I was happily driving along in my Centurion I the other day, shooting at scrubs, when suddenly
Obliterated by the scum of the skies: some lucky tomato in an SPG.
That got me thinking about the upcoming artillery "nerf". From what I've seen, WG's thought process behind this roughly resembles the following:
- PROBLEM: Arty is overpowered.
- SOLUTION: Make artillery more powerful.
Standard WG logic here, folks.
Before you all flip out at me, allow me to explain....
A note before I jump in - I have not yet played the Sandbox with stun mechanics implemented. This is my outside analysis of the system, a prediction of the results of its implementation.
Also, a note about me - I don't claim to be a unicum at all, or a master of the game. I consider myself a fair player - I'm not a tomato, but I'm not particularly outstanding. I play my S-51 a fair amount, but generally prefer my British mediums.
Here's a basic overview of how the "stun mechanics" are supposed to work.
When a vehicle is hit by artillery, in addition to quite possibly getting tracked, its crew is "stunned" for a period of time, during which the tank cannot operate. This is supposed to make artillery more helpful to its team. This effect can apparently be avoided, however, with first aid kits, which are now going to recharge each minute.
At the same time, artillery's damage is being reduced. However, its splash radius is going up. This is supposed to make artillery less insanely powerful. It seems to me, though, that whatever damage is lost from reduced alpha is regained from the splash itself. For example, say somebody is aiming at a pair of tanks with their artillery. They hit the ground right between the tanks, damaging them both, but not scoring a direct hit. Assuming stun mechanics have not been implemented, let's say the artillery does 500 damage to each tank. Now, let's implement stun mechanics and repeat the situation. Initially, one might think that the artillery would do less damage. However, due to the increased splash radius, the damage the shell does falls more slowly the farther the targets are away from ground zero. Therefore, if the damage drop isn't enough, the shell will still do the same damage to each tank.
[EDIT] I did some more research, and apparently the damage from artillery is going to be reduced far more than I had thought - cut in half rather than reduced by twenty percent or so. It looks like artillery really is going to be weak enough that the increased splash radius won't compensate.
NOT ALL BAD
There's one thing that WG seems to be doing right here. Part of what they're planning to implement is the removal of Armor Piercing and HEAT rounds from artillery. That made me very happy to hear, because armor penetrating rounds are completely unsuited to artillery and enrage both artillery players and tankers.
For a tanker's perspective, imagine the following. Our little tank is driving along, happily shooting enemies, when suddenly, out of absolutely nowhere, an unseen assailant puts a 203 mm HEAT round directly through its roof. Suddenly, the happy little tank is very deceased. This doesn't matter much if it's something like a Centurion, which hardly has much armor anyway and might well be penetrated by HE, but if it's something like a KV-4, HE would not have done that.
An artillery player's perspective is also relatively easy to imagine. Artillery is generally inaccurate and RNG-dependent. Usually, this is compensated for through splash damage from HE. AP and HEAT, however, have no splash damage. Shells can be absorbed by tracks, bounced by armor, or simply missed. Historically and realistically, artillery's purpose is to fling explosives over hills. That should be artillery's use in WOT, as well.
Another thing WG seems to be doing right, although they're not fully there yet, is limiting the number of SPGs per team per match. At the moment they're planning to limit it to three. It's not enough, though. The upper limit, I think, should be two. Why? The reload time of Bert the Avenger.
BUT STILL PRETTY BAD
With three SPGs per team, marauding platoons of FV304s can lock down and annihilate individual tanks, and ultimately entire flanks.
Imagine this. You are driving your favorite medium. You round a corner, and suddenly POW! You get shot by Bert. You fix your tracks and start to back up into cover.
OH WAIT! You've been stunned. You're stuck.
You use your first aid kit and get moving. But before you can move an inch, POW! You get shot by Bert #2. Your repair kit and first aid kit will take a full minute to recharge and become usable again.
But you'll be fine! Your crew is good, and should be recovered right about - POW! You get shot by Bert #3.
Well, they've all fired now, right? Soon, you'll be able to - POW! Bert #1 has reloaded again. Then Bert #2 has reloaded again. Then Bert #3 has reloaded again. Do you see what I'm getting at here? Stun mechanics look like they'll make FV304s even more ridiculously overpowered. It doesn't matter how reduced their damage output is if they can keep hammering you until you're dead.
ALL IN ALL...
It seems that stun mechanics won't really change anything. Artillery can still cause you to take massive damage easily. FV304s can keep you permanently stunned IN ADDITION to being permanently tracked. This means that not only can you not move, you can't accomplish anything while you're stuck. If the FV304s don't get you, those tomatoes you were trading shots with will. The only way I can see artillery being fixed is with such a significant reduction in damage and splash radius that it becomes pointless for the vehicle class to even exist in the first place. Artillery is broken, and there doesn't seem to be a clear path to fix it.
[EDIT] As I mentioned above, upon additional, enlightening research prompted by responses (thank you for that), it seems stun mechanics actually WILL change things. This is exactly what community discussion can do.
Thanks for taking the time to read my wall of text! I'd like to know what the rest of the community thinks outside of the poll above, and as such encourage replies. If I made any miscalculations or assumptions, or you disagree with my analysis, please let me know!
ABN Combat Officer
Edited by eldeejay, Feb 16 2017 - 03:13.