World of Tanks Blitz – Tech-tree “balance”?

So I’ve several half-finished blogs lying about that I still need to finish and post, including my Mobile Masters adventure and Tankfest-blogs. But, this takes precedence not just because of the impact of the proposed changes, but also because I’ve been asked to hand in my feedback before 3pm CEST today, lol.

For some time now, we’ve known that Wargaming intends to re-work the low tiers. We actually talked at length about this at Tankfest. Apparently, 20% of the new players leaves the game in the first 10 or so battle. That’s a very high mortality rate, and understandably, Wargaming seeks to change that. So, at Tankfest, Wargaming asked the CC’s present (myself, Sk8xtrm, Meadsy69, Martindogger and Bushka) for ideas on how to make it better.

We suggested a whole bunch of things – better tutorial vids, that’d also be available to watch back later on, little vids you’d get when you’d buy a tank for the first time with a little information on the strengths and weaknesses of that tank (no more than 30 secs), more bot-battles in the beginning that’d gradually got harder so you’d be more prepared for what you’d meet by the time you actually meet your first actual players, to not have your first real battle be in tier II, more information ready in the game itself, to ease new players into all the options rather than everything in one go, to have newbies (not noobs, but newbies) meet other newbies rather than everyone in the queue, possibly filling the empty slots with some bots, reworking the whole rating battles system, etc, etc. Lots of great ideas were shared and discussed, and noted down.

We’ve seen screens from the Russian server being leaked for a while now about the ‘balances’ to the low tiers. I generally never really believe these until I see actual proof from an official WG channel. But then we got the 5.1 Open Test. Or at least, most people did. I never got my invite, so didn’t get to go in there, but I’ve seen enough to know the situation is quite dire. Only, the 5.1 Open Test server mostly shows 5.3 things. They’re currently just testing it WG says, and aren’t meant to implement the tech tree balances for the low tiers until 5.3.

The first thing shared with me from the Open Test server was Kenny. My beloved little monster Kenny, which is my go-to tank if things are especially bad and I want to do a little clubbing to cool down and end with a nice win. Kenny, that’s completely broken, which was supposed to have a 9 sec clip reload, but accidentally only got a 3 sec clip reload. Kenny, that Wargaming promised we’d get to keep and that would never be nerfed.

Ph3lanKenny

That same Kenny is getting nerfed to hell. If this update happens as it is intended right now, Kenny will go from a 4 rounds clip to a 2 rounds clip, get nerfed in damage, get a clip reload of 6 seconds instead of 3. “Oh, but it’s completely OP, so that’s just fine”, I’ve heard people say, but they’re not thinking of the bigger picture.

With this, Wargaming isn’t just nerfing Kenny. With this, Wargaming is setting a precedent and will be able to nerf any and all premium tanks, if the community doesn’t speak up about it. The Kenny is just one prem tank, but it’s not just one prem-tank that’s getting nerfed to hell with this update. Another example is the tier II T1E6, which is also an autoloader, which will also be nerfed very badly if this happens as they now project it. These are tanks that people spend real money on. And Wargaming has always said, including at Tankfest this year, that premium tanks won’t get nerfed. So what exactly is this then?

Oh there have been indirect nerfs of prem tanks, but it wasn’t actually the premium tanks that got nerfed, but mostly the tanks around it being made stronger to level the playfield more. The prem tanks in tiers IX and X are all not prems, but ‘enriched’. The difference is simple. Enriched tanks can be nerfed. Prem tanks can’t. In the high tiers, balancing the tanks properly is more important than in the lower tiers, because they have a much bigger impact. And WG has made the difference clear from the beginning.

So these supposed changes, if you look at it purely from a prem tank perspective, go against everything Wargaming has been saying – and promising – since the beginning of Blitz in 2014. And if this happens, Wargaming has a free hand to pretty much destroy all the prem tanks we love. Think of the Hellsing, or the Dracula, for instance.

But that’s just one part of this ‘update’ where things go horribly wrong. The idea was to simplify the tech trees and make it easier for new players to understand what’s going on. But one of the things we discussed at Tankfest was that players go up the line too quickly and get into the high tiers before they’re ready for it. This update only makes that all the more easy because they literally have just one tankline to go up, basically, with very little variation in tanks, and very little choice. And they’ll reach the high tiers so quickly that they’re even less prepared for it than the players right now. If they hate a tank, they’ll have to go to a whole new nation altogether.

I do like the idea that they’re slowly getting new things – such as consumables, equipment, camo, etc – bit by bit. But that too give them a massive disadvantage. Players that have gotten further in the game will, for instance, have better camo-rating because they can use those camo’s. Not to mention that even without some equipment, consumables and provisions, experienced players will still have all their crewskills, which will have a massive impact.

And that’s not where it stops. A lot of modules have been removed from other tanks in the Open Test server. Amongst these are some very popular guns, like the ones on the Hetzer and the A20. TD’s have lost some big derp guns, autoloaders only have 2 rounds per clip. What’s basically happening is that all the variety in the low tiers is being removed, which will make the game a lot more boring for any new players – not so much for the rest of us, because we’ll have all the tanks they’re removing from the tech tree.

All the tier I’s that we have now are disappearing. I’ve never made a secret of loving tier I, and have invested quite some gold in making them look pretty. Tier I is always pure chaos to play, which is exactly what I love about it. But the Loltractor, the Ms-1, etc, all all being taken out of the game completely. And I really don’t understand why.

The new tier I’s are not exactly good choices imo. The “new” French tier I is very stronk, in stark contrast with the rest of the line, and will seem completely OP compared to the rest of them. Not only does it make tier I completely unbalanced that way, it also gives a very wrong impression of what the French tanks are like.

And aside from all of that, there will be a complete gluttony of lower tier prems, that newbies will need to pay real money for, that most players that we have now will have for free. These tanks can become crate tanks, can be sold anew, can be bought as a tech-tree prem. Tier II prem tank that was a tech tree tank for 2.3k gold. That’s just not right. The fact that newbies will only be able to choose a few tanks won’t mean that they will not be meeting all the tanks that they can’t get to, or at least can’t get to without spending money on the game.

It’s not stated all that clearly whether these low tier tanks will be considered ‘enriched’ or ‘prems’, but if WG is going to allow themselves to nerf prem tanks, the difference doesn’t really matter all that much anymore.

The fact that prem tanks wouldn’t get nerfed has always been a big reason for me to buy them. I’ll likely be asking my money back for every prem tank that they touch, because them getting nerfed was not the agreement.

There’s so much Wargaming could be doing to keep new players, and to simplify things, but this is not the way to go. All the great ideas we’ve discussed at tankfest, even if some will take time to implement, and all the ideas I’ve heard from people since and saw in the comments on Sk8’s video, would pretty much -all- work so much better than what Wargaming seems to be planning now.

I find that I get very frustrated with this. Wargaming has been making some great decisions recently, but every time I feel that we’re getting somewhere, that we’re getting a game worth our time and investment, that we’re getting listened to and are actually getting somewhere together, something like this happens or is announced and it just makes me feel so deflated.

Last but not least, I’d like to refer you to Sk8’s vid, as he says it all very nicely, and his incredulous response to what he’s seeing says a lot as well.

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