Thursday, April 19, 2018

Preventing Camping in World of Warships?

In a recent YouTube video “the Mighty Jingles” described iun an aside how he and several others created an encounter map for World of Warships designed to prevent a common mode of play that really frustrates most of the Youtubers and community contributors to the game.

World of Warships is a team game using arcade rather than realistic methods. The warships look great, the effects of combat look great, you can see the torpedo trails (yours anyway) in the water, and you can even see the shells traveling to the targets. But in the end it’s a remarkably unrealistic experience. There is no organization except to divide 24 players into two teams. There are lots of islands around and yet the maps are fairly small, so everybody mixes it up trying to destroy enemy ships and capture certain locations to score points. I say everybody, but it’s common that battleships will “camp” at the back of the map, shooting at very long ranges. This can be effective because visibility is almost always perfect, even at ranges where in the real world much of the ship would be under the horizon. As long as a ship on your side has spotted the opposing ship then you can also see it perfectly. But if no one has got within its detection range, it could be less than 10 km from your ship and be invisible despite the clear weather.

The clarity makes it quite easy to aim as well.

Battleships are more effective in winning the game when they wade in and take damage for their side (they have many heals to recover damage) and more effectively blast the enemy. But the majority of battleship captains won’t do that.

So Jingles and company designed the map with four point-producing capture points (which are large circles), one in each corner. (Ordinarily these are between where the two sides spawn.) This is a simple but clever way to be sure that there’s nowhere to camp.

At some point I decided to try to think of other ways to achieve this. First, if you want ships to melee, put them into a melee situation almost immediately, don’t give them the opportunity to camp. As the game stands now the 12 ships on each side spawn on one side of the map out of sight of the other side. The capture points generally are in the middle. I’d start each side in three groups of four ships in a sort of circle or hexagon alternating one side and the other. So if you imagine a clock face, one side would spawn at 1 o’clock, 5 o’clock, and 9 o’clock. The other side would be at 3, 7, and 11. This would put ships fairly close to enemies without much opportunity to fade back into the background. In effect it means there’s no “our side of the map”.

Second, and simple to implement, is to recognize that it’s much too easy to aim and hit targets in the game, especially a long ranges. There is a dispersion factor in firing, but nothing to model that visibility is usually much worse as you get farther away, even on a good day. So I would add an increasing factor that represented gun-sighting difficulties, so that someone shooting from very far away is much less likely to hit (quite apart from the actual quality of their aim) than if they were much nearer the enemy. At some point that means the ships very far back aren’t going to hit much of anything. They can still be “safe” but they can’t get enough damage to say so - yet experience points (to get more ships) derive considerably from damage inflicted. That will cause some of them to move closer, though I imagine others won’t change their behavior.

Computer game players tend to object to numbering schemes, wanting their skills to determine their success. But this is just compensation for the unnaturally good visibility that normally prevails. (Occasionally in the game there is a cyclone that reduces visibility to 8 km, so then camping is impossible.)


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Anonymous said...

"I say everybody, but it’s common that battleships will “camp” at the back of the map, shooting at very long ranges."

I am guilty of this, but I was forced into it by both the time limit of the battle and the lack of a fleet commander in World of Warships.

I have been playing naval miniatures battle games since the early 80s. A battle would last four to six hours and each side had an overall commander. Hits and damage were resolved using dice and tables. If playing a battleship, I would have one or two cruisers assigned to protect my battleship from destroyer torpedo runs.

New players would quickly learn that using traditional WWI and WWII tactics with average dice rolls (average number of hits and damage) were more effective to win the battle than using unorthodox tactics with better dice rolls (more hits and damage).

"Battleships are more effective in winning the game when they wade in and take damage for their side (they have many heals to recover damage) and more effectively blast the enemy. But the majority of battleship captains won’t do that."

I have been playing World of Warships since it came out. I tried to use traditional naval tactics with World of Warships at first but found they did not work because the other players would play their ships as independent commands and not as part of a fleet. Plus with 15 minute of play time, there is not much time to coordinate with the other players.

If I tried to wade in so I could take damage for my side and more effectively blast the enemy, my battleship would be quickly sunk by torpedoes. I found that I was most effective in helping my side to win the battle by staying further back from the action (camping in the back of the map) because of the lack of screening by the cruisers on my side.

On the other hand when playing destroyers in World of Warships, I find it fairly easy to make successful torpedo runs against the battleships that wade in to the battle. When playing naval miniatures, it was rare for the destroyers to get past the cruisers screening the battleships to make a successful torpedo run.

Lewis Pulsipher said...

Despite the gloss of realism, World of Warships is an arcade game. Battleships aren't going to fight amongst an island chain, destroyers don't reload torpedoes in a minute or two (most don't reload at all, and I doubt that any have ever had more than one reload), but the biggest difference is no command/control, no organization of any kind. That was the situation I was addressing in the post.