Q&A – 13th July 2016

Interview with Stanislav Kargin (Veider), translated by Vlad:

– Which goals did you pursue having started Sandbox one month ago?
– Sandbox only has tier 10 currently, this is intended. Tier 10 aren’t just tanks to play in clans and Global Map. We started with tier 10 to descend. The volume of work on tier 9 won’t be less, but from the point of view of decisions and role distribution tier 10 is probably the most difficult one.

– Tier 9, 8 will come – will more people be allowed to test?
– Yes, we will need more testers since the system will be more similar to random battles. We also plan to show the new balancer (MM) there – since it can already be seen at work with 3 tiers, but first we have to finish tier 10.

– Which role does the IS-7 have?
– Uber-stormtrooper 🙂 Due to improvement of armor significance it became better protected, and thus it can push well.

– What did you change for balance 2.0?
– Mostly the tank’s stats. We have many goals for balance 2.0 – more significance of armor, maneuverability for MT, scouting role for LT. We decided that each tank, each role has to have some feature which helps it to be effective and win.

– Are you sure that players want such radical changes?
– The game changed gradually, and at one moment we went the wrong way during this evolution. Now we want to do a quick evolution in the right direction. We can’t say that we returned back, since the game for one became more like it was 4 years ago, but we have many tanks and mechanics we hadn’t back then.

– Patches on Sandbox are quite frequent. What are the developer’s feelings on this?
– We’re shocked ourselves, patch released on thursday, on thursday afternoon and friday we collect preliminary statistics, during weekends we think what we can change in the next patch next week… This project swallows us whole, we want to achieve really good results.

– Which tanks are most important to play? The players ask what they should play.
– All of them, we don’t want to set tasks – we try to make battles similar to randoms. Each tank can only be balanced in a system where it is surrounded by other tanks, so all tanks should be played.

– What are the players conclusions for the month?
– The players like the Maus. They like heavily armored tanks, it seems that many miss tanking gameplay.

– Isn’t the Maus “imba(lanced)”?
– It’s too early to say that. The tank is good, but the gameplay changed, and the players won’t understand at once what to do in the different conditions. It takes time to create new tactics, behaviour models, after this it will be clear which tanks are too strong.

– What about light tanks? Players thank for the mobility, but ask for better turret and hull rotation times.
– We tested a variant where hull and turret traverse of LTs was very fast, but that made them too strong – they could circle every opponent. The goal is simple – to make every tank in a role a bit better in it, than tanks of neighbouring roles, so each role has its advantages. Now LTs are the fastest and most maneuverable anyway.

– Why was the Foch changed so much?
– The players abandoned the vehicle when it was changed on the live server. On Sandbox, it has a 120mm gun, which made it more comfortable. We just couldn’t leave it with the 155mm and strong armor. Now the Foch is a good destroyer. Its popularity on Sandbox is high, and it’s one representative of hybrid roles which Anton Pankov mentioned last week.

– Which tanks are also representatives of hybrid roles?
– Patton, AMX 50B – these are vehicles which don’t have one singular strong point, but are fairly strong in several.

– What brought you to rebalance the T110E3?
– The main reason was that it competes with the T110E4 with a similar gun, and we wanted to make each vehicle more unique.

– What changed in artillery?
– During the start of Sandbox, HE had low penetration and high stun. We fixed several serious bugs influencing the gameplay. For example, in the first iteration, stun was applied at full-force even on the border of the splash radius. The penetration was lowered to prevent one-shots, and are now searching for a margin where the penetration can’T cause much damage to armored vehicles, but good damage to lightly armored ones.

– The players write that stun is too powerful.
– Yes, we noticed, its impact was lowered already. The time will be lowered in the next patch, you will see it tomorrow.

– Changes to shell dispersion, penetration drop – are these the very basic mechanics?
– These are serious changes. The precision is somewhere between how it was at the game’s launch and how it is now on live. The penetration brings the tier 10s closer to tier 8s. These changes are also part of balance 2.0.

– The players are afraid that you change this and that – maybe you should change one thing at a time?
– Yes, it’s dangerous. The problem is that we had less tanks in the past, on launch we had tanks which were really used. And many of them had real penetration values. With the introduction of tier 10s we didn’t have such values, so we had to make penetration understandable and not that effective. The dispresion in the circle is a balance between close-combat and distance fighting. The economics won’t change, even if you shoot more shells, you’ll still get the same XP and credits.

– Will artillery get XP and credits for assists?
– Yes, each tank has it’s own economical coefficients. If a scout spots, he has to recieve the most profit from this. Similarly for artillery with assists, and heavies for tanking.

– What will happen to tier 8 premium tanks?
– We carefully regard premium vehicles and understand its value for the players. We aim to minimally affect the tier 8 premiums. The tier 8 gameplay actually is way better on the live server than tier 10 gameplay, so there won’t be such severe changes to regular vehicles as well.

– Why do you change the stats, but not the HP?
– HP is a difficult parameter. The HP count influences the winrate. HP doesn’t give the right gameplay feeling – armor and gun do.

– Will +-25% really not be changed?
– It could be, but won’t make sense: these mechanics are one of the bases of the game and allow for good gameplay for all players. They negate the gap between very good and very bad players somewhat and allow for RNGesus to play his role.

– Premium shells only for gold – what do you think?
– This is done to make the Sandbox similar to the live server, to prevent shooting gold all the time, and we see the percentage of standard and gold shells being close to the live servers. Nobody says that this will be introduced.

– Do stun mechanics completely satisfy you?
– We like it as a mechanic, and the players like it as well, but the parameters have to be tuned.

– Roles depend not only on the team but also on maps. Will these change?
– Yes, but it is harder to change a map than a tank – it’s about relief, surroundings, objects, textures etc.

– SPG players are now supporters and they feel like they’re not as useful anymore.
– Splash, stun are valuable assets for the team. Our tests show that teams without arty are weaker than teams with it, so SPGs are a valuable asset of the team.