Anybody that has downloaded the 2017 Field CAD will tell you that sight lines in STEAMWORKS are horrible. I think they’re worse than they were during Stronghold, with the Portcullis and the Drawbridge both on the field. This issue is compounded even further when considering what driver station you’re in. This issue also creates a unique situation when it comes to alliance selection…
Obviously a good drive coach with good communication can help to mitigate bad sight lines, but as we saw in Stronghold, there is still a noticeable effect. There’s a reason the Drawbridge and Portcullis rarely saw action towards the end of the season.
The team in the 1st Player Station on the left side, has a crystal clear view of the Retrieval Zone, but has no view of the opponents’ key. A team in this position is ideally suited for cycling gears, but would have a very tough time playing defense on the opponents’ key. During the playoffs, the 1st pick is placed in the 1st Player Station.
The team in the 2nd Player Station in the middle has decent views of all the critical elements of the field including the both keys, both Retrieval Zones, and most/all of the Hoppers. The only restricted view is of the opponents’ Airship. The alliance captain gets this prime real estate.
The team in the 3rd Player Station on the right side literally can’t see the Retrieval Zone at all. This makes Gear cycling way more challenging for the 2nd pick on alliances. On the other hand, the 2nd Pick has a perfect view of the opponents’ key.
To me, this setup, along with the non-safe zone “safe zone” that is the key screams 2nd picks will need to be defensive.
Good defensive teams (6 cim drivetrains with decent drivers) will be far more common than Gear cyclers by the time teams are selecting their second pick (at a Regional/District level for sure). They will also arguably be more effective considering the view that they’re stuck with.
With that said, and assuming that logic is correct, I think alliances scoring 12 Gears will be a rarity in the early weeks of the competition season, and Fuel scorers better be prepared to score under some intensive defensive pressure.