World of Tanks – Wargaming.net interview [English]
Mike Zhivets from Wargaming.net, the tehnical director on World of Tanks, talked to us about this interesting MMO, which will once again bring us back to World War 2. But this time in heavy armor.
HCL: Let’s start with the basics. Why tanks? What prompted you to make an MMO game based on WWII tanks? Well, except the fact that tanks are awesome in their own (I mean: in every) way.
Mike Zhivets: Why tanks? The answer is simple. Just look at the name of our company – Wargaming.net. We’ve been making quality wargames since 1998. and our latest titles – Order of War and Order of War: Challenge – were all about large-scale WWII battles where tanks played the crucial part. We know a lot – if not everything – about armor so we had no other choice but to make a game about these powerful machines of destruction. You know, almost every man has s subtle passion for tanks inherited in childhood. What were your favorite toys when you were 7-10 years old? Cars, railways, tin soldiers, airplanes and …yeah – tanks! In our game you’ll have a chance to get back to your childhood and drive your favorite tank, but in the virtual world, of course.
HCL: As far as we know, there aren’t any MMO games out there based on the recipe you plan on using, so I guess it’s brave of you to try out something new. However, how do you think the public (gamers) will respond? Do you think you can “convert” some gamers from all those fantasy-themed MMORPGs out there?
Mike Zhivets: We didn’t want to make a ”one more” MMO about orks & elves as this would mean higher risks for us than in case with a Panzer MMO that we are developing at the moment. We decided to find our own niche and our own players rather than steal audience from other games. Lots of people around the globe who are keen on history or weapons, love various kinds of simulators or are just obsessed with tanks will find a place for their hobbies in the “world” we’ve created. But it doesn’t mean the game is designed for hardcore wargamers or history nuts only – World of Tanks is open for everyone seeking for adventure, speed and adrenalin!
HCL: To make an MMO fun to gamers for a long time, new features must be made every now and then, as we have seen with some other games from the genre. Do you have some expansions in mind already? Maybe with new tank classes (and tanks) and / or maps?
Mike Zhivets: New maps and extra content will be added on a regular basis and that’s the principle we are going to stick to. Release version of the game will feature tanks from the USA, Soviet Union and Germany, but we are also planning to introduce British, French and Japanese armor and probably a few “tank lines” from other European countries. We prefer not to dip into the future but still… we consider expanding gameplay opportunities by introducing new classes of units – infantry or rocket artillery for instance – or giving the clan leaders the opportunity to call in airstrikes and off map arty support. New modes and enhancements are also on our “to do” list but let’s dwell on them closer to the release…
HCL: Since it is partly an RPG, how will the upgrades for our tanks work? I mean, do we have to get experience, pay for them, research them or something, or all of it? Will we have money or items we can pick up? Is there a leveling system?
Mike Zhivets: The leveling system is almost completed by now and players will be able to try it during the beta. You’ll have to gain experience in battles, do research and earn in-game currency to upgrade your tanks – quite a classic formula. The player will also spend money on repairing their vehicles and buying ammo – so to keep a powerful heavy tank in order – one will have to do really well on the battlefield. By enhancing various parts of a tank – engine, turret, chassis, radio station etc. – the player will improve its performance in combat and constantly move up the tech tree.
HCL: Please try to illustrate just how huge the world is. Will there be a kind of fast travel?
Mike Zhivets: We never intended to make a persistent world – every battle in our game is unique… It’s created, played and finished. As for the size of the maps – they are rather huge, up to 1 square km. So there would be enough space to apply various tactics and build up team cooperation. All maps in World of Tanks are unique – some of them feature countryside landscapes that are ideal for encirclements and flanking maneuvers, some offer opportunities to take part in urban warfare where success in close combat becomes more and more important.
Moreover, after the release of the game we’ll introduce a Global Campaign mode that will feature clan wars for world domination. The global map will be divided into a certain number of provinces. By conquering and controlling them a clan (or a unit of clans) will get access to various perks.
HCL: We all know everyone wants to play like tanks and shoot at stuff, nothing wrong with that. However, is that all there is to it? For example, WoW is pretty diverse. You can trade a lot, you can find herbs and sell them, fish, get drunk, etc. Is World of Tanks limited exclusively to battle? Will there be a story, side quests, NPC’s? What can we do besides shoot at other tanks?
Mike Zhivets: No, no and no… World of Tanks is a more PvP oriented game. Massive 30 vs 30 tank clashes – that’s what the game is all about. There’d be no time and no need to fish or collect herbs, though “drunk driving” might be a good idea for a separate game mode :). However, a rather developed trade system with auctions and other options will be introduced – it will enable players to buy/sell/exchange vehicles or their separate parts.
HCL: Will there be weather or terrain effects? Like moving slower while in mud or reduced visibility during a blizzard or sandstorm? What kind of terrains will there be?
Mike Zhivets: Weather effects are not yet realized in the game. The problem is that dynamic change of weather will lead to certain gameplay changes and affect the technical side of the game. We’ve already tested the rain and it caused a drastic fall in fps – so now we are working on its optimization. As for the terrain types – there’d be countryside landscapes (rather open maps), marshes, urban areas… Some snow-covered and desert maps are also in our plans. The terrain will affect tactics of a separate player as well as team strategy. Even the choice of a tank for a certain battle on a given map will be determined by the type of terrain it features.
HCL: The game is based on WWII tanks from the USA, the Soviet Union and Germany, so does that mean the game itself is placed during the WWII period? If so, how will the player’s alliance work? For example, if I choose an American tank, will I join forces with the Soviets and wage war against Germans? Or can I pick my own allies as I wish? Will we have “guilds”?
Mike Zhivets: We do not stick to a certain period of WWII or to certain sides of the conflict. What I mean is that there might be German and American tanks in one team fighting against British and Japanese vehicles in the opposite one. The alliance and diplomacy will perfectly work in clan wars where you won’t be limited by any restrictions in the choice of your comrades. Within a clan, light German vehicles might fulfill reconnaissance functions operating as the spearhead of the clan army, medium and heavy Soviet tanks will work as the main assault power, while American SPG’s will provide artillery support being hidden somewhere in the ambush – the combination of units is endless. However, German-only or Soviet – only clans will be possible as well.
HCL: Besides other players, will there be any other opponents?
Mike Zhivets: We do not plan to add the AI in the release version of the game – the only opponents will be real players. But in the future… who knows.
HCL: If I choose a strong armored tank and get bored, will I be able to just replace some parts and make it a light and agile one, or will I be forced to create a new character / tank?
Mike Zhivets: Well, in World of Tanks the player is not bound to a single vehicle, so there would be no need to replace some parts of your heavy tank in order to drive a light one. The player has a hangar where he can keep his armor. If you are in the mood of wrecking havoc all over the battlefield – select a heavy tank and just do what you want. On the other hand, if you are more into scouting and spotting the enemy units – choose light models and go ahead.
HCL: Finally, the last question. It’s not really gameplay related, but many of us would like to know the game’s price.
Mike Zhivets: World of Tanks is a free to play MMO game. There’d be no need to buy it or pay monthly fees – just download the client, install the game and enjoy the experience. For real money one will be able to buy premium accounts, some rare (but not the most powerful) tanks or receive additional bonuses.
Well it sounds good to us. We thank Mike for the conversation, and hope our readers will be on the lookout for this game when it comes out sometime this fall. We are already playing the beta so stay tuned for a HCL preview of World of Tanks, coming up soon.
Za hrvatsku verziju ovoga intervjua, kliknite na link ispod.
CROATIAN VERSION: World of Tanks – Wargaming.net intervju