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New Carrier Play Comments

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Here is my review so far of the new carrier mechanics:



I just played a dozen rounds as CV as well as a pair each as destroyer, cruiser, and battleship.  I have played CVs since beta, but stopped right after the Saipan came out - so it's been a while!

Overall, I like the changes. Tweaks in order, but I can play this for sure. I am a destroyer and cruiser main, and the bombing runs feel like I am trying to set up a destroyer torp run; I find it challenging and enjoyable.  I am much better able to line up a long-range torp run, and I can use the tight/loose spread of the different drops to my advantage.  If I mess up, I don't have to drop, so I can wait until the LAST SECOND to not attack - that's helpful for learning the right angles of attack.  I like that I don't have to juggle 4 squadrons at once - but I do miss my fighters... maybe if we could deploy fighters from the map and give them waypoints would be a compromise? As is, the "consumable" set up for fighters is a bit odd. Why not give each squadron one fighter burn per launch, or share fighters among all aircraft with a fighter cool down? Or mirror the current set up of "regenerating aircraft" and have a fighter pool that you can call when fully loaded? 

I don't find the "no direct control of carrier" part insurmountable.  I do think that you should be able to keep the aircraft in the air while you drive your ship though.  Just let the aircraft fly straight or go into a holding pattern.  We can't attack if we are driving, but don't punish us if we want to go use the repair party real quick.  Just put our aircraft on hold in the air, and then we switch back.  That seems balanced.  Can't do both at once, so no need to have them return to ship.  I like the restore HP consumable option in lieu of repair party - that puts a new spin on things.  

I do not find the AA (I played all tier 6 this round - will try tier 10 tomorrow) overwhelming as the carrier captain. If ships grouped up the AA hurt, but that's the point, right?  Plus, I can drop torps from 5 km away pretty accurately now.... thanks to the FPS style.  So if everyone bunches up I can just send a spread into the group at long range.  They scatter, perhaps?  then I can pick off someone! At least, that's what I see in my head as a viable tactic. Not sure about the flak mechanic (as a carrier) as I am not fully understanding "how to dodge."  Is it sector based, is it cone based, is it RNG based?  If I twist and turn does that count or do I need to make deliberate course changes?  Once I can figure that out I'll know if the flak stuff makes any sense.  

From the "target point of view" (aka all the other ships) the focus AA mechanic is interesting.  I would like a little more control to really make the AA REALLY hurt if I "choose wisely" - like a narrow 90 degree cone so I have to turn my ship to get it just right.  Or an option to choose if dual purpose fires at surface or air targets.  I felt that even as the Farragut I felt "useful" in shooting at planes - the numbers popping up showing damage let me know it was doing something, even if I ddn;t down the planes directly for my own kill.  Mechanic allowing destroyers to move 50%, cruisers move 25% and battleships move 20% of AA is interesting - wondering if that is gonna be a ship by ship or a class thing?

As a target, I am very glad the "cross drop" is gone... the CV players that mastered it ate my lunch all day every day.  Now I feel I always have a fighting chance. The good ones are gonna get hits (and the dive bomber mechanic means the REALLY good ones are gonna be making LOTS of hits), but I don't fear getting deleted in the first 3 minutes nearly as much.  I am okay with carriers having unlimited planes - it is VERY frustrating to have a carrier on your team, see them out of aircraft and just watch them feed points to the enemy when they die.  At least this way they are relevant during the entire game.  And it means AA boats are relevant through the entire game.  A compromise and balance might need to be a deeper pocket of "ready planes" but slower recharge of the ready planes.  This would reward cautious and smart play by giving a cv player a reserve to dip into, but no making a newbie quit out of frustration because the pro got a good strafe run in and now you have 2 bombers left.  

Overall I think the changes work for the intention as I understand it - make carriers more balanced in terms of damage output over the length of the game, balance impact between unicum and potato players, make cv play more accessible and more engaging for the majority of the population, and still reward talented play.  As noted, I think some tweaks are needed, but I am interested to see this in the live game.



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Some quick thoughts from me on the rework:

Most of my games were in "normal" ships (BB/CA/DD) and I have not tried tier 10 yet. Probably have done 20 games total or so. The sector reinforcement for AA seems like a good idea but I have yet to see a big difference between doing it and not. Shot down 4 planes in a DD without it on, and 0 with it on. Also 22 shot down in a Fuso with and 21 shot down without. Honestly having two or three ships within an AA umbrella seems more effective without having to think about which way your AA is pointing. Long range AA does seem to be an odd ball type thing. It doesn't hit much but when it does, one or two planes are gone.

Lack of ship control is concerning. Turn around time on planes is still better if the CV is "closer" to the action than if it is off in the corner, but maintaining the ship and focus on doing damage seems like it is not possible. I have had situations where I have tried to move around the map, and just took another flight off, to start taking fire and have to return the flight to try and save the CV. At which point it is usually too late, and you can't effectively maneuver the ship and defend your self now. The repair party consumable is neat on a CV but I have yet to need it. If this lack of ship control sticks, I feel they need to reconsider some of the mechanics around the ship itself. Lower detectability, or perhaps have the CV automatically patrol an area of the edge of the map or something (selectable by the player). Just seems like a major con to the whole experience thus far.

Attacking with planes is interesting. I won't say it is super easy now, but it is some what straight forward. The required line up time and lack of numbers, allowed target ships time to do some evasive maneuvers. The attack craft can also line up a little better. It is one of those things that will take some practice, but I imagine even newer to cv players will pick it up and feel like they are doing something. Torps are the hardest to get used to as you only drop two now. I wonder if they will allow more to drop as you climb in tier or if there will be a commander skill to add an addition plane or two. Bombs and rockets seem the easiest to get a handle on. I feel like my luck sticks and I tend to miss a lot that look like they should hit though. On the long range AA subject, it does seem like you have to bob and weave to avoid it, but it seems very odd as to when it will burst and flak, I tend to try and avoid some, just for it to explode way in front or way behind my squadron. Then other times, it seems like it won't be close, but I lose a plane. I think this will be one of the more challenging things from both sides.

the consumables for the planes are different. I like the speed boost/break for the planes, but I rarely find my self needing the rapid reload of it at tier 6. Use the boost to get in a little faster, let off, break if needed due to over shooting and  boost out after the attack to get out of the short range AA crazyness. Usually by the time I turn around for pass two, I have most of what was used back. The fighter consumable seems kind of pointless. Unless attacking another CV, you have to fly your planes to where you think the enemy will attack friendly ships, pop it and maybe get 2 to 4 planes shot down. If a point could be chosen from the tactical map for the CV it would be better. Also have it be like other plane types just with a cool down, as a squadron consumable is seems pointless as it seems against  "do damage" mind set they want, as you have to fly the flight else wheres to have it be useful.

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So... after running a bunch of games... here's my thoughts...

Overall I like it.  I think it needs tweaks.  The biggest gripe I have is that on an attack run with 2 or 3 planes, the rest of the squadron drags over the target, putting them in the "short range damage over time" area rather than outside AA range or in the "burst damage" long range AA.  So if I target a lone BB that has some AA cruisers behind it, after my attack run when I join up I'm usually flying the squadron into the cruiser AA range... and they get ate up after just 1 run.  Targeting during runs seems to run both ends of the spectrum.  Torp bombers seem just about right to be able to adjust aim during the run... Fighter runs with rockets seem overly sensitive to adjustment to catch a moving target (as they seem most effective against DD's)... Bombers are very slow to react and move once in the dive.  You gotta be spot on your setup for a good bomb run.   I like the "return to ship" feature to get your next flight up right away... as well as the ability to ditch your current squadron to return to the ship if you need to take up something else (like a rogue DD showing up on your door step while you're across the map with your Torp planes).  Maybe my only other gripes is the specialized bombs/torps between US and IJN ships... I found myself in 2 games in my IJN CV where all that was left was DD's... so my AP bombs and deep water torps did not help me much.  Maybe mix them... deep water torps on the IJN and AP bombs on the US planes.  Also, the fighter consumable needs buffed.  Either make it damage over time or put more than 2 or 3 in a squad and bring back the defensive capability of the rear gunners on attack planes.  Maybe as a counter allow a consumable of "scatter" for the attack planes so they can scatter and avoid being bounced but it takes them "X" amount of time to reassemble back together to attack.  Really, to me, the fighters are just a counter to enemy fighters.  I may, on occasion, drop a squadron over a group of ships, but then if that group gets attacked by both carriers and their TB's, that's 12 attacking planes v/s 2 fighters... doesn't really do much IMO.  

Also, I don't know if anyone else has played the tier X IJN carrier... you can unlock it, if you didn't know... just get the 1,000,000 xp mission 5 times for 5,000,000 and it's hidden in the jap tech tree area.  The US tier X CV's attack squadrons seem to operate very similar to the tier VI as far as torp run distance, rocket spread/attack, and such.  I don't know why but the IJN Tier X's torp launch range... or maybe I should say their minimum arming distance, seems almost 1k or more farther out than the US.  That means that you have to be much more on your game with leading your target as you can't get near as close for the super close drops.  

From the BB/CA/DD side... AA is much more effective, but you can't auto target a specific squadron... say go after just the TB's that are attacking you and ignore the fighter/rocket attack on the nearby DD.  You can narrow down a side for a 15% boost, but as mentioned above, the boost seems to not make a huge difference.  It does mean that anyone who used the manual AA skill may get that back.  Tier 6 seems like a good balance, if not a little OP for TB attacks if 2 carriers teamed up on a BB.  Tier X seems like AA ships are going to be VERY important.  I had my Montana all by itself due to how the game played out... I was teamed up and deleted by the two CV's but it took them about 6 squadron attacks to do it... not because I was shooting a ton down, but more I was able to dodge some of their drops.  I also was at about 60% health by the time they started going after me.  Now, I also have gone after BB's with AA CA escorts and got my whole 12 plane squadrons deleted fairly quickly... again, this goes back to the fact that your non-attacking planes stay in the same area as your attacking planes, so they pick up the same damage over time hit when in the short range AA area.  Team work will be paramount it would seem... or at least keep AA help around you at the upper tiers?   

I hope they add in the captain skills soon... I'm interested in seeing how they will fit in to the scheme of things.  For those of you outside the test... basically you can't tier up your captains as the first tier skill costs 20,000,000 xp to get.  That includes the non-CV captains also... so no AFT or BFT to fool with the AA range/damage.  The only way around this is to XP the tier X IJN CV and then you can buy the 1 tier skill captain for it (no gold has been given out in the accounts either).  I do like how they balanced out players having to play regular ships to repair their CV's...  

I'm sure there will be more to report as changes come in

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