We are quickly coming up on the one-year anniversary of beta and I felt it was a great time to reflect on Armored Warfare’s past, present and future. It’s been a long, fun, and educational journey. I’m happy to say we have achieved many improvements over the last year – the game is fast-paced, skill does matter, the game doesn’t have often-criticized features such as mods or premium ammunition.
However, after going through a year of Open Beta, you let us know (and we agree) that we didn’t quite hit the mark in some areas. After months of tweaking the existing system, we decided that a much more thorough overhaul was needed. An overhaul that not only touches every class, vehicle, and weapon system in the game, but also individual core mechanics. We won’t shy away from making big changes to the game based on your feedback and have decided to introduce a comprehensive improvement program.
We refer to this program as Balance 2.0.
The Balance 2.0 process will consist of series of overhauls with the intention of making the game feel and play more modern. We do not want to re-create the slow-paced low-tech gameplay style of other tank games – we are aiming much higher. We want the players to enjoy the modern battlefield with all its elements, high-tech features and gadgets. The experience of fighting cutting edge vehicles is something unique to our game and we want to improve it and build on it as much as possible.
To that end, we are planning to make dramatic changes to the game that will include:
- Vehicle Overhaul
- Physics Overhaul
- New Core Modes
And much more! Our goal is that by the time we are done with the basic changes, the players will feel like they are a part of a large, dynamic 21st century battlefield.
We started on this overall process with the release of Update 0.16 and will continue to focus on the core issues and features throughout the rest of this year in the next three updates.
Things you can expect to be included as a part of the Balance 2.0 changes:
Every vehicle will be thoroughly analyzed and –if needed – adjusted to fit in the game. What that means:
- Vehicle characteristics and abilities could change
- Vehicles could switch classes or moved to a new class if needed
- Vehicles could move up or down Tier or switch trees
- All vehicles will have the ability to deploy smoke
- AFV's will receive ATGMs and new ATGM types will be added to the game
Our ultimate goal is the have owners of ANY vehicle, of ANY class and of ANY Tier able to have fun and contribute to the team’s success in EVERY match.
There is no need for the power curve to be so steep just to compel players to unlock more powerful vehicles in order not to be slaughtered. We are planning to reduce performance jumps from tier to tier to the level where it will be possible to fight a vehicle two tiers higher and win.
We are planning to overhaul the movement system of both wheeled and tracked vehicles. The existing system is not satisfactory in the sense that it doesn’t offer the players the sense of weight and mass. We aim at introducing that feeling of weight and mass to the game. Additionally, the handling of the Armored Warfare wheeled vehicles will be significantly improved.
Spotting System Improvements
We have never really been happy with the spotting system within the game and will improve it into a mechanic that is easy to understand, and still requires skill to take full advantage of position. You have already seen some indication in the form of the Update 0.17 increased draw distance, and the inclusion of more smoke grenades, but this is only in preparation of the overall change, and not the solution in itself.
User Interface Improvements
One of the most common pieces of feedback we keep on encountering is that it is difficult for the new players to orientate in the Garage UI. We are working on a complete overhaul of the Garage UI in order to make it significantly easier to use. The new Garage 2.0 will also feature an improved lighting system, better optimization and – in the future – more customization options. Additionally, Garage 2.0 will allow the players to inspect the armor if their vehicles to learn of their weakspots.
We are also adding more "ease of living" changes, for example the possibility to open multiple loot crates at once.
Overall, we want the UI art style to reflect the modern nature of the game and be on par with the best interfaces in the industry.
Complete Ammo and Armor System Overhaul
We are working on a very deep armor and shell mechanic overhaul.
- Better penetration mechanics and armor interaction
- Overhauled armor layouts for many vehicles
- Full revision of ammo types and how they work
More complex but streamlined calculations will allow us to better model and distinguish ammunition and armor types. This will in turn lead more consistent results and therefore better gameplay.
New Core Game Modes
Standard and encounter modes are a bit tired and dated at this point, and we believe we can bring more compelling game modes to Armored Warfare to form the new “standard.” The recently announced Global Operations is an excellent representation of this direction. We have also dedicated resources to explore more game modes and will bring you very best of these creations over time, while continuing to improve Global Operations. The modes we are currently working on or testing include:
- Lords of War
- Global Operations (as described above)
- An upcoming PvE survival mode
Good Map design plays an important role in balance and it is vital that we improve this process. An example of this new type of map can be seen in 0.17 with a map called Frontline. We will release more maps that adhere to the above principles. Some older maps may be revised or removed if they cannot fit within our goals, which are:
- Larger maps with more play area
- Open or mixed terrain
- Fewer corridors and obvious choke points
- Night battles with night vision system
One thing we have been very aware of is that we are not releasing enough content in the form of new progression vehicles. The first new line you will see going forward is in 0.18 and we hope to increase our pace in this area. To that end:
- We recently doubled the size the of vehicles team
- Focus on more progression vehicles
- Less reskins and more unique promotional and achievement tanks
The nearest upcoming vehicles are the Central-European AFV/TD branch. In the future, the third dealer will also get Korean vehicles, East-European vehicles and more Chinese vehicles.
This list is by no means complete, and more systems will be adjusted, balanced and polished before release. It is also just meant as an overview, more details will be released in the form of detailed articles, videos, and developer digests to make sure you have a good understanding of what you can expect before release and adjust to the comprehensive updates.
As for the future, the goal will be to complete these changes by the end of the year, then make an assessment to see if any adjustments are needed before a full release of the game. If all goes well, we will be able to proceed on launching the game and gaining exposure to start bringing in players in large numbers!
As I said more details will follow, but for now, I would like to thank on Obsidians’ behalf, all of our Open Beta players for their countless hours of gameplay and for the thorough and valuable feedback they’ve shared with us over the last year to help make Armored Warfare better.
We are listening, and are committed to making AW the game we all want it to be.
Joshua Morris (Jinxx71), Senior Producer My.com