[Suggestion] AP, HEAT, and Tank Armor Improvements

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by ColonelChingles, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. ColonelChingles

    An idea just crossed my mind...

    Pretty much after the one-sided HEAT/HE nerfs back in August, HEAT is fairly lackluster. Doesn't have much of a role. Usually it's used in most MBTs because it's the default option and Lightnings rarely use HEAT at all. The average Vanguard HEAT BR is 45 compared to the BR75 for AP, and for the Lightning the HEAT cannon is the second least used weapon (the least used of all being the HE cannon, which is redundant due to the default Viper).

    Now sure, HEAT is supposed to be the newbie-friendly generalist weapon. But it can't be called that anymore. The August nerfs made it impossible to OHK infantry with splash, meaning that in many cases a direct hit is required. Of course the AP cannon makes direct hits easier as it has a better muzzle velocity and a flatter arc... again negating any "generalist" characteristics of the HEAT shell.

    So what to do?

    Give HEAT a newbie-friendly role in AT warfare!

    See, in most cases you blow up tanks through one of two ways: kinetic or chemical energy. Kinetic energy is simply throwing something really heavy really fast at a tank and hoping that the tank armor is penetrated. AP rounds work this way and is why AP rounds are slightly faster than their counterparts.

    On the other hand chemical energy means causing a big enough explosion or high enough temperature (usually through an explosion) to defeat tank armor. HE and HEAT work like this. You can see the differences in the diagram below.


    Now you might say, "hey Colonel, who cares? The tank is dead either way, right?" And you might have a point. But the take away is this:

    AP shells rely on speed, while HEAT shells do not.
    All tank shells get slower in flight due to air resistance.

    So hypothetically if I was shooting AP rounds, the further the target was away the less damage my shell would do. This is because AP shells rely on velocity to do damage, and velocity decreases over time and distance.

    But if I were shooting HEAT shells, they would do the same damage (roughly) no matter how close or how far I was from my target. This is because HEAT shells would rely on the explosive payload, which does not change with distance.

    In PS2 terms, the suggestion is simple.

    Give AP shells damage decrease over distance.

    This means that while AP might be better for anti-tank work at close to medium distances, at a certain point the damage drop-off would favor HEAT. It's not a complete advantage because AP would still have the velocity/arc benefit, but at least HEAT becomes a niche weapon on its own.

    Now this isn't a difficult change... because plenty of weapons in PS2 already have damage drop-off over range! The mechanics are already there... they just need to be applied to the AP cannon.

    This change is also good for both newbies and veteran tankers. For new players, it is nice because HEAT is still an easy-to-learn consistent weapon. It always does the same damage at all ranges.

    For veteran tankers, it makes the game more complex. First, in the pre-combat phase tankers would have to guess the sorts of engagements they might meet (short or long range tank fights) and pick either AP or HEAT based on that prediction. This rewards tactical skill, like how infantry need to pick between CQB shotguns and long-range DMRs. Second, in the combat phase tankers would have to use their weapons at their optimum ranges and maneuver to the advantage. AP tanks would need to close-in with their prey, while HEAT tanks would try to maintain distance to their targets. Not only that, but identifying enemy equipment would also be an important skill.

    Overall AP would still be the weapon of choice for tank hunters... but this change would certainly shake up tanking! :D
    • Up x 2
  2. Iridar51

    Interesting, but I have a simpler idea how to solve this issue: just normalize velocity across all cannons.

    I don't think there's any mention of AP rounds being sub-caliber rounds, and they're too slow for them to realistically be that, anyway. So the fact that AP rounds are more effective against vehicles is pretty much explained by nanites. In that case, might as well give all cannons the same velocity.

    So they'll be equally easy / hard to get a direct hit with against infantry, but then the cannon's specialty will come in play. HEAT will have some splash, AP will do bonus damage to vehicles, HE will have even more splash, but reduced damage to vehicles.

    I think of all the tank-related ideas, this is the easiest to implement, and it even makes sense from the "realistic" perspective: if all the tank rounds are of the same size and the same gunpowder charge, and only have different payload, it would make sense for them to have same velocity and trajectory.
    • Up x 1
  3. ColonelChingles

    It's not mentioned, but the AP projectile models do indeed show that they are sub-caliber saboted KEPs:



    I did the math once and if a 120mm Prowler AP shell had the same energy as a 21st century 120mm AP shell, the Prowler's AP projectile would weigh about the same as a baby elephant. :p

    But since buffing tank shell velocities to IRL speeds is out of the question... :(

    Anyhow, because it does seem like the tank shells are all of fairly different constructions, I'm not sure the simple change of reducing AP velocity really fits.

    Plus that would just seem like yet another tank nerf! ;)
  4. SanPelicano

    1. So its an AP nerfcall.
    2. PS 2 is still a game, not a simulator.
    3. VS dont use regular shells. We dont know about air resistances and mechanics of VS weaponary.
    4. Nowdays AP rounds, -like this- effective range is more than 3000 m. Ingame render distance is around 700 m. Not to mention we are in the far future ... What are we talking about?
    If you bring up RL examples, I dont get why we should decrease the AP damage...
    5. This does not reward the tactical skill cuz unlike an infantry, the tanker cant change the tank's loadout dinamicaly on terminals..
    Soo Combat phase whould be a boring camp fest.
    6. I dont want to shake up tanking.

    7. Give ZOE to Magrider..
    • Up x 1
  5. ColonelChingles

    Perhaps I should have added that AP damage would probably be increased at close range (up to 200m)... be where it is now at medium range (200-300m)... and be surpassed by HEAT at long range (beyond 300m).

    Those are just off the top of my head numbers. But roughly the idea.

    Even at the minimum damage though it would still be capable of OHKing infantry. :D
    • Up x 1
  6. Iridar51

    Should we really allow model design that you can barely even see in game to impede us from making beneficial and logical changes? If that's such an issue, they can just change the AP round model to match the other two.
    Well I didn't say "reduce velocity to match". It could be "increased to match", or "meet at middle ground". I leave the choice to people qualified to make the call.

    The logic is simple - if there's a controversial choice, remove the thing that makes the choice controversial. In this case, it's velocity difference.

    People looking for an AI cannon have to choose from AP, which is easier to score a direct hit with, or HEAT/HE, which have some splash, but harder to score a direct hit and less effective against vehicles. It's weird, controversial choice, and adding damage fall off mechanic to AP round won't change it.

    It would just make the choice of cannon for tank hunters less straightforward. It's not a bad idea, just doesn't solve the issue.
    • Up x 2
  7. Pikachu

    I'm sure everyone who thought about changing the relationship between the cannons and have a little knowledge about tank ammo types have thought of this idea. I suspect most player would pick HEAT because tanks shooting each other mostly happens at long range.
    • Up x 1
  8. ronjahn

    I'm not sure how I feel about reducing AP effectiveness at range considering you choose AP to be the most effective against vehicles, while theoretically sacraficing AI potential.

    The suggestion to normalize all tank shell velocity is a bit shallow. Iridar, as someone who has always been anti-tank, would you really want HE shells to have AP like velocity? This would only make HE farming easier.

    I'm going to make the suggestion of returning to pre "lethality change" tank cannons. I know reverting changes isn't something this company really does, but IMO if it ain't broken it doesn't need to be fixed. Pre-"lethality change" tank cannons were extremely balanced. Each cannon had its advantages and disadvantages and there was enough balance that we saw fairly equal usage between all cannons.

    The "changes" we're unwarranted and since phase 2(lolololololol I think DGC/SOE needs to look up the definition of what a phase is) was never implemented, there's really no harm in going back.
    • Up x 4
  9. Pelojian

    If we can't get the lethality nerf undone i think a better solution would be to normalize HE and HEAT only per tank, raise HE velocity and trim down HEAT velocity so they meet in the middle and are the same.

    would make swapping on need a third less complicated you would only have to adjust for swapping from AP <> HEAT/HE and not for every time when swappnig one type of cannon for another.
  10. repairtool6

    What id like for HEATH:

    Double (or tripple) its AOE Max dmg range. But NOT the damage, just the range.

    So still direct hit for kill (AP still better for this) and no 1-shot splash kill (HE still better for this). But WAY better AOE - WAY better 2-shot splash kill potential.

    This way HEATH would have that true middel ground role.
    It would work more like a sniper not focusing on difficult headshots but rather going for that 2 easy bodyshots. If that makes sense
    • Up x 1
  11. ColonelChingles

    What really prompted this idea to differentiate AP and HEAT was actually the tank battle that was part of the Battle of Kursk in WWII.

    There the undergunned T-34/76s with their 76mm cannon would definitely have difficulty with dealing with German tanks who were superior at range. The Russian solution? To do a massive tank charge and close the distance until their shells could find softer parts.

    In PS2 this would be like finding yourself coming under sniper fire and evading the sniper, all the while closing that distance. And of course finally popping out of cover and shotgunning that sniper in the face. I think this would add another degree of tactics to tank battles, which largely occur now as you put it... sniping and withdrawing at long range.

    Of course this would be the logical solution to differentiating the tank cannon (because we didn't have this issue with AP cannon being the favored cannon back when HE/HEAT were actually still effective AI tools), but we all know that Infantryside is anything but logical. ;)


    As you can see, prior to the unwarranted HE/HEAT nerfs HEAT was actually more popular than AP. There were actual reasons to take HEAT. But almost instantly this flipped around and AP became the dominant choice for tankers. If you looked at the data for today, you'd see that the margin between AP and HEAT has widened even more, with it almost being a 2:1 ratio. And this isn't taking into account that HEAT is the default weapon!

    So yea. Reverting the tank HE/HEAT nerfs would definitely fix this problem. Arguably even before the nerf HE was incredibly underused and required massive AI buffs to bring it in-line with AP/HEAT usage.

    But Infantryside, as always, had their own myopic view of the game. Sigh.
  12. AlterEgo

    *To clarify, genius. Pure, untouched, unmolested genius. Although, I believe HEAT can also use a SLIGHT splash radius increase. As in, it should be able to indirectly OHK infantry, but the shell must have landed near them to do so. HE will still be better in that department, although I would love the HEAT's armor capabilities you mentioned. Awesome idea, man!
    • Up x 2
  13. ColonelChingles

    You know... I think that the Magrider could use some interesting effects as well. Partly because as you've pointed out it does rely on a different basis than conventional tank shells, and partly because the VS are supposed to be cool and alien-y anyhow.

    What we know about plasma is that it needs to be constantly energized or it quickly dissipates. This is why the plasma in plasma TVs and neon lights doesn't last forever; instead when the energy is cut those things dim (rather quickly) until they finally go out.

    On that basis, the VS's plasma-based tank cannon, no matter the type, should all have a damage drop-off at range. The energy of their shots is highest when just leaving the cannon (presumed to be the source of the energy), but drops off as the plasma deenergizes and instead reverts back to whatever gas it naturally was.

    But as a flip side, VS shots should have very little drop because plasma is not very dense. It also would do more significant damage at closer range than NC or TR options.

    This would transform the Magrider into a true spider-tank that relies on stealth and overcoming normally impassable obstacles to get close with enemy tanks. The closer-range rapid-fire Saron would mesh well with this, as would the Magrider's fixed-cannon ambush layout.
    • Up x 1
  14. AlterEgo

    Join the devs?
    What other awesome tank ideas do you have, my good Colonel?
  15. Taemien

    I like what Iridar suggested the most. But there are some good ideas in here.

    I'd like to see the OHK splash increased on HEAT and HE:

    HEAT 1m
    HE 2m

    In addition I would like to see damages normalized across the empires in terms of DPS with TR edging slightly ahead (due to having to land both shots at max firing rate to sustain said DPS).

    Next I'd like to see base changes that add destructible components that if destroyed makes it easier to attack or defend. These structures would have high resistance to infantry based weapons. Pretty much requiring tanks to tackle. These structures would have slight resistance to HE and AP weapons but not HEAT, giving HEAT a niche role and allowing newbie tankers to engage against bases right off the bat (minus the lightning).

    What all these changes do is get tanks away from the spawn rooms, engaging each other and base elements to dynamically alter the flow of the fight. It makes the infantry players happy as it gives tanks another target to shoot at, and gives them methods to avoid vehicles even if temporarily. It makes vehicle players happy as they get their weapons unnerfed.

    I'd even support the moving of the spawn rooms underground to avoid vehicles altogether, just so long as there is a target for the vehicles to hit that is meaningful.
  16. TrashMan

    I would propose that you tank can carry a different number of different shells.
    Something you specify in your loadout.

    Ever played WoT? Same thing.
    You can carry 50 AP rounds and 10 HE rounds and switch when necessary.
  17. ColonelChingles

    Sadly from a balance standpoint I don't think that would be allowed.

    In theory PS2 tanks are balanced between being a specialist and being a "jack of all trades". Specialists are good at either AV or AI work but poor at the other... and generalists are mediocre at everything. Again, in theory this creates a rock-paper-scissors element where a HE tank eats infantry, an AP tank eats HE tanks, and infantry eat AP tanks.

    But in practice it's broken for a number of reasons. Firstly HE/HEAT have been nerfed to the point where AP is better in most cases. Secondly infantry do not have to make the same sacrifice between AI and AV work... the HA class is excellent at both, as is the LA and Engineer. MAXes of course can carry two weapons at once. Only Infiltrators and Medics (even though the latter has C4) are poor against vehicles.

    So yeah. Might as well let tanks carry a mix of rounds. Everything else is unfair and unbalanced, so why not? :p

    Realistically speaking though, I do think it would be interesting to decouple the tank cannon from the tank shell. Let a tanker pick which of the three shell types that they'd want to carry... but also let them pick a tank cannon/barrel that itself has advantages and disadvantages. Including:

    Long Barrel- Increased shell velocity but increased reload time
    Stabilizer- Increased barrel stabilization and decreased recoil but increased reload time
    Muzzle Break- Decreased firing autospot radius but decreased damage and shell velocity
    Autoloader- Decreased reload time but decreased accuracy
    Rifled Barrel- Decreased shell arc but decreased shell velocity
    Howitzer- Increased cannon elevation and increased splash radius but decreased shell velocity and increased shell arc
    Burst Autoloader- Decreased reload time for 3 shots but significantly increased reload time after those three

    The only disadvantage I can see to that is that you can't look at an enemy tank and figure out if it's an AV or AI tank (though at this point it's safe to assume that 60%+ of all tanks are AV). Not much of a downside given the interesting combinations that you can unlock by decoupling tank cannon and shells! :)
    • Up x 1
  18. TrashMan

    I think a lot of the problem with "tank effectivness" is that tank can't run out of ammo really.
    When you think about it, with customized shell, you are still making sacrifices - if you only have 10 HE shells, your AI potential is limited. Even moreso if you have a wrong shell in the barrel, and swithching shell types take longer than regular reload.

    If ammo sundies had themselves a limited amount of ammo and needed to run between ammo towers, that would create an interesting dynamic. ACTUAL supply lines!
    Actually running out of ammo!
    • Up x 1
  19. FateJH

    This runs into (what isn't) an over-arcing issue throughout the game - you can never choose not to resupply if you enter into radius of something that provides that service. Additionally, all ammunition is handled transparently, so the only times when it becomes a concern involves weapons with low magazines or low pools, the competitiveness of either option rarely ever being about how much ammunition one has available, however.
    This isn't the sort of thing you can just lay on top of the existing aspects of the game.
  20. FBVanu

    There are some well thought out ideas here.. however, I believe its all too complicated for DBG to wrap their heads around it.

    Another simple improvement would be to increase all shell velocities by 10-20%,
    increase splash radius of all shells by 50%
    increase splash damage of all shells by 25%

    That would still be very low, compared to the big Nerf Hammer from 2014.. and since we are not getting the infantry AV nerf that was supposed to happen.. this might help out a bit.

    This would give a good reason to choose HEAT over AP, the splash would again make it a different weapon.
    • Up x 1