So, I just started playing WoT about several months ago, with around 800+ battles. Played Blitz before coming to WoT. I am a completely free-to-play player, haven't spent a cent on the game. In light of Quickybaby's previous videos regarding the game dying, and also his latest video on loot boxes, here is my perspective regarding the new player experience, what are the problems it faces, and what Wargaming can do to fix them.
1) The matchmaking.
When I started playing WoT on the Asia server, the matchmaking was still the 3-5-7 matchmaking. It was hell playing with this type of matchmaking. Countless times I was bottom-tier, especially at tier 4, and I was unable to even scratch the paint of the tier 6 tanks. Now, the Asia server has had +1 matchmaking implemented, and it is just so much more playable. No longer will I have to face tanks up to two tiers higher, and this makes it less frustrating for players, especially new players like me. This is a step in the right direction. However, I know that this matchmaking has only been applied on the Asia server, and not on other servers. I hope that Wargaming will quickly implement this matchmaking on the other servers, removing quite a lot of players' frustration over the game.
2) The complexity of the game and no proper tutorial explaining it to new players.
Moving from Blitz to WoT was a big step up as I had to deal with much more complicated spotting mechanics, larger teams,more complex crew systems, and most of all, artillery, which I will explain in my next point. I did my research before I played, so I did know what to expect, and it wasn't really much of a shock to me. However, a friend, who I got to start the game together with me so as to reduce the frustration of stock grinds, didn't have much knowledge about all this. I remember in his second game with me, he was typing in the platoon chat, " Why am I getting shot by invisible tanks?" Trying to explain how to transfer crew took half an hour, and it didn't end well. I was sure the game was getting frustrating to him, and he stopped playing just two weeks after he started. I am sure the majority of newer players face this problem of being unable to take the sheer complexity of the game, leaving them angry and frustrated. I can think of several solutions to this problem:
– Have a more in-depth tutorial. The tutorial given to new players like me simply isn't enough. Wargaming needs to follow-up on this tutorial as the player progresses through the game, such as when a player unlocks a heavy tank for the first time, he has to go to a "training room", where he is thought what a heavy tank is and practice some techniques such as side scraping. This is especially so when a player unlocks a vehicle that is difficult to play, such as light tanks or autoloaders.
– Simplify the crew system for new players. While completely reworking the crew system is probably a bad idea, what Wargaming can do is introduce a "crew package" for new players, which consists of 100% crew and the commander already trained in Sixth Sense. This package can be easily transferred without the crew being retrained. This package will follow the new player up till perhaps around tier 6, where after that the normal crew system will take over. However, before that, there needs to be a tutorial on how the crew system works and how to transfer crew members.
One of the biggest changes from Blitz to PC was artillery. Despite the nerds to artillery, it still can be quite annoying to play against in lower tier matches. This is especially so for new players like myself, where we still do not have the proper knowledge of how stuns and other artillery mechanics work. As such, new players who have not research on the game would be thinking "Why am I constantly getting bombarded by shells out of nowhere? Why is there a sign reading 'stun' "This can be quite frustrating for new players. One solution is to remove artillery from low-tier matches, however, this is a pretty bad idea as players would face an even bigger culture shock from tier 6 onwards where the artillery is. A better (?) solution I can propose is during the boot camp tutorial, have a lesson regarding artillery, touching on what is it, and how to stay arty safe. Maybe even let the newer players have a go on artillery, to see how artillery works and how to counter it.
4) Stock grinds
Another obstacle that new players like me face are horrendous stock grinds. I tried grinding the Amx 40 and Sarl 42, and the grind was utterly terrible. It didn't help that my crew was only around 60%. I am sure even seasoned players facing these grinds are more likely to be frustrated than not. What more, a new player with limited understanding of the game mechanics. To solve this, I think Wg has to try to make the grinds easier by removing horrible modules. Maybe a larger stash of free xp can be given to the new player when he/she starts the game. The 15k free xp from the bootcamp missions are not enough.
When I played, I noticed a lot of players with above 10k battles playing tanks such as the t67, pz 1c and other seal-clubbing tanks. A lot of times, these players just utterly destroy new players, and us new players can't do anything. These seal-clubbers usually have camouflage and also equipment. This places the newer players in an unfavourable position against these seal-clubbers. Understandably, some players will get tired of playing high-tiers and want to play some lower tiers, however, there are some players which refuse to play higher tiers and stick to lower tiers, having like 10k battles in a seal-clueing tank and just making us newer players' lives miserable. It doesn't help that some of these seal-clubbers can be quite toxic to the newer players. Here are some of my solutions:
– Restrict the number of equipment slots available to lower tiers. For example, for tier 1 and 2, only 1 equipment slot is available. Tier 3 and 4, 2. From tier 5 onwards then only all equipment slots be opened up. Obviously, players with all equipment slot unlocked in his/her lower tier vehicle should be refunded for the costs of the equipment and maybe some extra rewards.
– Ban XVM from lower tier matches. I'm only up to tier 6, so I do not know the current state of XVM in higher tier matches, but I feel that in lower tier matches, XVM is not required and only leads to more toxicity, discouraging newer players from playing the game. By banning it in lower-tier games, newer players can have a more friendly environment geared towards them.
I feel that banning seal-clubbers from lower-tier matches or giving newer players their own matchmaking queue might not be a good idea, as seal-clubbers can actually teach newer players some skill. The problem comes in when they have an extra advantage such as being able to afford equipment, premium ammunition and camouflage. By limiting access to these on lower-tier games, newer players will not be so disadvantaged.
6) The Free-to-play and new player experience.
I would like to sum up all my points with a single point. I am sure most players that start World of Tanks don't have the intention to spend money yet. I am sure most of them would like to try the game out, and if it is good, then they may stay. A lot of the problems I mentioned can be easily solved with money, for example buying gold to convert to free xp to skip stock grinds. However, this makes new players feel pressured to pay money, and while perhaps they may bring out the credit card once, after facing more and more paywalls, they will eventually stop and quit the game. While perhaps Wargaming may earn some money in the short run, in the long run, fewer and fewer new players will stay in World of tanks, and new players are essential to a game's survival. However, if Wargaming makes the game more free-to-play and new player friendly, new players will find the game more enjoyable and not feel that pressured to spend money. Even though new players might not spend money at the start, after awhile, if they find the game enjoyable, they might feel like spending money so as to support the game and continue to keep it running. Therefore, if Wargaming makes World of tanks more enjoyable to newer players, they are more likely to stay in the game and also support it with their wallets.
I hope you have gained an insight into the current new player experience through my post. Thank you.
© Post "A new player’s perspective on WoT" for game World of Tanks.
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