Last week we took a first proper look at three new robots, discussing their art and origins. Today we’re going to tell you more about how they play and what role they will fill on War Robots battlegrounds.
What we wanted to achieve
Let’s face it: in high tiers War Robots doesn’t allow much place for agile robots. Updated Rogatka shook things up a bit, but eventually the situation shifted back to where it was before. Here are some stats: as of version 2.8 about 88% of all robots spawned in Master league and above were Lancelots, Griffins, Galahads and Furies. Not so much of diversity, huh?
In lower leagues the picture happens to be much broader, but not because people there don’t yet have an access to higher tier robots — not necessarily. People there are much more keen to experiment. If we go higher, min-maxing aspect slowly but surely takes over. Which is alright, because, you know, why would you go for a suboptimal build when your goal is to be the best among the best?
The reason for that? There aren’t many variables to play around with. You take Galahad and Lancelot for supreme protection. You pick Griffin if you want a jail free card with its ability to quickly jump into safety. You pick Fury (or Butch, if you prefer) for long range sniping. And that’s pretty much it.
With Kumiho, Haechi and Bulgasari our goal was to create a new niche: robots that rely more on agility and less on raw power. You can argue that we had something like that before — and you will be absolutely right. Although now we’re pushing the envelope even further. Take Griffin: its mobility is highly situational and can be used only once in a while. Whereas new robots can change their position much more often.
What are they made of? Let’s take a look.
Kumiho is the fastest out of the bunch: a nimble skirmisher best suited for hunting down slow-moving targets. In skillful hands it easily disrupts the enemy backline while remaining almost impossible to catch. Kumiho is similar to Rogatka in many regards: it has similar durability and carries 2 medium slots. But instead of jumping it dashes — in any direction other than “upwards”.
One dash expends one charge. You can store up to 2 of these. In Kumiho’s case (for others it takes longer) one charge refills every 5 seconds. The fact that you can store 2 dash charges means that you have an access to some quite advanced moves. For example, you can dash during dash to change the direction of your movement mid-air.
While Kumiho is more of a lone flanker, Haechi is great at leading small strike teams. It is slightly less agile than Kumiho: Haechi’s movement speed is lower and its dash recharge takes slightly more time. But Haechi compensates this with an energy barrier covering everything around it. If you ever used Carnage or any other robot with Ancile, that will feel very familiar to you.
One more amazing thing about it is that Haechi can fish for enemy rockets for eternity. Take a barrage or two face-on — and then dash behind the cover to regenerate your barrier.
Bulgasari has a physical shield which helps it survive under heavy fire. But it (of course!) can also dash to quickly retreat from a sticky situation. Or get into one.
Bulgasari provides probably the most interesting shield interaction among many other robots. Its physical shield doesn’t cover the entire hull — you have to turn the body so the shield faces the opponent. You cannot defend and fight back at the same time, like Lancelot or Rhino — you should choose what is more important at the moment. Enemy robot is firing at you? Duck and cover. An opponent just went on reload? Sweet, go and show him your other side — the one where your weapons are.
After watching people play Dash robots on a test server, many expressed some concerns on their place in the game. Let’s address these.
Where are these three class-wise?
You can suggest that Kumiho is a light robot, Haechi is a medium one and Bulgasari is heavy, but this is not exactly the case here. We are gradually moving away from our old classification: new robots are all balanced around the same weight category, but each has its own shtick that allows it to stand out.
Kumiho is all about skill and evasion. When you master its movement patterns, you can be an annoying little flea up until you get enough of it — but stay on one place for a few seconds and you’ll get melted in a blink of an eye. If you prefer a more straightforward approach, choose Haechi and Bulgasari. These two trade away some of their mobility for more protection to lead the charge head-on.
Both shields AND dash? Isn’t that… excessive?
All robots have certain power budget that we allocate between different parameters, being that HP, speed, firepower, active abilities or protection against certain types of damage. Kumiho has no shields at all, but it makes up for it with having superior mobility. Haechi and Bulgasari are better protected, but in exchange these two are significantly less nimble. We give them something — we take something back.
Also worth noting: energy barriers and physical shields became an integral part of War Robots ecosystem. Building sensible interactions between different types of weapons is one of our goals in building both solid and flexible metagame.
I don’t know, that still sounds pretty overpowered to me…
We keep testing Kumiho, Haechi and Bulgasari both internally and on the test server, and it’s up to us to ensure that all the numbers are in the right ballpark. There’s, however, another concern: skill ceiling for new robots is much higher than for anything we ever made before. From one point of view, that’s great: after acquiring, say, Kumiho, you can get better at using it. But when the progress will stop?
To accord the balance to everyone’s indefinite skill growth is a really tricky part by itself. The better people become at piloting high-skill robots, the better results these robots start to show. Shall we cut their power if people using the holy Kumi-Hae-Bu trinity start to outright dominate the meta? We might. And we believe you should know about that in advance.
Not like we intend to make them useless after some brief honeymoon period. We want new robots to be great and (most importantly!) fun counter to certain playstyles, and remain this way in a long run. However, everything should have its place and role — and older robots are never the exception.
Bonus. Here’s some fan footage from one of our latest test server sessions.