I know I promised more articles by now. This was one of them and the other one that was planned was for a more detailed explanation of changes to the AA. However, given that they have required 2 patches to get it to where it’s at least functional AND they [Wargaming] have put out a video explaining it, I’ll refrain from that one for now. Today’s article will go over the changes to the meta, some pros and cons and of course, future implications.
A New Meta
With the release of 0.8.0, we haven’t really seen a drastic meta change since changes to the stealth fire mechanic, which let’s be honest, was necessary at the time. Shy of that, we have seen some minor changes which started with the release of the British BB line but that only perpetuated the HE spam even further. To continue, prior to 0.8.0, players would often camp islands or do their own thing to farm damage and may eventually push in to engage the enemy. Certain ships were campier than others, such as the Worcester and Des Moines, while others were certainly more of the sit back and farm, like the Conqueror and the Henri IV. Whatever the play style, they were able to work independently from the team and do as they wished. The CV rework has changed that. Players, now more than ever, need to maintain a reasonable distance from one another in order to benefit from ‘herd’ anti-air. Realistically, this is less than 10km from other ships in any direction as to have overlapping AA bubbles.
This can actually be good for the game since is promotes team play, if only indirectly. However, due to the new speed of the planes, as well as other new mechanics, it’s been particularly tough to be a destroyer. If you are spotted, you will likely remain so until you are sunk or a better target appears. Sure, life expectancy is up compared to that of the RTS carriers that would certainly alpha strike DD’s within the first few minutes, but the quality of life hasn’t improved much if at all. Battleships and cruisers have suffered a bit as well due to other changes with this patch, most notably (other than the CVs), the concealment change. The flat 10% change to the Concealment Expert skill hurt the cruisers the most in terms of AA defense coupled with the overall AA rework. Now that there is no AA bubble that meets or exceeds the air spotting range. Prior to 0.8.0, a Worcester, for example, could wait for planes to spot him, enable his AA, and the planes would be well within his AA bubble to where escaping unscathed would be impossible. Within this patch though, he can be spotted and dropped by torpedo planes before he can do anything to defend himself. While this is potentially no different from being targeted by a concealed DD, we have learned how to counter and react to even unspotted destroyers. We are still learning how to deal with CV’s with all the new changes and more soon with 0.8.1 with the RN CV’s.
Pros and Cons
With every change to the game’s meta comes a litany of pros and cons. Not just for the player but for Wargaming as well. While this list can be vast. I’ll try to keep my points as I see it to those that have the highest impact and WHO they impact
- The CV Rework promotes moving as a fleet – Players
- Is easier to play than the RTS version – Players & WG
- Decreased skill gap – Players
- Discourages static play – Players
- Most than one play style for certain CV’s – Players
- Graphically more appealing – Players
- Promotes lemming trains – Players
- Higher level of mastery – Players
- Very difficult to truly balance – Players & WG
- More than one style of play – WG
- CV’s or AA don’t tier up well – Players
The facts about the current meta are as stable as the game. They are constantly changing and evolving as WG nerfs and buffs ships and mechanics. Truth be told, we are burning the candle from both ends here and that is a bad method of troubleshooting. They need to tweak one thing at a time, see what changes and then tweak the next – if they have to. Currently, the changes that they have already made and those that they plan on implementing are moving the game in a direction that is significantly different than the game that I started playing 3 years ago. While this is not a bad thing, I wouldn’t necessarily consider a good thing either. I enjoyed the game as it was. I knew the counters and how to deal with things like CV’s and radar and those choices were usually effective. Sure there were exceptions to the rule, like the Graf Zepplin, but I typically chose my battles wisely when I was able and I could function. Others were not so flexible and thus change was inevitable. However, this method of live testing is having a profound effect on those that I have talked to. Sure Zoup would have you think otherwise (in terms of active players), but having classes be extremely powerful one week then useless the next not fun to play with. As a result many players have taken a ‘break’ from the game while tweaks are made. My own time in game has been very limited in since 0.8.0 dropped, and while I do still hop one, it’s usually for only a few games. This is what public test servers are for, not the live server, perform your weekly tweaks there. If you can’t get the player base, increase the incentives to play. For those of us with limited play time, hoping on the Test server for a few extra flags is just not enough when I can hop on the live server and get more flags, coal, oil for my clan and have a chance at a supercontainer for the same time spent. Make us WANT to play the public test to we don’t have get frustrated with live tests. Moving forward with this method used with the CV Rework, I can only see less than happy customers – but that’s me.