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Home MMORPGWorld of Tanks [World of Tanks] Results of Sandbox Iterations. HE Shells and SPGs: What’s Next?

[World of Tanks] Results of Sandbox Iterations. HE Shells and SPGs: What’s Next?

by MMO Archive
1 minute read


A joint test of the reworked HE shells and changes to vehicles and SPGs was completed a few weeks ago. Together with this test, we completed a whole series of important Sandbox iterations, in which we all tested possible changes to the key mechanics of the game. Many thanks to all the active and caring players who supported us and participated in the tests, shared their opinions in surveys, shared their feedback and left comments!

Following the test results, we see the new mechanics work properly and solve the problems present when launching the Sandbox. Therefore, the reworked HE shells and changes to SPGs and other vehicle types are coming to the release. After additional tests and adjustments to particular vehicles, these changes will hit the live servers in Update 1.13 that will be released presumably in June. Before that, you can try out the new mechanics during the Common Tests.

Sandbox Results: Drawing Conclusions

With your participation, we tested the reworked HE shells both in a separate Sandbox iteration dedicated only to HE shells, and during a joint test of the changes to HE shells and SPG rebalance. Together we had to solve many problems, and we succeeded!

Our main goal was to rebalance HE shells while keeping all the things you love about them:

  • Fun and exciting gameplay: Upon penetration, which occurs quite rarely, they cause high damage—sometimes a lot more than expected. Commanders remember such shots for a long time.
  • Ease of use: When using HE shells, it is not necessary to know the thickness of the enemy armor or vulnerable spots on it. You can fire an HE shell at any point on the enemy vehicle and cause damage even without penetration.
  • High chance of causing damage.

At the same time, we wanted to change the HE shell mechanics in the following situations:

  • Causing high frontal damage to well-armored vehicles: This is especially frustrating for commanders in vehicles featuring good frontal armor who cannot take maximum advantage of it.
  • Lack of demand for HE shells for low- and medium-caliber guns: Players in vehicles with low- and medium-caliber guns rarely use HE shells due to their unpredictable damage. Sometimes HE shells fired from these guns also cause decent damage, but this does not happen often.
  • Some other annoying aspects of the current mechanics: For example, an HE shell fired at the commander's cupola can set the enemy vehicle’s engine on fire.

Below are the issues we wanted to solve when we suggested our ideas for the SPG rebalance:

  • Reduce the total stun duration and the number of critical hits: Having analyzed a large number of statistics, we noticed the total stun duration and the number of critical hits during the test were much lower than those in Update 1.12 on the live servers. This applies to all vehicles in the game.
  • Provide you with new tactical features to counteract SPGs: Sound Detection, brighter shell tracers, and minimap shot markers: Surveys show the suggested features were well-received—Sound Detection and related changes are useful in battle.
  • Make the SPG gameplay more diverse. To achieve this, we suggested changing the selection of shells available to SPGs and implemented some interface improvements so SPG players have more tactical capabilities and can better adapt to changes in the combat situation.

We understand the mechanics are ready for the next step—Common Test of Update 1.13. Now comes the stage where we search for technical errors and test the new mechanics under conditions that are close to those of the live servers. Moreover, we will thoroughly test and make accurate changes to the technical characteristics of the vehicles with the HE-based gameplay, like the KV-2Type 5 Heavy, and others (more details below). We will pay attention to SPGs: this vehicle type will also undergo a rebalance.

Let's take a closer look at all the important aspects that raised most of the questions. We want to thoroughly check all the concerns you had and make sure everything works well in the new system.

Please read the information below carefully. It is quite extensive but very important. Understanding the general logic that guided us in making decisions is imperative. Pay attention not only to the numbers and tables, but also to the context we give you. The most essential information is singled out in blocks like this one.

We tested the new HE shell mechanics as a single system. We tested how HE shells interact with armor and screens on various vehicles and in different situations. Now comes the stage of accurate configuring and fine-tuning, during which we will pay more attention to the precise adjustment of specific vehicles. At the same time, we will consider the comments and feedback you shared during the Sandbox iterations. But first, let's talk about a big Supertest for vehicles featuring HE gameplay you were the most concerned about.

Supertest for Vehicles with HE-Based Gameplay

The KV-2, the KV-2 (R), the Type 4 Heavy, the Type 5 Heavy, the FV4005 Stage II, the FV215b (183), the T49, the Sheridan, and some other vehicles represent the very idea of HE damage and have become an important part of the game. Even during the tests, loyal fans of these vehicles made it very clear vehicles with HE-based gameplay require additional attention. We have heard them and are ready to launch a dedicated large Supertest before the start of the Common Tests to make the necessary changes.

We did not see a significant decrease in the performance of these vehicles. We have enough data from the Sandbox to check the stability of the entire game ecosystem and make sure it works well, but tweaks to vehicles that use HE shells as the standard ammo require more attention.

The Supertest starts on May 18. Rebalanced vehicles will be available from the first Common Test of Update 1.13. Check our dedicated article for detailed information on the changes for these vehicles.

Interaction with HE Shells

When analyzing the interaction of various vehicles with HE shells, we identified three key groups of vehicles you are most concerned about:

  1. Vehicles with good and average armoring
  2. Vehicles with light armoring
  3. Light tanks

When each of these groups interacted with the revised HE shell mechanics, new nuances you pointed out during the tests arose. We will take a closer look at them now. Many of the aspects described below are related to the influence of the new mechanics on the game as a whole, so they are very important.

Interaction with HE Shells: Vehicles with Good and Average Armoring

Our main goal was to reduce the damage of HE shells caused frontally to well-armored vehicles. We have solved this problem—now vehicles with good and average armor receive less damage.

At the same time, you expressed concerns such vehicles would receive more damage since HE shells would penetrate screens, especially tracks. To confirm or deny this assumption, we selected several vehicles and analyzed the statistics of HE hits they received.

On armor without penetration63.5%37463.1%319-0.4%-14.7%
On armor with penetration3.4%12389.2%1199+5.8%-3.2%
To a screen/module without penetration33.1%35022.3%344-10.8%-1.7%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%05.4%1261+5.4%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)395317-20.0%
Total (complex**)-2.46%
On armor without penetration61.7%35776.0%257+14.3%-28.0%
On armor with penetration3.2%12929.6%1267+6.4%-1.9%
To a screen/module without penetration35.1%35114.2%303-20.9%-13.7%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%00.1%1274+0.1%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)385256-33.5%
Total (complex**)-3.75%
Super Conqueror
On armor without penetration27.8%38027.1%337-0.7%-11.3%
On armor with penetration7.4%108318.2%1116+10.8%+3.0%
To a screen/module without penetration64.8%34644.9%314-19.9%-9.2%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%09.8%1247+9.8%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)410365-11.0%
Total (complex**)-1.39%
Object 430U
On armor without penetration49.8%40945.2%313-4.6%-23.5%
On armor with penetration11.2%92517.0%1013+5.8%+9.5%
To a screen/module without penetration39.0%41325.3%278-13.7%-32.7%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%012.5%1152+12.5%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)468397-15.2%
Total (complex**)-1.59%

* The results have been adjusted considering the specifics of the test environment (in particular, considering the increased percentage of special shells used during tests).

** Assessed influence of the changes in the received HE damage on the vehicle's ecosystem as a whole. It has been taken into account HE damage is only a small part of the damage taken from all shell types. The assessment is based on the assumption players will use HE shells more often, but the percentage of using special shells will remain the same.


The statistics show for vehicles with good armoring, the number of penetrations through screens (including tracks) has not changed significantly. At the same time, the amount of damage caused with HE shells in this case decreased or (in the worst case) remained at the same level, because the armor under the screens most often remains intact and absorbs damage. A quick reminder: within the new system, to cause full damage after hitting a screen/track/wheel, an HE shell should penetrate the primary armor.

Thus, in the new system, vehicles with average and good armoring can be more confident. Their gameplay will definitely not worsen. In fact, we expect tanks that are designed to be hard nuts to crack in hull-down positions will fulfill their role even better and you will have to find a way to flank them on the battlefield.

Interaction with HE shells: Vehicles with Light Armoring

We are talking about lightly armored vehicles (Bat.-Châtillon 25 tGrille 15Leopard 1, and others), not light tanks. You expressed an opinion that now these vehicles will take noticeably more damage, and their survivability will greatly decrease.

You should understand lightly armored vehicles have always been vulnerable to HE shells. This shell type is traditionally the most dangerous for them and can cause significant damage, even without penetration. However, our observations, coupled with statistical data, show the changes in the mechanics of causing damage with HE shells will not fundamentally change the gameplay of such vehicles.

Bat.-Châtillon 25 t 
On armor without penetration21.4%33517.7%289-3.6%-13.7%
On armor with penetration54.6%79257.6%847+3.1%+6.9%
To a screen/module without penetration24.1%42410.9%138-13.2%-67.5%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%68213.8%910+13.7%+33.4%
Total (adjusted*)607578-4.6%
Total (complex**)-0.47%
Grille 15
On armor without penetration4.4%3913.1%388-1.4%-0.8%
On armor with penetration64.3%73059.5%782-4.7%+7.1%
To a screen/module without penetration29.0%3837.7%71-21.3%-81.5%
To a screen/module with penetration2.2%61129.7%773+27.4%+26.5%
Total (adjusted*)612620+1.3%
Total (complex**)+0.2%
Leopard 1
On armor without penetration19.9%33914.7%317-5.2%-6.5%
On armor with penetration48.6%78653.9%841+5.3%+7.0%
To a screen/module without penetration31.5%44210.0%193-21.6%-56.3%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%021.4%944+21.4%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)589615+4.4%
Total (complex**)+0.45%

* The results have been adjusted considering the specifics of the test environment (in particular, considering the increased percentage of special shells are used during tests).
** Assessed influence of the changes in the received HE damage on the vehicle's ecosystem as a whole. It has been taken into account HE damage is only a small part of the damage taken from all shell types. The assessment is based on the assumption players will use HE shells more often, but the percentage of using special shells will remain the same.

The reworked HE shells do affect lightly armored vehicles. However, even in the worst scenario and with the maximum number of shots using special HE shells, the total amount of damage to such vehicles will hardly change and will not significantly affect their overall performance.

Interaction with HE Shells: Light Tanks

Another concern relates to changes in the gameplay of light tanks. According to some of your feedback, it will be more difficult to play in these vehicles, because now, when opposing each other, they will use HE shells all the time, ignoring other shell types.

However, tests have shown we can expect a different outcome. Players in light tanks keep actively using all available shell types against each other. Check it out.

ussrXr132 vnii 100lt iconT-100 LT60.1%32.8%7.1%
usaXXM551 Sheridan23.6%68.2%8.2%
franceXf108 panhard ebr 105 iconPanhard EBR 10530.6%46.6%22.8%
ukXgb100 manticore iconManticore25.4%64.0%10.6%
franceXAMX 13 10554.9%41.1%4.0%
germanyXg125 spz 57 rh iconRheinmetall Panzerwagen42.1%22.8%35.1%

The combat effectiveness of light tanks remained at the same level, which is confirmed by the data in the tables below.

T-100 LT 
On armor without penetration26.3%28424.2%238-2.2%-16.2%
On armor with penetration41.7%64246.0%670+4.4%+4.4%
To a screen/module without penetration32.0%35614.6%109-17.4%-69.4%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%75815.2%697+15.2%-8.0%
Total (adjusted*)456432-5.3%
Total (complex**)-0.78%
XM551 Sheridan
On armor without penetration1.1%3171.1%381+-0.0%+20.2%
On armor with penetration22.1%68722.5%720+-0.4%+4.8%
To a screen/module without penetration76.8%35410.3%145-66.5%-59.0%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%066.1%665+66.1%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)427560+31.1%
Total (complex**)+4.89%
On armor without penetration5.3%2775.2%345-0.1%+24.5%
On armor with penetration63.8%54163.1%577-0.7%+6.7%
To a screen/module without penetration30.8%28911.4%90-19.5%-68.9%
To a screen/module with penetration0.0%020.3%638+20.3%+100.0%
Total (adjusted*)449413-8.0%
Total (complex**)-1.23%
The results have been adjusted considering the specifics of the test environment (in particular, considering the increased percentage of special shells used during tests).
** Assessed influence of the changes in the received HE damage on the vehicle's ecosystem as a whole. It has been taken into account HE damage is only a small part of the damage taken from all shell types. The assessment is based on the assumption players will use HE shells more often, but the percentage of using special shells will remain the same.

In the Sandbox test environment, when you have enough resources, the choice of a particular shell type is determined by its effectiveness, your preferences and willingness to test new mechanics. Despite all these factors, players in light tanks kept using different shell types. HE shells did not become a priority ammunition for them, so the number of shots and the amount of HE damage caused by light tanks increased insignificantly. In different combat situations, all shells show different performance, and HE shells are not ultimately effective against poorly armored light tanks. Following the test results, there is no reason to make changes to their technical characteristics, but in the future, we will keep monitoring the distribution of the shell types used.

Summarizing the test results for the reworked HE shells, we should emphasize once again the entire ecosystem of World of Tanks works correctly but we will monitor its state after the release, making pin-point adjustments to the balance in all situations. We need more time to fully assess the influence of new mechanics on the game's ecosystem and make the appropriate adjustments, if necessary.

Three Shell Types for SPGs: Test Results

Let's talk about SPGs. The SPG class has always been a hot topic in our community, and both supporters and critics of the SPG class were very interested in the changes we proposed during the two tests.

During the joint test, SPG players were actively using all three shell types available to them. However, after adjusting shell parameters, distribution by the number of fired shots slightly changed. This indicates to us the adjustments were correct and had the desired effect.

sandbox spg 2021 results 916x548 en

At the moment, we are satisfied with the role of situational tactical ammunition, which is performed by the armor-piercing shells of SPGs. In general, the achieved battle performance and demand by players is close to the target level. Nevertheless, we are thinking about making small changes to their technical characteristics to adjust their combat performance more accurately. More on this below.

We also see tactical AP shells are less popular than HE shells for vehicles featuring high damage per shot. This is because it is harder to hit a target for SPGs like the G.W. E 100T92 HMC, and the Conqueror Gun Carriage, so the rewards for accurate shots in these vehicles should be appropriate. During the previous iterations, damage caused with AP shells of these SPGs did not match the efforts you applied. Therefore, we decided to slightly increase the damage per shot for AP shells of these particular vehicles. Below are the damage increase values for these 3 Tier X SPGs.

germanyXg61 g e iconG.W. E 100570640
usaXa38 t92 iconT92 HMC650750
ukXgb31 conqueror gun iconConqueror Gun Carriage620720

Now let's take a closer look at the demand for each of the three shell types during the joint Sandbox test.

  • Standard shell. According to statistics, this is the most popular shell type—it is easy to use, and can stun and cause damage at the same time, even to several opponents at once. The high demand for the standard shell was also influenced by its high-angle travel trajectory—the most convenient among all shell types.
  • Alternative shell. Another popular shell type It was in constant demand during all tests And, although it causes no stun and has a relatively small burst radius, you noted the high effectiveness of this shell type in battle thanks to its good armor penetration and higher damage per shot values. SPG players chose the alternative HE shell in situations when it was necessary to hit for sure and cause significant damage. After the first test, we made the travel trajectory of the alternative shell more comfortable, but at the same time reduced its damage per shot and armor penetration values. The goal was achieved and you began to use this shell type more often, while at the same time its battle performance was no longer excessive.

Standard and alternative shells are equivalent. There can be small fluctuations in terms of which shells were used more often for particular SPGs, but in general, the statistics do not show one of the shell types clearly dominates in terms of battle performance or popularity.

  • Tactical AP shell. After the first test, the performance of this shell type was lower than expected. To improve the situation, we increased its damage per shot and made the travel trajectory more comfortable for firing. As a result, the battle performance of AP shells increased. These changes did not affect the popularity of this shell type—AP shells remain a situational shell type that requires well-weighted choice and use.
We continue to collect data and will adjust the performance of AP shells in various ways, if necessary.

Also, the extended selection of ammo types for SPGs resulted in a decrease of the total stun duration for all vehicles in the game. The table below contains some data on the decreased stun duration. Several vehicles of different types are used as an example:

germanyXg42 maus iconMaus22.85.9
usaXa69 t110e5 iconT110E518.35.6
czechXcz04 t50 51 iconTVP T 50/518.83.0
japanXj16 st b1 iconSTB-113.64.3
ussrXr132 vnii 100lt iconT-100 LT6.92.2
Of course, Sandbox battles differ in nature from the regular server, but the reduction in stun is an indication to us we are headed in the right direction with this change.

Average Performance Ratios for Three Shell Types for Different SPGs

After the tests, we compared the performance of the new shell types for SPGs and carefully analyzed the average damage each of them causes.

sandbox spg 2021 results 916x962 en
For some vehicles, the performance indicators for all three shell types are quite close: Bat.-Châtillon 155 58 and Object 261, while for others they differ considerably: T92 HMC, G.W. E 100, and Conqueror Gun Carriage. We are completely satisfied with the situation for the vehicles of the first group, since we do not aim for absolutely equal performance indicators for all three shell types, provided they are in sufficient demand. However, the situation for the vehicles of the second group, in our opinion, needs to be adjusted, so after a separate test during the Supertest, we will try to adjust the performance of their shells.

We will keep monitoring the performance of other SPGs and we will make pin-point adjustments to their technical characteristics, if necessary. This will be our main focus for this vehicle type after testing is complete.

Features to Counteract SPGs

As for the features of counteracting SPGs and alerting players, Sound Detection (aka “Sixth Sense for Arty“) attracted the most attention during the tests. This mechanic affects the play behavior of both SPG and non-SPG players and takes a certain amount of time to master and get used to.

Sound Detection, as expected, turned out to be more effective for maneuverable vehicles, which can take maximum advantage of the time interval from the moment the “Sixth Sense for Arty” is triggered until the enemy shell hits. However, the feature turned out to be useful for slow vehicles as well. According to your feedback, this feature helped to reduce damage and stun time, and sometimes even enabled you to avoid them. In the surveys, “Sixth Sense for Arty” won approval—it was recognized by both SPG and non-SPG commanders as a good change.

You shared positive feedback regarding the brighter shell tracers as well. You appreciated the tracers did not draw too much attention and did not distract from what was happening on the battlefield. At the same time, the information the tracers provide can be effectively used when planning your actions.

You also reacted positively to the display of SPG hits on the minimap. During the tests, non-SPG commanders noted this feature helped in planning their tactics in battle and allowed them to count the cooldowns of enemy SPGs. This resulted in commanders acting more effectively in battle.

Further Steps

Finally, once again we would like to express our gratitude to all active players who helped us test these changes of high importance for the game. Together, we have come a long way and received a high-quality result. The new mechanics work, solve problems we set out to solve, and have your support—this is the opinion expressed by the majority of test participants and confirmed by statistics and survey results.

The next step is to test the new mechanics during the Common Tests of Update 1.13 that will be released soon. Note once again vehicles that use the HE shell as standard ammo are being tested in Supertest—they will be available with the adjusted technical characteristics at the first Common Test.

Stay tuned for more news!

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