Today, we’d like to tell you a bit more about an upcoming change to the Global Operations mode – the re-introduction of the Self-Propelled Gun class (also known as artillery) and the reasoning behind it.
As we announced during the Spirithaven season launch, artillery would be making a comeback to Global Operations along with the re-implementation of its special shells (smoke and illumination rounds). This is a significant change to this mode’s gameplay, so, as you can imagine, the decision wasn’t taken lightly or out of the blue.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve carefully analyzed both your feedback and our data regarding the balance of the Global Operations mode. It’s no secret that with the introduction of several vehicles and features (such as the LOSAT kinetic ATGMs), the gameplay balance of – especially high-Tier – Global Operations was somewhat disrupted, leading to teams full of one type of vehicles (such as the Wilk XC-8 situation before American Dream season).
This was, of course, not the intended state of things. The thing about Global Operations is, not only does this mode sort-of magnify specific vehicle traits and, subsequently, the impact of said vehicles on gameplay; it also favors long-range encounters to close combat in an effort to emulate the feeling of a real, open battlefield. This is, on the other hand, is intended, but one has to find the right counter to the vehicles that tend to outperform the most (and are therefore the most popular) such as various long-range Tank Destroyers that have:
- A lot of firepower
- Good camouflage (very useful at long distances)
Very simply put, the best counter to such vehicles is artillery. But not the way it is right now, since just dumping a PvE class in a PvP mode wouldn’t be very useful or fun for either side. That is why we will be making the following changes to the Self-Propelled Guns as a whole:
- Accuracy changes – we’ll be taking a look at the entire class to make sure it’s not overpowered but, generally speaking, we’ll be increasing the accuracy to make the class useful in Global Operations
- Aim changes – SPGs will take aim somewhat faster than the way it is now
- Special shells – smoke shells are making a comeback
- New shell type – white phosphorus shells (overhauled illumination shells)
- Switching between ammo types will be practically instant
Special shells existed in the game in the past, before they were removed during the overhaul of the entire class. Simply put, the smoke shells allow the artillery to deploy smoke to a certain position, blocking enemy lines of sight or covering your friendlies when they get exposed too much. It’s worth noting that artillery shell smoke will stay around for far longer than standard tank smoke and also fly a lot faster than before, so the deployment is nearly instant.
The white phosphorus shells, on the other hand, are new and represent a significant change to the previous illumination mechanics. Before, the artillery would just fire a flare over a certain area and would spot everything there instantly. This wasn’t really all that great for gameplay because there was no defense available against this kind of mechanic and even if you did everything “right”, you could still get spotted this way, often resulting in your vehicle’s destruction (in PvP, at least).
The way the WP shells will work instead is they will deploy white phosphorus to a certain (rather wide) area. This area will, of course, be visible to everyone (burning ground is hard to miss). Anything in that area will get covered in burning phosphorus, suffering from the following effects:
- Camouflage factor reduced to zero for the duration of the burn
- The vehicle will start taking damage for as long as it is in the affected area
- Engine starts overheating and will start to burn if you in the area for too long
Additionally, any infantry caught in the zone is not going to have a good day, to put it mildly. However, the phosphorus disappears as soon as you leave the affected area.
They will also have reload times independent on the standard ammunition (will therefore act more as an ability than an actual shell).
Basic shells will also be available, but these will not do a whole lot of damage and will serve either to suppress the enemy or to finish off almost destroyed vehicles.
In other words, the artillery in Global Operations will serve mostly as a support class that will aid your team in victory by providing cover and additional spotting abilities. With that being said, we do not want the class to have too big of an impact, which is why we will be introducing the following restrictions:
- No more than four artillery vehicles per match (two per team at most)
- No artillery platoons
Last but not least, given the special nature and abilities of this class that would become too overpowered in regular PvP without respawns, we do not intend to return this class to Random Battles.
Currently, the plan is as follows – much like the Mechanized Infantry feature, we will release this feature for one week in the near future to gather your feedback. If the feedback turns out to be positive, the feature will be launched permanently or, possibly, removed for further work.
We hope that you will enjoy the new balance of power in Global Operations and, as always:
See you on the battlefield!