With the numerous rebalances fresh off to production servers in Update 9.20, we’re just about done locking down another batch of changes scheduled for 9.20.1. This time, we’re examining the British Tech Tree, American light tanks, and the famed Chinese Type 59. Before we dive into today’s suite of to-be-tuned tanks, here’s a quick refresher as to why this is happening. The all-round Tech Tree revision is designed to revitalize vehicles that grew obsolete over the years. While doing so, we’re also establishing and/or strengthening the unique gameplay flavor of vehicles classes within each nation. Now, let’s dig into the details!
The British heavy bunch from Tier VIII onward are adequately balanced, but they feel like a weird collection of vehicles that just don’t belong together. We reshaped them into a coherent line built around the Conqueror’s gameplay. In short: you get universal heavies with powerful guns, reliable turret and hull armor, and a large margin of safety all the way up from the Caernarvon. Let’s take a closer look:
The Caernarvon raised many questions with its combination of heavy tank HP pool and mobility married to medium tank armour, low alpha, and an accurate gun. We gave it a new gun with reasonable alpha and thicker armor to turn it into a proper heavy at the cost of its two 20 pounders. To put it into perspective: there’s no need to hang back behind more heavily armored teammates supporting them. You’re a true heavy, so act like one: push the frontlines and engage enemies at close range. The Tier VIII Brit also had its top turret replaced with the better-armored Centurion 32-pdr and received some extra side protection to its hull. To compensate for improved survivability and firepower, we slightly decreased its mobility and maneuverability.
The Conqueror really doesn’t feel much like a heavy because of its armor. Update 9.20.1 turns it into an efficient assault heavy tank, boosting its overall protection big time. It can take a punch and stand up to top-tier TDs without getting crippled in a matter of seconds, while a powerful gun with impressive pen and alpha to match lets it spearhead the assault. It also benefits from a new top turret with spaced armor in its front part, while the current option becomes a stock turret. On top of that, we significantly changed the Conqueror’s gun roster, removing two 20 pounders and giving it a stock 32-pounder gun. To prevent it from turning into unstoppable force that rains destruction at long range, we toned down its mobility and rate of fire. Regardless of the boost to its hull and turret armor, it retains a thin lower plate and commander’s cupola.
The paper sniper FV215b with its rear-mounted turret isn’t everyone's cup of tea. It can shine in the hands of few, but feels lackluster unless you’ve mastered its ins and outs. Most importantly, it’s big a departure in playstyle from the well-armored multipurpose heavy tank mentality we designed for this line. That’s why it follows in the footsteps of the АМХ Foch (155), joining the ranks of special vehicles, while the all-new Super Conqueror takes the Tier X spot. And just like with the Tier X French TD, having a researched and purchased FV215b in your Garage when 9.20.1 goes live will grant you the Super Conqueror. The newcomer is a natural step-up from the Conqueror. Heavily armored, loaded with a powerful gun, and good at several roles, it deserves an overview of its own, which it will get closer to release. So stay tuned.
British medium tanks seem cutout for mid-range support. They pack a great mix of powerful guns, decent gun depression, view range and stabilization. Hide behind a hill, find an unaware enemy, and pincushion them with shells. Sounds like a snap—but wait, is it? Not really, as they lack turret armor to thrive in this role. Fairly thin, it would often leave you with a destroyed turret after a few accurate enemy shots, wondering what went wrong in that seemingly perfect plan.
To cement their role as mid-range beasts, we gave these Brits more turret armor up-front. Effective armor at Tiers VIII–X is now 240-mm or higher so they can exercise their support role, working ridges at the 2nd line without fear and giving enemies a “headache” by bouncing their shots.
Frequent negative comments on the FV 4202 pushed us to show it a little love, too. It gets stronger frontal turret armor. To tone down the criticism to its mobility, 9.20.1 also gives this vulture a much needed 650 h.p. engine, which should allow it to reach its maximum speed quicker, keep up with the medium tanks, and provide that deeper punch it’s notorious for.
The FV4005 Stage II and its brethren down the line are seldom seen on the battlefield. Difficult to master and in no way, shape or form 'mainstream,' these TDs trade armor for mobility and call for a steady (if not overly cautious) play style with little room for mistakes and daring moves. No wonder they often get overlooked. To bring the line back into relevance, we worked on the Challenger, Conway, and FV4005 Stage II, increasing their firepower and longevity, which should provide for a much more accessible experience. These changes are the result of player feedback (thank you!) and combing through game data.
Often played as a medium tank, the Challenger now has the guts to reclaim its place among conventional TDs and make damage dealing its primary focus. This Tier VII Brit can do some serious harm to the opposition thanks to a new gun with 280 alpha. Keep in mind, though, that impressive alpha comes with 120° gun traverse angles. Forget about rolling erratically across the map. Secure a favourable position instead and start crippling enemies, leveraging increased firepower and turret traverse speed.
The FV4004 Conway gets the B.L. 5.5-in. AT Gun capable of dishing out 600 alpha as an alternative gun. And with it comes more gameplay variety. You can build your tactics around DPM with the 120-mm L1A1 AT or get ready for the FV4005 Stage II gameplay wreaking huge alpha damage with the B.L. 5.5-in. AT Gun. Simply adding a new gun won’t suffice to revive the FV4004 Conway, so we also increased its mobility and gun depression. The latter is now set at -10°, boosting its potential on uneven terrain, with its main downside being the gun traverse limit of 180°. So there’s no need to turn the hull when aiming at the enemy’s front plate (which often resulted in being spotted). You no longer need to take a full aim after shooting either as the turret rotation dispersion is way lower than hull rotation one. Lastly, the turret traverse speed increased to 18°, which allows you to take your chances crippling an enemy, while staying unscathed up a bit.
With few strengths to wrest victory in challenging conditions, the FV4005 Stage II didn’t do anything good enough to give it a valuable roll at its tier. With 9.20.1 we patched its fatal weaknesses with several tweaks. Following a boost in mobility, it can retreat to safety and acquire favourable positions faster. Along with increased durability, the FV4005 Stage II gets easier gun handling thanks to a faster turret traverse speed, 180° gun traverse, and lowered dispersion from turret rotation. Finally, the gun depression of -10° lets it poke ridgelines without exposing its frail hull and turret, while the increased ammo load of 20 shells ramps up its chances at seriously damaging a target. Simply put, it has what it takes to last through a battle and help its teammates gain the upper hand.
If you wonder why we rushed past Tier VIII to cover changes to the Conway, just imagine the Charioteer with its 105-mm top gun. It’s adequate for everything you'll ask of it by default, once you know how to handle it. The only tweak its gets is improved gun depression, now set at -10°.
With the view range and mobility to potentially outspot an enemy, armor to withstand threatening targets, and camo values to remain hidden, Tier X light tanks excel at scouting, but are bereft of firepower to play at the same level as top-tier vehicles of other classes. Update 9.20.1 fixes it with a set of tweaks to gun handling, DPM, and alpha damage.
Insufficient firepower made it hard for the XM551 Sheridan to make an impact on maps where spotting is of little value. The top-tier American gets a bigger alpha for the105-mm Lightweight Gun with no changes to the reload speed. Simply put, it can deal even more damage per minute now, which should ramp up its chances against MTs.
The Rhm. Panzerwagen receives better gun stabilization and aiming time. As it takes less time to prepare for a shot, the odds of being spotted decrease, too, boosting the German’s survivability. We also ramped up its rate of fire to stress the Rhm.’s roles as a fast-firing, maneuverable sniper that thrives off DPM rather than trading alpha’s with the other side. Alpha damage went down to cement this role.
Small, sneaky and insanely fast, the T-100 LT is at its best when played as an active scout. However, it was nothing but another “you don't scare me” light tank in terms of firepower. We’re punching up its DPM to turn it into an active scout that can give as good as it gets.
If you look at French light tanks, scouting for the AMX 13 105 is no less important than damage dealing. We raised its alpha to stress this attribute and single out its firepower among the five Tier X LTs.
Finally, all five Tier X LTs (the Chinese WZ-132-1 included) get a bigger ammo load to ensure they can hammer enemies until the end of the battle.
Similar to the line of British heavies, the American LT branch gets reshuffled so that it unites vehicles that share key gameplay attributes. The line ending in the XM551 Sheridan now fits five LTs with traditionally reloading guns. The T71 gets renamed “T71 DA” and relocates itself to the mixed line of light, medium, and heavy tanks and frees a spot for a newcomer, the T71 CMCD. Modelled after the T71, it loses a magazine reload gun but has a few tweaks to its combat parameters to deliver a unique experience. The M41 Walker Bulldog stays, but bids farewell to its autoloader gun (76-mm Gun T91E5) that doesn’t fit the concept. Lastly, we also changed several connections between the two lines:
You’ve most definitely heard of it, many must have seen it in action, and the lucky few have this exceptional tank as the centerpiece of their collection. It’s in for a shot of adrenaline in 9.20.1, and you won’t want to miss it.
The Type 59 has been around for ages and hasn’t lost a bit of its unique flair. With the armor to bully tanks with less than 200-mm penetration, maneuverability to secure a spot it wants, and firepower to rain destruction (whether at a distance or close range), this Tier VIII medium tank can still turn heads when taken for a stroll on the battlefield. As potent as it is, it’s also rather demanding to play, and in 9.20.1 we’re answering your requests to ramp up its efficiency a little. At the end of the day, it’s a game; it should be all about enjoying yourself. To boost the fun factor, we improved its stabilization and cut down its aiming time. Shooting on the move and right after it stops takes far less time now.
Along with the Type 59, we also revised the 59-Patton, increasing its AP penetration from 190 mm to 212 mm. Will it prove a game-changer for this Tier VIII? The jury is out on this one; it all depends on how well you use it.
Finally, we revised the Т-34-3 armor bringing it on par with the Type 59 and tweaked its gun handling making it easier to take a good aim.
We have more to dig into and discuss about Update 9.20.1, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have questions or thoughts to share about balance changes, please join the discussion over on the forum.