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Sandbox Changes - Review & Thoughts

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xXTheGameAceXx #1 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 18:53

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So with a lot of discussion going on about Sandbox and some alpha changes that I was hearing about, I decided to take the time to figure out how the heck to get Sandbox up and running again (you should update your page Wargaming, the instructions are incorrect/confusing) to see what all the fuss was about. Not everyone has Sandbox to be able to see the current changes for themselves, so I figured on doing a little review/thoughts thread here.

 

What Changed

The two big changes that have occurred in this current iteration of the Sandbox Server are the Alpha of almost all guns in the game (there are a few exceptions so far, which I'll give examples of), as well as the HP of all tanks in the game, from artillery to heavies. I'm unaware of the specific formula they decided on to determine the changes, however there is a general pattern, most notably in gun alpha changes. As they've stated, the alpha will increase based on the caliber of the gun, with higher caliber guns gaining larger increases, while lower caliber guns have smaller gains. It should be noted that this only affects standard ammunition and not gold or HE I'll put down a few examples of before and after, including some of the exceptions.

 

  •  T1 Cunningham - Before, 30 alpha and 115 HP. After, 36 alpha and 320 HP.
  • M2 Medium (Gun Exception) - Before, 175 alpha and 210 HP. After, 175 alpha and 475 HP. (This uses the stats on the prominent howitzer that this tank typically uses)
  • Hellcat - Before, 240 alpha and 570 HP. After, 315 alpha and 830 HP.
  • T28 Prototype - Before, 400 alpha and 1150 HP. After, 540 alpha and 1,400 HP.
  • T110E4 - Before, 750 alpha and 2,000 HP. After, 1,060 alpha and 2,500 HP.

 

Alright so that's just running down the American TD line from tier 1, to help give everyone a general idea. Next I'll put down a few of the more notable changes. Notably, there are still quite a few tanks (and entire tech trees) missing from Sandbox right now, so not all tanks can yet be determined. Some of the missing tanks include the Churchill GC, Jagdpanzer E100, T95 line, all tech trees from Czech down, FV 4005 line, tier V and below UK artillery, tier IV and below French artillery, French superheavy line, Pz Kpfw or whatever you call it line, the main Russian TD line (sorry for lack of specifics, I'm not extremely familiar with all the Russians) featuring the ISU-152, tier IV and below Russian artillery, tier IV and below American artillery, autoloading American line, all premium tanks, and Tier IV and below UK TDs. Probably a few I missed, but that's the gist of it.

How they apply the changes to tanks also seems a bit perplexing, since it would seem that some guns get untouched entirely (generally howitzers), while others get at least an AP buff (howitzers again). The only HE that does seem to get touched however, is artillery.

 

  • M44 - Before, 550 alpha and 280 HP. After, 670 alpha and 390 HP.
  • T92 HMC - Before, 1,300 alpha and 500 HP. After, 1,580 alpha and 650 HP.
  • Panhard EBR 105 - Before, 390 alpha (AP) and 1,300 HP. After, 525 alpha and 1,700 HP.
  • G.W. E100 - Before, 1,100 alpha and 550 HP. After, 1,340 alpha and 710 HP.
  • VK 100.01P - Before, 440 alpha and ? HP (I'll correct this later. Wiki page for this is missing, and I'm not switching between two clients for this). After, 600 alpha and 2,000 HP.
  • Rhm Borsig - Before, 750 alpha and 1,100 HP. After, 1,060 alpha and 1,450 HP.
  • B-C 155 58 - Before, 750 alpha and 490 HP. After, 910 alpha and 640 HP.
  • B-C 25t - Before, 390 alpha and 1,800 HP. After, 525 alpha and 2,350 HP.
  • Badger - Before, 480 alpha and 2,100 HP. After, 650 alpha and 2,550 HP.

 

Purpose

The intended purpose as we know so far is to deal with the continual complaints of premium "gold" ammo being problematic. In this way, the alpha and HP of all tanks get buffed outside of premium ammo, while otherwise leaving the gold ammo untouched. People will then have to fire more shots at a higher cost to get the same damage as a full alpha standard shot, hence the hope that it drives people towards using standard ammo more commonly.

 

Gameplay

So the moment you've been waiting for, the gameplay with these new changes. First I just want to go on record saying that it was generally miserable for a bunch of reasons, the foremost being having to deal with bad ping and swarms of Russians. Now I know how the Germans felt encountering wave after wave of them... The map rotation is also notably smaller and poorer on Sandbox, frequently getting the same awful maps repeatedly and encountering the same swarms Object 268 v4. But hey, that's not what you came here for.

 

At the lowest tiers, mostly 1 - 3, the gameplay has changed significantly, considering most tanks now have double or triple their previous health with gains of usually only a few points of alpha. This makes battles at the lowest tiers last significantly longer, and gives the major advantage to tanks with high armor, higher alpha, and autoloaders. Another notable thing is that in Sandbox all the crews are at 100%, which most real new players and new tanks will not have, outside of the initial Tier 1 tanks they get, which potentially means even longer battles than on sandbox due to various factors.

 

At mid tiers, generally IV - VII, the gameplay has also changed a fair amount. Now tanks with the biggest boom sticks and best armor are the kings. The KV-85 now does 525 alpha at tier VI, while gaining the bonuses of additional HP and better use of armor due to the lack of gold. While the KV-1 is missing from the game, the 1S is not, and it performs as you'd expect as well, having both a solid standard top gun and still seeing much use from the howitzer. If I had to guess, the KV-1 itself will be quite formidable now due to the higher armor values it has over the 1S. Gold is still frequently spammed by many tanks, both from bottom tiers that need it to penetrate reliably, and upper tiers that just decide to spam it anyways. Overall, a lot of tanks with bigger guns have the potential to two-shot a lot of tanks of same tier or below, and 3 or 4 shot a good deal of others.

 

At top tiers, VIII - X, the gameplay is still fairly similar, although certain tanks, usually ones with better armor and the best alpha buffs, have advantage now. The VK 100.01P is one of those on top of the Tier VIII game now. Others in the top now will include the Rhm Borsig, as well as assumably some others that aren't currently in such as the Defender, Super Pershing, Mutant, O-Ho, 50TP Prototype, 53TP, ISU-152, etc. Tier IX is still awkwardly stuck in between as usual, and X is about the same as well. The T92 HMC now hits like a full semi-truck with nearly 300 additional alpha, and yet again other armored monstrosities will fare the best, such as the Maus, Type 5, and E100. If the changes also affect the Jagdpanzer E100, Death Star, and Barn, they'll be even scarier than before. The Badger and Strv-103B now have much higher DPM due to their alpha buffs, and much better survivability without as much gold being shot around. Otherwise, Tier X is still about the same, albeit with far more punishing shots being loaded into you.

 

Overall Thoughts

Simply put, this is a blanket solution, and a poorly designed one at that. The gameplay has still had a fair share of gold spam from players who either don't care, or bounce their first shot and decided to switch immediately. When that's not an issue, the most heavily armored tanks with the biggest guns are. Power has shifted pretty heavily into the hands of those with excellent armor and big guns. Most of the matches I've observed are full of these tanks, which consistently dominate the rest. This combined with much more painful punishment for taking a hit from most of these tanks at lower tiers, and almost every tank at top tier, severely detracted from the experience. Very few people ran tanks with a lower alpha than most others by the top tiers, resulting in frequently being shot for between 700 and 1,000 damage. Artillery I'd imagine is clearly going to be a far nastier experience as well, although I can't say with absolute positivity yet as most matches lacked artillery entirely, or there was only one and it was on my team.

At top tiers, a lot of tanks are in two-shot range from the biggest guns, and almost none can survive three. I also feel I noticed increased levels of tanks of all sorts camping out because of this, trying not to get blown to bits too early by a wolfpack of Grille 15's executing tanks. There's also some tanks that will suffer greatly from this change that currently depend frequently on gold to be able to reliably penetrate anything, that will become out-gunned easily unless they want to continue firing gold rounds for the same cost while taking longer to kill off an opponent.

Personally, between the ping, Russians, and getting blasted by almost everything at an incredible rate, this was one of my least enjoyable World of Tanks experiences, and I feel it would be the final blow that would drive many long-time players away from the game finally, myself included. Tanks now feel very cookie-cutter, and like the only viable options are the big guns.

 

Issues

Realistically this whole thing is an issue. Blanket fixes don't tend to work well, and are usually an excuse for laziness and lack of ability to appropriately handle a problem. While gold is frequently problematic, I would have to say this change is even more problematic. Putting this blanket fix on essentially is favoring the tanks with armor and big guns, since it's putting a focus on standard ammo buffs (which armor without aiming for weakspots generally fares better against than gold), and screws over a lot of other tanks. You can't just apply additional damage based on gun caliber, toss on some extra HP to tanks at a variable rate, and call it a solution. There's still tanks that rely on gold to reliably penetrate anything (IS-6B comes to mind, as well as Jagdpanzer VI, Hellcat at bottom tier, T25/2, etc, etc) and it puts them in a worse position. Then there's also tanks that have such good armor frontally that at top or mid tier, there's very few threats that can reliably penetrate with standard ammo, most notably the Defender. I've even had gold that can struggle to penetrate the lower plate on that thing. Now just imagine the Defender with higher HP, more reliable armor thanks to lessened threat from gold, and higher alpha.

 

Solutions

Wargaming is looking for a quick fix to a lot of issues and there simply isn't one. A legitimate fix to the game and these issues needs actual time and careful adjustments. If the big issue right now is gold and they want a simpler fix, why the heck increase alpha and HP on every tank? Honestly it needs to be looked at and handled in more detail and by-the-tank changes, but why not start out with a simple system for lowering current gold damage while leaving everything else unchanged?

The following is what I feel would be *generally* workable, or at least a good base to start with.

*Gold Round Damage Reduction

             *10% from light tanks

             *15% from mediums and artillery

             *20% from heavies and tank destroyers

 

*Penetration Rebalance

             *15 penetration increase for heavies above standard penetration

             *20 penetration increase for mediums and lights above standard penetration

             *25 penetration increase for tank destroyers above standard penetration (compensation for range)

 

Overall you need to still look at each and every tank one at a time and make some adjustments to this based on the tank itself and how it plays. For example, a T28 Prototype or T30 might only get +15 penetration above standard due to their nature of brawling with enemies at closer range, while an Object 416 might get +25 since they tend to play best as sniper support. They'd also need to do a rework of armor and standard penetration on some tanks that are problematic, such as the Defender's lower plate, the poor penetration of the IS-6B or T25/2, etc. Point is, works as a good base that doesn't become too extreme and can be built off of.

 

Closing Thoughts

As I've already stated, this is, in my opinion, a change for the worse in World of Tanks, and it's my hope that this never reaches Common Test. A simpler solution as I've presented would be much more desirable to see implemented into the game right now, as well as taking care of other issues that have been acknowledged and have drawn complaints for a long time. Personally as much as gold can be a nuisance, there's still bigger problems with the game such as power-crept tanks that no longer keep up as well as newer additions, tanks that are still extremely broken (seriously, Foch B and Object 268 v4 are both menaces, and the Foch is the most broken tank I've ever played), or the biggest problem I've seen come up time and again all over both the forums and in-game chat...

RNG. All hail the glorious broken-ness of RNG and the guiding hand of Stalin, guiding Russian shells to victory! *cough*

Seriously though, the RNG system has been acknowledged as problematic and something that needs to be addressed. Could we please get some attention to this? Because it's really annoying having my shots defy the laws of gravity and physics half the time.

 

*Quick Edit - Just in case it wasn't clear from what I said, I have absolutely no problem with part of the point of the fix and weakening the use of gold ammo, being the improvement of tanks with armor. I'm actually all for that. My issue comes in with tanks that would gain a distinct advantage or borderline immunity frontally that currently laugh off almost all standard shells and even frequently gold. Defender most notably.

 

Whew, that long thing that took me days between interruptions is finally done. Remember folks, these are just my thoughts on the matter, and others may feel differently. I hope that at least this gives people some insight to what's going on right now. Good luck out on the battlefield! :B


Edited by xXTheGameAceXx, Jun 08 2019 - 19:14.


Die95 #2 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 19:05

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For the most part, I agree with your analysis. However, wasn't the point of this rework to make tanks with a focus on armour somewhat viable again? In the current game, tanks with armour that is effective against normal shells but not against gold suffer too much. I am not sure why you think its a bad thing.

xXTheGameAceXx #3 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 19:12

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View PostDie95, on Jun 08 2019 - 13:05, said:

For the most part, I agree with your analysis. However, wasn't the point of this rework to make tanks with a focus on armour somewhat viable again? In the current game, tanks with armour that is effective against normal shells but not against gold suffer too much. I am not sure why you think its a bad thing.

 

Maybe I mis-spoke in there (I'll probably toss in an edit to correct it), but I have no issue with that, and that's actually been a complaint of mine for some time due to gold frequently blasting right past my armor. My specific issue is when you have a tank that's currently fairly threatening and has armor workable against a lot of gold as it currently stands, that stands to become even stronger due to the proposed changes. Defender, as I've referenced several times now, is the main tank that comes to mind in that situation, and where I mentioned a potential re-balance to help ensure that if something like this were to take effect, that it wouldn't become borderline invulnerable to standard rounds frontally. Nothing major, maybe just make the center of that lower plate a tad weaker. People still have to aim, and it can still easily sidescrape.

RunDownBlaster #4 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 19:38

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They seriously need to just get rid of the gold ammo completely. Having ammo with above-average penetration is a bad idea, and muddies the ability to actually determine if the armor of a vehicle is to effective, or if the gun is not effective enough. Gold ammo is anti-balance, and disposing of it outright would actually make it easier to balance these vehicles because there'd be no way to weasel out of an imbalance, so the information one is working with is more decisive. As is, "Oh yeah, such-and-such has armor that's too good against normal ammo, but gold rounds can deal with it, so let's not try to change it.". That's horrendous.

 

The main hiccup with that is it would be be a wreck in the immediate fallout. Unless preemptive measures are taken with vehicles that are known to have overly effective armor or overly ineffective guns, then there's going to be an imbalance as the excuse the developers had for not addressing that armor is gone, and the crutch those poor guns had is gone. The time it'd take to get the performance data to make educated decisions would be really unpleasant for anyone who doesn't cling to the strongly armored vehicles like they're stapled to them. Worst case, there'd have to be a Gold or Bond payout on the main server for using vehicles known to had exceptionally poor characteristics.

 

Best solution to that, don't bring the termination of gold ammo to the main server until it's had a good, long time to brew in a test server, and once adjustments are decided on for armor and guns, launch those alongside the termination. That way it's about as smooth as you can get.

 

And yeah, the RNG also needs to take a long walk off a short bridge too. Probably moreso than the gold ammo.



Jryder #5 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 19:42

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1) I disagree that WG is looking for a quick fix. A quick fix that would have directly addressed the problem and solved it would have been to limit SPammo loadout to something like 20% of your overall ammo loadout. Instead, they are completely upending the entire structure of ammo VS armor that they have spent years tweaking and balancing. Unforeseen negative consequences are inevitable, in addition to the sheer volume of work and time they have wasted doing what they are doing.

 

2) WG's current efforts do not in any way actually stop SPammo spam. Players can still load full SPammo., so how does that solve the problem?

 

3) There is nothing wrong with SPammo itself. Its characteristics have been tweaked and tuned within the game structure and have been deemed "balanced" for some time. Nerfing SPammo damage does nothing more than screw up the game structure. The problem is how people use it, not the ammo itself.

 

4) Thus far, the focus has been on T10's and TD's with monstrous guns and high natural AP pen. What about tanks designed around SPammo, like the T54? It has always been one of the strongest tanks in the game and a fine T9. It literally has T8 AP pen values. It now is at a massive disadvantage given that as a T9, it faces T10's almost all of the time and it will either take 40% more shots of SPammo to do the same damage, or is relegated to shooting non-penetrating AP. It is literally a "First to worst" scenario for the T54 and similar tanks.

 

I am seriously questioning what WG's actual motives might be given that they claimed a certain problem, ignore obvious fixes, and instead embarked on an arduous, overly complicated "fix" that doesn't actually solve the problem. Some tanks really need SPammo and they are just hosed. T8 as a whole is Hosed as well, AND, players can still spam premium ammo if they choose!



Mokoma #6 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 19:48

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I know WG has made some really dumb decisions, and it can make one worry when this sort of horrendous idea is tested, but I very highly doubt this will make it to the live servers. The sandbox is just where they can test huge changes and wild ideas in something as close to live conditions as possible. I imagine there will be changes to the current ammo conditions at some point down the line (and I’d guess that the lower-tier HP changes will largely go live), but I doubt it’ll be even close to the scale being currently tested. It is the definition of breaking a host of things to fix one.

GeorgePreddy #7 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 19:55

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Two thoughts from me.

 

1st item:  I believe that WG has chosen to up standard rounds alpha and tank health rather than reducing prem rounds alpha for one main reason. That reason, I believe, is to lessen the probability of losing  a lawsuit brought by players whom have purchased prem tanks for cash money.

 

if WG nerfs the ammo of prems, cash paying owners can rightly claim that what they paid cash for has been directly diminished in value. But, if standard ammo and health hitpoints are buffed in ALL tanks, and prem ammo left alone, there are no grounds or need for legal action or reparations of any kind.

 

2nd item:  Pen & damage RNG is terribly misunderstood by many players. First of all, it is not a straight +/- 25%.  It is actually only +/- 0 to 10% for 2/3 of all shots, and only the remaining 1/3 fall between +/- 11 to 25%.

 

Also, when worse than average players complain about RNG, it is through ignorance of what it does FOR them, which is to ameliorate the skill advantage better players have over worse players. On the other hand, really good players complain about RNG because they do understand that it ameliorates their skill advantage over lesser skilled players... that's just a little selfish, that they want RNG lessened so that their advantage will be even bigger.

 

As far as the accuracy algorithm "RNG", it is better than real life WWII era tank cannon accuracy.  Two examples are:

 

As you can see in the controlled test below, it is not really a problem if you are ACTUALLY fully aimed at a stationary target, even at 400 meters !

 

Fully aimed shots by "4TankersAndDog", a Tanking With Science video, results:

Firing with 5 different tank / gun combinations to test accuracy of fully aimed shots in WoT.

Fired from 400 meters range at a stationary IS-7 front.

 

 

CDC using food to have a .31 accuracy    = 97% hits

KV-1S with 85mm & .39 accuracy           = 92%

T-34 76mm, .45 accuracy                          = 90%

KV-1 122mm, .51 accuracy                       = 87%

KV-2 152 mm, .56 accuracy                      = 77%

 

As comparison with real life, see the U.S. Army actual testing results from the WWII era, below:

 

U.S. Army Armored Board's report on tank gun accuracy, standing still & using stabilizer gyro.

a) Using the tank cannon, 50% hits may be expected on a tank front at 500 yards, and 25% hits may be expected at 1,000 yards.

 

https://youtu.be/xpJ8EoGmLuE   In this video, you see a Sherman, sitting completely still and fully aimed at the center of the broadside of a truck, but the round strikes the rear tire... this is real world tank gun accuracy for WWII era tanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Garandster #8 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 20:25

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I just wish people wouldn't have complained so much about reducing the premium round pen and then they wouldn't have had to go this route with buffing everything except premium rounds to defacto nerf them. The sad part is people will now just complain that when they purchased the tank they expected the alpha of the premium rounds to be the same as the standard rounds.

 

I am happy to see the low tier HP buff which is needed regardless of if the premium ammo changes go through or not. I would have been happy with seeing the premium alpha nerfed across the board instead of going this route, but realistically nothing, even the sandbox changes, will ever remove premium spam if that is the end goal since it's a player mindset issue at the core.



PAP0 #9 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 20:30

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View PostGeorgePreddy, on Jun 08 2019 - 10:55, said:

Two thoughts from me.

 

1st item:  I believe that WG has chosen to up standard rounds alpha and tank health rather than reducing prem rounds alpha for one main reason. That reason, I believe, is to lessen the probability of losing  a lawsuit brought by players whom have purchased prem tanks for cash money.

 

if WG nerfs the ammo of prems, cash paying owners can rightly claim that what they paid cash for has been directly diminished in value. But, if standard ammo and health hitpoints are buffed in ALL tanks, and prem ammo left alone, there are no grounds or need for legal action or reparations of any kind.

 

2nd item:  Pen & damage RNG is terribly misunderstood by many players. First of all, it is not a straight +/- 25%.  It is actually only +/- 0 to 10% for 2/3 of all shots, and only the remaining 1/3 fall between +/- 11 to 25%.

 

Also, when worse than average players complain about RNG, it is through ignorance of what it does FOR them, which is to ameliorate the skill advantage better players have over worse players. On the other hand, really good players complain about RNG because they do understand that it ameliorates their skill advantage over lesser skilled players... that's just a little selfish, that they want RNG lessened so that their advantage will be even bigger.

 

As far as the accuracy algorithm "RNG", it is better than real life WWII era tank cannon accuracy.  Two examples are:

 

As you can see in the controlled test below, it is not really a problem if you are ACTUALLY fully aimed at a stationary target, even at 400 meters !

 

Fully aimed shots by "4TankersAndDog", a Tanking With Science video, results:

Firing with 5 different tank / gun combinations to test accuracy of fully aimed shots in WoT.

Fired from 400 meters range at a stationary IS-7 front.

 

 

CDC using food to have a .31 accuracy    = 97% hits

KV-1S with 85mm & .39 accuracy           = 92%

T-34 76mm, .45 accuracy                          = 90%

KV-1 122mm, .51 accuracy                       = 87%

KV-2 152 mm, .56 accuracy                      = 77%

 

As comparison with real life, see the U.S. Army actual testing results from the WWII era, below:

 

U.S. Army Armored Board's report on tank gun accuracy, standing still & using stabilizer gyro.

a) Using the tank cannon, 50% hits may be expected on a tank front at 500 yards, and 25% hits may be expected at 1,000 yards.

 

https://youtu.be/xpJ8EoGmLuE   In this video, you see a Sherman, sitting completely still and fully aimed at the center of a truck, but the round strikes the rear tire... this is real world tank gun accuracy for WWII era tanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would love to see how many shots in each tank the Army fired in their tests..



LeaveIT2Beaver #10 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 20:43

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The first Sandbox was great. Serious players were working together to give WG what they needed, feedback and game data.  Rational discussions on changes and tactics for the game.

 This Sandbox has deteriorated into a Russian team killing, premium round spamming, physics abusing, foul language using, xenophobic toilet, Michael Foxtrot Charlie Foxtrot, high ping, lag-ridden manure pile.

 

Did I miss anything?

 

 

 



death_stryker #11 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 21:26

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This is what happens when you try to make standard ammo viable in a game that's balanced around premium ammo.

 

Especially at tier 10, there are a distinct subset of tanks that cannot be reliably penned without premium, which therefore benefit disproportionately from the changes. These tanks are also necessarily those with a relatively low skill ceiling, and thus if these changes go through I expect high-tier gameplay to be dumbed down a lot.

 

And yes, I would greatly prefer only Russian tanks being viable than only superheavies being viable.



8_Hussars #12 Posted Jun 08 2019 - 22:50

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Considering that often new and less skilled players measure success by "time in game/match", hence the static and campy play in general.  Thus reducing the "shots to kill" is a step in the wrong direction... 





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