Overcoming the primary problem with repairs by adopting insurance as a mechanic

[ For background: I have played the game for 10 years, and have spent ~$2500 in that time with the Gaijin Store (~$250/yr) and a couple hundred on the market]

F2P players are a huge component to this game, yet the game seems to continue to struggle with whether or not it wants to be a free to play game or a pay to play game. The constant squeeze and outdated economic model (the predatory kind only low-end cellphone games use) results in:

  • Massive disruption in team gameplay as players focus not on how they want to play, but how they have to play (or feel like they have to play)
  • Lopsided teams when you’re paired with (or against) a nation that has exhorbitant repair costs
  • Generally toxic behavior in-game
  • Generally toxic behavior between F2P players and players who spend money

Continuing to squeeze players into feeling like they have to spend money is one strategy, for sure, but if you take a chance and work on massively expanding your player base, giving the average player more opportunities to have fun, you can have an exosystem where people want to spend money.

The first revamp that should be considered is doing away with repair costs. A mechanic that can result in players not being able to play your game at all (and forcing them into game modes they don’t want to play is not a viable options) is a throw-back to the old way of doing things, and there are host of reasons that hugely successful F2P games do not have such a mechanic.

Instead of, after the fact, assessing damage and repair costs, and making players pay for them or use the “free” repair mechanic, assess a flat (tier or BR based) repair fee and show that total debt as a separate value. Now, every match that is played, charge up to 50% of the SL gained to pay that debt. A bad player may pretty much always be “in debt”, but worst case you’re never not making lions, you’re never not progressing, you’re just going to be doing so more slowly if you’re losing tanks/planes.

This opens up a host of other options:

  1. Premium Time - Maybe (in addition to normal effects) Premium also lowers the wage garnishment to 25% per match rather than 50%, or maybe it puts it on hold altogether. The latter would mean, effectively, players running premium would still accrue insurance debt, but never actually pay it (unless they opted to do so manually).

  2. Boosters - You could have a range of boosters that directly impact insurance… “Debt Consolidation Booster” multiplies a matches SL gains by 5, and applies them directly to owed debt.

  3. Orders - You could create useful Orders such as “Aircraft insurance costs negated for the next X minutes”/“SPG insurance costs negated for the next X minutes”, or even “All kills of (vehicle type) award double SL toward insurance”, etc.

Considering and implementing something like the above means happier players that can play what they want when they want… it means higher numbers in lobbies, and - given a few other tweaks and enough time to see it to fruition, a larger base that is more positive toward spending money on tangible benefits.

Scrapping the ancient repair mechanic is of course a huge effort, and only one of a couple key-foundational changes that would depend upon one another, but individually it would make a massive impact.