FutureFiveNZ recently had the opportunity to talk with the people responsible for developing and marketing the enjoyable free to play game called World of Tanks.
World of Tanks recently had a big 1.0 update released so we got to talk to the Wargaming about what the future lies for the game and why this big update was released in the first place.
We spoke to Andrey Biletsky (Global Creative Director), Alexander de Giorgio (World of Tanks' Regional Publishing Director) and Travis Plane (Country Manager ANZ for Wargaming).
FutureFiveNZ: 1) World of Tanks has been out for quite a while now, but what made the development decide to release this huge 1.0 update?
Biletsky: Few of them are player centric, the other is development process. The game has been out for quite a while, so by changing how the game looks and how players experience the game. It's basically a big refreshment for us and a new experience.
From a development perspective it's a new intention. The changes will allow us to speed up future updates and make us build a bigger and better game than it was before.
The third reason from a player perspective, living in 2018 now in order to remain attractive to the audience - we have to look like a game released in 2018. It doesn't matter for our hardcore players that have been with us for five years what the game looks like because they're dedicated. However, for newcomers it's more important for them for us to make World of Tanks look good for them.
2) Was an update easier than just releasing a sequel?
Biletsky: For a team like ours, making a sequel is a big move. It would require us to answer a few hard questions like for example what to do with player progression for players. It would also mean to change the characters and tanks. It would also mean for us to create new characters and tanks and to make everything bigger. A sequel might happen in the future, but it's not something we are planning right now. There's still more stories to tell in the current time period for World of Tanks. Naturally, it's an update despite being a really, really big one.
Giorgio: Yeah, I think making an update was the right thing to do since players were already committed. You know, in some cases we've provided long time players with some changes and this is one big update.
3) Were there any challenges making the new updates to the game?
Biletsky: The biggest challenge for us was to make the game still compatible with older hardware. The game is quite old, and many of our players started playing the game around 8 years ago on older hardware. It was very important for us to build everything to make it possible for older players to keep playing using the new update. We continue to still use the same minimum requirements.
4) 1.0 update has been out for a few days now. What has the reception been like from fans?
Giorgio: There's been two big reactions so far and both of them are positive. One of which is of course the wow factor of just seeing maps players are familiar with but seeing them in a whole new light. And having them basically blown away by what these maps look like in 2018. I think they also had big reactions to the fact that they didn't need to change much with their machines in order to experience the new update. Seeing them post to us and say 'hey we can still play the game despite looking having nicer graphics' was great reception. We are also looking forward to how players in Australia and New Zealand react to the new update and we hope it's a positive response.
5) How popular in World of Tanks in Australia and New Zealand? Also how many worldwide players are there?
Plane: Worldwide we have over 160 million players, but we don't talk about how many players we have locally in both Australia and New Zealand. What I want to point out to is that Wargaming just opened up an office here in Sydney recently to serve the Australian and New Zealand communities. However back in November last year, we released a local server which has grown a lot. Wargaming has invested a lot in World of Tanks and we are excited to hear what the community thinks of all our updates.
6) For older players, what would you tell them to convince them to come back and play World of Tanks?
Biletsky: Well a lot of maps have been redesigned such as we discussed before. Also, as we get more options to be creative with updates, there will be lots of new stuff coming with bigger and better features. New sentries and a progression system is hopefully coming later this year.
Giorgio: Basically, 1.0 update is really the beginning of the next phase of World of Tanks. For players who have been playing the game for a significant amount of time and dropped off, this new update should entice them to come back with a little more interest. It's really down though to what comes next not only with content, but also new features and changes to the gameplay. What we do in the long term is actually what really brings older players back. This is just the first step in this process for us.
7) My last question is basically asking what are your plans are for the future?
Biletsky: Well partially I just covered that. First we'll finish with all the maps and and add even an extra 10 more maps over the course of this year. Getting to more gameplay features and more engagements features. This is what we have in place right now, but later in the year we will discuss what we want to do in 2019.