Developer Q&A

1. Developer Q&A: Stalin Line


Tank Commanders!

On 10th and 11th September, at the historical-cultural complex "Stalin Line", a tank holiday was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Tankers' Day.

Wargaming broadcasted this event on the official Wargaming Twitch channel. 

The broadcast covered the following topics:

  •         Details of the reconstruction and presentation of the legendary tank KV-1.
  •         Vehicles balance changes discussion with Murazor.
  •         Future plans and changes in World of Tanks.

We've compiled the key points of the broadcast for you in text form, here.

Answers by Aleksandr Bobko, Projects Manager

Alexander, KV-1 is not the first tank restored with our help, right?

Yes, this restoration is not our first such experience. The first one was the T-34-76, the restoration of which took place at Stalin Line as well. We are constantly undertaking various projects. Our historians are helping museums and restorers all over the world to restore vehicles. The T-34-76, however, is a unique case because almost all the items in it are the original ones.

In 2014, we had a collaboration with the Kubinka Tank Museum where we retrieved a KV-1 from the bottom of the Don River. The procedure was extremely difficult; it was only possible to retrieve part of the suspension, and the turret was not found. This time, however, we managed to get a hold of the turret! The suspension was taken from ISU-152, and many other parts had to be recreated manually. Yesterday's reenactment was the first-ever presentation of the restored KV-1. It even helped to make a wedding proposal!

What other projects were there, and what other projects will there be?

The main purpose of these projects is to help museums that are looking for lost vehicles, and we are always happy to help with such projects. For example, specialists from Stalin Line helped to restore an SU-100, and it will be participating today in the reenactment.

The 100-year anniversary of the first use of a tank in combat is coming up. Could you tell us more about it?

Yes. During World War I, on 15 September 1916, the British tank, Mark I, first saw battle. Today there is a mock-up of this tank. On 15 September, a real Mark I will be put into action. Recently we made a panoramic video tour of the very first tank ever, so if you didn’t have an opportunity to see the tank live, be sure to watch the video.

Can players participate in the restoration of vehicles?

Yes, there were several cases where players suggested that they could help; either that or we asked them to come to museums and participate in restoration and renewal projects for vehicles and museums. The Central Museum of the Armed Forces is located in Moscow, and thanks to our players, we were able to update about forty tanks. In the Minsk, Krasnodar, and Kaluga regions, similar events were held as well.

Do you have plans for similar projects in the near future?

We announce all such projects on the official website, social networks, and the site Nowadays, we see that players, as well ourselves, have developed a keen interested in augmented reality technology. We have created a Tank 100 application, which makes it possible to learn the history of the first tank. In the game itself, there will be a special game mode called “Convoy” that will be released on 15 September.

Alexandr, did you have a chance to ride the tanks that you restored?

A museum is not Disneyland, so to speak. There are safety regulations, so an outsider can’t simply climb into a tank and ride it. However, the project where we got the KV-1 out of the bottom of the Don River stands out in my mind. It was summer, and all the local guys that were aware of the project helped out actively.

Answers Daniil Parashchyn, Special Projects Expert

What are you doing in Cyprus?

Actually, I don't only work in Cyprus now; I am often in the Minsk office as well. I take part in projects going on in both offices. I also actively participate in preparing updates. We review what is ready, what can be released in this update, and what needs to be planned for the next one. It is possible to do something quickly, for example, to upgrade premium tanks, so they appeared in the previous updates.

Aren’t you bored in Cyprus?

How should I put this... I spend most of my time in the office and I sometimes manage to go to the seaside, but it is very hot there so I don’t even want to spend a lot of time outside.

Did anything shock you when you became a developer?

There was nothing shocking, but most problems were multi-faceted. From an observer's perspective, everything seems to be much easier than it really is.

You celebrate Tanker’s Day in Minsk now. Did you intend to celebrate it here?

I really intended to celebrate Tanker’s Day in Minsk. There no such events in Cyprus, so I’m very happy to be here.

As far as I know, you are responsible for game balance and Sandbox, right?

Yes, that’s true. Sandbox was originally intended to be a platform for testing major changes; changes of vehicle classes; mechanics. We want these changes to be clear and accepted by players, so internal tests are not enough.

The first iteration of Sandbox is over now. There were some major changes, and players have conflicting impressions. What can you tell us about that?

Yes, it was necessary to get used to the changes, and we faced some opposition from the players. However, that's just because we are all used to the tanks as they are in the current version, and we had to learn a lot from scratch.

What conclusions can you make based on the first iteration?

We collected lots of reviews and feedback. We understand that players want changes, but such major changes are not really clear to them. In fact, changes can completely change the game. Now, we will do it differently. We'll release more detailed changes on Sandbox and listen to player feedback. If the changes are approved, we will further develop them, but if not, we will not implement them.

What's the next step for Sandbox?

We have selected the changes and mechanics that players liked. For example, fixes for artillery were well-received. Stun effects gave players grief, but we plan to add resources to remove it.

A year ago there was an impression that we don’t do a lot of positive things with the game. What are your impressions since you have started working under “Tanks”?

The changes that we have planned will be seen in future patches, but I can’t tell you about it yet. From the latest project I was involved in to the upgrade of the 112 that will be in version 9.16.

Recently, there were a lot of upgrades to Premium tanks. Will regular tanks be upgraded?

It’s easier to fix Premium tanks because researchable tanks are a part of a branch. We don’t want to fix just one vehicle; we want to fix the whole branch.

Do you have time to play games?

Yes, I do, but not as much as I would like to have. Hotel Internet connections are bad, and it’s not always possible to carry a gaming laptop with you. I do try all the tanks that we release, especially premium ones.

We had a positive trend in Update 9.14. Do you think that it will continue?

I believe so. I would like to mention improvements to spotting mechanics in 9.16. It was a major problem in the game, and its fix required serious server contribution.

Battle chat will be disabled. Why is that so?

We have lots of players that complain about abuse in the chat. In all regions, players don’t like that. Opponents write negative comments far more often than positive ones.

Should we thank you for the German Skorpion?

You may thank me for that.

How about these traditional questions from players: where is skill balance, and +/-1 Tier?

We don’t need skill balance in Random battles, as it will turn out that skilled players are playing with each other and nobody will be able to dominate. If you mean that we need separate modes – that may be true.

We won’t make +/- 1 Tier, but we are working hard on the matchmaker right now. I’m not sure yet, but we plan to show the results in Sandbox.

Answers Maxim Chuvalov, Projects Manager

Maxim, what do you do?

I promote our game in all regions. In order to do that effectively, I work with the developers. I also communicate with media and players, and speak out at events.

Do you think 9.14 and 9.15 are good updates?

Yes, I think players have noticed that. 9.14 and 9.15 were quite well-received, and we don’t plan to diverge from that direction. We have changed our approach to development; we've started communicating more closely with players.

After the recent updates to physics and sounds, we gathered a lot of feedback that helped us to improve in-game sounds in 9.15, and we will improve them even more in 9.16.

Please tell us about the Common Test for 9.16. What is the most important thing about the update, in your opinion?

Spotting mechanics! One of the most major changes that will affect all players. Previously, spotting occurred within 1.5 to 2.0 seconds of an opponent coming out of cover, and now, opponents will be spotted instantly when they move away from obstacles.

“Convoy” Mode – what will we have in it?

We will have the in-game mode dedicated to the first tank of World War I – the Mark I. This 15th September will mark 100 years since the combat debut of tanks, and we couldn’t help but support this event.

Convoy Mode will see dynamic battles. Players will get into the atmosphere of World War I; they will see airships and biplanes. This mode will have wheeled vehicles. Because of the physics environment introduced in Update 9.14, this is now possible. Teams will consist of 7 players each, and one team will escort a Mark I to a finish point. For the first time, we will test out mechanics for short-term buffs to guns: there will be pick-up items that will significantly improve gun characteristics for some time. There will also be personal missions in the mode, as well as medals and awards. Players will also see a special Hangar dedicated to this occasion.

We announced the Swedish branch of tanks at Gamescom. Tell us more about this nation, please.

Yes, we announced at Gamescom that the Swedish nation is coming. Historically, the Swedes focused on defence. They prepared for battles on their territory; on difficult terrain against superior numbers; that’s why they have unique features and technology. Swedish engineers were not afraid to experiment. Air suspensions on their Tier X TDs will allow a player to adjust tank's height, and rearward speed will be comparable to forward speed.

When will we be able to see the Swedish tech tree?

The nation will be released by the end of this year. It will consist of a TD branch and an LT-MT-HT branch. There will be unique crew voiceovers and emblems. 9.16 will come with a Swedish premium tank: Tier VI, with an autoloader and three crew members, the same number of crew members as in top HTs.

STB-1 also had an air suspension, what about its future?

First, we need to check the technology; to learn if players like it. If it is convenient and useful, we will probably include it on the STB-1 as well.

Is there any news about the second iteration of Sandbox?

The second iteration is coming. I think that the developers’ diaries will describe it in detail soon.

What plans are there for the matchmaker?

Currently, we are working on the new matchmaker, and it’s difficult to say for now which version it will be included in or which event it will be tested in, whether in Sandbox, internal tests or common tests. The main goal of the new matchmakers is to increase the number of convenient battles for players. The number of battles spent being in top, middle and bottom tiers in the match should be equal, and teams should be balanced by the numbers and classes of vehicles.

Will premium vehicles be nerfed? Players are worried about the Skorpion.

Nothing bad will happen to premium vehicles. You may have noticed that we upgraded them instead, in the latest update.

2. Developer Q&A: July 2016


Sandbox questions from CIS region contributor Jove and answers by Anton Pankov (Executive Publishing Producer) and Daniil “Murazor” Parashchyn (Special Projects Expert)


  • Why has stabilisation been cut when shell distribution within the aiming circle is increased?


Not every tank has decreased stabilisation – some vehicles received different changes. Stabilisation was done so that players could easily hit a target at close distances. I can’t say it’s perfect now, but that's why we need to collect data in order to decide how the game balance will be improved. Additionally, all heavy tanks have reduced turret and hull manoeuvrability, and now it’s possible to circle heavy tanks. All these changes are being tested as part of the new vehicle role system and game balance.


  • Do you plan to add new players to Sandbox?


Each week, we try to add new players of all skill levels – not just ones with good stats. Now it’s summer and many of those we invited aren't yet active, but we believe that interest in Sandbox will remain high.


  • Artillery now has very good accuracy – but is it too much?


Artillery can no longer one-shot players, so we decided to increase its accuracy so it would be possible to make a predictable shot. The new "stun/ shellshock" feature was not in the game before and we haven't set in stone how it will function. There will be an opportunity to decrease the duration and strength of the stun. Yes, it can be annoying, but now you can easily go out and make a push on the enemy team, safe in the knowledge that you won't suddenly be destroyed by artillery.

However, one of the new features that we plan to test is the prohibition or limitation of artillery when playing within a Platoon.


  • And what about a bonus for tanking?


We're implementing it little by little. When we were originally ready to release it, we felt that it gave too large of a bonus and that we couldn’t make it right without making more changes. Almost the same thing can be said about the bonus for artillery assists.


  • Why does the Т110Е3 have a 120mm?


We are rebalancing tanks that are over-powered. There can't be any super-armor and super-alpha damage tanks, but I don't really like the current balance on the T110E3. It'll be upgraded later. We also need to take into account that the rebalance will limit the number of tier X tanks in each battle.


  • Have you planned anything interesting for maps?


Some of the more "problematic" maps will be added to Sandbox. But for the moment, we want to focus on more technical aspects first.


Some of the problems with maps will be resolved with the new balance changes, as due to the new vehicle roles and changes to artillery, players should be behaving differently on the maps.


  • Will Stun/Shellshock be the only feature artillery will have?


Yes. There won’t be any smoke shells, spotting shells, etc. We have discussed it more than once and don't plan to include them, because average teams may not be able to use them effectively. Smoke rounds risk interfering with the gameplay experience of allied players and could negatively impact gameplay.


  • Why is it forbidden to livestream from Sandbox?


We're not ready to allow unlimited streams yet. Some changes are coarse and untested, and streams could worry players that are not aware of the purpose of Sandbox. It's a very important project for us. Later, there will be both official and unofficial Sandbox streams and videos.


  • Because of the large splash range, artillery seems to cause damage to allies rather than to opponents. Will you be doing something about this?

Causing damage to allies will result in penalties. We feel like this is the best way to discourage players from shooting near allies, but the system is currently in development.


  • I read that balance changes will initially focus on Tier X and after that, changes will be made to lower Tiers. However, there was an opinion that Tiers VI and lower won’t be changed. Is that true?


It’s not true that there won’t be any changes at all, but there will be fewer changes for the lower Tiers. Our new role dynamics are for high-level vehicles. There will be changes for lower Tiers so that they are more balanced and enjoyable to play, but no significant changes are currently planned.


  • Platoons of Tier VIII vehicles are always in the bottom of the matchmaker list – are you aware of this problem?


We're aware. Right now, the matchmaker tries to match Platoons with other Platoons, and when it doesn’t find any Platoons of tier VIII vehicles, it looks amongst Tiers IX and X. We're trying to solve this with the new matchmaker. 

We are also considering a system of 33/33/33, where ~33% of the time a player is on top, ~33% in the middle and ~33% on the bottom.


  • Are there any plans to change the situation with the +/-25% RNG?


For now we think that it's OK. There are no serious problems with it, even in the eSports scene.


  • For how long will you be testing Sandbox?


For us, this activity is new and very complex. Our team will be working until the moment Sandbox players say the game has become better and they like the vehicles more. If there is a situation we test and in the end the players say that the balance on the main server is better, then we won't change or release anything… but we hope we won’t have such a situation.


  • How do you plan to improve the role of light tanks, besides handling and view range?


The spotting role will be returned to them – that’s clear. We want them to be the best scouts, but the problem is that light tanks don’t cause a lot of damage, as it’s difficult for an LT-8 to play with Tier IX and X vehicles with the new balance. I won’t promise anything right now, but we're currently testing different solutions.


  • Will you be adding new Perks to Balance 2.0?


Of course we will, though for now it’s at the concept stage. However, we understand the current Perks are not enough.


The topic of Perks was raised many times, but first we want to focus on the balance for the new vehicle-role dynamics, and then we will consider introducing Perks for the same roles.


  • What do you plan to do about Gold ammo?


We want to decrease its impact. Our goal is to increase the lifespan of tanks within a battle and there are several ways this can be done; all of which we plan to test on the Sandbox.


  • Will you be adjusting the matchmaker so that there won’t be one team with seven tank destroyers and another with none at all?


We're currently working hard on the matchmaker, and ideally, it would consider this a problem. What the matchmaker will do is ensure there are an equal number of vehicles at Tier VII, IX and X on each team.


  • Do you plan to remove the “15 m from the bush” feature?


Currently, this mechanic is OK with us. When we move to a more accurate state of balance, we will see how this aligns with the new state of gameplay, but for now, we don’t plan to remove it.


  • Aren’t you afraid players will be confused with the new vehicle roles?


This is certainly a concern, and as such we will be working to make things as clear as possible through information in the client and on the the website. We will be moving to the new vehicle role model gradually, so that players have time to adjust. Our aim is to provide additional information to the players about their tanks' strengths and weaknesses.


  • Why are you afraid of making the balance +/-1 like in World of Tanks Blitz?


We think it won’t work as things are at the moment. Currently, we're making balance changes for +/-2 and we don’t want to introduce any artificial limitations as in this case. We feel that it would be boring to battle with +/-1.


3. Developer Q&A: May 2016

Developer Q&A, May 2016: Session 1

20 May 2016

Will information about terrain crossing capacity and stabilisation be added to the client?

We can’t say for sure right now. We are still discussing what additional parameters should be displayed in characteristics.

What’s the reason behind nerfing DPM of STA-2?

Other characteristics of this vehicle were upgraded, so its DPM was reduced to balance it out.

The rate of fire of the top-tier guns of the British Valentine make the tank is unplayable. Are there plans to rebalance it?

At this time, there are no special plans to rebalance the gun of the Valentine.

Will WG reset the crew perks of WTE100 crew when the vehicle is replaced? Are there any plans for this?

No, there won’t be any perk reset for your WTE100 crew when the vehicle is replaced with the Grille 15.

Will the top-tier turret of real Centurions be returned to the Caernarvon instead of the one based on the prototype? When will it happen?

Yes, there will be a turret change, most likely towards the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.

Are there any plans to add a 20 pounder gun to the Challenger?

No, there are no plans for that.

WZ-120 has two-tier top guns: 100 mm and 122 mm. Are there any plans to add the 100 mm gun to the 121?

No, there are no plans for that.

For dynamic platoons formed in battle, will players be penalised for forming a platoon with tanks more than 3 tiers apart from each other?

There won’t be any penalty or bonus for dynamic platoons for the battle in which they are formed. However, in the next battle, the rules for penalties and bonuses will apply to that platoon if they participate with tanks that are more then 3 tiers apart.

When and how are we rebalancing SPGs?

Rebalancing of SPGs will be done alongside the global rebalance of other tanks. The specifics of this rebalancing will be made available soon.

Are we reworking the map pool (specifically corridor maps)?

There are plans to rework some of the maps, but we are still deciding the best way to do it.

Is WG taking steps (on the developer level) against "cheat" mods?

Yes, we are aware of such mods, and have taken steps against these mods. We will also focus more on cheat mods, moving forward. Right now, we can’t provide any details yet, because we don't want the creators of these mods to be aware of what exact measures we have put in place. We will remain very supportive of mods in general, but we will actively deal with mods that negatively influence the game.

Any plans to introduce skill based/improved match making? (maybe +1/-1 instead of +2/-2)

There are no plans to introduce anything like this, at this time.

When and how are we changing/removing premium ammo?

There are no plans for removing premium ammo from the game at this time. However, during the upcoming major rebalance of the game, there may be some changes to their parameters and mechanics.

Will 25% RNG be changed?

There are no plans to change this, right now.

Are you planning to introduce better tutorials?

Yes. There are plans to improve tutorials so as to ease newcomers into the game.

The new low-calibre gun sounds might be realistic, but they don't sound very good and I find them boring boring. Are you going to change the sounds again or offer the old sounds as alternative sound-pack?

Current sound content will remain, and we will continue to improve it. We don’t plan to put old back sounds into the game.

In Update 9.15, you’re rebalancing 16 Premium vehicles. How did you decide which tanks to rebalance and how did you determine what changes needed to be made?

We studied various statistics about these vehicles before making any conclusions. The exact steps for improving a vehicle were also defined by the same statistics, alongside the expert opinion of the vehicle balance team.

When will tanks become more customisable? I want more camo patterns and more options for emblems or inscriptions (placement, colors, fonts), etc!  Take all my gold!

We don’t have anything to announce about this yet.  We're looking into it, though.

Why don't we have a tank carousel and filters like in WOWS?

Filters will be in place in Update 9.15. The carousel is in the pipeline, and will be made a little bit later.

Maps are a hot topic. Will you let players vote on the map they play before a battle starts?

There are no plans for this yet. However, we value player input around maps and are always keen to hear player opinions. Contact us if you'd like to say something about a map.

Victor mentioned changing the skill system. Will it be changed to be more like the Console version of tanks?

Yes, but there is no firm answer for that question yet. We have yet to come to a decision about how exactly skill system should be changed.

When the personal mission campaign was launched a year ago, there were rumors about adding a new campaign once every 6 months. Have these plans changed? Can we have a rough estimate on when the next campaign will come?

Those were merely rumours. Right now, I can only tell you that the new season of personal missions is in the works, but it’s too early to provide a specific estimate yet.

I like earning medals, but I don’t actually get anything for them. Could you let us earn rewards for obtaining medals?

There are no plans for that at this time.

You are removing more maps than you are adding. Why don’t you give the community access to make maps? Look at the success of Team Fortress and Halo's Forge Mode. The community can come up with great maps, and they even work for free.

When we cut some maps that were the least liked by the community, we also made changes to give players access to a wider variety of maps, especially at the middle tiers. We have some new maps in development right now. We look forward to talking about them once they are ready for release.  Unfortunately, our current map building tools don’t allow external development of maps.

Will you reconsider or test the idea of using larger maps?

It’s quite possible.

Many game modes have been released and scrapped shortly after (historical battles, rampage, tank companies somewhat).  What will be different about future modes?

Right now, we are focusing on improving and fixing the features that are already in the game.

In WoWS, any premium Captain can be trained on any premium ship as long as it is the same nation. Will WoT have the same feature? Will a Heavy Tank crew be able to use a Premium Medium Tank without penalties?

No, we don’t have any plans for this right now.

Has Havoc been canceled?

We haven’t canceled any work, but we don’t have anything new to announce about it right now.

There was an announcement that Rampage mode would be closed. This means we have no more opportunities to get the T-22 medium tank. Will there be any way by which we can still complete the Rampage mode T-22 mission?

Unfortunately, no, not right now. We don’t currently have any plans to introduce other ways of getting this tank. Our first priority with the T-22 is to see how well it operates in the game after it's been rebalanced, before we make any other decisions about it.

There was news about the M47 patton from Developers Q&A (last year, 27th June). Do you have any updates about it? Tell us more.

At this time, there are no further details about this vehicle.

Is it possible to modify the battle tiers for Tier II to Tier IV tanks by +- 1 tier? Right now, it's really hard for a beginner to enjoy the game in a +2-tier match.

Currently, there are no plans to change the matchmaking for any battle tiers in Random Battles.

What do you think about the autoloading Czech tank? We think OP when compared to the others. They should be nerfed to balance them with other tanks.

We'll look into the statistics. If statistics show us there's a need to nerf it, we will nerf it.

Recently, many XVM minimap functions were included in the basic client. What’s the next plan? Are there other 3rd party mods which will be included as well?

Our mod community has come up with a number of great mods over the years, and yes, we intend to further integrate some functionality of the most popular mods into the game as an official part of the basic client.

Rubicon was the alternative title of  Version 10.0. Now that it's been postponed, how long the 9.x version names go on?

It’s difficult to say, really. We decided not to chase after awesome names and titles, and decided instead to just release good patches.

We really liked this year's April Fool's fun mode... but one disappoining thing was that every fun mode Wargaming has made has had such a short run. Sometimes we’d like to play that mode to refresh and relieve stress. Is there any chance that we'll see those fun modes again? It would also be great if those fun modes were supported in practice mode.

There are no plans for that yet, but we are glad players enjoyed the April Fool’s mode.