we all know that in this game, some tanks are better than others. I think that there will be very few people, who will say that for example the A-20, or the Panzer 38t nA are the best things ever – sure, both vehicles probably have their fans, but objectively speaking, they aren’t the easiest or nicest tanks in the game to play with.
You could of course ask why – after all, Wargaming could have put the mentioned tanks a tier lower, or they could have had limited MM from the start (like it is planned in 9.1 – there, the both A-20 and 38tnA will have its top battletier removed, giving them better MM spread). Partial reason of course is the historicity of such vehicles, but partial reason is that such vehicles (and there are more, on high tiers as well) act as goldsinks.
What is a goldsink?
This will not be news to many of you, so consider this post aimed at people, who haven’t ever heard of such a term. Unlike for example World of Warcraft, World of Tanks economy is closed and strictly regulated. Prices don’t change – where in WoW a price of a item could (and did) change practically overnight based on demand (a simplified reflection of how real life economy works – for example, new armor was introduced, but in order to get it, you have to use for example 10 stacks of iron ore – everyone wants it overnight and buys all the iron from the auction house, driving the price up), in World of Tanks, the prices of itsems will be the same every time you log in, unless they specifically get changed via patches, which almost never happens.
So, we have a closed economy system. Consider this: Wargaming has been giving out a LOT of free gold lately. Try to count it, it’s true – even now, the Super Pershing event is running. There were the gold giveaways during the WGL finals (however screwed up that might have been), various codes etc. before that. Good value. One could thus argue that the amount of gold within the system is increasing (this is not so simple of course, but let’s accept is as simplified model).
In real life, when you increase the amount of currency in the system just so, the result will be inflation and thus the increase of prices. In WoT, you don’t have a way to increase prices and thus, you need a system of goldsinks to suck out gold back from the system, because everyone having too much gold is not a good thing, that can have nasty side-effects.
Why? Well, consider what you can do with gold.
- you can buy free XP (we’ll get to that later)
- you can buy premium tanks, but how many premium tanks of some specific tier you REALLY need? A player owning a Type 59 will likely not buy KV-5, as he has no need for it.
- you can buy gold consumables and camouflage, those don’t cost much, but gold consumables in random battles are a waste of money and they can be purchased as well
- you can convert it to credits, but that’s generally regarded as a bad deal, plus – why would you do that if you already have a premium tank, that makes you a lot of credits
- you can buy premium account
- you can buy gold ammo
Especially the latest point is problematic, when it comes to game balance. Basically it works like this: introduce more gold into the system without proper goldsinks and people will start buying gold ammo, because they have nothing to spend the gold on. This is an existing and confirmed effect, not a theory. And we all know what happens when too much gold ammo is fired – yup,
And here come the “bad” tanks – basically, by introducing a tank, that is difficult to play, you give players incentive to skip it via free XP. Now, make no mistake, I am not saying there are completely unplayable tanks in the game (stock Centurion was not fun), this is much more subtle thing. Tanks can get difficult enough for you to start thinking about skipping a module or two, but not enough for you to drop the tank in disgust. The higher tier such a vehicle is, the more it acts like a gold sink (modules are more expensive XP and credit-wise). I would say that the Chi-Ri is a typical example of this and yes, I am fully aware that some like it, some have very good results with it, but it’s not a newbie-friendly tank and we are looking at the big picture here.
Bacause big picture – statistics of the entire server – is what this is about. You might not feel these effects – one gold shell extra per 100 of your battles, so what – but if you look at that half a million players at the same time on RU server, well, we are talking for example about tens of thousands of extra gold shells in battle and in extreme cases, such things could influence the game balance itself and that’s what we need goldsinks for, to compensate.