WOTBB – Where are we at? – part 1

Where are we at?
Part 1

It’s been a very long time since I last updated this blog. There’s a whole bunch of reasons for that – health being one of the primary reasons for it, but also the fact that Wargaming started to focus more and more on the numbers and on youtube, and I felt insecure about my future as a CC, so I chose to focus on the youtube side of things instead of the blog side of things.

I’ve actually made a list of all the things I feel I should write about before we can continue with a somewhat clean slate, and the list is, well, lonnnnnng. ATGM’s are at the top, of course, but that’s such a subject that it deserves it’s own blog entry, at the very end of everything else.

Last blog, I basically went off about the intended changes in the low tiers. Wargaming postponed the changes, which made me/us hopeful. Unfortunately, for all our feedback and advice and tips to Wargaming, they still pushed through with their plan and in November 2018, we saw update 5.5.

For me, this is still the turning point of the game, and unfortunately, that’s not in the positive sense of the term.

The low tiers were massacred, the old tier I’s were removed altogether from the game, and what we were left with was five unbalanced tiers. Some tanks were suddenly different tiers, but weren’t balanced to fit their new role. This led to the game having a new French tier I tank that most tier II tanks struggled to pen, to give an example. That specific example was fixed the next update, sort of, but most of the low tiers are still very unbalanced, and some vehicles are straight OP because of it (think Matilda, for instance).

Whole lots of tanks became collector tanks, and that made some people very happy – as they can be sold for gold, rather than credits, and a bunch of players basically make a fortune this way. Me, myself, I made sure to have -all- the tanks in the game, upto and including tier VI – and the one tier VII scheduled for removal, when the update dropped, and haven’t sold any of them. For a combination of reasons – they were credits before and if they’d ever be sold again, they’d be for gold or money instead. But also because eventually, I want to have a perfect Ace-record – meaning I want to have aced all my tanks. I can’t really do that if they’re removed from the game and not in my garage.

And, in a way, it’s also a protest against WG removing them from the tech trees at all. They want the tanks out of the game as fast as they can insure it – which is why they sell for gold, which made it very interesting for a lot of players to sell them, and I’m keeping them all.

Wargaming wanted to simplify the low tiers. Upto a level, I can understand that. But now, new players have no reason to linger in the low tiers and learn things at their leisure, instead rushing through the tiers before they even have an idea of the basics, so we see a lot of people with barely 1k battles now in tier X. This is helped along with boosters and the 3-4-5x bonuses we see appear in the game relatively often. Yes, that’s fun, and I happily use it too, but for the newer or more noob players that need a longer learning curve, it’s definitely not helpful. It’s also not done the teams any good – we see large collections of low winrate players at any given point.

People complaining about MM are at an all time high, and though I’d happily give them tinfoil hats, as MM is still random as always, I do understand their frustrations. It’s not so much that MM is unbalanced and unfair, but a lot more that the pool from which MM has to choose it’s players is doing a lot worse in terms of stats than it used to. People still don’t generally pay attention to their teams (or the enemy team) when they win, but single out the ‘bad MM’ from the games they lose. Imo, there’s nothing wrong with the Matchmaker – just with the playerbase.

It still baffles me that the majority of the playerbase is used to losing more than they win, tbh. I can’t imagine enjoying a game where I lose a lot, but maybe that’s just me. But kind of drifting off topic there. But the general inexperience of players in the high tiers definitely shows. More than that, the lack of a proper tutorial and proper guiding throughout the game as you grind becomes even more apparent with these players in the high tiers.

It’s led to quite a few people quitting the game in February 2019 – you can see the general dip in player activity in the API from all servers, and it was much larger than the usual dips you get after the holidays. Yet at the end of 2019, WG said during the Twister stream that numbers were better than ever. I don’t quite believe that, going by the API numbers. But then, it wouldn’t be the first time that what we see and experience is different from what WG sees. Anyhow, veteran players quitting the game only emphasised the lack of experience and knowledge of the game of the players we were left with, effectively making the teams worse.

Update 5.5 to me is still the worst update we’ve ever had – worse even than spare parts – and not just because of what it brought us, but also because of what’s happened after. I used to enjoy playing all tiers, depending on how serious I wanted the game to be. Now, I rarely touch the lower tiers, except to quickly finish missions in my Kenny. So in that way, Wargaming succeeded, as they wanted the sealclubbers to stop clubbing them seals. But at what cost though?

As a new player, the game doesn’t look like a lot of fun, to me, with the total imbalance of vehicles down below. The autoloaders all having their wings clipped and having only two shells instead of whatever they had before is one of the bigger issues in the low tiers. Because the clips were cut, but damage and pen wasn’t adjusted accordingly, nor the general stats of the tanks, they’re hopelessly underperforming. The tanks that were moved to different tiers mostly stayed how they were – which definitely doesn’t aid the balance in the low tiers.

So this makes it all the more interesting for a new player to skip through the tiers, or buy a high tier prem straight away. Profit for WG, loss for the playerbase, as it means another player that doesn’t know the basics making their way up into the high tiers well before they’re ready. That’s always been an issue, but it stands out so much more since 5.5.

Not to mention that the derp guns were removed from the lower tiers, which also means that new players don’t get any experience with either being against them, or playing them. Imagine finally getting your first tier VI – let’s say a Cromwell, for instance, or the little AMX 12t – and meeting a SU-152 for the first time.

But that’s not where it ends. From the time they announced 5.5 (well, 5.2 originally), there’s been a series of decisions and things we’ve gotten in the game that I feel have only made things worse and worse, with only a few exceptions. I don’t like being all negative and such, though I do definitely use this blog to voice my overall displeasure at things, so I’ll try and work in both good and bad over the next few blogs. I’ve no good word to say about 5.5, so there’s that.

I will, however, end the first entry here, because I think that the longer I make this wall-o-complaint-text the less likely it’ll be that you’ll still be with me when we reach the end.

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