Thursday, June 23, 2011

World of Tanks: Clan Wars Woes

The reasons for the introduction of an ‘end-game’ in World of Tanks are easy to understand. From a business point of view developers feel they need to give players something to work toward- keep them interested, keep them focussed so they don’t get bored. A lot of people, I think, felt the introduction of clan-wars would make WoT more ‘mmo’ like. I haven’t given the definition-thing a lot of thought and I don’t really care. WoT is an online game that I play. That’s a good enough definition for me.

Clan Wars is, simply put, a lot like the game Risk. Your clan puts down tokens on territories they wish to own, or defend, and when the timer ends the resulting battles are scheduled. Clans form teams and meet at the appropriate time and place (essentially a scheduled 15 v 15 arena match). For the winner: fame, gold, and territory. For the loser: a repair bill for 15 tanks.

It is a good idea but I think it has been implemented badly, and I hope that (because this is the Clan Wars Beta) some essential changes will be made. The thing that Clan Wars does is that it creates an end game and the inherent elitism and exclusionism that comes with it. I have never been a fan of end-game content (as I’m sure you can tell) and have languished in many an mmo in that netherworld between the starter area and the end-game content. Maybe I can blame my rampant altoholism on that- I’m not sure- but for whatever reason I tend to take a long time to get there.

WoT provides a great deal of choice on the types and amount of tanks you can drive. It encourages it- if you get knocked out you can jump in a new one and join another battle. Each tank can ‘max out’ for its specific tier making it a lot of fun to play. My favourite tank is a Tier 5 and I play it almost daily. That doesn’t mean that I "pwn" every battle as I can be matched against tanks up to tier 8, and they too could be maxed out , which means I definitely don’t have an edge. The point is I that like the tank, have fun with it, and there are a lot of different tanks at different tiers I like and/or want to play. Tier 2 is the Hotchkins (mini-Mauss), Tier 3 is the Marder, Tier 6 the VK3601(H) and more recently, the Tier 7 Tiger.

Clan Wars has created an end-game in which few tanks can truly compete. Clan Wars is dominated by the Tier 9 and 10 big boys. There is little diversity and though tactics still play a large part in who will win it basically boils down to Clan Wars teams comprised of Tier 9-10 heavies with a smattering of Tier 9 mediums, some arty, and a TD for show.

It's somewhat discouraging that although I've been with my clan since Beta I'm not able to participate in the 'end game' with them. I have seen new members come and rise quickly above me in rank simply because they have higher tier tanks. The end game is becomming what all end-games become: the end to a means rather than something nice to do. The fact that I can drive the hatches off a lot of tanks with my Tier 5 medium means absolutely nothing. A real shame as far as I'm concerned.

I think the game is missing an opportunity to keep more people interested in (and ultimately paying for) the game by not having lower-tiered Clan Wars battles in addition to the top end matches. They have run tournaments where the maximum allowable Tier was 5, so the mechanic is already there for Clan Wars (potentially).

There are a lot of provinces with differing gold-values which could serve as a great way to break up the tiers. Lower tiered battles for the ones worth less could be fought groups of lower tiered tanks. This would not only ensure that a lot of players without higher tiered tanks could participate, but it would also ensure that clans with fewer members or who are more casual, could give it a try.

1 comment:

  1. You may be interested in knowing that they are thinking of creating two lower tier Clan Wars setups, much like the Ural Steel tournement had 3 divisions.

    The Clan Wars akin to the 6/60 division in that tournement should be tons of fun.