Tobold's Blog
Friday, June 10, 2011
Experience points in World of Tanks

World of Tanks is not a MMORPG in any classical sense of the term. Nevertheless the game does have a "game of advancement" part, which can be compared to the game of advancement in MMORPGs. Thus today I would like to discuss the experience point system in World of Tanks.

Experience points in World of Tanks are used in the tech tree to research new equipment for your existing tanks, and to unlock the next tier of tanks. You play your battles, and you get experience points based on your performance, including factors of what you scouted, how much damage you did, and how much you participated to capture the flag. There are small bonuses for things like kills, but actually taking the last percent of health from a tank somebody else damaged doesn't give all that many points.

The experience points you earn are for the largest part linked to the tank you fought the battle with. Only a small portion is transferred to a separate count, "free xp", which can be used for any tank. Thus if you play a tank which is already at elite status, that is has all the possible technologies already unlocked, or if you play a "gold" tank which is outside the tech tree, most of the experience points from the battle are not useable at first. But there is a button to "convert" experience, which transforms the xp from tanks where it isn't useful any more to free experience, for a fee paid in gold, that is real money.

Now this system has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you aren't forced to play the tank you want to advance with. Free experience is especially useful when you get a new tank, with no advanced equipment, and you use the free experience to upgrade that new tank right away, without being forced to play it in a severely underpowered form. But of course it is also useful if you are playing your favorite "old" tank, or farm money with a "gold" tank, where converting enables you not to simply lose the xp. The disadvantage is that the conversion costs real money, about 0.01 cent per point of xp converted. That starts out being relatively cheap in the lower tiers, but once the xp costs reach the hundreds of thousands, that gets expensive quickly.

Apart from the cost aspect, I find the idea to play one "character" to advance another interesting. Usually in MMORPGs that sort of "twinking" only works with the transfer of virtual currency and items, not experience points and levels. Thus I was wondering whether this wouldn't be a possible solution for example for World of Warcraft, where the players interested in the leveling game find progress too fast these days, while the people leveling an alt only for the endgame find progress always too slow. What if your level-capped main would continue earning experience points for his various dungeons and raids, which he could then transfer to an alt at some sort of exchange rate? This would allow to make the normal leveling process slower, giving casual players enough time to explore the zones, and would give players interested in leveling an alt quickly a means to do so. What do you think?
Two points:
1) heirlooms work similarly.
2) Eve Online effectively works similar. You play one char, but you 'level' (=wait for) another.
LOL...I guess I really am the only one who thinks I'd like to just be one persona in an MMO game and not a multitude of alts. -.-

That said, I don't mind people to have fun with alts; but I'd rather have a system that let's me use extra exp gains in other ways in order to benefit my main - overall I'd like to see focus on the "main's game experience" instead of pushing towards the alt game In today's MMOs. it's certainly a nice way for developers to prolong content while people are kept busy with alts and repetition, but it's far away from the immersive experience I personally seek.
We are talking about modern games here and you are talking about immersion, Syl. Get real ;)
Actually you could arrive at a similar effect with a MMORPG in which you only have one character, but who is able to switch between different jobs, like in FFXI. In games like Rift/WAR/WoW/AoC, if you play a rogue and would like to try out a mage, you need to roll an alt.

I agree that alts aren't ideal, for example you end up having to do reputation collection for the same faction several times. But if it helps you with immersion, you can imagine that in World of Tanks you are a general controlling several different tanks, which would explain why some of the experience is transferable.
FFXI is a very good example; that's also why I always loved the job system there. it seems more plausible to me that my character might learn different things over the course of time, rather than switching persona. there would certainly be ways to apply your suggestion in such a class system.
Another difficulty with your suggestion Tobold is that it speeds up the depopulation of lowerlevel zones. As someone who is usually behind the levelling curve I have often benefitted from being able to group up with lower level alts of more advanced players. Your suggestion would remove the incentive for them to replay old content. Nevertheless, my own selfish needs aside, I do agree it is bad design to force players to replay old content that they are no longer interested in and your suggestion solves that. If only someone could come up with a better way of encouraging new and old players to play together.
I don't like externally-provided relationships between my various characters, so I believe a function like this would be likely to make me avoid a game that used it.
At max level the unused xp from quests is converted to gold instead. Why not have the option to do this earlier? Apply it to more than just quests? If players could covert quest xp into gold at low levels, that would give them a bit more gold and help with the leveling speed problem. Or let us bottle it up and sell the experience potions.

I'm pretty sure in most games your alts aren't different personas of your main...but totally independent separate characters. Its like if you had characters in 2 different games...except you have 2 in one. They aren't related/etc. unless you want them to be...

When you go to an alt its assumed your main is "off-screen", sleeping or something, isn't it? I never would have come up with them being the same person :s
Or let us bottle it up and sell the experience potions.

I like the sound of that, I could see it working, everyone's a winner. It might also repopulate lower level zones.
I think anything that lets the player have more control over how they play the game is potentially a good thing.

Personally I like the idea. I would probably only use it to boost alts through the earliest boring (for me) levels rather than level someone all the way.

The real selling point is the ability to let people who want a level capped character asap get one while slowing down leveling for people who prefer that side of the game.

However, why stop there? Rather than make the level capped person grind xp for a character they're not playing anyway, why not just put in some sort of epic quest that lets the level capped player unlock a new level capped character at the end? If the goal is to allow level capped players to not grind an alt, why not just do it?
Buildling on Klepsacovic's idea; in WoT you can check the box for "Expedite crew training" (or whatever it's called), except have it convert all XP into "common XP" that can be used for other characters, to convert into gold, or items, or whatever.
I think it could work. If it depopulates the starting zones, it only depopulates them of players who don't want the levelling experience anyway, so probably wonlt want to help out much in quests and such.
You would have to do something about the scaling; where a cooking daily at 85 is about equivalent to an entire lower level. As anyone who has watched their guild achievement climb on lower characters.

Typically, I would prefer the reverse.

Why can't I have a fun time leveling through Westfall and use that to generate JP for my main obviating my need to group up with all the so very annoying players. 1-84 is not the unpleasant part of WoW; 85 is. I want to transfer my benefits to the 85 character(s) to minimize the time on them.

@Nils - Although in EVE, the typical vet is probably waiting for two characters to level due to the number of people with two or more accounts and having five is not that rare

Which leads for a way to WoW-like games to do it. Recruit a friend was clearly spending RL$ for in game advantage; dualbox two 1-60 at triple speed, summons advantages. and level the e.g., then hard-to-level rogue from 30-60 in a minute. Plus a mount. And it got .0001% of the socialist QQ that the pony and lion got and they provided no in game benefit.

So being able to transfer the benefits to your RAF account would allow Blizzard to monetize it without stooping to the unspeakable evil of in game advantage for mere money.
It is assumed that if you purchased a gold tank, then you have money to convert the gold experience as well. Having been a beta tester with over 1000 battles logged who signed up as a special, I was given 2 gold seal tanks when the game went live.

The first thing I did was to sell both of these tanks. The money I was given didn't allow me to convert the exp, however it did allow me to purchase better tanks and upgrades much faster.

I find it most interesting that the amount of players has stayed about the same, from beta till now. It's a good game overall but there is either a lack of marketing or people are just playing the game for a few hours and then going back to their other regularly played games - it does get somewhat boring after a while, so I figure the latter is true.

For the record, it's 5% of the exp, which becomes free exp.
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