Developer Q&A Session and the future of Tanki Online
If I were to mention the title ‘Tanki Online,’ the chances of somebody recognizing or displaying knowledge of the game, outside of major fan bases located in Eastern Europe will be fairly slim. The current version boasts an impressive number of registered players, rising over forty two million, yet the uptake in countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom is minimal in comparison to countries like Russia. For example, the game’s website is the 42nd most popular in Armenia, whilst 18,139th in the U.S.
In an attempt to rectify this, the developers, Roman Epishin and Semyon Kirov kindly invited me and six fellow journalists from similar web and magazine publications to indulge in a tank themed Q&A and later, an extensive look into game play.
For those who don’t know, Tanki is a free to play massively multiplayer online game with the focus on third person tank battling action. It currently uses an Adobe Flash engine and is based within the web browser.
The game features over 70 maps, several built by fans, where matches are organized into battles. These are then broken into four game types including capture the flag and team deathmatch. The players then take to the war zone, using obstacles and terrain to dodge incoming attacks, whilst scouting the map for relevant targets and airdrops.
Airdrops offer players the opportunity to improve their current tank by collecting them. There are several types, featuring a health refill, speed boost, extra defence, extra weapon damage and crystal boxes. Crystals are the online currency that you receive from these care packages or at the end of the game. The most interesting of these boxes are the rare golden ones worth 1000 crystals. Certain players spend most of their time looking for these boxes, as the prize for finding one is huge.
The tanks themselves have a wide range of customization. There are nine gun turrets all together that allow players the freedom to decide how they want to play the game, which is a compelling game mechanic. In most occasions, certain turrets dictate the style of play. For example, the rail gun is a slow firing weapon but has the longest range and power, making it best suited for a sniper role. My favourites were the Firebird and the freezing turrets as they had an interesting capability of counteracting each other’s effects, effectively allowing a secondary use of the weapon to protect others. This can encourage teams to think strategically.
Further modifications include body style, which allows for a decision between speed and armor, as well as aesthetic changes. Whilst making your tank look unique, some camouflage includes vulnerability from certain turrets, allowing for a more useful customization that encourages the player to think tactically and plan ahead.
All of these upgradeable styles can be purchased with crystals, with the average price for most turrets ranging from 250 to 300. As the weapons get stronger the more expensive they become achieving a sense of progression.
Once reviewing the current status of the game, the developers hinted at two new turrets being implemented, giving players more options when choosing how they want to play. Although expansion is immanent for the current version, the focus was on the future of the franchise.
Development has already started towards the new Tanki title, which is estimated to release towards the end of 2015. Whilst several critiques raised concerns with the current outdated look and its possible continuation, the developers answered promptly. They made reference to the use of the unity engine and how its implementation will create a fresher, up to date look, however, Semyon suggested restrictions to the graphical fidelity, raising fears of distracting backgrounds and obstacles.
Concerned with previous players progression, Roman was incredibly focused on incentivizing gamers to switch to the newer version. The way in which he can achieve this will be by allowing all ready existing progression to be transferred from the previous title, giving players a reason to change rather then demoralize them by forcing them to start fresh.
A major addition to the franchise’s future title will be cross platform play, where battles can be waged on multiple devices at once including tablets and phones. This will certainly extend their reach, offering a fairly unique concept to the digital stores.
In terms of future game play it is mostly speculation at this time. The developers will intend on meeting in future to discuss any future intensions, however, they are very proud of their current creation so whilst new game play would be nice, it might reflect badly in their fan base.
Customization was another big emphasis on the future title, allowing players to think tactically by adding more designs and abilities but to what extent is still a mystery. Both Roman and Semyon know customization is a big part of Tanki, with lots of maps featured being fan made, so striking the right balance will be crucial for the new game.
However the developers decide to proceed with their impending project is currently a mystery but certainly improving aspects of the game like graphics will encourage future growth in countries like the U.K. With hard work and improvements the game is likely to find a niche in amongst well-established MMO’s and offer new players the chance to wage war against the already vast community.
If you want to check out Tanki Online you can play it HERE.