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WR Friday: balancing Modules

by War Robots - 8.06.2018

We kicked off the discussion on Modules extremely early on, and this had a great impact on their development. As it continues, we keep hearing more and more questions and concerns. How you’ll be acquiring Modules? How strong will they be? How are we going to keep everything balanced as new effects and abilities shake things up?

Together with game designer Ivan Zvonarev, we keep going through most popular Module-related topics.

Ready? Let’s go.

Power and prices

How strong modules are going to be? Will they give 10% power increase? 50%? 100%?

As modules are still early in development, we won’t be talking about exact numbers here. First, we want to try them on the test server, collect your feedback and keep tuning them until they feel good for most pilots. Until we feel that Modules are ready for release, the question of numbers remains wide open.

But what does “feel good” mean here? We want Module effects to be clear and impactful, so you can make a clear decision on whether you want them or not based on your playstyle and strategy, not just maths.

At the same time, Modules should remain fair to your enemies. Module X acts as an insta-win button? Well, too bad, we better get rid of it or tweak the numbers so they actually make sense in a context. For some parameters 10% boost might seems like a balanced choice. For some it will be 25%. Somewhere we can turn flat-out boost into a tradeoff (-25% here, but +25% somewhere else).

And so on.

How will modules be priced? Will they be acquired with gold, silver or components?

You’ll be acquiring Modules exactly like other equipment. Some Modules will cost Silver, some — Gold or Components.

Will modules be upgradeable like robots and weapons? And if so, what parameters are increased?

Yes, you can upgrade modules. As for stats — it’s different for each module. For example, by upgrading Energized Ammo you increase the “root” chance and its duration.

  • Module: Energized Ammo
  • After every X points of damage dealt, you receive a chance to immobilize a damaged enemy for a brief time.

Getting used to new possibilities

How will players be introduced to modules?

All robots (even those you already have) arrive with a full stack of Modules pre-installed. This means that everyone will begin on the same page.

Second, modules will be released in smaller batches. This will allow us to get a better picture of your opinion on particular mechanics and their effect on the game. Also, this should help everyone to get used to new possibilities and gradually introduce them to your arsenal.

If we pushed them all at the same time, it will turn the game into chaos and also will make assessing them much much harder.

How will pilots recognize what modules their enemies and allies use?

Robots have distinctive silhouettes, weapons shoot different projectiles. What about modules?

First of all, we take this as granted: every effect should be easily readable. Whether it was a Berserk or Battleborn effect that just went off — you should clearly see it by how it visualized.

  • Module: Berserker
  • Receiving a killing blow gives you a brief invincibility for a short period of time. This module works once per battle.
  • Module: Battleborn
  • Receive extra damage resistance for X seconds after deploying.

But how do you learn what module enemy has BEFORE it activates? After all, on it depends how you’ll approach them.

For us this part is not less important. The goal is to give you all info through your HUD and in-world cues without creating too much visual noise. There are different ways to achieve that, and right now we’re testing these approaches.

Modules vs. Modules

How will modules affect current balance of robots and weapons?

We’d like to use modules as an opportunity to diversify everyone’s builds and help all robots to fit more firmly into their niche. Rogatka still won’t be able to match Griffin by raw power — with or without modules. But remember: Rogatka’s main strength is not in its power, but in its mobility. The right selection of modules will help to highlight this even more.

Anyway, one robot shouldn’t raise above others just because of modules. Modules here aren’t to disrupt the power balance, even though they might make some equipment more desirable than it was before (even Noricums!).

And yet, some pilots are concerned that Modules will create a bigger disparity between stronger and weaker robots. In theory, Spectre with Diffraction Bomb or Energized Ammo can become unstoppable… or can it?

  • Module: Diffraction Bomb
  • Forms a temporary diffraction sphere. Robots inside the sphere become invisible and non-targetable from the outside

Let’s remember that modules are divided by class. Modules of each class require a slot of a certain type. That means, you cannot fit Attack module into Defence slot — same as you wouldn’t put Medium weapon into Heavy slot. Energized Ammo is an Attack module. We don’t want a certain robot to have it? No problem here, let’s just remove the slot from it.

This is a handy balancing mechanism. If during testing we realize that attack modules are too strong on Spectre (considering its already crazy damage potential), we can just make it so Attack modules aren’t available to Spectre whatsoever.

Also, don’t forget that other robots have modules too. Spectre is not the sturdiest robot around — if you survive its attack, you can make it a toast in no time. Burst Resistance module will help you with the first part, and after that it’s up to you to demonstrate your shooting prowess.

  • Module: Burst Resistance
  • Gives chance to reduce damage from shots dealing more than X damage

To every play there should be a counterplay. Modules help here.

Will modules provide counters for certain mechanics (e.g. EMP module for disabling Stealth)?

It’s true that modules are an amazing tool not just for creating new possibilities, but also for counterweighting currently dominating strategies. For example, Burst Resistance is definitely going to affect how Orkan and Shocktrain are used.

But! But. Countering particular mechanics is not the best way to handle things — countering playstyles is overall a better idea. Here’s why.

You equip your modules somewhat blindly, before you go into combat and see your opponents in person. Will you have to fight Stealth-bots this time? You might... or you might not. See the issue? There’s no way to know this in advance. If you took the anti-Stealth module and there are no Stealth-bots around, then the said module is a waste of a slot.

So instead we consider options that are effective against Stealth but also help somewhere else. For example, movement impairing effect of Energized Ammo works incredibly well against dashing and jumping robots, but for Fury it will be rather inconvenient as well.

With this approach we can create a healthy system of actions and counteractions that are actually ingrained into the game’s core — instead of being just tacked on.

Modules and griefing?

Air Strike module hits both friends and foes. What will stop a player from doing a rage attack on their teammates?

  • Module: Air Strike
  • Incoming bombardment deals massive damage both to allies and enemies.

First, to use Air Strike you need to lock on a target. By itself it already limits the potential of deliberately messing with allies.

Second, Air Attack has a delay before dealing damage. That allows allies to step out of a targeted zone. We can also make it more visible for allies, just to make sure.

Of course, nothing can stop pilots from inefficiently using tool they have — but they can do the same with any regular weapon. Take Tarans, shoot some clouds — you’re good. In the end, we plan to discourage that with the upcoming reporting system.


In this article we covered a lot, but still not everything. We’ll keep be coming back to the topic many times before Modules hit the test server.

Stay tuned!

More on modules

Next in War Robots. Modules
WR Friday. Answering your Modules questions
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