Wargaming.net Interview with Max Chuvalov


While there were many cool things to see and do at PAX Australia 2014, one of our favorites was Wargaming’s booth, filled with a tank, a stage and plenty of computers to play on. As much as we got hands on with the games that they had to offer, we got to ask some questions to Max Chuvalov who is the PR & Marketing Product Manger of Wargaming.net in the Asia Pacific region. You can read all the different questions that was asked ranging from World of Tanks to World of Warships and also a few updates that players can expect in the near future.

Q. If someone is making their first steps in World of Tanks, is it 100% necessary to buy a Premium Tank to progress through the game? Does it give an advantage to people who buy them? What would you recommend to the new starters?

We believe that if you respect your public and refuse to sell in-game advantages, then it works well for both us and the gamers, because it allows you to create a loyal community that will stay with you for years to come. This vision is the groundwork of our original free-to-win business model.

This monetization paradigm created within Wargaming grants both payers and non-payers access to all in-game elements without any exceptions. We started implementing this model 2012. Step-by-step, in-game components that used to be only available for real-life money became purchasable with in-game currency, thus negating whatever combat advantages paying users might have had. Now all World of Tanks players can start platoons and purchase gold rounds, premium consumables, camouflage patterns, and emblems with credits.

Premium vehicles remain in the game, but premium status isn’t a must to succeed. Neither are premium rounds or tanks. The game is adding a set of rare premium tank models with every new update. They aren’t overpowered compared to other normal machines; but manage to stand out thanks to original designs, and the fact they grant a bonus to the credits and XP accrual rate per battle.

We don’t sell ultimate weapons and treat all users fairly.

Both payers and non-payers get equal access to gameplay options in World of Tanks. Instead of looking into how full a player’s wallet is, we focus on delivering quality experiences that people can engage in for hours every week—for years, even—without paying big bucks, while we keep our games fresh and change things as we go.

World of Tanks monetization system is designed around comfort. Real life money can quicken your progression, but all players have a reasonable chance of success, and the game remains a pure measure of skill. You can happily play spending nothing and you won’t feel powerless against premium users.

Q. Is Wargaming bringing any games to consoles any time soon other than the World of Tanks already being published on Xbox 360?

We stepped into console games market with World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition and have been growing our expertise in both development and publishing of console titles ever since.

The game experience consoles provide differs a lot from that on PC. That’s why we never even considered the idea of simply porting World of Tanks onto Xbox 360. Instead, our dev team from Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore developed much of the game’s core from scratch. The game engine and control mechanics, for example, were custom-built to better fit into the living-room experience framework.

As for new projects for consoles, nothing’s set in stone yet. Our priority at the moment is releasing World of Warships on PC. Once we see that it performs well on this platform, we’ll consider whether to build a naval MMO for consoles or not. We have what it takes to do it: a team of skilled professionals, recourses, and technologies.

Q. There are already games available and coming such as World of Tanks, Warships and Warplanes. Does Wargaming have a plan already on making something different from the World of series?

As of now, we are focused on the “World of…” series. Our main goal is World of Warships’ development. The game is approaching the Closed beta testing stage. The dev team are fine-tuning core mechanics, alternating on the combat setups, and optimizing control schemes. Once Closed beta begins, they’ll continue polishing the gameplay and adding new content and features built off the feedback they get from testers.

Also, a lot of effort goes into revamping World of Tanks with HD vehicles models, new game modes, and graphical improvements, so there’s a lot keeping us busy.

But we also have several new projects in the works that don’t have much in common with World of Warships, World of Tanks, or World of Warplanes. There’s no further details for now, but stay tuned for some big announcements.

Q. World of Tanks seems to have a smaller number of audience compared to games like League of Legends but the revenue per user seems to be higher, how does Wargaming keep it so fresh for the users to come back again?

We make games as services that will last for years. World of Tanks is always growing thanks to regular new content additions. Also, the game’s social component is really important to us. With 15 vs. 15 PvP at its core, World of Tanks encourages group play and social interaction. The team-based format provides mechanics for grouping (campaign battles, platoons, clans, and eSports teams), and helps people to interact with each other.

Beside the basic voice and text chats used for in-combat cooperation, communication within the community is encouraged on official forums, fan sites, and in social networks.

The social bonds developed in clans and platoons often extend beyond the game and into real-world friendships. We support these bonds by running various events for virtual tankers: community meet-ups, QA sessions with developers, educational tours at military museums, offline finals as part of the Wargaming.net League, and tournaments at Internet cafes.

To spice up the daily experience, we consistently introduce various themed events, daily combat objectives, and contests that keep the community engaged and improve the gaming experience.

With World of Tanks, we give players something to look forward to every week, which keeps them really engaged with us.

Q. World of Tanks is especially big in Europe, is there any chance of getting Australian servers to grow the fan base in Australia?

We’re taking steps to improve the quality of the Australian players gaming experience. At the end of October we set up direct peering from Australia to Wargaming servers in Singapore, in cooperation with the country’s largest internet provider Telstra. It reduced ping by 50% (from 200–250 to 120) and are now working to further reduce it.

Regarding a standalone server in Australia, the time isn’t right to launch it yet. We’d like to ensure that we have all prerequisites of smooth and quality gaming experience for Australian gamers. Once we are done with it we’ll consider setting up a server if there’ll be demand for such.

Q. Where do you think Wargaming stands in the world of eSports gaming? Are there any steps that Wargaming has taken to fit into eSports more?

We’ve been working to grow World of Tanks in eSports since 2011. Having started with small-scale tournaments and encouraging players to form teams and polish their skills and tactics, we gradually formed a pro community around the game.

The next step was establishing cooperation with major eSports leagues such as ESL and StarLadder. Along with that we organized an international Ural Steel championships for virtual tank commanders. The acclaim they gained promoted World of Tanks to the gaming Olympics—World Cyber Games—where it was featured as a promo title in 2012 and has gotten the official status in 2013.

As the number of players eager to compete professionally in World of Tanks continued to grow, we established our own eSports organization, the Wargaming.net League. During its first year (2013) the WG League attracted over 200 000 pro gamers (41 000 teams). We play tested the initial rule sets and tournament format, and now have a clear vision as to how it could be improved.

We recently announced major changes for World of Tanks pro tournaments: the introduction of the new Attack/Defense mode that’s designed to encourage teams to be proactive in matches, which makes things exciting for the viewers. The new mode was created in tight cooperation with professional gamers. We invited pro teams from the Wargaming.net League to play test the new mode, improved it based on their feedback, asked them to try out this optimized version, and it received positive response.

Q. With all the Wargaming games available and coming (World of Tanks, Warships and Warplanes), which one would you say would be your choice and why?

Well, I’m going to have to say that I enjoy playing all three.

They each have such a different gameplay pace. So, the choice boils down to one’s personal preferences and how much time you usually spend on video games.

World of Warplanes is the most dynamic out of the three. An average battle lasts 3–5 minutes. Situations in-battle change quickly and your reactions have to be razor-sharp if you want to succeed. World of Warships is slow-paced compared to the other two games and with focus on strategy. World of Tanks is medium-paced. It’s for those that want to take a more tactical approach.

Q. Are there any plans/updates/etc. Wargaming has for 2015 that you are most excited for that you can share with us?

We have several important events planned for next year. The World of Warships global release is scheduled for 2015, and I’m really looking forward to it. The Wargaming.net League Grand Finals will take place in spring, pitting the best-of-the-best pro-players against each other, and attracting thousands of viewers. I attended the League’s first Grand Final in Warsaw this year, and am definitely going to be there again. It’d be a great chance to track how the League’s grown over time. We also have a few big announcements to make, both this year and in the next, so stay tuned.

Q. You would have been to a lot of gaming expos around the world, what was special about PAX Australia 2014 for you compared to the rest?

What I enjoy most about PAX Australia is the fact, unlike big B2B expos that are all about partnerships and industry leaders, this event is more customer-oriented. It attracts an extremely vibrant community of gamers. At the same time, it’s not as massive as gamescom, for instance, so there’s more of a relaxed atmosphere and friendly, informal communication between people that play games and people who develop them. Wargaming attends PAX Australia each year, and we always make sure we’re bringing lots of fun stuff for our player community every time.

After this great interview, there’s still one thing left to wonder, will Wargaming be bringing a Warship to PAX Australia 2015 with The World of Warships global release being scheduled for 2015.

An Interview With Master Chief: Delta Six Cosplay


In the lead up to some of the biggest gaming events of the year, EB Expo and PAX Australia, the team at OXCGN have been reaching out to cover more than just the games, we’ve been talking to the cosplayers who dress up as characters from the titles they love. Recently I had the chance to speak with James from Delta Six Cosplay, a Halo cosplay group that has recently become a part of the worldwide Halo Cosplay group, the 405th Regiment.

Jayden: What first got you into cosplay? What was your first costume or foray into the cosplay world?

James: My first cosplay was of Kakashi Hatake from the anime Naruto to manifest  2013 and Armageddon 2013, I had just decided quickly to cosplay as him just for the sake of it but it was at these conventions that I found my love cosplay and from that my cosplays have expanded into larger more complex characters such as my current Master Chief cosplay.

Jayden: Cosplay means a lot to so many people, from being an escape to a new way to socialise. Why is cosplay important to you?

James: To me cosplay is important not only because of the social experience that comes with it, but also because I get to make the people around me smile and add something to their convention experience.

Jayden: How did the formation of the Delta Six group come about?

James: The Delta Six group was formed before the 405th Australian regiment and was supposed to be a substitute for it before we ended up forming the 405th. I was recruited into the Delta Six group by Jack Britton.

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Jayden: What drew you to Halo specifically, to cosplay as a group?

James: I just love the Halo universe in general and for there to be a Halo cosplay group that’s something that just had to be done.

Jayden: Take us through a build quickly – how fast do you usually get a set of spartan armour up and going? What is the most difficult part?

James: It depends on which version or armour set I am making and how much detail I want to go into (Normally as much detail as I can). It all starts on blank piece of paper drawing and measuring out the templates to be transferred onto the Eva foam (My choice of material some people use others). then starts the process of cutting and gluing all the parts together. Once the suit is assembled it’s onto creating and strapping it to an under suit of some kind then painting and weathering it. The last step on my check list is a in depth test fitting, such as how long can I stand in it, mobility, movement etc.

Jayden: If not Halo, are there any other series the group has considered seriously pursuing?

James: For now it’s just Halo, but who knows what the future can bring.

Jayden: Who is your dream cosplay?

James: I actually have 2 dream cosplays, one of which I have completed, my Halo 4 Master Chief. My other dream cosplay is Megatron from the 3rd transformers movie which is currently in its design stage.

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Jayden: Do you have a favourite ‘in costume’ moment, from a con or a photoshoot?

James: I don’t have a particular favourite moment because every con and photoshoot is always so amazing and so much fun. Though my favourite part of a con is when I bring out my music and start dancing with fellow cosplayers, doing dances such as the nutbush and the Macarena or just dancing stupidly to Sexay and I Know it, it always makes everyone laugh and smile.

Jayden: How do you feel about the rise in ‘professional cosplayers’? Is this a goal you want to pursue in the future?

James: Professional cosplayers have gotten to where they are by being good at what they do and wouldn’t be “Professional cosplayers” without the fans and the people who love seeing what they do. Being a Professional cosplayer would be great I think, at the moment I am getting into charity work and appearing as a special guest to events but really I just do this because I love it and if I happen to get professional work from it down the line that’s just added bonus.

Jayden: With your new induction into the 405th Regiment, what do you think this will mean for both your group and the future of Halo cosplayers here in Australia?

James: The 405th regiment  is not only going to be a great community place for Halo cosplayers to gain feedback and advice from one and another but it’s also going to be a place that has us all in one place, visible and available to possible work for either halo launch events or appearances at cons.

We’d like to thank James for his time, and as we look to cover more cosplay in the future, we’d like to turn this over to you. If you’d like to have a chat about your cosplay activities or to show off what you’ve made, let us know! You can reach us easily on Facebook and Twitter, or drop us an email anytime at info@OXCGN.com – we look forward to hearing from you!

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – An Interview with Naoki Yoshida


Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Director Chats to OXCGN

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is doing incredibly well since launch. With over 20,000 subscribers worldwide and a whopping 500,000,000 game hours logged thus far, the PC, PS3 and PS4 MMO is a success story born from the ashes of the original MMO’s failure. 

I was lucky enough to chat to the man responsible for this success, Naoki Yoshida, Final Fantasy XIV’s Producer and Director, at Bandai Namco Headquarters in Sydney. This is the first time a Naoki has been in Australia for interviews, and he provided some very interesting answers about the development and history of Final Fantasy XIV, as well as what the future may hold, with new content and updates on the way!

Jayden: So you’ve taken this MMO from what it originally was and have worked on building it in to A Realm Reborn. What was the biggest challenge along the development path from 1.0 to the current PS4 build?

Naoki: There was so many challenges through the journey, but more than technology and game development, the biggest challenge we faced was trying to change the players expectations and the image of the MMO. Because of the launch of the 1.0 version many of the fans were disappointed and had negative feelings towards the games and the Final Fantasy franchise. They thought they’d never see the glorious days of Final Fantasy again, so trying to change that image and making sure that wasn’t the case, to regain the trust, that was the biggest challenge we faced.

You'll face off against huge and powerful bosses in game!
You’ll face off against huge and powerful bosses in game!

Jayden: Well it looks like you certainly achieved the turn around, A Realm Reborn has been pretty popular. With such a rich lore and world that Final Fantasy is known for, was it a challenge to incorporate that deep story and world into the MMO style of game?

Naoki: No, not really, because ever since Final Fantasy 7 the storyline has been really focussed on a particular character. The player is following the life of a character in the world through the game. In Final Fantasy XIV we made sure that the player himself or herself is the main character of this storyline. So in the game it says ‘you’ are important in this world, they call the name of your in game character so players really feel they are the main character. By doing that, even in an MMO, you can enjoy the story like any other single player game.

Jayden: Can you speak at all about any of the new updates and content that’s coming?

Naoki: New classes and new jobs are coming, and through the last two content updates we’ve been leaving hints, so the community is already starting to guess what they might be. Timing wise, please wait a little longer as there are many events coming up, including E3, through which we’ll be announcing this content.

The World of Final Fantasy 14
The World of Final Fantasy 14

Jayden: In this world you directed and created, is there a city or part of the world that you really love or enjoy?

Naoki: Because I’m a classic Final Fantasy fan, I really like the crystal tower. When Final Fantasy 3 came out, which had this crystal tower as the last dungeon, I was playing the game in real time and I remembered how hard that was and how exciting it was, so having that with the current technology and trying to revive that in this current game was really exciting, I really enjoyed playing and experiencing the crystal tower. Also I think it’s content that anyone in the world can really enjoy.

Jayden: I’ve only put a few hours into the game myself, but I’ve seen both people I know and the PS4 community especially wanting to know whether there’s a chance we’ll see the Lightning Strikes event happening again for those who missed out?

Naoki: Actually we can do it again anytime we want to! Now we have the request, we would definitely like to consider re-doing the event for players who haven’t had a chance to give it a shot, so we’ll be looking into when would be the best timing for this event again.

Jayden: I’m sure that will make a lot of people happy! Using this event as a promo for Final Fantasy 13: Lightning Returns, are you planning on continuing the trend of in game events coinciding with the release of games like Final Fantasy 15 and maybe even Kingdom Hearts 3?

Naoki: For the Final Fantasy series we’re definitely looking into promotions and similar events in the future, including Final Fantasy 15 of course and also 10 and 10-2, which are especially popular with players. We will continue to try to come up with ideas and plans but we want to make sure we don’t destroy the lore in our game, we want to make sure there’s a proper storyline as to why these events are happening, so we be very careful when we do it, but we’re definitely looking into it.

Kingdom Hearts however, which also relates to Disney characters, might be tricky to have in the Final Fantasy XIV world. We will have to be careful when we look at this. When we talk about these collaborations with other titles, from a business point of view people may think we should do it with any potential game, but as it’s an MMO we want to make sure the lore makes sense, in every aspect, so if we are going to do collaborations we want to make sure we have enough cause to have a proper reasoning behind the event. 

Jayden: I have to ask this, to conclude. Where did the inspiration to bring the Fat Chocobo into Final Fantasy XIV as a mount arise from?

Naoki: The fat chocobo first appeared in Final Fantasy 7, and it’s also popped up in the series a few other times. Traditionally he never moved, but with this version we wanted to make sure he’s actually running on the field, so we really had to think about how to do this from a visual point of view. The artist drawing the artwork was always going backwards and forwards on designs, but finally came up with the idea of how we could make the fat chocobo run, deciding to have food dangling in front of him. That really struck us and that’s how we decided to implement him!

The Fat Chocobo in all his Glory!
The Fat Chocobo in all his Glory!

Jayden: That’s really great, the design is spot on! Thank you for coming out to Australia and giving us the opportunity to chat with you, I hope you’re enjoying your time here!

Naoki: Thank you! It’s been a great visit. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the development team of Final Fantasy XIV and Yoshida for their time, as well as the amazing team over at Bandai Namco Games Australia for coordinating the press event!

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is now available on PC, PS3 and PS4.

This interview was conducted with the aid of a translator.

Huntsmen: Post-Apocalyptic OZ- With Drop Bears


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Huntsmen: Post-Apocalyptic OZ- With Drop Bears

The new RPG in the land where everything tries to kill you

by David Hilton

When everything collapses and goes to hell, you can see the best and worst of humanity illustrated starkly against the crumbling ruins of order.

This may be why gamers’ fascination with a post-apocalyptic world is never quite satisfied no matter how many infected zombies or destroyed landscapes pop up in our favourite titles.  We love to see the drama of disaster and the struggle to survive.

There are so many post disaster games now, from The Last of Us, to Fallout, to Resident Evil, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Metro and even Call of Duty.  But most of these are set in the United States or Eastern Europe, and so when a new title that looks vastly different comes along, and is set in a part of the world hardly ever touched by video games (with the notable exception of the upcoming Mad Max), it’s a breath of non-gas mask-filtered fresh air.

Independent Aussie studio Hermit Mode are appealing on Kickstarter for financial support to get their ambitious vision of a dynamic sandbox post-apocalyptic Australian-set FPS RPG game called Huntsmen made, with a much higher focus on the environment and its biosphere interacting with the player.

But most fun of all….the people who support the kickstarter can have their own face on a NPC in the game!  Personally, I plan on killing myself when I find me in the game hoarding the last of the continent’s Vegemite stock.

In order to learn more about Huntsmen, I asked the brains behind the vision, Alex and Naz all about their project.  Here are their answers.

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Huntsmen- find out more here

Need for Speed: Rivals – “AllDrive destroys that line between single and multiplayer.”


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Need for Speed: Rivals – “AllDrive destroys that line between single and multiplayer.”

James Mouat, Lead Designer Ghost Games

by Arthur Kotsopoulos

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

Last week EA Australia held a hands on event for their latest entry into the Need for Speed franchise, Rivals. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to attend how ever we did manage to nab a phone interview to make up for our lack of attendance.

I had the chance to speak to James Mouat lead designer over at Ghosts Games on Rivals and spoke a little bit about the 20th entry into the series. Using Frostbite Engine 3 to power the game and what players can get themselves ready for when they either play as a cop or a racer.

Need for Speed: Rivals is out on the 21st of November for the 360 and PS3, however as the Xbox One and PS4 are right after, if you’re buying the new next-gen console definitely purchase that version of the game.

Come with me or there will be trouble!
Come with me or there will be trouble!

Click to read the full interview with James!

FIFA14 Interview: “Art Imitates Life”


FIFA14 InterviewFIFA14 Interview: “Art Imitates Life”

Get excited for Gen 4 FIFA14

by Arthur Kotsopoulos

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

fifa14_xb1_oznz_jpg_jpgcopyWith FIFA14 already released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 and being limited with the hardware, FIFA14 on PS4 and the Xbox One needed something different. Something drastic to help it break away from the problems that has plagued the game for so long, sloppy AI, legacy problems and many others.

We had the chance to chat with Peter Trenouth Producer at EA Vancouver, at a FIFA14 event that EA Australia held a few weeks back where I believe I spent roughly 5 hours standing competing against Junglist for supremacy.

If you’re interested to see how the game has been improved with a new engine and where it looks to continue to bring more realistic attributes to it, then read on.

I’d like to personally thank EA Australia again for not only their hospitality but for setting up this interview.

They know how to treat the media and community and it was definitely a great night, where everyone had a lot of fun.

Continue reading FIFA14 Interview: “Art Imitates Life”

DICE on Battlefield 4: “It’s the player that tells the story.”


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DICE on Battlefield 4: “It’s the player that tells the story.”

An interview with Lars Gustavsson, Creative Director at DICE

by Daniel Geikowski

©2013 Daniel Geikowski

battlefield-4-aDuring the 2013 EB Games Expo held once again at the Sydney Olympic Park, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat to Lars Gustavsson, the Creative Director at DICE, ahead of the launch of their latest entry in the hugely-popular Battlefield series, Battlefield 4.

Being a fan of the series, I enjoyed the opportunity to pick the brain of a guy such as Lars. He’s a genuinely nice guy, and can hardly contain his passion for the Battlefield series. I’d like to thank him for his time, and also to the folks at EA for accommodating us.

Click here to check out what Lars loves about Battlefield 4!

OXCGN’s Exclusive Crackerjack Games Interview


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OXCGN’s Exclusive Crackerjack Games Interview

Inspirations, development, and industry ambitions

by Daniel Clark

©2013 Daniel Clark

1005815_589867864397602_146341346_n(ED: Thanks to Daniel Clark for his interview with Crackerjack Games. An Aussie indie dev that released Bar Nuts. Available on the iTunes store for free. Daniel is a freelance journalist who has written for IGN and WhatCulture. You can find him on Twitter @danieljohnclark or Facebook/daniel.clark)

Recently, I had the opportunity to have an in-depth chat to a couple of Aussie indie game devs—Tom Abrahams and Rich Rouse of Crackerjack Games—who provided a revealing behind-the-scenes look into the creation of their debut title, Bar Nuts, currently on soft release within Australia and Canada within the Apple Store (forthcoming worldwide).

DC: Tom and Rich of Crackerjack Games! I’d like to start with your gaming history—what were your first experiences?

RR: Experiences? Definitely Super Nintendo for me—probably even Nintendo: the duck shooting was probably my first real experience, and then I was right into the Super Mario series and all that sort of stuff. And then always had the latest console when it came out. But I don’t have a gaming background so much—I’m finance. I was stockbroking before I did this. It was as much the idea of building a business as it was building a game for me.

But for Tom though …

TA: Yeah, I’m a full blown nerd—just been a massive gamer since as young as I can remember. Then I got out of school and I was, like, I should probably get into something to do with business or commerce, or be a doctor or lawyer or something like that, and I did Commerce, and I just couldn’t imagine myself waking up and being like, ‘I’m ready to do some Commerce today—just super excited about it.’

And so I decided to do a gaming course at Deakin which had me doing databasing and stuff which wasn’t really related to making games, and then I went to a more specialised place, Qantm College, and did a design course there, and really enjoyed it, really loved it, and from that point, tried to get some work, couldn’t really find any, and heard some guy speaking at Qantm, just saying the best thing you can do is just band together with people you know at uni—there’s no reason why you can’t work together and make something.

And one day I got the call from Rich, who said he had a game idea and had heard I’d been studying game design; I knew an artist, and knew he’d be keen on doing something; and then we just needed to find a programmer to get the ball rolling.

Continue reading the interview here!