The dedicated community of World of Warships players was very angry with the way the game’s publisher, Wargaming.net, handled the drama that unfolded over the last two weeks. First, Wargaming created a new way to distribute free premium time for the game without warning players of the switch. Then it backpedaled on the decision and said it had made a mistake. Finally, it apologized and promised to refund all the premium time players had spent and give them a new and easier distribution method.
World of Warships recently issued an apology on their Facebook page for their recent performance on the Global Stage, and stated that they would be making changes to the way the game is monetized and their player relations. Since then, they have been on something of a damage control campaign, and have begun addressing the communication and monetization issues.
The World of Warships team is finally making amends, and it’s not a bad one. In a series of interviews yesterday, the developers addressed the issues that plagued the game at its height, and uploaded a letter to the community outlining a number of changes that need to be made.
Over the past several weeks, World of Warships hasn’t had the greatest of luck. August witnessed a huge exodus of committed content producers leave the game, as our own WoWS specialist Ben has been reporting, due to what they described as abusive conduct toward influencers, as well as problematic and pushy monetization. The Russian developers then added salt to the wound by sending out a discount code to the Russian community that targeted one of the video producers who had criticized the business. The studio’s reaction to these problems has been delayed and unsatisfactory, since the statement sent to the community after the exodus included no apology, and although the developer responsible for the offending code was suspended, the player was not reinstated.
Another letter from Wargaming arrived this morning, this time signed by Publishing Director Victor Bardovsky and Development Director Andrey Lisak. Yes, there is an apology in this one.
“[W]e want to apologize to all of you, gamers, content producers, moderators, testers, and other volunteers, to those who support us and those who are unhappy with us,” the duo adds, promising more openness in the future. “We are responsible for everything that occurs inside the game and in the community, and we regret that we allowed the situation to deteriorate to this point.”
The article is lengthy, including sections on enhancing communication, providing better roadmaps and explanations for improvements, and incorporating input on possible gameplay changes ranging from maps to ship balance. A revamp of the community contributor program seems to be in the works:
“When we launched our CCTP, we wanted to make it easier for creative people who were passionate about our game to produce content and build their channels. Right now, it’s obvious that a number of things in the Program aren’t working as they should, leading to dissatisfaction and unmet expectations, despite the fact that other elements of the program are operating well. The Program will be updated, both in terms of regulations and in terms of how we operate with it internally. In the second part of September, we anticipate to have some kind of internal strategy and initial action points available, and then we’ll go forward with the adjustments this Autumn.”
The monetization part is perhaps the most intriguing; although the studio claims it will not go into detail about its corporate monetization methods, it does try to address some of the monetization concerns raised by influencers prior to and after the exodus. Next year, the firm pledges to start disclosing lockbox drop rates and to “go above what is required” by law in terms of age ratings. It also apologizes for the Missouri ship debacle, which sparked the exodus, claiming it has created a new method to purchase the ship and would “issue sufficient number of credits to all the impacted players as a token of appreciation.” Other lockbox ships will be able to use these alternative ways as well:
“Random mechanics,” says the narrator. As a company, we constantly obey the law and adhere to new rules as they emerge. As a result, our stance on containers and random bundles has always been and will continue to be consistent with government judgments. We may even attempt to work ahead of industry standards in certain instances. We are aware that there are slowly but steadily advancing tendencies to control the digital domain more and more, in order to keep up with technological solutions and economic models based on them. With that in mind, we appreciate your input and promise to do the following: for any new ships delivered through Containers or Random Bundles, there will be an alternate method of obtaining them from now on. Timegating (i.e. early access or time-delayed incentives), direct purchases, completing in-game tasks, and other methods may be used.
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