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malaquey

Cruiser balance suggestions

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I've been playing since CBT and cruisers definitely seem underpowered with respect to other classes. There's a number of reasons that this may be the case and I thought I'd outline them and some potential fixes to see what people think.

1. Lack of carriers

Cruisers, especially American ones, have defensive fire and mostly good aa. Obviously this only helps if there are planes around. The problem is that carriers are very rare, especially at higher tiers. The way carrier play forces out bad players also means that hardly any carriers will just fly their planes through your aa so you get very few plane kills per game. If cruisers have no planes to shoot down then one of the things they're "supposed" to do is unavailable and they are left lacking since good aa means slightly worse other stats. Even with the max of 2 carriers per game cruisers still don't usually see significant air attack.

Possible solutions:

Give cruisers defensive fire as a separate consumable so they can also take hydro acoustic search so you aren't penalised for taking aa when there aren't any planes.

Remove defensive fire and just flat out buff cruiser aa, maybe a bit heavy handed but again it would stop penalising people for choosing aa.

 

2. Too ineffective against battleships

HE spamming cruisers at long range can be ok but most of the time a same tier battleship will eat a cruiser, it's not even a contest. German cruisers especially have terrible HE and really struggle to burn a battleship down. This is all very well as part of the BB>CA>DD>BB triangle but it's much harder to kill a destroyer in a cruiser than it is to kill a cruiser in a battleship. Destroyers are also less common than battleships which just skews it even more, that's a meta issue though. Battleships were built to fight battleships so cruisers armour isn't even relevant half the time.

Possible solutions:

Decrease cruisers physical size. Some cruisers are the size of battleships, and almost as easy to hit. Coupled with their lack of armour they die much more easily. If they were harder to hit at long range then it would turn more into a game of dodging shells. This does happen already but you still get hit too often if the battleship can aim. Battleships could still wreck cruiser at close range though so cruisers would still be encouraged to keep their distance. It would also help at dodging torpedoes.

Reduce the damage cruisers take from battleship citadels, maybe by half. They would still hurt but you wouldn't lose half(or even all) of your health due to a lucky hit or two.

Increase the concealment of cruisers. My Atago has a 9.1km detection range and I don't have any issues with battleships. If I'm taking a lot of fire I just stop firing back and after 20 seconds I melt into the shadows until I've extricated myself from the situation. German cruisers again really struggle to hide, especially if a destroyer is spotting you.

 

3. Ineffectiveness vs destroyers

Cruisers, especially HE spamming ones can murder destroyers at close range. That depends on the destroyer coming close though. With the addition of radar and the buffed hydro acoustic search this might no longer be an issue but considering that cruisers are supposed to counter destroyers it's a very passive counter when the destroyers can always see the cruisers first. Again, there's also the issue of low destroyer counts but that's again a meta issue.

Possible solutions:

None if the recent changes are effective.

Nerf destroyers concealment, not so much that they can't stealth torp but enough to stop them being able to turn around unseen if they see a cruiser coming straight towards them.

Nerf torpedo ranges. This would force destroyers into closer proximity where their chances of getting spotted go up. They should still be able to stealth torp but stuff like shimas 20km range would be gone. Maybe buff torpedo speed to compensate but around 12km max range if not less.

 

That's it for the wall of text. Please let me know of any issues you can see or things you like!

 

TLDR, make cruisers more effective at their roles and less vulnerable to battleships.

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Maybe I haven't played any of the turds, but cruisers to me seem to be the most versatile and universally useful class in the game. DD's and BB's can be just precisely fucked in certain lineup, maps, and situations, but cruisers seem to always have something they can do. Sure they have problems, I suffered through the Yorck, and now on the Hipper it's citadels seem to be mounted about 12 feet outside the ship armor, but it burns down everything, nukes DD's, pens BB's with AP and sweeps the skies almost as hilariously as the Iowa. IJN cruisers have torps that put most DD's to shame, and still have all the firepower and AA of all the other nations.

They are not easy. In WoT, the BatChat is not easy. That does NOT make them bad. The skill ceiling on them is on par with everything else in some cases and above most everything in every other case.

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It seems to evolve the same way that WoT did. In the beginning everyone played heavy tanks and they were considered to be the best class to carry in. Same with WoWs, the good players used to carry in BBs (and still do to some extent), but it seems to shift to cruisers already, like it did to mediums in WoT.

The last weeks I hardly played BBs, almost exclusively cruisers.

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3 hours ago, PrivateBert said:

 

The last weeks I hardly played BBs, almost exclusively cruisers.

only ever play my prem BB's

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5 hours ago, Shade421 said:

Maybe I haven't played any of the turds, but cruisers to me seem to be the most versatile and universally useful class in the game. DD's and BB's can be just precisely fucked in certain lineup, maps, and situations, but cruisers seem to always have something they can do. Sure they have problems, I suffered through the Yorck, and now on the Hipper it's citadels seem to be mounted about 12 feet outside the ship armor, but it burns down everything, nukes DD's, pens BB's with AP and sweeps the skies almost as hilariously as the Iowa. IJN cruisers have torps that put most DD's to shame, and still have all the firepower and AA of all the other nations.

They are not easy. In WoT, the BatChat is not easy. That does NOT make them bad. The skill ceiling on them is on par with everything else in some cases and above most everything in every other case.

Good players can indeed do well in cruisers. Good players can do well in everything though. There's a few exceptions but most cruisers are harder to well in than other ships though. That would be OK for the odd ship, like the batchat as you say. For an entire class to be that way is too much though.  

Personally I see cruisers as meat in battleships. I don't fear them in destroyers either, my main adversary is other destroyers. Cruisers are best at fighting other cruisers which I really don't think is a balanced situation. I'd like to emphasise though that I'm primarily talking about higher tiers. Low tier cruisers seem fine but tier 6/7+ has issues. You can see simply by the dropping number of cruisers at high tiers. 

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26 minutes ago, malaquey said:

Personally I see cruisers as meat in battleships.

This is an issue with any organized competition as well.  Cruisers can do fine in pub matches, but the better the competition, the worse they perform.  I can't speak for EU team battles, but the top teams on NA either run a single Cleveland or no cruisers at all.  They're simply too vulnerable to good battleship players.

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There are lots of cruisers that are very strong. Zao, Hindenburg, Atago, Myoko, Omaha, Murmansk, Cleveland and Mikhail all come to mind as cruisers that are good at carrying really hard. They are harder to play than some of their BB counterparts but they're far more versatile and can carry harder in a lot of cases because they're much better at dealing with the tier-related cancer (like torp walls and strike US carriers). Sorry man, I can't agree. Cruisers are great, and it's hard to say they're not because the population isn't very good at them.

EDIT: Mesrith, we usually run 2 BBs, one MK, 2 atagos and 2 Bensons if we're try harding. The BBs are anchors, not damage dealers. The cruisers are the ones that always inflict the damage, and they're rarely the ones to die. I've actually seen OMNI Yellow run nothing but cruisers and a single Tirpitz/Benson and win by sheer DPM. 

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2 hours ago, malaquey said:

Good players can indeed do well in cruisers. Good players can do well in everything though. There's a few exceptions but most cruisers are harder to well in than other ships though. That would be OK for the odd ship, like the batchat as you say. For an entire class to be that way is too much though.  

Personally I see cruisers as meat in battleships. I don't fear them in destroyers either, my main adversary is other destroyers. Cruisers are best at fighting other cruisers which I really don't think is a balanced situation. I'd like to emphasise though that I'm primarily talking about higher tiers. Low tier cruisers seem fine but tier 6/7+ has issues. You can see simply by the dropping number of cruisers at high tiers. 

Reminder that high tier cruisers like the Zao can invisi-fire, vision-strafing BBs with a rain of HE

...

You also have stuff like this:

 Where angling your armor is an instant "Fuck you" to any BB that fires AP.

Cruisers are very flexible. Meet one that is played properly and you'll have a nightmare to deal with.

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2 hours ago, OnboardG1 said:

 Cruisers are great, and it's hard to say they're not because the population isn't very good at them

 

I think this is a perfectly legitimate reason to change them. Just because a small number of people can do well in something doesn't mean it's "working as intended". Personally I do better than most in cruisers but I still find battleships more effective, and easier.

5 minutes ago, Flametz said:

Reminder that high tier cruisers like the Zao can invisi-fire, vision-strafing BBs with a rain of HE

...

Where angling your armor is an instant "Fuck you" to any BB that fires AP.

Cruisers are very flexible. Meet one that is played properly and you'll have a nightmare to deal with.

Certain cruisers can really put the hurt on when played and specced properly, I agree. The class as a whole does not though, especially when in the hands of bad or even average players.

I haven't seen many Mosvkas so far but the one I did I hit for 50k off my first salvo when he was positioned almost completely facing me (bow on). I was in my Yamato to be fair but even so the armour is certainly not invulnerable.

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3 minutes ago, malaquey said:

I think this is a perfectly legitimate reason to change them. Just because a small number of people can do well in something doesn't mean it's "working as intended". Personally I do better than most in cruisers but I still find battleships more effective, and easier.

"Changing them" by buffing them is like buffing the Batchat. I mean... ok? You help the shitters get slightly better, but you also significantly raise the skill ceiling (which would make many people butthurt and call for nerfs. RiP Mogami 155 @ tier 7)

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4 minutes ago, Flametz said:

"Changing them" by buffing them is like buffing the Batchat. I mean... ok? You help the shitters get slightly better, but you also significantly raise the skill ceiling (which would make many people butthurt and call for nerfs. RiP Mogami 155 @ tier 7)

I deliberately didn't say buff because they shouldn't be buffed. They should be balanced. None of my proposed changes would affect stealth firing in particular which is the biggest pro tactic. As I mentioned before, having one or two ships with an awkward play style but highly effective when done properly is fine, as with the batchat. The issue is with cruisers in general having this property, and arguably being less effective even when played well. There are some notable exceptions, like the Zao and Atago, but in general I think this is correct.

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1 minute ago, malaquey said:

I deliberately didn't say buff because they shouldn't be buffed. They should be balanced. None of my proposed changes would affect stealth firing in particular which is the biggest pro tactic. As I mentioned before, having one or two ships with an awkward play style but highly effective when done properly is fine, as with the batchat. The issue is with cruisers in general having this property, and arguably being less effective even when played well. There are some notable exceptions, like the Zao and Atago, but in general I think this is correct.

Tbh, the only cruisers that really need help are the USN cruisers, and even then they're specced for AA support. Their firepower is only really an accessory piece... yet with the AA rework they're kinda "bleh" outside the Cleveland and Des Moines.

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2 minutes ago, Flametz said:

Tbh, the only cruisers that really need help are the USN cruisers, and even then they're specced for AA support. Their firepower is only really an accessory piece... yet with the AA rework they're kinda "bleh" outside the Cleveland and Des Moines.

I agree although I think the German's could use a buff to their HE. Not to the same level as the other nations but it's beyond bad as it is, against battleships at least. IJN and what I've seen of Soviets are fine.

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I suffered my way through the stock pensa, but upgraded it's enjoyable. I play mainly cruisers, from beta to now, and it's frustrating when the only thing you can do to avoid a fast death is not get hit or shot at, but I find it to be the most enjoyable class to actually play.

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9 hours ago, malaquey said:

I deliberately didn't say buff because they shouldn't be buffed. They should be balanced. None of my proposed changes would affect stealth firing in particular which is the biggest pro tactic. As I mentioned before, having one or two ships with an awkward play style but highly effective when done properly is fine, as with the batchat. The issue is with cruisers in general having this property, and arguably being less effective even when played well. There are some notable exceptions, like the Zao and Atago, but in general I think this is correct.

Reduction of citadel damage is definitely a buff, and a huge one that would help maybe two or three ships that are sub par and break the living fuck out of any cruiser that wasn't borderline unplayable. I'm also unsure that your assertion is correct that cruisers are less effective. I checked the ship analytics page on Warship stats. The highest WRs at T5, T7 and T9 (excluding ships that aren't in general availability and the RU cruisers because the pop balance is still heavily skewed towards unicum early adopters) are cruisers, and the T10 WR is a 0.2% fight between Yamato and Zao. The only cruisers that stand out as "bad" by the standards of that database are the Baltimore (needs buffs, will probably benefit from the radar sweep), the Atlanta (getting buffed somehow), Pensa and NO (role definition blues, although I think they're very good AP spammers) and Furutaka (Played badly by new players, IMO the best T5 cruiser). There are equally many bad Battleships in that list (mostl of US Battleship line plus Myogi and Izumo) but buffing them as a class would be daft. I don't think you need to buff the whole cruiser class to improve the lot of a few awkward ducks.

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Zao is godmode, it shits on everything with the exception of maybe the Des Moines at close range.

Even Yamatos.

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7 hours ago, OnboardG1 said:

Reduction of citadel damage is definitely a buff, and a huge one that would help maybe two or three ships that are sub par and break the living fuck out of any cruiser that wasn't borderline unplayable. I'm also unsure that your assertion is correct that cruisers are less effective. I checked the ship analytics page on Warship stats. The highest WRs at T5, T7 and T9 (excluding ships that aren't in general availability and the RU cruisers because the pop balance is still heavily skewed towards unicum early adopters) are cruisers, and the T10 WR is a 0.2% fight between Yamato and Zao. The only cruisers that stand out as "bad" by the standards of that database are the Baltimore (needs buffs, will probably benefit from the radar sweep), the Atlanta (getting buffed somehow), Pensa and NO (role definition blues, although I think they're very good AP spammers) and Furutaka (Played badly by new players, IMO the best T5 cruiser). There are equally many bad Battleships in that list (mostl of US Battleship line plus Myogi and Izumo) but buffing them as a class would be daft. I don't think you need to buff the whole cruiser class to improve the lot of a few awkward ducks.

I agree although I think the German's could use a buff to their HE. Not to the same level as the other nations but it's beyond bad as it is, against battleships at least. IJN and what I've seen of Soviets are fine.

Buffing the whole class would be too far I agree, at least as far as my suggestions are concerned. USN in particular is underpowered though and needs a look, hopefully radar will help although that's only really relevant for fighting DDs. Germans also need their ap pen buffed if they are going to have such terrible he. The moment someone angles you lose unless you can disengage.

Looking at base win rate isn't the whole picture either. Cruisers can carry well if in the hands of a good player due to their speed and enough firepower to make a difference which skews the results more than a good DD or BB player would. Additionally at tier 7+(low tiers cruisers are fine I think) cruisers tend to be below average in win rate. Just because the top win rate is a cruiser doesn't mean the rest of that tiers cruisers are fine.

 

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5 minutes ago, malaquey said:

Looking at base win rate isn't the whole picture either.

I run skill+grind adjusted tests, and cruisers generally do well there. Considering tier 5 upwards, New Orleans, Baltimore and maybe Atlanta are a bit grim, but everything else is fine.

Cruisers don't tend to have particularly good players. It's not like medium tanks in WoT.

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I can't help myself, but so far the easiest ship to win in and do lots of damage is a cruiser. Only 9 battles so far, but I don't see how it could get worse.

LsK0w3f.png

Fast enough to never be out of battle, dpm ist awe inspiring and some survivability too. If you are even spotted.

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The most popular CA I see in T10 games is the Zao. I probably see more Zaos than the rest of the T10 CAs added together.  But that being said, a T10 Zao can't stand up to a T9 BB if both are played well. Most of the T10 CAs can't disengage easily. Zao can, but the others can't. I have eaten most all CAs in my Izumo. And I am a mediocre player most days.

If you sail parallel to the enemy BB, you are dead. If you run away or come in at long range head in, you will get Citadeled. All CAs require you dodging shells at long range, but many of them can't. Big USSR CAs appear to not be as agile as US, IJN, or German. I enjoy CA play a lot, but at T8 plus it is very frustrating to me. I have suspended my CA play for the time being on my T8's. I will go back to them after I get Yamato and Gearing. (Of course next patch depending on what they do to DD's I may change my mind as to what I play)

The only thing I can think of to do to make CA's better is possibly cut their turning circles, rudder shift, and possibly make them a bit more stealthy.

 

 

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8 hours ago, PrivateBert said:

I can't help myself, but so far the easiest ship to win in and do lots of damage is a cruiser. Only 9 battles so far, but I don't see how it could get worse.

LsK0w3f.png

Fast enough to never be out of battle, dpm ist awe inspiring and some survivability too. If you are even spotted.

Zao is one example where it's fine. If anything you could argue Zao is too good (I want one though so I won't :P). It's in the minority though.

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honestly, they should add a citadel dmg mutltiplier/reducer. I find it way to easy for BB`s to just shit on CL for 1/2-1/3 of there hp with citadels. Its a massive alpha RNG based mechanic that is bad for gameplay, is frustrating (when you get that perfect salvo and no citadel`s) and really boring, for both BB and CL sailor.

Oh, i just randomly got hit for 4/5 of my HP by a BB 19km away, well there goes my game..

Just hit that cruiser 6km away with 9 15 inch shells, better do 3k dmg...

RNG with massive alpha will always be bad, just look at the 183/4005 in WoT, that  is BB gameplay in WoWs, except every cruiser has paper armor, but has spaced armor everywhere, making it pure rng if you pen.

 

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The question is always what is balance and how do you balance a game like this. Do you balance for the meta or do you balance on some kind of absolute formula?

T9-T10 meta on NA is BBs sit still and move forward or back at quarter speed. CA's for the most part early game hide behind islands and try to no get into a position where they can be focused down. This makes IJN DDs and even Fletcher and Gearing very effective. Just find a seam in the enemy's defence and lay down a torp spread. With the vast majority of the ships stationary, you will cause massive damage. If when they see the torps coming if you are flanked, you can accelerate fast enough to avoid the torps. 

Does this makes DD's OP or is it just bad play by BB and CA players? The is a reason I average 75k damage and over 1900 exp in my Shima and it isn't  the ship or my skill level. It is the UP play of the red teams BB's and to a lesser extent CA's and an occasional DD. How do you balance that? I think the issue is a BB play issue. They keep buffing torpedo bulges and helping BB's because the player base is very vocal, but the real issue is that BB players generally learn to shoot from long range and not maneuver very much. There are exceptions obviously, but I see this meta bleeding down to T4 and T5  BB play, and since everyone moves around a lot more in mid tiers, they get punished for it. At T10 they will do decent damage numbers, but eventually a torpedo wall will kill them and they wail on the forums.

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