So we've had more than a few anniversary's for World of Warships now, and we've seen many changes (mostly nerfs) over the years, as well as plenty of cool features and ships that have been well liked (and also plenty of the opposite). I'm not one to gripe constantly, and I dislike flaming developers who've poured their life blood into this game, so this is not intended to be anything like that. I enjoy the game a great deal, however I got bored with it and haven't played it now in over a year. I'm creating this thread just to invigorate a little friendly debate, and also give my two cents on the meta.
Recently it has been announced that submarines, which the developers said they would NEVER add are being implemented into the game, and this time it's NOT an April Fool's joke. Alright, fair enough. I've always wanted submarines in the game and have always disagreed with the developers decision to exclude them over the years. So naturally with great excitement I read over all the news releases about the submarines, and...was absolutely horrified at the way they are planning to implement them. I.e, Automatic ASW gameplay, weird detection mechanics ect.
The changes listed below will obviously require more consumable slots than we are now afforded. That's a change that would be necessary going forward. There's no way around it. I believe these changes could be implemented if we gave low tier ships just one additional slot for consumables, and higher tier ships two additional slots. If these bonus slots changed the balance of the game unreasonably, we could make it so that they can only be used for sub & anti-sub consumables, i.e used onboard submarines, or likewise, by surface ships against submarines.
So here's my suggestions:
First, lets make sure that ASW (anti-sub warfare) is NOT automatic at the push of a button. Let's implement mechanics that are realistic and make sense given the arcade style of the game.
Sonar and Radar should all be given unlimited uses, but maintain current cool-down cycles, but with one change. Passive sonar, as described below, will operate at the current established sonar cool-down times. Active however, will be x1.5 or x2 the standard cool-down. Active sonar is significantly more effective, so it's important we limit its use. The reason for the unlimited use idea is because submarines will logically require a lot of sonar use to combat. It would be unreasonable to give sonar unlimited uses, but not radar, so we allow both to be unlimited. Radar however has a double cool-down period after 3 uses. This keeps radar fair.
Sonar Technologies should be changed in game to represent the primary modes of use for the times represented in game, based on tier and technology-tree upgrades. Passive and active modes of operation should be represented realistically. Passive is representative of short ranged hydrophones while active represents the more advanced ping based systems which were more accurate and much longer ranged in terms of detection. Hydrophones might reasonably be around 2 km for low tier ships, and up to 6 km for higher tier ships. Passive systems should not reveal the exact locations of ships beyond 2 km, but instead give directional based information. Ping based active systems will give the exact location of submerged submarines out to whatever distance they are effective, which if we're being realistic could be as much as 12 to 15km.
ASW weaponry should be kept to the variants typically found on ships. I.e, Depth-charges, hedge-hogs and Y-guns, as well as more advanced weaponry such as acoustic homing torpedoes; which would be available at higher tiers and suffer from the problems associated with them in real world-conditions (i.e no reliable friend-foe mechanism, and poor acquisition capabilities). These weapons would work like their real-world counterparts and have similar ranges, meaning in some cases you need to be nearly directly above the submarine to attack them. While submerged, submarines should have suitably low HP in order to keep things realistic. A direct hit from a depth-charge should be more than enough to destroy a submarine. These weapons should have unlimited numbers, but with cool-down periods that keep them from being unreasonable. The reason depth-charges should be unlimited (as a for instance) is because surface ships are allowed to have unlimited torpedoes. Likewise, submarines will also be allowed to have unlimited torpedoes. This means that we need to allow surface ships to carry unlimited quantities of anti-submarine weaponry. Depth-charges, IMO, should have longer cool-down times than the current times for torpedoes, however hedgehogs and Y-guns could have much lower cool-downs. This is an idea which would make ASW weaponry realistically differentiated.
Detection of submarines when they are deep UNDERWATER should be based around the unlimited use of sonar, which will keep this aspect of the game realistic. Radar is useless against submerged submarines as you would suspect, however, sonar reveals them at whatever range the sonar is effective out to, range wise. I believe this should be based around nation, ship and tier characteristics. Some nations will have more advanced sonar at a similar tier than other nations.
Let's make sure we keep anti-submarine weaponry consistent with historical ship load outs. I.e, Depth charges are most common on destroyers, therefore destroyers will be the ship most often tasked with hunting and destroying submarines.
Aircraft should play an equal role in the game as they did in the real world. I.e, fighters and bombers should both be able to detect and attack submarines on the surface by strafing or bombing. Battleships obviously don't have ASW weaponry, but catapult aircraft could still conceivably attack subs on the surface, and perhaps a new consumable for calling in larger anti-sub aircraft for a limited duration of time could be implemented; these larger aircraft could then, as they often did in reality, attack submerged submarines and drop sonar devices. This gives battleships a highly effective but also highly limited ASW capability.
Submarines themselves should be under similar constraints to surface ships. I.e, similar torpedo cooldowns, similar cool-downs on consumables.
It's been suggested that the factor that constrains submarines most will be time spent underwater. I.e, they have a certain amount of air and that dictates how long they can stay submerged. I am against this idea. Submarines should be able to stay submerged as long as they want, and travel as far as they want. If they want to stay submerged the entire match, I think thats reasonable. Remember, unlimited sonar use will keep this in check in a realistic fashion.
Even if submarines never surface (unless they take damage and are forced to), players will be able to use unlimited sonar to detect them. This maintains the game balance. This is why I said we need to switch to unlimited sonar earlier in the thread. Likewise, sonar cooldown times will give submarine players time to evade and escape if they are in danger.
Submarines as I have said, should be allowed to stay submerged as much as they like; however, damage will force them (as one would expect) to surface. This will keep submarines balanced. Likewise, as I previously said, direct hits on a submerged submarine can easily destroy them. In-direct hits can cause light damage that will force them to surface. I believe submarines should have special repair party consumables, that will allow them to fix minor damage while staying submerged, without needing to surface. As one would expect, these cool-downs would be limited in use and thus submarine players would have to use them wisely. This will help maintain the game balance.
In addition to the above point, when submarines take direct or in-direct damage, they will be given a visible timer, which dictates how many seconds they have to surface (before flooding). Failure to surface before the timer is up, would mean that the submarine floods and is subsequently destroyed. How long the timer is, depends on how much damage has been received. I.e, more damage means less time to surface, while less damage means the player would have more time to surface. I believe submarines should take continuous damage-over-time while the timer is in effect, to represent sustained flooding. The timer would simply represent how long they have before they hit 0 HP. This mechanic will force submarine players to act wisely. For instance, if the timer gave them 1 minute and 30 seconds to surface, then they have that long to possibly get away from their attackers, so that they could surface at a safer distance/location. However, they take damage during that entire duration. So if they wait until 1 minute and 20 seconds to surface, they may have little hp left. That may still be better than surfacing directly adjacent to a destroyer though!
Submarines were historically slower (except for end-war/post-war period subs) while submerged. This will be represented in game. It will help keep submarines balanced. Submarines may, for instance, be capable of 12 kts while submerged, and 20 kts while surfaced. Thus submarine players may need to keep that in mind when planning underwater attacks and ambushes. It also ensures that destroyers would have the speed advantage, which is historically realistic.
I believe some new additions will also be necessary given the nature of submarine warfare. Sonar for instance is good enough in most cases, but I believe M.A.D detectors should also be implemented as a consumable. I think MAD would operate as a kind of constantly active sonar. It would have less range than sonar (no more than 1 to 2 km), but it would effectively be active at all times. It would thus function like a very-short ranged version of active sonar. I.e, give the exact location of a deeply submerged submarine.
In addition, this is unrelated to submarine gameplay, however, I would like to suggest a change to the way secondary-batteries are implemented. Currently, secondaries fire at ships within their given range with what we might consider to be random accuracy. I think this is fine as is, however, players should be able to take direct control of the secondaries and fire them accordingly, as they would the main batteries. This would give battleship players a reasonable accommodation in defending themselves from HE spammers. For the longest time a debate has raged on this forum, in relation to how the game deals with HE spamming. Currently theres no real limits on it. Spam away is the current logic. I'm okay with this. However, I believe a simple way to balance it, is to allow players to take direct control of their secondaries, and use them like they would the main battery. Spamming would be met with counter-spamming. This is historically accurate. When the player is not controlling the secondary batteries, they would fire in the current manner automatically. I believe they should have a more realistic accuracy when being directly controlled, however when firing automatically, they could have currently implemented accuracies. Thus players could strategically choose whether to control the main battery or secondary battery in a given situation.