The basis for this article will be to discuss a lesser known mechanic in the game – the targeting dispersion buff. If you are unaware of what this is, you’re probably not alone which is the point of this article so let’s get started.
What is it?
When you put your targeting reticle over a ship it should automatically lock on to that target. If ships are close together and the auto-lock is not working well, you can use the default X key to select the target that you want. By selecting your target and deciding to shoot at it with your main battery guns the mechanic will kick in. How it tends to work is if your lead is correct so that the shells well land near mid ship – the citadel area – your dispersion tends to get a bit of a buff. It’s a great form of positive reinforcement for proper aiming as you can usually see immediately that “those shell are going to be good.” To clarify though, this mechanic only seems to take into consideration your horizontal lead and not your vertical, so if you’re shooting too low or too high, it does not seem to be effected. Now that you know what it does and doesn’t do let’s mention some of the pros and cons that it has. As a quick note though, this is different than the buff you get when a target is actually selected.
Simply put, if your aim is good, this buff will certainly increase the likelihood of TONS of damage to your target if not a dev strike. As I mentioned earlier, for a new player who’s just learning how to aim, this mechanic can provide great reinforcement in how to lead. Of course, this is even great for the seasoned veteran as it’s always a great feeling knowing that that enemy ship sailing in a straight line giving you broadside will feel their mistake!
Quite honestly, I feel that this mechanic has more cons than pros, particularly for the seasoned player and here’s why. You are targeting a ship that is either stationary or going in reverse and, being the seasoned player, you aim ahead of them knowing that they will accelerate into your shells. Plus one for the seasoned player but RNG says NOPE. Because you fired the shells away from the mid-point of the ship or the direction they were headed, you do not get this buff, and I dare say it does the opposite sometimes. Even if your prediction was spot on, your dispersion will suffer and you may not get the damage that you were hoping. The same can be said for a target that actively maneuvers to avoid shots. You put your crosshairs where you believe the target will maneuver to, misaligning your horizontal lead. The enemy sails just as anticipated and RNG says, “Too bad so sad,” because you weren’t aiming at mid-ship when you fired based on its then path. Once again, this mechanic hurts the veteran shooter who’s experience should have rewarded them.
As an experienced player, this mechanic can be annoying at times, especially when I see the shells dispersing beautifully due to my good aim, but the target decides to maneuver. Or, as noted in the cons, I don’t get this buff because I can predict what a target while do and I don’t reap the rewards. The problem here though is I don’t know how I would change it shy of getting rid of it. While it is nice to have, it is far less useful at higher tiers due to more players actively changing speed and direction than at lower tiers. As I am torn here, what are your thoughts?