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I have been thinking about carrier play and the rework for a while, and I would like to give my opinion through a retrospective of WarGaming’s CV design and the new elements that are currently being planned on being introduced. There will be a lot of text so I have included a tl;dr at the bottom.

 

Past Failures of CV RTS Design

I have played CVs since closed beta so I have been here with every twist and turn that carriers have gone through in balancing, and they have gone through a lot. There were times when AA was very oppressive, times when counter-play against carriers was possible without having to rely on captain skills or teammates, times when BBs were more heavily punished for being absent minded that a CV was in play, but the class has never really felt useless. The carrier class was always about bringing insane firepower onto a single ship to devastate it from a top-down perspective where the carrier has full control of the situation, and that is the major problem of the design. Whether it is done through alpha strikes or damage over time stacking, it does not matter since the goal of the carrier remains the same. Sure, other classes do this also, but here is where the detractions of the gameplay design come in. When you provide a RTS perspective for a player, you give him full control of the battlefield. No other ship type is given this boon. With a powerful strike package, a carrier can simply choose which ship lives or dies. No matter how the other player tries to avoid sinking to a carrier strike it is ultimately not in his control. The carrier gets to choose how many resources he dedicates to this, which is a part of the RTS (Real-Time Strategy) design. The other ship may be a full AA speced high tier cruiser, but all it takes is enough planes and enough patience to wait out the defensive fire and that Des Moines is almost guaranteed to be sunk. However, in pretty much all RTS games this is a battle between RTS players and not individual units. Sacrificing resources to destroy another player’s units may have the same effect but that unit is another player, and that is not something we want in this design. So, how do we fix it?

 

How do we fix CV RTS Design?

 

There have been many other games that have done this asynchronous gameplay of players being the units with there being one commander wearing the “RTS pants” really well. Games like Natural Selection and Savage: The Battle for Newerth. In both of these games, one player controls the commander from an RTS perspective while the rest of his team control his units. If WarGaming wants to learn how to tame CV play from an RTS perspective, they need to look at how these games do it. In these games, the commander is a supportive role that gives tech (research and upgrades) to his team’s units while managing resources. The commander gets to choose how the units play based on his choices of what tech they should receive and what part of the map needs to be controlled to gain those resources. This is exactly how the flow of an RTS game happens, while the units are soldiers that do the shooting and play as a team together which is what FPS (first person shooter) games do. Now, this is just one formula and World of Warships obviously cannot follow that exactly since surface vessels do not need to receive tech, and forcing everyone to listen to a commander would anger pretty much everyone in the current player base. Even though this would mean that the carriers on the team would be put into a more passive role, we can still take much of what these other games do right and put them in World of Warships. The first is the supportive aspect of the RTS role. Currently, this is only done through fighter control to provide spotting and deny the other carrier any vision. WarGaming has always very poorly implemented this, as this can functionally be ignored as we see it done by almost every CV player since as win rates have proven it is much easier than and just as viable to treat your fellow teammates as pawns and meatshields. Enemy surface vessels are treated as free kills for the most part so most of the focus goes to denying the enemy carrier the ability to farm them like you would be doing. Surface vessels largely have no say in this matter, and this is where we can bring in the successes of parallel RTS/FPS gameplay. In order for the carrier role to function properly, surface vessels need to work in tandem somehow with their carriers, whether it is for providing some bonus effects like resources for the carrier or keeping the carrier alive. I am not sure how this could be done but this would vastly improve on the current system, as carriers not having to rely on their team as their team relies on them is where a large part of the frustration comes from for surface ship players. Another problem is the very direct role of doing incredible damage for only a risk in resources (planes). While this may be balanced, it is very unfun for the surface ships. Surface ships should not have to feel like they are worth just a few planes for the enemy CV. This is possible in the RTS/FPS hybrid games that I have listed since they are competitive in nature so a sacrifice of one unit to for an advantage by destroying some resources to win a game is not a bad experience for the FPS player. However, this will not work as we need to treat surface vessels as equal individuals not in a competitive environment. This means the player gets full control of his ship on the strategic level and has counter-play against any dedicated carrier strikes to take him out. At certain points in CV balance and in the rework, this was possible, since even the most dedicated strike can be and should be thwarted by good gamesense, positioning, and dodging of strikes from the surface vessel without any team co-ordination or strategic play on the RTS scale. This is possible in the current rework and is something I like from it. So let’s talk about that next.

 

The CV rework

 

Quite a few players hate the rework, and I understand why. Removing the RTS gameplay entirely from carriers is a big fat mistake. This not only alienates the entire current CV player base, as well as also destroying the interesting parallel between RTS gameplay and surface ship shooting gameplay. There is a BUT here though, and a very big BUT. The current CV rework does fix a majority of the problems plaguing the game that have to do with carriers and in a way is a step forward more than it is a step back. I do think the game needs direct control of planes in order to make counter-play work between carriers and surface vessels, as this includes some level of skill to pull of proper strikes while having an interesting mechanic involved. The CV rework solves a big problem in that the devastating striking ability of a carrier actually takes effort finally. Many CV players will hate me for stating the ugly truth that the striking gameplay takes almost no skill at all. To manual drop even a destroyer for great effect is not hard at all, involves little counter-play from the defending surface ship, and is an almost guaranteed demise when pulled off properly. Sure the destroyer can use speed boost, smoke, evading tactics to attempt to mess up the cross drop of torpedoes that will remove his health pool but given free roam of the skies it is so easy that there is no reason that any even mildly experienced CV player should not be able to pull it off. The only real difficulty of striking comes from controlling the air and teamplay between enemy ships but as we have discussed earlier this is not something that really happens in non-competitive environments like those that we see in random battles. The interaction between players in providing AA cover is mostly incidental. This is why we see players with terrible winrates that play frankly worse than bots, send in their autodropped bombers in to some helpless unsuspecting victim and come back from a coffee break to have a higher average than you would see on most ships. Yes, I am talking about you high tier USN CV players. We all know you love to make everyone else in the game suffer with minimal effort and want your air supremacy loadouts back so you can turn other CV players into your victims. Thankfully, the CV rework fixes this entirely. For once AP dive bombs are not oppressive to surface ships, having them be dropped a few at a time so there’s plenty of time for AA to chew threw your planes and not to mention the awesome effect of having to actually drop your bombs with effort into enemy citadels like surface ships have to! One of my favourite parts of the rework.

 

Reworking the CV Rework

 

Let us go back to discussing why the CV rework is so flawed and how we can fix this. We have established that the CV rework does fix many of the problems, and keeping CV RTS gameplay is essential; so why not implement the rework while keeping the RTS elements? This can be done by replacing the current almost braindead manual drop mechanics with the interesting direct control mechanics seen in the rework. Whenever a CV player goes in for a strike, give him the option to manually control the strike with accurate split-squadron strike groups as well as simple, less accurate automatic drops that use the entire squadron. I imagine that cross drops with this would be difficult but very rewarding. This should not be very difficult to implement as both mechanics exist on the playtest and live. Next, we need to keep some functional fighter gameplay. Not having fighters in a carrier strategic game is not good. Let carriers control the fighters to defend areas or ships and attack enemy planes. This can still be possible while the carrier is in direct control strike view by implementing fighter AI. If the carrier goes into direct control mode with his strike, the simple commands he has given beforehand to his fighters can still be followed but it would make it impossible to control other squadrons while in direct control mode. We fix this by implementing an AI that when it achieves the task it was given before it would go to the nearest ally ship or area and patrol it. If it were to stray into the AA bubble of the enemy it should break off to keep the squadron intact, but this can and should be changeable with simple RTS UI elements that are found in other RTS games like telling them to hold position, engage at will, or patrol. Other bomber squadrons in AI control mode should be able to stay out of harm’s reach and run away from fighters. So not only are we implementing the direct control mechanics, but also enhancing on the RTS elements of CV gameplay. Great. We can also put those damn near-useless rocket planes to use by letting them engage enemy planes as the fighter-bombers that they should be. A big hurdle we have to deal with here would be fighter on fighter combat. Obviously, it should not be as simple as clicking on an enemy squadron and letting them do their thing. With the addition of fighters and direct control mode, we can meld these two elements together. Instead of the unintuitive strafing mechanics, we can let carriers directly control the fighters in some way, in order to effect the outcome of a fighter duel to a degree with micromanagement. My suggestion would be to let the carrier direct control the fighters in some way that gives them a damage boost but lowers their defense, making it a risk/reward so that it still keeps automatic fighter combat even if CV players would prefer to micro their strikes instead, but adds some finesse to fighter combat. All of these changes are to keep the CV playerbase from not being alienated due to lack of RTS gameplay, while fixing the current gameplay by making it more simplistic in terms of control with a better perspective that account for surface ships being actual players that need to enjoy the game and not feed oppressed by CV elites. Our next topic is a recent update on how CVs function in terms of their progression and their abilities in the game.

 

The CV Tech Tree

 

I’m not much of an expert on naval engineering and history so I’m sorry if this part is opinionated while lacking knowledge; please correct me if you feel like those parts are not accurate. In their recent blog posts, WarGaming revealed that the new tech tree for USN carriers would look like this:

5279acbc-ef46-11e8-a682-d89d6715223c_1200x.jpg

I feel like this is mistake. Based on what WG has alluded to in their blog post, it seems like these ships will have similar functions with minor changes in loadouts in the same tier, like perhaps one consumable and AP bombs vs HE bombs. This is very boring and frankly a step backward from how the tech tree is implemented now. It also ignores the interesting history of CVE/CVLs. We can implement CVE/CVLs as a separate tech tree and make them much different from standard carrier gameplay. I have noticed quite a few people really dislike the ideas for supportive gameplay, after all why should they be baBBysitting when they want to do damage? Others have disagreed and said that instead of focusing on damage they want to be the supporting backbone of their team by using air superiority and spotting. We can use this rework to implement both. If we separate the tech tree between CVE/CVLs and CVs it might look something like this:

Langley

v                    >

Bogue                Ranger

v                          v

Casablanca       Lexington

v                          v

Croatan             Yorktown

v                          v

Commencement Bay          Essex

v                           v

Saipan               Midway

 

Just from a historical perspective, this keeps all of the ships that we love from the current USN tree while implementing other historical and interesting vessels to play with. This also allows us to see those pancake planes and jet fighters that were removed from the game earlier in development. From a gameplay perspective, this will allow for the two styles of play that I have mentioned earlier. Support vs strike. In their post, WarGaming alluded to planning to introduce some support abilities, which would be perfect for CVE/CVLs. These ships would have a modest hangar space, if any at all. Their squadrons would be very small and perhaps in the fighter department (at least for Saipan) quite powerful. However, their main power would come from their supportive abilities. WarGaming mentioned on plans of implementing planes that can drop hydrocaustic buoys, smoke screens, and seaplanes that can capture points. Add radar to them, and this line of ship would be perfect for this sort of gameplay, while still keeping CVs around as they were without any abilities that players often call “gimmicks”. Of course, we could also have gimmicks for CVs as well. I’m sure some players might be interested in a torpedo bomber reload booster, some access to CVE/CVL skills, or carriers with heavy secondary armaments. Premium buyers do not need to worry, as their premiums would still fit nicely into the tech tree while allowing some new premium ships to appear (Gambier Bay, anyone?). The current Saipan could be renamed to her sister ship CVL Wright, and be a downtiered Saipan which would make sense because her planes were higher tier to begin with.

 

So here’s the tl;dr I promised for those that hate reading:

-          Implement CV rework while keeping (and improving) on RTS elements by learning what other games did right.

-          Remove manual dropping and strafing but keep direct control as in the rework for similar gameplay functionality.

-          CV rework is good but it does not need to take a step backwards.

-          Allow for better control of planes with guard mode and patrolling functions using already build-in AI.

-          Keep fighter gameplay, make it more intuitive.

-          Instead of splitting up the CV line like in the blog post, implement CVE/CVLs instead and have them be support oriented.

 

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Or maybe jut remove the rotten game mechanic class all together....

Money means that will never happen. But it would make for a better game.

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The issue always has and apparently always will be that there is very little interaction with planes from the surface ship perspective. An NC for example can be completely immune to a Ryujo and nothing the Ryujo can do can threaten an AA spec NC no matter how badly he plays. At the same time a lot of ships have very few options when dealing with planes aside from hoping the CV screws up. Nothing else in the game works like that, every other class of ships can still be punished for mistakes by ships two tier lower than them and can still be a threat to higher tier ships. 

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The RTS style paralleled with FPS/TPS is an interesting dynamic. The fact that CV's are OP (currently) demonstrates a failure in the implementation of the RTS style rather than simply the existence of RTS. 

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 5:23 PM, Modulatus said:

The RTS style paralleled with FPS/TPS is an interesting dynamic. The fact that CV's are OP (currently) demonstrates a failure in the implementation of the RTS style rather than simply the existence of RTS. 

*Edit* I misread that, you said exactly what I think, I can't read

On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 5:01 PM, Prothall said:

Or maybe jut remove the rotten game mechanic class all together....

Money means that will never happen. But it would make for a better game.

 

On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 5:12 PM, DemonGod3 said:

In all honesty, the RTS element is what needs to go.

And, to everyone that says "remove CVs because they don't fit in the game" or "remove the RTS," I think destroyers should be removed because they are too powerful compared to battleships.  Or Cruisers should be removed cuz they crap on destroyers.

It's getting annoying to see so many people not willing to fix any of the issues with carriers and the RTS and accepting this dumbed down rework as a suitable replacement.

Edited by Captain_Kyo

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3 minutes ago, Captain_Kyo said:

No, the fact CV's are OP is the failure of wargaming to care at all about CVs.  In three years, they've done next to nothing to solve any of the problems and released barely any new content.

 

And, to everyone that says "remove CVs because they don't fit in the game" or "remove the RTS," I think destroyers should be removed because they are too powerful compared to battleships.  Or Cruisers should be removed cuz they crap on destroyers.  Ugh radar!  Ugh hydro!  Ugh!  Ugh!  Ugh!  This should be removed!  That should be removed!  That's too OP!

Next up, ban French fries because they cause cancer.  Good luck pushing that agenda.

I do not want CVs removed because they are too powerful. I want them removed because the skill gap between drivers ruins the fun of matches. I cannot stand a match either way with a unicum Vs a potato CV driver.

With the CV rework any competent CV driver will CV snipe to start the match then send the rocket planes after the DDs. Once those two threats are eliminated it is farming time...

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1 minute ago, Prothall said:

I do not want CVs removed because they are too powerful. I want them removed because the skill gap between drivers ruins the fun of matches. I cannot stand a match either way with a unicum Vs a potato CV driver.

With the CV rework any competent CV driver will CV snipe to start the match then send the rocket planes after the DDs. Once those two threats are eliminated it is farming time...

Alright now we're talking.  Though I don't agree with you on removing carriers, at least you've pointed out to me one of the major issues with carriers that bugs you.

And, I totally agree with you, the new CV rework system is just a snipe and farm damage arena for carriers.  I see it every game in the beta.  Imo, this rework has been like, you solve one issue with carriers and two more bigger problems arise.  And plus, imo, I think the rework is just stupid lol

Skill gap is a major issue, including for me.  But, just because of that, I don't think carriers need to be removed?  What if instead of throwing out the current system and introducing a boring, unengaging, WOWP-wannabe ripoff, we just dumb down the RTS format?  It appears WG likes to dumb things down in this rework, so I don't know how hard it would've been to just simply dumb down the RTS format.  Unless console play is just the next real big thing for this game, I really don't understand how hard that would've been.

Really if the RTS system was dumbed down and things like strafes were removed, we'd see a very very different kind of carrier.  What if there are less squadrons?  What if they can't delete ships like they used to?  What if there was a captain skill for destroyers that prevents permaspotting?  All these things certainly wouldn't kill off carriers, but it would make it less of a decisive factor in the game.

And it would also make it easier to play.  Part of the problem with the skill gap is that carriers are too powerful.  It just needs to be scaled down without just killing it like they are doing in this rework.

To be honest with you, I can't stand the kind of thinking of "well we just need to get rid of carriers."  Maybe it's because I like CVs, but really it's because a huge majority of issues could EASILY be fixed if wargaming gave even the slightest bit of care for the RTS system.

What annoys me even more is that their proposed "fix" is awful and really hasn't fixed a bunch of the problems.

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Problem 1: player skill gap. It’s hard enough starting this game from scratch. Then put them into a 1v1 class against a more experienced player.  

 

Problem 1a: There needs to be a CV “school” or tutorial.  Even at high tiers I see enemy CVs going straight in for the nearest ship no matter what it is, losing a boatload of planes and then left clicking his fighters on mine within my friendly AA bubbles.  When I see a cv player like this on my team I immediately feel like we’re probably going to loose. There are a few things every CV player should know and most of us found out the hard way and too many still haven’t found out even at tier 10.

problem 2: Saipan and problem 1.  I rage quit at tier 7 more than once before I became stubborn enough to keep trying.  Saipan isn’t as much of a problem for surface ships as it is opposing cvs.  If we could do a poll at how many people quit playing CVs at tier 7 vs other tiers I wonder what the outcome would be.  

problem 3: AA balance. This goes both ways. There are super AA ships that can delete squadrons with the push of a button and there are ships that even when AA built can’t even dent the planes. This is a huge problem.  I understand ships had better AA systems than others, but it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

problem 4: the premiums. Saipan, kaga, enterprise and graf Zeppelin. 

 

To those who advocate removal from the game. If CVs were more common would you spec into AA more? Would you pay more attention to your map positioning in relation to friendly ships?   If AA was more balanced would you play CVs more? If a Unicum CV player couldn’t delete all your planes In a single click would you play CV (I know this is frustrating, but seriously sometimes it’s well deserved)? What if DDs were given higher DPS in a shorter range AA to alleviate plane spotting and punish CVs who hovered planes over you for too long? Or if plane spotting was nerfed?

This doesn’t even address problem 5: the UI

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I don't agree with everything you say in the OP. But +1 for a comprehensive and well argued effort.

(I especially liked the proposal to keep the CV tech tree as is, and to add a 2nd CVL line) .

Quality post/

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6 hours ago, gmrbull said:

 

 

Problem 1: player skill gap. It’s hard enough starting this game from scratch. Then put them into a 1v1 class against a more experienced player.  

 

Problem 1a: There needs to be a CV “school” or tutorial.  Even at high tiers I see enemy CVs going straight in for the nearest ship no matter what it is, losing a boatload of planes and then left clicking his fighters on mine within my friendly AA bubbles.  When I see a cv player like this on my team I immediately feel like we’re probably going to loose. There are a few things every CV player should know and most of us found out the hard way and too many still haven’t found out even at tier 10.

problem 2: Saipan and problem 1.  I rage quit at tier 7 more than once before I became stubborn enough to keep trying.  Saipan isn’t as much of a problem for surface ships as it is opposing cvs.  If we could do a poll at how many people quit playing CVs at tier 7 vs other tiers I wonder what the outcome would be.  

problem 3: AA balance. This goes both ways. There are super AA ships that can delete squadrons with the push of a button and there are ships that even when AA built can’t even dent the planes. This is a huge problem.  I understand ships had better AA systems than others, but it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

problem 4: the premiums. Saipan, kaga, enterprise and graf Zeppelin. 

 

To those who advocate removal from the game. If CVs were more common would you spec into AA more? Would you pay more attention to your map positioning in relation to friendly ships?   If AA was more balanced would you play CVs more? If a Unicum CV player couldn’t delete all your planes In a single click would you play CV (I know this is frustrating, but seriously sometimes it’s well deserved)? What if DDs were given higher DPS in a shorter range AA to alleviate plane spotting and punish CVs who hovered planes over you for too long? Or if plane spotting was nerfed?

This doesn’t even address problem 5: the UI

The skill gap issue is a problem because the CV class makes such a big impact in the game. I don't think it's possible to remove that aspect because planes allow you to be omnipresent so a good CV will always find openings to turn the game around. The only way you can teach someone to get good at it is through experience and there are many casual CV players that will never improve on it. 

 

I disagree with your assessment of Saipan. Saipan is a roadblock for some CV players but good knowledge of mechanics can allow you to dominate any average Saipan in both tech tree ships. To experienced CV players, Enterprise is the more difficult premium CV to deal with since it has a large hangar of effective planes, but it is balanced still. 

The real issue with AA balance is in the captain skills. Any lone ship without an AA build is food to a good CV player, yet the surface ship has to make sacrifices to his captain build to make it so it only works in the rare game where you have to fight off planes from a good CV player. This makes AA builds not worth it at all. Personally I have not a single ship that is AA spec as I would rather sink in those rare games where I get targeted by good CVs than make my build ineffective outside of those rare situations. The solution would be either to get rid of AA skills entirely or let us have a different captain build for carrier games. I like the second solution personally as it also means we get separate captain builds for clan battles without having to respec them every time we enter one. 

I don't think premium CVs are an issue, other than GZ which is quite overpowered. Kaga can be oppressive because it is only weak to good AA and air support which you may not get but it's not really overpowered. 

You'd be surprised by how good DD AA is if you actually spec for it. Even a Shimakaze can be a threat to planes. That all comes back to the captain builds issue of course. 

Plane spotting is fine as is IMO since it takes resources for the carrier. Sure you can run up against a unicum CV that dominates and wins the game through spotting but that's the skill gap issue I talked about earlier, not a problem with spotting itself. 

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8 hours ago, Prothall said:

I do not want CVs removed because they are too powerful. I want them removed because the skill gap between drivers ruins the fun of matches. I cannot stand a match either way with a unicum Vs a potato CV driver.

With the CV rework any competent CV driver will CV snipe to start the match then send the rocket planes after the DDs. Once those two threats are eliminated it is farming time...

Yeah, except with the addition of the CAP (just lumped in with catapult fighter as a consumable name) along with the fighters squadrons can call it sniping is a HUGE investment in resources now and basically requires the one being sniped to do absolutely nothing to defend himself.  Furthermore until you get to higher tiers rocket planes need a LOT of passes on a destroyer to kill it, if they spot it with their tiny ~3km air detection range.  It's pretty clear you haven't gotten your hands on this rework, or you'd also know there are quite a number of ships that are far from defenseless against planes.  Cruisers known for their AA suite really shine again now and overlapping AA bubbles are noticeably effective.

 

Yeah, attack planes can certainly hound a destroyer once they have been found and make his life harder, but sniping is not only difficult and ineffective now, it's also just a straight waste of resources.  Any competent CV driver isn't going to waste time sniping, but in the early stages of the match is going to see what can be spotted and as it develops keep an eye on where to drop fighter squadrons to defend groups of ships (like a hidden DD or a BB with a lot of damage so probably missing AA mounts) while, yes, farming some damage.  You know, like most ship classes should do.

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