Armored Cars and Halftracks in WoT – Part 2: Gameplay

Hello everyone,

today, we are going to try to imagine, what the gamplay of wheeled vehicles and halftracks would look like and whether it makes any sense implementing them in the game.

One of the main issues with the cars and halftracks is that for a class of vehicles, they do not reach high enough, when it comes to tiers. The reason for this is that for all their firepower, the halftracks are very fragile vehicles and in game terms, they would roughly equal an unarmored Waffenträger – only worse: halftrack suspension does not have the terrain passability of a tank, nor it has its stability.

Gun-armed halftracks were in most cases stopgap or desperate measures to bring more anti-tank guns to bear (or to provide mobility for some infantry support guns for a low price yet with sufficient terrain passability). These vehicles were not fast in particular and often the limited stability of the chassis allowed for only a limited firing arc of the gun (to be fair, the lighter tank destroyers suffered from the same issues). The armor of a halftrack is, as you probably already figured out, negligible. A 20mm gunshield here, a 10mm armored plate there, any protection these vehicles offered was mostly against infantry weapons fire (and sometimes not even that). As I mentioned above, this is the same issue that the German tracked Waffenträgers suffered from, but, as we can see with the case of for example Waffenträger Rheinmetall-Borsig, it can work very well. The halftrack design is also relatively more compact. Basically, the halftracks (by their very nature) live and die by their guns and as such, they most likely are to end on tier 8 (the largest AT gun that I know of on a halftrack chassis was the 88mm L/71, but that was an extreme case). A typical case is here: this is the 88mm FlaK on a halftrack.


As you can see, the design is relatively compact, but the frontal firing arc is problematic due to the halftrack cabin. Considering the fact that the entire vehicle is practically unarmored, this matters a little. On the plus side, the nature of the vehicle suspension makes the potential track module smaller – in World of Tanks terms, the tracks often cover the entire side of the vehicle, leading to higher chance of detracks, while a halftrack suspension is relatively small, giving it less chance to be immobilized at longer distances. Naturally, this is just a speculation.

Armored cars on the other hand have bigger potential to appear on higher tiers due to their blazing speed as scouts. Even some of the very heavy 8-wheelers can reach speeds up to 90 kilometers per hour, which, especially when you consider the speeds World of Tanks is working with, is a lot. Realistically speaking, on harder surfaces, an armored car will probably accelerate faster than even light tanks, but this is of course in real life. In the game, tanks actually accelerate much faster than in real life, but the car should likely have an advantage in this anyway. Some even carry some very, VERY serious firepower.

Take the Panhard EBR for example:


This 13 ton vehicle is powered by a 200hp engine and while that doesn’t seem to be much in World of Tanks terms, you have to consider that this engine is not powering the entire track system, but “only” wheels, like a car. This means that this vehicle can go as fast as 100 kilometers per hour. And it carries some massive firepower to boot – basically the one equal to the AMX 13 (75mm and even 90mm in oscillating turret, the same guns). In fact, I do think that armored cars could be one side the French would excel in, but of course, this would require some additional research from the side of Wargaming (with an alternative mini-branch of scouts with something like Panhard AML 60, AML 90 and EBR).

Why did I write the above however:

The point is, apart from being relatively useful scouts, armored cars and halftracks have no really serious advantage over tracked vehicles in World of Tank terms in best case, in worst case (halftracks) they are simply worse than anything that carries the same gun.

And so, their advatage (or rather, meta-advantage) has to come from somewhere else. And that “somewhere” is…

Physics and Fun

When we are talking about 6 wheel cars for example, I am sure I am not the only one, whose first thought was this:


For those not familiar with other computer games, this is the MAKO armored vehicle from the first Mass Effect game and I personally consider it a perfect example of how a wheeled vehicle in the game can be insanely fun to play even without Spintyres-que physics. Of course, the MAKO had rockets to make it jump, but on the other hand, the World of Tanks vehicles would wouldn’t climb every mountain in sight, looking for hidden treasures, right?

What I mean is – it’s possible (and crucial) to actually make the wheeled vehicles and halftracks entertaining to drive and that I think is the only way how to make them successful. If you give them essentially the same behavior like a tank has (sliding, same acceleration etc.), what you will get is basically just another set of tanks with different looks but same gameplay, only worse.

Another matter however is the realism. Hmm… have you ever driven an SUV (or however is it called in English, terrain vehicles like a Pajero for example) on a muddy field or a wet meadow? I have – and it’s a lot of fun, BUT the terrain passability of such a vehicle is nowhere near that one of a tank and it’s actually not that hard to get stuck in the mud at all. What that means is, if we were to have a realistic wheeled vehicles movement, we’d have to have some serious supension of disbelief, otherwise huge areas of maps would be inaccessible to non-tank vehicles. For example:

- Sand River: do you think a wheeled vehicle can climb a sand dune like a tank? Well, a Dakar special car maybe, but an armored car? Nope.
- Swamp: wheeled vehicles wouldn’t be able to touch the entire center of the map (bogged down)
- Live Oaks: same situations, wheeled vehicles would get stuck in the central marsh area

Etc. I am all up for suspension of disbelief in this area, but it’s an easy (and cheap) way to shut down the entire car and halftrack idea. Let’s face it though, the tank behavior on World of Tanks is nowhere NEAR realistic, that would be completely unplayable and no fun at all. In my opinion, “soft” terrain in the game would have to influence the wheeled vehicles and halftracks even worse than it does tanks now, but of course, the question is, how would that exactly work and what climbing capabilities would the wheelers and halftracks have. The entire “stick to the roads” concept in my opinion is quite viable, because that’s exactly what we already have anyway. Think about the Mountain Pass for example – here, the armored cars would probably have the same options as the tanks. Maps such as Swamp could be problematic, but it’s not something that can never ever be fixed.

Making the wheeled movement fun is hard to write about, because you have to test it a lot and tune it. Personally, I do think it’s possible, IF you add some nice effects that make you feel the experience as driving a powerful vehicle and not a cloth iron on wheels. It’s a lot of small things really, such as:

- proper sound (real “vrooom” of the engine, not the current bland sound)
- squeeking of wheels
- proper, but controllable slides and drifting (moreso than with a tank)
- gear shifting sounds (as far as I know this is already planned for World of Tanks)
- wheel burnouts (okay, now I am pushing it, but wouldn’t that be cool?)
- additional screen effects that would give the feeling of speed better (more pronounced motion blur? optional of course)


With efford, I do think that the concept of the armored cars and halftracks in the game is viable. But it all depends on the implementation, and the implementation in turn depends on what players want. So, do you want it? Got any more ideas? Vote in the poll (on FTR main page), comment!

50 thoughts on “Armored Cars and Halftracks in WoT – Part 2: Gameplay

  1. I just want that Panhard EBR. Currently LTs are more annoying than fun to drive at the moment with the brawl centric maps and bush removal.

    • If you do not have fun in the light tanks then you are seriously doing something wrong.i drive mainly meds and lights.

  2. Considering that AMX 12 t is already having hard time accelerating and turning on soft terrain, I see no reason why we shouldn’t have 6-wheelers with similar driving characteristics and same guns. :)

    • I just remembered that since armored cars don’t have tracks, that means that there is no spaced armor on the sides to stop HE shells. So implementing them would actually give me reason to carry HE shells.

      • The wheels could still block HE damage better than tracks (theoretically). On vehicles like the Panhard, which has very large wheels compared to tracked vehicles, the wheels would still act like spaced armor (it could even be slightly more effective than tracks since they tend to be made of much thicker steel).

  3. I like this already because than there is a way to put Dutch vehicles in the game. Like some DAFs (M.39 or YP408 for example). I think they’ll have a fanbase.

  4. You, Sir, just got Commander Shepard’s Seal of Approval made of three complete Reaper wrecks.

      • Hmm… Yeah, but allow 360 degree rotation of the gun on the FlakTruck and we are set :D

        Also, physics. Would love to jump around in armored cars, provided thay will have relatively realistic suspension.

      • You right the front depression of the Flakbus is almost non-exist. I guess its good but it will be slow. The Sd.Kfz. 9 (the picture above) without the 88mm L/71 can travel 50 km/h (Wikipedia) and with 88mm L/71 will be around 30km/h to 40km/h.

        I find a light tank destroyer, called Pz.Sfl. II (Wikipedia). A potential for low tier halftrack.

    • Yes, I think there are two drivers, one on each side. The one not driving then serves as a gunner. Pretty cool if you ask me.

      • Correct in the sence that there are two drivers, but I believe the commander does the gunning and the 4th crew member is the loader/ radioman. I think the drivers are in position the whole time, Because they can shift control in a matter of seconds and drive away at lightning speed

      • It would be fun to implement if you pressed i.e. “g” key (or any other for that matter) and switched wiev to the other driver. That would be soo cool :D

    • It depends. If you have fast reverse speed, but driver have no ability to see where he is going – this is a problem. If there is rear driver (like Strv. 103), then it is okay.

  5. Armoured cars might be fun..
    Some really ancient armoured cars could even be Tier 0 tanks.. Just for fun and sometimes facing Tier 1 tanks.
    And others facing low tier Tanks.. (I can’t wait to see Tier 2 tanks vs halftracks ;))
    And Panhard vs higher Tiers.
    We can also consider to implement a new type of battle where players have to escort a convoy of halftrack (npc)

  6. - wheel burnouts (okay, now I am pushing it, but wouldn’t that be cool?)

    It is possible to do burnout with a halftrack? :D

  7. i can see armored cars being fun to drive. on normal and medium surfaces, they’d be faster than similar tanks, but suffer badly on soft ground. one issue though is that wheels are usually alot easier to kill than tracks. if it was at all realistic, these things would get trac-… wheeled every time the tires are shot at. how they balance that im not sure. perhaps let it still count as spaced armor, with wheels having less hp than tracks on average?

  8. well solution would be simple, massively OP gun on non existing armor, with great road speed, and below moderate off road. it would kill anything without a problem, and everything would kill it back without a problem. max tier 6.

  9. If you gave it 400 hp I guess it would be balanced. Anything else would just make it badly OP and very unrealistic (in reality some paper thing like that was probably “oneshot”). You might just as well introduce aufkl borsig. The most important question is whether devs want half tracks in game (if not this is just some wet dream).

  10. Well, to be fair i prefer a lot more that WG fix the tracked scouts in game… now they are a little useles as is game, or you have a well armed scout or they are very limited specially when top tier meds can hunt scouts to easy.

    Maybe i think that HT and wheeled scouts need somekind of bonus like for example wheeled vehicles are inmune to be tracked, HT dont suffer penalty when move on mud (i know, is not historical but why not bonus paper vehicles??? they are not going to have super engines… well, this is other option, overmotorized them) and boths classes cant suffer ammo racking or similar.

    in the end HTs are going to be more fighting vehicles in lower tiers and wheeled vehicles can asume a more fighter role in top tiers… but in the end in top tiers they are going to be like light tanks.

  11. More light vehicles when the meta is already weighted heavily against them? No thanks.

  12. Armoured cars and halftracks would be a nice addition to World of Tanks but to me, it doesn’t seem to fit the theme of the game right. When I play World of Tanks, I expect to see tanks because that is what the game is about.

  13. SS, why are you pushing for realism when this is basically a point-and-shoot hot wheels game?
    -It’s designed so battles last as short as possible.
    -Tank controls are simpler than a new NFS game.

    • But Physics are a thousand times better than those in the latest NFS games..

  14. I would play them all, and I dont really care if there is no high tier ones…

    For balance purposes, half tracks and armored cares should only be available up to tier 5 or 6, as they dont have guns o fight high tier tanks. And their main advantage would be either the gun or the speed. And ofc balanced to fight tanks of the same tier.

  15. If armored cars are introduced would the bt series have an option not equipping its tracks? Or would there be no benefit of doing so?

    • BTs on wheels were useless outside paved roads, even more so than purpose-built armored cars. Even the Polish christie clone, that had its wheels widened by quite a bit compared to the BT series, proved unsatisfactory off-road, and the whole idea was scrapped. I believe the Russians had the same epiphany when they basically axed the hybrid drive in BT-7 altogether.

  16. Considering how many people enjoyed the gameplay of the T-50-2, there would probably be people interested in light scout cars.

  17. I honestly think the old US TD halftracks would be amazing as they would be just like the karl was….You could use it as a TD like Patton did and in the saME MINUTES USE THEM AS ARTY.

    This isnt like the KV1 where it “Could” do one or the other, these wer designed to be direct and indirect killers. Infact some got so good patton would have groups of 3 trucks who could take out individual units in columns and then run.

    IMO camo also isnt just size, but many factors like ability to make the shape broken up by the eye.This meant oblong shapes were often better than tall boxes.

    Nexct camo was hurt when Engines that were such monsters started they would shake the ground or deafen you, I was trained to track a tank by feel from 800meters and follow it without ever seeing it.

    So a 1200 HP Tiger2 Engine using all its HP it can to move a monster up a incline is 10x as loud as a normal 140 HP diesel engine with mufflers running.

    Also paddles of the tracks squeel for miles away.

    Compare all this tank sound, shape, size, wheels and then think about a Tank trying to sneak up on some trucks.

    Even Hellcats are 100x noisier than a 2.5 ton.

    Also in many ways they are much easier to move in so many miles. They can drive without attention.
    All this plus they are very fast to setup there guns and even faster to GTFO afterwards.

    Down in Africa Patton murdered tons of Germans in Tanks with his Arty/TD`s.

    Anyways what I think is viable is a new class that are hybrid Derp/TD`s similiar in feel to a FV304…I KNOW ITS TO OP but it could be balanced and it would have an official Scope to use TD and Arty.

    Accuracy could be its downfall maybe, and another thing is terrain that wouldnt hurt tanks like trees etc could severely dmging them

    THis would be so much fun….Like a skirmisher class that actually would get hurt running into things, even railroad tracks to fast would fip em.

  18. As for terrain issues, I very much doubt all those big, heavy tanks could go anywhere on half the maps we got.