In this final part of the Tier 7-10 Rebalance series, you’ll learn our vision for individual vehicles and how everything you know already comes together. Please note that this article will be heavily drawing upon the previous parts, so please make sure you read those first:
In short, in the first part of the series, we told you about our plans to address the differences between various Tiers. In the second part, with those differences in mind, we told you about our vision for each class in the game. The third part unveiled one important element that will play a role in the whole process, the ERA mechanics overhaul.
This article will be split into two parts – one about MBTs and one about the rest of the vehicles. With that being said, let’s get to it.
Main Battle Tanks
As you know from the earlier article about classes, Main Battle Tanks will be close-to-mid range fighters, relying on their armor, enhanced by the new ERA mechanics. The first step to their balance is establishing a MBT characteristics baseline for each Tier with each individual vehicle being rebalanced within certain limits above and below the baseline.
As you also already know, we’ll be rebalancing pretty much all the values of each vehicle on Tiers 7 to 10. For MBTs, this is especially relevant when it comes to the interaction of armor and penetration values. We’ll be taking those two values and separating them into several levels, depending on the abovementioned baseline values. Mind you, this is not a black or white situation – pretty much all the values will be within a spectrum. This does sound a bit complex, so let’s use a very simplified example.
Let’s say two MBTs are facing each other at 50-100 meters. First thing, neither commander should be firing at enemy MBT’s ERA. This will typically “eat” the first shot by reducing the penetration significantly, putting the firing tank at a disadvantage. Next, let’s assume both tanks have baseline (average) armor and penetration. What that typically means is that:
- The strongest armor areas, which are the front of the turret and the upper frontal plate, are difficult-to-impossible to penetrate
- Turret ring is possible to penetrate, but only with great difficulty
- Lower frontal plate is possible or very likely to penetrate, depending on the angle
What happens if we upgrade the tank that’s fired upon with above average armor?
- The turret ring becomes impossible to penetrate
- The chance to penetrate the lower frontal plate will drop by 20-30 percent (excluding the angle influence)
Obviously, due to the loss of kinetic shell penetration mentioned in the Classes article, the chances will only reduce with distance so at 300-400+ meters, MBTs will have very difficult time penetrating each other. But what will happen if a tank with above-average penetration (let’s say a Leopard) runs into a tank with below-average armor (let’s say a Type 99)? In such a case:
- Frontal turret will still be very difficult to penetrate
- Turret ring will be possible to penetrate, but not very likely
- Upper frontal plate will also be possible to penetrate, but the chance will 25-30 percent, making it a poor target as well
- Lower frontal plate will offer guaranteed penetrations
The trick for high-penetration MBTs is therefore to aim at the same areas (ideally lower frontal plate), but at longer distances. If we reverse the situation and give the firing tank below-average penetration and the target above-average armor, we’ll still get a manageable situation, where:
- Pretty much all the areas except for the lower frontal plate become invulnerable
- Lower frontal plate will be possible to penetrate, but definitely not guaranteed – we’re looking at 50/50 chances at best without taking the hull angle into account
The message we are trying to convey with this system is:
- ERA has meaning now, especially on high Tiers – don’t shoot it unless you have to
- Don’t snipe with an MBT, the results of doing so will be poor even with above-average penetration tanks such as the Leopard
- A Tier difference somewhat reduces your chances to penetrate, but we took great care to address the differences between Tiers (starting with the one between Tier 6 and Tier 7) so that the sense of progression is kept while the fights are still kept fair
As for the individual MBTs, their role on the battlefield is best explained by the following table:
- Green color means above-average values for their Tier
- Yellow color means average values for their Tier
- Red color means below average values for their Tier
The deeper the color, the more prominent the characteristic.
Keep in mind, however, that these values apply within the MBT characteristics limits. An accurate MBT with high penetration values will never be as good a Sniper as a dedicated Tank Destroyer while a highly mobile MBT will never be as mobile or agile as a Light Tank. Some tanks that were good at pretty much everything will get rebalanced to fit the niche we’ve designed them for, but all of them will serve you well if you take the time to learn more about their new characteristics.
The case with other classes is considerably more complex simply because there are three of them (we won’t be discussing the SPG class individually because it doesn’t change much) and each of these classes contains a number of fairly individual vehicles, creating fantastic gameplay diversity.
Before we get into the details, there are two things that should be mentioned, which apply to all non-MBT classes:
- The ERA overhaul applies to all classes, not just the MBTs, which means that some Light Tanks will become more durable in the process
- The mobility overhaul (which is by its nature very difficult to describe) will allow you to drive your wheeled vehicles with higher precision
So, all in all, we’re starting with two clear (if indirect) buffs. In their typical characteristics (spotting abilities for AFVs, burst damage for LTs, accuracy and penetration for TDs), these classes will be made more different from MBTs, but beyond that, we’ve decided to adopt the Archetype approach to various groups. The roles described in the Classes article will still apply – LTs will not have thick armor and TDs won’t be close-range fighters – but beyond that, there will be multiple groups and each vehicle in the group will be balanced individually. You’ll also see some references to the abovementioned MBT balance so the table above may come in handy.
With that being said, let’s finally dive into it.
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AFV – The Warrior is an IFV archetype of solid combined autocannon and ATGM DPM with Type 89 and BWP-2000 leaning towards being more like Light Tanks in their playstyle by using mostly their guns. The BWP-2000 especially will rely on its powerful 50mm gun at closer ranges while being able to harass even MBTs. On the other side of the spectrum we have vehicles such as the BMDs, which work better with missiles to the point of the BMD-2M nearing the Tank Destroyer role. The Rosomak is a special case since it doesn’t have guided missiles at all and lives or dies by its PELE ammunition.
LT – This is an easy one since we do have only one such vehicle on Tier 7. The Stingray is effectively a heavy, less mobile AFV, armed with a MBT-caliber cannon instead of an autocannon. It relies on its main gun and extremely high DPM to do damage (roughly 40 percent higher than an average MBT of the same Tier).
TD (Gun) – Things are getting more interesting. The gun version of ZUBR PSP is more or less an average wheeled Tank Destroyer. In Update 0.33, Tank Destroyers with guns will have the ability to fire very powerful kinetic shells at long distances with high accuracy. Three Tank Destroyers will be leaning more towards being TD/LT hybrids with Type 16 effectively being a LT with wheels, the Centauro benefiting from a clip autoloader at the cost of ZUBR’s powerful shells and PTL-02 resembling the ZUBR with lower alpha but higher DPM. On the opposite side of the spectrum, PTZ-89 will have higher alpha than ZUBR at the cost of DPM.
TD (ATGM) – These vehicles are mostly intended for true long-range combat and will receive a major ATGM firepower buff across the board. There is a downside to it though. At the same, this vehicle category will become much easier to spot when firing. The diminutive Wiesel will be the quintessential ATGM Tank Destroyer with hard-hitting missiles but almost zero protection. NM142 will resemble the Wiesel gameplay-wise, only sacrificing a portion of its camouflage value for the ability to fire top-down missiles. The ZUBR PSP ATGM variant too falls in this category, but this vehicle is due for a major upgrade in the form of upgraded TOW ATGMs, the same ones used by NM142. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the VBL will effectively be an AFV/TD hybrid with more emphasis on ATGMs than on scouting. Right now, in Update 0.32, it’s a stealthy scout that also offers cutting edge direct fire ATGMs. What we want to do is allow it to keep its powerful ATGMs (which we will be buffing, as stated above), but, at the same time, we have to rebalance the vehicle towards the TD role because buffing its firepower while letting it maintain its spotting abilities wouldn’t be good for the game. As a result, it won’t be a very effective spotter but it will be quite stealthy (at least when not firing) even under the new rules. Please note that the same will apply to the other four-wheeled ATGM-armed scouts.
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AFV – On this Tier, the Bradley is an IFV archetype of solid combined autocannon and ATGM DPM. There are two AFVs that are leaning more towards the DPM powerhouse role thanks to the fact they do not carry any ATGMs but are instead armed with very powerful autocannons. These are the Griffin 50mm and Marder 2. Of the two, Marder 2 is even more DPM-oriented as well as remarkably well armored, while the Griffin is more about accuracy (it retains its special penetration mechanic) and scouting. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the upgraded Rosomak, which is effectively a wheeled Bradley with more powerful ATGMs. Even further towards the TD class, we can find the Stalker with its powerful ATGMs and scouting abilities, but that vehicle is fairly unique not to fall into either category, as is the Pindad, which is a complete outlier due to its weapon system.
LT – The LTs really start to separate from the rest on this Tier. Like we mentioned, they are heavy AFVs with MBT-caliber guns. They are stealthier and better spotters than MBTs, but worse than AFVs in general. The M8 Buford is an archetypical LT with an accurate gun and high DPM values. The ASCOD LT will have a more armor and a magazine clip at the cost of mobility and stealth. The Harimau will sacrifice protection and penetration for higher mobility and a well-sized magazine clip with high rate of fire. On the other side, we have the Dragun, which is basically a Tank Destroyer classified as a Light Tank and the Griffin 120mm, which has heavier armor so it has one leg in the MBT category, although shifts more towards the TD role with unlocked overprogression modules.
TD (Gun) – Here, we have two archetypical gun TDs, the WWO Wilk (which can also fire gun-launched guided missiles) and the ST1, which occupies the same slot but is a progression vehicle (unlike the Wilk). The rest of them lean more towards the Light Tank class, some less (M1128 Stryker), some more (Sprut-SD, which is very similar to the Dragun but fine-tuned towards stealth) and the AMX 10 RCR is a true wheeled Light Tank.
TD (ATGM) – Once again, things are getting more interesting here. We have the light four-wheeled Mephisto and the even lighter VBR (which is, much like the VBL, a TD/scout hybrid that sacrifices powerful ATGMs and hitpoints for extra stealth and spotting), but the most specialized tank killer here is the Bradley AAWS-H with its extremely potent kinetic missiles. This vehicle is almost useless at close ranges, so if you own it or ever get your hands on it (it’s a Premium vehicle), you better proceed with real caution. The M1134 Stryker variant with its top-attack missiles occupies roughly the same position as the NM142 one Tier below.
TD (Terminator) – This vehicle type appears on Tier 8 and is effectively a class of its own. It’s a very unusual hybrid of MBTs (heavy armor), AFVs (autocannons) and TDs (guided missiles) that’s intended for mid-range combat, somewhere between true TDs and MBTs. It features extremely high autocannon DPM but its ATGMs are only average. There are three vehicles of this group available on Tier 8 – Ramka-99, BMPT Mod.2017 and BMPT Mod.2000. Of the three, Ramka and Mod.2017 are roughly the same (yes, we’re taking a look at Mod.2017’s performance) while Mod.2000 leans towards long-range ATGM combat at the expense of autocannon DPM.
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AFV – Once again, this Tier has an IFV archetype in the form of Hunter AFV, which, despite the presence of various interesting mechanics such as the NERA, works much like the Bradley. The AS21 Redback is like that as well, only sacrificing its combined autocannon and ATGM firepower in favor of more armor and improved top-down guided missiles. On the other side, we have the Vigilante AFV, which is effectively a gun-based DPM monster much like the Marder one Tier below, but lacks some of its traits. It can be an excellent scout as well thanks to its active radar ability. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have two small four-wheeled vehicles that are not only excellent scouts, but also close to the ATGM Tank Destroyer category – K-153C and CRAB. While the first one is fairly recent, the CRAB is one of the oldest vehicles in Armored Warfare and is going to receive a well-deserved overhaul in the form of bringing it closer to the rest of the VBL/VBR family as a scout/TD hybrid with the emphasis on scouting.
LT – On this Tier, we have three Light Tanks in total. The archetypical LT here is the Thunderbolt (much like the Buford one Tier below), having an accurate gun and high DPM values. The VT-5 has higher DPM value and better active protection compared to the Thunderbolt, bringing it a bit more towards the MBT class. On the opposite side, the WPB Anders Light Tank has actually less DPM than the Thunderbolt, but features an unmanned turret, making it better protected.
TD (Gun) – Here, we have only one archetypical gun TDs, the Centauro 120. Another TD that’s present on this Tier is the DRACO, which is a Centauro variant with a rapid fire gun. Thanks to its scouting abilities, this is effectively an AFV/TD hybrid and forms a category of its own, although gameplay-wise, it’ll be something like the Marder 2 or Vigilante (armed with an automatic cannon with very high DPM), only with a higher caliber gun and fighting at longer ranges.
TD (ATGM) – On Tier 9, the Hellfire is an archetypical ATGM Tank Destroyer, but that doesn’t really say much because the only other such vehicle on this Tier is the Stryker ADATS, which is a very distinctive hybrid vehicle that features both guided missiles and unguided rockets. Especially the Hellfire embodies what this group should be all about – the potential to deal tremendous damage in a short period of time and at longer distances with the downside being overcoming enemy defenses (APS, ERA) and surviving the salvo (stronger de-masking effect of ATGM fire). However, on this Tier, the truly dominating Tank Destroyers are the Terminators.
TD (Terminator) – Just like on Tier 8, the Tier 9 Terminators form a class of its own, and a very diverse one at that to the point of each of them being quite individual. BMPT-72 resembles the BMPTs one Tier below while the Leclerc T40, while still somewhat armored, is nowhere near as durable. On the upside, it’s considerably more mobile than the BMPT and features top-down ATGMs, making him quite a deadly flanker in addition to its TD role. Abrams AGDS focuses more on long-range combat thanks to its massive loadout of 12 ADATS missiles. It is armed with autocannons as well, but since its missiles are usable exclusively at longer ranges, its combined firepower at mid-to-short ranges will be inferior to the BMPT-72. And, finally, the QN-506 is something like a BMPT/Stryker ADATS hybrid. It’s somewhat armored and features many weapon systems (perhaps too many), but it’s not a “true” BMPT and will not survive close combat. Treat it as a high DPM ATGM Tank Destroyer with lower range instead.
And so we finally get to the ultimate Armored Warfare Tier. Here, we can find some very unique vehicles that do not fit various archetypes but, nonetheless, we can roughly position them on our diagram.
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AFV – There are only two AFVs on Tier 10 (excluding the Kornet-EM, which will be treated more like a TD), the widely obtainable SPHINX and the Battalion-exclusive Shadow. The Sphinx is more durable than your classic four-wheeled light scouting AFV – and it has to be in order to be able to take a few hits. It has a high-DPM autocannon and guided missiles. In this sense, it now resembles the Terminator a bit but it still has its AFV camouflage and viewrange instead of armor. The Shadow is a major outlier by being a dedicated scout to the exclusion of pretty much everything else, including firepower. This vehicle does visually resemble the VBL series, but its purpose is mostly organized gameplay where its scouting and disrupting abilities can shine.
LT – There are also two LTs on Tier 10. The PL-01 relies mostly on stealth at the cost of DPM (it also retains its ability to deploy a sniper), while the K21 XC-8 suffers from poor protection, but more than makes up for it with excellent DPM.
TD (Gun) – There’s only one real Tier 10 Gun Tank Destroyer in the game and it’s the Wilk XC-8 with its famous 120mm PELE rounds that provide it with excellent armor-piercing capabilities. All in all, the boundaries start to blend here a lot. The Wilk retains its high wheeled mobility to the point of practically being a Light Tank (resembling the K21 XC8), but is still tuned for long-range combat. The M48 GAU-8 is another unique vehicle that does not really fit the standard schematic. It’s a Tank Destroyer, but thanks to its massive rotary cannon and extreme burst output, it comes closer to the Light Tank role.
TD (ATGM) – We have three such vehicles on Tier 10. The AFT-10 and M8 MGM-166 both fill the role of the ultimate long-range tank killer but each of them does it differently. The AFT-10 relies on volleys of ATGMs, some of which will inevitably become intercepted or diverted, while the M8 MGM-166 fires its powerful kinetic missiles with impunity at the cost of its rate of fire. Both are, however, nearly useless in close combat. And then we have the Kornet-EM, which now acts more as a Tank Destroyer than a scout because we nerfed its viewrange. Still, it’s a light and stealthy vehicle and you will need to use both to your advantage.
TD (Terminator) – As the final Tier 10 vehicle, we have the famous T-15 Armata. The T-15 is effectively the same as lower Tier Terminators and we’ll be taking a long, hard look at its extreme damage output to bring it back into the fold. On the other hand, the T-15 comes with upgraded ERA and APS, so it will still be quite a powerhouse, just not best at everything anymore.
This concludes our Tier 7-10 rebalance article series. All that remains is for you to test this in practice, which you will have a chance to do in the near future during the Update 0.33 PTS phase. We do hope that you will enjoy the experience and, as always:
See you on the battlefield!