Developer Diary: Machineguns and You

Update: We are currently aware of a number machinegun-related bugs and are working hard on fixing them. Expect the corrections in the near future!


In the most recent 0.30 update, we’ve introduced a new element to the world of Armored Warfare – Coaxial Machineguns. Let’s talk a bit about the how’s and why’s of this mechanic as well as its impact on the game.

First – why did we introduce them? Well, there are a number of gameplay reasons (described below), but, the most important reason is – because you wanted it. Working machinegun requests have been the staple of Armored Warfare feedback for quite some time now but the topic really became acute with the introduction of Mechanized Infantry. Without it, adding machineguns wouldn’t have made all that much sense.

But let us take a look at the basics. What is a coaxial machinegun? As its name suggests, it is a machinegun that’s mounted in the turret right next to the main cannon and is connected (slaved) to its axis. Simply put, wherever the main gun aims, the coaxial machinegun aims too. This allows the crew of the tank to rapidly switch between the cannon and the machinegun depending on what they are aiming. Cannon shots are not always a suitable tool – sometimes you simply need to spray a building window with bullets instead of bringing the whole structure down, or suppress that pesky enemy infantry that keeps popping up and shooting at your guys.

And that’s what the coaxial machinegun does in the game too – it is primarily an anti-infantry tool that’s been given to the MBT class. Why exactly MBTs though? MBTs in general are armed with one powerful weapon – their main gun, which fires HE shells (also effective against infantry) but is relatively slow to reload and in a pitched battle, that one shell might mean the difference between life and death.

Other classes mostly do have other weapon systems such as autocannons, which are very effective against infantry, the exception being Tank Destroyers – but, to be honest, if you’re playing a Tank Destroyer that doesn’t have autocannons (unlike the BMPT series) and you get fired at by infantry, either you are doing something wrong or the player deploying the infantry really deserves the kill.

So, how exactly are those implemented?

As you might have already noticed, all coaxial machineguns in the game act as a separate weapon system and have their own ammo type. For the reasons of swifter implementation and simplification, we’ve decided to model all these machineguns after a generic 7.62mm universal MG, which is by far the most used caliber for such a weapon. In the game, it has the following characteristics

  • Damage per shot: 7-8
  • Penetration: 18mm
  • Rate of fire: 400 rounds per minute
  • Magazine: 800 rounds
  • Limited depression and elevation (typically lower than that of the main gun due to physical limitations of the vehicle)

The weapon will act as a separate weapon system and fills the fourth ammo slot for those tanks that only have three ammo types. For those tanks that have four ammo types (for example, Merkava’s APFSDS, HE, HEAT and ATGM), it replaces one ammo type.

Now you might be wondering, what else can you do with these machineguns apart from eliminating enemy infantry?

For starters, there are some (albeit few) vehicles that are vulnerable to machinegun fire. This would mostly include the “armored jeeps” such as the VBL, Kornet-EM or the Shadow, which have very thin armor by themselves. Raking them with a nice long machinegun burst tends to ruin their day.

This can be considered an additional game balance parameter for the AFV class – before the introduction of Mechanized Infantry, vehicles such as the VBL were quite superior in performance to their heavier AFV brethren. Mechanized Infantry did make that performance difference smaller, but not as much as we’d have hoped. In this case, we are giving the MBTs the means to defend themselves specifically against the lightest AFVs.

And last but not least, there are the situational uses where having a machinegun can come in handy:

  • Machineguns can puncture tyres, stopping wheeled vehicles dead in their tracks
  • Like autocannons, machineguns can be used to destroy lighter types of ERA
  • They can also be used to destroy enemy vehicle optics
  • Finally, they can be effective against lighter environmental obstacles (where you’d otherwise have to waste a shell) and certain AI opponents such as helicopters or drones

However, it should be noted that against anything heavier will be mostly immune to them and it will not be (for example) possible to damage tracks or cannon barrels with a machinegun – they are too sturdy for that.

The machineguns will be a tactical, situational tool in your arsenal, one that we hope you will enjoy.

See you on the battlefield!

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