The Praedian Records

J.G. Phoenix

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Wargaming’s Apology (The Big One)

by | Sep 3, 2021 | WoWs

Now this here was a pleasant surprise from Wargaming. Linked here is a lengthy apology to the warships community in general and WG taking a surprising amount of responsibility for what’s been happening lately. I’m just going to comment on the parts I find interesting and summarize toward the end.

Phee Commentary

Before we continue, we want to apologize to all of you, players, content creators, moderators, testers, and other volunteers, to those who support us and those disappointed with us. Everything that happens within the game and the community is our responsibility, and we are sorry that we let the situation come to its current state.

While there’s been some serious permanent damage due to how long all of this has dragged on, this type of apology is good to see. It’s not easy for a company to admit wrong doing, especially when they have to start getting into specifics. Everything a company does on the PR front is a financial risk.

This is a body blow for Wargaming. The apology might go a long way toward mending some old wounds, but there are people out there that aren’t jumping down WG’s throat for the right reasons anymore. I once said that if WG fixed everything wrong with the game, somehow, with space magic probably, there would still be a sizable number of people complaining about something. Those people are always going to be here. They’re not in this to improve the game so they can enjoy it. They’re here for WG: WoWs is just a vector for them. In short, these people have a monster to kill and WG is that monster.

On the other side of the aisle there are people in Wargaming that are fed up with the community, people that want to flip them the bird any way they can. Maybe they got sick of all the negativity, the implication that WG can never do anything right. That perfectly mirrors the feelings of the community, that feeling that the game can only get worse because their feedback isn’t being heard or is being outright ignored. Those embittered and inconsolable elements on both sides are going to be the biggest risks going forward.

I have to admit, I’m a little worried that the people who’ve already lost sight of what the game and the community need have a disproportionate amount of influence and positively feed off of each other. They could definitely poison the process.

We want to take this opportunity to be more transparent about how we will take actions to improve our internal processes and our relationship with you.

I hope by ‘improve our internal processes’ they include reorganization and/or firing staff that helped drag us kicking and screaming to this point. (Whether intentionally or unintentionally) Just drafting up some new rules and printing out dos and don’ts sheets for people isn’t going to cut it here. As the article goes on to point out, communication is a key issue. You can also blame the covid situation for some of this, but I don’t want to give too much leeway on that one.

Random mechanics. As a business, we always follow laws and comply with new regulations as they appear. Therefore, our position on containers and random bundles is always consistent with governments’ decisions on this matter and will keep being so. In some cases, we will even try to work ahead of industry practices. We are aware that there are slowly progressing trends to regulate the digital space more and more, to catch up with technical solutions and business models built on them. With that in mind, we appreciate your feedback and commit to the following: from now on for all new ships, if they are distributed via Containers or Random Bundles, there will be an alternative way to obtain them. Methods may vary and may include timegating (i.e. early access or time delayed offers), direct purchases, completing in-game activities, etc.

As someone who’s very familiar with gacha games, I have mixed feelings about this portion of the statement. I flat out refuse to believe any company is going to budge on issues like these any more than they absolutely have to, as required by the law or some other legal issue. The revenue involved is just too great. Speaking as a baby dolphin, whales in gacha games don’t just spend hundreds, they spend thousands. That’s enough for a successful free-to-play + microtransactions platform if just a small percentage of the total playerbase are whales. That’s why I don’t think Wargaming is ever going to be working ‘ahead of industry practices’ on this one. There’s not enough incentive to do so.

Of course, as with any negative predictions I have for Wargaming, I’d be happy to be proven wrong. It would be nice to see them take the lead on a positive trend in the gaming industry.

Drop rates. We plan to publish all drop rates for all Containers and Random Bundles, and are already working on it. It will take some time, but our hard commitment is that it will happen over the course of next year.

I have to admit that this line in particular, among all the others in the article, sticks out for me in a bad way. I know that pulling together statistics and presenting them in an easy to understand format can be a real chore, but if the ETA you give the community straddles the line between being measured in months and years, I think that’s a problem. Now I don’t expect them to try and cram in some research so they can fudge the numbers and cover some predatory drop rates from the past … but a lot of people will. If you’re going to make a change like that, you have to do it extremely quickly or the rates are going to look suspicious on the face of it, even if the math works out. The timeline doesn’t match the work they’re implying, basically.

Take that with a grain of salt, though. I’m used to Sega’s way of doing things, where in PSO2, they have the exact rate for items listed in the prize lists (and they’re just as abysmal as you’d think). Things like that make this look like something Wargaming could put together by 0.10.10. It just bothers me that it’s something they’re stretching well into 2022.

Summer Sale. Unfortunately, we made a translation mistake in a sensitive description. We fixed it ASAP and to protect you from such mistakes in the future, we will add additional checks and approvals to our internal processes. If anything like that happens again, we will offer refunds to all of the affected players. We did it before and we will do it again to make sure that you are compensated. We will also pay more attention to the positioning of such events: for example, many of you stated the term “Sale” suggests direct discounts on in-game items.

Refunds aren’t a bad form of damage control, so good on them for that, at least. It’s also true that when you read the word ‘sale,’ you’re expecting a few ships or items to be discounted. That feels more like an innocent mistake to me, but in my case it doesn’t really matter since I was already on a WoWs shopping hiatus and haven’t been affected by any of this.

I didn’t care about the Missouri situation as a whole, and the PEGI rating also isn’t an area of interest for me, so I’m focusing on the Feedback portion from here.

One of the main topics we want to address is how your feedback influences the game. Regrettably, it was not always clear how we use certain types of feedback and where it fits into our decision-making process. We’ve always taken it into account, but looking back, we see that in some cases it was not balanced well enough against other equally important sources of information: large volumes of data and the team’s creative vision of the game. We want to change this situation and make sure we pay more direct attention to your suggestions and opinions while also giving you more insight into how the decisions are made.

No foolin’! This has almost singlehandedly ruined the game for me on the community side of things. The number of people writing off Wargaming for seemingly doing nothing, doing the exact opposite of what people think the majority wants, or–God forbid–doing anything else first, is absolutely staggering. I can’t go three games without reading about it in chat, anymore.

Now I personally think Wargaming’s methods to taking feedback and implementing game changes are abysmal. Their inability to handle negative criticism begets more negative criticism. I don’t even comment on game balance outside of surveys because I get the impression that if they didn’t ask me, they don’t care. Unsolicited feedback can be some of the most annoying and least helpful, speaking from personal experience, so I definitely understand if that’s the way it is at WG. Often times people are trying to take the game in a direction it was never meant to go, and I can’t be sure I don’t fit in that category myself, so I limit my feedback to what’s most relevant here and now.

In either case, they have to fully address this problem. There’s no choice or leeway here; they have to get this one right or everything else is going to come apart in time.

Aircraft Carriers. Despite many other things happening in the game, we haven’t forgotten that there are still questions to be answered regarding CVs. We’ve implemented a lot of changes to this class since the rework, but we acknowledge more changes may be needed. CV spotting is a good example – we conducted several tests before and did not find a good, adequate way to address it. That does not mean we will not continue to improve it. It’s not something that can be done quickly, please keep that in mind. Another common question is regarding odd-tier carriers, which were previously mentioned as “support CVs”. Right now they are in an early prototyping stage (developing document concepts), and we want to honestly tell you that they are not to be expected in 2022.

There’s so much I could say here, but this is a topic that leaves me feeling down just thinking about it. CVs are a class I really want to enjoy, both playing as and against. Some of my favorite historical ships have been aircraft carriers. I can’t defend the CV rework, though. It’s the least fun gameplay style to date, and to make matters worse, the gameplay feedback on both ends is off. The AA system for example takes too much control out of the defending player’s hands. For another example, the CVs themselves are too automated, to the point the only decisions you need to worry about are A: Where to park the carrier, and B: Matching plane type to ship type. There are a lot of suggestions I have about that, but they warrant an article all on their own … and like I said, I tend to limit my feedback to Wargaming’s surveys. I might still make an article about it, but not right now. Maybe once the situation with WoWs settles into something more pleasant.

As for Wargaming continuing to improve the CVs, all I can say is good luck! I mean that.

Operations. CV rework rendered a lot of AI-related internal tools obsolete and made working with AI-aircraft-related stuff very difficult or impossible. Right now we’re in the process of removing this obstacle. It’s being worked on for many reasons, not just for the sake of Operations, but one of the benefits we will have when this project is done is that we will be able to return some of the old Operations in 2022.

It still baffles me how the rework could have screwed up the AI so badly, but it’s probably a coding issue they didn’t prioritize fixing. It’s a shame too because operations are the only non-PVP content in the game that’s even remotely interesting, and the variety is sorely lacking. The old operations predate my time playing WoWs, so I’m looking forward to playing them in the future. What this game needs as much as balancing and in the gameplay department is variety of game modes.

Community Contributor Program. When we created our CCTP, our goal was to help talented folks interested in our game create content and grow their channels. Right now it’s clear that a lot of things in the Program do not work as they should, which leads to frustration and failed expectations even though some other parts are running well. We will update the Program, both in terms of rules and the way we work with it internally. We expect to have some sort of internal plan and first action points ready in the second half of September, and then proceed with the changes during this Autumn.

I have no idea how the CC Program could be salvaged. Maybe restarted as something else? Rebranding? Either way the way it physically functions definitely needs to change. The way this program was handled contributed a lot to the perception of Wargaming being unable to handle negative criticism, as well as not taking early feedback into account. Now I say ‘perception’ but what I mean is ‘rational conclusion.’ They really shot themselves in the foot on this front and there’s no sugarcoating it. That would only sting anyway. Fortunately this is one of the things Wargaming is trying to address sooner rather than later, so we’re not going to have to wait long to see what they come up with.

Future of the game. We’d like to offer you a deeper look into the future of the game. Right now we have Devblogs (where we basically announce everything that comes to Supertest) and the Waterline series (quarterly updates). To complement these and expand the horizon of events, we want to share a general roadmap with you, of what you can expect to see in World of Warships in the far future. It will give you an idea of what we want to focus on – but please keep in mind that things can and will change. At the same time, we want to show the progress World of Warships achieves. The game evolves a lot each year and it will make it easier for you to follow what we are doing.

I like the idea and it’s good when games do this, but if this is going to be even remotely interesting in practice, they have to find a way to be less vague despite new modes, ships, and features being in early development. I don’t know what the balance is there and I’ve got no real suggestions off the top of my head. I just hope they stick to the roadmap idea and learn from experience to improve the presentation as much as they can.

Come to think of it, the art department tends to have the best devblogs because we can see samples of what they’re working on: relatively good quality pictures, gifs showing new visuals in action, etc.

Communications quality. There have been a lot of communication mistakes and incidents on our side recently. While mistakes always happen and we’re all human, we acknowledge that we need to improve in this area. We’ve already launched a full internal review of all related processes. We want fewer mistakes and translation errors, more answers, and productive conversations. We want to improve the way you interact with us in any place, be it Forums, Customer support, Discord servers or official streams.

What would help with that is more accountability among the staff. I imagine the covid situation would make it harder to distinguish between genuine mistakes and malicious behavior when it’s done remotely. People inside the company are going to take advantage of that when they can. That’s something Wargaming has to address pronto, because while the situation isn’t a powder keg, a good chunk of the community is just waiting for WG’s next big screw up. Even I’m not expecting the next few months to go by smoothly with only news about positive changes in company policy. It doesn’t seem possible, so they need to be careful, and try to weed out any more bad actors as quickly and as ruthlessly as possible. Will they? Don’t know. Hope so.

General transparency. We need to work hard on it: on the one hand, we need to pay more attention to the community sentiment, on the other hand, we have to be more transparent and explain our positions. We will create a series of publications to make our development process more transparent and to show the logic behind what we do. For example, players did not understand why the latest torpedo bug took 2 updates to fix, while a CV bug (plane losses in 0.9.9) was fixed almost instantly. They are in fact very different: the CV bug was fixed by quickly adjusting some parameters, while the torpedo bug involved game logic, and even though it was technically fixed within a week, it had to go through all regular quality assurance processes. Deploying such change through a hotfix is extremely risky for the game. This should have been communicated transparently and we will do our best to do so in the future.

This is a huge issue right here, particularly with the CVs. There isn’t actually a protected ‘class’ in the game, just a class that’s being heavily focused on, or in Wargaming’s words, ‘monitered’ for balance testing. The result is that unfair advantages, real or imagined, can persist for months while Wargaming makes sure that the thing that needs nerfing actually needs nerfing. It’s a frustrating development process and some things feel like they’re happening out of order.

I don’t know near enough about their process to make any meaningful suggestions other than putting in writing what they think the problem is before they tell us how they plan to fix it. Just highlight the problem first, that way the community knows from the outset if we’re all even on the same page. This way, WG can see what the community thinks before they get too deep into their own solution to course correct. They might even get some suggested fixes that are better than what they intended.

Thankfully we know they can do it. They got rid of that awful version of the submarine dive capacity mechanic and even brought some usability back to secondary build battleships. They can do it, so here’s hoping they keep things going on this trajectory while also speeding up the process a little.

In-depth communications and insights. When it’s necessary we will use more specifics and will provide deeper explanations of our decisions. For example, we implemented the system for CvC ship bans, which helps us to keep the meta fresh, and we want to tell you more about how and why we use it, as it’s something that our hardcore players are interested in.

Please do. Though, I honestly don’t like the idea of ‘keeping the meta fresh’ by banning ships preemptively. Waiting two weeks to start seems fine, but banning ships before the season even starts is a bit much. This season of clan battles has not been as interesting at tier 6 as it was last time, even though we have more ships to work with, and that’s saying something since there is a tier 6 hybrid in the game currently, Ise. Providing actual reasoning for things like this would be nice, but I don’t think Wargaming was referring to the ship bans regarding their insights. Trying to keep the meta fresh seems like reason enough, and they have their stat sheets to back them up. I still disagree with the preemptive bans, but I know they have their reasons.

All of it is just our current, first plan. We will keep looking for other points of interest and challenges. We want to show you our responsibility, care and desire for the game by the way we communicate and through our actions – to make the game better for everyone.

A final word on passion and communication. While we are working hard to improve the way we communicate and interact with you, we want to take a moment to address your passion and the way that we communicate with each other. We know that you care about the game a great deal and ask you to remember that there are people – community managers, support staff, developers and volunteers – that read your communications and posts, wherever they may be made. While we as a company certainly need to work on the way we communicate with you, we ask that you treat the people you interact with fairly and with respect. Your voice will carry as much – or more – weight with them if you present your feedback and opinions in a reasoned and constructive way.

Yours sincerely,

Victor Bardovsky, Publishing Director

Andrey Lisak, Development Director

World of Warships Team

Those are some bigwig signatures there. There’s definitely some hope for Wargaming sticking to these bullet points. They also made a very important point, something I’m not going to be able to help but rant about, and that’s the way people communicate with Wargaming in general. It can be pretty disturbing at times. A lot of times that kind of passionate feedback comes from their love of the game. Hell, we don’t want Wargaming to ruin World of Warships by making misguided decisions, and if you think your feedback is being ignored but you still feel compelled to speak out, this is the natural result. It’s understandable for the most part, but they’re still right; reasoned and constructive opinions will go a lot further than a million parroted explanations about how Wargaming won’t do x because of y and so on. It’s WG’s own fault they’re perceived this way.

I don’t think Wargaming’s ever taken anything I’ve written down in a survey comment seriously. Should they? I don’t know, but I feel like they don’t, and that’s how a lot of people feel. For them though, it goes beyond the surveys. It’s in the streams, it’s in the forums, the discord, and anywhere else they have a presence. The difference is that I’m okay with it. I’m not miffed about a game company not taking my personal opinions into account, assuming that’s what’s happening. As long as they’re listening to someone who knows what they’re talking about, I can live with that. Some people can’t, and the idea that their pleas are being ignored while the game progressively gets worse and worse has to be infuriating.

Another thing to consider is Wargaming’s schedule. Yes, they have a schedule, likely one that’s set up annually with very little wiggle room. That’s how you make sure things release on time and it’s how you can make announcements often whole seasons in advance. You use a schedule. It’s probably why the West Virginia was flat out stated as a 2023 release. It’s important to consider the schedule because no amount of feedback is going to completely upend that. Does that make everything better? No, but understanding as much as we can about what’s happening on Wargaming’s side of things can get rid of a lot of the confusion and vagaries that prompt so much of the negativity around the game. They’re going to need to be more transparent to help address that going forward.


Overall I like this apology. Step 1 in recovering from this mess was well executed. Step 2 is the action portion, which we’re all waiting on now. Step 3 falls more to the community and is basically our collective response to the changes taking place. As always, Step 4 is PROFIT. Not just for Wargaming but for us, the players. WG’s profit is literal, while hopefully also enjoying the game they’re developing. Ours is enjoying the game and the things surrounding it (streams, skits, reviews, events, etc). Whether we even reach Step 4 is still up in the air, but I know with certainty that there are people in the community and in the company itself that couldn’t care less about that. They just want the people on the other side to ‘get theirs.’ All the rest of us can do is keep our eyes on the prize.

What’s that prize exactly?

The Prize

World of Warships should be a fun game to play. That’s the prize and it’s not mutually exclusive to Wargaming or the warships community.

Anyone who doesn’t want this game to do well first and foremost, or doesn’t understand why this apology is a very good first step is completely missing the point. Wanting the game to do well doesn’t mean cursing the ground Wargaming stands on. They aren’t going to hand this game off to another company you happen to like. The game dies with them. By all means, criticize WG when they drop the ball, but don’t forget the point of that criticism. Making the game fun, for as many of us as possible. Like I said before, a lot of what bothers me in WoWs is the negativity surrounding it, the shotgun blast of complaints that only serve to draw out more complaints. Dragging WG through the mud without keeping your eyes on the prize might very well cost us the prize.

Now it’s fine if you don’t believe everything or anything Wargaming said in this statement. I’m dubious myself. We shouldn’t take WG seriously until tangible things start happening one after the other, but now we have something to work with besides overly vague nonsense and the usual critique evasion. So we keep watching and tick things off a checklist as they come. It’s important to want those changes to come, though. Remember the prize: Wargaming continues development on a great game and makes it even better for the people who enjoy playing it, and they reap the revenue from doing it in the right way.

If there’s something else you want instead, like for the game to just die already, or for Wargaming as a company to go under, you are being even less helpful than Wargaming themselves have been. I strongly encourage you to find something positive to focus your time and energy on instead.

Closing Thoughts

As for me, my statement from before is unchanged. I’m not making any purchases unless and until Step 2 is successful. The only exceptions are some miraculous Enterprise B (or regular old Enterprise) appearance, or an event I feel is worth it. Again, Arpeggio of Blue Steel is one I can and will make an exception for. Overall, I’m just glad that they’re taking this situation seriously and gearing up for what’s ahead. That’s a good sign, not a sure sign, but a good sign. A good sign is all you ever really have to start with, so take it or leave it. I’m only expecting them to accomplish a portion of what they went over in the article, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do more, or somehow accomplish everything. I do hope that they pull it off though, because what I want is for the game to do well. I don’t hate Wargaming or even dislike them as a whole, so when I look at this situation my only hope is that they get their act together. If they do, a lot of other, less obvious problems with the game will start to improve naturally.

Here’s hoping.

Bismarck Class



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