Lately a lot of you have been upset with various incidents, our decisions, as well as a general state of things in the game and community. 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.
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. It will be a long read, you will see items of different scales and with different times required to see results. No doubt more news and announcements will follow, so please don't treat this as a final plan and the ultimate solution to everything. Instead, please treat it as a list of things we're currently working on and a way to show our intentions to make the game and community a better place. Also, please note that it is not comprehensive, as many other measures are revolving around internal processes.
World of Warships is a free-to-play title following the game-as-a-service concept with substantial monthly updates and a constant evolutionary cycle. To support this model we rely on a multitude of monetization tactics considered to be standard practice in the industry. While we believe it's unreasonable to expect us to discuss our monetization strategies in all but the most general terms - this is business-critical information - we do understand that there are specific details that are a cause of concern for some of you. We will address them as best we can below.
- 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.
- 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.
- Return of Missouri. The initial concept of the event was perceived negatively, and we should have known better. The case was a learned lesson for us and we added an alternative way to purchase the ship. We're also addressing the situation with the ship's earnings to make sure that those who owned Missouri before 0.10.7 will on average receive not less credits than before the changes to the ship's economics. We're grateful for the battles you played, these helped us to collect sufficient data. This amount of data allows us to add a +10% bonus to the special Missouri combat mission (from 20% to 30%). Additionally, we will issue appropriate amount of credits to all the affected players as a sign of appreciation; details will be published in Devblog separately.
- 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.
- Age ratings. We've already added disclaimers about in-game purchases with random items to our PEGI ratings. We're also in touch with other rating organizations to adjust our ratings everywhere in a consistent way. While our game was never popular among minors and we adhere to legislation in all countries where we publish World of Warships, we plan to go beyond what is required of us by laws and we are working on our own in-game measures to additionally protect children who interact with our game. We will share more details on this point once we're ready to announce them.
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. Things we are considering and evaluating right now:
- More reaction to feedback on ships balance. We know there are several ships you want to be addressed, and we'd like to confirm: balance changes are planned for Zao, Petropavlovsk, and FDR in 0.10.10. Moving forward we will try to increase the promptness of addressing released ships in a similar way and when it is not possible (for example, changing a ship will move it out of the interval of normal performance), we will put more effort into giving you insights and explaining our reasoning.
- 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.
- New gameplay experiences. We will keep evolving the game by introducing new game modes and mechanics, both fiction- and history-based. For example, in 0.10.8 we will have a new mode - Convoys - inspired by historical events. We will keep exploring new game modes in the future, - it's one of our priorities. Expanding permanent types of battles (primarily Random battles) with new modes is also one of the long-term goals to keep the game fresh and entertaining. However creating a mode suitable not just for a short gaming period, but for a permanent presence with high replayability is a much bigger challenge, so it takes many more tries and effort.
- Maps. We've slowed down with adding new maps to the game recently because the team focused more on the game's visuals in general (updated visual effects, new water, and other improvements) as well as introducing a whole new level of underwater world. That said, in 2022 at least one new map will be released, and another one has some chances to make it in time. Spoiler: we're also going to try a new mechanic with the first of these new maps not previously used in the game.
- 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.
- Other. There are plenty of other things we know you're interested in, and quite a lot of them are being worked on in different stages of development. We haven't forgotten about things such as secondary builds for cruisers, the update of some old ship models, Tier IV CV tuning, Huron (coming 2022), West Virginia'44 (coming 2023), addressing the chat system, improvements for Ranked Battles, and many other small and not so small changes to the game that will make your experience with it better.
We are a large, distributed team of over 500 people working across more than 4 countries. Coming from all walks of life, culturally varied and hindered severely by the pandemic from travelling to see each other in person to be able to align on certain matters, we are bound to have organizational challenges in the realm of communication. However, these internal challenges should not be visible, much less influence the player experience. Improving communications is a never-ending process which needs to be evolutionary and not revolutionary, so you will see those improvements incrementally over time in many areas, rather than as a one-time institutional overnight change. But we want to address a few specific points you pointed out in this area.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Victor Bardovsky, Publishing Director
Andrey Lisak, Development Director
World of Warships Team