The first is Faction Rewards. This feature could be free, but lets face it, its a FTP game that has to generate income so they could charge a fee (in gold) for monthly, or permanent access to Faction Rewards. For every, say, 1000 battles you play for the faction you have chosen (paid) for you get some perks. New tank skins with historical unit markings, new garage skins, new voices (Russian for Russian, German for German, etc), access to unique tanks, and most importantly: cash rewards. 5% off your repair bill paid for by the faction seems fair. The rewards/perks could increase over time to a set maximum. For the title junkies you could be granted titles (shown on screen with your name....I like the sound of Comrade Gank....), medals could be awarded, leader boards set up, etc. There is a lot of room to expand the game with this and new game modes featuring faction vs. faction could be implemented similar to company battles.
Second is Choose Your Own Premium Tank. Similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure book series of my youth this is where you can designate your own tank to be premium. I can't even take the credit for this idea as Overlord put out the feelers for this back in November on his blog. His suggestion was to limit it to tiers 1-8 and have the premium status purchasable for a few hours. This is self-explanatory and something I was very excited about. It would allow the player to choose their favorite tank and earn some credits, or at least with the Tier VIII ones, not lose any (as tier VIII seems to be the start of the credit-squeeze in game). I would love to see this implemented- perhaps even with a permanent option- and would happily pay to have my KV-13, and IS-3 'premiumed'. It would also stop the sort of fiasco we saw with the T-59 in which large numbers of them roam across the maps devastating everything in their path. If it was a reasonably priced feature I'd use it quite a bit.
What I've tried to do over the last few days is look at some ways in which WoT could be a bit more player friendly. As I said this is colored by my view on how games should be played. I don't like grinding and it's one of the main reasons I've given up on a lot of traditional MMO's. I enjoyed Wurm Online, for instance, and would still be playing if it wasn't for the grind. I want to play the game, not work the mechanics of it. In Wurm, for instance, I'd like to have built a stone house on top of a hill I had terraformed on my settlement. In order to do that I would have had to increase my skill to 30. This meant some form of 'grind' by 'practicing' the skill. In reality it meant clicking the mouse multiple times until the skill increased. Then I'd have to stand in front of a rock wall in an underground mine pressing M for mine until I had around 500 rocks. Then I'd have to do another series of clicks to turn the rocks into bricks. Then the same for mortar......then I'd have to place 50 bricks per wall until the house was complete. None of that seemed like much fun to me.
Word of Tanks isn't a hard core Sandbox game. It is a fast-paced strategy/shooter set in WWII tanks. I do not think the grind is as bad as Wurm, or any Sandbox game. There are considerations I am not privy too (Wargaming's business needs and costs/profits) and data that I have no access to (on server health, player trends, tank success/failure rates) that impact game balance. Most of what I say is based on my own play experience and style. I get to play a fair amount but not as much as some and so I resent the time it takes to get the upper tier tanks, and then the credit problems that arise when trying to play them. I pay to skip tanks (using free experience), I pay for premium, and I buy premium tanks. Why should I then be restricted from enjoying the top tiers of the game? Online MMO games are designed to keep us playing (hence the grind involved in almost all of them) and I stand by my assertion that this leads to game mechanics that do NOT work in favor of the player. Similar to a casino, the house always wins.
It's a subtle difference, but one that is ever-present:
A game designed by a company to keep players playing and paying for their product is fundamentally different from a game designed to be player-friendly which will keep them paying.
I like World of Tanks but I would like to see some improvements that benefit the paying player while not alienating the free guys/gals at the same time. I do not want pay-to-win, but when I pay I want the barriers to my fun to be removed. It's as simple as that.