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Big data and battle tanks: Inside World of Tanks' powerful infrastructure

Jon Gold | March 12, 2015
Tracking the scores, progress and behavior of millions of players around the globe playing an online game is no laughing matter, according to T.J. Wagner, an executive producer and creative director for World of Tanks publisher Wargaming West, who spoke to Network World last week at PAX East.

A lot of the vast scale of World of Tanks is made more digestible by intelligent use of some well-known big data technologies, like Hadoop and Tableau.

"Before we were acquired we had a really, really bright guy ... really into data mining. So he wrote this whole back-end tracking system called the Reflection system, that can keep track of every player's movement, every click through the UI, everything but in a very quick way and in a small data set," he said.

The result is that the company has vast sets of actionable data on everything from in-game behavior to purchasing and conversions, which Wagner said he uses extensively — and not just for work.

"I think I have like 105 custom reports that's anything from purchasing to movement heatmaps to kill/death heatmaps," he said. "One thing I do that's probably not fair is look at the kill/death heatmaps when I'm playing — I look for the best areas to snipe from."


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