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Ducky_shot

Why Massive AA Fire is an absolutely awful skill and is a trap for uninformed players.

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TLDR at the bottom.

Without a doubt, Massive AA Fire is the worst commander skill in the game and probably should not be taken by any ship in the game. 

Here are the reasons why and I hope I can inform players that may not understand what it does. It is an extremely confusing skill and even a lot of unicums I have talked to don't even understand it fully beyond the hearsay that its worse for your ship. Because of that, it is a trap for less knowledgeable players and WG should completely rework it. Remember, this is the company doesn't think players can pat attention enough to trigger their own ship consumables while playing CV's, so I'm not sure how they thought that those players would have a hope of understanding this skill.

This skill works with priority sector. Priority sector has 2 components, initial burst damage and reinforcement. The initial burst damage is based off of the health of the planes attacking you. The 10 second reinforcement is based off of your AA damage. This is key to understanding this skill. MAAF increases your initial burst damage and removes any reinforcement bonus.

So when you aren't using MAAF this is how it works:

Initial burst damage of 5% of the plane squads health for destroyers and 3.5% for all other classes. Then for 10 seconds its ramps up the AA for one side of your ship to 150% of your aa damage for cruisers and 135% for all other classes (while decreasing it correspondingly on the other side).

When you are using MAAF here is how it works:

You get an initial burst of 6% of plane health for CV's, 7% for BB's and cruisers and 10% for destroyers. You then do not get any extra damage from your aa guns.

The only time this skill is useful is when your AA output is so low that 5% of the plane health is more than the bonus to your aa gun output for 10 seconds (it ramps up for 5 seconds, so its hard to calculate it exactly for each ship). If you take it on a good AA ship, you are absolutely hurting your AA damage. The amount of damage you get over those 10 seconds of ramp up time far outweighs the initial burst damage.

 

We will show this for a couple ships.

Quote

 

On Kidd, I'll just use the mid Aura AA damage numbers with BFT. This numbers is 142.5 per second. Let's say a squadron of attack planes from shokaku comes by with a total health of 12510

Without MAAF, the Kidd triggers sector priority and gets an initial burst damage of 5% of the planes health, 626. With def AA on, it then gets 10 seconds of continuous damage of 142.5 X 1.5 for def aa X 1.35 for sector reinforcement with the ramp up time, you get a total 10 damage number of roughly 2698 for a total guaranteed damage of 3324 during that priority sector boost.

With MAAF, the Kidd triggers priority sector and gets an initial burst of 10% of the planes health, 1251 damage. Because the Kidd is using MAAF, it gets no reinforcement bonus. It gets the the normal 142.5 for 10 seconds with Def AA for a total of 2137 of continuous damage.This gives a total of 3388 for that 10 seconds.

So on paper, you get a grand total of 64 more damage on planes per activation on a Kidd in a 10 second period. Bear in mind that you are spending 4 points for that skill. Also bear in mind that those numbers change for every type of plane squad. It's constantly changing, depending on what squads of planes you are facing. If you are facing T10 Audacious planes, vs t6 Ryujo planes, the difference is extreme.

For Ranger attack planes, the total damage for a Kidd without MAAF would be 3206. With MAAF, 3153. A net loss of 53 plane damage. Yeah, its close, but remember, you are spending 4 points.

Obviously there would be a positive for facing T10 planes, right? For Audacious bombers ( without MAAF you would get 3787 total damage in the 10 seconds vs 4315 damage with it for a net gain of 528 points. A full 1/5 of an Audacious bomber. You would have to trigger priority sector 5 times to shoot down 1 more airplane. And lets put it this way, if you have to trigger priority sector 5 times against t10 planes, chances are, its not going well for you and that 1 extra plane isn't going to help you

 

So DD's obviously get the best bonus from MAAF, they get an extra 5% in their initial burst compared to 3.5% more for BB's and cruisers. So lets look at Montana. Here's where the uselessness of MAAF really starts to show. 

Quote

Medium damage for a Monty with BFT is 558 per second. We'll use the Audacious bomber squad with 21780 hp. 

Without MAAF you would get a total of 7806 damage in 10 seconds.

With MAAF you would get a total of 7122 damage in those same 10 seconds.

A net loss of 684 damage.

So where is this skill useful? On ships with very bad AA, where the initial burst far outweighs the continuous damage over 10 seconds. But how useful is it?

Quote

Let's take Kagero, it has one aa aura with 62dps. We'll compare it to the Shokaku squad with 12510 health.

Without MAAF, the damage in 10 seconds with priority sector would be 1408 damage

With MAAF, the damage you get in 10 seconds is 1871.

A net gain of 463 damage. This means you need to trigger priority sector 3 times before you will shoot down 1 more airplane than normal.

So with a poor AA destroyer like Kagero, which is what this skill was meant for, You give up 4 captain points to gain a skill that will shoot down 3 more planes if you manage to trigger your priority sector optimally 9 times in a match. Ask yourself: If I have to trigger priority sector in a match 9 times in a DD that relies on its concealment, would I likely be alive that long? Would shooting down 3 extra planes actually affect the outcome of my ship?

 

TLDR:

In summary

1. It's only effective on certain ships. And "effective" is a really loose use of the word.

2. It's confusing as heck on how it works and traps players. If you made it through this post or through the wiki and have complete knowledge of how this skill works and all its intricacies, congrats! Ask yourself if you think the general player base understands how AA, priority sector and MAAf works.

3. It's expensive. ITS 4 SUFFERIN POINTS. CV's aren't in every match, CV's aren't going to attack you every match that they are in and you are giving up way more useful skills to get it, like Superintendant, SE, TAE, shoot, even RL is a better use of 4 points. This skill even at 1 point would be debatable about whether it was worth it or not.

Edit: 4. Also remebmer that those numbers are on plane squads with full health and full planes. It's effectiveness goes down the less health the plane squads have. os if a CV is dropping his first squad before engaging, its already less effective. If the squad comes back for a second or 3rd pass, that is less damage for each initial burst compared to the constant damage of aa gun dpm. But on the flip side, your aa mounts go down as well.

MAAF needs a serious rework. Shoot, AA needs a serious rework if only to make it less confusing to less knowledgeable players. If triggering ship consumables is too confusing for CV players, how the heck are surface ship players supposed to understand AA and make appropriate choices based on that knowledge?? Read through the wiki entry and correct me if I'm wrong: https://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Anti-Aircraft_Fire

Edited by Ducky_shot
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Even if that 4 turned into 1, I don't think it would be worth talking the skill. 

Personally the IFHE changes should have been part of a larger plan to address some skills again that are either pointless or not worth the points.

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2 minutes ago, warheart1992 said:

Even if that 4 turned into 1, I don't think it would be worth talking the skill. 

Personally the IFHE changes should have been part of a larger plan to address some skills again that are either pointless or not worth the points.

I'm all for simplifying things in the game for ease of understanding. Standardizing the radar ranges and removing OWSF were good moves in that direction. IFHE was a step away from that, they made pen confusing for more casual players and the knowledge of whether to take it is much more difficult and its hurting the more casual player base that doesn't put as much effort into understanding things. 

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if the skill is this bad, they might as well make it a -4pt skill, so you can get that elusive 23pt captain everyone always wants.

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16 minutes ago, MrDeaf said:

if the skill is this bad, they might as well make it a -4pt skill, so you can get that elusive 23pt captain everyone always wants.

There's a thoguht

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I only use it on Kamikaze to try to farm that elusive 5-plane-kill game.  :Smile_veryhappy:

Plus it gives me something to do when there are  planes.  Kami is nearly useless when there is anyway. 

Something funny about taking down multiple planes with two 7.7mm guns.  :)   

Edited by AnimaL21

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I didn't use it when it was a viable skill back in the old CV days.

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Great post. I'm one of those unicums who only knew MAAF was bad, but never bothered to look into it further. That is terrible for 4-points, heck it is bad for 1-point. A lot of the AA skills are kinda like that tbh, MAAF is just the worst of them. BFT is the most useful for AA, but it is pricey at 3-points. AFT is functionally useless if somebody is only taking it for AA since a good carrier rarely ever hits flak and a bad one hits so much flak that the damage increase per burst doesn't matter.

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2 minutes ago, AnimaL21 said:

I only use it on Kamikaze to try to farm that elusive 5-plane-kill game.  :Smile_veryhappy:

Sky Kraken! :cap_rambo:

 

@Ducky_shot This skill reminds me of the sign on the self-destruct button at the end of Spaceballs: "DO NOT PRESS UNLESS YOU REALLY, REALLY MEAN IT." I disagree with you on a lot of things, but here you are doing God's work. AA feels not necessarily inadequate but INCONSISTENT. It's supremely ironic that when I fly a Tier 8 carrier against Tier 10 ships, the only ship in the game I seriously don't want to run into is a destroyer (Halland). 

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12 minutes ago, Sovereigndawg said:

I didn't use it when it was a viable skill back in the old CV days.

That was when it was called Manual Control of AA or something and actually boosted your damage, at least from large caliber AA guns. 

This was actually dangerous to planes, and so had to go to give the rework carriers impunity in the early rebork days. 

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A really nice (and hour long) review of commander skills which says the same thing about MAA and also caused me to realize that BOS was a lot less useful than I had thought. 

 

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Good post.  I usually post the numbers so people can see why MAAF is more or less completely useless.  The only ships that might benefit from this skill are a few low tier ships that functionally have no AA (if your ship actually has no AA this skill won't work at all).  The problem is against T4 CVs you won't be able to shoot down a single plane with the way the numbers play out, if you're in a DD you can shoot down one plane.

Stock Langley, a DB squadron has a total of 6 planes, 2 planes per attack run.  Each plane has 1630 hp for a total of 9780 hp for the whole squadron.  On a cruiser the first attack/use of the sector does 489 damage, the second attack and sector use does another 302 damage, then the final attack gets 123 damage for a total of 914 damage to a plane with 1630 hp.  For DDs the numbers are, 978, 554, 173, for a total of 1705, meaning you shot down one plane after that squadron has attacked you 3 times.

For the sake of completeness there's one more element of MAAF that makes it slightly more useful.  The skill also increases the preparation time (cooldown) between sector uses by 50%, but that is misleading.  So you use the sector and its has a 10 second cooldown normally, but with MAAF it's a 15 seconds cooldown.  However, you have no action time with MAAF so the time between uses is actually less.  Here's how.  Without MAAF sector has a 10 second action time, plus a 10 second cooldown, with a total time of 20 seconds between uses.  With MAAF there is no action time so you only have the 15 second cooldown giving you 15 seconds between uses instead of 20.  I don't know if you can get any practical use out of that shorter cooldown or not. 

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All the changes they've made to the game, they've ignored the commander skills.

Is it any surprise that some are out of whack?

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It is safe to assume WG knows this and hence with our powers combined (if we all complain hard enough) they'll force every game to have 2 CVs on each team...go us! Then it becomes just a game of how fast before the CVs will work their way to you, take a ticket and having and not having 2% margin might mean a difference between you dying to the first wave or the second wave. YAY! 

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3 minutes ago, Roken1 said:

It is safe to assume WG knows this and hence with our powers combined (if we all complain hard enough) they'll force every game to have 2 CVs on each team...go us! Then it becomes just a game of how fast before the CVs will work their way to you, take a ticket and having and not having 2% margin might mean a difference between you dying to the first wave or the second wave. YAY! 

You sound like you are part of a vocal, but small minority of players frustrated with AA and CVs in general. Sadly, everyone else loves it, so just dodge.

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1 minute ago, KilljoyCutter said:

It's a waste of 4 points for certain. 

Would really be a waste of 1 point. 

 

It makes your AA objectively worse in most scenarios, so, yes, of course it would.

Let's see...I could take a skill that improves my odds of surviving, or one that actually does nothing and sometimes even reduces my odds...oh what the hell, YOLO LULZ 

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5 minutes ago, legozer said:

It makes your AA objectively worse in most scenarios, so, yes, of course it would.

Let's see...I could take a skill that improves my odds of surviving, or one that actually does nothing and sometimes even reduces my odds...oh what the hell, YOLO LULZ 

 

I need to add it to my list of fixes... any suggestions for how to make it worthwhile?  

 

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16 minutes ago, awiggin said:

All the changes they've made to the game, they've ignored the commander skills.

Is it any surprise that some are out of whack?

The thing is this skill was actually changed recently to supposedly align it with the rework. Making useless would have been one thing, they actually managed to make it detrimental...:Smile_amazed: This isn't some holdover that no longer works as intended, this is brand new, working as intended apparently.

My theory is that WG has zero clue what to do about CVs, and this is just another piece of evidence.

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2 minutes ago, AJTP89 said:

The thing is this skill was actually changed recently to supposedly align it with the rework. Making useless would have been one thing, they actually managed to make it detrimental...:Smile_amazed: This isn't some holdover that no longer works as intended, this is brand new, working as intended apparently.

My theory is that WG has zero clue what to do about CVs, and this is just another piece of evidence.

 Pretty much

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5 minutes ago, KilljoyCutter said:

I need to add it to my list of fixes... any suggestions for how to make it worthwhile?

Just make it the same as having priority sector engaged, all the time, both sides. It still wouldn't be a good use of 4 points, but it would be WAY better than it is now.

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5 minutes ago, AJTP89 said:

The thing is this skill was actually changed recently to supposedly align it with the rework. Making useless would have been one thing, they actually managed to make it detrimental...:Smile_amazed: This isn't some holdover that no longer works as intended, this is brand new, working as intended apparently.

My theory is that WG has zero clue what to do about CVs, and this is just another piece of evidence.

Ask the average player the benefits of bft on a random mid tier ship and do you think they would get it completely right? 

Then imagine asking them if maaf is useful on a random mid tier ship. I mean, even I would have to run a myriad of math to figure it out and it's utterly ridiculous for WG to foist that on players. 

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18 minutes ago, Slimeball91 said:

For the sake of completeness there's one more element of MAAF that makes it slightly more useful.  The skill also increases the preparation time (cooldown) between sector uses by 50%, but that is misleading.  So you use the sector and its has a 10 second cooldown normally, but with MAAF it's a 15 seconds cooldown.  However, you have no action time with MAAF so the time between uses is actually less.  Here's how.  Without MAAF sector has a 10 second action time, plus a 10 second cooldown, with a total time of 20 seconds between uses.  With MAAF there is no action time so you only have the 15 second cooldown giving you 15 seconds between uses instead of 20.  I don't know if you can get any practical use out of that shorter cooldown or not. 

Even with that the damage from Massive AA is pathetic. A DD activating Massive AA on a full Midway dive bomber squad does ~3100 damage every 15 seconds or ~210 dps. A DD without Massive AA activating priority sector does ~1550 damage every 20 seconds or ~80 dps. So you gain ~130 dps assuming that there is constantly a full hp Midway dive bomber squad in range, and before you consider any damage the dps buff from priority sector would have added. In reality it'll be less than that because the planes will have less hp than a full Midway dive bomber squad, and you won't be able to activate Massive AA every 15 seconds.

Kagero AA has 100 dps.

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12 minutes ago, KilljoyCutter said:

I need to add it to my list of fixes... any suggestions for how to make it worthwhile? 

Sure, plus 20% AA range, and +2 flak bursts. 

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21 minutes ago, Ducky_shot said:

Ask the average player the benefits of bft on a random mid tier ship and do you think they would get it completely right? 

Then imagine asking them if maaf is useful on a random mid tier ship. I mean, even I would have to run a myriad of math to figure it out and it's utterly ridiculous for WG to foist that on players. 

Judging from the number of SE BBs we see I'm pretty sure the majority of the playerbase just picks captain skills based on how cool the name sounds.

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