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The curious case of World of Warships

Online Games Bay

This curios case is indeed curious, but for unusual reason. It is about the online game from Wargaming company, World of Warships, but it sort-of really isn’t.

The curious case of World of Warships

World of Warships, an online game, in which you are put in charge of a... yes, you guessed it, a warship, gained a lot of traction back in 2015 due to its well-balanced gameplay and involving mechanics. It was a bit of a World of Tanks copycat, but unlike the WOT, in World of Warships you are never put in a situation in which you are unable to do any harm to your opponents (meaning: their armour is never thick enough to stop your shots if you do it right).

It was a better, smarter version of World of Tanks, in World of Warships there were three classes: battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Battleships were tanky, big and slow, destroyers were small and agile, but vulnerable, while cruisers were somewhere between those two. And it worked really well, each class of a ship had a natural prey and natural predators - battleships would demolish cruisers, cruisers would demolish destroyers, destroyers were fast enough to kill battleships. And everyone lived happily ever after.

No, not really. Wargaming, the company behind both games, started to introduce premium options for the users to increase incomes, but when that was not enough they decided to introduce a new class to World of Warships: aircraft carriers. They were the equivalent of the most hated class in the World of Tanks, the artillery, but with a twist. While artillery in the WOT was staying away from the action and just bombarding everyone without being in any danger of retaliation, the aircraft carriers had a huge advantage - their planes could have been manually controlled by the players. No more shooting blind, you can just fly over the enemy and drop something nasty on their heads. Oh yeah, and you could spot enemies for your team. And send fighter planes to screw up the actions of the enemy. And send wave after wave of planes.

This has put a huge wedge in the WOWS community - most people hated the aircraft carriers, mostly because there was no counter-play available. There were anti-aircraft guns, which were unable to stop the attacks from happening, there were defensive fighter planes, which were mostly useless, there were additional options, like priority sectors for AA guns, which did not make much difference. The users were protesting, Wargaming was listening to their feedback and... done nothing about it. Well, that is not actually true, they did something - they introduced two carriers per team, they improved the defences of the aircraft carriers, they gave them an unlimited number of planes, they gave them automatic repair equipment, etc.

This made the aircraft carriers even more hated bit of the gameplay, but Wargaming had one important excuse - some people were playing aircraft carriers, so for some of them, carriers were a vital part of the game. Of course, if you give players something so overpowered in a competitive online game, some people will use it to their advantage. So... Wargaming introduced a new class - submarines! The outrage of their community was even greater than with aircraft carriers because out of the current classes only destroyers and cruisers had any equipment that would allow them to tackle submarines. The solution? Magic planes!

Yes, boys and girls, when you are in danger of being under attack from a submarine you can call magic planes, which will pop out of nowhere and drop depth charges on that submarine. Where do those planes come from? I guess from the same place, the endless supplies of aircraft on the carriers - out of behind of the people in charge of the World of Warships. After the introduction of submarines, again ignoring any feedback from the community, Wargaming introduced another tier of ships, so called superships, which are even more overpowered. But that is not the end because now they also introduced hybrid warships! What is a hybrid warship? A half-battleship and half-carrier, armed with heavy guns and some planes.

So what is the curious case, you ask? So far, it is all about the game itself. Well, yes. The curious bit of this story is the community. Since introduction in 2015, World of Warships got a big player base (tens of thousands of players around the world) and with each stupid idea, they are losing them. Some of them. After each bigger change, there is an outrage in their community, voices that this time they have gone too far, the game is completely broken and... that is about it. They play, they complain, they are outraged, and then they play some more. I can’t remember how many times have I heard prominent youtubers complaining about the current state of the game (like Flamu, Flambass, Mighty Jingles), yet... they still play this game, they still produce videos about it.

Of course, the youtubers do it for the money, they have income from showing World of Warships content, so they keep complaining and keep making money of the game that they say is broken. But what about the rest of the community? Why do they play? They keep complaining about aircraft carriers, submarines, hybrid ships, the general lack of communication or understanding from Wargaming, but still, they keep playing and spending money on new toys. Yes, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine (partly due to clear links between Wargaming and their Russian overlords) the number of active players has dropped, but only about 10-15%.

The big question in this curious case is: what would it take for the WOWS community to force Wargaming to change their ways? Each time something stupid is introduced, the community is outraged and... do absolutely nothing about it. I remember Flamu, a Finnish prominent WOWS youtuber, saying that at this point they might as well introduce dragons into the game because so many unrealistic elements are already there. It was about a year ago. Where is Flamu now? Still playing WOWS, still complaining about how the game is broken, and still complaining about Wargaming being a predatory company that does not care about the game or the players.

The most curious thing about World of Warships is the community, consisting mostly of male adults (with average age being around 40-50), who cannot see the link between their activity in the game and the complete lack of respect from the game publisher. How about not playing World of Warships for a week? Or a month? Or not spending any money on the game for a few months? Nah, I guess some angry tweets or forum posts will do exactly the same, right?

The conclusion: until WOWS community realises that they are the problem and not Wargaming, nothing is gonna change. The publisher wants your money, and they will do what it takes to get it. The users, on the other hand, can do something to stop them, but first they would have to grow a pair and show any signs of actually being a community and not a group of whiny individuals. It has been a few years since the introduction of aircraft carriers, most of the users hate them... I repeat: few years! They hate carriers, but not enough to quit. They hate submarines, but enough to quit. They hate hybrid ships, but not enough to quit. And that is the curious case of World of Warships, a game so broken that its community just cannot stop playing it.


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