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So I'm sure most, if not everyone, saw that Wargaming was looking to make some changes to IFHE, HE and plating. This has been an issue for a long time - BB's, HE, and IFHE. So this one is going to be part history lesson, part explainer, and part "how can we fix it". There's a lot of text, basically a wall, you have been warned. I: HE vs BB's back in the day - When the game first launched and sometime after - there was no IFHE, just HE. The point of HE was really for thin skinned targets like DD's, maybe some cruisers, and setting a BB on fire. Though at low tiers some HE could pen more than the BB superstructure. And while there was frustration at low tiers with fires being set, high tier had a very different problem - inconsistency of fires and how outmatched anything but a 203 mm cruiser was against a BB other than another BB, and even then 203's had some issues. Pen on a 5 inch gun HE round is 21.1 mm, 152 is 25.3. This meant bow on, high tier BB's and some cruisers were heavily immune to damage - AP would richochet or shatter, HE unless you caught the superstructure would shatter, and you had to hope on fires. Part of why fire damage was so high. This created an issue in that BB's and some heavy cruisers were likely a bit tougher than they should be to take down because fires were so horribly inconsistent for damage. So something had to be done to redress this right? II: IFHE and the rise of 152 mm cruisers - Damage was inconsistent, so the solution to Wargaming seemed simple - make it more consistent. Thus was IFHE born. And while it has seen tweaks to fire chance, early on it overly punished DD's that took it, and barely punished cruisers by comparison. DD's or any ship with 127 mm guns gained the ability to punch through 27 mm of armour - basically anything but the layer that covered tier 8+ BB's. 152-155mm guns however - they reached the magic number to pen 32 mm armour - what covers the bulk of BB's. Combined with the fire chances they maintained, especially with DE and flags - it was a perfect storm. DD's while potentially strong in low tiers now still lacked punch and had limits on what they penned, what had kept 203 mm cruisers in check, save the likes of Des, was Rof - but the light cruisers had the perfect combination of Alpha, Rate of Fire, and penetration to become monsters eating ships alive. Ships putting out 108 rounds a minute that were straight pass/fail, usually pass, vs most of a ships protection with 726 damage per hit. even if 3 of 12 is all that penetrated, that's 19,602 damage in 1 minute without setting a fire. Any better accuracy, or more Rate of Fire, and numbers really start to add up. Add in the arcs some have that allow them to fire from behind an island 100% safe, it now swung the other way. BB's, meant to be tanks and soak damage, were now ripped to shreds especially if more than one focused on them. Knowing the worst offenders had short range caused BB's to start playing further back, and helped start the "camp meta" of BB's terrified to go forward because even if a DD couldn't get them, they may have 2-3k or more stripped salvo after salvo that they couldn't return fire against and couldn't get away from fast enough. DD's, Cruisers, and now even CV's have had fire duration and damage lowered - BB's have not. Which leads us to - III: The Problem - The problem is really simple, math and timing. Now, most defenders would by now be saying "But Ghost, fires are 100% repairable". Yes well - what does that mean. What this actually means is that - if you have the means to repair all the fire damage you took - you can in fact repair it all. And that's part of the rub - there's a good chance you don't, and heres where the math comes in, as well as timing and other mechanics. With no modifiers at all - 1 fire on a BB does 18% hp damage, as well as large cruisers - a normal repair party (not UK style zombie heal) repairs 14% HP. Now - lets take another WG idea which is to just make premium consumables the default, and assume that it will keep the same CD and number of charges. On an NC as an example that's 4 charges, that last 28 seconds on an 80 second cooldown. 4 fires will do 72% hp damage if allowed to burn, or forced to, whereas the repair parties will only make up 56% of the hp - even with a 5th, you don't quite make it up. Now remember that the repair party takes time, and doesn't start to reset till after it's finished. So that's 28 seconds up, 80 down, 28, 80, 28, 80, 28. To use all 4 on that NC would take almost 6 minutes of taking 0 damage to get back all you can with no issues, a lot when your average match is likely 10-15 minutes. "Buuuut Ghost - there are things to change fire damage and all" - true. There are of course signal flags that reduce burn time and increase amount repaired, these two alone make it closer to 1 fire = 1 repair. But that still takes time and there is a key issue - you have to have those flags. 1 requires that you take 120% HP damage from 4 ships and survive, the other lose 40% HP to fires and survive the battle. Especially for a new player easier said then done. Only other way to get them is as rewards from directives, missions, etc or crates. Well, then you have modernization's - everyone can get them, right? DCSM 2 - the one that reduces fire time, is the 4th slot. Only tier 6 and higher ships have that option if they have a million credits to spend. So a tier 3-5 BB doesn't have that option, with tier 5 being a tier that can be shredded by 127 mm IFHE rounds, let alone 152 mm. Which then leaves skills which sure over time a player can build up to take a 3 point skill to reduce the fire time. If the player knows to get that and sacrifice in other areas that could be just as useful, well, by the time they hit tier 5 they will have only achieved in all likelihood 27-30k of the 37k xp they need to hit 6 points. So newbie in New York is likely going to have a bad day I start raining fire on him with my 14 point Cleveland captain put in my Atlanta. "Your forgetting DCP" - this, once again, comes down to timing. That firerate I pulled numbers for earlier is the current Cleveland. It has a base fire chance of 12%, knocked down to 9% by IFHE. And while I get it's part of the weird equation WG has for fire chance, lets assume that when that's factored in, the average for starting a fire is 6% or 6/100 hits starts a fire. Cleveland fires 108 shots in 60 seconds - Premium DCP coolsdown in 80 seconds. Even holding out till 2-3 fires are started odds are 3-4 get left to burn - up to 72% of the ships HP. And it'll take 6 minutes to repair that damage. And that's the potential of 1 ship let alone 2-3. a nightmare scenario of 100% accuracy yes, but cruisers can be quite accurate. But then comes the part everyone forgets about - the penetration damage. It's not just the fire damage, but the fact that if we round up that figure from above to 20000 - most repair parties only repair half of that. Lets say these numbers are against a New Mexico. The damage is 20k plus 2 fires that had to burn at max for whatever reason. That's 39,080/53,200 gone in 60 seconds. Repair party can repair all but 10k of that technically speaking. However at the unmodified 14% - it would take all 4 repairs to fix both the damage from both fires AND the damage from the penetrations. And that still means 6 minutes untouched to get back to 80% health. Good luck in a BB that slow. And 25% of rounds penning a target causing 2 fires that burn out all the way - not exactly outlandish numbers to achieve. The nearly automatic penetrations are as deadly, if not more so, then the fires. IV: Wargaming's last suggested solution - So, before IFHE the issue is the inconsistency of fires being started in higher tiers where HE can't pen, and post IFHE the issue is that the penetrations alone are as deadly as the fires due to volume, let alone if they do start fires with no actual way to lessen the damage by angling or any other means. So - what does Wargaing's solution posted up on July 3rd look like? Tier 5 and below BB's a 152 mm gun still punches trough unaided, Tier 6 and 7 ships with 152 mm guns can pen tier 6 and 7 BB's/8-10 cruisers with IFHE, but cannot pen tier 8+ BB's at all, while tier 8+ 152 mm ships still punch through same tier BB's. Basically - little to no change on penetration other than Tier 8-10 BB's being immune to lower tier CL. Which brings us back to both the past and current issue with IFHE and HE vs BB's. The new IFHE would cut fire chance 50%. That means while tier 8-10 CL are fine just because they can autopen BB's still are fine - but tier 6 and 7 cruisers that take it to deal with the same tier BB's and higher tier cruisers are screwed against BB's they can see pretty often. So, obviously they can not take it, and keep the fire chance, but basically then anything not a same tier CA on the list is immune and are 100% relying on fires and superstructure hits. No real change in one tier range, the other stays broken or goes back to the way it used to be broken. Not to mention potential ramifications on DD's that use it or a ship like Atlanta. Best case scenario here you maybe fix things at high tier while causing issues in lower tiers, worst case, something on par with the wreck that was the launch, and mostly still is, the CV rework. V: How else to address the problem? - So - IFHE as it is is kind of a problem. Removing it to the old way, also a problem. The proposed changes a month ago - the potential to at the same time change too much and not enough at the same time. So - what can be done to fix it? The funny thing here is for a good while, and to some degree still do, go after Wargaming on CV changes because instead of nerfing an issue directly, like the fact Hak's torp alpha is too high, they nerf around it like changing the way the planes aim, or removing the 4x plane option. This time they go to nerf it directly - when the best option is actually changing things around it. I can't say for certain any one of these alone would be the solution, likely, it would be a combination of things, but all would go a ways to help it. Reduce fire damage of BB's - DD's, CA/L and BB's once all had 18% fire damage, and CV 24%. CV's are down to 2%, almost immediately after IFHE was added cruisers and DD's were dropped to 9%, yet BB's remained 18% - even as cruisers and DD's started getting heals, the one loose justification for the difference. And I'm not even saying nerf them that much - maybe just bring it that BB's and large cruisers are in the same range as Graf Spee. This would allow IFHE to stay unchanged, while reducing the damage just a bit from the fires started - they keep the consistency to pen targets and BB's regain some durability due to less fire damage. Changes to DCP - Having played Gascogne, I do believe lowering the base premium (or possibly if they do the 1 consumable thing just base) cooldown to 40 seconds could go a good way toward helping, maybe lower Gas and Mass's to say 30 seconds to keep the uniqueness? Tweaks to Repair Party - There are multiple teaks that can be done here. Faster cooldown like Gas and Mass, change the pen damage repair percent, repair percent in general, how fast it repairs the damage or some combination of those. Reducing/removing the modifiers - putting aside that I've long felt the "different tiers have more slots" bit should have faded away long ago, it would in general be easier to balance if we don't have to worry about if someone has a no bonuses yo repair party or reduction in fire damage, or all of them. If we use the example from the first suggestion here BB's and 'super cruisers' burn for 13.5% health, DD's and normal cruisers 9%, CV's for 2% - no more, no less per fire. We could always leave one thing, but aside from easier to know and balance around the damage dealt/taken by fires this would open up in combination with possibly the other changes here the option of new Mods and a new skill and more ability to have some choice and variety not pretty much defaulting to DCMS 2 in slot 4 or likely taking BoS just to fight fires. Changing how fire works - maybe fires need to be a little more like detonations. By that I mean once the HP of the magazine hits 0, it starts rolling for a detonation. Perhaps to make fires more consistent, and reduce the need for it, would be if as sections take damage, the fire resistance is reduced making it easier to set that part of the ship on fire at least. Possibly others I forgot or haven't thought of yet. Other than maybe number 5 (it would likely see either the IFHE change Wargming proposed or it'd removal) these would allow the 30% buff to stay, allowing the consistency to stay, if we don't just change the formula overall so that it's not needed, while leaving the ability to set fires intact but cut down somewhat on the ability of mainly 152 mm guns to simply overwhelm all forms of damage control and bring some durability back to BB's if the RNG damage is a bit lower. I think a bit more reasonable and equitable for all parties.