Wargaming’s plans for future 24-hour servers
An interview with Wargaming about the future of World of Tanks in Australia and New Zealand
At PAX Australia this year we had the privilege of speaking to some of the staff behind the new Australian team at Wargaming, makers of the popular online multiplayer game, World of Tanks. This new team clearly shows that the company is starting to pour resources into Australia and New Zealand. Why? The high concentration of fans in this region allows the company to focus on these two countries separately, unlike other game companies that group Australia and New Zealand in with the general Oceanic coverage.
The first thing the team did was implement dedicated servers for Australia and New Zealand. However, those servers are not running full time yet, just from 6pm to midnight every night, seven days a week.
It seems that this is just the start of the server rollout for Australia and New Zealand, assuming everything goes well.
The community will play a big role in how Wargaming and World of Tanks will be moving forward in the region. In fact, feedback and community satisfaction are incredibly important to Wargaming. The company runs a fair amount of player gatherings around the year, where the staff is able to talk one-on-one with as many players as they can. Some of the feedback they get has shaped the way they approach updates and content. The players seem to be taking the game and the limited community resources currently available to them to the limits.
One thing that Wargaming stressed is that they are in for the long haul. At seven years in, the team still believes "this is just stage one". It’s not hard to believe them too, because they continued to talk about the future more and more.
Of course, the team was keeping the plan close to its chest, and refused to share any of these ideas with us at the moment. But they did tell me to be prepared for some juicy announcements coming soon around the future of World of Tanks.
Wargaming and esports
Another area that Wargaming has covered pretty well is the transition of esports into a real competition within the community. Now they want to step back and work on a middle step – creating a casual medium of competition that can assist in transitioning to the higher professional levels of esports, by implementing a Ranked Battle system to add a new level of play and casual experience.
"How do we grow the actual grassroots community for competitive gaming? We have a lot of players who play our game for different reasons. Some play just for the social side of things. They want to play with their mates and have fun,” said Hahn.
“They don't care if they're the best or the worst players. But we also have players who say: "I'm competitive. I want to win, but I don't really know where to go. I'm not ready to jump into esports, full-on professional gaming yet. I need a stepping stone." So right now a lot of what we've been doing, and actually that's been since last year, is starting to build some of those stepping stones."
Taking steps in different directions is not uncommon for Wargaming. Back in 2015 I spoke to the team about a new project they were launching: Wargaming Labs. The idea was a publishing project to encourage smaller independent companies and assist in the transition into publishing. Now two years later it seems we are getting close to the first set of products coming to fruition.
However, it seems we'll have to wait a little longer to find out anything more about this.
The big news that we can count on is the Wargaming Fest, or WG Fest, in Moscow this December, 2017. This is the bigest event of the year for the company, rounding out the year’s top tournaments in some intense finals, along with special guests.
The team was quite cautious not to spill too much but seemed to be eager for the upcoming announcements that will be coming out of WG Fest. It will be interesting to see just what they announce. Here's hoping that some of the Lab titles they spoke about will be getting a release date.