MCV Pacific sat down with Wargaming ANZ Country Manager, Travis Plane to talk all things Wargaming in 2018 and beyond.
MCV – Wargaming has just made a large commitment to the local market by opening a local office, this sits in the face of other publishers closing offices in recent years and moving to partnered distributors or other similar relationships. What was Wargaming’s motivations behind this?
TP – I can’t speak for any publishers that have closed offices but I think it’s important to understand the difference in motivation between publishers that sell products to retail as their main business model vs those that operate directly with players. Wargaming is placed very much in the latter and because of that, our relationship with our players is of utmost importance. Primarily, opening a local office allows us to have a more open, direct dialogue with our players. Conversely it allows us to act as the voice of the ANZ player to our internal development teams.
MCV – Another sign of your commitment to the local market was the introduction of prime time local servers. Overall this seems to have been a great success, have you been happy with the roll out and do you see an expansion of server times in the future?
TP – When I joined the company in May and sat down with the APAC team it was clear that the number one request from the World of Tanks community was for local servers. The latency issue was also the number one reason why players had previously churned so we knew we had to seriously investigate it. However looking at the player data it was also clear that we simply didn’t have the size of player base to provide a great matchmaking experience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s important to note that World of Tanks is a 15v15 game, across 10 tiers of tanks so you need a large number of concurrent players to ensure that anyone looking for a game, at any level of experience can find a satisfactory one at any time of the day or night. Digging further into the data we felt comfortable that we could launch a local server, albeit limited to a few hours a day. So we launched on November 1 at 6pm AEDT until midnight. The response has been better than expected. So much so that after 2 days we expanded by two hours, extending from midnight to 2am. And we’ve always been transparent with the community that as we see more demand for the local server, we’ll accommodate accordingly.
MCV – We have also just seen Wargaming run their first series of community events across Melbourne, Brisbane and quite spectacularly, Sydney. Community is becoming the number one priority for games publishers, how important is your relationship with your local players and how do you hope to build on these activations moving forward?
TP – You forgot about Wellington and Auckland! Seriously though, for Wargaming our community has always been our number one priority. We don’t always get it right but they are our life blood and reason why we get out of bed every morning. I know it sounds cliché but the passion that Wargamers show towards our games is infectious. The community events we recently held are a great way for us to connect directly with that passion. And it allows players to experience a closer relationship with Wargaming. Moving forward we’re investigating opportunities outside major city centres as many of our players live regionally and don’t have the capability of travelling hours to the city.
MCV – Are their plans for further expansion of the local team?
TP – Absolutely. We’re currently looking for a Marketing Manager and PR Manager to work across the portfolio. They have to be passionate about games and enjoy crushing large objects with tanks.”
MCV – Finally anything exciting you can share for 2018?
TP – Apart from a ton of awesome stuff for World of Tanks and World of Warships, lookout for our partnership with Creative Assembly’s Total War Arena. This free-to-play version is currently in closed beta but already getting great response from the community.