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Retia

Aircraft Carrier Rework: The Return

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Aircraft carriers are still in a horrible position within the game.

Almost all mechanics, including core ones, either feel very basic and unrefined or completely out of place.

To put it shortly, aircraft carriers need a complete rework, not just some fancy new left-click availability and minor quality of life changes, but a complete overhaul.

In addition to this carrier gameplay, if it is to stay, has to also be enriched by additional layers of game mechanics that introduce more optionality and a much deeper gameplay than currently available.


Goals:

  • Add more layers of gameplay depth through introduction of additional mechanics
  • Change aircraft carriers (CV) from a "alpha strike" type of vessel to a support/damaging type
  • Re-balance CV to be more enjoyable for the carrier players and those playing with/against them

There will be several changes, additions and adjustments necessary to achieve these goals.

Due to the severity of these I highly advise to follow suit and bring about the following short term changes:

1. Remove 2v2 CV matches

These are currently throwing the balance of teams completely out of order due to the inherently random chances of CV loadouts.

To take this into a simple example:

  • 2v2 CV match
  • All CVs are of the Independence class
  • Team 1: Aerial Superiority (2/0/1) & Strike (0/1/2)
  • Team 2: 2x Strike (0/1/2)

Team 1 has automatically won unless the Aerial Superiority player is a completely new player without an ounce of skill.

2. Change the CV Loadouts

For the sake of balance all CV loadouts currently available should be mirrored until further notice.

Right now there's a huge imbalance between carriers of different nations of the same tier, this problem can't be easily solved without achieving the previously mentioned goals, hence it's irresponsable to "let things be as they are" until a proper re-work can take place.


These two changes should suffice to flatten the ground work until the re-work can be released to the live server.

I will now go into the re-work itself.

One of the major issues with CV gameplay in World of Warships is the lack of in-depth game mechanics.

The addition of manual drops and strafing runs since alpha were nice, however the strafing ability in particular failed to break apart the simpleness of the overall gameplay depth.

Without a greater number of assets and options to deploy both tactical and strategical actions the CV gameplay quickly becomes stale, easy to abuse and predictable.

In order to change this several new mechanics have to be introduced.

Chief among them the ability to change an aircraft squadron's altitude.


The Altitude System

This system will include 3-4 different altitudes for the player to chose from, the selected aircrafts will then move to the chosen altitude.

Every altitude will have both benefits and disadvantages of varying types.

Here are a few examples to give a proper understanding of what this mechanic's going to look like.

  • The higher altitude an aircraft flies at the lower the AA damage it takes
  • Fighters engaging an enemy below them will receive an initial damage boost
  • Dive bombers are capable of starting their attack run from the 2nd highest altitude
  • Torpedo bombers can only begin their attack run from the lowest altitude
  • At the highest altitude aircrafts and ships can't spot/engage each other

The basic seperation of altitudes would be:

Sea level

During take off/landing, torpedo attack runs and also selectable as the lowest flight altitude.

Increased intensity of anti-air fire (Read Anti-Air rework).

Regular Flight level

This would be the standart flight level aircrafts will rise to after launch.

Anti-air fire intensity is normal.

High Altitude level

This altitude will take a bit more time to reach for aircrafts and is still below the clouds and thus visible for ships.

Dive bombers can still start their attack run from this altitude.

Anti-air fire intensity is low.

Above The Clouds level

The highest possible altitude which takes a considerable amount of time to reach.

No bomber can immediately begin it's attack run from here, they have to descent to their according altitude beforehand.

Aircrafts and ships can't spot or engage each other.

 

The major benefits of taking a higher altitude are immediately visible, however the disadvantages show within the fine print.

Aircrafts will require time both to gain altitude and to fly down to a lower altitude, this in particular goes for torpedo bombers that can't maneuver as well due to their heavy payload and aircraft construction limitations.

Therefore it may have value to only send bombers up to a certain altitude while fighters should go up as far as possible.

At the same time it might be better to dip in and out of the highest altitude in case that the enemy fighters go in fast and shoot down bombers before the other player can even react.

This mechanic also improves the way mindgames can be played by utilising both the altitude and the vision systems within the game.

On the other hand this system can be used to great effect to balance out aircrafts of different nations/ships by giving these different rates at which they gain altitude.

Of course this system will have to undergo long term testing before a final release, however it's something that's sorely lacking to the current gameplay.


Reclassification

At the moment CVs have a flavour on them that is best described as "Picking a target and sinking it".

Right now that's the main asset CVs bring to the table, a massive amount of burst damage that it more than enough to sink most ships.

Spotting, bomber interception and general presence on the battlefield are all secondary tasks at the moment.

With the new re-work this'll change to more of a supportive damage role.

There are several ways of making this change ranging from simply reducing the damage potential of bombs and torpedoes to switching most of the potential damage from the initial hit damage to the over time effects fire and flooding.

Outside of this it's also quite possible that the altitude system itself will take care of the CVs' damage potential due to the time required to safely reach a target.

Personally I'd favour a re-focus on both fire and flooding damage instead of raw damage potential.

This change would likely require changes in the way these damage types are designed (Flooding being very strong at the moment) and the way certain ways of surviving these damage over time effects work out.

For example the overall cooldown on the Damage Control Party consumable might have to be reduced.

Overall this part of the re-work will also require large amounts of testing due to it's effects on other parts of the game.


Loadouts

After the removal of different loadouts for different nations it's now time to take a new look on how loadouts of differing numbers can work out.

The major issue here is that the balance between the utility of having more squadrons, hence more options, and the raw power of having less squadrons is immensely difficult to achieve properly.

Most RTS games follow a very basic routine.

For example:

Nation A and B both have a basic "Rifleman" infantry unit.

Nation A's Rifleman has 2 hitpoints and 1 attack power

Nation B's Rifleman has 1 hitpoint and 1 attack power

Nation A's Rifleman is obviously stronger.

Now lets introduce more variables to the system:

Nation A's Rifleman costs 100 ressources

Nation B's Rifleman costs 50 ressources

Now the playing feel looks more even, however now we add even more variables.

  • Unit speed
  • Construction speed
  • Unit vision range
  • Unit firing range
  • Special abilities/buffs
  • Unit firing speed
  • Etc.

And thus things quickly spiral out of control as they currently are in World of Warships due to the lack of proper balance between the many variables in play.

This is also the main reason why I advised a short term change to mirror loadouts on all currently available CVs.

In order to rework this class there has to be a ground level of balance from where to move onward from and this basic mirror match layout is perfect to achieve any future balance changes without returning to previous mistakes.

One of the major mistakes I see in the way CVs were developed in WoWS was the immediate jump to having two very different national loadouts instead of slowly moving one change forward to see how it interacts with other existing mechanics.


Anti-Air Rework

Another, perhaps even more "hot topic" than the previous ones, issue is the strength of anti-air armaments currently available in-game.

Anti-air guns should be weakened again in combination with the rework of CVs towards a more supportive role.

Instead of the current actual threat to aircrafts the guns should have a debuff style of influence with damage dealt being a minor role.

For example ships with good anti-air armament should influence the way bombers engage them.

One particular idea would be that bombers under intense anti-air fire would lock up in their attack run much earlier than bombers under little to no fire.

This would also put more emphasise on taking out anti-air armaments without having the loss of planes in mind but instead the potential loss of damage dealt.

Another idea would be to give bombers under heavy anti-air fire a few additional seconds before the drop due to evasive maneuvering, this could be varied between torpedo bombers which are more vulnerable to anti-air fire and dive bombers which can deal with heavy anti-air fire much better due to the speed and angle of their approach.

Regardless of whatever solution is tested and released in the final version a change from shooting down planes (Which should still be possible regardless just to a much smaller extend) to a more passive benefit should take place.


Defensive AA Fire Consumable Rework

Right now this consumable is one of two rather questionable consumable decisions made by the devs.

The nature of this consumable in itself is rather plain.

To describe a well designed (Not to say it being perfect) consumable I'd point to both Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search consumables.

Both of these follow a simple but nicely constructed Risk&Reward system.

Smoke prevents the ship(s) inside it to be spotted by the enemy, however this goes both ways and can quickly become the smoked ship's demise.

Meanwhile the Hydroacoustic Search consumable has another very basic risk attached to it, that is it's short range making whatever ship wants to bring the consumable to bear also having to expose itself to several potential threats.

The Defensive AA Fire consumable does not suffer from any risks outside of it's cooldown, which in the premium version isn't that long either.

Keeping the previously mentioned change in the way anti-air armaments work in general in mind the changes to this consumable should go hand in hand with the above mentioned.

The changes to be made here are two.

1.) Remove the damage boost

2.) After the consumable runs out the ship's anti-air armament will lose it's debuff effects on enemy aircrafts for X amount of time

The increase in spread on attacking bombers should stay the way it is now, although there's an argument to be made that the reduction and/or change in damage potential may have to see a decrease in the effect this consumable has on bombers.


Other Changes

- Hangar sizes

These have to be adjusted to the gameplay and playability rather than historical correctness and realism.

At the moment low tier CVs losing just a few aircrafts are immediately put at a huge disadvantage while higher tier CVs are encouraged to sacrifice entire squadrons to take out key targets with little to no disadvantages outside of a few additional seconds before a lost squadron can be deployed again.

- Potential removal of the strafing ability

As mentioned before this gameplay mechanic has failed to increase the gameplay depth and has in several cases caused more issues than it solved.

Either a rework, for example in accordance with the new altitude systme, or a complete removal may be necessary.

However I'd highly suggest to put this under intense testing.

- Loadout selection before the battle starts

This is the number one feature to introduce before re-enabling 2v2 CV battles.

The general idea is to let CVs select their loadout on the loading screen or in-battle before the start timer has run out and the battle has started.

This way CVs can react properly to certain situations (+2 tier matchmaking, team CV loadout, opposing CV types) and a lot of the previous randomness which often could decide a battle before it started is taken away.

- Damage/Concealment changes

Right now it's often encouraged for CVs to stay far behind the frontline at the border of the map.

In order to change this passive playstyle for the ship itself the survivability has the to be increased, perhaps even beyond the historical/realistic statistics.

The idea is to encourage CV players to move with their teammates instead of far behind them without making the ships too tanky.

One potential way of doing this would be an improved Damage Control Party as well as the addition of a different type of Repair Party which slowly repairs the ship over time as a passive ability rather than a consumable.


This for the most part concludes my thoughts on how a proper aircraft carrier re-work should be shaped.

There are still many parts and ideas missing that I either didn't mention, forgot to mention and/or didn't even think about.

I wrote this text from the point of view of a player who has been playing World of Tanks since it's beta and who has been an alpha tester for both World of Warplanes and World of Warships aswell as War Thunder in it's aviation and ground forces parts.

Gaming wise I take interest in all sorts of genres including but not only: Strategy, roleplaying, shooter, platformer games and many others.

In terms of World of Warships I play all four different classes with my favourites being battleships, destroyers and carriers.

For the sake of completion here's my stats for SEA, NA and EU:

SEA: https://asia.wows-numbers.com/player/2001214203,Retia/

NA: https://na.wows-numbers.com/player/1002666888,Peo01/

EU: https://wows-numbers.com/player/500361620,Peo01/

Lastly allow me to state that all of the above mentioned is subject to change should Wargaming ever decide to go into this direction with it's nebulous "CV rework".

When I wrote that things require large scale testing I wasn't just "throwing it out there", these changes and additions will require months of in-depth focus testing.

 

With best regards and see ya on the oceans,

Retia

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thats too complicated, dev. imposible doing something complicated like that....

right now T5,T7, and T8 really unbalance for CV, sepecially T7...
Ranger is really underpowered right now, they force ranger to play AS or balance...
go strike you got strafed to oblivion...
111 setup still viable as long as the enemy is not saipan or AS ranger
AS ranger, easy to got clear sky but you cant help much in damaging enemy to help your team...

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Well written and thought out.

1 problem with this though, is that before the suggestions were taken out in the NA Forums I remember more than 1 thread there on this topic with very similar suggestions as well. 

They aren't listening to us on this.  

 

HOWEVER!  You are suggesting turning the CV from Alpha BB kill you by looking at you into, kill you by DOTS.  Which is interesting and actually a person can make an argument that this is more historically accurate.  (Midway in many ways was the fight that proved the rules by breaking them.  Coral Sea and the other CV engagements were usually DOT kills when you look at them closely.  Enterprise did not die because of failed alpha strike, but better DOT control on the fires and floods that the IJN did on them.)

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A seriously well thought out and interesting post.

 

Have a downvote for not just whinging on these forums... :)

 

I especially like the altitude idea, and the effect on the AA bubble.

 

Please pay attention to ideas like these WG.. 

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It sounds a bit complicated for non-unicums to manage all those factors in a game. Even if it made playing a CV more interesting I don't think I could manage that much complexity across the number of squadrons there are, I'd probably retire all my CVs with something like that. Although in principle I do agree the CV play/counterplay needs changing. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good ideas there.

High skill CV players already make extensive use of DOTs to sink ships or do large amounts of damage to them, that's already there.

Yes the AA is very strong in particular ships, part of the problem I see is that all AA guns essentially cover the entire aura of the ship when they really shouldn't. The aura should vary in strength depending on the direction the planes are coming from. AA guns that do not have a line of fire should not contribute to damage done to the planes. This would mean planes approaching a broadside would have to deal with more AA guns than those approaching from in front, and less AA guns shooting at the planes even in the best case.

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1 hour ago, Sparcie said:

It sounds a bit complicated for non-unicums to manage all those factors in a game. Even if it made playing a CV more interesting I don't think I could manage that much complexity across the number of squadrons there are, I'd probably retire all my CVs with something like that. Although in principle I do agree the CV play/counterplay needs changing. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good ideas there.\

 

believe me it will be more fun to have different tactic for noob rather than dead lock auto lose for noob. also more mechanic will force noob to learn more. in the end with altitude mechanic, it will not make your plane got insta deleted because hidden AA ship.

 

8 hours ago, Retia said:

 

- Damage/Concealment changes

Right now it's often encouraged for CVs to stay far behind the frontline at the border of the map.

In order to change this passive playstyle for the ship itself the survivability has the to be increased, perhaps even beyond the historical/realistic statistics.


buff CV secondary, especially Kaga and Graf Zeppelin! Kaga should have 9km base secondary and Graf 8km base. for other CV 5km~6km is fine.

and reduce CV concealment.... max 10km with concealment expert and upgade concealment.

 


Defensive AA Fire Consumable Rework

 

 

 

here is some of my thought

21765342_492611204452454_481943040233929

 

- the red bullet is incoming bomber

- the blue area is AADF area

- the green line show movement of AADF

 

AADF only work for blue area, it mean attack from multiple direction will benefit good CV player. also keep the damage boost, but with only 2x multiplier.

also AA mechanic with manual AA should be like this too! but without panic shot.

 

this will be more interesting rather than point and click plane.....

 

9 hours ago, Retia said:

 

- Potential removal of the strafing ability

As mentioned before this gameplay mechanic has failed to increase the gameplay depth and has in several cases caused more issues than it solved.

Either a rework, for example in accordance with the new altitude systme, or a complete removal may be necessary.

However I'd highly suggest to put this under intense testing.

no, dont remove fighter strafe ability. instead just lower the damage multiplier againts plane. also make strafe viable to target ship to destroy AA module.

 

____________________

 

another rework, add reduction 80% ship AA damage for fighter  when not enganging in dogfight or chasing bomber. 

 

also make catapult fighter more smarter to target bomber.....

 

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Super Tester
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As of yet, the planes are basically swimming on water surface, but they are shown a bit above. So the range is still calculated over the surface. In order to take proper straight line distance in 3D space the game needs to make a lot of changes. I'm pretty sure that's a long shot, even if devs agree to do so. Also, the tracer mechanics are all basically bunch of rng within a circle, they are not real tracers or bullets. They also ignore obstacles right now which is kinda stupid imo. If the engine start recognizing planes as a 3D object instead of swimming on water surface, may be that part needs to be fixed too.

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2 minutes ago, icy_phoenix said:

As of yet, the planes are basically swimming on water surface, but they are shown a bit above. So the range is still calculated over the surface. In order to take proper straight line distance in 3D space the game needs to make a lot of changes. I'm pretty sure that's a long shot, even if devs agree to do so. Also, the tracer mechanics are all basically bunch of rng within a circle, they are not real tracers or bullets. They also ignore obstacles right now which is kinda stupid imo. If the engine start recognizing planes as a 3D object instead of swimming on water surface, may be that part needs to be fixed too.

the revamp for 3D space will also allow submarine into the game..... yep, submarine!!!! counter for CV? more dynamic gameplay? waouw

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47 minutes ago, Skarhabek said:

the revamp for 3D space will also allow submarine into the game..... yep, submarine!!!! counter for CV? more dynamic gameplay? waouw

Lets just stick to the CV issue rather than shitpoasting.    Retia has put a lot of work into it.

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This if from Sub_Octavian on Reddit in August:

 

Quote

Q:Where is the carrier rework that was promised before "any more premium carriers"? We've gotten Kaga, Enterprise, and Graf Zeppelin is just around the corner.

A:

I really doubt there was a promise not to release carriers before rework.

The point was we were not concentrating on new carriers because there were some major issues with them as a whole. This includes: UI problems, in-class balance problems, lack of tutorial/learning curve problems. These things, along with others, lead us to very global and serious question "Are we sure that existing CV/AA concept should be just tuned and tweaked or we need a global overhaul? And if yes, should we try to introduce it in a couple of big updates or to make it gradual?".

For now, we fixed the major part of existing UI problems, which was the main blocker for releasing new CV content. USN/IJN balancing is WIP, and can be expected within several updates. Tutorials are being worked on, however, simpler stuff like movement and basic gameplay should be done first. As for global rework, this is a tricky one. Any major rework will be a stress for old players, so if we are going this way, we must be absolutely sure it is for good. Now, we don't have any concept that we like THAT better, than the existing one, but we keep thinking about it. And in the meantime, we aim to make various smaller quality changes to the existing CV mechanics, in evolutionary, not revolutionary way.

So you may or may not get a decent rework of CV mechanics.They seemed to be talking up big changes at the start of the year,but looks like its in the too hard basket now.

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Well written article good job.  Really like your altitude ideas, makes players balance or decide if they want spotting vs power advantages. 

You could introduce layers of altitude as players go up tiers.  Would also allow dive bombers to takes less AA damage as they move into the bubble at height and are only exposed in the dive and exit.

As for loadouts as pointed out the MM does not take into into effect so can get an imbalance as the match starts.  Lets CV players change loadout during the game but at a cost.  Maybe it's 5-6 mins as planes fly off map and the new ones fly in and can only be done once.

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16 hours ago, Bitrot said:

Well written article good job.  Really like your altitude ideas, makes players balance or decide if they want spotting vs power advantages. 

You could introduce layers of altitude as players go up tiers.  Would also allow dive bombers to takes less AA damage as they move into the bubble at height and are only exposed in the dive and exit.

As for loadouts as pointed out the MM does not take into into effect so can get an imbalance as the match starts.  Lets CV players change loadout during the game but at a cost.  Maybe it's 5-6 mins as planes fly off map and the new ones fly in and can only be done once.

 

5-6 mins is unbalanced. I suggest 2mins. that's one free attack wave for the enemy and that should be enough

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