Sandbox Phase 4 will start today as the Server goes online and will run until the 20th March. Here’s what’s going to be tested.
Lowering the stun effect on vehicle mobility
Currently, the stun mechanic temporarily impedes vehicle movement, while also worsening its firepower.
At first glance, it fulfills the set objectives of facilitating more team-oriented gameplay for SPGs and forcing more active combat engagements. Arty lays the ground for an attack, playing in tight cooperation with the rest of the team. They soften targets instead of destroying them, and their teammates can rush to stunned opponents and send them back to the Garage with several finishing shots. However, this adverse effect on two key parameters (speed, firepower) simultaneously somewhat spoils the fun for those stunned. Previous rounds of testing showed that lowering the stun time won’t be enough to solve this issue.
With Phase 4, we want to determine which of the two parameters proves to be more crucial to the overall experience and adjust the stun effect on it accordingly. We’ll start with reducing the stun effect on vehicle mobility by 30%. Jump in and tell us if lowered stun effect improves the overall experience! If you believe it doesn’t, we’ll reverse it and lower the stun effect on accuracy instead.
Reducing the burst radius for all SPGs
When we first introduced SPG changes, we increased their burst radius to compensate for lowering their damage per shot values. We’ve heard a great deal of feedback on this change. You argued it made SPGs too effective. It became a lot easier for arty to cover a larger area, stunning several vehicles at once. Moreover, they often stunned friendly vehicles because of the large burst radius.
We reduced the burst radius by 10% (i.e., the area covered by stun went down by 19%), which should set things back to normal. We believe that following this change, SPGs will cover a big enough territory to remain efficient, while vehicles that stay far enough away can avoid the stun radius. Check it out for yourself and let us know if it worked!
Acting off your feedback, we decided to raise the combat value of Spall Liners and provide all vehicle types with a means to minimize the stun duration. To achieve it, we introduced the stun resistance effect for light and medium Spall Liners. Now, they cut the stun duration by 10%. Also, Heavy Spall Liners’ resistance to the stun effect was improved. They now reduce its duration by 10% (previously they lowered it by 5%). As for Superheavy Spall Liners, their resistance is also set to 10%. However, the latter prove the most effective against stun as they absorb explosive damage better.
Overall, the new mechanics worked well across Tiers VIII–X. Combat parameters set for Phase 3 ensure smooth progression for top-tier SPGs and have a decent effect on Tier VIII–IX tanks and tank destroyers. The few that require another round of balance tweaks are:
- The ?53/55 (the U.S. A., Tier IX) that turned out too efficient
- FV207 and FV3805 (British, Tiers VIII and IX, respectively) that, on quite the contrary, lagged behind their brethren in terms of combat efficiency
We heard your feedback on these and will return to them a bit later. First, we’d like to finish fine-tuning Tier X light tanks. They influence arty longevity greatly. So, we want to finalize their combat parameters, study how their introduction changes overall gameplay, and then tweak the remaining SPGs.
Following your feedback, and data collected during Phase 3, Tier X light tanks received a series of balance tweaks:
- Lowered the T-100 and Spz. 57’s dynamic stats and mobility to lessen the difference between top-tier light tanks and make for a smoother ride
- Increased reload time for the Spz. 57, T-100, and WZ-132A to keep them from being overpowered, and reduced the reload time of the AMX 13 105 to make it more efficient
- The XM551 Sheridan received a considerable boost as it clearly underperformed
- The Spz. 57, T-100, XM551 Sheridan, AMX 13 105 and WZ-132A view range was slightly reduced to keep them from being overpowered. Initially, they sported excellent view range paired with their solid base camouflage values and the class’ trademark camouflage bonus while moving, which proved too much
Finally, you asked us to bring iconic guns back for the T49 and M41 Walker Bulldog, so we did. Now they feature the 152mm Gun-Launcher XM81 and 76mm Gun T91E5, respectively.
Vehicle rotation rules
The addition of Tier X light tanks might lead to a longer queue time. As everyone rushes to play tanks, it would take the matchmaker much longer to assemble a proper +/-2 team, so you’d end up waiting to hit the battlefield for up to 10 minutes. Not to mention that it would prevent us from collecting representative stats. We wouldn’t want that.
We’ll stop it from happening with special restrictions:
- To play a battle in any light tank you have to fight three battles with any other vehicle type(s)
- Upon playing a battle in any medium/heavy tank, tank destroyer or SPG, you have to choose a vehicle of another Tier for the next battle
Of course, this wouldn’t fix the issue altogether, but it will let us cut the queueing to 2–3 minutes.
NOTE: These restrictions (as well as longer wait times) are only relevant for the Sandbox server, and won’t make it onto live servers.
Just one thing before we dive into testing. The progress we’ve made so far wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for your support and input. We are close to the finish line with SPGs and Tier X light tanks! It’s time for that final strike. Join us on the testing ground and help us make the game better!