In 2018, we continued our efforts to improve matchmaking and Grand Battles, while adding new vehicles, nations, challenges, and other game events. We also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the idea of World of Tanks and won our fourth Golden Joystick Award by taking home the Still Playing category for the second year in a row. We’re already hard at work making great plans for the future, which we’re ready to share with you!
In 2019, we're going to:
- Solve some substantial issues with the matchmaker
- Bring back the Frontline mode
- Introduce Swedish medium tanks alongside other new vehicles
- Make clans more accessible
- And much more!
Premium ammo has always been one of the hottest topics in World of Tanks and over the upcoming year, we’ll make a key revision to the entire mechanic.
Earlier this year we took the first step toward rebalancing Premium ammo by removing the feature of purchasing ammo and consumables for Gold. Therefore, the terms "Premium ammo" or "Gold ammo" are no longer appropriate — let's call them collectively “special ammo.”
We’ve been waiting for the amount of “special ammo” in World of Tanks to decrease and for players to adjust to the new concept. Just to be clear, let's start off with the key reasons for rebalancing.
- Players choose their ammunition based on what’s happening on the battlefield. When it comes to high explosive shells, these tactics are justified. We all know these shells are almost always guaranteed to cause damage, but this damage is usually much less than the damage dealt with standard shells. Basically, HE shells are used to fire on unarmored vehicles, for inflicting maximum damage per shot, or for targets with few hit points left. In any game situation, the pros and cons of these shells are clear to everyone. Therefore, it's obvious that constantly using HE shells, while you have standard shells, is simply ineffective.
- When a player has to choose between standard shells and “special ammo,” they focus only on armor penetration. Types of ammunition differ in characteristics — shell velocity, for instance — but the key factor for most players is still armor penetration. Using "special ammo," most notably APCR or HEAT, you get an advantage just by spending more Credits.
What Do We Want to Do?
Our top priority is to help players choose their ammunition loadout more consciously. We want players to evaluate the advantages of different shells and factor in the consequences.
It's extremely important the new system first of all suits you, our players. That's why we decided to try the solution you actively offered, based on forum feedback.
As a result, we are going to implement the following mechanics:
- Standard AP shells are now the most attractive in terms of price and damage. They have high damage per shot and are are cheap, but it's not easy to hit armored vehicles using these shells.
- "Special ammo" is good for firing on armored vehicles, because of a higher chance to penetrate but have lower DPM. But they have a high cost and lower (by 25-30 percent) damage per shot than standard shells.
- High explosive shells make it possible to inflict damage with a greater probability, regardless of whether the vehicle is armored or not. They are effective against poorly armored vehicles but have low armor penetration, cannot pierce obstacles, have the lowest damage per shot in case of non-penetration, and, often, the lowest velocity.
We’ve put a lot of work into these improvements and are excited to get your feedback. Your input is crucial as we continue the rebalancing process of “special ammo.” If feedback on our proposed solution is positive, we’ll release it for testing and analyze how it impacts the current gameplay.
If all testing steps go as planned, we'll then try to adjust the cost of all shells, depending on their effectiveness and how often they are chosen.
In some cases it will be necessary to change the cost ratio or the characteristics of a vehicle, but it will be too impractical to look for a "one-size-fits-all" answer. The decision to implement this mechanic has not yet been made! We'd like to analyze your feedback, so feel free to leave your thoughts and concerns on the forum.
We outlined 2019 would be a big year for the matchmaker, so prepare for big changes over the next 12 months.
Evolution of Change
The matchmaker’s main objective has always been getting players into battle as quickly as possible. Ever since 2010, the various versions have valued speed as the top priority.
As a result, we encountered key challenges:
- So-called "fail Platoons," which consist of vehicles that differ by more than three Tiers (most often it was top Tiers + low Tiers in a single Platoon)
- A large number of SPGs in teams (up to eight)
- Teams were getting matched in such a way there were very few opponents of your Tier in battle. For instance: there could be 13 Tier Xs but only 2 Tier VIII vehicles on your team.
The templates bear strict rules: there should not be more tanks at the top than in the middle, and no more in the middle than at the bottom. Thanks to the templates, in each battle, players had a sufficient number of enemy tanks, with which they could compete on an equal footing. Even playing at the bottom of the list, you always have the same number of tanks of your Tier in the opposing team.
New Update, New Challenges
After the introduction of the template system, the battles became more acceptable. On the other hand, we've faced new serious burdens and challenges:
- Players rarely get matched with vehicles of their Tier and 1 or 2 Tiers lower, and mostly they play with higher tier tanks. In other words, you often get to the bottom of the list. This is especially true for Tier VI and VIII vehicles.
- Players with preferential Premium vehicles play most their battles in the 5-10 template with higher tier tanks, and rarely get matched with vehicles of lower Tiers. As a result, this greatly smooths out the benefits of preferential matchmaking.
The templates in the current matchmaker architecture are strict, so they cannot quickly adapt to the queue evolution, creating these issues. In other words, the matchmaker cannot analyze the queue and has no tools for operating with it dynamically.
What Will Happen Next?
We are working on fundamentally new tools so the rules for assembling battles can quickly adapt to the queue and specific game situation. We also assumed battle enjoyment was more important than queuing time. Waiting for a battle may take a little longer, but the teams need to be better balanced.
In the future:
- Templates will become more flexible, depending on the current situation in the queue
- In addition to the classic 3-5-7 and 5-10, new templates may appear in order to help sort the queue
- For a two-Tier battle, there may be 6-9 and 7-8
- For a three-Tier battle, there may be 4-5-6 and even 5-5-5.
Your Feedback = Our Success
There’s a lot in the works, and even more on the way for the new matchmaker in 2019. The technical part of the architecture is almost ready and is currently being tweaked and tested. If we're satisfied with the outcome, we're planning to launch an updated matchmaker on the main servers in all regions. We’ll carefully analyze the effect of these changes.
We're excited to hear what you think about all these tweaks, please post your general feedback in the special thread on our forum. Gradually, step by step, we're going to improve matchmaking and make World of Tanks even more enjoyable.
Frontline is coming back in the first quarter of 2019!
Frontline has received a slight revamp as we want to solve a fairly clear yet challenging issue. We would like to keep the friendly and relaxing atmosphere, where you can play just for fun, but at the same time give you the opportunity to fulfill medium- and long-term engagement goals. Most important: Frontline will not be a short-term event, but a whole series of events throughout the year, with heaps of rewards and other bonuses.
The core gameplay will remain unchanged. You receive ranks and points for good performance in combat and these points can be used to boost your level. When you reach a certain level, you earn rewards (such as Credits and consumables). Once you reach the top of the 30 levels, you can Prestige, which resets your progress so you can start earning rewards again.
We’ve added more to the Frontline formula:
- Frontline kicks off every calendar month and will be available for a week. Your journey through the event will last a week every month.
- More Prestige levels. We’ve increased the number of Prestige levels from 3 to 10. Prestige level availability will be added gradually with each Frontline week. There will be no strict timeframe for reaching the Prestige. However, you can make some progress and get ahead by two Prestige levels in a week. For instance: In the second week you can reach Prestige level 4; when the eighth week of the event starts, you can complete all 10 Prestige levels.
- In addition to the basic rewards, players are rewarded with special points for reaching a Prestige level. Use these points to purchase special reward vehicles, which are added gradually as you reach certain Prestige levels.
XP and Credit earn rates remain the same in next year’s Frontline; repair and shell costs won't change either.
In 2018, we worked on vehicle rebalancing, added new tanks, and removed some older ones. Now we’re ready to take the next step.
We'll improve vehicles that will be most affected by the rebalancing of “special ammo.” We’ll also focus on vehicles with poor efficiency and overhaul some overpowered tanks to revise their characteristics.
The following Tier X vehicles will be rebalanced first:
The lineup is not complete, and other vehicles may be added — plus, we’re also looking at rebalancing mid-Tier vehicles. We’re happy to hear your feedback, so feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions.
The development team has discussed the possibility of adding a new nation, but there are no concrete plans.
At the end of 2016, with Update 9.17, we released two Swedish tech trees simultaneously. Next year, the nation gets Swedish Medium tanks.
Swedish Medium tanks are maneuverable vehicles with fast-firing, accurate guns. But what really sets them apart is the option to switch into Siege Mode — a feature of Swedish tank destroyers.
It’s too early to unveil how many vehicles will appear in the new branch and at what Tier they'll start. We're carefully evaluating candidates and all vehicles will be entirely historical.
We’d like to make the switch to Siege Mode automatic on the new Swedish tanks. We'll have more information when we completely configure the branch and refine the mechanic.
In 2019, a new series of Ranked Battles will begin and promises to be quite different from earlier versions!
Thanks to your feedback we’ve decided to fix several key issues. Previously, a casual player had to push themselves to the limits to reach Rank 15. At the same time, top players could reach the max rank quickly and felt 15 Ranks were not enough.
We decided to rework the entire Ranking mechanic and break it into four divisions, and each division involves 15 Ranks.We reduced the number of chevrons you need to reach Rank 15, so don’t worry — you don’t have to work four times harder!
The first division is Qualification, where you start with a clean slate. At Rank 15, you end up in the next division, Bronze.
This is where the fun begins! Depending on how you performed in the Qualification division, chevrons in the Bronze division will be easier or harder to earn.
In the Silver division, all the mechanics will be similar. If you have proven yourself in the previous division, you'll earn more chevrons.
The ultimate division is the most challenging — is Gold! Only the best of the best can reach the top.
These are far from the only changes in Ranked Battles, but perhaps the most interesting.
This year we completely reworked the in-game shop, so players can purchase items, equipment, and directives for Bonds. In 2019, we want to add the ability to purchase vehicles for Bonds.
We’re planning to put vehicles on sale that are not currently available in the Premium Shop, but present in the game. These include gift tanks and vehicles removed from the tech tree but are still owned by players.
We’re compiling a list of vehicles of various Tiers that may be purchased for Bonds. We’ll individually evaluate each vehicle and choose a fair price depending on its uniqueness. As a result, a Tier X may cost less than a Tier VIII, and it’s possible some very rare collectible vehicles will be offered for Bonds.
On the Horizon
We plan to add vehicles to the Bonds shop in two rounds. The first lot in the spring of 2019, which includes more affordable units. The second one contains more exclusive tanks and goes on sale in the second half of 2019.
We’re also discussing the possibility of adding other goodies and specials to the Bonds shop. We also plan to gradually increase Bonds sources in the game.
The new year brings a fundamental change to Premium Account. The 8-year-old current version has some features players consider less important. For instance, Personal Reserves offer similar — and sometimes even better — bonuses, so the appeal of the Premium Account has lessened.
Improving the Economics & Convenience
Our ultimate goal is to make Premium Account more profitable and, most important, convenient for everyone. Your feedback will be key for what the future holds.
Don't expect the Premium Account concept to be revised quickly, however. Our plans call for a comprehensive approach to this issue, which requires a lot of time and attention. The whole scope of potential changes is still under active development, so stay tuned for more news!
This year we have released many cool customization styles, let us refresh your memory:
- “Winged Hussar” for 50TP prototyp
- “Fear Naught” for Caernarvon Action X
- And, of course, our two exclusive Warhammer 40,000 styles: "Valhallan Ragnarok" for the KV-2 (R) and "Mordian" for the BDR G1 B.
In Holiday Ops. 2019, we introduced new optional 3D styles. These cosmetics give existing vehicles a brand-new look with completely new graphic details on their armor.
- The T57 Heavy has been styled to look like it took part in the Vietnam War.
- The Bat.-Châtillon 25 t looks like it took part in military actions in Algeria complete with traditional ornaments on the hull.
- The Grille 15 features a loadout from an alternative history where German tanks have been equipped with anti-grenade nets and protection against phosphorus bombs.
- The IS-7 has been upgraded with new hatches, screens over the suspension, and other additions.
We'll continue to work on customization and development of new unique 3D styles. Many vehicles will pleasantly surprise you!
Enjoy the holidays, Commanders! Don’t hesitate to leave any suggestions or questions you might have on the forum!