I have not been around much lately, but I had to mark this occasion.
In a rather desperate and distasteful bid to salvage some cash from World of Warplanes, Wargaming has greenlighted the adoption of “Pay to Win” strategies in the game. Starting with update 1.9, the gun and damage systems have been overhauled, making critical hits more common and fires more dangerous.
This is the third time now that they have made major changes to the weapons and damage systems of the game. Stop for a moment and think about how you would react if your favorite game changes the mechanics of how DPS works three times. Now also account for the fact that these changes have never been requested by the player base. Can you feel the rage building?
And not, to top it all off, with this third unasked for change comes another. From now on in World of Warplanes, the best ammunition, the ones that give a bonus to the now more dangerous critical hits and fires, can only be bought for gold (real world currency).
Yes, you heard that right. Only real world cash on the barrelhead will allow you to purchase the best damage rates for your weapons. They cannot be earned as rewards or purchased with in game currency.
For a game that has gone from 3k players a night in Open Beta down to 300 players a night now, its a strange move to make. I suppose the argument is that those 300 left are so diehard that nothing will make them leave at this point, and to recoup their losses, those 300 will have to be sacrificially bled on the altar of Wargaming’s failure.
Adding credence to this theory is the other major part of Update 1.9 – instead of the usually 3v3 battles necessitated by the low population, all matches will now be filled to 15v15 with AI bots. The idea of attracting new players and increasing the population has officially been set aside in favor of a life-support model that will allow the game to limp along.
Me? I’m already out. War Thunder has finally found a sweet spot where their flight model is good and workable, and the game balance is there for fun times.
With this loss to Gaijin in the air, and the fact that Obsidian has, with the launch of Armored Warfare today, beaten Wargaming at its own best game on the ground, I have to believe we have passed Wargaming’s high water mark. I know that sounds impossible, but I guess ten years ago I would have thought it was impossible for MySpace to become completely irrelevant to social media. I have a feeling that ten years from now, Wargaming will still be around, but at a fraction of their former glory.