Developer Questions & Answers 12

Our next set of answers from the development team is in - learn about the development of the game in this round of questions and answers!

Question: Will Obsidian consider or test the idea of smaller PvP teams? Something like 10-12 players instead of current 15?
Answer: That feature was already tested and it was determined that for the map sizes and speeds in Armored Warfare 15 vs 15 was the ideal size. It’s completely possible that other formats will appear in the future, but as of right now we are limiting match sizes to their respective game mode options in both PvP and PvE for matchmaking purposes.

Question: Will Obsidian change the PvE matchmaker to one tier difference only?
Answer: We will be looking into the situation where lower tier players are facing overwhelmingly superior opponents (such as tier 5 tanks facing tier 9 AI vehicles) to ensure higher difficulty games are more enjoyable for these players.

Question: Will there ever be a competitive mode that requires a Battalion to field multiple teams simultaneously?
Answer: Most certainly not in the first endgame content round. Currently, very few Battalions can organize and field more than one team at a time and such a mode would almost certainly lead to only a handful of Battalions fighting each other over and over.


Question: What is your vision for Battalions beyond basic socializing?
Answer: We see Battalions as organizational units for our planned future endgame group activities which will require close coordination – in both PvP and PvE.

Question: What is going to happen to Tier 9 vehicles?
Answer: We are constantly watching the tier 9 vehicles for their statistics and are evaluating their characteristics in order to improve or nerf them where necessary. For example, in our latest update the BMPT-72 and DRACO were buffed due to the fact they were noticeably underperforming. As for high-tier MBTs, we do agree these vehicles need to have more consistent vulnerabilities to other vehicles of similar tiers. We are currently working on a broad plan to address this while also making each of them feel more distinct.

Question: Do you consider making the current maps more open with more gameplay area?
Answer: Not for now. Modifying existing maps to such an extent requires almost as many resources as making a map from scratch. While we are constantly reviewing the telemetry data from our maps in order to introduce balance and performance adjustments, we will only look at doing major map overhauls once we have a higher number of maps in rotation. With that being said, the next two maps coming to Armored Warfare are fairly open and should please the desires of players who are looking for more flanking opportunities.

Question: Currently we can see only MBTs as tier 10 candidates in the client. Are you planning to introduce more classes? When will it happen?
Answer: Tier 10 vehicles will not be added to the game until we are satisfied with existing high-tier vehicle balance and gameplay. We are definitely planning to introduce Tier 10 vehicles of all classes, although artillery will likely come after the rest. Currently we can’t really give players a specific timeframe for their introduction as it depends on too many variables.

Question: Will deflecting potentially lethal damage ever get rewarded?
Answer: What you are referring to is commonly known as “tanking” – the heavily armored class (in our case MBTs) protects the others by taking damage in their stead. This is something we are looking into – however, please note that if it is ever introduced, it will be in the form of a rebalance rather than a straight progression buff for MBTs. In other words, for one reputation/credit income to become better, something else has to be nerfed instead.

Question: In Hard PvE battles, players seem to be running out of ammunition on regular basis, making the reload kit consumable pretty much mandatory. What are the plans for the ammunition limit and Hard PvE?
Answer: We are considering improving the ammo capacity of several vehicles based on PvE statistics we’ve gathered.

Question: Will we have regular balance patches on a schedule (kind of like League of Legends), or will vehicles be balanced only if they are egregiously strong/weak?
Answer: The latter, although the effect might be the same in the end because we are always watching the statistics and are introducing vehicle rebalances pretty much in every major patch. The current rate of major patches is roughly one per month, although occasionally they come even faster than that (Update 0.13 will be arriving relatively soon after 0.12.1776).

Question: What are your plans for improving Light Tanks in general, as a class?
Answer: Light Tanks are currently somewhat underperforming (with a couple exceptions). Our plan is not just to buff them outright, but to introduce changes which highlight their strengths as a class and differentiate themselves more from MBTs. Right now we are evaluating the Light Tank active skill (ECU override) – for ways to improve it and make it cooler.

Question: Can we get more information on game mechanics? IE, how EXACTLY does vision work?
Answer: Unfortunately, that’s beyond the scope of a mere Q&A. Very roughly put, each vehicle has a number of spotting checkpoints that are connected to other vehicle’s spotting points (optics, hatches) via rays that perform spotting checks.


Question: Can we get more information on hidden tank stats (acceleration, turning, bloom)?
Answer: Acceleration is currently displayed in the client as one of the engine properties. We are considering adding the rest – but as usual, some things have to be taken into consideration such as making the UI too cluttered and hard to understand for newer players. We are exploring how we can introduce these values in a comprehensible way (for example using graphics or some sort of “accuracy on the move” meta-value).

Question: Are there any plans for a tank inspector type program?
Answer: Yes, this is something we plan to add. It is a lot of work to implement, but we do want to get this into the game.

Question: What is your target winrate for players in Hard Mode PvE? IE, how hard will it need to get before you buff rewards to PvP level?
Answer: This question is a bit more difficult than that. In short, we aren’t simply looking at PvE win rates and difficulty to determine if we need to buff PvE income. In fact, a complete overhaul of PvE rewards is currently in development that is not based solely on win rates, but also based on how long players spend in a particular PvE mission and other objective-based rewards. Once we are done with that, both modes will be challenging in their own way and will have comparable (although differently scored) reward systems.

Question: Do you consider the MM working as intended? IE, do you consider the relatively more common landslide wins and skill balancing and such acceptable in its current state?
Answer: The amount of landslides is connected to matchmaking itself only very vaguely – the common player opinion that landslides are caused by one team having great players and the other one poor ones is primarily a player perception issue. In reality the reasons for landslides are quite complex and range from how players decide to approach a particular map to basic Armored Warfare vehicle characteristics. In Armored Warfare, vehicles are inherently faster which leads to players using this to quickly breakthrough unprotected areas. When such a thing happens and a pack of enemy players appears “behind enemy lines” and start knocking out targets from behind, a landslide loss can quickly become the inevitable outcome. A certain amount of landslides are inherent to the system (more so than in other games with slower vehicles) and will never go away completely.

As for the matchmaker itself – there are some quite obvious issues such as high tier platoons appearing on one side only. Many of the complaints related to matchmaking should be alleviated once we introduce the revised matchmaker in the very near future.

Question: Will you do something with weather in the future?
Answer: Yes, but this feature is quite resource-heavy. We currently want to focus on ensuring the game performs well across a variety of system configurations before we introduce more particle effects.

Question: Would the developers ever consider radically altering the way SPG's work on a mechanical level and testing it out on the PTS server to get opinions and statistics on how the new mechanics are working?
Answer: That would be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, developing and implementing a new mechanic just to gauge player reactions would be costly and may result in a feature we just end up tossing. We prefer to vet ideas internally before showing their initial implementations to the public. Secondly, players are used to game elements appearing on the PTS first then on live shortly after (and quite soon at that). Changing this could lead to negative feedback that would spill over into the live community.


Question: Probably a stupid-ish question, but is the thought of radical game design shifts (tech tree organization, game mechanics, etc.) still somewhere as even a remote possibility?
Answer: It’s not stupid at all. The answer is – if we feel it is absolutely necessary. We are not as free to make truly radical changes as we were in the Early Access phase, but if the future of the game requires it, we are willing to make tough decisions. These choices however are not taken lightly and take a very long time to develop. As such, these types of changes will only be used as a last resort if a certain mechanism or part of the game is deemed in need of a rework.

Question: Are you planning to expand the PvE role-playing feel?
Answer: Yes. We are preparing a storyline campaign as well as publishing more of the background behind these enemy factions. There will however also be certain roleplaying elements introduced, such as the loot system: players will have a chance of a “loot drop” from bosses for example, from extra credits to consumables, unique camouflages, and boosts.

Question: What are your plans for future map design? Are you planning on making any substantially larger maps, or some that benefit each class, instead of maps that are largely reserved for the strengths of one?
Answer: We believe the future is in the mixed design maps that offer something for every class. The new Coastal Threat map is an example of such a design with areas suitable for both MBTs and fast vehicles – even artillery. What we do not want is a map being notoriously difficult and hated by players who primarily play a certain class.

Question: Any chance of getting the old/original commander system with stat points, larger skill trees, and specializations?
Answer: No. But worry not – we are working on a Crew and Commander System overhaul that will introduce more meaningful ability choices and gameplay variability.

Question: Are there any adjustments planned so that actually putting effort into PvE missions is more rewarding than just spamming PvP battles by playing poorly and very soon?
Answer: Yes. On one hand, there is the abovementioned PvE reward system overhaul. On the other hand, we are looking into drastically reducing the rewards for players who obviously contribute nothing to their team (for example by intentionally running into enemies and dying early on). The same goes for PvE battles – players who do not contribute will get little to no reward even if they are technically not AFK.

Question: Are we going to have AI artillery focusing on one vehicle in PvE fixed soon?
Answer: This is partly a perception problem and partly an AI issue. AI Artillery will switch targets if another viable one presents itself and the current target has made an effort to break line of sight. Still, we are constantly working to improve AI behavior and this is something we are evaluating on a map by map basis.

Question: What are your plans for high tier TDs in the future? Currently they are the worst tanks in game and almost nobody plays them.
Answer: Excluding a few specific vehicles, from a reputation and win-rate perspective TDs are actually doing decently. But we do understand that it currently does not feel as fun to play them as it should be. There are several avenues we are currently pursuing which will allow TDs to feel as though they can make meaningful contributions to their team even when facing heavily armored targets. Another aspect of player complaints has to do with TDs feeling as though they are spotted too easily and this can be attributed to view ranges being buffed too high due to Crew Skill stacking. We intend to address this issue which will help in that area.


Question: Are there any vehicles you would never add to the game because they are too weird – for example the Chrysler TV-8 or Object 760?
Answer: That would be quite hilarious but having a tracked nuclear reactor with a gun in the game would probably not be the best balancing decision ever made. Generally speaking, we are limited to two ways of propulsion in Armored Warfare: wheels and tracks (with halftracks possibly appearing later). Unfortunately introducing hovercraft, screw-driven vehicles and other such exotic machines would require a considerable effort to program and don’t directly fit with the style of vehicles we are currently working to add. With that being said, it’s possible we will look into more exotic vehicle designs (but no paper tanks) in the distant future, but our current vehicle development priorities lie elsewhere.

Question: Why does the Leopard line unlock firepower retrofits when they don't have firepower retrofits slots? Do you plan to introduce the said slots? Any plans on reducing the amount of unlockable upgrades for the Leopard 2A5? It has too many different shells.
Answer: According to our internal statistics, the Leopard tanks are currently generally slightly (or, in some cases noticeably) underperforming. Giving them additional firepower slots might be one of the ways of buffing them and we will investigate that as a potential option. As for Leopard 2A5, we are currently not considering removing any of its modules.

Question: When does cage armor roll success against a HEAT shell, how much penetration is lost to standoff distance (or is the shot destroyed outright)?
Answer: The shell is completely negated.

Question: Is there any chance of seeing the Object 279 in Armored Warfare?
Answer: That vehicle is not planned for now.

Question: With the release of ICE edition tanks, will all current and future premium vehicles be balanced and considered as elite regular tank of the same tier?
Answer: No, the same rules apply as before. Dedicated premium vehicles (that is vehicles whose copy is not available as a regular vehicle) will be balanced to be roughly as powerful as a semi-unlocked regular vehicle of the same tier and class. The ICE vehicles do not share some of the regular premium vehicle characteristics to offset their power – they for example do not have lower matchmaking weight than their regular counterparts of the same configuration. Since the ICE vehicle characteristics are identical to the regular vehicles available to everyone, we did not feel they fell within the normal design space of Premium Vehicles that are intentionally reduced statistically in order to be at an obvious disadvantage compared to regular vehicles.

Question: Will new dealers have new commanders to unlock?
Answer: Yes, we are preparing a number of new commanders for the players to unlock in 2016.

Question: If a platoon consists of premium and non-premium tanks, how does that affect PVP matchmaking?
Answer: It doesn’t affect the matchmaking any differently as if two regular vehicles platooned together. The matchmaker takes the highest tier (or matchmaker weight) vehicle into account when calculating which battle to put the platoon into.

Question: When will we get some new achievements in the dossier?
Answer: New achievements are currently in development.

Question: Are you considering one or two degrees of extra gun depression for a few of the TDs like the LAVs, Centauros and MGS?
Answer: Yes – as soon as it’s technically possible (this requires model and internal mechanism changes to avoid model clipping).

Question: Now that IS-7 is confirmed, will we also be seeing the M103 Heavy Tank?
Answer: It’s not impossible but for now we cannot confirm any concrete plans.

Question: Do the developers consider Northrop-Grumman Hellhound with M230LF for introduction?
Answer: The name alone is awesome enough to potentially introduce this vehicle in the future!


Question: Will HMMWVs with autocannons have a chance to appear in the 3rd or 4th dealer tech tree?
Answer: There are currently no concrete plans for these vehicles but they are not ruled out from appearing in the future

Question: Have you thought of filling the empty spots in PvP with bots?
Answer: This is something we have discussed internally but it has not gone beyond the idea stage at this point.

Question: When will nickname change be allowed by other means than tickets?
Answer: Currently this feature is not planned for the near future.

Question: Are there other tier 10 wheeled AFV candidates other than Panhard SPINHX?
Answer: Not that we are ready to mention by name just yet.

That's it for today, stay tuned for the next part!

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