Hello, finally have had some time to write.
I don’t have a perfect understanding of- nor as much experience in- vehicles as some other folks on here so I would love to discuss this, and maybe end up with some sort of consensus on a way forward.
Link to document, which is a bit better formatted (highlighted important bits, images)
Better Armored Vehicle Gameplay (Based on Bf4)
For reference, Bf4 Vehicle Info.
1. Tweak and reintroduce Bf3-style reactive armor
Reactive armor added a lot of depth to Bf3 tank fights, encouraging more large and small scale movement, while Bf4 is mostly a slugfest. Countermeasures (CMs) and Reactive Armor (RA) would have interesting interactions too.
Some changes from Bf3
Decrease availability: Only one set per engagement through combat sensitive cooldowns etc.
Increase clarity: Fix HUD issues from Bf3. Add the lines to spot icon of the tank for a better counterplay experience. Tell people what it is using loading screen tips/contextual killcam hints (such an underused feature).
Make it a default trait: RA is so powerful, it would be mandatory. Could it be tuned to be weaker? Yes, but wouldn’t be as interesting. Should be a default trait of compatible vehicles.
Balance around it: Armor should take more damage, and/or be easier to disable, like in Bf3. E.g. disable at 25 or 30% instead of 10 for a three hit disable with some good hits, or maybe higher depending on what works out with lock on weapons. Reactive armor could let some damage pass through too. Maybe increase damage taken on steeper angles to reduce hits to kill.
Perhaps close to perpendicular hits should let a significant amount of damage through to reward good offensive positioning.
Infantry could get gadgets like the PG-7VR, a tandem warhead RPG made to penetrate reactive armor.
Would shake up CM and anti tank metas, as you have more ways of blocking damage and lock-on weapons bypass RA.
Change the name of the unintuitively named Bf4 upgrade: RA affects a projectile before it impacts the vehicle hull, but the Bf4 upgrade affects how you vehicle reacts to damage. A more informative name would be “Armored Engine Compartment” or something. The only issue is showing that this upgrade is equipped, which the visible reactive armor did well.
2. Tweak CMs (merge IR Smoke and Smokescreen)
IR Smoke and Smokescreen are both good CMs, but especially IR is very specialized. Smokescreen leaves you at the mercy of lock on weapons, and IR Smoke is niche in normal gameplay. Combining them would create a more versatile and interesting CM, and make way for an actual smokescreen as a standard ability (see next point).
Put the effects of Smokescreen into IR Smoke so it has anti lock-on effects+spotting immunity+minangles+7s uptime/15s cooldown, with light obscuration (not enough to blind self).
3. Add a standard smokescreen ability (“Gadget 1”)
(It’s not like tanks have too many active abilities: only CM, gun, gun2, infantry have 6+)
Inspired by IR smoke of Bf3, give tanks a default smokescreen ability that only unspots the vehicle, and creates an opaque smoke cloud. The new smokescreen should have around a 5s duration and 30s cooldown.
This makes running APS or FE more interesting (can remove spot/use smoke) and it gives more to master in tanks (usage of CMs+spot removal/smoke).
Note! It mustn’t be too effective. If to obscuring and lasting, any damaged tank in a disfavored position can easily use it to escape, leading to stalling gameplay. Rather, the smoke cloud should be moderately sized and lasting, which adds mid-combat movement options, not a retreat ability.
4. Add a standard smoke shell ammo type (“Gadget 2”)
Would be a versatile tool. Some history from wikipedia that highlights applications: “US Sherman tanks carried a white phosphorus round intended for artillery spotting, but tank crews found it useful against German tanks. Unable to penetrate German Panther and Tiger tanks at long range, the phosphorus round would adhere to the tank, generate smoke, blind the optics, and […] allow US tanks to close to a range where their armour piercing rounds were effective.”
Would create a large volume of smoke, but the reload time and cannon restraints makes it restricted in usage. 7s duration, 60s cooldown.
These two “gadgets”, smokescreen and smoke shell, synergize well (unspot+LoS break). Having more abilities to manipulate information in vehicle warfare would be interesting.
You could expand further on this slot: Artillery signal shell, electronic warfare system…
5. Reduce effectiveness of repairs during combat
The low-risk strategy of repairing to outheal incoming damage can create static and shallow gameplay. In Bf4, an AP shell can be healed by reparing for 3,33 seconds (Mechanic tree repair tool), while the shell reloads in 3,5s. Ideally, survival should be enabled through smart use of countermeasures (CMs), movement, positioning, facing, crew awareness, weapon and repair usage and communication, not who has more people holding a button. While diminishing returns have been added in Bf1, one repairing player can still be too decisive.
Repairing isn’t all bad though, and a change should preserve its interesting aspects. Decoding when and where to repair in risky situations takes skill, and saving a burning aircraft is fun. Repairing is also an accessible teamwork action.
Decrease efficiency of repairs when a vehicle is in-combat (<0.33x multiplier?). Calls for change in how a disable (fire) is cleared.
Increase repair speed outside combat to keep time spent out of combat similar.
Reduce delay before you can repair. The delay before a vehicle starts health regen (and is able to be repaired with the suggestion), RegenerationDelay, is currently 14s for ground, 10s for air. 14 could become 10 to avoid unnecessary waiting and for consistency with air.
This indirectly buffs the Fire Extinguisher, it is the only way to start powerful health regen in combat.
5.1 Encourage offensive play
The repair change leaves armor with less sustain, which might lead to more passive, static gameplay as tanks are discouraged to push (as seen in Bf1*). Reactive Armor+new abilities is a significant buff, but maybe some tweaks to make offensive play less risky are needed. CMs and mobility are good and repairing is still powerful, barring the new delay before it is really effective. Considering this, one or more of the below could be used:
- Decrease duration of mobility hits - Decreasing the duration of mobility hits to possibly as low as 7 seconds (currently 10) gives infantry a briefer window of attack, but still allows follow up shots capitalizing on a mobility hit with all AT weapons. CMs also cover a greater percentage of this period of vulnerability. Would make mobility hits from lock-ons a bit less frustrating too. This gives armor a better chance at surviving a mobility hit, while keeping them impactful. Or alternatively:
- Repairing speeds up mobility hit recovery? - repairing would then be more viable in some situations. Plus benefits of point 1.
- Buffing (gunner) power vs infantry - expanding on the Gunner position so it can better help defend the tank, e.g. with area denial and obscuration.
*was mostly due to low mobility+lack of CMs+many close range burst damage AT weapons though.
6. Turrets - not too slow and not a weak spot
Definitely something to include, to telegraph powerful attacks and improve infantry counterplay experience, but should be at most 2-3s for a 180 degree turn (fast enough to face a threat before another attack) or you strongly discourage armor from playing offensively.
Front and sides of turrets should not be weakspots, or you ruin the hull down concept and devalue facing. However, the rear of the turret could be a weakspot which when hit halves turret rotation speed, giving vehicles and infantry more options when attacking.
7. Make the gunner position more fun:) (and better)
Compared to the driver position, the gunner usually has half the weapons, no movement options, and no CM. This makes for less agency, much less depth, i.e. less fun. And teamwork should be fun and powerful!
Giving the gunner another slot, “secondary”, with some interesting active abilities would raise the skill ceiling and make this seat more rewarding. As a gunner in LAVs and MBTs, using the Gunner Incendiary is so much fun. While something like the Proximity Scan might be better, I can’t give up the extra fun of a such a well implemented secondary weapon.
“Gunner Secondary” - moved and new abilities
- Gunner Incendiary
- e.g. “Airburst Smoke Grenade” - airbursts shortly after launch (in a disk perpendicular to direction of travel?), creating a smoke shield/cloud that hides and block spots.
This leaves only Proximity Scan and Belt Feeder in the upgrade slot. Belt Feeder might use a small buff to compete with Proximity Scan, which is a clearly better anfi infantry option. Naturally it would reduce the reload of the new Gunner Secondary!
A secondary slot makes selecting both upgrades and weapons more interesting, as you have to account for combos. Proximity Scan+Incendiary could be good for hitting people behind cover, or choose smoke+belt feeder to have a high uptime smoke option.
This weapon is a bit overtuned. You can fire 12(!) grenades every minute. It’s pretty much always ready, so I tend to send one almost every engagement, even if not called for. A small reload increase might be warranted if made a secondary option. Smoke would also have a too high uptime with the same 5s reload. Perhaps increase incendiary to 9s and smoke to 7s. It got such good lethality it would still be viable, especially in its own slot. Even better, it could have 1 loaded+1 spare ammo with the current reload and slower replenish (20s?), for more versatile usage options.
8. Give the MAA a gunner seat
MAA gameplay could be better. Often it will sit on the edge of the map, which isn’t that fun for the driver, nor helpful to the team, and doesn’t create very dynamic gameplay vs pilots who can just stay away from it. It sits there for safety, as the MAA naturally spends time looking at the sky, making it easy to surprise. Good players will push forward to influence the match a lot more, but the issue remains common.
Add a gunner position to give it better survivability at closer ranges. Could slap a CROWS on them, but that wouldn’t be completely authentic. However, it happens that most MAAs have a top hatch, if possible, placing a gunner with a pintle mounted MMG here could make this a more unique vehicle. A gunner gives a lot more teamwork capabilities. Get out and fight with RPG, stinger or PDW, smoke grenades, etc. Letting the gunner damage air decentralizes AA power from just one MAA driver, which is good. Increased close quarters survivability (more eyes) empowers and encourages more offensive, interesting play.
Suggested gunner loadout
Roles: second set of eyes, vehicle defense, anti air.
MMG (M240/PKP/…) with explosive ammo to make it intuitive it can damage aircraft. A high velocity and a magnified optic to hit them. And good hip fire to skip clunky usage of optic vs infantry.
- Proximity Scan (access removed from driver position: would double down on the MAA being a more mobile platform useful with a gunner).
- Air Radar (Still available to driver, but having it here too allows some new setups reliant on communication). Or Air Radar and Proximity Scan could be fused into one upgrade, as proxy is more useful.
- Belt Feeder
- PLD (would be an interesting supportive AT and spotting option, while being short ranged vs aircraft).
- Some M320 variants?
- Proximity defense?
- Crouching closes hatch, gives 3rd person view.
- Gunner will need extra (explosive) damage resistance.
9. Respeccing vehicles
It would be great to have the ability to change vehicle loadouts “on the fly”, such as by calling in a supply crate or at certain locations. Versatility is currently king due to a changing battlefield: this feature would make more specialized loadouts viable, as you aren’t stuck with it forever. A new level of play would appear. Good players are able to switch to what is most useful at the moment, and predicting and countering enemy loadouts.
The important factors is that it is somewhat risky, and limited, giving your choice consequences, but not so bad that redeploying is better. It could be implemented really simply (MW2 OMA style).
10. Driver kits should at least have access to the engineer kit gadgets
The driver kits is a good idea to stop poor vehicle usage, but in their current form, they remove some crew strategy and cooperation. In Bf4 you could select your engineer loadout to help in vehicle combat, using different launchers and gadgets.
11. GIve Maintenance a niche
This upgrade sucks ass when you have a repair tool (and compared to the other upgrades).
To make it viable, this specialization could be tuned to help a vehicle survive sequential attacks, such as attack jet strafes, by allowing better recovery of health and mobility in between. Letting it increase received healing when repaired, in addition to its current effects, would make it synergize with the repair tool, instead of being made redundant by it.
So the effects could be, with new in bold:
RegenerationDelay: 0.7x (indirectly changed: brings delay down to 7s from suggested 10s)
Health regen: 1.2x
Repairing received: 1.2x
Mobility hit duration: 0.7x
For this upgrade, you have to give up Reactive Armor, Belt Feeder or Thermal Camo, all upgrades who help in active combat or help you not get a crit in the first place.
12. Make IRNV Optics place infantry spots that last longer
FLIR optics are generally preferred due to their longer range. This would be an interesting buff. Creates the choice vs long range and close range intelligence, and it fits with the role of IRNV providing clarity up close.
13. Balance IFV Reactive Armor (the upgrade)
Reactive Armor (RA) on IFVs is a choice between immunity or defenselessness, and it outclasses the other options by far. IFVs are very susceptible to mobility hits: Any tank shell hitting 45 degrees or above will induce a light mobility hit, 45 degrees being the sharpest angle possible to present to an enemy. From this it seems the intended design is IFVs being easily stunned by tanks, however with the inclusion of RA the intention falls flat: With RA, IFVs can only be stunned by tanks at above 82 degrees, and they can’t be stunned by infantry launchers. So the upgrade might as well be mandatory, as IFVs are reliant on mobility to stay alive. All four sides are the same armor-wise too, and IFVs can’t rotate like tanks and, so the utility of being unstunnable vs infantry is high.
Reduce the power of this upgrade and/or make IFVs more resistant to mobility hits from tanks without it.
Below, you see a chart showing correlation between angle and damage multiplier. The horizontal lines indicate what multiplier is needed to score a light (30) or a heavy hit (40) on a given target with a tank shell unless stated otherwise.
An improvement would be something like the green curve, which is also closer to the shape of the MBT side (included for comparison). It would make dealing 30% damage harder (point W to Z), and potentially also dealing 40% hits slightly easier (point Y to X). The new effect of reactive would then be raising angle required from 60 degrees to about 77, instead of 45 to 82. 45 degree hits to kill won’t be changed, except for the HE shell. The difference vs infantry launchers is minor (about 5 degrees easier at most), but it makes the SMAW and RPG a bit more similar due to a steeper curve. The max multiplier could be increased to let infantry mobility hit at 90 degrees, though tank bonus damage might need tweaks as well then. This is just a rough proof of concept, there are finer details to work out.
[Tanks take 1.0x of base weapon damage, IFVs take 1.25x vs infantry launchers and 1.45x from tank shells and the SRAW. Smaw does 20%, tank shells and RPGs 22,5%, TOWs 25% base damage for reference.]
14. Give tanks one more shell?
The ammo regen mechanic in Bf4 is fantastic. It makes resource management an important skill during engagements, but doesn’t let you run out long term.
Tanks might have too few rounds though. 5 rounds is the max pool (1/4), with one resupplying every 10s (8s for HE). Firing all shells takes about 15-18s, meaning at least one new has appeared before you run out, giving you about 6 shots per engagement (7 if it draws out), then you hit the regen delay. This is enough for killing one tank (5-6 shots with no misses at most), but involve infantry and another vehicle, and it isn’t enough. Giving one more rounds (6 in the max pool, 1/5) gives 8 effectively, fired at max rate for AP/HE. Regen time could be adjusted up ~1s to make regendelay firing even less efficient, while making resulting in 7 shots, 8 if it draws out, per engagement.
Thanks for reading!