Andrey Ryabovol – World of Tanks Blitz – Moving to a mobile platform

Whilst World of Tanks is a game known to many, both as a game and as an esport, World of Tanks Blitz is not quite so well known. The Wargaming title is a cross-platform free-to-play MMO action game using tanks. It’s available on iOS, Google Play, Mac OS, Windows Store and Steam so it’s a wide range of platforms. The game has over 250 tanks available for the user and through the use of one dedicated Wargaming.net ID, progress can be directly transferred across platforms by the users.

Recently, the Twister Cup was announced for WoT Blitz which will see the four best in the world compete in Minsk, Belarus. 

We caught up with Daria Klimchuk, Head of World of Tanks Blitz esports earlier in the week. We also had the chance to have a chat with Andrey Pyabovol, the Publishing Director of WoT Blitz.

ESI: What goes into the design of a mobile esports title?

Andrey: Mobile esports titles should have two key components to be successful. First, it should allow players to demonstrate outstanding skills both in micro and macro gaming. Being good at driving, shooting, ‘tanking’ and dozens of other aspects differ pro gamers from casual gamers. Top teams also show tactical skills in battle and strategical skills during the tournament. Second, the game should be appealing and entertaining for viewers.

“We value and pay a lot of attention to controls responsiveness on devices, because that’s what players deal with every second in the game.”

It doesn’t matter if the game is watched on a mobile device or TV, it should be interesting. If a title has these two main components, then it’s good for esports. As a developer, our goal is to improve those aspects of the game, and provide players with more means to show their skills. We also may need to change the battle meta along the way if we see that the battles are not fair or interesting, and of course run more tournaments. The same goes for viewers; there are many things that we can do to make the game more entertaining and accessible for viewers.

ESI: How difficult is it to optimise a game as complex as World of Tanks for a mobile device?

Andrey: It was a very complex task to adapt the controls and mechanics of World of Tanks for a mobile device. A lot of fine-tuning, prototyping and core tech alterations were done to make World of Tanks Blitz accessible. We value and pay a lot of attention to controls responsiveness on devices, because that’s what players deal with every second in the game. And of course, that’s very important for esports. Our own technology—the DAVA engine—allows us to do that and have World of Tanks Blitz ready for esports. Every millisecond is super important 

“I believe that the most appealing thing is that World of Tanks Blitz is a top competitive FPS game on mobile. It lets people have similar fun to what they have playing the version on PC or console titles.”

ESI: Do you see more titles releasing mobile versions? We’ve seen the likes of Vainglory and Arena of Valor on the MOBA side; do you think FPS games have a mobile future?

Andrey: I believe that we’ll see more mobile FPS titles jumping into eSports, and it’s actually already happening. Games like Guns of Boom, Battle Bay has the potential to open a new niche in mobile esports.

ESI: How close does World of Tanks Blitz follow the normal PC version of World of Tanks?

Andrey: World of Tanks Blitz and World of Tanks share the same genre—a slow-paced shooter. It’s a set of mechanics and core gameplay features that make both games fun to play. However, our tanks and maps are different; the length of sessions and battle intensity are platform-specific. Also, the setting of both games differs a lot: World of Tanks is a more solid, history-based game, while World of Tanks Blitz can afford to experiment and make fantasy tanks like Dracula, Tankenstein, or tanks from Warhammer 40K universe.

ESI: Do you believe those who play on bigger devices such as tablets have an inherent advantage over typical mobile players?

Andrey: This is an interesting question. We assume that bigger devices with a higher display area can gain an advantage; however, last year, during the previous Twister Cup, we saw players with phones on stage. And they were very successful. I’d say that this is all individual and players can choose the gear which fits them best. I think it is similar to PC esports, where players choose their own mouse, keyboard and settings for these devices. More and more high-performance mobile gear has started to appear for pro players.

ESI: What do you think is most appealing to players about World of Tanks Blitz?

Andrey: I believe that the most appealing thing is that World of Tanks Blitz is a top competitive FPS game on mobile. It lets people have similar fun to what they have playing the version on PC or console titles. That’s very uncommon on mobile, where more casual and less hardcore titles rule. And that’s what we love about World of Tanks Blitz in Wargaming.