Purpose of this blog

Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[WoWP] We Are Fixing Stuff

Below is the response of the World of Warplanes Dev team, including Lead Producer - Anton Sitnikau, on a major feedback topic - One Thing That Breaks It All. I'm just quoting what they said. :)

1. Respawn (long waiting time, transition time / battle time ratio)

For relatively high-spec systems battle waiting time is now about 40s, including 30s pre-battle counter. 
At the same time average battle duration - is 3.5 minutes. 

We do accept that this is an issue. And it is being solved at this time in several ways:

Firstly, with the help of optimization. It's definitely not the easiest way, since the amount of data to be loaded before battle us huge. That's why we don't expect a major improvement in this area. It's loading time that made us introduce pre-battle counter in the first place - it is required to ensure that are players have managed to load.

Secondly, by increasing the time players spend in battle. This is where conceptual stuff comes in. Let's consider the options.

It would make little sense to introduce respawn for the current game mode. Respawn would severely decrease the importance of each destroyed aircraft. It's not clear how to refill bombs and rockets either - same goes for destroyed ground targets. 
We do want to introduce respawn - however it has to be a separate game mode. I will get to game modes a bit later. 

Battle duration is also affected by ramming. We don't want to dump ramming completely - self-sacrifice is a part of team-play. What we do want to do is to give players more chances to destroy enemy in head-on attack before ramming happens and decrease the necessity of ramming. 

2. AA are useless (up to tier 7/8)

We are continuing to balance AA guns. Avg damage inflicted by AA guns has decreased. One of the reasons for that - change of firing algorithm. Now intense manoeuvring gives more chances to avoid being hit. We are planning to increase damage of AA guns. We are also working on a special UI that will show areas covered by AA guns. 

3. Tier balance is terrible

Well, it's not that terrible, however we are not satisfied at this point. Generally speaking, we have got two major leaps: going from tier 3 to tier 4 (can differ across factions), and going from propeller planes to jet planes. Our balancing dept is now busy with making these transitions smoother, however we won't be able to eliminate them completely. These big leaps in history of aviation can't but impact smooth in-game progression. We can't avoid it without serious historical compromises. 

4. Mouse control (lack of direct feel)

A lot depends on settings. Try using Vector or Hybrid presets instead of default one.

5. Not being able to see the altitude of targets and friends on the minimap

We have decided not to display altitude on the minimap to avoid mess and overcomplication. Right now we have got so-called strategic map in development. This enlarged map (M-button) has much more space to display useful information - aircraft altitudes, crash sights, AA-gun areas, etc

6. Hangar UI (Slower that WoT, "Where is Barracks?",no ammunition on main screen, differ the WoT)

Hangar UI will be reworked. At this point both sides - WoT and WoWP teams - agreed to make the UIs closer to each other. Installed modules, consumables, ammo and "battle!" button are going to be displayed on all screens. Moreover, we have managed to improve UI performance a lot: most of the delays and glitches were related to updating information for in-game store. The store itself is still rather slow, and we are working on this.

7. Heavy fighters are way too powerful (World of Heavy Fighters)
We are planning to introduce more differences between classes and highlight them. As for heavy fighter, we are going to implement several changes. First, we are not going to use the coefficient that decreased the damage when shooting down-up any more. Second, high-altitude planes will get additional penalty in manoeuvrability when flying low. Third, we are going to provide more possibilities for low-altitude aircrafts to avoid boom-zoom attacks.

8. Progression trough tiers too slow

It’s not entirely true when it comes to overall pace picture. If you played Tanks, then you’ll see that our progression is much faster. The principles of earning exp and credits are a different story though. We’ve found and fixed the issue that led to incorrect calculations in situations when a higher tier enemy was taken down.

9. The fact that kamikaze gives a frag

Sometimes ramming is a conscious tactical decision for the sake of the team. I have already mentioned that we are going to increase the chances of avoiding a clash but we are not ready to eliminate this game element.

10. Maps are too small

We conducted experiments where low tier aircrafts were on maps of high tier aircrafts. The results were not 100% positive. It takes long to reach the opponent, pretty hard to find them. We believe that the maps are appropriate for the current battle mode. For other modes, especially the ones involving organized teams, we are planning to use maps of the existing size as well as enlarged ones. 

11. No Clan Wars

We were planning to start clan system right after the release and start clan wars slightly later. However, we changed the concept during the implementation (we are going to provide more details on that later) and the deadlines were changed, too. Unfortunately. We do understand how important clan wars are. Basically, that was the reason why we put them off: we can make them better than we planned according to the initial concept.

12. Need Garage battle mode

Garage battle mode is not our highest priority at the moment. The second random game mode and battles for organized teams are the things we consider more important as for now. These two types are more in demand and less risky.

13. Attack Aircraft (Ground Attack) are useless (Destroying ground targets must affect gameplay)

We agree with the observation that in the current iteration of the main game mode the role of attack aircraft is less significant than it used to be. At present we are sending off to test some experiments (to public test) aimed at increasing its significance.

14. Having to ride my shotdown fighter into the ground before I can right click to watch from another plane

In version 1.2. (first update in 2014) a new camera system will be added to the game. No more suffering for players! Basically, the system is ready, just not implemented yet.

15. Very high impact of current hight vs optimum height has on aircraft performance

The impact of altitude system will be re-balanced in the few upcoming updates. What we released was the fully-functioning mechanics of altitude influencing aircrafts behaviour. Further development, adjustments and balancing will be taking place in more than one update. Plus, we are planning to notify players about altitude (in garage etc.) 

16. Need Missions and New modes

A new game mode is being developed at the moment. Missions and quests are planned for the very near future. 

WoWP dev team via Overlord

UPD. On 1.1 update that is being publicly tested right now:
  • mouse controls will be different
  • Focke Wulfs will be different 
  • There will be less bugs

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

[WoT] A Fun Tank To Play

Tanks and their are a substantial part of WoT gameplay. No doubt.

What tanks are fun for you and what are not? And most importantly - why so?
What makes fun tank gameplay for you and what breaks it?
Do you feel like there are enough unique tanks in the game that can boast their character, or the game is trending towards average-like vehicles lacking in character?

Any vehicle-tank-specs-related thoughts will do. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Able Comet

By 1945 armour Vs armour combat was rare, but as the Allies pushed into Germany it did happen. Today we look at one such engagement. It happened on April 12-13th 1945.

At the Panzertruppenschule Bergen there were six Tigers. These were under command of a Lieutenant Franzen. These Tigers were all hybrid machines cobbled together from spare parts, including early production components. However they were still tigers, and so as the Allies approached they where formed into a Kampfgruppe with several Panthers and launched at the allies, in an attempt to break through to the Ruhr pocket. Over the next few days the Kampfgruppe conducted several attacks on the British and US positions. One attack resulted in a fairly epic story of gallivanting about behind enemy lines worthy of Hollywood, however that is a tale for another day. During one of these attacks Lt Franzens Tiger was attacking British paratroopers, and was hit by a PIAT round. The HEAT shell slammed into the Tiger and damaged the gun traverse, forcing Lt Franzen to withdraw.
Lt Franzens Tiger
On the allied side 3rd Royal Tank Regiment moved down to Schwarmstedt. As the lead elements approached the River Aller, two Comet's where knocked out by a Anti-tank gun. Although a third Comet destroyed the gun, 3rd RTR leaguered in the area overnight. During the night 1 Commando Brigade forced a crossing of the river in the face of heavy German opposition. By morning they had caved out a bridgehead 800 yards deep, and about twice as wide. In a hurry to get tanks across and support the infantry Able Squadron of 3rd RTR was ferried across using rafts. Although once across the squadron was ordered to avoid pushing too hard until the bridge had been finished.
3RTR In Belgium
3RTR unknown location
As the gun mantle needed replacing on his tank Lt Franzen missed the next few days action, and the destruction of the Kampfgruppe. On April 12th, Lt Franzens Tiger, F01 (F for "Fahrschule", or Driving School), was formed into a new Kampfgruppe, with some infantry and two other Tigers and ordered to attack the British bridgehead.

At 1400, 1st Trp, A Squadron led by Major Langdon, was supporting the King's Shropshire Light Infantry as the pushed through a forested area. The KSLI had brought up a Wasp carrier and the undergrowth was in flames. Through the smoke and heat the Comets drove slowly down the road shelling any suspicious bush or ditch with HE, while the infantry continued to advance. The fumes from the gun firing and the smoke and heat made the conditions extremely exhausting inside the tanks. So during a lull the Troop pulled back down a trail leading off to the side of the main road. Where they stopped for a break with the KSLI Commander's scout car. After half an hour the stillness was shattered by the roar of an 88mm. Looking up the Maj Langdon saw Lt Franzens Tiger 300 yards away as it advanced round a bend. The 88mm Shell had hit the scout car brewing it up.

Maj Langdons gun had a HE round loaded, and his loader quickly unloaded and then loaded the gun with an AP shell. His Comet fired a hasty shot towards the hulking box shape and all three Comets in the troop tried to reverse for cover.  Maj Langdons Comet slammed into a 40ft tall tree, in reverse. If the tree didn't give way Maj Langdon would be dead. Luckily it did, and his Comet crashed out of sight. The second Comet belonged to Corporal Brindle. F01 fired on Cpl Brindles Comet, the round hit but ricocheted off the thick armour. By freak chance the ricocheting shell smashed the Comets track. Quickly realising his plight Cpl Brindle ordered his crew to bail out. Not a second too soon, as Lt Franzen put two more shells into the Comet, wrecking it.

The ricochet on Cpl Brindles tank
The KSLI sent out a couple of patrols armed with PIATS to hunt for F01, When they found it they fired. Two of the PIAT shots hit, and F01's crew bailed out. Due to the presence of enemy infantry the British couldn't close with and destroy the Tiger, so later that night Lt Franzen led his crew back to the Tiger, and finding it undamaged recovered her back to safety to fight again.

Overnight the Germans shelled the British. At 0500 Lt Franzen was in his Tiger, Reports were that the British were moving again, so he pulled his tank forward, and spotted several vehicles. He quickly fired a salvo of rounds at the enemy vehicles, and set one (a Kangaroo) on fire. The British went to ground. After a while Lt Franzen heard the swoosh of artillery followed by the shells exploding. So F01 retired a short distance to get out from under the bombardment. As the Artillery stopped with reports of British armour skirmishing forward along the road, Lt Franzen started to advance slowly. In the early morning, and confusion of battle Lt Franzen lost sight of his friendly infantry in the undergrowth. Little did he know that he had advanced past their line and so was pushing into no-man's land alone.
Suddenly Lt Franzen saw a Comet to his left. At about 100 yards range. Yelling "Enemy tank! 10 o'clock!" to warn his crew. F01's Gunner reacted first starting to traverse the turret. But the Comet (commanded by Lieutenant Harding) had sneaked into no-man's land and laid the perfect trap. Lt Harding fired once. The round hit the Tiger just behind one of its ammo bins. Although it failed to blow the ammo rack, the shell did hit the fuel tank and cause F01 to catch fire. Lt Franzen bailed out of his stricken tank, on the ground he found the rest of his crew all safely out of the tank. Although all suffered minor burns. With nothing else to do they retreated from the front.
For this action Lt Harding was awarded the military medal. Lt Franzen and Maj Langdon survived the war.