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New AA mechanics explained

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Hello everyone!

 

Update 0.8.0 has been released recently, and of course there are a lot of questions, specifically about the new anti-air defense mechanic. In this article we're going to discuss all details about 0.8.0 AA - how it works, it interacts with commander skills and upgrades, and everything else.

 

Please note that the CV rework introduced in 0.8.0 will undergo a lot of tweaking and balancing, so the information here may get outdated at some point by subsequent changes.

 

How it used to be pre-0.8.0


In brief planes got shot down with a certain probability (dependent on AA potential), and the planes, in fact did not have effective individual hit points. At the same time, AA mounts did not have minimal range, so AA generally grew a lot stronger closer to the ship. It caused two issues:

 

  • Probability-based and erratic plane destruction used to create too much RNG - sometimes squadrons got wiped out in a moment, sometimes AA seemed to have zero effect;
  • Lack of minimal firing range interrupted with creating proper AA support specs, so that the ships could cover their allies properly, but would not be invulnerable at closer range;


How it works now


1.Each plane has individual hit points. If a planes 'dips' into AA range, it will be damaged according to the respective AA strength, and the damage will be recorded (so it will be easier to shoot down later) indicated by the green/yellow/red HP bars.

2.Each AA group has a minimum range now, so short, medium and long range AA on one ship do not overlap, which gives much more options for balancing the AA in general and gives a lot of potential for AA variety.

For example, let's look at Baltimore AA. Close range is 0,1-1,5 km, medium is 1,5-3,5, long range covers 3,5-5,8 km.

 

image.thumb.png.6773f5d3750bd4892c035cda

 

3. Now there is "hit chance" parameter for AA. It allows for a better fine tuning of AA mounts per class and tier - usually it is higher for more modern ships, which represents more modern AA fire control systems. Hit chance affects flak bursts and constant DPS.

4. AA damage is dealt in two ways now:

 

  • Constant DPS in the respective AA range. The damage dealt is DPS multiplied with Hit chance, so, if you have 100 DPS and 70% hit chance, you will deal 70 damage per second. This damage is being dealt to each squadron in the AA range (and it's not being spread - each squadron receives full DPS). It also worth noting that within the squadron it is being dealt to a randomly chosen plane, one at a time (basically AA quickly shoots at all planes in a squadron, plane by plane). This is why some of your planes are getting damaged a bit earlier, and some - a bit later in constant DPS area.
  • Flak bursts (for medium and long range AA only). A flak burst is a specific volume in a three dimensional space, and if a plane physically gets inside it, the damage (usually very large) is applied to it (that exact plane). Actual average number of flak bursts is: base flak bursts parameter, multiplied by Hit chance. 

 

image.thumb.png.b309be4f352f8b791c459b9e 

 

Flak bursts appear on the calculated squadron path, within the specified zones (see the picture). Mostly the bursts will be concentrated in narrow A zone directly on squadron path, and if it's full of bursts already, the rest will go to the side B zones (which makes maneuvering more challenging).

 

2034727208_1.thumb.png.dcc1a47cf980dd61a

 

More about these flak bursts


Please note once again that the info here, especially balance values, is subject to change.

 

Flak bursts appear each 2 seconds. The burst "physical" size depends on AA mount caliber - larger caliber guns give bigger bursts.

 

Zone width (X) depends on squadron speed. It will be quite wide (X1) if current squadron speed is high, and it will be narrow (X2) if the planes are going at minimal speed. That means that using throttle is very important for dodging flak bursts.

Effective flak burst amount, as mentioned before is base flak burst parameter multiplied with Hit chance. Normal (Gauss) distribution is applied, and the minimal burst size is symmetrical to the maximum. That means that with 10 base burst size and 70% hit chance, it will mostly be 7 bursts, 10 is maximum number and 4 is minimum.

 

With a single ship AA,  80% of flak bursts (but not more than 6) is being placed in zone A. The rest goes to side B zones. Flak bursts do not overlap each other.

 

Let's check Baltimore once again (the scaling on these pictures is simplified).

 

Long range AA has spawned 5 bursts, so 5 go to A zone and 1 goes to B zone.

 

398965665_1.png.228e2c6324e6056c3c6f6443

 

Medium range AA has spawned 11 bursts, so A zone gets 6 bursts (of lesser size) and 5 bursts go to B.

 

1419839816_2.thumb.png.67e8593a9aed0816b

 

If there are several ships firing, the rules are slightly different: up to 8 bursts can be placed in A zone combined and up to 10 bursts - in A zones. The most powerful burst are being chosen in this case.

 

280555438_3.thumb.png.9508781010a61efd65

 

This limit gives at least slight chance for attack even against a strong AA group.

 

If a single AA group has multiple squadrons in range, flak bursts that would have been in B zone otherwise, are distributed into A zones so that AA covers all squadrons. That said, long and medium range AA still do not overlap, so if one enemy squadron is at medium range, and the other is at long range, that means each of them will interact with its respective AA group without any mixing and overlapping.

 

AA reinforcement and visual hints


AA can be reinforced two ways in battle.

 

1.Defensive AA consumable: constant DPS and flak bursts damage increases, and the bursts turn red. 

 

965770821_.thumb.gif.3944a232ecaba3f0a5a

 

Regular bursts are orange, and defensive AA bursts are red.

 

Usually the increase is x2 for cruisers and x3 for destroyers.

 

2. AA sector reinforcement (via special menu bound to "~" and "O" keys). Constant DPS in the chosen sector is increased by 25-60% (depends on class and shown in the Port) at the expense of the other sector. AA tracers in the prioritized sector turn red.

 

AA sectors don't have any transition states, they are either reinforced, normal or weakened. Changing the state takes time, so you should do it in advance. If a squadron is at the border between two sectors, the sector it is in is determined by the amount of planes; if 7 planes are in the right sector, and 2 are in the left, the squadron is considered to be in the right.

 

 

Skills and upgrades
Upgrades

 

  • AA mod.1 - slot 3 (available from tier 5). Gives +2 to flak burst base value for long and medium range AA. Especially useful for the ships with low amount of bursts.
  • AA mod.2 - slot 6 (available from tier 9). Increases both constant DPS at all ranges and flak bursts damage by 15%. A very powerful AA buff, but at the cost of other efficient upgrades in the slot.

 

Skills

 

 

  • (I) Direction center for fighters - +1 Fighter when you use the respective consumable;
  • (III) Basic firing training - Increases constant DPS at all ranges by 10% (and increases rate of fire of all secondaries and main guns of caliber up to and including 139mm by 10%);
  • (IV) Advanced firing training - Increases flak burst damage by 15% (and increases range of fire of all secondaries and main guns of caliber up to and including 139mm by 20%);
  • (IV) Manual Fire Control for AA Armament - increases the efficiency of sector reinforcing by 20% (which means 150% from 125%, for example) and reduces the time for switching by 20%.


So how do I maximize my AA defense?


First of all, AA reinforcement influences only constant DPS, so if you want to play around it, you better pick a ship with a lot of constant DPS. Additionally keep in mind that the switching time is different per class - 5 seconds for destroyers, 10 seconds for cruisers, 12 seconds for battleships and 15 seconds for carriers.

 

Using this mechanic will require extra attention from you, but in return you will increase the type of damage that is constant and impossible to dodge. With Manual Fire Control your damage multiplier gets even more serious - x1,5 for cruisers and battleships, x1,8 for destroyers and x1,92 for carriers.

What's even better, you can maximize this DPS with Basic Firing Trainng - and that skill is useful for most destroyers and secondary-specced battleships.

 

Advanced firing training is especially useful for the ships with low constant DPS and high amount of flak bursts, and it combines well with AA mod.1. As with Basic Firing Training, this skill is beneficial for secondaries and small caliber main guns.

 

Direction center for fighters can be very influential on low level, where the fighter squadron is small. Overall, we would recommend it only as the last priority, or when you have 1 extra point to spend.

 

What are the best maneuvers when being attacked by different squadrons?

 

  • Attack planes deal the least amount of damage, but they are very fast, agile and relatively easy to aim. Their rocket dispersion is different per game nation, so you should typically not expose broadside to the USN attack planes, and try to avoid going bow or aft against IJN and RN planes.
  • Dive bombers are usually slower and it's hard for them to adjust their aim while in the attack run. That means quick maneuvering is the key, and, as their dispersion pattern is usually long, they deal the most damage with bow or aft attack runs.
  • Torpedo bombers have different attack run patterns per nation, but they have one common thing - they always try to catch you broadside to maximize the number of hits. USN torpedo bombers usually carry more torpedoes per attack, but they have more challenging aiming, so evasive maneuvers in advance will make their life much more difficult. IJN torpedo bombers usually carry torpedoes with relatively long range, so beware of long drops and pay attention even if they do something on the edge of your visibility.


Remember about other enemies while dodging CV attacks. Sometimes it's better to take some damage from a CV instead of exposing your broadside to its BB allies.

And as a destroyer, don't forget about "P" button which turns AA off. You typically have great concealment, and being spotted late can be more advantageous than firing your AA immediately. If you appear close enough, the enemy squadron can easily fly overhead and miss the first attack run.

 

We hope this article was useful and you have a better and clearer understanding of AA mechanics now.

Thank you!

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Would it be too mutch to match the number of flack bursts to the barrels of flack guns?

In addition why alter the size of the flack cloud when the cloud should be uniformed?

If anything, this exlains why AA isn't effective at this time. Would it be difficult to allow medium and short ranged AA to overlap? And if they can't overlapping could more veriables be introduced to measure the effectiveness of AAA mounts? The 5/38 and 3/50 were the only mounts using radar proximity fuses of this period to my knowledge. 

Therefore, this should give 5/38 and 3/50 armed ship new and old a standoff advantage over most nations; especially destroyers.

In addition, would it be too difficult, to match the flack burst with the RoF of main battery DP weapons? The offset would justify the increase in quantity over quality; especially in multi-CV battles.

In addition, having more flack emitted in greater quantity per ship at lower rates would make even triple CV games significantly more convenient even with the existing of the [f] key.

Please, and thank you for reading 

Yours truly 

 

Crokodone 

Edited by Crokodone

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An excellent how2, will be useful to many players. I learned quite a bit reading this (although had guessed some of it from trial and error in game)/

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That's a great rundown of how AA 'should' work in practice, but as numerous videos from live play have shown we have a situation of AA being even more binary than it was in the old system with inexperienced CV players getting their entire squadron shot down at once while the rest of CV players just dodge and either play the 'Press F to disrespect AA' OR if they are at the helm of a Hakuryu, can play a wonderful Flying Invincible Stealth 300knot Torpedo Reload Booster Shimakaze game.

30 minutes ago, Sub_Octavian said:

And as a destroyer, don't forget about "P" button which turns AA off. You typically have great concealment, and being spotted late can be more advantageous than firing your AA immediately. If you appear close enough, the enemy squadron can easily fly overhead and miss the first attack run.

That would be a great point... IF you hadn't ALSO given RPF to planes such that CV players don't have to hunt for a stealthed up DD but instead can dial in an attack with less guesswork than ships with RPF have to make since planes are so much faster but not so fast they can't adjust when they finally do spot the DD.

I'm still cautiously optimistic that new CV's can be far better balanced into the game as compared to the old system, but right now the balance is so bad I have strong doubts the hotfix will do all that much. One of the more problematic things is having instant plane rearmament instead of having even a minimal plane / squadron cooldown, that would fix a lot of the infinite minmax spam right there in that say you have a Hakuryu with a 12 plane TB squad and 20 active plane limit and get off 2 successful attacks before recalling the squad... with 0 shot down even... but instead of instant reload empty planes take say 10 seconds to be rearmed while still full planes take 5 seconds, and this time is cumulative BUT also ameliorated somewhat by the fact that the reload for each plane starts as soon as they land. So that would put those 12 TB's out of action for 100 total seconds from the time of their first attack.

This would force CV players to make the choice of maybe trying for a massive alpha strike with their favorite plane type but knowing they'll have a long cooldown or staggering attacks to try and go for continual disruption or even *gasp!* cycling between their three attack plane choices to try and get off major strikes with each type!

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Thank you Sub_O

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14 minutes ago, lloyd1701 said:

That would be a great point... IF you hadn't ALSO given RPF to planes such that CV players don't have to hunt for a stealthed up DD but instead can dial in an attack with less guesswork than ships with RPF have to make since planes are so much faster but not so fast they can't adjust when they finally do spot the DD.

It won't help them to avoid overflying the DD before the attack pass is live. Either way, you still had to "stumbled" across the hiding DD and then you had to line up properly for an attack pass otherwise you simply overfly it.

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So...in theory, the range bands dont have to overlap...you just have to adjust the DPS and flak parameters in each band to give the same result as overlapping bands?

Also, what happens to these values if AA mounts are destroyed? Is it possible to reduce AA this way?

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Just now, Hurlbut said:

It won't help them to avoid overflying the DD before the attack pass is live. Either way, you still had to "stumbled" across the hiding DD and then you had to line up properly for an attack pass otherwise you simply overfly it.

You can queue up an attack at any time though so with RPF and a little practice (as seen on the live servers) the CV just starts their attack before they actually spot the DD and then make minor adjustments as needed... 

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Your making a big assumpition there about CV's mostly running RPF

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Oh cool, so the bit about continuous DPS and the shootdown snowball still applies.

Spoiler

 

Did not know about the flak zoning though, good info, thanks!

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The distribution of the flak burst in the A and B sections is sort of gaming the system in favor of aircraft.  Add to that a limit on the number of burst in the A section and its no wonder AA isn't what it "should" be when you look at the numbers.  This is especially true for mid ranged AA where you have an increased number of potential burst.  Again, gamed by mid range burst almost always being too far ahead of the planes to do any damage.

We need player controlled AA as an option.  Let the player skill have a role in defending yourself.

1 minute ago, Hurlbut said:

It won't help them to avoid overflying the DD before the attack pass is live. Either way, you still had to "stumbled" across the hiding DD and then you had to line up properly for an attack pass otherwise you simply overfly it.

If you are actively looking for a DD its not hard to get your attack in before you overfly.  If you just stumble into a DD then I agree, you'll mostly like overfly.

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55 minutes ago, Sub_Octavian said:

2.Each AA group has a minimum range now, so short, medium and long range AA on one ship do not overlap, which gives much more options for balancing the AA in general and gives a lot of potential for AA variety.

Except that outside the DP gun AA - this makes absolutely no sense to have, and causes issues. AA has it's own variety already - how many guns, what type, etc. USN AA built around 40 mm bofors always felt different from the 40 mm "pom poms" that UK had due to the fact while they overlapped, they had range limits. If anything this feels less varied. And honestly, less balanced and more problematic. Because let's take that Baltimore for a second. My teammate in a Musashi launches an HE salvo at him, wrecks all the 20 mm guns, 50% of the DP's, and leaves 80% of the 40 mm guns working. Now, there's almost no long range AA, reduced AA at mid, and I take no damage at close range. For all it's flaws the old system they'd have still had a shot at shooting me down inside 1.5 km, here, they'd have none. You don't want long range overlapped fine, but medium and short should,  and I'll get to why in a bit.

1 hour ago, Sub_Octavian said:
  • Constant DPS in the respective AA range. The damage dealt is DPS multiplied with Hit chance, so, if you have 100 DPS and 70% hit chance, you will deal 70 damage per second. This damage is being dealt to each squadron in the AA range (and it's not being spread - each squadron receives full DPS). It also worth noting that within the squadron it is being dealt to a randomly chosen plane, one at a time (basically AA quickly shoots at all planes in a squadron, plane by plane). This is why some of your planes are getting damaged a bit earlier, and some - a bit later in constant DPS area.
  • Flak bursts (for medium and long range AA only). A flak burst is a specific volume in a three dimensional space, and if a plane physically gets inside it, the damage (usually very large) is applied to it (that exact plane). Actual average number of flak bursts is: base flak bursts parameter, multiplied by Hit chance. 

Second point first as it ties to the previous thing - "medium caliber" aka, "what should be anything under about 3 inches" should not be firing flak bursts, at all. 40 mm guns should just fire constant DPS, 55 mm guns should, 25 mm guns should, 70 mm nd up, then you get in to flak AA type guns. The long range AA should be a potentially punishing wake up call. Personally, I think it should overlap within 4 km, you want to give it a higher minimum that doesn't, fine. But anything less than 70 mm - should just add to constant DPS. For the most part, the bulk of AA - should just be constant DPS, with the Flak being extra punishment if you do something stupid and don't dodge.

To the first point. If there is in fact a chance of dodging, fine, keep it, but otherwises, for once, could you not jerk us around with the numbers and just tell us what the actually freaking DPS is in the tabs then? If I have 500 DPS, and a 85% hit chance, and that means I have 425 DPS - then just bloody tell me I have 425 DPS when my AA battery is at full strength. It's the same with pretty much any HE weapon a CV has - I know it only does .33 damage because there is nothing it is gonna citadel, so just list that or list both. 

I don't have the game open, but lets take that Baltimore and assume 50% of the AA guns are per side. I should be taking at say 5 km, whatever DPS from all the bits and fragments from the 6x 127 mm guns firing at me, lets say 100 DPS. At 3.5km, if you don't want any overlap, I have 24 barrels of 40 mm guns firing if they are the L/60 mounts I think they are 120 rpm, lets call it 300 DPS for the sake of simplicity. At 2 km when the dozen 20 mm barrels can fire at me with let's go with 250 rpm, lets call it 300 as well, I should start taking 600 damage. It should all add up, it should overlap, at least medium and small should, and to some degree large.

1 hour ago, Sub_Octavian said:

Flak bursts appear each 2 seconds. The burst "physical" size depends on AA mount caliber - larger caliber guns give bigger bursts.

Aside from "more reason to have just 70mm and up as flak guns" You want variety in AA - this is where you do that. Average RoF on Kitakaze 100 mm  guns and the like is what, 2.7 seconds? UK 102-113mm is usually a little over 3? Atlanta somewhere around 4 while USN secondary DP's of similar caliber are closer to 5? USN 3 inch between 3-4 seconds, UK 152 mm what 8 seconds. All with varying ranges. Various countries with various ranges and RoF or these weapons. USN in the middle ground with arguably the best combo of RoF and damage from flak burst with ships like Kitakaze spewing more weaker ones while something like Neptune has some bigger bang at longer range but less often and then has more smaller ones up close. Between all that, and the various ranges and setups like IJN using 25 mm mounts in larger numbers but having a lower range than other nations 40's, but more than their 20's, UK's "pom poms" that were a bigger round with less range, USN 28 mm, the 40 mm's, the numbers ships have there is no need to force minimum ranges to add variety. And there really isn't one for balance either.

1 hour ago, Sub_Octavian said:

Effective flak burst amount, as mentioned before is base flak burst parameter multiplied with Hit chance. Normal (Gauss) distribution is applied, and the minimal burst size is symmetrical to the maximum. That means that with 10 base burst size and 70% hit chance, it will mostly be 7 bursts, 10 is maximum number and 4 is minimum.

Once again - this should just be in that case, showing me 7 bursts. That said - number of guns 70 mm and over that can aim should equal number of bursts. Maybe when you get to really high numbers of guns, like Atlanta or Des/Salem you cut the number in half at a lower reload time to simulate basically half the guns firing then the other half. Especially because you need to drastically lower flak damage anyway. Because you say -

1 hour ago, Sub_Octavian said:

This limit gives at least slight chance for attack even against a strong AA group.

No - it doesn't. I have seen and had my squadrons wiped out almost instantaneously by Wor, Des, Salem, and Mino. When I don't skate through AA untouched, more often I get almost as badly wrecked or outright destroyed - same as I did in RTS. Plane HP needs to be leveled out through the tiers, AA consistent DPS needs to be leveled out through the tiers, and made the main bulk of AA, Flak needs to be an additional punishment for flying in a straight line. 

1 hour ago, Sub_Octavian said:

Regular bursts are orange, and defensive AA bursts are red.

This may be fine and a great indicator for others - but I can't see a difference. They look the same colour to me, I don't see the same range of colours others do. They both look orange to me. This is why I've had to install mods like the shell colours and at times tracers to actually see my damn shells. Would it kill you to have an icon that switches from "AA attack" to "Def AA attack" if it's not already indicated. I may be the minority with this issue but even then it's not a clear way to indicate to someone who's busy flying a plane and setting an attack run up as to the status of what level of AA is being fired at them if they should back off. Especially when you guys need to adjust that marker on DB's so that where it's lined up is where my planes start the dive. And maybe adjust the AA indicators position to the lower right of the circle.

2 hours ago, Sub_Octavian said:

AA tracers in the prioritized sector turn red

Second verse same as the first. Could you not have one be orange/red and the other bright white tracers? Green? Rainbow with sparkles? some colours that are easy to differentiate.

2 hours ago, Sub_Octavian said:

AA mod.1 - slot 3 (available from tier 5). Gives +2 to flak burst base value for long and medium range AA. Especially useful for the ships with low amount of bursts

Should go back to a 20% increase in AA range, more accurately, it and Secondary Mod 1/2 (forget which number it has at the moment) should just go back to being Auxiliary Armaments Mod 2 buffing range of AA and secondaries.

2 hours ago, Sub_Octavian said:

AA mod.2 - slot 6 (available from tier 9). Increases both constant DPS at all ranges and flak bursts damage by 15%. A very powerful AA buff, but at the cost of other efficient upgrades in the slot

Should be removed as even in RTS this has caused nothing but issues in CV balance. Make it increase AA mount durability, reduce he time between barrage based on what I said above by 10-20%. But what it has been and what it is needs to be no more. Least with the Flak bursts if you've dialed them back and down right it gives them an edge but not the one that has them slaughtering tier 8 CV planes, or the tier 7 and 9's that should still exist, like what currently happens, and what used to happen. It is too damn powerful, and the other options are seldom enough of a bloody trade off. 

2 hours ago, Sub_Octavian said:

(IV) Advanced firing training - Increases flak burst damage by 15% (and increases range of fire of all secondaries and main guns of caliber up to and including 139mm by 20%);

Once again needs to go back to a range increase and not a damage buff, which is not helping the state of things. 

 

As a player of CV's, and one of the ones angry at the total disregard you have shown for their history and not even for the sake of gameplay, and as a player of the other 3 classes

  • Cut down on the importance of flak hits, they should just be there to encourage dodging, add extra damage, and maybe throw off aim.
  • Make the AA focused on constant DPS, that instead of buffing damage, beyond BFT and the signal flag, is buffed by range increases meaning they are in it longer, meaning they take more damage. 
  • Make it only 70 mm guns or higher use flak, the rest is autocannons and MG's that can overlap.
  • Stop trying to force AA as "flavours" or variety and LET AA BE AA. There is enough between what ships had in types and numbers, calibers and RoF on the flak end, to take care of that for you. Atlanta can likely do work with 14 127mm guns firing at planes even with meh medium/short range, especially if your doing say 7 bursts every 2-2.5 seconds. Unlike a German cruiser that has maybe 6 8.8's or 10.5's per side to shoot at them. 

I would rather have to fly in a longer flak field that when it hits, does significantly less, and deal with longer constant AA whittling my planes away and meaning I have even more reason to dodge flak on the way in, than this crap with god like AA now when it works. Just as I'd rather have lower but consistent damage when I'm playing my not CV's and it doesn't. Knowing I am in fact wearing his planes down and that a couple at least may fall before attack number 6. 

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keep in mind that 95% of the playerbase doesn't even read the forum

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Good article. Would have been an awesome article a week and a half ago.

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3 hours ago, Sub_Octavian said:

If there are several ships firing, the rules are slightly different: up to 8 bursts can be placed in A zone combined and up to 10 bursts - in A zones. The most powerful burst are being chosen in this case.

@Sub_Octavian If I understand this correctly, the implication is that plane squadrons, not ships, "own" the 2s AA tick cycle. Is that true? Because if so, doesn't that mean that planned turns at 2s intervals will foil basically all flak lead, no matter how many ships or bursts? Or does the plane squadron only maintain a "registry" of who will fire into each zone, and the individual ships' guns will fire based on their own cooldowns (and potentially create staggered/syncopated burst timing)?

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Thank you for explaining this... Now I know why I hate the update from a technical perspective and not just because of it's unfriendly game play!

Edited by Bill_Schmuckatelli

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2 hours ago, lloyd1701 said:

You can queue up an attack at any time though so with RPF and a little practice (as seen on the live servers) the CV just starts their attack before they actually spot the DD and then make minor adjustments as needed... 

I can do this with my rocket fighters after passing over and spotting an unseen DD without RPF.

Like when the skill was first introduced, it provides powerful info if used corretly, but it's also info that skilled players can make do without and can be gathered both contextually and from experience, and even emulated through practice.

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Best piece of information from the entire article I think was this.

Remember about other enemies while dodging CV attacks. Sometimes it's better to take some damage from a CV instead of exposing your broadside to its BB allies.

And as a destroyer, don't forget about "P" button which turns AA off. You typically have great concealment, and being spotted late can be more advantageous than firing your AA immediately. If you appear close enough, the enemy squadron can easily fly overhead and miss the first attack run.

 

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5 hours ago, Sub_Octavian said:

Hello everyone!

 

Update 0.8.0 has been released recently, and of course there are a lot of questions, specifically about the new anti-air defense mechanic. In this article we're going to discuss all details about 0.8.0 AA - how it works, it interacts with commander skills and upgrades, and everything else.

 

Please note that the CV rework introduced in 0.8.0 will undergo a lot of tweaking and balancing, so the information here may get outdated at some point by subsequent changes.

 

How it used to be pre-0.8.0


In brief planes got shot down with a certain probability (dependent on AA potential), and the planes, in fact did not have effective individual hit points. At the same time, AA mounts did not have minimal range, so AA generally grew a lot stronger closer to the ship. It caused two issues:

 

  • Probability-based and erratic plane destruction used to create too much RNG - sometimes squadrons got wiped out in a moment, sometimes AA seemed to have zero effect;
  • Lack of minimal firing range interrupted with creating proper AA support specs, so that the ships could cover their allies properly, but would not be invulnerable at closer range;


How it works now


1.Each plane has individual hit points. If a planes 'dips' into AA range, it will be damaged according to the respective AA strength, and the damage will be recorded (so it will be easier to shoot down later) indicated by the green/yellow/red HP bars.

2.Each AA group has a minimum range now, so short, medium and long range AA on one ship do not overlap, which gives much more options for balancing the AA in general and gives a lot of potential for AA variety.

For example, let's look at Baltimore AA. Close range is 0,1-1,5 km, medium is 1,5-3,5, long range covers 3,5-5,8 km.

 

image.thumb.png.6773f5d3750bd4892c035cda

 

3. Now there is "hit chance" parameter for AA. It allows for a better fine tuning of AA mounts per class and tier - usually it is higher for more modern ships, which represents more modern AA fire control systems. Hit chance affects flak bursts and constant DPS.

4. AA damage is dealt in two ways now:

 

  • Constant DPS in the respective AA range. The damage dealt is DPS multiplied with Hit chance, so, if you have 100 DPS and 70% hit chance, you will deal 70 damage per second. This damage is being dealt to each squadron in the AA range (and it's not being spread - each squadron receives full DPS). It also worth noting that within the squadron it is being dealt to a randomly chosen plane, one at a time (basically AA quickly shoots at all planes in a squadron, plane by plane). This is why some of your planes are getting damaged a bit earlier, and some - a bit later in constant DPS area.
  • Flak bursts (for medium and long range AA only). A flak burst is a specific volume in a three dimensional space, and if a plane physically gets inside it, the damage (usually very large) is applied to it (that exact plane). Actual average number of flak bursts is: base flak bursts parameter, multiplied by Hit chance. 

 

image.thumb.png.b309be4f352f8b791c459b9e 

 

Flak bursts appear on the calculated squadron path, within the specified zones (see the picture). Mostly the bursts will be concentrated in narrow A zone directly on squadron path, and if it's full of bursts already, the rest will go to the side B zones (which makes maneuvering more challenging).

 

2034727208_1.thumb.png.dcc1a47cf980dd61a

 

More about these flak bursts


Please note once again that the info here, especially balance values, is subject to change.

 

Flak bursts appear each 2 seconds. The burst "physical" size depends on AA mount caliber - larger caliber guns give bigger bursts.

 

Zone width (X) depends on squadron speed. It will be quite wide (X1) if current squadron speed is high, and it will be narrow (X2) if the planes are going at minimal speed. That means that using throttle is very important for dodging flak bursts.

Effective flak burst amount, as mentioned before is base flak burst parameter multiplied with Hit chance. Normal (Gauss) distribution is applied, and the minimal burst size is symmetrical to the maximum. That means that with 10 base burst size and 70% hit chance, it will mostly be 7 bursts, 10 is maximum number and 4 is minimum.

 

With a single ship AA,  80% of flak bursts (but not more than 6) is being placed in zone A. The rest goes to side B zones. Flak bursts do not overlap each other.

 

Let's check Baltimore once again (the scaling on these pictures is simplified).

 

Long range AA has spawned 5 bursts, so 5 go to A zone and 1 goes to B zone.

 

398965665_1.png.228e2c6324e6056c3c6f6443

 

Medium range AA has spawned 11 bursts, so A zone gets 6 bursts (of lesser size) and 5 bursts go to B.

 

1419839816_2.thumb.png.67e8593a9aed0816b

 

If there are several ships firing, the rules are slightly different: up to 8 bursts can be placed in A zone combined and up to 10 bursts - in A zones. The most powerful burst are being chosen in this case.

 

280555438_3.thumb.png.9508781010a61efd65

 

This limit gives at least slight chance for attack even against a strong AA group.

 

If a single AA group has multiple squadrons in range, flak bursts that would have been in B zone otherwise, are distributed into A zones so that AA covers all squadrons. That said, long and medium range AA still do not overlap, so if one enemy squadron is at medium range, and the other is at long range, that means each of them will interact with its respective AA group without any mixing and overlapping.

 

AA reinforcement and visual hints


AA can be reinforced two ways in battle.

 

1.Defensive AA consumable: constant DPS and flak bursts damage increases, and the bursts turn red. 

 

965770821_.thumb.gif.3944a232ecaba3f0a5a

 

Regular bursts are orange, and defensive AA bursts are red.

 

Usually the increase is x2 for cruisers and x3 for destroyers.

 

2. AA sector reinforcement (via special menu bound to "~" and "O" keys). Constant DPS in the chosen sector is increased by 25-60% (depends on class and shown in the Port) at the expense of the other sector. AA tracers in the prioritized sector turn red.

 

AA sectors don't have any transition states, they are either reinforced, normal or weakened. Changing the state takes time, so you should do it in advance. If a squadron is at the border between two sectors, the sector it is in is determined by the amount of planes; if 7 planes are in the right sector, and 2 are in the left, the squadron is considered to be in the right.

 

 

Skills and upgrades
Upgrades

 

  • AA mod.1 - slot 3 (available from tier 5). Gives +2 to flak burst base value for long and medium range AA. Especially useful for the ships with low amount of bursts.
  • AA mod.2 - slot 6 (available from tier 9). Increases both constant DPS at all ranges and flak bursts damage by 15%. A very powerful AA buff, but at the cost of other efficient upgrades in the slot.

 

Skills

 

 

  • (I) Direction center for fighters - +1 Fighter when you use the respective consumable;
  • (III) Basic firing training - Increases constant DPS at all ranges by 10% (and increases rate of fire of all secondaries and main guns of caliber up to and including 139mm by 10%);
  • (IV) Advanced firing training - Increases flak burst damage by 15% (and increases range of fire of all secondaries and main guns of caliber up to and including 139mm by 20%);
  • (IV) Manual Fire Control for AA Armament - increases the efficiency of sector reinforcing by 20% (which means 150% from 125%, for example) and reduces the time for switching by 20%.


So how do I maximize my AA defense?


First of all, AA reinforcement influences only constant DPS, so if you want to play around it, you better pick a ship with a lot of constant DPS. Additionally keep in mind that the switching time is different per class - 5 seconds for destroyers, 10 seconds for cruisers, 12 seconds for battleships and 15 seconds for carriers.

 

Using this mechanic will require extra attention from you, but in return you will increase the type of damage that is constant and impossible to dodge. With Manual Fire Control your damage multiplier gets even more serious - x1,5 for cruisers and battleships, x1,8 for destroyers and x1,92 for carriers.

What's even better, you can maximize this DPS with Basic Firing Trainng - and that skill is useful for most destroyers and secondary-specced battleships.

 

Advanced firing training is especially useful for the ships with low constant DPS and high amount of flak bursts, and it combines well with AA mod.1. As with Basic Firing Training, this skill is beneficial for secondaries and small caliber main guns.

 

Direction center for fighters can be very influential on low level, where the fighter squadron is small. Overall, we would recommend it only as the last priority, or when you have 1 extra point to spend.

 

What are the best maneuvers when being attacked by different squadrons?

 

  • Attack planes deal the least amount of damage, but they are very fast, agile and relatively easy to aim. Their rocket dispersion is different per game nation, so you should typically not expose broadside to the USN attack planes, and try to avoid going bow or aft against IJN and RN planes.
  • Dive bombers are usually slower and it's hard for them to adjust their aim while in the attack run. That means quick maneuvering is the key, and, as their dispersion pattern is usually long, they deal the most damage with bow or aft attack runs.
  • Torpedo bombers have different attack run patterns per nation, but they have one common thing - they always try to catch you broadside to maximize the number of hits. USN torpedo bombers usually carry more torpedoes per attack, but they have more challenging aiming, so evasive maneuvers in advance will make their life much more difficult. IJN torpedo bombers usually carry torpedoes with relatively long range, so beware of long drops and pay attention even if they do something on the edge of your visibility.


Remember about other enemies while dodging CV attacks. Sometimes it's better to take some damage from a CV instead of exposing your broadside to its BB allies.

And as a destroyer, don't forget about "P" button which turns AA off. You typically have great concealment, and being spotted late can be more advantageous than firing your AA immediately. If you appear close enough, the enemy squadron can easily fly overhead and miss the first attack run.

 

We hope this article was useful and you have a better and clearer understanding of AA mechanics now.

Thank you!

The fatal flaw in this design is that defense is all RNG, and offense is all player skill. Player skill will always win out

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1 hour ago, Wombatmetal said:

The fatal flaw in this design is that defense is all RNG, and offense is all player skill. Player skill will always win out

Unless a player is someone like me; who can barely work WASD effectively at the pace it’s needed for ships. Having to focus on dodging means giving up doing so to attack, which mean trying to focus on attacking, especially with dive bombers, means getting wiped by AA puffs...

...dodging AA, even with the hints I’ve seen, has been next to impossible.

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The problem with all of this, is Flak bursts are as predictable as Co-Op bot ships.  Play 10+ matches in a CV and you won't take a hit from Flak unless your girlfriend walks into the room naked.

 

In seriousness just go left and right every 2 seconds while approaching a target and you won't take a Flak burst.  This is so brainless to avoid them I question why they are even part of the game.  The only current purpose would be to make it hard for new people trying out CVs.  If you haven't found getting around Flak a joke just play a few more CV matches.  

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1 hour ago, Wombatmetal said:

The fatal flaw in this design is that defense is all RNG, and offense is all player skill. Player skill will always win out

Yeah because the WASD keys magically stop working when you are being attacked by aircraft.

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4 minutes ago, QinsCoCoPops said:

Yeah because the WASD keys magically stop working when you are being attacked by aircraft.

WASD has nothing to do with AA. That is entirely RNG

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8 hours ago, MajorRenegade said:

keep in mind that 95% of the playerbase doesn't even read the forum

which roughly corresponds with the number who want nothing to do with CVs

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