Recently a group of Community Contributors met up in Minsk with our Dev team to experience the new HD maps. Many of them have already posted content covering it, he's a transcript of their Q&A with the Devs for your perusal:
Q: When will be the HD maps be released? Will they all maps come in the same time?
A: We are working as hard as possible on the HD maps at the moment. A lot of the maps are in the final stage, where the map developers are working on finalising the maps and stabilising the codes. Some of them are still in the process. Of course, when we release the HD maps, we will try to release as many maps as possible but we want to keep the quality of the map as high as possible. If some of the maps that didn’t make it into the release will be add in future updates. We want to make sure we have enough maps before releasing them so it does not have a significant impact on the matchmaking.
Q: We notice there is a few new options in the graphic settings section (The sandbox we played on is in Russian, the wordings were translated with the help of WG’s translator- wordings can be slightly different in the live version) – Tessellation, Tessellation in sniper mode and improved physics, what does these do?
A: Tessellation will mean every object in the game will be render in 3D, rather than in 2D, same for the sniper mode option. Lastly it is obvious for “Improved physics”. These settings will be for high end machines. We are also introducing a new pre-set called “Ultra” for high end PCs, where we only recommend players will high end graphics card (e.g. 1060 or + level) to run this graphic pre-set. There will be more graphics effects include in the “Ultra” settings. Please don’t get confuse with the existing pre-set of “Maximum”. The “Ultra” pre-set will be more demand than the existing “Maximum” settings. (The devs are considering renaming “Maximum” into something else that are less confusing.)
Q: In the short time, we (community contributors that are testing the sandbox) conclude that Steppes north spawn needs some tweaking. Will the team consider changing it?
A: Thank you for the feedback. We will make the map developers aware of that and we will collect the heat map and the feedback from the players on the Sandbox test server to decide whether further tweak is needed. Honestly it is hard to just copy and paste the old maps and put them in the HD map rendering.
Q: Will there be new maps coming anytime soon?
A: We know players want new maps, however, it is impossible to create new maps at the same time when we are in the process of converting the existing maps into HD maps. We are aware that we have no new maps for a long time (2 years). We have plans for new maps, but those will be after when HD maps is done.
Q: What are the plans for new maps?
A: At the moment, there are a few winter maps we are planning. We will replace some existing maps. I can also tell you there will be some rework on some of the current maps.
Q: Will there be any maps remove from the game when HD maps come?
A: Yes, some of the “Double Maps” will be remove from the game. Those will be Winterburg (Winter version of Ruinberg) and Winter Himmostolf. Fiery Salient will removed too in the game.
Q: Isn’t it will be a good opportunity to also do map balancing changes when turning maps into HD?
A: We understand some maps may need to be improved. As of now, we want players to collect feedbacks and data from players about the new HD maps first. For example, performance and visual style. As much as we want to do map balancing, but if we do it in the upcoming sandbox, it will be very complicated for us and players to test and give us feedbacks about the HD maps itself (e.g. Visual style) and game performance. However, there are some maps that we decide to rework them now. We will come back to the existing maps later once we collected the data
Q: What maps will be under rework?
A: It is very important that when we are reworking the existing maps into HD maps, we try as hard as possible to make them to have the same playstyle as of the current maps, however, there are some minor tweaks to them as they are turned into HD. There are 3 maps that will have some obvious reworks, they will be Fisherman Bay, Erlenberg and Fjords.
Q: How will those mentioned maps be changed?
A: As of now, Erlenberg will have a massive rework, as we know the map is too problematic on the public server. For Fjords, we have plans to rework the middle section of the map. Lastly for Fisherman Bay, we are planning to add some hard covers in the fields (e.g. Mark I Tank corpses). HOWEVER, it is important to note that these are still work in progress, so there can be further changes.
Q: Speaking of the game Performance, what will happen when the HD maps are introduced?
A: We are working very hard to optimize the game for all kinds of computers. We are aware there is still a large number of players still using out-dated specs PCs. The minimum graphics requirement will stay the same for the time being, however we are planning to change the minimum requirement in 1 or 2 years’ time.
Q: What will happen to mountain goating (boosting)?
A: Mountain goating is more of a by-product when we introduced the new physics. When we introduce the HD maps, some of the locations will not be accessible anymore. There might still be some places still accessible, we will collect more feedback from the community to see if we will remove those places in HD maps.
Q: In the sandbox test, I don’t see any winter maps, what happen to those maps?
A: We are preparing some cool technology and effects for the winter maps. There are some cool technology that tanks will leave traces behind under the tracks, so tanks will be in the snow act like in real life (tracks will be in the snow). There is also a new ice shader that will makes the ice behave like in real life does. These effect will be optimised. We always try to optimize the game as much as possible so older hardware to work on the same level as of now or in some cases even increase performance.
We want to show some of the winter maps to you guys (the attending community contributors in Minsk), unfortunately it wasn’t quite ready. (MatchyHK: It was almost ready when we were about to leave the Minsk Headquarter)
Q: How long does it take to change a map?
A: It is on average around 2 months. It is not simply changing the map, we have to put in effort of creating the textures, stabilising the new map code, testing
Q: The maps are very bright! It hurt our eyes! (When the community contributors are testing them, the sky box and the position of the sun make it very hard to look at the screen in some positions. Some CCs think the maps looks a bit too yellowish)
A: Thank you for the feedback! This is why we invited you guys (referring to the invited Community contributors) to test it early! The lighting, sun position and visual styles are not yet finalized. We want to collect more feedback from the sandbox testers before we finalize the visual style of the new HD maps as well as the sun position (note: The sun is an important element in the lighting system, it is important to find a right position for the sun to be placed and to not affect players’ gameplay)
Q: What will happen to some of the unpopular maps, such as the Kharkov and Stalingrad?
A: These maps are a bit problematic. While we want to make them into HD maps, we have make priorities for maps. As much as we want to rework them (Stalingrad and Kharkov) as well, however they are problematic and does not work too well in terms of gameplay balancing. We are likely to delay the releases of these two maps as we want to make them enjoyable for players
Q: Some of the encounter and assault mode are problematic, will the balancing of the maps put these game modes into consideration in the future?
A: Back a long time ago, players want us to increase the variety in random battles, therefore we introduced encounter and assault mode. However, there are some balancing issues in these 2 modes. It is very difficult to balance the map when we have to consider both modes and the normal random battle mode at the same time. We have decided not to touch these modes in the HD map rework. We are not planning to remove these modes from the games but at the same time we will not add further maps into these 2 game modes, as there are significant amount players that enjoy the mode.
Q: What do you think about the Anime tanks (The Valkyria Chronicles Series Tank – Edelweiss and Nameless)? Some players think they are very overpowered.
A: From our statistics, the Nameless is slightly too strong. Fortunately, there are not a large amount of the tanks roaming around the battlefield, thus not disruptive to the matchmaking. It will remain the same as much as we want to make changes to the tank (nerfing) because it is a premium tank. For Edelweiss, the tank is doing fine, there are stronger tier 8 medium than it. (It is slightly above average)
Q: There are many players dislike the current Type 4 and Type 5 HE guns. Will they be changed? What is this trend of giving more and more armour and super heavies to tanks?
A: We are aware the players has very negative feedbacks on the Type 4 and 5 HE guns and the armour. However, at this point it hasn’t reach a critical point so we will not further change them for now. We are closely monitoring these 2 tanks.
There are a lot of complains about armour being irrelevant in game, therefore deciding to increase the role of armour on tanks to make it a more significant role in the game.
Q: How is the recently buff M48 Patton performing?
A: Statistically, it is doing more or less the same. We will continue to monitor the performance of the M48 Patton, if the tank is over performing, we might tweak it later.
Q: The current XM551 model looks very ugly, will it be changed?
A: Yes! We are planning to replace to current Sheridan model to another one next year. One looks less silly.
Q: Are there any plans for Object 430? The tank isn’t very popular as well.
A: We have plans to make the Soviet Trio (Object 140, Object 430 and T62a) differentiate from each other, however, it is not finalized yet.
Q: Will RNG will be reduce from +/- 25% to something lower?
A: No, we understand skilled players want the game to be more predictable in terms of fighting against other players. However, we decide to keep the +/- 25% RNG in the game so players can have their “magical” and “fun” moments. For example, when you survive and carry the game because some enemy players “low roll” you.
However, please do not assume it is pure +/- 25% RNG, the RNG is based on a normal distribution system where we can tune the probability, where there is at the moment it is set to have 67% chance within the +/- 10% RNG, where the extreme number has a smaller chance to happen. This was implemented some time ago.
Q: Can you tell us what lesson you have learn from the previous sandbox?
A: We can say the sandbox testing is successful. We collected a lot of data and feedback from players. From the previous testing, we come to a conclusion that players would like to us to further polish the game balance instead of changing the vehicles they used to dramatically (referring to the 1st Sandbox testing)
Policy on Premium Tanks:
Q: Did WG learn anything from the Black Tanks? (The T-34B, IS6 B, SchwarzPanzer 58)
A: In the black tank case, they are meant to celebrate the American’s Black Friday. Back then, we don’t have much time to prepare for it (3 weeks). So, we decided to simply paint them black so we can get them ready on time for Black Friday (introducing new vehicles will means extra testing times and modelling for tanks as well). As using existing tanks with a different skin doesn’t affect the game balancing, we want to play safe at that time, but we wanted to make them as quick as possible.
We will continue in the direction of accommodating towards different servers’ special events or seasons.
Q: Will there be more unrealistic tanks for WOT PC in future? (e.g. Warhammer Tanks or similar to Nameless and Edelweiss). Players are quite upset about those tanks being in the game.
A: I don’t think we are planning to create more of these tanks. The Valkyria Chronicles Tanks are originally created for Asia/Japanese players (or anime fans) for their collection – align with the idea of making special events for different servers. We are NOT going to sell these tanks in other servers.
Economy and game mechanics Related:
Q: People really dislike the “clown camo” (e.g. Patriot and Liberte), what are the developers’ option on this
A: This is a good question! We are creating a new customisation system for the games, where players can do further customisation for different tanks.
We want to make the new customisation system very good, so we won’t able to give you a release time and we don’t want to rush it. But from there, we can provide players with more skin customisations and as well as more customisation on the tanks
Some interesting backstory:
Back when we introduced the Skorpion G, we actually created 3 visual variants. There is the normal Skorpion (with German Grey) and the Skorpion G that we all know. The last one is a very unhistorical/ unreal skin, which at the end was deemed unfit for the game.
Q: What happened to the last year Christmas Loot box event? Will WG consider the loot box skin system implemented into the game like CSGO and Overwatch?
A: The last year event was a great success. We interested about that mechanics but it’s too early to announce something.
Q: Can we implement something similar to the World of Warships supply containers?
A: We like this idea. However, unlike World of Warships, which is a relatively new game comparing to World of Tanks. The supply container of World of Warships was implemented when they implemented the economy reform. For us, this is harder, as World of Tanks has its own legacy to considered. It is not easy to implement anything that can affect the in-game economy. If we are going to implement something that can potential alter the in-game economy flow, we will have to plan this very carefully. It can lead to unpleasant experience for players when they have decreased the amount of income from battle to compensate this, players will have a deception of making less money.
Q: Will there be more variety in random battles? For example, night battle and weathers?
A: If we are going to implement night battle and adding weathers, we need to decide will it be only cosmetic changes or this effects will affect the gameplay, such as lower view range for tanks during night battles and sandstorm etc.). They will also be carefully tested before we release them on the live servers.
Q: Will you consider the option of banning xvm? (Community Contributors are discussing XVM focus)
A: We are aware the XVM statistics part are leading grievance in the game, not only XVM focus. However, we cannot simply just ban XVM from the game. XVM also provided a number of functions on top of showing players’ statistics. We work closely with the XVM developers. Some people use to XVM statistics to plan their battle (e.g. following unicums into battles and as well as focusing good players on the enemy team - unfortunately).
2 years ago, we have collected statistics about XVM and we realise there are over 50% of the players uses XVM without the statistics functions. This is why we work hard to incorporate those functions into the game client itself, in the way of making XVM obsolete. Recently, we have introduced our new rating system, as we believe if we are able to make a better metric system, this will allow players to have a fairly accurate assessment of other players and comparison between players.
At the sametime, Warmgaing did research about the options of not allowing third parties to fetch data from the WG API, it leads to a problem of data analysis for many useful services. We are working on it.
Q: Can we hide players in battle?
A: Unfortunately, we don’t think this is a good idea for the game. As someone playing without aware of the players on the enemy team can make someone feels he is playing against bots. It is also important for social interactions as well. You would not know who is in a clan or it can be hard for clans to attract players as well.
Q: How’s is the grand battle doing?
A: The grand battle map is a success in terms of balancing. Unfortunately, there are some issues with the matchmaking, as it clashes with rank battles (both game modes are tier 10s only). We are working on a fix on the matchmaking.
Q: Artillery is annoying will they be remove or change further?
A: Artillery will not be removed. The class is for people for like to predict another players behaviour. There is a proportion of the players that really like this class and some players only plays artillery. Now players can survive longer rather than being one shot by artillery.
Q: Will the current engine limitation on 127fps be removed with the introduction of the new HD maps (graphic engine)?
A: We are aware of the increasing usage of high end monitors (144hz and 165hz). The idea of the limitation with the 127fps is not because of the client itself, it is the due to the previous limitation of the Big World server engine. As mentioned before, the player client has been completely rewritten with our proprietary engine. The Server engine is also now being re-written and so such FPS limit is not needed. We are thinking of removing it or changing the FPS limit, it is in the stage of testing however this might not be changed in sandbox.
Q: The camera overhang/ weird camera behaviour (e.g. the gun aim upwards when you quickly switch in and out of arcade mode when you have some kind of cover above your tank) is kind of annoying not only when testing the HD maps but also on live server, will they be fixed?
A: We are aware of the issue, unfortunately we have no obvious solutions as of now. However, since the introduction of the “Pilsen” (Tank Factory map) we have tweaked the logics behind the camera direction. It helps with the situation but it is still not perfect. World of Tanks camera behaviour is far more complex than a normal FPS game (unlike FPS, WoT Tank camera also has to take many more factors into consideration, such as turret and gun traverse speed etc.) There is no simple solution as of now, but hopefully with future technology we will be able to solve this issue.
Historical battles game mode was removed due to overwhelming negative feedback from players. (Not clear whether historical mode will back a return in the future)
There are players that suggest giving reference for the sensitivity settings, this has been noted and will be taken into consideration in the future. – However according to statistics collected by Wargaming, there aren’t many players that change the control settings.
Fate of the Chieftain Mk 6. – unfortunately, it is unlikely for us to introduce the Chieftain into the game at this time. As much as we want to implement to it into the game, we don’t want to just make it simply able to research from the Conqueror. If we can find some lower tiers that can fit to the similar playstyle to the Chieftain, then we will consider implementing the Chieftain into the game.
Q: Will WG ever consider a Romanian tech tree?
A: Unfortunately, we don’t think there is enough tanks for Romania itself to have their own tech tree.
Q: When will Polish tanks come?
A: We still working on the Poland tech tree, we already found all vehicles to that tree. So we will try to release this tanks as soon as possible. But it’s too early to announce any dates yet
Q: Where is SerB? What is he doing? Is he working on his moon base project? (MatchyHK – sorry, this is my favourite question)
A: SerB is still working for us. He is NOT working on the moon base project (MatchyHK: How Terrible), he is currently working on other Wargaming projects.