We have another round of questions and answers for you, with War Thunder producer Vyacheslav Bulannikov!
Q. Currently, the community has an active discussion regarding the Maus. Many players are upset that this tank will disappear from the regular research tree. A lot of questions about the possibility of obtaining it after the release of 1.91 because the information which we published in the devblog was that the vehicles which will be withdrawn and will become “event” vehicles. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
A. We are closely following this discussion, and we can clarify our position in detail. First is the fate of the "paper" or "project" vehicles. Such vehicles and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (Tiger 105, Panther II, Flakpanzer 341) will be hidden from the regular research tree and will remain on the accounts of any players who already have it. Also, players who have already started the research of these vehicles will be able to research it to the end and then purchase in the regular way with Silver Lions.
We don’t plan to return these vehicles to the game in any form, as it contradicts the very reason for their withdrawal from the game. So you do have a last chance to get these in the conventional way - just begin researching the vehicles before the next major update (1.91) which is planned to be released at the beginning of the Autumn.
In addition to the tanks that have already been announced, in order to replace the ones that are being withdrawn, in the future, others will be added to fill the gaps in the BR at this range.
Secondly, the Maus. The reason for the withdrawal from the main research tree is a bit different. The tank was added to the game as the required “top ranked” tank under the conditions where we limited the historical period of vehicles for the 1950’s. In this situation, we considered the introduction of the Maus justified because it made the German ground vehicles research tree competitive. However, with the expansion of the research tree and the addition of postwar main battle tanks, the German research tree received tanks comparable to the top ranked vehicles from other nations and perhaps even better in some aspects. On the other hand, the Maus has remained in a borderline condition and its balancing is complicated by the presence of almost all-round powerful cannon proof armouring, in terms of protection against calibre armour-piercing shells and on the other hand by low mobility.
Lowering the BR below its current level, as required by its statistics, is quite difficult, as a large number of its new enemies will not be able to penetrate it, while leaving it at the current BR means regular encounters with tanks with high mobility and shells that can penetrate its protection from any distance.
The Maus will be hidden and moved from the main research tree to the event and premium vehicle area, so the number of such vehicles in battles will be reduced which will probably allow us to balance it in the future more freely. We also plan to open it for research for a limited time in the future under the same conditions as we hid it. This will not happen often, but we do expect it to happen regularly, at least once a year. We don’t plan for Maus to appear on the War Thunder market; so the tank will remain researchable but under limited conditions.
Q. Do you have any plans to plug the significant gap in the Italian Ground tree between Br 4.3/7 and 6.0? There are quite a few examples of vehicles that could be used here.
A. Yes, we have plans to add some vehicles to this BR range.
Q. Some months after the introduction of Rank VII now, compression at BR 10.0 is extremely high to the point where many are becoming extremely frustrated with the situation. Whilst some tanks at 9.0-9.7 are ok, others suffer significantly. Is there any reason why even a BR 10.3 or 10.7 cannot be created?
A. The main reason for this is that we don’t consider "decompression" (increase in the spread of vehicles by rank) to be a positive phenomenon. One of the main features of the ground vehicles at the 6th and 7th ranks which allows us to easily implement it was the armour construction which is pretty similar for all such vehicles - narrow frontal protection with vulnerable areas and weakened sides and rear which can be penetrated even by cannons from the end of the 40's. It was this that allowed the admission of the vehicles of different production years in one battle.
The same feature is improving the conditions for matchmaking at high ranks: less players will be matched and the waiting time for the battle will be reduced.
A slight expansion of the BRs up to 10.7 would first reduce the number of unique vehicles in battles at the top ranks by times two(!), make the battles less diverse and create a situation in which the value of the armour would be minimized, because basically there would be vehicles with shells that will cope even with the opponent's frontal armour. At the same time, for tanks that are 1-2 generations post-war, nothing much will change because it isn’t possible to significantly expand the BR range (due to the limitations on the game session matchmaking time) and pre-top vehicles, like the Leopard 2A4 or the T-64, would still have no problems defeating tanks from previous generations.
We would like to remind you once again. BR isn’t a characteristics by which you can compare the effectiveness of the vehicle, because ground vehicles and aircraft with the same BR aren't necessarily equal to each other, but it simply means that they can meet each other in the same battle and will have a chance to win.
In general, the current BR ranges are suitable for effective balancing and addition of the new stages can only occur in an emergency, which of course means we don’t rule out such a situation occurring.
Q. Have there been any tests or experiments with a Ground Forces enduring confrontation game mode? Lots of players would like to see larger maps and a battle like Kursk for example would provide significant space to expand and operate a truly large scale ground war.
A. We are currently working on naval game modes, some of which include those similar to “Enduring Confrontation” because we believe that such game modes are more suitable for combined naval-aircraft battles. Perhaps in the future we will try something similar to this for ground vehicles.
Q. Does the game have complete shell destruction mechanics? As it is known the APCR/APDS shells crumbling into pieces when hitting the target and piercing it and hitting various elements and modules. In our game APCRs are not destructing and don’t lose speed that contributes to the penetration from front to rear, whilst at the same time still destroying 1-2 tanks if they were in the trajectory of the shell.
A. Yes, there is. APCR/APDS shells will be destroyed by impact with a certain thickness and at a certain impact speed so that even thin-walled screens can become insurmountable for such shells. For calibre AP shells and APDSFS, the reduction of armour penetration and damage is already working for each passed obstacle. However for now in the game the internal modules like breech, engine and transmission will be emulated quite simply.
Actually there are just two parameters: the thickness of the covering to deal damage to the module itself and the "size" of the module which is equal to the thickness protecting from penetration.
We plan to improve these mechanics, we want to use the mechanics of “volumetric” armour also for internal modules so that their equivalent size will depend on the trajectory of the shell. This solution will reduce the number of punch through holes of the entire tank in some situations and shift the point at which secondary fragments fly out to the exit point which will also make the model more realistic. For example if the shell now has enough energy to penetrate through the breech, the secondary fragments will form from the point of impact, so the shrapnel cone will cover almost the entire crew compartment, but in the new system the secondary fragments will be on the other side of the breech ring of the gun and all of them will hit the rear wall of the turret, leaving the crew unharmed.
Q. You are constantly adding modern vehicles to the game, but the gameplay is not very different from the vehicles of the late 40's. Is it planned to implement modern tank mechanics like thermal imaging or a system of laser designation, etc?
A. First of all, we can not fully agree with this statement. The gameplay difference is noticeable: battles at high speeds and at distant ranges, shooting on the move, the features of protection of modern main battle tanks, helicopters, ATGMs and SAMs. Also we shouldn’t forget the smoke screen systems which are actually part of a dynamic protection system. So the game has already quite a lot of mechanics of modern tanks but we additionally do plan to add more new equipment. Watch out for our official news, announcements and devblogs!
Q. Is it possible to add more armoured vehicles and armoured trucks to the higher ranks? Like Humvees, buggies, UAZs, Toyotas, etc., which historically carried weapons capable of hitting armoured vehicles?
A. Yes, and we already have some vehicles of this type in development.
Q. Why did you refuse to develop additional tank armour (sandbags, tracks, etc.)? This is an excellent customization, historical aspect and additional protection. Is the development of such features even planned (in the form of a modification which gives additional protection, for example)?
A. We never refused. We regularly add the vehicles into the game where you can install additional protection, and there will be more.
Q. Why are repair costs for strategic heavy bombers like the B-29 and Tu-4 so high? The B-29 now has a repair cost of over 60,000 Silver Lions once upgraded, it's impossible to fly these aircraft without huge economic losses as they are easy targets.
A. This situation appears because of the special gameplay involved in heavy bombers and the application of general economy rules to them in the game. It means that players who understand how to use these vehicles and use them for their intended purpose can receive significant amounts of silver lions for one successful fly out. The algorithm of distribution of economy indicators regulates the situation in general by compensating for the possible greater earnings in silver lions by increasing the price of repair. So the average heavy bombers still remain positive (on balance) but this is achieved by a significant amount of repair for those who are unlucky enough and also lose the vehicle. We understand the complexity of this situation and are working on changing of the algorithm for calculation in economy indicators for these aircraft. We plan to reduce the repair cost of bombers at the same time as the reduction of earnings in silver lions for some actions in battle.
Q. Recent tests in Aviation Realistic Battles Enduring Confrontation have proved significantly popular with pilots. It's fair to say this mode and the changes made, solve many of the issues people faced with the current “random battles” for Air RB such as lack of targets, dynamic objectives and variety in scenarios. Will you consider making Air RB EC a permanent mode rather than just a monthly test event?
A. No, we will not. It should be clear that it would mean dividing the overall online player count in aircraft in the RB game mode into two parts which would worsen the situation for matching.
Q. Are there any plans to remove jet exhaust flames? They are unhistorical for all jets without an afterburner but have been present on all jets since the very beginning. Now we have afterburner equipped jets, will you consider correcting this?
A. Yes, we have plans to rework the visual effect of the exhaust for turbojet engines.
Q. Will you consider implementing the Su-25 and the A-10 to the game? What are the chances of seeing these aircraft?
A. We have already answered this question earlier. Yes, we don’t exclude their appearance. The chances are good, although perhaps not with the entire arsenal of suspended weaponry.
Q. The “G” suits preventing pilots from losing consciousness when overloaded appeared in the late 40’s. Why can you not add such apparel as a researchable modification? Because almost every extreme change of direction causes the pilot to lose consciousness.
A. We already have such modifications in the game. If you have information about the usage of such equipment on the aircraft that already exists in the game, you can report it with the application of sources of information in a relevant topic on the forum and we will consider these suggestions and it is also possible that we will add them.
Q. Will there be any changes in the gameplay in aircraft RB? For example new targets for bombers and attackers: destroying a city or train. At the moment gameplay in bombers and attackers is monotonous, we need more different targets.
A. You need to understand that in aircraft RB (only aircraft and nothing else) the target will always will be AI, so the principal gameplay is unlikely to change much even if we will add a new types of targets. True diversity can be achieved when the attack target can pose a real danger to the attacking aircraft, or even better if it is controlled by another player. Try to use aircraft in combined battles: ground or naval. There you will find real gameplay variety of defeat of different targets, which makes it necessary to use different weapons depending on the situation.
Q. Will we ever see helicopters in naval battles? If yes, from which rank of the ships?
A. Helicopters in marine aviation play a very specific role, mainly it is anti-submarine warfare, scouting and target designation. For sure modern helicopters of marine aviation are able to carry anti-ship weapons like missiles but such weaponry require a separate research and we have not yet worked out this aspect of the battles at sea. In addition, the difference in the current ballistic missiles of ships and helicopters is too great, perhaps if War Thunder incorporates modern ships and helicopters, but so far there is no place for them in sea battles.
Q. Is it possible to reproduce the “shaking” when shooting from helicopters which historically did not have a stabilization system?
A. It should be taken into account that in most helicopter there was a separate gunner that did the gunnery and in the game everything should be done by a single man, that’s why we have to facilitate his work by simplifying some routine operations
Q. Are there any plans to add to the helicopter vehicle card such important parameter as the range of the ATGM?
A. Yes, this information should be added to the vehicle card. In addition, we have some ideas on how to refine the helicopters HUD - there is room for displaying the permitted launching range.
Q. Most Naval Battle maps progress into a situation where one team is spawn trapped by the other. Currently most maps have no barriers or protection for this. Do you have plans to introduce countermeasures? For example like how Airfields have AAA, naval spawns could have fortresses, artillery or floating gun barges with cannons.
A. This situation requires much deeper analysis. For example, my personal experience (BVV_d) differs from that described above, but perhaps this problem is peculiar to individual BR ranges or to individual locations (maps). Perhaps we can look at naval mines in addition to the AA cover on airfields and spawn protection we use in other modes.
Q. Is there any chance we will see day/night and weather differences that we saw during early CBT tests? For example heavy storm waves and dark battles too? It would help to break up gameplay particularly at higher tiers where the waves won't be too damaging for ships.
A. In fact, almost all the day times except absolute night will be used in naval battles. For recent events in aircraft locations we have used a stronger wave states of up to 4-5 points. Maybe we will expand these settings for random battles from a specific BR. However it should be taken into account that even at higher ranks it will be possible to use low-tonnage ships and boats and such conditions are not welcomed by all.
Q. Will we have historical events for Naval battles? Just to not play on the ship from WWII against ships from 60’s or even later?
A. Taking into account that the most powerful ships in the game are at the moment the mid WWII ships it isn’t looking like they are a problem for WWII ships. It means that the post-war ships, that we already have in the game, have medium-calibre rapid-fire artillery and can pose a threat to destroyers from WWII in specific conditions. But yes, we think that some scenarios from WWII can be presented in events from time to time.
Q. How does the presence or absence of torpedoes/bombs on board affect the dynamics of boats/destroyers/cruisers?
A. There is no effect at all. For larger vessels, this is too small a proportion of their weight.