the Wargaming insider is back, scouring the internal channels for bits of information. This time, he decided to talk about the differences in content between WG EU server and WG RU. Actually, this entire thing is quite complex and the talks about it span last 2 years, so – as he did put it – it’s very difficult to actually cover the entire issue. Some parts of it we have also figured out on our own, but it’s nice to have it confirmed from different sources. Please note that this article is not also the “ultimate truth”, but an interpretation of what the insider did read and hear over last months and years, merely an explanation.
One of the main reasons of the content amount difference is Soviet Bias. Yes, you heard right, it does exist, but not in the form of what you usually imagine under the term (the Insider called it “sovietism”, but I think the Soviet Bias is more comprehensive). Basically, it’s a Russian market specific element, where the customers expect and demand the seller to celebrate and praise their past, specifically the Soviet era, because of the “RUSSIA STRONK” notion, that is still present in the many Russian players’ minds. The Insider notes that the typical example for this could be the book, written by SerB, called “Yesterday there would be War” – in Russia, Sergei “SerB” Burkatovsky is a well-known sci-fi author and a typical example of a very specific sci-fi genre, that is popular there – about men falling through time, preventing (in this case) the German attack on Soviet Union in WW2. The book itself is mostly junk (it has mediocre reviews), the Germans are depicted as idiots and the abovementioned “Russia Stronk” element is prevalent.
The Insider also states that what would be (in the USA) viewed as ridiculous warmongering and far-right extremism is quite a normal thing in Russia. That is actually true, SerB confirmed that in the past himself, noting that the Russian market has its specifics and if the western companies do not follow them, they can’t do business in Russia.
Books such as SerB’s cater exactly to this type of patriotic audience. The side effect is that it produces (or attracts) some very nasty fanatical zealots (SS: in Russian, they are called “Vatnik”, which is a word for a wool coat), but that is the price for this approach. Keep in mind that this patriotism is not something inherently negative (as it is unfortunately often depicted in the west, where any form of patriotism is mocked), only the extremes are.
The availability of such books and articles simply makes the people want to read more and this is where Wargaming comes in. Wargaming portal texts are not meant for any other server, because they follow the abovementioned principle, explaining the history through Soviet eyes. It works on the RU portal very well, but if you for example let Yuri Pasholok write on EU server (or, heaven forbid, forums), you would end up with a PR disaster, because it would simply not work.
Another reason for the massive amounts of Russian content is the fact that since “everybody loves tanks” in Russia (naturally an overstatement, but for the same reason as written above, military history of Russia is quite popular there), Wargaming (a veteran company of creating war games) has VAST resources of books and articles (as you probably know, they even publish books on armor via their publishing company, called Tactical Press) on the topic and creating “content” for the portal sometimes simply involves publishing some of the written articles, rehashing a bit staff that was already written… quite easy.
Other servers have nowhere near the manpower of WG RU. The only thing that comes close is the American server Chieftain’s Hatch, where an American military history expert Nicholas Moran publishes historical stuff on regular basis. Simply translating stuff from RU server wouldn’t work for the reasons above (“Stalin stronk!”), some of the articles would cause an uproar on EU server, plus, there has to be a proper procedure for translations followed – the content has to come from Minsk in Russian and then you have:
- EU server with its tons of languages
- US server with its Spanish and Portuguese
- ASIA server with its specific set of languages
The amount of manhours involved in the translation alone is staggering according to the Insider.
WG RU “solved” this massive translation issue by simply giving each server an independence of content, to a certain degree of course. Each server is free to employ their own people to write content, sometimes it goes very well (Chieftain’s Hatch), sometimes it however turns into a complete disaster (here, the Insider mentions the “opportunistic Finnish” article fiasco), but it’s okay as long as the article gets translated into every language of the server. That is still bad, but it’s more effective than translating a (potentially offensive) Russian post into ALL the languages on ALL the servers.
At this point, the Insider sort of chastises me for sometimes bashing the translations, because the work behind translating the same article into multiple languages is (according to him) “monumental”, especially on WG EU server. He however adds that he is aware of some of the inconsistencies and the fact that e-sports is handled terribly.
There are of course exceptions to this “freedom”, some articles have to be transferred from WG RU as they are, usually this involves important stuff such as patchnotes and urgent info. These have to be distributed to the entire WG network and usually pass from Minsk directly to a handful of “trusted” translators.
Regarding the quality of the articles themselves, the Insider does note that the ones from RU server are well-prepared, American server has good articles as well (again, Chieftain’s Hatch), while the EU server lacks such good articles in general, but it is able to produce some very interesting stuff from time to time. WG EU representatives are not blind to this fact- in fact, the Insider confirms that they have demanded better content on multiple occasions and asked Minsk to do something about it.
The official Minsk answer was basically that it is their problem since they have the freedom mentioned above and that they should do something about that themselves. WG EU doesn’t have the manpower to do that and the only thing they could do would be to actually translate the Russian stuff to English (only), which according to the Insider would cause another massive whinestorm. According to the Insider, hiring more people won’t do either, because it’s not about hiring “more” people, it’s about hiring competent and qualified people, while Wargaming EU generally doesn’t hire true professionals – they hire 20-something year old players (! important), who have bad/mediocre income and take translating for example as a part time job. Hiring true professionals and translating companies for translation of articles however would also be a problem, because this would not only shut down the “part-time translator externist program” (believe it or not, WG actually cares about these people), but also cost (according to Insider’s estimates) like five times more per article than it does now, which is too much even for Wargaming.
(SS: at this point, I really started wondering – I mean, if I can create content on daily basis – and, pardon me for saying that, but what I do is not bad I think, how hard can it be to have such domestic content in English with a couple of guys translating it locally without without waiting for Minsk approval, if I can do it, surely others can as well)
The US server has a bit different, because it seems that over there, pretty much everyone reads stuff in English, even the Spanish-speaking people and as a result, the Spanish portal is of terrible quality (the Insider notes it’s actually almost like translated by a machine), but nobody really cares, everybody reads the Chieftain’s Hatch in English anyway.
This is where the Insider’s letter ends. He adds a bit more random info as usual – for example, he wrote that WG EU stuff is not very happy with Yuri Pasholok (WG RU military expert), some EU PR guy calls him internally “Yuri Sovietolok” and there was a talk (mentioned by one person whose name and position I know but was asked not to disclose) of the German Bundesarchiv (main archive) being very unhappy with him (considering him, by Insider’s words, “persona non grata”, because he published some stuff without their consent while failing to disclose who he was working for). Is it true? Hard to say.
As a closing statement, the Insider asked me specifically to publish the last paragraph of his letter. I ommitted one thing that might have potentially revealed his identity for his own safety. Here it is:
One last thing, I decided to open this communication channel with FTR, not because I hate WG RU, for me it’s always been really nice to talk to them, they are polite and always responsive, even if I had to annoy them sometimes, but also to make them understand that not everything they are doing is correct, I’m personally dissatisfied with the way they handled the wiki (and you may find this weird, but Tanitha is the one in charge of the english wiki, and boy, he is a tyrant on that thing, I’ll tell you later about it), the way they lack content, or publish it in a way they add insult to injury (the article about Finnish) and don’t listen to very original and good ideas the EU/NA/ASIA clusters have, how some of the WG EU leadership guys are simply not doing their part and just stick with the “Soviets are master race” materials they have to work with, and instead, WE all have to take the blame.