about 2 months ago - Ahskance - Direct link

I'm reading this thread and standouts are:

"Randomization means no power farming"


"WG is evil and always nerfs economy so that is probably evil too"


"Ship picks are awkward if I don't know which OP I'm going into"


"Stars removed? WTF?"

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As to the Randomization:

Dedicated Ops players will simply be able to Division and play whatever they would like to play as much as they want to. The Random Queue button will allow for average players that wants to play around and do some Operation-y stuff having a less repetitive experience.



I have a question in regarding Stars. I assume the Star-removal is just in terms of "one-time rewards".

Having objections and sub-missions are part of the Operation experience. So, question is double checking that.



I have a variety of questions asking if the economy has been touched at all.

Worth noting having Daily/Weekly missions will likely be an add of value for playing the mode, so I also asked if that matters. Same with the removal of the 75,000 Credit "Ticket" system.


If I'm missing something, please let me know.

about 2 months ago - Ahskance - Direct link

Added that to internal questions asked.

about 2 months ago - Ahskance - Direct link

My apologies. I received news earlier today that a person I knew and respected passed recently. I actually just got home from leaving work early because my mind is in a weird place.

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I understand the very real player concern about having content altered and nerfed. That being said, it can be hard for me to read the fairly automatic assumption that people I work with and respect are constantly out to make things worse. That combined with the news from earlier combined into very real frustration.

I was told many months ago that "If you're feeling passionate in a conversation, you're probably too deep and should take a step back". I warred with myself on if I should just not give a followup post until Monday, but YouSatInGum had contacted me last week to let me know about the concerns in this thread and I really did want to give some kind of notice that I was here and forwarding questions/concerns.

about 2 months ago - Ahskance - Direct link

1) To my knowledge, the current system on Live Server allows a Division to pick an Operation if they have 4 members of more. Picking a specific Operation is different from Queue'ing for the "Operation of the Week". If a non-full Division queue'd for the "Operation of the Week" than the matchmaker would fill out the battle with random players from the queue.

2) There have been studies showing that each additional click to navigate a menu system will lose players in the process. It could be a nice quality of life thing to allow players to pick an Operation to queue for, but that would also mean having 8 different queues which can translate into a significant wait. Having a single "Battle" button that gives an Operation experience for a player that would like it is the easiest way to keep a healthy queue size while also providing a variety of experiences to keep a player engaged.

There is a Discord called "Hoperations" which is Operation focused. There will also likely be groups and channels which will exist for folks that want to Division for specific operations as the mode gains more traction. Definitely keep an ear out for clans, channels, and other areas that grow after the changes come in.

3) I feel fairly sure the "removal of stars" is mostly in relation to the one-time rewards. I'm not extremely knowledgable on Operations, but I believe that earning more stars gives a bonus to the Base XP earned because of successfully completing sub-missions of the Operation. I have to imagine that mechanic still exists, but I have a question in for clarification and will let everyone know what I hear.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

This is a lot of information to request and I don't believe I'm going to be able to give answers to this depth. In general, we don't provide extremely in-depth economic information so I can't get specific to the extent that I believe you're looking for.

I do have initial responses to the questions I mentioned earlier:

Regarding Stars:

Stars are being removed completely. The Primary and Secondary Mission Tasks will remain so the experience will be the same as it is now.

In economic terms, you should expect Primary and Secondary Missions to perform the same function as I have no indication that this was altered.


Regarding Earnings:

I was not able to gather specifics relating to internal code, but Tier difference is likely to be factored. The buffs that increase the bots combat difficulty make this topic complex as if bots are more powerful than does/should the Tier-to-Bot difference matter? I'm looking to get more specifics but the NA team is traveling until next week so that might be unlikely.

(NOTE): Typically PTS kicks off a short time after the start of a patch, so please look for the PTS to test Operations and give feedback. Everything is much easier to address before it hits live server so the more interest/testing Operations get on PTS the better. Seriously, hit up Operations-folks and give it a good go.


The minimum Division size with still be 4 to allow the selection of a specific Operation. The mechanics of this are not changed compared to how it is currently on Live.

You will not be able to select an Operation and "queue" to fill in the remaining players. You would enter the Operation with as many players as you brought in your division.


The economics for short-manned divisions will be the same as I've heard nothing about them being altered.


I've not heard back in regarding to new voice-recordings for Operations, but I do not expect that new voicework has been done. Our primary goal was the return of old operations and the retrofitting of the existing ones to fit into the multi-tier format that allows for a random-Operation queue to function with whatever tiers are available.

The gentleman that got back to me said he would continue to look into getting answers so I might have more information at a later time. However, it's likely Operations will be available on the PTS by the time I would be able to provide it and many mysteries may have already been solved by then.

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To respond to the post I quoted with what I'm aware of:

I don't know if Stars were a "buff" or a "nerf" to outcomes. My own experiences led me to believe it was a buff in output for additional stars gained, but either could net the same effect. I'm not sure if I would be able to provide specifics as we tend to avoid giving hyper-specific information when describing game economics.


I need more information on how bot buffing interacts with economics. Hopefully I'll recieve more in a follow-up but at this time I expect tier-difference to matter to some extent. If I get more, I will pass it along.


Debuffs for bots exist so Cherry Blossom or Narai would be able to accomodate Tier 6 ships (as an example). Bots can also be buffed in case of over-tiered player groups.


I don't have any information on Training Room AI in relation to Operation/Co-Op AI. Earlier in the year we created AI Tools which allow us more ability to interact with AI through having a speciailized toolset that fits our needs. There have been some alterations to AI that I have noticed personally (CV Bot improvement for instance) but I am not aware of a larger goal than Operations functionality. In short, things may have improved over the course of months but I don't have any specific goals/reveals to provide in relation to background work having been done.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

What does this mean? I didn't play the game while Cherry Blossom was in it. Are you saying there were shiptype restrictions and you are wondering if they still exist?

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

I'd have to ask but I don't think I'll get a response quickly enough to come back before the PTS is up. My belief is that those restrictions will not still be in place in order to allow the Random Operation queue to function by providing a varied set of experiences. If having a single non-Allied ship removed multiple operations, that would make for a significant limitation to the options available.

It might be a restriction for Division-queue though as that would be easier to enforce?

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

Co-Op can exceed Random Battles in Base XP when evaluated in a Base XP over Time aspect. The ability to get 400-600 Base XP per 4-5 minutes allows for 3 matches within 12-15 minutes resulting in 1,200 to 1,800 Base XP. More if high scoring (which is similar to Random Battles as well). If playing very aggressively and using multiple ships, it can be even higher with quick damage and a ram to move to the next battle immediately.

Operations don't have to be directly Base XP competitive to other modes to allow for fun experiences. It's a longer mode which use PvE situations to provide entertainment as opposed to a PvP setup. In that way, there is a PvE option for use of Expendable Bonuses which is more productive per Bonus used.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

Please remember that I am in the interesting position of being between two groups. I represent player concerns to the company while also representing company concerns to players. I am not an advocate strictly for one which means by nature I come into conflict with both. That is the process of understanding where different opinions are and attempting to translate them.

As a "from the company to you" form of response to your feedback, I wanted to convey:

Co-Op should not be used as a measurement of "Base XP over time" in relation to Operations.

Why? Because games can very rapidly be ground out and kick decent rewards over ~4 minutes a shot (if you end with a ram to avoid lingering for additional time). The amount of output is significant except in credits where Service Costs appear repeatedly as opposed to a single time like in Operations, Randoms, Ranked, etc... Bonuses also have more "bang for the buck" in non Co-Op modes as well due to the increased duration of play.

There will be pushback when expecting extremely repeatable content to give as much or more reward than dynamic, non-repeatable content.

The new Operations has ship changes in Tier and other tweaks which can and will give variety and differing experiences. This is wonderful for replayability! However, if the triggers and flow on the content remain consistent enough to be learned then you can have results similar to "Narai with the One Path". While having an extremely optimal route is not a problem in and of itself (except for the teammates that get stuck with little/nothing to shoot at) it represents a repeatable, guaranteed situation.

Randoms, Ranked, Clan Battles, etc... are not guaranteed. Co-Op is not guaranteed with varied spawn points and enemy ship types. Because of the dynamic aspect of the situation rewards are more spread out across a variety of players over many matches as well as the nature of skillful play resulting in increased returns. Memorizing and executing a tough route is skillful but it's not similar to the design/reward loop that exists in every other mode and should not be held at a 1-to-1 standard.

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It's easier for me to stay silent and note the feedback for passing along if there's no conversation to be had. In this case, I felt it worth responding to what may not be possible (alter Operations to be as or more lucrative then Random/Co-Op) but what is still likely to become a conversation point.

The easiest way for me to represent a viewpoint is to have a conversation about it. If something is important to players and I have to fight for it internally than I tend to need more than "Well, players want it so we should do it." Reasoning and understanding are required for me to effectively represent something. You will tend to see me actively engage in conversations where it feels nuanced such as writing some 200 posts over 4 hours of being yelled at during people being angry over Stun Bombs. That was a great discussion that gave me a deep and thorough understanding of how our players are extremely "player agency" focused.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

You need to go on the PTS and play the Operations there. See what they feel like and see what payouts you get. Giving feedback on an actual experience is worth a lot more than theory-crafted concern.

There are also Daily/Weekly Missions that involve Operations which will further bolster earnings for those that interact with the mode so it's not only about individual play payouts.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

NDA is a thing, so I'm not going to be able to provide an overtly extreme amount of insight into our economy settings. That being said, reward structuring is mostly factored over a combination of time and effort. Operations do involve time and effort, but there is a very different player interaction with scripted events when compared to non-scripted interactions.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

Was included in my post 11 hours ago.

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You can and should assume that when I am interacting in a player-facing way that I am representing a company role either as Information Provider or Information Gatherer. My primary function is as an interface point.

In general, you shouldn't give feedback as though your words alone will be directly given as Feedback in mint condition. The NA audience numbers in the hundreds of thousands even though they don't play each and every day. Feedback is primarily viewed in terms of volume and severity because it has to viewed that way. A single voice can only speak so loudly amongst a group which fills multiple stadiums.

That being said, reasoned and deliberate feedback CAN have an outsized impact as something which is extremely understandable as a problem or issue can be conveyed easily and clearly. Feedback is at its best when it identifies an issue and gives a full and understandable description of issue and possible form of resolution.

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To be fair, you can form a division to play Operations on Live and then on PTS. You can choose your preferred Operation and ships as long as it is in a Division.

The instinctive response to this might be "Well, why do I have to test this when you can just fix it?" The answer is multi-fold:

I have played Operations on Live Server, but I have not played them hundreds of thousands of times over many years.

I don't have markers or internal measurements for what they are "supposed" to be giving, so I need community feedback and examples if this is a route you would like to go.


I don't have information on what the Daily/Weekly Rewards for Operations will entail. As a Company those will have to be factored into output.

Note: We literally have a section of the company which deals with our economy and reward structures. Rather capable people evaluate all this stuff and this is not an area of expertise for me in any way.


Min-Max'ing is not fun for the majority of players.

Most players are casual in their enjoyment of an activity. When going to a Theme Park or Renn Faire most people do not pre-plan their routes for maximum enjoyment and minimized wait time. They just show up and do fun stuff until they are tired and want to go home.

This is important because starting a discussion in terms of Min-Max'd rewards-per-minute/hour has little to no meaning in terms of the majority audience. The best feedback you can give is just to play the mode and ask yourself "Did I receive what I felt like I earned?" "Would this level of economy keep me interested or not?" "Do I care about the economy at all when engaging in this content?". This information is directly relevant as it's telling me your direct view/concern. Extrapolating to "I feel like many others will [like/dislike] this" is a fine thing to say, but it's conjecture instead of actual "I did a thing and these are my thoughts"-style feedback.

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Please try to keep "Min-Max" and "Casual" seperate. While a Georgia is very fast, Battleships start further back in the spawn then Cruisers and Destroyers. Further, they have limited DPM as compared to a Destroyer's ability to charge in, torp, and ram something for potentially 2-3 kills in a rather short period of time. Cruisers can provide a similar function, but they are disadvantaged to Destroyers which can spawn in front of them and be faster. When considered a Min-Max'ing player, you must assume that they are rejecting fun in favor of "optimised rewards".

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The earlier conversation was in terms of "Min-Max"ing economic returns and the concern that players will run the numbers and "if Operations aren't directly competitive with Randoms/Co-Op than Operations will fail." My response was to point out that Operations are a different activity than Co-Op and Randoms. While you cannot guarantee wins, you can guarantee outcomes based off of predictable/timed triggers in the Operation format. That is not something which exists in Co-Op or Randoms even if you are aware of how Bot AI tends to function. Innately they are difference experiences (which is good because they are their own mode and should provide different experiences).

I went further to provide what Min-Max'd play could yield in terms of hard-farming Co-Op which can yield solid Base XP per hour when deliberately pushed. If a player decided to hard-farm Base XP in Co-Op for 20 minutes and chose ships that achieved 4-600 Base XP per 5 minutes, then they could expect 1,600 to 2,000 Base XP per 20 minutes while an Operation might last 20 minutes and yield less. This example would not mean that Operations should yield 2,000 Base XP per 20 minutes just because Co-Op could.

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The post you quoted wasn't actually referencing real experiences. The post was voicing concern, which is common with upcoming content.

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As for "is that what WG really wants?", we want to return Operations and for people to enjoy them. Hopefully with the addition of random Operations instead of Weekly and the addition of Daily/Weekly Combat Mission the mode will do well and we can dedicate additional resources to more Operation-style content in the future.

After Operations are released and players play them for an update or two, we'll have data on what amount of economic returns players can expect. We'll also have data on if players continue to play them or stop playing them, in which case we can investigate that data through surveys and analysis to see what areas can be addressed to help boost engagement (if engagement even needs to be increased at that point).

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

As a CM there's not a lot I can do with "concerns about what could be the case with upcoming content" when that content is being Live Tested. This late in the game I need numbers and direct impressions.

There was a quote of a "viewing with concern" form of post and citing it as though it was actual dissatisfaction experience. Most changes are met with a "viewing with concern" baseline state so this is not enough for me to make a case or raise a specific concern.

Further, stating what is effectively "better economics will make for better engagement" is also a known, however as a Free-to-Play game there is rather strict budgeting on what is and is not acceptable in terms of running an economy. Operations are very repeatable content which can yield dependably strong rewards when run with a group that is familiar with the format, as such this makes them unique since our other content/modes are random/varied. This is why I specifically gave an ask:

The best feedback you can give is just to play the mode and ask yourself "Did I receive what I felt like I earned?" "Would this level of economy keep me interested or not?" "Do I care about the economy at all when engaging in this content?". This information is directly relevant as it's telling me your direct view/concern.

The above questions are direct. "Are the Operations as represented enough to engage/interest you?" and if not, why? If a players actual experience in Operations was not strong enough to keep them invested long-term, that is directly actionable feedback. There will be Daily/Weekly incentives which also effect Operations though, so that is going to be an unknown until Ops hit Live as I don't think they exist on PTS.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

Yes, if rewards are low enough to be ignorable then interest will not be sustained. This is why I need actionable feedback on "What is low?" "What is good?" etc...

Telling me that you're worried that they'll be too low isn't giving me data/information other than you are worried. It's good that you've shared your concern, but I can't make things happen with that.

I need Numbers. Percentages. Differences.

If you are concerned about something, I need examples of what you are concerned about and why you are concerned about it. If current rewards are "X" and PTS rewards are "X - 100", then that means "+100" needs to be found in either Daily/Weekly rewards or in terms of base earnings.

If you want me to make a case I need ammo to make it with.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

Additional information might be helpful in giving context to this.

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I am a Community Manager. I'm tasked with relaying information/concerns from Player-to-Company and Company-to-Player. While I have access to some data tools, I was not hired as a Data Analyst and have no formal training in sifting through data banks to produce specific analytics/results. I do have the ability to request a "BI Pull" (Business Information Data Pull) which could look through accumulated data and give specifics based on whatever ask I provide, but there is no ability for be to request a BI Pull that would take a few weeks on information that doesn't exist (PTS Data that is in the process of being accumulated as I type this).

Further, I'm still fairly new to the World of Warships scene in the sense that I've played the game for 3.5 years primarily in CV-Oriented Randoms/Clan Battle Play or Teaching formats. When you reference "the Ops nerf" I don't have lived-in context on what that was or when it happened. I've played and 5 starred all available Operations, but I never spent time as an Operations-main/enthusiast. This is one of the reasons I am talking here to collect impressions/data from folks who ARE Operations Enthusiasts. They have the background and experience to evaluate what Current vs PTS feels like and give comparison information.

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Going further, we have a department referred to as "Monetization" which is extremely aware of the value of all entities in our product. Items, Ships, Camos, Events, etc... all of this is understood by extremely intelligent people that allow our Economy to function in a Free-to-Play environment. Our bills are paid each month, the servers are available for anyone that would like to play our game, and the world continues to turn with visions of more WoWs in the future. I do not claim to rival their capabilities in understanding what level of engagement/reward a player requires to feel incentivized to do something because that is literally their field of work. They have likely run all the numbers in terms of what time and skill investment is required to complete an Operation (from barely scraping by to Best Ever Win) and will make economic balancing decisions with that information. For my part, I can and do point out that Operations are extremely repeatable as the scripted encounters can be learned and perfected, so this aspect MUST be evaluated and factored by the folks that make decisions.

What I CAN do is take very direct, very pointed feedback from people that are enthusiasts to see if the revamped Operations are in a workable place. There is always a "Well, it could pay/give more" condition on anything a person can do, but the question is if the experience is enough to feel correctly rewarding for the effort put in. If there is a very noticeable valley between Expected and Actual, then I can relay that fact as long as I have something workable/consistent enough to present with.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

So that would look like:

[Total Reward Pool][Modifier] / [# of Players] = Individual Payout

Using the conceptual formula you provided:

7 Player Group

($10,000)(1) / 7 = $1,428 per player


6 Player Group

($10,000)(.85) / 6 = $1,416 per player


5 Player Group

($10,000)(.7) / 5 = $1,400 per player


4 Player Group

($10,000)(.55) / 4 = $1,375 per player

The numbers as similar in terms of payout, but you are correct that is a slight reduction each time a player is reduced. Further, each player would need to do more.

I assume the old was had no reduction per lack of player, which would keep the "Total Reward Pool" at Max and simply divy out per player at higher returns.

Example:

4 Player Group

($10,000)(1) / 4 = $2,500 per player


5 Player Group

($10,000)(1) / 5 = $2,000 per Player

In general, our Combat Missions and Events are "Expected Play Based". This means that a reward might be offered on a mission chain that is expected to take 10 battles to perform. A larger reward would be offered on a chain that is expected to take 20 battles to perform. The amount of individual effort might increase of decrease the expected time above or below the average, but that is how we evaluate it.

The examples above would tell me that players found a way to make something earn more over the same period of time while accepting that it would be harder to perform. This is understandable in an effort vs reward format from a player perspective, but from an economic system perspective it is a player-controlled way of getting more for the same time investment. Further, it's in a format that is extremely repeatable/predictable, which is a recipe for directly farmable auto-success. As that doesn't exist anywhere else in the game, I don't think it should be expected for Operations to be a "perfectable reward farm".

The conceptual formula you provided would mean we offer an Operation that has X value per completion. If bringing additional players means earning the same amount while having an easier time doing so, then all the better to bring additional players and use server resources more efficiently.

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

So you're saying the primary issue is that super-capable players being unable to find a higher-value challenge would instead queue normally and outperform average players to such an extent that the mode went nearly extinct as a result?

about 1 month ago - Ahskance - Direct link

I'm reminded of a situation with World of Warcraft. At the end of the first expansion was a raid... "Sunwell" something or other. The raid itself was lauded as some of the best content ever created for World of Warcraft, but only a fraction of a single % of players actually played it. While the raid was immensely appreciated by the hardcore audience, it amounted to months of Dev/Art time to provide content to less than 1% of the people that played the game.

Similarly, a LARP I attended had baited a storyline with a group of 10 players over the course of 9 months. Finally the "payoff" came in the form of a 7 hour module that required the entirety of the Entertainment Staff. It was an epic experience for the group that they talked about for years after, but it resulted in 155 players having no entertainment to interact with for over some 9+ hours in a 30 hour weekend they paid for.

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There's going to be a norm of designing content for a general playerbase because of the sheer amount of players which need content. The development of hardcore and extreme modes has such a low return-on-investment that it becomes extremely hard to justify. Further, it can result in the need for more hardcore/extreme content to keep up with providing an experience that was catered to previously.

Unfortunately there's no magic formula for how to make it work. The best choice for hardcore, challenging content is to face similarly hardcore players in competition. Clan Battles is the ultimate expression of that for us. We do have some challenging PvE in our Halloween content, though, so maybe there's a case to be examined in terms of engagement with the difficulty levels of that Halloween content.