Recently the Balance 2.0 Developer Stream took place on the Armored Warfare Twitch channel, in which the developers answered many Balance 2.0-related questions. You can view the recording here.
Will the direct fire artillery vehicles be using HE-only ammunition?
Direct fire artillery will have a full range of ammunition, not just High Explosive rounds. Lots of Russian SPGs for example carry HEAT and AP rounds. Their accuracy will be a little worse than that of TDs and tanks, but they won't have massive aim circles either like in other games – we don't want players to wait for ages to aim properly. Their disadvantage will be slow turret rotation and poor armor instead.
What can you tell us about upcoming autocannon changes?
The autocannon penetration will resemble the real life one. Most tanks don't have thick rear armor and autocannons will therefore have a chance to penetrate tank rears. However, we’ll be reducing magazine size since we don’t want players to have 40 rounds per magazine – it will still be fun, but chewing through a tank in one magazine is not what we are aiming towards. The magazine reload time will become somewhat shorter to compensate. In the end, AFVs will be able to engage the front of MBTs with missiles and sides/rear with autocannons.
Tell us more about PvE in Balance 2.0!
There will be a number of changes, some of which have already been described. The Hard difficulty will be affected in Update 0.19. Before Update 0.19, the Hard level felt too casual – we want to ramp up the challenge so that the top PvE level gameplay feels almost like PvP in difficulty. The Easy difficulty will still feel casual and will be accessible to everyone. We are also addressing the battle flow so that we don't have difficulty spikes in Missions anymore. And then there are the AI changes such as the ability to use ATGMs and ammunition switching that we announced earlier.
What about PvE rewards? Won't these changes cause lower PvE income?
We are not reducing rewards in general. Our goal is to have them roughly the same as they are now on average. One thing you will see happen, however, is the normalization of rewards between maps so that no maps have massive reward advantages over others. We have a really cool tracking system to track difficulty spikes and rewards.
Will Centauro 155 make a return?
Yes, it's coming.
What about Map changes?
Lost Island and Highwall will see massive changes. Highwall felt very claustrophobic and had too many corridors – we have opened up huge areas of the map in order to add many more flanking opportunities. Lost Island was changed, especially the south portion. There are now accessible rolling beaches and the airfield in the middle will also have more cover to allow players to brawl more. It's not definite that these changes are coming in Update 0.19, but we'll test them on PTS.
Will there be any Spotting and Camouflage system changes in Balance 2.0?
Yes, considerable ones. Until now, bush gameplay wasn't that great – for starters, we improved camouflage bonus on bushes in general and we expect them to have a bigger impact now. In the new system, your camouflage won't disappear as much when you are firing and there will also be a delay between ATGM launch and camouflage loss to give you a chance to actually guide a missile before you are spotted. Tank Destroyer camouflage will drop somewhat less when firing, giving specifically this class the advantage of being able to fire better from bushes. Another change is that when you get spotted at range, you can't just disappear as long as the spotter maintains his line of sight on you. This mechanism will prevent the infamous "tanks disappearing in the middle of a field or by going five meters backwards" effect, known from other games. What is meant by "breaking line of sight" is putting an actual obstacle between you and your opponent, not just a bush. You will need to launch smoke or get behind a hill to disappear. This is why smoke is so important in Balance 2.0 and pretty much every vehicle will get the ability to deploy it. We are also getting rid of the semi-state where you can see the player shooting at you without a silhouette even when he or she is not technically spotted. In Balance 2.0, you are either spotted or you are not.
Are there any plans for a Dossier statistics reset?
We are looking into it and it's being tentatively planned at the moment.
What will happen to the Crews of vehicles that are being removed from the game?
Crew progression in Armored Warfare is basically part of vehicle progression. Most removed vehicles will find their way to the game again and when they do, you'll get their crews back. As for the M113 crew, it will move to the new Tier 4 M113.
Are there any plans to introduce ATGM minimum range?
We have a slightly different solution. ATGMs in Balance 2.0 will have a window where you can't steer them well – it takes a bit of distance to gain responsiveness. The general missile agility scales with Tier – it's much harder on lower tiers to guide missiles early on (and overall), especially against moving vehicles.
What about ATGMs on the move?
The lower the Tier, the slower you will have go to fire an ATGM – no more full speed shots from Sheridan. The speeds allowed increase on higher tiers. No vehicle will allow you to go full speed and fire a missile, but you won't have to completely stop either.
What will happen to XM1?
It's not going away completely. There is a plan for it in place. It will become a Premium vehicle, but that does not mean it will simply just be sold. There will be other opportunities to get your hands on it.
When is the Lords of War mode coming?
We've put a lot of work into updating it in Update 0.19 and we expect the first season to kick off soon after Update 0.19 arrives to the live servers. Probably not with the update launch itself to give players the chance to adapt to Balance 2.0 gameplay. There will be changes to the mode compared to Season 0 – for example, different conflict zones will have multiple maps rotating. There are some interface changes as well, such as the introduction of more Team control tools. We plan to release a full article in the future.
Tell us about Balance 2.0 and the Global Operations mode!
The Barren Divide map is appearing in Update 0.19. It's a rolling winter map with lots of opportunities for mobile vehicle players. It has a very different feel to it than Desert Crossing. It's a really big map too, 1800 x 1800 meters in size. It was actually the first GLOPS map we were designing – Desert Crossing was originally intended to be a regular PvP map, but Barren Divide was designed as GLOPS map from the ground up. There will also be a third, slightly smaller, GLOPS map – possibly in Update 0.20.
What sorts of steps will ensure vehicles don't feel the same in Balance 2.0?
Many. For example, the higher the tier you go the more reliable the damage becomes. Lower Tier ammunition is worse against slopes – high Tiers have lower ammunition bonus but more reliable damage. This results in a really different feel, along with new ammo types like Multi-Purpose HEAT, Depleted Uranium rounds etc., giving players more interesting bonuses.
What can you tell us about Retrofits in Balance 2.0?
In Balance 2.0, we are going with 3 universal Retrofit slots except for high Tiers, which will have 4 universal slots, so there is power progression. The retrofit bonuses were changed in order not to stack as badly though. We removed some retrofit types, such as maximum accuracy (minimal circle) and flat damage bonus. Other retrofits were made unique and can't be stacked either, such as two repair bonus retrofits – the same goes for aim time and other properties. Generally speaking, retrofits are more utility-focused in Balance 2.0. We also got rid of ATGM warning as a baseline, it will be possible to add it as a Retrofit – we did keep the spotting warning though.
What about Class abilities in Balance 2.0?
The main ability staying is the Designate Target AFV ability. The Tank Destroyer ability is going, but Tank Destroyer vehicles will lose less camouflage when shooting than other classes overall. We got rid of the Light Tank boost ability, Light Tanks will have the Designate Target AFV ability instead. That does not mean that Light Tanks will be slower, we changed them to be really fast and they don't bleed velocity as much when turning either. They drift a bit more too – it's a lot of fun to drive them and they are good scouts, high Tiers can even bounce some shots.
What will happen with ammo velocity?
Ammunition got its real velocity – APFSDS rounds will be very fast for example, HEAT rounds will be slower.
Why are you bringing back Light Tanks to Tier 1?
It helps new players with no experience from other tank games get into the game without having to learn about armor mechanics and it also allows for better natural progression than starting with a Main Battle Tank straight away. This makes the game more accessible for new players overall.
What about the upcoming Crew and Commander changes?
We made some changes in Balance 2.0 by taking out problematic skills – those that were too strong or stacking too much (for example accuracy) and left those compatible with Balance 2.0.
Are there any changes to Matchmaker spread and parameters?
One of the early goals of Balance 2.0 was to make the Matchmaker faster by expanding tiers. Also, in the past, the matchmaker was dividing vehicles by class. Now it will be divided by role – brawlers for example will be split up more evenly, regardless of class. Some MBTs such as the Leopard 1 will not be treated as brawlers and some AFVs such as the Terminator will, resulting in much better team balance. As for Tier constraints, it will be a much better experience than it is now due to the changed scaling.
Are you planning to add the Armor Inspector feature?
Not in Update 0.19 but we'll get it in later.
How will ammunition rack detonations work? Any plans for Balance 2.0?
Ammo rack hits will cause fires and do damage (fire extinguishers will help with that). In the future, we want to improve the mechanism further, for example by introducing Abrams' blast panels, resulting in less damage from ammo racking.
What about module damage?
Module damage was tuned so that fewer modules are damaged at the same time (by one hit), but the damage to those that do get hit will be more significant. Tracking will become a viable tactic.
And firing on the move?
Accuracy on the move is a big thing in Balance 2.0 and gets better the higher the Tier you play.
Will you be making changes to the overall progression rate?