Every online game gets a balance pass now and then — some big, some small. Judging by the volumes of text Obsidian Entertainment released today, it looks like Armored Warfare’s upcoming Balance 2.0 update fits squarely into the “large” category.
As the introductory post and video from Project Director Richard Taylor explain, Balance 2.0 will largely address power creep throughout the 10 tiers of tanks and seek to smooth out progression and make matches between tanks of different tiers more competitive. The simplest way to do this? To tie in damage to the caliber of the weapon, rather than just as something that grows as you get into higher-tier tanks. Hit points will also see lower scaling as tiers increase.
As a result of all the changes, some vehicles will be changed dramatically, and perhaps even change tiers and grouping, so there’s a plan in the works to compensate tank owners who may be dissatisfied with their tanks’ new stats or role. Changes will also be made to retrofits, ammunition, and other various mechanics; you can read all about them in the very detailed blog posts on the Balance 2.0 page on the Armored Warfare site.
One brief editorial comment: I’ve long groused about the queue times in Armored Warfare, sometimes taking as long as 10 minutes to find a match, and I’m sure the AW dev team is well aware of this issue. If this update does “squeeze” the tiers together a big more, say, allowing tier 3 tanks to be competitive against tier 8 tanks, it should do wonders to improve those queue times. And it speaks to the wider point I’ve been making for quite a while, that sharp vertical progression in online multiplayer games is more of a hindrance than a help, spreading out players and making it difficult to find friends (or foes, in PvP games like AW) to play with.
That said, especially in a game like Armored Warfare, getting a bigger and badder tank feels like it should represent a significant power increase, even more so than, say, leveling your mage in an MMORPG from 30 to 40. It’ll be interesting to see how the dev team handles this kind of change and whether they can keep the power fantasy of the game intact while making it more accessible to more players.