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  1. Metrics - The Danger of Data-Driven Game Design - Extra Credits I have lived a long IT life on this planet and seen many changes in technology. And over the years one items I am noticing is the change the way programmers are doing things. What I mean is instead of good content accounting for a great game, we gamers are seeing compromised values in the product and I am not sure why. I have know some wonderful software programmers in my life in knowing they are way smarter than myself. I admire their thought processes. Sometimes I equate them to the mad scientist in the way they do things. These programmers have thought of the game loop to the extreme like a chess master. I mean if something fails, there is a response to the problem they have thought of already. Very forward thinking. However with games today I am seeing things that makes me wonder why go through with the effort. Games are being muddle so badly many players quit in frustration. And I am not saying just one product. I can see game mechanics for some games that are so bad that I think what a waste of money. Then why did they release that product? So this has got me thinking. Are the upper managers of game companies stifling their game developers? Instead of letting creativity evolve for game development, it has governor caps in place to curtail progress. And when I mean creativity, I mean the stuff that dreams are made of. Is the mighty dollar/euro/ruble/etc that bad in grabbing the piece of the action in game development? As it was said before in a movie, “The people will come Ray” for a good game product. Granted we have a pandemic going on and the economy is bad, however a good planner would account for this train of thought, software or otherwise. I am seeing marketing ruining development. Good brain trusts in computer programming being transferred out over the world instead of revered in place. Promotion being exile than advancement. Now I know there are programmers out there in our community not with Wargaming. I wonder if you can explain why we have the environment today being pushed by all the various gaming software companies. I am trying to understand this outcome. IMO I would like to see computer games feel like they were back in the nineties.
  2. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this campaign, the details of which are summarized in my how-to guide here... ...while I've been completing it. However, I felt it was better to wait until I was done before posting anything. I didn't want to be accused of sour grapes (for failing to finish) or asking for an easy way through (because I haven't got the guts for the hard slog). However, those things are off the table now; I have Jerzy and I can say what I like. The TLDR of it is this: I thought it was too much to ask for the reward it gave. But it also wasn't a terrible experience for me, so let's break this down. THE GOOD: The thing I liked about this campaign was that it had a broad range of tasks to achieve which were both economic and combat-related, and there were several that could be done in co-op. The mix of missions was good, and as someone who at the start had at least one of ALMOST every ship type at every eligible tier, I felt I was ideally set up to complete this thing. It encouraged me to get on and finish a couple of grinds I'd been dragging my feet on (Lightning to Jutland, Monarch to Lion), and as a result of it I've really started to enjoy playing in Randoms again. It also came along at exactly the right time to fill in the gap that I'd left in my life by finishing both all the permanent campaigns. Note that I did not say "all the OTHER permanent campaigns". That's because this wasn't one, but I'll get to how I really feel about that later. If you were starting this campaign with far fewer eligible ships than I started with or have now, it would have been a useful spur to getting at least one of your T8 ships to T9 (via the commander and ship XP tasks in Missions 1 and 2) and having options for later, because options were important, as we wll soon see. THE BAD: Not all of these are my complaints, but I'm going to address them nonetheless. Note that "address" does not always mean "agree with". 1) Limited time. I'm an average player, albeit experienced and with a broad-based fleet. I finished the campaign in two months, but someone coming into it late in its validity cycle (six months from the date of launch) might have bigger problems. 2) Tier 9 and 10 ships. I will agree with anyone who thought that too many of the tasks were restricted to Tiers 9 and 10. I had no problems because I had ships with permacamo, coal ships at Tier 9 and 10, etc. etc., and premium time, which made all that affordable. But some of those coal ships (Musashi, Smolensk, Jean Bart) are no longer available, and not everybody can afford to buy or gets lucky enough to win doubloons for permacamos. Tier 8 is the last at which you can play in mediocre fashion and not get hammered by service costs. Yes, the campaigns for Yamamoto and Halsey also had Tier 9 and 10-limited missions, but both those campaigns had a way through (grinding XP or credits) for a player with any Tier 8 ship at all. This campaign had a roadblock in Mission 3, in which non-Euro Tier 8 ships that were not destroyers could not progress at all. 3) Exclusion of Blyskawica from Euro DD missions. Yes, I know she's Tier 7, but being a Polish destroyer (and the oldest in the game) in an event centred around a Polish admiral, she really should have been given a free pass. 4) The "winning battles" condition; some of these tasks depended on your team not throwing the battle (and everything you had achieved) down the drain at the last minute (happens too often). While this is not an issue in the permanent campaigns, it puts the pressure on in a time-limited one (especially for those coming to the event late). Note that this criticism only applies to those tasks that had to be done in PvP; the win rate in co-op is so high that it doesn't matter. 5) Too much to ask. I agree with this completely. The requirement to use a majority of higher-tier ships in randoms to do this in a short time frame was more than we were ever asked to do to get Sansonetti or Cunningham (or arguably Kuznetsov, but I deliberately didn't go for him so I can't be the judge there). The Yamamoto and Halsey campaigns are grindier, but can be done at leisure and offer bigger rewards. 6) Euro Premium Ship Missions. Let's be fair; the event which spawned this campaign was centred around the introduction of European destroyers, and it would have been too much to expect them not to receive SOME side-benefit missions (including for the premiums). However, while these did offer something of a shortcut through the earlier phases, I felt the shortcuts got a bit illusory toward the end. Even if I'd spent my FXP on Smaland instead of Hayate, I'm not sure she would have made this campaign any easier. Given how quickly I got the first three missions done without them, I'm not sure having a Euro DD at T8 or better in my port would have benefited me much at all. So I am kind of inclined to downplay this complaint... but once more, I say that in the context of having a fleet which can tackle just about any task at any time. Well, almost. After neglecting my Implacable to Audacious grind in part because there was no use-case for a T8 CV in some of the missions, I eventually FXP'd to the Audacious and farmed spotting and torpedo ribbons with her to grab myself a few easy stars in Mission 5. I'm pretty sure we will get future campaigns that include similar tasks, so the doubloons I spent on giving Audacious her permacamo are not going to be charged against this event alone (and I like playing her, so there is that). OKAY, ENOUGH COMPLAINING, WHAT ABOUT AN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION? If I had been in charge, I would have done one of the following: 1) Made everything harder, put on more stars per stage (maybe ten, ten, twelve, twelve, fifteen), made the campaign permanent and pushed Jerzy up to 15 stars, OR 2) Kept the time constraint and the reward the same, but made everything Tier 8+ and given Blyskawica a pass as the only T7 allowed in for the T8 Euro destroyer missions. Hell, I might even have brought the tier bar lower. Jerzy's not all THAT powerful, and if you weren't going to lock Sansonetti and Cunningham behind a time limited tier wall, you shouldn't have done it here either. I liked this campaign- sort of. It was very well suited to the ships I have accumulated while trying to get the permanent campaigns done. Yet I couldn't help but think, the whole time, that it was and is going to be a very rough trot for less experienced players with smaller fleets, limited playing time, and an inability to pay.
  3. Despite the increase of seven to eight ships in clan battles, there is still clearly an early deciding factor in who wins the games. Those with Klebers and the Russian horde tend to have a distinct advantage over their opponents. So many games are decided in the first two minutes when a Kleber flanks, torps and kills another destroyer (you pick). Top Tier purple piranha clans have horded these ships and used their excess steel to gain a distinct advantage over other clans who have things called a real life. These players cannot always compete in events like King of the Weebs and bias WG events, which give some a steel and coal advantage. Then when we do want to participate in clan battles, these all hording clans use their plethora of bias’d ships to annihilate those of lesser quality (often relying on mostly tech tree ships). This has led me to three early conclusions about this season of clan battles. First, destroyer players are bad or at best, terribly inconsistent. Clan battles is supposed to be competitive, but for what I have watched on twitch, these so-called unicum destroyer mains struggle to stay alive, eating torps. Those who do dodge the first wave of torps are immediately consumed by the next issue. Second is the klobber. This DD is busted. It is like the old Khaba (except now sea legal TM), only worse because the maps (often containing islands in close proximity of caps) enable it to mask its one deficiency (concealment) sneak in and slam bam thank you ma’am any non-Kleber dd. SHima…joke, Gearing (what is a USN player base …this ship is permanently non-meta at this point)…but DFAA…and the fact we will never see a carrier again, Groz? Nope…Kleber still outtrades, Z52…eats pens. Kleber IS broken in this format, especially without CVs to real them back in or a plethora of Russian bias, which is point number three. Russian "premiums" or “special ships” hidden behind an Iron or should we say Steel Curtain…such as Smolensk and Stalingrad (plus all too soon Slava) which now dominate both randoms and competitive formats. Oh, who has the majority of these? Unicums…go watch KoTS finals for how to exploit this madness! Even Throw7 couldn’t fail with the Iron Curtain madness…but WG will tell me that everything is fine right? So, what could have made this season better? I know…its against all logic, but at least a CV can real in those Klebers and make them think twice and then DDs would not be running rampant and there would be more requirement for players to think about skill selection (instead of just being torpedoed into stupidity). I would recommend not just a ship type cap like two battleshisp, but a nation cap such as only two USN/or two RU (or maybe even a minimum of 4 tech tree ships and or 4 nations...try anything but this craptastic meta). This would force play to conform to a more balanced approach giving some of the smaller clans who do not have oodles of time to actually compete. Lastly, the gap of clans who can even participate has declined as burn out clans (or in my case small ones) get sidelined as the minimum requirement has gone from seven to eight ships…this is deplorable, but one shouldn’t expect any changes any time soon…this game has the similarities of a legitimate game where all the players get a vote via a survey…but the oligarchy of top clans who pay to play and control the top with steel and coal have a serious monopoly on these decisions…as evidenced by all that is happening…hopefully WG makes some changes (or even a new format) which is more flexible for smaller clans to participate. For now, we will watch others on the sideline continue to create an unbalanced separation between the haves and have nots…interesting though…isn’t that how the original Russia fell?
  4. Guys_Actually

    Is it time for a Think Tank

    Wargaming has invested a lot into building the future of World of Warships. All of the new ideas, creative innovations, and balance modifications designed in every patch are their doing, for good or bad. They have dedicated and recruited a large number of players to assist them with this; clan testers, super testers, wiki editors, and community contributors. Throw in active streamers and WoWS staff and almost everything seems to focused on what is going on in the next month, vice looking into the pond and considering what is already going on from a decision that occurred six months prior. While nerfs and changes do happen, it is often slow and met with resistance from the players in the field. My recommendation is for WG to sponsor a group of players in the game to build a think tank to help provide relevant peer reviewed arguments based on more than just data available internal to the game. This information can then be consumed by the playerbase and the WG staff. The think tank could also address a lot of in game questions that come from players and or address interesting statements they may not have evidence to support a claim. A Deep Dives into what battleship has the most potential at a certain tier...could be interesting to players....and why that is. Also, then providing reasons why that ship may not be at the top of the charts could also be of interest. A great example question; Has tier 6 BBs become over saturated with Glass Cannons that can overmatch anything below tier 8? Would our findijgs then recommend putting a ship with stronger armor and worse guns at a lower tier for fun/balance? The think tank in itself could also provide guidance to pacing game changes based on general sentiments of the active player base. A holistic introspective look at ingame functions and balance may also lead to new ideas for making the game more interesting and or retaining players. I guess the best way to test this initial concept though is to throw it to the forums and see if it sticks as a good idea with the community. So here it is. Community thoughts and comments welcome. If the General sentiment is no or disinterest I am off the hook.
  5. Purpose: To elicit community input to help retain the gaming player-base based on two planned game changes, which will have longlasting effects at levels never before realized in World of Warships. To illuminate player-base concerns from a "forest" perspective regarding the CV rework and proposed Submarine implementation. To find an escape from the Rock and a Hard Place. The CV Rework: So, this coming month of January 2019, the long anticipated CV rework will be implemented into the current game and forever alter the meta and way this game is played. So much so that the very way mechanics are worked with ships will be greatly affected. In fact, I would argue that this change is going to be the biggest change ever to World of Warships as almost every single ship in the game (save those without AA...who are now even more screwed) will be impacted by this change. This is not a change to aesthetics or a single nerf or buff to a ship, ship class or even tech tree line, but a complete overhaul of both ships and mechanics. Wargaming marketing is still likely reeling from the fallout of the poorly designed and then hastily delivered Graf Zeppelin (Year of the Carrier), which caused the player base to uproar in one voice as the ship was released...far too soon, in hopes of making waves at some gaming convention. For those wanting more information on this topic, feel free to google and research, I just wanted to highlight the topic to bring relevance to what is a catalyst for our current project in the pipeline and the ramifications of a hasty release. My concern here is that we are headed for another Graf Zeppelin, please learn from the historical record...DO NOT REPEAT IT. The Introduction of Submarines: In October 2018, we were given the Halloween event, which as promised brought a version, a live petri dish test-bed so to speak, to World of Warships. Wargaming had clearly invested money, time, and effort into this project and to me, this was the tell tale sign that World of Warships was looking to expand their business to not only vessels on the water and planes above it, but also to the ships that sailed under it. Previously, in April, there was a April Fool's joke with the image of a Submarine, clearly, the first inclination that wargaming had crossed the Rubicon, rolled the dice, and were in the process of developing submarines for World of Warships, despite previous marketing statements to the contrary or at least marketing conversations that stayed a very true neutral on the topic, which provided the wargaming team a chance to exploit this in-game opportunity if enough interest was sparked. Indeed, the forums are a go-to spot for collecting relevant data on classes of ships, premium ships, and well just about anything you want from the community. It is also a sounding board for the squeakiest wheel to get oil. In this case, there was and is an archive/trove of threads dedicated to submarines and their proposed introduction into the game. A caution would be that just because something squeaks, doesn't mean that it is a broken mechanic or even needs the most attention right now, even if the ground work is being laid for a fertile and quite possible lucrative investment. Patience...please go Read Sun Tzu's, The Art of War...it has business application as well. Historical Argument (Not a valid one): If we look at history "real life" and other arguments, it is easy to dismiss this as a terrible idea, because most submarines were designed for scouting, hunting merchant ships or ...even better are referred to as boats not ships. Not to mention, CVs would have dominated all 12 ships on one side from 250 miles away and well off the map. Well, outside of design and actual clauses of calling this game, "World of Warships, Aerial Attack Planes, and Warboats"...there are a lot of aspects about this game that don't fit the credible history and so...the argument doesn't hold water. Facts: What does hold water is if I dig back into all of those wonderful forum threads, with their polls, their comments, and input from numerous players of all skills levels, it can be certain that there is a resounding disagreement within the community of whether the addition of submarines/CV rework is a good idea or not. Looking at the CV rework, it too has polarized the player-base in such a way as to show the crack in the armor of the game, the growing rift between the community and the gaming company and even worse, no one point or way to fix it all. I have seen the downvotes, the absolutely NO!, the memes, and the numerous comments for and against the changes that are about to occur. The reality is that even within the top competitive clans there is talk of how this will impact the game and whether come February 2019, who will still be playing amongst us. (I know that the competitive players aren't the only ones concerned, but that is my social circle and am obliged to share from that which I learn in personal experience). Throw in the submarines shortly there after and its going to be a public affairs fiasco for the ages. And we know the track record on those as well...so my hope is to help avoid that from happening...again. The real Argument (Progressive Player versus Conservative Player): No this is not politics, but it is a way in which players metabolize and cope with changes in a game. If I give you a spoonful of arsenic every day, it will take months to kill you, but you will eventually die. If I gave you the whole bottle with a label on it called "Rat Poison" dangerous to humans, you will likely throw it out or after one sip, spit it out because of how vulgar it is to one's taste buds. Some players here are more conservative and wish to see changes made to the game, but in increments that they can stomach. Others want to see revolutionary and game sweeping concepts added at Blitzkrieg speed! Is either of these schools of thought wrong? No. Each player type wants to see the game progress at a speed they feel comfortable with. Unfortunately though, they are headed for a collision course as the player-base will see this January 2019. The problem is that some will see either of these two additions as good or bad for the game. Those that see it as good, will likely be more invested than ever before...until burnout, while those who see it as bad, may be driven from the game, and once one group of players or even a clan routs from the game, it could turn into a complete and utter fallout of brain-trust to include competitive players and evaluators who feel their voices are never heard by wargaming, despite consistently warning against massive and over used action to achieve an objective. (See Yue Yang comments below). I hope there is a happy middle ground to be found in all of this, who out there has a silver bullet to address this issue? Realities: The BB change to AP has had mixed reviews...I would sit on this for three months, gather the player-base metrics...and then chose a course of action for implementing whatever major decision needs be done with CVs and or Submarines. Much like the stealth firing nerf, there will be pros and cons...but I have this inner worry that many players will jump on the cons. My Hope: Unfortunately, I am writing an article here and for the first time, I do not have a positive solution, and more importantly, I think the marketing and strategy team at Wargaming do not either. The storm is right over the horizon, and the impact of this could make or absolutely break this game to a point where all my tags come true. I can only caution the marketing team at wargaming that they may be trying to go a bridge too far, bite off more than they can chew, or hurry a project into a community that is not yet fully aware of the implications and changes across the board they have asked for. Therefore, this thread is not a thread about whether a change needs to happen or not. It is a thread about how to provide community feedback to the developers and marketing team on how to properly gauge the climate and introduce game sweeping mechanics in such a way as to make them palatable to as many as possible without breaking the game nor one's individual will to play it. My Bias: I will be frank in saying I am very skeptical of the CV rework and the introduction of submarines into the game. I did not enjoy the new submarine play (at all), but again, its just a teaser and I am fearful of what I am seeing with the inefficiency of AA versus the new CV meta. (For those wondering what that might look like, see CC videos on YouTube that are starting to cover the process). I am also not a fan of infinite planes, but I guess some players are not a fan of infinite torpedoes and shells on ships either. I am a conservative player, but I do enjoy change...just not rapid change. A great example...Yue Yang is performing better than peers, ok lets nerf it. Nerf the guns or the torps...not both at once...that just seems way to much way to fast...and sure enough its a crap boat now because too much too fast completely reduced efficiency...shock face. An adjustment incremented over time is more palatable than a soup sandwich without the bread burning hot shoved down my throat. My Goal: For players, community contributors, clan testers, super testers, and wargaming marketing and development staff to address in a constructive way, plans to not cause system shock to the community with these game altering changes planned in the future. You never know, the words you write could have the desired impact and meaning I am hoping to see. I would like to avoid another public affairs fiasco, head it off before it becomes a non-negotiable way too late into the process. Final Thoughts: I am aware I rambled in this one a bit, and probably strayed from the main points, please forgive. I have sounded my alarm, Kongo Out!
  6. It has been a little while due to production issues but I am back revamping my In-Depth Analysis videos into Replay Breakdowns. What better ship to rebrand the series than the one that started it all: the Kronshtadt. In this episode I go over asserting your dominance to control the game.
  7. A few production delays means this video is coming out a little late. However, it is something a little different! Today we are looking at the Tier III French Battleship and focusing on how you can have consistently good games by playing your role and supporting your team. Let me know what you think and thank you for watching.