During my recent trip to the Wargaming head office in Minsk, I sat down with some of the team behind World of Tanks Blitz. I spoke with Team Lead, Stepan Drozd, and Program Manager, Stanislav Patskevich, and asked them how much the community is involved in balancing the game.
“After each new update we have post release surveys were we ask players to say weather they liked certain features,” Drozd explained. “Following these events we get metrics that gives us statistics about what features are liked and disliked and the numbers for each segment of our audience. Secondly we closely interact with influencers, these are our core players who are also community contributors who are bloggers or people who make videos about our game so we get their opinion.
“We also get aggregated data about what their subscribers think about certain features of the update. Thirdly and probably the most important aspect is our interaction with our core clan players and eSports players, basically the champions for Blitz tournaments. When making certain features we focus on how its perceived by these, the best players of the game. This is our priority. We try to balance every new feature for the top players and that’s basically the eSports players. We also use the daily feedback we see from forums and social media.”
Sounds like a lot of data to sift through, right? But what does this mean for the the team and their workload? How often do they put out updates?
“We have Monthly updates. We also have two types of patches, the first are the obligatory to be distributed through the platform holders like the [Apple] App Store and Google Play and so on,” Patskevich said. “There we have some limitations like Apple review time which half a year or a year ago was up to a week long or even more — we have to time our release dates to these approximate times. We also have server side patches which don’t need to be reviewed by anybody so we can check them and deploy them during our weekly restarts.”
Before sitting down with the Blitz team I had an extensive tour of its head office. It’s an enormous building with a lot of fun little spots for people to spend time in and even get some work done outside of their offices. I asked the team if they ever get to use any of these facilities during crunch time.
“In each floor we have the relax rooms were we spend our most time out of our offices playing Tanks,” Stanislav said, confirming my suspicion. “We organise lots of play tests if we are planing to release a new balance or some kind of update.”
So the team is clearly busy — but do they something big coming up?
“We are launching a new season in the game,” Drozd said. “We’ve partially announced it already — it will incorporate rating battles and a new system of tournaments we call tournament cups and leaderboards for tournament players and most importantly many, many cool new features.”
Stay tuned for more interviews from team members from the Wargaming Belarus office.
World of Tanks Blitz is available on iOS, Android and Windows 10 PC.
Stevivor was flown to Minsk as a guest of Wargaming.