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FlakKnight

How to fix AA

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It's clear that WG will never be able to really balance the current model because only one side has any effective input.  Since there are AA ships and specs that are far greater than others, this inherently leads to binary states: either the AA of your ship(s) is good enough and shoots down sufficient planes, or it isn't.  For example, maybe 75 AA is worthless because it doesn't kill anything, but 76 ticks over the dpm and kills most attackers.  That makes AA useless for the 75 and under guys solo, and it makes the AA of any two or three ships well over 75 combined instant death for a CV which is not really a good mechanic either.

The other clear thing is that AA can't really be full manual because it's too demanding and distracting from the core gameplay for players to fight on multiple planes simultaneously - pun intended.

Ergo, AA must have therefore have these goals: 1) some human interaction from the defending player that requires at a minimum planning and timing, 2) less than full control (ie crosshairs pew pew).

The sector system is not a bad start, but it is incomplete.  My proposal would be this:

1) Split the sectors into 4 quadrants instead of the 2 sides.


2) Assign a new "air target lock" key in lieu of the current clicky wedge interface.  (E.g. "x" but for the sky)


3) Pressing this key will do two things: redirect the active sector to the mouselook vector, and/or if possible target a visible, mouselook targeted aircraft squadron.  If you have a squadron targeted, your sectors will slowly track it's fight path.  It will always be preferable to plan and manually do it (to prevent juking and maximize swap time), but this gives some utility to players who struggle with operating all systems simultaneously.


4) When any planes are in range of AA, the tails of the Gaussian curve on the unreinforced sector will grow flattening out the curve, proportionately to the growing mean of the reinforced side.  In other words, the curve will flatten for the "ignored" sides (becoming more and more just random), while the reinforced side flak will become more strongly clustered around the mean, until eventually all the flak bursts will simply detonate a clump of planes with great accuracy.  This will mean the carrier player will have to decide after a few seconds if AA is getting worse or better and then figure out what to do and whether it can handle the AA of this particular ship or not.


5) Once AA stops firing, the curves bloom back to normal for all sides.  You can think of it as the inverse of the carrier targeting reticle on the off side and identical on your reinforced side - in their attack run your reinforced AA sector gets better over time as their aim does too, and vice versa for the unreinforced side.


6) Make DFAA simply reinforce all sectors for its duration (obviously may need to be rebalanced duration wise).  This gives a DFAA ship with sufficient AA guns a denial area for some seconds that force the carrier player to disengage their current attack, or face the consequences.


7) Make flak from multiple ships no longer overlap past a reasonable capped AA value (to continue with the earlier example, let's say "100" like it says in the UI), so effectively the utility of say four ships is that they could cover most (remember there are still gaps unless they are literally on top of each other) of all 4 sectors or approaches in their clump if they set up appropriate sector reinforcement as a team and work together.  This means AA ships can still cover others, but a pile of AA ships in a corner reinforcing out the only way you can attack doesn't completely invalidate the carrier, it just ensures that the CV makes attack runs at the "capped" difficulty.

This system allows for interaction between both parties without overburdening the surface ship constantly, or being unfair to either party with RNG.  The CV will want to never stay in a single sector for long, preferring a sweeping attack run, feints, or jukes, as the AA targeting will narrow roughly as quickly as their own targeting.  Effectively, the carrier player will see AA get denser and more dangerous the longer they fly in a single sector if the AA ship is paying attention.  The CV will have a choice of the perfect easy drop with a straight in approach on one side that is exceptionally dangerous on a prepared target with lots of AA, or a more careful attack run that may have a looser drop pattern but is safer.  It will also make using LoS important, as flying over an island on an unprepared target means they will not have a chance to let their AA guns focus long enough to deal real damage.

Obviously lots of little numbers would need to be tweaked here and there, but since they all do anyway this wouldn't really change that aspect.

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2 hours ago, FlakKnight said:

It's clear that WG will never be able to really balance the current model because only one side has any effective input.  Since there are AA ships and specs that are far greater than others, this inherently leads to binary states: either the AA of your ship(s) is good enough and shoots down sufficient planes, or it isn't.  For example, maybe 75 AA is worthless because it doesn't kill anything, but 76 ticks over the dpm and kills most attackers.  That makes AA useless for the 75 and under guys solo, and it makes the AA of any two or three ships well over 75 combined instant death for a CV which is not really a good mechanic either.

The other clear thing is that AA can't really be full manual because it's too demanding and distracting from the core gameplay for players to fight on multiple planes simultaneously - pun intended.

Ergo, AA must have therefore have these goals: 1) some human interaction from the defending player that requires at a minimum planning and timing, 2) less than full control (ie crosshairs pew pew).

The sector system is not a bad start, but it is incomplete.  My proposal would be this:

1) Split the sectors into 4 quadrants instead of the 2 sides.


2) Assign a new "air target lock" key in lieu of the current clicky wedge interface.  (E.g. "x" but for the sky)


3) Pressing this key will do two things: redirect the active sector to the mouselook vector, and/or if possible target a visible, mouselook targeted aircraft squadron.  If you have a squadron targeted, your sectors will slowly track it's fight path.  It will always be preferable to plan and manually do it (to prevent juking and maximize swap time), but this gives some utility to players who struggle with operating all systems simultaneously.


4) When any planes are in range of AA, the tails of the Gaussian curve on the unreinforced sector will grow flattening out the curve, proportionately to the growing mean of the reinforced side.  In other words, the curve will flatten for the "ignored" sides (becoming more and more just random), while the reinforced side flak will become more strongly clustered around the mean, until eventually all the flak bursts will simply detonate a clump of planes with great accuracy.  This will mean the carrier player will have to decide after a few seconds if AA is getting worse or better and then figure out what to do and whether it can handle the AA of this particular ship or not.


5) Once AA stops firing, the curves bloom back to normal for all sides.  You can think of it as the inverse of the carrier targeting reticle on the off side and identical on your reinforced side - in their attack run your reinforced AA sector gets better over time as their aim does too, and vice versa for the unreinforced side.


6) Make DFAA simply reinforce all sectors for its duration (obviously may need to be rebalanced duration wise).  This gives a DFAA ship with sufficient AA guns a denial area for some seconds that force the carrier player to disengage their current attack, or face the consequences.


7) Make flak from multiple ships no longer overlap past a reasonable capped AA value (to continue with the earlier example, let's say "100" like it says in the UI), so effectively the utility of say four ships is that they could cover most (remember there are still gaps unless they are literally on top of each other) of all 4 sectors or approaches in their clump if they set up appropriate sector reinforcement as a team and work together.  This means AA ships can still cover others, but a pile of AA ships in a corner reinforcing out the only way you can attack doesn't completely invalidate the carrier, it just ensures that the CV makes attack runs at the "capped" difficulty.

This system allows for interaction between both parties without overburdening the surface ship constantly, or being unfair to either party with RNG.  The CV will want to never stay in a single sector for long, preferring a sweeping attack run, feints, or jukes, as the AA targeting will narrow roughly as quickly as their own targeting.  Effectively, the carrier player will see AA get denser and more dangerous the longer they fly in a single sector if the AA ship is paying attention.  The CV will have a choice of the perfect easy drop with a straight in approach on one side that is exceptionally dangerous on a prepared target with lots of AA, or a more careful attack run that may have a looser drop pattern but is safer.  It will also make using LoS important, as flying over an island on an unprepared target means they will not have a chance to let their AA guns focus long enough to deal real damage.

Obviously lots of little numbers would need to be tweaked here and there, but since they all do anyway this wouldn't really change that aspect.

I disagree with this idea.  People have complained for years that there isn't any team work in WoWS.  Well, learning to move in small packs for self defense from planes is a perfect example of team work.  And now that sort of team work is a bad thing???  :Smile_facepalm:

Personally, I'm OK with the 2 sector thing, I suppose.  Hell, I'd be happy if there were no sectors at all.  But the only thing that I'd like to see to improve the 2 sector model would be for a single key to be able to rotate through the sector options, i.e. balanced, strong to port, or strong to starboard, with multiple key presses. Alternatively, assigning 3 keys, one each for, say, strong to port (J), balanced (K), or strong to starboard (L).

 

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I agree that getting the right degree of player interaction is THE key to making the AA system work in this game, and that the current solution has not found it. I've also advocated for a "stacking" damage tick on AA in the past, which accomplishes a similar outcome in terms of limiting bomber presence.

However, I think you will need to revisit the mechanism for creating more dangerous AA conditions, as tighter AA clusters are easier to dodge for experienced players. Wider walls are more dangerous.

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