Sandbox Test: Reworked HE Shells – FAQ

Source: EU Portal

The first iteration of a series of upcoming Sandbox tests has begun. This time, we are putting a reworked damage system for HE shells to the test.

If you would like to participate, download the Sandbox test server client and begin experimenting with the new feature. We need your support and feedback for the test to be a success.

But before you jump in, we would like to clarify several details, quell any concerns, and answer a few of your frequently asked questions.

HE shell changes

1. Could you briefly summarize the differences between the old HE damage mechanics and the new ones?

We are switching from calculating damage at the weak spot within the shell-burst sphere to a new model based on the point of impact. Also, HE (High-Explosive) shells are now able to penetrate screens, tracks, and small obstacles.

2. What is the difference between HE shells and HESH shells in general?

The mechanics of HESH (High-Explosive Squash Head) shells and standard HE shells will be identical. The only difference between them is that HESH shells have higher penetration values as compared to HE shells of the same caliber.

3. Will the frequency of critical hits inflicted by HE shells to internal modules and crew change?

The statistics for the amount of critical damage to internal modules and crew members should remain the same on the regular server. It may seem that critical hits are more frequent during HE shell tests on the Sandbox server, however, this only happens because of the increased number of shots with HE shells.

We will closely monitor the extent of critical damage caused by HE shells, analyze the obtained data after the tests, and adjust the final settings to keep critical hit chances at the same level.

4. What about the well-known situation of setting the engine on fire after penetrating the Commander’s cupola?

We plan to remove situations with illogical critical hits to internal modules as part of reworking the damage mechanics. Situations like this should never happen.

5. Could you tell us about effective and nominal armor for the new damage mechanics? How does it work? Does normalization work for HE shells? And what about ricochets?

It is pretty simple. HE shells do not have normalization and cannot ricochet. Effective armor is used to calculate armor or screen penetration, similar to AP (Armor-Piercing) shells. Nominal armor is used to calculate the damage caused if a shell fails to penetrate the armor.

The thinner the nominal armor–the higher the damage that can be inflicted at this spot in case of non-penetration.

6. Please tell us about Premium vehicles! Has the KV-2 (R) been nerfed? Let the Emperor’s wrath guide you to victory!

We know how important Premium tanks are for players, and that’s why we don’t want to change their technical characteristics. We’re not planning to modify the characteristics of any vehicles or their shells. The change will only affect the mechanics of HE damage infliction. However, we will study battle performance indicators of Premium vehicles individually and make any necessary adjustments based on the test results, should they be necessary.

7. Could you elaborate on the penetration of screens? How much is a shell’s penetration value reduced after it pierces a screen or a small obstacle? How is damage calculated if an HE shell explodes against a screen?

The logic behind the reduction of the HE shell penetration value is exactly the same as that of AP shells—when a shell penetrates a screen, the value is reduced by the value of the thickness of the pierced screen or obstacle.

8. The new mechanics increase the significance of an accurate hit, but what about the “true” HE guns with an accuracy of 0.4, or even 0.6? Accurate hits are very difficult with this much dispersion.

Vehicles that can be equipped with powerful HE shells, but not particularly accurate guns, don’t have to carefully aim at weak spots to reliably deal damage. The effectiveness of such vehicles lies in firing at generally weak areas of enemy tanks. Always try to go for weaker areas, such as the lower glacis plate, instead of a tough turret with a gun mantlet, to cause more damage.

9. Will Personal Missions and the conditions for earning particular awards be revised?

Within the Sandbox, we will test the major aspects of the mechanics of HE damage infliction: how the system works in terms of causing damage at the point where the shell hits, how the value of the inflicted HE damage is distributed in the new system, and how players perceive the new changes.

Following the Sandbox test, we will evaluate the changes to HE damage indicators. If it turns out that the changes can significantly affect the completion of Personal Missions, we will look at the possibility of revising the conditions of some Personal Missions. However, this will only happen if the changes are approved by the players and after they are implemented.

10. Will the characteristics of HE shells / HE-gameplay vehicles change?

Currently, no such changes are required, but it is possible that such a need might arise after the tests.

11. Will the changes to HE shells affect the shells of SPGs?

No, these are separate developments that are not interconnected. The damage mechanics for SPG HE shells and standard HE shells will be different.

12. There are some concerns that the changes to HE shells will particularly affect lightly armored vehicles, i.e. their survivability will be worse due to more efficient and deliberate use of HE shells against them. How is this going to be addressed?

We are not changing the characteristics of HE shells—neither their penetration values nor their nominal damage per shot. Therefore, we don’t expect a significant increase in the amount of damage dealt to lightly armored vehicles.

13. Do you expect the frequency of HE shell usage in Random Battles to increase?

Presumably, for low- and medium-caliber guns, the probability of using HE shells may increase, but only under specific conditions such as the reset of a base capture or finishing off an opponent.
For large calibers, the frequency of the use of HE shells is likely to remain the same, but their efficiency, when fired at heavily armored vehicles, will be reduced.

14. Will non-penetrations by HE shells count as blocked damage?

No, we don’t have plans for that.

15. Will the Spall Liner be more effective with the new mechanics? Will the operating principles change?

The Spall Liner operating principles will remain the same. It is useful, as the Liner works like a “multiplier” for armor (as a kind of enhancement), and the damage is now calculated at the point where the shell hits the armor. This means it will work in a more correct manner, now.

Sandbox Server

1. How do you participate?

  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.

2. What are the special missions and Tokens? What do you need to do in order to earn rewards for participating in the Sandbox test?

It’s quite simple. Six combat missions will be made available on the Sandbox server. Five of them are completed simultaneously and unlock access to the sixth one. The sequence can be completed three times.

An overview of the exact mission conditions is available in the main guide.

Once a chain is complete, the missions will become available again, but not earlier than the next day.

Shortly after the Sandbox testing is over, the Tokens will be transferred to the main server and players will be able to spend them in a dedicated part of the in-game Store for rewards. Don’t forget to spend your Tokens before the next test starts, or else they will be converted into credits at the rate of 1 Token = 10,000.

3. When will accumulated Tokens be transferred to the main server?

Between 24 and 48 hours after the test is concluded. We will try to do it as quickly as possible and will notify you after the Tokens have been transferred to the main server.

4. Are the Tokens for each iteration counted separately, or is it possible to collect them and then spend them all at once on rewards during the last iteration?

All of the Tokens earned during a test iteration have to be spent before the next Sandbox stage begins. Tokens don’t stack, so don’t forget to choose a reward in the time between the tests.

5. When will we see the 2D style and decals?

We’re working on the 2D style and additional decals right now. They are still being drawn, tested, and carefully prepared for presentation to the public. However, we can already show you the decal for HE shell testing:

As for all the others, you will have to wait a little longer.

6. When and where will I receive the survey?

The survey will appear in the main game client. Some players, who have fought a certain number of battles, will receive the survey during the testing phase. All other players, who have fought more than five battles, will receive the survey in the final days of the test, or immediately after it ends. If you don’t receive the survey right away, please be patient. To make the technical load lighter, we’ll send the survey out in batches.

7. Why do we have to download the full Sandbox client every time?

This is the nature of the Sandbox server test. Each iteration means a separate client that was built for a new feature separately from other mechanics. Unfortunately, the production process requires this approach.

8. What will be tested during the final stage of the Sandbox?

It depends on the results of the HE and artillery tests. We will implement improvements, if they are required, and see how the community reacts. That’s why more details will be released after the initial iterations and based on the test results.


Complete special missions on the Sandbox server to collect Tokens and unlock different reward levels.

11 thoughts on “Sandbox Test: Reworked HE Shells – FAQ

  1. disasterous HE changes. once again WG cant seem to get it right. Its a difficult problem to solve for sure. I cant really think of any solution that would cover keeping heavy armor reasonably vulnerable and also preventing arty from smacking a maus for 500 damage because the engine deck eats the blast

    1. Pretty simple IMO.
      If the damage on non pens versus heavy armor is the issue: Then the 50% damage rule on non pens, to the weakest point in the blast sphere, in the current mechanics needs reduction.
      Also individual tanks on the highest tiers with high caliber guns, their HE shell damages need to be toned down (also for the low tier derps).

      And an option they can go with for (sub 122mm) medium caliber guns HE, if they reduce 50% damage rule. Is, if they have low pen (almost, to slightly increase HE pen values in all tiers by a bit, for all guns up to 120mm caliber.
      With the exclusion for recent tanks that were already given good HE pen values.

      Currently there is a discrepancy between some new tanks (some are premiums that cannot be nerfed) and all legacy/older tanks that still have low pen values.

      Anyway, that’s how I view the HE issue.

      Perhaps they can tweak what they are testing now though, hope is not yet lost imo.

      1. i think a really important factor that needs to be kept in mind whenever HE damage values are changed is how HE is used against tanks with no weak spots that necessitate the use of HE. The T95/chieftain, 279e, Sconq, and a few others are only defeatable with HE once they get in a really good position. either HE needs to be able to hurt them or they need to have actual weak points added to them

        1. The main reason HE is fired at tanks like that in general is map design, map design as well as the tanks themselves. On abbey for example you can’t really be expected to flank a 279e on the 1-2 line cause there is no where to flank, therefor the only option you have is gold spamming or HE spamming. So if they were to do a massive map rework (Bump up the size of most maps to 1250×1250, make them 20v20 games, and adjust spawns so you don’t have a maus spawning as far away from the designated heavy flank as possible, or meds spawning as far away from their flank as possible) soon after then I’d def say the HE changes would be the best thing for the game in the last 3 years. There’s a lot of work that needs to go into the game to make it better, making max render larger, a general vr nerf to everything that isn’t standard tracked light tanks/ increasing max vr and increasing the base vr of standard tracked lights, ammunition reworks, consumable rework, another fucking equipment rework cause the current ones are kinda meh at best, and fixing game modes/adding new ones in. HE, SPG, and crew reworks are the first step to potentially making the game better, just wish they’d stop listening to sub 800 wn8 bots when it comes to changes and just be reasonable yet firm with their changes.

          1. In my opinion the changes are a little stupid, and ilogical.
            Sandbox has no spash at all now, thats stupid.
            I like other changes, like less damage, i am okey to no damage if u shoot the mantlet, HE that can destroy fences without explode, but come on, no splash at all. Firing a 183mm gun at a light if u now (in the sandbox) dont touch the armor model of the tank does 0 damage? like AP?
            Actually that its more bottic than the bots that use HE always.
            And no i does not have FV, but some of the changes are more subrealistic than realistic.
            In the other hand i like the idea that a KV-2 shooting at the front of an IS-2 does 150damage than 350 damage. This change its okey. But no splash damage is weird

            1. Splash damage is the reason why it’s getting changed, right now it’s a low effort round for low effort players. Being able to auto aim and do 200 damage with a 120 cause it managed to catch a single pixel of the underside or engine deck is really stupid. The changes are good

              I know everyone and their mom will cry about not being able to do 500 to the front of a tier 8 heavy with a kv2 thou so I do hope they rebalance a lot of the guns designed around spamming HE, like the jap super heavy’s 15cms and the 152s for the russians, make them more accurate and give them better pen and reload but drop the alpha to like 600-560 depending on the gun so they’re still playable.

    2. They are not changing the mechanism for arty at least for now. So in other words, HE of tanks get nerfed HE of arty not.
      I dont like this idea. If u rework HE make a rework for all.

      1. Its the difference between direct fire and indirect fire. Many Arty shells land almost vertically and contact the thin top armor where direct fire splashes usually the top armor. Ergo the proposed changes to just direct fire HE rounds.

  2. The only thing wrong with HE ammo the way it is right now is some players want their armor to be OP. Come to think of it that is the problem with premium ammo, too.

  3. HE changes- Why bother, of all the issues in the game HE is one of the least important. Gold spam. wheeled tanks and the high tier hull down game play all more important.

  4. Nope don’t like these HE changes at all. Reduce the splash radius if you want to encourage better aiming. But don’t cancel valid established tactics like shooting the ground below a tank or it’s roof.
    And HE penetrating spaced armor will just cause more problems: nerf some tanks that have a lot of spaced armor (eg. Sheridan) while buffing high pen HE rounds, most infamously used by EBRs.
    Just what the game needs, right?

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