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Trophy_Wench

Building Better Tech Trees Part 3a: Secondary Reform

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Welcome, once again, to part three. To catch up on the story so far check out parts 1 and 2.

 

Continuing our look into low tier ships, we now come to probably one of the most talked about ship sub-classes in the forums (other than battlecruisers probably): The Pre-Dreadnought battleships. Early on in the games development, WeeGee made the conscientious decision to begin battleship lines not only at the beginning of the Dreadnought era, but also further up the line in order to better balance the tech trees. It made sense at the time, what with tiny little destroyers and cruisers helpless against the massive XP farms and heavy guns of the Dreads but 6 years of development later, things are changing. And if we're going to talk about a fully realized tier I, we should see to it that battleships of all types begin to get represented properly. Not only that we can begin to see low tier battles have some meaning again with a greater variety of ship types to play and choose from now. So lets get into it! But first, a word about secondary guns.

Mikasa - Global wiki. Wargaming.net

Ah the good ol' Mikasa, the only true Pre-Dread in the game, and one that's been around for going on 6 years now! Most only see her as a port queen, suitable for meme division play or funny Youtube clips and if I'm being perfectly honest, she deserves it. With the current build of the game, she feels just as out of place now as she did back in 2015/16. And it's really not the ships fault. The game's mechanics and meta just aren't designed to conform to a ship like that and why would it? Battleships were only ever designed with all big-gun layout in mind, and any secondary guns they did have were to be novelties, no different that the AA guns and offering the same lack of direct control. Now as much as many of us (myself included) love a good brawling secondary build and lamented the post rework changes that kind of left them feeling... impotent now. Sadly, if Pre-dreads were dropped into the game right now, today. Everyone gets one tier II battleship, you'd just have a bunch of useless Mikasas trundling about,  doing very little, while being massive XP piñatas to everything else including the tier III's they find themselves against. All because they can only use a portion of their total firepower at a given time. So if were serious about implementing them let alone having two tiers worth, we need to address how secondaries work, and find a better solution.

The easiest way that I can figure to overhaul secondaries, especially for our new Pre-Dreads would be to improve 2 specific parameters: Range and accuracy. Now, when it comes to secondaries, messing with range comes in direct conflict to one of the core mechanics of WoWs; spotting range and concealment. It's why we have gun bloom, it's why we don't shoot over the horizon, it's why radar is the way it is. And secondary armaments have to play by the same rules, they cannot be allowed to ever shoot farther than the ship can be detected, because they don't cause detection bloom when firing. This would need to change in order for Pre-Dreads to work. 

As a practical example of what I'm on about, lets use the good ol' Bismarck as our test ship. Her in game gun ranges are as follows (fully upgraded): 

  • Main Battery 21.21km
  • Secondary Battery 7.60km- 11.49km

Her best concealment range by extension is 12.48km on the surface, which means that you can be detected for about a kilometer before your guns start automatically firing. Makes sense though, right? Nobody in their right mind would want stealth firing secondaries! Now suppose instead of having a maximum secondary range that was slightly better than half the range of the main guns we increased it to about 2/3rds? Now, we can theoretically fire at 14.14km! In order to balance this then, suppose these guns can now effect bloom when they fire? But, like the main guns only to the maximum range of the guns firing. So, when your secondaries pop off, you're detectable at 14km. With me so far? Great. Now, suppose on top of all that, we only have the 15cm guns be capable of firing that far and the 10.5cm guns are still going to fire at more or less the same range they were before. Now, it incentivizes you getting closer to bring the full weight of your firepower to bear, provided you're a ship that can actually brawl of course. This, is what I want for Pre-dreadnoughts. 

"But Trophy!" I hear you all screaming. "Why would anyone want to have guns that give away their position that they can't control?!? Concealment is everything in this game! You said it yourself! Warglbarglargbargl!" Yeah, your absolutely right, that is unfair to the playerbase. Truth be told I don't have a good handle on how to reform the UI portion of the game to make manual fire control of guns you can't aim and shoot yourself work without going back to the old "Manual Secondaries" way of doing things. Maybe that is the best way to do it. Have them pop only when you want them to. Perhaps have an icon come up that announces to the player that there's a ship within secondary range and then you can choose to engage it or not? I'm sure that there are a myriad of ways Lesta could build out such a feature, maybe some of you have a better solution than me. Either Way, let me know your thoughts as we push forward to actually talking about some ships in the next part!

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Couldn't you just press 'P' to turn off your secondaries if you didn't want to be detected by their gun bloom?

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2 hours ago, mofton said:

Couldn't you just press 'P' to turn off your secondaries if you didn't want to be detected by their gun bloom?

Oh totally! The only reason I didn't bring it up was because the 'all or nothing' solution we have already might not be the best one out there. Besides, if you have multiple layers of secondaries, would that only turn one layer off? All of them? Should that include AA now too? 

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