Saturday, March 10, 2012

They Pull Me Back In. World of Tanks 7.2 Economics.

I feel like I'm in the Godfather III (but without the director's daughter in the staring role to ruin the whole fucking thing with her lame performance all the way through, and with a crappy death scene at the end. I cheered when she died to be honest). Every-time I try to get out.....they pull me back in!

I've been on a bit of a WoT hiatus and hadn't planned on commenting on the game for a while. I was going to try a few things on the test server (the Maus, for example) but the debacle where they copied thousands of unused accounts over instead of our mains has left me with not much to do. Combined with the 4-hour ques (due to the popularity of the US heavy changes) it means I haven't looked at a lot of the test server stuff. They copied my EU account, instead of my NA account (both on the same email) so I am stuck with an empty garage (but I did by the new US Heavy Premium). The surprise addition of an economic overhaul caught me off guard as well. Though not as surprising as when they nerfed the arty income (with no warning at all) it has got me thinking.

My immediate reaction, given that my favorite tanks in the game are Tier VI- VIII medium tanks (which are slated for an income nerf) is fuuuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkkkkk youuuuuuuuuuu That would make for a pretty poor blog post, however, so I started to think, really think (with ALL the power of my brain) about what was going on and remove myself from the fact my favorite tanks are getting affected.

I am going to look at the facts that are available. Unfortunately we are not privy to some of the business-related reasons for game-changes and have to look at what they give us. Which isn't much. A bit of crap about improving the early tier advancement and affordability of lower tier tanks. They also threw us a 5% bone in the way of an upper tier income boost. I will withhold my 'lol' for now. Wait, not I won't. LOL.

In any case the facts are this:

  1. When you provide a reward or compensation people will usually try to achieve it.
  2. When you take away incentive or reward people won't work as hard at it.
  3. When reduced the income for artillery may players, including myself, stopped playing higher tier artillery. I know I see far less than I used to.
Give the above, then, I can only assume that realized that if they reduce the income from tier VI-VIII medium tanks people will play them less. I know that my VK300DB, which isn't a great tank (a poor, poor gun for a tier VII medium) has very little going for it. I can break even (with a premium account) or make a few (10k) credits, but nothing major. If it starts to lose money, or barely break even? I'm not playing it. It's not that exciting.

I tracked my Panther II for 50+ matches and found that I earned, with premium, an average of 5k a battle (that's averages over all battles including losses). You can tell me LTP all you want an brag about how much you can make with upper tier mediums, but I'm pretty damn good with that tank. I have a 1700+ efficiency rating with it which, if you believe the stats, puts me in the top 5% of all players who use it. It's not that great an earner imo but I find it fun. Similarly the additional 5-10% income on my E50? Won't change my mind about playing it at all. In fact, since there will likely be even more heavy tanks in-game I doubt I'll bother. With premium my average loss (with a loss) is 20k. A good win sees me break even and a great game nets me 20k or so.

These stats are a bit old, but you get the idea. Available here fyi.

You could argue then that the credit nerf on the lower tiers won't make much of a difference then either. All I can say to this is then why would they bother? They aren't doing this to get their kicks, are they? There must be a reason, an intention, a desired outcome to this or they wouldn't do it. I'm struggling to understand what that is. The game, as it stands, sees the top tiers just out of reach of the average free player. They want you to pay some cash to access the top content and that's okay. Perfectly understandable. Most of us, premium players included, play tier V and VI tanks to earn credits, or to support the upper tier tanks. Why do they want them to earn less? Why do they want less people playing these tanks? What is the imbalance they are trying to sort out?

It hasn't escaped my notice that most of the nerfs are against medium tanks as well. The tier V KV heavy tank, for instance, is getting a boost in income. Fucking hell. I only just bought a KV, but its a monster. I make 15-30K a game with it and when I'm the top tank? It's a noob slaughter. Now we want more of them? How is this going to help the new players? It seems as though they are trying to reduce the numbers of medium tanks and for the life of my I can't figure out why. Don't even get me started on the TD income nerf as well. They claim it will 'balance out' as they lower the price and experience needed to get them but so what? After 100 games or so most tanks are elite (with premium) and then it's down to either the money they bring in, or the fun they provide as to whether someone keeps playing them. I don't see hordes of TD's laying waste to everything in their path so what's the problem?

Changing it up at the lowest levels so new players can afford more tanks and progress faster is good, but lets face it, moving through to tier V doesn't take much more than a week or so as it it. Then they hit tier V, or VI with reduced incomes and....... yup, right back to where we started. Now they will grind tier IV to support tier VII and VIII. They are also increasing the income from lower tier arty. I must, once again, lol. Isn't this just going to create the obvious problem of a heck of a lot of artillery in lower tier matches? Fine by me.... I'll warm up my SU-26, sell my Hummel for a Grille and start the slaughter. Welcome to WoT, now some really experienced guys are gonna face-roll you! Having fun yet?

I really don't understand what they are doing and nothing is, of course, finalized yet. It does appear to me that they are tryingng to increase the number of heavy tanks. My IS4 currently makes me more money than my E50. I would go so far as to say I have no problems (with premium) running my IS4 and I have more fun. A medium tank in the upper tiers is hard work, trust me. If you make it harder to afford these tanks the only logical result is that their numbers will go down. I'm not even talking about free players here- and by that I mean that the company would obviously like to come up with a way to get you to want to pay to play. Premium account holders, like myself, are saying over, and over, that we are either breaking even, or just getting ahead. Now we need to drop down to tier IV to grind credits? Is that really what they want?

I tried to come up with a positive scenario, based on game-play, not company income, that the changes might have and I've come up short. I'm hoping to get on the test server later tonight to look at some of the other things going on but without my garage, free experience, and credits, there isn't much I can do. I'd love to hear what you think about the changes so comment away!

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