Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 06, 2020
On the difficulty of introducing new game modes

While this post is about World of Tanks, some of things certainly apply to other games as well. World of Tanks this week introduced a new game mode, Road to Berlin. It is a PvE game mode, with 5 players fighting against AI bots. Compared to the previous attempt at a PvE game mode, Homefront, the new Road to Berlin is a huge improvement. There is a lot more variety, with currently 3, later 4 maps, and not always the same starting positions. The AI bots are playing a lot better than previously, and the matchmaking is also a lot better, not mixing players from different tiers anymore. Road to Berlin is actually fun to play! However, in the wider context of World of Tanks, there are still a number of problems with it.

Like most events in World of Tanks, you can get rewards in Road to Berlin. You gain points every time you play, and these points get you through 5 stages of rewards. As usual there is a way to accelerate the gaining of points by spending money, but that isn't really the fundamental problem. Rather the big problem is that the event requires you to play X games of World of Tanks in the Road to Berlin game mode, with X being a sufficiently high number to take up hours of your time. But while you do that, you are outside the usual World of Tanks ecosystem of random battles, events, and rewards. It is as if you would be playing a completely different game. Unless you have a huge amount of time to play World of Tanks, you can *either* play Road to Berlin, *or* you can do the monthly tankrewards event, the top of the tree event, the daily standard and premium missions, and a bunch of other stuff.

The beauty of playing the regular random battles is that they count for many different missions and events at once. You don't need to decide between doing the tankrewards event and the top of the tree event and the daily missions, you can do all of them at the same time. But events that require you to play a new game mode aren't integrated into that system, and suddenly you *do* have to decide. Well, you can play 3 random battles per day to gain 3 tokens per day that make you gain points in the Road to Berlin event faster. But otherwise the two games are just separate. And as the requirements for all events are set to require a significant amount of time, you suddenly would have to play twice as much to get everything. That puts up an inherent barrier against new game modes. And maybe that is why they never get transformed into anything permanent.

I do think that World of Tanks would be a better game with an optional but permanent PvE mode. Especially if it was designed to teach new players the game. It would be a huge improvement over the current method of letting new players play against veteran "seal clubbers" that pad their stats by preying on n00bs. But such a game mode can't be that separate from the general mission and rewards system, because otherwise it will just be ignored. Players go where the rewards are.


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