Marty is an Officer in Aurora Draconis, and supplies deep analytical insight on the metagame on the Wiki Forum. We’ve asked him to contribute what we hope will be the first of many metagame assessments for MECH*SPECTRUM.
With each successive update of War Robots, the developers, Pixonic have administered changes to the properties of the weapons and robots in attempt to improve upon balance and viability.
Rather than press upon opinions of a single player, myself, I will be breaking down each of the changes into fact, analysis and comment. The comments are my perspective of the changes to the balance of the game and in no way reflects that of the player base in general.
Fact: With the 2.9.2 update the entirety of changes (according to release notes) have been weapons statistics only hence there has been no reported changes to the robots or the actual mechanics of the weapons.
A possible change in mechanics has been been a potential 250% increase of damage to armor with the use of ballistic weapons (Punisher, Molots, Kang Dae, etc) yet as of the 2.9.2 the addition of this mechanic has not been observed (as an iOS player on normal and test server).
Analysis: Everything still works the way they did, only to a different degree. Ballistic damage to Armor is yet to be seen although if it is included into the main update could be major shifts in certain robots viability.
Comment: As the bots and weapons function the same as before changes should only raise or reduce viability of particular weapons and bots to a smaller degree than a major change in weapon mechanics e.g. the firing and reload mechanic of Pins and Tulumbas mimicking that of the Orkan in Ver 2.8.
Calculations were made for the time to destroy armor at point blank range, from test server sessions, I experienced a much longer time to breach armor with punishers at point blank range and hence unable to comment on at 250% DPS to armor from experience.
Fact: The following weapons have been received a large increase in damage potential of 20-25%
–Tempest +20% damage.
–Molot MKII +20% damage.
–Gekko +25% damage increase.
–Punisher MKII +25% damage increase.
–Orkan +15% damage increase.
I’d like to include the Orkan to this category, as it’s increase of 15% in damage is the 2nd consecutive increase from ver. 2.8 raising it to over 132% the damage per shot of the same weapon in Ver. 2.7.
Weapons such as the Molot and Punisher have been for a long time relegated to a placeholder weapon for new players until they could afford more potent alternatives or as part of novel builds by more experienced players wishing to vary their style of play. Significant increases in damage potential may bring it back into contention for competitive use. It will narrow the margins between players that currently don’t have sustained fire weapons such as Tarans or Magnums. The Tempest is still not in widespread use in the main player base, the improvement and increase in viability will be similar to that of Molots, what it presents is an option of sustained midrange fire to the heavy weapon slot previously reserved for only for close-quarters battle (CQB) or long range.
The Orkan has always been a very effective close quarter weapon, in 2.8 even more so. With a compounded 15% increase from 2.8, Ver 2.9.2 have brought the CQB damage potential of this medium weapon closer to that of the Thunder.
The Gekko has seen a damage increase of 25%. Like the Orkan, this is the second successive increase in damage bringing it a full 50% higher damage per shot compared to the weapon in Ver 2.7. This is a major change for a weapon that was formerly used for harassment purposes only to a weapon requiring no consideration of range or target’s cover- unlike say the Nashorn or Trebuchet– as it can be engaged and disengaged with no downtime until depletion.
Orkans are now even deadlier, before Ver 2.8 once the magazines are depleted and a much slower sustained rate takes over it was no longer effective. Now, even in the slower rate, it is viable for destroying crippled bots. In defense against the Orkan there is now a big divide among bots that are fast enough to avoid Orkans and those that cannot. I feel it increases viability of faster Light bots as well as the Rogatka and to a lesser extent the Griffin, both already popular platforms.
The Gekko, as a weapon with a low skill ceiling and requiring little consideration for position and range control may become a problem to objective orientated gameplay i.e. beacon capping. It’s relatively low price and being an early event prize in two successive events, it is likely to see an upswing in adoption. Other than the bots that wield it the big winners here are the Gareth and Galahad which have seen a downturn in popularity since changes to the Pin and Tulumba in 2.8
With the Molot and Punisher, more power to the masses! With only requirements of Silver and time, the most accessible weapons have become significantly more powerful.
I think it’s a great thing to improve weapons anybody can access. Furthermore, with the 3s overate function and spread at range, the Punishers have perhaps the highest skill ceiling in the sustained fire close ranged weapons as there will be a need to maintain that higher rate of fire and closing in on the enemy yields for maximum effect.
Just how how effective are they? Here’s a what 2 or 3 can do.
Fact: The following weapons have been reported to have increased damage outputs, nothing was stated in their rate of fire officially.
–Punisher MKI 15% damage increase.
–Molot MKI 15% damage increase.
–Taran 15% damage increase.
–Hydra 15% damage increase.
–Spiral 15% damage increase.
Analysis: The Punisher and Molot are typically used to accompany their medium slot counterparts and hence the effectiveness of those builds will be further compounded. Classic builds like the Thunder/Punisher Leo will also become more viable.
The lesser increase to Tarans (and Magnums) brings the damage potential between the plasma weapons to the ballistic weapons closer, even with moderate to mild upgrades the plasma class at the close quarter range will be even more disadvantaged compared to Orkans.
The significant increase in damage of the Spirals and Hydras may present the same detriment to a dynamic, mobile gameplay in the same way as the Gekko, perhaps more so. In particular the Hydra with very low turning radii and ability to strike at a high angle allows the user to fire from behind cover with impunity. With perhaps the lowest skill ceiling of all weapons in War Robots, it’s increased effectiveness and availability will likely see large uptake in its use.
Comment: The Punishers and Molots will make Gunship (Molot) and Lead Hose (Punisher) Griffins all the more effective when in conjunction with their medium counterparts. Again, more power to the masses if used well.
The Tarans, together with the Magnums is in general losing ground to the Orkans and now encroached upon by ballistic weapons. However players that found them viable will still find them so especially with the increase used of Ancile defense.
Spirals and Hydras, I think the buff is just bad news. It is likely players (Tankers) with artificially depressed league points will find this a highly viable weapon to abuse when used against much weaker opponents however at least in iOS they constitute only a minority. Perhaps the single most detrimental effect of this update is that new players will find these weapons viable for much longer in their progression and in effect lose the incentive to improve their own playstyle. The low skill ceiling will also likely be bad for player longevity and retention i.e. it works but it’s boring. Bored firers and frustrated victims tend not to stay playing.
Fact: The following weapons have been reported to have a minor increase to their damage potential.
–Trebuchet 5% damage increase.
–Aphid 5% damage increase.
–Pinata 5% damage increase.
–Magnum 5% damage increase.
Analysis: In higher levels of the player base dominated by Medium and Heavy platforms the Magnum and Piñata usually complements their medium counterparts. Considering the increases in damage afforded to their heavier variants, the effects of this update will be unlikely to be perceived.
The Aphids used in either configurations of three or four are effective weapons with a relatively high skill ceiling, their main targets have been slower heavier bots kept out of direct line of sight. As platforms such as Gepards, Jesses and Pattons cannot survive a direct engagement against those equipped with plasma and rockets, there’ll be little change to their means of employment.
Much of the same can be said of the Trebuchet.
Comment: The minor buffs to the Trebuchet and Aphid weapons compared to their the Gekko and Spiral could sway some bot selections e.g. the Gekko\Treb Leo and Natasha. Whereas in the past the Gekkos were merely aiming assistance for trebuchets they are have become the main source of damage in these bots hence a shift from Nastashas to Leos. A Spiral Patton or even Gepard that are usually confined to use by new players will see its use extended further up the leagues. In a nutshell, 2.9.2 will make easy easier.
According to the release notes, the rate of fire of Pins and Tulumbas have been decreased, most likely to address complaints made since version 2.8. Unless it wasn’t added into the current test server the change imperceptible. I’ll reserve the analysis for a time when I am sure the changes have been made.
That said, in most circumstances its use will still be much the same as before, a decrease in rate of fire and/or rocket velocity would most impact situations where the target only presents momentary opportunities to be fired upon. The biggest winners from this nerf will likely be the faster bots.
With Version 2.9.2, I see 2 major trends developing:
1.A more static gameplay: Most weapons now kill faster, bots are no stronger or faster. This means a shorter survival span for a player caught in the open. Together with version 2.8 which skewed the awarding of league points towards damage, the incentive to stay put and deal out damage has further increased versus the incentive to capture beacons. The overall effect is that defending will be easier than attacking hence an importance towards early beacon captures.
Comment: complaints often heard of players oblivious to beacons, aka the games primary objective will probably get worse!
2. Lowering of skill requirements for newer/poorer/lesser skilled players: With major buffs to Punishers and Molots the need for gold to compete will be lessened, whether it’s lessened enough for widespread use in the higher leagues remains to be seen. As these weapons require a player to lead moving targets, pick windows of engagement that allows sustained fire and cognisance to one’s distance to target, I see this as a plus for player skill development. It can also mean less well equipped players can contribute to the overall result by suppressing Ancile shields, further, when and if the 250% damage modifier to armor comes into effect, this support role could be a major asset to organised squad play.
While the buffs to the ballistic weapons are in my opinion an improvement to the game, I see the considerable buff to Hydras, Spirals, and Gekkos as a detriment. The main issue with the listed weapons is that they ignore considerations of aim, cover and range control. Although their damage output will still be less than other weapons, it is very likely the player base will see an increase in their usage. Although it is not a always bad thing to provide means to newer and lesser skilled players to compete, they are weapons that will do little the help said players improve.
Comment: What was annoying will become more annoying, the new and the bad are likely to keep using it and stay bad.