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Developer Diary – Reload Time Upgrade Changes

Author: Andrew Rowe, Lead Systems Designer

Update 0.15 brought a number of changes to the Reload Time upgrade system. Andrew Rowe, the Lead System Designer of Armored Warfare, explains the reasons for these adjustments in detail.

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The reload speed changes are a consequence of changing our "reload speed" benefits over to "rate of fire" bonuses, which is something we've been talking about (and players have been suggesting) for quite a while. There are three main reasons for this.

The first reason is that "reload speed" upgrades stacked in such a way that adding more of them provided continuously higher efficiency. Assuming you start out with a 10 second reload time, you'd get the following benefits out of reload speed improvements in the old system:

  • 10% reload reduction = 9 second cooldown, a +11.11% DPM improvement
  • 20% reload reduction = 8 second cooldown, a +25% DPM improvement
  • 30% reload reduction = 7 second cooldown, a +42% DPM improvement
  • 40% reload reduction = 6 second cooldown, a +66% DPM improvement
  • 50% reload reduction = 5 second cooldown, a +100% DPM improvement

The other main reason is that "reload speed" benefits are unintuitive - it's hard for players to understand the exact benefit they're getting out of an individual reload speed upgrade, since it's variable based on how many reload speed upgrades you already have.

The third reason is that it was even more complicated to understand how much benefit you were getting out of reload speed upgrades if you were using a weapon with multiple shots before a reload (such as autocannons). In most cases, the benefit for reload speed improvements for these vehicles was very low unless you could stack a tremendous number of them. This is because the "reload speed" improvement only benefitted the time it takes to reload a clip - it had no effect on your DPM while you were actively firing on a target.

The new "rate of fire" bonuses are both better balanced and easier to understand.

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Let's look at the same examples above with the new system, assuming a 10 second reload time on a standard tank cannon.

  • 10% rate of fire = 9.09 second cooldown, a 10% DPM improvement
  • 20% rate of fire = 8.33 second cooldown, a +20% DPM improvement
  • 30% rate of fire = 7.69 second cooldown, a +30% DPM improvement
  • 40% rate of fire = 7.14 second cooldown, a +40% DPM improvement
  • 50% rate of fire = 6.66 second cooldown, a +50% DPM improvement

So, whatever the % of the rate of fire improvement is, it directly translates to that amount of DPM.

It's also easier to understand for autocannons - it's directly increasing the rate at which you fire projectiles, rather than reducing the salvo reload time. This means that if you used to fire 300 rounds per minute and you have a +10% rate of fire increase, you're now firing 330 rounds per minute. Thus, it's a direct DPM increase while you're actually firing. Your salvo reload time is unaffected, but overall, this should be an improvement for these vehicles.

This change should affect all autocannons, including vehicles like the Begleitpanzer 57 and the B1 Draco. We might allow for some choices between rate of fire and salvo reload, but we want to keep salvo reload changes very limited, due to all the stuff I mentioned above.

This change does also mean that if something has the same % value as it did pre-patch, it will provide a smaller overall DPM increase for tank cannons than it did pre-patch. We're going to be going through and looking at these bonuses on a case-by-case basis to see if they can safely be increased. This is vastly easier to balance now that the rate of fire increases are providing a linear benefit, and thus, we expect there's a good chance some existing skills, retrofits, etc. might have their values improved in the future.

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