Tobold's Blog
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Crew Books

World of Tanks was patched to version 1.5.1 this week. And one of the new things are crew books. Now you get one of the smaller crew books per nation for free, and you can randomly get others as rewards the same way you can get the recently introduced blueprints. But what has far more impact on the game is that you can buy large crew books for credits. 2 million credits buys you a crew book that would raise a totally new crew directly to have one full skill. 6 million credits for three books gets that crew directly to two skills and working on the third. And that is pretty huge, it would take you hundreds of games to level up a crew this high.

Now credits are supposedly the common currency of World of Tanks, available both to free players and players who pay for the game. However the game is balanced in a way that free players tend to be somewhat short on credits. With a premium account earning you a lot more credits per fight, plus added credits from a daily mission and the "reserve stock", and added credits if you play with a premium tank, you can see how credits are a lot more abundant for paying customers. Also you can buy special packs like "Fort Knox", which gives you 12.5 million credits plus 12,500 gold (which theoretically you could convert into another 5 million credits) for €100. So the stereotypical "wallet warrior" can spend €100 and get the crews of three different tanks to two skills each.

Why is that important? Well, the first skill you'd take for everybody would be brothers in arms, which when everybody of a crew has it increases all the basic skills of the entire crew, so the loader loads faster, the driver drives better, the gunner shoots more accurately, etc.. Then as second skill you take sixth sense for the commander, which is extremely useful for knowing when to pull back, and useful stuff like camouflage, repairs, or extended vision skills for the other crew members. In short, a tank with a two+ skill crew will perform significantly better in battle than the same tank with a lesser skilled crew. So crew books are actually "Pay2Win", increasing your chance to win battles, not just letting you advance faster down some tech tree. That is somewhat unusual for World of Tanks, they were just about to nerf the other Pay2Win aspect of the game, premium ammo.

Crew books further expose the fundamental problem of game design World of Tanks has: The matchmaker considers two tanks of the same tier and type as being equally strong, regardless of player rating, equipment, crew skills, or any other stuff. Sometimes you get lucky and in a 15 vs. 15 random battle everything balances out more or less. But often it just doesn't, and you have one side with better players driving tanks with superior stats against newer players with stock tanks. I don't like those games, even if I happen to be on the stronger side. Walkovers are boring.


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