The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble

October 23, 2015 | 09:34

Tags: #interview #world-of-tanks

Companies: #esports #wargaming #wargamingnet

Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)

During our time at Continental Rumble, we also managed to grab 10 minutes for an interview with Nicolas Passemard, Head of esports (Europe) for Wargaming to chat about how the show came about, the current challenges of esports for Wargaming and what the future holds.

The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble  Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)
Click to enlarge

bit-tech: So, we're here at the Continental Rumble. For those who don’t know, give us a history of the Rumble events, and the inspiration behind them.

Nicolas: We wanted to provide something that actually shows the best teams from the regions clashing against each other, which is normally not possible during the classic seasons. So, last year, we started to organise it. For the EU league it was here at the Poznan Game Arena. It was Rumble in the West and we were playing against the best North American teams. This year it's Continental Rumble and we're playing against the best CIS teams, and in a month you will see the Pacific Rumble which will see North American teams versus Asian teams. That's what we want to achieve, to offer to the audience a good, cross-regional clash.

The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble  Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)
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bit-tech: How will the Rumble events develop going forward? What plans do you have for them?

Nicolas: Right now we're satisfied by the concept. I think it's kind of fun to see what occurs between regions and if there's a region shining more than one. But if we have a good idea then at that point we will not say no to it.

bit-tech: You have the physical audience coming in from the Poznan Game Arena, but a big part of esports is obviously Twitch. What incentives are you giving people to watch the Twitch stream?

Nicolas: We don't have to incentivise that much. It's cool to watch, it's a fun show and if you like World of Tanks it's an incentive by itself. But we do have contests online. One of the big ones that is actually a first is we are randomly giving 10,000 Gold away once per hour to someone in the Twitch chat. I think that's a good incentive!

The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble  Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)
Click to enlarge

bit-tech: Poland was also the location of the Grand Finals 2015. World of Tanks esports seems to have a strong following in central and Eastern Europe, but what's the response like from a Western audience and what ways are you developing the game and gearing it towards a Western audience?

Nicolas: We're very good in Poland and Eastern Europe. That's really our hometown, I think we have to admit it. The Polish player loves the game and we like to be here; it's really nice to organise and they have a good infrastructure to help with that. Western countries like France and the UK are already huge fans of our products and World of Tanks so we just need to develop a strategy that will have national impact, and that's what we're trying to do. For instance, I can tell you already that we're going to have, in France, ogaming.tv covering our next season and we want to multiply this kind of initiative specifically in Western Europe.

bit-tech: What sort of growth are you seeing in World of Tanks esports? Both in terms of viewers and players.

Nicolas: Since the beginning we've been growing organically. That's something that we are proud of, we are not making huge bursts of players. We like to develop our core audience healthily so that the players and audience are really satisfied with what we are providing them. We are permanently in growth and we are confident that we will stay that way because we are challenging ourselves and making the necessary steps. For instance, next season we're going to change the esports format again. We will introduce the Tier 10 tanks to the game. That's something very big and we expect the core audience of World of Tanks to be seduced by the this change and to join esports and turn into esports aficionados, so we expect a huge boost with the next season.

The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble  Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)
Click to enlarge - Tornado Rox were happy with their win

bit-tech: Will there be any other changes besides the introduction of the Tier 10 tanks?

Nicolas: At the very beginning, World of Tanks was not made to be an esports game so we implemented it based on the community needs. They were hungry for competitive play. And we are making baby steps, so we do something, we analyse whether it's good or bad and we make fixes or we accept it and we move forward. And we already changed the esports format last year; we got rid of the camping situation that was very boring by making the Attack/Defence mode and we are changing it again this year just by implementing the Tier 10 tanks. We'll increase the Tier points to 68, and this will allow the teams to pick six Tier 10 tanks and a Tier 8. I believe it will be really fun to watch because Tier 10 tanks are actually huge and kind of epic.

bit-tech: You keep the game always free-to-play, and everything esports wise is free to watch as well. Is that a sustainable model going forward? If you grow to a certain point, will it become too much of a cost to bear to put the events on for free?

Nicolas: Since the beginning Wargaming has invested something like 26 million dollars in esports. We are not trying to make any money out of esports directly. We really are genuinely an answer to the community hunger for competition. We want to provide the players a chance to live out of their passion and because we're Wargaming we want to provide something triple A. We are not counting the money in that way.

The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble  Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)
Click to enlarge - Wombats on Tanks were not so happy

bit-tech: We spoke with Mohamed (Fadl, Director of esports) at the Grand Finals 2015 and he mentioned that you're looking at developing your spectator mode – can you give any specifics on that?

Nicolas: It's details that you may or may not spot, but if you've watched the show since the beginning you notice them. Like ballistic lines – at first we introduced them so you could follow who was shooting at what, and then we coloured them per team. They're the kind of minor changes that we are making all the time. One of the big changes that we are aiming to do and that is currently being tested in CIS is the first person view, so you can see exactly what the players are doing with their game client. That's one of the things we expect to implement quickly.

bit-tech: What’s the current, biggest challenge facing esports in World of Tanks that you're working on?

Nicolas: We are implementing the Tier 10s in the game and this is a challenge. We are changing the game rules. It's like in basketball if we put a second ball in the game. It will change the balance, mean that we have to change all the rules, all the structures and so on, but it's a big change for us so we want to be sure it's correctly done so we can, as usual, organically grow and move forward.

The Wargaming.net League Continental Rumble  Wargaming Interview – Nicolas Passemard (Head of esports, Europe)
Click to enlarge

bit-tech: World of Warships recently was fully released. Has there been much of a demand to turn that into an esports title and do you see it becoming one?

Nicolas: Yes, but we need the amount of players playing Warships who are actually willing to have some competition to grow to a critical point. If we reach that we will provide esports and we're hoping that we will. We are going to to test some things, maybe some tournaments, and see how the players react.

bit-tech: That's all! Thanks for your time, Nicolas.

Nicolas: Thanks for the interview.
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