those of you who read FTR regularily are probably familiar with Daigensui, who helped bring us the Japanese branch. What follows is the translation (by a native speaker, but the English has some typos, tried to fix as much as possible) of a Korean interview with her. Enjoy.
There are many that say “cool” when looking at tanks, but few would say “loveable”. This is particularly so if one does not put anime skins or girl crew members. This might be possible among the so-called “military otakus”, but it was difficult to find someone close to this reporter who had such love for tanks.
Here, there is someone who calls tanks “my cute daughters” and shows her love.
This might seem a bit of an exhaggeration, but one you look into it things make sense. Daigensui is the “Mother” of the Japanese tanks which will appear in the WoT 8.10 update.
Daigensui was also once a regular WoT player, but now she works as an outside research advisor to Wargaming on Japanese and German tanks. Particularly, she had a core role in the development of the Japanese tree, to the point she can call the tanks her “daughters”. In 8.10 there will be only a light and medium line for the Japanese tree, but in the future there will also be heavies, tank destroyers, and self-propelled guns, all of which will also be researched with Daigensui at the front.
Meeting Sumeragi “Daigensui” Akeiko, Wargaming Outside Research Advisor
Q: Nice to meet you. Please introduce yourself to our WoT Inven family.
Sumeragi: Greetings. I’m Sumeragi, who plays on the North America server as Daigensui. I usually am active on the NA forums and Naver Cafe.
Q: Can you please tell us what you do at Wargaming?
Sumeragi: I’m not an actual employee so there is no exact position, so you can think of me as a freelancer researcher. I usually focus on Japanese research, but also helped out in German, in the 0.8.8 update.
Q: You have knowledge of tanks which seem to go beyond the experts, how did you start researching tanks?
Sumeragi: I’m not a military maniac (at least, I don’t think so), but both sides of my family are related to the military or military industry, so naturally it became part of my life. I’m nothing when compared to GuP’s Yukari. If there is something particular, it’s that I moved quite a bit of the various resources I collected since I was young into an external hard drive.
Q: Even though you’re not a Wargaming employee, you’re known has having a core role in development of new tanks. We’re curious as to how you came into that position.
Sumeragi: I was active in a Japanese tank thread over at the NA forums, and then The_Chieftain introduced me to WG Minsk. From that time on I was in direct communication and helping out.
Q: If we look at the material Sumeragi has given to Wargaminig we see blueprints, records and other such various sources. We wish to know how you managed to gather these materials. There might be a bit of classified information among those as well.
Sumeragi: Most of the time I looked through Mitsubishi and IJA records with help from various contacts, and also received help from researchers through my family. Fortunately, information on Type 74 wa partly declassified, and JGSDF was kind enough to make some materials suitable for research.
Q: While it is known that Wargaming has great emphasis on historical accuracy, they do change some specifications for balance. There would be clashes between the historical accuracy research by Sumeragi and game balance considerations by Wargaming, and in this case, which comes first?
Sumeragi: There are hard history and soft balancing, and accuracy is given priority as much as possible. However in cases where no amount of soft balancing would help (prime example being the VK 45.02 (P) series), Wargaming sticks to physics and goes with “what would have been done”. Of course, this is the last resort.
8.10 Update, Her Talk of Japanese Tanks
The start of how Sumeragi participates in Wargaming development, Japanese tanks. The first result was the premium tnak Chi-Nu Kai which appeared in 8.9, and 8.10 brings the main tree. However, with the bad reputations as low-quality that Japanese tanks have, there is also the historical feelings which results in a not so good first impression.
No matter how tanks might come to life with historical accuracy, from the players’ point of view the potential and ability in the game is the most important. In this sense Japanese tanks (when compared to the second German TD line) do not have any clear advantages or potential.
But when the specifications of the new Tier X Japanese medium was released, there hae been some who think of it as a high-spec medium tank capable of standing in for Leopard 1 or T-62A. There have been rumors that Sumeragi appealed a lot to Wargaming in order to add the latest developed tank STB-1 as Tier X (Daigensui adds: Not really, I was pushing for Type 74 which was denied as too modern even if the specs were less).
Q: The date for 8.10 update has been decided. We’ll be soon able to meet the Japanese tree, and we would like it if you could tell us the general characteristics of the tree.
Sumeragi: If we summarize the suggestions that I sent,
- Relatively good camouflage and terrain passibility (acceleration might be slow but general mobility is good)
- Slightly higher alpha compared to same-caliber guns of other nations
- Except for a few exceptions gun depression of at least -10 degrees
Q: There have been generalizaions that Japanese tanks have been historically unable to do their full role when compared to other nations. Especially, there are theories that the quality of armor and rounds were subpar.
Sumeragi: Since the main opponent was a practically armor-less China, it can be said that the priority of tank development being low was a major factor. Aside from this, there was the technological deficiency and lack of resources and most importantly the limited industrial capacity. This mean that production fell by itself, and IJA headquarters would use this as an excuse to focus on spirital mobilization and manpower to fight wars. It was only when the IJN was virtually eliminated and the various workers moved to the army that quality went up a bit. In addition, in the case of Mitsubishi’s type 4 Chi-To development, they ignored the IJA’s (subpar) requirements on materials and also was planning to use company resources to start production.
Q: If we look at the the appearance of Japanes tanks, from Type 95 to Ha-Go to Type 5 Chi-Ri there is the similarities to the point of feeling like a series, and then starting from STA-1 the externals are suddenly different. What might be the difference?
Sumeragi: The appearances might be different, but the fundamentals are basically the same. Comparably thin armor, good gun depression, accurate gun…. only STB-1, which combines the advantages of second generation tanks, has good mobility, good armor, and good firepower.
Q: The required experience for Japanese tanks are larger when compared to other lines. Does this mean that STB-1 has better specifications?
Sumeragi: Given that experience requirements are decided by other people, I can’t particularly answer this question.
Q: STB-1 is known to have a loading assistant device. This seems to be different from the clip autoloaders, so does this mean it simply increases loading speed?
Sumeragi: STB’s LAD has four rounds loaded and it basically pushes a round right to the breech for easy loading by the loader. This is the background for the STB-1 having 7.5 RPM. Using the same 105 mm L7 gun as Leopard 1 and FV4202 but with a faster loading speed
Q: In the case of STB-1, it is said that its speed is nerfed when compared to historical value. How might the mobility feel to the players?
Sumeragi: Here, maximum speed means the emergency speed ,which would wreck the engine after use. Although there is a record of STB-1 being able able to go over 60 km/h, we chose the “safe” maximum speed of 53 km/h. Given that mobility is a balancing issue, I cannot answer.
Q: What would be the rival to STB-1?
Sumeragi: Instead of a rival….. I would say STB-1 has a different role from other Tier X mediums. T-62A is a brawler, Leopard 1 is an ambush sniper, E 50 Ausf. M is a charging pocket heavy. STB-1 can be viewed as a mid-range assault flanker. In a sense, it would be like the Marine of mediums.
Q: So far a Japanese Tier 8 has not been revealed. Could you tell us if there are candidates?
Sumeragi: All I can say is that I am considering postwar prototypes. Right now I’m focusing on TDs, heavies, and SPGs.
Q: Will we be able to see Japanese heavies, like O-I?
Sumeragi: Yes. I have been able to get the general picture after looking through the records and interviews.
Q: What is the national insignia?
Sumeragi: Ultimately the Japanese flag was chosen. We have only one photo of the IJA Brass star being used, and JGSDF never used their sakura insignia on turrets. So, the common insignia of the Japanese flag was chosen. Contrary to some worries, Rising Sun Flag was not considere,d since IJA never used it on its tanks.
“German Waifus, Japanese Daughters”
As a disgression, Sumeragi loves German panzers, or, as she says, “German Waifus, Japanese Daughters”. On the NA server she played almost 15000 matches with only German vehicles, which shows her dedication and love. In addition, she influenced the 8.8 update, that had the famous Tiger and E 50 buffs.
Q: There are rumors that there would be a Sturmpanzer line. Since Sturmtiger used rocket-assisted rounds, would this result in a new firing mechanism?
Sumeragi: Given that I focus on vehicles before Sturmtiger, I cannot say much about it.
Q: It has been revealed that in 8.10 the Maus turret traverse and Löwe gun elevation arc have been increased. Are there any other German vehicles whic might be rebalanced?
Sumeragi: I am currently “re-researching” the Porsche line. Although the armor thickness of the VK 45.02 (P) series will stay the same for balancing reasons, there are new pieces information to work with. In particular there are interesting records concerning engines.
Q: In that case, is research done because of new the new pieces of information, or for rebalancing?
Sumeragi: As said above, Wargaming balances vehicles based on hard and soft stats. Hard is historical accuracy, and soft are game specifications such as traverse, accuracy, camouflage, terrain passibility. The current balance team standards areto match vehicles as close as possible to their historical values, and then work on the soft stats to balance the vehicle. Basically, research is done to bring vehicles as close to historically accurate as possible.
“With a tank-loving heart…..”
Q: What is your feeling to see tanks being developed based on your research.
Sumeragi: As I often say, it feels like “Mother seeing off her daughters advancing into the world”.
Q: In FTR news, there is a poll concerning new lines for 2014. What lines do you anticipate.
Sumeragi: Given the fact that I basically have a hand in every tree besides Soviets, I don’t have any particular lines I anticipate in the poll choices. There is a hidden card when concerning the Japanese tree, which I hope to see in the future.
Q: This might be a sentimental question, but what does Sumeragi think of the “attractions of tanks”?
Sumeragi: If we look at the tanks of WoT, they are from an era before computers started fighting wars. These tanks are what humans, men, would control and fight with. A man controling directly the large metal, a man directly aiming and firing the gun, a man directly looking for the enemy….. in a way the tanks of WoT from an era where the last romances of war still lingered. It’s similar to how GuP’s Hana felt the thrill of firing the gun. The vibrations passing onto your hand, the movements of the alive engine….. it’s a feeling only people who worked with such machines can feel. That is what I think of as the attraction of a tank.
Q: Finally, do you have any words for WoT players of Korea?
Sumeragi: Tanks are equal. Regardless of nationality, I hope that we can all unite in our love for tanks and have a good experience.