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Edgecase

AA Rework: A Proposal

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Background

Spoiler

A couple weeks ago I collected my thoughts on the main failings of the CV rework to date. The main culprit, I argued, was not CVs themselves, but rather a poorly designed AA system that was out of sync with the rest of the game’s dynamics, offered no gameplay or counterplay on the surface ship side, and was particularly egregious about flak.

The post was well-received and @Femennenly at WG chimed in asking what kind of solutions people would suggest. Player-controlled AA was a frequently suggested solution to the problem, but came with several drawbacks, the main complaint being that it would occupy all the player’s attention and thus still prevent them from engaging in the surface combat they knew and loved. I gave this some thought, and I think that it is possible to achieve player-controlled AA without it being a full-time manual mechanic.


In the end, I believe a reworked AA system needs to have the following qualities:

  • GAMEPLAY
    • Create interesting gameplay for surface ships against planes
    • Allows surface ships to "outplay" CV players, but also vice-versa
  • USABILITY
    • Be very intuitive and easy to use
    • NOT be "high APM" as WoWS has many older and non-gamer players
    • NOT take attention away from surface combat for long periods of time
  • SCALING
    • Be less effective for low-AA ships than high-AA ships, but never worthless
    • NOT punish spaced positioning
    • NOT reward or encourage blobbing

Having now had some time to think it over, I think that all these problems can be addressed at the same time with a single system: manual flak barrages.


Manual Flak Barrages: How it works

The manual flak system replaces the current priority sector system entirely (priority sectors go away). Instead, when you hold tilde, your camera quickly pans up to an overhead view of your ship, with enemy bomber groups and their current headings highlighted.

You simply click where you want to aim a barrage, and 5 seconds later, your ship fires all its AA bursts in a zone barrage at that location for ~3 seconds.

TjQrJUv.png

The more flakbursts your ship has, the bigger the area covered by the barrage. If you want a shorter lead time, take Manual Fire Control for AA Armament on your commander (the 4-point skill) and the delay is shortened to 4 seconds.

Either way, you’re not stuck in this view while you wait for the flak to land – your camera snaps back to whatever you doing the instant you let go of tilde. And that’s it. Manual flak in under one second.


Effects of the system

This system meets all the gameplay, usability, and scaling requirements listed above. It’s faster than the current priority sector system. It’s also a better match to the rest of WoWS's “lead, aim, and fire” mechanics, including counterplay: CV players counter by anticipating the barrage and dodging around it, the exact same way a surface ship player does when he suspects you’ve torpedoed at him. Dead talents like AFT (increased flakburst damage) become important again, or they can be redesigned to, e.g. increase the barrage size instead. This system even avoids breaking 3D spatial immersion the way the 2D priority sector diagram does now.

Critically, ALL ship types, including destroyers, can effectively hurt planes if they can get manual AA to land – instead of being useless, low AA (especially on destroyers) makes it trickier to land AA hits because fewer, smaller puffs create a smaller barrage zone. Trickier, but not unrewarding.

It may be less obvious how this system fixes scaling, so I’ll explain briefly:

Spoiler

When multiple players aim and fire at a target, many of them aim at the same spot. While this means that you’re extra-super dead if you go to that spot, it also means that dodging that spot dodges multiple players’ shots. Destroyer and open water cruiser players already know how this works: dodging against five players is not 5 times as hard as dodging against 1, because if you juke one, you usually juke a bunch of them.

The same principle applies to manual flak barrages: if you fake out one guy’s flak click, you probably fake out a bunch. But if you get out-predicted (or out-guessed) by even one of them, you eat a lot of damage.

So in effect, manually aimed flak creates diminishing returns on ship stacking. The degree to which this happens is determined by the coordination of the players doing the aiming, but under most realistic circumstances (i.e. no robots or psychic powers involved), multiple players don't do much better than one player in terms of coverage, they just make a few spots extremely dangerous.

End result: stacked ships don't make flak patterns that are significantly harder to dodge, so deathballing is no longer encouraged or rewarded. And one really skilled player out on a flank may even be harder to strike than a whole mass of gullible ones who can be easily faked out.

That’s the basic concept. If people find this idea interesting, I hope that WG will consider it as a starting point for a real AA rework.

Finally, in the spoiler below, I’ve noted some of the “fine print”.

Spoiler
  • Assured damage ticks will come down greatly under this system. They are one of the major contributors to ships balling up as a response to CV attacks, and lead to extremely passive play. The AA rework should seek to emphasize active gameplay (including manual barrages) as the core of the AA system instead.
  • Auto-flak would continue to exist as it does today if you don’t issue a manual barrage order. However, its density (probably fire rate) and damage are decreased as well, again in order to encourage players to engage in active counterplay to planes. Auto-flak should be thought of more as a backup in case you don’t notice, or are too busy with more important tasks to take 1-2 seconds to set a manual AA target.
  • Altitude: Manual flakbursts form a vertical column of flak that cannot be flown over or under. They therefore hit torpedo bombers if they approach along a predictable path with a predictable speed, and they cannot be "jumped" by dive or level bombers. However, bombers have a significant amount of control over when they “turn in” for their attack run, and over their speed during the run, so tricky approaches and throttle juking will still have a significant effect.
  • Point blank flak: In order to keep players from perma-blocking dive bombers by just continually flakking over themselves or their allies, there is a “flak donut hole” above friendly ships (including oneself) where bursts will simply not spawn. In-game, this can be seen as an unwillingness of the AA gunners to risk friendly fire.
  • Post-drop immunity and "slingshot dropping": Unspent planes will retain their immunity window against AA damage after dropping, as it is unfair to punish CV players for plane actions they cannot control (the game forces them to watch the bombs fall for seconds before giving them back control of the camera). HOWEVER, the “slingshot” technique that takes advantage of this immunity window will be extremely punishable by manual AA, as it telegraphs the CV player’s intent and approach along a very straight line from a great distance away.
  • Shootdowns after successful drops: One side effect of this system is that planes that drop their payloads will be much less likely to be shot down as they auto-egress (due to lower auto-ticks and no ability to manual flak directly above a ship). This is a good thing; this system makes it reasonable to kill planes before they strike, so there’s no need to give away free kills on the ones that have succeeded.

TL;DR: Rework AA by letting players click-to-aim a delayed barrage when holding tilde. It's actual gameplay, matches the rest of the game, and fixes a lot of scaling problems including AA deathballs and destroyer AA.

Edited by Edgecase
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12 minutes ago, Edgecase said:

n the end, I believe a reworked AA system needs to have the following qualities:

  • GAMEPLAY
    • Create interesting gameplay for surface ships against planes
    • Allows surface ships to "outplay" CV players, but also vice-versa
  • USABILITY
    • Be very intuitive and easy to use
    • NOT be "high APM" as WoWS has many older and non-gamer players
    • NOT take attention away from surface combat for long periods of time
  • SCALING
    • Be less effective for low-AA ships than high-AA ships, but never worthless
    • NOT punish spaced positioning
    • NOT reward or encourage blobbing

First of all i think these are genius and spot on...WG should put you in charge of the rework for AA and make sure that whatever they come with meets all these standards

A couple conerns:

1) Doesn't this basically take us back to a top down RTS style (i don't have a problem with it but WG probably will)

2) Doesn't WG think we're morons that can't even drive a ship and fly a plane at the same time.  You are proposing that we steer a ship, hold a surface aiming reticle, and compute and plan an AA reticle firing solution and count to 5 at the same time.  You give us simple captains too much credit sir!

3)  5(4) second lead might be too long, CV players are pretty tricky, i want those guns firing as soon as i hit that clicker.  Maybe 2 or 3 second delay at most so i can get back to my surface battle and not give the CV a chance to dodge. 

Question:  How often would i be able to use recharge the guns firing if i wanted to stay in this view? Would it be ship specific? If i was a Mino or Wooster could i just keep clicking and BOOM BOOM BOOM? 

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It seems like a good idea, but what makes you think CVs won't simply avoid the AA barrage once they know where it is aimed? 

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20 minutes ago, T_O_dubl_D said:

1) Doesn't this basically take us back to a top down RTS style (i don't have a problem with it but WG probably will)

The real problem with the RTS-style setup wasn't so much the camera perspective as the fact that RTS CV gameplay consisted of microing up to 10 units simultaneously (CV+9 squadrons). This not only overloaded the UI, but gave CVs too much presence and too high of a skill curve. Simply using a top-down camera view shouldn't be a problem -- it's not really any different from the minimap (but without the dizzying effects of rotating the world so North is on the right end every time or zooming super far out).

21 minutes ago, T_O_dubl_D said:

2) Doesn't WG think we're morons that can't even drive a ship and fly a plane at the same time.  You are proposing that we steer a ship, hold a surface aiming reticle, and compute and plan an AA reticle firing solution and count to 5 at the same time.  You give us simple captains too much credit sir!

Wellll... they apparently don't have a problem with having us throw a giant green overlay on top of everything else, mentally rotate the 2D diagram of a ship to figure out which is the one the planes are on, and click. In all honesty, having the camera back up a little bit so I can just click where I think the planes will be in 5 seconds seems much easier (and actually, should be from a cognitive load perspective).

21 minutes ago, T_O_dubl_D said:

3)  5(4) second lead might be too long, CV players are pretty tricky, i want those guns firing as soon as i hit that clicker.  Maybe 2 or 3 second delay at most so i can get back to my surface battle and not give the CV a chance to dodge. 

There's definitely testing and balancing to be done on exactly how long of a lead time is challenging for both the surface ship and the CV. And yes, it could totally be different by ship as a balancing mechanism. I would caution that making the delay too short means you'll have to pop in and out of the AA-aiming view repeatedly, which could become tiresome.

21 minutes ago, T_O_dubl_D said:

Question:  How often would i be able to use recharge the guns firing if i wanted to stay in this view? Would it be ship specific? If i was a Mino or Wooster could i just keep clicking and BOOM BOOM BOOM?  

5 seconds delay. If you click, it just overrides with a new target zone that will become active in 5 seconds instead. Maybe you could shift-click to queue up back to back barrages, but those guns need to reload some time (and the CV needs to have some kind of chance to make his move, assuming he sees the window).

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6 minutes ago, Taichunger said:

It seems like a good idea, but what makes you think CVs won't simply avoid the AA barrage once they know where it is aimed? 

He won't know where it's aimed until he sees the shells flying. If the surface ship out-predicts him, that's too late, it'll already be on top of his planes. However, an observant CV player should notice that the auto-flak has stopped firing, and to expect a manual barrage shortly.

This is actually the same set of tells a surface ship receives when a destroyer is trying to torp them: PM drops by 1, and then you try to out-guess the destroyer player as to where the torpedoes will be. Depending on how well you juked his prediction, the torpedoes may still come close, and you have a very short amount of time to fine-tune your course to avoid a hit once they are spotted. If the DD did a particularly good job of out-predicting you, the torpedoes may be undodgeable by the time they are spotted.

The same thing applies in this system: flak stops firing, the CV player knows a barrage is coming, he attempts to out-predict the surface ship's flak aim. If he totally avoids the area, he's free to strike (or at least close). If the flak is close to his actual location, he'll have a very short amount of time to fine-tune his course to read and avoid the initial tracers before the flakwall goes off in force. If the surface ship completely out-predicted the CV player, the flakwall may be coming at center mass of the squadron and be unavoidable.

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Frankly when I am focusing the happy rainbow of my Atlanta shells, the ONLY thing I want to do about approaching planes is hitting DFAA button.  I prefer to leave AA on auto and do it’s thing, there are times in battle when I don’t have the time for CV mini-game.

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So basically AA would remain mostly as-is, but instead of the sector system the player could temporarily take manual control to aim a big barrage in the path of incoming planes? Interesting, I like it. Gives ships with less powerful AA more of a chance, but ships that are already floating flak batteries can, if they choose, just hit DFAA and watch the planes drop like they do now; or alternatively just delete squadrons that are incoming with a well-aimed flak barrage because &%^( planes.

And I do agree that lack of player agency concerning AA is the biggest problem with the rework right now.

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Even manually selecting a squadron would work wonders. Its the counterplay we lack

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Given that WG think the playerbase is incapable of flying planes and driving a carrier simultaneously I can't see it happening.

There are also just such inherent disadvantages to more active ships that I can't see it get balanced. This sounds fine, or at least ok for battleship with a 30s reload maybe even just using P/Q to steer, but interrupting firing and aiming for a rapid fire ship, or maneuvering hard to avoid attack in a destroyer won't fly with this. I'd rather concentrate on steering than tilde-RTSing flak puffs the carrier will fly around anyway. Thus I have no more AA interaction. 

Currently I can use only a tiny part of my attention to shred planes in Minotaur, having to use far more for the same results is a Nerf. Allowing all ships to manually AA themselves into a good position makes carriers untenable.

Proper direct control of the AA would probably make people feel better about planes, but it's an unfair or unbalanced workload. Carriers probably just can't be balanced and enjoyable.

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Looking at the timing involved for a strike squadron attacking a surface ship, I have several thoughts.

First, a simple observation: given that aircraft can travel the radius of a ship's AAA range within the time it takes to fire a manual flak barrage in your proposed mechanic, a clearer UI indication of an incoming strike sortie is likely needed, with sufficient prominence/implied urgency so the player isn't only reacting by the time the aircraft are within AAA range. The torpedo warning system comes to mind as an appropriate level of urgency.

Next, a bit of a complicated concern, if you will:

In attempting to rectify CV-gunship interactions you have proposed changes solely to ship-borne AA. You gave particularly salient reasons for this, and I do greatly prefer approaches that change only one interdependent thing at a time. However, I worry that you are not proposing a good solution but rather the best possible solution attainable without further altering extant aircraft mechanics. This worry comes from the fact that an aerial attack essentially only allows for one response from the targetted ship (you may call this concept defensive actions per strike, if you prefer easily acronymized terms), or two if you count the fly-out (I do not). Now, the only means of adjusting this without violating the APM restriction or greatly increasing AAA range (which I find unacceptably detrimental) is thus: by adjusting the speed scaling of strike planes. This carries its own set of knock-on effects by directly scaling strikes per game, as well as further reducing the spotting capabilities of aircraft carriers; the former can be mostly compensated for by restoring previously-nerfed payloads and damage values, while the latter is arguably a tolerable result (and may even obviate some of the need for the impending match-start readying delay). When I sit back and look at those effects, I can't help but think it would be better for the game as a whole, and may even go a ways towards making carriers less balance-breaking in smaller teams by reducing their ability to attack from unexpected vectors and their responsiveness in exploiting mistakes. Admittedly, this last point may be directly sapping some of the true value of carriers, which raises a question too large to address here of whether it's justifiable to gut the pleasures of carriers to preserve their existence in the game while neither fundamentally changing what the game is nor violating plausibility. At any rate, my questions are:

  • With a surface ship effectively having only one opportunity to defend itself from each individual strike, do you think this is an ideal outcome, or have you merely accepted this as satisfactory given it is still a major improvement over the previous system?
  • Have you already considered reducing effective aircraft speed to allow for more opportunities for a surface ship to defend itself from each strike? If so, why did you set the notion aside, and if not, what do you think of it?
  • Were there any (other) ideas in the brainstorming phase for your mechanic which would have provided more defensive actions per strike without violating APM limitations, and which did not require queuing commands for future execution?

 

And honestly, in considering all this, I'm no longer even sure that I'm asking the right questions. However, given that a select few carriers have planes so fast they may even be able transition from undetected to too-close-to-flak before a single manual flak barrage can occur, and that some low-tier planes may already allow the longest-ranged AAA ships to fire two barrages against an efficient strike approach path, it seems to be an important facet with unexplored complexities. Perhaps in the end, a modest measure of both effective airspeed reduction and AAA range increases will be necessary to ensure this mechanic can be balanced so as to preclude excessively unfair CV-AA interactions in those edge cases.

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1 hour ago, mofton said:

I'd rather concentrate on steering than tilde-RTSing flak puffs the carrier will fly around anyway.

Quibbles about what RTS means (and what baggage you can wedge into this mechanic's consideration by making the conflation) aside, the reason carrier players fly around flak right now is because they are aimed by an extremely consistent predictive algorithm which was designed to give average-skilled players an opportunity to avoid them. Properly aimed manual flak barrages won't give you any room to fly around them—they'll be on top of your planes, the way the weapon was actually used. In other words, it sounds like you've internalized the Wargaming fiction of flak puffs remaining dangerous after the instant of their detonation, and that's skewing your perspective here. If your manual flak barrages are being flown around, you are leading too much.

 

1 hour ago, mofton said:

Currently I can use only a tiny part of my attention to shred planes in Minotaur, having to use far more for the same results is a Nerf.

3 hours ago, Ramsalot said:

Frankly when I am focusing the happy rainbow of my Atlanta shells, the ONLY thing I want to do about approaching planes is hitting DFAA button.  I prefer to leave AA on auto and do it’s thing, there are times in battle when I don’t have the time for CV mini-game.

I agree that whatever "default" mode of automatic AA would exist along side this mechanic should provide acceptable results for strong AA ships, despite this mechanic necessitating a migration of AA DPS from aura to flak (and frankly, Atlanta has already survived exactly that).

 

1 hour ago, mofton said:

Allowing all ships to manually AA themselves into a good position makes carriers untenable.

You have leapt from "never worthless" to "good" and that's just a big ol' straw man.

 

1 hour ago, mofton said:

Carriers probably just can't be balanced and enjoyable.

Even if that's true, they can certainly be more balanced/enjoyable than they are now.  I do hope your assailable criticisms aren't simply borne of a resistance to any improvement in these categories because you suspect ultimate success is impossible.

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8 hours ago, Edgecase said:

In the end, I believe a reworked AA system needs to have the following qualities: <snip>

I gave you a thumbs up because I like people working towards creative solutions.  You did a great job of looking at the issues with player controlled AA and coming up with plausible solutions.  I have little doubt that what you describe could be made to work.  Whether WG would be willing to spend the time and money to do it another matter.  That said, I don't think manual AA is any solution to the actual problems with CVs.  

I see two big problems that CVs cause, excessive spotting, and the ability to single out and easily target a lone ship or small group, and that in turn greatly limits surface ship players' options for movement.  I think you'd agree with me these being the primary issues.  The reason I think manual AA isn't a solution is directly related to the design intent of CVs.  They are intended to average X amount of damage to surface ships.  That amount of average damage is equal to, or greater than same tier BBs for most CVs in the game.  That means CVs will always be able reliably land strikes on surface ships so they can achieve that level of damage.  That comes down to AA will never be more effective than it is currently (assuming WG intends to keep CV average damage the same as it is now).  Assuming there is no change in the design intent for CVs, the system you describe may allow the more skilled players to have more effective AA, while the average player's net results will remain the same, and lower skilled players will have less effective AA.  In the end nothing changes (short of the more skilled players having some (small) improvement).  Overall, ships will still be limited to grouped AA defense, and will still be singled out when alone or in a small group.  Spotting is also unchanged.   

The bottom line, as long as CVs are primarily designed to be damage farmers, and anti-concealment ships, they will always be very difficult (or impossible) to balance against surface ships.  In fact, I'd argue Cvs aren't intended to be balanced, not in the way surface ships are balanced.  The way they are "balanced" is by giving each team the same number of imbalanced CVs.  This is the obstacle we are up against.  Until we can convince WG to rethink the design intend of the rework we will never have CVs be balanced against surface ships. 

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Manual AA will never work, the average CV player is already doing worse than other classes.   All this will do is hurt your Average and Below Average CV player alot.  There are just so many issues that this would make, and i really dislike the idea.

 

WG will not go to a RTS top down, it will also make it to much RNG doing this.    CV player will dodge going in, and other player will guess where to put flak.   Guess correctly planes are all dead.  Guess wrong, nothing happens planes fly past.

 

The more ships in an area that does this, just makes planes worthless.  a Division of 3x BB can 100% Negate a CV by working together and making themselves immune by making a wall of flak.  Death balls will be even stronger as you cant weave to avoid flak, youll make death balls of flak popping up all over that you cannot avoid.

 

 

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6 hours ago, mofton said:

Given that WG think the playerbase is incapable of flying planes and driving a carrier simultaneously

It's got nothing to do with thinking we're incapable of doing it; if you think that, it's because of translation issues between Russian and English.

it's got everything to do with them not wanting us to do it. 

@Edgecase, I like the idea and it's historical, but I do think it'll be very complicated to manage if you're also busy with other things (like dodging torpedoes, gunfire etc). On the other hand, clicking on a squadron the old fashioned way was quick and easy. The system could be programmed to shift to whatever subunit is actually making its attack run, then switch back to the whole remaining group when those are destroyed or manage to return to the carrier. Perhaps make this the power granted by MFCAA.

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5 hours ago, Special_Kay said:

With a surface ship effectively having only one opportunity to defend itself from each individual strike, do you think this is an ideal outcome

It depends on the plane characteristics (some planes are up to 50% faster than others of their same tier currently), the AA range of the defending ship, and a number of other factors, such as direction of travel. Having one or two opportunities to land massive damage on an incoming squadron, versus the risk of one drop's worth of damage seems pretty fair overall. Importantly, barrage placement is not the only defensive measure available to a ship: it can still maneuver to present an undesirable angle of attack to the bombers, and I expect the combination of maneuvering to reduce effective approach angles plus barrage fire to block off some (or situationally all) of the remaining vectors will result in carriers being forced to take suboptimal drops.

 

5 hours ago, Special_Kay said:

Have you already considered reducing effective aircraft speed to allow for more opportunities for a surface ship to defend itself from each strike? If so, why did you set the notion aside, and if not, what do you think of it?

It may or may not be necessary. Increased plane speed relative to the turn and travel rates of ships is definitely an issue at high tier. The existing (and historical) emphasis seems to be on increased AA countermeasures at those tiers to provide additional protection on ships that become larger and less maneuverable. This system is about making that element into gameplay. The speed and maneuverability of the target (here, aircraft) is a major part of any aiming-based mechanic, and I think should be balanced as such.

 

5 hours ago, Special_Kay said:

Were there any (other) ideas in the brainstorming phase for your mechanic which would have provided more defensive actions per strike without violating APM limitations, and which did not require queuing commands for future execution?

In fact, this system already does allow multiple shots per pass, as you can certainly plot a second shot at the planes during their exit or turn. More actions in the same amount of time would likely conflict with the "can't take all your time and attention" goal.

If time-to-strike ends up being made longer as a part of the overall balancing of the system, a second 5s lead shot on the approach would already become possible. Players who are willing to pay to push another burst into the window under certain circumstances (slow planes, chasing ship, etc.) can probably do it with the MFAA lead time reduction.

 

6 hours ago, mofton said:

I'd rather concentrate on steering than tilde-RTSing flak puffs the carrier will fly around anyway. Thus I have no more AA interaction. 

Currently I can use only a tiny part of my attention to shred planes in Minotaur, having to use far more for the same results is a Nerf. Allowing all ships to manually AA themselves into a good position makes carriers untenable.

The carrier shouldn't be able to fly around the puff if you out-predict him and put it center mass where his planes are. They don't spawn a set distance in front of the planes, they spawn where you click.

As for Mino, its AA does need a nerf. Ships with too much AA are a black hole of interaction for the CV player. Ships with too little AA lack interaction for the surface ship. Both situations are bad and should be eliminated in a redesign.

 

33 minutes ago, Slimeball91 said:

They are intended to average X amount of damage to surface ships.

Every ship is designed with X amount of damage, spotting, capping, tanking, etc. in mind. But an average is not a guarantee -- the whole point of gameplay is that the player has control over how well they fare relative to those ballpark targets.

 

34 minutes ago, Slimeball91 said:

Assuming there is no change in the design intent for CVs, the system you describe may allow the more skilled players to have more effective AA, while the average player's net results will remain the same, and lower skilled players will have less effective AA.  In the end nothing changes (short of the more skilled players having some (small) improvement).

It's not a matter of averages or even numbers in general. It's about there being actual gameplay in the AA system. Objectively "balanced" performance is not enough on its own to deliver an entertaining game.

 

3 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

On the other hand, clicking on a squadron the old fashioned way was quick and easy. The system could be programmed to shift to whatever subunit is actually making its attack run, then switch back to the whole remaining group when those are destroyed or manage to return to the carrier.

It was easy, but exceedingly shallow. Unless the point is to turn mouse control itself into a gameplay mechanic (dodge dat cursor), it's nothing but a passive buff to AA.

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Looks like a good proposal, unfortunately CV players wouldnt want the NPCs to be able to put up a fight.

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Good points, the only way to balance CV would be to give us AA control, so ships have some actual counter against planes that its not a AI controlled system. 

 

Two big issues with this is that this would make the game harder/more complex and WG want to make the game easier/simpler. Players would have to multitask and many cant do this. Another point, CVs would become harder to play, and thus less popular. Many bad CV players already struggle against the current s**t AA system, if players could actually aim their AA, those players would get wrecked. 

 

This is what many of us warned before the rework, WG cannot balance CVs with the current mechanics, and WG is not willing to change those mechanics because this would make the game harder/more complex. Now we have this mess, ships have no effective counter against planes and the only way to stay safe is to join a blob/lemming train. And this makes the game frustrating an boring to play. 

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I like it. But a clarification question: you suggest a single amiable manual flak burst, the size of which will scale with your AA, rather than selecting multiple flak bursts places in the manual mode?

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1 hour ago, Spyde said:

Manual AA will never work, the average CV player is already doing worse than other classes.   All this will do is hurt your Average and Below Average CV player alot.

This presupposes that the average or below average surface ship player is actually better at aiming flak than the AI, which may or may not be true.

 

9 minutes ago, Xlap said:

Two big issues with this is that this would make the game harder/more complex and WG want to make the game easier/simpler.

I don't consider this system to be harder/more complex than having to mentally juggle ship orientations to figure out which side of the priority sector diagram is the one where planes will be 12 seconds in the future. See planes and click where they will be in 5 seconds is way more intuitive IMO.

 

9 minutes ago, vak_ said:

I like it. But a clarification question: you suggest a single amiable manual flak burst, the size of which will scale with your AA, rather than selecting multiple flak bursts places in the manual mode?

A single barrage location per ship seems most reasonable, analogous to an all-guns salvo on surface ships. Allowing "ripple fire" flak into multiple locations would block off too much sky. Queuing sequential 5-second locations should be fine with shift-click.

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8 minutes ago, Edgecase said:
1 hour ago, Slimeball91 said:

They are intended to average X amount of damage to surface ships.

Every ship is designed with X amount of damage, spotting, capping, tanking, etc. in mind. But an average is not a guarantee -- the whole point of gameplay is that the player has control over how well they fare relative to those ballpark targets.

I agree, and I addressed that point.  With manual AA only the more skilled player will see some involvement in AA effectiveness.  For everyone else manual AA is merely an illusion that you are better off than with the AI controlled AA.  If your intention is increase the overall effectiveness of AA for all players then that's a nerf to CVs.  I'd be perfectly fine with that, but good luck convincing CV players. 

21 minutes ago, Edgecase said:
1 hour ago, Slimeball91 said:

Assuming there is no change in the design intent for CVs, the system you describe may allow the more skilled players to have more effective AA, while the average player's net results will remain the same, and lower skilled players will have less effective AA.  In the end nothing changes (short of the more skilled players having some (small) improvement).

It's not a matter of averages or even numbers in general. It's about there being actual gameplay in the AA system. Objectively "balanced" performance is not enough on its own to deliver an entertaining game.

My point is your proposal is no solution to the problems CVs present.  At best manual AA allows some improvement for the more skilled players, while everyone else is still facing all the same issues with CVs.  The net result is no change in the excessive spotting and reduction of freedom of movement for surface ships.  Maybe you're okay with a system that improves the game for you, as one of the more skilled players, and the hell with everyone else.  I don't mean for that to sound as harsh as it probably sounds.  I said to get your attention.  A solution that doesn't address the problems for everyone is a very limited solution.  

Again, if you think manual should be an overall improvement in AA effectiveness then that's a different story.  The question then becomes, how are you going to square that with CV players?  Are they just supposed to deal with a nerf to their effectiveness?  Personally, I prefer solutions that try to be fair to everyone.  I don't know if that's possible. 

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4 minutes ago, Slimeball91 said:

I agree, and I addressed that point.  With manual AA only the more skilled player will see some involvement in AA effectiveness.  For everyone else manual AA is merely an illusion that you are better off than with the AI controlled AA.  If your intention is increase the overall effectiveness of AA for all players then that's a nerf to CVs.  I'd be perfectly fine with that, but good luck convincing CV players. 

I dont think its as much about the effectiveness of AA as it is about being able to interact with the planes in a meaningful manner. Make being an AA escort an interesting task instead of what it is now. The average plane kills dont have to go up if someone thinks they can do better next time and they can.

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15 minutes ago, Slimeball91 said:

Again, if you think manual should be an overall improvement in AA effectiveness then that's a different story.

The problem with AA is twofold, but the issues have to be solved in the correct order. Currently, there is (a) no player input into AA defense, and (b) the resulting CV vs. AI balance may be objectively too favorable to one side or the other.

WG has been tweaking various parts of the CV vs. AI formula for 3 patches now, but I think that's a fundamentally non-viable approach, because it just raises or lowers the PvE difficulty level. This forces balance onto a single dimension of difficulty: there's only one knob to turn, and it's going to screw somebody no matter what position it's in.

Solving the issue, IMO, means fixing the issue of player input first. That transforms the CV-surface ship interaction into a PvP one instead of flat skill check. It also fixes the problem that surface ship players feel like they have nothing to do (they're right; previously they didn't). Once both players are actually able to engage each other, a huge space of options open up for designers to address issues of overall performance at differing skill levels to hit the desired objective effectiveness targets. Not only that, but as @1nv4d3rZ1m pointed out above, there is a huge psychological difference between a system where you can improve your own performance, and one where you cannot.

As for whether CVs are currently over- or under-performing... I think it's moot, because performance under an untenable system is a terrible thing to balance around.

Edited by Edgecase
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Until they fix the crazy Ivan 180degree camera swing when simply zooming in and out, it's hard to push for more or different camera views.

Many of us invest heavily in AA defense before the game ever starts... modules, captains skills, consumables, flags... all at the expense of what brought us to this game in the first place, ship vs ship combat. I am frustrated at the expense and devaluation of my surface ship while never knowing if or how many CV's will be in a game.

Keep AA as it is, get rid of the option of having sailors run from one side of the ship to the other to shoot at bad guys and give us the old ctrl/click to further our dps against planes. (we still get that extra juice of manually contributing dps) I don't think we need to add complexity to an already complex issue.

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