World Of Tanks’ Solution To Balance Issues: More Tanks

By Nathan Grayson on July 4th, 2012 at 8:01 am.

This image looks like it belongs in some tank-based post-apocalyptic horror. Like, a poor young tank returns home to find that everytank he loves has been devoured by zombies. Zombie tanks. It made more sense in my head.

We recently sent Brendan into the line of fire at Tankfest, and it resulted in pretty much the most amazing thing ever – which is significantly different from the normal result of sending one tiny human into a heaping herd of tanks (hint: horrible death). But there is also a game buried beneath all the harrowing war stories and tank puns, and it’s actually a pretty good one! However, World of Tanks has, in its time, seen some fairly serious ups and downs in terms of balance, and Wargaming’s not afraid to admit it. So patch 7.5 is aimed at knocking the lumbering tier 10 heavies back down to size – with more tanks. Mediums and tank destroyers, to be specific. Want to see a few of them? Of course you do.

So it seems like the plan is to forgo nerfs – the quick, dirty, and often temporary cure to whatever ails a big competitive game – in favor of new toys. On paper, that sounds like a smart idea. But – and granted, I haven’t played WoT in months – I remember quite a few flaws that were fundamental to the tier system itself. Or at least, the way tanks in different tiers got matched. Honestly, though, I need to fire the game up again and see where it’s at. Once I found a couple tanks that really suited my playstyle, it turned out to be nice surprise – realistic and detailed, but definitely not a sim. So then, friends, neighbors, and countrymen, I ask unto you: Is WoT still fun?

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61 Comments »

  1. Simas says:

    TANKFACE

  2. hjarg says:

    Still fun, but the matchmaking engine is still flawed. Not so fun when you drive your tier 4 light tank and tier 8 heavy oneshots you while your peashooter makes him tickle a bit.

    Or when your tier 7 heavy is basically incapable of doing any damage to tier 10 tanks, while their shells penetrate my armour like it’s made of butter.

    But when you get matched to equal level tanks, it’s fun-fun-fun. :)

    • Styles says:

      Agreed. Matchmaker is still rubbish, but it’s fun when it occasionally gets the matching right.

      • Similar says:

        That’s happened a bit more often in the past couple of days; I’ve mostly been matched against equals, or higher tiers that I could actually, sometimes, hurt a little, with some luck and plenty of time (of course, they could still kill me with one shot).

        I do miss Swamps and that other lake map. Not sure why they took those out when there are so few maps in the first place.

        • hjarg says:

          Well, i did test one thing- equipped my tier 7 tank with gold ammo and voila! i turned from 50t of useless junk to someone who actually damages things and managed to penetrate teir X tanks.
          So, might be that the developers are hinting- buy gold ammo and that’s why the matchmaking system is as it is.

          • nizzie says:

            That’s not true. While the gold ammo thing is annoying and unfair, it’s not necessary for success. I’ve never ever bought gold ammo (except during beta where gold came free each day) and I’ve done well, even in terrible matchmaking situations. Every tank has weakspots (MGs, backside, ‘doors’, driver’s hatch), exploit those and you’ll penetrate without gold ammo. And when in doubt: shoot the tracks. Arty will thank you for it and you’ll still contribute.

            What WoT still lacks is a good tutorial. It always amazes me how even players of tier 7+ have no clue how camo or the spotting system works. There are basic tactics and infos that are essential to success, yet the game provides next to no info.

          • hjarg says:

            Hmmm- can you spill the beans on this one a little? ;)

          • Torgen says:

            @hjarg: I made the mistake of posting three links in the same post and it’s still “awaiting moderation”, but go here: http://wotarmory.com/article-galleries/ Each image links to an article about fighting /fighting in that particular tank.

            An easy one to remember is that on the KV5, aim for the “R2D2″ machinegun turret on the front. It isn’t as fragile as it once was, but it’s still the “go-to” spot if you’re facing a KV5 head-on.

    • Kdansky says:

      And I still say that’s on purpose to distribute wins evenly. Their match-maker isn’t broken, it’s a work of pure evil genius.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Now, I’m not saying this is an ideal way for the Matchmaker to conduct itself, but that situation you speak of, with the tier 4 light and tier 8 heavy? You’re not playing right. T4 lights are generally consigned to the role of “scout”. That is, if you’re playing as a T4 light, you should never engage anything but SPGs, and just scout about (unless it’s that rare sort of match where you sit atop a T4 roster, and then you can just steamroll everyone, now THAT’s not fair).

      But yes, the disparity between 7 and 10 is much more of a problem, particularly considering most Soviet tanks have rather mediocre armor penetration at that point (save heavies).

      • battles_atlas says:

        I suspect he’s talking about tier V mediums against tier IV heavies. Its not uncommon now and is clearly totally unfair. Its not broken though, it happened about four patches ago and they’ve done nothing to fix it. I think its a deliberate strategy by the devs to encourage people to play the top tiers, which in turn encourages getting a premium to afford their running costs.

  3. Dana says:

    I don’t feel like spending 50 euro for a tank.

    • nizzie says:

      I don’t think it’s ever been 50 Euros. I spent ~18 for my Type 59. Anyway, you don’t necessarily need the premium tanks, nor are they any better than their non-premium tier VIII counterparts.

    • lurkalisk says:

      The only real advantage of a premium tank is a better income and to train crewpeoples for other tanks. I can’t think of any that are at all better than their free counterparts.

      • Torgen says:

        Premium tanks are supposed to be “decent” for their level. I bought a Lowe for credit income only because, while my win rate is decent, my survival rate is only 35% (meaning high repair bills.) I make a profit, but not nearly as much as my friends, and not enough to buy high tier tanks when I first unlock them. It took me a long time to pull the trigger on the Lowe, but considered it a “box price” for the game once I decided I was going to play for the long term.

        In fact, my clan doesn’t allow Lowes or KV5s in company battles since there are so many better tier 8 heavies available now. The preferred tanks are King Tigers or IS3s.

  4. Wilson says:

    I’ve actually started playing this again recently (the last time was in the beta) and I’ve been having fun with it. The matchups seem pretty decent most of the time, a balance between being the highest of three tiers in a match or second highest usually, with sometimes being the lowest of three tiers (which I think is fine, when you’re in the top tier of a match it’s nice to be able to see how much better your tank is than the lower tier ones, so I don’t mind being those lower tier tanks in a match sometimes).

    The only really daft matchup I had was with my Tier 4 light tank suddenly being thrown in with almost all Tier 9-7 or so – every other tank on my team had barrels on their guns longer than my entire tank. But even though I was never going to harm an enemy, I did gets tons of experience for ‘spotting’ enemy tanks by just charging forward into enemy lines until my inevitable destruction.

  5. choconutjoe says:

    “Is WoT still fun?”

    Despite Wargaming’s best efforts, yes. There’s still all sorts of balance issues between tanks, the matchmaking is still broken and WG refuse to admit it, the new game modes are absurdly broken, and the client seems to be getting less and less stable with each patch.

    But underneath all that the core game is still utterly fantastic and completely unique.

  6. destroy.all.monsters says:

    I have to say that I find the new game styles as of 7.4 not terribly fun. You can’t pick not to play them either. The long slog to tier 9 was worth it to me for the soviet td tree but I find that I just don’t care any more. The grind itself is just too tedious.

    I find the new skills for the crews interesting (it is impossible for one character to get them all without spending your whole life playing WOT). Matchmaker is somewhat less broken than before but that’s not saying a whole lot.

    If you care enough to join a clan it’s likely to be more interesting and fun than I’m finding it at the moment.

    • Aqarius says:

      Then don’t grind. The one unique thing about WoT is the fact that high tiers aren’t just upgrades to lower tiers. A lot of tanks are fun to drive when you grind over them. It’s perfectly fine to just pick one you like and play that.

      • Eightball says:

        That only works for under-tier-5 tanks and maybe Sov tanks, so…

        • Aqarius says:

          AMX series lights are insanely fun. So is the Easy 8 and the new american TDs. I’m hearing good things about the Hummel, GW, Stug, Jagdpanther and Ferdinand, as well as the high tier USA medium tree. T29 and T32 are also awesome tanks.
          Besides, if it does work for <T5, why not play only <T5? Marder 2 is the most insanely OP thing in the entire game.

          • Torgen says:

            I totally agree. The Easy 8 is a *dream*, and only a recent spate of bad pub games has dropped my Hellcat under 70% win rate (it was rough until I learned the Hellcat is not like other TDs, but now I love it.)

            The Marder II is a MONSTER for its tier. I love my tier 9 IS8 far more than the Tier 10 IS4. I’m only up to Tier 8 on the US heavies, but am looking forward to the M103 and T110. Likewise looking forward to the Patton on the US medium side, while enjoying the Pershing.

            The French lights, starting with Tier 5, have a six round “clip” that allows rapid fire, but then takes a long time to reload the six rounds. It requires a unique playstyle, and now that the shock of the French alpha strike is over, people have learned to read their behavior and know when they are helpless and reloading.

            Of course, finding some friends and playing together either in platoons or company battles while using voice comms (the in-game comms work fine if you don’t have TS or Mumble) is arguably the best way to play. I treat this as I would a MMO, and spend about $10 – $15 a month for premium. I’ve met some great friends, and play for a couple hours most days, so do not begrudge WG a couple bucks for it. (The only thing I buy is premium time and gold to convert free xp so I don’t have to drive a stock tank when unlocking a new one.)

  7. psaldorn says:

    I just started playing this at the weekend, having a real blast. One thing I would say is that the Free/Not-Free experience points could do with some better explanation and the introduction to the tiers could explain battles better. First few games is all T1, lots of little tanks, really really good fun. I thought this is how the game would continue, like-against-like (not even appreciating the existence of artillery etc).

    Once I appreciated that the higher tiers were not meant to be “fair fights” ala deathmatch, but more “your tanks X plays Y role” it became a lot more understandable.

    My tiny but fast light tanks need to weave around, scout out larger tanks for artillery to home in on – for instance.

    Being one-shotted is never fun, but as artillery, I get one shotted by light tanks so.. swings and roundabouts.

  8. c-Row says:

    With an alt-text like that, I demand adding a speech bubble with a bold “Nooooooooooo!” to the header image!

  9. Similar says:

    Also, I only play up to tier 4 so far (and may stick to that), but one thing I’ve noticed after 7.4 is that the tier 2 ‘mini-maus’, the Pz38Hsomethingsomething premium tank, that always used to do rather too well (it’s ranked above a good number of tier 3 tanks), isn’t having quite such an easy time of it anymore after the French TDs have been added. It seems better balanced now. So sometimes adding stuff rather than nerfing seems to work.

    Well, unless I’ve missed that the Pz38H has been nerfed, that is.

  10. Real Horrorshow says:

    Salivating for the Leopard 1 branch of the Kraut tech tree.

  11. zoombapup says:

    I really wish someone from RPS would actually talk to the WOT guys about the crash-to-desktop bug that has been plaguing the game since patch 7.4 came out. That and the complete lack of any response to players asking for them to fix it.

    It seems highly unprofessional for them to simply never admit there is a hideous crash bug affecting so many players (have a look for “world of tanks crash to desktop going back to garage” on google) that I just don’t know how they manage to then show off the patch 7.5 like this with a straight face.

    This is the kind of thing an indie dev would have fixed within the day. But a company that lives and dies on players spending money on a free game you’d think would be far more customer focused than the typical AAA guys. Not so it seems, they’re acting like any big publisher (ignoring players, not responding to criticism etc).

    I enjoy the game and have even spent money on it (to get a bigger garage so I can get more tanks) and its so frustrating to have a huge bug and no way of getting an acknowledgement of it from developers. I guess there’s a warning in there somewhere. Never play and invest yourself in a game where you cannot interact with the developers directly.

  12. Hypernetic says:

    I could never get passed the GRIND in this game. I have some friends who are really into WoT and would always pester me to play it. I gave it a pretty good shot I think, I got to tier 6 with American medium tanks and had a tier 4 TD and Arty. So I think I put enough time into it to judge. (I also did quite a few high tier matches with my buddies in their T10s by just scouting for them in a fast lower tier tank).

    There were moments of fun, but overall I just couldn’t get passed the grind or the crappy matchmaking. Also being stuck with the M3 Lee for however many days of grinding REALLY left a sour taste in my mouth that never quite went away.

    I think part of the problem was that I had friends who played the game. It might not have seemed AS bad if I weren’t trying to play catch up to my high tier friends. That is still not good game design in my book though. Sure they could hop in some lower tiers and hang out with me, but at the end of the day they wanted to play with their new shiny.

    • Torgen says:

      Ask your friends to take one evening a week (or occasionally) to play low tiers with you and teach you the intricacies of each map (where the arty safe places are, where arty usually sets up, typical tactics etc.) If they’re good friends, they shouldn’t mind helping you out.

      When we have someone grinding a new tree, there’s always people willing to help out. I think everyone keeps some low tier stuff to play around in when the MM is being vindictive and you need to let off some steam.

  13. Jayson82 says:

    Is it fun? Yes but only when you play it on your terms.

    A lot of people focus on grinding for there next tank and when they research everything and get enough credits they dump there current tank and move to the next tier.

    What you need to do is find one or two tanks that you really like playing and don’t care about grinding just play them for fun.

    I still have my SU 26 a tier 3 arty that is more fun to play than any other arty.

    That does not mean you don’t grind for your next tier tank but have a backup thank that is just there for fun.

    Also keep a tier 1 tank no matter how high you go, there battles are unique, no arty, no TDs no heavy’s, no mediums and no one shot kills lol

    • zoombapup says:

      I fully agree with you there. I keep a pz4 because its got an amazing gun for its level (does take grind to get it, but then its a monster).

      The key is finding a vehicle that gets ranked well in the matchmaking. The pz4 is pretty good in that regard. I keep a KV1 and a SU85 also because they get in battles where they can make a difference more often.

      As you say, the key is to get a fully upgraded tank and then play it for a while. Once you are happy with the tank, keep it. If it’s any good, it can be a huge money maker for you. I bought some gold specifically for the expansion of my garage, because I never sell a tank anymore (unless it really is useless).

      Grinding only happens because you want to unlock the next tier up. But that is the thing the developers count on to drive you to spend money (faster grind through the really poor tanks). Most people only get half of the kit for any given tank so they can grind to the next tank sooner, but then they find they are in the same grinding treadmill. Get off the treadmill, fully equip the tank and have more fun!

      I’m having fun in the KV1S right now, because it has a huge gun that takes ages to unlock. Now I can do damage to tier 7/8 and one shot tier 5. Its kind of funny really. So it went from one of my most hated tanks (long grind) to being one of my favorites

      But yes, the game does make you grind. A lot.

      • Torgen says:

        No matter the tank, I look at every module. If there is a module that I am going to use in higher tanks, it makes much more sense to unlock it on a lower tier (lower MM, lower repair bills, lower ammo bills.)

  14. Quatlo says:

    I absolutely HATE this game. I hate the credit system, I hate the matchmaker, I hate the lack of ballance. But I played it for over a year because it was about tanks. If this game were about anything else than tanks it would by instantly forgotten and thrown into internet trashcan.

    Devs don’t give a damn about ballance, they were pretending that Bat-chat is fine as it is (“Working as intended”), but suddenly they move it tier up (yup, having gun with 40mm more penetration than e-50 which is supposed to be medium-sniper is ballanced)

    Game is focused about heavy tanks killing everything and other tanks supporting them. That Fat Princesses get extremely annoyed when you refuse to charge like a moron and die because they want you to spot something in the bushes so they can earn credits.

    I hate how my tank shells cost the same like e-100 shells but have 1/3 of its damage so i earn way less for every shot.
    I hate how teamplay it is based and even when you play excellent round and kill 8 enemy tanks you still lose because rest of your team is hippies. And yes, you barely come out even with credits after such game. But suddenly when you buy premium all your credits problems are gone, even if you explode at spawn because you loader is butterfingered moron you earn enough cash for repairs.
    Only fun is when you play with friends, and even that was restricted for premium users untill recently they introduced free 2 player platoons.
    Yes, I ragequitted.

  15. The Infamous Woodchuck says:

    “expect heavy casualties”

    I see what they did there.

  16. Snorez says:

    I beta’d WoT’s.

    So much potential… so much P2W fail.

  17. tigershuffle says:

    was in v. early stage of beta and loved helping to source historical reticles and tank skins etc

    but got bored of waiting for British tanks.
    cant blame em for chasing the money ….its their business but I lost a lot of interest once it went live and i lost my beloved Panther n Tiger

    will play again once DayZ and few other alpha/beta test games allow, but shallnt be rushing

  18. Vando says:

    I got back into WoT recently after burning out post-beta, and I can sum it up as follows:

    - tier 4 is still hell, judicious use of free xp to skip as much of this as possible is recommended
    - stock tanks are still Bad, judicious use of free xp to upgrade as much as possible before use is recommended
    - most players are Really Really Bad, judicious use of stabbing yourself in the brain in frustration is essential

    But apart from that, it’s pretty fun. For the people complaining about the matchmaking: T4 throws you into a kaleidoscope of suck pretty often, but once you’re past that it’s rare that you’ll find yourself utterly unable to contribute. Knowing tank roles is pretty important: you’re not going to get away with charging head-on into the enemy in… well, in most tanks. Tactics and coordination will rule over twitch shooting any day.

  19. xcopy says:

    “So then, friends, neighbors, and countrymen, I ask unto you: Is WoT still fun?”

    Yes, yes!
    I admit, the matchmaking has some problems, but I´m sometimes surprised about so many negative opinions. It´s a hard game, where tactical skill and teamwork are very important. This might not be to everyones taste…

  20. Nick says:

    At the moment, no it isn’t fun at all, but only since the last patch which cause HE shells to do stupid amounts of crew and module damage (not uncommon for a missed arty shell to kill most of your crew and thus make your tank useless, or, indeed, to get knocked out of the game with 50%+ of your health left due to a ll crew dying, something which basically never happened before) and introduced unbalanced, unfun, lazily thrown together game modes you have no option of playing.

    So untill they revert the HE changes and make the new modes optional, I wouldn’t touch it again with a shitty stick, having playing it pretty much all the way through beta and till the last patch.

    • Torgen says:

      I haven’t noticed arty being more lethal than normal, though I *was* surprised when a S51 killed three of my crew in my Pershing. I was pretty much in a bad spot as it was, so used a health pack to bring the gunner back and take at least one more tank with me as I went down. To be fair, I’ve been running mostly mediums lately and have learned where I can be reasonably arty-safe, but if I’m caught in the open by a Object 212 or GWTiger, I’m vaporized anyway from a direct hit, so wouldn’t know of an increase in HE lethality. I know the tier 3 and 4 arty didn’t get any boost from it, as I’ve been grinding them, and scoring a big 15-50 damage on tier 7 heavies.

      • Nick says:

        Its not just arty, HE shells in general kill crew stupidly easily now, even non penetrating hits on non open top tanks. You may not see big HE damage in low tier SPGs vs higher vehicles, but you also aren’t seeing the crew death you are causing with your little arty.

        Its not the damage thats the issue (although its a problem with higher arty) its the crew and module hits from misses, never mind direct hits, that has become unbelieveably stupid.

      • braincruser says:

        tier 7 arty is supposed to vaporise you on single shot…. Also dont forget that before this patch, high explosive ammo was only usefull for ammo rack explosions(yours)

        • Nick says:

          Not true at all, also the type and number of shells has no in game effect on your ammo rack explosion (bar having no shells at all, which is pointless).

  21. Ratchet says:

    If the trailer was accurate to real gameplay it would show everyone hiding behind rocks and buildings, praying to God arty doesn’t see and hit them.

  22. Dances to Podcasts says:

    There stood the tank. He looked at the buildings. The high-rise trophies of a peaceful prospering society. ‘One day,’ thought the tank, ‘one day you’ll forget the lesssons of the past and once again give in to your hunger for war. On that day I will burst through your walls, topple your towers and crush your rubble into even finer rubble. And I will laugh my evil laugh. The laugh that goes boom.’

  23. YogSo says:

    We recently sent Brendan into the line of fire at Tankfest, and it resulted in pretty much the most amazing thing ever – which is significantly different from the normal result of sending one tiny human into a heaping herd of tanks (hint: horrible death).

    Well, not necessarily. There’s already been another precedent.

  24. shofixti244 says:

    Throwing more tanks at a problem is most definitely ALWAYS a valid solution.

  25. dsi1 says:

    This seems to be an emerging problem with F2P games, once the game isn’t utterly broken all development stops and turns into content creation.

    No Hi-Rez, I don’t want 23 new weapons, I want 23 bugs/balance issues fixed.

    Same goes for you WoT devs, stop making new tanks, start fixing balance.

    • braincruser says:

      Check the version of the game. Is it 1.3 or 0.7.5? the latter means that the game isnt finished yet and infact means that instead of getting the game late 2012 you got it early 2011. Also bugfixes are not easy and most people that arent affected by those issues will be annoyed and perhaps leave since no progress is made. ALSO most important of all: MORE TANKS, Soon airplanes, Me like.

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