Sandbox 2021: Try Out the Reworked HE Shells!

Source: EU Portal

Earlier, we announced a series of Sandbox tests that will affect the entire game, as well as every commander. Together, we will decide on some very important changes that will significantly affect World of Tanks and its further development.

The first test starts today and will last until February 15. The main aim will be to test the reworked mechanics for causing damage with HE shells.

We ask you to put on your testing hats and see how much easier it is to survive HE shells when playing in heavily armored vehicles, and how much more effective HE shells of low and medium calibers have become. Play in different vehicles, complete the questionnaire, and give us your feedback! To show our gratitude, all active players who take part in the test will receive valuable rewards for their contribution and time.

Sandbox: HE Shell Rebalancing Test

February 8, 14:00 CET through February 15, 10:00 CET (UTC+1)

Previous HE Shell Tests

Previous HE shell tests on the Sandbox proved very useful. They emphasized the value of HE shells and gave us a direction for further reworking this shell type. The survey results, feedback, and statistics provided us with the necessary information on how to change the HE shell damage mechanics. The tests also made it clear to us that the suggested changes did not meet your expectations, especially those of you who used HE shells and actively played in vehicles equipped with howitzers.

Today, we invite you to test the updated HE shells and decide whether the WoT community is satisfied with this concept. Note that in this version, HE shells can penetrate armor, but it is the damage of non-penetrating shots that was changed. Please assess the changes from different perspectives, complete the questionnaire, and provide your direct feedback.

Our main goal is to keep the things you enjoy the most about HE shells:

  • Fun and exciting gameplay
  • Ease of use
  • High chances of causing damage

However, at the same time, we want to improve the behavior of HE shells during the following negative scenarios:

  • Causing high point-blank damage to well-armored vehicles, no matter which part of their armor is getting hit.
  • The lack of demand for HE shells for low and medium-caliber guns.
  • Some other frustrating aspects of the current mechanics. For example, the situation when the enemy sets your engine on fire after hitting the commander’s cupola.

HE Shells: Pros and Cons

Before we talk in detail about the suggested changes, let’s once again outline what you like and dislike about HE shells.


  • Fun and exciting gameplay unique to the game: Without a doubt, HE shells are the most thrilling shell type in the game. Upon penetration, which rarely occurs, they cause high damage, sometimes a lot more than expected. As a result, you remember such memorable and satisfying shots for the entire battle or even for the entire play session.
  • Ease of causing damage: When firing an HE shell, you don’t need to know the thickness of enemy armor or aim for its weak spots. In point-blank situations, HE shells allow you to fire earlier without needing to aim and focus on the weak spots of the tank you are brawling with. You can deal damage even without penetrating the armor.


  • Well-armored vehicles take high frontal damage from large-caliber HE shells (130+ mm): HE shells are not usually used against well-armored vehicles due to their low penetration values, except by certain vehicles with high-caliber HE shells (130+ mm) that lack other viable options. In some game situations, HE shells can cause excessively high damage, which can be especially frustrating for vehicles whose frontal armor should be able to easily handle such shots.
  • It is impossible to predict how much damage you will cause or take: With the current system, HE shells are the most unpredictable shell type due to its very wide range of damage values and unclear damage calculation mechanics. Much depends on random factors that you cannot influence. Those of you who fire an HE shell do not know for sure how much, let alone whether any, damage will be dealt. Vehicles on the receiving end of such shots have difficulty avoiding, or at least reducing, damage taken. As noted above, in some rare cases, HE shells that penetrate the commander’s cupola can even set the vehicle’s engine on fire.
  • The low popularity of HE shells for low and medium-caliber guns: HE shells are rarely used for guns with calibers under 130 mm due to the unpredictable damage that such guns cause. Of course, sometimes they cause decent damage, but this does not happen very often.

Our goal is to improve the behavior of HE shells in these 3 scenarios. At the same time, we would like to keep all the positive aspects of HE shells: fun and exciting gameplay, ease of use, and high chances of causing damage. Let’s take a look at the solution that we suggest.

Changes to Damage Mechanics

1. Transition from damage within the burst radius to damage at the point of impact.

First, here is a quick overview of the current HE shell damage mechanics for both penetrating and non-penetrating shots.

With the current mechanics, each HE shell causes damage within its own burst (or splash) radius. This radius depends on the gun’s caliber. Upon penetration, the HE shell enters the vehicle and detonates, dispersing shrapnel, causing maximum damage, and destroying internal modules and injuring crew members within the burst radius.

If the shot does not penetrate, the HE shell detonates at the spot where it hits the vehicle. Within a sphere-shaped burst radius at this point, the shell deals damage to the most vulnerable spot on the armor (which will take the highest damage). Since the most vulnerable point may not necessarily be where the HE shell initially hits, the result of the shot is unpredictable.

Let’s have a look at an example of these mechanics in action.

The FV 4005 fires an HE shell at the side of the Maus frontal cheeks (which are 260 mm thick). Failing to penetrate the armor, the shell explodes, causing burst damage. The mechanics search for the most vulnerable spot to cause damage within the burst sphere, and they find a hull cover that has a thickness of 50 mm. As a result, this shot, even without penetrating, can cause 570–850 HP of damage to the well-armored Maus.

With the new system, HE shells will still be able to penetrate armor, but they will only cause damage to armor at the point of impact, instead of within the burst radius.

As a result, firing HE shells at well-armored areas of enemy vehicles will become less effective—it will be impossible to cause as much damage as before. Just like Armor-Piercing (AP) shells, you will have to aim at vulnerable spots and wait for a good moment to cause high damage.

Upon penetration of enemy armor, nothing will change—if a shell gets inside the vehicle, you will still be able to cause maximum damage. But if the shot does not penetrate the armor, things will be different.

Upon impact with the armor, the HE shell will still try to penetrate, but if its penetration value is not high enough, damage will be calculated at the point of contact with the armor. At the same time, after exploding, small pieces of shrapnel (spall) will be created inside the vehicle. By scattering inside the vehicle hull, the spall will cause damage to modules and crew members, as well as to the armor itself. The spall radius will be the same as a shell’s burst radius in the current system.

Now, damage to armor will depend on the armor’s thickness* only at the point of impact—other points will not be considered. The thicker the armor at the point of impact, the less damage the shell will cause if it does not penetrate, and vice versa—the thinner the armor, the lower its nominal value and the greater the damage.

With the new mechanics, effective armor will be considered when calculating the penetration of HE shells (as with other shell types). When calculating damage, the nominal armor value will be considered.

Let’s see how it works using the same example with the FV 4005 and the Maus.

With the new mechanics, the FV 4005 fires an HE shell at the side of the Maus frontal cheeks (which are 260 mm thick). The shell hits the armor, but due to an insufficient penetration value, it does not penetrate the armor. Instead, the shell explodes on the surface. Spall is created inside the vehicle, causing damage to the Maus, but the value is noticeably smaller (250–350 HP of damage) than it was with the previous mechanics.

This is because the new HE shell mechanics will not seek out the most vulnerable point to cause maximum damage. The HE shell mechanics will interact not with the hull cover (which is 50 mm thick), but rather the armor at the point of impact (specifically, the frontal cheeks of the Maus), which is 260 mm thick.

By eliminating damage within the burst radius, we eliminate situations in which damage is caused in an unpredictable way when landing a shot at this particular point.

2. Penetration of screens, tracks (wheels), and small obstacles.

With the new mechanics, we want HE shells to be able to penetrate screens, as well as tracks and the wheels of wheeled vehicles at the point of impact. We also want them to be able to penetrate insignificant and/or destructible obstacles (fences, destructible structures, etc.).

The principle of their action will be the same as that of AP shells. However, if, after penetrating a screen, an AP shell hits armor that is thicker than the remaining penetration value of the shell, no damage is caused. For HE shells in this situation, the “spall” mechanics take effect and cause guaranteed damage.

If an HE shell does not penetrate a screen and therefore does not reach the armor, it will not cause any damage at all. To fire HE shells effectively through screens, you will need to consider the thickness and slope of the screens.

Let’s look at the same example with the Maus again.

In the current system, if the FV 4005 fires an HE shell at the Maus gun mantlet, the mechanics will work the same way as in the example above when firing at the side of the Maus’ turret. The shell will not penetrate the armor. Instead, it will explode on its surface, and the resulting sphere will again find the hull cover, which is 50 mm thick. The Maus will receive 570–850 HP of damage.

With the new mechanics, when firing at the gun mantlet, the HE shell simply doesn’t have enough armor penetration to pierce the screen and reach the armor. Since there is no point of impact on the armor, no spall is created, and there will be no damage to the armor, internal modules, or crew members.

To cause full damage after piercing a screen, track (wheel), or obstacle, the HE shell will also need to pierce the armor. Thus, there may be situations where HE shells will cause full damage even when firing through a track.

The armor penetration indicator will also be improved. In Sniper Mode, you will be able to use the indicator’s color to determine the outcome of your shot:

  • Red: no damage (the shell will not penetrate the screen/track/wheel and will not cause damage)
  • Yellow: damage will be caused, but not in full (the shell will penetrate the screen/track/wheel, and it will reach the armor but not pierce it)
  • Green: full damage (the shell will penetrate the screen/track/wheel and pierce the armor).

Damage Probability

Based on these changes, HE shells that do not penetrate will instead deal a low amount of guaranteed damage, so long as they hit the enemy’s armor. This damage will depend on the shell’s base damage and on the thickness of the armor at the point of impact.

Though this damage may be quite low, it can still be very useful in some game situations. This will be especially helpful for vehicles equipped with low or medium-caliber guns, which will now be able to use HE shells to reset a base capture, damage an enemy’s track, or finish off vehicles that are low on HP.

As for Premium vehicles that mainly use HE shells, they will be rebalanced with great care to retain their unique gameplay and characteristics.

All test participants will have an opportunity to complete a questionnaire and provide their opinions about the changes suggested above. Once we have assessed whether the basic mechanics work, the detailed characteristics and exact numerical values will be adjusted in later iterations based on your feedback, so be sure to try them out! If the tests show unsatisfactory results, these changes won’t be added to the game.

Rewards for Participating in the Test

Considering the high importance of the Sandbox tests, we would like to thank all who take part in the test for their contribution. We really appreciate the time you devote to World of Tanks, especially when it comes to the further development of the game and discussions on such important issues as HE shells.

During the test period, you will have access to special missions on the Sandbox server. By completing them, you can earn special Tokens. You will be able to exchange Tokens for the missions you complete during each test for useful rewards of your choice on the live servers before the start of the next Sandbox. Look out for more details on this later.

  • Step by Step, Part 1


  • Play 2 battles
  • Be among the top 10 players on your team by experience earned


  • Once a day
  • 3 times per account
  • Available only for Tier VI medium tanks, light tanks, and heavy tanks
  • Random Battles


  •  Token x2

How to Participate


Since most researchable and Premium vehicles will be credited to players’ accounts, you may encounter some stability and performance issues the first time you log into the game client.

All players can join the test.
  1. Download the Sandbox launcher.
  2. Install the Sandbox client by launching the downloaded file. If you’re running the Game Center for the first time, you’ll have to authorize and restart the downloaded installation file.
  3. Wait until the Sandbox client is downloaded and installed.
  4. Open the World of Tanks tab, select World of Tanks Sandbox, and click Play.

20 thoughts on “Sandbox 2021: Try Out the Reworked HE Shells!

  1. “The armor penetration indicator will also be improved. In Sniper Mode, you will be able to use the indicator’s color to determine the outcome of your shot:

    Red: no damage (the shell will not penetrate the screen/track/wheel and will not cause damage)”

    RED RED RED and RED. That’s what you’ll see when facing 279(e) and Chieftain…. No damage … No damage…. Pull your wallet, get a premium account and let’s all spam premium ammo all the time!

    1. In fact, if the chieftain makes perfect use of the terrain, you can’t damage the chief’s turret. Even if you use the finest shells(clan tanks 350mm heat) of mt and ht.

      I saw other players with having chieftain near me complaining about he spam. They are angry at the fact that players who are lower skill than them are damaging their strongest tanks. The justification of their anger doesn’t matter. What’s important to wg is that they are key customers who spend a lot of time and money on games compared to other players.

      Well, I have a chieftain too, but I’m satisfied with the current he mechanism. Invincible defense tactics should not exist. Except for he spam of E100 and 60tp, I think the opportunity cost of other high caliber guns he spam is fine. td’s big gun have extreme good prem pen, so if use properly, prem ammo is more effective.(you can penetrating chieftain turret with td’s 375mm + prem ammo) e100 and 60tp just need reducing of he alpha.

      1. But that’s the problem…. When WG tries to please their “elite” players only! They will lose their players base and the game in going down. Before Covid-19, where most had to stay at home, the player base was decreasing year by year – And why? Because they were loosing their audience. Players were/are tired of how WG is addressing most of the issues and the game monetization – When things go back to normal they will see who badly they have been damaging the game along the last 4 years or more. I stopped playing since Christmas, before actually when I saw one more time the loot boxes (I’ve played for 8 years straight).

        1. Yeah, i thinks this he nerf is bit problem. This will be negative effect for the active gameplay. Ht line battle going to more passive,(because generally no one want to risky move, even if they can’t do nothing on Invincible turret tank) And i think this will wasn’t help for the new players settlementing in wot. If there is no variable, there is Just boring

    2. RED RED RED and RED. That’s what you’ll see when facin 279(e), mause, e100, IS-7, IS-4, 60tp TYPE5, (even an O-I if you are a tier 6 med) and chieftain… well, only the turret cause the hull its green even for tier 8s, same with Kranvang, S.C…. according with the post… 100 dmg… 90 dmg…

      Pull your wallet, get a premium account (even if you can get that without using real money, by playing tournaments, ranked battles or replace the bonus with the booster WG gave us for free last december) and let’s spam premium ammo (cause that kind of ammo cost credits and you can buy it even without a premium account or premium tanks, by farming credits in low tiers or using personal reserves) and spam premium ammo all the time (cause flanking its only for 300+ iq players, and the normal players cant do that, and the batlefield its fulled of op superheavy tonks. No one play the meta mediums like stb-1, leo 1, obj140, well known by having a paper hull)!!!

  2. 152k, kv-2r probably won’t change. They are popular with Russian players because they are Russian tanks. So, If shell mechanism will change to wg’s intentions (which means ” I don’t allow you to easily and cheaply trade, use gold ammo!!! And always avoid hull-down chieftain and try risky move”), wg will face into the same anger as Proggeto Rammer remove. Get my money back

    The wheel adjustment was quietly passed because it was difficult for players to feel the change, but this change(number incount will change) will be another update that proof difficult of prem tank balancing. I guess, eventually wg will give up for adjustment of prem tanks 150mm guns. i thinks, kv2r and 152k tanks will have same mechanism like current game on final adjustment, same as e25 camo mechanism.

  3. The current HE mechanics is not unpredictable. The only thing unpredictable is the dispersion. If you know where the shell lands, it is quite easy to predict the damage you will deal if you know exactly how the mechanics works.

    However the majority of the player base have no clue and don’t care about mechanics. You could easily tell this by reading comments here. Even with a detailed article explaining the new mechanics, they still can’t find out that the new mechanics allows every HE hits to a Chieftain’s turret deal a “guaranteed damage” regardless the caliber, which is impossible in current game. And since the current mechanics rarely find a weak spot on Chieftain’s turret, the new mechanics won’t lower the damage by large caliber HE hit on it. Thus the Chieftain would be easier to deal with in new mechanics.

    Back to the new mechanics, I believe it’s not successful. It changes the penetration mechanics of HE into what similar to AP, which adds even more conditions and parameters on how the HE damage is caused compared to the current mechanics. Currently if the armor is not penetrated, we do not care about what direction and penetration value of the shell is(the penetration actually matters a bit but not considerable). We only care about where the shell lands. The alpha and burst radius is fixed for specific shell and we are not in control of. So we only try to land the shell where it is likely to deal more damage. However in the new mechanics, we need to penetrate all the spaced armors including tracks to deal any damage. If we failed to do so the HE deals 0 damage. Currently if we hit the bottom of a track it still deals minor damage, but in the new mechanics we deal 0 damage. This is extremely important when we shoot sidescraping tanks. Currently HE deals consistent damage if we shoot the side/track of a sidescraping tank. However in the new mechanics, there is a fair chance that we hit the track and the penetration is not enough to go through, or the shell doesn’t hit the hull. Both cases we deal 0 damage. But if we do manage to penetrate the track and hit the side of the tank, we deal even more damage than currently.

    In case we try to penetrate a tank with HE, it doesn’t change much. Still we need enough penetration to go through the armor. But we can say it is more consistent because tracks and spaced armor can no longer block HE shells if the penetration value is enough to go through both the track and the hull. However HE penetrations are already rare cases. I believe it is not the normal use and is not the main focus of the changes.

    In conclusion, the changes in HE mechanics adds more parameters and conditions on how damage is caused. The more complex the mechanics is, the more it is out of control. And I have shown examples that the new mechanics can’t reach the goal the changes are pursuing.

    1. I don’t want to catch your tail, but the current Big Gun he shell can cause efficient damage if you attack the left and right bottoms of the turret of the chieftain. When i use chieftain in standard battles, or when i against chieftain, i always saw this result.

      I think this is done by the rng of the current diffusion calculation (in this case, perhaps the calculation is applied to the hull armor of the chieftain) described in the text.

      Currently, Big Gun he can’t do any damage to a solid tank from time to time (as you said), but if he shell are lucky, he will do 200,300 damage. However, as scheduled in the text, we will probably record about 100 damage(just may geuss) after the update. Or the number of cases where you can’t cause any damage may increase as you look at the experience below. This is what wg intended. They may be looking at the rng of the he shell as a glitch.

      Small gun he doesn’t care about damage in the first place(current game or after he rework game, small guns he is not for damage trading), so I don’t think its needs to mention it. I wanted to tell you that in current game the Big Gun he shell can effectively damage the turret of chieftain or is7 by some strange diffusion calculation. And i think this is huge effect on battle results. Other than that, i agree and respect your wise opinions.

      1. wg wants reduce the rng, unpredictable variable factor of he shell, And this maybe opinion of Russian competitive experienced players. In Any games, experience players want to situation under control, they dont like their win or loses caused by luck.

        But wg should be always considering control of rng elements. Reduce rng, luck is meaning increase of the players skill factor, and this cause huge stress for many other players. 1v1 rts, fighting game is good example, this game genres died by “skill stress”. They dont have casual player base, there is only competitive playeres. I wish wg should care about many players opinion.

    2. FlandreCirno exact what you wrote… 90%+ comments and their authors here, exept you, havent even read the article or watched the video. Or their problem is somewhere between keyboard and chair… They dont even know what they are talkin about… I like those betatesters after some 10 years with 8k games and 1k wn8… I think these changes will be fine, will see…

  4. I had a run in the sandbox, and I wish to warn you – large caliber HE are near-ineffective in Tier 10.

    Just to give an example, I played a few games in the WZ-113G FT. That tank has 1100 HE alpha. I got zero damage rolls from shooting the lower plate of a Maus (shots hit the mudflaps and did absolutely nothing, not even track damage), and got a measly 100 damage from hitting the lower belly of a T110E4.

    Ironically, switching to standard AP yelded the best results.

    I hope people will give some strong negative feedback because if these changes go live, Tier 9-10 is going to suffer a lot.

  5. Any ammunition rework, be it HE or be it an upcoming Special ammo rework, needs to be done IN UNISON with an armor layout and weak spot rework!

    Otherwise what ever ammunition rework they think off will fail in the end, because ARMOR and the over armored meta of the last 3 years is one aspect of the whole problem.

    Besides that I reckon WG will come to a similar conclusion that this HE rework, will also indirectly buff over-armored tanks like the 2019 sandbox proposed Special/HE ammo rework had shown.

    1. Your argument about armor and weakspots rework is spot on.

      It’s also up to us to give them feedback and tell them that no, HE nerf alone is a terrible idea and the few retards who want it are selfish pricks and little else… sorry for language but I bet good money majority of HE haters have a Chieftard or Crapject 279 in their garage, or own at least one or more overarmored heavies and get salty when they take damage.

  6. Honestly WG just fucks up his games. The WoWS captain rework made people angry and disappointed, and now this! As if they want to please the top 10% players in both games and ignore casual guys like me, who play and spend occasionally on the game.
    Look like we are just second rate players….

  7. “ As a result, this shot, even without penetrating, can cause 570–850 HP of damage to the well-armored Maus. “

    They’re saying this is a bad thing, but 570-850 is less than a standard AP +/-25% RNG spread.. A 750 damage AP shell do 563-936 or something like that, so surely that is even more unpredictable than the current HE?

Leave a Reply