World of Warplanes, World of Tanks Details Emerge from E3 2011 has enjoyed a meteoric rise to MOG studio stardom with 3 million active players for World of Tanks. At E3, we learn what’s next for World of Tanks plus the details for the upcoming aerial carnage of World of Warplanes. has enjoyed a meteoric rise to MOG studio stardom. By
their estimates, combining China, Russia, Europe, and America, style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks
has 3 million active players. In Russia, the game’s peak
concurrent user number hit 155,000 in May. That’s roughly
300,000 concurrent players around the world at any given time, and by
all accounts that number is growing.

We caught up with CEO Victor Kislyi for details on the
company’s bombshell (pun intended) announcement at E3, plus
what’s brewing in the future of style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks.

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Tank Paratroopers?

href=""> style="font-style: italic;">Ren & Stimpy
reference aside,’s big
announcement at E3 was style="font-style: italic;">World of Warplanes,
and the big question on many
of Tanks
minds is whether they’ll
have to deal with divebombing Stukas. While the two games
might share two-thirds of a name, don’t expect the two games
to share much linkage right off the bat. “We don’t
want to say this is a spinoff of style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks,”’s CEO Victor Kislyi explained. “This
is not an add-on, this is a separate, standalone game.”

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Sherman tank at E3 2011

of Warplanes
is currently in
development at’s partner studio Lesta, one of
Russia’s better known games studios specializing in modern
military games. Their 2006 title style="font-style: italic;">Pacific Storm
was perhaps the first
Russian-made WWII grand strategy game to make it to US shelves, but
didn’t sell well due in part to lackluster graphics. As
evidenced by style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks,
Russian studios have closed the graphics
gap, and Lesta is developing style="font-style: italic;">WoWP
in their new Kiev studio, currently
with no timetable set.

According to Victor, style="font-style: italic;">WoWP
will follow the same “successful formula” used for style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks:
subscription-free with no bashfulness about premium perks, loads of
variety in planes and loadouts, and match-based mechanics designed to
see players make progress in the space of 10-15 minutes.  But,
surprisingly, style="font-style: italic;">WoWP
will likely have even more variety than style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks will
ever offer. “At the end of the day, we’ll do
around 400 different tanks – French, British,
Czechoslovakian, Japanese, Polish, enhanced Russian, German, and
American trees with special prototypes. Period warplanes, on the other
hand, number in the thousands – at least two to three

“Not all will be available on day one – as with style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks,
major nations and iconic airplanes are released first, and then we go
forward with new models, new technology, and so forth.”

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Hetzer at the WoT booth

Some of World
of Tanks
’ success
goes well beyond gameplay, and that’s something that Victor
hopes to carry forward to style="font-style: italic;">World of Warplanes.
“Far more important than putting three tanks on the floor at
E3 is how we treat our community,” Victor explained, though I
had to note that bringing three fully-functional (sans armament) 20-30
ton tanks to LA complete with knowledge crews and (not as knowledgable,
but fun to look at) Tank Girls fresh from the style="font-style: italic;">Deal or No Deal
set, was no mean feat.

Victor, ever the brusque Belorussian professional, pulled me back on
task. “We want to repeat our marketing and community strategy
with World
of Warplanes
, which is to get
a group of hardcore enthusiasts, build a game that’s strong
on realism and fun that this group loves playing, then take it to a
larger audience.”  Victor noted that
just opened offices in San Francisco and Berlin staffed to serve their
growing American and European audiences, and the company has been
prolific with sponsored in-game and venue-based style="font-style: italic;">WoT
tournaments around the world.

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It’s a strategy that will carry forward to style="font-style: italic;">World of Warplanes.
“There are more combat airplane magazines – Flyer
Magazine, PC Pilot – I’m not talking about
commercial aviation, right?  Just combat aircraft magazines.
There’s probably 30 in the Western world. A significant part
of those are devoted to historical aircraft from, particularly, World
War II.  We’re going to go and grab the people that
read these magazines, and we’re going to invite them to our
community. We won’t rest on our past successes –
these people may not care about tanks, so we should be careful.
We’ll be starting from scratch.”

Though warplanes and tanks will probably not be recreating WWII on the
same maps, Victor didn’t absolutely rule out some ties
between the two games. “We might, in the future, make some
links on the level of Clan Wars, and there are absolutely obvious ways
of doing that. But right now, the focus is the combat aircraft-devoted
niche. We have a formula, and we know it works.”

Clan Wars

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Clan wars!

Clan Wars is probably the last understood aspect of style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks,
even among longtime style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks
players schlepping through
the middle tiers. Last month, the realtime territory control system
came to US servers with 2 continents – Northern Europe and
the Mediterranean. The update came months after the feature went live
in Russia, where 7 sub-continents and 800 territories are up for grabs
for the game’s 4,500 active clans.

“The good news for the US is that there are no rich guys
– yet – sponsoring any clans.” Pointing
to the map, he noted that a clan he calls the
‘Rats’ (I can’t read Cyrillic) have taken
over Northern Europe. I asked Victor if he was worried about one clan
taking over and taking the fun out of the game. Victor explained that
until recently, the Rats had been pushed around by other alliances
until they forged a critical set of alliances that allowed them to
conquer a vast territory. In time, he’s certain that other
clans will do the same thing to the Rats. “We are absolutely
not worried about this thing getting boring… we
don’t control this game. Why would we interfere with all this
conspiracy, backstabbing, allying, double-crossing – all the
crazy stuff that goes on behind the scenes. That’s the beauty
of the game.”

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The battle isn’t just for bragging rights – each
territory pays the clan gold, the average being 2000 gold (or about
$20) – and there’s no cost to participate. And
Victor has a word for any prospective clans thinking that they might
have missed out by coming late to the party: “Just jump
in.” With about two weeks of gametime, players will be into
the Tier 4 and Tier 5 tanks, and that should be good enough to attack a
landing zone and compete.

The Future of World of Tanks

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The mighty T-34 at E3 2011

With Clan Wars seemingly running like
clockwork, I asked Victor what
was in store for style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks in
the future. He put it
succinctly: “More tanks, more maps, and a new gameplay
mode.” More tanks I’d heard of – the
surprisingly powerful French tank tree is coming this autumn.
(Historical oddity – the French had some of the best armor in
the world at the beginning of WWII, but, sadly, were fewer in number,
plus tanks tend to be better on offense than defense.) Victor also
hinted that Japanese and British tanks might be coming in 2012.

The “more maps” part was plain enough –
all maps are free, and “Mountain Pass” and
“Steppes” came into the game with the last update,
plus has been known to toss up new maps for weekend

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Yet the new gameplay mode was intriguing. Victor outlined what he
called “garage battles” (working title), a 5v5
deathmatch with a more MOBA-like session time – roughly 45
minutes. Unlike the current random battles, where players either wipe
out the other team or capture their base to win, garage battles would
allow players to swap in tanks from their garage when their tank is
knocked out. “You know who killed you,” Victor
noted, “and you can exact some revenge with a different
tank.” As for a timeframe, we can expect ‘garage
battles’ to appear “within months”.

Thanks to Victor Kislyi for his time between rockstar camera sessions,
Arthur Propagatau, Dima Pinchuk, and everyone that staffed the raucous
of Tanks
presence at E3 2011.

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