Wargaming seems to be kicking goals in all directions. From their ten year World of Tanks anniversary, to the WWII commemorations in World of Warships. And now the launch of the ANZ World of Tanks Premier League. For a ten year game, all these events point to World of Tanks not going anywhere anytime soon. With all the exciting announcements, we wanted to know more. We had the chance to chat with Jake Truman, the ANZ Product Manager for World of Tanks. He gave us lots of insight into the League and some of the plans Wargaming has for World of Tanks.
World of Tanks Premier League
The new World of Tanks Premier League launched in September during PAX Online. Jake said Wargaming was “very pleased to partner with PAX” for the launch of the league. The team at Wargaming were blown away by the response they received from the launch:
The response from our community [has] completely blown me away. We’ve seen several thousand unique viewers. We had close to 500 people watching for Round 1. It was the biggest stream we’ve ever done for World of Tanks since our bushfire charity stream earlier in the year.
Jake was originally asked about his expectations for the event. He said he didn’t even set the bar high enough.
I didn’t set a target high enough for what we actually met because I didn’t think it was going to get the response that it did.
The response has been highly positive, even from the non-English speaking community. Jake said the response from the Japanese community was so positive, Wargaming had to start broadcasting the League in Japanese. Now the team is looking to support more languages.
The Japanese response has definitely taken us by a pleasant surprise. Our community at large across Asia has been really keen on it, so we’d be open to support more languages as it goes on. We’re looking to improve and refine the broadcast from there.
World of Tanks has a very strong presence across China, Korea, and the rest of South East Asia. Very soon the League could be broadcasted in many other languages.
Wargaming is here, and it’s here to stay
Jake says there’s lots of challenges for a game that’s been on-going for ten years. One of those is you have an established core community. Wargaming wanted to show this community they’re committed. This was one of the reasons for the goals of the ten year anniversary as well as the Premier League. The response from the community regarding the League has been incredible according to Jake. He said for a game that is now ten years old, one of the goals of the league was to show the community they aren’t going anywhere:
Coming back to the 10th anniversary beat, the best way to summarize it is we really wanted to use this league not only to reflect and improve on what we’ve done in the area for the past 10 years, but also look at it as an exciting new chapter. And really show not only to our existing players who have been around for 10 years, that we’re not going anywhere, we’re not planning to put the brakes on this anytime soon. And for all those newer players out there who are coming into the game, who are looking for something, to show them the exact same message. Just because we’re a 10-year-old game doesn’t mean we’re winding up our content and looking for ways to make this easier for ourselves. Our community hasn’t gone anywhere in these last 10 years, so why should we?
Jake and the team at Wargaming said the momentum that’s been built up during 2020 has been fantastic. Personally, Jake says he felt like this year has been the most excited the community has been. The team plans to build on this excitement and offer as much as they can to the community. And that includes both current players, veterans, and new players.
Player talent in the Premier League
The Australian and New Zealand community has some of the best tanks players in the world according to Jake. He said there’s lots of players who have been in the game for five plus years now and they are highly experienced. Jake said however one of the challenges is bringing in new players. How do you get players out of their usual clans and friend groups to welcome rookies? Well that’s where the idea of the League and the unique drafting process came from:
people click with their clan groups and their friend groups. So what I wanted to do with [the Premiere League] is shuffle that around and have players – these massive, well known players in the community, who are influential figures – not just grouped together with their clans or their friends who they’ve been with for a while. But have them actually represent their states and shake things up a little bit.
The team landed on a format where players represent their state or territory and then key individuals are drafted to balance out the talent. Jake said it wasn’t all sunshine and roses at the start:
[The draft process] met with some prickly responses from some of the older guard members of the community because they were so used to playing with their friends or their key clans… What’s been exciting to see is the captains of these teams and the more veteran esports players have been really blown away by how much the rookies and the new guys have been able to step up and work with the team and adapt these strategies and new styles of play so quickly, which has been amazing, because that was the whole goal: to inspire other individuals.
Goals to grow bigger
Whilst the League has started in Australia and New Zealand, Jake said there’s goals to take the League further. There’s the option of international expansion, especially into Asia with the strong community presence there. The team is also working on developing their “broadcastability” as well as exploring ways of opening up to more players:
We’re trying to nail the production and improve broadcastability especially in a year like this where most people are stuck in front of a screen all day… For Season 2 we’d definitely like to do all the exciting things you can do with an esport… unique logos and camouflages… multiple divisions… we’re already talking about ways we can develop the draft, introduce stuff like player transfers like you find in all the big football leagues across Europe.
Jake says “the sky’s the limit!” He’s “hoping it continues to get bigger and better as the league ticks on.” You can be part of all the action as well. Tune in every Friday night until the end of November to catch the World of Tanks Premier League Action. It starts at 6pm AEDT on the World of Tanks ANZ Twitch channel. And if that wasn’t enough tanks action, Wargaming has another initiative called Tanks TV. You can tune into the World of Tanks ANZ Twitch channel any night of the week to hear more about the League. Check out the website to find out the results to date.
Don’t forget to jump on World of Tanks this weekend for all your Halloween spookiness. There’s ghostly tanks, special rules, and an all new PvE Co-op event. Don’t miss out.