People often like to compare their battleships to cruisers, when it comes to secondaries. Imagine a world, where you could actually exploit that, and feel that firepower at your fingertips. Ships that “have an Atlanta strapped to each side” actually enjoy their firepower first hand, and feel the gratification for it. GK comes back into the meta for real this time. Massachusetts and Georgia get more balanced. Lower tier german ships have a reason to exist again, and between your 30 second reloads, you have something to do besides free look around your ship or look at your minimap (or reddit, in my case).
Imagine a world in which people like me can finally shut the fuck up about being annoyed by secondary batteries, while the people who play secondary ships also enjoy benefits. A world in which DDs get even more punished for rushing a GK around an island from 4km.
Imagine a world where secondary ships have a real place in the meta, and are far more interesting than they are now. Imagine secondary ships not needing to sell their souls to unlock their true potential.
“But Schruef” I hear no one ask, “How could we possibly have all of these things?” Well I’ll tell you.
My proposal is simple: make Secondaries true manual. Just like how in a destroyer, you press 3 to switch to torpedoes, you will press 3 to switch to your secondary battery guns, which will function almost identically to a ship like Atlanta, or Colbert (not that they’ll have quite that much firepower, of course). I’d recommend using Bismarck as a testbed ship for this, and finding the right balance of accuracy, damage, penetration, and fire chance when a player is controlling the guns. And that’s… honestly it. The stats of the guns and shells will need to be tweaked to compensate for player aim, but this system offers a smorgasbord of benefits. With this system, there will be far more room to explore the true potential of secondary focused ships. It also raises the skill ceiling on battleships, which many people will view as a good thing.
Currently here are my issues with secondary ships that this change would fix.
1: They’re completely skilless. There is no thought process behind sailing into range and having the AI completely take over for you. It’s not fun for the player being engaged, and I personally don’t find the game playing itself for me to be fun either. No ship in the game should, quite literally, play the game for you, and that’s just what secondary ships do. When a good portion of your damage comes from the AI, that isn’t deserved damage, and it isn’t skill. As one of my clan mates said: "Putting the burden of doing damage on an automated system completely vanishes the argument of skill when secondary batteries are involved"
2: Secondary batteries often fail at their jobs; the AI doesn’t know how to play the game. Imagine the bots in coop, and how bad they are, right? Now imagine handing a portion of your firepower to that exact bot. That’s what you’re doing when you spec into secondaries, and with a human player at the trigger, they won’t make stupid mistakes such as shooting the belt of a battleship at close range.
3: There is no good way to make a truly focused secondary ship without it being broken in one way or another. There are few people who think Massachusetts is balanced, and a lot of that has to do with her AI secondaries being hyper accurate and having ludicrous loading times (combined of course with her heal time). There are also few people who agree that Bismarck, Tirpitz, Gniesenau, FdG are good (especially among unicum players), despite their otherwise good qualities, mainly do to their guns being complete ass. German battleships struggle to hit the broadside of a barn with their main guns, much less their secondary guns, especially at range, and they struggle with penetration. And here’s what I’m getting at: On a secondary focused ship, if your secondary battery is good, your ship is unfun to play against and overpowered. If your secondary battery is bad, your ship is basically worthless, and this is a very fine line to walk. It often seems as though it’s one or the other. With a true manual system, there’s room for all different types of interesting power levels and much more room to explore the possibilities of really long range secondaries (not that I mean 20km or anything).
Q: “B-but Secondary ships take skill. Positioning is hard and you have to not die!” A: Every surface ship in this game has to be concerned about positioning, including normal battleships. Go tell a cruiser main that your secondary spec ship has a hard time getting into good positions, or tell a DD that it’s hard to stay alive.
Q: “How will battleships effectively deal with destroyers?”
A: With this change, secondary spec battleships will be even more deadly to Destroyers if you’re paying attention, and as an added bonus, non secondary spec ships will also have at least some chance of stopping their rushes. On top of that, it will be harder for gunboat destroyers to burn you to death while your secondary battery misses any shots past 9km, because you’ll be controlling the guns for a change.
Q: “But it’s too difficult to control both my main battery and secondary battery guns!”
A: WoWs Blitz basically has the same system I’m proposing here. If mobile players can handle both of their gun systems, why can’t you? You have 25-30 seconds between salvos in these ships, plenty of time to spend firing away with your other guns.
Q: “Won’t secondary spec ships be too strong with this change?”
A: Rebalancing would be necessary. If you left the guns with their damage and pen now, and let the player control them, you’d have a completely game breaking system. I’m not suggesting literally giving GK an Atlanta on each side. What direction wargaming would take with this relabalancing is up to them, but if done right, it could end up being really fun.
Q: “Won’t this change make secondary spec battleships way harder to play?”
A: Hell yeah it will, and that’s part of the point. A lot of people believe battleships are a much easier class than others to play, and with good reason. This changes that, and also raises the skill ceiling, offering more opportunities for really insane games. Won’t brawling be much more fun when you’re the one at the helm?
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