Hello everyone, a Sandbox Q&A was out yesterday evening but I only had time to translate it today for you, sorry about the delay.
Q: What goals did you have when Sandbox started one month ago?
A: Sandbox currently only has Tier X and this is intensional. Tier X tanks aren’t just to play in Clans, Skirmish and in the Global Map. We started with Tier X to and we plan to go down from there. The volume of work on Tier IX won’t be smaller, but from a point of view of decisions and role distribution Tier 10 is probably the most difficult one for us.
Q: When Tier IX and VII come, will more people be allowed on the Sandbox Server?
A: Yes, more testers will be needed since there will be a system similar to random battles. We also plan to show the new Match Making 2.0 there – in fact it can already be assessed with 3 tiers, but we first need to finish Tier X.
Q: What’s the IS-7 role?
A: Uber-stormtrooper. *laugh* Thanks to the improvement of armour significance it became very well protected, so it can push further and more successfully.
Q: What did you change in Match Making 2.0?
A: First of all we changed the characteristics of tanks and system pinpoints. We have large number of goals for MM 2.0 – more significance of armour, manoeuvrability for medium tanks, scouting role for light tanks. We decided that each tank, each role has to have some feature which helps it to be effective and to win.
Q: These are quite radical changes, are you sure players want these changes?
A: The game as changed gradually, and at some point we opted for a slow evolution, this wasn’t quite the right direction. Now we are trying to rapidly evolve and in the right direction. We can’t say that we went back because the game fells more like it was 4 years ago, but at the same time we have a large number of new vehicles and mechanics that we didn’t have back then.
Q: Sandbox patches are very frequent. What’s the developers feel about this?
A: Even us are shocked about it, a patch was out on Thursday, on Thursday afternoon and on Friday we collect preliminary statistics, then during the weekend we think what we can change in the next patch for next week. This project has absorbed us completely, we want to achieve the best results we can.
Q: Which tanks are more important to play? Players ask what they should play.
A: You should play all of them, we don’t want to tell players what they should do. Each tank can only be balanced in a system where it is surrounded by other tanks, so players should all of them.
Q: What’s the players feedback for the last month?
A: The players loved the Maus – it’s really nice. They like heavily armoured tanks, it seems that many missed tanking gameplay.
Q: Isn’t the Maus unbalanced?
A: It’s too early to say that. The tank is good, but the gameplay changed, and the players didn’t understand immediately what to do in the different conditions. It takes time to create new tactics, behaviour, after this it will be clear which tanks are too strong.
Q: What about Light Tanks? Players are grateful for the mobility, but ask for better turret and hull rotation times.
A: We tested this, where hull and turret traverse was very fast, but this made them too strong – they could circle almost any opponent. The goal we have is very simple – to make the role of certain tanks a bit better in it, than tanks of neighbouring roles, so each role has its advantages. Light tanks are now the fastest and most manoeuvrable anyway.
Q: Why did you change the Foch so much?
A: The players stopped playing with the tank when it was changed on the live server. In Sandbox, we changed it to have a 120mm gun, which made it more comfortable to play. We couldn’t leave it with the 155mm and strong armour. Now the Foch has become a good tank destroyer. Its popularity has increased in the Sandbox server, and it’s one of those tanks with a hybrid role, which Anton Pankov mentioned last week.
Q: What other tanks also have hybrid roles?
A: Patton, AMX 30 B – these are vehicles which don’t have one strong point, but are fairly strong in several.
Q: Why did you rebalance the T110E3?
A: The main reason for the changes – it’s almost identical to the T110E4 with a similar gun. We had to make them different and we wanted to make each vehicle more unique.
Q: What has changed in artillery?
A: At the start, high explosive shells had low penetration and high stun. We fixed a couple of serious bugs that strongly affected gameplay. For example, on the first iteration stun was applied at full-force even on the border of the splash radius. The penetration was lowered to prevent one-shots, and are we now looking for a balance where the penetration can’t cause to much damage to armoured vehicles, but good damage to lightly armoured ones.
Q: Players write that stun is too powerful.
A: Yes, we noticed and its effectiveness has been reduced. The stun time will be reduced in the next patch, you will see it tomorrow.
Q: System changes: shell dispersion, penetration drop – are these the very basic mechanics?
A: These are serious changes. Accuracy is now somewhere between how it was at the game’s launch and how it is now in the live server. The penetration brings the Tier X closer to Tier VIII. These changes are also part of Match Making 2.0.
Q: Players are concerned that you change too many things at the same time – maybe you should change one thing at a time?
A: Yes, there are concerns. The problem is that we had less tanks in the past, when we launched the game, we had tanks which were really used and many of them had real penetration values. With the introduction of more Tier X tanks, we didn’t have values for all of them, despite the large historical records, so we had to make penetration understandable and not that effective. The dispersion in the circle is a balance between close-combat and long-range fighting. The game economics won’t change, even if you use more shells, you’ll still get the same XP and credits.
Q: Will artillery get XP and credits for assists?
A: Yes, each tank has it’s own coefficients.When a scout spots, he has to receive the most profit from this, same for artillery with assists, and heavy tanks for tanking.
Q: What will happen to Tier VIII Premium tanks?
A: We are very sensitive regarding Premium vehicles and understand its significance for the players. Our aim is to minimally affect Tier VIII Premium tanks. Gameplay on this tier is actually is way better in the live server than Tier X, so we won’t make massive changes to regular vehicles as well.
Q: Why do you change performance characteristics, but not the health points?
A: Health Points its a very difficult parameter. HP directly influences the win rate. HP doesn’t give the correct gameplay feeling – armour and gun do.
Q: Will ± 25% really not be changed?
A: We could change it, but that doesn’t make sense. This is one of the base mechanics of the game that allow us to provide good gameplay for all players. It negate the gap between very good and very bad players and allow for RNG to play his role.
Q: Premium shells only for gold – what your thoughts on this?
A: This was done to make the Sandbox similar to the live server, preventing players from shooting gold all the time. And we can see the percentage of standard and gold shells used being close to the live servers. Nobody said this will be introduced.
Q: Does the stun mechanism completely satisfy you?
A: As a mechanism, yes, and the players like too, but the parameters are likely going to change.
Q: Roles are very dependent not only on the team but also on maps. Will these change?
A: Yes, but it is more complicated to change a map than a tank – it’s surroundings, objects, textures etc. a lot of things to be changed.
Q: SPG players – they are now supporters and they feel like they’re not as useful.
A: Splash, stunning – these are valuable assets for the team. Our tests show that teams without arty are weaker than teams with it, so SPGs are a valuable asset of the team.