Wargaming – Interview sheds light on Asia & Oceanic expansion plans

[Website] Wargaming has been making huge strides in conquering the world market ever since it exploded into the gaming scene with World of Tanks. With presence in almost all gaming events around the world, both big and small, the company has never been shy about having a flashy and extravagant booth. I just had a new interview with Wargaming’s representatives, talk from tanks to planes and to ships. Read on!

World of Tanks
Q: The SEA server has been in operation since April 2012. How are things progressing?
A: Progress has been really good, and we now have 880,000 registered commanders. We have also seen a 50% registration and PCCU growth for the past 3 months. These numbers not only include players from the Southeast Asia region, but include places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.
Q: For those who didn’t know, how strong are SEA players compared to the US or EU players?
A: In the recent World Cyber Games, teams from the SEA server really held their own against teams from other regions. I would say our players are on par with the EU teams, and perhaps better than most. The SEA teams are from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines etc, with Singapore having a good WCG and clinching 3rd place in its group.
Q: Why is the Chinese tanks update being delayed?
A: We are dedicated in making sure the new tanks are properly balanced before releasing them. There are some areas which need more polishing, and we must make sure everything is perfect for the players.
Q: There are quite a number of tanks now in the game from different countries. Is it true that each and every tank has different statistics, with no 2 vehicles the same?
A: Yes, that is exactly true. We did deep level research on all the tanks beforehand, even those which were not officially manufactured and based on blueprints and historic records. Some of the tanks may look similar, but all of them will have different engines, ammunition etc.

World of Warplanes
Q: How is development for the game going? Is there a scheduled time-frame for the game’s launch?
A: There is no scheduled launch time-frame for the game now, although it is in Closed Beta. Balancing is still being carried out, and we must make sure we do it properly since expectations are high after the successful launch of World of Tanks. World of Warplanes will be released when it is ready.
Q: How many different planes are there now, and how many are scheduled to appear for launch?
A: There are about 60 planes now, with the Japanese tech tree having around 20. Similar to World of Tanks, more planes will be introduced in the future.
Q: The game looks easier to play using the joystick, which is the choice of controller at the demo booths here. Will players using the mouse and keyboard be at a disadvantage?
A: Not really, it is actually up to players’ preference of which control device they want to use, and there will be no advantage for either. Keyboard and mouse may be suited for the casual players, while joystick for the more serious ones. In fact, the tutorial now is based on mouse and keyboard. We are committed to provide access to the game for both new and veteran gamers. World of Warplanes will also support all known control devices out there, mouse, keyboard, gamepad, joystick and whatever you can think of.
Q: Is it true that planes in the game may randomly get struck down by lightning? If it is, wouldn’t it be unfair for players who are on a killing streak?
A: Oh no, even though there are weather effects, there will not be random lightning attacks. For example, planes may hide behind clouds, or swoop down from the top with the sun at the back, blinding and surprising enemies. There are also land obstacles such as mountains, with ground units such as anti-air as well. These are AI-controlled, and players may also fly their plans to attack ground targets.

World of Warships
Q: The new screenshots look fantastic with the realistic environment. Are any of these places designed using inspiration from real-life actual locations?
A: Ah yes. There is this harbor, based on Novorossiysk, Russia. This place has seen many wars fought. We refrain from using the exact names to avoid misunderstandings.
Q: I have to ask the same question again. How many ships are there now?
A: There are 4 types of ships, battleship, air carrier, destroyer and cruiser, a total of around 10 ships now. World of Warships is a secret even for most of the Wargaming employees, with not many having tried the game. The gameplay so far is good, with tactical combat needed along with the rock, paper and scissors format. Each ship type has its own advantages, even smaller ships can sink the big ones. The development team is focused on adding more content now, with the gameplay being pretty solid currently.

Q: The gameplay for World of Warships is still unknown to the outside world. Will multiple players control 1 ship? What can you tell us more?
A: Each player will control 1 ship. For the carrier class of ships, it will play like a real-time strategy (RTS) game. Players can choose a place to hide, while micro-managing the planes sent out to scout areas or provide support.
Q: Similar to Starcraft’s Protoss Carrier?
A: Yes.
Q: Given that warships move a lot slower than tanks or planes, how long will each game last here?
A: Right now, each gameplay session is around 15 minutes as well, similar to the other 2 games. But nothing is confirmed, since it was a test play of the early Alpha client. Despite being in Alpha, the graphics and game details are already plentiful.

Q: Now that you have expanded into Southeast Asia, is Wargaming looking to expand further into other countries?
A: We have really expanded out of the SEA region with Singapore as the regional hub. We are looking at countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and also Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The SEA server, located in Singapore, has no IP blocks for all these places, as long as users have a stable connection.
Q: Will these countries be having their own dedicated servers?
A: All of these regions will be playing in the SEA server.
Q: Now that the public knows what games are coming out, which are World of Warplanes and World of Warships, do you think announcing them so early kind of diminish the element of surprise?
A: Rather than providing surprise, we are more focused on matching players’ expectations, releasing well-polished titles. Despite having announced all these games, we don’t mind delaying them to match our standards. We are also focused on the Wargaming.net portal, with players using 1 account to access all of our games. We will take our time.
Q: Is there a possibility the Wargaming platform will host 3rd party titles?
A: Nothing is impossible, but we are just working to finished our announced titles first before thinking of something else. Right now, there are no plans beyond the announced titles.
Q: Seems like the hottest trend now is mobile gaming, on smartphones and tablets. Any plans to port your titles over to these devices?
A: We currently have the World of Tanks application on mobile devices (iOS version here), and the upcoming social title, World of Tanks Generals, can be played on Facebook and any mobile devices since it is built on HTML 5.
Q: Finally, is Wargaming currently planning some new games beyond the announced titles?
A: Nope, we are not. We have announced enough titles, and we will only plan for others once World of Warships is released. We must keep our focus.