Combined Arms Initiative: Initial Balance Change Release Notes The following is an overview of the initial round of changes we’re releasing as a part of the Combined Arms Initiative. As mentioned in the dev diary, we want the vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infantry relationships to feel more enjoyable on both sides. To reach this goal, we’ve established a new baseline for vehicle balance and have completed our first round of changes, which focus primarily on tanks. Baseline Changes The new baseline is intended to be the starting point for vehicle balance going forward. Internally, the new baseline will improve tuning and iteration. Externally, while there will be a few inconsistencies and changes as a result of the new baseline, we’re trying not to change the status quo too much (at least with the first round of changes). Survivability of vehicles will increase in some aspects, damage numbers on almost every anti-vehicle weapon will change and some variance in vehicle combat will be removed or smoothed out. At its core, this new baseline involves changes to vehicle armor, resistances and health. So before we dive into the actual changes, it’s important to understand how Armor, Resistance and Health interact in our game. Armor Armor in PlanetSide 2 refers specifically to directional damage modifiers. The damage from an attack is increased or decreased based on the angle of the attacker in relation to their target. Currently tanks use this system by having stronger front armor and weaker rear armor. Resistances Resistances are a damage modifier based on the type of weapon. Tanks, for example, resist more damage from machine guns than they resist from anti-tank rockets. The old baseline was mainly tuned around resistances. Health Health is the amount of damage a vehicle can withstand before being destroyed. Health varies from vehicle to vehicle. These values have mostly gone unchanged since launch as resistances were used to do most of the heavy lifting. Armor Changes We’re moving away from innate armor resistances as a way to modify health pools, and instead align them more with their intended role of mitigating (or increasing) damage taken from specific directions. In addition, we’re reversing the way the system is set up. Instead of reducing damage from directions the vehicle is strong against, damage will be increased from directions the vehicle is weak against. With the old method, anti-vehicle weapons had to have their damage numbers inflated so that they could “beat” the armor mitigation and do the desired amount of damage. Reversing this allows for damage numbers on anti-vehicle weapons to be lower than they were before, which makes them easier to compare and better tuned against infantry. Most anti-vehicle weapon damage will be lowered to maintain the status quo in conjunction with the armor changes. There are some other factors that will increase survivability for vehicles described in detail further on. Details on weapon damage changes will be described for each weapon further down. Lightning/MBT Armor Front, top, and side armor for all tanks is changing to 0 (no modification to damage). The bottom and rear armor will change to -100, doubling the damage dealt. It can be thought of like a headshot, hit the rear of the tank for increased damage. This means that front, top, and side armor are all equivalent, which comes as a part of an overall survivability increase, and allows us to reduce some of the variance in tank in combat. Armor Certifications For the time being, Lightning and MBT reinforced armor certification lines have been disabled, but will likely be removed or replaced with additional resistance-specific cert lines similar to Flanker Armor’s anti-C4 resistance (currently on PTS,) or Mineguard’s Tank Mine resistance. Harasser / ANT/ Sunderer These vehicles were using blanket armor increases as a way to modify health pools, and as a part of the new baseline we’ve set the armor values to 0 for all sides. Health Changes Previously, armor and resistances were the main tuning knobs for vehicle toughness while health remained static. To accommodate the armor changes, increase survivability, and make resistance types more reusable, health is being adjusted and will be used as a tuning value more than it was before. Prowler and Magrider Health increased from 4000 to 5000. After the armor changes, this provides an increase in survivability. Vanguard Health increased from 4000 to 6000. An increased health pool is now what establishes Vanguard’s toughness compared to other vehicles. Previously, it had higher armor and resist values. In most cases, this means resist values will be identical to other main battle tanks. Lightning Health increased from 3000 to 4000. This is a bigger boost than MBTs are seeing (33% more health versus 25% more). Previously the Lightning had some strange resist and armor values, which led to some edge cases that made it tougher than it needed to be against certain weapons. Like the Vanguard, the Lightning will now share most of its resist values with main battle tanks. Harasser Health remains at 2500. However, composite armor is being changed to a health increase that brings its health to 3000. In most cases, this is a noticeable improvement over what it was previously. For example: It allows the Harasser to take an additional tank round before being destroyed. Sunderer / Ant Health remains at 4000. However, the Sunderer’s Blockade Armor is being changed to a 1000 health increase while the ANT’s Reinforced Armor adds 400 health. Resist values for these vehicles will now match the Lightning. ESF, Liberator, Valkyrie, Galaxy Currently the health values of these vehicles remain the same, though they have not received a full pass yet, and may see health and resistance changes in the future. Critical Damage State Across the board, vehicles will enter the critical damage state at 20% health. Previously this was between 10% and 18% depending on the vehicle. This offsets some of the health increase, makes the critical state more predictable, and adds a little more play around it. Resistance Changes Rounding off the armor and health changes are Resistances. A goal of this initiative is to reduce the amount of resistance types there are in the game (there are almost 50). The fewer resist types, the easier the system is to work with on the back end, and communicate to players through tooltips on the front end. So far we’ve eliminated over 25 resist types, with several more potential candidates. The weapons on those now-dead resist types have been rolled into the surviving resistance types. Another benefit of these changes is that vehicles can share resist type values more often. As described above, MBTs, Sunderers and Lightnings are now sharing resist values. The exact changes are too many to cover here; most information on this is described within other individual changes. Other Changes Before going into further details, there are a few other things being addressed across the board beyond the baseline changes: Vehicle Blast Normalization Blast damage is inconsistent on many weapons. As we make a pass on vehicle weapons, we’re also evaluating their blast damage and ranges. For many weapons with minor blasts, the inner radius is being set to 0.5 meters and the outer radius set to 3 meters. For weapons with a standard blast, inner radius is being set to 1 meter and outer to 5. In addition, the minimum damage from a blast is being set to 50 (and in a few edge cases 25). These changes are intended to create a more consistent experience for both the attacker and defender. Effective Ranges We want to ensure each weapon falls into its intended effective range and that the maximum effective range for long range weapons is around 200 meters. In this case, effective means that it’s able to deal damage reliably at that range. These intended ranges will be outlined in more detail below as we get into specifics. Primary Tank Weapons When it comes to tank versus tank combat, AP tank cannons are the only real choice as they do significantly more damage than HEAT or HE. No tank should immediately feel at a severe disadvantage in a tank battle because they chose a different primary weapon. We’re addressing this by reducing the TTK variance; HEAT and HE damage per second is being increased and will have nearly the same TTK as their AP counterpart. AP (Armor Piercing) AP will boast a higher velocity projectile and highest damage per shot, but that won’t drastically change time to kill or shots to kill. AP is the long range, high alpha strike option. HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) HEAT now has the fastest reload. This makes it more versatile and will have the highest damage over time, which won’t make much a difference in 1 on 1 fight, but making it a competitive option in prolonged or multi-target engagements. HE (High Explosive) With its damage becoming comparable to AP and its more lethal splash, the HE becomes a competitive close range option. At close range you won’t need the higher velocity of AP and then the choice becomes versatility against infantry with a more lethal blast or the versatility of HEATs quicker reload. In addition, HE is being renamed HESH (High Explosive Squash Head). This is mainly so it’s easier to differentiate HEAT and HE when referring to them. Faction Changes The Magrider needed a slight TTK improvement while the Prowler needed the opposite. They will be swapping reload advantages, the Magrider will reload faster, and the Prowler will reload slower. Range To ensure AP’s velocity benefit stands out and to reduce effective range slightly, velocity is being reduced to 200 meters per second and gravity increased to 5 in most cases. AP gains +50 meters per second and Vanguard weapons receive +25 meters per second as a faction trait.