Find us on

Armored Warfare Alpha 2 Artillery Review

Armored Warfare Artillery Review
Critic Score: 3 out of 5
User Rating: (60 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)

Back in February I was given the chance to check out Armored Warfare, a new game by and was amazed by what I saw, but still had a few questions regarding the game. Much of the title was still theorycraft at the time, and we just had to take the devs at Obsidian at face value that they would deliver. This last week I was given a follow up opportunity to see that work in action, and the improvements were many. Obsidian Entertainment has listened to the feedback they were given after the first alpha stage, and in this second alpha stage they have implemented a new mechanic for the artillery tanks, giving the player a better way to play this special role.

I must admit that in the first alpha I never had the chance to check out the artillery based tanks. Mainly because I prefer the more aggressive approach when I have to destroy my enemies in an online shooter. It doesn’t matter if I am in a jet, on foot or driving a tank, there is this little voice inside of me that wants to rush forward and to end things at sword-point, so to speak. For those familiar with my first impressions, you know this style of gameplay is rather suicidal when facing off against the most advanced ground vehicles in human history.

Armored Warfare Alpha 2 Artillery Review

This is what a dead tank looks like.

Armored Warfare is a game that has a slower pace than most simulation games I have seen, despite the blazing maximum speeds of the vehicles themselves. The uninitiated might mistake the experience for a more arcade-styled take on the genre, only to be removed from the game in the first round of fire. In Armored Warfare, strategy is survival whether you’re rolling in formation or sneaking around solo. This time around we were given a few premium tanks, to get us more familiarized with the higher tiered vehicles on offer. It was a nice change of pace, considering I was late to get into the initial alpha, and since the playerbase was so small, I found myself against insurmountable odds as the more hardcore players rolled out in their invincible fortresses. With everyone in this alpha utilizing the premium tanks, the matches were far more balanced, and the lacking fun factor rose with it.

Fighting Artillery

Now that we were on equal footing, I was able to play a bit more ballsy without suffering instant losses. As such I discovered that while fast, even modern armors aren’t the most maneuverable vehicles. If you get rolling haphazardly and find yourself far from cover, the new improvements to artillery will remind you of your mortality rather quickly. Some matches felt akin to American Gladiators as each side slowly sprinted from one major cover point to the next, trying to minimize artillery damage while edging closer to the enemy’s base. On the plus side, death by artillery no longer feels like playing Russian roulette. The devs have acknowledged that dying out of the blue isn’t fun, and now when you are targeted you get a little warning in your screen, especially useful if there is an artillery tank looking at you and launching a missile your way. You don’t know where you can go to dodge the missile, but you know for sure where you are now isn’t it.

So while this change makes life a bit harder for artillery players, its all the more rewarding knowing that your target knew the death blow was coming and still failed to escape. Granted on most maps you have three or so seconds until impact, so good luck reacting effectively without dumb luck. Though once I steeled my nerves, I recognized that the incoming missile blips on your mini-radar while en route, tipping off the location of the artillery player should you survive the barrage. In essence you need to play a bit lazy eyed, watching out for both incoming heavy tanks, and potential radar missiles at all times.

Armored Warfare Alpha 2 Artillery Review

This is what a dead tank sees before exploding.

Playing as Artillery

The artillery tanks play different than normal tanks; instead of slowly advancing as heavy tanks or spanning the outskirts in lighter speed vehicles, you sit tight playing with your unique camera view. With the use of your mini map you can see much further than any other tank and must constantly scan for unwary victims. If you have positioned your tank properly, you will see a circle on the camera view at the location that you’re aiming. Depending on the distance, it could take a few second for your artillery to drop, but you obviously need to account for that. You should also make sure no buildings are in the way of your artillery’s flight path, as I missed out on countless easy kills because I was unaware of the terrain between my target and myself.

Crew Too

Since I had multiple days to test this time around, I got to experience the progression system to see how exactly your Crew works. When you play well enough in one tank, and keep playing it, you will eventually notice that your crew has acquired a lot of experience from their hard work. They can then be leveled up to improve some abilities of your choosing. Each crew member has their own specific boosts. For example you can have your gunner reload faster, and the driver move the tank faster. This neat little feature should help give every player that little bit of individuality amongst the scrap metal.

Armored Warfare Alpha 2 Artillery Review

Unified artillery fire is a beautiful thing.

Overall Improvements

No matter which role I played in the second alpha, I felt like I could impact the end result of the battle. The extent of that impact seemed to be based on the inherent strategies that different missions and maps rewarded. On some maps you simply cannot just rush in front of the rest and hope for the best; you have to wait on a cliff and cover your allies with suppression fire to help each other advance safely. Slowly but surely you and your team can move forward and try taking over the enemy base. Or so it works in theory. The typical pug games in this early alpha revolve around one side rushing in guns blazing, and the defending side panicking and being overrun. A few times the then outnumbered rallied to punish the offenders, but these were certainly the minority of matches.

A few clearly veteran members of the alpha gave me hope that this wouldn’t always be the case. The real skill ceiling rears its lofty head when you realize how important ammo type and precision strikes on weak points can be. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each tank type, and capitalizing on them will take plenty of trial and error, and a whole ton of matches played. Even this knowledge isn’t enough, as most tanks tend to be strongest at their front, meaning you need to know when to move to outmaneuver enemy tanks to hit their flanks. Obviously you will deal the most damage from behind, but to get the opportunity you usually need to land a few good blows to their treads to slow them enough to make this a reality. Another viable strategy seems to be nailing offensive heavy tanks right in the turret. Though this is more of an all or nothing approach, as going toe to toe with said tank is almost always betting your life on your aim. I learned the hard way that trying to turn and run once in a face-off with such a tank only ensures your quick demise.

Armored Warfare Alpha 2 Artillery Review

Artillery vision.


So far I’m enjoying the improvements that I have seen from my previous test. Even though artillery were pretty rare in the initial test, I’m glad they got love to make them a key component of the game without being gimped or overpowered. The artillery feels way more balanced now, and tanks aren’t literally a sitting duck when an artillery tank has focused them. I said it once before in my first article, but Armored Warfare is a game that just sucks you in. The world feels like it is alive; you are actually fighting in a war and this can be seen with the helicopters and jets flying past you. Be it stormy or sunny, you have a job to do, and it is up to you and your team to do this successfully.

Next Article
  • wolfpuppy

    I started playing World of Tanks
    many years ago, when one had to be invited to play during the closed
    beta era. It was a fun game, very different from the other games out
    there, at least the ones that I was familiar with. I enjoyed
    grinding a new tank, earning upgrades, leveling up, and all the other
    little things that the game had going for it. The graphics and such
    seemed to be on par with everything else that was out there, so I had
    no problem with that. It was touted as a free-to-play game, but, of
    course, that wasn’t true. As I remember, you started out with some
    garage slots and the first tanks were free. However, in order to
    aquire more tanks and move up in tiers, you had to purchase slots, or
    garage space, for each additional tank, and you had to use real
    money. You could not purchase a garage slot with in-game currency,
    for example. So, from the get-go, you were invested in the game,
    both from a time standpoint, and real money. For myself, although it
    has been a very long time since I played WoT, to date I have probably
    invested around $500-$600 in the game, mostly for garage slots and
    Premium Time. So, for a free to play game, WoT managed to get me to
    pony up bucks. And, to be honest, I didn’t mind at the time. I was
    having fun, the community hadn’t turned toxic yet, and the devs
    hadn’t damaged the game to the point where I wouldn’t play anymore.
    That was all to come later.

    As time went on, I managed to
    crawl up the tiers and trick out a lot of tanks with all the
    avaliable upgrades and such. I was up to nearly 15,000 games, and it
    was around this time that I was beginning to pay attention to what
    the developers (hereafter referred to as devs) were doing to the
    game. The first thing I noticed was that the community was beginning
    to degrade into a bunch of whiners and complainers. Every game lost
    was everyone elses’ fault, that guy wasn’t moving fast enough or
    didn’t support me enough, or that other tank was afk. The devs did
    do the right thing, in my opinion, by finally adding the option to
    disable all chat entirely, but only after the community had
    complained on the forums for a very long time. I was fine with it.
    I turned off chat and never turned it on again, and had a number of
    pleasant games.

    Unfortunately, the pleasant games
    didn’t last. The devs, unable to leave well enough alone, started
    down the path of failure by listening to the whiners at the expense
    of the silent majority. The whiners complained about how unfair the
    arty was, so they practically destroyed that mode of play by using
    their ridiculous RNG algorithm, which, in essence, replaced skill
    with a dice roll. As I understand it, the RNG extends to all the
    tanks. I have shot point blank at a close tank and missed, and I
    could remember when it didn’t use to be like that. This was
    particularly irritating to me as the arty was my favorite mode of
    play. Then the whiners complained about people leaving the game
    early and, even though I had never detected any difference in play,
    the devs instituted a warning system. I realized this one time when
    I was disconnected (a rather common occurance with wot) and, upon
    re-logging into the game, was greeted with a warning about leaving a
    game early. I get why they wouldn’t want a player to leave early,
    but I was dc’d. Seriously, the server can’t detect the difference?
    But what really got my goat was when I was issued a warning for not
    moving fast enough. So now my playstyle is being called into
    question. This was the deal-breaker for me. Time to check out the

    Around this time, Armored Warfare
    was entering the picture as another tank game and I decided to give
    it a try. And try I did. I downloaded the game and have been
    playing it to the complete exclusion of WoT. It is a great game,
    super graphics, nice sound, and lots of things to keep the interest
    up. You can play pvp, pve, or, recently, Global Ops. My favorite
    mode of play is PvE, and I have a few thousand games there as well.
    This game is truly a free to play game, as one does not have to buy
    garage slots for newly aquired tanks and all tanks, along with
    upgrades, can be earned with in-game credits. To date, I have not
    spent any real money on this game. I liked it well enough; I was
    just waiting for it to become more stable before investing. Crashes
    to the desktop were too frequent for now. But I assumed the devs
    would square away that issue soon enough, so I wasn’t worried. But
    all good things must come to an end, and so it seems that this is the
    case with AW.

    While playing an spg in Armored
    Warfare, I was hiding behind a rock waiting for a shot. I wasn’t
    moving. Sixty seconds later (I timed it with a stopwatch) I was
    greeted with a warning, telling me that if I didn’t change my
    behavior, I would be kicked. In other words, if I didn’t move. I am
    in an spg, the sniper of the team, waiting for a shot, and I am told
    I have to move? Unbelievable. The devs just took a page out of the
    WoT playbook on how to insult a loyal player. I don’t think that I
    am overreacting to say that I was insulted. To be treated as though
    I were AFK when I wasn’t is not going to fly with me. If I am in
    front of my monitor with my hand on the mouse, I am in the game.
    Often, I will sit and take a minute or so to assess the situation.
    I’ve never entered a game and deliberately left, but now, according
    to this new rule, I am not allowed to sit still for a minute. I am
    both angered and saddened by this turn of events. I get what they
    are trying to accomplish, but I don’t agree with how they are
    implementing it.

    The bottom line is this. I am an
    adult, playing a game by choice, using my own time and money. I am
    not in the mood to be treated like a child and given unwarranted
    warnings as though I was late to class and have to go to detention.
    Warranted warnings, ok. I would accept a legit warning. But warning
    me to move and kicking me if I don’t move fast enough? Banning me
    for an hour or so if I accidentally drown or go off a cliff? Sorry,
    but that is a deal-breaker for me. Personally, I feel that
    team-killing should be the real bannable offense, with everything
    else second or third place. When we are talking about a PvE game
    (and that is the game I am referring to as I don’t play PvP) that
    only lasts ten minutes or so, is there really an AFK problem? After
    the thousands of PvE games that I have played, I am going to say no.

    In conclusion, I am going to
    assume a wait-and-see attitude to this game. I want to see how the
    community reacts to these latest changes and whether or not they will
    accept them. They are deal-breakers for me, but may not be for
    others. For all the rest who may not be bothered by these latest
    rules thrown at the player base, good for you. However, I hope that
    the devs realize that doing what WoT did is not the way to go. These
    were the reasons I left WoT in the first place, and I am certainly
    not going to remain here if they insist on doing the same things.

    To the gaming community, I wish
    you well and many good games. To the devs, please look at what WoT
    has done in the past, and then do the complete opposite!
    There are too many other games out there for you to insult
    legitimate players.