    1. Wargaming does that to a certain extent, look at the Valkyria Tanks… They are ASIA exclusive. In regards of the rest, they are trying to make the game Global, not “Russian” 😉

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  7. This is wrong from beginning. You serve community so you can talk free with WG but u can’t talk open and honest with the Community? Harkonnen read again your “point of view” and check aren’t you now propaganda trumpet? Don’t want to offend you! But all I read is a promise that “it will be better” without any proof. So what comes to my mind is: EMPTY MARKETING of relations. Sad.

    If every answer is “we need a time” maybe they will start giving us extra free time of premium account? They want my time so why I have to wait and give it to WG for free?

    BTW I totally don’t understand problem with Japanese super heavies just like RU server so it means EU is sadly crying server. Shame to EU. 😥

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    1. The Russian server probably cares less for having to spam premium ammo against some targets. And against the jap heavies you pretty much need to unless you can flank which you often cant, cause he isn’t alone. They are not a problem as long as you are willing to fire premium, but then their armour is pretty bad and on EU, luckily, their is a lot of resistance, cause kinda having to fire more expensive ammo is almost pay-2-win. (Which is something Russians and most Asian coutries don’t mind as much either, where EU/NA are firmly against that)

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    2. Of course I’m not a “propaganda trumpet”… You have to understand that I wrote the article so you guys can know WG is talking with us and sharing a lot of information, but these conversations are “off the record”. Put it this way: you have a friend and he says to you, I need to talk about something, but please don’t tell anyone. What are you going to do? Keep your word, or go around and tell everyone what he told you and break their trust?

      I asked a lot of questions to Wargaming, and I got a answer for most of them and was told a reason why WG isn’t ready to share this info, and the reason is what I said before: players wouldn’t understand if they don’t get the complete picture.

      What do you prefer me to do: Have these meetings with WG and tell you I’m having them, or just say nothing at all and then you find out I’m talking with WG and trying to improve communications? :\

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  8. I am certainly looking forward to seeing Improvements entering the game. I know I sometimes come across a bit “Fochy”, but in the end -just like him- I mean well and want to see the game grow better… I sure wish they will find a satisfactury solution to the mods, especially the bad ones….

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  9. You mentioned changes from supertest to live servers. Wouldn’t some of that be attributed to the mass quantities of gold spam on the supertest, sandbox, and test server as it relates to the live servers?

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  10. I have also believed WG an year ago, but they proved wrong. If they consider Defender as mediocre tank, why did they STOP it from selling? Why not add this tank in the tree? A? Cause next T8 campaign will be DOMINATED by Defender, Libertes and Patriots. No one (but the poor guys) will be using regular tanks as they suck. And regular tank will lose the battle, so voila: not P2W game, not at all.

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    1. You are right. There is simply no reason to believe WG. It’s absolutely bullshit that some tanks are not OP on other servers, that’s just retarded. They never back it up with any proof, while all the data we have (like on vbaddict.net) proof that Maus, Type 5, Defender, Patriot and Chrysler are clearly too strong in comparison with their same tier counterparts. The same goes for the obvious underperforming tanks like for example the Carnaervon and Leopard 1.

      It’s just bullshit when they say that they ‘have to collect data’. Don’t let them get away with them.

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  11. Thaine Lyman was that dude who was saying that the OPject 252 and the Chrysler weren’t OP and that you can beat them in your TVP easily if you are a better player?

    Sure the OPject isn’t considered OP on RU. Russia tenk should be stronk for glorious Soviet Russia.

    Sorry dude, as much as I like your blog, I think they are playing the CC’s. So much bullcrap.

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    1. Thaine and Paul are honest and truly want to make changes to the game. But people have to understand this takes time, specially in a company that is Russian and they have a very different way of working. Both Chrysler and Obj 252 aren’t “OP”, what they are is they overperform with low skilled players. Their armour is overperforming because Wargaming wanted to bring armour to the game and they already admitted they screwed up. But none of these tanks were Thaine or Paul responsability, tanks are in the pipeline for months before they get introduced, and both these guys are in those positions not that long ago.

      Regarding my opinion, it’s my opinion I said that in the article. I’m not BS anyone, I’m not trying to get everyone to be “friends” with WG. And no, they aren’t playing the CC’s because I was three days at Tankfest and the things I’ve learned about WG and what they told us it really proves they are changing and things will change. Of course it will take time, of course there will be mistakes and of course we will have more drama… Just because things are like that. And remember, players that have a problem are the ones who voice more their opinion, not the ones happy with the game, and believe me when I say the ones with a problem aren’t that many. It might look like that, but actually… Again, I didn’t write this article to “pat” WG in the back or to just say I “love” WG, I criticize them when I have to do, but I do give them value when they do something right.

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      1. Thanks for the reply, I appreciate that!

        I understand that WG needs time, or better, Thaine and Paul need time to integrate some Western philosophies in that stubborn company. I heard that Thaine is a highly respected person in the game developing business, so (besides that Facebook video) he shouldn’t be bullshitting the playerbase.

        It’s cool that WG admits that they went overboard with the armor. Armor should be strong, but has to require skill to make it work. The Löwe is a perfect example. Keeping it hulldown or at the correct angle while sidescraping, makes it very strong, even against higher tiers. But if you get caught out of position, even Tier 6 tanks will pen the LFP. That’s how it should work. If idiots perform well in a tank, it IS overpowered, because every player that HAS a brain, will dominate the battlefield. I mean, look at Tier 8 winrates on vbaddict.net…

        I’m happy with the game, except for some obvious shit that is going on. I don’t have to point those things out, right. The vocal players are the more intelligent players, who understand this game. If you have half a brain, you will be annoyed about the obvious flaws the game has. And I believe (just assuming) that those are the players who are happy to pay for this game. At least I do.

        You are clearly not ‘patting’ WG’s shoulder, I understand that. But you should keep the pressure on those guys. Every CC should do that. Keep the criticism going. If it needs a shitstorm, create one.

        And yeah, if they do something right, let them know it’s appreciated. But keep the criticism going. The CC’s should have some influence at least…

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  12. And how on earth is SirFoch sitting in the same room as the CC’s? I thought he was removed from the program…

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      1. Can you tell us something about that conversation? I’m really curious.

        I’m starting to sound like a fucking gossip girl, I know, but it’s kinda interesting.

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        1. Didn’t take part on it, all I know is that he was there for those meetings too, but I don’t know details of why or what’s talked about.

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