With major work on the matchmaker and artillery out of the way, we are once again able to focus on building stronger national lines. Before we start explaining the balance tweaks vehicle by vehicle, let’s outline the overall approach we took with Tech Tree revision, its goals, and how we’re planning to achieve them.
Mirroring the same way we managed the German tanks earlier this year, we’ll be taking on a series of tanks in a national line and revising their combat parameters all at once. It should ensure Tech Trees stay coherent and provide a unique experience with definitive characteristics of vehicles classes within each nation. The changes we’ll be making in 9.20 and further down the line are designed to define and bring forward these unique gameplay attributes.
Update 9.20 goes through five nations—France, the U.S.A., the U.S.S.R, Germany and Japan. We’ve got a decent bit to cover and know you’re anxiously awaiting these details, so let’s get right to it!
As the game evolved, some Soviet tanks grew underwhelming, while the line’s expansion messed with the progression at higher tiers. Update 9.20 attempts to restore coherency throughout the Tech Tree with comprehensive changes to tank destroyers, medium, and heavy tanks:
The medium tank revision should cement their role as active MTs with strong turret armor through significant increases in frontal armor thickness. It will allow Soviet tanks to soak up damage with their turret while hiding the hull behind cover.
T-44, T-54 first prototype and the T-44-100
The T-44’s top turret received 200mm of effective armor on the turret front (previously 120–140mm) and up to 300mm of effective side armor, so it should no longer shy away from same-tier opponents and can march on after a duel with enemies of higher tiers. The T-54 first prototype and Т-44-100 had their top turrets bolstered in just the same way. In addition, the gun choices didn’t really give you a sense of diverse gameplay. So we went on to tweak the 100mm LB-1 and the122mm D-25-44 guns. The 122mm got a boost in fire rate and is now the alpha-brawling gun of choice.
The 100mm now has a better chance at making successful shots when firing on the move and while standing, thanks to improved stabilization and aiming time. It’ll shine in more careful mid-range engagements.
The intimidating Tier IX T-54 can put virtually any medium tank to shame. However, its tough and angular turret lost some of its value with time, and the T-54 doesn’t feel as good as it used to in mid- and long-distance engagements. We strengthened its turret armor (the area by the gun mantlet) to restore its confidence.
Also, the T-54’s top guns were revised to stress the difference in advancing from the T-54 to the T-62A or to the Object 140. The T-62A with its better aim and gun handling is unlocked with the 100mm D-54, which suits mid to long-range gameplay. The Object 140 is more mid- to close-range and thus is unlocked with the close-quarter combat style D-10T2S. We also took the opportunity to buff the turret to allow the T-54 to up its competitive ability.
The blend of decent speed, easy gun handling, and solid protection make the Tier X Object 140 extremely versatile—it can do anything from scouting to flanking. However, its weak turret roof is way too easy to overmatch and spoils an otherwise great picture. To fix it, we increased its turret roof armor thickness to the level of the T-62A. Note though, that vulnerable hatches remain. Be careful when you take the rebalanced Object140 for a stroll, or you may end up with a face full of AP real quick.
Although there are two lines of Soviet TDs, most players would play the one that leads to Object 268; and within that, a disproportional amount of people stop at the ISU-152 or go on to unlock the Tier 10 Object 268 and then never play it. It was clear that we needed to give a real reason to unlock and play the Object 268. To do that, we had to rebalance the ISU-152, and that was always going to be tricky. The solution was to keep the fearsome alpha of the ISU-152, but reduce its penetration compensating for it with added mobility and larger HP. This then allowed us to improve the Object 704 and ultimately get a better set of stats for the Object 268 at Tier X.
If you look at the ISU-152, it’s a great point-blank “boom” TD; the Object 704 is a lot like the ISU-152 but stronger, while the Object 268 looks somewhat lackluster in this trio. We needed the road to the Object 268 to make more sense and started by replacing its top BL-10 gun with the 152mm D-4S. It’s similar to the BL-10 in every parameter except for slightly lower penetration (260mm). It still allows the ISU-152 to be that “boom” TD, but it also gives us a little room to improve its armor. Aside from that, the ISU-152 will also lose some 122mm guns, which will make it easier to research its top gun.
The fearsome Object 704 (Tier IX) adds an alternative gun, the 152mm D-4S, while keeping the mighty BL-10 as its top option, bringing more versatility to its gameplay.
To make the Tier X a fitting reward for working all the way to the end of the line, we boosted its AP shell speed from 760m/s to 950m/s, while also bringing its gun depression on par with the Object 704. This should make it more efficient at hitting enemies at range and destroying moving targets.
Update 9.20 sets the course for the Soviet heavy tank revision with the rebalance of the IS-7. Poor gun handling and moderate accuracy made it unfeasible for it to land a precise shot, especially on the move, and often left a player feeling outclassed by almost every other Tier X heavy tank. To give the IS-7 a much-needed leg-up, we reduced its aiming time, and dispersion on the move and from the turret. This should allow it to fully realize its firepower, while the 2,400 HP will ensure its longevity. Together, these changes are designed to stress the IS-7’s role as a close-range breakthrough vehicle that can effectively lead an attack.
Moving forward, we’ll be making a stronger distinction between the IS and KV lines. Our goal is bringing the KV lines back into relevance and cementing their role as powerful, well-protected damage dealers.
Once great, the French line is now a shadow of its former self: its TDs have been crippled to the point that no one wants to unlock them, while the АМХ 30 and AMX 30 B play the same as the German Leopard 1 and Leopard Prototyp A. We attempt to bring it back to relevance with 9.20:
- We rebalanced Tier IX and X medium tanks so they play as mid-range sniper support, lending them a unique look and feel.
To let its TDs work wonders again, we leaned into what the French line likes to do and gave them autoloaders that matter. We also fixed the imbalance in mobility and the inconsistency with their armor and weak spots.
АМХ 30 and AMX 30 B
The АМХ 30 and AMX 30 B getting more resilient thanks to significantly reinforced turret armor and can leverage uneven terrain to pick off enemies. Be mindful that the hull stays thin and vulnerable to enemy shells. The two also receive better gun stabilization, which, paired with their decent speed and maneuverability, lets them move across the battlefield quickly and bring their guns to places they are needed. Regarding guns, the АМХ30 and AMX30B now sport the best damage per minute of all medium tanks. So you can get the jump on your enemies, shell out large damage, and duck back behind cover. To make them most efficient at mid-range, we slightly reduced their accuracy and penetration with AP shells.
We wanted to make autoloaders a signature feature of Tier VIII–X French TDs, so we added an autoloader for the AMX AC mle. 48 and AMX 50 Foch.
AMX AC mle. 48 and AMX 50 Foch
The AMX 50 Foch (Tier IX) gets a four-round 120mm autoloader gun with an average alpha damage of 400. The AMX AC mle. 48 now packs a three-round 120mm autoloader with the same 400 average alpha. Furthermore, the two TDs now sport side armor thick enough to bounce enemy shells. The AMX AC mle. 48 also benefits from a slight boost in mobility, while the AMX 50 Foch gets its mobility reduced a bit.
AMX 50 Foch (155)
If you think of the AMX 50 Foch (155), this one is definitely a keeper. Although it developed a few weaknesses over the years and pales in comparison to other top-tier TDs, it can be seen rolling down the battlefields every once in while. At the same, following the tweaks to Tiers VIII–IX, this TD became unfit for the top Tier, which created a dilemma. Many players in the community have a soft spot for the AMX 50 Foch (155) and removing it from the game would make no one happy. It took us a while, but we found a way out that should give the revised TD line a Tier X to match, and leave the good ol’ Foch (155) in the roster.
Starting in 9.20, the Foch (155) becomes a special vehicle, while a completely new TD; the AMX 50 Foch B, rolls out on Tier X. Basically, this newcomer is a revised version of the AMX 50 Foch (155), equipped with a six-round 120mm autoloader capable of dealing 400 alpha damage instead of the 155 gun. It is also reinforced with better side and front armor. Due to a low silhouette, the AMX 50 Foch (155) used to have fairly poor gun depression and elevation, limiting the tank’s usefulness. We increased both to boost its effectiveness on uneven terrain.
AMX 50 Foch B
Let’s explain some purely technical details of the transition:
- What’s with the AMX 50 Foch’s (155) combat parameters?
It benefits from the same set of improvements the new Tier X received (except for the gun; it retains the 155mm autoloader): its front and side armor got thicker and gun depression and elevation went up a few degrees.
- How can you get the AMX 50 Foch B and the AMX 50 Foch (155)?
If you researched and purchased the AMX 50 Foch (155), it remains in your Garage, changing its status to a special vehicle, and you also get the AMX 50 Foch B.
If you researched but haven’t purchased it just yet, you have until 9.20’s launch to do it.
Lastly, if you’re in the process of researching it, you have to hurry, as the AMX 50 Foch (155) won’t be available for purchase after 9.20.
- What stays on the AMX 50 Foch (155)?
It keeps its battle statistics, XP, achievements, medals, and marks of excellence.
- What gets transferred to the AMX 50 Foch B?
All customization items (camo, emblems, and inscriptions) go to the AMX 50 Foch B for their remaining duration. The AMX 50 Foch’s (155) Crew gets retrained for the AMX 50 Foch B. Since the AMX 50 Foch (155) has a special status, you can recruit a Crew from any French TD without penalty.
- What’s with rounds and equipment?
Shells were removed, but fear not; you’ll get the full amount of Credits they cost you credited to your account. Equipment gets de-mounted and moved to Storage, and you can use it on any other vehicle.
The AMX 50-100 sports superb mobility combined with impressive damage potential. However, it often fails to leverage these in combat due to a large profile and vulnerable hull armor. 9.20 bolsters the AMX 50-100’s durability and chances at making an impact with a noticeable improvement to gun depression. Now it can rain destruction from behind the hills, keeping its massive, poorly-protected hull safe from enemy shells.
M48A1 Patton and M46 Patton
The M48A1 Patton and M46 Patton are loved by veteran players. At one point, they dominated the battlefield. However, over time, they fell out of favor and survivability. The weakened turret wasn’t strong enough to reward good ridge and hill play. The cupola was also too easy to target. We gave them a new turret with a smaller cupola and better protection to make them a dangerous weapon in the hands of experts again.
The Japanese heavy line called for a refocus and rebalance from Tier V all the way to Tier X. We put balance and complementary gameplay styles at the center of design, tweaking its every vehicle with the only exception of the O-Ni. These changes should give the superheavies a feel of their own: more “break out and assault” in style with great frontal armor and two choices of gun styles.
The huge-for-Tier-V penetration with the 105mm gun made the O-I Exp. a one-shotting monster. We removed it, which should encourage players develop a more elaborate battle plan than peek-a-boom. Mobility takes a hit as well, but the tank receives a considerable addition to its frontal armor thickness. This should even the odds against higher tiers, bringing its gameplay more in line with the rest of the Japanese heavies.
If you ever crossed paths with the Tier VI O-I while playing a lower Tier, you should know how terribly difficult it was to break through its thick armor. Even flanking wouldn’t work. Update 9.20 cuts down on its rear armor thickness ramping up your chances at outflanking it.
Tank guns should offer an incremental benefit or a different play style. For example, the 10cm Experimental Tank Gun Kai was supposed to offer the O-Ho a faster firing gun with lower alpha than the 15cm. Going with the upgraded option, you benefited from 30 more damage and could punch through higher tier tanks, aiming carefully at weak spots. However, when the battle is raging you don't always have time to take careful aim and would rather use Premium ammo to damage a higher tier before this opportunity disappears. The O-Ho's 10cm gun didn't offer this choice—now it does.
Type 4 and Type 5 Heavy
The tweaks the Type 4 and Type 5 Heavy received back in 9.17.1 fared well—at least partially. Once sluggish and vulnerable to their peers, these tanks went away with a significantly thicker frontal plate which, together with a boost in firepower, carved them a spot among heavies. However, we admit we went a bit too far with the armor. These two have almost no weak spots on the front, which made them immune to damage from Tier VII–VIII vehicles. To restore the balance, we revised their frontal armor, adding several thinner areas (240–260mm for Tier X and 220–240mm for Tier IX).
8.8cm Pak 43 Jagdtiger
The fast-firing and accurate 8.8cm Pak 43 Jagdtiger used to disappoint in the mobility department, making it difficult to get the best out of it. When help was needed on the opposite flank, this TD couldn't cover the distance in time. We ramped up the 8.8cm Pak 43 Jagdtiger’s mobility, enabling it to reach the fight in enough time to be useful. This should create a more rewarding experience where you decide when to start racking up damage, instead of waiting for the enemy to close the distance.
The Tier IX Mäuschen doesn’t require any major balance tweaks, except one: it was proving to be frustrating in its standard configuration, so we gave it more mobility, making it more enjoyable to play. This should also streamline the progression down the Maus line.
The Maus returned to its position as the great damage-soaking fortress. However, in our eagerness to improve the tank we went a little too far with its damage output. We wanted to retain its powerhouse nature, while also shining a little spotlight on the E100. So we cut its HP pool and slowed down its reload speed. While this superheavy won’t deal as much damage as it used to, these changes shouldn’t affect its overall gameplay. It remains an armored fortress.
Join us on the forum to share your thoughts on these balance tweaks. We read your comments, even if we don’t respond right away, and will consider your requests as we continue working on 9.20.