[Update] Sandbox 2021: HE Shells and Artillery Combined Test Incoming!

UPDATE: As of March 26, a new mission has been added to the Sandbox server.  Please see the "Bonus for MT/HT Tier VIII" mission in the article below for further details. 

Greetings, Commanders!

First, we'd like to express our gratitude to all the engaged and dedicated players who participated in testing the reworked HE shells and complex changes for vehicles and artillery. Thank you for your interest, commitment, comments, and feedback. You've done a tremendous job, and we highly appreciate it!

But now we need to brace ourselves and determine the format in which the reworked HE shells and changes for vehicles and SPGs will be added to the game. We're entering the final stretch and launching the most important, combined pre-release test. At this stage, all our previous suggestions will be put together and take their almost-final forms. This is a decisive moment, Commanders—we're counting on your support and engagement!

Sandbox Combined Test:
HE Shell Rebalance and Changes for Vehicles and Artillery
Monday, March 22 at 23:00 PT | Tuesday, March 23 at 01:00 CT | 02:00 ET Monday, March 29 at 02:00 PT | 04:00 CT | 05:00 ET

If, by the end of our collective testing, we conclude that the changes can go live, you will likely be able to see them around May during the Common Test. They will be added to the game simultaneously as a single update. Now is your chance to make your voice heard and influence the way the new mechanics turn out!

As always, all active test participants will receive valuable rewards as a sign of our gratitude for their contribution. More on that below.

HE Shell Rebalance: Let the Final Test Begin!

Upon analyzing player surveys from the two previous tests, we can safely say that both Sandbox iterations showed good results. This is further confirmed by our statistics: for instance, after the testing of the reworked HE shells, more than 70% of reviews from players who played on the Sandbox were positive.

Test participants formed a diverse audience. Many of them played in vehicles other than HE tanks, including popular heavies. These players came up with several important questions regarding not only new mechanics, but also the performance of specific vehicles. We'll now try to answer the most frequently asked questions.


The Sandbox data provides us with a general insight into vehicle performance. Because of this, we can see that the new mechanics don't cause serious errors, but that doesn't mean they are flawless or that transitioning to the new system will be perfect regarding game balance. If the changes go live on the main server, we will continue to actively monitor the performance of vehicles including those mentioned below.

The Statistical Performance of Vehicles Using HE Shells as Standard Ammo

A number of negative reviews during the test addressed the performance of specific vehicles. Some players communicated on the forums and in surveys that gameplay in vehicles that use HE as standard shells became worse. What do the Sandbox statistics have to say on the matter?

We share this well-founded concern, and to verify it, we took test data concerning the most popular HE tanks (Type 5 Heavy, FV4005/FV215b (183), KV-2/KV-2 (R), Sheridan, T49) and carefully analyzed their performance on Sandbox. Let's take a closer look at each of these vehicles.

  • FV4005 Stage II
  • KV-2/KV-2 (R)
  • Panhard EBR 105
  • Type 5 Heavy
  • XM551 Sheridan and T49

X FV4005 Stage II

  • The average damage caused by this vehicle's standard HE shell remained practically the same, but at the same time, its average damage per shot with alternative HE shells slightly increased. The higher penetration value of the latter resulted in a greater number of penetrations.
  • Despite a small dip in survivability, the overall battle performance of the FV4005 didn't change, which also indicates that there is no need for urgent changes.

VI KV-2  /  VI KV-2 (R)  

  • The statistics showed a small decrease in the damage of non-penetrating shots for these tanks. A general decrease in the average damage per shot can be observed, but less so than with other vehicles. Just like the Type 5 Heavy, the KV-2 now boasts better survivability in battle. Consequently, these tanks can fire more shots per battle, which compensates for the decrease in damage for non-penetrating shots. As a result, their average damage values remain largely the same.

X Panhard EBR 105  

  • The Panhard EBR 105 now deals more HE damage per shot, but at the same time receives much more HE damage to itself. The survivability of this wheeled tank worsened, but this is in no small part due to the general nature of Sandbox battles, not solely to the specifics of the new HE mechanics. The overall battle performance of the Panhard EBR 105 also didn't change significantly.

X Type 5 Heavy  

  • The average damage caused by this tank's standard HE shell dipped a bit, while the damage caused by its alternative HE shell slightly increased. The statistics show that the Type 5's damage was redistributed: the vehicle caused less damage per non-penetrating shot, but at the same time, there were more penetrations. If we consider both types of HE shells—standard and alternative—in aggregate, the average damage remained the same. There were no significant changes here.
  • Thanks to the new mechanics, the survivability of this formidable but slow tank has increased. Even though it's not easy for the Type 5 Heavy to hit a weak spot, it is now able to fire and penetrate with HE shells more often, just like other vehicles. This effectively contributed to a small increase in damage caused by alternative shells.
  • In general, the vehicle's battle performance remains the same. As it stands, there are currently no reasonable grounds for rebalancing this vehicle.

X XM551 Sheridan  and  IX T49  

  • Thanks to their good dynamics and an ability to better realize the potential of the new HE shells, these vehicles now enjoy a significant increase in penetrations with both standard and alternative HE shells. However, the damage of non-penetrating shots naturally decreased, as was the case with other tanks. The average damage per shot increased, but at the same time, their survivability slightly worsened. Overall, the battle performance of these two vehicles didn't change significantly either.

If the new mechanics are introduced into the game, will vehicles with good gun depression/elevation angles and tough turrets gain an advantage?

There is another widespread opinion that players shared. Some tankers suggested that the new mechanics will worsen the performance of lightly armored vehicles, while those with well-armored turrets and good gun depression/elevation angles will gain an advantage. When fighting an enemy in a hull-down position, you could at least damage it with HE shells, which will become way harder to do with the new mechanics.

Let's take the Super Conqueror as an example—a well-known heavy with a sturdy turret and gun depression/elevation angles of up to –10°. On the main server, HE shells account for 11% of the total hits this tank receives. Indeed, changing the HE damage mechanics may influence the outcome of a particular battle where this vehicle will use terrain. But considering the overall impact on game balance, this won't affect the vehicle's performance significantly. Regardless of how much the HE damage output on the Super Conqueror changes, it won't influence its gameplay and battle performance in any meaningful way. In the end, it will be marginal in the statistics for this tank's received damage, rather than a compelling argument for potential changes. Hence, as is the case with HE tanks, there is no need to implement changes to the characteristics of the Super Conqueror or other similar vehicles.

Why were types of shells other than HE allowed on the Sandbox?

During the test, it was important for us to see how a specific tank would interact with a specific shell type (HE), while ignoring other factors. We didn't focus on characteristics and blocked damage from specific vehicles, their survivability, win rate of a specific player, etc. Instead, we were evaluating the effectiveness of the new mechanics and the general interaction of vehicles with reworked HE shells—screen penetration, revision of HE damage behavior, etc.

We wanted players to decide for themselves which shells to use in which situations, thus bringing the testing as close to real conditions as possible. That's exactly why we didn't restrict the choice of ammunition, reduce vehicles' ammunition capacity, or introduce artificial changes to battlefield conditions.

Why were the T95/FV4201 Chieftain, the Object 279 early, and other rare vehicles absent from the test?

These vehicles are indeed very rare and highly coveted by any Commander, and their availability is limited in the game. We don't want the focus shifted from testing new mechanics to learning the unique gameplay of these rarities, which is why we didn't add them to the test. The upcoming Sandbox won't have these vehicles either.


In summary, we can affirm that the Sandbox statistics neither exposed any major faults in the mechanics, nor showed any serious alterations in the vehicles' battle performance. As a result, there is no need to introduce changes to the new mechanics or characteristics, as the test demonstrated that everything works properly in the current format.

We considered the results of the previous test and plan to launch the final iteration in which we will assess how the new mechanics operate in a single ecosystem with artillery changes. We will be simultaneously conducting an HE vehicle supertest for a more in-depth examination of their battle performance. If required, we will selectively tweak these vehicles' characteristics based on the supertest results, but there is no need for that before the upcoming Sandbox.

Tank and Artillery Changes for the Upcoming Test

Most of you welcomed the complex changes that were tested on the Sandbox server, and this positive perception didn’t depend on whether you played in SPGs or other vehicles. The hottest topic you discussed was changes to arty shells and their characteristics, as well as the effectiveness of specific SPGs and the mechanics of the Sound Detection feature.

Changes to SPGs

  • Preliminary statistics show that the idea to introduce three types of tactically diverse shells works, and SPG players used or learned to use all three types of shells.
SPG: Standard shell (%): Alternative shell (%): Tactical shell (%):
X Object 261   45% 36% 19%
X G.W. E 100   49% 37% 14%
X T92 HMC   42% 46% 12%
X Bat.-Châtillon 155 58   46% 35% 19%
X Conqueror Gun Carriage   48% 40% 12%
  • Each type of shell was in demand and was actively used. According to the first estimates, this reduced the stun time in battles by 60-65%*. The exact numbers for specific vehicles are shown in the table below.
VEHICLE: STUN TIME IN UPDATE 1.12 (seconds): STUN TIME ON SANDBOX 2021: SPG Rebalance Test (seconds):
X Maus   22.8 s 5.9 s
X T110E5   18.3 s 5.6 s
X TVP T 50/51   8.8 s 3.0 s
X STB-1   13.6 s 4.3 s
X T-100 LT   6.9 s 2.2 s

*These are average values for all vehicles, not just those shown in the table. They are also influenced by slightly faster Sandbox battles.

  • The average damage per battle remained about the same. When calculating the damage, we considered that the battles on the Sandbox take place a little faster than on the main server, so the artillery didn't have time to reveal its full potential. In addition, the tools for counteracting SPGs also had their impact.

Counteracting SPGs

  • Based on your feedback and the survey results, our suggested tools to counteract SPGs received general community approval. The effectiveness of these changes should be evaluated over a longer testing period than just the 7 days of the Sandbox test.
  • The modified "Intuition" Perk received the most positive reception, and not only among artillery players. According to our statistics, you began to change the type of shell much more often, especially when playing in SPGs.
  • The Sound Detection feature became a topic of hot dispute and raised questions in the community because it is a new and unusual mechanic that takes some time to get used to in battles. You need time to use it consciously and effectively. However, your feedback showed that this mechanic affected the amount of damage received after artillery shots, and the idea itself received your general approval.
  • Brighter shell tracers were also well received. According to your feedback, they helped you to better determine the direction of artillery fire and use this information to plan further actions. At the same time, we didn't detect any changes in the behavior of artillery and didn’t notice an increase in the effectiveness of counter-battery fire.

Considering all of the above, by the start of the final iteration, we decided to make the following changes:

  • Standard shells are designed to support allies and contain enemy groups of vehicles through their combined ability to stun and inflict damage. At the same time, during the first iteration of the Sandbox, they showed a damage efficiency similar to the alternative shell. To highlight the tactical component of the standard shell in comparison with the alternative one, we will slightly reduce its damage on some SPGs.
SPG: Damage (HP) with a standard shell on Sandbox: SPG Rebalance Test (HP): Damage (HP) with a standard shell on Sandbox: HE Shells and Artillery Combined Test, (HP):
X Object 261   810 HP 800 HP
X G.W. E 100   990 HP 900 HP
X T92 HMC   1,170 HP 1,100 HP
X Bat.-Châtillon 155 58   680 HP 680 HP
X Conqueror Gun Carriage   1,080 HP 1,000 HP
  • The trajectory of the alternative shells influenced their demand. You often didn't get the right opportunity to fire this type of shell, even in favorable combat situations. To fix this, we will bring its trajectory closer to the trajectory of a standard shell and decrease its velocity without changing its effectiveness per effective shot. According to the test results, this shell also showed different levels of effectiveness for different SPGs. To equalize the effectiveness of this type of shell, it will receive small changes in damage (±5%) and a decrease in armor penetration by about 17%.
SPG: Alternative shell velocity (m/s) on Sandbox: SPG Rebalance Test (m/s): Alternative shell velocity on Sandbox: HE Shells and Artillery Combined Test (m/s):
X Object 261   612 m/s 546 m/s
X G.W. E 100   522 m/s 465 m/s
X T92 HMC   552 m/s 492 m/s
X Bat.-Châtillon 155 58   588 m/s 524 m/s
X Conqueror Gun Carriage   432 m/s 385 m/s
  • Tactical AP shells showed less-than-expected effectiveness both according to the statistics and your feedback, even when used correctly. The main reason is their flat trajectory and the insufficient damage when penetrating armor. We want their use to be rare and situational, but add value when used correctly. To do this, we plan to increase their damage by about 10% compared to the previous Sandbox. In addition, their trajectory will become more convenient for shooting, but with a decrease in velocity.
SPG: Tactical AP shell damage on Sandbox: SPG Rebalance Test (HP): Tactical AP shell damage on Sandbox: HE Shells and Artillery Combined Test (HP):
X Object 261   470 HP 520 HP
X G.W. E 100   525 HP 570 HP
X T92 HMC   580 HP 650 HP
X Bat.-Châtillon 155 58   415 HP 450 HP
X Conqueror Gun Carriage   565 HP 620 HP


The revamped Crew 2.0 system will not be present during the upcoming test—we’re still working on it after receiving your feedback.

All detailed parameters, shell characteristics, and numerical values on the test aren't final. We'll continue to work on them based on the test results and your feedback.

Your participation is now more important than ever, so be sure to test the changes and fill out the relevant surveys! The more players that join the test and share their feedback, the higher our chance of success. We really appreciate your time and dedication, which is why all active test participants will be able to earn rewards, including 4 unique decals and a special Sandbox-themed 2D style.

Rewards for Participation in the Test

During the test, you will have access to a chain of 5 simple daily missions. Completing each mission will reward you with 2 Tokens. Once all five missions are complete, the sixth and final mission in the chain will become available to you. To complete it, you only need to play one battle—you will be rewarded with 20 Tokens. You can complete the entire chain of missions three times during the test. The rewards for completed missions will be added together if all conditions and restrictions are met.

  • Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier VI
  • Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier VII
  • Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier VIII
  • Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier IX
  • Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier X
  • Final mission for LT/MT/HT/TD
  • Bonus for MT/HT Tier VIII
Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier VI


  • Be one of the top 10 XP earners on your team in two (2) battles


  • Once a day
  • Three (3) times per account
  • Available only for Tier VI light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, and tank destroyers
  • Random Battles


  • Tokens


  • Be one of the top 10 XP earners on your team in two (2) battles


  • Once a day
  • Three (3) times per account
  • Available only for Tier VII light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, and tank destroyers
  • Random Battles


  • Tokens


  • Be one of the top 10 XP earners on your team in two (2) battles


  • Once a day
  • Three (3) times per account
  • Available only for Tier VIII light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, and tank destroyers
  • Random Battles


  • Tokens
Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier IX


  • Be one of the top 10 XP earners on your team in two (2) battles


  • Once a day
  • Three (3) times per account
  • Available only for Tier IX light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, and tank destroyers
  • Random Battles


  • Tokens
Play LT/MT/HT/TD Tier X


  • Be one of the top 10 XP earners on your team in two (2) battles


  • Once a day
  • Three (3) times per account
  • Available only for Tier X light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, and tank destroyers
  • Random Battles


  • Tokens
Final mission for LT/MT/HT/TD


  • Complete Step by Step, Part 1–5 missions
  • Play a battle


  • Once a day
  • Three (3) times per account
  • Random Battles


  • 20×Tokens
Bonus for MT/HT Tier VIII


  • Be one of the top 12 XP earners on your team in a battle
  • Play a battle


  • Only for Tier VIII medium and heavy tanks
  • Ten (10) times per account
  • Random Battles


  • Tokens

Tokens will be transferred to the live servers sometime after the end of the test. All unused Tokens will be compensated at the rate of  10,000 per Token.

The infographics show the rewards for one stage of the test.

How to Participate

Anyone can participate in the test!

  • Download the Sandbox launcher.
  • Install the Sandbox client by launching the downloaded file. If you're running the Game Center for the first time, you'll have to authorize and restart the downloaded installation file.
  • Wait until the Sandbox client is downloaded and installed.
  • Open the World of Tanks tab, select World of Tanks Sandbox, and click Play.

It's time to make the final push, Commanders! Join the final test and share your opinion on these changes. Your feedback is important!

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