Frontline is the latest expansion for World of Tanks which allows players to join much bigger battles. The games now host 30v30 combat scenarios for everyone to join. We got the chance to talk with the World of Tanks’ Chris Stott to go over this latest edition.
MMORPG: Frontline is extremely exciting for World of Tanks players, tell us some backstory on the idea.
Chris Stott: The development was started about a year ago when we wanted to increase the number of players in a battle and fight on an even larger map than normal. In short, we wanted to bring things to the next level but it wasn’t as simple as scaling everything up. We don’t want to have two opposing artillery pieces left on either side of the map not having any fun, so we rethought how battles should work and added some completely new mechanics to the game to support these size battles. Initially, the first prototype was 50 vs 50, but through trial and error we found that 30v30 is a great spot for gameplay.
MMORPG: >How will teams be matched up? What tools are in place to support the 30v30 matching system?
Chris Stott: Currently we are testing this with only Tier X vehicles, so matchmaking is less of an issue. We are considering if we can expand it to lower tiers, but right now we are focused on making this mode as amazing as possible first. We have also started implementing a ranking system that is purely cosmetic at the moment but has been a big hit with our testers and we want to expand this system to possibly provide some benefits in the future.
MMORPG: Once in combat, can you give us an idea on the scope of the map?
Chris Stott: Maps are much larger, but you have several spawn locations around the map. You can think of each of these spawn points as their own smaller battles that you can choose between. One side is pushing into the capture zone, trying to take control from the defending team and hold the area to progress to the next objective.
You might think that the defense is at an advantage, but respawns allow the attackers to reposition their front quickly and blitz from a completely different angle. Of course, we are monitoring and adjusting elements like terrain and resupply positions to make sure both sides have an equal chance of winning.
MMORPG: How will objectives be handled with such large teams? Will capturing the base remain an option?
Chris Stott: We have broken up the battle into several sections with an attacking and a defending team. The attackers receive additional time for each captured base. Let’s say you are on the attacking team and you spawn in the middle of the map. You can push into the center capture point and start taking over the first line of capture zones while your team attacks the zones to the east and west. Attackers have the advantage here with good cover and directions to approach combat, but once those first zones fall, the attacker then will have to push into the far more open area. The defenders now have the advantage and can hold the line for the final push. Ultimately, our aim is to create a mode with continuous action and not spending time on endless driving.
MMORPG: Are there any new gameplay elements the team is exploring with Frontline?
Chris Stott: There a ton of new features that make Frontline possible. First off, respawns give you chance to move around the map quickly which really helps out some of the slower classes like Tank Destroyers and Heavies. Respawns also allow you to change tactics. Need to flank quickly? Switch to a medium. Trying to hold the line? Switch to a heavy. Need more firepower? Switch to a Tank Destroyer.
With these longer engagements we also needed a way for players to keep their tanks in the battle so we added resupply areas that allow tanks to heal and reload ammunition. This allows the defenders to take on waves and waves of enemies if they can keep themselves alive but attackers can use these as well so protecting these areas is key.
MMORPG: Can you give us any details on when Frontline will be tested by the community? Are there any plans for other game modes in the future?
Chris Stott: Currently, Frontline is being prototyped within the Sandbox server. Anyone can apply to join our testing group but we want to first test it properly, balance the economy, add additional features, and fix all current issues before we think it’s ready for everyone to check out. If you are interesting in join Sandbox Testing you can apply here: http://sandbox.worldoftanks.com/