Tobold's Blog
Saturday, October 05, 2019
Expensive experience

Whenever you do a battle in World of Tanks, you gain a small percentage of the experience earned in the form of "free experience". Free experience isn't attributed to any specific tank, but can be used to unlock any tank or equipment you want. Thus it is very, very useful. And in consequence you don't get very much of it. Unless you pay.

If you play a premium tank, or a tank that has been fully researched, you have two options: Either you use the experience gained towards crew training, albeit at a rather horrible conversion rate. Or you accumulate that xp on the tank. The only thing you can do with that accumulated xp is to convert it to free xp, but it costs 1 gold per 25 xp. But you can wait for one of the regular XP Fever events, where the conversion rate is discounted to 1 gold per 35 xp.

Most people choose the accelerated crew training option. I don't. Spending money on World of Tanks doesn't bother me, and I can afford it. Wargaming constantly bombards players with offers to buy premium tanks, but I only buy the really overpowered ones. And once you have some good premium tanks, there isn't much reason to buy many more of them. Instead of paying 100 Euros for a "special edition" premium tank, I can buy 30k gold with that. And that converts a cool million xp into free xp. Obviously I don't do that very often, because you also need to earn the million xp in the first place.

In consequence I never use that free experience to research new tanks. Rather I play to earn the experience to get to a new tank, and then use the free experience for researching modules. That has a huge advantage: I never have to play a tank with bad stock modules. I fast forward to having all the good modules on the tank, which then makes playing that tank a lot more pleasant. And so I can play that tank to earn the experience I need for the next tank up the tech tree.

You could claim that this is pay to win, because a fully equipped tank is obviously better than the same tank with stock modules. But I see it more as a comfort function, paying money to avoid a tedious grind with a stock tank to earn your modules. It isn't cheap, but I think it is a better purchase than buying yet another premium tank.


I wouldn't complain it was pay to win. I'd equate it to flipping to the end of a mystery novel to read the ending without bothering to read the rest of the book. If all you want is the ending, why bother in the first place?

I don't see that as a problem with the attitude or desires of the players. I see it as a fundemental design flaw. The game should be designed in such a way as to make people feel that skipping to the end would be to do themselves out of some valuable entertainment, not a way of avoiding tedium.

In a nutshell, that's the major drawback of cirrent game design. Companies are selling annoyance avoidance not entertainment.
Relating the mind-numbing grind of slogging through with a poorly outfitted tank, ship, or whatever else in a game to the act of reading through a good mystery novel seems really off to me. A good novel is enjoyable to read. Playing with a poorly equipped tank is not enjoyable; in fact, games like these are specifically designed to have that part not be as enjoyable so that more people spend money.

The only way you could relate this to a mystery novel is if the novel was three times as long as it needs to be because the author stuffed in chapters full of filler material, like talking about the taxi drivers's entire backstory, when all that minor character does is deliver the detective to the site, never to be seen again.
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