How does Aim Assist work in EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone

by CCP Groot
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Recently, over on the Valkyrie forums, there was some debate around Aim Assist leading to lots of theories and healthy dose of player feedback. Given this level of interest, we thought it best to explain the mechanics at play during our all-out space dogfighting action more deeply in a blog post.

Why does ‘Aim Assist’ exist?

Aim assist is implemented in many games for multiple different reasons. With EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone – a game that supports cross-play on PS4, PC, Rift, Vive and PSVR across both flatscreen and VR – accessibility and fairness are key to a fun experience for all our players. This is why we have implemented Aim Assist for a select number of designated weapons.

How does ‘Aim Assist’ work in EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone?

Most weapons in EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone do not have Aim Assist. Only ‘insta-hit’ aka “hitscan” weapons have this technology applied. All other weapons have never had aim assist enabled. The only exception to this rule is the Yurei’s primary weapon, which – because of investigation into this feature prompted by community feedback – is having its Aim Assist removed, so as to ensure parity with all other projectile weapons in the game.

What are hitscan (i.e. ‘insta-hit’) weapons?

Below is a list of all the hitscan weapons in EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone:

  • Shadow primary: PLASMA BEAM
  • Strix primary: PULSE LASER
  • Vulcan primary: LASER GATLINGS

Why do hitscan weapons have Aim Assist?

This is to ensure these weapons are not severely disadvantaged in instances of high latency coupled with the low RPM of the weapons on the Shadow and Strix. It is applied to the Vulcan for parity with hitscan weapons.

How are hitscan weapons calculated?

As with any online multiplayer game, data is sent between the server and client (your PC or PS4) to simulate the game world for all players. If, and only if, you have a target locked will Aim Assist be applied to your shot. If you’re manually aiming your shot, no aim assist is applied.

Below we breakdown what is seen by the server, what you see on your screen, and how they differ in real terms.

What the server sees:

If you have a current target, the server calculates a hitbox that is slightly larger than the target ship. The size of this hitbox scales with distance to make Aim Assist less effective at long range.

When the weapon is fired, if the players hits the Aim Assist hitbox, then the server adjusts the aim of the weapon to the center of the target ship – and it is calculated as a guaranteed hit.

If the weapon was not aiming within the hitbox, the shot trajectory is calculated as normal and is counted as a missed shot.

What you see:

If you have a current target and fire a shot within the ‘Aim Assist’ hitbox, the game renders the weapon’s fire adjusted to the center of the target, simulating what is happening on the server.

If you have no current target, Aim Assist is not factored in and your shot is calculated as normal. If you miss, well – you miss. 😊

I see my shot adjusted but no damage is dealt! What’s up with that?

In a word, latency. As EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone is a server-authoritative game, damage is only dealt if the server simulation agrees with the simulation currently happening on your PC or PS4. High latency can lead to your game and the server disagreeing about what happened in the game world. For a good overview of how latency affects all online multiplayer games, check out the video below.

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So why adjust the shot on my screen?

This is done in an attempt to give players a seamless experience and an accurate indication of damage in 99% of cases. However, none of the client-side visuals decide if damage is dealt – only the server simulation itself - so in high-latency edge cases, while the visuals on your screen can indicate a hit, no actual damage may be dealt.

How are other weapons calculated?

Other weapons have no Aim Assist applied.

Projectile weapons have a leading reticule as a visual aid, but you’re free to aim manually and anticipate changes in speed, direction or even lag compensation. Hitting the leading reticule does not guarantee a hit, but it’s a very good visual indicator.

Beam and Lock weapons are less affected by latency due to how they are simulated.

As mentioned earlier, between Warzone launch and R4.4, the Yurei had Aim Assist applied to its projectile weapons to help new players more consistently hit the target leading reticule in an effort to make the ship more accessible for brand new pilots. This is being removed so that all projectile weapons operate in the same way.

Why is Aim Assist not optional?

EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone is a server-authoritative game, that means:

  • Positions, flight simulations, damage etc. are all calculated on the server, including the direction a ship’s weapons are facing.
  • Clients only send data to the server, and attempt to display the most up-to-date and accurate version of the server’s simulation.
  • To account for lag and give a smooth experience to players, clients also have to run a small amount of prediction (sometimes referred to as interpolation or compensation) to estimate what the server’s simulation will be like in the future

There are many pros and cons to different server architecture, but one of the biggest advantages to our fully server-authoritative approach is most traditional cheats and hacks simply cannot function due to the fact that the server will reject data that does not fit the simulation – making Valkyrie a fair combat arena for everyone.

We hope that this explanation gives all pilots a deeper insight into the mechanics of the game as well as an appreciation for how and why particular aspects of the game are implemented.

To discuss this feature further, head on over to our community forums.

CCP Groot