The Ao Jun. The White Dragon. The Angel of Cancer.
Much has been said about the Ao Jun, but this is a well-known fact: Once Pixonic nerfs the Ares into the ground, the Ao Jun will be the top robot in the WR metagame.
In this piece, we will dissect the Ao Jun and see how it impacts War Robots today.
What is the Ao Jun?
It is the third robot in the Dragon series of robots, released in early 2018. It is a medium robot with two heavy hardpoints (sounds familiar? Yes, it is the flying and stealth analogue of the Carnage and Bulwark!!!) Its main ability, called “Dragon’s Breath”, allows the robot to fly (in stealth mode, no less!) for a good amount of distance for a specified period of time (eight seconds to be exact), use a flamethrower and toast the enemy for 4% of the flamer’s damage for the typical duration of a DOT weapon.
The Ao Jun’s flamethrower reaches 350 meters and as such, is best paired with weapons such as the Ember, the Redeemer and the Avenger. Yes, no one is safe from the wrath of this beast.
This robot is notorious for its combination of decent HP, high speed and special abilities. Coupled with Pixonic’s inability to provide elevation settings for its crosshairs, facing an Ao Jun even with the Quantum Radar pretty much guarantees that you are playing a bad game of dice, with the odds increasingly going away from your favor…
What is the setup that is best used on Ao Jun?
We already mentioned it, but we’ll mention it again: the Ember, Redeemer and Avenger are among the reasons why the Ao Jun has earned its notorious reputation – imagine the flames melting you down along with the damage of its equipped weapons; it’s easy to see why everyone hides and waits when they see a good Ao Jun pilot using its ability.
Exodus also works from time to time when it comes to the short-range department – and the Viper is a surprisingly potent weapon when it comes.
You can use Quantum Radar, Last Stand, Anti-Control and Lockdown Ammo if you want to lose all your in-game friends and ascend into a pantheon of dragons that cause misery to the game every day!
What’s wrong with the Ao Jun?
Remember the time when the Ao Jun finishes its ability? It has some speed, which allows the bloody dragon to glide to safety. This means that if you know the map, your enemy will have to HUNT YOU DOWN before your ENEMIES KILL YOU.
Then, just use another Ao Jun to repeat the cycle all over again. Seriously, this is how it works.
Do you want a robot that is easy to use, has an absurdly strong ability, contains high levels of synergy with weapon setups, has high potential damage and great crowd control? Then the Ao Jun is for you!
No wonder people consider it to be overpowered in this current state.
How does it change the metagame?
Unlike the Ares which focuses on gifting damage to the enemy, the Ao Jun focuses on suppression of the enemy, forcing them to hide and giving control of the map to your team.
In other words, the Ao Jun breaks the strategy of your enemy, gives you map control and enables your team to capture objectives effectively. On top of that, it can kill its enemies pretty fast, and as such, its trade potential is quite high for a robot that is supposed to be used for controlling the map – it can kill at least two robots before going down on its own…
Wait, doesn’t the Ao Jun have counters?
The Ao Jun can be best countered when it is not in stealth mode and when it is hiding behind cover. In other words, splash weapons, stealth bots and bots with high HP plus resistance should be able to stand to the might of the white dragon.
Now, you might say, we have Quantum Radar. We already mentioned it – Pixonic did not fix the elevation aiming problem, so it’s not a reliable counter to the Ao Jun when it is in stealth mode.
Other than that, treating it as a number one priority has been proven to be the only way so far to deal with these creatures.
Anyone who plays a game should know that overpowered (or preferred tools) should only have a tradable value of 2:1 at most…and for the most part, the Ao Jun averages that mark. IT IS IN THE HANDS OF A DECENT PILOT (plus DECENT TEAMMATES) THAT THE AO JUN BECOMES OVERPOWERED.
What is the solution for this?
Handing small nerfs or allowing users to develop a way to increase the counter-play options for that robot seems to be the best compromise in order to keep the Ao Jun competitive, while at the same time, manageable for all players.
These changes will further diversify the game once again, especially at the highest levels of play, thus ensuring a healthier metagame and more “creative” and “conducive” game environment for the users.
The Ao Jun is a robot that is extremely cost-effective due to its mobility and crowd control in comparison to the price that it entails. As a result, it should be nerfed in order to keep the game more interactive.
Tactical set plays are one of the key hallmarks of a game like War Robots.
Without tactical set plays, matches become straight brawls where brawns, not brains, turn out to be the winner. Wasn’t War Robots supposed to be a combination of skill, strategy, tactics, teamwork, determination (and luck)?
If we are to go back to the previous quality of matches as well as the high levels of play that we’ve experienced in the past, we should start encouraging good balance in terms of weaponry.
And there’s no other way to start than by putting the Ao Jun into its proper place, before it causes a bigger problem.