Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
 
Does the endgame have to be at the end of the game?

Gankalicious isn't all that happy with the Clan Wars endgame of World of Tanks. The endgame is dominated by level 9 and 10 tanks, and his favorite tank is level 5. The high-level tanks also dominate the organized PvP tank company against tank company, where each side can bring 90 levels worth of tanks: 9 level 10 tanks easily beat 15 level 6 tanks. Thus Gankalicious proposes a second tier of Clan Wars with a level cap of 5. I think the level cap would be a good idea, but to keep the spread smaller I'd either make one alternative Clan Wars with a level cap of 7, or two with level caps of 6 and 8. With progressively lower rewards, of course.

Now you need to remember the peculiarities of World of Tanks compared to let's say World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft for historical reasons has raid dungeons not just at the level cap of 85, but also at 60, 70, and 80. But in WoW leveling is fast, and raiding is slow, so unless you'd turn off xp gain, you couldn't raid the level 60 dungeons without quickly outleveling them. In World of Tanks your tanks don't actually gain levels, you gain xp which allows you to unlock the next level of tank. Thus even somebody with a level 10 tank will still have lower level tanks in his garage. Having a lower level "endgame" thus doesn't exclude those who already advanced further.

As in World of Tanks leveling is slow, and the endgame is fast, a lower tier of Clan Wars would make sense. It would give clans an opportunity to play together without having to exclude those who are not yet level 9 or 10. Right now the only clan activity which makes sense for all but the top levels is doing random battles in platoons of 3.

Of course Wargaming.net might prefer to leave Clan Wars to the highest level of tanks for financial reasons. As mentioned before, while World of Tanks is really free to play at the lower levels, it becomes increasingly difficult to get to the higher levels without paying for a subscription or gold tank for farming. Thus the old mindset of "the game begins at the endgame" is a source of income for the game company in this case. Otherwise people might notice that you get pretty much the same content at level 3 that you get at level 10, and the game is equally fun at all levels.
Comments:
In my own limited experience of WoT I noticed that there are a number of "sweet spots" along the progression curve where you can have a lot of fun in a lower level tank that is perfectly matched for the battles it comes up against. It made me wonder why people are so anxious to keep progressing to bigger and bigger tanks but I see that you need to do this if you want to participate in clan wars.

Given the existence of these plateaux where casual players can reach and settle down it is probably a flaw in Wargaming.net's business model that they their revenue collection is so heavily focussed on high end players. I wonder if there is scope to add cosmetic items to the cash shop (tank skins and such) as they seem to appeal to casual players in other games.
 
While I'm sure Gankalicious and others would prefer a tier 5 version of clan wars, having an endgame focused around endgame tanks means players are more likely to spend money to get there if they want to participate. It's the same reasoning behind platoons being a premium perk.
 
Rather than a tier cap, I'd rather just have a lower team total mode. With a cap of 60 levels I think there would be a LOT more variety involved. Lowering the total for the entire team adds in more potential combinations of tanks, at least up to a certain point.
 
"Of course Wargaming.net might prefer to leave Clan Wars to the highest level of tanks for financial reasons."

Read: The reason most F2P games are flawed. When you make design decisions based on how it impacts the cash shop, the players always lose.
 
"Read: The reason most F2P games are flawed. When you make design decisions based on how it impacts the cash shop, the players always lose."

Having an endgame that requires you to level to endgame isn't necessarily a F2P failing. Just saying.
 
When you make design decisions based on how it impacts the cash shop, the players always lose.

I am very certain that subscription games make design decisions based on how it impacts player retention. For example making grinds longer to prevent players from "finishing" the game and unsubscribing. I would say the overall outcome is the same for all games with any form of business model.
 
"When you make design decisions based on how it impacts the cash shop, the players always lose."

Yeah but the players are also making their decisions based on the cash shop.
 
"Having an endgame that requires you to level to endgame isn't necessarily a F2P failing. Just saying."

Not the part I was talking about. I was talking about having lower-lvl 'end-game' play. It would benefit the players (more options), but hurt the cash shop, so it's out.

Stuff like gold ammo adds nothing to the game other than peer-pressure to spend money. It's not more fun/content to deal X% more damage because you spent some money (if anything, for me I'd just cheapen the victory).

"I would say the overall outcome is the same for all games with any form of business model."

What grind does a game like LoL add to force cash-shop spending? Skins are not gold ammo, you don't earn less IP the more you play, you don't have to stop playing a Champ to 're-grind' cash, and in-game those who have spent zero are at the exact same power level as those who spend hundreds.

Point being, there is a right way to do F2P, even in a PvP game, but gold ammo and forced expenses are not it. It's like the Atlantica situation; great game DESPITE its model, but something that would be better if it was not dragged down by bad F2P.
 
(may not be totally on topic)
In a similar tone to what mbp said, I sometimes prefer the lower tier battles over the higher tier ones.

I'm currently working on getting a T6 TD and a T5 heavy (first heavy available in the Russian line, IIRC). It's sometimes frustrating to be a T4 light tank in a battle with Tier 7 or 8 heavies and mediums. The best you can do there is spot the enemy for your arty, or hope to get behind the lines and take out theirs.

In the lower tiers, it seems like each tank has a chance to do some damage to nearly any tank on the battle field. It's not completely equal - nor do I think it should be.

It's making me wonder if I want to grind out the rest of the medium/heavy tree line. Even after I finally get my long awaited heavy tank, I still have a good chance to be matched with Tier 8s and a small chance to be with Tier 9s.

Makes me think about just going back to playing my Tier 3 TD, where my toughest opponent will only be 2 tiers higher. I'd be willing to drop my premium sub and instead spend $15/month on premium ammo (helping to even out the gap between my T3 and the T5s I might be up against).

End game might be nice in WoT, but getting there doesn't seem to be very fun - at least for me.
 
"having an endgame focused around endgame tanks means players are more likely to spend money to get there if they want to participate."

True. In WoT, however, once you 'max' out your tank (it is called 'elite') you are no longer able to use experience from that tank UNLESS you spend gold to transfer it to the 'free experience pool'.

Players like me who prefer to play their Tier 5 tanks will, of course, be looking to try other tanks. I use the free experience to do this, which costs money.

If there was an incentive to keep playing the lower tier tanks (different levels of Clan Wars for instance) I think they could still make money this way.

If you take a long-term, theoretical view and envision a time when all the players have reached the end-game and have tier 10 tanks there would be nothing to buy. Not likely to happen, I know, but still.....
 
"Point being, there is a right way to do F2P, even in a PvP game, but gold ammo and forced expenses are not it. It's like the Atlantica situation; great game DESPITE its model, but something that would be better if it was not dragged down by bad F2P."

Syncaine, you know how you hate when people talk about MMO's they don't play? My pet peeve is people talking about cash shops they've never used.
 
So I need to buy gold ammo to understand what gold ammo does? Or it's not enough to read about the benefits of a gold tank, I actually have to buy one myself to 'get' how it helps in farming? Explain that one to me please.
 
Not suggesting anything of the sort. Just letting you know of a pet peeve of mine.

BTW, have you had the chance to view this slideshow yet?

http://www.slideshare.net/bcousins/paying-to-win
 
BTW: "Syncaine, you know how you hate when people talk about MMO's they don't play?"

I read lots of blogs/posts from people who don't play a game, I have no issues with that, opinions are what they are. I just don't like people basing an opinion off incorrect facts, stemming from not actually playing or understanding a game.

Again, if I've somehow misinterpreted what gold ammo is, or the benefits of a gold tank, feel free to correct me.
 
Mbp is right about the sweet spots. Some tanks are fun just to play (for me, PzIV, SU-85, and the easy 8) well after they have been elited. I've been training the crews on them in anticipation of transferring them to higher tier tanks, but the reality is... I'm probably never going to delete those tanks and transfer the crews.

I REALLY wish that there was a tier 4 or 5 endgame to play my PzIV in. (mini-derp!)
 
Again, if I've somehow misinterpreted what gold ammo is, or the benefits of a gold tank, feel free to correct me.

CCP graciously decided to add gold ammo to EVE Online later this year to educate you about it, syncaine. Oh, wait, are you actually playing EVE?
 
See, good example above.

Instead of answering the question or adding to the issue at hand, Tobold writes some fiction up (gold ammo in EVE) totally unrelated to the current topic (WoT F2P model vs LoL F2P model and the effect it has on dev decisions) to troll/derail the conversation.

That is a pet peeve of mine.
 
You never played WoT. I never played LoL. I'm not even sure you ever played LoL. So how can we discuss. For all I know LoL is pay to win, and you're just twisting the truth somehow as usual. I don't even know what the point is you are trying to make, except that all games with World in the title are somehow bad.

And the gold ammo in EVE is *not* fiction but an excerpt of a leaked CCP memo.
 
From the LoL Wiki:
Riot Points (formerly known as combat points earlier in the European server) are one of the two in-game currencies. They can be purchased with real money and are used to purchase things to add convenience, extra customization options, or to add diversity to the experience. Examples of things that can be purchased with Riot Points are Champions, alternate Champion Skins, or boosts, which are modifiers that increase the rate at which you gain Influence Points or Summoner Experience Points.

"Boosts which are modifiers that increas the rate at which you gain" points happens to be exactly what most people buy in World of Tanks. So how is that not paying to get an advantage in game if I can pay to advance faster in LoL?
 
Because advancing faster in LoL does nothing for you in terms of in-game power. Buying an XP boost just gets you to 30 faster, which gets you to play with other 30s faster. LoL is not an MMO.

Again, someone running a boost has ZERO advantage in-game vs someone who does not, and there is NOTHING you can buy in the store to improve your chances of winning a game. The same can not be said for WoT or other games that use the dev-vs-player version of F2P, which is/was my original point.

WoT might be a wonderful game, but it's still ultimately flawed because of it's business model, and without a doubt would be a better game without gold ammo/tanks and the "hints" to pay at higher levels or the more you play.

See what's funny here is you quote a Wiki and get confused about a game you don't play. I talk about WoT and you can't tell me why my analysis of gold ammo or tanks is wrong, or why the F2P model WoT uses vs what LoL uses makes things like the suggested end-game in your post a bad business decision for WoT.

You just put up derails like the fictional EVE gold ammo, misinterpreted wiki pages, or whether or not I've played game X or Y. Resorting to "and you're just twisting the truth somehow as usual" is a pretty clear sign that you are really, really reaching here now.
 
Going to assume Bloggers spam filter is acting up rather than you deleting my last reply to you.
 
I really wish people would read Dev blogs as well as making suppositions.

WoT will be bringing in three levels of Clan War (this will also be three different maps). One as is, one for tanks no higher than tier 7, one for tanks no higher than tier 5.

Currently work in progress. The Clan Wars is still in Beta as far as Wargaming sees it, and the map will be wiped at some stage.

They are also looking at different game modes, which would include 'historical battles' (think Pz4 vs T34) and garage lockouts (you pick 4-5 tanks from your garage and can come back into the game until your stable is gone).

So your concerns have been recognised by the long term community a while ago and wargaming are addressing it. But dont expect to see it before Christmas (in fact christmas release is where I throw my hat).
 
One of the things that Western bloggers are going to find hard about World of Tanks, is that all the Dev blogs are on russian sites in russian.

I will try and link translated notes later.
 
I really wish people would read Dev blogs as well as making suppositions.

One of the things that Western bloggers are going to find hard about World of Tanks, is that all the Dev blogs are on russian sites in russian.

Funniest comments I've read this month.

Going to assume Bloggers spam filter is acting up rather than you deleting my last reply to you.

Yep, fixed.

Because advancing faster in LoL does nothing for you in terms of in-game power. Buying an XP boost just gets you to 30 faster, which gets you to play with other 30s faster. LoL is not an MMO.

See, if you played WoT you'd know that this is EXACTLY how it works there as well. WoT is not an MMO either, and getting to level 10 faster just gets you to play with other 10s faster.

The whole gold account and gold tank advantage is just that, advancing faster. The only thing that actually has a minor influence on character power is gold ammo. And that is like buying a capital ship in EVE with real money: Theoretically possible, but practically too expensive for a consumable. You can easily fire 1$ worth of gold ammo in a battle, and I'm at over 2,000 battles already after a couple of months.
 
You and others who have commented on WoT-related posts described WoT differently. The need to use a gold tank to cover increasing repair costs at high tiers and such. Plus how often gold ammo is used is up to each player, but the shop does provide a "Pay to win" item, expensive or not. Point blank if I use gold ammo, my odds of winning go up.

Whether the shop has one such item (now) or a hundred, to me that separates F2P games, and it's not a model I support or want to see succeed in the west. And it has nothing to do with not being able to afford the price to win, it's that I get enough P2W 'content' in real life as it is. I don't need or want more of that from my hobby.
 
CEO of Wargaming.net says that 3 divisions of clan wars is coming. http://www.gamersdailynews.com/articlenav-2924-page-1.html However they have said something similar long ago about company battles and in general they are very slow at releasing stuff they talk about doing.
 
"You and others who have commented on WoT-related posts described WoT differently. The need to use a gold tank to cover increasing repair costs at high tiers and such."

If described this way, it is a mistake and NOT entirely true. You can lose credits in higher level matches (on repairs and ammo re-fits) when your team loses but that does not mean you have to use a gold tank to 'make that money back.'

I think the WoT shop is less 'pay to win' and more 'pay if you are impatient and can't wait'.

You can easily earn enough credits to purchase higher tier tanks without 'gold' tanks. A premium account is obviously recommended to speed this up, but this is the same as a monthly sub and costs around $9.00.

The gold tanks reportedly provide better credit return per battle (and thus, 'make money') but that does not lead to better performance. It just allows you to buy more, or highter tier tanks sooner.

The shop (gold ammo aside which does provide an edge) is capitalizing on players who just can't wait to buy a higher tier tank (and thus fight in higher tier battles against evenly matched opponents) or want to have several higher tier tanks on hand. The advantage to a 'gold tank' doesn't really translate to better performance on the battlefield.... you just get there a bit quicker.
 
Whether the shop has one such item (now) or a hundred, to me that separates F2P games, and it's not a model I support or want to see succeed in the west. And it has nothing to do with not being able to afford the price to win, it's that I get enough P2W 'content' in real life as it is. I don't need or want more of that from my hobby.

I can understand that statement and the feeling. What I can't understand is how that fits with your previous statements about the pay to win content of EVE Online, where every item in the game is available for cash. A lot of cash in the case of the biggest ships, but available nevertheless.

This "why exactly am I grinding asteroids at 2 cents per hour if I could just buy all the metal I want with cash" nagging feeling is what always made me feel that the economy of EVE wasn't as fun as it could have been without RMT.
 
Just to clarify the confusion on what exactly gold ammo does in WoT- it provides better penetration. Not by infinite amount and it does not deal more damage.

It may give you an edge occasionally but nobody uses it for random battles (save maybe for 1/2 shots on a really well armored target out of 50 battles)

Yes unlike LoL WoT does have items which give advantage. But those items are so expensive for the little boost they provide that they are designed to be only used in tournaments and high stakes clan battles (which do give you gold).
 
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