Warning: Long wall of text ahead – the TL;DR is the first paragraph itself.
I personally think the core issue with arty is satellite view. I used to play WoT, and I now play War Thunder – where you, not the CPU, are responsible for adjusting for your own gun’s bullet drop. This makes indirect fire in War Thunder very difficult, but also very satisfying when it works, and people don’t complain about indirect fire in War Thunder – people actually congratulate others for being able to pull off indirect fire shots precisely because indirect fire in War Thunder requires actual skill (if you doubt me, go download War Thunder and try it for yourself – trust me, it’s not something a rookie can pull off easily).
In World of Tanks, on the other hand, aiming is already very trivialized because bullet drop is automatically adjusted for you, and satellite view further trivializes things as it allows you to get an unimpeded view of the battlefield, allowing one to easily lead moving targets. Because satellite view trivializes aiming so much, Wargaming decided to “balance” that out by making arty have the worst dispersion values in the game.
There are numerous problems with this current arrangement: RNG is the complete opposite of skill since you have no control over which number it can select. In a rather perverse fashion, the high dispersion values of arty guns mean that it is possible for them to be more accurate against a quickly-moving target than low-dispersion guns. Why? Well, if you pull the trigger and the target moves out of your dispersion circle before the shell lands, you have zero chance of hitting. But if your dispersion circle is large enough such that the target can’t move out of the way before the shell lands, you still have a non-zero chance of hitting.
On a similar note, the trivialization of aiming caused by satellite view has led Wargaming to “balance” satellite view by making it so that guns cannot elevate above 45 degrees. This has the effect that arty is incapable of hitting entrenched tanks (often times hull-down tanks), which means that the only viable targets for arty in such cases would be, ironically enough, fast-moving light tanks out in the open.
An indirect-fire class vehicle designed to take out entrenched enemies, and only be well able to take out entrenched enemies is not something I’m against – it’s something I think deserves a legitimate role in World of Tanks. Unfortunately, the arcadey and hand-holding style of the game has caused the arty class to suffer the rot that is satellite view, and World of Tanks’ arcadey and hand-holding philosophy prevents Wargaming from ever being able to make arty a truly balanced class.
What would I do if I were Wargaming? First, remove satellite view. Next, remove automatic bullet drop adjustment for artillery and give them range markings on sniper mode reticles for different gun elevations (including elevations above 45 deg), along with elevation and azimuthal angle meters. Then, drastically reduce both dispersion AND shell velocity/gravity such that the max shell range does not change. Finally, give arty a meter that will allow them to adjust powder load in order to change the muzzle velocity of a shell in the breech that hasn’t been fired yet.
The first and second changes will require arty players to actually know trigonometry and Newton’s laws in order to be able to get the gun on a target. The second and the third change will allow arty to always be able to hit entrenched targets, as long as you are properly ranged in, and that if you are not properly ranged in you will never hit your intended target. The first change also makes it so that leading a moving target you do not have line-of-sight to will be near-impossible. The second and third changes also make it so if you DO have line-of-sight on a moving target, leading them will still be a challenge. The final change will allow arty to act as close support for their team by giving them enough bullet drop to safely fire over the heads of their teammates, and will give arty players and their teammates an actual incentive to work together with each other, something not present in the current environment.
If anyone wants to see a demonstration of what I would be suggesting, here are some War Thunder clips you can watch: https://www.reddit.com/r/Warthunder/comments/mubkds/my_first_avre_crossmap_kill_poor_guy_never_saw_it/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Warthunder/comments/lqd40v/bmp_was_hulled_downso_i_became_king_of_lob_shots/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Warthunder/comments/6juaa1/lobbing_some_heat_over_a_hill/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Warthunder/comments/g3r2q2/brummbar_lob/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Warthunder/comments/8r8ns6/lobbing_it_in_there/ <- This clip is special in that it features the Lorraine 155 mle. 50, and how its behavior in War Thunder starkly contrasts with its World of Tanks’ counterpart