History of the Game
On 4th of June 2016, “Tanki Online” celebrated its seventh birthday. Throughout these years, countless events have taken place in the game and a lot of progress has been made. Players have enjoyed the addition of new game modes and features, as the Flash game engine was gradually updated. An important event for the project was the appearance of the Tech Support. This brought the game to a new level. The project continues to develop and details of the stages it went through and how it got to the stage it is at now can be found in this article.
«Танки на двоих» («Tanks for two», late 90s)
Around sixteen years ago, the very first predecessor to Tanki Online was created — a game called “Tanks for Two”. It was developed as an experiment by the young Anton Volkov (wolf) and Alexander Karpovich (karp) — the founders of AlternativaPlatform and its Tanki Online project. It featured a small selection of items, graphics similar to java-games for mobiles and gameplay for only two players — that was the whole of the primitive functionality of “Tanks for Two”.
But thanks to this project, the idea of creating an arcade tank shooter was born.
«Tanks» (late 2008 — beginning of 2009)
Two months prior to the start of major development of Tanki Online, AlternativaPlatform employees developed a demonstration of the server platform’s capabilities. The code name was «Tanks».
The demo was developed with use of a graphic cursor: Alternativa3D 5.
«Tanks» also became a prototype of «Таnki Online».
The garage in «Tanks» had a wider range of hulls than «Tanks for two» . There were three types of hulls to choose from: light, medium and heavy. However, there was only one gun, resembling an early version of Smoky turret. Destroying a light hull required one hit, medium — two and heavy — four.
There was only one map, and it was created using integrated 3D-models (in «Tanki Online», maps consist of props). This map also supported water. It eventually became the prototype of a present-day map known as Tribute.
Archive video of «Tanks» gameplay:
The beginning (Year 2009)
- On the 8th of May 2009, the closed beta-testing of the new game “Tanki Online” had begun. To participate in the testing you had to send an application to «email@example.com».
It is worth noting that at that time the game received an award at the Game Developers’ Conference in the category “Best game without a publisher”. This shows that while only being at the testing stage, the game had already received positive feedback in the gaming industry.
- A month later, on the 4th of June, the open testing started.
This is an extract of a speech by Anton, in which he invites all interested users to take part in the open testing of the game:
The closed testing of our project lasted almost a month. Around 600 people took part, who uncovered over 200 bugs and greatly helped with their advice and remarks. Still, there is lots to do: there are bugs, a ton of ideas and improvements. All this will be attended as fast as possible in the coming months.
|— Anton Volkov|
Before the release of “Tanki Online”, the developers in AlternativePlatform gave an official interview to a popular gaming site GameStar.ru. An extract reads:
Open beta-testing of the new browser action-MMO “Tanki Online” started in the middle of June. The key speciality of the game is the fact that in its core lies a 3D engine, built in the Flash environment. During our recent interview with Gamestar, developers from AlternativaPlatform shared their views on the present and plans for the future. Gamestar: What is the target audience for Tanki Online?
- Beginning of Summer 2009 — the game is released on the main server.
The game audience has just started to form. Everybody knew each other. Developers were playing together with the first users. That was the period when the most dedicated “veterans” came to Tanki Online project.
In those times the prices in the garage were different, new bugs and various glitches were constantly found. It was basically a chaotic start of development.
For example, Firebird had a very interesting special effect: everlasting scorched surfaces. Those dark marks disappeared only when the server restarted. Of course, this bug was quickly fixed.
Other than a choice of hulls and paints, the tanks could have different engines. Besides these, all parts of the war machine gradually deteriorated over time. The hull — from each hit, turret — from each shot made, engine — from each meter covered. This made gameplay rather difficult for beginners, as everything would break, but there weren’t enough funds for repairs. Because of this, the deterioration feature was soon scrapped.
There weren’t any “second generation” hulls or turrets. (we will discuss their addition a bit later). Railgun turret was similar to the size of a Wasp hull. The weapon’s power was enormous: the M0 modification dealt 100 damage with each shot, which was enough to destroy almost any tank apart from Titan M3 and Dictator M3.
There was an idea to add a race game mode. Mapmaker Avocado created the map “Monte-Carlo”, which was supposed to become one of the arenas for racing. After a while that feature was abandoned, but the map remained. Nowadays it is quite popular among tankers.
In one of the versions of Monte Carlo, the skybox was made with blood-red tones. In addition, when falling into the void, it was possible to see that at the “bottom” there was an image of a city.
- On the 31st of July 2009 Capture The Flag (CTF) game mode was added.
Prior to that update the game only had two game modes: Deathmatch (DM) and Team Deathmatch (TDM). The new game mode quickly gained popularity on the servers and became the main format in the beginnings of eSports. It was mostly the CTF format that gave a big push for development of Clans, the first of which was the legendary «Kolhoz» Clan. On the same day, 4th of August 2009, another equally famous clan was created — “42nd Tank Division”. They would later become winners of the Inter-clan Championship. The clan community was slowly but surely gaining in numbers, there were ideas for organising tournaments with prizes and a special paint for the winners — Champion. More about this topic in the article History of Cybersport.
Since then, “Tanki Online” has changed greatly and now there is little left to remind us of those times.
Age of Dictator / Railgun with Digital (end of 2009 — mid 2010)
By that time, the Game already had around 200 000 registered players.
That was when the supplies “Double Damage”, “Double Armour” and “Nitro” were added. Mines were also among new additions, as well as indication of active supplies above the tanks.
Developers started organising various contests.
A company called “Multivitamin” (partner of AlternativaPlatform) combined “Tanki Online” and their interactive screen by organising multi-touch support on the basis of Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The following video clip featured a legend of the Game - Ksenia “Sun” Ignatieva.
In 2009, the Developers decided to create a gun that would be able to deal damage to enemies as well as heal players in the friendly team. Thus, Isida turret was created. The first concept design could only heal and looked like a three-fanged monster that resembled creatures from the game Half-Life. It was later changed into a two-connector turret. Also, Isida could heal itself simply by “shooting” into space without any enemies around. This made the gun overpowered and ruined the Game balance, so the self-healing ability was removed. Then, the ability to deal damage was added and, later, the “vampire” effect as well, which allowed Isida to heal itself while attacking enemies. These changes led to Isida’s function becoming the way it is now.
On October 16th, 2009, the Game was finally translated into Russian. Until then, the whole user interface was 100% English, which can be seen in older screenshots.
Near the end of 2009, a new bonus box was added to the Game as an experiment and a way to celebrate the upcoming holidays - the ”Golden Box of 1000 Crystals”. After a while, the value of the box was reduced to 100 crystals, and remained the same until the major economy changes happened on the 13th of February 2013.
Tanki's physics still weren’t perfect. The level geometry had various faults. For example, there was an effect referred to as the “UFO”:
The cause of it was due to one of the props having an invisible element that stretched into the sky.
A period of changes was coming close. An important event was the appearance of the first Marshal in the game (back then it was the maximum rank; Field Marshal, Commander and Generalissimo didn't exist in the game yet). His nickname - T7000.
In the end of 2009, alongside with the current project “Tanki Online”, AlternativaPlatform began development of a new project called “Tanki Online 2.0”. It was supposed to be a brand new product with more realistic graphics, a more convenient UI and a huge amount of convenient options and functions (social networks, mobile gaming, etc.). However, after one and a half years, it was decided to scrap that project and gradually transfer most new features from it into the existing version of “Tanki Online”.
Second generation's era
The name of the period itself suggests that there were major changes in “Tanki Online”. A new generation of equipments was added — the so-called “second tier” of equipments. Hulls: Viking, Hornet, Mammoth — Turrets: Thunder, Ricochet, Freeze. These were added to the Game between spring and summer 2010. Even with these new additions, all equipments and all paints were available for purchase as early as the rank of Third Lieutenant.
In 2010, a lot of new maps appeared in game and the game's appearance changed radically. In this period the number of new registered players increased rapidly: on the 24th of June there were 300,000 tankers registered, on the 15th of August, there were 400,000, on the 19th of September there were 500,000, and by the 19th of December the number of players hit 1 million. Around that time, a wave of hackers hit the game. A new type of sabotage called “multing” started to arise.
“First generation” equipment lost most of its popularity due to the new weapons being far superior in all aspects. There were also rumours of a mysterious item called “Shaft”, but nobody knew of its appearance or features.
In the process of balancing new turrets, developers came to the conclusion that Freeze and Ricochet needed serious corrections. The issue was that Ricochet was too powerful compared to other turrets, while Freeze was only good for freezing tanks and not destroying them. That is why, in the autumn of 2010, Freeze and Ricochet were removed from garages and players got their crystals refunded to buy other and more balanced turrets.
A lot of new contests were held: Video contests, the first “Mr and Mrs Tanki Online”, story-writing contest and many other different ones — more information about them can be found here: Contests.
Player Jeck_Aubrey started to make FFFUUU-comics based on “Tanki Online” and created one of the most popular Forum topics in the RU “Creativity” section.
In April 2010 a Chinese version of “Tanki Online” was launched. 3DTank Chinese servers were separated from our servers and had their own database (which still remains that way). This is what the art-director of AlternativaPlatform, Ivan Zikov, told us about it:
The process of preparing the game to be launched in China is almost over. All formalities, conventionalities and translation difficulties have passed. As Chinese partners said, the game will very popular in their country, easy and dynamic gameplay works for them.
|— Ivan Zikov|
On 7th of May 2010, “Tanki Online” became "Web-Site of the Day" on “Favourite Website Awards”. On July 7th, 2010 “Tanki Online” got their own newspaper, the enthusiastic players created it with the help of administration. The newspaper existed for a pretty long time, before it became a part of News portal. In the beginning of September 2010 “Tanki Online” users were celebrating the “Tanker's day”. The gift for players was 25% discount for all items in the garage — first discount event in Tanki Game history. On 25th of November 2010 the “Runet Award” winners were chosen and “Tanki Online” took a place in the TOP10. To celebrate this occasion, there was a 25% discount for all goods in the garage. In the New Year celebrations for 2010-2011, “Tanki Online” pleased its players with another 25% discount off all items in the garage, along with a new “New Year” map and holiday decorations. Since then, not a single New Year went by without these freebies and discounts.
«Tanki Online» entered the year 2011 with a strong commitment to increase its past successes. Work on «Tanki Online 2.0» continued and new events and contests were released. Then, on February 7th, news about a future «300 Tankers» competition was posted on the main page: a battle between players and developers. There were so many applicants that the name was changed to «3000 Tankers». The battle itself took place on February 15th. In the end, the randomly created team couldn't beat the developers with M3 weapons.
On February 12th, there was another special event, celebrating the 1,500,000th player to register in the game. For Valentine's Day, a special new turret called «Smoky XT» came out. It was more expensive and more powerful than the regular «Smoky» turret. For a week, every player ranked Warrant-Officer 1 or higher could buy this turret, and use it until February 22nd. On the next day, the damage from «Smoky XT» was increased and two more days were added to the event. This caused a huge rift between players (as there weren't any events like this before). On the forums and in-game, the «Smoky XT» became the most popular topic of discussion. On February 24, 2011, at 8:00am Moscow time, the turret was forever removed from players' garages.
On April 1st, the developers added another unusual contest. It was called «Head-spinner Races» and participants had to pass a special track challenging their speed. The only conditions were that your tank's turret had to be constantly spinning and your camera angle had to be low. The winner had an opportunity to get any item in the garage for free.
Also on April 1st, an unusual item appeared in the store — «Blue Sphere». The price was ridiculous: 100500 crystals! It was the equivalent of the price for a whole garage at that time, and in today's prices it is equivalent to 1005000 crystals. Of course, only a few players could afford to spend this much on an April Fool's joke. Some say that those who bought «Blue Sphere» got the ability to exploit the game and some rumours say that when the item was removed from garages these users got a double refund.
On June 2nd, a second battle between players and developers was held, it was called «1000 Tankers». This time, both teams used «Wasp / Smoky» combination on the battleground and the result was a draw.
June 6th was another date of celebration – the 3,000,000th player registered. The lucky player was a tanker nicknamed “katyana”.
Introduction of Shaft
The release of a new turret, Shaft, on June 29, 2011, created a furore in the community. The statistics showed that in the first 10 minutes after the release the equivalent of 3 Shafts were bought every second!
It was a really large turret – if you placed it on a Wasp it would be twice its size. The first versions of Shaft had a number of flaws, the biggest one was that the charged shot could not be delayed (the gun fired immediately when the charge bar was full). However, Shaft was able to deal a great amount of damage – nearly 250 health points, which allowed it to destroy a Mammoth M3 in a single shot. Afterwards, it underwent rebalancing: slightly delayed shots and damage for its M3 modification reduced first to 200, then to 180 health points.
A special event started on the 19th of July. 1000 crystals Gold Boxes were dropped only on one of all the existing maps and only with a specific battle fund — players had one week to find out which map it was in.
- On October 14th, «Tanki Online» hit the milestone of 5 million signed-up players and, in about a month, the 6'000'000th tanker joined the Game.
- Following the tradition, Tanki Online participated in the Runet Prize award and ranked ninth in the "People’s Ten" category.
The project had gained more achievements at the beginning of 2012. On January 4, "stepan1234567891" became the 7'000'000th player. The popularity of the Game was increasing really fast — less than a month has passed when the 8-millionth and 9-millionth users had signed up. On March 25, there were over 10 million players. The 10'000'000 user, representing a huge milestone for Tanki Online, was "lYonsl".
The Game's popularity had increased massively. In this video sent by player "Virtvirt", his two years old son Stas (BOECtankist) is showing off his good skills at handling a tank and destroying the opponents with his Shaft:
In addition, Stas also participated in Mr. Tanki Online 2012 contest and reached the third place.
March 28, 2012 — this date marked an important milestone in the development of «Tanki Online». On that day, it was announced that the work on version 2.0 was completed and that hardware acceleration support was added, which resulted in a much more comfortable gameplay experience.
Furthermore, the massive struggle against cheaters who were invading the game and sparking outrage among honest players started in the late March / early April. The new anti-cheat system had blocked tens of thousands of cheaters and plugged the existing security holes. After that, the cheating activity started to decrease.
On the fools' day, April 1, all the tankers discovered a strange item in their garages, the Green Triangle, which costed 20 crystals. There were different rumours about its origins and most players believed it was a part of some quest, so they even started the trend of creating maps named «Green Triangle». In the end, everyone who had bought the «Green Triangle» was given 10 repair kits.
On April 12, there was another battle between Developers and players dedicated to "Cosmonauts' Day" — it was named «1001 cosmonauts». The players managed to defeat the developers this time.
During the holidays in May, another contest with real prizes, called «The Best of May», was launched. There also was a new item named “Balloon” that costed 15 crystals and has appeared in every garage. It was expendable and could be bought unlimited amount of times. The player who had bought the highest amount of balloons was awarded with a new smartphone. The other users traded their balloons for supplies.
On June 4, the project celebrated its third birthday. In a few days, a massive event dedicated to the ongoing UEFA European Championship was launched. Players could collect Football Gold Boxes.
On June 28, there was another battle named «1000 football players», in which the players' team defeated the developers' team on the map Stadium.
During summer of 2012, many innovations were introduced, including:
- reworked maps
- testing of the new FTC mode (CTF with inverted base positions; however, it didn’t go beyond tests)
- disabling ranks' limitations related to EXP points' gain (the rank used to affect the EXP gain – the higher the rank, the less EXP the player received for their actions, which slowed down the progress of reaching high-level ranks)
- buying EXP (1000 EXP points for 100 crystals)
- new visual effects
- displaying the maps «conquered» by clans in «Maps Takeover» tournament.
Update 1.100 (second half of 2012)
At the beginning of August, the players could participate in another “sporting” event – the «Tankiada». As you might guess, it was timed to coincide with London 2012 Olympics. In «Tankiada», players fought against the project's helpers.
By the end of the summer, «Tanki Online» had its own Wiki – the one you are reading right now. It has continued to accumulate the most relevant information about all aspects of the game – detailed descriptions of weapons, galleries of artworks, informative articles and guides on guns and hulls. You can suggest your ideas for the Wiki in the official ★ Tanki Online Wiki's Hub ★ topic on the Forum.
September 6, 2012, was a special day for the project. The long-awaited «1.100 Update» was released, bringing two of the biggest innovations to the Game:
- A new battle mode — “Control Points” (CP)
- New graphics.
While the first innovation was welcomed, the second one got mixed feedbacks
- Three days after the 1.100 release, the 15,000,000th account was registered. It's nickname was "adilov.amir". It’s worth noting that this happened on Tanker's Day (9th of September)
- On September 27th, «Kasim vs Sun» battle was held, a fight between Maksim Khusainov and Kseniya Ignatieva. Players could decide to support Maksim or Kseniya by purchasing a special fan paint in the garage. In the end, those who had bought «For Kasim» paint, which turned out to be the winning fighter, divided up the prize money made from all the purchased paints. Afterwards, this system was used in other contests such as the “Battle of Consultants” in November.
Autumn of 2012 was rich in updates. In October, the Forum was updated: it was moved to a newer, faster engine, three different languages' versions were now supported and ranks' badges were added next to users' nicknames. The developers improved the usage of Flash Player and hardware acceleration even more, adding some new visual effects such as dynamic shadows. Furthermore, they implemented a new bonus in Team Death Match (TDM) mode: the EXP points for destroying an opponent together with other tankers were now divided between the players in proportion to the damage done. Finally, on October 24th, the long awaited feature of signing up through Facebook (and VKontakte) was added.
On December 17th, the Game underwent to one of its biggest and most important update ever — «Rebalance».
It included the resetting of accounts, changes in the characteristics and accessibility of weapons, a new paint called «Picasso» and three new ranks: Fieldmarshal, Commander and Generalissimo. It can be said that the game was reborn; the old-timers say that «Tanki Online» before and after the rebalance are completely different games.
This update was a painful one, but it was a necessary step to move further in the development of the game. However, some users did not understand it. Most players were displeased with the price increase due to the global rebalancing of weapons and elimination of the first and second tiers. To smooth things over, 30% discounts were offered on New Year’s Day and there were players who had been waiting for them with huge amounts of crystals being returned after the rebalance — this was why, during the two weeks between the rebalance and New Year's Day many high-ranked players could be seen using the default green “Wasp & Smoky” combination.
This year turned out to be even more eventful and innovative than the previous years, though not all the innovations were welcomed by players.
The first big update came out on January 28 – the Game servers were successfully moved to a new platform, which drastically improved the game performance. The platform, on the one hand, reduced the load on the servers (allowing more players to play on a server without crashing it) and, on the other hand, reduced the lags on player's side.
On February 12th, Update 123 was released. All the parameters related to crystals were increased by ten times except the funds, which were growing slower than in the previous version.
The curtailed funds were offset by numerous discounts offered throughout the year, including those which were not timed to the big holidays.
The new servers' platform offered, among other things, easier updating to new versions. Over spring, summer and autumn a whole bunch of useful features and updates were released. It is worth mentioning that during all the time the Developers had been keeping in touch with players and creating discussions on the Forum to get feedback on the updates.
- March 12 – Battles Filter (at first, the selected filters were not highlighted in green);
- March 20 – Updated maps and dust from tanks' tracks;
- April 9 – Kick-vote. The update added the long awaited feature of removing inactive players and offenders via voting. However, votekick was a double-edged sword: decent and well-behaved players could join a battle and be kicked just because the others didn’t like them. Eventually, kick-vote was removed from the game.
- April 9 – Deep shadows and the first Product kits. These new kits consisted of a turret, a hull, several types of paints, and a pack of supplies. Items in these kits usually were available at lower ranks than what was normally required to purchase them, granting players the upper hand in battle.
For Cosmonautics Day, April 12, the Developers prepared a contest named «1000 Cosmonauts». There was also a new map, «Moon Silence», created specifically for the contest which featured lesser gravity than on the default «Silence». The map became incredibly popular and had been played on until October 10 and, on the day the map was removed, a special event was held to give a final farewell to the map named «Farewell to Moon Silence».
There were still other updates in spring:
- On April 16th, the feature of buying experience was disabled, and kick-vote became fully functional (the Developers had been testing the system until then). Bonuses for purchasing a certain amount of in-game currency were also added.
- On April 17th, the fund growth speed was increased almost to the original value.
- On June 6, the first VLOG episode came out:
In this VLOG, the community manager of «Tanki Online» Semyon Kirov talked about many different aspects of the Game: development news, discounts and future updates. It was also the day when the “report a violation in battle” feature was introduced. From here on, the VLOG became the primary channel of communication between the players and the developers. As new episodes were published, new topics were introduced, such as “Interview with a Developer”, “Hello” and so on. Nikolay Kolotov, the community manager who had joined the team in the summer of 2012, raised the VLOGs' quality to a new level — he now handles all of the technical aspects of the VLOGs, from shooting to publishing them on a video sharing website.
Since July 16, the players have been able to see the battles their friends were participating in and a menu was added to the interface where the players could receive / send friend invitations and spectate the battles of their friends. Later, players were allowed to see the servers their friends were on and to invite them into their battle.
In summer, a number of special new types of paint for PRO-Gamers and the groups of Administration's Helpers were added, as well as the three maps which won at the Map Designer contest: Future, Factory, and Platform. The third one was later removed at the author’s request.
- On September 20th, a year after the Kasim vs.Sun duel, Maksim Khusainov (Kasim) and Ksenia Ignatieva (Sun) teamed together to play against a randomly selected pair of players. The tankers defeated Maksim and Ksenia in both rounds. In this event, the time-tested system of buying the “paint for…” was used to form the prize pool.
- On November 9th, the Game's first offline tournament, “Tanks in the City”, was held in Perm. The players had the chance to meet the other tankers and developers, and to battle it out for the prize money.
- On November 21st, “Tanki Online” celebrated its win in the “Runet Prize” as well as “The Game of Runet” category.
- On December 11th, an important update was introduced – the new tanks' physics. The improved physics and some changes in hulls' behaviour gave each of them unique properties, movement style, and features. It made the gameplay more dynamic, fast and versatile. The characteristics of some turrets were also changed a bit, this update was the starting point in the weapon rebalancing.
- On December 19th, one of the most long-awaited updates was released – Micro-upgrades. It allowed players to improve the characteristics of turrets, hulls and paints without waiting for the next modification of the item. When one or several stats of a turret or a hull were fully upgraded, the player got a discount for the next modification. In their final release, Micro-upgrades underwent some changes. The first Micro-upgrades were not guaranteed to be successful. After running an upgrade, the player could get one of the following results:
- successful micro-upgrading
- failed micro-upgrading and partial refund of crystals
- failed micro-upgrading and refund in supplies equivalent
- completely failed micro-upgrading and loss of crystals
The chances of successful micro-upgrading decreased with every upgrade step. Fortunately, the Developers eventually pulled the plug on the risky upgrades.
Along with Micro-upgrades, new visual effects and crystal bonuses for ranking up were added. Players who were already ranked received crystals for all the ranks at once. For example, the total rank bonus for a Generalissimo was 314,000 crystals.
During the last three weeks before Christmas, the players were building up their funds for the New Year holidays by completing the missions in the “From Christmas to Christmas” campaign. This included reaching a certain amount of views for the New Year’s video, sharing 2014 screenshots of the New Year gold boxes they had collected and reposting them in social networks. The developers were expecting a bit too much from players, perhaps, since no one in the community managed to double their funds. However, the holiday preparations went on and during the last week of the year, players were buying tree ornaments and decorating the Christmas tree. Those who collected all seven of them received some crystals off in addition to the existing discounts.
This year started with the traditional "GAME" — an interesting event based on in-game quests that tankers had to complete to obtain amazing prizes.
The Game Developers had been taking it easy for a while after having finished some new game mechanics and Micro-upgrades. They then decided to start working hard on new maps and, on the 31st of January, launched a new global update which updated almost all the maps of the game: some of them were changed radically from their previous versions. The main feature was the return of the most popular map to date — «Madness», which was rebuilt from scratch.
The next step the in game development became transferring the Game servers to Amsterdam. Locating servers in middle-Europe allow players from all over the world to easily and comfortably log in to the game, without any high ping discomfort.
In March a new feature was added to the game which allowed tankers to change equipment during battles. A long time ago, there was a bug which allowed tankers to switch servers during battles, change their equipments and return back in battle in less than 5 minutes without losing score and place. The bug was fixed, but the feature for changing equipment during battles was still necessary and it was finally added.
Almost at the same time, the feature of “kick-vote” was removed.
On the 10th of April, the Brazil version of «Tanki Online» was launched. It uses its own database (as well as the Chinese one) and works on a separated server, placed in Brazil, so players won't need to send game-data across the oceans. With the Brazilian's Community release came a new map — Rio, with a new unique design. The map is still popular thanks to its smart disposition of game elements and wide open spaces for tactical movement. The main feature of this map is an overbearing, unapproachable skyscraper. A special event was held to try and reach the top of the skyscraper. The first users to make it there were part of a German parkour team — «GTT».
In April, all communities were shocked by an official announcement made by Devs — «Tanki» signed a contract with StarLadder, one of the biggest CyberSports platforms in the world. That finished old events like Cross Clan championship and TOF. CyberSports became professional and real money prizes were added. The first season of StarLadder, the league for "Best Teams", started on the 10th of June.
In the summer, Developers not only pleased players with a lot of discounts and sales, but also added a few useful features to the game.
In June, the new battle mode "Control Points" was added, as well as a few more useful updates: battle fund distribution at the end of the game, ability to add a player to a block list through the chat menu and the ability to switch the chat off.
On the 4th of June, “Tanki Online” celebrated its 5th anniversary.
On the 24th of June, Tanki Online was added as a game application to the Russian social network «Vkontakte».
Soon after, close range turrets - Firebird, Freeze and Isida – got the ability to counter each others abilities (i.e. Spraying your teammate with Freeze would remove Firebird's burning effect).
In 2014, Tanki Online visited 3 game conventions - OGIC in St. Petersburg, Gamescom in Cologne (Germany) and Brasil Game Show in São Paulo (Brasil). In honour of the German convention, a new map was created called «Cologne», very similar to «Edinburgh». After the end of the Gamescom, the map was removed, but returned back some time later thanks to its popularity among the players.
In Autumn, the system of using supplies was completely reworked. Previously, all supplies could be activated at the same time, but on the 28th of September, "smart-cooldowns" for supplies were added. The main aim of this update was to limit the overwhelming advantage of a tank with many supplies and to wean players from mindlessly pressing «234» during battles. Before the launch of this new update, there was an announcement that all supplies owned in the players' garages would be doubled. A lot of players rushed to buy packs of «1000 supplies» to have supplies for months and years forward, after the launch of the update. The ability to turn all the consumables on at the same time remained as a feature for owners of a PRO-pass.
Not less significant changes were made in the items' drop system, especially for crystal boxes:
- On the 18th of November all zones where a drop is available were marked by a special symbol on the ground. At the same time, the special golden box mark was added as well — it appears only during the «goldbox siren». Different crystal boxes with different amount of crystals also appeared – holding from 1 crystal up to 100 crystal. The launching of those boxes caused massive changes in the gameplay — 50 and 100 crystals boxes were distracting players from playing the game. This caused a huge wave of negative responses towards the update up to a point that those boxes were forever removed from the game.
Some other valuable autumn-winter updates:
- 18th of September - The button for changing servers appeared in the lobby (before that, players could change server only by changing the URL field or by friends system). The rating indicator, which took its place in the right area of the experience bar, lost its meaning and was removed.
- 27th of November - The points distribution for collective tank destruction, which existed only in TDM, appeared in CTF and CP as well.
- 4th of December - New night modes for a few popular maps appeared, as well as laser targeting for Shaft.
- 23th of December – A great day for all lovers of XP / BP and Parkour modes: a full support of Format Battles with strict limitations appeared in the game. The XP format was born in 2012 and rapidly gained huge popularity, however, format players were not protected from those who accidentally or on purpose ruined their battles.
Unexpectedly and pleasantly, the news talked about the expansion of “Tanki” to the world of literature. In October, book stores featured a book by Aleksey Evtushenko — «Tankman» — in which the world of XXII century is mixed with the «Tanki Online» universe. Soon, a second book — «Iron Bastion» — by Andrey Aktanov came out.
Active development of «Tanki Online» was not unseen — the project got a «Golden Double» by receiving the award as best game of Runet for the second time.
On the 22nd of November, one of the most important CyberSports events in the history of this game took place — the first and only offline-final of the second season of Star Series. The event was mixed with another one, «Tanks in the city», which this time took place in Novosibirsk. The 4 Best Teams traveled a long way to Siberia to fight for the champion status.
Besides the «Star Series» finals and traditional competitions for ordinary players, in Novosibirsk it was announced that two new turrets were being prepared to be added to the game – the shotgun and the machine gun. A few tests followed and, on the 17th of December, the 10th turret appeared in the game — Hammer. The name was picked by players' votes in a poll on the Forum. The name that actually won in the poll was “Magnum” with a gap of 12% between it and “Hammer”, but developers decided to name it on their own.
For 2015's New Year celebrations, Developers came up with something really unusual: Hornet XT and Railgun XT. These items had the same function as their original counterparts, but they sported unique designs and upgraded parameters. In addition, the «Frost» paint was introduded, having 15% defense versus all turrets and mines. From the 1st of January 2015, the prices of these items started to decrease day by day and, on the 12th of January, the items disappeared from the game and from the garages.
For the whole duration of January tankers were awaiting the addition of new paints with protection from Hammer – a recently added gun that caused a lot of trouble on the battlefield due to the complete absence of protective paints. The first set consisting of 7 paints became available for sale on the 29th of January and a week later the game saw an addition of yet another gun, Vulcan — the next turret in a collection of real life weapons’ tank replicas (Shaft - sniper rifle, Hammer - shotgun, Vulcan - machine gun). Other than Vulcan, the garage was filled with 13 more paints with protection from various guns, but all these 20 new paints included protections from at least one of the two new guns, sometimes both. Such an expansion to the assortment of paints was the largest since 2010.
The first half of 2015 was full of constant tweaking of weapons parameters, since the appearance of two new turrets and twenty new paints caused major shifts in game balance. While trying to find the “golden middle” in equipment parameters, Developers experimented with numerous options. At the same time, major progress was made in other areas too: on the 12th of March the community acquired a separate site for two major help resources: a knowledge base with guides and a “Q&A” service, where players could ask and answer questions about the game. On the 9th of April, mouse controls were added, and players finally got the ability to control their tank in a more standard way that was similar to most downloadable computer games. The new controls received different feedback from players, but they did find their place in the game.
Summer was left behind with the release of the long-awaited Daily Missions, which came as a replacement for Daily Login Rewards. That way, simply logging into the game was not enough to collect the daily bonuses. The missions' original projections were to add more variety to gameplay, but they also used it to bring Hornet and Railgun XT back into the game by making them available as a very rare reward for completing special missions at the maximum game rank, Generalissimo. Later on, the number of unique XT items was expanded with Wasp XT, Viking XT, Mammoth XT, Firebird XT, Thunder XT and Vulcan XT — some of the most popular guns and hulls in the game.
On the first of September it became known that Tanki stopped its collaboration with StarLadder. During the year of activity four seasons passed, including championships for teams of various levels, as well as blitz tournaments. Judging by the amount of interest shown by the players in the new “StarLadder era”, the old clan system was left in the dust.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, numerous additions were released — discounts on buying multiple items of the same type (Hulls, Turrets, Paints), purchasing the latest available modification of an item directly, and test drives were all a part of the "Personal Discounts system". Altogether, they give quite a hefty total savings potential for buying turrets and hulls. With a bit of luck during the holidays and celebrations' sales which, by the way, became much less generous (otherwise the game’s economy would get completely destroyed, as stated by our CM Semyon Kirov), it became possible to buy items for only 30-40% of their initial price.
As usual, in the end of October «Tanki» celebrated Halloween. Not long before that, Premium Accounts were officially implemented — not the most awaited, but a very logical feature. On the 31st of October, Premium players could purchase a unique paint called «Eternity», with varying protections depending on the player’s rank. Also, before Halloween the personal profile, statistics and Achievements were added — users got the ability to view their own and other players’ basic gameplay statistics, a system which was long-lost after the removal of the «Hall of Fame». Although, not everybody was happy about the fact that the contents of their garage were available for anyone to view. Soon after this, some major changes in the Micro-Upgrades system came: on the 12th of November, the option to upgrade individual parameters separately was removed and changed to a much simpler system that let users upgrade all parameters at once — players lost the ability to upgrade the most needed parameters only.
A few more events worth noting:
- On the 23rd of October the VLOG announced an unusual contest, somewhat resembling "THE GAME" quest — the task was to find keywords hidden within the videos throughout a series of nine VLOGs. Ten players were the fastest to find the words and received their favourite combination of turret and hull.
- On the 2nd of December different categories' tabs appeared in the Garage interface. Before, the garage was divided into two parts: the garage itself, with all the items that the player already bought and the shop, which had items still available for sale. This update was removed due to the inconvenience of having to scroll through a long list of unnecessary items to get to the the useful ones, although it added the need to actually switch between tabs.
- On December 9, a new feature was added — paints will be listed based on their strength and usage and users are now able to preview them before actually buying them.
- On New Year, Developers released a new combination of XT items and a new map with a special battle mode — Mammoth XT & Vulcan XT and "New Year" map with "Assault (ASL)" mode. In addition to these, new items were added into the Game — "Gifts". By spending some crystals, you were able to send to your fellow tankers best wishes and messages. There were four Christmas' gifts: Christmas Tree, Snowman, Golden Wasp+Smoky and Christmas Toy.
At the end of January, another useful feature was introduced to the game – Private Messages in chat. The assortment of gifts were also updated. One of the new gifts was the legendary “Blue Sphere” (remember April 1, 2011) worth 100 500 crystals. The “old-school” players probably smiled when they saw it in their Garage and those not familiar with the game's history were probably puzzled by the big price for a seemingly ordinary gift.
The series of traditional TO holiday events for February 14th, 23rd and March 8th (special events, golds, thematic gifts, holiday decorations and others) ended on March 8th with the “Spring Showdown” in which the team of Russian girls' team fought the International girls' team (from English and German communities). The battle was interrupted in the middle for technical reasons and postponed until March 11th, but the organizers concealed the fact that the rematch actually took place on March 9th so that the match would not be disrupted due to lag. The viewers found out that the battle was pre-recorded during the streaming. The battle ended with the Russian team’s victory.
The recording of “Spring Showdown”
Another event worth mentioning was “Redpool Event”, timed to the premiere of the movie “Deadpool”. Tankers could try on a superhero costume by buying Red Suit paint in their garages and a new gift, the “Chimichanga”, was available during the event.
One of the most notable updates released in February was adding mission chains – additional rewards for accomplishing daily missions on a “regular and daily” basis. Other additions were the feature of disabling gold boxes in PRO battles, final changes to the early battle termination's system, which became more transparent and consistent, and some other minor improvements.
To celebrate April Fools' day, the first few days of April had lots of crazy things happening in the game. Gold boxes were dropping five times more often and did not include only crystals (up to 50 000 crystals) and Premium days, but also extraordinary things such as temporary invulnerability or a “full minute” of activated supplies. Some Gold Boxes even turned into bombs that, when exploding, killed all the tanks in the area of their drop-area. All the different rewards that could be taken after picking up these holiday gold boxes are listed here: April Fools' Day Gold Boxes.
Tanki Online Throwback videos
History of Tanki Online - 2008 / 2009 (At 4:10 minute)
History of Tanki Online - 2010 (At 2:16 minute)
History of Tanki Online - 2011 (At 3:45 minute)
History of Tanki Online - 2012 (At 6:40 minute)
History of Tanki Online - 2013 (At 2:07 minute)
History of Tanki Online - 2014 (At 3:41 minute)
History of Tanki Online - 2015 (At 3:10 minute)