Tobold's Blog
Monday, September 12, 2011
 
World of Tanks Release Plan

The devs from Wargaming.net posted a detailed plan for what they plan to add to World of Tanks in 2011 and 2012, including which new features are expected in which quarter. Now I do wish some other companies would publish their plans the same way!
Comments:
The first thing I thought of was "Well, a good number of MMO companies don't know how long it'll take to get those features out, so putting out a schedule only disappoints people."

Then I realized that was a huge lie.

"It's out when it's out." is nice in theory, but when your company is established you should probably have things together by then.
 
First, ve invade Poland.....
 
Magic the Gathering could do the same thing but choose not to. They are usually testing years in advance. I wonder/suspect that WoW does the same thing.
 
@straw fellow: software development does not work like that. Microsoft, among the richest companies on the planet with the most experience and resources with software development was 2? 4? years late on the most important product it was working on: Windows Vista.

All the company can really do is trim the features and keep the date (Agile development e.g. CCP) or keep the feature and extend the date (it's done when it's done; Blizzard) And usually it is a combination; i.e. Blizzard does drop features to improve the date.

I would really like to see these road maps from companies as well. But considering the emo whining I read about on the forums all the time, I can't image doing so if I were in a position of authority in the game company. The downside outweighs the benefits.

@Pangoria: I am not as sure about the years in advance any more. Games are pretty fluid; what customers want, say they want and the competition provides is pretty fluid. If you started designing your 2012 game in 2009, you would miss a lot of the trends: F2P/MT gains (paradigm shift?), Rift not being an immediate AoC/WH flash, social networking cr*p being expected, iPhone/iPad, etc. The other method is to say you are going to have smaller, more frequent updates. You can design a better summer 2012 game in January 2012 than November 2010. Not just copy feature #137 from Direct Competitor but to learn from all games be they Minceraft, ATOD, WoT, Farmville.

@Stabs: [Fawlty Towers] "Don't mention the war!"
 
SE have relased roadmaps in the past few years for ffxi. They seem to be slightly behind schedule but we(I) don't mind so much when we can see progress. Waiting for the 90>95 cap increase now. It's better graphically than just a load of txt imho.

http://eldelphia.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/110408_loadmap_temp_en1.jpg
 
I was really happy to see this release schedule from Wargaming; they seem to be one of the more consistent developers out there right now and they seem to ask for a higher level of maturity from their players. Blizzard flat out stopped announcing features much ahead of time which I think is largely due to "plans" being turned into "promises" in the minds of many players.

Only sad part about this release is my new German TD line won't be around til Q4...so I'll have to wait a few more months to drive around in a Dicker Max (the name sounds funny but the TD looks awesome, like an SU-76 that can actually hurt things :P).
 
@Pangoria I can feel the force of humour is strong in you ... assuming you include the bugfest that are the planeswalker games.

And I really like semi-organised companies with release plans that they are willing to tell their customers ... even if I can see already a "we want Italian tanks" thread forming.
 
The problem is that if they don't adhere to this schedule people will complain.

Damned if you do damned if you don't. If people are going to bitch no matter what you do you may as well do the option that is less work. (and gives your potential competition less information about your plans)
 
Epiny wrote:
The problem is that if they don't adhere to this schedule people will complain.

Exactly. The old-school MMO fans out there will recognize this as the Necromancy issue in UO.

For the n00bs out there: a developer mentioned in an interview that they were working on a Necromancy system in UO, reminiscent of the system from Ultima VIII. Unfortunately, some people latched onto this and began to get increasingly upset when each patch didn't include Necromancy. Eventually it was put in, YEARS later, and it pretty much sucked from all reports.

What likely happened is the developers were talking about a Necromancy system, but found out it wasn't going to be much fun. So, they wanted to scrap it, but vocal players threw a fit. So, they had to put in the relatively unfun system, wasting dev time.

WoT has an advantage in that they're cribbing from history. It's unlikely that they're going to come up with a concept, like regenerating armor or something that doesn't fit with the theme of the game, only to decide not to add it. So, it's easier for them to have a roadmap like that than other companies.

Some perspective from a dev.
 
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