Original article by @Pompous
Any time artillery is brought up in conversation, this is the sort of montage that plays through the head of most any World of Tanks player, courtesy of StranaMechty of RDDT:
Artillery is something that evokes a very visceral reaction in World of Tanks players, from the newest person with a few hundred games, to the 20,000+ game veterans with dozens of tier 10's under their belt, everyone has an opinion on artillery that falls somewhere on the spectrum between “It’s fine” and “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to the entire world, and the person who introduced it should be immediately evacuated to the core of the earth for swift and violent death.”
(Worth noting right about here, this piece is largely going to be opinion based, and you may not agree with my personal view of artillery. Consider this your warning on that front.)
An opinion of artillery that you will hear around some of the higher-end clans on the North American server right now, is that artillery is the single worst thing that has ever happened to World of Tanks and must be immediately and summarily removed from the game if any hope of balance is to ever be achieved. Furthermore, the current nature of artillery where 1-shots are reasonably common, missing still yields damage and shell arc is king is hurting the game at all levels of play.
The main point I wanted to reach with this article, is to compare artillery as a mechanic, to that of Premium Ammunition. Premium ammunition is a tool which nearly every player is happy to use, despite any objection to it being included in the game that they as individuals may have. This point was demonstrated recently in this thread regarding a recent article on RBS about premium ammunition. Despite the 19 pages of back and forth amongst community members, it is almost universally agreed that in the current environment, someone not using premium ammunition is being foolish and handicapping themselves when it comes to gameplay. The question becomes, why is artillery the embodiment of all of the evil on the entire earth, whereas premium ammunition is somehow viewed with a much more tempered, slow-burning sort of disdain?
I think that ultimately, the reason for this comes down to the actual moment of impact of an artillery shell. A game that is going fantastically can be ended in a moment by a player ranging in skill from the lowliest 300 wn8 newbie, to a 4500 wn8 artillery focused re-rolled account. And that right there is the critical problem; in a tank vs tank battle between a skilled player and a newer player, even a newer player firing nothing but premium, probably 9 times out of 10, the better player wins while taking minimal damage because of various advantages in positioning, targeting of modules, and other techniques to minimize the damage taken. When it comes to artillery, the gap between the best artillery player in the world and joe schmo’s first tier 10 T92 player is significantly more narrow than the gap between two medium/heavy tank players of the same skill difference.
Ultimately, the point of this article is to draw attention to something that I feel has somehow gone unnoticed amongst the general population, and that is the massive parity between the treatment and reaction of premium ammo, that of something to be despised but used, and artillery, something that is hated and ridiculed more than anything else I can possibly imagine in World of Tanks. Every person who has played this game has probably seen an exchange between someone throwing out the “Gold user = noob” sentiment, and getting blasted for taking such an idiotic view on things, yet those same people will turn around and demonize any artillery player.
Yet why is that any different than someone who fires premium ammo? Artillery is a tool to be used. In it’s current state, I would absolutely agree, it is flawed, and contributes negatively to the outcome of almost every game in which it is, and yet why do we feel such hatred for those who play it? It is the simple fact that the difference between RandomPlayer875967 with a wn8 of 300, and TD42 with a WN8 of almost 4000 is known to be more narrow, and thus we decide that skill is less of a factor. If that same player were facing down my tank on the field, I could outplay him, minimize damage to my tank, maximize damage to his tank, and crush him. And yet from across 600-800m of ground, he can indirectly fire upon me where I have no recourse for firing back, breaking every module on my tank and crippling me for the rest of the game.
Artillery is a broken mechanic, that is undoubted, but what needs to happen is greater disparity in results between the least skilled and most skilled players, smaller guns that are not capable of one-shotting on the top-end of damage rolls, and less fire-directly-over-buildings artillery like the Conqueror Gun Carriage. Artillery is a part of the game, whether we like it or not, and I for one would like to see a real, actual effort to fix something be made, rather than halfhearted balance attempts based around individual offenders rather than the entire class as a whole.
Final thoughts, possible changes:
No artillery discussion would be complete without everyone involved giving their two cents as to how artillery should be fixed, and this article is no exception. What I think is critical to understand, and something that is often presented as a means of fixing artillery, is to lower the accuracy even further than it’s already horrendous accuracy numbers. If anything, that will serve to make those artillery shots that do connect even more rage-inducing than they currently are. What I would like to see, is a form of artillery that unlike current artillery, is truly designed to serve no role but breaking a hard turtle strategy. A mechanic whereby, through firing and finely adjusting the angle of the gun, over a period of 3-5 shots, you can “dial-in” your fire onto specific positions. In this way, artillery would never be the 2,000 damage surprise it is currently.
The ultimate goal is to prevent lovely situations like the following highlight from Anfield’s stream from being possible. http://www.twitch.tv/anfield_us/c/4100439
The situation where within 5 seconds after being spotted within the first 30 seconds of the game, a tank of the strongest tier in the game is instantly removed from existence by one player, over a period of 5 seconds. If artillery is to be the turtle-breaking mechanic everyone seems to claim it is, the hard-counter to all of those camping Tank Destroyers that supposedly is the reason for artillery’s strength, then fine. Make them use effort to dial in shots, so that the skilled player takes less shots to get themselves dialed in. I am not okay with a world in which artillery can nail a Batchat moving perpendicular to them at a range of 800m, while the batchat is going 60 kp/h and weaving back and forth for 100% of his hp. And unfortunately, that is the current state of artillery in World of Tanks.
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