Highest percentage wouldn't always get first look. They'd have the best chance of getting first look. In fact, in GD 1.0 there wasn't a first look or check down. There was just one look. It picked the target randomly using the percentage and that was the only "look". Then the QB either completed the pass or not.
It seems like what we really want is a way to control which of your players is getting thrown to more. But if YAC is determined more by what is happening on the field versus the old style of just looking at the receiver's ratings, is it bothersome that you can't tie the depth of pass to the receiver? I know that a deep receiver isn't always going to be deep, but would it make sense to maybe tie aggressiveness to the receivers than one aggressiveness to the whole play?
What if we revisit the idea of building plays to select in the playbooks and building a play was something like this:
Formation [select formation] - based on formation selected, it would open different options for your personnel. We could have more options on formation than we have now. For instance, there could be several different Shotgun formations.
Say you pick Pro-set. Maybe we display it visually, but let's say each player has a designation - QB, RB, FB, WR1, WR2, TE. For each player spot, maybe you would set the following:
WR1 - Depth Chart [select a receiver depth chart - normal or special] Route Style [select something like Aggressiveness] Primary [select distribution percentage]
So you would name this play and now it would be something you could add to your playbook for like 1st and long. Not sure how you could add the plays, but probably don't want a drop down with a giant list. More just throwing some ideas out to see if any of it would be appealing. Also, maybe instead of Route Style, we have some way to tell what the role of the player is. For instance, maybe you want the player to stay in and Block or Block and Release.
This probably gets back into the issue of possibly making it too complicated in that you might feel like you have to create too many plays in your play list just to set your playbooks. It also ties passing distribution to a player spot rather than a specific player. But it would really be similar to how you used to set Formations, just you would have many more options. Not every Pro-set would be the same. The old way split the settings of passing distribution and passing aggressiveness, whereas this one would tie them together. The downside, like I said, is you might have to make more settings, but it would be more control.
The basic settings would be pretty similar to the old style. You would have each of the basic formations using default settings. You could customize each of those formations for which depth chart they pull from, which would end up being the same as the old way of setting depth charts per formation assuming the reason you are setting a particular depth chart in one formation would be the same as setting it in another. For instance, receiving RB versus power RB. If you wanted to customize further, you could add more plays of the same formation with different settings that you could use in your playbook.
Some holes in this that I can see: it might not be what you want to happen when your backups come in. It removes the coupling of pass aggressiveness from playbook situation to play list which might be confusing (unless we have some way to set pass aggressiveness while setting playbook).
Again, just throwing some things out here. I know the response is typically just add depth charts and pass distribution back to formations, but if I have development time to look at this and will be working on the engine anyway, i want to take this opportunity to really improve the game plans where we can.