There are lots of upcoming and proposed changes for both 0.8.0 and beyond. This article would usually be done as a Weekly Dev Blog Round up but due to not having the usual writer to help me keep up with that and my own time constraints this will be a long article. So I’ve broken it down into sections.
Table of Contents
- HUD Improvements
- CV Rework – CV Play
- CV Rework – Anti-Air
- Ship Balance Changes
- Ranked Season 11
- Russian Battleships
Currently being tested, and about damn time, the indicator that your ship has been detected by radar or hydro will now be distinguishable by which. There will be no more guessing or trying to piece together information from the minimap about which ship is using what against you. The new icons will now make it obvious that your are either under radar or under hydroacoustic search. Further, and also about time, when a teammate uses one of these consumables, a team chat message will be sent informing others that it is in use. Another bit of information in the form of a circular overlay both on the minimap (a green circle around the player) and another circular overlay that covers the 3D battlefield as shown in this image here. With the likely upcoming changes to radar, this will be a must have.
Similar to what has occurred with fires since forever, displaying which section or sections of the ship have been set ablaze, now too will they display this with flooding. You can now flood in only two places, the front and back halves of the ship. Other changes that are being tested here are a duration decrease for all classes except CV’s which will now lead to a maximum flood time of 40 sec instead of 90. The final change is the loss per second to your HP. The base for all classes was 0.667% or 2/3% per second and has been reduced to 0.25% for CV’s, 0.5% for Battleships and battlecruisers like Stalingrad and Alaska, 0.25% for cruisers and destroyers, and 0.375% for the 2 Graf Spee ships. Flooding will also reduced the engine power of the ship, as it did before, but the published values are 30% forward reduction and 60% reverse. They state that these changes will cause less damage over time, thus making a perma-flood less lethal. However, some game knowledge proves otherwise. Sure, overall damage done by flooding is less due to the duration reductions, even with 2 simultaneous floods. If we look at the examples they posted from the Dev Blog with the Conqueror, a full health Conq with not no modifiers for floods would lose 49,800 health if left un-repaired. The new system would do 16,600 and 33,200 damage with 1 and two floods simultaneously. Still less damage but not less lethal as the other change is the speed. A 30% reduction to forward movement is a change from the 15-20% change (based on class) with the current system1. Slower targets are easier to hit and are less maneuverable. Furthermore, and it has been noted at least once, that this new change could lead to hitting DCP becoming less automatic due to the significant change in HP loss and duration. This won’t be so much of an issue for Battleship players due to still losing 0.5% per second of HP per flood (compared to 0.3% per2 sec of HP per fire as seasoned BB players usually wait for 2+ fires to hit DCP), but other for classes this could change some behavior as a single flood will do less damage than a single fire. This will of course make the Unsinkable achievement more common. Only Time will tell.
The radar changes are questionable in my opinion. The proposed changes include standardizing the ranges for radar for most of the tech tree lines with Soviet cruisers getting buffed to 12km from 11.7 km, American Heavy Cruisers going up to 10km except the Salem and Wichita which will ramain at 8.5km and 9km respectively, and the British cruisers, except the Belfast, going to 10km. However, these ‘buff’s, along with some duration increase changes the Soviet cruisers and Destroyers that have radar, will be balanced by rendering times. If you pop your radar, nothing has changed other than maybe duration or range. However, for you teammates, the change could be huge and mean the difference between sinking a ship and not. For your teammates, the ships detected by radar will render immediately on the minimap, but will not show up for target acquisition for another 6 secs. While this certainly helps those destroyers who foolishly stumble to well inside radar range of a cruiser (most of which they will spot before they are in radar range or just after), giving them time to run away while only being able to be shot at by 1 ship. It will certainly increase the emphasis on communication within a team so they hold their fire in preparation for radar. A wonderful concept indeed, but in random battles where this is usually a concern, far less likely to actually occur. Game changing, sure. Game breaking, probably not but we’ll probably see a higher percentage of destroyers making it to mid or even late game battles where they become more of a force multiplier. We’ll just have to wait to find out if this makes it through or not.
This change is huge, and frankly the biggest one since stealth firing (which was necessary) in my opinion. Currently, it is standard practice for nearly every ship to take the Concealment Expert skill and Concealment Upgrade. Further, due to the base concealment values of some ships, there were instances where a ‘smaller’ cruiser could be out spotted by a ‘larger’ battleship. This is their reasoning for making the values a flat 10% across the board for all classes. While certainly a problem for aggressive cruisers who like to offer flat broadside to a soon to be spotted group of battleships, the times where a skillful cruiser player got out spotted and out played by a stealthy battleship player are few and far between. With destroyers being stealthier than both, with few exceptions, and ship launched aircraft, a good cruiser player shouldn’t ever be surprised by a stealthy battleship. Especially if they look at the minimap once in a while. What this will likely do, is extend engagement ranges even further to allow these now less stealthy ships to break contact should the become the focus of multiple enemies. What’s more important, is the threat that destroyers poses to battleships and CV’s increases as well. Though a .6-.8km difference in detectability for top tier battleships seems small in the grand scheme of things, that’s a huge distance to cover to break concealment. Moreover, it’s a new things that each player will have to adapt to coming from years of knowing that their ship could out spot X, Y and Z or needed so much room to fall off detect. Again, similar to the others, the implications seem far greater than the numbers applied to paper but only time will tell.
CV Rework – CV Play
The short and sweet of this section, since EVERYONE has covered this adnauseam, is this change was meant to achieve a few things. The first, make it easier for your Average Joe player to take out a CV and perform. They’ve made them easier for certain things, such as less multitasking, but a believe it’s harder in several other aspects. Strikes need far more practice to know what ships to hit with what, and where to hit them as well as how to aim and lead. Further, the skill necessary to do consistent damage and preserve aircraft has increased so I believe they missed the target here. Another would be to reduce the power that the CV’s have in game. This is also a miss in my opinion due to less of a hit or miss when it comes to skill but more of a very large gray area. The better CV player will know how to create perma-DoTs and avoid flak bursts while the other will just be a nuisance and add to Worcester or Mino plane kills. Swarm of hornets vs a few flies by comparison. Further, if they allow 2v2 CV’s back at high tiers it will be a nightmare for ANY ship that is not fully AA spec’d and for those ships that are better suited for other skills, this would be a waste. The last goal would be easier to port over to console play. In theory, this is the only thing they achieved. Tsk Tsk Wargaming.
CV Rework – Anti-Air
Based on the most recent article found here, AA ‘bubbles’ will no longer overlap. In comparison with the current model, if aircraft got within your short-range AA guns, the were not only susceptible to that DPM, say 50, but also that of the medium AND long range DPM, 200 and 100 respectively let’s say. Therefore, they would suffer from a total of 350dpm before any buffs. The upcoming model takes that away. If short range is 50, medium is 200 and long range is 100, the will only be subjected to 200 if they are within range of the medium, not both the medium and the long range. Further, you have to focus sectors, which takes time – buffing one section by the same amount you debuff the other. So what is an attack squadron to do at 150+ knots? They go around to the other side of the ship to strike. They’ll be able to do this fast than you’ll be able to change the sector focus and though many players haven’t found that ‘baseline’ for sector focus, they will. The good players most certainly will be able to tell. SO…Good players will be able to not only avoid but predict your AA, knock it out over time (hell one good HE salvo from a Conqueror can destroy 20 AA mounts), be able to strike all but the highest AA ships with little to no losses, and just otherwise run a muck. So you either run a full AA build whatever all the time, or div with one, since counting on random teammates to provide that will be wishful thinking. Good luck!
Ship Balance Changes
With patch 0.8.0, many ships will be getting some love outside of the changes mentioned above. These ships include, but are not limited to the Izumo, Colorado, and Hood with some sigma buffs. Torpedo buffs for the Sims, Aigle, and Kii and main battery reload buffs for the Kii, Nagato, Dunkerque, and Mahan and finally, the Ognevoi, Udaloi and Kiev. However, with the Kiev, it appears it will have to chose between smoke or heal, while the Ognevoi and Udaloi will have both. These buffs were needed for all of these ships in my opinion and some, like the Sims, have needed some attention for a LONG time.
Ranked Season 11
With Ranked season 11 going live in just a few days, the hot topic here is Tier 9. Though I had previously been a proponent of Tier 9 ranked, on 2 previous occasions actually, that was before they introduced the Krondstadt, the Black, and the Musashi (when I wrote my first article about it). Now they plan on also introducing the Alaska. Though it will not be here for patch 0.8.0, and probably not even for this season due to the shorter duration (coincidence?), we may see her for the future if tier 9 is the choice next season as well. Two years ago, tier 9 was viable, today we will see some balance issue. Other than the elephant in the room called Musashi, which is a Tier 10 ship with less accuracy and no AA, still has it where it matters, gun caliber and HP, ships like the Black, the Krondstadt and the Missouri will likely control their respective classes. Radar + Fletcher makes for a lethal DD when configured correctly when we look at the Black. The Krondstadt has guns that can overmatch the armor of what many are considering to be a good candidate for Ranked, the Neptune, not to mention the 11.7km and soon to be 12km radar (most likely). The Missouri will also be an excellent choice, and in my opinion, preferred over the Musashi for 3 main reasons; better accuracy, actually has AA (for what it will be worth), and radar. Though she has less HP and no lolpen guns, she is faster in every respect so that makes up for those two short-comings in my book. Finally we have the Jean Bart. The latest premium tier 9 in the game. She’ll probably be used by some, but I feel her armor profile will not be able to be compensated for by her MBR booster and speed boost, especially in the Arms Race game mode which will force closer engagements if you want the perks. Whatever your opinion, 5,500 steal is a nice carrot for those that are close to the Stalingrad.
Big guns, big HP pools, and 15km radar that lasts for 60 sec (though it only spots BB’s and CV’s), the hype is confirmed, but what about the bias? So far, the balancing factors are they are detected from space WITHOUT radar and the sigma of their guns is considerably lower than their same tier counterparts. The also appear to be slow and cumbersome but we know little about their armor scheme other then “Plating: 32mm.” Is that all around, just the bow, will they have 50mm plates like the Stalingrad and Moskva? Don’t know yet. What we do know is the tier X will hit like a ton of bricks with an alpha of 15,500 per gun (times 9) and that they all appear to have British HE fire chance, no word of pen though if it will be standard 1/6 or a modified one. Further, their AA looks lackluster but these are all preliminary values and it appears they have not even been released for Supertester’s yet. On paper so far, they look balanced with AA, maneuverability and detectability being their weaknesses while, tank-ability and napalm are their strengths. I look forward to seeing how these ships mature with testing. If you want a better look at the current stats check out here for the high tiers and here for the low tiers.