Maxim Chuvalov (Wargaming): the new crew system is the most important thing that is clearly missing now World of Tanks

In August, World of Tanks celebrated its 10th anniversary. During this time, the project managed to attract gamers around the world,

and in Ukraine and the CIS countries the game Wargaming doesbecame popular, being included in the list of classic men's entertainment along with fishing and football. Yet the road to glory has been full of ups, downs, patches, and 800 major updates. The Global Publishing Director of Tanks told Gagadget about the first big problems of the game, what WoT lacks now, who the tankers are and what Wargaming plans to surprise in the future.

In your opinion, what is the most important update for World of Tanks in 10 years? Besides version 1.0.

Perhaps this is update 0.8.0, which was released in 2012 and became the largest at that time. In it, we added physics to World of Tanks, which gave the game a completely new gameplay, improved lighting, sounds, added shadows and introduced the fifth branch of tanks - British. The innovations changed the game for the better, added realism. The tanks themselves received mass and certain movement characteristics depending on the type, speed and mass. For example, light tanks were able to easily climb high hills, which were previously impossible to drive, while heavy tanks could easily move the vehicles ahead. In the same year, we received our first Golden Joystick - the prestigious Best MMO award.

Version 1 was also one of the most important.10, which came out recently. This is one of the largest updates to World of Tanks since 1.0. In it, we completely redesigned the equipment system: we expanded the selection of new equipment and the ability to change the parameters of the equipment already present in the game. This allows players to experiment and customize the technique to their liking. In the same update, we added seven Polish medium tanks to the game, brought back the reworked Pearl River map that was removed from the game in 2015, improved the communication system between players, making it more informative, and made many other major and minor innovations.

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What do you personally lack in World of Tanks that I would like to add?

We have been missing a new crew system for a long time - this isa topic that has not been touched at all since 2013, and even then we touched on it rather conditionally. Now the crew system - and this opinion is shared by our entire team - needs to be revised. We have already shared the first sketches, collected a lot of feedback, talked with bloggers and are soon preparing to release our common vision on changes to the crew system to the Sandbox. This is the biggest thing that the game is frankly lacking now.

If we talk about mods, then just a couple of yearsback I myself had a game with a bunch of modifications that allowed using different sights, logging tank damage, and so on. Since then, many of these solutions have already moved into the game, including session statistics and others - most of the mods that are needed in Tanks are already in the game at the moment. Nevertheless, we do not stop work and will continue to add the most successful custom modifications to Tanks, because this makes the game more comfortable for players.

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As for me, I've been playing for over a year and a halfon a clean client with no modifications. From time to time I use the Armor Inspector, with which you can study the weak and strong points of the tanks right in the Garage. In essence, knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of vehicles is the main thing that the player must accumulate and be able to apply on the battlefield. Armor Inspector also helps in studying new tanks and their armor. We really miss this modification in the game, and we are working to implement it. So far, we are only working on the idea itself, since it has enough pitfalls, but this is a very convenient and useful feature, and we will find a way to add it to the game.

Each game has problems that are not visible on internal tests, but "climb" on release. What was the biggest problem World of Tanks developers had to solve?

Flaws "crawling" on the release for 10 yearsenough, now they are minimized. And the reason for this was precisely the solution to our biggest problem - the Rubicon. The update, which we planned to make a key one over the past couple of years, ended up losing 80% of the planned innovations, and it had to be canceled. This, to put it mildly, upset the players and demotivated the team. How did this happen?

At that moment the game was at its peakpopularity, we received awards one after another - and at some point we did not notice how we entered a creative crisis. There were many ideas, and we were in a hurry to share them with the players - not yet knowing how these ideas will be accepted and whether this is really what "tankers" need. In general, we made a lot of high-profile announcements and began to develop what we promised. And then it turned out that, firstly, the team is growing at a breakneck speed, and not all new employees have time to join the pace of work of experienced team members; secondly, it turned out that not everything that we want to do is what players want to see in the game. Or, at least, not always in the same form in which we see a new feature or mechanics. What happened in the end: the mechanics that we were already going to introduce into the game turned out to be not what the players needed in the tests, there is no time for revision, and most of the update you just need to "cut out", abandon it. This led to the fact that the release of the loudly announced "Rubicon" did not take place.

Of course, this was shock therapy for the team. The understanding came that everything needs to be changed - from development processes to approaches to announcements. We learned our lesson, came to our senses and began to regain the trust of the players one step at a time. We revised the processes for developing new features, prescribed the rules for announcing innovations: now we never give exact dates in the early stages, but only say that work is underway. In principle, this is how other gaming companies work as well. About processes: today, before rolling out a new feature or mechanic, we first check if everything is working correctly, and then let the players test the innovation on a special test server - in the "Sandbox". After that, we collect feedback, make the necessary edits and only after that we release the innovation into the game.

How many people are working on World of Tanks now, and who makes the key decisions about the game?

Only over the development and operation of tanks onPCs employ over 1000 people in several countries. Our offices in Paris, Austin, Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul are essential for us to operate, communicate with players and support. The largest development center is located in Minsk, large teams are also working in Kiev and Prague. Each area - development, operations, marketing, design, and so on - has a chapter. In turn, the heads and key employees of all divisions working on World of Tanks are included in the so-called board - a board, a governing body that makes key decisions on strategy.

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How much has that core team changed? World of Tanks in 2020 are already being made by other people or are they all the same developers who stood at the origins?

Of those 70-80 people who participated inrelease, most of them still work for the company (and the tank team itself, as I said, now consists of more than 1000 people). Today, they watch the development of the product, as parents follow their brainchild, give advice and help develop the game thanks to their knowledge and experience.

The gaming industry is a very risky business. Did Wargaming have a "plan B" in case World of Tanks failed, or did World of Warships and World of Warplanes later become?

No, at the time of launch, there wasonly World of Tanks. At the time of creation, we only had enough funds for the production of this game, and at the end we didn't even have enough. Therefore, it is impossible to say that we expected “if the Tanks won’t shoot, another game would shoot”: we had one prototype, not two or five.

The team was on fire with the project, everyone worked very clearlyand harmoniously. Already at the alpha and beta testing stage, we began to understand that the game would be a hit: the audience was growing so quickly. We promptly translated the game into English and started preparing backup servers: we felt that we would definitely need them.

World of Warships and World of Warplanes we decideddo it later, although the idea of ​​a game about ships has been in the company for a long time. We realized that the military theme is what we succeed in, and decided to expand our portfolio. These two projects have become games with their own audience: not a replacement for "Tanks", but the development of the line.

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Which version of World of Tanks is more popular now - computer or mobile Blitz?

World of Tanks on PC remains our mosta popular product with over 160 million registered players worldwide. In terms of profitability, in 2011, World of Tanks and I first got into Superdata reports and since then we have hardly dropped out of them, each month being in the top 10 games.

World of Tanks Blitz also shows verynice results. In June, "mobile tanks" turned 6, during which time the game has been downloaded more than 137 million times. This is a considerable age for a mobile game, which few reach, and I know that my colleagues have big plans for product development.

With the latest WoT update for consoles, PS4 and Xbox One players can play together. When will the PC connect to them and what is stopping the developers?

Despite the fact that the console "Tanks" came out ofWorld of Tanks on PC is still a separate game. Other people on another continent are working on it. The World of Tanks Console team has its own vision of the project with its own game events and customizations. It's not the input method that plays a role here, but the players: the console audience is different from the computer game audience. And World of Tanks is no exception.

Why World of Tanks for PC and Consoles so different in terms of content?

The difference is in the audience. First, the World of Tanks players on PlayStation and XBOX in. average younger than the "tankers" on the PC. Secondly, console tanks are more popular in countries where the popularity of the consoles themselves as platforms is higher. This is one of the reasons why the game is more focused on other console games than on the "big brother". Yes, World of Tanks on PlayStation and Xbox has many of its own in-game events, customization elements, and so on. The players love it.

Both console and mobile versions of World of Tanksfar gone from the original, each in its own direction, in accordance with the request of its audiences. If we compare "Tanks" on PC with a mobile game, then in World of Tanks Blitz everything is different: other maps, other tanks, the game is 7 × 7, not 15 × 15. Console "Tanks" are closer to this, but they also have their own content, their own progression.

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The engines for all three games are different, so the physicsmay differ slightly, although it is, of course, insisted on similar parameters. The physics of the projectiles, for example, is the same, but the progression, the variety of the fleet of cars differ from game to game. World of Tanks Blitz is a mobile game and can afford to go into such cartoonishness, fantasy. The console version is larger, there are all different maps. From a technical point of view, they differ a little less, because they are all made with the same scope, but on different engines.

About crossplay: in 2013 - early 2014, when we launched console projects, there was no talk of crossplay at all, in particular, crossplay between mobile and PC. The only crossplay that we got then was Tanks for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. And World of Tanks was the first game to have such a multiplayer crossplay. And now, when technology already allows you to do this, the games are so diverse - in content, maps, progressions, etc. - that it is simply not possible to combine them on one battlefield. In fact, today they are three completely different games.

World of Tanks is a partly historical game that uses symbols prohibited in some countries. In which countries did you have to "censor" WoT, and what had to be changed or removed?

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The game prohibits any information related toorganizations and people convicted by international tribunals or recognized as terrorist, socially dangerous and illegal. Including Nazi symbols, Nazi terms and designations (for example, "SS") and the names of Nazi figures are prohibited. German vehicles in World of Tanks are designated with the cross of German tank forces.

Banned in many countries of the Asian regionJapanese imperial flag in the form of a rising sun with rays. When releasing the game in these countries, we replaced it with the current national flag of Japan - a red circle on a white background.

I also had to replace flags when released inChina. In China, it is generally forbidden to use real symbols of any state in games. Therefore, instead of flags, we used symbols that are associated with the country, but are not its official symbols. For example, for UK vehicles, a red lion on a white background is used instead of the flag.

Who is the biggest WoT fan who has played the most hours in World of Tanks?

We do not count the time, but the number of battles,held by the same player because the time of the match may differ. To date, sashapobedit has the largest number of battles - more than 255 thousand battles.

The brightest or most memorable WoT skating rink from your own gaming experience.

Of course, the tramp fights are always remembered. Almost all of Kolobanov's medals are well remembered: it is difficult to forget a battle when you are left alone on the map against an overwhelming number of opponents, and it is certainly impossible to forget how you destroy the last car with the last shell. Basically, the fights that I remember are from very early ones: then emotions were overwhelming, not many fights were played yet. Now, when tens of thousands of battles have already been played, emotions mix, even tough battles are forgotten.

If we talk about one of the most memorable fight,the context is probably still important. I just remembered the following fight. When we presented World of Tanks at the first exhibition in America, at E3 2011, we had an activity at our stand for players, individual competition. It was necessary to show the best result in terms of the amount of experience earned in a battle. This result went to the top, the best players received various prizes throughout the day.

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We were at the exhibition as developers, andthe press interviewed me. And right during the interview, the journalists suggested to me, they say, would you like to go play now, show the game to American players, give some advice. At that time, there were already several winners in the top who took first place during the day - they had about 1700 experience points per battle. I took an interesting German tank VK 36.01, with the famous Konik cannon, sat down at the computer, equipped it as we can - and in the very first battle, right during the broadcast, while telling along the way what I was doing - according to In fact, playing for fun - I managed to gain more than 3400 experience, destroy 7 or 8 enemy tanks and damage the rest well. At the same time, I ended up on the bottom of the team list, that is, I played with tanks of higher tiers than mine - that's why it turned out to fill so much.

And then the whole crowd from this stand does notlooking up at my game. After that, they probably would not let me go for another hour: they asked questions, what tactics, what tank, how to play it, and then everyone went to equip these VK-shki and ride them. The guys really had euphoria, because the guy sat down - and oops, he scored twice as much as the winner of the previous day, sitting chatting with the press, playing on camera.

I wouldn't say it was my best fight onthis tank, but like that, you know, to play on the camera - it's usually difficult, nothing happens. And then it just happened, the whole audience applauded - therefore, perhaps this fight can be called the most memorable. It was in 2011, nine years have passed, and I still remember it perfectly. It was, of course, phenomenal.

Demographics of World of Tanks:

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Which online in 2020?

  • Anyone can watch online in any regionday anyone, this is open information. As for the peak figures, in the CIS region this year there were recorded simultaneous online under 700 thousand players, in Ukraine the maximum was almost 150 thousand.

Male to female ratio

  • 98% of men and 2% of women.

What is the average WoT player?

  • This is a working, married man of 32–35 years old with two children and a higher education.

In which country is the game most popular and in which it is least?

  • World of Tanks is most popular in Russia and post-Soviet countries. Ukraine is in the top 5 in terms of the number of registered players in the world - over 8 million. The least registered is in Macau.

The best-selling tank in the history of World of Tanks?

  • Let me remind you that our game is free, 70% of players do notmake no contributions to the game and research tanks, not buy. The most numerous premium tank in the game is the Soviet Tier V Churchill III heavy tank.

I can't help but remember about the legendary car- Type59. This tank was the first "Chinese" to be introduced into the game, although there was no Chinese branch at that time. The Type 59 was a Tier VIII premium vehicle, good damage, fast, maneuverable, and good income. Literally everyone wanted to get it, so they began to actively buy it. And then the abundance of "types" began to break the balance - so the tank had to be taken out of sale. And this is just a month and a half after its appearance! "Type" and today remains the dream of many, a collectible tank.

What tank do players most often complain about, calling it "imba"?

There is no one permanent "hero": new cars constantly appear in the game, players learn to play against them, and we ourselves monitor the statistics and are engaged in balancing equipment.

The most "imb" can be called tanks, whichwe reward players for clan activities: the T95 / FV4201 Chieftain, which is awarded for getting to the top on the Global Map, or Object 907. Of those that can be pumped, the British Tier X Super Conqueror heavy tank is very strong. The Object 279 also has high performance in battles - a tank that players can receive for completing personal combat missions. These are the top cars that stand out statistically. And we ourselves see that, according to the impressions of the players, they are the coolest. Again, we try to maintain a balance of technique by making changes. This is a dynamic process.

Recently, the "Battle Pass" has appeared in WoT. Why and why did you decide to add, and how successful was the system?

We are constantly adding different challenges to the game andLBZ (personal combat missions - ed.). Thanks to them, players can receive additional content: vehicles, customization elements and bonuses that can be used to upgrade existing vehicles. Someone performs them for the sake of rewards, someone - for the pleasure of completing the tests. Battle Pass is one large challenge that can be completed in parallel with others, earning more rewards.

We have already thought about the concept of such a passlong. Unlike console tanks, World of Tanks on PC did not have a pronounced seasonality, so it was difficult to tie it to something specific and make it relevant to our audience. The main difference between the "Battle Pass" in World of Tanks and other games is that it has a free part available to all players, and the premium part is the usual embodiment of the "Battle Pass" similar to other games. Wishing to adapt the "Battle Pass" to the realities of our game as much as possible, we wanted to give the opportunity to use this functionality for non-paying players. As a result, the "Battle Pass" in World of Tanks looks different, and one of its parts is available for free to all users.

The effect for the company was good: "Tankers" began to play more on a variety of vehicles, and the players themselves took our pass option positively. Their reaction is the main thing for us, and we are happy with it. Now the team has a lot of ideas on how to develop this functionality, and we will implement them in the next Battle Pass seasons.

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"I am a fan and I want to get to work for you, how to do it and who is most often missing in the team?"

In fact, over these ten years, our teammany fans of "Tanks" came. One of the examples is Anton Pankov: it all started with the fact that he wrote to Slava (Makarov - ed.), Asked for the key to the closed beta - or to the alpha, no one remembers. And Slava Makarov gave him the key. And now he is the product director of World of Tanks. Anton tells this story in "Developers Online" - a new format of communication between developers and players.

Wargaming has 17 offices around the world, ineach of them are working on different parts of both the same game and different projects. Accordingly, different specialists are needed. For example, in Kiev, where they are also working on World of Tanks, we are most often looking for gameplay developers, game designers, 3D and 2D artists. To apply, just go to and select the Kiev office - you will see all the current vacancies of the company. If a person wants to get into the "tank" team, then knowledge of the product will be a big plus.

What are you planning to surprise players with in the upcoming updates?

In addition to the large-scale celebration of the 10th anniversary, whichdoes not end in August, we are actively working on new maps and new branches of tanks. Above, I already talked about the Polish branch, a new branch of Italian technology will be released for the new year.

It is important for us to please tankers with entertainingevents. We continue to develop game events and modes that our community has enjoyed. The Battle of Berlin event recently took place, where players battled AI on three specially redesigned maps and a new map, Berlin. The Kiev studio Wargaming was actively working on the mode, and the players were satisfied. Also, tankers periodically participate in various events in the "Front line" mode.

We are working on a restart at periodicbased on the game event "Steel Hunter", as it is called in World of Tanks "Battle Royale". It became available to tankers again on 17 August. Besides him, we are preparing new seasons of the "Battle Pass".

Last year we did not release an in-game event onHalloween, this year it will definitely take place, we will work it out well. By the way, our colleagues from Kiev are also working on it. We are currently working on a number of improvements and functional changes: we are working on reworking the crew to make the skill system more varied, this will significantly diversify the game.

And, of course, we are already working on plans for 2021.year. We have a lot of ideas, more than can be realized in one year. But we are all very passionate about the project and want to make it even better, so we try to realize the planned maximum. I would also like to thank our community and bloggers who also generate interesting ideas for changes and share them with us.

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