Author: Andrew Rowe, Armored Warfare systems developer
One of the most important elements in Armored Warfare is a player's ability to upgrade his or her vehicle. Since our existing upgrades are based on real-world upgrades that occurred in the history of a vehicle, however, this leaves little room for player customization.
Even in the real world, different militaries often take the same vehicle and make their own modifications to improve the vehicle's performance in specific ways. Since different military forces have different values and needs, the same vehicle is often modified in different ways. Our Retrofits System gives players the ability to do the same thing, picking and choosing from specific upgrade options to improve their vehicle in the way that they choose.
Each vehicle will have a number of Retrofit Slots available. Some of these will be "stock" on the vehicle, and others will be unlocked as part of the vehicle upgrade tree. Vehicles that previously were sparse on upgrades will generally have more Retrofit Slots, since this helps make their progression more similar to other vehicles and helps to balance them against the vehicles with more upgrades.
There are five types of Retrofit Slots. The first four correspond to the four main sections of the upgrade tree - Firepower, Armor, Mobility, and Technology. The fifth type is Universal. Retrofit Slots can only incorporate Retrofit Upgrades of the same type as the slot. Universal slots can use any type of upgrade, however.
For example, a Firepower Slot can only hold Firepower Upgrades. Firepower Upgrades involve any sort of improvements to your weapon's capabilities, such as raw damage, rate of fire, accuracy, etc.
Retrofit Upgrades can be purchased and equipped into the Retrofit Slots on a vehicle. These are purchased on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. Players will start out with a set of Retrofit Upgrades that they automatically have access to that can be used on any vehicle, but they can also unlock more types of Retrofit Upgrades through Schematics.
Schematics give players access to new and better types of Retrofit Upgrades to use on their vehicles. These upgrades might offer different statistics than the default upgrades, or multiple statistics at smaller values than the default upgrades.
Some Schematics are for more advanced versions of specific Retrofit types. For example, a player might start out with the ability to upgrade their cannon with "Experimental Cannon Modifications Mk. I" and later unlock a schematic for "Experimental Cannon Modifications Mk. II", which provides a larger bonus.
Initially, these Schematics will be unlocked in second half of a vehicle's progression (e.g. the time after the vehicle reaches "Proven" status, but before the vehicle reaches "Renowned" status). Once a Schematic has been unlocked, it can be used to upgrade any vehicle with the appropriate type of slot. For example, if a player unlocked "Experimental Cannon Modifications Mk. II" while playing the T-62, he or she could use that Schematic to upgrade the cannon on the T-64, assuming it had an appropriate slot available (Firepower or Universal).
We feel that the Retrofits System will add a lot of fun customization options to Armored Warfare, as well as additional upgrades that will make our vehicle progression much more rewarding. We're looking forward to deploying this system and seeing player feedback and comments soon.