S4pp3R’s CV/AA 0801/2 Rebalance
Edit: To those struggling to read the long post and not interested in deep analysis, read the tldr and the CV line ideas (bottom of the post), you may find them intriguing…
Nerf AA across the board to the point where AA difference between tiers is far less, then nerf planes accordingly; bottom tier AA ships and CVs should find being uptiered far easier. Introduce a maximum spotted time for DDs by CVs per minute, still have DDs appear on minimap, however specific CV can still see DD per normal.
Keep in mind that this is a broad spectrum proposal so don't get too tied down in any of my numbers, obviously balance from that point accordingly. Also as you read I bring up ideas and points that I then quickly turn on and trash, these are musings, please actually read the post before jumping to conclusions – I've tried to look at the whole situation hollistically so something may make more sense further down the post.
I also wouldn't implement my proposed AA nerf one patch and then CV fix in another, both would need to be done in conjunction to avoid CVOP.
OK so I’ll list the main issues I see so you understand where I’m working from.
– AA inconsistent across tiers (even prior to 080)
– Zone AA control is boring and silly. Using it can often expose you rather than aid you.
– Bottom tier CVs horrible to play
– Bottom tier AA is horrible to play
– 3 CVs per side shouldn’t break the game
– DDs being perma-spotted isn’t good
– CVs need to have some actual build options so that play isn’t stale.
– CVs need some sort of DPM drop-off to match AA dropoff
– Alternative CV lines need viability and individuality
OK so this is based on the game as of 0801/2 HotFixes, however should still work no matter how many hotfixes they apply as it's essentially an overhaul of numbers.
So how do you fix CVs and AA? Where do you start? That’s easy, start with AA.
Ship AA is defined (and has been for a while) as being inconsistent across tiers and being bottom tier against a CV just being painful. The old adage prior to 080 was ‘if high tier CV wants to kill you, they’ll get through your AA’. Since the 080 change we’ve had the Zone AA reinforcement over ctrl-clicking, which basically dumbed down the AA play (IMO and I will explain how).
Let’s start with the Zone AA control. Currently by pressing the ‘O’ key you can increase either port or starboard AA strength, at the expense of the other side. There is usually around a 10s window (depending on your ship AFAIK) while the AA focus switches. There are two reasons why this system is stupid.
- Very little risk-reward, and
- Over-simplification meaning very little skill involved.
Simply put, the old system should be reintroduced. The immediate response from people is ‘but there’s only one squadron in the sky’ or something of the like. So enable enemy teams to see enemy sqns flying off when they’ve dropped, you now have a risk-reward system. Target the planes that have dropped, trying to hurt the CVs reload times more, or target the planes that are yet to drop in the hope of stopping the next drop. I’ve tested the new system and honestly, it’s more effort to manage than the old ctrl-click system, which is sad.
DFAA as it is now, simply increases the DPM.
AA inconsistency and how horrible it is being bottom tier AA are basically the same thing, AA balance.
AA balance should be blatantly obvious to WG but sadly never has been. Change the whole system, reducing overall DPS across tiers, unify DPM of turret mount types (No more Scharnhorst 105s 300, Bismarck 105s 1700- HotFix 0801, not sure 0802) it’s silly. By reducing the overall DPM (I’m not saying get rid of the Flak system, I actually think it’s a great idea) you reduce the difference tier-to-tier. While you’re at it fix any of the absurd AA ships and while keeping them ahead of the pack, bring them a bit ahead of the pack, not DM/Mino AA build ridiculousness from pre 080.
Now that AA doesn’t have such absurd variations, being bottom tier isn’t as big of a deal anymore. This balances T8 AA v T10 CVs and T10 AA v T8 CVs… If you want to have AA powerhouses, give respective ships ‘better’ DFAA, be it longer or bigger buff or both. This will balance out the issues which will arise from the above system, ship types.
BBs should have the most amazing AA, that is a fact, however if you balance the AA well enough, planes should still get through. CL/As should have situationally better AA through the effective use of DFAA.
If there are issues with certain higher tier ships having worse AA than their predecessor, so be it. Who said the ship up 1 tier in the line had to have better AA? Maybe it’s got other things going for it? The other way to address this discrepancy is to abandon the idea that the ships are historically accurate. They aren’t, Warships is an arcade game, get over it. Once you accept that, you simply add a hypothetical Hull(C) to any ships that are suffering in this department. If a ship has absurd AA for tier, sweet, remove that final AA refit and give it a Hull with ½ a refit. Balance should always trump historical accuracy, if there are too many issues in this area then maybe have a look at what tier the ship sits in?
Now that you have a balanced AA system, you address CVs. The fundamental perk from the way the AA system has been rebalanced above is that the differences in tier are less, meaning you can keep +/-2 MM, so now we’ve fixed bottom tier CV/AA. Personally I don’t think there should be +/-2 anyways, but that’s that.
CV Balance will always be a hard thing. However some basic concepts based around the current system should be implemented:
– A full 3 passes of any type should result in an average of 1 DOT (Fire, Flood)
– A top tier ship out on its own should be able to be punished by a bottom tier CV
– CV damage should be on par with BB at tier.
By reducing the amount of DOTs that can be applied, CV needs to watch for enemies who have used DAMCON to get some ticks of it, not too dissimilar to normal ships. The reason the chance needs to be so low is the ability of the CV to target just about anyone on the map. To balance out reduced DOTs, damage might need to be buffed a little.
In buffing/nerfing planes HP v AA a simple standard should be applied, roughly how many passes before destroyed. WG could easily work out the optimum number for but for example:
– AA CA DFAA active top tier v bottom tier CV. 1 pass.
– AA CA no DFAA top tier v bottom tier CV. 2 passes.
– AA CA DFAA active same tier. 2 passes.
– AA CA no DFAA same tier. 3 passes.
– AA CA bottom tier DFAA active. 3 passes
– AA CA bottom tier no DFAA. 3 passes, half or a third of sqn survives.
Now I’m not saying the above is balanced, it’s just to illustrate how you go about balancing CVs. You set a standard for standard CV, when you’ve achieved that balance then start adding flavour to the BB by buffing and nerfing certain features, all while keeping it to the above standard.
I honestly think that WG doesn’t actually design properly, like above. All of their ship releases never feel quite right and there’s always this back-and-forth on them after they’ve been released. They’ve already got balanced content in the game, in other words examples of what’s balanced at what tier. This should make it so easy to balance ship releases but I digress…
If you balance CVs well, allowing them to strike with regularity but without huge Alpha, instead of having their planes shredded at the first sign of an enemy, CVs will be fun and they will work. The whole trick is to have AA kill a few planes but planes can still drop stuff consistently. In the end if CV v AA was balanced, 3 CVs per side wouldn’t be an issue.
CV damage drop-off
The reason CVs need some sort of damage drop-off is simple, AA mounts degrade. The other reason that no one else ever thinks of is that it allows you to give them a little bit more damage, to keep their damage numbers in the right area. Damage drop-off could be done many different ways, however my fave is replenish rate. The only issue with this is that it indirectly buffs any CVs with long range attacks (see Haku). So the solution is simple, have a standard replenish rate per bomber type per CV. Doing an attack run, you should have to switch bomber types to wait for them to replenish. If that means that as a Haku player you’re essentially doing APDB and TB runs alternating constantly, so be it. If it needs it, you can even make it get longer and longer the more you use a type of Bomber, meaning that CVs will actually have to think about which plane type to launch.
DDs shouldn’t be Perma-spotted
There are multiple ways to do this, however my fave is thus. CV sees what his/her planes see all the time, however if you are spotted by CV aircraft, you cannot be spotted for longer than 20s every minute. Doesn’t matter if there are 3 CV SQNs above you or 1, just set it as a hard cap. Normal BB/CA spotter/cata planes would obviously work as they do now. Obviously adjust the 20s window as needed for balance.
CV Variety in Builds and Lines
This is literally the easiest thing to do and something it seems WG just hasn’t put any effort into.
Each CV should have options for all three groups, minimum.
Each CV should have loadout options that influence aircraft quality, service times, flight speed or concealment. Let’s call them Engineering Focus.
So how do we do this? There are a multitude of different metrics that can be played with, drop circle, damage, flood/fire chance, DW v normal torps, AP v HE DBs, AP v small AP DBs, AP v HE rockets.
Balancing it may sound like a nightmare but is actually quite simple. When you play any online game the best builds are all about min-maxing. So stack up each area as heavy as you can, see if it breaks the balance. Eg. Haku flood chance. Balance accordingly.
The way I might envision the current two CV lines is as follows (keeping in mind the replenish cool-down system I mentioned above):
IJN (Haku line)
Average rockets, poor fire chance. Choice between a bit more damage for almost 0 fire chance and a bit more fire chance but poorer damage or maybe accuracy.
Long range, quick torps, can ‘stealth’ torp at 8 and 10 and almost at 6. Option between standard torps and DW torps (can’t hit DDs).
AP v small AP DBs. AP would be like currently, perhaps with a bit more damage, intended for capital ships. Small AP DBs, for DD-CA.
The overall flavour for the IJN line would be almost no fire options however with slightly better alphas strike potential. TBs would need to be a little squishy so you don’t want to get too close to enemies.
USN (Midway line)
Rockets as is now, small or large, refine them a bit further so definite benefits and choice involved.
TBs: more torps per drop, close quarters TB or less per drop but more range.
HE v AP DBs
USN overall would have a bit more survivability and would be more effective with Rockets, while their shorter TB would be very effective against solo targets and HE or AP DBs would offer a choice to have a bit more alpha strike or push fire chance.
IJN Second Line (possible idea)
Similar to Haku line, however with some differences.
Rockets, same as Haku line but more per salvo.
Less torps per drop, shorter range, slightly higher alpha, TBs are quicker. Not really a ‘stealth drop’ TBs. Same DW/non options
Same DBs, however less strikes per salvo, faster aircraft, more accurate.
The idea of this CV line is a 'lighter', 'quicker' style of CV play allowing more of a shift in target focus aka more flexibility
USN Second Line
Similar to Midway line with some perks.
AP or HE Rockets, AP would be effective against CLs
TBs, 1 less per drop compared to Midway line, far more accurate.
HE v big HE bombs with more pen and fire chance, less number of bombs.
Idea of the second USN line is more about precision strikes and choices around that with a bit less possible DPM.
Well the above is how I’d be doing the CV/AA over the next few months if I was a WG dev. Don’t get too tied down in my specifics, it’s just a reference point to see how it could be done. Little balancing issues; WG is perfectly able to do themselves but there are still some gaping issues and ‘beta-ness’ about the CV rework, the AA and just general tier balance.
Thoughts from the floor?
I'm very open to in-depth discussion and will reply as able (with respect of course)
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