Greedy Goblin

Friday, December 23, 2011

Can't back off

Please look at this World of Tanks chart:
As I wrote, penetration is a key feature in this game, if you can't penetrate the enemy armor, you do zero damage. The chart shows the armor of the heaviest tanks of the tier and the gun penetration of tank destroyers. The three thick lines show the ratio of average gun : average armor in the same, +1 and +2 tiers of tanks, as you are matched against tanks that are 2 tiers of your range. Please note that 100% means that the gun would just penetrate from zero range, ideal angle. To hit a sideways-standing, sloped armored tank from afar, you need serious overpower of gun.

As you can see the relative gun strength has a minimum in tiers 5-7. The lower tier and higher tier tanks are both more likely to score an effective hit. Why? Is it a design failure? Far from it. It's another way of abusing the socials into paying in the item shop.

In the start tiers you are effective so get hooked on the game. It's easy to "pwn" in lower tiers (of course it's equally easy to be "pwned" but a social is never pwned, just got a "fail team no1 hepled lol"). So the player starts to like the game. Then he reaches the higher tiers and he start to get ineffective hits. Of course the match is still balanced, since the enemy is equally ineffective, you can often see heavy tanks standing in close range, shooting at each other for minutes and still both standing. The social doesn't care about wins, he wants "fun", and having ineffective hits is not fun. Of course he could go back to T4 but it doesn't feel right. It's "lame" to back off.

Since he can't back off and T5-7 is not fun, there is only one way out for him: forward. He could only advance during "not fun" matches so he rather buys his way to the top tiers. If people wouldn't be stupid socials who want to "progress" and can't back off, the free-to-play model couldn't exist. The game would either be crap at start so no one would get hooked, or would be good and no one would leave the starting tiers, everyone would play there for free.

There won't be post on Monday as it's Christmas and people wouldn't read it anyway.


Happy Forum said...

I disagree with your comment that "If people wouldn't be stupid socials who want to "progress" and can't back off, the free-to-play model couldn't exist."

League of Legends (LoL) is a counter example to this because people purchase skins for champions that provide no form of power or progress, but let yourself and other players see your champion with some new model. They are simply vanity "fun" items, similar to the mini-pets Blizzard sells.

Of course, one could make the claim that LoL does sell power through selling champions and rune pages because this allows players to have more available IP (a currency mainly gained by playing matches) to spend on runes to boost your champion's stats, which can only be paid for with IP, but the fact that people buy skins at all suggests you can have a f2p model without selling some sort of "progress" - it just wouldn't be as profitable.

Orosei said...

@Happy Forum: The need to show off that new, 'pretty', skin however, is another quite social move. It's basically the same reason people have to buy more power, which is also used as a comparison to make oneself feel better, "Lol I owned those scrubs" vs "lol I look better than those scrubs, clearly I also am better"

Jonneh said...

Honestly gevlon if you are going to test the free-to-play model you have to test league of legends as well

Anonymous said...

You can buy experience boots in LoL, but all in all you are still right.

madscorpion said...

Good catch on the WoT game business model. The fine print that you probably havent caught on is, once you get into tier 8, there's NO way you can break even on a match, even a winning match, unless you have a premium account. So you either need a money grinding tank of lower tier or you fork out the real world cash for a premium account.

Btw, i have no problem with that. Wargaming isnt out to provide me for fun, they're out to make money and from the time i've spent in the game, they're doing a pretty decent job (but they're starting to fall more & more into the extort the mindless, drive away the intelligent though, lets see how it develops)

Péter Zoltán said...

The same shit is going on with aiming speed/accuracy with SPGs.

I've been playing SPGs all the time and the T5 was a huge disappointment. It was literally unplayable. Both lower and higher tier SPGs were aiming much faster than me. T6+ spgs usually one or twoshot anything, so I basically never had a chance to even hit anything, not to mention kill it. I had maybe 15 hits and 2 kills in 22 matches. Before that I scored 2-5 kills in most winning matches.

However I didn't let the game force me to throw in more money to win (or grind with TD/tank to convert XP), instead I deleted it.

Bumpy said...

So from what I understand about World of Tanks is that they use real blueprints for the tans, real guns, real ammo, etc to "model" the tanks as accurately as they can (even if quite a lot of tanks are based on prototypes, etc to pad the selection).

That means that if you are in a match with a bunch tanks of similar tier you will end up with a slug-fest (for lack of tactics or arty support).

Of course there are "cheats" to make your crew/tank/ammo better, and it's impossible to pick and choose your battles to make sure you always have the advantage... and the fact that German tanks were meant to kill American tanks (or vis versa) you end up with some interesting outcomes when it's German vs German.

Remember it usually took 4 Shermans to kill one Tiger in real life, so you can cry all you want that it's not fair, but in reality that's what it was.