Wargaming announced some changes they are testing in the sandbox server:
Changing shot dispersion so that shells are more likely to land toward the outside of the aim circle
"Shot distribution within the aiming circle. The revised mechanic has fewer shots clustered closer to its center. As a result, hitting weak spots at range is more difficult for the guns that have bad dispersion (0.4 or more), while aim time, armor, and gun stabilization become more important. Those who participated in the first Sandbox iteration will find the new solution is nearly the same as then, but this time, the perception of this change is unaffected by other significant changes surrounding it."
Drop in penetration over distance
"AP and APCR shells penetration values begin decreasing at 50m (not 100m) and they lose 18% and 23%, respectively, of their initial values at 500m. This should facilitate action-packed, close-range engagements and make armor thickness more relevant, while maneuvering in the enemy's sight becomes safer with distance. We tested a similar solution in the first iteration, and found it too radical. Now we’re testing reduced penetration falloff to see if it’s enough to make maneuvering and flanking safer, without disrupting the fun."
Changing the alpha damage for some guns
"At the same time, we’re increasing the damage of 120mm guns to the damage rating of the 122mm guns (at the moment, this minuscule difference in caliber results in a 10% reduction of damage: 400 vs. 440). Their reload time gets increased as well, to keep the DPM intact"
Decreased alpha damage for some guns
"Currently, vehicles with very high alpha damage (the JagdPz. E 100, FV 4005, or FV 215b (183)) foster artillery-like gameplay. We’ll try to fix it by reducing excessively high alpha damage of very high-caliber (170+mm) guns, while also improving their reloading time to keep the DPM unchanged."
A new stun effect that's revised and improved after last year’s Sandbox test
"Implements the ability to reduce the stun effect and lift it completely with consumables, which are now multi-use
Added stun indicators that should help both teams quickly assess the situation and adjust their battle plans"
Revised ammo loads and shell and combat parameters
"No AP and HEAT shells for SPGs
Decreased penetration and alpha damage for HE shells, while also improving their accuracy, dispersion on the move, aiming and reload time"
Increased blast radius and revised the damage falloff within it
Introduced target area marking so that SPGs can show friendly vehicles where they aim
New alternate aim for SPGs to make artillery gameplay more engaging and efficient
My thoughts on the "Changing shot dispersion so that shells are more likely to land toward the outside of the aim circle" part of the changes.
When you increase RNG it removes or reduces the effect of skill in the game. More battles determined by RNG thank skill. For example, many WGLNA players have stated one of the reasons World of Tanks is not taken seriously as an E-Sport compared to other games is because it has too much RNG and RNG can help determine the outcomes of the battle when teams and players have about equal skill. I've also had many personal experiences in World of Tanks where RNG had more of an effect on determining the outcome of the battle than player skill. World of Tanks needs less RNG not more RNG.
Making the shot dispersion worse will also have the following effects:
1. This will penalize tanks with low ammo count. They will miss more shots and be more likely to run out of ammo.
2. This will penalize tanks with a long aim time and penalize tanks with a longer reload time. Players playing tanks with a longer aim time will have to expose their tank more often to enemy fire because they will miss more shots. Players playing tanks with a longer reload time will also have to expose their tank more often to enemy fire because they will miss more shots.
3. It will increase player frustration. On the current live server, 4 and 5 skill crew tanks still have issues with hitting weak spots and also hitting stationary tanks at distance due to the current shot dispersion. Imagine how bad it will be when the shot dispersion is worse.
4. Increasing shot dispersion and RNG will cause more players to use more premium ammo. Players will have issues hitting what they aim at, so they will press that 2 key and hope that even if they miss where they aim they will penetrate the enemy tank's armor.
If the current sandbox shot dispersion goes live in World of Tanks, I'll quit playing World of Tanks. Its not worth the increased frustration and more battles being decided by RNG and less by skill.
My thoughts on "Changing the alpha damage for some guns"
I think that the reasoning behind the change was good. However, there was no necessary reason to make the change. Most 120mm tier 10 tank guns have better gun handling and accuracy than the tier 10 122mm guns. They make up for their reduced alpha damage with better gun handling and accuracy. If Wargaming changes the alpha damage of the tier 10 120mm guns, will they change all the lower tier 120mm guns also?
My thoughts on "Decreased alpha damage for some guns"
I have mixed feelings about this. Those TDs were unique in their ability to hold a part of the map due to fear from the enemy team. However they had long reload times that allowed players to get to the side and rear of the TD if the TD missed a shot. I personally had no issues with the high alpha damage TDs. Also those TDs would be punished the most with the increased shot dispersion due to their aim times and long reloads.
My thoughts on "A new stun effect that's revised and improved after last year’s Sandbox test"
I do like the idea of the reusable consumable. They work well in World of Warships. Its also nice for not only damage from arty, but also from other tanks. How often has it happened where you get tracked, repair your tracks, then the next shot damages your gun or engine? For the next 12 minutes you play with a damaged engine or damaged gun. With a reusable consumable you can repair it later.
I don't like the idea of arty shells doing both sun effect and damage at the same time. Arty needs to have more skill and less RNG involved in it. Wargaming should have a longer stun effect shell that does minimal damage and a shorter stun effect shell that does higher damage. That way arty players will have to make choices between shell types based on how long it will be until their team mates can do damage to the tank the arty hit. For example, if the enemy tank is not near a team mate's tank, shoot a higher damage shell that has a shorter stun effect to do more damage. If the enemy tank is near team mates' tanks, then use the longer stun shell so that more team mates can maneuver to have an opportunity to shoot the enemy tank.
My thoughts on "Revised ammo loads and shell and combat parameters"
I see both positives and negatives to removing AP and HEAT ammo from SPGs. The positive thing is you will see less tanks either being one shot or losing 90% of their HP due to someone getting lucky with RNG on a SPG. The negative part is that some SPGs are good because of their HEAT or AP ammo. For example, if the enemy team is camping in Japanese heavy tanks at mid tiers, one great counter to them is a M44 with HEAT ammo. Of course if Wargaming removes tier 6 clan wars from all servers and removes tier 6 clan wars from campaigns on all servers, then its not an issue.
I dislike the idea of improving arty accuracy. If artillery were any more accurate, then it would be too easy to hit the enemy tanks. Especially after the reload time buffs and aim time buffs.
The real problems with World of Tanks:
1. Player retention
New players playing through the first 4 or 5 tiers have a rough time. Wargaming does not offer any type of good tutorial to teach new players about the game mechanics. Also new players are often playing with sub 100% crews, which makes their low tier tanks perform even worse. Wargaming could fix that issue by offering either free or low cost 100% crews to new players for their first so many battles or until they reach a certain tier.
In addition to that, many players have left the game in the past 2 years on the NA server due to a variety of reasons including clan wars 2.0 and other policy changes.
2. The current RNG
The current RNG for damage and penetration has too much of a range. This allows fights between individual tanks and also battles to be determined by RNG too often.
For example, I've had several battles where my 13 90 fired multiple low rolls in a row which allowed an enemy tank to live and either destroy my tank or destroy an enemy tank. In one engagement, an enemy IS with under 875 HP fired at a team mate and I knew he had a long reload. The IS lived after I fired my 4 remaining shots into the IS. All 4 shots penetrated. All 4 shots were low rolls. All 4 shots did at least 10% less damage than they do on average. The IS lived with under 5 HP left. The IS fired at my 13 90 as I was escaping around a rock and ammo racked my 13 90, destroying the nearly full HP 13 90 in one shot. How was that battle determined by skill? That battle was determined by RNG and not by skill.
I've had other battles in both my E100 and ISU-152 where I fired 6 or 7 low damage rolls in a row. Those multiple low damage rolls in a row allowed enemy tanks to live with sub 100 HP left and destroy my team mates' tanks. That turned the tide of battle and allowed the enemy team to win. Again more battles determined by RNG.
3. Map design.
There are too many corridor maps with reduced flanking opportunities.
The lower the player skill, the more likely a player wants corridor maps. Look at the Valley in Lakeville. The players that go valley most often in Lakeville. The lower the player's win rate and the lower the player's damage per game, the more likely they are to go valley. They will even go valley in a slow top tier heavy with no gun depression instead of going city where their tank can be effective.
Key map positions are not arty safe
So many people state that if you got hit by arty, you weren't playing arty safe. Yet the map design in world of tanks does not allow players to be "arty safe" in most key positions that are important for winning parts of the map. Many other players have pointed this out before. Even if you are hugging a tall building or cliff, higher tier arty can still splash damage many tanks for 500+ damage.
Maps should be designed so that artillery has to relocate frequently to shoot wide areas of the map and not be designed so that artillery can sit in one spot and shoot wide areas of the map. This goes back to making artillery require more skill in World of Tanks.
4. Wargaming doesn't listen to the community
In general, Wargaming doesn't listen to the player community about issues with the game and what the players would like to see. In addition to that, Wargaming takes a long time to respond to the player community's requests.
For example, when clan wars 2.0 was being tested, many players expressed concerns with various parts of clan wars 2.0. The clan officers and players said clan wars 2.0 was not ready for release and had major issues. Wargaming released Clan Wars 2.0, despite the negative feedback. What happened on the NA server? Half the top 50 clans died off and the number of active players on during prime time dripped by over 20%.
Also, there is the issue with multi core support and SLI. The BigWorld game engine that World of Tanks uses has been listed as having the ability to support multiple threads and SLI for years. Yet SLI and Crossfire didn't work reliably and consistently in World of Tanks until recently. There is also the issue with multi core support. The game was not truly multi threaded until version 9.15. Before that, the game's performance was determined by the computer's single threaded performance more than the graphics card. Players with AMD processors often had 20-25% lower frame rates than players with Intel processors when they used the same graphics card. Players had been asking for years for multi core support. Yet Wargaming didn't release multi core support until 2016.
In addition to that, there were the issues with spotting mechanics. Tanks could drive across open areas at high speed and not get drawn regularity or not get drawn until they were almost all the way across the open area. Players complained about this issue for many years and it was not fixed until 2016.
Another example is with mods. There are many popular mods that have been around for many years. Yet Wargaming too years to integrate them into the game. How many years did it take to get a damage log in the game? How many years did ti take to get custom 6th sense sounds?
One more issue that players have with Wargaming is that inn the past 2 years, there have been over 35 tanks that have been offered for sale only in the premium shop and not in game for gold. Some players view that as an obvious money grab. Other players think that it devalues the already decreased gold won in clan wars and tournaments.
Some of the changes with the Sandbox are good. However, Wargaming is missing some pretty obvious issues with the game and not listening to the player community.