Russian Q&A/Info – 20/03/16

After a bit of a hiatus, the dev answers are streaming back in, and they’re as typically verbose as usual. Also as usual, Carnotzet has got them translated, with answers coming this time from Sub_Octavian, Jluca, Iwao, and mal_h.

Watch out; this is especially long even for a Russian infodump, so you’d best get a cup of tea ready before embarking on this one.


 

Q. 1. Does the torpedo aim assist (gray indicator) take into account the Torpedo Acceleration skill (when learnt)?

A.Yes, it does.

2. Would it be possible to allow for more customization regarding what elements we want to see on the interface, for instance, I find player names (above ships) useless whereas HP’s and ship names are much more important.

A. It isn’t possible at the moment, but we plan to add marker customization.

Q. Please explain why Clemson’s 100mm HE shells are doing 1500 damage while Soviet DD’s 130mm shells, 1600 damage….why not 1800? (it would match the 30% increase in caliber).

A. Because of game constraints. If their HE damage was 1800, they would be overpowered. Let’s not forget that, unlike US DD’s, Soviet DD’s have good ballistics.

Q. I watched the Japanese movie Yamato (2005) and it shows the battleship using her main guns to shoot at aircrafts (with special AA shells). Thus, here is my question: do you plan to allow main guns to fire at aircrafts? Players would have to aim and fire at aircrafts manually. It would allow players to really take part in and improve their AA defense.

A. Historically, BB’s AA shells were practically useless. Regarding Yamato, take a look here.

“Common Type 3 Sankaidan Anti-Aircraft Shell. The concept behind these shells was that the ship would put up a barrage pattern through which an attacking aircraft would have to fly.  However, these shells were considered by US Navy pilots to be more of a visual spectacular than an effective AA weapon”.

So, it was more about putting on a show (and disturbing the attack) than inflicting real damage.

Moreover, main guns that could historically fire on air targets efficiently – a lot of CA/CL and DD’s guns – can also do it in the game. Regarding manually aiming and firing on planes, we don’t want that mechanic in the game and it’s unlikely it will be added. It’s simply not interesting for the players; the game remains about ship battles.

Q. It has been reported several times that Ishizuchi’s rudder and turrets get incapacitated by HE shells. Those modules shouldn’t be incapacitated by HE damage. After all, turrets (and ammo magazines) were the most protected parts of a battleship. Is this a bug in the modelling?

A. It’s not a bug. However, we plan to fix the protection on this ship so situations like the ones you described will not repeat.

Q. The game models two types of shells: HE and AP. When googling these two shells, we can see that HE have a lot more explosive than AP. Now, in the game, it’s possible to citadel certain ships with HE shells (for instance CV’s). So why are HE shells doing less damage (when hitting citadels) than AP while having a bigger explosive charge?

A. AP damage is higher because it’s assumed that AP shells, when penetrating the citadel, explode deep inside the “compartment”. On the other side, when HE shells penetrate very thin armour, they detonate on the edge of the “compartment”. This is the reasoning behind the maximum damage values of each type of shells. And it also makes sense balance wise.

Q. I have a question regarding “Captured a base” and “Assisted in capture” ribbons.

We all know that if I capture a base alone, I receive the “Captured a base” ribbon. But what happens when 2 or 3 ships capture a base? Do all of them receive “Assisted in Capture” or does one of them receive “Captured a base”?

And what about when a 4th ship enters the point circle?  Does he receive any points? IIRC, only three ships can effectively capture a base.

One last question: do both ribbons give the same amount of points (xp/cred)?

A. If a player earns 80% of the capture points needed to capture a base (without leaving the base nor receiving damage), he receives a “Captured a base” ribbon. If less than 80%, he receives a “Assisted in capture” ribbon.

Moreover, if a 4th (5th, 6th, etc) enters the cap, he also receives points. Only the capture speed doesn’t increase after the third ship.

Regarding economics (xp/cred), ribbons aren’t taken into account, only the percentage a player added to the capture point.

Q. How are dual purpose guns handled in terms of their AA role? When firing at ships, do their damage decrease against planes?

A. Dual purpose guns fulfill their AA role only in the abstract. AA fire is separated from artillery fire (main and secondary guns). So even when you’re firing at ships with your dual purpose guns, they can still fire at planes at full efficiency.

Q. Players who spend money on the game and are willing to spend more, those who buy your products…don’t you have any plans for them such as giving them discounts, bonuses or allowing them to get new ships (or other things) first?

A. We have some plans (for instance, by proposing personal offers, a mechanic which is being tested at the moment).

Q. How do torpedo hits work? Can there be duds, or ricochets? Or do they all explode on impact? They sometimes seem to hit at steep angles, while having the detonator on the nose. Only torpedoes equipped with a magnetic detonator would explode at those angles. Are all the torpedoes in the game magnetic?

A. All torpedoes explodes on impact. This is not an attempt to depict magnetic torpedoes but it was done to make the game less complex.


 

The thread is about the lack of communication from WG developers. In the thread, a player compares WG with a bortsch (kind of soup) company. “It’d be as if all your customers told you every day you need to put less carrots or more onions in your soup. Would you react after every comment? Well it’s the same for WG”.

This is mal_h’s answer:

“The analogy is rather good, but at the same time, we don’t want to offend anyone. Players make suggestions out of interest for the game. I instantly discard some of the suggestions I read….I’d like to explain in details why the suggestion cannot be accepted, and could even be more harmful than helpful to the game. I start to write, but then I realize that the person I’m writing to will not understand what I’m talking about and will only get irritated thinking that I’m showing off. Let me make an analogy with the “Orange revolution”. It happens when problems inherent to a society are artificially inflated and instead of trying to solve them, the society plunges into self-destruction. In those situations, there are always opposing groups. In this case, there are two groups, one from Ukraine, one from Russia.

They are incurable. They don’t need anything or report to anyone, they just need destruction. They don’t know what it is to work to earn money. It is even more frequent on forums as people are hidden behind a nickname.

It is important to see this and understand it. They destroy game communities, not on their own, but by manipulating sensitive persons. That is why we have a hard time discerning who is who. Whom is it worth speaking to, who isn’t. That’s why it’s hard (sometimes even useless) to speak to people who are overwhelmed with negative emotions. When the forum finally reaches the point where any dialogue turns into a slaughter, who will be the victims? The constructive part of the community will be the first victim. And no Community manager or developer can do anything about it, no matter how hard they try. Only those who really like the game, those who understand what is happening and can make the difference between the terminators and the victims, will be able to bring the forums back from the point of no return.

I’d like to change your Bortsch analogy into an airplane analogy. The game is at least as complex as an airplane. And experienced passengers’ advice is valuable but not always implemented. We gladly listen, think, speak and explain. But without your help, we can’t make the difference between passengers and terrorists ready to blow themselves up. You’re the only ones able to do that.

By the way, here’s a video showing the evolution of WoWs over the course of its many versions. [It’s in Russian but it shows some nice screenshots for those who don’t know how it looked like before]. VIDEO

A player’s answer to that : “It’s a good analogy (with the plane) but to know how passengers can be more comfortably seated, you need to ask them and not decide for them. For instance, nothing was done or is planned for the interface (I’m not talking about TB, RB functionalities). And the old one doesn’t work that well.”

mal_h: “I will likely trigger a new wave of angry mob but I’ll try to explain. Be patient and try to hear me out. Let’s keep the plane analogy that works rather well.

You pretend it’s obvious “passengers know best how they can be more comfortably seated”. Well let me take the role of the passengers (we all were once in their shoes), how can we be seated more comfortably?

This will be a perfect analogy for the suggestions found on the forums, I will be the passengers and you, the aircraft developer.

1. There should be enough room for tall, small and corpulent passengers.

2. There should be enough room for passengers to stretch their legs and adjust their chair in a lying position.

3. Air conditioning and light switches needs to be easily and comfortably reached by tall, small, corpulent and thin passengers.

4. Every seat should be near a window and the window should be centered so the passenger can easily look out of it.

5. Seats must have armrests and an adjustable headrest, and preferably be equipped with heating/air conditioning and massage. As usual they should fit tall, small, corpulent or thin passengers.

6. Seats must be next to an aisle so passengers can get up or sit down without disturbing others.

7. The heating and air conditioning system need to provide specific air humidity, temperature and pressure.

8. Spaces between rows must be large enough so passengers can easily pass each other (including corpulent passengers).

9. Luggage compartments must be large enough to contain all types of luggage.

10. Cumbersome luggage should be loaded and unloaded quickly and should not have any damage, be placed on top of each other or be dirtied.

11. Windows should be large enough and preferably square for passengers to see outside easily. Preferably, it should have a sliding panel to have some ventilation.

12. Seats for children should be separated from the others with soundproof partition.

13. Passengers should have the option to choose their neighbour – man or woman, nationality, religion.

14. Meals on board should take into account each passenger’s health, tastes, traditions, including religion. Meals of every kind should be provided, kosher, halal, gluten free, vegetarian, even human meat for cannibals.

15. Obese people should be able to expand their seat to a size which they’re comfortable with.

16. Flight cost should be appropriate for all passengers, preferably free.

17. Purchase of a premium flight should provide a flight twice as fast and its price should be affordable for all social classes.

Well, with all the suggestions I got from the passengers, there should be 78 points in total but I think that 17 is enough.

Now tell me, as an airplane developer, how you will fulfill all of those wishes and if you can do it by tomorrow?

And tomorrow, I’ll start to complain about your laziness, your stupidity and your greed.

I’d like to mention two areas in which, according to my long experience, everybody seem to be an expert: 1. Interface. 2. Game design.

A few words about the interface.

The interface is how the game interacts with you, in other words, it’s the game itself. In order to change it, we usually have to change the game. Let’s take the plane analogy once again and talk about windows. They are the plane interface with passengers. And they are also part of the plane. See point 11 (above), why aren’t windows centered with each seat? I have to tilt my head to see something? This interface is crap! And the form is strange and not to my liking. It should be square, centered with my seat, with a sliding panel in case my neighbour farts.

Everything evolves and some of the points I listed above are without no doubt already implemented in airplane services in one form or another.

And we’re making sure the game is evolving. Once again, go watch the video I linked to see how the game evolved.

Moreover, I’m very grateful for all the players who post their suggestions and don’t get angry if we don’t respond to every one of you, we are several thousands less than you are and we have to develop a game on top of that. We make the game according to our capabilities and your advice.The more emotional conversations become, the harder it is for us to develop the game and answer to your suggestions.

It’s possible that I’m becoming a Buddhist but I think together we can improve the communication between us, both in form and content. At least, on our side, we will try.”

———————————————

A player writes: “it seems that developers-programmers seem to be much more active since Malik lately spoke on the forums”

Answer from Iwao (game designer):

“I just want to remind you that there aren’t only programmers working in our firm.

Let’s then go back to the topic at hand.

I cannot speak for everyone, but many developers regularly visit the forums on their own and not only when there are serious problems. And when a serious problem arises, we search for a way to get rid of it. The bothersome thing about it is that when we solve a problem, it usually leads to the discontentment of those who the problem helped.

Take, for instance, invis firing. For some, it was and still is a blast, but the implementation of hydroaccoustic search nerfed the ships that were used to fire from smoke one way or another. We all remember that, before their release, several Soviet DD’s had a significant invis firing window, which impacted negatively on the gameplay. It’s the same with launching torpedoes from stealth at high tiers, which leads to the so-called “torpedo soup” (or torp walls) since the range of torpedoes if far greater than detection range. The safety windows is tremendous, which leads to the belief that DD’s wreak havoc and stay clear of what could destroy them. In fact, several DD’s get obliterated when facing an advancing cruiser, but in order to do that, cruisers need to advance to the front line which isn’t safe for them since they get obliterated by BB’s there. As for BB’s, without cruisers, they fall prey to CV’s, against which they aren’t as efficient as cruisers.

All of this is only a hypothesis and it requires thorough research, however, there is a little drawback. There aren’t a lot of players at high tiers compared to mid or lower tiers, thus the statistics regarding high-tier ships we need to draw conclusions is collected very slowly.

Please excuse me for my digression but I wanted to explain that. Do we read the forums? Yes! We read them and try to do it regularly but by the time we examine the consequences of the problems raised there and find their causes, seas have already risen and fallen several times. Do we act upon your feedback? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Feedback is an open account of its author’s experiences, who shows in written form that something is wrong with the statistics, for instance.

Finally, not all problems are solved painlessly, those who need to have a tooth removed will prove it to you, but we’ll be as gentle as possible.

PS. Regarding the excuse saying that we don’t want to change, online projects need to change radically quite regularly otherwise they stagnate. Too frequent changes (particularly drastic changes) will often cause a negative response from the playerbase since people prefer stability and comfort.”

—————————————

Speaking about the possibility of adding ships to be purchased in game via doubloons, Jluca explains that “we always have said we don’t want and don’t plan to sell ships in game [for sales limited in time]. In order to do that, we would need to lay off some development and add a client update when the sale begins and add another one when it ends. It would mean that for every sale, you’d need to update your client and wait for maintenance”.

Another topic where a player compares WoWs to WoWp and thinks the game is in decline (population wise).

To this, mal_h (general manager) explains that:

“1. there are 130’000 concurrent players (all regions included).

2. The population decrease WoWs has suffered is due to players going back to WoT. For the first time in a long time, we released a successful update (9.14). So the number of players passing from one game to another is quite significant. It already happened a couple of times before. After some time, players start to come back to WoWs.

3. WoWs yields about twice the profit of all of the games available on mail.ru.

4. Globally, the number of concurrent players is rising.

5. In April, WoWs Russian playerbase will stabilise.”

“The production cycle of a tank, from the beginning of the development to the release is about a year. For ships, it’s about half a year. Because of that, it’s nearly impossible to  react quickly to what is happening at a specific moment. When it comes to cycle of an update, the amount of interconnected data that needs to be modified and tested is enormous. During those six months, there’s a lot of stress put on some key people, who barely see their family and spend their nights working. I’m not complaining, just explaining how it works. By virtue of its complexity and internal design, a MMO game is about as complex as a space shuttle. Because of that, when I read on the forums about proposals on how to fix everything easily, I cannot help myself but smile. A lot of players have taken part in the game development with different responsibilities. And all of them were staggered when they started to understand how complex a MMO game is. What is our governing principle when making decisions? It’s you, the players. We listen, analyse, test – and according to that, we develop the game.”

————————————————–

About the people working for WG : “The former Head of Blizzard Europe is our Publishing Director, Frederic. Our US department is lead by Jay, who is from DICE and created Ubisoft America, Thain helps with tanks at the moment, he was the head of the FPS department at Activision, head of human resources at Riot games, he formed the team working on League of Legends. And so on. Viktor Kisly works hard so that WG is a respectable and competent firm.”

“The problem with balancing elements of the game is that no amount of testing by testers, supertesters or during public testing will give us a good representation of what will happen when it’s eventually released to all players. Often, all of our predictions are swept away by public statistics”.

———————————————–

About matchmaking, PPK explains: “At the moment, our algorithm works as follows: If a players is bottom tier with a given ship 4 times in a row, the next battle, he’s assured to be top tier. The counter is calculated for each ship, in addition to a general counter for the account. I have recently done some statistics regarding matchmaking, it seems the chance for getting into +0, +1, +2 battles is 40%, 30%, 30% respectively.”

“Counters don’t work on T10 ships since they’re always top tier.

Ideal balance: fully mirrored teams.

Ideal gameplay: diverse, unpredictable, with prodigious victories (winning against all odds, with less ships) and humiliating defeats. Those two points contradict each other.

The ideal matchmaker puts a player into battle as soon as he click “To Battle”.

The ideal matchmaker carefully chooses for each player the ideal team composition and opposing team composition.

Here again, these two points contradict each other.

> not rigidly tied to other elements of the system.

However, this is unfortunately not the case. Formerly, the matchmaker could create teams equal in strength but not in number of players in each teams, and it created interesting gameplay.

Then, the notion of “Superiority” was introduced in the game and the number of players in each team became a very important factor. It was necessary to have the same number of players on each team.

It’s similar to the problem with DD’s.

Of course, we could easily put a filter in the game that says “no more than 3 DD’s on each team” and adapt everything else to that rule. But I would be happier if the players themselves would step on DD’s toes, with beefed-up cruisers. It’d make me much happier.”

—————————————-

mal_h on DD’s overrepresentation : “The option of limiting the number of DD’s in a battle is quick and simple. However it could have a snowball effect on the DD’s that are not chosen by the matchmaker. Let’s say 10 DD’s enter the queue, 6 of them are chosen in a battle, 4 remain in the queue. 10 more DD’s enter the queue, the matchmaker let only 6 of them enter a battle. Now, 8 are still waiting in the queue. So in the end, after a critical amount of time (if all of them have the patience to stay in the queue), will the matchmaker throw them all at once in a battle (pure DD battle)? Or will it throw them back to the port?”


 

What I’m most interested by, actually, is that the Russians use navweaps just like we do. Kinda interesting, though I hope that they don’t lean on it too much for info, because unfortunately navweaps isn’t entirely reliable on its own.

And going on to what mal_h has to say, a lot of it makes sense. It’s not nice, but it makes sense from the point of view of the company. Personally, I’m hoping things in WoWs start to stabilize later into the year, with mechanics getting more properly balanced and all that. People will never stop whining about whatever they please, but perhaps it can be reduced a little.

Sources: EU Forums, RU Dev Answers thread, Russian Forums

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