Visiting Wargaming Minsk office was an amazing opportunity for me and loads of other Community Contributors. We were able to test the HD maps before everyone else and give direct feedback to the developers, but we were also able to do a Q&A with Alexey “Inaki” Ilyin, World of Tanks Global Producer and other developers working on HD maps.
The following information is all I was able to collect from the notes I’ve done in Minsk and all photos were taken by me.
World of Tanks HD Maps
- No ETA for HD maps at the moment. There is a lot of maps in final stages, but some of them are still in process.
- Wargaming plans to release as many maps as possible, but they want the highest quality possible for each map. If a map didn’t make it to the final release, it will be added in a future update.
- Wargaming is aware of the impact on the Matchmaker if only a few maps were introduced. This is the main reason why they are working hard to convert as many as possible.
- There will be a new graphics setting: Ultra. This is aimed at players with high-end machines, and will also give access to a few more new options: Tessellation, Tessellation in Sniper Mode and Improved Physics.
- These new options will improve the game even further and will be more demanding than Maximum settings.
- Community Contributors noticed the north spawn point on Steppes needed rebalancing. Wargaming kindly thanked for the feedback, and they will use all feedback they collect and heat maps to perform tweaks where needed.
- It’s currently impossible to create new maps at the same time old ones are being converted into HD. Due to this, Wargaming will only introduce new maps after the old maps are converted into HD.
- There are plans for a few new Winter maps and also to replace some existing maps. Some old maps will also be reworked for game balance purposes.
- Winterberg and Winter Himmelsdorf will be removed from the map poll, but Fiery Salient will remain in the game.
- Wargaming understands some maps need to be improved, but for now, they will concentrate on getting the maps reworked into HD. It would be difficult for players to test the new graphics and changes to all maps, and at the moment Wargaming wants to get as much feedback possible about performance and visual style of the HD maps.
- Just a few maps have been reworked now, but these changes don’t have a massive impact in gameplay. Some are just visual changes, others aren’t and will affect gameplay.
- Fisherman Bay, Erlenberg and Fjords will be three maps receiving tweaks. Fjords will be reworked in the middle area of the map, Fisherman Bay middle fields will have Mark I wrecks added, these will provide additional cover for players who chose to play in that area. Erlenberg will be massively reworked because it’s currently a problematic map on the live server.
- Maps like Stalingrad and Kharkov are considered problematic and unpopular. Wargaming is likely to delay the release of these maps in order to rebalance them as they are converted into HD.
- Wargaming is working very hard to optimise the game for low spec machines. They are aware that many players have old computers with very low performance, but the minimum graphics requirement will stay the same as the current ones.
- There are plans to change the minimum requirements a year or two after HD maps are introduced.
- Mountain goating is a byproduct of the new physics, and Wargaming plans to fix some locations when HD maps are introduced. Feedback will be collected from the community on how these areas affect the gameplay and if they need to be fixed.
- No winter maps were ready to be tested on Sandbox, unfortunately. New technology will allow tanks to leave tracks in the snow and it will also react like in real life. A new shader was also introduced that enables ice to behave just like in real life. These effects will, of course, be optimised for old machines.
- On a side note, we Community Contributors, were almost able to test winter maps, because as we were leaving Minsk office, we were told it is nearly ready for internal testing. We might see winter maps soon on the next Sandbox iteration.
- It takes around two months to convert a map due to all the work and effort required to re-build the map, create new textures, stabilising the code and testing.
- Some Contributors complained about the Sun being too bright and how it affected gameplay in some cases. Wargaming thanked for the feedback and told this was one of the reasons why we were invited to Minsk, to test and give feedback on the new maps. Also, we were advised on how the brightness and positioning of the Sun can make a map look and fell different because of the new lighting system.
- Encounter and Assault mode maps will remain in the game, and no changes will be made to where the spawn/capture areas are located. Wargaming considers its extremely difficult to balance these modes because some would require some maps to be reworked and this is not an option. There are no plans to remove them, but there will no further maps added with these two game modes.
- Wargaming recognises that Valkyria Chronicle tanks are somewhat overpowered. But because these are only available in Asia region and are Premium tanks, they won’t be touched.
- Valkyria Chronicle tanks won’t be introduced to other regions, this has already been confirmed several times.
- Wargaming is monitoring Type 4 and Type 5 derp guns and armour but doesn’t consider them a critical problem at the moment.
- There were a lot of complaints about armour not being relevant in the game, and this is the reason why Wargaming decided to increase the role of armour.
- M48 Patton recent changes didn’t affect its performance, but its currently being monitored to see if its overperforming.
- Wargaming is planning on replacing the current Sheridan model for a new one in 2018.
- There are plans to make Object 140, Object 430 and Type 62A different from each other, but these aren’t finalised yet.
- RNG won’t be changed from +/- 25%. Wargaming wants the players to have “magic/fun” moments where they can still carry a game because an enemy low rolled them.
- RNG isn’t pure +/- 25%, it’s actually based on a standard distribution system. At the moment is set to have 67% chance to be within +/-10%, where the extreme numbers have a much smaller change to happen.
- Sandbox was good for Wargaming to understand that players want them to focus on polish the game balance, instead of changing the vehicles dramatically.
- Black tanks were meant to celebrate the American Black Friday event. Wargaming had only three weeks to prepare something, as this was a last minute decision. Introducing the black tanks was the simplest thing Wargaming could do, and it didn’t affect gameplay or balance. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t ready yet to introduce just simple Black skins for example.
- There are no plans to introduce further “unrealistic tanks” (Valkyria or Warhammer 40,000) on World of Tanks PC. These were created just for a specific market and will, remain has they are now.
- Under performing tanks will, of course, be rebalanced and improved, but Wargaming is still afraid of touching over performing Premium tanks or even other tanks that require an extensive overall (KV-5 for example). There are a few plans, but they need to be tested first.
Game Economy, Balance & Mods
- A new customisation system is being created to enable players further customisation on their tanks.
- This has already been talked on previous Q&As, a new 2D customisation system will be released first and later a 3D one that will enable players to add props to their tanks.
- Wargaming is considering further tests to last year Christmas event loot boxes, but its too early to announce anything specific.
- Community Contributors suggested the introduction of a similar system used on World of Warships. Wargaming main issue with this is the fact it would affect the game economy flow, so it needs to be carefully planned.
- Wargaming is still debating if they will introduce Night Battles and Weather Effects and if these will only be cosmetic or if they will affect gameplay. These also need to be carefully tested before introducing them to the live server.
- Wargaming works closely with XVM developers and believes a straight case of baning XVM from the game wouldn’t fix any issues.
- Two years ago, Wargaming collected stats and realised that over 50% of the players using XVM, used it without statistics.
- XVM gives players much more than just statistics, and this is why Wargaming works hard on introducing functions from it to improve the game, making XVM obsolete.
- Wargaming also looked into the option of not allowing third parties to fetch data from WG API, but this lead to a lot of problems with other data analysis services that are useful.
- By useful data analysis services, Wargaming wants to say sites like wot-life.com or wotzilla.com for example.
- Wargaming doesn’t consider hiding the opposite team a good idea because this would make players feel like they are playing against bots.
- Grand Battle map was successful regarding balance, but unfortunately there are some issues with the matchmaker because it clashes with Ranked Battles. Wargaming is currently working on fixing the matchmaker issues.
- SPG won’t be removed from the game. This class is aimed for people who like to predict other players behaviours, and there is a portion of players who really like this class, some actually just play SPG.
- Artillery is not less toxic than before the changes, mainly due to the stun effect. However now players can survive much longer, rather than being nuked by it.
- Wargaming is aware of the incresing usage of high-end monitors and its thinking in removing the 127 FPS limitation in the game.
- Current FPS limitation is due to a previous limitation of the BigWorld Engine. The Server engine is also getting reworked so the limitation can be removed.
- There isn’t an obvious solution for the camera overhang issue. Since the introduction of Pilsen, the camera behaviour was reworked and is far more complex than a normal FPS game. Wargaming hopes future technology will be able to fix the issue.
- Historical battles were removed due to the overwhelmingly negative feedback from players.
- According to Wargaming, there aren’t many players who change the control settings.
- There are plans to change the aiming system, but it’s not decided yet.
- Wargaming doesn’t want to Chieftain Mk. 6 as a simple straight research from the Conqueror. If enough lower tiers are found to fit in a similar playstyle to the Chieftain, then it will be considered to be introduced as an alternative branch.
- No plans to introduce a Romanian tech tree because there aren’t enough tanks.
- Wargaming is still working on a Polish tech tree. Enough vehicles were found to make one, and they are being worked so they can be introduced as soon as possible, but no ETA.