Ramming — The Weapon of Aces

Those players who have been with us around 6 months ago definitely remember the situation with ramming we had in World of Warplanes before Update 1.5. In vast majority of situations, even the slightest contact between two aircraft resulted in a trip to the Hangar for both pilots involved. This was even more frustrating in lower Tier battles: even in head-on attacks most aircraft weren’t able to outshoot one another, so in the end they just collided with tragic consequences. Maneuver fights were also affected: sometimes several members of the same team entered a turn chasing the same target and collided with each other – that was infinitely infuriating! The only positive aspect of the old system with lethal collisions was that players could willingly sacrifice their machine to bring down an enemy aircraft when they felt that they were no longer able to be helpful for the team in any other way. Anyway, the old system did not bring much joy to our players – nobody wants to lose their warbird because of an accidental collision, much less watch half of the teams ram each other and leave the battle in the starting couple of minutes. This is why we chose to change the ramming mechanics and make it much more forgiving.

We willingly sacrificed historical accuracy and realism for gameplay. New ramming system gives our players a chance to make a mistake without paying an ultimate price for it, and expands a set of tactical choices available to them. You can ram your full-HP aircraft into a riddled one, heavy fighter or attack aircraft pilots should no longer be afraid to go head-on into lighter machines. This increases predictability of outcomes of such decisions for a player (if he understands the basic principle of what would happen to both aircraft when they collide, of course) and adds variability to the gameplay. Simply speaking, we give a player another instrument to gain results in battle while forgiving accidental mistakes. In addition, naturally, new mechanics is much more flexible for us – we can tune it, assess balance changes effectiveness, and reduce lethality in the early stages of the battle that was so upsetting for newcomers.

So, how does new ramming system work?

Let’s start with the basics. As with the earlier version of the mechanics, a collision is a contact of one or more outer parts on each aircraft. These parts are the fuselage, wings, tail or engine. Internal modules (armament, fuel tanks, undercarriage) and crew are not considered in this system. New mechanics separates them into “hard” (the fuselage) and “soft” ones (all the other modules). The type of the part is considered for calculating damage dealt when it impacts another plane – the “hard” parts deal nominal damage (more on that later), while the “soft” ones deal less.

Ramming might be hard, semi-hard or soft, depending on which parts come into contact. We use arithmetic mean of two damage multipliers set for the parts to calculate damage dealt in collision. If two machines hit each other with “hard” parts – it’s a hard ramming, they both will deal and receive maximum damage. If a “hard” part hits a “soft” one – a semi-hard ramming will deal medium damage to both machines. Finally, contact of 2 “soft” parts deals minimal damage. We decided to disable increased damage to “soft” parts in case of semi-hard ramming after testing the system – in most cases it turned out to be lethal because wings or tails just disintegrated.

Soft head-on ramming causes both fighters to lose 1/3 of their HP, but they survive

Soft head-on ramming causes both fighters to lose 1/3 of their HP, but they survive

Most often we see soft ramming – generally two aircraft hit each other with their wings or incautious fighter pilots fly straight into slow attack aircraft’s tail. Even in head-on attacks most ramming is not hard – usually both pilots try to turn away at the last moment and their wings collide. Since these parts of the aircraft deal less damage – quite often both sides survive the attack and are able to continue fighting.

Hard ramming of two damaged machines normally sends both of them to the Hangar

We should note another case that might happen – multiple ramming or collisions with large overlapping. They happen when aircraft contact one another with several parts. In this case the damage can be dealt several times. For instance, when the speed difference is low an aircraft flying into a tail of its opponent will receive damage from the tail at first, and then from the fuselage and so on until one of the pair of aircraft loses all HP.

How is the damage calculated?

The basis for damage calculation is full aircraft HP. In World of Warplanes it’s a direct depiction of the aircraft’s sturdiness – planes with metallic fuselage have more HP than wooden counterparts and therefore are able to deal more damage. You could say that mass should be a defining factor but for the game’s purposes ability to withstand a blow is defined by the HP count, not by the aircraft mass itself. Of course, this principle is a big simplification but it is sufficient for our purposes and makes the result of a collision predictable. Base damage value (RamBaseDmg) is an arithmetic mean between the machine’s maximum HP and HP at the moment of the impact. As you can calculate easily, for a totally undamaged plane with 200 HP RamBaseDmg will be (200+200)/2=200. If the same plane has only 10 HP left – RamBaseDmg declines to (200+10)/2=105. Between two similar colliding aircraft the one that has more HP at the moment of impact will deal more damage – that is the basic principle to use when choosing to ram someone in battle. Using arithmetic mean we also ensure that the new ramming system still lets you to use ramming as a last resort and deal significant damage to an enemy (or even bring someone down) when your aircraft is close to being shot down.

Let’s take a look at very simple example:

  • A full-HP A6M2 has a base ramming damage of 160;
  • Il-2 with 1 HP left has (780+1)/2=390.5.

The prediction is quite obvious: of course the Zero will bring the Il down by ramming it, but in most cases it will follow it to the ground.

We also added a factor of relative speed into the equation. The higher it is — the more damage will be dealt. As a result collisions in turns are almost never lethal since relative speed is low. The system is tuned in such a way that similar machines with full HP can not be destroyed even by ramming head on at full speed. Lethal ramming is possible only if the aircraft are damaged or really heavy.

One thing to point out is that there is minimum ramming damage that is always dealt no matter the relative speed (i.e. when you accidentally “scratch” someone’s wing in a turn). It won’t send you to the Hangar, but your warbird will still feel it.

So how can we use this new mechanic in battles?

First of all, always compare how much HP your machine has, and how much has your enemy. Usually simple comparison of classes is enough: an attack aircraft is lethal to fighters and can cripple heavy fighters, the heavies are extremely dangerous to lighter machines.

Head-on collision with an Il-10 will be lethal even for a higher Tier fighter with full HP.

While piloting fighters or multirole fighters refrain from ramming attack aircraft and heavy fighters: even though your target might be severely damaged while your machine still has full HP, collision will deal you excessive damage and will either destroy your plane or cripple it. And vice versa – when you’re piloting a Soviet or German “flying tank” – take your lighter rivals head on, your machine can punish an overconfident fighter severely. For heavy and multirole fighters the situation is trickier: try to deal as much damage as possible with your shooting (especially against fighters since you will have longer effective shooting range) – ramming them will result in less damage to your aircraft and will definitely bring the enemy down. And finally if you have no time to simply shoot an enemy down – you can approach from the tail and ram him from behind with your engine. The last couple of HP will be lost for them and you will lose much less that you would in a head on attack.

Finishing a riddled Il by ramming its wing with your engine from behind might be a good decision

As a conclusion we’d like to emphasize that the system is not yet finalized and you will still see improvements and changes to it. We’re planning to revise ramming of ground objects and create a way to push aircraft “out of each other” for the multiple ramming cases that we mentioned earlier.