World of Tanks Game Balance Designer Q&A


Who is a game balance designer

He adjusts the characteristics of tanks and develops combat mechanics. Combat mechanics are what the World of Tanks gameplay is built around: shooting, armor penetration, reloading, modules, crew, detection and camouflage.

Roma is not involved in the development of game modes and maps – this is the work of game designers and level designers. Questions about the balancer are also not for him.

Is it possible to achieve the perfect balance?

– Yes, but for this, you will have to close the development and no longer add new content. Balancing is an ongoing process. When new tanks, classes, nations, and mechanics are added to the game, they affect the entire ecosystem, which is why you constantly have to tweak something.

Imagine that equipment appeared in the game that adds + 10% to durability. A tank with 2000 HP will receive twice the bonus as a tank with 1000 HP.  You can replace durability with any other indicator – detection range, camouflage, damage, speed, etc.

It turns out that even small innovations can excessively strengthen or weaken some tanks. Now imagine how many things you need to take into account, introducing complex mechanics like field upgrades.

– How do you understand that it’s time to change the characteristics of the tank?

— I rely on statistics, player reviews, my own vision and plans for the development of the game. 

Subjective impressions and experiences of the game can often be deceiving. For example, on the forum they can massively complain about the excessive power of a tank, but if you open the battle statistics, it turns out that its effectiveness is within the normal range. Or vice versa.

– If the feedback from the players and the statistics converge, we take the tank on a pencil. If time passes, and the reviews do not change and are again confirmed by statistics, we determine how serious the problem is. Further, the rebalance of the tank falls into the plans for the near or medium term.

About the new flamethrower tank

Closed testing of a new mechanic in World of Tanks — the flamethrower — will begin soon. The flamethrower tank should become a support vehicle with a limited range. Roma about developing new mechanics:

– We create a flamethrower tank exclusively by the Minsk studio.

— I often hear that new mechanics “break” the gameplay. Aren’t you afraid that the flamethrower will become such a mechanic? 

— Players have been with us for many years, World of Tanks has become a part of their lives, they worry about the game, so they perceive any changes with caution. Someone wants more new content, while someone else wants the game to be touched less. But the game needs development, and we try to introduce changes smoothly so as not to disappoint either one or the other.

Regarding the mechanics of the flamethrower – no, I’m not afraid. Everything will be pretty balanced there.

We will tell you more about the flamethrower tank a little later.

Wheeled tanks and self-propelled guns

I ask Roma how the fights will change if these classes are removed from the game. 

— Arta and wheeled lights are links of the same chain, like signs in “rock, paper, scissors”. It’s not worth removing them. I myself often push opponents, and when there is no arty, I clearly feel that it’s hard to play: opponents with impenetrable turrets cluster in such a way that you can’t smoke it out, and there is no one to shoot at them – when there is no arty. It is enough that we reduced their number in battles.

With the “wheelers” the situation is similar: They became “toxic” – so their speed was cut and reduced their number in battles.

– Wheelers attracted fans of fast driving; specialized EBR mains appeared – and this is great. Wheeled LTs have a somewhat negative effect on tracked ones, but here it is more likely that you need to deal with the latter.

The 25% rule and ground hits

You’ve probably noticed that the damage you deal doesn’t match the average damage of your weapon. The fact is that any shot can cause damage within ± 25% of the average value indicated in the characteristics. 

If the average damage is 100 units, then the actual damage will fluctuate between 75–125 units. The same rule applies to armor penetration. 

Why is this rule?  Perhaps it would be better without it? 

– This is a tribute to the historicity, which is very well laid down on the gameplay. In reality, it is also impossible to say with 100% certainty whether the projectile will penetrate some kind of conditional armor or not. If we remove this mechanic from the game, then the sight will always be either red or green, but the uniqueness of the game lies precisely in the yellow sight, in the element of randomness that it adds.

– And if we reduce the spread, say, to 10%? 

– Why? This will not affect your level of play or behavior in battle. The probability distribution is arranged in such a way that the chance of extreme values ​​falling out is noticeably, noticeably lower than the average ones. Therefore, most likely, you will not even notice the difference between ± 25% and ± 10%, because in both cases the average values ​​u200bu200bwill most often fall out. But the number of epic shots and emotions will decrease.

– There are times when I get into a tank, and in response to me – “did not hit the armor.” What does this mean, where did I end up?

– This means that you hit the tank, but the shell did not hit its armored hull. For example, a projectile can break through an external protective screen, or get into the chassis or optics, but not touch the armored hull. In this case, you will not cause damage to the enemy, but you will probably damage one of the modules.



The armored hull is everything that is highlighted in color (except for the gun).

When asked whether the projectile could fly out of the circle of information or fly through the tank, Roma answered unequivocally: “No, if this happened, then this is a bug.” But it should be borne in mind that when the tank is aiming, the ground may fall into the circle of dispersion, and it may seem that the projectile “intentionally” flew into it, but it simply flew to the edge of the circle. It is important to distinguish between how mechanics work and external factors like a bad internet connection. With a bad connection to the server, anything can happen, including incorrect display of the projectile flight and the position of other players.

Single-tier battles and balance of teams by rating

At first glance, this may seem like a good idea, but in reality, single-tier battles are more intense and monotonous. With the current spread of ± 2 levels, somewhere it “hurts” you, and somewhere it’s very good, in general, the load is more even. In addition, if all the battles are the same tier, the motivation to explore new tanks disappears.

Balancing teams by rating will also make the fights more intense, increase the time in the queue, and at the same time will not solve the problem of an equal distribution of forces.

– If the “purple” player gets into the team with the “red-yellow” against the “green” team, the average rating of the teams will be equal, but we understand that this is not the case. And the situation with “we lost because they have one more green” will continue. But trying to explore how to give the player more of a sense of fairness is definitely worth it.

“Gold” shells – for “gold”

These shells are so-called because until 2013 they could only be bought with gold. Now they are sold for credits, but they are expensive.

— Don’t you think that if you start selling “gold” shells again only for gold,  it will become more interesting to play? 

– Old players, perhaps, will become more interested for a while, they will remember their youth, so to speak, but I doubt it for new ones. And the second is much more than the first. Imagine: you are a “poor” student who started playing Tanks after 2013, and suddenly you see that now, instead of 4800 credits, the projectile costs 10 gold. What will be your reaction?

“Over the years, the “skill” of the players has increased, so the fights have accelerated”

There are fights, the outcome of which is determined in the first minutes, and then one side simply “finishes” the other.

— There is a problem with turbofights, we are aware of it and are constantly thinking about how to improve the situation. There are plenty of reasons. One of them, in my opinion, is the “skill” of the players. Over the years, it has greatly increased, and now the mistake of even one tank is not forgiven: the enemy immediately tries to use it to the maximum and the turbo drain begins. A typical example is the LT at Prokhorovka: if one team’s “LT” merged, while the other one remained alive, that’s it.

The topic of balance is very extensive and interesting, so let’s discuss!

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