It's that time when the wonderful Roadmap is presented! It's a bit longer because there are lots to say we recommend checking out the video within. This roadmap showcases all of the upcoming plans we have underway, addresses some existing priorities that are being worked on, and helps lay out a course that focuses greatly on enhancing "gameplay" with a fair dose of content being added. This roadmap also offers a survey that enables every player to have a serious vote in the top three priorities for Production & Development plans - your feedback matters! (See the full article for the survey)
Show your support for these efforts and subscribe to the game at HTTP://account.wwiionline.com. Please continue reading for the full battle plan - it's an exciting year ahead!
IMPORTANT NOTES BEFORE GETTING STARTED
- You can watch the live stream recording on YouTube (here) ~ highly recommended.
- Roadmaps are designed to be "Goals" and CRS reserves the right to make adjustments as needed
- Unless otherwise stated, CRS will aim to add previous goals not fulfilled to the top of the new Roadmap to complete
- We discussed the possibility of reverting our price back as of June 2022 (see video for context here 52:16)
- In March 2022 there will be a funding drive taking place for WWII Online, details to follow.
- New Roadmap Trello initiated here: Trello.com
- Once you've read everything thoroughly, please fill out the survey (see below).
2021 ROADMAP ITEMS COMPLETED
- Sdkfz 251-10/B
- Panzerjager 1
- Lorraine 37L
- Lorraine 37L Anti-Char
- US M3 GMC w/M2
- US M3 GMC w/75mm
- French M3 GMC w/M2
- French M3 GMC w/75mm
- Universal Carrier Mk II
- Universal Carrier Mk II MMG (Vickers)
- HUD Waypoints
- Server Tracked Bombs
- Heads Up Display Opacity
- Interactive Roadmap Progress (Trello)
THINGS NOT FINISHED - BUT STILL IN PROGRESS / PRIORITY
- Bomber Loadouts: Mostly working, fixing multi-crew not seeing loadout now.
- Ju88: Fixing data, finalizing flight model, adding missing components.
- Wellington: Added damage state and FX, pending flight model and checks.
- Mission Target Change: On hold pending #1 to be completed.
- Integrated Voice Communications: New system (Vivox) is being integrated.
- M1919 .30 caliber LMG for Allies: Animations complete, integrating into game client.
PRODUCTION ROADMAP FOR 2022
- Mobile Airfields - Rearming PPO
- Variable Capture Buildings
- Motorized Mortars (Half-Tracks)
- Colored Smoke for infantry
- Free to Play fighter aircraft
- Fuel Burn Rate & Refueling Capabilities
- Enhanced Special FX
- Improved game audio (vehicles, weapons, etc)
MOBILE AIRFIELDS - REARM/REFUEL (PPO)
For some time now we've hinted at the possibility of adding in Mobile Airfields and our plan is to follow through on this one. It will allow for a ground vehicle to deploy a basic structure which includes aircraft rearming and refueling at a makeshift position. Pilots will need to be exceptionally good at landing at remote locations as there will not be tarmac, just old school grass to land on wherever friendly ground forces place it. As the driver deploying these - you will want to consider placements carefully and communicate their positions for pilots on your side/target.
VARIABLE CAPTURE BUILDINGS
There is a working plan to take some of our existing buildings and refit them to be capturable. Over time you will see us swapping out certain capture points (CPs) or implementing new ones. Think of the City CP as an example, rather than it being your standard capture (flag) building, maybe it's a three-story house or a farm shed? The idea here is to add a little bit of variety and flavor.
As iconic of a weapon as the MG42 is, it's a bit surprising we haven't seen it in WWII Online to date. Well, we're here to tell you that there is a plan to implement it this year, starting with it being mounted on top of the 251 HT and expanding from there. There is a plan to also include it as part of our infantry kit at a future (to be determined) date.
MOTORIZED MORTARS (HALF-TRACKS)
Recently we've introduced new vehicles like the Universal Carrier Mk II, M3 Half-Track, Lorraine, and of course, we updated the Sdkfz 251. We will be aiming to add mid-level mortar tubes within these vehicles so they will be mobile.
The specific mortars that will be modeled and placed in will include:
- Axis: 8cm Granatwerfer 34 (81mm)
- French: Brandt Mle 27/31 (81mm)
- British: Ordnance ML 3-inch Mortar (81mm)
- United States: M1 Mortar (81mm)
COLORED SMOKE FOR INFANTRY
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but we're planning to provide each country with their own colored smoke grenade. This is valuable for unique specialty markings and will be available to select classes only. We anticipate that players will use this smoke to mark critical tactical positions to get increased firepower, whether from the air - land - or sea. Colored smoke was a hugely important feature in the war and we see it even in today's standards being used to call out targets.
FREE TO PLAY - FIGHTER AIRCRAFT
There's been a big call to action for CRS to provide Free Players the option to fly fighter aircraft. In an effort to meet this call from the community and to embrace new users with the option to fly, we will be providing exclusive Free Play fighters which will roll out as a "reserve" unit much like what you see today with our reserve SMGs and have reduced ammo and possibly some other differences.
These aircraft will include:
- Hurricane Mk I
- Hawk 75
- P-39 (for US Forces only)
You saw that right! We are looking at adding Gliders into WWII Online, capable of carrying troops, and if we can swing it - light anti-tank guns (this part is still under investigation - no guarantee!). This will provide paratrooper operations a renewed life and purpose in the game, plus it'll be really cool to simulate historical operations by connecting gliders onto the back of either the Ju52 or C-47 aircraft we currently have. Since we have had the towing feature for guns since the beginning, it only makes sense for us to open this option up for the game. These two choices were selected because they can both carry troops and guns/equipment, whereas some others did not. This offered the best parity as well.
Gliders currently being considered include:
- Allied: CG-4 Waco
- Axis: Gotha Go-242
FUEL BURN RATE & REFUEL
Ever noticed how no one runs out of fuel in WWII Online? But who wants to do that? Well, it's a tactical part of the game that needs to be considered, we already have finite resources pertaining to supply and ammunition, and now we're looking at adding a new dimension to the game which will open up support roles and a higher need to work together.
This also means that we'll be looking at adding refueling trucks and positions for players (yes the mobile airfield will be capable of resupplying aircraft fuel as well).
ENHANCED SPECIAL FX
We already have lots of special FX in-game, but what if they could be expanded upon and enhanced? Things like a shockwave from a bomb, improved explosions or fire, and the like. These work to provide greater immersion and an "awesome" factor for everyone.
IMPROVED GAME AUDIO
Players have been requesting that we take a pass at some of our game audio - and we agree. There have already been some cool exploratory efforts underway to determine areas of improvement, whether it be more realistic startup engine sounds, better tank tread sounds, more boom in the guns - you name it and we are looking at it.
DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP FOR 2022
- RDP Strategic Bombing Layer Updates
- Customizable Vehicle Skins
- Tank Crew - Track Repair
- Tanks causing damage to PPOs
- Artillery & Server Tracked Rounds
- Better EWS Reporting
- Add ricocheting rounds
- Instant Action Button
- Instantly auto-despawn without pressing esc
- Airframe stress
RDP STRATEGIC BOMBING LAYER UPDATES
RDP is crucial to the overall war effort, and it's a serious component of the air game. Therefore we're going to be applying more of our energy and resources into addressing some player concerns, ranging from:
- Bomber Pilots ditching their aircraft after dropping bombs on a factory
- Consolidating US RDP effects to the UK factories rather than split 50/50 between UK & France
- RDP now affects non-aircraft with less of a penalty (configurable)
- Extended factory rebuild times to 72 hours from 100% damage
- The Axis will be getting 9 more factories
- We will be looking into making RDP side specific instead of country-specific
- We will be looking at expanding RDP to not just big factories but smaller town factories
- We will be looking into connecting localized bombing to affect supply, fuel, and ammo
- We will be looking into visible supply lines (trains and shipping)
CUSTOMIZABLE VEHICLE SKINS
We know that customizations are a thing players expect in video games today and we're excited to let you know that we have a plan to provide customizable vehicle skins for paid subscribers. These will start out with a curated set of options provided by CRS and may be expanded in the future.
TANK CREW - TRACK REPAIR
Tank crewmen were trained in the worst of circumstances to provide field repairs for their tank tracks, in fact, most tanks had spare tread pieces and tools to facilitate this. We think this is a great way to keep tanks operational in the field, but we also want to balance this by making the tanks vulnerable (to simulate the crew is out of the vehicle working on it) and ensure it takes some time (because it wasn't a quick job). By bringing this feature into the game, you'll be able to have a limit of two tread repairs, have your hatches open, and for it to take considerable time to complete the job. Still, this is better than being left stranded or simply despawning.
TANKS CAUSING DAMAGE TO PPOS
Ever seen a multi-ton tank bounce off of a barbed-wire fence? Truth be told they would devastate them and so this task will be designed to cause damage to all PPO structures that a tank could interact with.
INCOMING! ARTILLERY & SERVER TRACKED ROUNDS
Wait, did they just say ARTILLERY!?!?! CRS has for some time been investigating the implementation of Artillery into WWII Online and we're ready to pursue this task. This is actually a combination of Production (to produce the assets) and for the Development team to get the Server Tracked Rounds for artillery implemented.
We'll be looking at starting with the following Howitzers (with the likelihood of adding more in the future):
- Allied: M2A1 105mm Howitzer
- Axis: 10.5cm leFH 18/40 105mm Howitzer
Fire controls will be intuitive for the user to help range their shots, and we're currently exploring options for a Forward Observer infantryman class to be equipped with a rangefinder set of binoculars to help direct fire. However, if that doesn't work out, a standard infantryman in the field will be able to support the artilleryman and spot accordingly.
Before these go live, our team will provide range finding and usage guides to help direct users on these. They will be capable of firing long distances and because their rounds will be server tracked everyone in the area can see where the rounds land accurately. We'll be taking into careful consideration making these weapons useful but not completely overwhelming to gameplay if possible (by reducing total ammo, making sure the rate of fire isn't too high, and that teamwork/support is required).
BETTER EWS REPORTING
Generally speaking, EWS (Early Warning System) is aware of an enemy presence toward a town, we want to continue to provide fog of war but also direct users a bit better as to where the action is. Take note that we intend for comms to be vague and perhaps use this tool exclusively for the underpopulated side as an added balancing perk. While not definitive yet, we are discussing options of how to extend EWS to the Forward Bases to once again help folks see which FBs are in danger.
ADD RICOCHETING ROUNDS
Imagine for a moment you're suppressing an enemy position with your machinegun and you see tracers flying all over the place - how cool would that be? This is one of the really important immersion moments that help "sell" the game as being realistic. Now imagine being under fire and hearing those rounds ricochet all around you? Guaranteed to make you drop for cover!
INSTANT ACTION BUTTON
CRS has been discussing the idea of an instant action button in-game for years. We know the user interface is a bit difficult to navigate and there's much work to be done to help improve on this. Essentially, the instant action button would help a new user by quickly determining the most likely populated environment where to drop them into by running a routine algorithm based on the campaign data stream. So a user "clicks" instant action and it equips them with a weapon (as configured in their preferences - or selects a rifleman if not) which drops them right into the hottest AO on the map.
INSTANTLY AUTO-DESPAWN WITHOUT PRESSING "ESC"
Since the beginning we've required you to press ESCAPE after you die to despawn... otherwise, wait for a little while. This task is clear, help the user get on with getting back into the game by not waiting around. For new users, this experience could seem a bit strange and for all users, it's a little less work to do as it guides you from point A --> B a little better. Tied in with this will be an opportunity for users to simply "double-click" a unit in the list and immediately spawn. Both of these things together are improvements to the user experience and remove unnecessary steps to accomplish the same goal.
Some aircraft have been performing extraordinary aerial maneuvers with almost no consequence... this task is designed to add realistic consequences to pilots pushing the limits of their aircraft. Much like what you've seen with your canopy being open, your gear being down, or your flaps being down and you're moving too fast... these things will stop working and seriously impact your flight. This sort of functionality would be expanded to cause structural failure (such as your wings) falling off, among other potential consequences to be determined.
HIGH COMMAND REFOCUS
Our High Command system is no longer what it has been over the last 10-15 years... with the implementation of the Lt. Colonel corps into High Command, we have solved several manpower-related problems and reconnected Squads back into the strategic fold almost instantly. It has also rocked the understanding of how Senior Command should function and what their role is now, and that is where our focus will be primarily now that the foundation of HC has been stabilized.
The Lt. Colonel system (while imperfect) has demonstrated that players in a position, with the eagerness and knowledge to step up can learn and help the War effort - just like how the game should be and how history wrote about the people of the time. To that, we say a great job and send a huge kudos of appreciation to our existing veteran HC officers who have made it a part of their mission to educate these players.
Senior Command now needs to be refocused to provide high-level organization and operational execution. HC was a system built to bring in the best player-leaders that other players would follow. The skillset of those players require people skills, combat, and planning skills.
Organizing a side is no easy task but we're going to be looking to the community for "candidates" who are interested in serving their side. We are hoping to get candidates no later than March 31st 2022 for voting to start by the first week of April 2022.
Positions for each side require candidates for these positions:
- Commander in Chief
- Chief of Staff
- Deputy Chief of Staff
- At least 6 months of playing
- No TOS violation in the last 6 months
- No previous permanent ban on record
- General good conduct in/out of the game
- Motivations are clear to help grow the game / their side
CRS will have final approval on each candidate and will host the elections in a fair and transparent manner for each side's leadership.
The positions to be voted upon are the Top 3 leaders (CinC, CoS and DCoS). Their term limits should be 9 months. At which time re-election will take place and they can be voted in one additional time (or a maximum of 18 months).
VOTING FOR CANDIDATES
Once the candidates have been determined, we will create a top three (for example) who will then be voted upon using CRS’s “SurveyMonkey” and polls will be open for a 30 day period. Distributed through direct e-mail, social media, Discord and available on the website.
Voting will take place during the 6th month of a current candidates cycle, with voting to be completed and a winner announced by month 7th. This will provide a 2 month buffer to start onboarding and teaching the next candidates on expectations, training and a smooth transition.
In the event someone filling one of these roles has to drop out, the Command Staff will elect a new replacement on their own requiring a majority vote (6/10) to complete the duration of that term.
In the event of a tie, the CinC will act as the tie breaker vote. If the CinC is the position to replace, the Chief of Staff will act as the tie breaker vote. The CRS Community Management team will act as the final arbitrator in the event consensus cannot be achieved.
OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS
- A single squad may only be represented with 2 people max in the top 13
- Written approval by CRS Community Management for exceptions
- A staff member who violates the TOS may be removed from their position
- CRS will conduct the review of candidates and ensure they meet requirements
These commanders voted in will then work to fill in essential staff roles (by their choosing) of people who have skills to help facilitate that operational planning, which includes:
- Squad Coordinator
- Create/maintain an active list of squads and contact info
- Facilitate essential comms to them
- Relay concerns/needs back to Senior Command
- Work to rally and unify them
- Work to promote and increase squad numbers
- Operational Planning
- Create operational dates
- Create operational orders (OPORDS) for distribution
- Own the operational planning process
- Public Relations
- Create weekly side report
- Communicate operational plans to their side/community
- Identify and reward players for outstanding actions
- Create and implement new awards
- Develop personalized and meaningful citations
- Develop promotional content for:
- Morale Buiding
- All other needs
- Develop promotional content for:
All of this combined puts a direct and specific focus on creating large-scale gaming events for WWII Online - the very thing that sells the game and creates the most fun. It's really what we should have been doing for some time, and now we're giving the community a bit of the reigns back to refocus.
WWII ONLINE: CHOKEPOINT
Solid continuous progress is being made on Chokepoint, and each play test session is proving we are getting there bit by bit. Chokepoint is extremely valuable for WWII Online 2.0 development as everything taking place here, ranging from developing assets and features (like character customizations and animations), battle hardening them and all, will make porting them into 2.0 much smoother and prepared. While a release date is not yet ready for publication, you can see some major strides planned including by October 2022 getting it deployed to the Unreal Engine 5 - w00t!
WWII ONLINE 2.0
WWII Online 2.0's development is ongoing with the two main objectives getting a total model conversion tool configured and then working on the world size. While this is an involved process, it is happening and we are pleased to report that the essential data points are now being converted, along with its meshes and LODs for more than just trucks, which include:
- Environment Props
- Terrain Tiles
It's important to note that these models themselves can be replaced, but re-creating the data points and all of the bits and pieces internally would make this task insanely hard by comparison. This is all part of the conversion plan and progress is happening! Remember that WWII Online 2.0 is a multi-year process, it's gonna take awhile so stay patient.
And of course, maintaining the large scale of the game is paramount, key to our focus. So we've elected to start development on Unreal Engine 5 which provides us new world creation tools unlocking capabilities not found within UE4. When we made our original announcements in June of 2021, UE5 wasn't ready for primetime, nor was it in Beta. So it was shortly after that it became accessible and we quickly realized we needed to adjust course - and did so.
SUBSCRIBE TO SUPPORT THE ROADMAP & FUTURE OF THE GAME!
WWII Online is 100% fueled by player support. As Playnet / CRS seeks to build The Future of WWII Online with some aggressive goals, we need your help to make this possible. Please consider subscribing to help us accelerate game development, the future is now and your support as a subscriber has a direct impact on mission success. Go to Account.wwiionline.com and subscribe now!
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Click here to learn more about the Hero Builder program. Thanks for your support!
ROADMAP SURVEY & FEEDBACK
We are very keen to know your thoughts on the current Roadmap plan laid out and the general welfare of the community. This survey is integral to helping us have your voice in learning what YOUR top three priorities are for the Production & Development Roadmaps - your selections really do matter here!.