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: Is there any further information regarding unlocking Tier 10 vehicles?
Answer: They will be unlocked via a token system similar to the one used when unlocking Tier 9 vehicles.
Question: Is a more fleshed out PvE campaign coming?
Answer: We have plans for the storyline to be a more integral part of the game. While we can’t disclose any further details at this time, we are very anxious to start implementing more story elements throughout Armored Warfare.
Question: Do you think there can be too many types of one thing? Like too many T-54/55 variants for example?
Answer: The most iconic vehicles can often be spread over multiple tiers (such as the Abrams line), but we are generally not keen on introducing too many versions of a single vehicle in quick succession before introducing others from multiple countries. That being said, there are often a lot of unique variants for certain vehicles and we’d like to eventually get around to adding those as well.
Question: I can't help but notice the high amount of "T-Series-based" vehicles that have been released lately. Is there any reason for that, for example the fact they are easier to produce?
Answer: Not quite. Assuming you are referring to the Chinese line, the only vehicles that were “easier” to make were the Type 59 (because we had previously modeled it for the promotional premium version, which in turn was based on the Object 155 model) and Type 69. The other vehicles found within the Chinese line were made from scratch and are not based on the T-series – in fact they are quite distinctive.
Question: Is there any plan to add the option to "create" custom commanders?
Answer: No, not at the moment. Each of our commanders has a unique backstory which fits within the AW universe and are designed to offer players a set of skills tailored to fit a particular style of gameplay.
Question: Is there something funny, weird or surprising being planned for April 1st?
Answer: We are thoroughly unfunny people. We are weird though.
Question: What is the current progress in terms of endgame content development?
Answer: In the relatively near future we will be introducing a competitive mode called Lords of War, where players will be able to form teams to battle each other for pretty awesome prizes. Stay tuned for more details. We have more plans for other “endgame” content, but those are in earlier stages of development.
Question: What is the current status of the Insane mode for PvE?
Answer: That mode is currently still in testing. We do not want to introduce it until it provides an adequate challenge to the best of Armored Warfare PvE players without feeling gimmicky. When it arrives, it will require group coordination and communication and the rewards will reflect its level of difficulty.
Question: Are there any plans to introduce additional tanks in the Challenger line?
Answer: Yes, we do have vehicles picked out to fill in the gaps of the Challenger line but cannot announce which ones at this time.
Question: How do you decide which tier a tank will be when you add a new one to the game?
Answer: The basics of how we balance tanks are described in this Developer Diary. Very roughly, the initial assessment is based on the era of a vehicle. We do not want 1960s AFV’s to fight at tier 9-10 even if they are armed with – say – a 90mm cannon. We also try to ensure tiers 7-8 typically feature vehicles which could be considered some of the more ‘iconic’ ones from each respective nation.
Question: Why the Leopard 2 series is the only line were composite armor gets worse instead of improving (i.e. the modifiers)?
Answer: The nominal armor thickness or its material is only one of many parts of the armor layout. The others include:
- Presence of Spaced Armor
- Shape of Spaced Armor (this heavily influences the number of shells deflected from the tank)
And so on. In the case of the Leopard 2 series, the Leopard 2 uses steel composite armor which has higher modifiers, but offers significantly less nominal armor than the angled composite armor of the 2A5 and 2A6. Because one cannot unfortunately see these things at first glance, we will eventually implement an Armor Inspector feature to better enable players to understand the intricacies of Armored Warfare’s vehicle armor layout.
Question: Why do other nations get their broken models fixed, but the German Leopards are still broken since the day they appeared in Armored Warfare?
Answer: Changing in-game models is unfortunately very resource-intensive. We are reviewing the older models one by one to make sure they are up to our standards and correctly portray their real life counterparts. Many of the Leopard vehicles were some of the first to be created for Armored Warfare and our vehicle creation process has improved dramatically since then. We have the Leopard model inaccuracies documented and have recently begun working to correct them all.
Question: Are bigger maps still being considered?
Answer: We are continuing to experiment and prototype larger maps than Reactor internally but we cannot go into specifics at this time.
Question: Can we get an option to disable the new hit effects?
Answer: Currently we are holding off from allowing players to outright disable the effect. Hit information is very important to communicate to players, so we’d rather improve the new hit effects and potentially provide players with ways to adjust them instead.
Question: Is OE still considering alternative spotting and viewrange systems? I remember reading something about that in one of the recent portal updates?
Answer: We are running some experiments with several ideas ranging from small tweaks to the current system to quite radical mechanism overhauls. Please do understand however that this is one of the most complicated systems in the game and provides the most critical information to players during a match. Because of this, we want to ensure any changes we make do not substantially slow the game’s pace – turning it into a campfest. For this reason, any changes to the current system have to be vetted internally for quite some time before we can consider debuting a potential change to the public.
Question: Short and simple, when will the Loot system arrive?
Answer: We cannot give you any specific ETA but it will not be very long now.
Question: When it comes to premium vehicles, what is Obsidian doing to make sure they are not overpowered, especially for their tier (I am especially concerned about the VFM 5 which seems to be overperforming)?
Answer: We are keeping a close eye on the VFM 5, but much of its performance and reputation is based on the fact it can usually be found driven by good players. Regarding new premium vehicles, we are testing them thoroughly (even more so than their regular counterparts). If a vehicle shows itself to be overpowered, we will adjust its stats as needed, regardless of its premium status.
Question: The gun and hit sounds seem very thin/trebled sounds to me. Will you improve them?
Answer: We are currently working on some fundamental sound engine changes and accompanying vehicle sounds. No exact ETA yet on when these will be available, but you can expect them to arrive sometime this year.
Question: When we get the first Tier 8 premium tank?
Answer: After the introduction of Tier 10 vehicles.
Question: The APS on higher tiers is too powerful, are there any plans to adjust it?
Answer: Definitely. We have seen players suggesting APS should have a chance to fail, but we feel this would be too frustrating/inconsistent for players and is not the direction we want to take with the ability. Instead we want to introduce active (need to be manually activated) and passive (activate automatically) APS systems, with different cooldown periods for each type. In the short term, the APS cooldowns will be increased across the board because we feel they are currently too low - rendering ATGMs at higher tiers largely ineffective against vehicles with APS. In the future, we may explore other types of APS systems as well.
Question: When will we see hull traverse speed added to the vehicle characteristics in the garage?
Answer: We are planning to add it along with other previously hidden characteristics.
Question: It seems to me that the Stingray 1 is underperforming, are there any plans to buff it?
Answer: In update 0.14, we’ve increased the Stingray 1’s penetration across all ammo types in order to increase its effectiveness against highly armored targets. In the future, we will take a look at all Light Tanks (particularly their LT ability and on the move accuracy) and will adjust them accordingly.
Question: Any news regarding the Centauro 155 return?
Answer: Not planned currently. In real life, the vehicle is actually an SPG, but since it has a relatively fixed turret this makes it unattractive to add as Artillery for gameplay purposes. Likewise, as a TD it was too strong when in the game while simultaneously having turret behavior which differs greatly from the preceding vehicles in the line. As such. the vehicle must undergo a significant rebalance before it is returned to the game.
Question: What about the immersion factors such as the engine sounds?
Answer: As mentioned earlier, we are planning to add a different vehicle sounds for tanks equipped with turbines. The Abrams will get its typical “whistling” that gave it its nickname “Whispering Death”.
Question: How many programmers work full time on this game?
Answer: The Obsidian Armored Warfare team is over 100 people strong. We have a number of programmers spread across multiple areas of development including, but not limited to:
- Gameplay Mechanics
- Server Backend
Question: What are the priorities regarding development of this game during 2016?
Answer: Right now we are focusing on improving the overall game balance and performance, while simultaneously getting Armored Warfare prepared for its official 1.0 release which will happen this year. Preparation for the official release includes a wide range of tasks ranging from adding more content across the board, to polishing the existing content and making the initial gameplay experience friendlier to new players.
Question: Do you consider recon line vehicles (Fox, VBL, Wiesel, Crab) balanced when you look at their damage output?
Answer: It is true that the damage output of certain AFVs is quite high, but it is balanced by their lack of armor and small HP pools. We do not want AFV players to feel powerless when it comes to their ability to knock out enemy vehicles. As such, when an AFV decides to rush in to deal damage, it forgoes its camo advantage and places itself in the line of fire - relying instead on its superior speed to remain alive. If any particular AFVs look like they have DPM which is too high, we will look to bring those back in line.
Question: If battle hardened tank get nerfed, is the player compensated somehow?
Answer: No, all vehicles in Armored Warfare can be subjected to rebalance, that is a normal part of the development process which never ends. However, anytime you sell a Battle Hardened vehicle, you are refunded 50% of the equivalent credit value for the Battle Hardened purchase price.
Question: Why can’t we keep already purchased retrofits and have to sell them, if we want to try different setup?
Answer: We are working on adding an “inventory” for players to swap between retrofits they’ve purchased for a particular vehicle.
Question: Any plans to add the M712 Copperhead rounds into the game?
Answer: The M712 Copperhead is a guided round fired by the American 155mm guns, including the M109 Paladin. We do not feel that guided rounds would be a viable addition to the artillery arsenal as that would make evading artillery fire considerably more difficult. In general, we are not looking to add other types of damage dealing rounds like the Copperhead or AP rounds to artillery at this time.
Question: Do you plan to buff the Warrior?
Answer: Yes. In Update 0.14, the Warrior is getting a significant armor upgrade. We increased its base armor thickness to bring it up to 14.5mm of all-around protection, accurate to the real world equivalent. The applique armor upgrade package will also provide complete protection against autocannons as well, making it a viable alternative to the vehicle's ERA upgrade package.
Question: Were the water drops on the zoomed in gun sight view removed? If not what setting controlled them, since they no longer appear in my game?
Answer: No. Water drops still appear when graphics are set to Medium and above.
Question: With more vehicles with advanced armor mechanics (such as ERA or composites) showing up on Tier 4 and Tier 5 in the Chinese tank line, is it possible for such upgrades to appear on existing lower tier vehicles?
Answer: We are not currently planning such changes. Adding ERA to other lower tier vehicles takes time away from our artists’ ability to make new vehicles.
Question: When are we going to get more advanced tutorials, teaching about ATGMs, different classes, or more advanced things like different ammo types?
Answer: We are currently developing an improved tutorial for new players to learn the basics of the game. We recognize the need to teach these mechanics to a player early on.
Question: Are there any plans to flesh out a full Italian Line, along with a full British and German line?
Answer: There is currently already a major Italian presence in Armored Warfare, represented by the Centauro vehicles and the Ariete. We unfortunately cannot build a full Italian line without relying heavily on copies of American vehicles.
Question: Is there any plan for modding support even for the most basic ones like custom made textures/sound effects?
Answer: This is something we are discussing internally. While we feel strongly against mods that could affect the HUD in matches, mods in most other aspects of the game are something we are interested in. Vehicle textures can be a risky area to allow mods for, however, as having moddable textures could limit options for possible future vision system changes.
Question: Are there any plans to buff Freja's skill "Full Auto"? As of right now it's pretty much worthless, since the rate of fire increase isn't high enough.
Answer: Commander skills will undergo a massive overhaul in the foreseeable future. Skill rebalance/rework will be a part of it.
Question: Any chance we might have an audio warning when an ammo type is exhausted? Something like "Last sabot loaded" perhaps?
Answer: Not a bad idea. We’ll consider it!
Question: Will be friendly fire disabled?
Answer: Not for now. Friendly fire does actually play an important role. Apart from making the players consider more what they are doing (in order not to cross lines of fire for example), it is also easy to track. While accidents do happen of course, disabling it would not make the malicious players that intentionally teamkill others disappear – instead they would focus on verbal abuse or on griefing other plays by using different means (such as blocking, ramming etc.) This way we can keep track of them and “reward” their behavior accordingly.
Question: Are there any plans for further mechanics like electronic warfare? For example: an EMP wave that scrambles the minimaps for a short amount of time or a one-time network hacking attack that allows the generation of fake radar blips?
Answer: Another interesting idea. We will definitely consider it, especially in connection with the artillery to accentuate its support role.
Question: Did Obsidian ever consider implementing the presence of a sixteenth player on each team, overseeing their own side, like a theater commander?
Answer: Yes, there are plans to add a commander slot in custom matches for a player to oversee his team for tournament purposes.
Question: Will you implement in the future vehicles like M270 MLRS or BM-21 Grad?
Answer: At this time, we have decided not to implement the MLRS vehicle class. While we like the concept, we currently do not feel it fits within our gameplay vision for Armored Warfare. Things can always change though.
Question: Have you thought about adding an in-game encyclopedia exploring every vehicle currently present in AW?
Answer: Yes, such a feature is in development.
Question: When you implement personal missions - will they be similar to World of Tanks missions?
Answer: We are indeed working on a Personal Mission system. We can't go into any detail on it at this time but hope to announce more information soon.
Question: Will the tanks be updated to look like or better than the tanks in World of Tanks?
Answer: We are currently working on an overhaul of some of the old models that we feel do not meet our standards. Additionally, we are working on an improved render system that will considerably enhance the graphics quality of vehicle models. On the other hand, drastically increasing texture resolution and polygon count would result in unacceptable hardware requirements that would make the game unplayable on low end PCs.
Question: Are you not considering increasing shell speed?
Answer: We are not looking at increasing shell speed at this time. We are looking at introducing more variation in shell speeds across different types of ammunition and vehicles, however.
Question: Will a special Main Battle Tank active ability (activated by pressing the E key) be added?
Answer: We are continuing to review options for a MBT active ability. However, it is a delicate mechanic to design as MBTs are already strong in multiple areas. If the ability augments their existing strengths, they could become too strong. If it compensates for an existing weakness, it would also be a strong buff to their power. As a result, designing the right class Active Ability for MBTs is an ongoing effort.
Question: Will we see more detail environment destruction?
Answer: We are working on an enhanced destruction engine but it is an extremely complicated undertaking. It will not be added very soon.
Question: Will we ever be able to drive tanks that we own around our base?
Answer: While we think it would be neat to be able to drive around the base in your own vehicles, a lot of the base related art assets have been optimized for the distance and angle they are normally viewed at. It would be a significant undertaking to make the art in the base ready to be viewed down on the ground level and we are unlikely to invest in that change for a long time.
Question: Will the XM1A3 have the same armor layout (armor and modifiers) as the M1A2 Abrams or will the armor layout be different?
Answer: XM1A3 will feature enhanced protection over the Tier 9 Abrams, one of the examples is the advanced ARAT-2 ERA kit on its sides, sometimes referred to as the “Spanish roof tiles” by players.
Question: Are there any plans to add some sort of infinite progress system such as the Marks of Excellence or unlockable extra crew skills?
Answer: We are continuing to develop progression and reward systems for the future, some of which may have an effectively unlimited potential in them.
Question: Is there any plan to introduce some form of Personal Rating based on player statistics, which will be visible in the Garage to everyone?
Answer: No, the statistics system will remain purely optional. We will however develop an API and a website for players to check statistics of other players that enable this feature.
Question: Do you believe the PvE economy changes in 0.13 to be adequate?
Answer: Yes, although we do have a few additional map-specific PvE economy changes coming in 0.14.
Question: Are you going to introduce serious physics for ricochets for APFSDS penetrators?
Answer: That depends on what you mean. Inevitably any projectile model in any game – let alone an arcade game, Armored Warfare is not a simulator – will be simplified. In real life – at least in combat and not during trials – shell impacts are far more random and far less predictable than in a computer game. Introducing such an element of randomness would not be fun, that’s why many mechanisms in Armored Warfare work with simplified models that are easier to predict.
Question: Will bots ever fire ATGMs?
Answer: Yes, we are planning to add this feature.
That's it for today, stay tuned for the next part!