The Average Gamer

World Of Tanks – Q & A With Alexander Shilyaev

WorldOfTanks_SmallLogoFollowing on from my popular World of Tanks – Open Beta Launched And First Impressions post I got the chance to ask the World of Tank’s project manager – Alexander Shilaev – a number of questions about the game, including the hot topic of tank SPG’s (self propelled guns).

When will users be able to customize their tanks via personal drawings, insignias, clan emblems or custom camos?

AS: Our artists already work on expanding World of Tanks camo collection, so when they are done, every nation will have a selection of both historically accurate and made-up camos. Some time later we’ll add a pre-set collection of pics the players will be able to use as their personal insignias. After that, clan emblems will be introduced. All these will take us around two months to implement. As for the custom drawings, we had to put off their introduction, because we haven’t yet worked out any mechanism that will let us moderate them as we want to avoid all sort of nationalist and extremist pictures. Custom inscriptions with players’ mottos or credos are planned as well.

Has anything surprised you from the beta feedback you’ve received so far?

AS: The biggest surprise was the number of beta-testers that joined the game – we had to install extra servers to host all the players willing to try out the game. As for some funny moments, I personally liked the stylish skin of the SU-14 SPG that our players call “the school bus” or the video showing 14 light tanks knocked out with one shot:

There’s been a lot of talk on the WoT forums about tank SPGs being too over powered and unbalancing the gameplay. Are there any plans to address this?
AS: We will rebalance artillery and other classes of vehicles as soon as we realize that a particular class has a crucial advantage over others. What we see now is that there’re on average 2-3 artillery units on one team in random battles and it’s what we were expecting to see. If we make artillery weaker than it is now, there’ll be fewer people playing it and this will automatically cause “extinction” of other classes – light and medium tanks. Were artillery overpowered and extremely profitable, there would be 5-7 players driving Hummels or SU-14’s on every team. In one word, the game is a complex mechanism with lots of interdependent components, so when we change one parameter, many others are affected. Anyway, with every new patch we add some balance changes based on the statistics that we gather on a weekly basis and we’ll definitely continue doing this further on to improve the gameplay.

Any further details on the PvE (Player vs Environment) content that’s currently in development?

AS: World of Tanks is a 100% PvP (Player vs Player) game at the moment and we’ll focus all our efforts on further exploring its PvP potential. What could be more fun than fighting against real players not just scripted AI bots? In future we’ll pay more attention to CvC (Clan vs. Clan) elements as we believe this gameplay layer will be of most interest to our fans. However, we’ll probably add some PvE training missions that will let novices learn the ropes of tank driving and tactics.

What anti-cheat methods do you have in place and are you aware of any attempts at cheating so far?

AS: Well, we’ve seen a lot people selling World of Tanks cheats recently. Some of them promise to enhance combat characteristics of your vehicles; some are supposed to unlock the desired tech tree… I want to assure you that none of the cheats will ever work, because all the game calculations are server-based. So beware of FRAUD! The real problem that we have in the game is AFK (Away from Keyboard) players. To address this issue we’ll soon introduce an anti-bot system that will track and report these players studying their battle statistics.

What for you is the most exciting aspect of the Clan War mode?

AS: A hard question! The great thing about the Clan Wars mode is that it gives players some things that are more important than just wins or control over territories, so I would answer – team spirit and the feeling of unity with your clan are the most exciting aspects. clan took part in Clan Wars beta-test in Russia and even though I didn’t participate in the battles myself, I entered the clan room to listen to the talks and share the tense moments with the comrades. After the battle, when you get back to the Global Map and see a new province conquered by your clan, you definitely feel proud of your team… or pissed off if the territory was lost?. All these feelings make Clan Wars really involving and captivating.

Thanks to Alexander Shilyaev for answering all my questions and Arthur Pratapopau from World of Tanks for setting it up.

World of Tanks is currently in beta and is free to play now on PC.


  1. avatar

    22nd Feb, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    What about the unbalanced M3 Lee, it is classified as tank although u ve made it a TD…
    Could that get changed and maybe make the upper gun work?

  2. evilinspect

    23rd Feb, 2011 at 5:30 am

    it wont be fixed because for one its a branching tank between spg, meduims and heavies. The current game is getting a work thought and a new american td line will be produced.

  3. Cougar

    23rd Feb, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    The game is totaly unbalanced at the moment and not enjoyable to play until they fix the issues with overpowered Russian tanks, harsh support stuff and tons of bugs.

    Nice to try out – but better wait until they really patch the needs and demands of the whole community plus bugs until they hard reset all accounts and player have to start from scratch on release.

    • Jenelle

      26th Sep, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Call me wind bcuease I am absolutely blown away.

  4. screamingCheeta

    23rd Feb, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    How about the imbalance of the T54. Everyone talks about the T54 wolf packs. These tanks are very hard to damage and hit better than most heavies. Put 3 or 4 of these meds together and they unbalance the game. Most teams when seeing a group of these together immediately go on the defensive to hopefully withstand the rush. The T54 was a good tank but that good puts it on par with tanks of today.

  5. Tanker

    23rd Feb, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I am bored!How long do we have to wait for clan wars?Instead of giving interviews you should finish the game and release it!!!!

    CLAN WARS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. TRConqueror

    23rd Feb, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I hope they balance Russian tanks asap because they are overpowered… For example T54…. I’m a panther2 player and when i encounter with T54 i feel like i’m playing a tier 7 tank…

  7. Anonymous

    23rd Feb, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Honestly, arty is hardly OP nowadays. I don’t see why everyone’s so worked up about that. Get working on your Russian tanks, so that the people who play USA or Germany can enjoy the game for once.

  8. AzzAzeL

    24th Feb, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I have KT (Tiger 2) on Russian server, and i don’t think Russian tanks are OP. Further down the tree Germans have way better armor and the guns are more accurate. I tnk Mouse has like 1k more HP then IS-7.

    Can’t say much about medium tanks since I havn’t gotten that far in those.

    Isu-152 and others do seem to be a lot better then German counterparts in my opinion. But at high level their gun caliber is so huge that they get demasked like half the map away.

  9. JacquesDeMolay

    24th Feb, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Big arty it`s a bit overpowerd, but the chance of hit is reduced and u miss a lot of hits. I have an SU-14 with 203 mm B-4 gun and I my hit ratio is 3 or 4 shells from 8 or 9 hits (HE or AP).
    Big arty guns do some splash and it`s ok, but small arty dont and they miss a lot of shells.
    An overpowerd tank is Object 704, I dont have but I saw in action. U dont penetrate or bounce his thick armor, but it kills sometimes an IS3 with one shoot (ammorack). It do a lot of dmg in every tank (american, russian or german) and shoot 4 shells/minute (750 dmg X 4 shells = 3.000 dmg/min and a MAUS has 3.200 hp).

    • Omegatronacles

      26th Feb, 2011 at 1:09 am

      Every tank dies in one shot if it gets ammo racked.

      I don’t think that Russian TD’s are OP in terms of firepower when compared to the German ones, because the German TD’s have far better armour.

      Biggest advantage Russian TD’s have is their camo bonus is massive, and the German TD’s don’t get any camo bonus past the Jagdpanzer IV.

  10. zurisar

    28th Feb, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Hey guys, I play WoT from russian beta stage, and may say that no one tank is overpowered, problems with T-54? Just shoot in tight side of tower. Think that SPGs are too strong? No they not, because they can’t do anything in a close combat.

    So, if you have question like “WTF!? Why my tank already destroyed?” ot “Why we already defeated?”
    WoT have 3 components of good combat:
    – Tank must be top, all research completed, all components installed.
    – Your team must be skilled.
    – You must understand how to fight on different maps with different tanks in any situation. How you can understand that? Just play more and more.

  11. mudd

    30th Dec, 2011 at 2:18 am

    What planet are you all from with this game not having any hacks or hackers going for it ? I want some of what you are smoking..

  12. Bratushka

    30th Jan, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Been playing a couple months. The game is fun but I see a lot of things I don’t like. Primarily, the game seems designed to make free play -playing without buying gold- incredibly frustrating. Anemic starter tanks, expensive upgrades that do little for survivability, and pathetically slow earning rates to make things any better unless you buy gold for cash. It’s that or be destroyed by a single shot early on and have to sit out 98 out of 100 battles. The lower tier tanks are useless even with maximum upgrades, but the higher tier tanks which seem to outnumber the lesser ones really skew things against smaller tanks. While historically almost accurate, maybe if something was done to more fairly group the sides by type rather than have the armored equivalent of professional football players (American football) playing against Pop Warner leaguers ( kids, for my non-US friends) Gold and experience are incredibly slow in coming in the game, especially with a tank that isn’t good for much but getting blown up with a single shot. After getting smoked time after time and being unable to damage anything but other bottom end tanks and no ebd in sight, it’s hard not to just go ahead and pay for gold. I have spent over $80.00 US already and have nothing that justifies that expense to show for it. My fully upgraded tanks and anti-tank guns are just as pathetic now after full upgrades as before. The biggest gun does little more than the smallest one. If it isn’t the tanks, I still see odd things in the game from invisible tanks (yes, I understand the radio thing), fast as Ferrari F40 small Russian tanks, players that charge you head on, seem impervious to being shot the entire way, ram you and shoot you point blank totally destroying you and then speed off unharmed, and other oddities. The help forums have some real unfriendly types who are faster with name calling and insults than good advice. I also laugh at the supposed accuracy of the vehicles. I’m a bit of an amateur historian with a special interest in WWII armor, especially Axis stuff although I study tanks from all sides, and there are definitely things amiss. And I’m being kind! But, as for my future with WoT, I’m losing interest fast. I’m not going to pursue dumping a continuous stream of cash into this game to try to become competitive where I can survice longer than 5 or 6 minutes, if that. I have yet to see any review that shows the true cost of this “free” game or how sad the ‘free’ experience is. Nobody asks about or tells how sadly slow experience and gold accrue unless you buy them. Nobody mentions the millions of dollars the upper tier tanks cost and how many battles a player would have to fight and win in order to buy the free play way. Even scarier, how man dollars would buy enough gold to buy, say a Tiger I and fully upgrade it? I’ve wanted to see a tank game like this for a long time. For reasons I cited, sadly this still isn’t it. I’d love to another developer create a tank game like this that I could plunk down money for, play and stand a chance. DLC upgrading is great and I don’t mind $5 or $10 here, $20 there, but when it’s as expensive as this, I’d rather spend my money on other games that aren’t after my wallet so hard. I believe unless the in-game gold and experience earnings are increased over their ridiculously meager rates or cash prices come down for buying gold, this game will be a flash in the pan and gone in a year or so. Especially if someone else comes out with one that’s done right. Remember what happened to Auto Assault anyone?

  13. Pippa Hall

    30th Jan, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I completely agree on the frustration side of things, having been talked in to playing by two men who love all things tank I got incredibly annoyed with the slow pace of *everything* without paying for it first.

    The only thing I spent on was a weeks gold membership because otherwise I’d have just not bothered with the experience gain being so dreadful.

    The tricky thing from a review perspective is that you don’t see how bad it is until a good few weeks in at least. I was quite hooked on it for the week I played and this really isn’t my genre of game.

    It will be interesting to see how World of Warplanes turns out :)

  14. Lee Fairclough

    30th Jan, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    As someone who spent a ton of cash on my first few months of this I really loved it. Counter strike with tanks. Without a gold account, though, accrual of assets would be suicide inducing. That said, the premium T7 tanks are a license to print money and should return decent rewards even without premium. Stopped playing as other things came out. I’m sure I’ll be back into it soon enough. Definitely a game where real money makes all the difference in the world, though.

  15. Bratushka

    30th Jan, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Pippa- I’m sure the warplanes thing will be more of the same. I don’t see how they could compare to Rise of Flight which is the best and most diverse flight sim ever. WWI fighters are another thing that makes me very happy. The planes there as usually $2.99 for the fighters, a bit more for the bombers, and sometimes the brand new really tasty stuff is $8.99 at the upper end. But, once you buy it, you’re done unless you want to custom skin, get unit markings, etc.

    A few other games i play with pay for DLC: Test Drive 2 Unlimited. DLC cars cost less than $2.00. I think I got all 13 for under $25. I got the casino option and I think it was $2.99 or maybe $4.99. I still had to earn in game cash to buy them, but that was not so bad. Dirt 3 has new cars, tracks, skin packages, and all I have bought were $2 to $6. The Fall Out games, 3 and new Vegas, complete upgrades/add ons ranging from near full length games to extended missions ranged from less than $10 on disc for a 3-pack, and less than $10 online. Old Brown Dog makes a complete rework of MS Combat Flight Sim 3: Battle over Europe (may be Battle for Europe) converting it to a WWI flight sim. It’s a heck of a game that follows WWI from the way the lines change, to when aircraft appeared, the morale of the men, and even the weather is accurate. There are so many other from Metro 2033, Homefront, Saints Row the Third, all which don’t cost as much to get goodies in and not a one gives painfully slow to develop experience to leverage you into buying the extra content. Personally, I’d have gladly paid for WoT qnd gotten a more balanced upgrade system.

    I saw that its being sold as hard copy now. I don’t know the price, but if I bought it and it was priced like other games and then saw what was involved to upgrade, I would be furious.

    Like you, it took me a few weeks to sort it out and had become really fond of it until the constant instant total destruction and not even seeing where it came from half the time and seeing zero effect with even the best ammo I could find against enemies. I think I may have a total of around 10 kills to 5 or 6 times that many times sitting the battle out in a burning hulk. But, I have a huge hard drive with about 80 other games and that many again on my Steam account, so WoT can sit.

    @ Lee- I had heard that about the upper level tanks but I also saw some eyebrow stretching prices in the Buy Tank list. Then I see when I get wiped out in a battle and see I have gained 1 or 2 experience points and need 2000 to research the next biggest gun. And I still can’t “buy” experience points, convert anything but gold to- heck, I forget what it is other than needlessly convoluted. What’s the Premium membership -like $100.00? And if you spent that entire amount of gold on a tank, I may be wrong, but I don’t think that would get you a fully upgraded top tier tank. I noticed last night when i logged on that there was a ‘Tank Sale’. I bet!,

  16. Bratushka

    30th Jan, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Sorry for my typos- I think the battery is dying in my wireless keyboard.

  17. Pippa Hall

    31st Jan, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I have very little play time on the tanks preferring to play as artillery so it’s more difficult for me to comment on their shortcomings.

    It’s probably one of those games that’s nice to dip in to when there’s nothing new around and you fancy an evening of it .. just not something to play for weeks on end.

    On that note, there is: WWII Online if you’ve not checked that out. I played it for a while many moons ago and you might enjoy giving it a try.

  18. Bratushka

    31st Jan, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks for that tip Pippa. I’ve heard of it before but thought it was one of those graphically challenged older games so I never looked at it.

    I’m still having fun with Battlefield 3 for now. I recently replayed several of the Call of Duty games and still have Pacific Assault I want to play through again. Those were some good games and have held up well. I still have all of those and the Medal of Honor, Brothers in Arms, most of earlier Battlefield series, and a number of combat flight sims. I have the complete Arma series, too.

    I like the WWII stuff across the board because it seems more personal, especially the combat flight sims. It’s flying skill and targeting with cross-hairs, not busy displays and smart weapons. Technology is cool, but I like the personal feel of the older combat. Unfortunately it looks like WWII is fading away in popularity for games.

    Even in its peak, I never understood why there wasn’t a tank centered WWII game because there were some huge tank battles during it. There were tanks in the Battlefield games and a few others had them in a supporting role, but it was only an enhancement to an infantry experience.

    I don’t care much for RTS games because the resource creation/gathering gets tedious, but I did like Company of Heroes and its armor deployment. Theater of War games are something like that, but seem a bit more cumbersome to control. Even though it’s even further from people’s memory and never really was a major theme in video gaming, I’d love to see a WWI based game like CoH where there were trenches, artillery, the aircraft, gas and all that. I really think it would be cool and could be made quite challenging.

    I’m still hoping against hope World of Tanks gets it stuff straightened out. But, I imagine as long as new players keep cycling in, getting hooked and trying to spend their way to competitive game play and feeding them money, there won’t be much incentive to balance it out better. If nothing else, spread the cost around a little instead of so ruthlessly hitting the folks with deep pockets!