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World of Warships - the final chapter

Online Games Bay

No, it’s not gonna be another "World of Warships is dead" or "WOWS is dying" article. Unfortunately, this completely broken game is alive, and it looks like with the community they have, it will be alive for a long, long time. But it is a final chapter - I’m done.

World of Warships - the final chapter

Some time ago, I wrote an article The Curious Case of World of Warships, it wasn’t the first one regarding this game, and it didn’t look like it was gonna be the last one because that completely pointless drama has been going on for years now. Just a quick summary - World of Warships is a multiplayer online game, in which you are put in control of a warship, and you take part in battles. A few years back, this rather good game was put out of whack by the introduction of aircraft carriers, a new class of ships that broke the seemingly perfect balance of the game. The new class was almost unanimously hated by the users, but loved by the company behind the title, Wargaming. The players were protesting, Wargaming didn’t care, it was going on for a few years, then another new class was introduced - submarines.

While the aircraft carriers were hated, the submarines were completely pointless and overpowered, which brought another wave of backlash from players, but Wargaming still didn’t care. So next they introduced superships (even more overpowered), hybrid ships (half aircraft carrier and half battleship), magical planes, completely made up types of ships, etc. After each of these bad decisions the players protested, Wargaming didn’t care, and they all lived happily ever after. Yup, the players were so outraged by the decisions made by the Wargaming company that they still played the game, but did not enjoy it, as a grown-ups would do. Just a quick reminder - the average age of WOWS players is in the 40s or 50s. And I need to put up this reminder because you would not guess that we are not talking about kids here. They are outraged by the predatory company that is milking them and... they keep playing the game and keep feeding money into that predatory company. Again, quick reminder - we are talking about people in their 40s and 50s.

And that is the drama that has been going on for years now - the community is outraged, but they keep playing the game they think is completely broken now, the company doesn’t care about them and just keeps milking them - a clear sign of a healthy relationship. The solution would be very simple - if the players would stop playing World of Warships for a week, a month or until their demands are met, that would be a step in the right direction, right? But no, they are angry, so to calm down they play their favourite game, World of Warships, they are getting angry again, so they play some more. At least that what it looks like - angry people tend to quit the bad habits that make them angry, but right here we have grown-ups, who don’t understand that they are the problem in the relationship, not the company. They are putting money into the wallet of a predatory company and are outraged that this predatory company shows no signs of any respect for them.

But there was a glimpse of hope in August 2023, when the World of Warships "community" took it to Steam, of all places, to vent their anger - they downvoted the title into oblivion. Yes, the World of Warships was finally overwhelmingly negative title on Steam. For a while. Right now, it bounced back to mixed reviews level, but the 5160 negative reviews in August was an impressive achievement. For a while. After all, we are talking about Wargaming, a company that would stop at nothing to get the money. Of course, they are in the process of restoring positive standing on Steam, just like they forced out any competition that WOWS ever had. Some time ago, a Chinese title Steel Ocean was a pretty good alternative to World of Warships, so what happened? Every single day, the reviews and forum were invaded by trolls convincing users that they should switch to WOWS. Were they hired by Wargaming? I hope so, otherwise they would be just bizarre individuals investing their time in trolling competition of Wargaming for no particular reason.

Are the positive reviews on Steam now sponsored by Wargaming? I hope so, otherwise we again have on the display some bizarre individuals, who (in some cases) never reviewed anything on Steam, but the only exception they made was for Wargaming and World of Warships to tell the world how good the game is, just after it was review-bombed. Not to mention that some of those individuals spent 15-20 hours in the game, which is hardly enough to get to know the basic mechanics of the game. Nevertheless, mixed reviews are something that Wargaming had to take notice of and... that was it. They noticed it, they (seemingly) sent the trolls to fix that, and it was the whole story of the great protest of "the community". Nothing has changed because there is no reason for Wargaming to change anything. Some time ago, I saw a discussion about falling numbers of WOWS users, where some of the people involved were convinced that it is not true that World of Warships is losing players, the reason for the fluctuation was the COVID and "we are doing just fine". During the pandemic there was a wave of new players, who now left the game and the number of active users returned to pre-COVID level.

That actually is a fair point, there was a jump in the number of active players in 2020, and in 2022 the number of active players was similar to 2019. But when you compare 2022 to 2023, the game has lost on average 1000 active users on Steam, which can hardly be explained by the pandemic that ended in the middle of 2022. Also, it is worth mentioning that the 1000 users difference on Steam might not seem like much, but when you realize on average, there were around 7700 players in September 2022 and now there were 6300 in September 2023, it puts things in a different perspective. Of course, most of the playerbase is using Wargaming launcher, only part is using Steam (those two accounts cannot be linked for some reason), but still, it means a drop of 18% on Steam alone year-to-year.

But there is another angle to those numbers - in August 2023 there were 7900 average World of Warship players on Steam, 5160 of them (which is 65%) put the negative review on Steam. How much have the number of active players dropped in September 2023? By 1500 players, so... where the heck is the other 3660 angry players, who hate World of Warships so much? Of course, some of them might not play on Steam, but use the Wargaming launcher, their only activity on Steam was dropping the negative review, but still there is a huge disproportion between the drop and the number of negative reviews.

Nevertheless, there is another layer to this story - the youtubers. Since the start of World of Warships, several youtubers made a good living making videos about the game, some as part of the Community Contributors Program (CCP), some of them because they were passionate about the game. While most of them left the CCP as a protest when Wargaming started to introduce gambling elements, most of them became disillusioned with the game and the company behind it, I don’t think any of them actually stopped making videos about WOWS. They play it, they complain, they play some more, they complain some more, they call it a broken game, then they play some more... Yes, they call Wargaming a predatory company focused only on money, while they make videos about WOWS for the money they earn from it. They criticize submarines, CVs, superships, hybrid ships, yet... they play those ships themselves. I really don’t understand how they can justify in their minds that they are advertising something they believe is wrong or is supporting an evil company, yet they keep advertising it just for the income. So, guess what, Sherlock, Wargaming is doing it for the same reason as you, for the money, so there is very little space for moral high ground here.

And as I was preparing this article a new video popped up on one of the channels, with the triumphant title "they finally listened!" just because Wargaming has announced some small changes to captain skills, some re-balance of ships, etc. None of those things were listed on a previous video on the same channels titled "Top 5 reasons why the game is dying", yet for some reason it is a chance to be cheerful that Wargaming done SOMETHING that is in line with what their players were expecting. Actually, they haven’t even done that thing, they just announced that they will in the future. After all, it’s not like Wargaming to broke promises, right?

And that, for me, is the final chapter with World of Warships because life if just too short to waste it on people, who cannot be helped. The "community" of World of Warships just cannot be helped - they keep playing the game that they don’t enjoy as they used to, they complain, but do absolutely nothing to actually make a change. Of course, you can flex the muscle and put up 5160 negative reviews in a month on Steam, which is completely pointless - you can’t pressure a company with bad press, when they don’t care about their reputation or media coverage. They have army of youtubers, who hate the game, but still promote it anyway, for free, so you can’t seriously expect Wargaming to change anything because of the reviews on Steam.

Why Wargaming don’t care? Because they know you will keep playing the game, you will keep spending money in the game, you can do nothing to harm them through public shaming. All they care about is money, so as long as you do something to hurt their wallet, they will not care about you or what you dislike in the game. Actually, you could hurt their wallet by leaving the game for some time, do not spend any money there for a few months, but this would take some effort, some dedication, some sacrifice. And those are the three things that World of Warships "community" does not have.

Also there is another layer to that drama - the whales. Not the sea creatures, the land creatures, who spend enormous amounts of money in games - according to some theories (based on other free-to-play games) such players constitute about 1-2% of the whole population, but provide company with about 90% of the income. The whales also don’t care about other players, they just pay to win. As long as they are winning, nothing else matters. But take a wild guess what would happen if the whales would not have anyone to play with in top tiers? Do you think then Wargaming would start to care? Even if you don’t put any money in the game, your participation keeps the game alive, and as long as the game is alive (or is not in any way under threat) nothing is gonna change in World of Warships.

But I said all of this before, some youtubers said it before, some articles said it before, some forums users said it before, the only ones who did not get the memo are... the World of Warships players. And that’s why I’m done with WOWS drama. People who still play the game will pay their price in frustration (or in hard cash to avoid frustration), the youtubers who keep WOWS as their main income source one day will have to find something else to do (and good luck with that), the company behind WOWS will run out of tricks to milk the players or harassing competition. And none of that will bother me, because for me that is the final chapter of that story.


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