more and more dirty laundry comes out on Wargaming lately and the more I learn, the more I feel disgusted and disappointed, even by Minsk. Let’s have a look at the latest scandal rocking the Russian server.
It all started with the former Russian community manager Dietolog (specifically for World of Warplanes), who blew the case wide open on his blog. Dietolog is no longer an employee of Wargaming and seeing some events concerning War Thunder lately, he decided to come forward and talk. It could also be his thirst of vengeance against Wargaming, who knows? Motives do not make the truth any different (we’ll talk about that below).
Now, what happened.
Let me get back a bit. Remember when the conditions for being a community manager were leaked? A part of the test were subversive tactics against other games – back then, we had a good laugh, but I am no longer laughing, because it’s all true.
Dietolog, as a community manager, was asked to participate in a subversive hate campaign as early as December 2013 against Wargaming’s competitor, Gaijin Entertainment, the developer of War Thunder. The campain was funnily enough called “G-spot” (WG has a sense of humor, I’ll give them that) and the entire leaked document is accessible here. It’s in Russian of course. The basic udea is that Wargaming-paid hate trolls were supposed to systematically attack Gaijin sites, forums, social network pages and fan pages and spread anti-War Thunder propaganda.
Dietolog states that he did not participate in the subversive operation and only a month later, he left or was fired. The entire campaign represents a reaction of Wargaming to the total failure of World of Warplanes and an attempt to damage the competition by other means than by creating a quality game. Anyway, back to the campaign. I imagine most of you don’t speak Russian (that’s why you are here), so let’s have a look at what the campaign consisted of.
Oh, one last thing, before we start. I reached out to several Wargaming ex-employees and employees. And you know what? It’s all true. Of course, I do not have a proof, so in the end, you’ll have to decide yourself, who to trust – a disgruntled whistleblower, or Wargaming corporate drones, who will deny the whole thing? One advice though: disgruntled employees are the major source of FTR news and Wargaming has MANY. These news are often proven to be correct. So, I wouldn’t discount them when it comes to credibility.
So, about the smearing campaign:
The first part of the document explains the basic pillars, on which WT PR is based on – a basic set of axioms, if you will:
- “We are not Wargaming” (aimed at people who dislike WG for one reason or another)
- “We are elite” (based on the fact WT playerbase is smaller)
- “We are in hostile environment” (based on the eternal “conflict” with Wargaming)
The result is, according to Wargaming, a specific community culture, built on “brotherhood in arms in opposition to Wargaming”. The report also notes further that this culture resulted in a loyal and active core of players and puts it in contrast to World of Warplanes (this refers to the state of the game from December 2013), where the issues with WoWp are identified as alleged WT subversive activities, bot-spam on lower tiers and issues with the game itself (optimization and such). It’s really an interesting analysis, I will translate it completely at one point in the future.
Second part of the document deals with what should be done with it. Wargaming openly proposes to “spam” third party sites, that deal with Wargaming, with negative images and pieces of information (anti-WT hate). This spam would be performed by WG employees in various forms:
- purely negative (spam of anti-WT statements, the list of which is available as a part of the report, no arguments required)
- argued negative (actually arguing for anti-WT statements, involves discussion, requires, apart from the list from the first point also a methodology of using various arguments)
- negative third party images or links (for example, spamming “funny” War Thunder images with mocking comments)
Especially the use of the third point is very wicked – here, Wargaming proposes actively creating videos and screenshots that intentionally distort War Thunder physics and graphics to make them look wacky and unrealistic, but also proposes the creation of videos featuring various cheat modpacks to show how vulnerable War Thunder is to cheating.
Back to points 1 and 2: Wargaming prepared, I shit you not, a HUGE list of various negative pieces of information to spam War Thunder with. Each of these points has its own methodology, eg. a proposed way, how to best use the argument and how exactly to counter any reply by War Thunder staff. Here’s how it works, a few examples:
Example 1 – category: general
Axiom: “War Thunder is shit”
Explanation: an emotional method, used to evoke negative background and feeling, use may vary.
Examples of use: “I saw your Thunder, it’s a bugged piece of shit”.
Note: can be more effective when combined with other arguments, such as referring to Gaijin’s older game “Wings of Prey” and stating it’s the same game, claiming that Gaijin developers were doing nothing for last 6 years and made nothing new, just recycled the old game.
Note 2: can be more effective when combined by a specially WG-made screenshot with wrong graphic settings, based on which it is claimed the graphics are shit
Note 3: can be more effective when claiming that WT plane models are of worse quality than WoWp models (based on a specially made screenshot of comparing both on various settings to make the game look bad
Example 2 – category: WT development sucks
Axiom: “War Thunder stole the XP mechanism from WG”
Explanation: at first, War Thunder copied the XP mechanism from Wargaming
Examples of use: “Gaijin fucked up, they made their own mechanism of XPing that sucked and then they stole the one of WG”
Example 3 – category: WT developers are liars
Axiom: “Gaijin is lying, they are constantly nerfing planes”
Explanation: Gaijin developers claim that they never buff or nerf any planes, but they did.
Example of use: “I will not give a ruble more to these slimes. I bought a prem plane and they nerfed it. I won’t ever buy any planes that got nerfed.”
Other categories include:
- whining about unhistorical flight models
- whining about low model quality
- whining about damage model
- whining about modes in the game, claiming they are shitty
- whining about game balance (imbalanced planes) etc.
The report suggests that WG trolls should focus on following platforms:
- official forum
- one of the main sources of info for RU players are Youtube channels, therefore the report proposes to focus on Gaijin’s official youtube channel (spamming negative comments) as well as fan videos.
- next, the report suggests targetting more famous War Thunder videomakers and their channels with negative comments
- finally, it’s social networks (VT VK channel, Steam and Reddit for English users), with Facebook being of secondary value
Again, according to my information, this report was executed and acted upon by WG community managers with the exception of various WG individuals, refusing to participate in this shit due to their personal integrity. And you know what? Even if I didn’t know what I know from WG ex-staff, I’d totally believe it – remember this idiot? Hmm, makes me wonder, how many haters in FTR comments are paid WG employees with sockpuppet accounts :) No worries, I do realize some people actually genuinely hate my ass, but I caught one already and where there’s one…
The question is, can this happen to other competing projects, such as Armored Warfare? Well… I am sure they will try. But AW staff knows about this, other people have leaked it before (never published though). I asked them for opinion – and the stance is, AW is ready.
And as for you, dear readers, think of this next time you see a hateful troll… :)