Tread Lightly: World of Tanks eSports Format
World of Tanks eSports Format
The eSports format in World of Tanks has evolved several times throughout the seasons. The basic rules governing what types of tanks you are allowed to bring in, what tank tiers you are allowed to bring in, and even how long the game timer runs have changed! Teams that do not adapt to the new formats can find themselves at a serious disadvantage.
The Previous Formats
The format has seen a total of 3 revamps since it’s establishment, particularly occurring in the past year. Originally the format was defined as 7/42, meaning 7 players on the field and 42 total tier points allowed. In World of Tanks there are no greater tanks in the game than the almighty tier 10s, but for the Gold League [Pro Scene] the tier limit was previously capped at tier 8, which was often speculated as the most balanced tier. To achieve a tier point of 42 with seven players, this resulted in the frequency of five players in tier 8 tanks, and two players from the team in tier 1 tanks.
Many felt that it was strange to have tier 1s in the game with tier 8 tanks, as the majority of the time this resulting in the tier 1s being passive scouts, and when the tier 1s did see combat, they were only able to penetrate few tier 8s through the rear of the tier 8 tanks. This format was deployed for the first four seasons. Feedback from players and viewers suggested that the 7/42 format was too stagnant, and that changes were required to make a more exciting competition.
Beginning with season 5, Wargaming changed the system to a new 7/54 format. This meant that a team was able to bring five tier 8 players, and two tier 7 players (or six tier 8 and one tier 6 player). This was a massive change to the game, meaning that all seven players on the field could perform effectively in combat. The other major innovation was the implementation of attack/defense modes on the game maps, which rendered draws impossible and forced teams to take aggressive action. The combination of 7 effective combat tanks, a shorter game timer (7 minutes instead of 10), and an imperative to attack made the matches more exciting both for players and the audience.
The Contemporary Format and Season
Throughout the years, the question of why tier 10s were not played was thrown at the developers at every given opportunity. Many people wanted to see the action of tier 10 tanks and felt that there was greater variety at the fearsome tier 10s. The 7/54 tier 8 format had made the eSports competition more exciting, but players discovered that a very narrow selection of tanks that simply outperformed all others in the tier. In June 2015 Wargaming implemented a new format: 7/68 tier 10. This means a team can field five tier 10 players, and two tier 9 players (or six tier 10 players and one tier 8). With this new format, the end-tier tanks players use for Clan Wars finally appeared in the pro eSports scene. For most long-time WoT players, Clan Wars at tier 10 is the primary competitive game mode, so they are most familiar with and interested in the highest tier tanks. The older tier 8 eSports format presented a barrier to entry for many of these players, because they were not accustomed to operating the tier 8 vehicles competitively.
How has this Changed the Play so far?
With first hand experience with the old formats and the new format, I personally feel that this allows for more dynamic game play. So far we have observed a wider variety of tanks in the field than with the old format, and the game mechanics often feel much more predictable. Most of the tier 10 tanks are more powerful, more accurate, have more health, and are on average faster than their tier 8 counterparts. Armor has also become more of a factor than it used to be, since most of the tier 8 tanks could pierce each other’s armor without any trouble. At tier 10 the armor on some of the heavier vehicles requires careful shot placement or flanking to penetrate effectively. Many of the pros are quite satisfied to finally be playing tier 10s, because many of them have wished for this tier since the beginning. Who knows if the future holds any more changes to the format, currently it feels very balanced, and the battles feel much more intense. We hope the audience watching us is also having a more exciting experience.
Make sure to check out the streams on twitch.tv under the World of Tanks tab Tuesdays and Thursdays. Scheduled matches can be found here http://www.fantasywgl.com/matches/