To preface this I'm ignoring all aspects of the light tanks other than camo and view range – This is a purely hypothetical situation where everything is controlled, with no terrain irregularities, no bushes, a set VR for the enemy, and for the Standard and Improved setups a perfect crew. I also didn't create any figures using Directives as I'd have had to make 3 additional comparisons for the 3 VR/Camo affecting Directives (Vent Purge/Optical Calibration/Natural Cover)
Now that's out of the way…
What is Effective View Range?
Effective View Range is the combination of Camo + View Range – How far can you drive before being spotted + how far you can see
Effective View Range does not take in to consideration additional viewrange beyond 445m, as although that does allow you to spot targets sooner and/or through cover, it doesn't actually increase how far you can spot. Even with 9999m View Range you'll still only ever spot an enemy at a maximum of 445m away
How is Effective View Range calculated?
Effective View Range is calculated using Effective Camo (Distance until an enemy will spot you) + View Range (Up to 445m)
To work out Effective Camo we need the camo rating, then we can use the spotting range formula View Range – (View Range – 50) *Camo and subtract the result from 445m – For a tank with 445m View Range Vs a tank with 36.8% Camo this works out as: 445 – (445 – 50) *0.368 = 300 = 445 – 300 = 145m Effective Camo
Then we just add the 145m Effective Camo to the View Range to work out the Effective View Range – 145m + 445m = 590m Effective View Range
I still don't get it?
Here's an attempt at a visual representation:
Below shows the Camo %, View Range, Effective Camo and Effective Viewrange of all T10 Light Tanks in 3 configurations –
Stock – 100% Crew, no equipment, no paint
Standard – Vents, Optics, Camo Paint, 100% Crew with BIA + 100% Crew Camo + 100% Situational Awareness + 100% Recon
Improved – Improved Vents, Improved Optics, Food, Camo Paint, 100% Crew with BIA + 100% Crew Camo + 100% Situational Awareness + 100% Recon
For consistency I used an enemy tank with a set 445m View Range to work out the Effective Camo
That's a lot of data – Let's focus on what we want
Results – What They Mean
First up Stock configurations:
As none of the T10 Lights have over 445m+ View Range stock, and there's less difference between the base camo rates tanks with a better view range fare better when stock – Shockingly the Rhm Pzw has the best and the EBR 105 the worst Effective View Range out of the stock tanks. Surprisingly the Sheridan isn't even the worst of the Tracked Lights here, thanks to it's 420m base View Range
Remember this data is what WG used when balancing these tanks
Obviously no one should be playing T10 Lights with a stock crew and no equipment so next up is Standard:
This is where you see the shift from View Range to Camo being the deciding factor – The T-100 LT with it's great Camo shoots up from 4th to 2nd most effective, and the Manticore sits on top of the pile due to having the best Tracked Light Camo
On the otherhand, tanks which fared well when stock have fallen significantly – Rhm Pzw from the most effective to second worst, and Sheridan from 3rd to the absolute worst – Even though both have over 500m View Range they both have bad Camo ratings making them far less effective
Interestingly the EBR 105 out performs the AMX 13 105, Rhm Pzw, Sheridan and WZ-132-1, despite not having 445m+ View Range in this configuration, thanks to it's insane Camo rating
Last up – Improved:
The chances of most players having this configuration is slim, however we will be seeing more and more Bond equipment in use in Random games, as Bonds are trivial to earn now and there's not much to really spend them on unless you're bidding on CW tanks
Yes, the EBR 105 has the BEST EFFECTIVE VIEW RANGE OF ALL TIER 10 LIGHT TANKS when as pimped as it can be (Ignoring Directives) – Obviously with Improved Vents, Improved Optics and Food it finally achieves over 445m View Range, where it's BEST IN CLASS CAMO helps it to take a lead of 6.83m over the Manticore, sitting in second place
As with the Standard loadouts – The Rhm Pzw and Sheridan sit at the bottom, despite their insane View Ranges of 550m at all times. It's not even close with a 52.53m difference between the EBR 105 and the Sheridan. Thanks to the Effective Camo differences a 90m View Range advantage becomes over a 50m disadvantage
Conclusions and Thoughts
Camo is king… This isn't to say there isn't a need for a good View Range, it's just that a better Camo rating more than makes up for a lack of View Range in the context of your Effective View Range
Rhm Pzw and Sheridan (And to a lesser extent the WZ-132-1):
These guys are balanced for gameplay style that doesn't work anymore – Having great View Range and relatively bad Camo is just not effective for scouting. Unfortunately I don't think anything will be done for either of these tanks in the near – medium future. I honestly believe WG uses the base stats to balance tanks, and in their eyes they are two of the most effective Lights in T10. Remember that WG hates when Lights contribute to damage output, so the more you play them as pocket meds, the more WG will refuse to review and rebalance them.
That said, what could be done? A Camo buff (And although it's outside of the scope of this discussion, a reduction in size) – Approximately 4-5.5% Camo buffs would be enough to bring them up to ~585-595m Effective View Range when fully pimped, within reach of the AMX 13 105 and balanced for their other parameters
Hey guess what? It's not shit at it's intended role! Seriously though, if you know how to abuse Camo and Spotting mechanics it's the most effective Tracked Light at scouting, with the best Effective View Range of T10 Tracked Lights. Obviously it gives up a LOT for this privledge and relies on competent teammates, but it's not the steaming pile of shit most people have decided it is. Although it is the most effective Tracked Light, there are other areas I think the Manticore needs a small buff in – mostly number of shells carried and a small on the move gun handling buff but that's largely irrelevant for this discussion
Well, it's camo is just too good. There's nothing else to say. This tank was meant to be balanced by poor View Range, but despite a lower View Range it's Camo gives it the best Effective View Range of all the T10 Lights. If we ignore the mobility, it doesn't really give up DPM or gun handling for the privledge, unlike the Manticore. If we include mobility then there's just no excuse when we look at it compared to the Rhm Pzw and Sheridan. WG is talking about rebalancing the EBR 105, but they're looking at firepower. This is the wrong thing to be adjusting. IT NEEDS A CAMO NERF. The EBR 105 should have no better than 565m Effective View Range when fully pimped. This would mean A) a MAXIMUM possible Camo rating of around ~30%, and B) An absolute MAXIMUM View Range of 445m FULLY PIMPED
Stuff of note but not taken in to consideration:
"BUT IF YOU SIT IN A BUSH WITH BINOS AND CAMO NET YOU HAVE 389573895789m VIEW RANGE AND 4564561% CAMO AND CAN OUTSPOT EVERYTHING AND SEE THROUGH BUSHES AND NOT BE SPOTTED BACK THIS ISN'T REALISTIC!"
Sure – That is an option (Currently), but think about when you're travelling to the bush in the first place. Think about when you have to move to rout out a bunch of "defending" tanks sat in bushes at the back of the map. Think about why a Light Tank's Effective View Range is more important in more situations on more maps than it's absolute best scenario sat in a bush passive spotting. Think about how (In high tiers) pretty much EVERY tank has 445m+ View Range
A Light Tank's Camo is a far more influencial to it's ability to scout than it's raw view range. Not being seen is key to surviving longer, which means you can massively influence the battle in the end game situation when there's more flanking and sneaking opportunities
"The enemy tank only has 445m View Range in your data – what if it had 500m View Range?"
Even without creating the data for this scenario, the result standings will still be the same – The closer you can get due to your Camo rating the better your Effective View Range is – The closer you get the easier it is to counter spot through a bush
EBR Broken, Manticore Good, Rhm Pzw, Sheridan, WZ-132-1 bad