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Slim McSauce

Accelerating Combat too fast

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Piggy backing off of this thread https://forum.game-labs.net/topic/30052-acceleration-is-broken/
The feel of combat has been thrown off. I can't help but notice the combination of weaker hulls, faster ships and more accurate gunnery sapping battles of their tactics.
This isn't a suggestion but an address to the problems of accelerated combat, in each of the respected models of combat, SM DM and GM as well as repairs.
(sailing model, damage model, gunnery model), comparing the too and fro's of fast, and slow. As well as what can be considered "correct" from 
a historically-accurate and gameplay-beneficial point of view, with heavy emphasis on gameplay consistency and feature tie-in. Enjoy.


Sailing
Ships have been made to accelerate faster. I can't help but notice the speeding up, it looks a lot like OW does when you're sailing. Not only that but compared to how fast you gain speed, you turn painfully slow, just like OW. Battles do not feel right anymore, they feel a lot like trying to have combat on OW.

With that, has come a reduction in tactics. Before, energy fighting was a thing. Maneuvers costed speed, speed that had you had to maintain. Now you don't have to because you regain speed so fast, even in a turn, even up wind. Tacking use to be high risk high reward. Perfectly done you could keep a solid 3 knts through the tack, if you messed up you got choked up in irons for a bit. Now you never retain more than a knt speed. The energy management is not there. You are not rewarded for good maneuvers, nor punished for bad ones like you use to.

Damage
Weaker hulls have also made combat faster. At first I liked the idea, I thought hulls were too spongy, but I was wrong. Ships in history were rarely sunk. More common was that they took so much damage that the crew, cannons, walkways, were so damaged and littered with collateral, that there was no fighting ability left. A broadside from a SOL into a 4th rate, will do high crew damage, high gun damage, high penalties to crew mobility, reload speed, etc, with great chance of fire or a charge exploding (not in the magazine always) taking 1-20 crew and some guns with it.

Shots below the water line may sink a ship, many leaks in close proximity can cause a structural crack, but a broadside through the gun deck will not sink a ship, neither will a fire. A fire will do everything BUT sink the ship, kill crew, disable guns, damage sails, ignite charges, all of that. Many times more often than not, it's not the ship that gives in first, it's what's inside it. This new damage model does not reflect that accurately.

Gunnery
This is my number one gripe. Gunnery is the cause of the problems we have, since the very beginning. Point and click, full broadsides put on target with near perfect accuracy is what throws off the combat model. From mast sniping, to full broadside leaks, nailing broadsides from extreme range with ease. The skill requirement for gunnery is so low, it reduced everything about the combat model with it. The entirety of combat is only as good as it's weakest link. Everything has to be lowered to compensate for gunnery, because we're using auto-stabalizing sniper cannons and not training our artillery pieces on target. Gunnery in this state makes sense only if manual sails didn't exist and you just pressed a key to turn like a take. Using sail power we can control the heel of our ships. Our hands don't need holding, captains of NA can stabilize their own ships.

Repairs
Final thoughts, repairs follows all things above. Repairs fill the gaps, the weakpoints if you will. Losing a mast, taking a rake, those can be battle ending. Repairs let you stay in the fight after making a mistake. Right now you are allowed unlimited mistakes. It goes beyond mistakes too, you are afforded about 10x more than your ships health provides by repairing every chance you get. If you get down to structure in a group fight, you can split off and repair for 20 minutes, back up to 75% health, and do that a few times a battle, drastically changing the entire core principle of the battle.
What you get is DPM (damage per minute) vs HPM (heals per minute). If the dpm is lower than hpm, the battle continues on until time limit, no kills achieved. This is evident in large battles.
One person takes damage, they filter out repair and come back. Doing this, a side may take 0 loses, with all ships being combat capable at the end, because despite everyone making
10+major mistakes, they were able to heal those 10+mistakes away making what happened in the battle, inconsequential. This is repair-meta at the helm of combat.
By limiting repairs, fixing the sail model, and improving the damage model you can have better battles, open up more tactics and remove the goofy-ness
of weightless combat, re-introducing forward thinking positioning, accurate gunnery, and skillful sailing back into combat.

 

 

Edited by Slim McSauce
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I agree with the majority of this post. Only thing I can't agree on is what exactly should be done, as I just don't know at this point.

I can say that my first proper battle since release, I was sailing the Pandora against an 18pdr AI frigate, the Cherabim. In less than 10 minutes of fighting, I'd lost around 3/4 of the armor on one side, half of the armor on other side, and 1/4 of my structure was down. I didn't pay attention to crew losses. In return I'd mangled him a little, but nothing worth noting.

This falls in line with some fights in the patch prior to release as well, where a White Oak/White Oak Bellona was taking very heavy damage in 1v1 fights where, before, I may have only come out a little scarred.

In short, battles seem to be determined much faster. And by sheer hull and structure damage alone.

My thoughts on how to improve the battle mechanics:

Damage - 

  • Slight buff to armor
  • Heavily buff structure
  • Instead of sinking, ships lose crew, guns (and masts?) from sustained fire. Making them combat ineffective.
  • Goal: Increase rate of losses to surrender, explosion, or capture. 

Sailing characteristics -

  • Reduce acceleration rate, speed keeping during maneuvers.
  • Reduce sail handling speed. Maneuvers should be planned, and nearly irreversible without losing large amounts of speed.
  • Introduce mechanic that reduces sail handling speed the more damaged your sails become. Simulating destroyed rigging. 
  • More?

Repairs -

  • "Hull repairs"
  1. Reduce armor repair percentage
  2. Perhaps a buff to speed and percentage of structure repair (plugging leaks, reinforcing hull below the water line, etc.). Allowing a kind of enhanced emergency repair.
  3. No change to cannon replacement, although, perhaps you shouldn't be able to get all of your guns back... Uprighting overturned guns is one thing, but replacing a wrecked carriage?

 

I'm sure there's more to be said, but I'll leave it here. And I apologize if I'm hijacking your thread, Mr. @Slim McSauce.

 

- Rook

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what you are asking for isn't game-friendly. you ask for realism, me too, but many players won't like it.

a good realistic gameplay should be 5th rate completely neutralized by a single 3rd rate broadside (maybe 2) cause the crew will be too much scared so they strike the flag and surrend istant. but how simulate this in a videogame? you can but all players won't understand that this should be the real game.

historically, sailing was a pain for square sails ships cause they cannot move anymore at 60° to wind for example and a tack needs maybe 10 minutes, if done prorperly.

reps also are totally un-realistic: i don't speak about the necromancer with rum, but repairing hull under fire is impossible and you should take safety distance before starting repairing. and you should be able to repair only 3 times for battle, not as it is now with infinite reps every 10 min.

first damage patch the devs introduced was really near to reality, a 5th rate was totally destroyed by a single 1st rate broadside, with demast also...as it was in real life of that century.

 

but all the forum ''naaaaaaa its horrible, i cannot use anymore my hercules vs 2 ocean!!!1!!11!'' ...the problem is those players, not the game.

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4 hours ago, Rook said:

 

  • "Hull repairs"
  1. Reduce armor repair percentage

 

- Rook

whats current repair %?

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1 hour ago, balticsailor said:

20% by default, but you can get it up to 40% with the right skill, upgrades and peaks.

you cant

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6 hours ago, huliotkd said:

what you are asking for isn't game-friendly. you ask for realism, me too, but many players won't like it.

a good realistic gameplay should be 5th rate completely neutralized by a single 3rd rate broadside (maybe 2) cause the crew will be too much scared so they strike the flag and surrend istant. but how simulate this in a videogame? you can but all players won't understand that this should be the real game.

I'm not actually asking anything, I'm just bringing up the problems with current accelerated combat. When sailing was more paced, there were more tactics, but only as much as the weak link which is gunnery allows. You can't balance good realistic gameplay when all the combat mechanics need to content with having arcade, hyper accurate gunnery.

There's actually 2 design philosophies competing here, faster pace and high repairs, or slower and less repairs. That was the reason for the new, weaker damage model, was because the choice for Admin was either limit repairs because they were too much, or less ship health and increase damage across the board.

Good thing about the former decision is that it retains realism within the benefit of gameplay. Fast fights are not conducive of age of sail. We have OW sailing for a reason, so that the battle instance can be as true as possible. We start off pretty close already. We have a full 90 minutes to work with which is plenty of time to stage epic battles.

Problem with the former is it's a compromise of gameplay and authenticity. Motor boats with sniper-style cannons hitting full rolling broadsides at 500m closing is not authentic.
If you want WoWs painted in 18th century sail, sure it's alright, but it leaves out a lot of what people like about age of sail in the the first place.

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