Sandbox Server Phase 2 is now over and Wargaming has gathered the information and shared their results. Here’s what has been published on the Official portal.
Accuracy revision was implemented to reduce the number of “unbelievable” shots (hitting weak spots without taking full aim, or shots on the move or at great distances) while keeping accuracy with full aim intact. And, coupled with other changes, it worked. The values of damage dealt decreased for the majority of vehicles: medium tanks caused 20–25% less damage than on live servers, heavies and most TDs—10–15% less. However, it also reduced the accuracy for those who take full aim, when shooting. Indeed, there are fewer instances of “unbelievable” shots now, but it was achieved at too high a price. That’s why we won’t implement this change into the game. The stats and feedback we collected will be used to develop a new solution. We already have several alternative concepts on the drawing board, but it will take some time before we introduce them for you to test.
When testing the damage falloff, we applied the same mechanic to all vehicles. The results show that it won’t work the way we want it to (i.e. encourage heavies to shorten the combat distance), unless we significantly rebalance HEAT shells. It’s a major decision that would affect the overall gameplay and most likely come with balance tweaks to other shell types as well. And once we rebalance all of them, it might fix the problem without systemic changes to damage falloff. We will return to it after thorough calculations and modeling. As for way in which we introduced and tested penetration loss over distance—it won’t make its way into the game.
We are still reviewing loads of data and feedback on alpha damage revision. Unlike with other features, here we are comparing player behaviour on all vehicles that went through changes, which takes a lot of time. So, these are just some preliminary results. The idea of scaling 120 mm gun damage to the damage rating of 122 mm guns resonated with testers and showed good results. We’ll return to further refining it after we analyze all data. If we see that it only works for select vehicles, we might increase alpha damage for those few, while leaving the rest unchanged. Please note that these changes won’t happen any time soon. We need to ensure the decision is well thought out and thoroughly tested before we proceed. As for the changes to high-caliber gun damage per shot, it had little effect on the JagdPz. E 100’s combat efficiency and behavior. However, British TDs, which primarily deal damage with HESH shells, suffered, becoming unbalanced. We’ll keep on working on a solution for the whole pack of vehicles that, historically, had very large calibers, but not within this iteration.
The stun mechanic seemed to click with plenty of players, and we are really motivated to keep refining it. Following feedback from the 1st week, we tweaked its initial parameters, the guaranteed stun duration and the stun effect on accuracy, to make heavy and super-heavy tanks a bit more susceptible to the stun effect. As for the lighter vehicles, things will stay the same for them. Although it will take us some time to process the stats, it’s already clear that this mechanic makes matches feel fairer. In the following weeks, we’ll continue ironing out the stun mechanic on an expanded vehicle roster (Tiers VIII–X in the Sandbox, Tiers V–VII during a Supertest).
We saw from your comments that new UI elements (target area marking for friendly vehicles, stun indicators, and alternative aim) proved instrumental in coordinating SPG actions with teammates. They made it easier to evaluate the ever-changing combat situation and quickly adjust your battle plan. We’ll keep on monitoring your feedback and polishing UI additions in the weeks to come.
Multi-use consumables earned a “thumbs up” from the Sandbox community, too. You reported that they made your gaming experience more enjoyable, and battle stats only reaffirm their positive effect. The new consumables mechanic boosted battle dynamics, especially during the middle and last minutes (which means more fun!), while your spending per battle stayed the same. We’re keeping them in for the 3rd phase.
Finally, the limit of no more than 3 arties per side added to the overall experience as well. Just as we’d hoped, this rebalance facilitates gameplay variety: the imminent threat of getting hit by an arty shell went down, forcing more active engagements. SPGs themselves benefit from it, too. They no longer have to compete with each other for the best target.
The limit we set for arty resulted in a longer queueing time for many of you. However, it was unavoidable because without it, the experience wouldn’t have been representative of live servers. We’re grateful to those dedicated players who spent a lot of time queuing with arty to test them out.
Suggested changes to accuracy, penetration falloff, and alpha damage didn’t work as intended. We’ll take some time to iterate on them internally. As for arty, we’ll pick up where we left off in the 3rd phase, which begins Feb. 27, this time with a larger selection of vehicles (Tiers VIII–X). At the same time, we’ll fine-tune these new elements improvements for Tier V–VII SPGs as part of a Supertest.
The new mechanics worked well on Tier X. Now, we’re inviting you to playtest stun, refined UI, and multi-use consumables on a larger scale. Our goal here is to check how recent adjustments affect Tier VIII and IX gameplay, and make further tweaks (if necessary). We’ll do this while keeping the two-way dialogue between you and the dev team. Also, we’ll add Tier IX–X light tanks that some of you have already played during the Supertest.