Sandbox 2021: Changes to SPGs

Source: EU Portal

SPGs, also known as artillery, are a unique vehicle type which many players have mixed feelings about. Their role in battle, influence on gameplay, and individual technical characteristics are constantly discussed and often become a topic of hot dispute. SPGs have always had their own place in the World of Tanks ecosystem, and we are all interested in how their effective actions can benefit their own team. At the same time, players on the opposing team should have some alerts that allow for reducing the potential damage and influence of SPGs on their own performance in battle.

The third Sandbox iteration will be entirely devoted to testing important, complex changes that we suggest for both SPGs and other vehicle types. Check out the new alert features—Sound Detection (aka “Sixth Sense for Arty”), brighter shell tracers, markers of SPG shots on the minimap, and the reworked “Intuition” skill to see how much easier it has become to counteract SPGs and how their influence on gameplay has changed. We are also eagerly awaiting your feedback on the SPG rebalance which will reduce the total stun duration in the game, as well as providing SPGs with shell types that are suitable for specific situations. Together, we will decide the future of SPGs in World of Tanks!

Sandbox: SPG Rebalance Test

March 09 at 14:00 CET through March 16 at 10:00 CET (UTC+1)

About the Sandbox

This server is a testing ground where we test hypotheses, new mechanics, and possible changes to the game together with you. Each test on the Sandbox server should be treated as an experiment; all your feedback, suggestions, and answers in the questionnaires are of great importance in helping us understand if we are moving in the right direction.

If the test shows that the changes to SPGs and other vehicle types do not meet your expectations and require further improvement, they will not be added to the game, so be sure to test them thoroughly and share your thoughts! The final details and parameters of these changes will be determined after analyzing your feedback and the test results.

The Current Situation

SPGs in World of Tanks have seen many changes over time, developing from damage-dealers into fire support vehicles. They play an important role in influencing positional combat and controlling the battlefield, and many players enjoy the unusual strategic gameplay they offer. Artillery can be treated in different ways, but it is popular among players. This is shown by the large number of battles that are played daily using this vehicle type. Our statistics show that about half of all commanders occasionally choose SPGs when going into battle.

SPG gameplay has its own unique features. On the one hand, it is rather unhurried and strategic. When compared to other vehicle types, SPGs are also easier to master.

On the other hand, SPGs often irritate many non-SPG commanders. At the moment, players do not have effective tools to actively counteract SPGs. Opposing actions which you cannot effectively counteract cause negative emotions due to both the consequences and the inability to do anything about them.

SPGs not only cause direct damage, but also damage modules and injure and stun the crew. According to player feedback, stun is the most contradictory aspect. The prospect of staying stunned for a long time and being unable to perform effective actions is something that many players dislike. Therefore, one of our goals is to reduce the total stun duration caused by SPGs (more on that later). Moreover, we want to give non-SPG commanders more information and new tools to allow them to counteract artillery more effectively.

But fans of SPGs should not be worried—you will not be left empty-handed. We will provide SPGs with more tactical options so that they can better adapt to changes on the battlefield. To do this, we suggest changing the set of shells that are available to SPGs, as well as adding some new interface features. As a result, SPGs will have a wider selection of shells. Two of these shell types will not cause stun, which will significantly reduce the total stun duration in battles.

Now let’s take a closer look at the suggestions that need to be tested.

Counteracting SPGs

While it is possible to try to predict the direction of potential incoming SPG damage, it can be a difficult task, even for the most experienced players. To help commanders avoid artillery fire, we would like to provide you with the following information, which will:

  • help you understand where exactly SPGs are shooting at during the battle
  • alert you when an SPG has fired a shot at you
  • help you better understand where the SPGs are shooting from and where to find cover from their fire.

Let’s start from the top.

Brighter Shell Tracers

Currently, non-SPG players can hardly read the direction of incoming SPG fire. This is one of the reasons why players are restricted in their attempts to find cover from artillery fire—it is unclear which position to take.

During the Sandbox test, SPG shell tracers will become much more noticeable. They will be much brighter and clearer so that they can be easily seen and identified from a distance. Such shell tracers will allow you to understand the approximate positions of SPGs, as well as the direction they are firing. Thus, it will be easier to find a safer position which is not vulnerable to artillery fire.

Bright and noticeable shell tracers will become an important tactical aid for non-SPG players. This information will not only allow players to protect themselves, but also to attack and even plan their actions against SPGs.

Sixth Sense for Arty

When an SPG fires a shot, players whose vehicles are within the damage zone, will see a special indicator. It will trigger if their vehicle is inside the affected area. The size of the affected area will depend on the splash radius of the SPG’s shells.

  • If a vehicle is out of the potential danger zone at the moment when an SPG fires a shot, but moves into the area while the shell is flying, the indicator will not trigger.
  • What if two or more SPGs fire at the same time? In this case, the indicator will trigger sequentially, informing players about the shot of each SPG.

Depending on the shell velocity and travel distance, you will have a short time in which to react. These seconds may be enough for you to change the combat situation and reduce the amount of damage taken from SPG shells.

Minimap Shot Markers

The brighter shell tracers and new detection indicator provide visual information, but have a tactical component as well. This third new feature, however, is fundamentally tactical.

Once an artillery shell hits the ground, a vehicle, or any other object, a shot marker will be displayed in that spot on the minimap. It will be visible for 10 seconds, and will then disappear.

Shot markers can provide you with a lot of useful information, such as:

  • The approximate area of enemy fire: There are not many positions for SPGs on any map, so combined with the brighter shell tracers, you will get an even clearer idea of the positions and targets of enemy SPGs.
  • The approximate enemy reload time: Once a shot marker has appeared, you can be sure that you will not take damage from above for the next 10–20 seconds, giving you time to find cover or plan your next move. You can continue the attack, change your position, or even flank, and then have time to find cover before the SPG fires again.

Forewarned is Forearmed!

Together, these three features will allow players to counteract the artillery more actively and successfully in battle. You will receive important sources of tactical and visual information that enable you to:

  • plan your actions better
  • reduce the damage taken from SPGs, as well as the stun duration
  • take appropriate actions against SPGs.

But that’s not all! We also have some important changes to suggest that will provide SPG players with more tactical options and reduce the total stun duration in the game while increasing the survivability of other vehicle types in battles in which SPGs are present.

Read on to find out how we plan to achieve this!

More SPG Shell Types

Last year, during the test of New Balance on the Sandbox server, we already conducted an experiment by increasing the number of shell types for SPGs. At that time, in addition to the existing shell types, we added Armor-Piercing shells.

The new system performed well, but it also had drawbacks. In particular, players complained about the ineffectiveness of AP shells, and about their high cost. The time to swap the shell type was also too long. The hypothesis needed to be improved, so we continued working on it, because one of its results was a decrease of the total stun duration in the game by more than half.

In the current system, SPG players are very limited in their choice of shells. SPGs have standard and special shells, which differ in cost and burst radius. At the same time, the burst radius of the special shell is only a little larger than that of the standard shell, but its cost is significantly higher. Players sometimes do not understand why they need to pay more, because the effectiveness of both shells is similar.

In the current round of tests, SPGs will again receive the third shell type—Armor-Piercing. We will also adjust the parameters of the existing HE shells used by SPGs.

The HE shells rework, which we are currently testing together with you, will not affect artillery HE shells. They will retain their current mechanics of penetrating armor and causing damage through the most vulnerable point, but some of their characteristics may be changed.

Each of the available shell types will have its own trajectory and velocity. Let’s take a closer look.

1. HE shells with stun (standard shells): The easiest shell type to use, causing low damage and stunning the crews of several targets with a single shot. Its armor penetration value will remain unchanged, but the base damage value will decrease in relation to the current parameters by 10%. However, shots that do not penetrate will no longer damage internal modules and injure the crew. It will also have the lowest velocity of all three shell types, but a more comfortable, high-angle trajectory. As a result, it will be easier for SPG players to hit targets behind small hills and other obstacles.

2. HE shells without stun (alternative shells): The optimal choice for shooting at light and medium armored vehicles. Its burst radius will be half that of the standard shell, and the area of effect will be 75% smaller. At the same time, its armor penetration will be 50% higher than its current value, and its damage will be 10% higher. Unlike standard ammo, the alternative shell will be able to damage internal modules and injure the crew, and will have a higher velocity but a lower angle trajectory. Here are some examples of comparative armor penetration values for the standard and alternative shells:

Vehicle Armor penetration of standard shells (mm) Armor penetration of alternative shellS (mm)
Object 261 45 68
G.W. E 100 53 80
T92 HMC 60 90
Bat.-Châtillon 155 58 48 78
Conqueror Gun Carriage 59 89
G.W. Panther (top configuration) 39 59

3. AP shells (tactical shells): This shell is effective against slow and well-armored vehicles that are difficult to damage with HE shells. It will not have a burst radius and stun. AP rounds will be able to hit only one target and are designed to be fired over short distances. At the same time, their penetration value will be 4–6 times higher than that of HE shells, and their shell velocity will be the highest of all three shell types, so you can cause some serious damage with them. However, when choosing this shell type, players will have to take into account that the travel trajectory of this shell type is the flattest (it travels at the lowest angle to the ground).

  • Penetration
  • Damage
  • Burst Radius
  • Damage to Modules
  • Stun
Stuns the crew. Has a large burst radius and can damage several targets at once. Causes low damage. Does not damage modules/injure crew members upon non-penetration. Has a low shell velocity but a high angle trajectory.
  • Penetration
  • Damage
  • Burst Radius
  • Damage to Modules
  • Stun
Does not stun the crew. Has decent penetration and a small burst radius. Causes higher damage. Causes damage to modules/injures crew members upon penetration. Has a higher shell velocity but a lower angle trajectory.
  • Penetration
  • Damage
  • Burst Radius
  • Damage to Modules
  • Stun
Has no burst radius or stun effect. Causes the highest damage upon penetration. Can only damage one target. Has the highest penetration and shell velocity but the lowest angle trajectory.

We expect that SPG players will use AP shells infrequently—in about 10–15% of all cases— but will do so on a regular basis in specific combat situations. This is quite enough for such a niche shell that is designed for specific tasks.

As a result, the new system simply will not have such a thing as a “special shell”. Instead, SPG players will have three types of shells for different purposes, and switching between the shell types will be relatively quick, allowing them to better adapt to various combat situations. Using the right shells at the right time will be the key to success in battle.

We want to make the prices of all three shell types approximately the same, costing less than the current special shell and slightly more than the current standard shell. This will keep the balance of SPG shell costs at the same level as now.


In the new system, it will be impossible to play effectively by using only one shell type, but it won’t be necessary. SPG players will now have three different ammo types, each one suitable for a specific purpose. Learn to use them appropriately and secure your victory!

Changes to the SPG Ammo Interface

After expanding the set of shell types that will be available to SPGs, we decided to improve the ammo interface so that you can quickly master them.

You will now be able to easily see which shell type is currently loaded, and each shell type will have colored indicators that will inform you whether this shell can reach what you’re aiming at:

  • If the indicator is green, it means that there are no obstacles in the path of the shell.
  • If the indicator is red, the shell will not be able to reach the target.

In addition, a zoom scale will be displayed on the interface. By scrolling the mouse wheel, you can switch from the regular top-down view of Artillery mode to Trajectory View. You can also continue using the G key to do this if you prefer.

As the velocity and trajectory of all three shell types are different in the new system, we decided to add one more feature to make SPG players’ lives easier: an estimated shell travel time indicator next to the crosshair. It will help players understand when to make a shot to increase their chance of hitting a moving target.

But that’s not all the interface changes. You can find, change, or disable all interface improvements in the new game settings menu.

Changing Shell Types Quickly

The expanded set of shell types offers new tactical opportunities, but with the long reload times of SPGs, what should you do if the situation on the battlefield suddenly changes and the shell you have already loaded does not match a specific target?

Introducing the reworked Intuition perk. It will become a skill that changes the shell type in a loaded gun more quickly with each new level! When fully trained, it will speed up reloading by 70%, and bonuses from Brothers in Arms, Improved Ventilation, and Extra Combat Rations can further increase this value up to 84%.

During the test on the Sandbox server, the revised Intuition perk will be effective for all vehicle types in the game (light/medium/heavy tanks and tank destroyers), not just for SPGs.

Gameplay Specifics Under the New Conditions

If the new features are released, battles will significantly change for both SPGs and their opponents, as both sides will have more tactical options.

SPG players will have to observe the course of the battle and respond to changes on the battlefield, keeping in mind that the enemy team will receive more information about them than they do now.

Commanders facing SPGs in battle will receive much more strategic information than they do now, and will be able to use it to counteract SPGs actively. Brighter shell tracers, minimap shot markers, and the new alert detection indicators will help players read the combat situation better and reduce the amount of damage they take from artillery fire.

Rewards for Participating in the Test

Considering the high importance of the Sandbox tests, we would like to thank all of the players who will actively take part in the test. We really appreciate the time you devote to World of Tanks.

During the test, you will have access to a chain of 5 simple daily missions. Completing each mission will reward you with 2 Tokens. Once all five missions are complete, the sixth and final mission in the chain will become available to you. To complete it, you only need to play one battle to be rewarded with 20 Tokens. You can complete the entire chain of missions three times during the test. The rewards for completed missions will be added together if all the conditions and restrictions are met.

Tokens will be transferred to the live servers sometime after the end of the test. You can exchange Tokens for rewards before the start of the next Sandbox stage. All unused Tokens will be compensated at the rate of 10,000 per Token.

How to Participate

Anyone can participate in the test!

  • Download the Sandbox launcher
  • 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.
  • Wait until the Sandbox client is downloaded and installed.
  • Open the World of Tanks tab, select World of Tanks Sandbox, and click Play.
The first launch of the test client on low-end computers may take longer than usual. This is due to the mass-scale crediting of vehicles to player accounts.

Join the test and share your thoughts on the reworked mechanics. Your feedback is essential in helping us improve World of Tanks!

The post Sandbox 2021: Changes to SPGs appeared first on The Armored Patrol.

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