in our last part of the European tree series, we will talk about the common questions, that arise in connection with the possible European tree, we will be debunking some of the most common myths as well. So, without further ado, once more unto the breach, dear friends!
Myth 1: EU tree would be infested with Soviet (on in rarer cases, American) copies
Possibly the most common myth about the potential EU tree. Obviously, if you have followed the series, you know that it is not true. Granted, some nations are problematic on high tiers (Italy, Hungary, Poland), but – Czechoslovaks do have hightier vehicles (TVP series), Yugoslavia does too, Switzerland does too, Sweden has TONS of original stuff. There would be no shortage of hightier options for the entire EU tree. Granted, that would happen provided that all these nations are a part of the EU tree and not introduced as separate minitrees.
The best case scenario is that additional research would reveal more interesting candidates for the hightier nations, that are currently lacking in this respect. It is not unheard of. Worst case scenario is that some of the important, yet problematic nations would “merge” into one big branch (for example, imagine a single line of Czechoslovak light/medium tanks, with Polish and Hungarian tanks attached to it, merging into the Czechoslovak branch on their respective tiers. Or – in another case, Hungarian into Swedish (after all, they did have common designs). That would work.
But yes, there are many options for high tiers, with even the heavy branch present in form of the Swedish Kranvagn tanks.
Myth 2: EU tree is very difficult to implement
Not really, however you look at it. You need exactly one new thing, that is not yet in the game. A mechanism, where you select the nationality of the crews. That’s like one window, where you pick, which set of names and faces you want to use. Universal “European” crews are neither historical nor good ideas (“why is there a Polish gunner in my Hungarian tank”), but the selection would allow the players to pick their preferences.
Then you need of course a set of names and faces for the crews. Sets of names, that’s pretty easy – one day work, just ask the respective national communities, I am pretty sure for example the Czechs and Slovaks would come up with names and surnames very quickly. Faces – well, that’s a bit worse, but how hard can that be? Again, we Czechoslovaks, do look a bit like Germans, some of the German faces might well be re-used (modified) to look like us. Historical tanker uniforms – info can be easily provided, as well as the ranks. And of course you need historical tank markings, colors, inscriptions and such things. Suffice to say, me and a couple of other guys have already done some research in this department for the EU tree and passed it on to Wargaming. Easy.
Myth 3: Noone really wants the EU tree
Again, not true of course. Pretty much every European language section has its own thread of “add our tanks into the game” – Czechoslovak community does. Polish community does (that’s two out of three largest EU national communities, IIRC). The Hungarians do. There is an ultra-extensive Italian armor thread on US forums by Vollketten. Italian tanks are being researched by WG employees, with interesting finds passed onto Yuri Pasholok. The interest is clearly there. How much exactly of it – that is another matter. I plan to ask the players, then we’ll see. Some of the potential EU communities are very large, as I wrote before – it’s an opportunity to make money for Wargaming. I don’t know about you, but I would buy a hightier Czechoslovak premium tank. I am sure that the Polish would too buy many of theirs – not without the EU tree though, after all, what point is an EU premium tank without training a crew on it?
Myth 4: EU tree vehicles are paper projects, that never fired a shot in anger
Obviously not true. Czechoslovak armor fought – LT Vz.35 and 38 (despite serving with the German army mostly) saw actually action AGAINST the Germans on several occasions (in Bulgarian and Romanian service, during the Slovak National Uprising). Hungarian armor fought practically until the end of the war. Despite their undeservingly bad reputation, Polish armor wrecked the German invaders on several occasions, with the 7TP being superior to the most numerous German tanks, Panzer I and Panzer II. Swedish armor did not fight, but a lot of these vehicles were actually built, ready for war and served with the Swedish army. Swiss army – same thing. Or Yugoslavia – potential lowtier candidates fought the Germans, hightier vehicles were built and tested. Certainly, post-war development, when Europe was split into two hostile blocs, did influence the tank design a lot – and yes, Czechoslovakia and other Eastern Bloc nations used Soviet vehicles after the war, but that does not mean these vehicles have to appear in their trees. Or – if they do – as little as possible. Plus – tell me, how exactly do you want to have really historical battles without Hungarian and Italian tanks?
Myth 5: EU tree would bloat the client size too much
Nonsense. For one, currently, there are roughly 350 tanks in the game I think (with cca 25 more in plans). Realistically, without multiple branches per nation, we are looking at like 50 tanks for the EU tree in its most basic version (that wouldn’t come at once anyway). 50 tanks – that’s like a 15 percent increase in model size compared to the current status. If you consider releasing three branches in the first batch, that’s just 30 tanks for example (cca 9 percent increase). Hardly a terrible size increase!
Plus, there are ways of mitigating the size issue (the size in fact is not that big an issue, the traffic is), for example by optional SD/HD selection (coming in 9.2), or by allowing players to select, which HD models they want (what is the point of downloading a HD model of a T-26 for example, when you are never going to touch that tank ever again, or you don’t play lowtiers). Furthermore, remember what Storm wrote about the quality of playerbase computers – somewhat less than 50 percent of RU players play on “calculators” – very poor computers, often below minimal WoT requirements. These will not use HD textures for sure (I wonder how many actually will, because if I remember correctly, only 20-30 percent of WoT players have modern high-end computers).
Myth 6: EU tanks would break the game balance, unbalancing the battles once again
Hardly. Apart from some isolated Swedish proposals, there are no completely outrageous gamebreaking designs in the tree, no shit like WT E-100.
So, the real question is:
Why should you support the EU tree tanks, when you don’t really care about the EU tree?
In 2013, the developers announced that the year 2014 will be a year of changes for the World of Tanks. So far, that is proving to be exactly true, but not always for the better. If you follow FTR, you might have noticed the concern of Russian developers to implement the EU tree. An extreme form of this opinion is that after the Firefly line, there should be no more regular tanks implemented at all, everything new should be either an event tank or a premium tank. This is not just a mere speculation, these are opinions of some of the World of Tanks producers and developers – for example Storm himself is reluctant to talk about the EU tree or other tanks, considering them unnecessary – from what he published anyway. Same goes for “Big Boss” Viktor Kislyi – remember how he squirmed, when, recently, a Polish moderator asked him about Polish tanks during the WGL finals in Warsaw?
This is why you should support the EU tree – allow me to paraphrase the famous quote of Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the EU tree and I did not speak out – because I didn’t want it.
Then they came for the British and I did not speak out – because I wasn’t playing them.
Then they came for the French and I did not speak out – because I wasn’t playing the French either.
Then they came for all the rest – and there was no one left to speak for what I wanted.
Perhaps the above sounds a bit melodramatic (indulge that vice of mine, please), but I think we can agree that a vast majority of players does not want new regular tanks to stop coming, even if some reduction of pace is quite okay. What such a stop would mean – simple: the transfer of World of Tanks from a “developing project” to “milk cow” status, with all the consequences of such decision.
Of course, if you think that someone will suddenly come out publicly and say “we are not going to add any more regular tanks, prems/event tanks only from now on” – you would be wrong. That would be a PR disaster, tons of ragequits, forum shitstorms etc.. It would start… well, exactly like this:
“EU tanks? Sometimes in the future. Maybe. If we decide we need them. And other tanks? Maybe in the future as well. Stay tuned – here are a few premiums you might like to buy.”
Repeat every half a year. Sounds familiar? It should, those, who like the French tanks, know this tune very well. And so, if you are wondering, why am I talking about EU tanks all the time and rallying support for them: it’s not just for them, it’s indirectly for the status of World of Tanks as a developing project. Because whatever you might think of WoT development – as soon as they stop adding more regular tanks, it’s all over. Maintenance/cowmilking mode is what will drive WoT into oblivion.
How can you support EU tree then?
Now, THAT is a good question. One I will get to in due time. You’ll see.