Of World of Tanks Economy 2 – Free to Play vs Pay to Win

Hello everyone,

today, I am going to write something about one specific aspect of World of Tanks (or any “World of” Wargaming product really) – the Free to Play (F2P) business model. Looking at the forums (well, okay, specifically the Czech ones, but the same thing comes up everywhere on occasion), I see a lot of confusion about the “free” part. People do complain that Wargaming shouldn’t charge as much for this and that and that should be for free too and whatnot.

Wargaming is not a charity. It’s a business corporation and it does not exist to entertain anyone, despite how much various Wargaming representatives talk about bringing joy and doing what they do with love and whatnot. It exists to make money. Noone invests millions of dollars in something, that doesn’t bring profit – and so, Wargaming has to charge for something. And that something always brings pay-to-win element into the game – the question is not IF, the question is HOW MUCH.

First, there is this nice little video by Extra Credits again – if you have time, go ahead and watch it (you can skip it, I’ll be describing the effect in the article, but they do it better):



Alright. So, what we have here is the free-to-play model of Wargaming, which they call “free-to-win” or something. In the video, it is cited as one of the good examples of free-to-play monetization and I actually agree. It’s a very delicate balance. You have two aspects of the game, that have to be in equillibrium:

- the ability of the developer to make money off the game
- the ability to play for free with it still being fun

Now, make no mistake. You will always have some pay to win elements, no matter what the developer says and how they argues. What matters is their intensity of course. Sure, you might argue that for example selling “hats” (Team Fortress) might not have any P2W element, but is that really true?

Imagine a theoretical situation that you have a soldier and you buy a cosmetic thing, like a hat. The old hat was let’s say red, your new hat is a green helmet. A cosmetic change, giving you no bonuses whatsoever. And yet, a situation can occur, when you use that cosmetic hat on a map, that has some sort of green-ish background and that hat makes your character spotted a split second later. That is an advantage – a microscopic one, but it is. It can work in any way imaginable – for example, imagine there is a red (brick) wall and your hat is red too. Same situation. It’s just a theory, but if such a case occurs in one case from one million battles, it is STILL a tiny little advantage you bought. As I wrote above: it’s not a question of “if”, but “how much”.

In World of Tanks, it’s basically three things, that carry some noticeable P2W elements:

- gold ammunition
- gold consumables
- some premium tanks

The first two are pretty straightforward. You buy gold for real life money and you now have ammunition, that’s simply better in everything (usually, there are notable exceptions, such as 105mm HESH). Wargaming argues of course that you don’t have to buy anything, it’s enough that you grind, because you can buy it for credits. That is true of course, but the definition of pay to win is pretty much “buying an ingame advantage for money” – and that’s exactly what you do with the gold ammunition. On higher tiers, it gets so expensive that without some serious grinding (which, in turn, is impossible for “daddies”, who play 3-4 battles per evening when they have time), you can’t use it constantly. You CAN buy an advantage (in extreme cases, a serious one), but, with that being said, gold ammo is actually pretty well balanced, it’s expensive enough for people not to spam (that is why it is so important to watch the ingame economy, too much credit/gold missions or other methods of gaining and too few sinks mean that battles would soon become infested with gold ammunition, which would spoil fun for casuals who do not want to pay and would lower Wargaming profits) and it’s not blatantly overpowered. There were cases when gold ammunition was very much OP (remember the pre-nerf 105mm HEAT on tier 5 with 150mm penetration?), but those were fixed. Equally, using too much gold ammunition on one vehicle will lead to its nerf (see the FV215b (183) recent nerf).

Gold consumables – same thing as with gold ammo, just less pronounced. Personally, I think that unless you need an absolute edge (clanwars, tournaments etc.) or have just tons of credits/gold to waste, it’s sort of pointless to buy them.

Premium tanks – well, here’s probably the nastiest part. Normally, you could say “but Silentstalker, premium tanks are even weaker than normal tanks, let alone overpowered!” – and yes, that much is true, usually, but there are some cases when this principle was not kept. Most notable ones are:

Type 59 – when it was introduced, it was blatantly overpowered and you might remember the 15 Type vs 15 Type battles. It was a hard lesson for Wargaming, one that luckily never repeated itself.

E-25 – according to server statistics (EU, RU), this tank is borderline overpowered, both when looking at its winrate and when looking at the corellation between player winrate and general tank winrate. Especially in more advanced player’s hands (from 50 percent winrate onwards) the tank has very good statistics, it’s being watched closely.

LeFH B2 – the French artillery, that was removed from the premium shop some time ago, but it is still obtainable via various events or in premium shop packages. Looking at statistics for EU server, this tank is blatantly overpowered (55 percent average winrate) – this was caused by the fact that during the Great Arty Nerf in 8.6 or so, it was not hit as hard as other tanks.

Panzer IIJ – currently, this is the most overpowered tank in the game due to its (for its tier) insane armor (or, rather, a combination of factors). It has around 67 percent average winrate. If it wasn’t so extremely rare (the only way to get it on EU or US server was either by buying Russian gift edition – which is not possible anymore – or by winning it at some events like Gamescom) it would be likely nerfed to the ground. But, I know some players who paid a lot of money for it and do have very, very high winrate with it, which is sort of a definition of pay to win, but okay. An exception let’s say.

The “Whales” versus “The Rest of Us”

If you watched the video, you know what a “whale” is – a player that can (and does) spend a lot of money in the game and in turn, he gets… something. These players are usually the ones driving the P2W elements. Luckily for every player in the game, Wargaming decided to go a different way. Instead of relying on a very limited number of “whales” paying a lot (the way other F2P games do it), they decided to encourage much broader part of audience to pay, just small amounts. Where a normal F2P game has – I don’t know, 3-5 percent of player base paying anything, World of Tanks has much larger share. I’ve seen various values, most recent was up to 20 percent or so. This large mass of players has three advantages:

- it creates very high revenues
- it does not require blatant P2W elements in the game (unlike “whales”, who generally expect the game to be their personal theme park)
- it likely has extreme inertia and durability (a loss of one player that pays little is felt much less than a loss of one “whale”)

What it however also means is that while 20 percent of players pay something, 80 percent of players do not. Generally, I’ve seen a lot of players (usually on the forums, which are logically bound to have much larger share of paying players) complain about these “freeloaders”, talking about them in disrespectful way.

This is wrong. The players, who play for free, have an extremely important role as well – obviously, apart from some of them eventually becoming paying players once they “get into it”, they also keep the game rolling, because it’s all about mathematics. You can’t have an amount X of paying players without Y=(X*4) not paying players even with the best F2P system. If the non-paying players (or a significant part of them) went away, the paying customers would soon follow for obvious reasons (nobody to shoot, waiting times etc.). In this sense – when I see a non-paying player on forums (people who actually boast that they don’t pay) complain about noobs, I am generally like “chill, dude, this noob allows you to play for free with his presence”. These “noobs” are the price for a F2P game.

There is also another one very specific element of World of Tanks economy. Perhaps not so important, but noticeable as well. A part (and I am not sure how large one, but perhaps 1 percent of players) are “whales” (capable of spending gold) without paying anything – they get it via Clanwars. Obviously only the best clans can “feed” their players this way, but in absolute numbers, especially on Russian server, I can imagine there is a lot of those guys. This in turn logically partially diminishes the value of the “whale voice” when it comes to future development, since the argument of “I am paying, therefore my voice should be valued more” can be partially countered with “not all gold spenders are paying” – and of course, another diminishing factor is what I wrote above, so in the end, paying players have no special say in World of Tanks development, apart from WG automatically following trends and making offers based on them.

That is by the way another interesting aspect – there are people at Wargaming dealing with optimizing the content of “premium packages” – do you think some premium shop bundelss strange, useless or retarded? Well, it’s not because some guy randomly sat down and thought like “how will I piss them off today” – it’s because an economic algorithm told him what content sells statistically the most at given point in time and made an optimal bundle to correspond that need. The obvious example is “more stuff gets sold on Christmas”, but it is much more subtle and intricate than that throughout the year.

So, in the end, Wargaming has it all figured out. There are checks and balances to keep the “P2W” Pandora’s box closed and at the same time, Wargaming gets to make a lot of money. This balance is something I actually admire greatly. Believe me, there are some really smart people at Wargaming, especially when it comes to economy, not everyone is a joke the way some EU staff is (funnily enough, for example Czechoslovak section currently has no community staff, both left/were kicked (who knows) at the same time).

104 thoughts on “Of World of Tanks Economy 2 – Free to Play vs Pay to Win

    • Pretty much the same arguements were used with WT:GF. And that didn’t turn otu as well asthe doomsayers wished for.

        • Unfortunatley it does. If you play badly(an it is calculated in circa week periods) you get a BR modifier, and BR is closest to WoT tiers. Imagine a KW -1 that gets 4-6 mm instead of 5-7. This sometimes leads to seeing players sucking on purpose to then take the best armoured machine they can find and rolfstomp with it, as it is impenetrable from almost any angle. And WTGF’s gold ammo has less dmg for more pen, so you need to hit him quite a few times while he can one shot erase you.

          • WT doesn’t have skill based MM. That has been removed for some time now. MM is limited to a fixed spread of 1.0 for the vehicle’s battle rating and a fixed +-1 for the tier.
            Also there’s no gold ammo in WT, just different ammo for different purposes. But hose aren’t premium or gold rounds.

      • Secondly, modern day tanks simply have no appeal to me. I will give it an honest try, but i don’t really care about the PvE aspect in AW, if anything.

          • A CON for someone with small dick and low self esteem that hates to hear he has small dick if skill corresponds with dick, or if has enough skill, wants to grow his dick and self esteem by bashing less skilled players.

            Only they 2nd part doesn’t work.

        • Warthunder had skill based match making. Others here said they removed it!! wonder why? well because it did not work.

          It looks superior. well i should hope so its brand new. WOT is 3 years old

          You are just saying what people said about ground forces before it was released.
          You are basing your statement on some videos you have seen online.
          Lets wait and see what it is like when people can play it……..

      • WoT will receive at some point PvE elements. Anyway, its not like those AW bots were remarcable. I think even now WoT`s tutorial room bots are smarter.

        The +/-10% RNG might be a good thing for eSports and skilled players. For average Joe it doesent matter anyway.

        SkillBased MM? Really? I would bet my right hand that such thing would kill a game. I personally like to overwhelm some guys, if I would have to play against someone as good as me continuously I would soon get tired and quit. Its human nature I guess.

        • Agreed on the Skill-Based MM, the almost absolute randomness, and the ability to occasionally get a win in a 23%, creates those moments that really make you come back to World of Tanks even after all the shitty games.

          The randomness of +/- 25% also, I would argue, create great moments in randoms, when you manage to roll high and kill an enemy that is just slightly out of your gun’s alpha. It’s manageable and yet makes the game fun.

          • Seriously? Getting Winchances of less than 30% makes me want to drown myself. Why would you *want* to get steamrolled because of afk’ers, bots and weekend warriors?

        • I don’t think skill based MM would work that way where EVERY player in the match had similar stats. Instead both sides would have a mix of players, bad and good, but the mix would be similar for both.

          So while I don’t think skill based MM would kill the game, I’m not particularly in favour of it either.

      • This is wrong. The players, who play for free, have an extremely important role as well – obviously, apart from some of them eventually becoming paying players once they “get into it”, they also keep the game rolling, because it’s all about mathematics. You can’t have an amount X of paying players without Y=(X*4) not paying players even with the best F2P system. If the non-paying players (or a significant part of them) went away, the paying customers would soon follow for obvious reasons (nobody to shoot, waiting times etc.). In this sense – when I see a non-paying player on forums (people who actually boast that they don’t pay) complain about noobs, I am generally like “chill, dude, this noob allows you to play for free with his presence”. These “noobs” are the price for a F2P game.

        @ure so wrong

        wg will fall down because they russian mind think they can do all by themselfs ,which is not ,they keep it like a close call….

        a game with developers who doesnt now to speak english ,the international language and they try to look baddass but in real they have vokta behind for courage, will never prosper
        i mean ,i have to learn russian to heard the news? fuck it …… armored warfare BRINT IT !

        • not to mention the scrwe up they made and blame us for coockies and sites or the fact that they cant update the game and fix bugs just 1 time per MONTS =)))) epic ..check the other games …… if a bug its spotted they will fix it imediatly ,here u have to wait a month :)))

        • Man your own English sucks so much that you should keep quiet about other people’s ability to speak it.

            • Skill Based MM is the coming thing. Players are crying out for it too. Many want it, because they are sick and tired of the “lopsided battle landslide losses”, the team player skill imbalance that is not taken into account, and it is driving players away from the game. The NA sever population is shrinking (I’ve followed it now for getting close to 2 years now, it’s dropping, and should have grown even bigger but it has not.)

              Many threads have been posted on the NA forum site, and they have made some good arguments for it.

              There is a myth by the High % WR players (unicums) about how it will not work. It’s really about the fear of not having lesser players to pad their stats with.

              We all know its Purple Unicums who are terrified that they will not be able to keep their stats up by not having seals to club. And everyone knows it.

    • 1. Skilled based MM does not work even with the amount of players WoT has.
      AW is soon going to realize that. As much as I would love not to have to deal with 14 noobs on my team IN ADDITION TO 15 enemy players(who are probably better than the 14 noobs on my team)…players with 55%+ are increasingly rare…with a Skill-based MM I would sit in queue for hours.
      2. +/- 10% is still RNG and you will cry about it as much as WoT RNG because we don’t know how the RNG is distributed. After RNG distribution rework; WoT damage/accuracy have been fairly consistent.
      3. PvE in an online multiplayer game? Only for the bad players who can’t beat real players.

    • AW won’t be getting shitty skill based MM. If it did, WoT would be vastly superior then.
      RNG +/-10 is less realistic as well.

      • Good point Kono Reizei. Everyone is complaining about how arcade WoT is, meanwhile they want less RNG on dmg and penetration. They do not see the contradiction.

    • 1. No. Will cry back to WoT.
      2. Nope. Does not matter as much as some idiots like you believe. Also, that is less realistic.
      3. Here I agree. WoT will have PVE too though. Still this is something quite important.

    • i remember almost 10 years ago when every mmo was a wowkiller.

      -gf failed to deliver, too much realism and you kill the gameplay
      -aw wont be able to outperform wot, altrough newer tanks are interesting, there are a lot of mechanics and things like that that kill gameplay.

    • Better to wait and see what kind of game AW will be for real, than to jump on a hype wagon man. I waited for WTGF like a saving from the evil WG. One week after it came out I gave up and came back to WoT. Reason? WoT is a game that’s way more fun for me that WT GF is.

    • Wow, WarGaming must be very happy with this article you’ve written for them.

      Can you give me a link to the Old FTR site? One that doesn’t have WOT in it.

      • And this article gets my seal of approval :D [like anyone cares] I’m happy for WG who made this kind of game. And I play without premium – I only spend gold on garage slots, some discounted tanks.

  1. Nice one SS, I hope people will read and finally understand that both paying and free users are needed. I hope they will understand that Wargaming is a company and it does need to earn money so it can continue to exist.

    When I hear retarded things like “I will never pay for a stupid game” I wanna smash that persons head. Moron, If you think this game is retarded why you play it 4 hours a day for 3 years straight? If you are so much depended on a thing why not pay a damn 10 euros a month to fully enjoy it? They have nothing against paying 10 euros for a movie ticket, but they wouldnt do it for a video game. Either a movie or a game is the same thing, someone spent time and money to create quality content. Its normal to pay for such things.

    I think that Wargamings free-to-play model is one of the best around. I would dare to say its continuously perfectly balanced.

    • indeed sir , you can get gold from tournaments too so whats the problem anyway its not that hard to get 2k- 2.5k from skirmishes ,if you are good about 7 k- 10k or so.

  2. To a lesser extent, are gold to XP kind of P2W? WG tend to release strong/OP tanks (T57H, Waffles, etc), which encourages xp conversion to play OP tanks before they are nerfed.

    • I know what you mean (WT E-100 was prime example), I do not however think this to be intentional, I think someone simply fucked up several times. It was a lesson as well, effectively it means that you don’t have to expect another WT E-100 vehicle in the game, ever.

      • Many people think it is entirely intentional. If you ask me, those are gold/freeXP sinks. Players were spending huge amounts of gold to get to WT E-100, Death Star, STB-1 and so on, the very day the patch featuring them rolled out.

        • I agree, but it’s usually because it’s a safety measure – you don’t know how good the vehicle will be on large scale, and so you intentionally make it a bit OP. That way:
          - you can slightly nerf it later on
          - it generates some income
          - it doesn’t get a reputation of underperforming vehicle (which is much tougher to remove in eyes of players).

    • Well, a lot of people who spend that money and get the WT-E100 are really bad with it. They don’t really have a good crew on it, they have no experience in playing these Tanks. Sure, there are some of these unicums who get that tank and rock the field. But I think it keeps within limits.

      • i went and played the WT E100 on the test server yesterday. i consider myself an average player at a 53% w/r and i did not have one match where i did not get under 4k damage in the thing out of the 50 battles i played. its got an 81% w/r. the thing is still blatantly OP which leads me to wonder how i come across people that are bad in it. ive tested out many of the high tier tanks in the game at some point and nothing has felt so powerful as that tank. its pretty bad.

  3. Personally speaking, I do not think I should bear a retarded player in a game I’m playing. Especially if he is more retarded than a stray dog in game.

    Fuck their monetization, fuck their money, there are many games that give you the pleasure without spending too much cash.

    Oh, yes. WoT is one of the reasons for turning back to older games, notably AoE2.

      • Who’s more scum? Me, who curse at some idiots who play worse than a computer program, or, you (for instance ofc), who ragequit and write piece of crap curses at 13yr old n00bs?

        To me, my journey in WoT has come to an end, thanks to all bitches playing the game.

  4. 1. You forgot about camo patterns, giving straight 5% ;) .

    2. On related issue: i think that WoT grind is too steep – while at the same time a dedicated player can get to 10tier in a month or two, it takes years for casual player – the “daddy” everyone mentiones. And said player can get bored eariler because of monotonous play and still bail out, stopping to pay in consequence. The other problem is that such grind is indeed drug-like addictive, you have to devote yourself and spend a lot of time to get anything; i’m not talking about bluenicums, only average players who have much less average xp/battle and xr/battle incomes.
    True, that it gets easier and easier because of missions and events and currently WG caught this issue and released mid”end”game content in form of strongholds to keep those players interested but there are still adjustments needed.

      • A full premium camo for credits for a month is a few hundred K creds, which is around 15-20 games in a tier 5 without premium. That’s 15 games worth of profit that obviously can’t be going into premium ammo, premium consummables or buying unlocked modules, hence lower performance.

          • You need super unicum stats to be able to make 10-15k profit per game at tier 10. Superunicums are not the norm, the game wasn’t made for them, and as such you can’t use them as the baseline for your study of the game’s monetization model.

            • See GJukov’s profile.

              He is a friend of mine, has all the tanks he has WITHOUT premium. Well, except those 1-3 day prems you get on missions or events. And a Type 59 I bought him a few days before it went out of store (already had IS7, IS4 and T-54 :P )

              Even he could buy camo. only by playing his T-34 and KV-1.

    • “You forgot about camo patterns, giving straight 5%”

      Currently (from 0.8.6) it provides from +2% to +4%, depending on vehicle class.

  5. Using freexp to skip or reduce the amount of time you spend in stock tanks definitely has P2W repercutions as well.
    Sure, one can argue that, since 5% of your battle xp is duplicated as freexp, a F2P player can just grind long enough to have enough freexp to skip whatever grind stock he wants. But considering a 60k xp grind (I don’t have the exact figures handy but that should be consistent with a tier 8 stock-to-fully equiped grind), you’d have to play around 1700 battles at an average of 700xp per game (a good player’s average xp without premium) to grind enough freexp for that.
    Is it doable? Most definitely, all it takes is a lot of time and dedication. But is it reasonable to expect that from anybody that isn’t obsessed with performance *on top of* not being able or willing to pay a dime? No, of course not, and Wargaming know that perfectly well. They know most will suffer through the grind (thus being at a disadvantage for a longer time, hence P2W), while some will pay to skip grind and have an edge on the average player.
    Of course this mostly doesn’t apply to tier 10 tanks.

    • Hey, that’s how I got the BL-10 before buying the ISU-152, because I was sure as hell not grinding 63k XP using the 152mm derp gun (I only grinded the tracks on the ISU). And that was in a time I had less tanks in my garage.

      Now, if I have enough time to get the x2 on ALL the tanks I have… it’s entirely possible I could get about 1.5k Free XP per evening. Maybe more, maybe less (I currently have 32 tanks, 30 if I count out the Pz I C & Grille which I keep just for the lulz)

    • Free xp is not tied to your ability to excel in WoT. Free xp is WG’s money trap. It gives you the ability to move faster in your grind and access better equipment/tanks. But to get free xp in the quantities needed you have to either play all day long or convert it using gold (cash).

      I guess free xp is where most people spend money.

      • Agree with you Zeus67, Using free XP a lot of times will handicap you as it allows you to play less games in a tank line that most often has a similar play style. It’s not always the case, but some lines if you Free XP past the other tanks, your doing yourself no favor. You get your shiny new tier X though Free XP’ing and not playing the other tanks which can be instrumental in teaching you the basics of that line.

    • And then I log in at ~ 00:00 for same late night fun – 1 win out of 7-8 games… Almost everytime first in xp and damage in the battle report…
      All defeat were stupid, not close, exciting fight… just a pathetic suffering how long can I (and/or some other unfortunate dude) withstand the superior enemy team… while teammates die like flies…

      There are same lame battles after midnight like afternoon.

    • Because you just can’t outplay a 12 year old with better reflexes. Quit whining old man, learn the game and outplay the freaking tomatoes.

      • LOL old man what how did you get that impression wise up. Yes because I have a huge issue outplaying tomatoes I think my 56% W/R solo pub kinda shows that I can outplay tomatoes.

  6. gold rounds should be nerfed so they give a max increase in penetration by 5% (or around that number) so if you have 200mm of pen with a standard round a gold round should have 210mm pen (this way you still get an advantage but its not some ridiculous OP number)

    • whilst I agree their penetration should be reduced T54 Heat shells come to mind 330 avg I don’t think by that large of an amount maybe 25% more base penetration but 10% is way too low.

    • Except that the “whales” would shit bricks. Memember all of the gold ammo whines on the forum when gold ammo was available only for gold? No! Because there wasn’t any. Gold ammo was OK when only those that could afford to buy gold regularly could buy it. Now that they have lost some of their pay to win advantage because joe public can have a few emergency rounds in their tanks, the “whales” cry on the forum all of the time.

  7. Well I just hope WG can keep doing good on their business long enough to develop other games keep WoT getting better and better.

    There’s no other company that’s as good as them on the F2W system, well other than Valve and DotA2 that is. LoL is a somewhat subliminally P2W game *ahem hero rotation*.

  8. gold ammo is really a game changer,
    -more pen negates the rng pen effect of regular ap, so you wont care about a 200 pen shot in a is7 when your average pen is 303 with gold.
    -tanks are balanced arround silver ammo, t-54 has higher rof and better soft stats because the gun has 200 pen(220 pen gun is garbage), but if you spam gold you outperform leo/cent/t61 in every aspect and even some t10.
    -of course it doesnt matter if the user is bad, since he will die anyway, but green and over can perform better running only with gold.

    • Gold ammo is still subject to the same game mechanics as silver ammo. All it does is give you better pen values but it still can bounce or do exactly nothing, since it plays with the same dice as common ammo.

    • Tell me in which situations you would need premium ammunition while farming credits with a Tier5 tank.

      You don’t have to pay money to get premium ammunition. You can farm credits for them in the lower tiers where buying premium ammunition would be a waste.

      Alternatively, try learning weakspots and angling mechanics. If you know them in and out, you can still deal damage without premium ammunition and even bounce off theirs.

  9. Free-to-Play is in most contexts a badly chosen term for such a monetization model. It rather should be called: Pay-What-You-Want.

    I am actually okay if the baseline payment bonuses for “normal” progression in comparison to past (and present) subscription models would be within the $15 and $20 range as that is what is already the usual price for subscription based games. This baseline is given (at least for me) in World of Tanks, I can play normally without compensating too much time with paying $20 a month (premium account + a load of gold for xp conversion)

    Handicapping non- or less-than-baseline payers is okay for me as long as they can compensate with more time given to that game. Whaling more money should not yield to more extreme advantages vs the normal payer (in contrast to how an infamously-known greedy chinese company who bought the rights for a D&D4ed MMO does) but merely compensate lack of play time.

    Remember, there are still development and server costs to be paid, and as such, as long as it is not put to extremes (baseline for “normal” play = USD 15 to USD 20), such a model is acceptable.

    Comparing time vs. money, it is concludable that the multiplied product of time and money should cause diminishing returns, so that everyone has the same chances.
    And yes, diminishing returns (at least indirectly) also exist in World of Tanks: You effectively gain less and less XP over time (2x XP) the more play time or money you shell out daily. Also, even if you shell out 4-digit or 5-digit in money, you still lack the experience you can only gain over time required for higher tiers. And there is one thing money cannot buy you (yet! And I hope it won’t!): Crew skills.

    * Desired Baseline for normal gameplay time and money-wise: USD15 to 20 a month
    * Handicapping non- or less-than-baseline payers is okay if they can compensate with more game play time.
    * Paying more than the baseline should not yield more advantages, only compensate less available play time.
    * Diminishing returns if time and/or money spent are extreme.

    Addendum: Still I prefer Pay2Skin over Pay2Win.

  10. you can get premium tanks and prem time with missions…got my IS-6, Type 62 and T34 that way ,tons of credits with missions too you know prem consumables and silver WG has one of the best F2P models for me .

    • Those missions are great, if you have enough time to do them. they can take 2-3 hours a day, and the average person can’t complete them. But I do agree that the bonuses with some missions are great, It helps keep me motivated to play

  11. As premium ammo and consumables are available for credits I wouldnt consider them P2W elements.

    If you define p2w as “what you can buy for real cash” then you can buy credits for real cash and everything that comes with it.

    Proper definition would be “things you can buy for gold ONLY”

    so most important would be credits (as gold ammo, consumable, increased income in premium tanks, premium account) what allow you in turn to lay tanks you like more with more premium ammo and consumables on average.

    second p2w element would be crew xp – in form of gold reskilling and premium tank crew training – again, nothing you wouldnt be able to grind without cash, but using cash speeds up process immensely

    no p2w element would be for me increased amount of xp from premium account and free xp conversion – unlocking a tank faster gives you no advantage at all, it’s the same tank with worse crew comparing to the tank unlocked by farming instead of freeexping.
    you may argue that unlocking modules for free xp is an advantage of course.

    To sum up – if paying and no paying players would be meeting in battle paying player would not have anything not obtainable by non-paying player.
    However paying player can reach any setup faster then non paying player and can restock premium ammo/consumables with less battles on moneymaker.

    In the long run, considering let’s say clan wars, the only difference is that free user will have much more battles played, sightly worse crew (mitigated by fact he has to play more) but after 3rd perk difference is not so huge.

    Considering random battles – paying player will be able to use premium stuff more often – which is easily countered by just carefully choosing when to use it and when not.

  12. Your TF2 analogy is nonsense, players are identified by silhouettes, the color of their hat is irrelevant. In fact a unique hat makes an individual player easier to identify as they stand out from the rest of the players on their team.

    Path of exile is another good example of a game with no p2w elements, the only non-cosmetic item when I played was extra inventory space (the default being 5 tabs, a very generous amount) theirs nothing the would affect competition with other players.

    WoT veers towards p2w elements in some areas, but it doesnt have to. F2p games are definitely a question of “if” and not “how much”.

  13. Its the crew retraining for gold which I find particularly greedy, and the hardest part of PTW to avoid. I’m happy to play most of the time without using gold ammo or even consumables, but having to regrind a whole crew (for credits or for free) is a misery…..

  14. WoT system is not fiting into the p2w category IMO cause almost large number of the stuff that are purchasable for gold can be obtained with credit’s
    the wot system is Pay 2 progress faster
    so yeah for some people might have an issue cause they cant play that long or other just have enough time just to sink hours and grind the tanks
    so yeah WoT system is ok as it is and shouldnt be touched

  15. I think a very important thing is left out: Premium Account.

    This is the make or break between being able to play at all (with non-tier-1 tanks) or not being able to play at all (with non-tier-1 tanks) when all one has are =/>Tier 9 tanks apart from the Tier 1 starters. Of course, Tier9/10 TD’s high alpha(750~850) can probably rectify this somewhat but for heavies with low pen credit rounds (IS-7, Maus) it is definitely the case. Tanking also does not provide credits, which could have been true and have thus alleviated the situation but it currently isn’t.

    • I agree.

      Premium account is the core mechanic in WoT monetisation.

      And Wot is one of the very few games that I would not consider a P2W.
      There are many bad examples of games that allow you to have an advantage only by spending money.
      Just like the Gold ammo for was.
      But now you can get the core advantages also with credits.
      Now if we play 1 round in T10 with gold only and lose we lose a ton of credits.
      And we would need 10 or 20 matches in T5or T6 to get that back.
      But it is still F2P, that way.
      That is the whole concept.

      Back to premium account.
      It allows mediocre players for T8 games without loss and good players for T10 games without loss.
      For are value of 10€ per month.
      Every December there been a option to get 12 Months for 60€.
      Now what full price title for 60€ do we play 12 Months?

      And btw: WoT has a rate of over 25% players spending money.
      Most of them probably only for premium…

      • Premium is defenetly he biggest money maker of WG cause they are the ones who buy the 1 yeah pack at christmas or other who pay mounthly or general people paying for x amount of prem days
        it’s the only reason why i spent 10 euros on wot cause it will give you a boost and in a tank with good alpha and a resonable good result you will get a few extra cash
        as mentioned above i agree that wot is not P2W cause there nothing that you can buy with gold and cant buy for credits
        wot goes into the category of pay 2 progress but in the bad meaning
        pay 2 to have an easier time while grinding tanks and credits

  16. “You will always have some pay to win elements, no matter what the developer says and how they argues.”

    While that’s true of WoT, it’s certainly not true of all F2P games.

  17. I’ve been saying this from the time WoT was in CBT, and I actually requested WG to not make the game F2P but 1 time purchase like GW2 for example

    F2P in it’s current form is a plague that will ruin the gaming industry – f2p inherently separates the people willing to spend from those who can’t, it’s very bad thing that leads to early abandonment of the game and also leads to botting, account selling and the rest

    in the video they gave HeathStone as a “good” example .. while in fact it’s plagued by the same issues
    once you reach a certain plying field in the game, PvP wise, you will encounter people with perfect decks that got them with real money – what do you do? you can either pay up or lower your expectations from the game, become a casual player and eventually quit
    played HS for few months, I quit because I’m not willing to spend x amount of $ so that few months later another “expansion” drops expecting me to pay more $

    I’m currently playing GW2, a one time purchase MMO – not free to play, done right

    Path of Exile, DOTA2, TF2 can be examples of f2p titles done about right

    • A full price title can still mean more cost to come.
      Be it full price add-ons after a year or 5€ DLCs every Month…

      • I have payed 0$ extra after my GW2 purchase .. ZERO

        a game that expects me to pay up sometime in the future or they will restrict content, it’s a game I will not buy and will not play

        publishers that announce DLC even before the game is in the store won’t interest me a bit – I will pay full price for a game, a good game, but if they expect me to dish out more money because rain … not gonna happen

        another game that I hate myself for buying .. BF3, when they released the 1st, not free, map pack the player base split – when BF4 hit .. I couldn’t care less

  18. I had been a freeloader for two years as an NA server player, buying premium things with gold codes that I am given at WG booths. A couple months before my two year mark, I had raged on the forums because of a “wallet warrior” that was very inexperienced. About a month after my two year mark I started to feel guilty about being a freeloader, so I bought the SU-85I in the gift shop.

  19. A paying player feels superior because he’s fighting against 80% of Non paying players and only 20% of paying players.
    Skill based MM is a bad Idea cause that will make the grind even harder for these good players, half the fun is shooting noobs, while the other half is killing a skilled player (especially in 1 on 1).

  20. Premium account is pay to win. As are premium tanks if you don’t have to shoot gold rounds to be effective. They give you a lot more cash per game. This allows more gold rounds to be purchased.

    E-25 is borderline op only if you shoot 50+ percent gold rounds. If not you get what happened to this unicum in a T8 game. He shot all 60 rounds of ammo. He got 59/60 hits and I think 2 kills. He did a grand total of 823 damage. He had 15 out of 59 shots pen. If you need to shoot a high percentage of gold rounds to compete in a premium vehicle, what is the point of owning it. E-25 is a fun tank to play, but 150 pen in a T8 game is never op. In a T7 game, it can be depending on the mix of tanks.

    As far as pay to win, I really don’t have a problem with the way WG does most of it. What I do have an issue with is the way the modules they have chosen on many vehicles are bad so you will convert exp.

    You have noticed they are looking at ways to make premium tanks better as far as crew training goes etc. I guess sales are down on premium vehicles.

    Skill based MM can work. In SC2 it seems to work fine. Same for COH2. In wot if they did MM as they do now, then shuffle the sides around until they got as close as possible to a 50/50 winrate on both sides, they would have a lot less 15-3 roflstomps. At lease the battles would be closer with a equal number of bad players on both sides more or less. I am curious to see how they approach skill based MM.

    • Premium account does not make it easier for you to win. All it does is increase the earning rate by 50%. This palliates the repair/restock costs of Tier 8 to 10 tanks.

      You can play effectively without premium up to Tier 7. Beyond that you will always lose money even if you win.

      • Oh yes it does. Anything that allows you to speed through useless stock tanks improves your win rate. As does anything that allows you to buy equipment sooner and use consumables more often.

        • Actually, going faster through your grind works against your win rate. Because your skills improve with practice. Even if you work with shitty tanks, you get more skilled.

          If you go faster, then you go to higher tiers when you are not ready for them thus impacting your win rate negatively.

  21. I do not agree with you on this one on TF2, the reasoning “in this particular moment had costume x saved me and that is why it is pay to win” is just not reasoned.
    I mean, it is maybe an advantage in this particular moment, but you have the exact same thing in absolutly every other costume too.
    So if you minimize the monitorized timespan (in wich you “messure” the P2W-Factor) on this exact moment, you are right.
    But just expand that by one match and you are wrong. in the realy not long lasting battles, everyone in both teams had these moments and it can not be forced by players, so how is that an dvantage over other players?

    If you would say (for example) you sell a Ghillie suit in a game like DayZ, you are right, they are a actual advantage cince the clothing is the spotting factor of this game. But then it is no longer just a cosmetic change and has to be messured by other scales.

  22. There is something major you left out of your argument on pay to win…

    Where Wargaming makes most of its money is from, what comes from the premium tanks.

    That is FREE XP—-> $REAL MONEY to Convert XP from grinding from Prem. Tanks.

    $$$$$ CONVERSION OF XP TO FREE XP is where WARGAMING makes a lot of its money

    They make more money from this than even the sale of the Perm tanks themselves.

    More than garage slots, camo, consumables, Gold Ammo, than anything in the game.

    $$$$ XP conversion to go after free XP…..

    What a misnomer, to even call it conversion of free XP….

    Re-Roll Accounts account for this, Climbing for new OP tanks to be able to PWN (own) other people in the game, rushing to get OP tanks before they are Nerfed,

    And another source of is the 1 year premium sales…. (which is a good business model however)

    Definitely NOT A FREE TO PLAY GAME, Even the Free players make money for Wargaming. They pay with their time. TIME = MONEY