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'Aggressive monetisation' is driving prominent players away from World of Warships

(Image credit: Wargaming)
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Several of World of Warship's most prolific community members have walked away from the game following months of growing tension around intrusive monetisation.

The relationship between the game's community and developer Wargaming has become increasingly strained over the last few months. The free-to-play game has always included paid-for content like premium ships and a premium time subscription, but there's been an increasing reliance on loot boxes and gating content that players could traditionally grind for behind them (thanks, MassivelyOP (opens in new tab)).

The creeping randomisation has already become a point of contention, but things came to a head earlier this month when Wargaming announced a re-release for an old ship. The USS Missouri was originally available in 2016, with players able to grind for the ship without coughing up the cash. While it wasn't considered a top-tier ship, it turned out its credit modifier was causing major issues in the game's economy.

It prompted Wargaming to remove the ship in 2018, and it has only resurfaced a couple of times until now. The difference this time, however, is that you can only obtain the ship by purchasing loot boxes—despite earlier implications that you could just buy it outright.

It seems to have been the straw that broke the camels back, with a large amount of World of Warships' high-profile community members from the Community Contributors Program announcing their departure. Incredibly popular ship reviewer LittleWhiteMouse was one of the first, writing in a forum post (opens in new tab) that a Wargaming employee had taken to Discord to "contradict me, belittle me and ignore evidence I was providing, all the while barking at me to show them respect."

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A further 23 community contributors (opens in new tab) have since departed, including YouTuber The Mighty Jingles, who called out Wargaming on their "increasingly aggressive monetisation and implementation of gambling mechanics into a game marketed to children." Many creators also cited recent drama surrounding the Yukon, another premium ship, and Wargaming's handling of the backlash as another reason they were leaving.

Wargaming didn't initially respond to the mass exodus, but has since released a short post (opens in new tab) saying it was "awfully sorry" that the creators had left and that "they will be missed," while also completely butchering LittleWhiteMouse's name. The forum post also said the studio is looking into an alternative way to purchase the USS Missouri, hopefully negating the need to unlock it through random chance.

A fresh writer in the industry, Mollie has been taken under PC Gamer's RGB-laden wing, making sure she doesn't get up to too much mischief on the site. She's not quite sure what a Command & Conquer is, but she can rattle on for hours about all the obscure rhythm games and strange MMOs from the 2000s. She's been cooking up all manner of news, previews and features while she's been here, but especially enjoys when she gets to write about Final Fantasy, Persona, The Sims, and whatever other game she's currently hopelessly fixated on. There's a good chance she's boring another PC Gamer writer about her latest obsession as we speak.