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Flares, Pings, and "F3 to draw highlights on map"

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Beta Tester
803 posts
4,376 battles


Dug through notes from over a year ago and found the paragraph on flares. It'll convey more information than chat-based pings, and be more useful for WoWs than an F3 based draw-on-map. Read only the bolded text and guess implications for yourself. Note that it was meant for a game design different from WoWs, so lots of nonsensical cross-references scattered about. Most of it's from outdated versions of the design anyways.THE END. Now read it before I delete it all because I can't stand my madness-infused caffeine rant on 15min break.

"Radio messaging commands are now regional based and have a relevant icon or similar notification appear from on top of the ship sending them. Can work in tandem with flares.    

Also other coloured. Low tierpoint cost consumables. For other uses, such as fun. (But can be tactical if organized). Also a "fireworks" flare. Costs extremely much progression, except to veteran players. Costs as much as all the flares combined if they cost progression to unlock. Even gives a tiny moral boost, worthy of its own description "fireworks". Works on both allies and enemies, spectacularly. Different styles and rare styles have to be earned or unlocked. Such as ranked commemoration, veteran player rewards.

E.g. Red flare attack. Yellow flare covert ops. Orange flare search/scout for enemy. Green flare support/cover. Blue flare fire at range/keep distance. Purple flare defence. Can combine for more meanings, but up to players. Enemy cannot see flares in normal randoms, but maybe intel based check for clan. Must consider team chat as well. Maybe more chat raises enemy intel gather chance. Because "SOS" radio chatter does not help much to pinpoint location, nor work as well for high player-count games.

1 point or low tierpoint cost module "white flare" or other coloured flares. Surrender option for ships. Better than sunk, for both sides. No need to destroy all, rewards not calculated based on ship sinking alone. Rewards based on strategic points captured and completion of objectives, self-ships survival vs enemy ships survival, tierpoint vs efficiency of combat per tierpoint, etc.

Flares can be directional, for even better communication. Flares will have option of low altitude or high altitude launch. Low altitude less visible to enemy, maybe."


All below is rant, ignore it.

Last I remember, WoWs uses a chat based radio command system to work as ingame quick-access communication between players.

I didn't find it helpful and I rarely used it.

Rarely did other players use it to any significant extent either. Most things were expressed via typing. And because of a minor flaw in its design, where it shows the playername but not the ship (or was it the ship but not the playername? ...too long ago can't remember), you'd have to tab open the player list and manually find which ship just sent the SOS, then go back on the map and find where it is and what situation it was in, and sometimes there were multiple players (ships) pinging all kinds of different statuses and god help you try to remember each and every name and the associated ping type and find them all manually on tab list, and get back in game quick enough to find them still alive (and yourself alive).


Basically, it was unusable except to spam "gl fair seas". The chat-based commands did not help to communicate any useful information quickly, and it did negatively in helping to identify even who sent what command. It was far more reliable to quickly judge the situation yourself and ignore everything in chat, as is most public games sadly.


I tried Total War: Arena recently, and was impressed by a feature in that game.

While the game had a normal ping system covering the F# keys for different commands, I did not use them and other players rarely used them too. The F keys were located far away and were not easily accessible, no one would bother to memorize an array of commands if they didn't have to, and the lack of a one-button quick-access wheel type selection for these commands sealed its fate.

Alternatively, a feature which did see common usage was "press F3 to draw on map". You could use your mouse to draw, in the same manner as drawing in windows paint, right onto the map on the loading screen itself, where you could also select your spawn point manually. The manual spawn point was already a huge leap from WoWs, and being able to draw your intended push direction via a simple arrow or two, or do a big "X" cross on "avoid" regions, or quickly circle some key positions ... it was quite useful and impressive. More impressive was that even in-game, you could draw a highlighted tint right onto the terrain, similar to those "aoe ability area highlight" tint. You could draw the line you wish to hold, or positions intending to set up barricades and traps. You could also use it to quickly communicated intents via simple scribbles and symbols, as the handling of the mouse allows. 

However, it was still rarely used in-game, and only mildly useful in pre-game screen. Few if any plans and drawings scribbles on the loading screen map actually had anything to do with what happened in-game "on contact with the enemy", and after a few games, nobody even bothered much anymore, they just wished to get in-game faster (loading screen times were still an issue). In-game, it was mostly "see and cooperate" more than plan and such. Most random games were just push-push-kill fests, with little tactical significance after all. 


Of course, effective communication and efficient usage of the feature could be improved by community guides, more playing (the game is still in beta), and increased need for tactical team-awareness in end-game play. Unfortunately, there are some things which could not be improved as simply as that. For one, despite all its consumables and gimmicks, the game is still in itself greatly lacking in end-game depth, even less so than WoWs. And secondly, most importantly, there are some highly critical inherent flaws of the "F3 draw" feature as well.

For one, its actual usability. Drawing with a mouse is really tedious, and I doubt many people game with a pen-pad. This limits the fidelity of any drawn communication.

Secondly, and this applies for both in-game and loading-screen drawing, nobody really has the mindset to sit down and draw on the grass, when stuff is happening all around. They'll be more busy desperately panning the camera around to look for trouble and being aware of the situation, than focusing on your barely noticeable highlights. And rightly so, because knowing whether they are getting surrounded or not is infinitely more important than anything anyone else will have to express.

And thirdly, while these drawings could draw symbols and whatever else, its usage is still very vague and limited. This isn't about whether one is an artist or not, or a judgmental claim on their intelligence and mental capabilities of processing and creating symbols, it's that anything expressed is still too vague to be of significant meaning. 


And this "significant meaning" is what is so important, yet hard to define (at least for me).


What is "significant" in in-game communication?

"gg" "Thank you" "Good luck" and flashy emotes?

"Urgent danger" "Enemy has this tactical weakness brief window now" "Imminent approach of ... respond immediately" and other opportunity or urgency?

"fall back briefly to buy ... to use at ..." "seal off entrances d, e, g, and camp path b" and strategic plans?

"I wish to discreetly scout cover me" "going to try to harass from range" "going to push" and other things on intent?

What about emotional? Expressive? Or a combined and complex message with many conditionals and super-positioned variables? 

In actual information encoding, they have to even prepare to have parts of the message lost, miscoded, or even intercepted, yet still reliably transmit precise intent and purpose. In short, typing still wins all.

But wait, you say, there are some things typing cannot express as concisely and simply as drawing on the map could. Yes, that's true, and perfect, because now we understand what can and should be expressed by a feature like "F3 draw highlights", and what it can not. There are things no amount of pings, charts, and analysis can express even if players could encode all their interpretation of a tactical situation perfectly, and that's projection of the future base on conjecture of the past and present. Human intent. Not just reaction, or even preference and choice, but inherent character, emotion, expectations. Inherent character, more like personality, which will not change, or even be a choice ... it simply is.

I once told my clan (they probably didn't need me to tell them but I certainly did) what they'd want to achieve through all their clan war trainings, is not just know which ship each one is comfortable playing, but how they prefer to play it, how they'd feel  while playing in any given circumstance, thus would likely prefer to and actually react to that circumstance, so that in any given scenario, how each and every one would not just likely react, but also feel while reacting to it, will be known. And as close-knit as cooperation as can be. Or something like that. Exactly how close it was to real-life sports behavioural analysis I am unsure, but in the end it was all unnecessary, given what depth and skill emphasis the game was built for. A game for machines, not humans ... as I always say. 



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