We have lots of posts about CVs, skill reworks and whatnot, however I think that there are more game mechanics that need a "rework". Warning, slightly wall of text incoming…
This is just a bit theorycrafting and "what if" for fun and giggles. I would be surprised if WG tackles this, even if only in a separate game mode, maybe a more realistic or historical game mode.
There are a couple of quirks around this game mechanic, we have accustomed to them very well but I rarely see posts questioning these.
Frankly said, some of these mechanics are not very intuitive and certainly not good, fun or realistic. They lead to some of the meta and gameplay flow that we have right now. One of the biggest issues with CVs is spotting. I would like to question if the concealment system that WoWs clearly inherited from WoT is a good game mechanic and to explore if there might be other interesting alternatives.
A few of these weird things and other visibility related problematic issues are:
- ships going invisible, popping in/out (yes, that IS weird, especially if its a BB at 12km distance in clear weather). Even if the scale isn't right in the game, these are still huge machines.
- ships being invisible behind an island while almost half of their hull should be visible.
- the value of radar is too strong and it is being ignored by matchmaker. I would not tackle this via matchmaker but otherwise. Radar ships can very well pull their own weight even without radar, but I wouldn't take it away but change the mechanics around them.
A few ideas from me, feel free to add your own. This may be a whole concept but I might have missed things. The topic is concealment, target acquisition and targeting. Things should feel intuitive and natural, not so much an artificial ruleset what we have now.
- always render all ships. Even behind islands and in smoke. Smoke of course must be thick enough to completely hide what is within (volumetric smoke. For example like in Armored warfare where this is implemented very nicely). But a ship only half in smoke could stick out. Same with ships behind islands. You stick your nose out, then you risk getting it blown off.
- ship concealment is basically the range where it can be targeted and tracked. This means that while you can see a ship at longer distances, you cannot target it. Shooting without targeting is possible, but very inaccurate (maybe even more than now) and RNG dependent.
- ships that are within concealment range are shown on minimap as position but without ship name (minimap spotting only)
- ships that are targeted by you or your team are shown highlighted on minimap with ship name and UI shows hitpoints, ship class and player name.
- target acquisition time: when you select a ship as target, the ship's target finders start to work and increase accuracy over time as long as this ship is targeted. The amount of increase depends on fire rate and a tweaked value for ship balancing. This allows good choices like: do I take another shot at my target with good accuracy or do I switch to the cruiser that shows broadside but at a lower accuracy?. This also increases DD survivability as they usually are targeted on the fly and not tracked over long times. Spontaneous snapshots are simply less effective. The basic idea should reflect this: small turret -> faster targeting
- radar/hydro: while radars were used for target acquisition historically, I would not allow them as targeting aid against ships for gameplay reasons. Minimap spotting only. This devalues radar big time, which is a good thing if you think about matchmaker not taking it into account at all. Radar specs could be tweaked, may it be ranges, duration, reload, whatever.
- spotting damage while actively targeting a ship also yields increased xp. Targeted ships appear highlighted on the minimap and shown with name, so this could lead to better focus fire and the DD that didnt do much damage but provided spotting could finally be rewarded for that appropiately.
- no more modules that change concealment. It's just stupid. these aint stealth ships and they don't have predator paint nor a romulan cloaking device. Find another tweakable value for modules and captain specs. Ship size/visible area is a pretty straightforward thing.
- player list does not display ship class until the ship was targeted, so match setup is unknown at the beginning. Learn to identify targets at range, this isnt easy at all and could provide another strategical layer via ship identification.
- planes provide no passive spotting
- plane vs ship targeting: CV played needs to hit X to target/identify ships and to provide minimap spotting. This makes identifying ships not trivial for CVs. Add short time needed to provide the minimap spotting, for example a few secs of a plane to have a ship targeted until it is identified and marked on minimap.
- due to smoke being a lot stronger, firing from or through smoke should be less effective, so maybe add some dispersion to the shots fired there. Again as with many other things, there could be captain skills to improve shooting from/through smoke.
- wont DDs be disadvantaged as they lose the "surprise" effect? Somewhat, however experienced players already know where DDs are, RPF, torp paths and whatnot help narrowing that down already. Also, DDs are small and can be overlooked easily. Just hit ctrl-J during a battle and observe a bit. They still have the same disengagement methods as before. They are identified last due to the new mechanics, so in many cases the enemies wont even know what kind of DD that is.
- CV vs DD interaction. Wont DDs be even more CV prey as they already are? Dont think so. Try flying without marked enemies and spot a DD. The UI plays a huge role here. Minimap spotting takes away the support fire, which in my experience is often a larger threat than the CV attack itself.
- gun bloom: I am not sure if/what effect it should have on visibility, but probably it could stay as it is. Maybe with modules or captain skills changing one or another parameter. The basics of "I want to shoot back at whatever shoots me" must be kept or we are back to open water stealth firing, what we do not want to have again.
- won't this increase the value of smoke? yes, without doubt. However I enjoyed smoke metas (maybe 4 years ago?) more than radar or max concealment metas. I also do not think that this declasses smokeless DDs.
- future stuff, aka subs: should not contradict with this system at all.
- class roles: time on target affecting accuracy might be a big changer on what class is best targeting which class to be effective. Ships that can break visibility can better evade BB attacks, also snapshots are less effective. Cruisers on the other hand could be better at this and for DDs targeting and accuracy plays a lower role than already.
- I hope that the target acquisition time / accuracy would bring ships closer together so they can shoot each other more accurately. This is directed primarily at BBs and high calibers. Of course this must be visually displayed in the UI.
- game flow should be longrange visual identification -> minimap spotting -> target acquisition range and from there pretty much as it already is
TL;DR: To take the artificial and too heavyweight concealment value out of the equation, remove it by rendering all ships at all times. And a few other details that might work around this.
screenie for inspiration. I have to admit that I cannot identify all these ships. I probably could if ship identification would be a thing.
Just hit ctrl-j ingame to disable the UI and imagine what the game could be with less UI. The game looks gorgeous.
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