Today, we’d like to tell you more about our plans to change the Self-Propelled Gun class of vehicles that we’ll be implementing this summer.
To understand why these changes are needed, we have to go way back to the very beginning of Armored Warfare development where it was decided to bring indirect fire to the battlefield because, well, there are players who like this sort of thing – to sit in one position, point, click and... boom goes the enemy tank without any fear of retaliation.
Not that there aren’t such vehicles present in PvP even today – you can absolutely take your 122mm Buratino and trash a few MBTs by a stream of rockets. The difference is, driving a Buratino always puts you at risk of being immobilized or knocked out. In case of indirect-firing SPGs, there was no such danger in PvP except for occasional counter-battery fire where SPG players would target each other and trade shots across the map in a game of hide and seek.
The veterans of this game might remember the SPG class being repeatedly tweaked but the conclusion we came to was that no matter what we did, artillery in PvP was simply a failed concept that wouldn’t ever be fun. And so we restricted the class to PvE and left it there essentially unchanged except for an occasional change of high-explosive shells that led to its current, impotent state. Indeed, the SPGs are barely played these days (despite being one of five main classes in the game, only roughly 2.4 percent of Tier 9-10 matches are played with SPGs). We aim to change that.
And so, long story short, we’ll be making the following changes:
- Artillery vehicles will be overhauled to fire directly
- Afterwards, artillery will be allowed in all modes
This is not an unrealistic change – artillery has often been used this way in recent conflicts. There are, however, some challenges to this task. First of all, artillery generally lacks armor. Secondly, artillery typically cannot fire kinetic shells.
That is why we are planning to overhaul the current artillery vehicles into highly nimble and fast (roughly similar to Light Tanks of the same Tier), lightly-armored machines that will typically fire powerful HE and (newly added) HEAT shells. In other words, they’ll rely more on single shot damage than on their rate of fire.
They will retain their Smoke and White Phosphorus shells and will be able to switch quickly between this utility ammunition and damage-dealing rounds, but every ammunition type will use a direct fire aiming reticle similar to the current TOS-1M Buratino (with a flat, horizontal-oriented aiming circle instead of the classic tank one). The accuracy will, naturally, not be all that great and long-range fire will resemble bombardment rather than sniper shots. Lower calibers (122mm) will have a rate of fire advantage while higher calibers will focus more on damage. Additional shell types will also be available for various individual vehicles.
And that’s pretty much it. The last thing we’d like to mention are the Premium SPGs. There are only three in the game at the moment – two Abbots and Msta-S – which makes things easier. These will initially not be overhauled and will stay as they are (including their restriction to the PvE modes). After all, players purchased them the way they are now for a reason. We will monitor the post-release feedback and, if that will be the wish of their owners, we’ll change these too.
We hope that you’ll enjoy these changes and, as always:
See you on the battlefield!