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World of Tanks Sanbdox: High-Explosive Shells Revision

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This time you have the opportunity to try out fundamental changes in the mechanics of dealing damage with HE shells. The testing will again be open to all tank commanders and will be held on the Sandbox server.

Why Rebalance HE Shells?

In the two previous iterations of Sandbox, we tested changes in the mechanics of the two main types of shells in our game — standard and special. We reworked the parameters of standard shells, after which the demand for special ones also changed. The main goal of these changes during the previous Sandbox testing was to make standard shells more popular than special ones, and to slightly reduce the effectiveness of special rounds.

These changes worked well, and now we are ready to take the next step towards the complete rebalancing of shells in World of Tanks, we need to rework HE shells. We couldn’t leave them out, because significant changes in the mechanics of standard and special shells would inevitably affect High-Explosive ones, too.

Moving Forward

Changes from previous Sandbox iterations (the revision of the standard shells and changes in the number of hit points for all vehicles in the game) worked well, and they will also be included in the next iteration, in which you can try out the new changes.

We’re currently testing the mechanics for dealing damage with HE shells only for regular tanks. This does not apply to SPG rounds or HESH. We will test them in a separate iteration, but only if we receive positive results from the current Sandbox tests.

The mechanics of dealing damage with HE shells are perhaps the most complicated aspect of our game to understand. It consists of a large number of stages and takes into account numerous parameters for the calculation. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. The HE shell hits the armor, and the armor penetration is calculated depending on whether the armor is penetrated or not.
  2. If the armor is penetrated, damage from the full nominal damage is calculated.
  3. If the armor is not penetrated, damage is also calculated, but only from half the value of the nominal damage.
  4. Next, the damage application point is calculated. Simply put, a weak spot is chosen in the radius of the sphere where the damage is done.
  5. The value of half the nominal damage is reduced proportionally to the armor thickness and other factors at the damage application point.
  6. In addition, the damage calculation is affected by whether a Spall Liner is mounted or not.
  7. After all these calculations, we arrive at the total damage value.

But when we talk about calculations of this mechanic, most of the current aspects are outdated and don’t match the current realities of the game. This doesn’t allow us to fine-tune the effectiveness of HE shells for specific guns, and that’s exactly the aspect we want to change.

Current Issues with HE Shells

Our players rarely use High-Explosive shells as standard ammo for reliably dealing damage. This mainly happens when playing on vehicles with calibers of 150 mm and above. For lower and medium ones, HE shells are often used to:

  • Reset the base capture progress;
  • Finish off an enemy low on HP;
  • Deal damage in a situation where it’s impossible with other shell types.

On the contrary, the effectiveness of HE shells on medium and small calibers is very low, and the use of HE rounds in the above situations doesn’t guarantee a result. At the same time, HE rounds can cause huge damage to weakly armored vehicles, and very often this happens by accident, when you shoot without carefully targeting your enemy’s weak spots. The amount of damage is always different, and even an experienced player cannot predict it in each specific case.

Given all of the above, the main goal of the changes for us is to balance the effectiveness of High-Explosive shells for all guns and calibers existing in our game. We want to reduce the amount of total and alpha damage on large calibers 150 mm and above, and to improve the performance of HE shells onlower and medium calibers in specific situations.

Here’s how we plan to achieve this.

1. High-Explosive Shells Armor Penetration Removal

Yes, that’s right — we want to completely remove the ability to penetrate armor with HE shells. If the tests are successful, then HE rounds will no longer have an “Armor Penetration” parameter.

Initially, High-Explosive shells had this characteristic to simulate HE damage mechanics in a more realistic way, but as stated above, HE shells in World of Tanks are almost never used for reliably dealing damage. Even with a skillful aim, penetrating and inflicting huge damage is not guaranteed.

We want to avoid a huge spread in the final value of damage, when players cannot predict whether they will inflict a nominal value damage, a third of it or no damage at all.

2. Changing the Mechanics of Damage Distribution Over the Splash Radius

If an HE round didn’t penetrate the armor, then the system started calculations according to the damage formula from 0.5 in the center to 0.05 at the edge of the splash. Put simply, when a High-Explosive shell doesn’t penetrate armor in the current gameplay, half of the shell’s nominal damage is immediately deducted, and then the damage decreases depending on the distance to the center of the explosion.

With the new mechanics, HE shells don’t penetrate armor at all, which means that this method of calculation is no longer relevant. After the rebalance, the damage will be distributed over the splash radius, varying from 1 in the center to 0.1 at the edge. The full nominal damage of a HE shell will be used for calculation.

3. Nominal Damage Reduction

Given the above, such a high nominal damage inflicted by HE shells is no longer needed, and we’ll significantly reduce it depending on the caliber of the gun.  The proportion of damage and the specific caliber will also change. Previously, the base damage for the highest calibers (150 mm and above) was truly great. Now the damage gain with increasing calibers will be smaller and more consistent. Below is a table comparing old and new damage values for the main calibers in the game (parameters may vary depending on the individual tank or shell settings).

Caliber Old Values New Values

76 mm



90 mm



105 mm



120 mm



122 mm



130 mm



150 mm



183 mm



4. Damage Decrease from the Center of the Splash

In the new system, damage is calculated from 1 in the center to 0.1 along the edge. The fundamental difference between the new system and the previous one is that splash becomes less “dense”: even at a small distance from the center of the explosion, the damage is greatly reduced.

At the same time, it remains possible to cause low damage at the edge of the splash. The splash effectiveness will be reduced, especially closer to the center. Accordingly, HE rounds will cause lower damage to internal and external modules, as well as crew members.

5. Changing the Tracing Algorithm and Minimal Damage

Damage dealt will be much more predictable, not only due to the removal of penetration, but also thanks to two other components:

  • Changing the tracing algorithm — finding points for causing damage to various armor groups, modules, and crew members. The current algorithm often “doesn’t find” obvious weak spots, and HE shells may not cause any damage at all. The new algorithm “finds” the required points more often and more accurately than the current one. Simply put, the chance to “find” a weak spot in the enemy’s armor is higher and calculated more accurately, but the amount of damage dealt is much lower. The new algorithm is not fine-tuned yet, so it will be adjusted depending on the results of the upcoming testing on the Sandbox server.
  • The ability to inflict minimal damage due to splash mechanics. Damage done in this way will not be high, but in critical situations, it will increase the possibility of causing at least minimal damage (for example, to prevent base capture) to almost 100% (if you hit the armor or the module, thereby damaging it).

Changes to HE Shells

  1. HE shells will do less damage on average per shot (up to 66–75% of the previous damage value).
  2. HE shells will do less critical damage to internal and external modules and crew members. It will be impossible to set fire to the engine if you hit the commander’s hatch.
  3. There will be virtually no cases when damage doesn’t occur at all when a HE round hits the armor (excluding spaced armor). This will help to improve the “behavior” of HE shells, for example, when preventing base capture or finishing off an enemy with only a few HP remaining.
  4. HE shells will expand their scope of use. Now they will be effective not only at large, but also at small and medium calibers.
  5. Weakly-armored vehicles will no longer receive such enormous damage from penetration. They will still take more damage than heavily armored tanks, but not 3 times more.

Uses of Reworked HE Shells

We want to further increase the impact of situationality in the usage of High-Explosive shells. In a nutshell, firing mainly with HE rounds will put you at a disadvantage. Instead, you should use them in the following specific game situations, where they will be more useful than before:

  1. Resetting base capture progress. Now the chance to reset the capture is much higher.
  2. Finishing off opponents low on HP.
  3. Immobilizing enemy vehicles. For the reworked HE rounds, the chance of tracking or damaging an external module is higher.

15,466 thoughts on “World of Tanks Sanbdox: High-Explosive Shells Revision

  1. That cannot be only vodka. Tel me guys, what they are smoking…

  2. If you take the **** barn and charioteer for example they have two shell types but now with the normal HE shell is useless and the only option is the Hesh and AP. Than they can remove the normal HE shell. Same with Charioteer remove the normal HE shell because now it will to be useless.
    An Idea with this is to make so you can have alot more HE in your tank but it dont take place of the other shell types. Because you Will certainly pick normal over he when you cant do as much dmg with HE as they will be in the sandbox.

    And what will even happen with the mighty kv2. useless i would say. 360.dmg? The AP Pen is not good at all. So i hope they change so it will be more rewarding to use the AP on kv2 and other derps.
    The samething happend with the T49 who even want to play with 360 alpha in tier 9 and the heat must be great than.

    And all other perds must have more shell capacity so they can carry HE because the T49 can only carry 20 or something.

    Other wise the rebalance are great but maybe a little bit to much of a dmg nerf on HE especially with derp Guns.

  3. Makes me concerned about certain tanks that specifically have high pen HE or HEP like the Cent AX, the M 41 90, and all the french wheeled vehicles. They will change them, even the premiums because it is a “mechanic” change, but i think it removes a lot of the risk reward for those tanks. Hopefully they will cl***ify those with HEP and HESH the same and allow for pen if used wisely.

  4. THANK GOD I didt think about that the french speed demons who can hit on a U turn while breaking the track and hit 1km away. No but good that there HE will be nerfed.

  5. The premium wheelie likely won’t lose its HE, the regular ones will tho which is sad

  6. From what I understand they are changing HE shells first and if they like what they see than HESH also will be changed so you can say HE will be useless on those tanks. But who knows how they will change hesh

  7. Whilst generally mixed about most changes this will kill the ‘character’ of certain tanks that rely on a big derp gun, e.g. KV2. Game is becoming afraid of tanks having strengths and weaknesses because some people will complain…

  8. Really nice changes. That solve many Problems by oneshooting tanks in low and hightier and nerved the wheeled Tanks. Gj wg

  9. the KV2 will get the leF treatment where every other HE gets nerfed but the Stalin Stovepipe is left untouched.

  10. Unfortunately that is not the case. Tried the KV2 in the Sandbox, it deals ~250 at best

  11. How about they just remove derps and keep regular HE the same? Nerfing HE on normal guns will just make the gameplay even less skill based (read less rewarding for players trying to improve). Soon enough there’ll be no gameplay left, our tanks will be driven by AI and guns will have some kind of aim ***ist!

  12. Destroying an actually enjoyable and not P2W game niche?

  13. Its actually so they can sell the prem KV2… yeah, those greedy bast****.

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