Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interview with Sergey Burkatovskiy Lead Game Designer


1. We understand that you have plenty more premium tanks to dish out, is it possible to have 2 different battles such as premium battle and random battle and keeping premium tanks strictly to premium maps unless they are in platoon to improve the overall game quality.

We’re actually creating a single game space in World of Tanks. Whatever Class/Tier a tank belongs to, we’ll stick to a classic rock-paper-scissors approach that counterbalances the pros and cons of all the “classmates”. One vehicle’s firepower is balanced with lower accuracy, while a slow-paced machine will excel in armor and durability, and premium tanks fit in this formula perfectly.

Every game balance change we implement is based on the statistics we gather and process daily. The only advantage to a premium tank is the economic benefits players get from them, and this is where we come back to the core basics of our free2play model — premium stuff accelerates your progress through the game.

2. In previous interviews, stated that the prices of premium tanks such as Lowe, Type 59, etc are based on their capabilities as well as demand. You have raised the price of Lowe due to high demand, why was Type 59 not monitored more carefully that you had to remove it from Game Shop in short notice.

Although it wasn’t the most effective tank, the Type 59 definitely gave players more confidence, which made it the most popular premium tank in the game. It, thus, had a far bigger and, unfortunately, negative impact on the in-game balance than the Loewe, for instance. The mediums are one of the most popular vehicle classes, and having a chance to go and kick some butt in a tier-8 med was a golden opportunity for players.

We’ve been monitoring the statistics of the Chinese medium and hoped that the issue will improve, but, obviously, the further rise of the Type 59 population would have crushed the balance between the free and premium content in the game, so we opted for its overall removal.

3. In upcoming garage battle, what prevents arty or massive number of tanks from camping the spawn area for easier kills/victory? Aka: Spawn camping.

This could be an issue, but garage battles will have several spawn points making it highly difficult and absolutely useless to try massive area camping. Only outnumbering of, let’s say, 7 by 1 grants victory. Moreover, garage battles will be more chaotic and exciting than the regular base-on-base clashes; every battle will become a “seek-and-destroy” mission eventually evolving into “seek-and-destroy-the-bastard-that-just-killed-you” mode.

4. Any word on when Physics will be introduced, and what challenges have you had to overcome to release Physics.

The major challenge with the new physics lies in keeping your vehicle from becoming considerably more complex. As of now, players are unable to fall off cliffs or bridges even if they want to, which has guaranteed one of the key World of Tanks game design elements — accessibility. We’ve been repeating this mantra to ourselves and to everybody since the very first day we began developing the Tanks: players should fight against enemies, not struggle with their vehicles, which meant giving them simple controls with arcade elements of tank behavior.

And several elements of Physics turned your tank into an enemy (especially true for hillsides and cliffs). Now that we have the updated Physics on our inner testing, we still have to think of the optimal control system that would leave the game at the same level of simplicity.

5. French tanks have been released in 7.1, any word on the British tanks other than the lend-lease premium Russian tanks.

The Brits will, most likely, appear in the third quarter of 2012. They are at full tilt in development right now. However, while work on them is being done, we are going to continue introducing new vehicles of all four nations to the game.

6. We were teased with Adaptive camo. Then it never came with the 7.0 update. Any idea on when we will see this?

It’s planned to be implemented in update 7.4 if nothing intervenes

7. There has been talk of Matchmaking modifying. Yet the spreadsheet you posts lists tiers up through 13. Is this precluding to future tanks? Any idea what these tanks might be.

There must have been a bit of confusion, because we have been referring to battle tiers, which differ from vehicle.  In essence, 13 tiers doesn’t mean there will be 13 levels.

 As far as artillery, heavy tanks, SPGs and TGs differ in respect to the number of vehicles present; we have several tiers to compensate for this difference. For example, if we had initially set out for 8 levels per tier, WoT would have only featured 9 tiers. We’re going to introduce extra tiers to level the odds.

8. In a recent video release by, there was mention of an IS-6 and IS-8. Any word on when these will be release, what tier they will be, and how they will affect the tech tree.

The upcoming Update 7.2 will feature American tank destroyers and two new top heavies (and the first American map as well!), and will be followed by the purely Soviet Update 7.3 to include the IS-6 and the IS-8, among others. An experimental vehicle created at the end of WWII, the IS-6 will be a premium tank. The IS-8 is the prototype of the legendary Soviet monsters, T-10 and T-10m from the 1950s. The tank will take the tier-9 slot of the IS-4, which will become the second tier-10 heavy tank. Thus, the IS-6 will, most likely, become a tier-8 premium, and the IS-8 will be a researchable tier-9 vehicle.

9. As of patch 7.1 there has been heated debate in regards to matchmaker system. Will the dedicated Matchmaker development team re-evaluate how the matchmaking system and add additional variables such as "light, heavy, medium" etc to balance the a bit more instead of strictly Tier's and weights?

There are views of the game balancer. We don’t want it to create totally mirrored teams and we also won’t balance battles with opposing types of teams in their backbones (one team rich in arty; the other oversaturated with tank destroyers). The only group of tanks to be rebalanced is scouts, and by these I mean both light and medium tanks. As battles show, the definition of a scout cannot be limited to light tanks only; mediums can fit perfectly for this role as well. Personally, I reckon M46 Patton is the best scout, thanks to its nearly huge view range, coupled with its damage and accuracy. We will set a list of tanks suitable for scouting and will distribute them evenly between teams, not forgetting to balance them up against each other, as well.

As for a more detailed “tougher” matchmaking, the current balancer is tuned up for bigger online numbers and won’t act perfectly with low PCCU, and it’s impractical to have two different matchmakers, because they would fail at “borderline” online numbers.

10. When will the American tech tree revision take place, along with the Russian tech tree revision take place?

National tech trees are revised non-stop. During the ongoing revision stage, we’ll add American TDs as a part of Update 7.2 and introduce several Soviet heavies in Update 7.3; the French tech tree will get TDs and arty in Update 7.4. It’s a little early to unveil any further plans, but I can say that we’ll certainly continue adding Soviet and American machines.

11. When will premium SPG's and TD become available and, any word on what they will be?

We’re working on them right now, so it’s pretty difficult to name an exact date at the moment.  All in all, they’re scheduled to be introduced in one of the upcoming updates, and will be tier 5 vehicles, with the 88 mm JagdTiger being the only exception; most likely, it’ll become a tier 8 tank destroyer. We decided to focus tightly on the main branches — they are the top priority, while premium vehicles will be added as soon as they are ready.

12. Do the development team actually play the game to determine from game if certain things needs to be changed or do they rely on consumers/players input? If yes, how much of their work time is dedicated to playing the game?

You develop a core understanding of the game by playing it. Take the QA Dept as an example — they play WoT all day long, simply because they need to test it. As for me, unfortunately, I only have time to play 4 vehicles a day: the French branch that I’m researching right now, plus, 3 premium vehicles. I hate to admit I haven’t bought the IS-7 yet, as opposed to the T-30, for instance. That’s why I’m focusing on the French tanks (I’ve researched them up to AMX 12t by now). Plus, I play premium tanks to earn credits and finally afford myself an IS-7.

13. Are there any plans in the works to increase the credit earnings of tier 8 artillery, tier 9 and 10 heavy’s? As it stands right now, many players cannot gain credits when playing these tanks. Even with a win, the loose credits due to ammo cost and high cost of repair.

I would say no. The point is the vehicle profitability scheme in World of Tanks presumes that if you fancy playing top tiers you’ll have to spend some gaming time on mid-tier tanks. It’s done with purpose: most of these vehicles — the Sherman, the Tiger, the Panther, and the T-34 — are tank-building legends and we encourage players to choose them. That’s why they get the most credits. We are pretty adamant about it, and won’t change our policy. The same principle holds true for the arty. Players with top tier SPGs have to play medium tiers, thus, providing support for the medium tanks that prevail in the game.

14. We have seen some of the new Camo. However when will the adaptive camo be released which supposedly changes the color of the camo based on which map you are on? Will other Premium Tanks be available in the Gift Shop? For example: Churchill, T-14, Type 59, ect.

Soon. Players will buy masks for coloring, and the coloring will automatically adjust to the battlefield a player is fighting in. Each map will get a range of coloring schemes to choose from (grey, brown and black for Himmelsdorf; grey, sand-coloured and green for Ruinberg; and green, white and grey for Erlenberg). In a nutshell, Adaptive camo will allow you adjust your tanks in accordance with a respective map.

15. With the new auto, loading system introduced with the French tanks. Will we have the option in the future to change the round sequence? For example: currently it is AP-AP-AP-AP-AP-AP (6 round same shell) could we have the option to make it AP-APCR-AP-APCR-AP-APCR. Alternatively, any other combination of available rounds?

We were considering the feature and decided against it. The reason is that we’ve got premium shells in the game, and we wanted to be sure players control the way they are used. In case of a mixed loading system, you might fire several premium shells accidently, which would be really frustrating. That’s why we’ve opted for a single-type loading. You’ll have to switch to the other barrel if you’d like to fire with other types of shells.

16. How much of the shell velocity with A.P. rounds have an effect on penetrating armor?

To simplify calculations we didn’t tie together shells’ velocity and penetrating power. We’ve got a penetration/distance ratio table that, despite being simplified, provides plausible data. We are quite happy with it, and don’t plan any significant changes at least in the nearest future.

17. French tanks with semi-automatic guns don't have the option to buy Rammers. Will there be something equivalent to Rammer Module for those type of guns?

French tanks that have automatic loading gear with oscillating turrets. They’re trickier to stabilize than a usual gun and that’s why we aren’t planning to introduce Rammer Modules for it.

18. Any plans to improve the collision penalty since many players still get fined even if friendly ram from behind and do damage to lighter tanks.

We are taking a look at the collision penalty and will change the system a bit, making it less harsh for players.

19. What are the chances to have 4man or 5man platoon?

We went back to the idea and tried introducing 5-man platoons once again. It turned out that, in the frame of random battles, a well-organized group of five becomes virtually invincible. If we try offsetting it with a similar 5-man platoon for the other team, the rest of the players are left with no change at all to influence the battle outcome. It causes a devastating game imbalance. Thus, 5-man platoons are only in short battles with two platoons combating each other. As for random battles, it definitely won’t do.

20. I understand that stated they have a separate team to focus on matchmaking system. Why has matchmaking system not improve in 7.1?

Yes, we indeed have a separate team working solely on the matchmaking system. Unfortunately, the team hadn’t managed to tackle all the issues with the new system before version 7.1 was released.

21. Why is there a 5min max queue time in effect forcing the matchmaker creates corrupt matches?

A 30 min max queue is pointless and unreasonable. Most players would get tired of waiting and would quit before a battle starts. A 5-min queue is the longest reasonable time. We hope World of Tanks draws more players, because an increase of players online will solve the problem of corrupt matches.

22. Are you at any point looking at the possibility of a World of Infantry?

Infantry and tanks fought in tight cooperation during WWII. However, we aren’t planning to either introduce the infantry in WoT or create World of Infantry in the nearest future. For starters, we’ve never ever regretted choosing tanks as our “main” characters and don’t see any plausible reason to change the initial mindset. Tanks provide for an immensely diverse gameplay, and introducing infantry into the game would mean rethinking gameplay essentials from scratch.

Sergey Burkatovskiy - lead game designer for World of Tanks


  1. I've missed this thing about garage battles. What, you can run every tank in your garage one after another ?

    1. not all tanks from the garage but a set number
      for example you select 5 of your tanks in garage that will take part in the battle