Online vehicular shooter War Thunder made some changes to the way its economy works recently, and players of the game are so upset that not only have they review-bombed the game to hell and back, but the developers have been forced to take extremely apologetic actions in response.
Basically, a game that has over the years become increasingly pay-to-win—as well as becoming a dumping ground for state secrets—recently implemented economy changes that made it even harder to get anything out of the game—especially progression—unless you were regularly spending actual money.
Players, fed up with the exploitation, did one of the few things available to them: they took to Steam to leave negative feedback, posting thousands of messages protesting the changes and attacking developers Gaijin. At time of publishing the game’s Steam review section looked like this:
The most popular negative review sums up the situation nicely:
I didn’t want to leave a negative review, but Gaijin’s blatant contempt for their own players has forced my hand.
War Thunder is a game like no other, with a comprehensive damage system, combined arms, and variety of beautifully modeled tanks, aircraft and ships.
Unfortunately, this “uniqueness” has left Gaijin with little real competition over the years. What started off as a “free to play” title has over time become less and less free. Gaijin keeps adding nations and vehicles, while at the same time increasing repair costs and lowering RP/SL gain. A premium account isn’t enough to comfortably progress anymore, now you also have to buy premium vehicles in every nation.
For the new players reading this, Gaijin has recently admitted that they balance free vehicles around a negative SL income for average players. That means they WANT you to lose money by playing, so you’ll be forced to buy a top tier premium vehicle.
In response, Gaijin have cancelled the most recent and punitive economic changes—though this will do little to reverse the gradual trend that had already alienated so many long-time players—and posted one of the sorriest apology statements I have ever seen:
Firstly, we would like to extend our sincerest apologies to each and every one of you. We deeply regret the fact that our actions have let you down, and that we have failed to adequately address the concerns you have voiced over time. We share your passion for the game, and it pains us that our decisions have not lived up to your expectations.
Over the past week, we’ve been diligently analyzing the feedback you’ve provided. We acknowledge and agree with your concerns regarding the balance of the economy (Silver Lions and Research Points), as well as modification research. We have therefore prioritized addressing these issues as our immediate concern.
We are in the process of creating a plan to tackle these problems. While we have made some initial progress in understanding the scope of these issues and potential solutions, we anticipate providing a more detailed roadmap by the 14th of June.
We understand the urgency you feel for changes to be implemented, and we assure you, we share your eagerness. However, given the scale and complexity of a project like War Thunder, some time is required to ensure that any changes we make are both effective and beneficial to the player experience.
We are also continually reviewing the vast array of other feedback and suggestions we receive. Rest assured, these are important to us and will be addressed, but at this moment, our first priority remains the game’s economics and progression.
We are truly sorry for the disappointment and frustration that we have caused. We commit to you that we are doing everything we can to improve the game, and regain your trust.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time. We value your continued support and your dedication to the game we all love.
I would argue that listening now is listening too late. Clearly this player base has had enough of this bullshit and has been angry for a very long time, and walking back one set of changes will do little to address fundamental flaws in the game’s underlying design, which are really what people are so pissed off about.
Changing the severity and timing of the squeeze won’t do anything when it’s the squeeze itself players are so upset about.
As a further measure players are now planning a boycott on May 26, though other plans for a “seal-clubbing day” on May 25, in an attempt to get “new players to quit”, might not be as great an idea or look.