World of Warships has really not had the best run over the last couple of weeks. As our own WoWS expert Ben has been covering, August saw a mass-exodus of dedicated content creators from the game over what they characterized as abusive behavior toward influencers as well as problematic and aggressive monetization. Russian devs then poured salt in the wound by issuing a promo code to the Russian community that explicitly attacked one of the content creators who’d criticized the company. The corporate response for these issues has been slow to come and somewhat lacking, as the message for the community following the exodus included no apology, and while the studio suspended the developer responsible for the offensive code, it didn’t reinstate the player himself.
As of this morning, we’re getting yet another letter from Wargaming, signed by Publishing Director Victor Bardovsky and Development Director Andrey Lisak. And yes, this one has an apology.
“[W]e want to apologize to all of you, players, content creators, moderators, testers, and other volunteers, to those who support us and those disappointed with us,” the pair writes, vowing improved transparency about its internal processes going forward. “Everything that happens within the game and the community is our responsibility, and we are sorry that we let the situation come to its current state.”
The post is massive and includes long sections on improving communication, delivering clearer roadmaps and explanations for changes, and applying feedback on potential gameplay changes with everything from maps to ship balancing. An overhaul of the community contributor program is apparently on deck:
“When we created our CCTP, our goal was to help talented folks interested in our game create content and grow their channels. Right now it’s clear that a lot of things in the Program do not work as they should, which leads to frustration and failed expectations even though some other parts are running well. We will update the Program, both in terms of rules and the way we work with it internally. We expect to have some sort of internal plan and first action points ready in the second half of September, and then proceed with the changes during this Autumn.”
Perhaps the most interesting chunk is the monetization section; while the studio says it isn’t going to discuss its corporate monetization strategies in depth, it does attempt to address some of the monetization issues that the influencers brought up prior to and after the exodus. The company promises to begin publishing drop rates for lockboxes next year and “go beyond what is required” by law in regard to age ratings. It also apologizes for the Missouri ship fiasco that was the tipping point for the exodus, saying it’s added a new way to buy the ship and will “issue appropriate amount of credits to all the affected players as a sign of appreciation.” Those alternate methods will apply to other lockbox ships as well:
“Random mechanics. As a business, we always follow laws and comply with new regulations as they appear. Therefore, our position on containers and random bundles is always consistent with governments’ decisions on this matter and will keep being so. In some cases, we will even try to work ahead of industry practices. We are aware that there are slowly progressing trends to regulate the digital space more and more, to catch up with technical solutions and business models built on them. With that in mind, we appreciate your feedback and commit to the following: from now on for all new ships, if they are distributed via Containers or Random Bundles, there will be an alternative way to obtain them. Methods may vary and may include timegating (i.e. early access or time delayed offers), direct purchases, completing in-game activities, etc. “