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Sandbox 2021: HE Shells and Artillery Combined

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From March 23 through March 29, the sandbox is entering the final stretch and launching the most important, combined pre-release test. At this stage, all previous suggestions will be put together and take their almost-final forms.

If by the end of our collective testing, Wargaming concludes that the changes can go live, you will likely be able to see them around May during the Common Test. They will be added to the game simultaneously as a single update.

Upon analyzing player surveys from the two previous tests, both Sandbox iterations showed good results. This is further confirmed by statistics: for instance, after the testing of the reworked HE shells, more than 70% of reviews from players who played on the Sandbox were positive.

The Statistical Performance of Vehicles Using HE Shells as Standard Ammo

A number of negative reviews during the test addressed the performance of specific vehicles. Some players communicated on the forums and in surveys that gameplay in vehicles that use HE as standard shells became worse. What do the Sandbox statistics have to say on the matter?

We share this well-founded concern, and to verify it, we took test data concerning the most popular HE tanks (Type 5 Heavy, FV4005/FV215b (183), KV-2/KV-2 (R), Sheridan, T49) and carefully analyzed their performance on Sandbox. Let’s take a closer look at each of these vehicles.

Type 5 Heavy

The average damage caused by this tank’s standard HE shell dipped a bit, while the damage caused by its alternative HE shell slightly increased. The statistics show that the Type 5’s damage was redistributed: the vehicle caused less damage per non-penetrating shot, but at the same time, there were more penetrations. If we consider both types of HE shells—standard and alternative—in aggregate, the average damage remained the same. There were no significant changes here.

Thanks to the new mechanics, the survivability of this formidable but slow tank has increased. Even though it’s not easy for the Type 5 Heavy to hit a weak spot, it is now able to fire and penetrate with HE shells more often, just like other vehicles. This effectively contributed to a small increase in damage caused by alternative shells.

In general, the vehicle’s battle performance remains the same. As it stands, there are currently no reasonable grounds for rebalancing this vehicle.

FV4005

The average damage caused by this vehicle’s standard HE shell remained practically the same, but at the same time, its average damage per shot with alternative HE shells slightly increased. The higher penetration value of the latter resulted in a greater number of penetrations.

Despite a small dip in survivability, the overall battle performance of the FV4005 didn’t change, which also indicates that there is no need for urgent changes.

Sheridan and T49

Thanks to their good dynamics and an ability to better realize the potential of the new HE shells, these vehicles now enjoy a significant increase in penetrations with both standard and alternative HE shells. However, the damage of non-penetrating shots naturally decreased, as was the case with other tanks. The average damage per shot increased, but at the same time, their survivability slightly worsened. Overall, the battle performance of these two vehicles didn’t change significantly either.

KV-2/KV-2 (R)

The statistics showed a small decrease in the damage of non-penetrating shots for these tanks. A general decrease in the average damage per shot can be observed, but less so than with other vehicles. Just like the Type 5 Heavy, the KV-2 now boasts better survivability in battle. Consequently, these tanks can fire more shots per battle, which compensates for the decrease in damage for non-penetrating shots. As a result, their average damage values remain largely the same.

Panhard EBR 105

The Panhard EBR 105 now deals more HE damage per shot, but at the same time receives much more HE damage to itself. The survivability of this wheeled tank worsened, but this is in no small part due to the general nature of Sandbox battles, not solely to the specifics of the new HE mechanics. The overall battle performance of the Panhard EBR 105 also didn’t change significantly.

Tank and Artillery Changes for the Upcoming Test

Changes to SPGs

  • Preliminary statistics show that the idea to introduce three types of tactically diverse shells works, and SPG players used or learned to use all three types of shells.
SPG STANDARD SHELL, % ALTERNATIVE SHELL, % TACTICAL SHELL, %
Object 261 45 36 19
G.W. E 100 49 37 14
T92 HMC 42 46 12
Bat.-Châtillon 155 58 46 35 19
Conqueror Gun Carriage 48 40 12
  • Each type of shell was in demand and was actively used. According to the first estimates, this reduced the stun time in battles by 60-65%*. The exact numbers for specific vehicles are shown in the table below.
VEHICLE STUN TIME IN UPDATE 1.12, SECONDS STUN TIME ON SANDBOX 2021: SPG REBALANCE TEST, SECONDS
Maus 22.8 5.9
T110E5 18.3 5.6
TVP T 50/51 8.8 3.0
STB-1 13.6 4.3
T-100 LT 6.9 2.2
These are average values for all vehicles, not just those shown in the table. They are also influenced by slightly faster Sandbox battles.

 

  • The average damage per battle remained about the same. When calculating the damage, we considered that the battles on the Sandbox take place a little faster than on the main server, so the artillery didn’t have time to reveal its full potential. In addition, the tools for counteracting SPGs also had their impact.

Counteracting SPGs

  • Based on your feedback and the survey results, our suggested tools to counteract SPGs received general community approval. The effectiveness of these changes should be evaluated over a longer testing period than just the 7 days of the Sandbox test.
  • The modified “Intuition” perk received the most positive reception, and not only among artillery players. According to our statistics, you began to change the type of shell much more often, especially when playing in SPGs.
  • The Sound Detection feature became a topic of hot dispute and raised questions in the community because it is a new and unusual mechanic that takes some time to get used to in battles. You need time to use it consciously and effectively. However, your feedback showed that this mechanic affected the amount of damage received after artillery shots, and the idea itself received your general approval.
  • Brighter shell tracers were also well received. According to your feedback, they helped you to better determine the direction of artillery fire and use this information to plan further actions. At the same time, we didn’t detect any changes in the behavior of artillery and didn’t notice an increase in the effectiveness of counter-battery fire.

Considering all of the above, by the start of the final iteration, we decided to make the following changes:

  • Standard shells are designed to support allies and contain enemy groups of vehicles through their combined ability to stun and inflict damage. At the same time, during the first iteration of the Sandbox, they showed a damage efficiency similar to the alternative shell. To highlight the tactical component of the standard shell in comparison with the alternative one, we will slightly reduce its damage on some SPGs.
SPG DAMAGE WITH A STANDARD SHELL ON SANDBOX: SPG REBALANCE TEST, HP DAMAGE WITH A STANDARD SHELL ON SANDBOX: HE SHELLS AND ARTILLERY COMBINED TEST, HP
Object 261 810 800
G.W. E 100 990 900
T92 HMC 1,170 1,100
Bat.-Châtillon 155 58 680 680
Conqueror Gun Carriage 1,080 1,000
  • The trajectory of the alternative shells influenced their demand. You often didn’t get the right opportunity to fire this type of shell, even in favorable combat situations. To fix this, we will bring its trajectory closer to the trajectory of a standard shell and decrease its velocity without changing its effectiveness per effective shot. According to the test results, this shell also showed different levels of effectiveness for different SPGs. To equalize the effectiveness of this type of shell, it will receive small changes in damage (±5%) and a decrease in armor penetration by about 17%.
SPG ALTERNATIVE SHELL VELOCITY ON SANDBOX: SPG REBALANCE TEST, M/S ALTERNATIVE SHELL VELOCITY ON SANDBOX: HE SHELLS AND ARTILLERY COMBINED TEST, M/S
Object 261 612 546
G.W. E 100 522 465
T92 HMC 552 492
Bat.-Châtillon 155 58 588 524
Conqueror Gun Carriage 432 385
  • Tactical AP shells showed less-than-expected effectiveness both according to the statistics and your feedback, even when used correctly. The main reason is their flat trajectory and the insufficient damage when penetrating armor. We want their use to be rare and situational, but add value when used correctly. To do this, we plan to increase their damage by about 10% compared to the previous Sandbox. In addition, their trajectory will become more convenient for shooting, but with a decrease in velocity.
SPG TACTICAL AP SHELL DAMAGE ON SANDBOX: SPG REBALANCE TEST, HP TACTICAL AP SHELL DAMAGE ON SANDBOX: HE SHELLS AND ARTILLERY COMBINED TEST, HP
Object 261 470 520
G.W. E 100 525 570
T92 HMC 580 650
Bat.-Châtillon 155 58 415 450
Conqueror Gun Carriage 565 620

9 thoughts on “Sandbox 2021: HE Shells and Artillery Combined

    1. They also claim that the KV-2’s survivability increased despite literally nothing having changed about its survivability stats. Yes, the KV-2 won’t eat as much damage when it takes non-pen HE hits. But aside from other derp tanks (fellow KV-2s, O-Is, Shermans with the 105 at lower tier, etc) almost all the damage a KV-2 takes on the live server is from HE.

      The KV-2 is far more HE-dependent than most tanks, so saying “HE being weaker for everybody gives the KV-2 more survivability” is complete BS.

  1. “Preliminary statistics show that the idea to introduce three types of tactically diverse shells works, and SPG players used or learned to use all three types of shells.”

    Of course what do you expect is gonna happen on a test server people are gonna “test” it out… Im certain once live almost all the shells will be the standard ones that stun with some damage.

    1. It’s amazing that WG doesn’t even realize how asinine their own statements are. Of course we were using all 3 shell types, the whole point of the sandbox was to test all 3 shell types. And of course there was less stun happening than on the live server, because we were testing 2 types of non-stun shells.

  2. Am I alone who did not get the pop up window about SPG changes on sandbox after last SPG test? I had bunch of stuff to say, but no survey. I am just curious how many players played sandbox and could not express their feelings…

    1. I never got a survey for the sCrew 2.0 sanbox either. Clearly not everybody who did th testing was actually surveyed.

  3. If players are randomly chosen to participate in sandbox how do wg want their feedbacks to be pertinent ? I’m sure most of these 70% of positive feedback are players who don’t even have enough experience in this game to give pertinent feedback and now wargaming is doing bullsh*t

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