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The easiest way to hit a ship is still to target a different ship

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This issue becomes evident whenever enemy ships (or friendlies, or mixes of both) are in close proximity. When you are firing at a ship, you will almost always have a better chance of scoring hits on *a different ship* than the one you are targetting. This is observable any time two ships are close together, and can be quite exploitable. For example, if the enemy is approaching your battleship with a light cruiser and destroyers which pass in close formation, targetting the light cruiser has a good chance of landing kills on the destroyers which would otherwise be nearly impossible to hit with your guns at range. In some missions this will manifest as unexpected kills on destroyers that you can't even see. In ALL situations, if two enemy ships pass close to each other it is highly beneficial to target one of them to drastically increase your chances of hitting the other one. This is most noticable at close ranges against destroyers where you can go from ~1% or less hit probabilities to 50% of your shells hitting the target when ships align. Obviously shooting at two targets in close proximity is going to score you more hits, but you can observe in game that the hit probability goes up far more than makes any sort of sense, and it certainly makes no sense that the ship you are *not* targetting would take many more hits than the one you are shooting at.

Here's what seems to be happening when you fire at another ship. The game decides which shells are going to hit based on the %hit chance modifiers, then draws trajectories for hits and misses. Fast and small (or not so small!) ships can build up impenetrable force fields with these modifiers. However, once the trajectory is drawn, any other ships in the beaten zone don't get to benefit from their own probability force field, and so have a fully random chance of being hit based on the dispersion of misses around the target ship.

The issue is that when to-hit penalties are high (basically any time destroyers are being shot at), the odds of being randomly hit by a miss become much, much higher than the artificially low hit chance on the target. This is why the non-targetted ship gets whalloped while the ship you are aiming at is fine.

This ALSO causes an issue with friendly fire. Since there are no checks for FF, if one of your ships is too close to an enemy, your other ships can go from not being able to hit the enemy to murdering your allied ship with high accuracy.

I can't really think of a good way to fix this as it is a result of the core targetting mechanics. Reducing or capping some of the to-hit modifiers would make it less obvious, but impact balance heavily. Reducing the size of ship hitboxes might help a little. A real fix seems like it would take more fundamental changes to the way shots are calculated though.

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