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Edgecase

Operation Hermes: A feedback post on the mechanics

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As many players know, Operation Hermes features a number of new mechanics and rules that have not been featured in previous Scenarios. Here is my review of how well they all worked out.


Mechanic: Localized weather (storm front)
A localized zone of gameplay-affecting weather appears on the map and grants concealment and dispersion bonuses to ships inside it.

Spoiler

Verdict: Fail. Feels horrible -- do you know what's even more annoying than getting tons of misses because of RNG and crappy dispersion on French Battleships? Getting even more misses because of a stupid white circle on the map. Never mind that the system is so scripted that it's basically a timed buff and debuff. There's no tactical decision-making involved, and enemy ships just spawn in the thing. It doesn't even make sense -- why does shooting into a storm screw up your aim but not shooting out of it? Boring and frustrating, adds nothing except an excuse for the team to cluster together so they all die to torpedoes instead. Don't you dare think about bringing this garbage to Randoms without a major redesign.

Mechanic: Thematic ship limits (Allied cruisers and French battleships only)
In keeping with the theme of the scenario, players are only allowed to play cruisers of Allied nations and French battleships.

Spoiler

Verdict: Fail. And not on my behalf, I used the scenario to grind my French BBs. It's a fail on behalf of all the newer players who have only one or two ship lines at T7, and neither one of them happens to be an Allied crusier or French battleship. Anybody who went destroyers for their first line is screwed. Ditto existing battleship lines. Even German and IJN cruisers. To make things even sillier, WG rotated the Atlanta out of the Premium Shop prior to this event, so people couldn't even buy their way in. I understand that this has benefits, like limiting the pool of ships that can be rotated by players to grind first win bonuses in the scenario. However, in the end, this idea was mostly for flavor, and ended up screwing over a lot of players.

Mechanic: Mixed tiers (Richelieu allowed in despite being Tier VIII)
Normally, only ships of a single tier are allowed in an operation this season. However, Operation Hermes makes an exception for the Tier VIII French battleship Richelieu.

Spoiler

Verdict: Success. Allows players to grind the French line for longer, without throwing off the balance. This is primarily because Lyon is shotgun-tastic with very high alpha at T7, while Richelieu has a pair of derpy overpenetration factories on its bow, but that makes it work.

Mechanic: Scout planes and swarms of Tier I bombers
Failing to shoot down 8 squadrons of scout planes at the beginning of the mission causes an additional 50 T1 bombers to spawn over the course of the mission and attack the rearmost ship on the team.

Spoiler

Verdict: Silly. T1 planes are trivial to shoot down with T7-T8 AA. Shooting down the scouts simply means there are 50 fewer ribbons to go around by the end. This could have been a more interesting idea if it was used to trigger a "hard" mode or unlock a bonus achievement, but it doesn't.

Mechanic: Mid-game repair break
Halfway through the scenarios, the flagship stops and puts up a 300HP/second repair aura for ships that are within a generous distance of it.

Spoiler

Verdict: Success. I believe this is actually a returning mechanic from previous scenarios, but it's vital for restoring some health on ships that don't have repair parties of their own at this tier. It's also handy for letting that one new player catch up with the fleet after getting stuck on a rock a few kilometers back.

Missions: Daily repeatable missions + long challenge grind
Scenario was released alongside a pair of daily repeatable missions, plus a long XP grind (175k in 25k increments).

Spoiler

Verdict: Success. It made scenarios a worthwhile consideration for me, compared to just grinding the ship in Randoms. This no doubt made life better for T5-T6 players, because it reduced the number of T7-T8 battleships in the queue. For my part, I got some Red Dragon flags out of it, so I'm happy.

Ship balance: Cruisers
Players had a choice of 3 tech tree and 3 or so premium cruisers. Were they all reasonably good?

Spoiler

Verdict: Continuing failure. IFHE Atlanta and Flint continue to be absolutely insane in scenarios due to their unmatched DPM, AA, and torpedo capabilities. Because scenarios are basically shooting galleries, high damage output, low dispersion, and reliable behavior of torpedoes makes Flintlantas perform an order of magnitude better than any other ship option. This scenario in particular emphasizes shooting bow-on destroyers and cruisers with an accuracy penalty, so these advantages were even further emphasized. Go home, Algerie, you're not needed in your own nation's scenario.

More seriously, though, WG needs to look into ways to bring CLs back into line with the other ships, preferably by creating new mechanics for scenarios that don't just involve players DPS-racing swarms of enemy ships that are rushing at them.

 

Edited by Edgecase
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You would think with how amazing Atlanta is in the scenario they would have added it to the shop and laughed all the way to the bank.  I never gave much thought to buying the Atlanta, but seeing how they're clearly one of the best, if not /the/ best ship for t7 scenarios.  I really wanted to pick one up.

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I actually have reconsidered the Operation scenarios, Once though they were for Co-Op players to have some fun doing something different.

I have done all of them and enjoy going back with friends and decimating the enemy. {Friends and Discord is hours of fun}

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I dont see the storm as a problem. The basic idea is good. But like the cyclone we already have, it is predictable. WG needs to introduce variation in storm length, spotting range, and effects on RNG. Otherwise it just becomes another dull, and eventually, annoying game element.

One problem with Hermes is its predictability. The bots always spawn in the same places and move in the same way, making them easy to kill. Ultimate Frontier has bots spawning all over the place, which was great, since it adds an element of unpredictability.  

One thing I like about Hermes is that you can easily lose because you have to protect the Ruan. 

 

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Well presented.  The one serious criticism that you make that I agree with is the planes.  I would like to have seen some higher tier planes all around.  Even non-AA Pensie can erase the scouts, though two does it better.  And as for the land-based TBs.

"Oh look.  Planes."

"Where?  I don't see any planes."

"Well, they were right over there, I swear."

 

--

I would like to see your criteria done up as a poll.

 

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I do agree on all counts, especially the final one on the supremacy of the high DPM of cruisers in all of these scenarios. I've felt mostly pointless in Lyon or Richelieu.

My main concern with the weather is that they'll roll out something similar in random, and include an element of air-spotting change. Carrier planes getting spotted only at 3km is awful in current cyclone. If this weather makes similar effects more widespread I'd not be happy.

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Loved the weather element, sure it wasnt perfect but the storm was graphically accurate and the water was a step up. The only downside was its predictability. In CBT we begged....BEGGED....for weather to be included and for their first real attempt (cyclones dont count, it may as well be a night battle lol) I applaud the effort.

Some ways to improve it....

Rain squalls move across the ocean at a fairly rapid rate. Its not uncommon for a ship to move from sunny to raining for 10 minutes and back into sunshine again.

Fog banks. These would also be interesting. Fog occurs where warm/cold water meet, the fog can be so thick that the bow of a destroyer cannot be seen from the bridge, on rare occasions its extremely thick and you cant see the water from the bridge!

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40 minutes ago, hipcanuck said:

Fog banks.

"Listen up, Ensign, and remember this," said the hoary, grizzled, crusty, old captain, a legend in all the bars that would serve him. "Fog attracts torpedoes."

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