WoWS: The Warships Podcast Sub Octavian Q&A Transcript

Thanks to Calistron for compiling the answers.

On April 27th, we at the Warships Podcast interviewed Sub Octavian about Warships Math. Today was the first time I had a chance to sit down and give you text transcript of the answers he gave. If you want more context, please check out the episode itself! Enjoy!

Does the Range Mod decrease dispersion?

  • No, Dispersion is linear

The dispersion coefficients appear to be based on a linear formula based on nation, can you help us understand this formula?

  • Point blank range doesn’t conform, then it steps to a linear formula each for horizontal dispersion (shown in client) and vertical dispersion (not shown). For example IJN BB’s have larger vertical dispersion.

It is assumed that the accuracy of a ship is based on the dispersion ellipse, with dispersion in game being horizontal dispersion and sigma being the vertical dispersion. Can you help us understand how this applies in game?

  • Sigma is the weighting of the shells toward the center. Horizontal and Vertical dispersion denote the maximum extents of possible shell landing. Sigma means aiming well pays off

Does the Aiming Systems Module affect only horizontal dispersion, or does it affect Sigma as well?

  • Aiming systems module only affects Horizontal and vertical dispersions, nothing affects sigma. Vertical dispersion is not shown in the client, not secret but would be too much information for the average player. Vertical dispersion varies by ship line, however it’s not used for ship to ship balance.

How is accuracy affected by “locking” on to a target and the camoflage/modules that decrease accuracy of shots fired at the ship?

  • Not locking on a target doubles the dispersion ellipse. Locking allows shells to go over obstacles and track your target. Bonus from camouflage/modules is far less than penalty for not locking.

Does the compressed ranges of engagements in World of Warships cause penetration values that are higher than might have been expected in a historical battle?

  • Ballistics are real world data or close. Ranges aren’t artificially compressed, players are playing the game close together. Visually shell arcs are compressed on the vertical axis to assist the player in aiming and seeing the path of shells. Accuracy in the game is much higher than the real world accuracy to allow players to have fun rather than constantly missing. Ranges are determined initially based on the visual restrictions of the fire control systems of the firing ship.
  • Wargaming is fine with the lack of plunging fire happening in the game. Ships need to be at 26-30km to overcome the auto-bounce mechanic unless overmatch is a factor.

When will the citadels be lowered in the Iowa/Montana? What is the process to making this happen?

  • Citadel change was based on community feedback. Game definition of a citadel is slightly different than the real life definition for balancing purposes. Lowering the Iowa/Montana citadel will improve the quality of life for USN BB captains without making them overpowered. They used auto-tests to fire thousands of shells to test the armor. Technically it’s an easy fix, but it needed extensive testing before release. Hoping to be released in 0.6.6. Good example of a fruitful collaboration of players and developers.
  • The definition of a Citadel in game: Most armored portion and what is protected. A little flexible for gameplay balance over historical accuracy.

Did the change to the Alabama citadel and how it’s worked out in game affect the Iowa/Montana changes?

  • Wargaming is happy with how Alabama’s citadel change worked out and it helped them realize that Iowa/Montana will be ok.

We’ve been told there are two fire resistance coefficients per tier — one for upgraded ships and one for stock ships. However, some ships just “feel” like they catch on fire more often. Is fire resistance a balance mechanic that can be tweaked beyond these coefficients for individual ships? If not, do premium ships count as stock or upgraded vessels for determining their Fire Resistance Coefficient?

  • Fire resistance is set per ship tier and hull and is not a balance mechanic. It grows slowly as your climb the tiers. Premium ships have the “upgraded” hull fire coefficient.

When determining if a vessel has line of sight to an enemy, what section(s) of the enemy ship must be seen? Will any section do or are there specific reference points used to calculate spotting mechanics?

  • Originally spotting mechanics were based on 3 points. Bow, aft, and top of the mast. However, it was too processor intensive. Spotting is set based on the top of the mast only. They’re considering returning to 3 point spotting with some optimizations.

How often does the program check to see if a vessel is spotted? There seems to be a noticeable delay between a vessel showing up on the minimap and being rendered in client.

  • Delay is the client rendering the model. It has been improved, but there’s room for more improvement to shorten the delay.

1.) What factors affect a ship’s acceleration?

2.) If mass is a factor of acceleration, do installed modules / consumables / camouflage affect a ship’s mass?

  • Acceleration is based on ship mass and engine power. Ship mass is set per hull and is unaffected by modules/consumables/camouflage. Royal Navy CLs get the propulsion module for “free”. Vanessa put in a plug for Graf Spee to get it too.

Do ships take more damage from flood if moving at speed vs not moving at all?

  • No, flooding damage is set per tick.

Does the propulsion mod help assist in slowing down as well as speeding up?

  • Yes, but it’s a tiny amount. Setting your engines to stop actually reverses the propellers until you stop. This is seen when your engine goes out and you slow down slower. The propulsion mod helps your engine start up, so you get a tiny benefit, but its barely noticeable when slowing down.

How much feedback to you get from the surveys? Do you feel it is a good statistical sample size to aid with balance?

  • Feedback from surveys is important both from emails and the ingame instant surveys. Email surveys are linked to account statistics. This lets them analyze surveys based on player experience and skill. Ingame surveys are amalgated and thousands of battles are considered and happiness can be correlated to # of DD’s, # of premiums, etc.

Can you explain the thought process on balancing ships and maybe give an example of the stages in which you balance a particular ship?

  • Conflict begins with Historical accuracy vs Gameplay. Ships are chosen to fill a certain role by developers and then inserted into the game and iterated for balance. Sometimes in game models have to adjust for balance purposes. Supertester/CC skill level is taken into account. Luckily some WG employees are not very skilled 😉
  • Testing phases: Supertest QA -> Supertest Balance -> Production Test on Live servers -> Ship goes live -> Live updates over time.

Are you able to explain any of the difficulties you face in balancing with regard to Random match play to Organized Competitive play?

  • Core mode is Random battles, biggest sample size and statistics, so ships are balanced around Random battles. However, WG understands that in organized competitive play treats ships in a different way. They intend to continue to balance around random battles, but monitor competitive play to see the “min/max” form of various ships. Balance purely on competitive play isn’t going to happen.

Does the team ever consider the skill required to play certain ships to their max potential, part of the balancing process?

  • Minotaur is the prime example. The ship performs differently depending on how good the player is. They consider diverse ships, some of which require high skill levels, to be good for the game.
  • They have advanced statistics, such as how HE performs from one ship vs AP to certain parts of each ship. They can organize by source of damage or class or type.
  • They see “heat maps” for level design to see where people go on maps over thousands of battles, including places of ship destruction.