WoWS Q&A #2 – 20th March 2016
This is the next part of the thread with mal_h (Malik).
A player writes: “it seems that developers-programmers seem to be much more active since Malik lately spoke on the forums”
Answer from Iwao (game designer):
“I just want to remind you that there aren’t only programmers working in our firm.
Let’s then go back to the topic at hand.
I cannot speak for everyone, but many developers regularly visit the forums on their own and not only when there are serious problems. And when a serious problem arises, we search for a way to get rid of it. The bothersome thing about it is that when we solve a problem, it usually leads to the discontentment of those who the problem helped.
Take, for instance, invis firing. For some, it was and still is a blast, but the implementation of hydroaccoustic search nerfed the ships that were used to fire from smoke one way or another. We all remember that, before their release, several Soviet DD’s had a significant invis firing window, which impacted negatively on the gameplay. It’s the same with launching torpedoes from stealth at high tiers, which leads to the so-called “torpedo soup” (or torp walls) since the range of torpedoes if far greater than detection range. The safety windows is tremendous, which leads to the belief that DD’s wreak havoc and stay clear of what could destroy them. In fact, several DD’s get obliterated when facing an advancing cruiser, but in order to do that, cruisers need to advance to the front line which isn’t safe for them since they get obliterated by BB’s there. As for BB’s, without cruisers, they fall prey to CV’s, against which they aren’t as efficient as cruisers.
All of this is only a hypothesis and it requires thorough research, however, there is a little drawback. There aren’t a lot of players at high tiers compared to mid or lower tiers, thus the statistics regarding high-tier ships we need to draw conclusions is collected very slowly.
Please excuse me for my digression but I wanted to explain that. Do we read the forums? Yes! We read them and try to do it regularly but by the time we examine the consequences of the problems raised there and find their causes, seas have already risen and fallen several times. Do we act upon your feedback? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Feedback is an open account of its author’s experiences, who shows in written form that something is wrong with the statistics, for instance.
Finally, not all problems are solved painlessly, those who need to have a tooth removed will prove it to you, but we’ll be as gentle as possible.
PS. Regarding the excuse saying that we don’t want to change, online projects need to change radically quite regularly otherwise they stagnate. Too frequent changes (particularly drastic changes) will often cause a negative response from the playerbase since people prefer stability and comfort.”
More on the same topic.
This time by Turing_Bombe (GD Analyst):
He responds to a player saying that developers often give contradictory answers to one question.
“Well, if the developers have different positions, they will give different answers; if there isn’t a specific guideline established by the company (diverting from this guideline will lead to the boss kicking your butt). Fortunately, I haven’t heard of any team meetings teaching us “how to respond on the forums”.
A game is a complex world and none of the developers knows everything about it. Generally nobody. We are all human after all and each of us has his own opinion on certain things. Let’s take a specific case: what causes battles to be drawn out until the end of the timer (20min)? If you ask the people who are in charge of game modes and maps, their expertise will focus on what was the map, in what mode and where did the ships sail. If you ask the people in charge of ship trees, they will see look at it from their own point of view (battleships are a bit too large, guns are slightly weak, players are firing at each other for too long without destroying each other). In order to draw precise conclusions, we need to spend a lot of time on analysing our data. And again, in order to perform an analysis, we need to understand what we need to look at; is it a map problem or a balance problem, for instance. We have a list of hypotheses.”
“Not every question is worth exploring. Examining it and finding its place in a larger mosaic requires resources in the form of man-hours. And there’s not always the guarantee it will give positive results. We can ask ourselves a huge amount of different questions.
“What percentage of the player base uses mods?”
“Does the age of the players taking part in team battles differ from the age of the player base in general?”
“After how many consecutive defeats do players quit the game?”
We can ask ourselves dozens of questions like this. Analysts are necessary to answer these questions, the director needs to understand which questions need an answer for him to make decisions.”
A player asks : “Why is it so problematic to tell us where the game is heading for the next six months? For instance, you can just say that “we will add weather effects” and everyone is instantly happy.”
Turing_Bombe: “Is it better for developers to say something that could eventually not be implemented? Regarding weather effects, it’s been in development for a long time. Now, it’s clear we can release it to the public. Incidentally, in all the surveys where we ask players what they want to improve maps, the most requested feature is “adding weather effects”. Well, the developers know that what will improve map immersion the most is adding weather effects. Rather than, let’s say, a flock of flying seagulls screeching in your ear. But I, for instance, want to hear seagulls. There isn’t enough seagulls. Developers, you’re reading this topic, add seagulls. I want to look in my binoculars and see a giant seagull and hear how its screeches.
For a lot of features that are being developed, we generally need to see if they can be shown to the public first. Or, for whatever reasons (for instance, it uses too much resources) a feature is released but not at its full extent, players won’t be so pleased because the reality doesn’t meet their expectations. And in the end, developers will be hated because they “didn’t keep their promises”.
Naturally, it’s an active work which should tell us rather early if we can meet our deadlines. Which in turn will allow us to make an early announcement to the public.”