Welcome to the first 2019 Developer Q&A session. For today's session, we've asked the esteemed community contributors and moderators to submit their questions to the game developers regarding some of the most important matters of Armored Warfare.
H3dsh0t: What are the priorities for you this year in terms of new content?
We'd like to start the year by introducing a new progression line of French tanks and other vehicles, which are coming in Update 0.28, or, if you prefer, the second part of the Arabian Nights season, along with another long-awaited feature, a full-fledged organized competitive mode for Battalions where the best players will fight for some rather exclusive prizes. There's also another Battle Path campaign coming with even cooler rewards as well as some pretty amazing and unique vehicles that we hope you will really enjoy.
When it comes to maps, new Special Operations are currently our top priority, followed by new PvP maps and new Global Operations maps. Last but not least, we are also working on existing PvE mission overhauls as well as new regular PvE missions. In the next big update, we will, for example, be introducing a new PvP map called Al Dabbah with some very distinctive elements.
We would love to tell you more about the upcoming content beyond Update 0.28, but at the moment, we are still going through your feedback and are discussing what you guys would like to see and enjoy the most.
H3dsh0t: Tell us about Loot Crates – specifically, those sold with Tier 9 and Tier 10 Premium vehicles. They gathered a lot of negative feedback from the community yet they keep on appearing. Can you share your take on the issue?
The matter of Armored Warfare Loot Crates in general should not be viewed in a vacuum because it is, in fact, an ongoing process that we are experimenting with. It all started with the concept of randomized rewards in the form of standard Loot Crates that were present in Armored Warfare since 2016 – the system was added in Update 0.16 and from the reactions to it back then, we assumed there was nothing inherently wrong with the concept since the rewards were quite positive.
Another piece of the puzzle is the ongoing experimentation with Armored Warfare, or evolution, if you will. Armored Warfare is an MMO game that is constantly evolving. Some changes are massive – like Balance 2.0 – while some changes are more subtle. Not all changes were positive or without hiccups and we learned a lot of lessons along the way. The Balance 2.0 set of changes, in particular, came with a lot of "but's" and, since its deployment, it took us quite a lot of time to address those and to bring the game to a state we liked, in no small part to the experienced and capable developer team we now have.
It's important to say that this evolution includes experimenting with various monetization methods. A large round of these experiments started with the transfer of the project to a new producer, Jacek Pudlik, who was and is carefully monitored your feedback (that's the real reason behind the "one off" type offers – they didn't make the cut and were not considered a success).
At one point – around the summer of 2018, we decided to try adding vehicles that would be restricted to only few users. Some players like to really stand out on the battlefield; it's only natural to make rare offers – pretty much all games with ongoing monetization do that. Now, there are two ways of approaching this:
- You can sell the item directly but make it hyper-expensive
- You can approach rarity differently
That's pretty much how the first Legendary Reinforcements were born – the latter approach. We did not want to close off the vehicles behind too large a price, but, at the same time, we wanted to keep the vehicles in these crates very rare.
By the appearance of the Loot Crates that followed, you can already guess that the experiment was a success, but there was still a lot to tweak based on your feedback that we are gathering regularly with the top management discussing your input on weekly basis. That is why the Legendary Reinforcements Loot Crates evolved into two new types of Loot Crates:
- Random drop crates with guaranteed top prize drop after a certain number of openings (these included the Sphinx Monster crates and the Oplot crates)
- Loot Crates with component pieces
Both approaches have their pros and cons and we will continue to experiment with them, although, based on your feedback, you seem to generally prefer the second type so we will focus more on that.
At the same time, we do not want to hide all premium content behind Loot Crates. That's why we will be taking the steps such as:
- Launching new Premium campaigns (Battle Path) that seem to be very popular with you guys
- Introducing new "branch" Premium vehicles, available for Gold within the client
- Introducing new "shop" Premium vehicles, available for sale directly
Finally, we get to the big question on everyone's mind: "Why are we doing all this?"
The answer is simple. All these efforts serve to ensure the continuous development of Armored Warfare for years to come. We've addressed the game population issue by the relatively recent launch of the Global Server and now we are focusing on not only maintaining, but expanding Armored Warfare by the means of new feature addition as well as inviting yet more players by a careful use of our marketing tools.
Not all our efforts were successful throughout 2018, but the game grew and expanded and will continue to grow in 2019 still as a product of work of a tight-knit developer team putting lots of love and hard work into the game.
H3dsh0t: Are there any plans to revisit the sound engine of the game? Currently, it seems unable to cope with autocannon fire with it regularly causing the sound to break, plus some other sounds like engine noises are sounding rather weak.
We aren't planning to change the sound engine but we will fix the bug with the sound of autocannons in an upcoming update.
Eisenherz: Is there still a plan for an overhauled crew system, and can you disclose some details and/or ideas for it?
It is relatively long-term feature, similar in scope to the Commander System overhaul. It is not planned for this year.
Eisenherz: Can a variant of the HMMWV be added? It's a very iconic vehicle that is often seen with a mounted TOW launcher and other armament options that might actually fit AW.
Yes, we are thinking in this direction.
Spishak: When will a competitive "Clan Wars" (Battalion mode) be available and what will it look like?
We've been working on what you would consider "Clan Wars" for quite a while now. Clan Wars is a work-in-progress feature that will be implemented step by step as soon as its first stages are ready. First steps of Battalion PvP are planned for Update 0.28 in the form of a 10 versus 10 Battalion against Battalion ranked battles. We will tell you more about them in the near future.
Quori: Can we expect an additional option of blocking the hydraulic suspension in position which we want for such vehicles as the Type 90 MBT?
Yes, this option is currently in development. Pressing X will lock the suspension in its position in a fashion similar to Taifun's hull lock.
Spichris: When will we receive a more extensive battalion management system? For example, I mean more information about the activities of each battalion member. When he was active last time, when he joined, etc.
Yes, we are working on it right now.
Spichris: Are APS systems currently not too effective?
We're evaluating the performance of different Active Protection Systems (including the Armata Afganit and Merkava's Trophy Next Gen) and will implement some balancing changes in the next update. Overall, most APS are currently balanced according to our statistics, but few of them are too effective. We also still plan to introduce manually activated APS mechanism and will convert some of the existing systems into it, but this feature will come later.
Bzikers: Are you planning to add more turretless vehicles similar to Taifun II?
It's possible in the future.
Darrel86Gaming: What progression lines can we expect apart from the mentioned French line?
We're looking at least into one more European line, and, after that, possibly directing our attention towards some Asian countries. More details will come closer to a release date
CmdrStrayn: Why was the BM Oplot made into a Premium vehicle and not as a progression tank and when will more Ukrainian vehicles, like the T-80UD and the T-84, be coming?
At this point, we already have more than 14 different T-64/T-72/T-80s and their versions as vehicles in the game with a few more planned. Statistically, they often play very similarly – after all, they all have a lot in common. Given that we haven't yet introduced some long-awaited vehicle progression lines yet (like the French one that is coming in next major update), we don't want to add more "T-series" type progression tanks to the game. Instead, we might add some of the more unusual vehicles and prototypes with unique mechanics as Premium vehicles, like we did with the BM Oplot MBT. Another such option for the future would, for example, be something like the Object 292 (essentially a T-80 with a 152mm gun). As for progression tanks, instead of adding "somewhat similar" tanks like the T-80UD, we want to focus on rather unique lines and tanks that are more different compared to the existing ones with new mechanics such as coaxial autocannons or multiple exchangeable turret modules.
CmdrStrayn: Back in November 2018, the SPG class was tested in the Global Operations mode. Are there any plans to test it in the Random Battles (PvP) game mode in the near future?
We are currently not planning to reintroduce artillery to PvP because it could be too frustrating to play against this class and in a mode with no respawn mechanics. Additionally, any damage dealt by artillery would be final and would contribute directly to the match's result. In the Global Operations mode, artillery or wildcard damage is less frustrating and does not win or lose matches by itself. Currently, we are also working on giving artillery more support options for the Global Operations mode and also on making its gameplay more active.
ZuberG: Will you change the mechanics of the effects of smoke on ATGMs? On low Tiers, this mechanism is a useful thing as it helps fighting off incoming ATGMs, but on high Tiers, this is an extremely sensitive and, frankly, excessive mechanism that makes ATGMs useless. I would like to see something along the lines of "reducing ATGM control when aiming through the smoke" instead of the complete loss of control we have today.
We do have some plans to reduce the effects of smoke on ATGMs, but implementing them is only planned further down the line as they take a lot of time to tweak.
ZuberG: Will the damage of HE shells and the interaction of HE shells and Thermobarics missiles with modules be fixed? At the moment, HE shells and Thermobaric ATGMs wreck everything.
In our last 0.27 hotfix deployed on January 22, 2019, we updated the shell equations to address this issue. HE shells (and their variants) take the average armor in a certain zone (the HE shell blast radius) into account to a degree – what we did was modifying the calculations in order for them to take the average armor value into account even more. This change simultaneously affected the standard damage and the module damage. All in all, HE/Thermobaric shells and missiles are now very effective against thinly armored targets but less effective against heavily armored ones.
PanzerSofa: Will we have more PvP maps – and how many?
Several new PvP maps will be launched this year, including the one present in Update 0.28.
PanzerSofa: Is it worth waiting for the introduction of more tanks with large-caliber guns, such as the Soviet 152mm caliber?
Yes, in the near future.
Multiple Players: Are you happy with the performance of the Abrams line? Right now it feels kind of mediocre.
No, we are not. We do have plans to rebalance the Abrams series, but not as soon as we would have liked.
Multiple Players: There has been a lot of discussion around the Battle Path and the amount of time required to progress through it being rather unreasonable. Do you have any plans to improve on that either for this campaign, or if not this, for the next one?
We constantly analyze progression through the global Battle Path event, and we're planning adjustments in the future that should make the progression more enjoyable.
That's all for today's session – we hope that you got the answers you were looking for and will see you on the battlefield!