Supertest Digest #4

Greetings, pilots!

There has been a short break, but now we are resuming the regular Supertest activity digests.

The reason we’ve been silent for a while is because of the winter holidays. Supertest restarted its work in February and received a series of new and interesting tasks. For a start, the Supertesters delivered results of the special and gift aircraft testing from the main game server. We will cover each of those machines in their own blog post and you will find out about everything there.

A lot of time was put into balancing existing aircraft. This time we paid a lot of attention to one of the most unusual branches in the game - Tier VIII-X Japanese machines. We all know how polarising they are — some players loved them, others literally hated. As an example, a lot of feedback on the forums looks like this:

  • Low speed and weak survivability are most prominent. It doesn’t survive under fire and can’t do anything to a boom-n-zooming heavy.
  • Definitely weak for a Tier X. Cannons lack accuracy, aircraft lacks boost. Low altitude fights are very rare, while high up it cannot fight any heavy.
  • I consider it weak because of its low weapon accuracy and fast overheating.

With this unflattering feedback the Battle Balance team decided to experiment a bit and took turns in ‘overboosting’ one or another parameter. Across four balance testing sessions the supertesters could try out aircraft that felt completely different every time. At one point they were even completely unbeatable. Here’s one piece of feedback that we got about that session:

“The cardboard machines astonished us right from the start. We couldn’t comprehend what was going on but we definitely liked it. A single salvo from the Japanese fighter left us breathless and the enemy panicking and looking for the repair button. Even high altitude heavies were shocked by such boldness of these small and unusually built steel birds. During the first tests the Shindens made their enemies feel absolutely helpless and furious, destroying them left and right.”

Yet the goal for the Battle Balance team was not to create new imbalanced machines, so they were brought down from their imba level and made more reasonable. It’s not time to disclose exact details of the changes — you will see them in the patch notes for the upcoming update. Let’s just say that a lot of work has been done, the aircraft have been tuned up and we are confident that you will like it. We’ll look forward to your feedback.

Balancing changes weren’t only limited to the Japanese branch either. A whole lot of aircraft received significant improvements, and there’s still a lot of work for us to do on balancing especially weak or ‘difficult’ machines.

Another big job done by the Supertest recently was related to improvements to bot behavior. Bot reactions to in-game commands have been a subject of interest and were fun to resolve. You will see these changes in the next patch. That’s right, bots will not only do their own thing and steal kills from you — they will cover your tail and shoot down bogeys on your six as well as assist in dealing damage to enemies. When you issue a command, the bots in range will send you a personal responseas to whether they are able to comply or not. At the start of testing, bots made supertesters laugh with their arrogant replies, annoyed when they denied assistance and caused overall chaos in chat with reply flooding. Fun times! Of course, now we’ve tuned both their behavior and reactions so they are more polite and not too chatty. Even bots in attack aircraft have become more effective.

We’re finishing up with testing of the upcoming patch at the moment, you will find out about all those features from the new Developers Diaries that are coming soon.

In the meantime, we will be moving on to next tasks. All the news and interesting information from the development frontlines — in the next Digest. See you soon!

Larisa Vishnya (Lead Supertest Manager)

Author

I started as a World of Tanks player back in 2010. The game engaged me so much that soon I started participating in the Supertest and became the coordinator for English-speaking community in a while. I was very interested in optimizing and enhancing its process and paid close attention to other Wargaming projects. At the time World of Warplanes entered active development stage and I joined it during Closed Beta stage. Warplanes have become a kind of obsession for me, and when the time came when the project needed to start its own Supertest I became its manager, joining Persha Studia in 2012. My responsibilities include organizing external testing, managing Supertest volunteers, organizing results collection after Common Test stages and delivering all this information to the development team. I really love my job and root for the project, putting all my efforts into making my favourite game better and more interesting.

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